sunset dinner wedding annivesary

Love is About Us and Nothing Else

Mr. H and I quietly celebrated our 15-year wedding anniversary this past week. It was the quietest celebration we’ve ever had. No romantic getaway, no dinner date. It was just us. In our apartment where we work and sleep.

There is one thing this year has taught many of us…introspection.

Whether you wanted to be introspective or not, turning inward was something you ended up doing during the quarantine. That introspection brought many realizations you might not have been prepared to face. That introspection made your life flash before your eyes, but in slow motion. That introspection made you stop and notice the birds for a change.

FOMO was eliminated. There was no longer a need to fear that you were missing out on anything, because nothing was going on. Social media posts changed from fashionable ensembles to sweat pants, from exotic destinations to messy living rooms, from being seen to being seen by no one.

Home life got real. Married couples grappled with an issue they never thought would be an issue…spending too much time together.

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podcast britt skrabanek

The Serendipity of My New Podcast

I almost have a podcast to share with you, but it’s not remotely close to the podcast I planned to launch this year. In fact, I ended up tossing an entire business out the window when I realized I was never going to launch my travel wellness publication, Clove.

You may have heard me mention Clove Travel & Wellness a few times on the blog, or you may not remember it at all. Some of you might have written one of the 30 articles I had lined up for the publication’s launch, or you might have been one of the 13 guests I interviewed for the podcast.

Clove never saw the light of day because of COVID. As you can imagine, launching a travel wellness publication in the midst of a global pandemic was out of the question.

In March, I was ready to press “go.” I had a logo, a website, and tons of wonderful content from writing contributors and podcast guests. Over the next several weeks, I was in a holding pattern while I packed all of my shit to move across the country from Portland to Milwaukee.

While I stared out of the moving van window in the middle of nowhere North Dakota, I swallowed hard when I realized the bitter truth…Clove was never going to happen. All of the time, energy, and out-of-pocket costs were gone.

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Stop and Notice the Birds

A bird hit me in the side of the head once. It didn’t shit on me. It flew into my head, then flew away.

I was sitting in a parking lot in Dallas on a 100+ degree summer afternoon back in 2007. I sat on the curb in my fancy work outfit, my ass burning on the sidewalk. Of all things, I was wearing fitted black trousers…as if I wasn’t hot enough already.

I was at a low point that I won’t get into. I didn’t cry, because I was far past the point of crying. I sat there—staring at the steamy parking lot, sweating in my personal inferno.

My mind was so jumbled with negative thoughts that it felt like my brain was ready to boil over. I didn’t notice anything around me. A ridiculously happy parade could have gone by and I would never have noticed.

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quarantine mindfulness

8 Ways to Practice Mindfulness in Quarantine

Practice is always the key word in life, and it is especially key while you’re in quarantine. Despite all of the skills and talents we have, none of us are quarantine experts.

I’ll be honest. Before this, my only experience with the word “quarantine” was from watching Leonardo Di Caprio play Howard Hughes in The Aviator (Q-U-A-R-A-N-T-I-N-E…quarantine). Yep, that’s all I’ve got.

Even if we had a mindfulness practice pre-COVID, most of our healthy habits went out the window when the pandemic escalated. Here are a few things that are working for me that might work for you.

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quarantine relationship tips

How to Keep Your Marriage Healthy During Quarantine

Many of you have never spent this much time with your partner. Welcome to my world.

I’ve been working from home with Mr. H since 2017. Not just working from home together…we run a business together. When we first started our business that fateful year, chuckles, murmurs—and probably some divorce bets—rose from the crowd. Everyone thought we were going to straight-up ruin our marriage.

Well, we survived. We’re on track to celebrate our 15-year anniversary in a few weeks and our business is still around.

When COVID came into our lives, we were oddly prepared for it. We had already been spending the majority of our time at home together—because of the nature of our work and because of our commitment to ditching alcohol for a while.

In a weird way, we were self-quarantined before the COVID quarantine. That didn’t necessarily make things any easier, because we certainly mourned the months of pre-lockdown isolation when we could have been interacting more with humans. “For fun,” we also moved across the country during the pandemic.

I’m not a marriage therapist or a relationship coach, but I have a decent amount of experience being a shut-in with my husband. During various quarantine conversations, I noticed clients and friends started dropping hints that they wanted me to reveal our secrets to shut-in marriage success. Here you go…

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