It rained for almost 3 days this week…that is big news. We are enduring 7 years of drought here in the gorgeous city of Austin, TX. So when we get rain it is something to celebrate.

The pouring rain showered me with so many thoughts of gratitude as I faced this momentous week in my family and life.

The Cargnoni family celebrating Nathan's High School Graduation and Hallie's Middle School Graduation

My stepmother with Nathan 

The list has my emotions at peak performance…my daughter graduated from 8th grade on Thursday, my son graduated from high school on Friday night, my stepmother was visiting last weekend, my brother’s birthday was on Friday, Emily packed up and moved to Houston to start her new life…All of this adds up to a full heart and a full plate of emotion, celebration and bottom line…LIFE. 

And this is exactly what life does to us…when you are broken and you want life to stop.  It won’t. 

When your heart is so shattered and you want everyone to go hide and stop living…they don’t. 

When you want to freeze time and make everything be still…it can’t.

All of this because we must keep living, we must face each day and know it can be better than the day before. Chapters are closing and new chapters of opportunity, growth and life keep opening.

The former 8th grade girls with their graduation bracelets

I have been making bracelets for my daughter’s friends to celebrate their graduation from middle school and moving on to the big world of High School!! We all remember those days, those friendships and that fragile time of defining who we will be in that next chapter. 

Transition and change is in the air and I can feel it all around me.

8th grade graduation bracelet with 8 tangerine beads and a 9th golden bead for a golden year!
The 8th grade graduation bracelets I have been making are a triple wraps with 8 fun colored beads and the 9th bead is golden. I heard my daughter explaining to her friend, “the 9th bead is golden because we are heading into a golden year!”

Ohh…the words of a 14 year old will stop you in your tracks every time.

Yes, actually, every year of your life is “golden.”

Every heart connection you have in your life, every person that tells you “I love you,” every day that the sun shines or the rain pours…they are all golden.

8 AM yoga stretches
Tying the knots for the 8 colored beads has me stuck on the number 8. So I started my Wednesday by shuffling to an 8 AM yoga class. I just felt that this week deserves some time on the mat…and what better time than 8:00.

The time on my mat, sweating, twisting and waking up - inspired me to stay with the thoughts of Golden.

And of course, the number 8 sticks with me. Maybe these bracelets with 8 beads and a 9th bead that is golden really mean something to all of us!!!  Maybe I will give them to my friends, too. Maybe we all need to make a list of what is golden in our lives. After a life chapter where you are struggling and every day takes so much effort…you eventually start to feel like yourself again and the simple things feel golden.

As you watch your children journey down their paths and hit these milestones you realize so many of these memories are truly “golden.” And, as we acknowledge things golden we add to our list of gratitude…and that is where we continue to grow and heal.

My list…

8 Things Golden!!!

1. 8 AM yoga class – handstands to remind you that you are strong and even upside down you can still smile!

2. My stepmother coming to visit and showering all of us with her love.

3.  Closing the chapter of Middle School!!!

4. My 18 year old taking his last High School final and getting his diploma!!!

5. Old friendships - College friends planning a trip to see each other so we can hug, laugh, cry and catch up.

6. Books that lift our spirits!

7. Emily opening a Healing Knots office in Houston!!! And accepting a new job!

8. Bracelets touching people’s lives….an order for a girl in Baltimore who lost her best friend and she has drawn a complex design of what she wants to wear to remember him, pictures on Facebook from a new bracelet wearer in Los Angeles that loves her new bracelet, and an order from Oregon today for a gorgeous orchid and brown bracelet. All knowing that my brother is sending this my way to help me face his birthday. His gift to me…that his love will keep pouring down on me - Beads, Knots, flowers, raindrops and gratitude.


Happy Birthday, Keith!!!

Happy Birthday, Keith!!

I love you so much, forever. 

Eat BBQ, drink sweet tea and have tons of dessert!!!

And most of all, be kind.
That is his birthday gift to the planet!!!

Healing Knots has proclaimed that today is National I Love My Brother Day. 
If you have a brother, pick up the phone, tell him that you love him and that you are sooo lucky that he is your brother. You will be so happy that you did!

Love your brother and wear your bracelets today and everyday! 


My Friend, Horses and "Go Outside!"

This is a Healing Knots bracelet that I gave a friend of mine…My friend was going through a rough chapter.  I had no idea she was struggling.  She lives in Florida and we were sorority sisters many, many years ago.  We spoke on the phone one day and I asked what had been going on with her over the last year since we had spoken.  She shared what was a really rough chapter both professionally and personally.  This was when I myself had only a few ounces of energy to get up each morning…she has told me what I said to her and it is still amazing that my own struggles spoke directly to her.  She said that I told her to – “Go Outside.”  Just sit and look for animals, bugs, anything.  It will open your heart and bring you joy.  Then I asked her what her favorite color was she said, “Yellow!”  So I quickly made her a bracelet with anything yellow I could find and sent it to her.  The being outside and making bracelets was all I could do at that point…it was the thing that brought me back every day.  I found such healing in the glory and riches of the outside world.

I also told her to go buy yellow flowers and put them all over her house…just one flower in a cup by her bed, in her bathroom, on her table.  I looked up the power of yellow and it said it was the “happiest color of the rainbow.”  So my friend was trying to heal.  She had no idea she had chosen the best color to start lifting her heart.  I also, introduced her to Animal Totems and that animals are here to share messages with us as well.  We could call each other and laugh about different bugs, pests, birds that we were seeing.  This was just our simple way to start feeling joy and celebrating life again.

The day I told her to go outside she saw a dragonfly and she was so moved by the beauty of this creature.  She then booked a trip to Vermont for vacation.  When she pulled up to her hotel the yard was filled with yellow flowers and then a dragonfly almost landed on her.  She says to this day that was the comfort she needed to know she was at the right place to rest and feel peace.

These silly signs of colors and animals can heal you.  Go outside, just sit and see what is out there…it is so good for us.  My friend has been such a gift for me with her honest and open heart.  Her reflections of life and healing have been so raw and so dear as I, too, navigate my journey back to myself.

These pictures she sent me yesterday…she is horseback riding now.  She finds amazing peace by being with horses.  She has never ridden before or even been around horses.  Something in her heart lead her to them and it is bringing her such joy.  Keep riding, keep sharing and know that you are becoming an amazing person as you feel new things and dig deeper into your heart!!!!  My friend has demonstrated courage to step out of her scientific and rational thinking to start living deeper and feeling more…I am so proud of her!

I love you KC!!!


Animal Totems:
Dragonfly: flighty and carefree, strong imagination, higher aspirations
Horse: freedom, stamina, mobility, the land, travel, power and freedom


The Traveling Bracelets

Healing Knots bracelets abroad in Lisbon, Portugal!

Summer is almost here. Throw on your bracelet and hit the road!

Healing Knots on plates across the states! 


Sunny Days

"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead."
-Louisa May Alcott


Life Lessons: Friendship Knows No Age

I am so lucky to have a select group of people in which I am extremely close to. The real deal, true friends. Freshman year, I made so many new, wonderful and fun friends, but they weren't necessarily BFF material. I have always been a fan of the adage that a few close friends are more valuable than several shallow friendships.

Corinne and I often get asked how we met. We wish there was some amazing, novel-worthy story...but we met at work. Shortly after starting in June 2012, I decided I needed to start making friends, so I went up to her and started talking about Beyoncé . (When in doubt, always talk about Beyoncé.) She was so sweet to just nod her head, laugh at appropriate times and follow-up with questions.

In the following months, Corinne would bring me "chofee," as I like to call it, or, as the rest of the world knows it, mocha. She always knew when I needed a pick me up and would deliver the caffeine. By lunchtime, I would start to get hungry and she would always bring me the yummiest treats from her bag, or have the kitchen staff whip me up a little snack. Really, from the moment I got to work at 8 AM, she was in my department asking me what I needed and what she could bring to me. From the start, she has been so selfless and giving, which I realized quickly is just in her nature.

Over that summer, we laughed at the smallest of things and had inside jokes as if we were in middle school all over again. Not much has changed since then. We have a few decades between us in age, but that has never stopped us from acting like we've known each other forever. Corinne's 18 year old son Nathan asked her the other day, "Do Emily's parents know that, because of her age, she should really be friends with me?" But, that's the best thing about our friendship. We meet somewhere in the middle of my 20-something years and her 40-something years and bring all of our experiences together to create this amazing thing that is our friendship.

I am truly lucky to have become such great friends with Corinne over the last two years. She gives the best advice: a mixture of motherly and friendly. She is always brightening up my day with some encouraging text message or a quick email. Corinne brings the sun out on the rainiest of days. Another one of the great parts of having a friend who is further ahead in life is that she also brings an amazing family with her. Her husband Bob is hilarious and one of the best chefs I know. I can't even begin to count the number of times I have gone to the Cargnoni household for a business meeting, and there is Bob grilling up something delicious and pouring the wine. With two amazing people as parents, it is pretty obvious that all three kids are so full of love, talent, sass and humor.

We came up with this thing that between the two of us, Corinne and I share 72 years of wisdom. Which is simply how we rationalize some of our silly antics. Corinne is 100% an "ask and you shall receive" kind of person. Driving home from Arkansas, I could not stop talking about how badly I wanted an egg roll. Such a random craving, but sure enough, we stop in Dallas at Lover's Egg Roll and eat them in the car as it gets dark.

I wish there were enough hours in the day or words in the dictionary to describe my love and gratitude for Corinne. While the lesson I learned is that friendship knows no age, she herself has taught me: to be brave, to not care what others think, to stand up for myself, to not own other people's problems, to just love people when there is nothing else to give, and so much more. So, that is my greatest lesson from college. You never know who you will meet, how old/young they will be, or how much they will impact your life. But when you meet them, you will have a friend for life.

Rooftop Margaritas, Fayetteville 2014
Cheers to Corinne and her sweet family for all of the gifts they have showered me with over the last two years, but more importantly, for being the greatest gift of all.


Life Lessons: "Stuff" Happens

Truly, this quote speaks for all of junior year of college for me. It was smooth sailing through the Fall semester, but once Spring rolled along, "stuff" hit the fan.

December 2012
After my year of stressful school catch-up that I mentioned yesterday, I was so excited for a fresh start; to finally feel like I had everything together. But, life had other plans. In the span of only a few months, I had my heart broken and found out my dad had cancer. My dad. The most amazing, humorous, giving and honest man in my life. The break-up was a mess in itself, but adding on the fear and agony that comes from the C word...I didn't think I was going to be able to finish the semester. 

I was attending classes as a formality, but I was really a zombie going through the motions of day-to-day life. Inevitably, life had just been too quiet and too good for too long to not have some sort of hiccup. And that's what I learned junior year: bad stuff happens. You can either let the pain consume you, or you can accept what is and learn to move on. I was able to do the latter, and have found myself in an amazing place. My dad is healthy as can be and the break-up now feels like I was crying over spilled milk. 


Thanks for following along this week as I relive all of my lessons. Tomorrow is the final day of Life Lessons and I promise, I saved the best for last. 


Life Lessons: Embrace the Process

Sophomore year was a transition phase for me. I switched majors, and in order to graduate on time, I needed to catch up with the classes in one year. That meant taking summer classes, which I was used to. It also meant that three of my four classes during the semester were going to be design classes.

One of the only pictures of me I can find from sophomore year, 2011
I felt so lost in the classes. I felt like everyone had known each other for a year and I was coming into their little world with no clue what was going on. While it sounds like taking three design classes at once is completely normal for a graphic design major...it's not. I was doubling up on classes that were not intended to be taken concurrently, which made school absolutely miserable. I remember calling my dad during one of my all-nighters, crying about how I couldn't do it. I was so sure I needed to switch majors again because this crazy catch-up schedule wasn't for me. He assured me that it would only be like that for a year and encouraged me to stick it out. So I did.

One of the first days of class, a guy came and sat next to me. We had an in-class computer exercise to do in Adobe Illustrator, and the guy next to me completed the assignment in two seconds flat. I was mortified. Staring at a blank screen and peering over at his completed assignment, I knew I was screwed.

The assignment I was talking about...a silly duck almost ruined it all
But, I stuck with it. I didn't do too well that year because I couldn't give all of my efforts and attention to just one class without falling behind in another. I squeaked by, but considered it an accomplishment because I had made it through the worst time. If I hadn't embraced the process and accepted the challenge of catching up with the major, I probably wouldn't have graduated on time. And judging by the last few days of complete love and celebration, every little moment was well worth it.

Oh, and that guy that showed me up in that first assignment (and every other one in the years following)? He's none other than my Hunter. Turns out, while he was great at the assignment, he too was catching up with the major. We spent that year, and the two following, with the same crazy schedules. And the rest is history.

Me and Hunter, Mexico 2013