Saturday, September 1, 2018

Golden State of Mind.


September has finally arrived. We are about to jump into the season of pumpkin everything, turkey day tablescapes, and best of all the magical holiday season! This Summer has been one for the books. We spent time in The Hamptons, Southern California, Manhattan, and New Jersey this year. I am incredibly grateful for the memories that were made as well as the experiences that we had throughout the past few months. 

Last month my family and I took a big family vacation to Southern California. Although we used to live in South Orange County (Shout out to Ladera Ranch) we never actually did the tourist experiences when we lived there. We decided to go back and soak up the sunshine. We had a blast and the trip was full of laughter, good food, the beach, and my amazing family.  

We spent the first few days of the trip at Disneyland where we lived on churros, pineapple dole whips, and all of the Disney treats you could think of. Our family LOVES Disney and I'm so glad that we were able to spend a few days here because the last time I was at Disneyland was when we lived there in 2006. Just like New York, Disney is always a good idea! 

The next leg of the trip was spent in Venice Beach. My mom found this incredible cottage to stay at for the rest of the week. We were greeted with a quaint house that was one of the original houses in Venice and built in 1912. Very neat to stay in such an old house that was part of history in the town. We stayed right down the street from Abbot Kinney Boulevard. This was the first time I spent time in Venice and I fell in love with this Abbot Kinney street. The street is lined with cute places to eat such as "Lemonade" and "The Butcher's Daughter." My favorite part of the street was all of the cute stores that had such amazing treasures. I got some organic cotton sweatpants that are camo print as well as some crystals from "Mystic Journey" bookstore. I could have spent hours in that bookstore with all of the amazing crystals, books, cards, and much more. If you are in the area, I highly recommend this shop. The girls in there are so sweet and even helped sage my crystals before I left so that I didn't carry any negativity or previously charged intentions home with me. 

Venice Beach also is famous for all of their street artwork. This work is everywhere and it just made me feel so inspired. Every wall you turned was different and each artist had a different style or technique. Check out some of the shots that I took while I was walking around the city below.






































Every time I go to California I get inspired. I get inspired by the people, the art, the ocean, and more. I hope that these photos also gave you inspiration for you to live in whatever way ignites the fire within your soul!


Sunday, June 17, 2018

There goes my hero. . .

Happy Father’s Day! Today is all about celebrating the man that has been my number one since day one. He is one of the greatest human beings and he is the best father and husband. I decided to bring to you today, my dad:


1.    What made you fall in love with Mom? 
She laughed at my dumb jokes!  Actually, we were friends before we ever started dating.  We worked together waiting tables while your mom was in college and I was waiting to leave for the Navy.  To answer your question directly, we started off as friends, and have always had great communication - even 27 years later!  Your mom is pretty witty.  She makes me laugh as much as I make her laugh.  We actually enjoy each other’s company.  We're not going to be that old couple you see at a restaurant, not speaking to each other. We'll be that couple in the corner making fun of that couple!
2.    What were your immediate thoughts when you learned that you were going to be a father? What about the first moments of fatherhood? 
I was so excited and scared at the same time.  As usual, I wanted everything to be perfect for you and mom, and given the situation of being deployed on a regular basis, I wanted to make sure I was there every second.
Wow...the first moments were very emotional for me.  First thought was, "we sure made a pretty baby!"  I had experience with babies since I was so involved with my niece (Jessica), and committed at that point that I was going to be 100% involved every step of the way, which I still strive to be today.

3.    What inspires you? What keeps you going?
You 3 girls inspire me to work hard and provide the best possible life I could for you.  At the same time, I wanted to lead by example in showing you girls that you can accomplish anything you want, as long as you're willing to put the work in to get it.  I carry a quote in my briefcase - "Don't be upset about the results you didn't get, from the work you didn't do."
Again, your mom and I had an agreement that she would take care of our business under the roof (home) so I could take care of my career, in turn taking care of the family.  Make no mistake, I would not be where I am today if mom and I did not have such a healthy partnership. We make a pretty good team!

4.    What is one piece of life advice that you want everyone to know? 
Listen before you speak.  Earn before you spend. Think before you act. Try before you quit. Live before you die. And, most importantly, do something every day to make someone laugh.

5.    Lastly, how has fatherhood changed you? 
I'm a better person because of fatherhood.  I love you girls more than you'll ever know (until you have kids of your own). The greatest gift I can ever give you girls is to believe in you!  What I mean by that is that fatherhood didn't change me.  You girls challenged me to be the best version of a father I could be.

I want to thank my dad for doing this interview with me and for allowing everyone to see the kind of man my father is and always has been. I have been the luckiest girl in the world and I am so grateful that I get to call him my dad. Happy Father’s day out there to the ones that do it all, to the moms who have to play both roles, and finally to the men that always put their children first. Stay tuned for more upcoming interviews, I can’t wait to share what I have been working on.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

I Got it From My Mama!



Happy Sunday and Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mamas out there. I hope that you started your day with breakfast in bed or even maybe a massage along the way. Today, I have a special guest on the blog. This woman is strong, funny, loyal, smart, and beautiful. If you haven’t guessed it by now, it is my mom. I decided to give you a snapshot of my life growing up as well as provide you with some great advice!

D: Hi Mom! Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for ‘Elephant Shoes’. I wanted to ask you a series of questions about motherhood, love, and life. My first question is, what made you fall in love with Dad? 
Ha! Well, your dad as you know is very funny and always makes me laugh. My grandmother had once told me it was important to find a man that can keep you laughing because life has several challenges and in the end, the laughter will get you through those challenges. Your dad’s good looks were just a bonus. Was it love at first sight?YES, actually it was. The moment he introduced himself I felt a tiny ping and a little spark of energy when our hands shook. Your dad is quite the gentleman so he introduced himself properly when we first met. 

D: That’s beautiful! I love that! Since it is Mother’s Day, how did becoming a mother change you?
Oh my, well having you, my first born changed my entire focus of life to you. You became my everything. It was literally just you and me for most of your first year of life. Your dad being in the USN and having to go back to Kuwait he had to leave us in Hawaii (he was stationed at Pearl Harbor, HI) alone. He was only with us 7 weeks of that first year. But “duty called” so I made the best of it. I believe our bond grew strong at this time. We depended on each other. 

D: For my ES Family if you do not know I have two beautiful younger sisters. If you could choose just one piece of advice about life, what would you say? To all three of us girls as well as all of the other amazing women out there?
This is a difficult one only because there are so many things I’d like to give advice on. But I’ll try to keep it short. Be YOU, be who YOU want to be! Look out for yourself, learn to be alone (happiness begins within), listen to your older generation, not because they’re smarter but because they’ve lived longer and gone through life’s challenges. The older generations can teach us a lot. Always listen to your intuition, if something feels “off” it is. LIVE life! How YOU feel about yourself is what matters not how others judge you. RELAX, take life in strides, TRAVEL and lastly set goals and do not deviate from those goals. Ask yourself when making decisions, “Will this get me to my goal?”.

D: Is there one thing that you wish you have discovered about yourself or about life that you wish you would have learned sooner?
Absolutely, I wish I would’ve figured out years ago to simply relax and choose my battles more wisely. I have learned this now. And to not be concerned by judgment from others, it’s truly not about me it’s about them. Hard lesson

D: Last but certainly not least, when Maci, Rilee, and I become mothers one day, what is the biggest mom advice you will give us?
Choose your battles, life will be simpler. 

Photo by Jessica Adkins of Aravaggio Photography.

I want to thank my mom for doing this interview with me. As I grow older I love my mom more and more each day. I probably call her 3-4 times a day and she is ALWAYS there for my sisters and I. She is an incredible human being and I thank my lucky stars every day to have not one but two amazing parents. This sounds cliché but I am SO GRATEFUL for them and all that they have done and sacrificed for our family. They have been wonderful role models and I am so blessed to be able to call them my parents.

For all of the wonderful mamas out there I want you to know how strong, beautiful, and amazing you are. Not just today but every day! You are the rocks in your family, the glue that holds things together, and the most amazing woman! Although I am not a mom yet (besides my two fur babies) I think that motherhood is probably one of the most difficult but rewarding jobs out there. Cheers to you today and every day! 

Monday, May 7, 2018

The Brunch Series Tour Dallas.





Happy May my lovely friends! I recently attended an amazing workshop called "The Brunch Series." This incredible event was brought to you by Danika Brysha, Chef Bill Haley, and their 200 lb Mastiff, Kingsley. Danika Brysha is a beautiful model for IMG Models, Founder and CEO of Model Meals, and creator of The Brunch Series Tour. Chef Bill Haley is a private chef and also a model for IMG Models. They started this Brunch Series event out of their home in Costa Mesa, California and decided to take it on the road all over the country and Canada for the rest of 2018. 

The Brunch Series Tour is an event filled with like-minded women who are ready to create their best lives possible. The second I walked into this event I was filled with love, kindness, and respect. I decided to go to this event alone and I am so glad that I did. Anytime you are going anywhere alone it can definitely be a little daunting, especially with other women. I was so taken back by all of the immediate vibes of women supporting other women. I knew the day was going to be great when I walked in while the song "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield was playing- cue all of my Lauren Conrad and "The Hills" dreams. Danika met me with a huge hug and all of the ladies were crowded around the bulletproof matcha station and sitting in the amazing tent. Meanwhile, Chef Bill was rocking it out in the kitchen with the amazing brunch spread. 

If you haven't figured it out by now I was there to have an awakening. I was there to meet like-minded women in my community, I was there to learn the Self-Care checklist that Danika uses, and most of all I was there to find inspiration within myself. After that sunny Sunday, I found all of that and more. 

The beginning of the day began with some of the best bulletproof matcha that I have ever had, meeting all of the amazing souls, and a few exercises to break the ice. It was incredible being in the tent with all of these women who were there to do the self-work and they were there to be a better version of themselves. I met other bloggers, lawyers, psychiatrists, business owners, incredible mamas, and just overall women not to be underestimated. We did not sing Kumbaya or hold hands and dance around a fire. We did, however, do work. We dug deep down into the crevices and we were able to pull out love for ourselves. We discussed how important it is to have affirmations or some sort of phrase that you say on a daily basis about what you are, who you are, and what you would like to manifest. One of the affirmations that stood out to me was: "I carry nothing that doesn't serve me-physically, emotionally or spiritually"-Danika Brysha.

The next part of our day was discussing the Self-Care checklist that Danika practices. Danika came up with this checklist for daily accountability and an action plan to paint your best life. In all honesty, this is one of the main activities I was most excited about. I have been following Danika online through Instagram for almost a year now and I saw her practicing her self-care checklist. I was immediately intrigued by what this was and how she incorporated this into her day-to-day life.  I took an excerpt from the workbook that we received that was written by Danika: 
"What is a self-care checklist?"
"The self-care checklist is a tool I created for daily accountability towards your best possible life. It is an action plan that allows you to take daily baby steps to build a big picture. It starts and ends your day with positive thinking, manifestations, clarity, and self-love." 
"What does the checklist include?"
"1. Top to-do's: These are the tasks that are weighing heavily on you. You can pick a max of THREE. This helps us to prioritize without feeling overwhelmed.
2. Monthly Challenge: Something new each month to challenge you. Start by eliminating the thing you know is holding you back or incorporating the thing you know will make a huge difference for you. 
3. Daily routine elements: These are daily things that you do to keep your body, mind, and soul in a healthy place. These are often monthly challenges that are completed and have turned into daily practice" 
All words in quotes above are from the workbook that we received at The Brunch Series and were written by Danika Brysha. I simply wanted to share her knowledge with my readers to give you a better idea of the self-care checklist. These words do not belong to me and I am crediting Danika Brysha. Please feel free to follow her on her social media platforms to learn more.

I've created my self-care checklist and I have been using it for about three weeks now. I've started my mornings with my self-care checklist and a big cup of bulletproof coffee or matcha. The time that I have been taking for myself first thing in the morning has been absolutely life-changing. I have loved spending this time with myself first thing in the morning and really getting down to my feelings and how I am feeling that day. I use this time to manifest, I use this time to meditate, but most of all I use this time to take care of myself. In my opinion, I think that self-care and self-love are so important and we all need to take the time, even if it is just five minutes to focus on ourselves. I know I have touched on this before but as women, we constantly have at least 12 different tabs open in our heads. We need to use our self-care time to let those tabs go and really be in the moment. After have incorporated this practice into my life I have seen a monumental difference in myself. I am not as foggy, I am more alert, and I am using this time to truly manifest what I would like to have for my future. 

We began the end of our day with a delicious brunch by Chef Bill. The food was super simple but full of so much flavor. Everything was gluten-free, dairy-free, and all organic. We had a green salad with heirloom tomatoes and avocado, scrambled eggs, baked sweet potato hash with quinoa and other veggies, fall off the bone cilantro lime chicken, and some amazing fruit. Everything was absolutely delicious and I am still dreaming of that meal. 

After lunch and snapping a few pictures we went back into the tent. We ended the day on a high note. We promised to continue the safe space that we had as a group. We did an exercise where we wrote a bio about our future self. This was a very neat exercise where we wrote out who we wanted to be and what we wanted to manifest in our future best self. The conversations that we all had together was a great way for us to solidify the relationships that we made throughout the day. I am incredibly grateful for my time with these amazing women and boss babes. I am also so thankful for Danika to have created this event where like-minded women can come together as a community and do the work internally to help us live our best lives. If you would like to learn more about this event or when they might be coming to your area, please check out her website here. You can also check out their Instagram platforms that are full of tips, tricks, and their journey across the country bringing The Brunch Series to this amazing world: 




Since it is a new month I challenge you to take some time and write out your self-care checklist. If you would like you can email me at dakotah@dakotahsocial.com if you have any questions. I am certainly not the creator of this amazing checklist but I can definitely share with you how I have used it in my day to day life. You can also comment below with some of your ideas that you are thinking about putting on your checklist, I can't wait to read them! 




Sunday, April 8, 2018

So Matcha Love.


Spring has sprung, April is here, and the allergies are at an all-time high here in Dallas (Where is the Zyrtec?!)! Today, I bring to you some self-care tips that have helped me a lot through the past several weeks since I've applied them in my daily life. I recently did a guest blog post for "Women's Leadership LIVE," you can check that out here. WLL is a community of women that are business owners and entrepreneurs and I'm so grateful to have been asked to write a guest blog post.

In this post, I wrote out six steps that you can use as a guide to ensure that you are being mindful of your thoughts and intentions. This topic had me thinking about how important it is to have rituals or a self-care schedule to help keep my mind clear and my energy even clearer.
Having rituals and a schedule in place the past few weeks have truly been life changing. I decided to make small adjustments to my schedule and I am finally seeing some of the positive changes. Be sure to check them out below:

No social media, email, and endless scrolling right when I wake up. 
I use this time to really set my intentions for the day and use this time to say five things I am truly grateful for at that very moment. Every day this can be different things but it is a nice way to start your day with gratitude vs. anxiety and mindless social media updates.
Being mindful of water consumption. 
Water is extremely important in so many different areas of your life including health, happiness, and well-being. Water is great for draining your body full of toxins, weight-loss, healthier skin and better complexion. Who doesn’t want all of that and more!?
Simple stretching. 
Stretching is great for your muscles, relaxation, and just simply to get your body moving. I am loving my routine of stretching before bed and really winding down, especially from wearing all of the fabulous shoes that women tend to own.
Reading!
Lately, I have really been making it a point to read at least a chapter of one of the books that I am currently in the middle of. I am obsessing over “The Universe has your Back.” By Gabrielle Bernstein. This book is incredible and I am loving all of the points that she makes. I can’t wait to finish this one.
Taking my time with skincare in the morning and at night.
If you know me personally, you know that I am completely obsessed with skincare and I avoid the sun at all cost. I have at least 65 SPF on my skin at all times. This has been extremely important to me nearly my whole life and this is the one thing that I preach to everyone. By focusing on this easy and simple part of my day it has allowed me to really step my game up lately and see the subtle changes. 



Hopefully, these small changes that I made in my life will help you and allow you to think about the small changes you can make in your life. I have used the mindset that if I make small easy changes first then I can work my way towards larger goals to achieve. Either way, I will almost always be working my way towards one goal or another throughout my life. If you decided to make any small changes in your life be sure to comment below, I can’t wait to start reading and getting even more inspiration.