Daily Rituals I Swear By


Since I can remember I have always enjoyed trying out new health regimes, either that I have learned through my friends or from my endless internet searches . Most of the regimes not sticking with me for long, but a small handful of healthy habits have stuck with me throughout the years.

Now I know how difficult it is to make big changes in your life towards creating a healthier existence, especially when you are a busy mother. But sometimes you just need to start by creating small changes in your habits and build from there. Even minor changes can make a big difference in how you look and feel in your daily life.


Here are my top daily rituals that I believe can make major changes in your health:

Exercise: this goes without saying. Movement is key to optimal health. I know not everyone enjoys working out, or has time to fit exercise into their daily schedule. But working out doesn’t have to be spent in the gym for hours each day. It can be as simple as taking the stairs, walking around the block during lunch, or going on a hike with your friends. Getting the body moving is all that is important. I don’t do a full workout every day-not by any means. But on my off days, I will turn on Youtube video and do a “5 minute abs” workout, or a 10 minute HIIT routine. Search Youtube for what you like; yoga, dance, stretching…there is a video for everything. No computer, no problem, do 50 jumping jacks, and call it a day. Its really so simple.

Warm Lemon Water: This is one of my favorite rituals, and one that I’ve been doing for years. There are so many amazing benefits of this simple routine that your body will be thanking you for this new habit. It improves your digestion, rids your body of toxins, and boosts your immune system. And if those were not enough reasons-it also clears your skin and helps you lose weight. Amazing! Every morning when you wake, simply warm a small glass of water with half a squeezed lemon. Enjoy.

Oil Pulling: Now this is a habit that is tougher than most for me to keep up, but one I would love to do everyday. As of now, I only find time to do so about three times a week. But even at that, I can feel the benefits its had on my dental health. If you haven’t tried it before, you must wonder what the heck I’m talking about. Oil pulling is an old Ayurvedic practice that uses pure oil as a sort of mouthwash. You take a tablespoon of a pure, organic oil (coconut, olive or sesame oil) and swish around in your mouth for 20 minutes. I have found that not being able to communicate with my toddler for 20 whole minutes is nearly impossible, so I only do 10 minutes each time. But it seems to do the trick for me. The benefits include: removing bacteria in your mouth-reducing cavities and bad breath, decreaseing inflammation, detoxing the body and whitening teeth. Just remember, don’t swallow it, and don’t spit it down the sink (spit it in the trash). If you want more information, you can read here.

Dry Brushing: Ok, I know I’m asking you to do yet another thing in your already busy morning, but this takes 5 minutes max (3 if you move quickly like I do). Grab a natural body brush, hop in the shower, and before you turn on the water, stand in the tub and begin brushing your skin. Start at your feet and work in circular strokes up towards your heart. Next do your midsection, then your arms, then your back. Once you reach your back, you will do long strokes down your back. Then turn on the water, and shower as usual. As you know, your skin is the largest organ in your body, and much of your body’s elimination happens through your skin. So dry brushing is a must to keep your lymphatic system working properly and unclogging those pores. It also makes your skin soft as a baby’s bum, and reduces cellulite-yay for that!

Shot of Apple Cider Vinegar: Sounds disgusting, but its really not that bad. To reap the benefits, you really only need a tablespoon a day (you can mix with juice or water if preferred). The benefits include: boosting your immunity, increasing your energy levels, improving digestion and helping with weight loss. Just remember, only use raw, unpasteurized vinegar.

Meditation: This habit is a new one to me, and one I’m not either good at or diligent about. But yet, I still think is very important and worth mentioning. I once heard someone say how most healthy people spend countless hours improving their physical health, but spend no time improving their mental health. This statement stuck with me, and was the catalyst to giving meditation a try. With that said, I am no expert, and have a lot to learn still. But as a beginner, I have found the best way to incorporate a little quiet time in my life is by doing it in the morning before beginning my day. Once I hear Berlin start to stir, I turn on a meditation app and spend five minutes focusing on being present. My app of choice is Omvana, its simple and has guidance mediation for beginners.

Hope these habits have been helpful for you. Please let me know if you start using any, would love to hear how you feel after doing so.

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Respect Please


Its not very often that I express my personal views on this forum. Overall, I try to keep this space very neutral and more of a happy, healthful space. But the past few months the conversations and statements that have been floating around the media, both in the news and throughout social media, have been quite disturbing to me. And at last, I must vent.

When I first became a mother, one of the benefits I valued so much was the sense of community. I felt I was welcomed with open arms into a loving, nurturing, and considerate community. There were so many encouraging places I could turn to for support: my neighborhood mothers’ group,  online support groups, and often times, through my friends on Facebook. I’ve always found all of these forums to be a safe and positive place to discuss serious (and not so serious) hurdles we all face as parents.

But as of late, this feeling of positivity and encouragement has diminished. The most sacred spaces I once enjoyed, are now overshadowed with negativity and hatred towards other fellow parents. Those forums I considered openminded and nurturing, and those friends whose opinions I highly valued, are no longer. I’ve become disenchanted and disappointed by the supportive “parents club” I once so valued.

My disappointment began the day of the measles outbreak at Disneyland back in December (in case you have been living off the grid lately, here is an article posted shortly after the outbreak occurred). This outbreak created fear in all parents, those with vaccinated children and those with not. All parents alike were worried about the health of their children and were looking to their support systems for guidance. But what I found was not a loving, safe place {created by the same parents who hype up this false sense of community}, but hatred and judgement towards other concerned parents.

Many forums I relied on for intelligible conversation became immature and downright degrading. Comments were made from one parent to another that they should be “shipped to an island and left for dead,” or told that they “didn’t care about their children.” Then there was endless name-calling: “stupid,” “ignorant,” and “liars.” I’m sorry, but since when is it acceptable behavior to spew hate and discriminate against other fellow parents (or people in general)? I find it hard to believe that a lot of these people (who are my “friends”) would dare say such disrespectful comments such as these if they were face to face with a parent of an opposing belief.

This post is not to discuss vaccinations, either for them or against. It is about respect. It is about common curtesy. It is to remind every parent out there about what it means to be tolerant and supportive of one another. And it is a reminder to represent the type of behavior you want to role model for your children-one that does not allow hatred and bullying towards others. It is a reminder to practice compassion towards others. And lastly, it is to remind you that you will never understand another parent’s situation until you are in their shoes. With understanding, knowledge, and compassion, I would suggest getting to know them before passing judgment on their decisions.

It is my hope that all parents will take a step back and remember what it is to respect one another. I long for that sense of community I once felt, and I do wish I’m able to find it again.

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Mindful Mama


Truth be told, I never really saw myself as a stay-at-home mother. Prior to having Berlin I was insanely career focused, almost to a fault, and admittedly had lofty career goals.

Even while pregnant with Berlin, I could never see myself walking away from my career. I imagined myself jumping right back into the madness, straight off maternity leave: traveling the world, working crazy hours, and basically being the total career centered person I was prior to giving birth.

But as fate would have it, I was laid off from my job while on maternity leave, and was literally handed the amazing opportunity of staying home with my daughter. At first I was deeply petrified about the idea of being a stay-at-home parent. After all, my whole adult life, all I had ever known was the corporate grind. But thankfully, I’m blessed with a terribly supportive husband who convinced me that staying home and raising our daughter was of the utmost importance.

Now as Berlin is getting older, and will be starting preschool in the Fall, I have toyed with the idea of going back to work. I’ve interviewed a few places and kept my options open, but ultimately, my heart isn’t in it any longer.

Since I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about health and fitness, and knew that if I ever took the plunge and switched careers, it would be to follow this passion. At this stage in my life, being happy and healthy, and helping others achieve the same, is most important to me.

So without further ado, please allow me to introduce: Mindful Mama.

I’m currently accepting new clients. So for all you San Francisco mamas who want to get back in shape; in a supportive, kid-friendly environment; please feel free to contact me.

If you’re not a mama, no problem, I love to train all women. So if you want to tone up for that big event, or you just need help losing those last five pounds, I’m here for you as well.


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Life has been incredibly busy, yet wonderful and inspiring lately. In a blink of an eye, weeks have gone by and I haven’t made one single post to this space.

There are moments I intentionally step away from posting, mainly feeling like its such a time suck, taking away time spent with my family. But these past few weeks, all my time has been filled embarking on an exciting, new adventure; launching my own business.

All my time and effort has been put into studying for my Pre & Postnatal Fitness and Nutrition certificate. As most of you who read this blog know, health and fitness are a big part of who I am. It’s something I’m very passionate about, and I’m thrilled that my passion can be used to help other women feel healthier and more confident about themselves.

More information will be up on the blog soon, but for now I just wanted to let you all know what has been keeping me away lately. I’m beyond excited to share this information and get started on a new, healthful adventure!

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Sugar and Toddlers


Admittedly, prior to having Berlin, I paid little, to no attention to the amount of sugar in my food. I would look at the fat or protein content rather than check out the possibly high amount of sugar lurking in my food. Honestly, I figured, since I didn’t eat candy bars or drink soda, my daily sugar intake must be at a healthy level. But once I began the journey of feeding solids to Berlin, I realized I was sorely mistaken and the amount of sugar I was ingesting as a relatively healthy individual was shocking.

It wasn’t until I began reading nutrition labels more closely and understanding the amount of sugar in my food,  that I discovered, by noon on any given day, I was easily downing nearly 35 grams (or 9 teaspoons) of sugar (and that only included eating one Clif Bar and drinking a homemade fruit smoothie). I sadly assumed that companies, like Clif Bar, that touted healthy living, with a belief in organic and sustainable living, were making products that were nutritious and low on simple sugars. But reality is, these bars are no healthier than a chocolate bar. In fact, the Carrot Cake bar I tricked myself into thinking was healthy, was giving me a whopping 25 grams of sugar in one serving. That is more than a Hershey’s chocolate bar by a surprising 6 grams. Shocking, right?!

Once I made this realization, I really started investigating the amount of sugar in the everyday food items I was buying for Berlin. I also began researching the scary truth about sugar’s effect on toddlers, and the actual amount of sugar that is healthy for a toddler to be ingesting per a daily basis. What I discovered was that although I am one of the more strict parents when it comes to Berlin’s diet, she too, was eating far too much sugar.

So what is a healthy amount of sugar for our toddlers to be ingesting? According to the American Heart Association, preschool age children eating a 1000 calorie diet, should be eating no more than 3 teaspoons, or 12 grams of sugar per day. The shocking reality is that toddlers are far surpassing that number, and according to the AHA are eating on average nearly 12 teaspoons (or 48 grams) of sugar daily. If you stop to think about it, that is really rather gross. Imagine taking 12 teaspoons and pouring it into your toddlers food each day, doubt you could do it with a good conscience.

So now that you know what the recommended intake is, lets look at the sugar content per serving in some of the foods toddlers are eating on a daily basis:

Stonyfield’s yoBaby organic yogurt: 13 grams
GoGo Applesauce Squeeze: 12 grams
Trader Joe’s Organic Probiotic Yogurt Smoothie: 23 grams
Happy Tot Organic fruit packets: 15-20 grams
Earth’s Best Instant Oatmeal: 8 grams
Sprout Organic Fruit Snacks: 13 grams
Nature’s Path Organic Koala Crip Cereal: 11 grams
Nature’s Path Organic Chocolate Crisp Bars: 8 grams
Plum Organics Jammy Sammy cereal bar: 11 grams

What is really sad, is that all of the above mentioned foods are organic and supposedly “healthy” brands. If you’re like me, you assume that organic products, made specifically for children, are nutritious options for your toddler. But most of these options supply your toddler with a full day’s amount of recommended sugar in just one serving.

Now lets discuss one of the biggest culprits of “through the roof” sugar levels, that are touted as a healthy option for our children, 100% juice boxes. I would say its safe to say that nearly half of children drink these on a daily basis, and I would assume that most parents think that its providing their children with the healthy nutrients that are needed each day. But in actuality, its like handing them a glass full of sugar with a bunch of unnecessary calories. To better understand this, let’s look at how juice is made. On average, it takes 3-4 medium apples to make one 8 ounce box of apple juice. Each apple has approximately 25 grams of sugar and 5 grams of healthy, much-needed fiber. The issue is, in the process of juicing, the cell walls are broken down and the fiber is eliminated, and fiber is what is needed to slow the metabolization of sugar and make you feel full. Therefore the body metabolizes the juice just the same as a sugar laden soda, wrecking havoc on your liver, and leaving you feeling hungry.

So now that you are throughly frightened, you should understand what to look for when purchasing foods for your little one. Here are the few names that sugar is hidden in:

  • High Fructose corn syrup
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Cane sugar
  • Rice syrup
  • Anything with an “so” ending; dextrose, fructose, glucose

So how do we keep the sugar content down when its lurking everywhere? My best suggestion is to be mindful of food labels, anything with less than 5 grams of sugar is a safe bet. Serve plain, whole fat yogurt instead of fruit flavored (you can always jazz it up with some granola or whole fruit), serve whole foods; fruits, veggies and whole grains. Eliminate all empty calorie food options; juice boxes, high sugar cereals, fruit bars…and offer only water, milk or a homemade smoothie as a beverage option. Lastly, never buy anything with sugar being the number one ingredient listed on the package.

Of course, we can’t be perfect all the time. So just remember moderation is key. If your chid enjoys a high sugar fruit bar that day, watch what they eat the rest of the day. Be completley mindful of your child’s diet, you are in control of their health and are setting up their eating habits for life.

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Relationship Resolution

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Over a cocktail this past New Year’s Eve, Ryan and I discussed one of our goals of the year; spending more one on one time together as a couple. I feel like this topic comes up often, and seldomly do we do anything about it. In typical fashion, we brought up how we make little time for one another, instead, putting all our focus into either Berlin or work. We exchanged a few thoughts and ideas on how we might resolve it, but per usual, after the discussion was over, we forgot all about it and carried on with our relationship.

Then last week I saw the brilliant post by my friend Ashley that really got my wheels spinning. Rather than making some grandiose resolution, Ashley and her husband decided to do a small resolution per week, making each resolution much more manageable. They wrote each resolution down on a piece of paper, put them in a jar, and will choose a new one each week to tackle. Sound like a fantastic idea?! Well, I believe so, and and Ryan and I are putting the idea to test.

To begin, we separately came up with twenty-five resolutions each (fifty, because we started late in the game). Each resolution is one that we feel would be a fun and unique way to shake up our routine and help us spend more time together. We then combined our ideas (deleting the repetitive ones) and put them in a spreadsheet. We then came up with the super techy way of using a random picker via our spreadsheet to chose a new resolution weekly.

Here’s just a few examples of some of our weekly resolutions:

  • Taking a cooking class together
  • Going on a dinner cruise in the bay
  • Building a puzzle together
  • Having a picnic at the top of Twin Peaks
  • No work allowed at home
  • Turn off all screens in bed
  • Write a letter to one another

Thus far we have conquered week one of our resolutions; “enjoy dinner at a new, ‘hot’ restaurant.” We planned for a sitter on a Wednesday night (yes, we went out on a Wednesday!) and enjoyed a lovely, four course meal at one of the newest restaurants in the city (let me tell you, there are many!). It was wonderful to break up our usual routine and get out in the middle of the week. Plus we got to enjoy a full two hours of talking to one another-without the interruption of a spastic two year old.

We are now onto week two and tackling our second resolution; “put down all devices and listen to one another.” I’m looking forward to being more conscious about our screen time. It directly affects how we communicate with one another, so this week will be an interesting test of our ability to break our strong technological habits.

There are so many more on our list that I’m super psyched about, this resolution per week idea has really gotten me excited and creates something fun for us to look forward to.

What are some of your resolutions? Is spending more time with your loved one a priority for you as well?

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A Woodland Nursery

Woodland Nursery.001

Now that the kitchen remodel is behind us, its time to finally decorate the other six rooms in the house. I’ve slowly been chipping away at each room, but feeling as if one room is never fully complete.

For Berlin’s room I’m attempting to create a modern, rustic, cozy vibe. I’m obsessed with all creatures and anything furry, and my obsession is not contained to Berlin’s room. Before I know it, we are going to have a furry forest in our home!

Here is just a handful of things I’m coveting for her room at the moment,. And for those of you that are not familiar with Dot & Bo, I strongly suggest checking out their website. A mass amount of fun product, and incredibly well curated.

One- Porcelain Deer Wall Mount // Two- Multi Animal Coat Rack // Three- Fox Print Bedding // Four- Bunny Ear Alarm Clock // Five- Furry Fox Rug // Six- Faux Fur Beanbag // Seven- Bunny Mirror // Eight- Horse Storage Basket // Nine- Bear Throw Pillow // Ten- Fur Throw.

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Feeling Thankful

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Most days I feel as if I’m autopilot; taking care of Berlin, running errands, cooking and cleaning…taking little time to soak it all in and enjoy the little pleasures that are my life.

Then there are days when it hits me, I look around at all the beauty that life has to offer and I wonder how it is I don’t recognize this daily.

I live in one of the most coveted cities in the world, a place where people can only dream about visiting. There is tremendous beauty and breathtaking views around every corner. There is an abudant amount of culture to experience and a community of artists and creatives spreading their inspiration throughout the city. An environment full of entreprenurial spirits, making groundbreaking product that are affecting how the world operates today.

I married the man of my dreams; one that inspires me, encourages me and allows me this wonderful opportunity of staying home with our daughter. One that also has faith in my abilities and encourages me to pursue my dreams. One that also gave me our beautiful daughter.

Berlin brings laughter and magic to our world and forces us to look deeper and see the extraordinary in the daily mundane. She is the perfect combination of both my husband and myself and already exhibits the charming characteristics of Ryan that made me fall in love with him. She embodies all that is true and and real in our lives.

I don’t nearly bring bring up my family enough, but I’m blessed with a large extended family that is a big part of my life, one that has made me who I am today. I have the benefit of living in the same city as my two younger sisters and the privilege of having aunties in Berlin’s every day life. I have parents that have believed in me from day one and whom have never held me back from creating and experiencing my own path in life.

I apologize for the regurgitation of emotion this morning, but these moments of clarity are embarrassingly to far and few in-between and needed to be documented.

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Berlin Turns Two







Today you are two,
You’re two today
What can I tell you
What can I say

Can I tell you about the ocean
As blue as blue can be
It stretches for miles
As far as the eye can see

Can I tell you about the moon
With many different faces
It sneaks into your room
And hides in dark spaces

Can I tell you about stars
And wishes come true
They twinkle and they shine
Especially for you

Can I tell you about dreams
that flicker and ignite
they carry you through life
on a glorious flight

Can I tell you about music
Which makes you laugh and dance
It makes you wiggle your hips
Like there’s ants in your pants

Can I tell you about love
It’s a wonderful thing
It warms you at night
And makes your heart sing

Can I tell you about puppies
Hamsters and cats
Fish in a bowl
With names like Jack

So much to see
So much to do
Welcome to the big world
Now you are two

Poem by the talented Grandma (Jo-Anne) Bartz


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Kitchen Remodel: Part Two

After an intense 30 days, I’m thrilled to announce the kitchen remodel is complete! After months of researching, designing and planning I was terribly nervous the vision in my head wouldn’t become a reality. But in the end I’m more than pleased with the finished product and couldn’t have asked for a smoother, less hectic demolition. My contractor did an amazing job and was incredibly respectful of our space and an overall joy to work with. After hearing so many horror stories, I feel so incredibly fortunate for the seamless experience we had.



There were so many things I disliked about this kitchen (its hard to know where to start), but first thing I knew I wanted to change, from the moment we stepped foot in the house, was removing the wall between the kitchen and living spaces.

You can see the former owners made a go at it by making pocket windows on each side, but it wasn’t achieving the open living spaces I was craving. We had several contractors and an engineer come in and give us quotes and options for removing the wall. Most were outrageously expensive and we were afraid we weren’t able to achieve the look we wanted.


In the end we were able to eliminate one of the posts and open up the walls completely, and the result is a dream come true. The open space between the dining/kitchen/living room is perfect for our family and an absolute entertainers dream (my first dinner party can’t come soon enough!).




So there it is, my white kitchen come true. I won’t be leaving the kitchen anytime soon, so expect a lot of recipes coming your way.

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