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  • 10
    Sep 2015

    Why I spent the day naked at the most popular tourist spot in SF

    When a very talented artist emailed me asking if she could “paint me” I of course said yes.  When she told me she really meant paint “on me” and I would be naked, and in public, I hesitated, but knew in my gut that it was going to be a powerful experience.  Then she told me her series was about celebrating the many different forms of the female body AND that my work had a role in inspiring this series. That did it, I was all in.

    Trina Merry is a visual artist who paints on people and documents the work with photography and video.  “I love that my work is literally alive- it has a heartbeat and a breath,” Trina told me.  Trina has recently been featured on CNN. You can watch her feature here.

    Trina has been working on a camouflage series where she paints people into the background of iconic places all over the world.  In fact, Trina told me that our last Live More Weigh Less challenge actually inspired her to take the trip!  I asked her to share her story below:

    From Trina: My friend Melissa Hoffman (also Sarah’s friend and makeup artist) joined the Live More Weigh Less Lifestyle instagram challenge and I thought- I can buy myself flowers and flaunt red lipstick?  What a fun idea!  I joined in and felt happier and observed that my days were more holistically-focused.  I was inspired and re-examined my beliefs about my life and body. 

    (Want to join our next challenge? You can sign up here.)
    The first series that really culminated from this inspiration and self-examination was my “Lost in Wonder” series, where I travelled to the “Wonders of the World” making gorgeous, meaningful art.  It was a very courageous move for me to do such heavy travel and really pursue my passion on a global level.  In the end I decided traveling around the world and painting was more productive than sitting at home worrying about how I looked in a bikini.

    I found myself rock climbing in the Wadi Rum desert, swimming in gorgeous cenotes in Mexico, covering my not perfect body in Dead Sea mud, cave exploring on Easter Island, climbing stairs to a monastery in Petra, walking the Great wall of China and across the desert by the Giza Pyramids for the perfect shot, hiking in Machu Picchu and so much more!  And yes, I even went bikini shopping in Buenos Aires where they appreciate and celebrate curves.  I started changing the way I ate and adding more protein to my diet so I could try keeping up with my Navy Seal trained male model and I felt stronger and sexier than ever.  It really is true- deciding to live more made me feel so beautiful.  I’m glad I didn’t wait and just took that step of courage to do what I love.

    I’ve joined Live More Weigh Less and am looking forward to my next adventure.  I am currently touring around the United States and want to travel this winter to where indigenous cultures are still practicing bodypaint.


    I mean, this is truly Live More Weigh Less at it’s best. I’m so proud of Trina.

    SO! Trina was in San Francisco doing a “twist” on this camouflage series…

    From Trina: “San Francisco: Visions from the Fog” has an interesting twist.  It is a female body positive series that examines various stages of womanhood- including a baby, two pregnant women and an older former Vogue model. I have seen other women transformed through my art for the last 9 years and now, these women and pursuing this art form are changing me.

    The works were informed by classical art history paintings including works by Raphael, Botticelli, Giotto, Manet, Matisse, and Frida Kahlo.

    I love painting pregnant models- it’s always touching when I’m painting a maternity belly and the baby presses back against the paintbrush.  Also, getting to paint my fresh baby nephew and a mature female model were new and very moving experiences for me.

    On the day we were painting, I was pretty nervous.  I had no idea how hundreds of tourists on Lombard Street (the curviest/steepest road in the world) in downtown San Francisco were going to react to a naked pregnant woman hanging out.

    Trina gave us (me and Melissa Hoffman the other woman in the piece) a thong and pasties to wear, which helped a lot but as I dropped my robe to allow her to paint me, my heart started beating a million miles an hour.  Were people going to laugh?  Were we going to get arrested?


    After just a few minutes we were gathering quite a crowd of international tourists from all around the world.  What was so surprising was that people just stood around quietly observing Trina painting us as if they were staring at Frida Kahlo’s “Two Fridas” itself.   

     A few men in their early twenties did walk by, point and giggle, but it was clear that it was out of their discomfort and not out of disrespect.

    Many parents with young children brought them over to explain that I was pregnant and to point out how beautiful we are.  Families, children and pregnant women wanted a picture with us and you could tell it was because they were really quite impressed with the art and our courage.

    The biggest lesson I learned from the day, and the real heart behind Trina’s work is that beauty does not come in one form of a young-slim-victoria-secret-model-esque person. Beauty comes in every form imaginable.  Just like art, our bodies should be celebrated by what makes them unique, not the same.



    P.S. Here are a couple more photos from Trina’s San Francisco series.


  • 03
    Sep 2015

    Preparing for two under two + a short guide to pregnancy

    Our little girl made her grand entrance last week on Monday, August 24th. You can meet her here.  Beyond Marshall kissing my belly every hour or so before she was born, he didn’t really seem to know what was going on, but now that she’s here he seems pretty proud to have a baby sister.  Since he’s still such a little guy (just 18 months) we’re hoping the transition continues to be easy breezy for him (if you have any tips on having two under two, please leave them in the comments below! I’d be very grateful).

    This pregnancy has been very different for me in so many ways, physically and emotionally, and I took some time to reflect on what I’ve learned.  I’d also love to gift you a free mini-program: Live More Weigh More: A short Guide to Pregnancy.  If you’re pregnant, want to get pregnant or are curious about getting pregnant someday, I hope this will give you some extra support and guidance.  This guide also includes Marshall’s birth story which I have actually never shared in it’s entirety!  You can get it here: https://sarahjenks.com/short-guide-to-pregnancy.

    A few things I’ve learned during my second pregnancy about business, love and life…

    You can do everything but you dont HAVE to do everything.  A lot of entrepreneurs confide in me that they are worried to have children because they’ll have to put their businesses and lives on hold.  In my experience, there’s no need to put your life on hold, but it is a great opportunity to slow down.  When I got pregnant when Marshall was 9 months old, I freaked out.  Jonathan was working from 5am – 9pm daily and every other weekend, I was doing a HUGE launch of Live More Weigh Less and I felt like crap.  Hello overwhelm.  I spent many months pushing, complaining and crying.  I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders and I felt trapped… I had to have this baby, I had to financially support our (expensive) lifestyle, I had to pay 4 full-time employees, Ihad to raise my son essentially by myself. I was operating in the realm that I was being forced to do all these things by myself and as long as I stayed in that space, I was miserable.  I finally got it through my thick head (with the help of my mentor, mother and friends) that I don’t have to do it all.  I have a choice with everything.  I could easily slow way down with work, reduce my expenses and move into hospital housing (instead of paying so much in rent).  I had a choice, I was not stuck, I was not alone.  The best part about realizing you have options, is that you can look at your current life with fresh eyes.  I realized that there were so many things about my life that I loved, that I would choose again if I had the choice (which I do, everyday).  So I made some minor changes with my expenses, business model and lifestyle to take some pressure off, but mostly I just stopped the unending loop of “I’m not in control” which freed up so much space to be at ease during my pregnancy.  In short, life doesn’t have to end when you have a baby.  My business has grown tenfold since I’ve had Marshall.  You just have to be smart, strategic, super focused and willing to make some changes, no matter how uncomfortable and hard it may feel.

    I got really clear on what I needed postpartum.  After Marshall was born, Jonathan went back to work after three days, my whole family arrived on day two, and Jonathan’s whole family came at the end of the first week.  Although sharing our new baby with family was such a joy, I had a really hard time bonding with Marshall with everyone around.  Because my labor was so long and arduous (you can read about it here: https://sarahjenks.com/short-guide-to-pregnancy) I didn’t have that instant connection with him, and having so many people around didn’t give me the endless time I needed to just be with him.  It’s never easy to create boundaries, especially with family, but I knew this time I needed to do it.  So now for the month of September, only my mom will be around to help, my Dad came out for a few days in the beginning, and Jonathan’s parents will pop in for a day or two in two weeks to meet Annabelle and then they’ll come for an extended period of time in October.  My nanny is also still with us full-time taking care of Marshall and helping around the house when Marshall is with my Mom.  So we have 4 adults to take care of two kids.  Perfection. Our theme is space, family time and bonding, bonding, bonding. It’s working so far:).

    Jonathan needs to come first… no matter what.  All couples get out of sync when you become parents, and Jonathan and I are no different.  The difference with us is that we have a really short leash when it comes to disconnection and won’t let it go for longer than a week or two without getting on top of it.

    I can seriously see how it’s so easy to get into survival mode as new parents, how we take our relationship for granted and trust that it will always just “be there” when we need it.  But if you’re only turning to your partner in times of great need and not nurturing the fun parts of being married, the relationship is going to easily and quickly wear down, just like anything else.  Trust me, being pregnant with a one year old and each working full-time does not make spending time together easy, BUT being bonded and happy as a couple makes life so much easier.

    Jonathan and I really try to go on a date one or two nights a week, even if it’s just for an hour or two and we take time every night to connect without phones or TV to distract us.  We also go to bed at the same time every night (a ritual that is more important to Jonathan than me, but I admit, it makes a big difference).  I also know the biggest obstacle to going on dates is money.  Here’s how we deal with that: we have a completely separate budget for babysitting (approx 6 hours a week) so when we go out we know it’s not eating into our grocery budget or diapers.  I really believe that you can clearly see what your real priorities are when you look at how you spend your money.  I rather put less money towards our retirement fund and actually know that I am putting my money towards something that will guarantee I have someone to retire with.  

    I am so happy to have kids close in age. A lot of people ask me how I’m feeling about having two under two, and honestly, I’m psyched.  I’m applying my number one life philosophy to kids: it’s never going to be easy, so you might as well do it now.  There’s never going to be a right time in my career, Jonathan’s career or when Marshall is “easier” (haha) to have another child, so we’re just going for it.  I prefer to make having children the priority and creating a life that works for us around our family.

    When it comes to having kids, everyone has a lesson to learn.  Many of my friends have had babies in the past year and there’s always something that goes “wrong”.  Whether it’s difficulty in getting pregnant, getting pregnant with a young baby (moi), having difficulty postpartum, going through a terrible labor, needing a c-section, having a miscarriage or needing to spend time in the NICU, there is always something that teaches us something as a mother and makes us stronger. I spent so much time in my first pregnancy planning and preparing for everything to be perfect, as if I could actually control it.  I had to learn this lesson again with Annabelle, which I shared about last week.  If you missed it, you can read about it here.


    In the comments below I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear your parenting tips, questions and lessons learned.  We have the best community here, and I always love hearing your take on these important topics.

    Lots of love to you,


    P.S. If you are pregnant, wanting to get pregnant or feeling like you want kids someday but are petrified about how you’re going to make it all work, I really hope you’ll download my new guideLive More Weigh More: A Short Guide to Pregnancy. It’s completely free:).  Hope you love it.  xoxo

    Photos by Danielle Fletcher
  • 28
    Aug 2015

    Our new baby girl

    I am overjoyed to introduce you to the newest member of our family, Annabelle Sarah Brajtbord!


    She was born on Monday night weighing 7lbs 2 oz.  She is very healthy and nursing up a storm.  Marshall seems thrilled to have a little sister and is pleasantly distracted by having his grandparents around.

    If you follow me on instagram, you may remember reading an abridged version of my labor with Marshall on his first birthday back in March.  Just a few weeks ago, I finally took the time to write out all the details, and I added it to a new guide I created for you (it’s completely free) called Live More Weigh More: A Short Guide to Pregnancy.  I highly suggest you read Marshall’s birth story, by downloading this guide, before you continue.

    Given that I had to go to the hospital with Marshall after planning on having a home birth, and that our experience at the hospital wasn’t the best, you can imagine that I was very excited to have my baby girl at home.

    On Friday, I started getting really high blood pressures, and by Sunday it was clear that I had gestational hypertension (a precursor to pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition for pregnant mamas).  Although I wasn’t in any real danger at the time, Jonathan and I have always been clear that home births are the best when everything is totally perfect and I am completely healthy.  And given that Marshall was two weeks late, we didn’t think that our baby girl was going to be joining us on her own anytime soon, so we went in on Sunday night to get induced.

    As you can imagine. I was devastated, scared and pretty pissed the whole weekend as I saw my pressures go up and up.  I did everything I could to relax, therapy, massage, herbs, acupuncture… and even in my most zenned out state, the numbers were still high.  I went through the whole list of things that could be holding me back…

    Do I not trust my body?
    Am I scared to be a Mom again?
    Even… did I have a bad birth experience in a past life?

    But what I kept coming back to is that “Birth Plan” is the biggest oxymoron, and I have absolutely no control.  In one of the experiences that means the most to me, I had to let go… again.

    So on Sunday we rolled into UCSF Hospital (where Jonathan works) with six bouquets of flowers, blankets, a cooler of food, 30 electric tea lights, an altar to the Great Mother and a whole lot of love to share with the staff, nurses and physicians

    By Monday afternoon my induction was in full swing and we were off to the races.  With the help of my husband, midwife, doula and the staff at UCSF (they mostly left us alone the whole time) I had just as an amazing labor as I could have imagined having at home.  I mean, it’s still the most painful thing in the world, but I felt empowered, calm and incredibly grounded the entire time.   A true “home birth” at the hospital.

    As soon as she was born, I felt so connected to her (a feeling I didn’t have with Marshall) and the past few days have been amazing.

    In hindsight, it’s so clear to me that I needed to have that experience in the hospital in order to heal from the last.  I love how life works.

    After the birth my midwife sent me this quote that I think just explains it all…

    “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still have a calm heart.”  – unknown

    What I learned from this birth is although a perfectly decorated, calm environment (you should have seen the birth suite I had set up in my dining room) makes feeling grounded, spiritually connected and powerful easier, it is certainly not necessary.  And most importantly, we can’t depend on it to find that place.  We need to be able to call on it where ever we are, in whatever situation.  Isn’t that the perfect lesson for motherhood?

    Sending all of you so much from my growing family.



    P.S. If you are pregnant, wanting to get pregnant or feeling like you want kids someday but are petrified about how you’re going to make it all work, I really hope you’ll download my new guideLive More Weigh More: A Short Guide to Pregnancy. It’s completely free:).  Hope you love it.  xoxo

Design: Jane Reaction. Development: Brandi Bernoskie.