The Essential Questions Jar: a tool for self-discovery and connection


We officially launched the 2nd Edition of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance on Saturday, October 15 at Main Street Books.


It was a such a wonderful event filled with amazing women and many daughters, real talk about self-acceptance and self-compassion, the Beautiful You manifesto, great food including gorgeous cookies, book sales and signing, and a make and take activity that I want to share with you today!


Our make and take activity was creating a jar to be used for one of several different exercises in the book (it can be a self-appreciation jar, a caught you jar etc).  One of the suggestions I had was to make it an Essential Questions jar where you write questions on small pieces of paper, fold them up, and then place them on your dinner table.  At dinner each night, everyone draws a question and answers it.  Happy loves the jar so much at our house that we often do more than one round of question answering.


I promised to share some possible questions and so here they are.  Take or leave whatever best suits you (if you want to use the jar as a spontaneous reflection/ journaling prompt jar) or your family.  As for creating the jars themselves, I cut out hundreds of words and images for the group to choose from for their jars.  Those images were affixed with modpodge and then there was also washi tape and glitter available for pops of color and style (I strongly recommend adhering the glitter inside the jar to minimize the spread.  Mod Podge totally works for glitter, too).  Now, for the questions:


Hope these questions bring you and your family an even greater connection!

a whole~hearted opportunity for yoga teachers (and their students)


Yoga teachers, are you:

  • Curious about integrating more positive body image into specific yoga series for your students?
  • Interested in supporting your students more deeply around their body image, but you’re not quite sure how to do that?
  • Wanting a tested teaching structure for creating a series that you can also adapt and make your own?

If so, whole~hearted was created with you (and your students!) in mind.

What is whole~hearted?

Whole~hearted is a local, yoga teacher-led series. It is a powerful transformation experience that creates a space for people to practice connecting with and showing their body love in a supportive environment.

The program blends the body and soul-affirming Curvy Yoga with the intentional self-awareness and self-acceptance journey found in the book Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance and includes personal reflection, yoga, group support, and compassionate guidance. whole~hearted is led by yoga teachers who wish to offer their students of all backgrounds and abilities a powerful way to very intentionally live their yoga while practicing self-acceptance.

At just $75 for this thoughtful, inspired curriculum, whole~hearted is a powerful way for yoga teachers to bring their students home to themselves.

Learn more…

Pledging allegiance to yourself (and a Beautiful You giveaway)

Wednesday is LOVE YOUR BODY DAY.  
In celebration, my goal is to get you to sign The Body Warrior Pledge, from Day 2 of Beautiful You, to inspire you to make a conscious commitment to be  your own self-acceptance champion.
In exchange, I’m giving away a few signed copies of the 2nd Edition of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance. 
Because I understand that my love and respect for my body are metaphors for my love and respect for my self and soul, I pledge:
  • To stop berating my body and to begin celebrating the vessel that I have been given. I will remember the amazing things my body has given me: the ability to experience the world with a breadth of senses, the ability to perceive and express love, the ability to comfort and soothe, and the ability to fight, provide, and care for humanity.
  • To understand that my body is an opportunity not a scapegoat.
  • To be the primary source of my confidence. I will not rely on others to define my worth.
  • To let envy dissipate and allow admiration to be a source of compassion by offering compliments to others.
  • To gently but firmly stand up for myself when someone says or does something harmful.
  • To change my inner monologue to one that sees possibility not problems, potential not shortcomings, and blessings not imperfections.
  • To give my body the things that it needs to do its work well-plenty of water, ample movement, stretches, rest, and good nutrition-and to limit or eliminate the things that do not nurture my body.
  • To see exercise as a way to improve my internal health and strength instead of a way to fight or control my body.
  • To understand that my weight is not good or bad. It is just a number, and I am only good.
  • To love my body and myself today. I do not have to weigh ten pounds less, have longer hair, or have my degree in my hand to have worth. I have worth just as I am, and I embrace that power.
  • To recognize my body’s strengths.
  • To no longer put off the things that I wish to experience because I am waiting to do them in a different body.
  • To understand that a body is like a fingerprint: a wonderful embodiment of my uniqueness.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below sharing with us which statement you are making the MOST conscious commitment to embrace, what your first step will be in that journey, and then signing off with your name. Feel free to share this link with all of your girlfriends who should also be championing themselves and start a mini revolution amongst yourselves.Sign the pledge by midnight EST on October 20th, and you will be entered into a Love Your Body Day drawing for a signed copy of Beautiful You. You can also enter this drawing on my Facebook page and Instagram Feed for three different chances to win a signed copy of the book!

Hello (to and from) Beautiful You 2!


Today is the official launch day of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance and I am talking about the book, self-acceptance, creativity and more in several different places so I thought I would share them with you.

You can read an excerpt of the new edition at Weightless (and there’s a book giveaway!).

You can read another excerpt at Indigo + Canary (another book giveaway!).

You can read a Q&A about my creative process at Make a Mess.

You can read a Q&A about the book at Macaroni Kid North Charlotte.


Finally, if you are local, join me for the Beautiful You 2nd Edition Launch party this Saturday at 5 pm at Main Street Books in Davidson. We’re doing a Make and Take so if you are planning on coming, let me know by leaving a comment so I can make sure that I have enough supplies!

Thanks so much for all of your support and for being a part of this movement towards radical self-acceptance. I am so grateful to be in community with you!

Consider What Self-Acceptance Can Add To Your Life

worthy. enough

Over the years, whether I was personally reflecting or in the role of friend, teacher, volunteer, partner, or just casual observer, I’ve come to realize that so much of our pain is the result of a lack of awareness of our own self-worth. Pain like that morphs, aggravating itself in some way or other, over and over again.

When I was young, I worked with young men who were gang-affiliated. Sometimes, friends who have known me for decades are struck by what they see as the contrast in the work that I do now, helping people embrace and practice greater self-acceptance. But, for me, the work has always been the same. It’s about walking alongside people in a way that allows them to see their value. If you value yourself, you don’t hurt other people. And if you value yourself, you don’t hurt yourself. When we don’t value ourselves, we lash out. Sometimes it is outward, sometimes it is inward. The answer to changing all of that always lies within. We want so much to be heard and seen and understood, and the reality is the very first person we need that from is ourselves. If we can begin to see our own worth, the world expands for us.

I wrote Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance to give people a tool where they could collect all the evidence of their worthiness. This isn’t a book where I tell you to believe in yourself. This is a book where you compile the proof- which is already inside of you- of how very worthy you are. The book provides readers with a journey into a relationship with themselves that is not adversarial and that is life changing. Today, I want to share with you an excerpt from the brand new edition of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance.

beautiful you manifesto final

Imagine a line: a continuum from self-hate to self-love, with self-hate being the furthest point to the left and self-love being the furthest point to the right. I like to think of self-acceptance as neatly residing between them—a position of neutrality about the self—a place where one understands that she has worth and power and dignity simply because she exists. Worth does not need to be earned. It doesn’t have to be proven. It just is.

For some people, the concept of self-love is terribly uncomfortable for a litany of reasons: upbringing, faith, culture, ideas around language, etc. What they imagine it to be makes them self-conscious. So having self-love be the ideal destination feels inauthentic (to themselves) and, thus, they avoid it, choosing a relationship with the self that looks like the opposite of self-love, lest anyone think they are self-impressed or arrogant or anything else.

Let me be clear that I do not think that practicing and embracing self-love is being self-impressed or arrogant. Sometimes semantics can keep us away from a practice that might be good for us. Embracing self-acceptance can be a more accessible way to build a positive, healthy relationship with ourselves.

Imagine self-acceptance as a position of neutrality about the self, rooted in our decision not to have an adversarial relationship with our self. Your worth doesn’t have to be earned. You aren’t bad, ruined, imperfect. There is nothing fundamentally wrong about you. In fact, you are fundamentally right because you exist: because you, just like every other person, were put here on purpose. Worth, you see, is your birthright just as it is the birthright of everyone else. Ultimately, you chose to recognize your humanity just as you recognize and respect the humanity of others.

Today: Consider what self-acceptance would give you if you decided to embrace the practice in your life. How would your life be different? In what ways do you need to see the world as more abundant? How do you begin today?

Announcing 2nd Edition of Beautiful You pre-sales!



This October, the 2nd Edition of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance officially hits store shelves.

Drawing on self-awareness, creativity, and mind-body connections, Beautiful You is a powerful 365-day action plan for breaking undermining habits of self-criticism, shoring up confidence, realizing profound self-acceptance and championing one’s own emotional and physical wellbeing

Through accessible, doable daily actions, readers are encouraged to manifest a healthy outlook on themselves and life. Steering clear of the florid affirmations and daily meditations often utilized by books geared toward personal growth, Beautiful You delivers a nuanced, authentic, and modern guide of inspirational thought and powerful action that keeps pace with the times. Beautiful You is a practical, candid, and accessible handbook that will make readers think, laugh, and change their ways while never patronizing them.

I am so proud of this updated book and really believe in the difference that self-acceptance can make in not just our individual lives but the world.  My dream is to move all of us past negative relationships with ourselves so we can go out and do the urgent work this world needs to heal and thrive.  It would mean so much to me if you would help get this message out into the world by buying this book for yourself and/or as a gift.

Want to go ahead and place an order today?

A signed copy, personalized as you would like + mailed to you



Barnes and Noble

Seal Press 

THANK YOU so much for embracing me and this precious book and for sharing it with the people in your life. It is my great hope that this 2nd Edition will also call to you and that you might be inclined to share it with others.

You are so appreciated!




As many of you know, I live just outside of Charlotte and teach at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The last week has been so incredibly heartbreaking. As we navigate forward, I’m reminded of this Barbara Kingsolver quote and of my hopes:

I hope for a world where every single one of us knows how worthy we are and that we understand that our worthiness does not trump anyone else’s worthiness.

I hope for a world where we no longer fear what acknowledging another’s worth will do to our own because we understand that it does not diminish us.

A world where every single one of our lives is equally valued and protected and respected.

A world where we don’t feel inclined to just dismiss or ignore a differing point of view simply because we cannot get our heads around extending that person some grace.

A world where we turn our volume down and our reception up.

I hope for a world where we have the courage to truthfully acknowledge what causes our tragedies, even in our discomfort, where we respect that we all experience life differently.

Where we show up, over and over again with and for our stories that have complex underbellies.

Where we say, “I want to understand” and “you are worthy” effortlessly and with meaning.

Where we show up for one another in whole new ways. If we can do that, we heal the fractures. Together, I believe we can do this.

Announcing the 2nd Edition of Beautiful You


Late last fall, my publisher, Seal Press, reached out to see if I’d be interested in doing a 2nd Edition of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance. This book, with its focus on providing women the blueprint of an action plan that can guide them to a more self-accepting life, has been a powerful tool for so many women of all ages and they wondered if there were things that I would include now that I hadn’t originally included.

Absolutely! I said (this is probably the easiest question I’ve had to answer in my professional life). The original Beautiful You came out in late 2010 and, since then, I’d further developed my ideas about self-acceptance and how to share it with others and so I was so excited to have this opportunity to infuse BY with even more valuable material.

beautiful-you-choiceThe result is the 2nd Edition of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance which has a brand new introduction, about 20% new or updated passages, and this gorgeous new cover.

It launches October 4, 2016 (and just in time as the original Beautiful You is practically sold out everywhere—which is so, so humbling!). I am so proud of this book—both it’s original message and the updated version—and honored at the role it has played in the lives of so many individual women as well as the role it has played in relationships among friends, teammates, siblings, and moms and daughters.

THANK YOU for embracing me and this precious book and sharing it with the people in your life. It is my great hope that this 2nd Edition will also call to you and that you might be inclined to share it with others.





Want a personalized copy? You can join me at my hometown launch of the newest edition OR order a personalized copy from Main Street Books (you will be able to enter a note of how you would like it personalized when checking out).



Showing Up Less to Show Up More

show-up-less-to-show-up-moreA few weeks ago, I went to breakfast with a dear friend and we were talking about presence, about showing up, about breadth versus depth.

As a person, I like to choose depth and, yet, all the choices in my life say otherwise. My life isn’t nearly as deep and narrow as I would like it to be. It’s pretty broad.

“I am practicing availability,” Erin shared. And when she said those words recognition flashed in me.

For so long, I’ve been focused on a desire to be present, to practice presence as a fundamental priority and value, and for there to be stillness in that presence not the frenetic-ness of having somewhere to be next. Because I always have somewhere to be next. And somewhere to go right after that. There is so little breathing room.

I know that I am not precious or alone in that. So many of us are managing these broad swatches of living, sprinting into exhaustion.

“I don’t know you do it,” someone says to us, and the reality is that we aren’t really doing it all that well. And if that’s the case, we aren’t thriving, we aren’t living our best lives, we aren’t, even though we are everywhere, really all that present.

Here’s the irony of being present. You have to show up to less in order to show up more.

Show up to less so more of you can show up.

And so the challenge I am giving myself is to not just be even more discerning when I am reminding myself of and using the Wholehearted Continuum. That’s a start, yes, and it is a start that will help with my current day-to-day but what I want and need is even deeper reflection on this.

Here are the ten big questions I am asking myself right now for greater clarity, in case they can serve you:

What do I most long for at this stage in my life?

What do I want to do more of in my life?

What do I want to do less of in my life?

What feels effortless right now?

What feels fraught right now?

What parts of my life need to shift to give me more of the deep presence I crave?

What do I need to do differently?

What is one simple decision I can make right now given what I know?

What other decisions are possibilities and how do I feel about each one?

What else do I need to learn or understand or consider?

Here’s to practicing presence and embracing life’s journey and the growth that it always allows for us.

Your body isn’t anyone else’s business.


Summer break is over. There is a new puppy in our house (meet Hank!) and I only had 8 official work days in August (many of which were spent in back to back meetings) as we tried to squeeze the last drops out of summer so I am super behind on my massive to-do list so today’s post is going to be super direct.

Last week, Happy and I had a double playdate (meaning he hung with one of his best buds while I hung with his best bud’s mom who is one of my best buds). As we bowled (I had the game of my life, by the way), my friend said, “I need some body image help” and shared that a recent change in her appearance had brought the body commentators out in droves.

My friend’s life is filled with big challenges as many of the people in her life have chronic, significant health issues and have been struggling for years. This spring things got just a smidge easier—some medicines working better here, some respite care there. Who knows how long this {relative} calm will last but, for now, there’s a little bit more breathing room. A little more breathing room when you’ve been drowning for years can be unbelievable, can be life changing so my friend got to go back to the gym, she got to pay attention to herself a little more, and, with that self-care and less stress, she lost some weight.

Now everyone wants to talk to her about it. They want to tell her that she’s lost too much, and she needs to stop that shit, and enough already. And now, her body is on her mind more than ever because everyone else has made it a conversation point.

“I feel like I’ve done something wrong,” she told me.

And so this is what I told her and what I want to remind you.

If someone has something to say to you about your body or station in life, it is not about you. It is about them and what they have going on around that issue. It is about how interpreting you through their own lens impacts them. Their interpretation of you has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them and where they are.

Their own stuff is coming up, and they don’t have the discipline to consider it on their own because then they would have to examine their own lives, and examining our own lives is so hard. It is so much easier to displace those feelings by shaming someone else in some way.

“Your body isn’t anyone else’s business,” I told my friend. “And now your job is to figure out how to protect yourself. How do you set a boundary for people so that they know your body isn’t up for grabs and that you aren’t open to their opinions about your body?”

In the beginning, boundary setting can be hard work but, overtime, it becomes easier as we realize the invaluable work of keeping ourselves safe. What boundary do you need to hold today? How can you begin?

Need help figuring it out? Leave a comment here, and we’ll come up with a solution together.