on dating – intentionally.

i’ve had this post in drafts for a long time. half a year at least. i held off, let it marinate, wanted to make sure my feelings wouldn’t change.

they haven’t.

societally, i think we go about dating all wrong. people need to be self aware of who they are, what they stand for, and what, in their deepest heart of hearts, they want. and front load it. early. intense early.

anyway, here are my thoughts. i’ve got another post on intentional career paths and work/life balance in drafts, too, that i anticipate will be ready when i return to the work force in a couple months.

so i’ve got a new philosophy on dating.

i reflected on all of my past relationships. why did i fall for the people i did? why did the relationships not work?

and what i realized is that i (we?) do this dating thing all backward.

why: feel attracted to someone. go on a first date and learn their favorite cocktail. go on a second date and learn their favorite food. go on a third date and share a new experience… go on a sixth date and admit to catching feels. go on a seventh date and meet the best friends… go on a twentieth date and meet the parents…

and then end up, six months or six years later down the line, realizing you disagree on something fundamental that didn’t come up in conversation sooner? or, rewinding back a little, find out that your best friends and/or family hate the person you’ve been dating for weeks, months, years?

it’s setting yourself up for failure. you get attached to someone who is not the best fit.

why do it?

why focus on the little things – and date, and get attached – without first vetting a person objectively – and rigorously – to see if they’d make for an optimal partner?

it makes no. fucking. sense.

because then you find yourself in a difficult position. you need to make the hard decision of compromising or changing something you would not have wanted to in any other situation. making excuses for your partner to yourself. trying way too hard to make something work. staying with someone who isn’t the best match. or breaking heart(s).

so i’ve decided to do a social experiment.

i’m going to flip my script. i’m going to front load heavy topics.

on a first date, i will now absolutely ask: what relationship status you’re looking for – hookup or hopeful. if you want to raise your children with religion. your stance on politics. what your love languages are. how you approach finances. what your ambitions are. where you want to settle down.

in turn, i will tell you my flaws, all of the worst ones, and be completely, unapologetically myself. on a first date. fresh out the gates. if that doesn’t have you running, i’ll introduce you to my friends and family. early on. they need to be part of the vetting process. they know me better than i know myself, and if i choose you, they’re stuck with you.

moving forward, i want to be very intentional about this – front loading the important stuff. introducing the important people early.

crazy? just a little. hyper intense? absolutely.

will i scare people away? i hope so!! they’re the wrong ones.

and wishy washy answers? not going to cut it.

moving forward, there’s going to be a deadline. there will be expectations. i’ll read the situation. and if things aren’t working out, i’ll walk.

i’m getting too old for bullshit. honestly, any age is too old for bullshit. let’s all work together to eliminate some of it.

i’ve always believed that love can overcome almost anything. i still believe this.

if it’s the right person.

in the meantime – i’m going to be really fucking picky.


intentionally shawna

approaching social events intentionally.

everyone who knows me, knows i love my social life.

so, reorganizing my calendar has totally become a thing in the new year as i’ve worked on approaching life with intention.

there are a few different factors i’ve started to ask myself when taking events into consideration:

how much am i spending? (does attending this make sense financially? should i have to spend money every time i want to see this group of friends? is this a shallow friendship?)

who am i surrounding myself with? (do i even like these people? did this event yield valuable connections? could i have been a better version of myself in the presence of someone else?)

how am i investing my time and energy? (what is the opportunity cost to be at this event? am i expending energy in a healthy way, like in an exercise class outdoors, or am i finding my energy cramped in dark bar corners?)

am i learning anything new? (am i seeing a new play, am i listening to music from a new band, am i visiting a new art gallery, am i trying a new type of wine? am i learning about new tech, am i speaking different languages, am i trying a new hobby?)

how do i feel at the end of the event? (did these people or this event lift me up? was it worth it to go? haha and often – did i really need to drink that much???)

i’ve found that with this thought process, i’m starting to say no to certain events, locations, and people rather easily. i’m therefore clearing space and time to be more receptive to new experiences, places, and connections that i actively and intentionally want to pursue moving forward.

i’m also drinking less, shopping less – actually, spending less in general – while reading more, cooking more, sleeping more, and overall, maintaining the same level of deep connection with most of my existing relationships. would you look at that!

so if you think i’ve dropped off the planet – maybe i’ve just dropped off of yours. 🙂

what does that mean, i wonder…


intentionally shawna

fail, fail, fail again.

a little over a month into this experiment, and it seems like a good time to list some of my failures in intentional living thus far.

i know, i know, there’s no such thing as failing. there are challenges, steps forward, and setbacks.

well. that’s what i tell myself. and that’s what i’ll let you tell me, too!

but there’s the exorbitant (we’re talking double digits) number of drinks i had at 80’s prom last weekend, even though overall i’ve been seriously cutting back on booze. there’s that order i placed for more than a few pairs of shoes (ok, more than a handful) when i succumbed to one of those “additional percent off” post-holidays sales, even though i’ve been so much more careful with my spending in the new year. there’s the standing weekly plan to watch the bachelor, when i could be investing my brain cells in something so much more worthy. there’s the fact that although i have managed to exercise at least once a week, it’s usually been the sneaky byproduct of some sort of party-associated good time (biking – to a vineyard to wine taste, doing yoga – at a brewery with a free tasting included, walking close to 10,000 steps – down ventura blvd to find the perfect 80s outfits), not intentionally for my health, although if you know me, any exercise is next to miraculous.

i’m trying to remind myself that this is a process. there’s a period of adjustment. it’s rare to quit cold turkey without falling back into old habits. be gentle with myself. affirmations. every positive step is a step in the right direction. every negative step has a silver lining in the form of a learning experience and opportunity for reflection.

i’m constantly trying to pay attention to areas i’m conquering (eating habits are totally better in the last month!) and areas i can improve (the new budget i’m creating will be a great step in the right direction).

in the meantime, though… i’ll be enjoying my new shoes and doing a liver detox.


intentionally shawna

hungryroot review time. (tl;dr eh, good enough.)

my last post led to some lively chatter on facebook. (who knew y’all were such foodies!) sticking with that focus, here’s a review of my trial week of hungryroot vegan food delivery.

i spent $35 for a week’s worth of snacks and meals. (this is half off the regular price. if you’re interested in trying it out, i can hook you up with a promo code.)

since i feel like i’m going to do a few of these (i just signed up to try graze) i decided to come up with a score card:

order placement and fulfillment – 3/5

super easy to subscribe and specify the meals i wanted. nothing i wanted was out of stock. this all being said, when i received my order, there were a few items missing.

delivery – 5/5

on time and delivered as expected.

packaging – 4/5

visually pleasing, recycled packaging! 3 ice packs and recycled cotton insulation kept everything cold until i came home at 8pm. only con was two of the dishes were a bit on the oily side and this caused the packaging to leak.

size of portions – 3/5

once i unpacked everything, i was a bit surprised. the portions were smaller than i would have expected, especially given the fact that i signed up for a week for two people, and i was planning to just eat everything by myself. (oink oink.)

variety of meals – 3.5/5

i didn’t realize that some of the meals i chose were actually two separate, smaller items combined. for example, a succotash was a combo of a quinoa dish and a salad. so the ingredients weren’t as varied as i initially thought.

freshness of ingredients – 4/5

excluding the items that were compromised by bad packaging, the ingredients seemed fresh.

ease of preparation – 4.5/5

the most i ever had to do was microwave, mix, bake, or boil water. basically, given my culinary level – perfect!

tastiness – 4/5

the food was tasty, if a bit over-seasoned. i would have loved if the overnight oats came in a banana optional flavor, if the dressing was on the side for the salads, and if the brussels came whole, not sliced. also, the avocado crema threw me off with how sour/vinegary/salty it was.

customer service – 5/5

when i contacted customer service about the damaged and missing items, they credited me back for the week without any fuss. i would have been happy if they had just sent me a mini-order of replacements.

would i recommend? – 4/5

overall, i think this might be one of the most cost effective, plant-based, ready-to-eat meal delivery subscriptions. i’m excited to explore other options and see whether i stand by this in the future. as the first review, i’m sure i’m either being too hard or too easy on them.

total score – 40/50 – 80%

here is what i got (and whether i’d reorder or pass):

roasted corn edamame salad – fairly delicious and filling. reorder.

italian herb chickpea medley – this was the dish that leaked everywhere. i also found it to be a bit over-seasoned. pass.

red pepper edamame succotash – i guess this was supposed to be the red pepper quinoa bowl and the second roasted edamame salad mixed together, but i ate the two parts separately because i don’t follow directions – whoops! the quinoa bowl was quite good. reorder.

crispy sprouts brussels bake – i was missing the cashew cheddar, so i just baked the brussels (disappointingly, not whole sprouts) and ate them and the cucumber corn bean salad separately. the salad was ok, if a bit mushy and there are onions – beware! pass.

banana bread overnight oats – delicious, but a bit too sweet, and i would have loved if the banana flavor was optional. reorder.

diy simply seasoned carrot chips – easy peasy, and the grocery store sells these, so i’ll be sure to bake them again (at most likely a cheaper cost). pass.

lemon artichoke quinoa bowl – my favorite meal of the entire package, it was perfectly flavored, if a small portion size. reorder.

avocado chickpea noodle bowl – consisting of sweet potato ribbons, the italian herb chickpea medley, and avocado crema, i ate the chickpeas separately, put the avocado crema on crackers… and now i’ve got to figure out what to do with the sweet potato ribbons. pass.

if you were thinking of trying hungryroot, hopefully you find this helpful! again, i have a promo code if you want to judge for yourself. if you order the chickpea cookie dough, make sure to save me a bite, as this was another item i ordered but did not receive.

going into february and i’m still eating healthy!


intentionally shawna

p.s. i started analyzing my spending habits. at a glance, my food and drinks spending was way out of control in 2017. i’m so interested to see how this compares to 2018!

let’s talk food.

i made my first appointment with a nutritionist at the apple wellness center.

the resource has always been there, but i’ve hesitated for years to take this first step.

partially because i didn’t think i needed it. partially because i didn’t want to feel like i was trying to lose weight or adhere to some fad diet. partially because – let’s be honest – i was afraid of being judged for my absolutely embarrassing eating habits.

our first conversation started like this:

“so, why are you here today?”

“i want to eat like an adult. right now i skip breakfast, eat out for lunch, and order in for dinner. if i eat dinner at all. sometimes i just have wine.”

and ended with:

“let’s try to get you to a grocery store once a week.”

(bless her heart, my nutritionist is the least judgmental soul on this planet.)

“ok. i’ll try to track what i eat, too.”

(i quickly realized i’ve been overeating (read: over-drinking wine) by about 2-500 calories most days. oops!)

my nutritionist also had me talk through my last 24 hours, so she could get a feel for how much time during the day i had for meal prep (very little), how active i was (think sloth), how often i ate (rarely), and what (whatever was in arm’s reach) in order to make suggestions.

here are the changes i made the first month:

breakfast: hard boiled eggs + fruit + black coffee

lunch: ready-mix salads (i know, i know, all that plastic is terrible for the environment, the ingredients aren’t as fresh, they’re over-priced… baby steps! stop judging me!)

snack: string cheese, carrots, celery, hummus, fruit

dinner: something frozen, something to-go from a restaurant… or wine (again, not the best, but i haven’t had drive-thru or delivery in weeks!)

bonus! i actually cooked a few times! i’ll wait while you pat me on the back.

long story short, i saved an extra couple hundred dollars and i lost 4 pounds just by eating differently.

stupid. why didn’t i do this sooner?!


intentionally shawna


no giftcards, please. (or: how i started cleaning and found $252.50 of forgotten money.)

i set a new year’s – not resolution, but – challenge for myself: to see how long i could go without buying anything new.

(and i might have already completely failed. but more on that in my next post. mainly because i’m too embarrassed to own up to it yet.)

as part of my effort during the first couple weeks of 2018, i quickly realized that the first step to not buying anything is to use what i already have. and the best way to use what i already have is to know my options. so i started to get organized and put everything in its rightful place.

in case you want to join along, i present to you (drum roll please):

shawna’s 7 step process to getting your shit organized

  1. empty out all of your shit (pockets and bags, boxes and catch alls)
  2. sort all of your shit by category (i.e. clothing from shoes from makeup)
  3. sort your shit again to create subcategories (i.e. separate your lip shit from you eye shit)
  4. realize how much shit you have
  5. rediscover shit you forgot you owned
  6. celebrate and be thankful for alll of your shit
  7. but, mostly, realize how much time and money you waste collecting shit

tl;dr – i have far too much shit.

i found three sticks of deodorant. one in the bathroom. one in a purse (for that b.o. on the go). one in a box of junk. (and i’m convinced i have at least one more in my car. four sticks of deodorant, y’all. at least i smell good.)

i also found a stack of old cards. business cards. customer punch cards. hotel key cards. things once valuable, now destined for the trash.

until i saw the gift cards.

at first, i figured they were all balance-free junk that was never tossed. but on a hunch, i called to check the balances.

here’s what i found:

  • trader joe’s – $10
  • chipotle – $.39 (not even enough for a side of guac – heartbroken)
  • peet’s – $20
  • in’n’out – $1.73
  • jamba juice – $5
  • bevmo – $10
  • nordstrom – $49.13
  • macy’s – $100
  • macy’s – $31.25
  • itunes – $25

$252.50 in forgotten money! imagine!

it’s one more indication of just how unintentionally i had been living my life. to have that amount of value just sitting around like trash in a forgotten bag in a forgotten corner of my room. what a shame.

it’s nice to be rewarded with treasure as i start down this path of intentional living. but there’s definitely some guilt attached.

while my new year’s challenge was a big fat fail, i’m still going to keep trying to use what i have before i buy anything new… after i redeem these gift cards. they’ve waited long enough for their chance to shine, don’t you think?



intentionally shawna

p.s. shoutout to all my exes’ parents for the gifts that keep on giving. (my family doesn’t shop at macy’s, and they definitely don’t do gift cards.)

where to begin.

as i mentioned in my first post, this space was created to document my journey (read: keep me honest) as i attempt to live intentionally.

that’s a pretty big, not to mention pretty immeasurable, undertaking.

where to begin – and how? it’s helpful to have a strategy, but how much planning is too much planning? knowing myself, this always seems to be my first challenge – not to procrastinate under the guise of preparation.

so, to avoid falling into analysis paralysis, i started right away.

and, to avoid psyching myself out, i started small.

i identified the first two themes i want to tackle: food and fashion. and i identified my first two goals for each.

for food:

  • to eat what is right, not what is convenient
  • to eat when i am hungry, not out of boredom

(translation: fine, mom!! i’ll stop spending all my money on postmates and empty calories.)

for fashion:

  • to purchase with intent, not with impulse
  • to wear with joy, eliminating anything that is “less than”

(translation: gurlll, stop shopping when you have plenty and get rid of that dress from high school already. it doesn’t fit half of your left ass cheek.)

and little by little, i’ve started to pay attention.

what is an area of your life that could use some more attention and intent? what is a small goal you can set for yourself this week?

how do you think we’ll do?

stay tuned.


intentionally shawna

lifestyle of habit.

new year, new me!

just kidding. it’s 2018 and i’m still the same old me. plenty wonderful with plenty of room for improvement.

i set a few resolutions for this year and they all center around one big theme: living intentionally.

somewhere along the way, i fell into a lifestyle of habit. we’re all creatures of habit to some extent or another, and only you can decide if you’re happy with how your spontaneity versus predictability lines are being drawn.

what i will say is that it’s astounding when you acknowledge the size, breadth, and impact of habits. take a second to reflect on some of yours.

even something as small as always taking your coffee with sugar or leaving the toilet seat up. never getting to bed before midnight. checking your work emails at the dinner table. always choosing the bottomless option at brunch. when you calculate how often every day, every week, every month, every year a habit impacts you or those around you – it truly merits some active attention.

i’m happy, but as always, i can do better. (i’m very type a, so i’m constantly striving to improve.) i want to eliminate habits, leaving only the best to be nurtured, to clear room for more spontaneity, exploration, and self-development.

my worst habit? i stopped making conscious decisions on the small stuff. quite literally, my worst habit is due to habits.

take food. over the last year, my routine was extremely predictable. i’d skip breakfast. i’d grab a big lunch out. then, too tired from my commute to cook and home so late that the whole foods nearby was closed, i’d order food in for dinner. if i wasn’t paying for delivery, i was eating out, drinking dinner (read: red wine), or heading straight to bed.

every day, my belly was filled carelessly with whatever was most convenient.

then my mom said, “what is postmates, and why are you spending all of your money on it?” (i let my parents have access to my bank accounts.) (i must have single-handedly kept postmates in business last year.)

and i realized that over time, my small, go-with-the-flow acquiescences and mindless decisions (and let’s be honest, lazinesses) had snowballed to create a habit that was neither healthy nor financially responsible.

maybe you can relate.

i’ve got several of these habits, where i act before questioning my intent behind said action. impulsive shopping habits. comfortable relationship habits. (non) exercise habits. dear lord, so many habits. not all bad, but not all intentional.

in 2018, i want to recalibrate and recenter my lifestyle. eat intentionally. date intentionally. spend intentionally. dress intentionally. be. intentionally.

so join me on the struggle (journey – i meant journey) to live intentionally. to acknowledge each opportunity to choose to be more thankful, patient, innovative, healthy, frugal, eco friendly, present, fashionable, unique, educated, generous, whatever! to be you, intentionally you, whoever that may be. it’s going to take real introspection and effort. i’m up to the challenge. are you?


intentionally shawna

p.s. – i cancelled my postmates unlimited subscription this week. from instant meals to instant progress. fuck yes.

p.p.s. – if i ever find the tinder conversation i had with a postmates founder, where i told him my mom was upset with how much money i was spending due to his app, i’ll post it here. haha. yeah. that happened. his profile popped up an hour after she asked me about the postmates charges, so i had to swipe right for kicks. it was a sign from the tinder gods.