A Gathering of Life

cedar lake michigan JBDDo you weed your {metaphorical} garden? In order to do so, you’ve got to create space and time for yourself. It’s continuous work, it’s vulnerability at its finest, it is worth every bit of effort you give to it because it directly affects the development of you. I’m midway into some time off to reflect, revise, to just be. After a hot yoga class and a swim in the Pacific, designer Stefan Sagmeister came to mind. Have you watched his TED talk on the power of time off? Every seven years, he closes his business and goes on a yearly sabbatical. This time he allows for himself returns a bounty of creativity, and he prefers to be in Bali. While we all may not mirror Stefan’s exact time off movement, we can each adapt a portion of the core idea. In doing so, we gather a life worth living, one full of intrinsic value, a garden always growing.

For those of you who may need more oontz, here are eight ways to vacation like a French woman. I support each and every way, c’est vrai!

Photo Credit: Jenny Graham (Cedar Lake, Michigan)

Come Alive



La-Linge-shot-by-Ungano-Agriodimas1Another thing about ballet, like with any live performance, it’s in the moment, it’s unedited, it’s unfiltered. There’s no such thing as a perfect performance. Every show something goes wrong, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s the fragile transience of ballet, too, that makes it really special.  -Isabella Boylston

Ballet has been in my life since age three. What’s remained for you, no matter the ebb & flow & fragility? For more on Isabella and her life lessons, click here.  xx, JBD

The Future

IMG_3232Go to the people and places you love. Embrace, cry out, let go, start fresh. Love it all up. You belong, you are loved and you have this moment. Now, and into the future.

And, remember:

Don’t Quit by Unknown

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

(in honor of the four year anniversary of a little idea, this blog)

xx, JBD

Weekend Song

jbd free as a bird

Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy

Each morning, after walking through my office door, I hit play on a shuffle list. Today Bobby McFerrin’s tune popped up first. It made me smile because it reminds me of my youngest brothers. Our age gap had me changing diapers and helping raise them from day one. Most of my ‘teachings’ consisted of song and dance routines. Don’t Worry, Be Happy was the first song they performed at age two as a result of the JBD school of nonsense (HA). It’s a happy memory and so I share it with hopes you kick off your weekend worry free! If you need a few more pick me ups, here are some links from the world wide web…

The photo above is from a beach day I had in San Diego County with the most darling little munchkin, my college bestie’s son. This live surf report is constantly updated nearby.

I recently refreshed the art in my home with prints from the incredibly talented Raven Roxanne. Check her out!

The Unicorn Project.

Everything that is the amazing Joshua Tree.

15 Universal Truths About Love

Cupcakes. Because cupcakes are cute.

It’s Spring-almost-Summer…which means you can’t go wrong with gingham, ever.

Cheers my dears, xx JBD.

Kinsale, Ireland

JBD copyrightPatience is emotionally freeing. Sometimes, when you least expect it, the gift of quiet greets you to open you up for the next big phase of life. The power of patience will now be a chapter in the book I’m writing, all thanks to a lovely land called Ireland. A four day spontaneous road trip morphed into a myriad of life lessons and incredible experiences. One of my dearest friends (who did all of the wrong-side-of-the-road driving, thanks Rebs!) remarked everything is a lesson. Amongst music blaring, windows open, sun shining in, a sprawling Irish countryside and cathartic conversation we acknowledged the distance we’ve come, feeling grateful and ready to airgrab all that awaits.

I shared a bunch of photos and anecdotes on my Instagram feed. More bits of Ireland to follow on the blog, too.

Sip a Guinness, climb a tree, whatever you fancy…hold some space for yourself today.  xx, JBD

Image Credit: Jenny Graham

The Benefits of Handstands

handstandIs there something you are striving for and diligently focused on achieving? Don’t give up. For four years I wanted to go up into a handstand without the assistance of a yoga teacher or wall.  Some days I got really close, but most days I surrendered to my body and mind. Yoga class or at-home practice, it wasn’t happening beyond a half-handstand or cartwheel. I kept trying. Year after year. And then two months ago, during a Saturday afternoon yoga class, I popped right up. Call it willpower, call it luck, call it whatever you want, I had a smile for a mile. An unexpected matter of fruition is an example of everything: patience and practice pay off. Curiosity lead me to the benefits of adho mukha vrksasana as told by Krista Stryker on Mind Body Green:

They’ll make your upper body super strong.

In order to stay upside down for any length of time, you’ll need a massive amount of shoulder, arm, and upper back strength. In fact, it’s not uncommon for beginners to start shaking after just a few seconds of holding a handstand.

To build up strength, start by holding a handstand against a wall for three sets of 5-10 seconds. Work up to holding them for a minute or two at a time. Practice often, and watch as your upper body strength skyrockets.

They’ll increase your balance

If you’ve ever tried a handstand, you know that besides needing to be strong to do them, you’ll also need to have substantial balancing skills as well in order to be able to hold yourself up. Freestanding handstands, especially, require you to be able to have full control over your muscles and to constantly make small adjustments to avoid falling.

Practicing freestanding handstands or doing handstands against a wall and trying to take your feet off the wall for as long as possible will help increase your balancing abilities like no other exercise can.

They can boost your mood.

Not only will handstands make you strong and help improve your balancing abilities, handstands can also make you feel happier, since the blood flow to your brain has an energizing and calming effect, especially when you’re feeling really stressed out.

Another way handstands can help your mood is by reducing the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, which can not only de-stress you in the short-term but could also help relieve minor depression and anxiety.

They build core strength.

There’s no need to spend hours focusing just on your abs — you can have fun doing handstands and build core strength as well.

Since staying upside down forces you to stabilize your muscles, you’re constantly working your abs, as well as other key muscle groups such as your hip flexors, hamstrings, inner thigh muscles, obliques and lower back while in a handstand. Training handstands every day will get you a well balanced, super strong core.

They help with bone health, circulation and breathing.

Since handstands are technically a weight-bearing exercise, they can help strengthen your bones, making you less prone to osteoporosis. Handstands are also beneficial for your spine, and help aid bone health in your shoulders, arms and wrists.

Not only that, the upside-down nature of a handstand can increase circulation to your upper body, while relieving pressure on your feet and legs and stretching your diaphragm at the same time, which in turn can increase blood flow to your lungs.

March Magic


March has me feeling like anything is possible, more than ever. A handful of unexpected, but ultimately positive, changes happened in my personal life last month. The one step at a time theory is everything, all of the time. Keep tuning into how you feel. Question yourself for your own growth. Say no and say yes. March to the beat of your own drum and surround yourself with your kind of high vibe folks.

P.S. here are some sparks of my daily March…

En route to Ojai next weekend, a getaway that doesn’t have me on a plane but feels like an exciting escape!

Hosting friends for a dinner of delicious fresh fish tacos and some cold brews. Homemade yum yum sauce is the trick.

I’m not a gardener, at all. However, I’ve attempted to grow African Violets…and it’s happening.

Homes with a heart are always after my heart. Loving this French home. Each room tells a story.