The Wishing Trees

February 15, 2018
There are two Wishing Trees in the beautiful Arlington Gardens in Pasadena, California. On their branches are handwritten wishes, some dating back almost 10 years, some written just that day. When we came upon it on our visit there over Christmas break, I was mesmerized, reading the heartfelt desires of people from all over the world.

A wish for Love. Peace. A cure. A friend. A solution.

Some were scrawled on binder paper, some on heavy cardstock, some on post-it notes. I was so moved, and it felt like I was taking part of an intimate, connecting ritual walking in that space.

Today I've read countless Instagram posts, tweets, Facebook posts, emails, texts - all with the same heartbreaking sentiment: we want things to be different, we feel helpless, we feel heartbroken.

I, like most everyone, feel at a loss when confronted with the reality of another mass murder event.

I don't have any smart or clever contributions to make to the debates about what needs to happen to end this - I just feel heartbroken and panicked when I think about sending my kids to school. Or really, just leaving the house sometimes. How will I ever explain to Penelope and Felix that this is a real thing?

I am sending love, light, and strength to all who are impacted by this horrific event and I'm going to do whatever I can to be part of the solution. I encourage you to do the same. <3

Brunch Book Club: The Gifts of Imperfection + Big Magic!

February 13, 2018

First off - yes, I realize it's basically mid-February. I apologize. Currently all four in our household are hunkered down with this flu that is determined to ruin people's lives...and to-do lists are getting neglected, big time.

I'm excited to hear about what you thought of The Gifts of Imperfection! We had a lovely group here in my home, and I really enjoyed hearing how each woman approached the book differently. Some had been squarely in the "no self-help books" camp, some had never heard of Brene Brown, some loved her research (me too!).

As we were all creative-types by profession, we talked about being creatively authentic, how we deal with the comparison trap, and how cultivating an attitude of abundance vs. scarcity can be a real game changer. We talked about Brene's definition of shame, how we had experienced negative self talk/shame talk ourselves, and what it meant to live whole heartedly as imperfect people. I had planned to walk through a list of questions, but when it came to it, our conversation seemed to flow on it's own...and was awesome!

We ended our time talking a bit about our book for this month - Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear! This has been on my to-read list since it came out, and I'm so excited to read it with you all!

A bit about the book:

With profound empathy and radiant generosity, Gilbert offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

I can't wait! (Pro-tip: I've heard this is awesome in audio book form!)

So - let me know if you want to join us, either in person or online! Normally book club is the first weekend of the month, but with my lateness and an already short month, March's book club will be the second Saturday - March 10th.

Like last month, I'll send out some discussion questions and brunch menu to all the online attendees. We may have a spot or two open for the gathering in my home, so let me know ASAP if you want in! Either way, reach out over on the contact page and confirm your spot!

Stay well, friends. xoxo

January, the Longest Year Ever

February 6, 2018

A few weeks ago when I got my haircut, I came home and asked Matthew to take a picture of me. I wanted proof/a reminder (mostly for myself) that even in these long days of no sleep + infant care that I could still resemble a real woman. (If you have been, or are currently in this baby phase, you know that this is a real thing.) I looked at the camera, smiled, and tried to channel the posing cues that I usually relay to clients.

Then Matthew made some sort of comment about how crazy life had been - how January had felt long and hard and never-ending - and I sort of sigh-laughed with a mixture of exasperation, exhaustion, and amusement.

He snapped the photo.

Unless you know the context, this picture could have been taken when I was relaxed, rocking out to some music, with a drink in hand and cheese board nearby. And thus was born the perfect Facebook profile picture!

But seriously though - did January feel like the longest year ever for anyone else?

Call it whatever you want - new year madness, eclipse-induced chaos, recovering from the Christmas Cookie Diet - but for us this past month has been filled to the brim with some pretty serious stuff. Big reality checks, new jobs, new kid phases, new relationship phases, new therapy, new school - January did not hold back. It's not that everything was bad - far from it - but there was a lot.

We had our first Roy Joy Brunch Book Club event here in Santa Barbara last weekend, and it was awesome! I'm behind on sharing our discussion notes, but look for that this week. If you read the book at home and/or made any of the brunch recipes I sent out, I would LOVE to hear from you!

How was your January?

Roy Joy Brunch Book Club

January 8, 2018


Is one of your resolutions to read more books this year? I've seen it on so many Goals lists and Resolution plans for 2018, and I am right there with you.

Since having two kids my line has been oh, I don't have time to read as much as I'd like, because you know, kids...but wow, is that a victim mindset or what? One of my goals for this year is to actually follow through and do the things I keep saying I want to reading more books.

And just like going to the gym, I tend to have more success with these things when I've got a buddy. Can you relate? 

Enter - The Roy Joy Brunch Book Club

Okay, here's how it works:

  For you here in Santa Barbara, you're invited to a monthly gathering at my home where we brunch, connect, and discuss our book of the month. Don't worry, this is nothing fancy or uptight, just an opportunity to be with other women and nourish our bodies (yum brunch) and our minds (yay books).

•  For those of you who are long distance and want to join us, I'll be sending out our monthly brunch recipes and discussion questions so that you can try out the delicious brunch food at home and join the conversation here on Roy Joy! 

To kick off the year we are starting with Brené Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection. I read it back in 2012, and it's time to do it again! It's that good, I'm serious. If you haven't heard of Brené Brown, do yourself a favor and look her up. As she says: Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené shares her 10 Guideposts:

1. Cultivating Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Comparison
7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and 
Productivity as Self-Worth
8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting Go of Self-Doubt and "Supposed To"
10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and "Always in Control"

Can I get an A M E N. 

The monthly in-person gatherings are limited to 10 women (because my house is cozy) but anyone can join us here on Roy Joy!

To jump on the Roy Joy Brunch Book Club bandwagon (say that five times fast!), head on over to the Contact page and send me a message to let me know if you're interested in joining us in person or online. You'll get an email from me with all the fun things!

Looking forward to connecting, conversing, and brunching with you all soon! xoxo

(This post contains an affiliate link - see full disclosure in the fine print on my about page. Thank you for your support!)

Make (Creative) Space

January 7, 2018

Last summer, I was racing to a meeting downtown when I saw this armoire on the side of the road. A woman had just finished having a garage sale, and this beauty hadn't sold so she dragged it out to the curb. I was probably 6 months pregnant at the time, and I remember quickly pulling over, rolling down my window and asking if I could have it. The woman was relieved to be rid of it, and I was thrilled to take it on. It had some loose planks of wood, was missing a few bottom pieces, and needed a good cleaning, but to me - it was golden. 

(I should pause to say that this is one of my superpowers - finding treasures on the side of the road. And if you're thinking it's because I live in Santa Barbara, that's not it, I promise. I've found great things in multiple cities and states - it's like I'm destined to find these things. Fun story: when we first moved to Santa Barbara I furnished our new place almost exclusively with free furnishings from Craigslist/the side of the road. But that's for another post - just know that if you're looking for something, tell me and I'll probably find it curbside.)

So this armoire, up until a week ago, was filled with my husband's extensive sheet music collection. Being a pianist/organist/musical instrument collector, let's just say he has a lot. 

But after Christmas, Matthew offered to move his sheet music so that I could finally have a space for all of the artistic/creative projects and materials. THIS HAS BEEN A GAME CHANGER. When the things you are passionate about are within reach, you will do them more. I promise!

Doing things you love = a happier life. 

Let's have 2018 be the year of creating time and space to honor our creative callings, whatever they may be!