Self-Reliance is for Everyone

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Imagine being in an emergency situation. Who are the people you want to be near? Or think about being deserted on an island with one person, who do you choose? You choose the ones who are self-reliant and have the skills to survive.

The idea of self-reliance is broad. When I talk about self-reliance in my blog posts, I don’t necessarily mean that you should have to go off the grid or put yourself in extreme survival situations. There are a lot of valuable self-reliant skills and tools that we can learn from others as well as teach ourselves that are important for our day to day lives. Doing things ourselves and becoming more handy is incredibly rewarding, and it seems as if we are becoming less and less self-reliant as we become more reliant on technology and other people.


Here are a few ways to boost your self-reliant skills:

Learn to fix things yourself: We live in a time where everything gets thrown away, many times without even a second thought. Try and minimize your impact while also saving money for yourself.

Learn to do jobs that you would normally hire someone else to do: Sew up that split seam in your clothes, or learn to change the oil in your car. Do your own yard work and small repairs around the home. Many of the entrepreneurs I have interviewed have a broad set of skills that allow them to fill in wherever they need within the operations of their businesses and are able to save money by resolving issues on their own. You don’t have to know how to do everything, but learning by doing is one of the best ways to build your skill sets.

Take responsibility for your health. We are the only ones who are responsible for our health, and it is our job to ensure that we have the strength to be self-reliant when we need to be. It is our job to look after our kids and teach them healthy lifestyles, and the best way to do so is by modeling that. Most of us can improve in this area, myself included. If we don’t take care of ourselves, who else is supposed to?


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Emergency preparedness: Okay, it is easy to laugh at the people who go overboard prepping for disaster, but it is actually pretty simple to develop the skills needed to assist you in an emergency. Learning how to use tools, change a flat tire, stop the toilet from overflowing, put chains on your car in a snowstorm; these are all skills that you will be so glad you have if you find yourself in one of these situations. Take a CPR certification class because CPR can be such a valuable skill to have. If an accident should happen, you will be able to rely on your skills to help you.


Outdoor skills: These are fun skills to develop and can be critical if you are in a situation where our luxuries are unavailable or taken away. Try backpacking or camping, as these are some of the best ways to test your own self-reliance and teach yourself things as they come to you in a natural environment. Sometimes these are the most rewarding skills to have because they involve instincts and exploring.

Education: Like many of these skills, education is something that can never be taken away from you, and something that you can always fall back on in hard times. This doesn’t have to be formal education, but seeking out continual education for yourself throughout your life will benefit you in so many ways. I went back to school for my master’s degree because I want to have my education to assist me if something happens to me financially or in terms of opportunity. I don’t want to worry about anyone having to help me or support me in a time of need.

I really admire the people who are really handy and seem to be able to fix anything and everything. Go out today and learn a new skill that can help make you more self-reliant. In most cases, a YouTube video can teach you how to do it! What can you do to become more self-reliant?

Meditation for Skeptics

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As a mom of two toddlers I have been trying to catch up on my sleep for about 4 years now. I always figured that I have just become more resilient and can function a full day on less than 4 hours of sleep per night, no problem. I go to sleep far after the boys have gone down for bed, and I wake up earlier than they do to prepare for the day, but as I have gradually gained my sleep hours back, I find that I am still missing something.  I realized that I was not reserving any time for myself to reflect. When the kids are napping or sleeping for the night, I am vigorously trying to get things done. I make all of my phone calls, clean up the house, mow the lawn, do my homework, or plan out the next phase of my day.


I love the idea of mindfulness, but I have a hard time committing to it because I love to just get things done. Mindfulness is so much thought with less action, which I have been working on because although it is less gratifying, it really is so beneficial in the long run. Recently I went to a Women’s Summit where at one of the events we took time to meditate. I have never been great at meditating because I have a wandering mind, but we did a guided meditation as a group, and although I did feel my mind wandering a little, at the end of it, which lasted about 10 minutes, I felt like I was waking up from a dream. It was a strange feeling but the rest of the day I felt relaxed and very focused at the same time.

There are tons of mental and spiritual benefits to meditation. It is a great way to declutter your mind and regain focus on what matters most to you. You should try to concentrate on only one thing at a time.

“After you’ve practiced concentration and learned to focus on one thing at a time, you can proceed to the next stage: no thought at all. Achieving a silent mind is difficult, but when to attain it the experience is powerful.”  (

Our minds are used to complication, so it takes practice to learn to focus on one thing or even nothing at one time.

I realize now that although I was taking time for myself in terms of managing my time to get things done, I wasn’t taking time to relax, put my guard down, and allowing myself to just breathe.  Meditation can help with depression, stress, headaches, attitude, immunity, sleep, creativity, relationships, burnout, GPA, reliance on painkillers; OK… the list goes on and on really. What better reasons to give it a go? I feel more focused and can start my day with a clear head, leaving any stress behind, and center on how I am going to accomplish my goals.

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Most people live with a false sense of emergency, and feel that the last thing they have time to do is meditate, but you can really spend just one minute a day meditating and there are tons of apps to help you get started. My favorite app is Headspace. It is free and can help get you started on an easy pace. If you want to try a guided meditation which is a little less open ended and may help you really get in the zone, listen to Denise Linn’s “33 Spirit Journeys”.

Take the time for yourself today. I was such a skeptic and used to think meditation was weird, but now I swear by it. It gives me a few minutes a day to really tune into what I am feeling and what I want.  If you try it out a few times, I would love to know how you felt about it and if you noticed a difference, especially in your concentration levels.


Branding a Healthy Lifestyle in Reno: RAWBRY

Getting healthy is something everyone has on their mind at some point, if not all the time, and now businesses are popping up everywhere that help make a healthy lifestyle more convenient, more attainable, and more desirable. Some businesses are getting it right when it comes to their branding and customer relations aspect of healthy living by creating a culture where you are not a one-time shopper, but become a part of their lifestyle and community. This creates a whole experience for customers and allows them to be part of a group that values a healthy lifestyle.

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I had the chance to talk with Brianna Bullentini, who is the founder of RAWBRY and a Reno native.  Located in the Basement in Reno, RAWBRY (Raw + Robbery = RAWBRY) is a cold-pressed juice bar aimed at helping you “steal” back your health and change your lifestyle. When you visit their bar, you will see a variety of juices, shots, smoothies and waters all crafted with a remedy, a reason, and a clever name.   Their business values are inspiring and their successful branding strategy along with the experience they create for their customers is what sets them apart from your typical juice bar.

Getting Started:

Brianna was working as a designer for a firm in New York looking at juice bars trying to find their niche. She kept noticing holes in the market as most of the businesses were aimed at the “green and granola” lifestyle, but leaving out a whole group of demographics by doing so. She wanted people who are looking for a healthy lifestyle, but also those who like to have a beer sometimes. She left the security of her job in New York, started looking for investors for her business, and found herself back in Reno. “I was living in Vegas for a while and constantly coming home to Reno. I was seeing a pulse, a contagious energy of entrepreneurship happening.”

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After having many doors being slammed on her idea, she revamped her business plan. Rather than having a traditional business plan for RAWBRY, she created a “business deck” which was an imagery based guide to what her business was going to look and feel like. Instead of “here’s my plan” it became, “here is the packet of this dream”. She presented it to over 100 people with access to capital and ended up teaming up with two separate investors, and found the designer for the old post office in downtown Reno, which was being transformed into the Basement.

Branding and social media:

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What is particularly impressive about her business journey was her ability to create a loyal community around the lifestyle and feel of her business before she even sold one juice. She started by recruiting brand ambassadors who could represent her product and clothing around town. They were people who were not invested in the company and gave their unbiased feedback.  She owes much of her branding success to social media. “Branding is your presence. It put an emphasis on your look, narrative and your personality. You have to have an ethos that is different than the next guy and own it. Own your niche; your product doesn’t have to be something for everyone.”

Values and culture:

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RAWBRY is about having a no fear attitude. Just as a robber would be fearless, focused and live for the thrill and adrenaline, whether that thrill is the weekend or a business venture. Health comes first in their values and making it convenient is important to their success. Want to take the first steps on a journey to a healthier lifestyle? If you want to jump right in, you can choose a 3 or 5-day cleanse. Or you can start with some of their starter juices like “WuTang” that is not as “green” as some of the other juices and has a cushier flavor. “Replace a meal with a juice and experiment with eliminations in your diet. It is not about depriving yourself of anything, but about providing yourself with an abundance of nutrients rather than depleting them.” RAWBRY also has a cleansing coaching option if you need support and information.

Reno Renovation:

Brianna is involved in city planning for Reno and hopes that RAWBRY is a brand that can be identified as a kick-starter for other local businesses. The feel of the business and the space was hard to find in Reno before RAWBRY, and she hopes that it can be an ignitor of Reno becoming a whole new place. Future plans for RAWBRY include expanding locations and representing Reno in a positive light.

Owning a Business:

Entrepreneurship is something many people dream of. After the success of RAWBRY and other ventures, Brianna says, “Don’t be scared. Go in blind…don’t look left or right, and don’t worry about what the next guy is doing. There are going to be naysayers, but just go with your gut!” She also advises not to hold yourself back because you don’t have all of the answers yourself. Look to other people who are experts in the areas that you are not, and partner with people who can fill those gaps. “You have to be able to put up with the bad days. It’s all firefighting; at first you get frustrated at all of the fires, but eventually, you know the fires are going to be there, so don’t let it throw you off. Put them out and carry on.”

“You build up a resilience and train yourself that it is not all a walk in the park, but bad days are a part of growth.”

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RAWBRY has found a way to make getting healthy trendy, fun, and convenient. Their customers are a loyal group who identify with the values and support the culture of the brand that Brianna has created. Head to the Basement to check out RAWBRY and other fun and unique new businesses in town. Their website warns that RAWBRY is an addiction, and their products really do speak for themselves.

See Brianna’s Tedx talk HERE!