Random Thoughts of the Day

                   (Photo by Linsey)

Danny & I have been shopping in Cuenca lately for the Pop-Up Shops for the blog’s #HolidayServiceProject. We’re hoping to have a few new items soon! Also, I’ve been super inspired by all the people out there doing hugely compassionate things for humanity right now. For example, check out this sweet ACLU Bake Sale With Kids in Brooklyn. Of course, there’s loads of horrifying stuff going on in our country, too, which makes my heart heavy. But I’m trying with all I’ve got to stay focused on this quote: “Do all the good you can, for all the people you can, in all the ways you can, as long as ever you can.”

We’ve been working on our plans to move back to New York. We’ve had big decisions before us (do we stay in our condo or try to get a new place…?) We’ve been working on all these logistics to see what’s possible. And it’s been rather agonizing trying to figure it all out (especially from another country.) I’ll let you know once things actually unfold. Though I’ve noticed our plans have rarely been solid for the last 3 years. When you don’t have traditional jobs or kids, life doesn’t get pinned down as usual.

Let’s talk amazing eyebrows. Is it just me or are you in awe of so many thick eyebrows these days? Check out this amazing photo of Jordan Ferney. I just gasped when I saw this. So stunning. I’ve been trying to see if I could grow out my very blond, not-so-thick eyebrows a little. 🙂 Oh, my. lol. I probably won’t get much action. But I read that exfoliating them with a tooth brush or dry brush is great for hair growth. And you can use castor oil and rosemary essential oil on them to promote growth as well. So I’m giving that a try (minus the castor oil as I can’t find any.)

I’m going to the Women’s March on Washington January 21!!! I’ve never done anything like this. But it feels really important to go. My best girlfriends from Brooklyn are going, too. And we’re going to stand tall with the diverse women from all over the country. Why march? To come together as women who value love for all of humanity above all else. To send a message that racism and sexism and continued insults to human beings are not ok in this country. To send a message of solidarity and love to the targeted groups that are living in fear right now. To feel that much feminine energy in one place. To give love and to be loved. To feel community with likely over a million women and supporters. To experience an unbelievable force of good. To say: HEAR OUR VOICES – there is no true peace without equality and respect for all!

(photo from MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.)

We recently watched Les Misérables again, aka our favorite move of all time! We usually watch it when we need some major inspiration or grounding, so you could say we’ve needed that lately. It turns out that watching it in this current environment in our country was such a profound experience. It’s a story about political unrest, unjust systems, the mistreatment of women, poverty, forgiveness, redemption, the pervasiveness of love & compassion, and taking on a new identity. I highly recommend watching it soon! #DoYouHearThePeopleSing #WhoIAm #IDreamedADream

We decided to decorate a bit for Christmas this year. So I got some lights. And Danny taped up a tree on the day after the election. We also put $3 worth of red ball ornaments in one of our house plants. So it’s going to be really simple around here. But we’ll try to fill our mantel and staircase with eucalyptus leaves, from some nearby trees. And we’ve been diffusing oils of cassia (the best), pine, wild orange, clove, vanilla, and cinnamon bark. So we might feel a little Christmasy this year after all!

If you have any thoughts, it’s always fun to hear from you! I’ll see you in the comments! XOXO

With Love,


P.S. Buy your embroidered blouse from Ecuador HERE!
Reminder: Love+Happiness Mentoring Sessions between now and Christmas will send $150 to a refugee camp.


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  1. Katy DeBardelaben November 23, 2016 at 3:25 am - Reply

    Two questions ran through my mind as I read this post.

    1.) Doesn't this political climate make you want to stay away?! I can't tell you how many times a day I wonder "what if we have to move? What if it gets so bad that we have to leave the country?" I kind of envy having the open ended options to move where ever you want to that you guys have.

    2.) are you getting in as many Facebook fights with family members as I am? Lol jk jk, that's not your style I know, but seriously how are you handling the family members who voted for him?

    • Katy DeBardelaben November 23, 2016 at 3:29 am - Reply

      Oh and also I've been growing out my eyebrows and I'm finally nearing the end of the awkward stage and definitely loving what I'm seeing! I have the same color hair as you, so there's hope for you yet! Ha 😉

    • mara November 23, 2016 at 1:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Katy!
      1) good question. So, we've been away for so long that I'm still very anxious to get back. Also, NYC is a place of love and acceptance – and there's always tons of advocacy work happening in the communities. Now more than ever. It's just stunning how people mobilize. So I'm excited to get back to that. Also, every country will have its issues. And actually, here in Ecuador, there is rampant racism, sexism even worse than in the states, major classism, crippling authoritarianism and patriarchy, rampant abuse of women (7 out of 10 experience domestic violence), and a major lack of education (and even those educated are disadvantaged as in general the schools are terrible). Anyway, this has been hard to be around for so long and I'm ready to get back to my roots. Even with all the absolute crap happening in the states, we still have it pretty good. Though who knows – maybe living in Canada or New Zealand or Sweden would be even better – but after so much time away I long to be in a place that feels like home.

    • mara November 23, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      2) We both have family members who voted Trump. Though none of them have been open about that on social media except for one uncle of mine. And I actually haven't communicated much with my family over this. Mostly because my relationship with my Trump voting parents has been strained lately already as it turns out they feel I am an apostate, tempted by the devil for leaving the Mormon church, clearly sinning in some grave way and therefore unable to face God, on the "wrong" side, a detriment to Danny and a possible reason for him to divorce me! So, there's that. And it's painful to see and to be around (though we're so far away at the moment so interactions have been very scarce.) Anyway, I know this is their version of "love." And it's sad to see. Just as its sad to see the Trump version of America. I just go back to the idea that we all have different values. And we have them because of our own experiences, fears, and opportunities for adult development and also our upbringings and influences and systems we're a part of. I get that this is what it is to be human. And just hope that in the end we continue to become more enlightened. Something good: this election has ruffled everyone. It is bringing so many deep American problems to the surface. I've never seen so many conversations about it. So hopefully this leads to something.

    • mara November 23, 2016 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      One more: how long did it take for your eyebrow growing stage?

      (Also, thx for the discussion!! Xo)

    • Katy DeBardelaben November 23, 2016 at 2:56 pm - Reply

      Man. Heavy stuff. (Except for the eyebrows which has taken a couple months of looking like I just gave up on myself, but now is looking much closer to intentional growth.) I'm so sorry to hear about your family's reaction to you leaving the church. I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised and that your family is accepting and loving no matter what. But, I guess this is really what I expected. You are so brave and honest, I think that is what I love most about you. Or one of the things at least. There are so many things to love about you. Thank you for your thoughts on this discussion. Thank you for putting in to perspective the political and societal problems Ecuador is facing and how relatively tame the US is in comparison, though we are devolving which is both sad and scary. And you are right, NYC is different for sure. i can't wait for you to get back to your roots.

  2. Anne November 23, 2016 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    Oof, Mara. My heart goes out to you. I wish you a lot of strength and love and that time will lead to healing.
    Also. I am so happy for you to having found home in New York and being able to return soon. I imagine Ecuador to be a mind and heart expanding experience, but home (at least to me) is one of a kind good for the soul.
    XO Anne

    • mara November 23, 2016 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Anne – so kind of you to say. And yes, mind and heart expanding is so good. But at the end of the day, a place to return to that feels like home is worth gold.

  3. Jean November 25, 2016 at 2:39 am - Reply

    I saw the ACLU Bake Sale on Jo's blog and the first person I thought of was you. I'm so glad you saw it too.

    My sister in law and her friends (some men) are also going to the march all the way from the west coast. I'm inspired.

    I'm so sorry you are going through such painful and heartbreaking times with your family. My heart broke as I read your words. But I want to give you a hug and tell you that you have such an amazing soul. Truly. You're one of those very special people in this world who rise above restriction and constraint. You are quite the light. I'm sure it doesn't feel that way all the time as you go about your day to day life, but I wanted to remind you that you are unique.

  4. green November 28, 2016 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    Oh Mara! So so rough. You are the essence of love and goodness and beauty, it is amazing that people can be so blind to truth. Oh well. Most of us see the true Mara and are awed by her.

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