Bacana Notions is the name of our short ‘n sweet weekly blog.  We aspire to have each Notion in some way capture the essence of the Bacana vision statement.

no·tion noun \ˈnō-shən\ an impression, a concept,
a theory, a whim, or a belief held by a person or group

A Bacana Notion could spark a new thought or give you a grin in the middle of a long day.  It may even provide you with that helpful advice you’ve been waiting for.

community profile: jeanne chan

We’re so pleased to introduce you to another member of our massively cool community of Bacana clients. Welcome to Jeanne Chan!

Introduce yourself.
I’m Jeanne Chan, and I’m the co-founder and marketing director at Harlow & Grey, a modern party goods line I launched with my dear cousin Gloria. I also write a lifestyle blog, Shop Sweet Things, dedicated to sharing modern living, design, style, and snippets of my life as a mom with my two girls (age 7 and 5 – very fun ages!)

What’s something making you happy right now?
My Pilates sessions. Feels good to pay attention to my body again after not working out for almost 7 years.

When was the last time you surprised yourself?
I just finished a book! (Crazy Rich Asians)

What’s something that brings ease into your life?
I also started Vedic meditation. Still trying to hone in on the practice, but when I do carve out the time to for it, it feels very cleansing for the soul. The other thing that is bringing ease to my life is Good Eggs, an organic grocery delivery service I use weekly. I do live in San Francisco after all. 🙂

What’s something you’ve seen or read recently that you want to share?
It’s not something that I’ve read or seen, but I started listening to “The Goop” podcast. The inaugural episode with Oprah is honest, funny, and incomparable. The “How I Built This” podcast is something I’d like to listen to as well when I need a boost of inspiration or motivation in business and entrepreneurship.

Where can people find you?
Instagram @shopsweetthings
Instagram @harlowandgrey


for the sake of the climb

“The ones who climb the mountain don’t wait for permission. They just start walking.”
– Trinity Bourne

As a New Yorker, I excelled at urban hiking. There is plenty of flat terrain there, but there is also flight after flight of staircases to climb, both over and under the ground. Since moving to Los Angeles, I’ve been hiking mountains and canyons. My hikes in New York were part of my transportation system. (I used to say “My legs are my car”.) But the LA hikes are different. They are simply for the hike itself, for the climb.

My neighbor, the tortoise, set out on his own climb recently. I marveled at his persistence and grace as he lugged himself to the top. Once he was up there, he didn’t stay long. With a sudden motion, he stepped off the top rock and awkwardly slid and bumped all the way back down.

Trinity Bourne says we climbers don’t wait for permission to climb. I say we climbers don’t wait for a reason either. To climb is reason enough.

What have you climbed recently?


For much of my life, I have been very, very active. Starting as a dancer and a (pretty bad) gymnast at age 5, and then moving into martial arts (primarily capoeira and later tae kwon do). I used these skills in life and in my jobs as a stunt performer. I was strong and fit and pretty damn tough.

After some health issues, I spent several years away from any consistent physical activity. I’d have short spells of taking classes here or there, but nothing as dedicated as I had previously been.

As I write this, I am 3 months in to an attempt at renewing my focus on physical health. My goals are increased strength and endurance. I want a useful body.

Even though I far prefer learning an art form over training at the gym, I also recognize that the gym might be what I need as I nomad around the world. And, to be fair, I do rather like some of the weightlifting. Especially deadlift. Makes me feel strong.

But there is danger here. As I feel my strength growing, as I lift heavier & heavier weights, I start to compete with who I used to be. This 41-year-old body is not the same as my 30-year-old body or my 20-year-old body. I start to think in terms of limitations, and it frustrates me.

There is a great deal of strength in gentleness. And there can be a power in respecting boundaries. I have great admiration for the physical strength I once had. I’m learning slowly to have respect for the different strengths I have now.

Here’s to competing with our past selves and hopefully walking to the finish line arm in arm.

sensing a surrender

“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.”
– Julia Cameron

An artist friend was recently touring through LA, and so we spent an afternoon together. She kept remarking in her charming Polish accent, “California smells so good!” She couldn’t get enough of these bushes in particular, surrendering her entire body to their intoxicating fragrance.

It was then that I learned that smelling was a creative act. Who knew?

not what you look like

The huntsman is a shy spider. Not aggressive at all. But it’s also a very, very big spider. So some people, especially those who don’t know of its shy nature, might not react well to its presence.

I was speaking to someone not long ago and discussing how I’m an extreme introvert. He was surprised. “You’re a very confident introvert.” I explained to him that introversion is not the same as shyness, nor does it mean someone has a lack of confidence.

I had surprised him because his perception of me led to some untrue assumptions.

This (not so) little guy (or gal) didn’t stay in the bowl, by the way. He (or she) had decided to meander into the bedroom, and so I just relocated him (or her) outside.

Big but shy. Confident but introverted.

Have you had a huntsman moment lately?

tasting fortune

When I was young, a friend told me that, if I wanted the message from a fortune cookie to come true, I had to eat it. She said I had to eat both the cookie and the fortune. She instructed me to chew and swallow the little slip of paper, and so I did. It felt like I was participating in the magic.

Recently, a new friend plucked a flower from a tree and presented it to me with the instruction, “Try this.” He didn’t speak of any fortune, only of the delicious taste. But, as I lifted the beautiful flower to my mouth, I made a secret wish. (How could I not?) Once again, I participated in the magic with simple chews and a swallow.

Have you gotten any tastes of magic lately?

community profile: kimmy williams-pigliucci

We’re so pleased to introduce you to another member of our massively cool community of Bacana clients. Welcome to Kimmy Williams-Pigliucci!

Introduce yourself.
My name is Kimmy, and I am a San Francisco native. I am married to an Italian and work as an Esthetician and Health & Wellness Coach. I run a skincare clinic in my hometown called AES Acne Clinic, where I combine skincare and lifestyle coaching to help people struggling with acne get clear holistically. I also teach trauma-informed yoga in the community.

What’s something making you happy right now?
My 3 furry cat babies: Antonio, Lucilla, and Supplizio. They always make me happy!

When was the last time you surprised yourself?
I am always surprised when I cook something that is edible, but the other day I made a dish that actually tasted good!

What’s something that brings ease into your life?
I practice yoga and mindfulness which helps me tremendously. I also love a good bath with some music and lots of candles.

What’s something you’ve seen or read recently that you want to share?
I am currently reading two fantastic new books: Nurturing Resilience by Kathy Kain and Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness by David Treleaven. They both present cutting-edge information on psychology and mental health that is relevant for anyone interested in the mind-body connection.

Where can people find you?

charmed by a bee

A friend and I were relaxing on the beach when she suddenly gasped. I looked down to see that a bee had landed on my finger. Bees have always fascinated me, and I don’t recall ever being stung by one (wasps are a different story). So I remained calm and just observed the tiny creature. He ended up hanging out on my finger for ten whole minutes! Perhaps he mistook me for a flower or a sandwich. In any case, I rather enjoyed his company.

Have you befriended any insects lately?

hawaii in ice

I know the shapes aren’t quite right, but these patches of ice on the train window from Sweden to Denmark made me think about my former home in Hawaii. How’s that for worlds apart?

Where do you find reminders in potentially strange places?

up the stairs

“Never look backwards or you’ll fall down the stairs.”
– Rudyard Kipling

I’m not sure of the context of this quote, but I like to think it’s a poetic instruction for life. Saying, in short, if you live in the past, you can’t move forward.

Today on a hike, I crossed paths with a guy who (many miles away, many years ago) hurt me deeply. Each of us was hiking alone. He was heading downhill, and I was heading up. I don’t think he recognized me under my hat and sunglasses, but I definitely recognized him.

After he passed me by, it felt great not to look backwards. It felt great not to fall down those metaphoric stairs.

What do Kipling’s words mean to you?