Women Helping Other Women – Guest Post by Brittany Larsen

Ahh the internet. That magical place where you can follow your high school classmates without having actually seen them in real life for ten years. When Brittany Larsen, who I was so jealous of in high school because she had a magical soprano voice, posted on her Facebook that she was starting a community for working women I knew I wanted to be involved. Never mind we haven’t seen each other since 2007.

Her new project supports women in all paths and her rallying cry to support one another as women is SO NEEDED in this world. I sent her an email and boom – another connection. She was so kind to feature me on her new blog and I’m happy to share her beautiful message with you – the first guest post of 2018. To women!

Author: Brittany Larsen


I have always found beauty in things that are rare. I love finding what is different and seeking out the unique. I like to consider myself a connector and I love to find the links between people and their interests. This prompt got me thinking about what I consider to be beautiful, and I’ve realized what makes me feel beautiful is when I lift the people around me and find meaningful connections with them.

One thing I felt I struggled with growing up was maintaining uplifting female relationships, which is ironic given that I know Katie from High School and we just recently connected after a decade, so maybe I wasn’t as bad at it as I thought. When I got to college, I decided that I was going to focus on encouraging the women around me. I was in a predominantly female program (Broadcast Journalism) and it was extremely competitive. I wanted to figure out what made my fellow students tick and encourage them. For too long I felt like I had been competitive with the women in my life because of my artistic endeavors, so I learned a lot by trying to avoid gossip in my college years. At times this approach cost me friendships or “popularity,” which took some getting used to. But I persisted and tried to find the higher ground whenever I could.

In my first job out of college I struggled with this concept of lifting the women around me. I realized that working in a real career unfortunately had a lot more in common with my junior high experience than I had anticipated, and it likely didn’t help that I worked in politics. I quickly learned that back biting and negativity in the workplace were more common than I would’ve thought, especially from my female colleagues. I was frustrated with myself when I would get caught up in talking about things that just didn’t matter. Again, I had a choice to seek out the rare by finding women who would help and guide me, and women I could trust. I also had to choose to rise above the negativity. More than anything, I learned how to fight for myself and the women around me in a professional way. I am still not even close to being perfect at avoiding the stereotypes of working with women, which is why I have had to make a conscious effort to avoid negativity in my female relationships.

Here are a few ideas that you can start with right now that have helped me combat the stereotypes of women working with each other:

  1. Today, write a thank you note to a female mentor and express your gratitude for how she’s guided you. This can be a teacher, former manager, peer, etc.
  2. Publicly acknowledge a woman that you work with in a meeting for her ideas.
  3. Text an encouraging quote to a friend struggling with her career path.
  4. Next time you hear someone say something negative about a female coworker, find a way to redirect to one of her positive attributes or just change the subject.
  5. Stop yourself next time you make a snap judgement about a woman you work with or a friend’s career choices.
  6. When a friend posts about a new job on social media, congratulate them for their success.

It is truly a beautiful thing when women fight for each other, instead of against each other. This is one of the main reasons I recently started Livlyhood; a community for women who work.


Women are already so naturally hard on themselves and I’m firm on the idea that we don’t need any negativity coming from each other. I’ve learned through trial and error that women can unfortunately be our own worst enemies. We don’t lose anything by positively recognizing the efforts of those around us, especially at work. In my current professional role, I manage a team of primarily female professionals and I constantly remind the women I work with that we have more in common with each other than what may be seen on the surface. I am so proud when they stand up for each other and positively encourage each other.

With Livlyhood, I hope to continue to shine a spotlight on my beautiful connections (both inside and out) and to share what they’ve taught me. Every woman is worthy of positive relationships, even in the workplace. The glorious thing is that we don’t have to be best friends to be kind to each other. I hope to contribute in a way that makes what is currently rare and make it commonplace… women helping each other climb the ladder of success in their careers.


Brittany Larsen is an experienced communications professional with an extensive background in crisis communications and public relations. She currently leads the Public Relations Department at The Summit Group.

You can also find her here.

Twitter: @brittlesser  Instagram: @larsenlivlyhood


On This Side of Heaven

I haven’t seen her in probably ten years. Facebook keeps me updated on the good stuff, although most recently, she has been bravely sharing updates from her family. Tough stuff. The agonizing process of saying good-bye.

Her family sits tonight, holding hands, because her dad just died.

I don’t know the intimate details and I don’t know how they are feeling – although I can take a gut-wrenching guess. Her dad died.

It just feels like shit.

I lit a candle for them tonight and send love and light because sometimes that’s what feels best.  Flames flicker burning brightly across the darkness.

Sometimes it just feels like there is so much darkness.

I had coffee with a dear friend this afternoon who is doing amazing work with refugees in Bangladesh. A crisis. It’s a crisis of magnificent proportion over there. She writes about her perspective training volunteers and bravely engaging in things most of us prefer to ignore. Her career has been in development work, traveling with students and caring hearts – people eager to make a difference in third world countries. She is used to seeing poverty on a global scale, yet nothing prepared her for the suffering she saw in that place.

I asked how the weight of this work is affecting her faith over a five dollar chai. She responded with many wise words, but this sentence struck me. Jenny, forgive me as I’m going to paraphrase.

She said, ” In the midst of all this suffering, I’ve come to realize, not all healing will be done on this side of heaven.”

The wisest thing anyone has said to me about grief, about suffering, about the mysterious questions we yell at God in our pain.

So much darkness, and yet so much hope. It’s a pendulum, I’ve learned, as I’ve leaned into my own suffering. Sometimes we go deep, deep into the darkness and sit there and scratch and ache and hurt.

Time passes and we can start to swing back to the other side. Hope that in heaven these so heavy pains will be healed.

We breath again, and see speckles of light in the shadows. Friends hold your hands and stroke your hair and invite you into fresh air if only for a brief, glinting moment. And you realize that somethings will never return to the way they once were.

I remember the moment I realized that other people were simply living their lives on March 18, 2016 – the day my dad died. The day life as I knew it stopped.

It was a year and a half later when I was reading Lauren Graham’s book Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between). Those famous actors and crew filmed the last episode of the Gilmore Girls revival the day my dad died. I was crying and staring and stopping and shocked while they filmed the last episode of my favorite t.v. show. They were living in joy, accomplishment, celebration, and success. I hadn’t even stopped to consider that other people were just doing their thing when all of my things came crumbling down.

And this afternoon, I was drinking chai and shopping and driving home while my friend’s dad died. That’s how it works on this side of heaven. While you are feeling joy, others are suffering. While you suffer, others feel joy.

Even more reason for us to be gentle in this great big ol’ world.

Oh, how I wonder what it looks like on the other side.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash


If you’re feeling joy, light, and brightness I invite you to share your good. Send me a brief description of the good in your world, and I’ll share it here. Details on the Give Light Giveaway can be found here.

If you’re suffering, know that there is grace in the darkness, and a hand to be held. We see you. We light a candle for you. We share our light.

When Friends Take You Grocery Shopping

Life has brought me into a new season. A five letter word. A season of grief.

Previously, I have experienced loss in several capacities. I’ve said good-bye to my grandfather, and watched my childhood friend say good-bye to her father when he lost his five year battle with cancer three years ago.

Never have I experienced, however, the crippling shock that results from loss on a deeply personal level. When I received the call that my dad had passed unexpectedly, the first thing that came into my mind was the song lyric from Baz Luhrmann’s “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen.” Well, maybe not the first thing. But these words were certainly rolling around in the mess of thoughts and emotions that flooded my brain.

Luhrmann says, “Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind. The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. On some idle Tuesday.”

For me, it wasn’t a Tuesday. It was a Friday, and it was 3 pm.

If there is one thing I’ve learned in the last few weeks, talking about death, loss, and grief can make people feel pretty uncertain. I know this is about them, and not about me. However, it doesn’t feel great to watch how your own pain makes others twinge in discomfort, or inspire fear in how they, too, could experience such an event. Grandparents, those we expect to lose. Not your dad, at the age of 58, when he was seemingly healthy the night before.

As the weeks and months move forward without my dad, and I continue to process this change in my life, it is not my intention to make others uncomfortable or to be seeking sympathy.

Rather, I choose to dwell on the fact that stories of shared experience bring me comfort. Over the past few weeks I have had several people share with me that they, too, have lost their parents unexpectedly. Co-workers and high school classmates have shared their hearts and insights as to how they have moved forward to survive without their loved ones. And so I am choosing to share tid-bits of my experience here. Maybe my experience can bring you some comfort or something to relate to in your own journey. I now know that even in the midst of terrible loss, there is beauty to be found.


Rewind to two weeks ago. Thursday night. I had planned my meals for the week ahead as my mom and dad sat on my couch. We shared glasses of red wine and caught up on the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Jotting down what I needed to get at the grocery store on Saturday brought comfort and a small sense of accomplishment in getting ahead on regular tasks.

IMG_3667This damn grocery list has sat on my kitchen table for the last two weeks because with a flood of funeral obligations, family time, and throat-aching sobs, I did not find the time to make it to the store.

Plus, the outpouring of support from our family and friends allowed our freezers to be full of casserole, lasagna, and breakfast burritos. Chores as mundane as grocery shopping quickly fell to the back burner.

However, as we marked the two week anniversary, it became pretty apparent that grocery shopping was necessary. Yet, the list continued to sit on the table. It can be challenging to return to routine after such a shock. At times, the thought of every day life just feels like too much.

On Friday evening, I had the blessing of two girlfriends coming down to join me for a meal out. After eating and drinking and discussing our lives, we decided to skip on dessert and make brownies at home. We had to stop at the store to get a boxed batch of promised, gooey, deliciousness.

Both of my friends insisted on returning to my house to get my list – the neglected reminder of my last night with my dad. I hesitated and said I could manage by myself, later in the weekend, but they insisted. Pissed, I grabbed my grocery bags and got back in the car, quietly feeling scared of undergoing such a task. My dear, gentle friends followed me around the brightly-lit aisles, put items in my cart, and helped me complete one of my first attempts at returning to normalcy.

Because that’s the thing when you lose a loved one – life continues, trash needs to be taken out, and you return to work, but picking out peanut butter can be a gut wrenching experience. The presence of these two women in a King Soopers on a Friday night was the most beautiful example of ‘showing up’ and letting me be me I have witnessed in my experience with grief.

Thank you to my dear, beautiful friends who have shown up in so many ways over the past few weeks. Thank you for wiping my tears, reminding me of love through candles and journals and phone calls with sobs, for bringing us Easter hams, and sending chocolates from across the world. For the cards, the flowers, the sentiments, and the continued communication of love and support as we move forward. Friends are the most beautiful things.

What are your experiences with grief? How have you moved forward? Do you find sharing your stories is comforting, scary, or even allowed?


Giant Spit

Some weeks don’t always feel that astounding. There are hundreds of meditations about living in the pause and accepting the breaks, the ordinary and the routine. This week, I didn’t particularly feel all that wonderful as I continue to go through the motions of life, asking questions of myself along the way.

What am I doing to better love myself? How do I cultivate peace? How do I sort through what I am best at, and then recognize the contributions that I want to make in this world?

When I write those statements down, I suppose they are anything but mundane and ordinary. They are big, monstrous questions with evolving solutions that we can only live our way into. I have been dwelling in the murky answers to these thoughts, and did not feel particularly inspired to reflect on beauty.

Then I read this post by my cousin-in-law and remembered that yes, each day, there is something to appreciate.

I’m going to go list format for this week’s beautiful things with one exception. Right now  extensive, tied-together narrative feels too cumbersome to create.

This week, beauty was found in:

  • Homemade Happy Hour – on Sunday my dad put together a beautiful plate of olives and cheese, and crackers with rosemary and hummus. We sat and nibbled off our little white plates while sipping red wine and shared laughter together. I loved how the shiny colors of the dark green and black olives paired well with the soft, yellow hues of the serving platter. Finger foods are delightful, and taking time to enjoy snacks is a beautiful thing.
  • Sunshine – once again, for a day in late February, I was shocked and grateful for the warm weather and cascading rays of sun that made my Saturday enjoyable. I will forever be grateful for Colorado sunshine.
  • Support – from mentors, from friends, from family. Sometimes, all you need is someone to hold your hand and say “Everything is going to be ok.” It is beautiful to bask in an extension of love and support that you can feel radiating throughout your soul when you seek connection.

Also, in an effort to acknowledge imperfection, I want to let you know that the hot tub we ‘inherited’ is causing a rather hilarious predicament. I have shared our adventures with the hot tub before, and the journey continues. Something is off with our water chemistry and as Dylan and I set out to clean the beast this weekend, we were met with an overwhelming display of well, blue foam. This is not how hot tubs are supposed to react. When it looks like a giant spit his toothpaste into your Aqua Spa, you do not want to enter that steaming pit of water.


We will continue to work on it. Drain the tub, begin again. Add more chemicals and a defoamer agent.  Like all things, progress not perfection. Find something to laugh about and eat an olive – ok?


Wow! A Nomination

Isn’t blogging space fun? And weird, and kinda vulnerable? You never know who is out there reading your stuff. I was encouraged today because I noticed some are reading and liking what they see. I got nominated for an award! Yay! So, I’m bombarding your inbox twice today, but what can you do. Read below and I’m making up for those lost weeks in January way back at the beginning.

Thank you to Chelsea, at The Chelsea Page for nominating me for the ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD. Neato!

The One Lovely Blog Award recognizes blogs considered to be lovely, written by bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to connect with their viewers and followers. The nominees are chosen by fellow bloggers, and the nominations are presented to new and up-and-coming bloggers. The purpose of the award is to not only give recognition, but to help the new blogger reach more viewers as well.

If nominated, in order to “accept” the award, you must follow these guidelines:
* Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
* Add the One Lovely Blog logo image to your acceptance post.
* Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.
* Nominate other bloggers you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog.

7 facts about Me:

1. I was born orange. Carrot orange. Not an alien, just had no oxygen in my blood.
2. I really enjoy using things one at a time until they run out – pens, chapstick, nail polish – I’m rather OCD
3. I am an older sister.
4. I ran cross country in high school because it was the only no-cut sport. I always finished last on our team in races.
5. Mashed potatoes are my favorite food.
6. Alice in Wonderland is my favorite Disney movie.
7. I never ate meatloaf growing up. Never.

Isn’t it fun thinking about yourself. And now, for thinking about others. I nominate the following blogs!

Girl on the Contrary – her short little blips of info each post are funny and quirky and so spot on.

Kathleen Bean – this lovely lady was my mentor in college whom I still call upon for wisdom, laughs and support. Her honest approach to parenting and life is so refreshing.

Mikey is in My Kitchen – Can you say yum? This gal is so great at reflecting on life and talking about how food brings us joy and comfort. I love her recipes and thoughts.

Allison Ramsing – Her site looks so great! I aspire to make my blog looks so professional. And she writes with her husband, how neat. I love the appreciation for the ordinary celebrations in life and honesty about life’s ups and downs.

Stepping Stones – my sweet friend and I have very similar approaches to life. We walk together through all kinds of things and her generous heart pours out in this space. Check her out.

Welp, there you have it. Some inspiration for the day, and a grateful heart for a bit of promotion in this big thing called cyberspace.

If you accept this nomination please read the rules under the picture above. Pay it forward yo – pass it on

Blown Away

I’m almost afraid to say it. Things seem to be going smoothly, people getting along, and I’m basking in the support of others. Support that I thought maybe had ended due to doors closing, differences in lifestyle choices, friends moving away. Funny how when you ask the universe for something sometimes you have to wait, and sometimes answers come flooding in faster than you can say thank you. I feel like it’s flooding, and I’m floating, today, on the good.

As you can imagine, planning a wedding is well, expensive. Even when you try to get family involved and do things yourselves. And, as a self admitted control freak about funds, this has been well, uncomfortable. Dylan, my mom, my loved ones continue to tell me to relax, to trust in God’s provision, and to allow myself to use my resources wisely. I’m trying. But in my freak out moments I scream (metaphorically of course) I can figure it out! And so I put out a call to some of my friends offering up babysitting services. And I got a response and this week had the most beautiful experience with two little girls – ages three and one.

It was Friday afternoon and I was pooped and regretting the metaphorical scream and call to action and wishing I had just said no so I could go home and drink a beer and relax because I knew the weekend would be full. I put on my big girl panties and drove across town to a family I hadn’t previously met, and settled in to babysit for the night. We went through the routine – some games, some books, some mac and cheese and I was having fun. But as I cleaned up dinner and took those little girls outside to play I was blown away by the simple pleasure of bubbles (no pun intended). Do you know how fascinating those little soap suds are to little kids? When is the last time you let yourself watch those magical orbs grow and expand and float like they have no cares in the world. We took the wands filled with soap and spun in circles, playing on the grass, pursing our lips and getting covered in spit. Up unto that point, that bubble blowing experience was the highlight of my week. I hope they invite me back. I think I want to add bubble festival to my bucket list – that’s got to be happening somewhere in this country right? If not, maybe I’ll start one.

Saturday was my bridal shower. I woke up early – I was nervous – about what I can’t exactly pin down, but you know, I don’t love being the center of attention. I was overwhelmed, however, by how many people showed up to share their love and support and advice during this time of preparation for marriage. Does anyone else ever have anxiety that if you invite people they might not show up? Like if you plan a birthday party with all of your favorite things and worry, just maybe, no one else will want to partake in what you love? I was a little nervous about that. Again, however, I was blown away by how many women from different stages of my life showed up to say, “we love you, we are thankful we get to walk with you through this time, and we love that you are so in love” WHEWWEEE – isn’t that what we all want? To be loved and accepted and showered with good wishes. It was a great day – to those who participated – thank you, thank you.

What came of this too, was freedom to extend myself to old connections and say even though we are in different places, with different schedules and priorities I still care about you. I said it to my friends, they said it to me, and even if we were together for just a few hours, I felt immensely loved. And surrounded by pink, and by cupcakes, and by accessories that will help build my new life.

And someone bought us the gnome! (Don’t know what I’m talk about? Click Here) We started a hashtag #hueygnome so you can follow his adventures.

What blows you away in good ways? What are you asking for from the universe? What do you wish you hadn’t asked for?

And for those looking for a laugh I strongly recommend this little clip – the song has been stuck in my head ALL WEEK: