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by | Dec 1, 2021 | The Dirt, Wellness | 0 comments

Welcome to Wellness Weekly coming to you every week. This is a weekly series, sort of like a Letter from the Editors, that will rotate between Lara and Luigi, along with other members of Team Smudge and with the occasional guest.

We’ll hold space on the Dirt to check in on our Sixth Sense: the term we use to refer to our spirit, intuition, and inner power. And because while we exist in the world alongside our other Five Senses, we’ll do a check-in of those, too.

I’m just as surprised as anybody that we are suddenly in December! Which means gifting is on my mind. Giving meaningful and personal gifts is actually a point of personal pride for me — nothing brings me greater joy than seeing a loved one’s face when they open a gift that they know I took great care in picking just for them. Finding the perfect present is a way for me to demonstrate that I really see somebody and understand their unique needs or passions, and to show them I love all the qualities that make them one of my favorite people in my orbit. 

In this year of constant reminders of supply chain woes and scarcity of resources, I’m thinking a lot about this fundamental reason behind gift-giving and keeping it firmly in my direct vision this holiday season. Some of my favorite presents — giving and receiving — have taken the form quite different from an object that I pulled from a store shelf or spent a lot of money on. A ticket to a friend’s favorite comedian’s show, an effort to replicate my daughter’s favorite restaurant dish, or a picnic to a place that holds special meaning to a relationship. Gifting is truly about the intention, purpose, and energy that goes behind it and that mission doesn’t need to be diminished even when traditional ways of shopping are being severely tested.

This time of year also serves as a reminder of why Luigi and I started Smudge in the first place, and why spiritual wellness is such a great gift (bias as a spiritual wellness company duly noted!). The idea for Smudge started with a gift of a crystal from Luigi to me that was given when I was going through a particularly difficult time in my life, and I soon after returned the gesture with another crystal to help him through his own emotional adventures. In those early months of building our spiritual wellness practices, and helping our friends and family build theirs, there was nothing quite like seeing the energy flowing within and among us as we rediscovered and amplified our personal power and realized just how much we had each other’s back.

This week, as I make my list of who I plan to gift to, I will be starting with a Smudge-style intention-setting exercise. For each person, I will write what I want to manifest for them. For some, it will be more peace, for others, it will be more strength, and for many others, it will be the ability for them to give the same grace and compassion they give to everybody else in their life. And then I’ll make my shopping decisions from there, from this place of purpose and care. It’s my hope that this process keeps me anchored in the joy and celebration of this time of year and less distracted by the stuff that ultimately doesn’t matter. Stated another way, I look forward to giving the gift of personal connection to my friends and family this year — with a little planning, it’s never out of stock!

Here’s a quick take on what’s going on with my other senses this week…


It’s the beginning of whale watching season in Mexico and my family had the unexpected surprise of seeing several up close and personal visits from them during a boat trip on vacation last week. To be honest, it was a little terrifying to see so many of these huge animals feet from us — but truly awe-inspiring and beautiful. (No great photos — those whales are pretty camera shy!)


We (finally!) had a very full house at Thanksgiving this year with both sets of grandparents, lots of cousins, and several friends gathered around the dinner table. The laughter, conversation, and tearful words of gratitude had been sorely missed. It was a wonderful return to form.


My parents are officially retirees! We celebrated that occasion and everybody in town with a dinner at San Francisco’s Wayfare Tavern. Comfort food at its finest, we thoroughly enjoyed their unparalleled popovers, macaroni and cheese, and deviled eggs. 


Food is clearly on my mind this week, since my biggest smell takeaway is the perfect scent of dozens of street vendors selling tacos, pastries, and other treats in the town square of San Jose del Cabo. Experiencing the smells of a new city is one of my favorite things to do when traveling and San Jose more than delivered.


During a whirlwind of a holiday weekend, I managed to pop down to LA for a brief 15 hours to take Rei, my eldest child, and a friend to the BTS concert at SOFI Stadium. I’ll confess that I have never felt older (cue me researching the band members on my phone on the way down), but there is nothing quite like experiencing a mass of humanity losing their minds during a live show from one of the biggest groups in the world. But my favorite moment was at the show’s conclusion, after each band member shared heartfelt words about what being back in a live performance meant to them, when Rei, his friend, and I embraced in a long group hug to commemorate the special experience we just shared.