Chapter 32

It’s kind of crazy turning 32. I distinctly remember feeling that this particular age was so far away so I basically felt like I blinked and here I am: grad school graduate, married 5 years, and baby boy that’s cuter than I could’ve ever asked….and turning 32. When I thought about my 30’s I always imagined, I’d have it all together. That there was this grand plan that plateaued at 30 and that was the epitome of being a grown up. Boy was I wrong! And I’m so glad I was wrong.

I am still growing, but I will say since I did enter my 30’s, I’ve learned the art of self-reflection. This is a difficult piece of maturity that can be chilling when we search within to find out who we really are and sometimes we come face to face with the fact that we need to change. I never thought I’d be in my 30’s and be a completely different person and in many ways I’m still that 22 year old girl who can get wild when the mood strikes. But those raw parts of me, the parts that never allowed vulnerability, seeing it as a weakness, yet self-criticism was a ritual for me, I not too long ago was faced with challenges that forced me to look at who I truly was and really just started asking myself, “Giana, is this who you want to be?” The answer was no for the most part, so I changed my habits, my thoughts and perspectives. I realized the power of choice and my GOD was that freeing. We all know we have the choice to do or be or say things we want, but have we really ever taken advantage of those choices and actually made them? So what choices have I made ushering me into the 32nd chapter.

  • I have made the choice of happiness. I am choosing to be happy, regardless of circumstance and situation.
  • I am choosing my husband-everyday. Because that’s what marriage is. The choice to love that person every damn day until you die. And I happily make that choice. (We’re renewing our vows soon btw! Stay tuned.)
  • I choose freedom in faith. My unwavering faith in God knowing He’s got me. No questions asked.
  • I choose to create time, instead of complaining that I don’t have it.
  • I choose to be present. Making eye contact when my son calls my name, leaving my phone in the other room while I play with him or put him to sleep.
  • I choose to pour myself into every facet of life where my passion leads.
  • I choose to share. I choose to share my experiences, lessons I’ve learned, the times I’ve fallen. Because mistakes are what make us great. And hiding those mistakes in shame does no one any good.
  • I choose to learn. I choose to accept that I don’t know everything and that every moment is an opportunity to grow.
  • I choose to be brave-standing firm in who I am, drawing boundaries, and demanding self-respect. From strangers, friends, and family. It’s important to see that there are limits to what we accept into our spaces.
  • I choose to see each road block as a redirection to something better instead of using my energy to move it.
  • I choose to see every person I meet and everyone in my life as a teacher with a lesson. Whether they see it that way or not. I choose to ask myself what I can learn from every encounter.
  • I choose to let my curls be crazy sometimes and not really care.I choose to see make up as an addition to beauty and show my son a woman’s natural beauty.
  • I choose to accept the responsibility of being a mother and understanding that sometimes it means putting myself, my well-being, and mental wellness first.
  • I choose to be my best everyday and I choose to understand that my best each day can look different.

That being said, hello 32!

XO,

GV

Meet Your Veggie Meat

A couple weeks I posted a question on IG stories-well a vote really asking what people thought was healthier-veggie meat or free-range organic meat. The results reflected that a majority believe free-range meat to be a healthier choice more so than the processed veggie meat, but there were quiet a number voting that it’s opposite lead the pack. But I’ll be honest, I was raised on meat, just chicken and turkey, and made a choice to go vegetarian at 25. There were a few periods of wings and tacos sprinkled in there, but for the most part I said adios to meat. Reasons ranged from health to mercy for animals.

Whatever the reason, choosing a meat substitute, many meat-free people believe they are choosing the healthier option much like I did when I went vegetarian, but even then those savory veggie meats some of us grew up with are processed and contain some pretty questionable materials. I took it upon my self to flip over the bags of some common veggie meat brands and noted what I found. Some surprisingly disappointing and some pleasantly surprised. So what to look for if you’re going meat free?

  • Textured Veggie Protein or Soy Isolates. Secret word? Hexane-a toxic byproduct of gasoline basically that is literally approved by the FDA to give veggie meat that meaty protein. Uh no thanks.
  • GMO Soy. If you aren’t aware by now of what Genetically Modified anything does to your body go read Shape Magazine’s article on possible risks with GMO.
  • Pretty much anything you can’t pronounce would be a good sign to avoid intake. I mean just a suggestion.

Guys, just take the time to flip over the package. Meat isn’t abysmal, yet what it does to your body whether free-range or not is DEFINITELY for another post entirely and that’s not to run down the ethical challenges with “organic” or “free-range” meat as highlighted here by PETA. Read up on the meat industry. Be educated on what goes in your body whether it’s meatless or not.

So anyway, what’s a good sub? My two favs are Beyond Meat  and Amy’s Organics. For more things to look out for on the veggie meat front, you can also check out Food Babe’s post for more keywords to look for in your next purchase. Hope this helps answer the questions from last week!

XO,

GV

One Reason the Royal Wedding Got Me Like…

One of the many reasons why my interest has been peaked surrounding the royal wedding is that I get to be alive when history was made. The royal wedding has taken the world by storm and a global interest has been invested. I usually have no particular curiosity in the love lives of others but this story has peaked my interest for many reasons. First of all, Meghan is beautiful and bi racial. BI RACIAL. Not black. Not white. But both. And she is the first bi racial princess for the UK. She made history for mixed women all around the world! She and Harry represent an archetype unequal to any other and a pivotal moment in what we can mark as a sign of significant change.

Tradition is a beautiful thing and I would consider myself a traditionalist. But tradition does not mean that our hearts and minds should be closed to change and growth and opportunity. Had the Queen denied this union, she wouldn’t have been apart of a historical moment and just when parts of the world are turning their backs on broken ideals, difference in culture or socioeconomic status for lack of understanding, she made a monumental decision to uphold tradition while welcoming change.

Was their road easy? Probably not. Will it get easier or will the negative talk of the way it “should’ve” been ever cease? No. But behind all the negative and above the noise, stronger people rise and the world still watches. Here’s to change in the horizon and a couple of cute mixed royal babies!

XO,

Gi

Seasonal Uncertainty’s Silver Lining

Hey Friends!

So I wanted to get into seasons with you for a moment. No, not Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer type seasons, but seasons in life. I choose to look at different phases in my life as seasons, because it’s easier to digest that each earthly season doesn’t last forever therefore life seasons do not last. Seasons of life are just varied depending on who, what, and where you are and no one’s one season is the same nor do they occur at the same times.

Personally, I have been in a season of uncertainty more so focused on purpose in career and where I’m headed with what I ultimately want to do. While I already know the what, I am stuck in the “how”. And this is where I find most people become stuck, because the how is so much trickier than the what. When you feel uncertain, the self-talk tends to be on the negative side usually sounding like “why bother”, “there’s no options”, “I just don’t see a way”, etc. I’ve talked about self-talk and how powerful it seems to be mostly for me, and this type of talk is NOT the way to make it to where you want to be.

The beauty of uncertainty, because I’m all about the silver lining, is that because there is no particular way is that you get to create it! You get to create the way for you that works for you. The possibilities are endless when you haven’t done it before because it’s new. It’s not stained with process or opinion of what the “best” or “most efficient” way to do that thing is. So create and make a way.

My tips?

  1. Start small. List WHAT or WHERE where you want to be. (easy)
  2. Brainstorm the how. Write out on PAPER guys not your phone or computer sticky notes. There is magic in writing in your own handwriting and the connections your brain makes to the action. Write all the steps in YOUR mind of how it would be possible for you to get there.
  3. Turn that brainstorm magic into a list and start crossing them off. It feels way too good to cross things off of lists for me and I just feel like I’m dominating as I draw that line through that thing.
  4. Start DOING. Action is everything. Inaction is a decision. You are deciding NOT to make the way.

So lean into the uncertainty, but find a way to use it as inspiration and not defeat. See it as an opportunity not a road block and your life will change.

I want to hear from you! What are your tips for surviving uncertain seasons?

XO,

Gi

5 Musts in LA from a Local Girl

I mean nothing really beats LA in the states. In my opinion I guess. Because location is everything and weather, well that’s just icing on a vegan, gluten free cake. Minutes away from the beach and equally as close to the mountains with snow, you can’t really complain about much except for traffic. Although I will say traffic comes from overcrowding so there’s definitely too many people, but the diversity is what the migrators to this city are looking for. So we kinda need all these people for variety sake. But you guys, I grew up here and I STILL haven’t seen everything like shame on me!

Anyway, this weekend, we stayed in LA, right near Beverly Hills with some friends. In the 48 hours we were there, we saw ALOT, but we only did like 5 things. So if you’re local to LA and still haven’t been able to appreciate your city, I highly recommend the following:

  • LACMA-it’s huge and they’re always changing the exhibits which suffices for variety so this can be a regular thing and you won’t get bored. The space to walk can easily get some steps in for the day. Not to mention there are definitely some spots for the aspiring photographer or fancy Instagram-er because let’s be honest, we love aesthetic and who doesn’t want to learn to appreciate art?
  • La Brea Tar Pits- totally underrated! We can’t get enough of LA history and this has more than I really ever paid attention to. Lots of space for the kids to get their wiggles out and it’s free to wander unless you want to visit an exhibit. Definitely on the list.
  • Cofax- ok food. Who’s not eating in LA? Cofax is named after Koufax, former Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher. They have the most phenomenal breakfast burritos I’ve ever had in my life and I’ve had my fair share. And they have donuts. Burritos and donuts. Just die.
  • Rodeo- it’s still worth the trip. Whether you’re window shopping or splurging, just go.
  • Hollywood sign-get your Nike’s on and leave on your yoga pants (we all know you’re already wearing them because so am I) and head up the hill because the hike is stunning. Even the drive is gorgeous, but if you live here and you haven’t hiked to the Hollywood sign, it’s a must. And while you’re there, the Griffith Observatory is literally on the way. Do yourself the favor and allow yourself to be in awe for a min. Because when was the last time you’ve been amazed?

I had to share this mostly because you tend to forget what’s in your own backyard when you’re looking in someone else’s. So while you’re planning your next vacation and you live in LA, try a staycation and fall in love with your home.

XO,

GV

Today the Present

At the beginning of 2015, I made the resolution to always look at the silver lining no matter the circumstance. As it came to a close, I reflected on the year and came to the conclusion that I did in fact keep that resolution. Just before 2016 commenced, I wrestled around in my head and thought, “I want to be more focused”. Focused on one idea at a time, one goal at a time, one project at a time. Hell even one task at a time. Then the word “mindfulness” came to mind. Being mindful to me, means being present in the moment, giving your full attention and intention in the present of what is happening or what you’re doing. But how in the age where multi-tasking is an asset and where being able to to text, email, and talk on the phone is glorified?

I realized that it is the world that is conflicted with itself and I play right along into it. What with trying to keep up with the moms of 3 who post meticulously staged photos of their cooking spread, while revving up my resume to start applying to jobs in the Spring, it’s hard to recognize where I’m supposed to be and when I’m supposed to be there. The classic juggling of a double life-wrestling with my present to be better in my future. How do you begin to let the two exist without fighting for first place? Society expresses that “you can do it all”, go to work 8 hours a day, be a chic super mom, chase baby giggles, and at the end of it all be in phenomenal shape. Maybe we can do it all and all it takes is rearranging priorities…or just simply realizing where we are now.

Being in the moment might be one of the hardest mindsets to master, but I’m willing to bet all aspects in life fall into place once this milestone is conquered. What if the key to success in every aspect of life is first recognizing where you are in the present moment? What if we’re doing it wrong? Maybe we’re chasing the dream that’s ahead without realizing the dream we are currently living. Either way, isn’t it just nice to just be still?