Summer paisley print maxi dress

amazon maxi dress


I’m talking a little about self-love–one of my favorite topics–at the bottom of this post, so scroll down to check it out.

I normally don’t wear maxi dresses, but I love this Boho Summer Sleeveless Tank Long Maxi from Amazon. Below, I copied and pasted the features from Amazon and edited it only slightly, so ignore the capitalizations (I didn’t take the time to fix them all).

  • I am wearing a size small
  • Material – Top -Rayon/Spandex jersey fabric; Skirt: Polyester/Spandex knit fabric. It is very Soft, Comfy, Stretchy and light-weight, not Sheer
  • Pull-on over head (no zippers)
  • The Boho Dress Features – Casual Scoop Neck, Sleeveless Tank Top, comes in many different patterns and colors
  • Elastic in the waist for a comfortable fit, roomy for your tummy/hips,high waist and Flowy hem design,Floor length
  • Wear it with necklace and wedges, try adding a belt
  • The perfect dress for a vacation, or day at the beach
  • Easy to dress up or down. Add a jacket to wear at the office. Could be worn as a Maternity dress-Perfect for baby shower
  • Garment Care- Hand-wash, Hang Dry

amazon maxi dress

long summer dress

paisley maxi dress

summer dress

amazon maxi dress

amazon fashion

summer maxi dresses

Today, I want to talk briefly about self-love.  With so many stressful things going on in our rapidly-changing society, I think it’s critically important to treat ourselves with love, kindness and care.

The term ‘self-love’ may sound cliche, but set your judgment aside, lend me your ears for a moment, and open your mind up to the idea. According to mental health professionals, self-love and compassion for oneself are essential to well-being and the prevention of depression.

Perfectionism hinders self-love.

When we strive for perfection, and fear failure, we tend to speak to ourselves in negative and critical terms. Learn to quiet those critical voices by showing yourself more compassion.  For me, the easiest way to do this is to picture myself somewhere between 5 and 9 years old.  What would I say to little Holly? How would I talk to her? In what ways would I take care of her? How would I hug her? What advice would I give her for the future? How would I honor her?

Even though my twins are almost 20, I already try to teach them to nurture their inner child.

I know this concept may be difficult for many of you to get your heads around, but I implore you. . . Just TRY IT. Here is an article with some tips and techniques on caring for your inner child.

I will come back to this topic again and again, because I feel like it is the key to healing ourselves, and by extension, society. For now, this is all I wanted to leave you with.

Chat soon,



fitness travel

Shinzen Friendship Garden in Fresno, California

shinzen japanese garden

Over the summer, after finishing my last term at La Sierra University, I drove from southern California back home to Washington State.

Along the way, I wanted to stop and see as many nature attractions as time would allow. One of these locations was Shinzen Friendship Garden in Fresno, CA.

This Japanese Garden is located in a very large park (Woodward Park), and it’s worth the stop. It’s filled with traditional Japanese garden design, including bridges, bonzai, waterfalls, ponds, koi fish, a tea house and more. It’s located right on Woodward Lake and also features fabulous peacocks! I’ve never been so close to a peacock before.

The day I went, it wasn’t busy at all. The entry fee was $5, and it’s a perfect location for photographs, or a walk with your family or loved one.  If you’re anything like me, you will enjoy the solitude and beauty of the garden even if you are alone.

I took, photos of myself this day, but up until recently, I’ve been hesitant to share them.

This was the heaviest I got last year, and I am not happy with my appearance when I’m carrying this much weight. One of the main reasons I feel less attractive is that my face gets so chubby! I’ve always had a full-face, and it’s one of the first places my weight goes when I put on the pounds. I like my face much better when you can see my bone structure, haha!

Since losing weight, I decided to share these photos in case they inspire you to work towards your fitness goals.  They show what a difference 12 lbs. can make.  It’s easy to say “it’s just five or ten pounds,” but those five or ten pounds can really impact how you look and feel. Losing just a moderate amount of weight can improve your overall health and self-confidence.

**Discaimer: I didn’t stay this size for long.  Most of the year, I did pretty well.  But as we age, it gets HARDER to get results, and it’s so important to stay on track!

shinzen friendship garden

Not only was I 12 lbs. heavier, but I was completely sleep deprived from my schedule as a full-time graduate student, writing instructor, mother of two seniors in high school, while simultaneously running my own business as a social media manager and flying from state to state every week.

It was a crazy, exhausting schedule and my body was suffering from the effects.  I wasn’t eating properly, getting adequate sleep, or working out enough. I don’t remember being that sleep-deprived since my twins were babies.

Since my classes have ended, along with the constant travel, I have been able to get a lot more rest.  The twins graduated from high school and have started college. I quit working for my main social media client because I was constantly stressed out and totally under-appreciated.  I’ve been able to focus on my health, fitness and weight loss goals, and I can truly see and feel the difference.

I am blessed to have someone in my life who always supports my work-life-balance, but I didn’t always have him as a support system. Even if I was still a single mom, I would have found a way to make a healthy change.

If you are struggling to find balance with your day-to-day responsibilities and health, don’t give up!

I promise, you can do it.  Take an assessment of areas you can improve, and start working on them one at a time. If you need help, ask for it. Make time for yourself and your wellness. Don’t make excuses. Stay focused, remain disciplined, and consistent. Don’t expect change to happen over night; you have to work at it, but the benefits are well worth it.

Wishing you health and happiness,


shinzen friendship gardem

Shinzen Friendship Garden

Face, legs, arms… everything looks different! Click here to see the difference 12 lbs makes.

Shinzen Friendship Garden

Shinzen Friendship Garden

Shinzen Japanese Garden

Shinzen Friendship Garden

Shinzen Japanese Garden

Shinzen Friendship Garden

Peacock at Shinzen Japanese Garden

Sorry I couldn’t get the front of him! He turned around just as I was taking the picture.  Guess he was camera shy, haha 🙂

Shinzen Friendship Garden

If you missed the post where I mentioned Smile Direct, click here.  This photo was before I started using Smile Direct.

Shinzen Friendship Garden

Shinzen Friendship Garden

Shinzen Friendship Garden

Shinzen Friendship Garden

Shinzen Friendship Garden


Living Sober: Why I Stopped Drinking

sober living

The photo on the left is a drunk selfie taken at the end of 2014, several months before I quit drinking. The one on the right was taken 12/28/19, 4 years and 9 months sober.

I had my last drink on March 16, 2015.

I stopped drinking because I am an alcoholic. While some folks might find this embarrassing, or a sign of weakness, I believe it is just the opposite.  I am not any more embarrassed to admit that I am an alcoholic than a person would be to admit that they are allergic to peanuts. Quitting drinking was the best decision I ever made. As we prepare to begin a new year, I decided to share a glimpse into my journey.

If you’ve ever met someone who has had the courage to recover from an addiction, you will find that they’re not ashamed about it at all. I love sharing my story and hope to inspire others to seek help if they believe their lives would be better without substance abuse.

non-alcoholic drink

This is a photo of a lovely lunch date I had with my bff and “sister” Marlena ( She made me a sparkling orange juice beverage. I love sparkling water alone, with lime, or with juice!

When people find out that I don’t drink, they want to know why, but are afraid to ask.

Apologetically they say, “I hope you don’t mind me asking, but why don’t you drink?” Despite me not minding at all if they ask, I have found that the topic of drinking seems to make many people uneasy. This is understandable considering how prevalent it is in our lives and culture. All of our social events, celebrations, disappointments and more are met with alcohol.

There are a few common reactions that I get when I tell people “I don’t drink because I am an alcoholic.”

What do you consider an alcoholic?

You’re not an alcoholic.

Do you think I’m an alcoholic?

You don’t drink AT ALL?

Deciding that you have a problem with alcohol is a personal decision.

No one can convince you that you’re an alcoholic.  No matter how it affects your life, or what others think of your drinking habits, each person has to decide for him or herself whether or not they want to live their life without alcohol. Far be it from me to judge anyone’s habits or choices.

Everyone in my family drinks except for me, and my children. My parents, my brother, and my boyfriend all drink.  All of my friends drink. Adjusting to life without alcohol was not easy. In fact, it was one of the most difficult feats I’ve ever tackled. But after almost five years, I couldn’t imagine my life any other way, and my loved ones respect my choice.  This took time, patience, and a relentless resolve not to drink.

I stopped drinking once I accepted that I had no control over alcohol.

For years, I struggled with the idea that I could not stop drinking once I got started.  I didn’t want to accept that I did not have control over my consumption of alcohol, and perceived it as weakness. I am a disciplined, strong-willed person.  So, I couldn’t buy in to the idea that I could not moderate my drinking. I realize now that surrendering to my addiction and admitting that alcohol controlled me, was the most powerful and courageous action I ever took.

A series of painful and dangerous events finally led me to accept that I was powerless over alcohol. I eventually ended up going to AA where I found sobriety.  I am lucky to be alive, and am eternally grateful for God’s endless grace.

If you or one of your loved ones is suffering from alcohol abuse, help is available. 

You can change your life, and I am living proof! Attending Alcoholics Anonymous helped me get sober.  I tried (at the suggestion of a therapist) going to AA on and off for years.  Thinking it wasn’t for me, I would always quit after a few months.  I thought I wasn’t like “those people.”  It wasn’t until I was certain that I could not decrease or stop drinking on my own, that I put it in God’s hands and began the 12 steps used in AA.

There is so much more I could share on this topic, so please let me know if you have any questions.  Leave me a comment or question at the bottom of this post if you’d like.

Click the links for articles that I found useful on falling in love with self-care instead of drinking, and replacing an unhealthy addiction with a healthy obsession.

Have a Happy New Year!




5 years sober

Left: a drunk selfie taken at the end of 2014 . This was several months before I quit drinking. Right: taken in April 2019, 4 years and 1 month sober, in California after teaching class at La Sierra University.

non alcoholic beverage

A beautiful non-alcoholic drink that I had on vacation in Palm Springs.

non-alcoholic beer

A wonderful dinner paired with non-alcoholic beer, with Michael at a steakhouse in Redmond, WA. 


Instead of drinking myself to death, I started this blog, and began spending a lot more time on self-care.

sobriety before and after

Drunk selfie in 2014 vs a much healthier Me today!

dinner without alcohol

Dinner on vacation in California.  Rack of Lamb paired with non-alcoholic beer!

non-alcoholic martini

Non-alcoholic drink on vacay at the El Morroco Inn and Spa hotel in Palm Springs.