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Not Naked But Sweetly Afraid

July 19, 2013

Could you survive Naked & Afraid? That’s what the Discovery Channel wants to know.

From the Maldives to Costa Rica — this show gives viewers the down and dirty of what happens when a man and woman are dropped off NAKED, in EXTREME conditions, WITHOUT supplies for 21 DAYS.

Once I got past the blurred crotch shots, the Adam & Eve set up, and the freakin’ snake scenes (holy sssssssss&$%@), I decided this was a sweetly-awkward-yet-somehow-appropriate show to introduce to the kids.

We are LOVING every (edited) minute of it.

I’m a big fan of Alison Teal from Alison’s Adventures and she first talked about filming the show last spring. She shines in her episode where she and big, strong, crybaby sunburned Jonathan survive on a brutal island in the Maldives subsisting on nothing but coconuts and an eel. (Sidenote: If you haven’t checked out Alison and her incredible parents, I highly recommend watching this. *Allow time for daydreaming.)

The other night we watched three episodes:

alison and jonathan

With fire & some washed up ocean treasures (his panties, her tunic) Jonathan & Alison ultimately formed a strong partnership.

naked and afraid

Kim & Shane struggling in the Costa Rican rain forest.

clint and laura

Laura & Clint teaming up in Panama’s harsh conditions.

Lauras feet

Laura’s feet by day 3 in Panama. Luckily she finds medicinal leaves to soothe them.

We’re officially obsessed. To the point that when we went up to get ready for bed one night, Briggs spotted an escaped cricket from our fire belly toads’ recent feeding and decided to “hunt” it and eat it so he could “practice his survival skills”.

As he walked to the kitchen with his kill (with perhaps a bit of “oh fudge, what am I doing” setting in) he started asking if he could dip it in something or swallow it with a drink. We settled on a dab of Nutella with a Coke chaser.


Chow time.


Adios Mr. Cricket.

Uhhh, what did I just do?


Taste like chicken?


Send THAT to Discovery Channel!

Briggs wasn’t naked and was only mildly afraid, but he was really jazzed about catching and eating that cricket. The girls and I were even considering joining in for a second course (emphasis on “considering”) but opted out.

What I love most about the show is the curiosity it stirs up in the kids, and in me too. Why did they do that? What would happen if they couldn’t find water? What’s the difference between a crocodile and a caiman? Where exactly are the Maldives? Healthy curiosity keeps us observant, engaged, and constantly growing. A life of questioning is sure to lead to adventures of all kinds – physical, mental, and emotional. And it prevents us from ever finding something boring. In our house, if someone says they’re bored, they prep themselves for my (annoying) reply of “Bored people are boring.”

Naked & Afraid provides a hearty launching pad for conversation, exploration, and valuable just-in-case knowledge. We can’t wait for the next episode – Sundays at 8 pm. In the meantime, you can check out previous full episodes online here.

*Note to parents – while they blur obvious body parts, they do show full booties. Lots of them. It took our crew about 3 minutes to get over that part by being so absorbed in the intended content. Previewing may be good.

The Low Down on Nature’s Sweet Slow Down

July 13, 2013

Last Saturday afternoon, while all of us were lounging on the couch recovering from July 4th celebrations, we talked about how we wanted to spend our Sunday together. After tossing around a few ideas (pool, work around the house, nothing because we’re kinda tired…), camping was thrown out and the conversation was over. Let’s do it – before we overthink it. 

We are definitely not camping gurus. We love it once we’re there, but often the idea of figuring out location, gear, & food combined with sleeping on the ground & the possibility of less than sweet weather leaves us saying “maybe another weekend.” But these impromptu, minimally planned trips hit the sweet spot every time.

By Sunday at 11 am, we had gathered the basics –


Nothing fancy – tent, sleeping bags, chairs, hot dogs…and boxed wine. Of course.

We chose Golden Gate Canyon State Park because the campground section is fortunate to only be under a Stage I fire ban right now, which meant we could have a campfire in the park provided pits.

Sidenote: When we stopped in Golden to grab wood and ice, we happened to drive by the home the Sweetlife women had worked on with Habitat for Humanity last year. It was so wonderful to see it full of sweet life!

habitat house

Home sweet home.


Awesome team of volunteers & Habitat for Humanity staff!

Back on the road, we arrived at our beautiful campsite in the Aspen Meadows area of the park. Everyone was assigned a job and by 4 pm, tent was up, fire prepped, and fishing gear organized. We walked the 1/2 mile trail to Dude’s Fishing Hole, sweet with the beauty of columbines, lupine, & other wildflowers working their magic.

Ready to fish.

We spent a few hours casting, reeling, and bobber-watching. Pure beauty and relaxation. The few successful catches were bonus.

Daddy’s happy place.

Quiet QT felt so great.

As the sun set, we walked back to camp, enjoyed a campfire dinner & s’mores, and snugged into our sleeping bags by 9:30 pm. The next morning over coffee & hot chocolate around the fire, Raleigh announced “My favorite thing about camping is it is just our family together.”

fam pic

At our campsite.

Raleigh was spot on. Beyond the surface fun of our quickie trip, the real gift was being completely present. Unplugging from the (mostly sweet) noise of our daily life allowed us to fully plug into one another, ourselves, and the beauty around us.

Mother Nature has a way of making time slow down when you play in her playground. And it’s not just pixie dust.

There’s loads of research exploring the connection between nature and happiness, health, success, & beyond. You can read here about the studies exploring how “nature is essential to the physical, psychological and social well-being of the human animal” and here to see the links experts have discovered “between time spent outdoors and cognitive, physical, and emotional development.”

And then there are the physiological benefits of getting dirty.  Simple Mom captures some of the highlights here including how dirt activates neurons that produce the natural anti-depressant serotonin and it boosts our immune system. While she is talking about little kids, us big kids need a layer of brown grime covering our pedicures much more often than most of us get it.

I definitely wasn’t thinking about the science side while we were there. I was simply enjoying the calm and my heightened senses, marinating in the smells of the campfire while staring up at the brilliant night sky.

On the way home, the kids asked if we could go camping once a week. Might be a bit ambitious (unfortunately), but we are going to be happy campers as often as possible.

The key is keeping it simple. And the boxed wine.

Any big campers out there? Do you have a favorite spot? Or any special tips for how you make it happen? Please share so we can all follow Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice –

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, and breathe the wild air.”

Sweet & Colorful True Love

July 3, 2013

You know that feeling when you miss a moment the minute it’s over? You’re still savoring the sweetness while the heartache of nostalgia is setting in.

That’s how I felt Sunday.

My mom married Mitch two days before. It was everything she wanted it to be. Hawaiian. Happy. Real.


Feeling the love in Monet’s Garden.

I get teary every time I look at the photos. Sweet tears at the beautiful and pure love between Mom & Mitch. And sweet tears for the very colorful weekend – far beyond the dresses.

It was a little less Norman Rockwell, and a little more…Modern Family. (*Said with TOTAL LOVE)

Wedding go-time was 11 am Friday. The scene at our house around 8 am was dubious. And yet it was so fun when everyone including Ned (just home after a week away), Uncle Doug (arrived at 2 am), and Aunt Patty (unexpectedly arrived without sweet Uncle Tom because he wasn’t feeling well) jumped in to help with the last minute needs –

Even Raleigh chipped in, serving a breakfast of Frosted Flakes. Perfect.

My (step)brother Nick walked Mom down the aisle. She GLOWED – with the love for the man waiting down the aisle and the blessing from the man smiling down through the sunshine (who we lost far too early but who brought Nick and my sister Jen to our family).

mom and nick

Floating down the aisle.

Ring Bearer Briggs scored the winning goal.


Great shot, caught by (new) stepbrother & fellow hockey star Cole.

Brother Jeff officiated beautifully.


A few tears, lots of laughs, all love.

Mitch serenaded his bride with the first of many memorable karaoke moments.


Rocking it, even before lunch was served. Such a catch!

Sister Jen, the GOOD EGG I wrote about here, brought her perfect mix of calm & goofiness.


Raleigh looooves her Aunt Jen!

I took a moment to soak in all the love in the reception tent. It was electric – the full circle of support for the union of two people who truly bring out the best in each other surrounded by so many flavors of family & friends. It would take a flow chart to map out the variety of traditional and nontraditional relationships that lead back to Mom & Mitch.

But all that mattered was the collective sway of pure love during their first dance.

mom singing

Singing to her man.

The lovefest continued throughout the weekend – including fun for all ages…


Game of Headbanz even after the kids went to bed.

patty doug and stephen

Aunt Patty with Uncle Doug and his sweet boyfriend Stephen who came all the way from Hawaii.

ron jeremy

Although not wedding guests, Ron Jeremy & friends had the entire 6th floor of the hotel. Favorite quote: “If the 6th floor’s a rockin’, please come a knockin’!”

Seriously, Hollywood writers couldn’t have scripted it better.

A weekend complete with the pure beauty of a modern fairytale and the hilarious insanity of a Modern Family episode. Sweet laughs and true love. This one says it all –

mom and mitch


The Sweet Impact of Daddy

June 17, 2013

Ned spent the day with Hudson today.

They talked. Like REALLY talked. About EVERYTHING.

The 10 years of love, involvement, and communication Ned has put into their relationship set them up for this day. Their connection has run deep since the beginning.

first father's day ned and hto

First Father’s Day – 2003

And held strong over the years.


Daddy/daughter date night – 2012.

Ned said this was exactly the Father’s Day he hoped for. It wasn’t easy, but it was pure & honest & impactful. I was so lit up while he told me about it.

It got me thinking about the recent visit from my dad. Even though I’m two decades into being an adult, when my dad is around, I’m still a little girl, wanting his love, approval, and support. Our relationship, perfectly imperfect as it is, has been and continues to be ripe with impact on my life.


My Dad – 2013

Ned has started commuting for his new job. A traveling daddy is new for our family and he makes a special effort to stay in touch with each of us. Today in particular I am warmed by the realization that these Google Chat calls mean so much – even when they get silly.

google chat with Daddy and briggs

Ned & Briggs discovered the Google Effects feature.

And so, on the close of Father’s Day 2013, I celebrate the sweetness of all the men who have and are currently making an impact on the sons and daughters in their lives. Your love and commitment mean so much.

No pressure….but keep it up.

Get the FUNK out of here!

May 21, 2013

You know when you get in a funk?

The kind where there isn’t one single source but a smorgasbord of big and small situations that require time, energy, thought or emotion. The kind you want to magically go away and you whine and eat a crumb cake muffin (or three — damn why did I let Raleigh make those?!!!) and don’t REALLY do anything about it?

That’s kinda been my thing lately. So dumb.

There’s definitely nothing sweet about being FUNK-Y*. (*not to be confused with FUNKY. Funky rocks. Funk-y blows.)

Especially when there are real situations – Oklahoma being the most recent – that are truly heartbreaking. Big and real and permanent.

And while I am deeply saddened by these heavy duty tragedies, FUNK-Y Kristi throws that sadness into her FUNK soup and lets it simmer.

You may be familiar with this kind of cycle. (Maybe you’re not and  YAY for you. No need to read on, but please, share your wisdom in the comments below.)

This morning, the voice in my head screamed “Get the FUNK out!”  

I examined my choices. Stay FUNK-Y or pull on some big girl panties and give FUNK a FIGHT.  I (rather reluctantly) chose the latter.

My weapon of choice –


After getting the kids off, I had just enough time before a meeting to drive to a local, scenic trail full of people getting their groove on. A guaranteed NO FUNK zone. 

A few good songs, 45 minutes of vitamin D, and a sweet sweat later, I felt significantly less FUNK-Y. I really did. As I already knew I would because NO ONE EVER has finished exercising and thought “gosh that really put me in a FUNK.” *This is a fact, as clearly outlined by Elle Woods in this pivotal scene in Legally Blonde  –


“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.” And they don’t get FUNK-Y. They just don’t.

Then I came home to this post from Erin Weed, one of the coolest and least FUNK-Y people I know. Love her take on dancing in the kitchen. Because you’re alive. Because you can.


Click to see the video and read more from Erin. She’s a FUNK-Y antidote.

Then the kids got home from school and Raleigh asked me to babysit her roly poly –

roly poly

“Take good care of him.”

And then I saw Ned post on Facebook about a way to help in Oklahoma through the American Red Cross. With a simple text of REDCROSS to 90999, you can give $10 so they can continue their efforts overseeing shelters, delivering hot meals, and working to link loved ones via the program Safe and Well.


Big power in a lot of small donations.

So here I am near the end of the day, feeling rather de-FUNK-Y-fied. Really. OK, I may have tossed in a glass of wine, but the moral of the story is one we all already know –

Ways to get the FUNK out:

1. Exercise

2. Laugh

3. Love

4. Give

Ways to avoid getting FUNK-Y to begin with:

Repeat 1 – 4 daily.

How do you get the FUNK out?

For all the MOMS who make life SWEET

May 12, 2013

Image for moms day video

Having a mom, being a mom, knowing a mom.

Today we celebrate all the MOMS who make life SWEET.

For their families.

For their communities.

For themselves.

Happy Mothers Day! Keep shining bright!


Realizing 5 out of 10 is Sweet Success

May 10, 2013

For years, we’ve had a TV in our bedroom, tucked in an armoire with doors closed 98% of the time.

soul surfer

Sidenote: favorite line in Soul Surfer – “I don’t need easy. I just need possible.” I heart you Bethany Hamilton.

This set up has worked well over the years.

Eventually the TV (Ned’s from college) bit the dust. Actually it couldn’t keep up with the high def DirecTV signal so the image was a total blur. I honestly just thought it was time to upgrade my glasses, but alas, I agreed the TV was a goner.

We discussed some options for this very NON urgent situation.

One day later while I was downstairs working, Ned had masterminded a solution using a TV from the basement. I missed the whole transaction, until later that night when I came upstairs to this

tv on top 3

Uh, WTF is on top of the armoire….

Just to be sure you get the full effect


How did he even get that up there?

Me: Not a chance. Get it down. I can’t sleep. It’s going to fall on me. Just….NO.

That was nearly 3 months ago. I’m pretty sure I forgot about this goes-against-every-no-tvs-in-the-bedroom-rule, eye sore solution after about a week.

Flash forward to a recent Sunday morning. I indulgently decided to lay in bed and watch Silver Linings Playbook.

Creatively woven story + brilliant acting = SWEET & broadly relatable message 

At the risk of a slight spoiler – the 5 out of 10 dance score requirement for these two struggling and imperfect souls was a sweetly perfect way to highlight the formula for defining success in life. They each knew exactly what they needed, committed to making it happen, and celebrated the result.

And they did it all playing by their own rules. Skewed, colorful, and downright crazy as their rules appeared to the masses.

I laid in bed for a while after the movie thinking about this message and how spot on it is. And that I really needed that reminder. This is our one life to live, our rules to set, our playbook to write.

How much energy do I spend worrying about playing by THE rules?

I reflected on a recent situation with Hudson and Ned regarding her texting with friends before school. With just 10 sweet years under her belt, she knew her playbook needed some revising, so she left a note for Ned with her suggested rules for her ipad use. We celebrated her assertiveness & creative (albeit rather generous) proposal.


A signed, sealed and delivered proposed playbook revision.

I’m trying to keep my head down these days, putting energy into my playbook and worrying much less about the plays going on around me. I know this is a work in progress — as I was reminded when I did finally get out of bed that Sunday morning and the first thing I did was this –


Kristi Rule: Beds must be made. Period.

As I’ve discussed before here, I’m not sure I’m ready to revise that play.

But as far as the tv on the armoire goes, I’m celebrating Ned’s resourcefulness and that it allowed me a therapy session with Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence that delivered a real impact.


That darn TV let me see the silver linings far beyond the movie.

Where are you with your playbook? Any revisions needed? Is the majority of it uniquely-you plays or ones you’ve simply acquired along the way?

Oh, and if you haven’t seen the film — tonight’s a perfect 5 out of 10 kind of night.

Divine Sweetness

May 8, 2013

The Angels 101 Adventure with Certified Angel Therapist® Kristy Sands was sweetly…divine.

(Said by the left-brained control freak with spirituality issues (exhibit A).) 

When Kristy shares about angels, specifically our guardian angels, she glows. Better yet, she nearly grows wings.

kristy and angel

Sharing the 101 on the angels around us.

The evening began with a moment to calm our minds and open our hearts.


Surrendering to the silence can be it’s own adventure for some of us.

I diligently took notes on the information and definitions shared. And the widely misunderstood key details, such as angels have NOT ever been human. The content was curious and the confidence with which it was shared was inviting.

But what sent happy chills through my body were the angel card readings. Each adventurer was asked to think of a question or situation for which they were seeking guidance. Kristy then provided a mini-reading based on the card they had drawn.


From “dreams” to “manifestation,” the deck was stacked with home runs.

When it was my turn to take a card, I silently asked “how can I best support Ned?” and I pulled


Listening. Picture me zipping mouth, locking it, and throwing away the key.

The word and the (tad bit creepy) illustration of the subservient woman tending to her strong, angelic man made my heart skip a beat. That deck was large. With a broad range of messages. Yet this was exactly what I needed to hear. I cried a few sweet tears while I let the message fully sink in.

I shared the story and card with Ned when I got home. Spot on.

It’s a daily reminder in our bathroom now. Listen.

Coincidentally, I noticed after taking this photo, the card is sitting near a broken handle from the kids’ shower. It’s a double reminder: Listen and don’t freak out about the little things (Exhibit B).

Every minute I get to share with Kristy Sands sheds new light. Much needed, welcomed, sweet light.

Learn more about how she shares her gifts at

Dammit, Janet’s is OH SO SWEET!

May 2, 2013

The recent hut trip to Janet’s Cabin was kickass hard but oh-so-worth it.

This was a first hut trip for many in the group. There were a handful with previous experience, but the majority were women who committed to a new challenge, relied on the guidance from our partner team of experts at Backcountry Babes, and went for it!

It wasn’t easy, but Dammit Janet — they ROCKED it! 

Here’s what a few had to say:

“Thank you so much for putting this trip together.   It was spectacular.   So many nice women, great leaders, good food….everything was awesome.”

“..the hut trip was a unique experience for me & my daughters, as well as my dear friend Karen and her daughter Jess…I am full of gratitude for the beautiful weather and beautiful environment I was able to experience.”

“It was a  wonderful group of women and it will be a life long memory that I will have sharing with my daughter, best friend and her daughters.”

Check out this group of determined dynamos in action –


Geared up and ready to go.

Up Copper Mountain to access the Colorado Trail.


Trail perfection.


Reserved seating for 24.



setting intentions

Setting intentions.

Smiling in the morning

So inspired by this beautiful and strong mix of women!

Huge thank you to Leslie Ross of Backcountry Babes for guiding this group with calm strength and an open heart.

Thank you Mountain Outfitters for gearing us up!

10th Mountain Division & Summit Huts take such sweet care of the huts. Book your trip here. *They fill quickly – reserve up to a year in advance.

My heart is full reflecting on this adventure and being reminded of the huge smiles of accomplishment.


*We will be taking advance registration for next year’s hut adventures soon. Email to get priority notice of the 2014 dates.


A Sweeter Re-Entry

April 29, 2013

I recently tried a new strategy to make re-entry sweeter…

When I wrote this, I was sitting on the front porch smiling at the kids as they did this:

car wash

Good clean after school fun.

Two days ago I was sitting in a handmade rocking chair smiling at the adorable Sayulita Iquana Bar owner as she gave me this  –


Cucumber margaritas with sweet bite!

Both scenes are rich with unique flavor, sparkle through inner & outer beauty and leave me in hysterics. Both put the SWEET in LIFE.

I sit and ponder this in a post vacation/proud mommy fog.

I returned late last night from the annual college roommates adventure. Normally this is when I would go into overdrive to regroup, organize, and detox.

I’ve decided to try a more relaxed approach to re-entry.

Briggs had an appointment this morning that meant we were going to be late for school, so I tacked on an early lunch on the patio to enjoy the sunshine. I walked them each to class and gave extra long snugs. I took care of a few key things during my quick afternoon break and then they got home and asked to wash my car. My initial tired response would be “hell no, maybe on Saturday” but I decided to let them go for it. I moved my computer to the porch, poured a glass of wine, and watched my Honda Pilot take on that special shine of dish soap and hose water.

Not to mislead you – I’ve got shit out the wazoo to do and emptying my suitcase of stinky, sandy clothes is the least concerning of them. Hundreds of emails need replies (probably to some of you reading this), bills need paid, adventures need prepped, and my calendar for the week is a rainbow of busy.

But my mind is still spinning with Sayulita – far beyond cucumber margaritas.

To back up a bit – here’s the scoop on our annual trip.

By the Numbers:

22: children (lovingly left home)
18: years of post-college adventures
8: women on trip
4: nights away
2: donuts purchased from Santiago, the “special” donut vendor
1: woman who plans trip on a rotating basis by birthday. *You can opt-out of planning. You also opt-out of complaining.


The crew.

We enter a parallel universe on these trips. Most of us don’t see (or even speak) much during the year. For the most part, we don’t know each other’s kids or what our daily lives look like.

What we do know is the unconditional love that makes our time together transcend politics, religion, bank accounts, and gossipy judgement. Without skin in each other’s games, the inner workings don’t matter.

We share stories. Dissect struggles. Mastermind strategies for bettering ourselves.

And we laugh our asses off. The smorgasbord of antics varies, but this was a highlight:

molly and brit

Photo bombing while trying to capture a signature Sweetlife moment after SUPing.

brit the animal

Round 2.

Our adventures together often include:


A favorite hang out. *El Barrilito, a Sayulita corner bar with cold drinks & warm owners.


Natural soul food to wake up to.


Daytime fun.


Nighttime shenanigans.

If we’re feeling zany, some of us throw in –


Jungle/beach run.

Each journey together seems to get more real. Our trust and respect run deeper. Our support and willingness to ban together when needed intensifies.

One crowded day on the beach, a small boy went missing. There was no need to translate the father’s heart wrenching panic. From sea to sand, the search was ON including our crew, some heading in the direction of the current’s flow. As mothers and as humans – we needed to find that boy alive. In what felt like 17 hours but was less than 17 minutes, the small boy who had wandered away from the beach was reunited with his family. Just as the father fell with head in hands and sobbed, so did some of us. 

As I write it now, it becomes clear this incident plays a role in my revised re-entry approach.

I am grateful for the balanced perspective I gained during these days away and to all who contributed to make it happen (special shout out to Ned, Grandma Angel, Mitch, & Uncle Jeff).

And I am truly grateful for the enduring friendships that create this TRIBE. 


The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss's 4-Hour Workweek and Lifestyle Design Blog. Tim is an author of 5 #1 NYT/WSJ bestsellers, investor (FB, Uber, Twitter, 50+ more), and host of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast (400M+ downloads)

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