I met Brooke on Instagram last year. I was initially super intrigued by her waste-free lifestyle. Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it and I’m super interested in reducing waste–I just need to see some examples. You know? So that’s why I was following her, at first.
As time went on, I was more and more intrigued by the way that Brooke gave herself so much grace and permission to take the time she needs and be gentle with herself regarding the way that life sometimes throws out a curveball. She lives an example of walking in grief, joy, pleasure, trust and everything else that we encounter along this journey. And that’s why I’m still following her and look forward to seeing her new posts every time they pop up in my feed.
How do you want to introduce yourself?
Hi, everyone! I’m so glad you’re here. Firstly because Libby is great, and I’m glad you found her blog. Secondly, I’m honored to share a bit about myself with you today! I’m Brooke, creator of the blog A Simple Alternative where I write and share what it means to live from my values in everyday life. I’m a big fan of simplicity, communication, laughter, and life’s sensual offerings, from a juicy meal to a sweet kiss! Much like Libby and my dear idol Glennon Doyle, I consider myself a teller of the truth, in all of its raw, delightful, and uncomfortable forms. Recently I’ve taken a break from publishing content to dive deeper into my current life experience of healing a broken heart. You can find me on Instagram where I post daily about grief, heartbreak, healing, and juicy living. More blog content will be coming soon!
What gets you out of the bed in the morning?
Trusting what God (life, the universe, the force, you know what I mean) has in store for me. I trust that I am here to learn, grow, and love.
What word/ phrase resonates the most in your life?
Grace and Trust have been my go-to soul words recently. Especially Grace. Everything in my life is enhanced by my ability to be in flow with Grace, to trust Grace, to melt into Grace, etc. I don’t mean Grace in with any specific religious tone, however (nor do I dislike grace in a religious context). For me, Grace names my underpinning commitment to trusting in love and integrity.
My favorite phrase is an excerpt from a Mark Nepo poem: “… It is the way I would have chosen had I been born three times as brave”.
What does your ideal day look like?
My ideal day is when I get to go with the flow, nothing particular scheduled. It involves eating nourishing meals, laughing with friends, being by water or in nature, walking, hiking, or swimming, reading a good book and writing. From start to finish: Waking up to no alarm, going for a solo hike followed by lunch with my best friend, reading, and writing by the Boulder Creek for a while, laughing with dear friends over food again, then headed to bed early.
Brooke–thank you for coming here to tell us a little more about what drives you through the world.
Everyone else, if you want more of Brooke’s perspective in your life, go follow her on Instagram and subscribe to A Simple Alternative.
If you know of someone that we should hear from, hit me up on Instagram or Facebook! Let me know who the cool women are in your life and we’ll try to get a conversation going!
I say this every single year but just in case any of you are new and don’t know this about me, I just need to shout it from the rooftops: I LOVE VALENTINES DAY!Oh wait, before we go any further, you should be listening to this song while reading, to get the mood right.
I love all the hearts and pink and red and smoochy lips and glitter and bling that pops up in one of the most disgusting months of the entire year. Weather-wise, can you think of a more gross month? Ugh. This winter is long and our feelings aren’t doing great at all but at least there are roses in February.
I’m also not one of those people who feels like February is for lovers. It’s not. It’s for love. It’s for love in the middle of the crummiest-feeling time of the year. Whoever invented Valentines Day knew what they were doing.
Because February is for love I’m making a point to celebrate all kinds of love. Yeah, I already got a smushy, mushy, gushy card for my husband but guess what else? I’m planning a Galentines Day Brunch for my girl friends, too (let me know if you want to come)! And I’m working to orchestrate something for all of you far and wide, too. But first let me back up real quick.
Selfies get a bad rap. “She’s so vain.” “Look at her begging for attention.” “This guy’s just trying to get laid.” “She’s making the same face in every photo!”
To that, I say, “And?”
It feels really good to put yourself out there. It’s brave and vulnerable and fun. It’s easy, and not really all that fun, to criticize, though.
I am a firm believer in selfies as a form of self-love. I don’t get mad when I see my friends posting photos of themselves, at all. I mean, in a world where we’re constantly being told that we’re too baggy, saggy, puffy, droopy, plump, wide, slim, young, old, or tired, any act of self-celebration is revolutionary. And I say let’s grab hands and march into battle, together, without apology!
So that’s why, for the month of February, XOXO, Lib is hosting a selfie challenge!
I wrote up a list of themes for each and every day to keep things interesting. We’ll post our selfies to Instagram with #xoxoselfiechallenge. Each week, with permission, I’ll grab a few from the hashtag thread to highlight and post here on the blog.
Some of these themes are pretty obvious but others are really vague—that was done by design. You can make this anything that you want it to be, really! Take ownership of your self(ie)!
#xoxoselfiechallenge for February, 2016:
1. What I Like About Me
2. Action Shot
3. Feet First
4. Long Day
5. Bed Head
6. Nice Hair!
10. Get Moving
11. Lunch Break
12. What’s up?
13. Best Friend
14. Sweet Treat
15. Guilty Pleasure
16. Full Frontal
17. Wake Up
18. New Perspective
19. Treat Yourself
22. Angry Eyes
23. Hobby Time
24. Fake It (till you make it)
25. Morning Routine
26. Hard at Work
27. Clear Mind
29. Eat Green
Rules: Starting Monday, February 1st, anyone who wants to contribute can! You don’t have to do it every day—though that IS the challenge of it. You don’t even have to follow the list of themes. You make this into whatever works for you. But in the end, I want our community to come together over celebration of ourselves and each other! The only real rule is that you take a photo that contains at least a little bit of yourself in it.
If you don’t have instagram, you can share your photos to the XOXO, Lib Facebook page or email them to me at libby(at)xoxolib.com and we’ll all get in on this together!
If you’re on board, let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page!! And if you want to share this with your friends to get them in on it, share this post!! The more people we get involved, the more fun that it will be. I’m so excited to get to know all of you just a little bit more and put a selfie to a name!
Thank you, everyone, for giving me the opportunity to do what I really love to do. Just by reading and sharing you’re doing more than you know and I feel so utterly over the moon about it.
Like I said, before, I don’t want to only talk about sugar/ no sugar. But I blog so infrequently that it’s just happening that way right now. That’s okay, you have free will.
Here are a few things that I’ve noticed:
1. I don’t binge anymore. I know that might not be a huge deal to anyone else but I used to get in these I-feel-awful-about-myself-so-I’m-going-to-eat-this-whole-tub-of-cottage-cheese-with-the-refrigerator-door-wide-open trances. Or, maybe that’s just oversharing…
At any rate, I haven’t done that at all this month. That’s something that stopped immediately on day one. My hypothesis is that when my body is full on helpful calories, it’s not really lacking anything and therefore it doesn’t really want anything else. I don’t really have an effortless way to test out that idea, though, so I’m going to just go with it. And also, when you’re making a concerted effort to not eat junk, guess what? You just don’t eat as much junk. I know, blew my mind too.
2. I went to a wedding this weekend. There were, like, half a dozen kinds of cake. There were snickerdoodles! There were brownies! I looked at my boyfriend and said, “I’m an adult and I’m choosing to let myself eat sugar, today.” And he tried to warn me. And I should have listened but some lessons I just have to learn the hard way.
I know I just said that I haven’t binged but this wasn’t a binge. This was a celebration!! Two slices of cake, little brownie hunks, cookies, punch and my fair share of the chocolate fountain later, and I was in heaven. For approximately 30 minutes. Then came this excruciating sugar hangover. I had a headache, I had an icky taste in my mouth. My muscles were all loose and weird feeling. I was exhausted! I kept telling myself, “Remember this feeling, Libby! Because we don’t want to feel this way again.” And it WAS a very helpful and I have called upon that feeling in moments of weakness since then. But you know what else? That feeling was really, really familiar to me. That feeling was how I’d been feeling for months and months before this experiment even started. And now I know exactly what it’s from. Why did I let myself walk around feeling like a can of garbage that whole time?! Sometimes you don’t realize how awful you feel until you’re better.
3. I haven’t wanted to be that one girl with the special diet among my friends and co-workers so I haven’t mentioned it at work at all. Mostly because there really is nothing all that special about it until I go grocery shopping. But earlier this week I was telling the story of my sugar hangover and in doing so had to mention, casually, that I haven’t had any sugar since September 1. Karen (who would adopt me as her grandchild if I asked), said, “Okay! That’s it! I’ve been trying to figure out what’s made you so different, lately and that must be it!” I asked what she meant by “different” and she said that she’s just noticed me being less cranky, less tired, just generally seeming happier and healthier. Then she made a joke about how she thought that Ryan moving in with me really made a huge difference on my mood and complexion.
But it turns out it was just my sugar intake. Don’t get me wrong, making a home with this incredible person sure isn’t causing any harm, but I think it has as much to do with how good I feel in my body these days.
Seeing results is huge for me. It can be difficult for me to adopt new changes if my only motivation is that I know, intellectually, that it’s good for me. Seeing changes, though, that makes it so much easier for me to feel like what I’m doing is working. It’s affecting myself AND the people around me in positive ways and that just blesses my heart above and beyond. It just goes to show that you can do a lot of good simply by taking care of yourself. When we are our best selves, that’s when we’ll be able to do the most good.
Anyway, I hope you have gorgeous days. Autumn is happening, so I don’t really see how things could be anything but lovely.
PS: As always if you have any questions about going sugar free (or anything, really), I’m no expert but I can sure open up a dialogue with you.
“Sometimes grace works like waterwings when you feel like you are sinking.” -Anne Lamott
Grace was a relaxed day at work that affords you the opportunity to take a minute to yourself and run to grab a cup of coffee.
Grace was running into exactly the right friend and having a perfectly un-rushed, un-important conversation while you’re on that coffee run.
Grace was a hug from behind at the kitchen sink.
Grace was a beer with the right friends at the end of a personally important day.
Grace was bearing witness to the fruits of the labor of the man that I love with my whole soul.
“I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kind of things. Also, that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace’s arrival. But no, it’s clog and slog and scootch, on the floor, in the silence, in the dark.” –Anne Lamott
Grace was a borrowed air mattress.
Grace was a surprise visit from family.
Grace was payday.
Grace was daytime rain.
Grace was plane tickets.
“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” –Anne Lamott
Grace was helping others.
Grace was unexpected words of encouragement.
Grace was unavoidable optimism and a free schedule.
“I do not understand the mystery of grace–only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.” –Anne Lamott