Get Happy Week 3: The Authentic You

In that same lobby where I met the old couple who embodied unconditional joy in my first Get Happy post, the receptionist asked me if I own a boutique in town. I shook my head and told her, “No. I’m a writer.”

“Oh,” she replied. “You look like you’d own one of those really cute shops.”

Who are you?

Who are you?

I knew she was basing this on my looks, which is fine, and that she likely meant it as a compliment. After all, “looking like a writer” would have a totally different connotation. Believe me, I have writer mode look down to a T.

Upon meeting the dermatologist, he asked if I was an aesthetician. Again, I repeat “what I am” – a writer and brand strategist. I didn’t ask him why he assumed that. (My questions? My obvious love of lipstick? Again, looks?)

In another meeting this week, an owner asked how I describe myself since I’m a novelist, a marketer and even a paid decorator. I told him, “I’m a creative spirit.” Not only did he “get it” but he wanted to work together. I felt free enough to NOT have to define myself in any limited way.

These interactions made me think about the LABELS WE WEAR and how we are perceived by others. In self-identifying with Parent, Occupation, Hobby, Religion, Political Affiliation, Wife and so on, we can become so attached to those labels that we lose ourselves in them. What We Do is NOT Who We Are. Even are ROLES cannot do justice to the magic of our true selves, which is much deeper than the sum of all of those labels added together. We know we are more than our personality types, too, though they help point us in the right direction of understanding. (I’m ENTJ who really wishes she wanted to sit in the back of the room and doodle instead of wanting to be the person on the stage giving the presentation, but I can’t seem to help myself. I’ve worked on going from Type A to Zen with some success.)

We are so many multi-faceted things which is what makes humans and our soul journeys such a glorious mystery. Our culture likes to pigeon-hole us, to know which shelf to stack us on. We try to make sense of others by using these labels, but that can be confining, not only in how we relate to others :: oh you’re ONLY this :: but also that we begin to believe :: I AM ONLY :: and may stop trying to BE something else or what we truly FEEL we are inside. DON’T APOLOGIZE FOR WHO YOU ARE.

In trying to “return to wild” we are trying to honor not only our true purpose for being here in this life so beyond truly knowing ourselves and awakening.  We discussed vulnerability and shame and passion last week with some tips from Brene Brown on Daring Greatly. This week I’d like to share some insight from Dr. Susan Campbell in her book, Getting Real: 10 Truth Skills You Need to Live an Authentic Life. The book was synchronicity. I was in Hawaii on vacation with my family when I discovered the book in a used bookstore in Maui. I read it almost to entirety on my trip and highlighted the hell out of it.

Here are some of those highlights which can help us to “unmask” and start living and interacting authentically from the book.

  • You engage with others in what I call a social meditation practice in which you support one another in unhooking from your self-image and your ideas about being “better” and risk being seen just as you are. The result in self-realization – making real the parts of you that you thought you had to hide to survive.
  • Shoulds prevent us from seeing how our life really is – and from taking appropriate action. Shoulds are pretenses.
  • Shoulds keep you from owning your power to create the life you want. They keep you in denial about your actual feelings and situation.
  • Asserting what you want affirms your right to want what you want – even if you imagine it’s an unreasonable demand or that there’s little chance of getting it.
  • On sharing mixed emotions – when you are ambivalent, confused or “of two minds”, go ahead and express this fact. You may be pulled equally in two or more directions. The ability to express complex feelings is important. Most self-aware people experience mixed feelings fairly often.
  • Experiencing what is means allowing yourself to feel what you feel without inhibiting yourself shutting down.
  • Allow yourself to feel it and notice whatever shows up next in your awareness. Experiencing what is requires that you be willing to step into the unknown. You cannot control where your experiencing will take you.
  • Notice your intent – is it to relate or to control?
  • Projections are useful because we often need to get our buttons pushed so we can notice what they are.
  • Holding your differences with another person can produce an inner expansion or transformation that enables them to experience a deeper level of what’s real for each of them.
  • As you grow in your capacity to experience what is, you stop trying to manipulate reality to conform to your comfort zone.


Questions to ask ourselves:

Do you feel safe enough to express yourself authentically – in conversation, dress, and behavior?

Do you have “shoulds” you need to let go of?

When something isn’t working, are you brave enough to confront it and change it? Are you willing to break out of your comfort zone to live authentically?

Are labels keeping you “boxed in” when you want to “break out?” Which ones?

Final thoughts:

I don’t believe labels have to be self-limiting as long as we don’t self-identify too much with them. As I’ve let go of some of my attachments to these labels and “shoulds” I have found more peace and happiness, but it’s not easy. It’s tough to watch my kids grow up and not need me in the same way, but I remind myself, they still need me. Even if they seem like they are pulling away, I still need to stay present and find ways to interact with them without trying to control them. In my work life, I decided I needed to work with people again, for someone, which was a huge decision and will be a big transition since I’ve worked for myself for eight years. I believe I self-identified with entrepreneur and became too attached to the freedom to perhaps the detriment of my own fulfillment and need to be social and part of something bigger than myself as a solo entrepreneur with so many interests. It’s scary but yet liberating at the same time. Even my novel writing has taken a pleasant departure as I’m working on a novel that completely challenges me in every way, a non-fiction book that delves into spirituality and living our truth, and even a very divergent book that’s titillating and sensual. How’s that for a tease?

Next week I’m devoting my post to the amazing Sam Keen and talking about love and the man’s journey. I’m reading three of his books simultaneously and have a huge crush on his wisdom. I do believe so much in life is kismet :: this summer I found ee cummings poetry and fell in love with it. When I visited Sam’s website, it begins with this ee cummings quote:

“ Always the beautiful answer. Who asks a more beautiful question?“

ee cummings

Here’s to asking beautiful questions.

Much love and xoxo,



Get Happy Week 2: On Daring Greatly and Passion

What makes your heart sing? What sets your body on fire? How much passion do you have for life? do you live with joie de vivre? It’s delight simply in being alive. People who have a passion for life are simply happier and we can all cultivate more of it. 

Today in week 2 on Getting Happy, we’re talking about Passion, #5 on my list of ways we can create more happiness in our life.

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Oprah and Deepak’s theme for today’s happiness meditation was “Living with Passion” and the centering thought, “My happiness energizes and inspires me.” The sanskrit mantra “rabhasa hum” which means, “I am pure delight.”

In Sam Keen’s brilliant book, To Love and Be Loved, he writes, “Human desire is not psychological but ontological, rooted in our being. Therefore, insatiable.” Do you like living in your own skin? Do you appreciate the wonders of your body and all of your senses?

Everything in my life is “research” for my stories, but my stories are also gateways to understanding my own psyche and what makes me tick. I hope you’ll join me these six weeks as we explore what it takes for us to “get happy” and stay there despite loss and hard times and disappointments.

So combining these two “passions”, today I’d like to call attention to #5 on my 7 Keys to Getting Happy list, “feed your passions” and by that I mean connecting with the spiritual passion that is the wellspring of happiness that never stops flowing – the gift(s) you were brought here to do – and as the Wild Mystics said in today’s lesson, “I will not apologize…” for desire, for curiosity, for the body that you are housed in to live a unique story that only you can live. In fact, Keen also writes that “Curiosity is foreplay.” What are you curious about? Explore. What else do you need permission for? Lovingly accepting what turns you on, be it intelligence, entertainment, particular body parts, particular people, and actions. 

Feeding our passions does imply we know what they are and if like me you believe in the law of attraction, you will find that by keeping your passions a priority AND GIVING YOURSELF PERMISSION TO EXPLORE THEM, the Universe conspires to bring you MORE OF IT. It’s kind of like those makeup bonus gifts I love so much. I buy what I need and SURPRISE! I get a whole makeup bag full of more goodies. The universe is awesome like that. Deepak says, “Nature moves to restore balance.” So rest assured that the crappy times won’t last long and with #2 Change your attitude, those crappy times don’t have to feel so crappy because it’s not the situation that causes unhappiness but our mind’s reaction to it. That took me YEARS to grasp and put into practice.

I used to think it was possible to control life and it made me a little crazy trying to live up to the perfection my Type A / Aries / Alpha Female personality seems to thrive on. And don’t even go there with thinking we can control other people or outcomes, either. That’s a recipe for heartache right there. What we can do is choose happiness by not only creating it, but going so deep with it that the wild winds of change and ugly realities cannot touch it. That’s unconditional happiness and that’s what we’re aiming for in this six-week series on Getting Happy.

Our happy guide today is none other than Brene Brown, who boldly discusses shame, vulnerability and courage with us as HER life’s passion. As a researcher, she’s done the work, talked the talk and walks the walk. We should do the same.


A few of my favorite quotes and ideas from Daring Greatly that can help us on our Get Happy journey and passion-fueled life:

  • Hope is not an emotion; it’s a thought process. Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is just show up.
  • Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage.
  • Good enough is really ‘effin good. (take that to heart, perfectionists!)
  • Connection is why we’re here. We are hard-wired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.
  • We must be vulnerable and open up to the risk. Wholehearted people take those risks.
  • The vulnerability journey is not the kind of journey we can amke alone. We need support. We need folks who will let us try on new ways of being without judging us.
  • We need to not be afraid to talk about shame. Bring it into the light.
  • Perfectionism is doing things to win approval from others. It is NOT self-improvement or striving for excellence. Those are good ambitions. But if we are doing it only to please others and not our own journey, then it is preventing us from happiness because we feel it will never be “enough” and sets us up for shame.
  • Showing your true self and living your passions means you will be on the receiving end of cynicism and criticism and plain ol’ mean spiritedness. Don’t let it get it to. Remember what I said last week about the “jackass whisperer”.
  • Leadership requires discomfort. – Seth Godin (so does following your passions!)


More questions to ponder this week:

What are my passions? What passions am I not giving enough attention to? How can I make those more of a priority in my life? 

What am I ashamed of and why? How can I remove that shame? Do I need to talk to someone about it? 

Have I put my own sensuality on the back burner because of family and work duties? How can I feel pleasure again? What desires do I have and how can I bring those to fruition if they serve to bring wholeness and are not destructive? 

How do I really feel about my body? How can I love it and give it the self-care it needs? How can I feed my mind and spirit for wholehearted living?

Do I have a sacred circle where I can discuss these things? Should I talk to a therapist or trusted friend? (And please don’t be afraid to SEE a counselor or life coach. There is no shame in talking through our challenges with professionals. I’ve seen several and they always provide extraordinary perspective and make me think, validate my feelings, and help gently push me in the direction of my unique life path. Each one of ours is different!)

Each week I’ll close with reposting my 7 Keys with a new example of each. Feel free to add more keys in comments.

Until then, feed your passions!



Here’s my list of 7 Keys to Getting Happy  WEEK 2

1) Remove roadblocks to happiness - just say no or limit time with negative people

2) Change your attitude (as the song goes, “take your life from negative to positive” – learn to take deep breaths and not respond immediately to every situation

3) Practice gratitude and self-care – make yourself feel beautiful. You’ll feel more passionate when YOU believe you look good. Treat yourself to a haircut, new lipstick, fall nail polish covers, whatever makes you rock it. 

4) Live with intention (on purpose) – when you make a commitment, stick to it

5) Feed your passions – schedule time this week for our passions and stick to it. If that’s in the bedroom, even better. 

6) Take time for stillness/ be mindful – instead of judging when you see something, just practice being an observer. It just is. 

7) Be an adventurer. Stay curious. Play more. Be silly. – try a new class this week.  Last week I joined Barre 3 and also did a Stand Up Paddle board boot camp class and loved both. Challenging yourself feeds your courage and happiness. 

Get Happy: Summer’s End and The Meaning of Unconditional Happiness

The frail elderly woman picked at her short curly hair with a comb, her back against her husband’s chest. “Did I get it all?” she asked.

“Yes, honey, but don’t make it too big.”

She laughed. “I had to wait until it dried.”

“Remember how wild and crazy it was when we were younger, baby?” He teased.

She laughed at the memory.

This went on for several minutes, cooing affectionately at each other on the aptly named loveseat.

When they were quiet, I couldn’t help but comment from across the small waiting room. “You two are too cute.”

They went on to tell me that they had been married 42 years and despite the wife’s bad health the last few years, they figured they looked better laughing than crying.

What better segway into my new six-week blog series on unconditional joy (Get Happy) than this couple who obviously lived happily together despite all of the obvious health problems and likely much time spent in waiting rooms.

What does it mean to be happy? For most of us, happiness is conditional, the circumstances all leading to or away from a feeling of joy or bliss. As a fiction writer, I get to create those difficult journeys for my characters, putting them through hell and back to a hopeful ending. In real life, I struggle as much as the next person, but I’ve come a long way, baby and want to share because I think that’s why we’re here. Happiness, connection and growth.

One of my favorite mantras since 2003 was “I shall not let circumstances dictate my joy.” That mature couple in the waiting room totally get this. People who have cancer or are dying yet are happy know this. Why can’t we know this now?

All year I’ve been blogging about getting real, including getting fit and getting out(side) and for the next six weeks I’m focusing on unconditional happiness, a joy that comes deep within, unfettered by the jerks or bad luck or cranky kids or tough work day.

I’m starting the series at a time of transformation for all of us, summer’s end, when the carefree feelings of sunshine and vacations and sleeping in are replaced by a new school year for kids. The seasonal shift to more responsibility with kids back in school, hectic schedules, and a “buckling down” mentality can add extra stress to our already busy lives.

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The great thing about unconditional happiness is it isn’t based on a beginning or an ending, but a knowing that life is good and worthwhile and precious despite what’s happening around (or to) us.

Like everyone, I struggle with moods and mostly with my “monkey mind” which I refer to as a squirrel circus. Because I have obsessive compulsive thoughts (which works GREAT in my work life for finishing projects and writing books), it can wreak havoc on my personal life, presenting as both worry and anxiety. I’m also extremely empathetic (and a little empathic) so I’m sensitive to energies around me as well as dealing with my own high energy. (My friend Carie’s fiance said she and I share that “hummingbird on crack” personality.) Well, it is what it is.

As Dr. Susan Campbell writes in Getting Real, we can’t be authentic if we aren’t self-aware, so knowing yourself is key.

Being self-aware, I’ve realized what I need to balance my energies, pay attention to ruminating thoughts and assess how I feel and adjust my attitude or actions if necessary. For me, I need a lot of physical and intellectual stimulus in a day so if I don’t work out every day and get some good input and output (usually reading and writing) then my day can feel “off.” I also know my mind is better off giving it a break with daily or twice a day meditation – getting in touch with my “spirit” and making sure the window to my higher self is at least always cracked open to get through. Keep track of your day and how you are feeling and see how you might need to adjust your schedule to help you feel energized and “optimally you.”

What about when shitty things happen?

Last week someone took a cheap shot at me via an email to someone I love. My first thought was, “How dare they?” (Ego) And then I felt hurt. (Ego) And then I felt my loved one’s pain at being on the receiving end of a spiteful remark. (Empathy) As a bit of time passed, my Ego calmed down and I knew THIS TOO SHALL PASS and later that evening, I was even able to smile about it, because really? Try this quote on!

Don’t try to win over the haters; you’re not the jackass whisperer.’ -Scott Stratten

In a nutshell, those hard times just don’t bring me down and ruin my days/week/month like they used to. Better coping mechanisms and a more positive attitude + appropriate actions equals CHOOSING HAPPINESS (even while holding an opposite emotion like grief or sadness or dealing with ambiguity). It’s not easy and I wish I could do it as easily as blinking an eye, but it has gotten better with time/practice. More on that when we discuss Getting Real, a book I serendipitously found at a used book store in Maui. Amazing.

We simply can’t live authentically without getting real about our lives and the choices we’re making and what’s holding us back.

Here’s my list of 7 Keys to Getting Happy and I’ll blog about each of them in more detail in upcoming weeks.

1) Remove roadblocks to happiness

2) Change your attitude (as the song goes, “take your life from negative to positive”

3) Practice gratitude and self-care

4) Live with intention (on purpose) – which can begin with saying yes or no when we really mean it and setting intentions and sticking with them

5) Feed your passions

6) Take time for stillness/ be mindful

7) Be an adventurer. Stay curious. Play more. Be silly.

In addition to Getting Real, I’ll be discussing Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer. If you’ve read those books, I’d love your feedback in comments.

Week One Get Happy Questions:

If you were honest about your state of “unconditional happiness” how would you rate yourself? Do you depend on other people or things going a certain way to “be happy?” What fed your spirit this summer? As summer ends, what are your intentions for autumn? What would you like to accomplish? Who are the people, places and things that make you happy? Review the list of 7 Keys and answer how you do or don’t do those things. Schedule how to make them happen and then DO IT.

Thanks for reading. Happy End of Summer!



Happy pics of the week:

A bee having lunch outside an office visit.

My GetFit challenge for myself was a SUP Bootcamp. I survived! And I loved the gorgeous morning on the lake.

My GetFit challenge for myself was a SUP Bootcamp. I survived! And I loved the gorgeous morning on the lake.


Excerpt from my work in progress non-fiction essay book on letting go and living authentically, inspired by nature, Return to Wild.


Psychologist Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness” talks about our inability to accurately depict our future selves. We believe we’ll be more or less the same as we are right now…forever. We believe our interests won’t change that much and who we like to hang out with is fixed and we think we’re pretty darn good at predicting what will make us happy in the future. We aren’t. In fact, in his research, it showed we’re poor at predicting what we’ll like ten years down the road and that’s because we do change. Knowing this can keep us from feeling like there’s “something wrong” with us, when in fact it’s simple biology and beyond our control. We can’t grow if we stay in the same place and stagnate. Growth is why we’re here. Let’s give ourselves a break.


Excerpt from my work in progress, a novel about a war vet amputee struggling with life and love after war. My character Jake is certainly struggling with happiness. 

My gut burned as we turned the corner at the big Oak tree. We were close.

The air turned cooler as the brush thickened. We ditched our bikes and began crawling through, over and under the limbs and fallen trees. I should’ve been more worried about Ben getting cut up, but I felt hypnotized, unaware of his thick little body behind me as I pushed on.

The sun shone through the clearing like a spotlight on the burnt limbs for a good quarter mile radius. The trailer had blown up just seconds after I’d been shoved out the door. The door had fallen on me, which is likely why I only had the slight burns that I did.

Grams said it was a miracle I hadn’t been burned to a crisp.

Said it was an angel who put that door over my frame.

No one wanted to give my meth-coooking mom credit for my survival, but I don’t think that’s fair. Even though she shouldn’t have been doing what she was doing, she did respond the way a mom should when she saw her kid in danger.

Besides, it was me who brought that flame to the fire.

Get Out: Sea Turtles, Bublé, and Lily Pad Yoga

Life should be our biggest adventure. All of it. Earlier this summer when I set my intention to living life full out and seeking more adventure, I had no idea what I’d find. That’s part of the fun. I was open to whatever new experiences came my way. Each week I’ve been sharing my Get Out adventures hoping you’ll do find some in your neck of the woods and beyond. Connecting with nature is a guaranteed way to serenity – and some kick-butt workouts, too. It’s also increased my creativity which is good for business and my soul. Nice win-win. Getting out more has been good for my body, too.

Transformation of body, mind and spirit doesn’t have to feel like a “chore,” but is possible simply with intentional living – placing awareness on what you eat, how you move, what you think. Hitting the “reset” button when you’re feeling negative, pushing yourself to get out and enjoy new people and experiences and truly feeling grateful for the life you have and therefore living it with gusto. Why the hell not?

Get Out Adventure 1 (part 2 to my ALOHA post last week): I hadn’t been on a boat IN YEARS. We used to own one in my childhood and I loved the feel of the wind at my face and the waves beneath us. I love being around water and even on water, but IN WATER, not so much. So sticking my face in the ocean (a.k.a. snorkeling) was definitely about what I could SEE. Ah, it’s pretty down there. Sometimes OUR greatest adventures are seeing dreams come true for those we love so what I wanted most from our Hawaii trip was for my 9 year old to get to swim with sea turtles – his favorite animal. And he did. AWESOME. No pic of a turtle because I was too busy looking at them to snap them, but you get the idea! Our family shadow selfie on a boat. The half-day excursion included two snorkeling stops, breakfast and lunch and loads of gorgeous views.

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Get Out Adventure 2 - not in nature but a natural wonder. My third date with Michael Bublé thanks to Mother’s Day tickets from my husband. I mean, Jesus, Michael is a born entertainer and this was his best show yet. Insert a bunch of swooning here. The arts in general are so good for your soul. When’s the last time you heard live music?

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Michael showered the Chesapeake Arena with paper hearts during ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE.



Get Out Adventure 3 - One of my favorite families on the planet is the Davis’ in Wichita, Kansas. Our kids have grown up together and STILL get along. We only had one day that fit our scheds before school started and my friend Deb agreed to try paddle boarding. We went to another town, Augusta, and Ken took some pics of us. In addition to just paddling around the lake, we also stopped over among lily pads and did some yoga on the boards. It was Deb’s first time and my second and neither of us fell in to our amazement. The lily pads helped keep our boards from going back into the middle of the lake. Yoga ON lily pads. In bloom. Freaking cool.

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Freaking warrior princess pose. Love it.

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The lily pads in the background is where we did yoga. No, you don’t need to see pics of that! ha

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Hello, tranquility. Nice to see you again.

Here’s to getting out this week, friends! I’ll be back Friday with a Get Fit post on getting better body parts. Sometimes breaking down our goals makes it a bit easier to focus on what we’d like to transform.

Thanks again for reading!

xo, Malena


Get Out: Adventures in Aloha

Is visiting Hawaii on your bucket list? It’s been on our family bucket list since our kids were little so I started a savings IMG_0944account for the trip last year and away we flew – to Maui, where it’s kid-friendly enough to not have to drive too far for big adventure and get in more than just the beach and pool. This week’s Get Out adventure was a perfect blend of playful and peaceful – blue skies with low clouds, bright blue waters, sandy and black beaches and palm trees everywhere you turn – and those sunsets!

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Lahaina in the northern community of Kaanapali Resorts  in west Maui, perfect for breathtaking sunsets over the ocean. Highly recommend staying there, but when you budget be sure and include the daily resort fee ($30) and daily parking ($16 for self-parking) and give yourself a hefty allowance for the food and drinks. There’s even a Macy on property in case you need more swimsuits or forgot something.

We hiked Twin Falls (yep, two waterfalls there), played on the beach, went on a half day snorkeling adventure on a boat (which I’ll share as next week’s post) and did some great sight-seeing and shopping. The Luau on property, which is a 3 hour event, was a great way to learn about Hawaiian history and get to see hula dancing and eat an authentic Hawaiian meal.

Enjoy the pics and my Top 5 Secrets to Squeezing Every Drop from Paradise! Come back next week for sea turtles and snorkeling.

1. Wake up early. I *know*. You’re on vacation and want to sleep in, but personally I’d rather get up and enjoy the sunrise and the island “waking up” around me. The resort was so quiet and mostly empty between 6 and 8 a.m.. I used that early bird time to work out in the fitness center, walk the grounds by myself and take some great photos before meeting back up with my family. A wonderful way to set my intentions for the day.


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Black swans seemed to pose for me early one morning.

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Selfie at the “wall mirror” in front of the luau entrance (Tiki god in the background) on my way to the fitness center at 6 a.m. every morning.

2. Really experience local culture. Eat their dishes (or try them!) and relish in what makes Hawaii unique. The art, the food (passion fruit, coconut, macadamia nuts!) Get to know the history by going to a luau and eating some roasted pig and watching beautiful hula dancers – men and women – share their rituals and story through song and dance – and fire.

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3. Stay in the present moment and notice the small things. What better place to practice stillness and staying in the present moment (not worrying about the past or the future) than paradise? By practicing awareness we see the little things we may have missed if our minds were elsewhere (and I saw a ton of people on their phones – ack). Don’t forget to take pictures of the local flavor, too.

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The hammock was for Marriott guests so we were rebels and borrowed one for an hour to read.


Noticing all the flowers on our hike at Twin Falls.


The motto for Hawaii, on the back of the fruit truck! “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”.


My kids gathered these rocks from the ocean so they wouldn’t trip on them!

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Amazing art perfectly complements the natural beauty.

4. Try a new-to-you adventure. It’s likely that it might be your kids first time to try something new but what about you? The beach is full of vendors ready to teach you how to paddle board or surf or snuba (a combo snorkeling and scuba diving that’s all the rage). I really wanted to bike down the volcano (26 miles) but it would’ve taken up most of a day and my youngest didn’t fit the age requirement, but I did snorkel for the first time. I have no idea why I haven’t done it before now because it’s as easy as sticking your face in the water and breathing through a tube. My 14-year-old daughter was afraid to snorkel until she tried it and then she said, “I don’t know why I was afraid!” Same goes for all of us, right?

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5. Play. It’s not just for kids. Vacation is supposed to be about cutting loose and playing, right? Get in the ocean, jump in the pool, sing along to the cover band. Don’t give in to the temptation to check Facebook or your email. (Or give yourself a strict limit like once a day after you’re done for the day.) If you’re going with a spouse, split some time on who has the kids for a bit if there’s something you want to get out and do on your own. If you do #1 and get up early then you’ll have time to do that before the family is even awake maybe. If the whole family is together the WHOLE TIME, you are likely to FOF out early (Family overload factor.) This happened to us after the teens got sunburned and then didn’t feel like doing anything. Hey, it happens. I found a lounge chair with an ocean view and listened to Sam Smith and chilled out. I loved playing dress up, too. It’s not everyday you get to take pictures with these gorgeous backdrops and as a writer I don’t get the chance to dress up much, so why not?


On the terrace from the lobby looking down to the pool and ocean…before hitting happy hour!


Love the easy breezy style in Hawaii! In front of the golf course.


Wish I could’ve played a bit longer here…

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Tried a new drink each day…that’s adventure. :)



With my favorite cocktail I discovered on the trip, Sea Breeze

With my favorite cocktail I discovered on the trip, Sea Breeze

Here’s the Sea Breeze recipe so you can make your own at home!

2  ounces vodka
3 ounces cranberry juice
3 ounces grapefruit juice
Ice cubes

Slice of pineapple for the rim!


Mahalo! Thanks for reading! xo- Malena

Did you know I set two ebooks in Hawaii? The novellas Life’s a Beach and The Last Resort were each set on the islands. The Last Resort includes all the main characters from The Stork Reality, Life’s a Beach and Fixer Upper to catch up on what happened to them after those books. 


Get Out: Yoga on the Water

Yoga is the practice of spiritual, mental and physical awareness on the body and opening up the chakras – energy centers –  for relaxation and transformation. I’ve never attended a yoga class except online (I recommend Yoga with Adrienne) and prefer to start my day with yoga outside on my deck, with the sunrise salutation sequence followed by a few moments sitting in stillness (meditation.) Heck, just laying there in the corpse pose on the ground staring up at the clouds is pretty cool. Since I prefer yoga in nature, this adventure was high on my list.

Lake Overholser, Bethany, OK

Lake Overholser, Bethany, OK

My first official yoga class was on the water!  Yoga on the lake, balancing on a paddle board. I’ve never surfed, never done SUP (Stand Up Paddling) and a friend of mine recommended I take a local class before I try SUP in Hawaii this summer. I’m glad I did because I feel like I’ll have a head start.

Check your local lakes or river centers for a mobile paddle board shop or rentals. Here in OKC, we have Flat Tide and the class I chose was taught by The Yoga Block at Lake Overholser in Bethany.

Tree pose with Vi Le after class.

Tree pose with Vi Le after class.

Your paddle will be adjusted for your height, your ankle cuff will keep you tethered to the board and you can start by kneeling or sitting and paddling your way out until you feel ready to stand. If you already have issues with balance and have never practiced yoga or Pilates before (or surfed), it might be more difficult for you, but by keeping your weight in the center of the board and not locking your knees, you’ll be fine. If you fall in, that’s okay. That’s part of the fun so do dress in comfortable clothes you don’t mind getting wet. I wore a sports bra with a fitted tank top over it and bikini bottoms with booty shorts. You don’t want anything to “hang out” since you are going to be upside down and in various yoga positions.

I found it took me about ten minutes to feel comfortable standing and paddling on the board, taking the oar from right to left and then two strokes of each to go faster. We paddled out to a cove and though a bridge was nearby, you can block out those sounds and preen your ear for the nature sounds, which are plentiful.

We removed our ankle cuffs and placed them around our paddles so they could float nearby and tossed our anchors in the water. We still floated around a bit, but you don’t have to be facing the teacher the whole time and you are close enough to hear her/him.

The next 45 minutes was a typical yoga class, except on the board. What I loved most was how much more aware you are of your body because of balancing on the board and feeling like you are a buoy. Unlike being on the ground, you feel both lighter but also keenly aware of your weight on the board for keeping yourself stable. Some did fall in, but if you don’t try the different moves, you might be disappointed so I say GO FOR IT.

My friend Vi did a full backbend and did fall in, but she went all the way up. I only went half-way up before I felt my board shaking too much and I came back down. I also couldn’t get fully up into Warrior pose (which is my favorite pose!) and she said it’s one of the hardest. I did get into full shoulder stand and for a second thought I would go off the back of the board, but brought my legs down in time to keep from making a splash in class.

Like most of the experience in nature, it’s hard to put it into words because the feeling is so unlike anything else. You just haven’t experienced downward facing dog until you’ve done so with the lake and the sky upside down! Even better, the sunset was gorgeous and it was such a peaceful end to the day and definitely the highlight of my week.

Sunset on the water. Love.

Sunset on the water. Love.

I expected my legs and core to hurt a bit the next day, but instead those didn’t hurt at all and my back was killing me. I felt like I’d been punched all over. The reason is you are engaging every back muscle when you are doing SUP and balancing on the board in yoga! I think it’s amazing that we get to work the muscles that rarely get used in other fitness routines, so I’ll definitely be adding a monthly SUP to my workout routine. (You can rent the boards hourly.) Note: most people do say their abs and legs hurt the next day so depending on your fitness level and how strong those areas are, that could determine how much it affects you.

By the third day, my back was feeling better and of course working out again is always my favorite way to relieve muscle tension. Just keep going! Know that you are transforming your mind, body and spirit when you go for new challenging adventures. You are strong enough and brave enough to do it.


xo, Malena

NOTE OF THANKS: To all my new and loyal readers, thank you for reading my books this summer and visiting my blog. It means so much to me and I love to read your reviews and to hear from you! I do plan on combining Life’s a Beach and The Last Resort as a special for August through Labor Day so stay tuned for that on Kindle if you haven’t read those. Family Charms is really picking up on sales and book clubs have asked me to come talk to them about it and I’m always up for that! In person if nearby and Skype if you’re outside of my area! And Fixer Upper continues to be my number one bestseller. THANK YOU!

NOVEL PROGRESS: I’ve now reached the half-way mark on the first draft of my novel and I’ll be traveling this next week so hope to reach the end of the first draft by the time school starts. EEK! This will mean cutting out a lot of distractions in my life such as Facebook, which I’ll “hide” for a month and also paring down on Instagram, which I check at least 3 or 4 times a day and is my favorite. :( BUT – it will be so worth it!

As I’m also working on my “nature” essay book, Return to Wild, and am outlining a new short story collection, I feel I have to listen to my inner guide during this creative time in my life and honor it. My muse has been more active the last six months than any other time in my life so I don’t want to waste it.

EXCERPT from Work In Progress Novel (Status: 41K of 80K written)

Jake was raised by a stout older woman, Mildred, whom he calls Grams. This partial scene begins with them…

She squeezed me again and even though she’s not the crying type, I heard her sniffle and she turned away and wiped her eyes on her apron. “Now go get ready for your day. You’ve got some training to do, don’t you? And take some of this bacon to Ben. He’s looking too skinny.”

I kissed her atop the back of her head. “Will do. I love you, Grams.”

Don’t go getting mushy on me.”

I felt numb the rest of the day, sleepwalking through even our rigorous boot camp for Tuff Enuf. Our team was getting stronger, but inside I felt weaker than ever. I let Ben shout out the exercises while I stared off into space. I felt the compulsion to…

  1. Grab a match and some gasoline set the obstacle course on fire
  2. Get stinking drunk and then have Jennifer meet me at the lake for an afternoon fuck

I opted instead to blow off some steam at the gun range, putting a few rounds into the target’s head and chest. When that didn’t do the trick to clear the cobwebs, I asked the receptionist to print something off the computer for me. I stuck the picture of the Marlboro Man on the figure and put some bullets into his smug ass smile.

That’s more like it,” I said, and put away my guns and headed back to my truck feeling only slightly better.

There was only one fire I needed to start and that was with Jennifer. 


Excerpt from Return to Wild, essays on letting go and unleashing your wild side (inner nature) based on nature as our guide. I’m 8 essays in of probably 20? I realize this sounds “out there” but I’m letting the Universe outline the book for me so whenever a message comes like a hawk did this morning on the deck, I “know” if a certain essay is supposed to be in the book. This one is on love’s limits…

Our confusion is more confounded with our fix-it-quick culture and our highly emotional natures. We’re told we just need to do X, Y and Z and we’ll be good as new! A trip to the therapist’s office, a few self-help books, maybe even a new church. Shouldn’t love be enough? Doesn’t it “fix” everything?

Amy Bloom wrote in Oprah in 2006 about love’s limits. “What I hadn’t understood, until recently, is that sometimes love is not enough. And that is the worst news-from-the-universe I have heard for some time. Love is not enough to lead depressed people to happiness…It is not enough to make people who need passion settle for companionship… Love stretches us, but time often snaps us back to our original shape. Love takes us further than we thought we could go, but it does not take us past the limits of our nature. And that is a hard thing to know.”



Get Out: Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Ritual, romance, expression, healing, entertainment. Dance has no known beginning and will likely see no end. While it’s incorporated into culture and styles, dance is universal as well as personal. Some of my earliest memories involve dance: watching my grandparents two-step in our living room; my grandfather teaching me to two-step; car dancing with my “Fab Five” girlfriends in high school; dancing at proms and sorority and fraternity parties; spinning around the room dancing with my own children; and now watching my teen daughter dance on stage in competitions. I even go dancing for fitness classes two or three times a week at Zumba and hip hop.

I’ll likely still be car dancing in my eighties. Just wait.

What are your favorite dance memories? Is it time to make some new ones?

My Get Out adventure this week was five days in Overland Park, Kansas for my daughter’s dance nationals with Dance Phase at Talent on Parade. It’s hard to believe that even after watching dozens of dances over several days, I still wanted to dance in the evening – and so on the last night, I got the dance party I’d been wanting – out in the courtyard of the Courtyard Marriott, in the grass, under the full moon.


Full moon dance shadow selfies with some of the senior company dancers.

Image 1

With my dancer daughter at nationals.

Dance has been a big part of my Get Out adventures. When I visited the Chickasaws, I got to see their fireside ritual dance and then when I went to OKC Fest for live country music, the first night a college student grabbed me and we two-stepped. He thought I was twenty-four, God bless his drunk self. The second night I watched two couples two-step and swing right next to us. They were so HAPPY. That’s how I feel every time I dance, whether it’s a slow song, a two-step, a line-dance or a booty-shaking hip hop dance in Lauren Fitz’ class.

Dance is joy and grace and not only is it great self-expression for the dancer, but done well, then the viewers of the dance feel the same emotion. My arm hairs stand on end when I’m moved by a beautiful dance.

This week I’d like to celebrate dance and encourage you to get out and dance yourself, even if it’s out in the grass like I did. Or grab your partner for a slow song. Turn up the music and jam out with your kids to a song they like. Hell, I love to car dance, too. (Just keep your eyes on the road.) Make plans to attend a live dance show such as your local ballet or the touring So You Think You Can Dance. Not only does it give us an appreciation for the arts, but it can make us feel something we aren’t used to feeling every day and it’s a timeless past-time we should make more time for.

Congrats to all the DPC dancers on a great year. I can’t wait to be a part of the fun again starting in August.


“Hair” musical theater. I actually still wear that shirt my daughter is wearing. ha


Lyrical is my favorite style of dance to watch. These are the “Numb” teen dancers.


Senior company lyrical with studio owner and choreographer Lisa Motsenbocker. I lover how good she is to our girls.


I could do some serious car dancing in this 1962 Corvette. I totally match it.


With my car dance buddy Jill Martin, who also co-wrote DANCE MOM SURVIVAL GUIDE with me. LOVE having a fun friend to get out with.

With my car dance buddy Jill Martin, who also co-wrote DANCE MOM SURVIVAL GUIDE with me. LOVE having a fun friend to get out with.


Next Get Out Adventure is Paddleboard Yoga. Should be a fun excuse to fall in the lake!

Get Fit Tip: Keep your fitness routine going when you’re on vacation by using the fitness center in your hotel each morning before your family wakes up or incorporate fitness activities into your schedule. You can also take the stairs. Personally, I prefer to stick to healthy eating on vacation but you could just modify your meals or portion sizes and give yourself a “cheat” meal. My cheat in Kansas was at The Burg and the Barrel and the angus beef with avacado, bacon and spicy chipotle mayo and onion rings (and Metcalf Mule drink!) was definitely worth it. I did work out a little harder the next morning to make up for it.

Works in Progress Excerpts:

From my novel-in-progress about a Marine vet amputee post-Iraq war. Scene between Jake and his therapist, Annette. 

The moon, huh? But the moon is what kept you from being with her the first time.” Annette uncrossed her legs and leaned in.

I know. But that was daytime, you know? I think that’s what it was. Seeing the moon when it didn’t belong. The timing was off. But in the dark – that’s my time. I feel the most alive at night. Besides, I was horny and I knew if I went to the bar I’d get stinking drunk and have sex with a stranger again.”

So a married woman is better than a stranger?”

You tell me, doc. At least I was having sex with someone I care about.”


From my non-fiction essay collection. I’m about seven essays in. This bit is from, “Midsummer Tilt-a-Whirl”

I know every emotion. They have lived in me and I in them. Sometimes I carried them too long or even gave up my life to them, but no more. No more being a slave to emotions or a frantic mind. Our wild nature knows that emotions are fleeting. They come and go like the sun and the moon. They are there but they shouldn’t rule our every living moment because only we can do that. Don’t give emotions all the power. 


Get Out/Get Real: What do you do with your freedom?


The one day I’m okay with us all wearing the same colors.

I’m writing a novel about a young Marine amputee coming back after war in Iraq to a sleepy town in Texas and I’ve had the privilege of interviewing several vets – a Navy Seal, two Navy pilots, two Marines and two Army vets. I’ve immersed myself in research about amputees, Iraq, military deployment, PTSD and a host of other issues relating to the book. A few things I’ve learned resonated sharply as Independence Day came and went so this week I’m combining a Get Out post encouraging us to have more adventure with a message for us to Get Real about what we’re doing with the freedom that we’re given in this country.

First, I hope you got out and celebrated this year, whether locally or on vacation. The 4th of July is my favorite holiday. I love parades, fireworks, parties and all the feel-good Americana that comes with our privilege of being born in an amazing country. While my kids no longer let me dress them in cute USA pride attire, I still get in the spirit and will go celebrate whether or not the whole family cares to join. (Just wait – those of you who don’t have teens yet!) I was thankful all five of us did celebrate that evening together.

Second, I’d like us to ponder how we may be taking our freedom for granted. How we may be holding back and living in the shell of our own making instead of truly enjoying our country and our lives. Travel, adventure, unleashing our natural gifts onto the world. Steven Pressfield (The War of Art) says the more we go from our lower level to a higher level, the more Resistance we feel. When the vets I interviewed came back to America, they saw a lot of apathy when they looked around. They saw a lot of “busy” and not a lot of traction. They saw people who didn’t have drive or initiative or goals. Sad, huh?

Let’s not take our freedoms for granted. Don’t let Resistance get the best of you. I’ll admit I’ve encountered Resistance a LOT this year. The more I’ve tried to transform, the more my ego wanted to get in the way and tell me to leave well enough alone, to not topple the apple cart, to keep the status quo and for SURE don’t start a new project like writing a novel I know nothing about (war and from a MALE perspective) and I certainly have no business or time to write a book about returning to our wild, unique nature when there are already plenty of spiritual teachers out there that could surely say it better than me. That’s how Resistance rears it’s self-righteous head. It will tell you that you are nothing. That you should stay in your job, your circle, your hometown. That you shouldn’t venture out because BAD things could happen. If I’d told too many people I was going solo camping, I’m sure more would’ve tried to talk me out of that, too, which would’ve been too bad because it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Truth.

You have to open up and let yourself be vulnerable. That’s where courage and bravery come in – after you’re already on the journey NOT before. You take the leap. Watch Brene Brown’s fabulous TED Talk for more on vulnerability.

A quote I love from Brown:

“I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability my making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy and creativity to name a few.”

So, what shall we do with our freedom and adventure next? 

A few pics from my holiday and excerpts from my two works in progress. Next week I’ll be writing to you from Kansas City with a thousand dancers!



You can't have the 4th without watermelon. I think that's a rule.

You can’t have the 4th without watermelon. I think that’s a rule.


My dot's first outing as a pom girl for the high school. She loved being on the float and a little girl stopped by to say hi to them. Cutest thing ever.

My dot’s first outing as a pom girl for the high school. She loved being on the float and a little girl stopped by to say hi to them. Cutest thing ever.

Spent the evening with my family and my AXO lil, Katrina and her family out in Logan County. Love her still and always.

Spent the evening with my family and my AXO lil, Katrina and her family out in Logan County. Love her still and always.

Fireworks from our view on the blanket. Edmond, OK has one of the best fireworks shows in the country. Gorgeous.

Fireworks from our view on the blanket. Edmond, OK has one of the best fireworks shows in the country. Gorgeous.

Excerpt from work in progress novel: Word count so far: 37,800 out of 80,000. Jake Ambrose (22) Point of View:

Grams said it was a miracle I hadn’t been burned to a crisp.

Said it was an angel who put that door over my thin little body.

No one wanted to give my meth-coooking mom credit for my survival, but I don’t think that’s fair. Even though she shouldn’t have been doing what she was doing, she did respond the way a mom should when she saw her kid in danger.

Besides, it was me who brought that flame to the fire.

I could feel Misery’s presence, lurking in the shadows behind the trees. I dared not look to see her pale face and red lipsticked smirk, blaming me for what happened. Because she was right. Maybe she was always right. Maybe it was always my fault – the whole lot of it. 


Excerpt from work in progress non-fiction essay book: Word count 10,000 of 75,000.

“This book is about reclaiming our unique nature – our wild side – with our heart as a compass. To get there we’re going to look to nature and our brave hearts beating alongside the river, up the mountains, fingertips over the fields, feet on the red earth, eyes to the skies.

We’re going to get OUTSIDE in nature get to what’s going on INSIDE.

We hear that happiness comes from within but everything we are told could make us happy by advertising and society is conditional. Buy THIS and you’ll be the cool kid. Live HERE and you’ll be respected. Get THIS degree and you’ll be on your way to the corner office. (Because it’s corner or bust, right?) Up, up and away?

We are boxed in, reshaped, told what to think, what to believe, who to love, what fits in, what makes you weird, what makes you special. And that may have nothing to do with who you uniquely are. Being true to you means taking a stand and letting your soul – not society – be your guide.

Nature is full of secret messages waiting to be discovered.



Get Out: She’s Gone Country

If you’re new to my blog, “Hey!” I started the year blogging about “getting real” about our lives as I worked to transform the Big Six: body, mind, spirit, work, home, relationships. So you can scooch on back through the posts if you’re interested in those. I also post #getReal inspiration on Instagram and Twitter with pics.

Then this summer I switched to a #GetOut series in an effort to add a wee bit more adventure to my life. I invite you to do the same.

If you’re a returning visitor, “thank you!”  If  I could I’d totally make a banana, yogurt, kale smoothie for two and share it with you.

Caught up? Awesome.

This past weekend, my Get Out adventure was three days of country music. While I live in the “City” as we from western Oklahoma fondly call Oklahoma City, (and I technically live in the northern ‘burb), I’ll always consider myself a small town girl at heart and a country music fan – especially classic country which is what I grew up on living with my grandparents. Since my husband isn’t a country fan, he stayed home and spent time with the kids while I got to spend time with my sis and the cousins got to hang out downtown and at our house.

OKC Fest was a music festival held in downtown OKC and my sis and BIL and I got tickets for the Friday and Saturday evening performances. I was most excited about Merle Haggard (LEGEND!!) who played before the headliner Dierks Bentley and I’ll admit I’m strangely fond of “Drunk on a Plane” which I hadn’t heard until I looked it up before going to see him that night. And, yep, Merle’s still got it going on.


Thankful one of my sisters likes country music. Love ya, Tina!


Boots on, cowboy up.

I also learned, via Twitter and Instagram likes, that Merle has a son, Ben Haggard, @benhaggardmusic @benhaggard who plays lead guitar in his band. Very cool that they get to share the stage and this experience together.

Mostly I loved spending time with my sis. Last time we went to an outdoor concert together was four years ago when Lady Antebellum and Tim McGraw played and it was so hot that I PASSED OUT. I’d only had one frozen drink and not nearly enough water and I was wearing jeans smack dab in the sunshine. Really dumb. This time I dressed cooler.

Saturday I headed back downtown to the Myriad Gardens. If you’re in Oklahoma, or visiting us, do make a point to visit. It’s simply gorgeous. It’s amazing what you can do with some funding and TLC on landscaping, you know? I took these shots with my iPhone and they turned out great courtesy of an overcast afternoon.

IMG_5804 IMG_5801 IMG_5800

The second night I also got to have a pre-party at my husband’s bosses’ house where they have an awesome tree swing. I felt pretty talented drinking and swinging at the same time so I’m sure I’ll have no problem drinking on a plane in a few weeks when I go to Hawaii. (If you see a tree swing, don’t pass it up. I’m serious about this. It was better than 20 minutes of meditation!)

A tree swing, an adult beverage and more country music.

A tree swing, an adult beverage and more country music.

I saw Scotty McCreery (who won American Idol two years ago) at the Grand Ole Opry last summer and he was great. Still is. He played just before Lady A and as nightfall came and the cute couples to our left were swing dancing and I sang along to “Bartender” which I hadn’t heard until that night.

Sunday, I volunteered for OMRF’s 241 event to raise money for cancer research. In exchange for selling raffle tickets, I got to partake of some of the finest food from incredible restaurants in OKC, Norman and Tulsa. Aaaand I got to see the private concert given by Vince Gill out on the patio (windy per usual for OK) with a special surprise guest ALICE COOPER. Wow. Pretty cool. They raised $650,000. A great end to a cool weekend.

Top right: Alice and Vince. Ya know, first name basis.

Top right: Alice and Vince. Ya know, first name basis.

Have you been to a music festival? What’s holding you back? Slather on the sunscreen and the bug spray and Get Out!

Next week, I’ll be talking 4th of July festivities, so hopefully you’re planning on seeing fireworks IN PERSON. I just don’t get watching them on TV. What fun is that? None. That’s what. So, get out and catch a parade and eat some watermelon and watch some whiz bangs.

Try something new. Expand your horizons. Live with intention.





Get Out: A Girl Goes Solo Camping

To say my family doesn’t like camping is an understatement. They are okay with cabins, but I’ve only slept in a tent with my Cub Scout – two of us amongst the pack. Prior to that I slept in a tent with my then-boyfriend (now husband) in the Grand Canyon in the ’90s.

That was a bit ago, wasn’t it?

So I decided if I wanted to camp in a tent I’d have to do it by myself.



Rock Creek area at Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Chasing waterfalls.

My Get Out summer adventure challenge was to go to a new-to-me state park (or federal as the case turned out to be), find my own way, pitch the tent and take my bike so I could go on a long solo ride. I picked the first day of summer, which so happened to fall on a Saturday. Summer Solstice seemed like the perfect day to be brave and go on the solo trip and enjoy the long day and short night in nature.

My daughter was sure I’d come home before the trip was over – scared. My sister did not see the appeal of either camping OR going alone. Just be careful how many people you tell because they’ll worry you’ll get kidnapped, raped, lost or at the least eaten up by mosquitoes in Oklahoma.

I picked Chickasaw National Reserve (the oldest federal reserve in OK) located in Sulphur, OK. I also wanted to visit the Chickasaw Cultural Center. Both were gorgeous, well-maintained and completely safe.

Biking around Veterans Lake in the rain.

Biking around Veterans Lake in the rain.

I did bring some mace and a knife though I didn’t feel like I’d need either because I wasn’t scared. I was excited.

The day ended up being rainy, but my motto is to bring your own sunshine, so I figured it would lift and though I had a rainy bike ride around Veterans Lake, it was mostly overcast and warm. Would I recommend a solo trip? Absolutely.

Check out my video for the experience and lots of photos. I hope you’ll be brave and get out and do something new to you this week and connect with nature. Turns out she’s all the company I need sometimes!



Also this week, I attended the opening of the new exhibit Gods and Heroes at the OKCMOA. Story here on Sooner Spaces. For fun, I decided to put together an outfit like SPJ’s famous tutu look for Carrie Bradshaw on the opening season of Sex and the City. I’d found the skirt at Goodwill and looked up how SPJ wore it and did my own black tank spin on it. My husband shot this downtown before the opening.


Next week my Get Out adventure is OKC Fest, a live music festival.