Don't Mistake Politeness For Lack of Strength

The Silent Majority

Are you registered to vote?* Here’s the thing: there’s no denying there are a lot of angry people out there (pick a side on ANY topic, you’ll find them) who are ready to be divisive, insulting, and negative to make their point(s). They’re loud and abrasive. You know who we’re talking about!


We believe that’s not the majority. We believe there’s reason to have faith in each other. We believe that, for most of us, the goals are common and the progress is possible. We believe that civil discourse is the way to go and that, like us, MANY are having these difficult and important conversations not visible on social media. We also believe in showing up when it counts. In using our voices when it matters. We believe in the power of our votes.

It’s not too early to register to vote in this year’s election. It’s not too early to start informing yourself on the issues that matter most to you. It’s not too early to show your strength by using your voice. Have meaningful conversations, learn as much as you can, and when November comes around: VOTE!

*Need to check your registration status? Go to to check and get registered today!

Listening, Learning, & Supporting.

2020 is NOT letting up, is it? We’re still grappling with Covid-19, which means schools, businesses, and much else about our “normal” lives is still anything but normal.

As is so often the case, life has not presented us with just one thing to focus our attentions on. In recent months, there have been incidents of extreme injustice that have brought years of racial inequality into stark relief for the nation as a whole. In the era of camera phones and social media, it is impossible to argue the facts of what happened to Ahmaud Arbery, what happened to George Floyd, and what happened to Breonna Taylor. The murder of these black people have stoked outrage, as it should.

This outrage has not been solely for these three victims of unprovoked brutality. It’s the culmination of years of pent up grief and anger at the injustice of a broken system. A system that we, as a nation, have allowed to continue relatively unchecked for far too long.

And so, in recent months, the affected segment of our populationhas grown loud. Black people are pleading: For us all to take their struggle seriously. To not confuse or dilute their message. To understand. To be their allies. To give them the same rights and humanity that are afforded other citizens in our nation. To acknowledge that systemic racism (whether we acknowledge our role in it or not) is something that dictates how they get to live every day.

On Tuesday this week, many on social media (ourselves included) participated in #blackouttuesday, where we paused our normal feed to show up in solidarity with our black sisters and brothers. It was, though flawed in the eyes of some, a step that many took to say “ok, I’m taking a moment to pay attention and hopefully help in some way, even if I feel unsure of what that means.”

We can’t speak for all, but we want to clarify our message. We participated in #blackouttuesday to say this: “We’re listening. We’re grieving for your many losses. We’re TRYING to learn more. We are ACTIVELY participating. We SUPPORT you. We support #BlackLivesMatters.”

Sounds ok, but for those of you that might be wondering what that actually translates to in action? We want to be explicit with how we’re trying. These are the things we’re doing:

  1. Having difficult conversations with adult family members and friends, challenging each other to identify and pinpoint our respective roles in a society that has allowed and accepted racial inequality as our norm.
  2. Speaking with our young children about what racism means, how it’s a learned way of thinking and living that we must actively work to unlearn and not perpetuate.
  3. Listening – to shared messages from members of the black community, the law enforcement community and, yes, also the white community – to understand the different perspectives.
  4. Reading – about the deep history of racial inequity in our country and about some of the many stories of lives that have been unnecessarily cut short.
  5. Supporting black owned businesses by actively seeking them out and patronizing them.
  6. Reaching out to our local law enforcement offices to better understand what policies they have in place so that we can work within our own communities to advocate for and vote for proper reform.
  7. Reflecting on our own privileges and acknowledging how we have benefited from a societal structure that has kept others oppressed.

These are the things we’re doing. Are they enough? On their own, no. We are not so naive as to believe that to be the case. We’re realists who understand that the task of implementing real and lasting reform of both mindset and policy is not only complicated, but difficult. There is much work to be done, and the struggle will continue long after the protests slow down.

However, we are also by nature, hopeful. No matter how dire the circumstances, no matter how frustrating (or enraging) the information we digest…we remain hopeful. Why? Simply put, we don’t see any other way around it. We have children to raise. We have future generations to consider. We have global and local issues that cannot be ignored (Covid, climate change, education) any more than BLM can be ignored. We have our individual lives to keep living, paychecks that need to be earned… even as we continue to put in the work to amplify the voices of those who need us to support them.

Today would have marked the 27th birthday of Breonna Taylor. We write her name and we speak it out loud because her life mattered. Her death matters. The changes that will lead to fewer deaths like hers are necessary. We have hope that they can happen. In the meantime, we will keep listening. We will keep trying to learn. And we will keep working to be the allies that we would want for ourselves, for our own children.

We began Better With Sisters for many reasons, but the first and foremost was to cultivate connection. That is still and will always be our main focus. We believe in spreading positivity and support for ALL our sisters. We also believe in looking forward to our future with hope and optimism.

So, while our future posts will continue to be varied in nature, please know that it does not detract from the work we know still needs to be done and the work we continue to do. We encourage you, as always, to connect with us and let us know what’s on your mind.

With sisterly love,

Cathy & Lan

In The Meantime…

“It’s OK if you need to let it out; be sad, be frustrated, say out loud that you’re scared or nervous, or even mad. It’s definitely OK to cry if you need to. BUT, know that we’re in this together, and this will pass. In the meantime, I’m here for you.”

Nope, these weren’t words I said to a friend. These were the words I had to give to my 10 year old last night. She had been, up until that point, generally upbeat and incredibly well-adjusted to the whole quarantine situation. She and her 8 year old brother have been a God-send to me in this time of crisis. They’ve given me joy and a sense of purpose through this very surreal experience where any sense of normalcy has been all but abandoned. But, it was bound to happen, the asking of this question. As we headed into the 6th week of sheltering in place, she asked me over dinner:

“Mommy, when will this be over so we can be with everyone again?”

And, my heart broke a little as I replied:

“I’m so sorry, sweetie, but I honestly don’t know. I can’t promise you anything because I just don’t have the answers…as much as I wish I did.

Her eyes welled up and she finally released the tension she didn’t even know she’d been holding. My response was a blow for her in more ways than one. You see, our kids rely on us, as parents, to KNOW… all the things. To guide them and to have definitive answers about the world around them. They look to us for how to react, how to process, and how to move forward. They take their cues from us in every way. And that’s why it’s important that we approach parenting from a place of honesty and compassion.

When I gave her this reply of honest uncertainty, it was just another blow to her already tenuous hold on normalcy. She cried, and they were not the tears of a kid with a scraped knee. These were tears of grief as real as any adult’s. These were tears of frustration over a situation she could neither fully understand or control. These were tears of longing for her family, friends and teachers. And these tears just about undid me as a mom.

And that’s why I gave her what I could: permission to FEEL. Permission to be sad so that she could then figure out how to move forward. And then, I gave her reassurance that she wasn’t alone. Because, at the end of the day, that’s all any of us can do, right? Acknowledge our hardships and then keep going, with the support of the ones around us. So, whenever you can, please give your fellow citizens this same consideration: we’re all processing as best as we can… and we can all use a little empathy and support.

I KNOW we will get through this. We, as a global community, will move forward. We always do, because we are resilient. We are strong enough. But, being strong doesn’t mean we aren’t allowed to feel the hardships as we go through them.

I’m sharing this because I hope YOU will allow yourself to be sad/mad/frustrated/anxious or WHATEVER emotion you are experiencing. I hope you’ll allow yourself this and know that we’re all feeling the same things. Maybe at different times, and maybe we’re expressing a little differently, but we truly are in this together. And that is precisely how we’ll get THROUGH it, too: TOGETHER.

With love and support-



WOW. We.Had.No.Idea.

When we started cutting and distributing mask hooks a short two and half weeks ago, we anticipated making a few dozen, or possibly a few hundred to give to our local healthcare workers. We are overwhelmed at the positive response and demand for them!

Attaching mask elastics to these hooks alleviates pressure from behind the ears.

We have now shared these hooks across the country with thousands of healthcare and essential workers to help alleviate pain caused by extended wearing of protective masks. As of this writing, our distribution count is over 4,800 hooks. We continue to receive emails and DM’s every day, asking us to send what we can and we’re thankful that we have been able to meet the need.

Due to the overwhelming response, we are now asking for your help to keep these hooks 100% FREE for those that need them. The cost of packaging & shipping throughout the U.S. is adding up quickly. If you’re able and willing to make a contribution toward our efforts, you would be helping us to get these into the hands of the healthcare workers that need them. We’ve made it as easy as possible for you to do so; you can donate via Venmo: @BWS-charity

A sampling of the packages getting shipped daily to healthcare providers across the U.S.

100% of donations will go directly towards material and shipping costs. We are working hard to keep production going and will continue to do so for as long as we can.

Thank you for your help; your contribution means the world to us.

With love,

Lan & Cathy

P.S. If you are a healthcare worker (or know of one) that could use one of these mask hooks, please email us at and we’ll “hook” you up 😘💕

PIVOT (part 2)

It’s hard not to pay attention these days. With changes nearly every day coming down from government officials, we’re paying a lot of attention to developing statistics, guidelines, and stories. In addition to the official news, there are a LOT of testimonials from people around the world, sharing how Covid-19 is affecting them. Some of those stories are inspiring, some are heartbreaking, but all of them have served to help us better understand the world around us.

As you’ve probably noticed as well, there has been an ongoing conversation about PPE (personal protective equipment) for healthcare workers. We kept seeing testimonials and images showing healthcare workers dealing with terrible bruising and in some cases even open sores caused by wearing masks with behind-the-ear elastic straps for extended hours, shift after shift. As if the job itself isn’t hard enough, they’re dealing with completely unnecessary discomfort! We realized, while we can’t provide PPE, we can absolutely do something to help them with this problem! You see, with our new business creating consumer pieces, we have some pretty cool equipment at our disposal. And, we’ve decided to put that equipment to use as we address this newfound need.


We reached out to our local hospitals and have now provided our first 300 “pieces with purpose”, specialty mask hooks, to the most deserving people we can think of: our healthcare providers. And, as things often have a way of doing, in the process of our first outreach effort we were contacted by another group in need. We have consequently also designed, developed and donated an additional 300 modified mask hooks to our local fire departments. These are being used to secure surgical masks to patients’ faces. Just this morning, we received a request for 300 hooks at a second hospital in our area.


We have no doubt the need for these hooks will evolve and possibly grow in the weeks to come, and we’re grateful for the chance to support our communities in any way we can.

The moral of our story thus far? Well, we’re flipping our original plan upside-down. Our new purpose is to give back first and serve customers later. And we’re 100% OK with that pivot.

With sisterly love,

Lan & Cathy

P.S. If you are a healthcare worker (or know of one) that could use one of these mask hooks, please email us at or and we’ll “hook” you up 😘💕

The One Where We Take Ross’ Advice

So, we’re pretty sure everyone can agree that 2020 is NOT going how we thought it was gonna go! To put it mildly, this last month has been one of incredible upheaval and we’re feeling it, too. We had 2020 all lined up…plans for our podcast, plans for family trips, and BIG plans to launch a new business offering products we were sure people would love! But, then…but, then…

FREAKING COVID-19! A pandemic?! Who knew that life would look like this: mandatory social distancing, economic uncertainty, a health crisis resulting in (currently) a QUARTER of the world’s population to be in some form of government mandated lockdown? Are we getting Punk’d?!

It would be easy to succumb to the stress and anxiety of it all. It would also be easy to stay in our grief, mourning all the things we can’t do and can’t plan for. And, in full disclosure, there have been some seriously stressed out moments. BUT, and this is a HUGE BUT…you know what’s been awesome? The unexpected and incredibly inspiring GOOD we’ve witnessed these last few weeks.

We’ve seen teachers adapting to unheard of demands to suddenly switch to distance teaching. We’ve seen grocery workers elevated to hero status for working ungodly hours just to meet the demands of scared patrons. We’ve witnessed parents rising to the challenge of juggling full-time childcare with working from home, if they even have the fortune of keeping their jobs. And more than ever, we’ve witnessed healthcare providers adapt to an unprecedented (in at least 100 years) pandemic that’s stretching the system as they know it to its absolute limits. Each and every one of these people are living examples of a credo we stress all the time: do WHAT you can, WHEN you can, HOW you can. You know what they’ve done incredibly well? They’ve pivoted.

They’ve encountered roadblocks in their paths and chosen to adapt their actions and attitudes to move forward anyway. And that’s exactly what we’re doing as well. That new business we had hoped to launch this month? Yep, that’s tabled…for now. But, that’s ok. Because we’re taking the most important part of our new business – our mission – and pivoting with it instead.

Wait, what’s that mission we’re talking about? Well, to put it simply, it’s to make Pieces With Purpose.™ We believe in doing things on purpose, with purpose. Our purpose in 2020 was to curate a business that would allow us to not only fuel our love of creating, but also afford us the continued flexibility to be with our families. Our customers are also our purpose. We want to provide custom pieces that serve to help you celebrate, commemorate, or grow – for whatever YOUR purpose is. Last, but certainly not least, we have always believed that one of our true purposes is to serve by giving back. From the beginning of our Better With Sisters brand we’ve made it a part of our business model to support charitable organizations that we believe in. Our plan was to continue that with our newest venture; for every purchase made, a portion of the proceeds would be given back to a charitable organization or under-served segment of our community.

With Covid-19 posing a serious roadblock to us executing our original plans, we’ve decided to pivot our business while staying true to our mission. Figuring out how to do that required a little time, but we believe we’ve found at least two ways to do so. Stay tuned for our next post… we’ll share exactly how we’ve pivoted and continue to move forward!

(PIVOT Part 2 coming tomorrow!)


You’re not alone if all the recent upheaval of normalcy has you feeling uncertain, uncomfortable, anxious, or otherwise just NOT OK. 🙋🏻‍♀️We’re all processing and coping with so many changes being thrown our way, and the changes keep coming by the minute. 🤯So, if you’re doing your best to stay positive but find yourself feeling upset anyway; IT’S OK.

Please reach out to friends and loved ones (via text, FaceTime, phone call, email, carrier pigeon…whatever you have available to you!) and share how you’re really doing. Let them support you during this strange time and more than likely, you’re going to be helping them in return. Because connection is more important than ever, and by reaching out you’ll be strengthening your relationship during a time of literal isolation.

You can also ALWAYS reach out to us; we read and respond to every e-mail and will support you in any way we can. Together, we’ll get through this and be OK again. Promise.💜

Be well,

Lan & Cathy

Focus On What You Can Control

It’s a strange time for the world right now. Fear, panic, anxiety and so many other emotions seem to be running rampant because we don’t have clear answers to some very big questions like “How bad is this going to get?”, “How many people have the virus?”, “Will the economy be able to withstand this?”, “Am I going to have a paycheck?”… and the list goes on.

There’s quite a bit that seems out of our control and that can be disconcerting to say the least. While it would be nice for us to offer some concrete answers to ANY of these, just like you, we don’t know. But, we will continue to do what we preach: focus on the things we CAN control. And for the most part, those things have not changed:

  • We will focus on our own actions and words, offering calm and measured responses to our friends and family who come to us with concerns.
  • We’ll continue to do our own due diligence in reading verifiable reports and statistics so we stay informed without buying into the panic of sensationalized blog posts and the like.
  • We’ll focus on doing our part in the efforts to maintain social distance for the greater good of our communities (and consequently the world at large).
  • We’ll continue to nourish our bodies with physical activity and a balanced diet (staying healthy is more important than ever!).
  • We’ll ❤️ on our family members by checking in on those who can’t go out (our elders and immune-compromised).
  • We’ll enjoy the unexpected blessing of extra time with our children and appreciate that we get to have them close to us and safe.
  • We’ll focus on the good we see around us and try to spread that joy.
  • We’ll allow ourselves space to address our own emotions and stresses, and then encourage each other to move forward.
  • We’ll practice kindness and grace for ourselves and others alike.

These things are what will get us through the days and weeks to come. We hope you’ll practice a little of this as well and remember that we’re in it with you and are here for you, always.

With sisterly love,

Cathy & Lan

Headed For Splitsville?!

We’re a little more than a month into the year, and I don’t know about you, but it was a LONG month! At the same time, I’m left wondering – where has the time gone! Are we really 1/12 of the way through 2020? How can that be?!

If you, like me, started off the year with big plans and serious goals – how are you doing with them? I’ve found myself doing a couple things this week that I invite you to do as well:

  1. Honestly evaluating my progress on goals set (ugh, it can be brutal)
  2. Deciding how to refine or adjust my course to actually reach those goals!

I’ll share one of my own goals with you (who knows, maybe this will help me with some accountability?!)… but first, a little back story to my 2020 mindset!

I’m not a huge fan of the “new year, new me” line of thinking; no judgement for those who find it motivates them, but I believe it’s the same me, year after year. I’m on a constant journey of growth and learning, so while I know there’s plenty of room for improvement, I don’t feel like I’m trying to completely make myself over every time a new year begins. In fact, some of my goals actually involve trying to go BACK to versions of myself that I miss.

Which brings me to a 2020 resolution I want to share with you. It might seem a little silly, and I’m (almost) embarrassed to share it, but I want to be able to do the splits this year. YEP, good old fashioned splits.😊 My 10 year old giggled, too, when I shared this particular goal on Dec 31, but hear me out – this has nothing to do with the idea of being a twisty, bendy teenager again. I’ve begun to really feel old in my body, which seems like a ridiculous thing to say, but it’s true! I wake up with an achey back and stiff neck more mornings than not, and my muscles feel so tight most days that in the last year I’ve been to the chiropractor for more visits than I care to count.

When I started to consider WHY my body has been feeling so tight and uncomfortable– I had to acknowledge that I’ve become so sedentary that I’ve lost a ton of the flexibility and strength that I used to have. So, I made a promise to myself that 2020 would be the year I got serious about regaining those two things, and that would mean both diet and exercise would have to be addressed.

And, if you’ve listened to our podcast episode about setting goals (Episode 5 – click here for a listen) you know both Lan and I believe in getting SPECIFIC about our goals. Too broad, and there’s room for excuses or failure. Too lofty and non-descript (i.e. I’m going to be super-fit!) and youor goals feel more like dreams than tangible milestones. We believe you need to get specific and set goals that are measurable. In my case, one of the measurable goals on my journey to being stronger and more flexible is to be able to do the splits without tearing a muscle (or 5).

SO, how am I doing? Not gonna lie – it’s not going well! I started off strong, exercising a lot (for me) the first week and a half of January. Then, life happened. *Cue the excuses* I just “couldn’t” fit in the time for myself to focus on this stuff. Or so I told myself. Sound familiar? It’s so easy to let yourself off the hook when the only one who really cares about the outcome is you. But, as we’re always preaching: self-love means actually putting forth the effort for yourself, even when it’s inconvenient.

So, what hasn’t been working? For me, it’s a couple things – I keep saying I’ll work out in the evenings after the kids are settled for the night. Alternately, I’ve been saying I need to join a class or gym to make it more fun – but in the meantime, I’ve been excusing myself from at-home stretching/exercising – and there’s just no valid reason for those excuses!

How am I planning to adjust the course? Starting tomorrow, I’m going to wake up and stretch – I’m committing to start my day off strong. This means, before I’m going to allow myself coffee, phone time, etc., I’m going to discipline myself to stretching and warming up my body. I’m also going to fit in my workouts while the kids are at school – in between phone calls and e-mails. There’s time IF I CARVE IT OUT. No more excuses that truly end up amounting to laziness. (Ugh, that’s brutal to even see in type) Later in the day, when I’m mentally drained and feeling REALLY unmotivated, I can rest a little easier knowing I’ve already done something good for myself.

Small steps, right? I’ll keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, what are some of your goals or resolutions? How are you (really) doing with them? How are you going to adjust YOUR course, or are you already smashing goals? I’d love to support you with them – so share in the comments or e-mail me at !

Stay strong & stay motivated –


Sisters Giving Back 2019

We know, as moms ourselves, just how important it is to have support in parenting. The task of raising successful, healthy children is not an easy one and the age old adage “it takes a village to raise a child” couldn’t be more true. As sisters, we are fortunate to have that support in each other, but we know that the experiences and relationships our children have within the community are every bit as important. 

That’s why this year, we’ve decided to partner up with Sefra Kay Photography and Back Porch Flowers in raising funds for a program that benefits the children who need it most in our community. As Sisters Giving Back©, we are raising funds for Rise Up, a local youth program devoted to helping provide low income students grades 3-5 with positive experiences and classes at the Santa Maria Valley YMCA. 

These students, identified as at-risk by local school teachers and administrators, are encouraged in the program to focus on academics (with an emphasis on STEM learning), healthy living habits and social responsibility. They participate in classes where they spend hands-on time doing science and robotics experiments, cooking, and even learning to swim. Many of these children would never receive an opportunity to experience these things without Rise Up.

One of the things that makes the Rise Up program unique is that it offers these students long term support; they can expect to be a part of the program for 3 years. Upon graduating Rise Up, they become a part of the Bulldog Bound program through Allan Hancock College, which “focuses on creating a college-going culture among fifth- through eighth- grade students and their families. The program introduces them to AHC, the campus, and the programs and services available through early outreach events”.

Another way Rise Up goes above and beyond other programs is that they recognize the need for children to experience the joys of childhood as well – and some of the most memorable moments happen at the holidays. Rise Up provides the students and their families with turkeys at Thanksgiving and, with enough funding, gifts at Christmas. 

That’s where we come in as Sisters Giving Back©! We aim to raise enough funds to provide all 30 of these students and their families with gifts this holiday season. The memories made spent as a family are important to us, and the joy of a child receiving unexpected gifts is magic. In reaching our modest goal of raising $150 for each family, we think we can bring a little  magic to these kids and would love it if you would help us! 

Join us for our first Holiday Helping Hour to make your tax-deductible* donation:

Date & Time: December 3rd 4:30-7:30

Location: Back Porch Flowers 4850 S. Bradley Rd., Ste. D1 ORCUTT, CA 93455 

For every $20 donated, you’ll not only be helping buy presents for some very deserving kids, you’ll also be receiving 1 raffle ticket towards prizes valued up to $300! We’ll be serving hors d’oeuvres & beverages, a fun photo booth, and representatives from Rise Up will be on hand to talk about their program. Plus, it’s a great way to get out and meet your neighbors and local business owners!  

If you’d like to make a donation but are unable to attend, please e-mail us at: !

Thank you for being a part of strengthening this sisterhood to which we all belong!

-Lan & Cathy

*The Santa Maria Valley YMCA non-profit tax ID is #95-2158363. A 501(c)(3) proof of non-profit status is available upon request.