7 Ways to Make Time for your Friends (when you're busy AF) with Bota Box

This is sponsored by Bota Box. All opinions are always my own. 

If you're like I am, you're scheduled is filled to the BRIM.

Work, hobbies, workouts, chores, travel...it can get a little crazy. It seems weird that sometimes I go weeks between seeing my friends, especially when they are the people I love the MOST.

If I'm trying to do things I love at all times, why am I not seeing my friends more often?

I know for me it can be difficult to do anything but work. If anyone has asked how I 'balance it all', I really don't. I work 7 days a week, all day, and I don't do much outside of it as of late. It's nice that what I love isn't work for me.

Podcasting, blogging, even my job (which lets me be creative and lets me travel a lot) doesn't feel like work.

CLICHE I KNOW, and it's not ALWAYS true. I mean ya girl works in excel sometimes and really wants to bash my head into my monitor but for the most part I love staying busy, and doing things at ALL TIMES. 

I've been finding myself working more and more, and most of my friends (other creatives in LA) work in the same field I do, which perpetuates our little working cycle. It's good, yes, but I realized I need to separate every once in a while and really put in the time with my friends that doesn't involve work. 

Especially with Lindsey (and Justin for sure) but with The Almost 30 Podcast, we are in CONSTANT communication. From 6 AM until 9 PM at night, we are talking through things. Podcasting is A LOT OF WORK. She and I are talking about the sound production, marketing, guest scheduling, invoicing, events...there's a lot to do and since it's growing, we always are trying to stay ahead. 

Basically, from a friendship perspective, Lindsey and I have been all business lately.  

So, in an effort to make more time for the people I love, I scheduled a wine night for she and I.

Lindsey is a wine girl (meaning when she's having a nice dinner or out she'll have a glass or two) so making sure to think of what she wants in our evening is important. When you want to make more time, to show your friends you love them, what more do you need than their favorite wine?

In full transparency, you hundred babes know that I drink sparingly. I'll have a glass or two (if it's good wine) but it's not something that's been a priority for me. So having Bota Box around is a new thing, but it was perfect to bring for our wine night.

I realized you guys are right about the wine night thing :). Having a good wine makes any occasion that much more special, and even though in this case were just hanging at her apartment it made it that much better.

Sipping *delicious* vino from nice glasses made it seem so much more like an event than if we were just drinking our usual La Croix. It was easy for me to take the box (and mini Bota's!) to her house, and storing them in the fridge was a piece of cake. 

What I planned for the night in was, first the food. I got a few different side dishes from Erewhon (my favorite grocery store ever in L.A.). Things like cauliflower, sweet potato, zucchini noodles, salad...a variety. For our drink, I had my two Bota Box's and mini Bota's, which are small to-go wine containers that are resealable and can go anywhere. It was easy! 

In order to make time for my friends (and do nights like these) it's key that it was scheduled, I planned the meal, and we had the nice touch of some Bota Box wine. 

Other ways to make time for your friends:

Call while you're driving or cleaning: Multi-tasking FTW!

Combine your to-do's with your hangouts: My favorite. Who doesn't love a Target run with your friends? 

Weave friend time into 'me' time: I am ALL ABOUT THIS. I will schedule chill yoga sessions, massages, anything with friends that's also spa-like. Use your recovery time with your besties. 

Use that lunch time: Seriously, I am all about leveraging a lunch hour. I schedule meetings with friends during lunch all the time. It breaks up the day, and gives you a little pep in your step since you're getting out of the office for a bit.

Do chores together: I'm serious this is weird, but I can have fun with my friends anywhere, so if they need to pick up, or run errands, I'm all about it!

Put it on the calendar, pay for it, and keep it low key: Just like I did with our Bota Box night in. I love that with Bota Box, it keeps it really casual, easy to transport, and made the night that much more fun. 

Let's talk about the fact that Bota Box, well...comes in a BOX. I know boxed wine gets a bad rap for no reason (maybe it's a flashback to college days when people bought boxed wine because you can get more than just with a bottle?)

But, Bota Boxed wine is actually better because:

  • It creates 85% less waste than traditional wine bottles 
  • It's 100% recycleable
  • You get more per package (4 bottles per Bota box) 
  • It's easy to travel with (you don't need to freak out that the glass will shatter)
  • The pouch is BPA free
  • It doesn't cost an arm and a leg (ALL ABOUT THIS ONE)
  • Plus there is the cute little Bota that you can throw in your bag for BYOB dinners or when you're out with your friends.

Bota cares about the environment and has engineered its package to be 100% recyclable. 2016 will be the eighth consecutive year that Bota Box has teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation in support of reforestation. Through this partnership, Bota Box has helped the Foundation plant over 200,000 trees across the nation.When trying to save the environment, save money, and get a better value, this is the move. Plus in addition to their boxes, they have the CUTEST mini-botas!

Besides being a better value and better for the enivornment. I am LOVING the way both the Rose and the RedVolution taste (probably because they've won various awards for value and flavor). Bota has earned 30 Gold Medals in competitions since 2011, as well as 35 “Best Buy” ratings from Wine Enthusiast magazine. 

I had a full glass of each (as Lindsey and Stef our other friend did too) and we were raving about how good Bota Box tastes.

Since there's so much in the box, we had leftover and now it's a serious favorite at home. Justin has been LOVING having the wine on hand. It's easy to pour a glass for us and to hang together at the end of the day :).

Nothing makes him happier than when I drink a glass of wine, ha. 

The types of Bota Box wine that I really love are:

The RedVolution, which has flavor notes of black cherry, cooa and a HINT of spice. It's super a smooth, full-bodied wine that "culminates into a juicy, well-balanced finish."

Oh and the Rose? It's dry but not sweet. Super crisp (perfect for summer) it has aromas of raspberries and red rose and flavors of strawberry cake and grapefruit zest. We served this one well chilled.

Honestly I feel so lucky that I was able to incorporate Bota Box into our night in, it made the experience special for me and my #1 sistah, and is now the best part of our fridge at home. 

So excited for you to try Bota Box - all the flavors have won so many awards, and are listed as some of the best wines around. To find where you can buy Bota Box, check it out here. What's your favorite type of wine to drink my babes? 

Also get to scheduling some time with your friends, okay?

Love ya,


What it's like to hike the Pacific Coast Trail 770 miles: Interview with Barrett Pall

Oh man you guys!

I've wanted to do this one for a while now. 

An interview with my friend, Barrett Pall.

So first, one of my favorite Barrett stories before I do a full introduction.

When I was living in NYC I would take the 9 PM Barry's Bootcamp, where Barrett is an Instructor.

Barry's is MY JAM, by the way, I love it. 

So in the middle of a full class, Barrett would literally CALL ME OUT during things like, a bent over row (when I'm basically doggie style) and yell to the entire class



In addition to the class call outs, it always struck me me how Barrett would be so honest and encouraging to me about launching my blog. 

Whenever I'd make an excuse, or say something about a fear I had around it - Barrett would be the first to encourage me, and bring me back to reality. 

"Just do it Who cares." Was enough of a reminder. 

Fun, funny, kind, caring, compassionate, honest, smart, real, aware, and driven.

He's unapologetic and unafraid.

A true gem, who I am thankful to know!

This interview is so DOPE because this is coming from a man who wears a multitude of hats.

Including Celebrity Fitness Trainer, Writer, Model, Blogger, Life Coach, YouTuber and overall multifaceted, thoughtful and loving individual.

You can read his super deep, thoughtful and (sometimes controversial posts) on Artisan King, or browse the latest on his instagram (with over 178k followers, he knows a thang or two about social media too!)

His latest adventure though, had him leave life in New York City, to hike up the coast starting from Mexico 350 miles.

(Remember Wild by Cheryl Strayed?)

Oh and instead of 350 mikes, he did 770.

Yes, 770 miles, hiking, camping, meeting strangers, and enduring all types of weather, people and experiences along the way. 

All of this, while disconnecting from social media, embracing nature and home, and absorbing all the lessons nature allows. 

This interview is the first he's done since his return, and I have so many questions about his MAJOR life changing trip. 

So i get them answered, and get to share them with you! 


So here we are, my interview with Barrett is PCT Adventure and more:

Can you share a brief recap on the trip for us?

I can't believe that my trip along the PCT has come to a wrap.

It all started 5 years ago when my best friend Stacie Tiftitsoglou, who I've known for 20 years, mentioned the PCT to me, and I coincidentally read Wild. We knew it was something we had to do, and 5 years later we found ourselves committing to actually doing 650 miles along the trail. Stacie was in a crossroads in her life, and I found myself needing a break from the life I so enjoy in NYC, so a month before the trip, I told Stacie I was doing it with her. 

45 days later we ended up going past our goal of 650 miles to 770 miles, where we capped off our trip by climbing to the top of Mt. Whitney, which is the highest mountain in the US behind Denali in Alaska.

My big motivation for this was to get out of my own comfort zone. have the experience of a lifetime with one of my best friends, who I undoubtedly know is a soulmate, and inspire others to live their wildest dreams.  

How did you prepare? What did you bring or physically what did you do to prep?

I'm beyond lucky that all the logistics were taken care of by Staci. She packed all of our food, made all of the packages that her mom would later send to our stopping points to resupply, and mapped out our itinerary, which we pretty much stuck to.

Physically I got myself ready by making sure I got properly fitted for the right backpack at REI, and walked all over the city instead of using public transportation.

I'm super lucky that my life organically prepared me for the trip as I am always doing something active, and usually have a 17 lb backpack on while running around the city living my normal life. However, you truly can't be fully prepared for what your about to embark on as it's like nothing else I had ever done.

Was there a time when you thought you couldn't make it?


As you usually end up hiking alone during the day, your main activity besides walking is thinking. It was a constant mind game of pumping yourself up, and reminding yourself that beyond the constant discomfort and physical pain was a life changing experience that will stay with you forever.

Going up and down 3 mountains that are higher than NYC skyscrapers everyday is taxing, but the views you see, people you meet, and lessons you learn are beyond worth it.

What was the best memory from the trip?

Everyday came with so much fullness that it's hard to pick one specific memory, but the kindness from strangers restored my faith in humanity, and just seeing clean water to drink was a miracle that it's hard to describe unless you've been on the trail.

A few memories that stand out though are: my 1st shower after hiking a week without one, drinking an orange soda for the 1st time as I craved anything orange at one point, getting to the big stopping point where you meet a lot of hikers, and coming across a pool at a KOA ( Campgrounds of America) after being in the desert for a month. Officially becoming "Sweetheart," which was my given trail name, and seeing the sunrise from the top of Mt. Whitney are also very high on the list.

The worst or toughest part of the trip?

The heat, the flies, the physical pain your feet feel. Blisters inside of blisters are a real thing. Flies and gnats test your sanity. The sun is unforgiving.

How physically demanding was it?

I live a very physical life, and had read about the trail, but had no idea how hard it actually was going to be.

I can 100% say this was physically the hardest thing I've ever done. Anyone and I mean anyone could do what I did, but it's all about listening to your body at every step, learning to take breaks, and just hiking your own hike as they say on the trail.

How was it to be disconnected from social media and your phone, email...for that long?

So welcomed. I am someone who makes a big effort to not be living through my phone, and this was the biggest push to get even farther from my phone and the "matrix."

If you have Verizon you pretty much have service everywhere, but I have Sprint, which wasn't everywhere, and I'm grateful that I simply didn't have service, so I couldn't even be on my phone if I wanted to be. When you remove yourself from living through a digital world, you end up living a truly incredible way, which isn't to say that I didn't take lots of videos and pictures, but being on the side of a mountain, not knowing what day or time is was, and no one knows where you actually are is supremely powerful for finding clarity. 

Can you talk about the people you met along the way?

They were the biggest surprise and gift from the trail. I thought it was going to be quite solitary, and that it would be just Stacie and I. However, the trail is so much more social than you can imagine. Yes, you hike during the day most of the time by yourself, but at the resupply points, camping grounds, and random places here and there you meet some of the most diverse people. It's almost like traveling Burning Ma in the sense that there is a full hiker culture and collective mindset to not just exist, but truly live. I ended up hiking with 10 of the most incredible people, who in the "real world" I probably wouldn't have even met. We named ourselves the Rainbow Tribe, and became pretty well known on the trail as it we were the biggest group that stayed together. These people became family in the matter of days, and I will forever take things that I learned from each one of them with me. Smokey, The Bandit, Clicker, Rapunzel, Snacks, Dime, MVP, Suture, Sponge Bath, Ants, Pogano, Fabio, Monarch, Cupcake, Mozart and a few others along the way are hikers (these are their trail names) that changed my life, and I love so deeply.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to do a big trip or take a big leap like you just did?

Just do it.

Do it now.

Stop waiting for something else to happen, or someone else to go with. 95% of the hikers on the trail start alone, and end up meeting friends along the way.

There will always be reasons why you can't or shouldn't do something crazy like this, but once you do, you can't ever imagine not doing it.

Your life will change in the most incredible ways, and you'll be so much more apt to keep living out your dreams once you start.

What was it like being in the wild the whole time?

It was soul healing. Many religious teachers and spiritual gurus talk highly of nature in the fact that it connects you to your deepest self, and it's so true. It's also very challenging at moments because you just want your bed, running water, a bathroom, but what you learn is that those are all luxuries to be grateful for. You also do end up in towns here and there, where you take zero days, stay in hotels, and regroup, so that you can feel like a "real" person again, but the craziest thing is, you start to miss your tent, your sleeping bag, and just being under the stars.

What is the biggest lesson you learned that you could share with others?

To "Hike your own hike."

There will always be people and things that influence you, but you have to do what feels right for you, not anyone else, so if that means you leave the group and keep hiking then do it, or if that means you stop and stay behind while everyone else keeps going, you have to do it.

Live your life for you, and everything else will work out.

You just have to keep walking.

Has it been hard to adjust back to 'real life', off the trail?


I knew it would be, but I didn't realize how overwhelming normal life would feel. I've never felt overwhelmed by NYC, but my first real day back in NYC was rough.

However, as I learned the trail magic never stops, and just when I thought I couldn't deal with NYC, a random girl stopped me on the street because she had followed my hike on social media, and she was about to embark on her own 20 day hike on the John Muir Trail, so we chatted on the street for an hour, and I even went back to REI with to help her be fully ready. It was exactly what I needed at the exact moment. Again, life always works out, you just have to be open to it.

What was the first meal you had when you came back?

The first thing I had when I came back to NY was actually nothing crazy. It was just like a salad, which is something most hikers crave because you miss freshness after eating dehydrated food nonstop. I also stopped being a vegetarian while on the trail, but am happily phasing back to this as I just feel better eating this way.

Whats next for you?

I'm not sure, and I'm the most at peace with this than I ever have been. I've created an amazing life for myself, and I know that more amazing opportunities will pop up, so right now I'm just doing me. I head to Germany in September for 2 weeks with another best friend, and I'm excited for that. At this point, I just want to keep seeing the world, and inspiring others to do the same because it truly is how you learn and evolve in the most organic and healthy way.

Just feel very peaceful, which is what I want everyone to experience.

Where can people connect with you?

My blog is artisanandking.com. All my social media channels are @barrettpall, and my email is artisanandking@gmail.com. I always love to hear from people and answer questions about anything they may be curious about, and that I have knowledge on.

If you could tell people one last thing, what would it be?

Just go for it.

If you aren't happy, you have the power to change this. It may be scary, but fear is simply the unknown, and once you know something it usually isn't scary at all.

Also I listened to the Power of Now while on the trail, and it was the perfect thing to hear while hiking.

This book will change your life, and I encourage everyone to listen or read it!

Lastly, love is everything, so if you approach all areas of your life with that in mind, your life will be more amazing than you could ever imagine!

My favorite YouTube's from his channel:

A video before the hike, 'I'm walking 652 miles in 45 days'

Honor your Truth

Getting Sober in 2016

Such a cool story, right? Honestly there's so much I can share from Barrett. Advice on love, building a business, social media...but this was truly a feat and I am absolutely so proud of him for it.

You can donate to Global Citizen, a charity that Barrett raised money for during this adventure. 

It looks to “help fight extreme poverty and inequality around the world, and support approaches that will make life more sustainable for people and the planet.”

100% of the money that is raised will truly go to so many important issues around the world.

Let me know what you think. Would you ever do a major adventure like this?

I would really love to embark on a major life changing adventure. Maybe not 770 miles, but I like the thought of disconnecting and getting away to really be in nature. 

Looking forward to chatting, and if you have questions for Barrett you can write below! I'll have him answer.

Thanks for this, B!

Loving you! 


NATURAL HIGH: Weekending in Austin

Hi hi hello!

How's the week? Glad you're here! Excited to write about my recent trip to Austin.

How crazy is May? I mean, jam packed right? I have been non-stop. From Austin, to Palm Springs, to San Luis Obispo, and soon Cleveland for a wedding...it's a busy ass month!

This past weekend, I was in Austin with my very best friends, all 17 of them. I never take for granted how valuable our time is, and I know it's fleeting.

To also be friends with people that are positive, supportive, fun, engaging, outgoing and smart - gives me pause daily. 

You are the company you keep. Period.

Thursday, we did the bars and karaoke. and basically caught up on things.

Friday we spent exploring the city, doing Rainey street at night. 17 girls at a dinner table, talking about how much they love each other and celebrating the bride at NO VA. We did a group 'cheers'  about fourteen times. NO SHAME.

Saturday was probably one of THE best days of my life. I hate to be cliche but it was GOOD VIBES all day. Like from start to finish, without a sip of alcohol I was singing, dancing, laughing and enjoying every friend (and of course the bachelorette!) 

Starting from our place downtown, dancing on our bus to Lake Travis, and ending singing Frozen, 'Let it be' at the top of our lungs on the way home, it was incredible.

During the day we tied up our boat to 5 others, but maintained control over the music, and honestly, our positive energy got us the award from our boat driver as 'the most fun bachelorette he's ever had'.

He's been doing the boat thing for 6 years, by the way. LOL.

(I asked expecting him to be like, 'yah, you're my third boat tour' - HA)

Through the day, I felt like, happy high.

No drugs involved but the same high feeling of joy and happiness. The rush. It's super interesting, because I don't think that 3 years ago, I could achieve this same 'high'.

Happiness is an inside job.
— William Arthur Ward

Let me also tell you, that I don't really drink alcohol. Like, ever. 

My friends all know this, and don't really even expect, or ask me to drink anymore. 

It's not that I am a recovering alcoholic, or ever had a situation where things got out of hand - but I haven't been 'drunk' in YEARS and I probably have a glass of wine, once every 2 months. 

No judgement, by any stretch, for those that do.

For me, I know that what I want from life I won't get hungover, or by drinking.

My body doesn't benefit, and I want to be HERE for life. I want to experience it, and not cloud or blur the experience of life with alcohol. 

I'll definitely have a glass of wine with friends, or with dinner, but it's just not an activity for me. At night, I'd rather be home in my saggy Lululemon pants baby! I work out too  much, I like to sleep too much, and I like to get shit DONE too much.

I'd rather not have my mood, my emotions...whatever, be controlled by a substance that isn't benefitting me in any which way.

But again, that's me! My friends, KILL THE GAME, and can casually drink, do their thing and have so MUCH FUN. I respect that shit. Do YOU.

So on Saturday I had a realization that I now have the tools and ability to control and CHOOSE happiness.

I can facilitate a higher level of joy than ever before. Sans alcohol, sans drugs. 

By feeling the joy. NOTICING and NOTICING. Elevating my happiness level by appreciating each moment.

When I started to notice how much fun it was to dance to PANDA on a boat on a beautiful day in Texas with 17 people I love, it's like I had to pause and think, 'Damn. I AM HAPPY'.

But also to pause and say, 'I love this. THANK YOU'.

And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.
— Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Noticing the moment, taking pause, and giving thanks. All brought me to a level of joyful bliss Saturday that was on ANOTHA LEVEL.

It was a good lesson for me to be aware that I control the joy and bliss in my life. There are times and places where I am lucky to have the people I love around me, but through the pause, and noticing of good times, good people places or things, you'll maximize the opportunity and, in the end, bring more of that good in your life.

There's really nothing better, than travel with friends to celebrate two people who are making a commitment based out of love. I love me a bachelorette. 


Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy
— Guillaume Apollinare

So, feeling grateful, and happy to apply this to other parts of my life in the future. Excited too, to share with you a bit about what you can do in Austin.

I also was SO HAPPY to meet one of my fellow blogger babes, Janna Doan of www.jannadoan.com. She's even sweeter, kinder and more beautiful in person! Blog friends, are the BEST.

P.S. Austin f'ing rules. I couldn't love a city more, truly. It's unique, it's urban, it's a bit hipster, it's friendly and it's got the Lake, which is so key for me. I need to be near a body of water, always. Weird right?

Let me know if I missed anything! What else?


Things to do in Austin:

Go Boating on Lake Travis: Seriously do it. SO FUN.

Shop and explore South Congress: Cute shops and such great places to hang and eat

Have a drink or hang at Hotel San Jose

Go to Zikler Park: Get outside and even have a picnic! We did. So lovely!

Go Paddle boarding by the park: So fun! We kayaked too, which was hilarious.

Go out on Rainey street: Such a cute area, for drinks and dinner, an older crowd than 6th Street.

Shop at the Gypsy Wagon: Aka my favorite store EVER.

Plus shop at JM Drygoods. Sups' cute.

Be outside! It's gorgeous and green in Austin! So lovely to get outside!

Places to eat:

NO VA Kitchen



Voodoo Doughnuts

Salt and Time


Torchy's Tacos

Pieous Pizza

Where to stay:

So I think there's new regulation against airbnb there, oddly. Because we had our airbnb cancel because they said it was like a brothel, with 17 girls in it and that was illegal. Not sure what that says about us, and taking into consideration that statement is sexist...I COULD GO ON. Anyway, we did Littlefield Lofts which were on 6th street, in basically the busiest area there. So dope! Perfect for the weekend, I highly recommend.

W Hotel Austin

Hotel Ella