Framed for Success: Choosing Glasses That Are Aligned with My Values

 

You remember those teen movies where some chick got a makeover because she realized guys would only be interested in her if she were "pretty" and "cool" and didn't wear glasses? Well, when it came to picking out new specs, my goal was to look like the "before" version of all of them; before they dyed their hair, exchanged their backpack for a purse, bared their midriff and swapped their glasses out for contacts. In fact, that's what I told the sales guy at the glasses store. Well, to be precise, I said, "Hi. I'm looking for 70's/80's Ugly Chic. I wanna look like someone's before picture." He understood. This is LA.

Because I value creativity, playfulness and humor, I wanted to choose glasses that made me look like I'm kinda-sorta kidding; I wanted frames that helped me to see the world around me, but didn't make me look too hard at it. I wanted to invest in eye wear that encouraged the "lightness" in me and reminded me to be playful, both in thought and action, since levity and horseplay aren't what I naturally resort to when the contents of my mind are littered with insecurity, stress or doubt.

So, here are the glasses I chose; they make me so happy and so giggly and if you've read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, AND/OR my blog posts about it, these glasses spark so much joy, I feel like my soul's on fire when I wear them. Get it? Spark? Ha.

Oh, yea, forgot to mention I also got bangs and they are a mess and kind of unmanageable and I love them. 

As I dive deeper, kinda, into who I am as a Creative Entrepreneur, writer, counselor, teacher, whatever, I realize that having fun is the most important part. Having grown up as an only child, where I had the freedom of binge-watching Lifetime Movies, it's easy and natural for me to look at my life with a serious set of eyes, which is useful, for sure. However, it's time to give fun to where fun is due. And right now...it's due on my face.

What has sparked joy for YOU lately? How are you having fun?

 

Wholeheartedly,

Erica

*Photos & hair by, Alexia Bernal

Creating a Values-Based Home

As a child, your bedroom is your own personal "home". And thanks to my being an only child and my parents' divorce, I was a homeowner, 2 times over. From Titanic posters in the 5th grade, to Wizard of Oz memorabilia in 8th grade, to passed notes in class, cards, letters and 4x6 pictures of me and my friends covering EVERY square inch of EVERY wall in the 9th, 10th, 11th & 12th grade, I always loved my bedrooms to reflect how I felt and who I was at any point in time. I can remember the *exact* moment I decided to move my twin-size bed (at both houses) to come out of the center of the wall, leaving both sides open to get in and out of bed, just like the grownups.

Now that I've lived in my own home for the last eight years, since my Dad passed away and I sold our house, it's been so important to make my space one that I feel proud and comforted to come home and invite people into.

Last week I turned twenty-nine and I decided that for my birthday, I'd create a values-based home office, as I am now self-employed and work from home 85% of the time. I just needed a designated, carefully-edited area to write, create and run my business, based on what I value most: Creativity, Leadership, and Tidiness. So, I made my BFF, Hailey, drive to my house, an hour away from hers, on a freakishly rainy day last week and help me create the home office I had been dreaming of. The only thing I forgot about Hailey, and all design gurus, is they can't just stop at one area of one room. I should have known the seemingly simple task of buying a new desk, new chair and maybe some wall art would turn into a two-day project that would require two Epsom salt baths and a Xanax. (And by 'Xanax', I mean, like, eight different essential oils to knock me out.)

Here's what we did...

We started at Home Goods and found the desk and the chair and the lamp right away.

This chair is great because it works just like any other chair. So, I bought it.

The cash register was in my line of site. We were so close. And then...Hailey saw a coffee table. "You need a coffee table, Erica", she said. So, I bought that, too. 

The thing is, I thought we were done. I thought the desk, the chair, the lamp, the coffee table would be wonderful additions to my already wonderful home. After unloading the heavy sh*t from my car and hauling it up my stairs, then re-loading my old (apparently "very ugly") furniture into my car to take to Goodwill, that's when Hailey looked around my living room asked, "So...how far do you wanna take this?"

Next, we went to IKEA...

This is what happens to me when it's getting late (6:45pm) and I'm no longer useful. Remind me never to become a personal shopper, k?

We bought the rug and a new stand for my T.V....

Clear instructions for life

...that took us until 3:30am to build.

We woke up early the next morning and loaded more of my "very ugly" furniture into my car and organized my new furniture. We made a few more trips to Home Goods, World Market, and Home Depot.

And eventually, my home started to take shape...

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

The truth is, our home reflects where we are in life and how we feel about our self. I notice how I feel about my home, impacts my relationship with food, my body, my life and the people in it. It's been an easier road these past few months, since identifying my values and making decisions based on them. My carefully-edited home now supports and reflects the leader I want to be, the creative being that I am and the discipline of being tidy, which I work on everyday.

Before...

After


Photo by, Alexia Bernal

Photo by, Alexia Bernal

If you need me, I'll be in my living room...just looking around...

Values vs. Resolutions: A "New" New Years Tradition

 Up until 3 years ago, and since age eleven, my New Years resolutions had always been the same: lose weight, change my personality (no, seriously) be an actress, --and my personal favorite--get a boyfriend. It's okay. You can laugh. I am.

I didn't realize it right away, but as I addressed, worked through and eventually healed my dysfunctional, abusive and totally irritating relationship with food and my body 3 years ago, I stopped making New Years resolutions. I felt that if I didn't have a goal or make a promise to lose weight, "get" a boyfriend or change who I am entirely, then what was the point? My whole life had been strictly governed by food for so long that when it wasn't, when I'd now be eating the exact same way and the exact same foods on January 1st, as I did on December 31st, I didn't see a point in resolving or promising to do anything. So, I put the whole concept of resolutions on a high shelf that I couldn't reach (because I'm only 5ft) and just let January 1st be synonymous with any other day.

But that didn't feel right, either...

I've done a lot of work on myself in 2015, folks. And most of that work has been finding the balance and the line between what is self-improvement and self-indulgence. Turns out, it's a fine line...even for a "Wellness Professional." But the other work I've done this year is explore the importance of making decisions based only on my values, as opposed to making decisions based on goals. This has been an enormous game-changer, both personally and professionally and has made SO much sense out of my trip to India, earlier this year. #Finally.

So, rather than come up with resolutions for the future, I'd like to do the ultimate "yoga thing" and honor what I already know, what I've already learned, what I already do...and just. stay. present. So...here are eight values I'm taking with me into 2016...

creativity:

This year, creativity has taken a lot of forms for me, mostly in the realm of creative writing (like here and here) and, well, coloring my skin. With ink. Permanently. A.k.a my first tattoos.

I've also seen how much creativity and out-the-box thinking goes into the conversations we have, the ways we move our body and the ways in which we address conflict. Things like Assertiveness, loyalty, honesty and vulnerability take an awful lot of creativity in relationships. So, I'll just go ahead and take all the colorful, creative pieces that make up my relationship to myself and the world around me, into this next year.

Elementary school we visited in Rajasthan, India

Elementary school we visited in Rajasthan, India

humility

Whatever. I'm calling my entire trip to India this year one GIANT lesson in humility. I went to that country with the expectation of being given all the magical answers to my life and my future and I'm proud to say India gave me none of those things. Thank God. This year, I learned the most about Humility here, here, here, and here.

 

humor

While I've always loved to laugh, finding the humor in things isn't always easy for me...especially when it comes to matters of the heart and things that really bother me...like the sound of people chewing.

I've actually laughed quite a bit, this year. Sometimes inappropriately. But I found my High School Reunion particularly hilarious, and you can read it here, and here.

 

commitment

Commitment has been huge for me, since recognizing it as a core value of mine. When my Dad passed away, almost nine years ago, I lost a lot of my sense for honoring my word and following through with plans, in a very general sense. This year I made a conscious effort to not only honor the commitments I made, but NOT commit to things, if I wasn't entirely sure I could show up.

I wrote a bit about that here.

 

curiosity

This year, curiosity has yielded several books, including and especially, Big Magic by, Elizabeth Gilbert. Thanks to that book, curiosity has taken on a whole new meaning for me. If you haven't read it yet, I HIGHLY suggest you do so.

Being no stranger to therapy itself, but curious about having a different experience in it, I hired my first male therapist this year, which I wrote about here. I've learned a lot about myself, particularly myself with men. I'm not usually into "self-help" books, but at the request of my shrink, I read this book,  and it changed my entire life. Seriously. (Ps, it's a TERRIBLE title, for what its actually about...but, whether you're in a relationship, out of one, or want to be in one (like me), don't let the title turn you away. Just read it. You're welcome.

 

sharing

Wow. Sharing. Yea, so, I'm an only child and it's become remarkably clear in my adult life just how difficult it is (deep down) for me to share stuff. In fact, I should probably blog about how being in the Essential Oil business has taught me/ REQUIRED me to share my things. Remind me to do that.

This year, I really took a step back and funneled my blog and my business in a clearer direction. It's been quite a journey reevaluating what I actually share on here, and WHY. WHO am I writing for? WHAT do I actually want them to know? I've shared some pretty personal and vulnerable stuff, and now it's clear there is a difference between a blog and a journal. Let's just say, I'm happy to be a blogger, and I'm so pleasantly surprised at all the feedback over this last year about how some of my posts really resonated with you. 

 

tidiness

This year, at the direction of my BFF, I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you haven't read it, I recommend you do...but PLEASE...DO NOT empty out your entire house without actually reading the book. K? Thanks!

Here was my experience with getting rid of half my house, pretty much, and why I now only have things in my possession that "Spark Joy". Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six.

And lastly...

 

leadership

Oh Boy! What can I even say about my lessons in leadership without bawling my eyes out?! Honestly, without consciously holding leadership in high value, my other values suffer. From transitioning to working from home and being self-employed, to owning my responsibility in my relationships, educating people how to use essential oils, staying curious about my relationship with men, keeping my home tidy, and teaching Yoga...I've seen just how vital leadership is, not just for me, but for everyone I'm in relationship with. Essentially, I wrote about my experience with leadership in a Multi-Level-Marketing company here. But I'm curious...where are YOU already a leader in your life?

Perhaps this post will come across a bit self-indulgent, as I'm only referring to myself and my values...but my point is this: If we replace resolutions with values, we may find so much more power in realizing everything we are and everything we want to be is already here. Resolutions often last several weeks, but values last a lifetime. I mean...what do YOU think? What are YOUR values?

*Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for hanging out with me here, this year. I am so inspired by your readership, your feedback and your friendship. This blog is one of my best friends and I am so thankful I can share it so freely with you. I truly, truly value YOU.

Here's to a great year ahead! Happy New Year!