Self-care is a big thing that can be put on the back burner during a busy time. One thing that I do religiously at least once a month is to create a home sugar scrub. My all-time scrubs include fragrant essential oils, coconut oil, and kombucha. I love the healing properties that kombucha offers and the light effervescence add a skin tingly sensation in the shower.
When it comes to essential oils, you can add anything you really feel, but I love to add rose essential oil and lavender together. Rose essential oil helps with hydration while eliminating eczema and helps with psoriasis patches. I typically do my scrubs at night and that is why I add in lavender essential oil. Lavender scent helps with has anti-inflammatory properties as well as antiseptic properties to soothe the skin. Lavender is also a calming scent that helps with anxiety and relaxing the body.
A few weeks ago, I announced on my instagram that I started graduate school. I wish I could say I have the luxury of going back to school full time, but alas Drew and I have jobs, and I run a business so we are going to school full time online. Between taking care of our amazing puppy (she will forever be my puppy although she is 4.5 years old), my full time job, my pretty much full time business that I run and school, we don’t have time to mindlessly snack during the day or night. Which has helped a lot.
When I say I got rid of all our sweets, I really did. All Christmas cookies and treats that were gifted to us or I made either made a cozy life in the freezer or my parents got them (yay for them living close)! This is my go to trick an honestly a question I get asked a ton on Instagram. I really love an active lifestyle. I love to walk my dog, workout and keep myself moving. I blame this on 18 years of ballet and 12 of those dancing 6-7 days a week. I literally can’t sit still. I am also a recipe developer for my job so I eat a lot of sweets. But I don’t eat slices on slices, I truly believe in balance and not over doing the sugar. When I am working on a recipe for my company or a client, I have to taste it. It is truly the job. BUT, I don’t need the whole cake. If the recipe turns out, I test and test and test. Those tasty tests either go to friends or right into my freezer for a later date to thaw. I have a process I shared over on this recipe on how I prep my cakes ahead of time and also keep them fresh.
The honey! Guys! This honey is unreal. It is sweet, but fresh and so light on the tongue that I really find it satisfying drizzled over frozen berries or on some biscuits! GO buy it and go try it!
And lastly, I am really freaking happy. A lot happened in 2019, go read about it here, and I am just happy to be near family. Happy in the way my life has turned out, and happy in how I have been able to achieve my goals. I am really proud of my life and how I have moved the needle for work and my life. Those are the little things that really make the whole picture of happiness glow!
The big step for me is how do I move forward keeping all these amazing learnings from January? Well, balance. That is how I like to do it. The challenge, like I mentioned in this post, isn’t about a diet or restrictive eating, it is about getting down the core on what makes me feel better about my eating and allowing myself to truly savor the meals, the food and the sweets that I make. Changing your mind and your tastebuds after the gluttony that falls in the holidays.
Diet culture for new years resolutions is not something that I support. Eating healthy and mindful indulgences is a way of life. A life without a treat is just sad, so let’s change the mindset of why we are doing this challenge.
For myself, this is a challenge to create new recipes that are amazing, sugar free and tasty as can be! It is also a challenge, as a recipe developer to remove sugar from my diet. Like many other pastry chefs, we are taking a bite here and there to sample and make sure out recipes actually work, this is hard when you are cutting out sugar. I have been fortunate, with my celiac to only work with brands that are gluten-free and this has been a god sent.
When I first started as a recipe developer, tons of companies were reaching out but I couldn’t act on those brand deals because they didn’t align with my diet and auto immune disease. This goes with sugar free January as well. I am only working with brands that support this lifestyle for this month to make sure all the content is genuine and there is radical transparency.
This challenge, again is for myself, but I do hope you join in! The mental clarity you get from eliminating sugar is amazing, and not to mention sugar is in freaking everything! Slow down, read labels on sauces and notice that this challenge is about mindful eating and whole foods.
Below I have laid out this challenge according to the ways I like to do this challenge!
If you guys are doing the challenge tag me in your daily meals so we can do it together! More fun recipes to come during this sugar free challenge!
There was a lot of big change in 2019, that to be honest, I am still wrapping my head around. This past year brought some huge life changes and some huge career changes for both Drew and I. Let’s start at the beginning.
In January of 2019, I was in a horrible place in my full time job. Working towards my final days at a company that I once loved so dearly. A company that felt like my family for 2 years, suddenly became a stranger to me. I stepped away from my friends, my career with this brand and this opened many doors. For the first time in my career, I had to step away from something that I once loved so much. I truly felt like I had lost something so major in my life. In February, I stepped out of one door and right into something that truly did change my life. I had the opportunity to travel to North Carolina, meet some incredibly people in my industry and heck we truly contemplated moving there for this career move. Something about that felt so right, but also Drew and I both had a weird pull to move closer to our family for this next chapter in our lives.
Come April, I had been flown to a few interviews around the country, left my old job of 2 years, and Drew’s time on Active Duty in the military was transitioning to Guard Dutyx. We decided to take a leap of faith, an opening that we hadn’t had in our careers, and move back to Bozeman.
Bozeman, MT. This quant mountain town that houses Montana State University (my alma mater), the town my parents moved to after 24 years in the Bay Area, and 1 hour away where Drew’s parents live, just felt right.
In our 3 years of life and careers post our college graduation, Drew and I have lived in many states; Texas (Drew), Florida (both of us), Utah (twice – yea weird I know), California (me after college, I worked on the Food Web Development Team at Williams Sonoma Inc. in SF) and now Montana. In July of 2019, we moved back to Bozeman. We had so much excitement, and trust in this move that unlike our past moves, of exploration and newness we were finding who we were in a town where we were babies when we last were living here.
Upon moving to Montana, we decided it was right time to move into my parents house for a few months to see if we could buy a house. I started my full time job (while balancing my freelance clients, my food development and photography) and Drew was back and forth on TDY’s for 5 months of our new move. A few days after we moved back with our parents, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. This diagnosis rocked my family. If you have had the pleasure of meeting my mom, she is a force. Nothing will stop her, including this diagnosis. She took with so much grace, tact and clear mind that her energy to fight was radiated for 10000000s of miles. She never let this stop her and even continued to dive deeper into her PhD studies, at University of Souther California during treatment.
Not only were we all hands on deck with my mom and helping my dad rest enough to help her make it through chemo, radiation and her PhD, we decided to put an offer on a house…to buy!
They say when it rains it pours. 2019 f*cking poured the entire year. We were well into my moms treatment when we heard the news that we didn’t get accepted on our house. My parents were in the process of finishing a remodel and we were just unsure where we were going to go. We ended up finding the cutest dang rental house, 6 blocks from my office and settling in. This was the best thing for my family and my parents. We were so close to the hospital, they could come and rest between treatments and have a place to put their head. I truly feel this whole shitty process we went through in 2019, played out how it was suppose to, and that is why we had such a strong feeling to get up and move back to Montana.
As challenging, eye opening and exhausting this year has been, it will end on a good note. My mom is cancer free and finished with her daily treatment, my sister and her amazing boyfriend are engaged (@lwbean), Drew has an incredible job that continues his military career into civilian life and for me, I have the most incredible dog out there! Oh and the most amazing clients that fill my day with so much joy!
Oh! And for 2020, Drew and I are going to Grad School! Go Sun Devils!
Friends, Health-Ade aficionados, fellow snackers, summer is here and that means afternoon bbq’s and appetizers for meals!
There is something about summer that brings a new light to snacking! To me, things taste better in the summer. Strawberries are sweeter, mangos have a place and rosé can be served all day! Health-Ade bubbly rosé that is!
When I first took a sip of this flavor, I was literally floored. Not only is the rosé flavor subtly, but the mangosteen adds depth to the kombucha and boy does this scream summer! When it comes to parties with friends my favorite part of the prep is planning the meal and the drink pairing. My go to fridge staple for a get together is to have options for people who are gluten-free (me!), vegan, non alcoholic drinkers and then those who eat all of the above. There is nothing harder than going to a party and realizing you can’t have anything but water…story of my life. I always keep 6 bottles of kombucha in my fridge and those flavors rotate seasonally! Right now, since it is hot outside, I like to keep my fridge full of the new Cherry-Berry, the Bubbly Rosé, and the fan favorite, California Grape.
Let’s talk about food pairing with a summery twist for my all time favorite summer go to, the Bubbly Rosé. For appetizers, I love to toss together a giant cheese, and snack plate on a few big platters for a wide variety of snacks. To pair with a crisp rosé wine and the bubbly rosé kombucha I like to fill the platters with fresh strawberries, goat cheese, salted nuts, dried mango (pairs perfectly with the Bubbly Rosé), some cucumbers for crispness and a hot chicken sausage. If you are a vegetarian, omit the meat and add in a serving of chickpeas with olive oil and dill!
These flavors all have one thing in common, the lightness on the palate. Like the Bubbly Rosé and rosé wine, the crispness of the drinks add bright notes on your tongue, this is complimented best with lighter foods like fresh fruit, cucumber and goat cheese. Summer is about indulgence, fun foods and being outside with your friends, so a big platter of fun apps, a Health-Ade or a glass or Rosé is the best way to celebrate the warm weather and birds chirping!
It is that time of year again, we are packing up and moving! I am not familiar with an early summer that we haven’t moved so to me, I get the moving itch around June!
September 2018, SLC, UT
I am having a hard time writing this post to be completely honest. This last year of life since our last move has been really hard. Toxic jobs, stressful living situations and overall a black cloud over our lives. One thing that I find joy in, is that finding a new place, apartment, house what have you, is your home for X amount of time and Drew and I truly feel that our place here in Utah was not home. Between stressful landlord situations, and sketchy parking, we for sure didn’t go to bed every night thinking we were safe. That feeling really takes a toll on your body and we are feeling it after a year!
September 2018, SLC, UT
Not to drag this into a negative post, but sometimes life takes you in very mysterious ways. That being said, there have been amazing things to come out of our year in Utah. I had the opportunity to grow so much as a creator, business woman and individual. I got first hand experience sticking up for unfair and prejudice behavior towards women in the workplace, found my voice in my photography and have been able to carve out my business to what it is today! For those things I feel proud!
May, 2019 SLC, UT
That being said, we are so excited to move.
I wrote a post a few months ago when a very jarring event happened in my career. I didn’t end up posting it, simply because I felt that it was more of a process for me to purge my emotions and set that feeling in the past. Drew and I went to Oregon with Moose for a wedding in early June and both had the hardest time driving back to Utah, we really just wanted to turn north and head to Bozeman. Leaving all our superficial things behind in our apartment. But that is not responsible haha! In my post for my 25th birthday, I dug deep into who I have become as a woman and every place I have lived, the people I have interacted with and gotten to know, who have shaped me. (read that post here)
We had the opportunity to make the decision for ourselves this time in terms of where we wanted to move. I had a few offers come into my lap and for the first time in my life, I was able to make the decision I wanted to make. Long story short, we are moving back to Bozeman, Montana. This is where I went and graduated college (Montana State University – Go Cats!), met my amazing husband and adopted Moose. To us, Bozeman is the place we grew and became who we are as individuals and as a couple.
2018 Winter, SLC, UT
Although, we will be bunking at my parents house for a moment until we find a house to buy (WOW yes – we are actually shopping for a house!) this is something that we have both talked about for a while now. I am looking forward to what Montana has to offer for my soul, my grounding and to be honest, my dog! She loves the trails and of course chasing gophers in my parents pasture!
I am so excited to share more with you all, like I did when we were in Florida! This time we are moving without a set end date, and I can’t wrap my head around this yet! For the past 5 years I have moved every 12 months, so this is a huge change for me! We are really excited to be closer to our families and friends in a place that we truly love!
Ennis, MT, 2016
We are really excited for this chapter to start and know we are excited that there isn’t an end date to our Montana adventure!
I have never been a big birthday person as long as I can remember. I remember writing that in my post for my 24th birthday (you can read it here!).
To me 25 was always a huge thing, like you were a true adult. Which is funny when I say that to my parents because their comment back is, “isn’t getting married a bigger adult move?”.
Short answer is yes, but the long, Paige answer is no. Drew and I talk about the growth we have had together and as individuals these past few years post graduation, and boy we really have grown up! From moving across the country, starting our careers and really growing into ourselves, those years after graduation are so crucial! I recently had a huge life change which allowed me to take a breath and realize how fun my life is turning out to be!
There are a few things that I have realized about myself over the last year;
My need to be constantly doing something is just part of who I am and that will never change
Life truly does work in mysterious ways
Allowing myself to make decisions whether it’s a good one or a bad one is worth the risk of not knowing what the outcome will be
When 1 door closes an even better one opens (first hand, this has happened to me 5 times in the past year and it is really incredible how hard work, dedication and networking comes through!)
It’s funny for me to sit here and reflect on the 24th year of my life, because last year was a freaking round up of emotions, moving and growth. I have re-written this sentence 5 times and have decided to just put it in here. When you are 19 you think you know everything. When you are 20 you are unsure of what goals are achievable, and when you are 22 and out of college you are still on the high of being “an adult”. At 23, Drew and I got married, I had my first corporate job, I was diving into the freelance world and we had our first big Air Force move. At 24 we both were working full time jobs and moved across the country (again). We paid off a car, bought a second car and the hustle of work settled in. Year 25 is a big change for me. I decided it was really the year of doing things not because we needed the opportunity, but doing things because it felt right.
In February I sat back and re-read all my blog posts from the last year. In doing this I realized that not only my physical health had decreased by my mental health as well! My life needed to change. The one thing that I kept thinking of during my work day was my “happy time”, this is the period of my life when we were in Florida. I was freelancing for amazing companies, working with uplifting people and doing things during the day like taking my dog on a walk and reading new books every week. These are the things that got pushed aside when we moved. These unhealthy habits started to take a toll on what makes me, me and I realized it was time to change this. One thing of the many things I love about Drew is that he pushes me out of my comfort zone. He came to me and had a deep chat about my goals and needing to put myself first for once. To me this is a new concept. I am a giver, a nurturer and my love language is 100% giving all of myself and then some to make sure my family and friends are taken care of. I listened to my body, my mind and thought deeply about what goals I wanted to set for year 25.
25 is the start of being me, a warrior, a force and the best me I can be! Not a lot of people say this but, I am proud of who I am, the growth I have made in my adult life and the woman I am today. The challenges of life test me everyday, but how I handle these situations is something that I am proud of. When I wake up, I feel like I can accomplish anything and that I have my cheerleaders, Moose and Drew by my side to push me forward when I am tired or feeling down.
I am excited to see where this year takes me, my family and my life because shit, so far the positives in my life out weigh the negatives day in and day out!
Do you have goals for your birthday? DM me on instagram and let’s conquer the world together!
I’m not going to lie I feel like that is so adult. I remember when I was younger I thought mid 20s were SO OLD. I have settled into this idea because haha 24 is here for a year! For the next 6 months I can’t make old jokes to my husband anymore…until he turns 25!
I’ve been really reflective lately, because a lot of things have changed in the past few years! I graduated from college, moved back to San Francisco, moved to Utah, got married, my parents sold my childhood home, I moved to Florida and now we are looking at our next move back to the West. What a mouth full, but also what an exciting time of our lives!
Let’s touch on these
Being open. To me this isn’t about being a sharer, I’m naturally a more closed off person, but to me this phrase of “being open” is being open to being vulnerable, open to challenges and open to what I want to do. If I want to share a picture of my beige house on an Air Force base, heck maybe I will! Instagram & this space of “blogging” has turned into 500,000 girls all striving for the perfecrt “idea” of a life. A white marble countertop, big houses & those outfits that are curated for the picture. That ain’t reality. This ties into the idea of expressing myself. I didn’t start frontpaige.net to hit it big. I started it as a space to simply hold my recipes & images. A place for me to come to grow & share a voice that in college was shut down. So to me FrontPaige.net is evolving. Like me! A constant work in progress to be a better version of what I am day in and day out!
I am a very goal oriented person. I love thinking about the future, but if you read my last personal post here, you see that sometimes your goals in life change. Having the opportunity to experience living in so many unique places in the first year of our marriage has allowed me to push away my “futuristic” mindset and allow myself to sink into the idea of short term goals! I love this mindset and honestly it has been allowing my brain to grow in new ways!
I remember when I baked this cake and took the photographs, I was so freaking proud of myself! Now, when I look back on the images that started Front Paige, I kinda cringe. I have grown SO much as a photographer, women & artist and am proud of the big things that I achieve now but also have been really proud of the things I learned pre 24! Those old goals, allowed me to set new goals and be proud of the new goals that I will soon accomplish!
Adopting Moose saved me in a few ways. She helped me with my heart, my head and my life. I was going through my tough diagnosis with celiac disease. When she waddled into our lives and I was able to direct my pain and stress into helping her learn to be a doggie! We went on long walks, cuddled and she simply is the sweetest soul in the world. I tend to run at an energizer bunny pace. If I’m “relaxing” watching tv, I’m editing photographs, or baking, if I’m on an airplane I’m drafting emails to send when I get service. If I’m sitting in the car waiting for Drew to get off work, I am reading! The only time I really allow my brain to shut off is sleep. I take Moose on at least one long walk a day, and one short walk in the evenings. And I have to say, I have started to take it for granted. This is something I want to work on. Leaving my phone at home and being present. Looking at the sky instead of the ground, smelling the breeze and hearing the noises. That goal started yesterday!
So let’s do these together! Slow down, breathe & set realistic goals for ourselves! Tag me if you decide to make a list of goals for your birthday! Let’s have a damn good year!
Let’s talk real life! When I first started college I had this PLAN! This idea of what I was going to do when I graduated, where I was going to be working, living and where I would be in life to set myself up!
Life works in mysterious ways! And I feel like my college experience was a little different from what you think of when you think of American colleges!
Ennis, Montana 2013
Where I thought I’d be!
In this picture I was a sophomore in college, studying film and enjoying life to the fullest! I would go to my friends ranch on the weekend and help her feed her cattle, I was working with my best friend at a clothing store and getting really great grades. I was LOVING what I was studying and how I was spending every free moment in the mountains!
Livingston, Montana 2014
I had this plan.
Take a summer internship in NYC (check..did that!), work through my junior and senior years of college (did that as a videographer for our athletic department…check!), graduate and head to NYC or Chicago to work in the print magazine industry and work my way up!
WELL. I did some of those things, but my post grad has been 100x better than what I planned! I always saw myself in a small brick studio, working long days doing photography and film. Fulfilling my life in ways that were blank in my mind. Pieces that I hadn’t yet filled in yet!
This is how it actually happened!
I fell in love with the kid at the coffee shop!
I unexpectedly fell in love with the adorable man in small town Montana working in his families coffee shop. And yes, we were introduced by our parents! (Such a cute story to tell!). He opened my eyes WAY past the plans that I had for myself! I saw the world in a new light! My goals in life shifted! I knew I wanted to be close to my friends and family and that I didn’t need to move to a big city to make my dreams come true!
First day at a big kid job (Williams Sonoma Inc. San Francisco CA, July, 2016 *I always stand like a duck…18 years of ballet!
Drew and I graduated college! Drew went off the Air Force Bootcamp. I did what I needed to do to start my career, and applied to over 50 jobs, in a month prior to college graduation. I landed a job working on the site development team, specializing in food, at Williams Sonoma Inc. in San Francisco. Like I said above, life takes you on a crazy ride! Que #4 on my list. I moved home. MY parents were THRILLED! They had 100% access to kissing our puppy every day, and they were so incredibly supportive to help me navigate my first job!
It was a weird transition! I went from having the most amazing job in college, with amazingly cool opportunites to travel and work with a really supportive team to a corporate work structure. I was waking up at 4:30am everyday, working out before work, commuting 1.5 hours to the office (12 miles away from my house – YAY Bay Area), working a very stressful 10-12 hour day, commuting home and doing it again!
I wouldn’t change a thing from that year. Looking back on it, the tough work environment & the pain I dealt with, shaped who I am today. At just 22 years old, I was THROWN in to the work force working on a team with both women and men who had been doing this job for 12+ years. To say I was thrown to the wolves is an understatement! The Silicon Valley wolves! That life wasn’t fulfilling to me. I felt confused and honestly disappointed most of the time! BUT I learned SO much. Literally I can’t even explain how much I learned!
Everyday at work, my mind would drift off to the “easier” days of college. But, I got through it and learned SO much about myself, my drive and what I was capable of from my time at WSI. Drew was transfered to the UT, Air Force office and I picked up, and moved a month before our wedding to be with him (it’s easier for my to relocate my work than the US Government..ya know!). A week before our wedding, we found out that Drew was cleared for his secondary training in Florida. He left for 5 months, just 2 weeks after we were married. That was incredibly hard. You military wives & families out there know how hard this is. I was doing my best to cheer him on and support his everyday because this was his dream! It was hard though, I was living by myself with Moose in a city where I knew no one, working freelance and starting my freelance career. I took the leap and it worked!
We packed up when we could move to be with Drew and headed to FLORIDA. I never thought I would say the words “I live in Florida.”. Growing up in the Bay Area, Florida is just so far away that I never thought that is where my life would take me!
SO here we are! I am a week away from my 24th birthday, close to moving back across the country again, my parents sold my childhood home and moved to Montana full time. Drew and I have been talking about where we see ourself in the years to come, and to be completely honest, I just see a big blank grey space. Where will I be? I don’t know! But I have loved the challenges that have come with where I am now, and know that great things are in my future!
It’s hard, but its been an amazing journey to see where my life goes with the skills that I have. Letting go can be really hard, and it is something that I work on daily, but it’s also the most amazing thing in the world!