thought of the week: conditional love and boundaries are not the same thing

i have shared before that i am not in love with the holiday season.  working as a therapist, i am reminded regularly of how triggering of a time this can be for many people.  there is often this expectation of being forced to “happily” interact with more relatives than one might care to count.  while the holidays are not all bad, they certainly are not all good.  no one has the perfect family dynamic.


something i have been working with my clients on (especially as we approach thanksgiving and christmas) is the concept of setting boundaries.  for some (i have noticed this at a higher rate with minority women), this is a brand new concept.  sometimes, when they try to implement this within their own families, they receive a ton of pushback or are guilted into thinking they have done something wrong by simply setting a boundary.


a couple of weeks ago, i came across this quote on instagram and thought to myself, “wow.  what a much needed reminder for both my clients and myself as we approach the holiday season.”




“conditional love and boundaries are not the same thing.” -sara kuburic, ccc aka the millennial therapist


how brilliantly worded was that?


do not allow your family to convince you that you setting boundaries is you loving them conditionally.  you can love someone unconditionally while loving and respecting yourself enough to create boundaries that feel good for you.



k. tap

brunch = bottomless mimosas + breakfast burgers

i have no idea why it took me this long to do this post because if you follow me on instagram, you know i am at this place on any weekend i am not out of town.  plate 38 in pasadena has become a staple for me since moving back to los angeles in 2017.  i will be forever grateful to opentable for the recommendation.


now, let me tell you just a few reasons why i love plate 38 so much:

  1. their brunch is phenomenal (whether you are someone who loves savory or someone who loves sweet) and they serve these delicious bottomless mimosas in wine glasses or goblets instead of champagne flutes.  cheers to that!
  2. the service is awesome – the staff really makes an effort to get to know their customers and it shows.
  3. their happy hour happens daily and has something for everyone – i would highly recommend the tuna tartare tacos! also, on mondays, happy hour is from 3pm to closing!!
  4. they take reservations via opentable and i have never waited longer than five minutes upon arriving if i made one.
  5. the chef has daily dinner specials and they are definitely made with love.


while i have tried a variety of items from the brunch menu, my go to meal is the breakfast burger with an order of garlic herb fries.  i get my burger the same way every single time (and my favorite waitress knows this by heart) – patty cooked medium rare, egg over medium, side of ranch and don’t forget the tapatio.  brunch is not complete without bottomless mimosas.




if you are considering going to plate 38 and need a recommendation, i am happy to help. if you have already been, what is your favorite thing on the menu?  my mom is OBSESSED with the slow roasted pork sandwich.  on the rare occasion i am craving something sweet, the ricotta blueberry pancakes hit the spot.





k. tap


vintners estates wine tasting – sf edition

i will be the first person to tell you that while i may still be in love with the bay area, san francisco has never really done it for me.  i find it to be a little too grimy, the car break in rates too high and i will never understand the cost per square foot for apartments that are literally the size of a postage stamp.  after a 12 year love affair with the bay area, this past weekend may have just changed my mind about san francisco.


since i was already going to be in the bay for jason’s birthday, i wanted to be sure i carved out some time to see dana since we had not seen each other since summer.  dana might as well be a five star chef so i figured we would explore her new neighborhood in sf, cook a little something and just catch up.  when my friend stephanie hit me up about this wine event, i was intrigued but assumed it would not be doable.  when she said it was in sf, i figured i would ask dana if she were interested since she is a wine connoisseur.  i mapped it out perfectly.  if i got to the city by 11am, dana and i could have a couple of hours to catch up one on one before the event started and that is just what we did.  not only am i in love with dana’s new neighborhood, i am in love with this event.


let’s be honest – i am not the type to ever say no to wine tasting but this was on another level.  now, stephanie had already been to this event a few years ago at a different location in the bay.  i have the best time with stephanie and i trust her completely so i would literally follow her off of a cliff because it is guaranteed to be a good time and we would miraculously make it back.



*a special thank you to stephanie for bring so many amazing women together


now let’s talk about the event.


if asked to describe this event in five words i would say: fun, overwhelming, beautiful, delicious, short.  it was fun both because i went with an amazing group of girls and because the people we met selling wine were truly passionate about their brands.  it was overwhelming because there were over 100 different wineries there.  it was beautiful because it was a 70 degree day with clear skies and a view of golden gate bridge.  it was delicious because you get to try as many wines as your heart desires and you can double back if you really love something.  i left having purchased five bottles (which we will get into later).  and it was short – even with us arriving within 10 minutes of the event start time, three hours did not seem like quite enough time to explore all of the tables i wanted to.  now, stephanie bought us the mid range tickets which gave us access to two private rooms which were much easier to navigate.  when we went to the center room, it was jam packed.  i found that to be a bit much but still thought it was worth it and purchased wine from all three rooms.  the cheapest ticket does not provide access to the two private ate rooms and the most expensive ticket grants you access to a balcony upstairs to drink on.  even if we had that ticket, i don’t think we would have ever made it up!




the two photos above are from the calmer rooms (vip) whereas the two below are from the main room.




okay.  onto the wine that i purchased.  you are going to notice that the photos are taken in a variety of places.  this is because i was only able to take three of my five purchases back with me to la because i did not want to exceed the 50 pound weight limit southwest has for luggage.  now, i am eerily good at guessing the weight of my suitcase.  my thought was that i would pack two of the bottles, drink the mini bottle en route to the airport and leave the other two at dana’s apartment because i know she will drive to la for winter break and i can just retrieve them then.  this ended up being a great decision because at the airport, my suitcase was EXACTLY (yes, i just used caps) 50 pounds.  the guy checking my bag even showed his coworker and was like, “she’s done this before.”




the back of beyond 2015 pinot grigio and holme estate cellars 2016 rosé were must haves.  i loved them so much that i knew i needed to pack them to bring home to la with me because i did not want to wait until december to be reunited with them.  both were crisp and light but with a substantial alcohol content.  i eat a ton of seafood and knew both of these would pair excellently.




what drew me to the usual rosé was that the bottle resembled a beaker.  naturally, someone that works at a school appreciates this nerdy shit.  i also decided that i needed a glass of wine en route to the airport and that this would be the perfect to go drink.  i loved how much of the berries and rhubarb i could taste and will definitely be going online to order more.




taylor treated me to a bottle of spanish white wine by albariño eleusis.  it was so fruity, subtly sweet and just tasted like summer.  while i loved this one, with the weather finally cooling down, i knew i did not have to have it immediately.  now, these cans of rosé.  people hate on canned wine and they should not when it tastes this delightful.  baca’s ring around the rosé is just to die for.  what i love is that it comes in a four pack which is the equivalent of two full bottles.  it is perfect for a picnic or a to go drink since you won’t need a wine opener and because it is in aluminum, it is as cold as wine can be without placing it in the freezer.  while i thought about trying to pack these, i resisted the urge.  dana is keeping both of the above safe for me until the holidays.


i was able to get all of the wine you see pictured above for under $100 – some wineries were even doing a 2 for 1 special.  every single station we went to had friendly and knowledgeable people.  i am already counting down until next year’s event.


have you been to this event or one like it?  i would love to hear about your experience.



k. tap



thought of the week: we get what we ask for

this past weekend, i flew to the bay area to surprise my best friend jason for his 30th birthday.  his girlfriend vana was thoughtful enough to hit me up a couple of months ahead of time (far before she even knew what the plans were for the weekend) in an effort to be sure jason could have all of his people there.  as i sat next to jason at this amazing japanese bbq restaurant (if you are ever in san mateo, make a reservation at gyu kaku and thank me later – there are about 40 locations nationwide), he must have thanked me at least a dozen times for just showing up.  he was like, “i know how busy you are – it means to world to me that you made it!”  i assured him that there was no way i would miss it and that vana is the one to thank for thinking to hit me up ahead of time.  then i had this thought about a post i had seen on one of my favorite instagram accounts, therapy for black girls.




“we get what we ask for in relationships, not what we put out.” -dr. marisa g. franco


i started to think about why showing up for jason (in my mind) was not even negotiable.  some might say it is because quality time and acts of service are my top two love languages so perhaps i am loving jason in my preferred love languages.  some might say it is because i was having bay area withdrawals.  while both of those things are not inaccurate, one of the things that i thought about is that over the years, jason has made it incredibly clear to me that the thing that is most important to him in friendship is simply showing up.  that part of him has not wavered since we met in the residence halls back in 2008.  after a rough day, he was happy to just visit each other in our rooms and talk, listen to music or watch a movie.  as we have gotten older, maybe that quality time is now spent over a good meal or traveling somewhere together.  nonetheless, jason thanked me profusely but he had given me a road map because he did something simple – he asked.


much of my early/mid 20s was spent in what i like to call situationships.  you are definitely seeing this person and there are some feelings there however it is a bit murky and lacking clarity.  like, would you know how to introduce them (aside from their name) if you ran into a family member unexpectedly?  friend does not seem like the accurate label but neither does boyfriend/girlfriend/partner.  anyway, i often found myself frustrated because i felt like i was pouring into these situationship type of relationships and not getting what i wanted out of them.  after taking a step back to reflect and also, do some much needed work on myself, i realized i cannot penalize these men for not giving me something i never had the guts to ask for.  it is also not someone else’s job to be a mind reader or to just mimic my behavior, especially if i was doing things they were not even explicitly asking me to do.


the more i think about this quote, the more that i see how it applies to all relationships, work included.  i worked for years at car dealerships and was somewhat perplexed by the lack of feedback and training provided for new hires.  it turns out that some of management felt the same way but it just had not really been addressed.  when i started doing things like asking for reviews and expressing the importance of not being called into the head honcho’s office just because things were going wrong, things started being done differently.  we even came up with a new hire training checklist so it would not just feel like you were being thrown to the wolves.  once again, that is something i had to ask for.  just because it had not been done regularly before did not mean it was not something that would be useful for me and dozens of other associates.


with family, i think it can be harder than any other relationship to ask for what you want out of the relationship.  while i was in the bay over the weekend, i met this bright and beautiful two year old named luna.  my ovaries practically exploded with just under one hour of interactions.  when i was about to leave the apartment, she seemed sad.  her little bottom lip was puckered and pouty.  when i crouched down to her level and asked her if she wanted a hug, she said no.  part of me appreciated that she was not just trying to hug someone she had known for under one hour.  then this other part of me wanted to just squeeze her.  now, i probably stood at the door saying goodbye for a couple of minutes.  once the door shut behind me, i could hear the dialogue between luna, her mom, aunt and uncle.  they could tell she was sad and told her how she could have hugged me because i did in fact offer.   what i loved is that they respected her decision.  no one forced her to hug me.  in thinking about how children are often treated within their family units, it as though they do are not allowed to have their own thoughts or feelings.  it is an expectation that they hug people without any consideration of whether or not that makes them feel uncomfortable.  i think this then contributes to not necessarily feeling comfortable confidently stating what they might want or need from a relationship, even once older.  it is as though there is this behavior that has to be unlearned.  it took me going through a masters level counseling psychology program to be able to ask for what i need from my family in relationships.


how many times have i been disappointed in the way a relationship is going because my expectation is to get what i am putting out versus simply asking for what it is that i want?  that is definitely something i have been making an effort to work on and it is something i will continue to work on as i navigate all of the relationships in my life.


now, something to consider is that you can clearly ask for what you want in a relationship and the person on the other side may not give you what you requested.  when that happens, i think there is a greater decision to be made.  don’t you?


are you asking for what you want in your relationships?



k. tap




world kindness day

even though i am not much of a holiday person, i can definitely get behind days like this. world kindness day started in the late 90s.  it is all about how to improve the world and encourage good deeds and just acts of kindness as a whole.


when i first thought about how to approach this post, i was going to make a pledge centered around good deeds i could check off for the rest of the year.  and while that is still something i may do offline, when i thought about who taught me the most about how to be kind by modeling it for me day after day throughout my life, the person that came to mind was my mom, felecia.




my mother makes kindness look ridiculously easy and it is totally awe-inspiring.  growing up, i saw her model kindness in a variety of ways:

  1. simply being present for every member of our family – as a daughter, a sister, a mother, a godmother, an aunt and a wife
  2. showing love and tenderness to those who need it most by being willing to listen to whatever they have to share, whether she knows them personally or not (even if it is the representative at the verizon store)
  3. if ever my brother or myself came home in a funk, asking us how are days went and reassuring us that if something went wrong at school, as long as she heard it from us first, there was absolutely nothing for us to worry about.  she always kept her word.
  4. constantly helping out underserved communities whether it be through charitable donations to larger organizations or providing a hot meal or cash to someone we were passing on the street
  5. being the loudest cheerleader, especially for all of the young people.  from surprising my brother across the nation at football games to dancing in the crowd on a weeknight at one of my godbrother’s concerts to taking off of work to watch me present at psych conferences – there is never a question about her support; it is unwavering
  6. filling in as a mom to some of my friends who do not have a relationship with their own moms where they can be their most authentic selves
  7. making birthdays feel like national holidays for family, friends and coworkers alike
  8. being a nurse to those who are sick, whether it be showing up daily to the hospital after getting off of work to keep our loved ones company until the wee hours of the morning or sending care packages to my home when i am battling the flu that include soup, fruit, juice and enough meds to get me through the next flu season
  9. advocating for those who need it and expecting nothing in return
  10. lighting up every room she walks in with a killer smile and a contagious laugh


i could easily type 90 additional ways i have seen my mother model kindness but then you’d be reading a book, not a blog.


felecia feels everything so deeply that i often wonder how she does it all.  even though i give her a hard time for being such a softy, i am grateful that she is just the way she is and can only hope that each one of you has a felecia in your orbit.  if not, let me know – she is always down to make a new friend over cocktails and conversation.


do something kind today, whether it be for someone around you or yourself.



k. tap