What’s Your Excuse?

“Dreams don’t happen because you’re busy, they happen because you’re intentional.” – Maxie McCoy

Several years ago, I subscribed to read Maxie McCoy’s weekly newsletters and I could go on for DAYS about how much of a positive impact her words have made on me.

*Before I go any further, I want to say that this post is not sponsored, I just love her words & her motivation. I hope she could help you as well, and that one day I am able to motivate you in ways similar to the way she does.*

Over the last 3 years, I’ve been trying to figure out what on earth it was I wanted to do with my life. When I first graduated, the job opportunities weren’t there like every recent college graduate hopes and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I constantly found myself being too busy to sit down and really think about where I wanted my life to go. I was too busy to make life changing decisions and certainly far too busy to update my resume and apply for jobs that I would actually enjoy.

As you can probably guess, I wasn’t actually busy at all. It turns out that getting home from work each night & sitting outside on the patio drinking wine isn’t busy. It’s lazy. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very enjoyable and relaxing pastime, but when a person is as bored and miserable as I was with my every day life, that isn’t exactly the best way to make changes. I learned in high school that the more things you have on your plate, the better time management skills you create for yourself. This is so important to remember. I’m currently working a full time job and am trying with everything I am to run a successful blog at the same time. I still have so much to learn so I feel like I’m constantly working on the computer, taking notes and attending webinars to gain as much knowledge as I possibly can. So far it’s been exhausting, but so incredibly worth it. There have been social events I’ve turned down because I had a webinar at 8 that I knew would benefit me immensely. Dates with my boyfriend are now at the coffee shop because I have so much work to do. My time is being used so much more efficiently than it ever has before. And it feels pretty darn good. I’m accomplishing so much more each day and already achieving so many of the goals I’ve set for myself.

For the first time in years, I’m waking up every day and living with intention. Not just because I’ve laid out specific goals for each month, week, and even day, but because I’ve realized everything I spend my time on is important. At this point, I am officially and finally busy. And I couldn’t be more happy. It’s reassuring to feel like I’m doing something for myself. I know we all have goals we’re hopeful of, so what is it that we’re going to do today to move closer to achieving them?

How do you lay out your goals? I’d love for you to share a few of them with me!

Being mindful of what you spend your time on day in & day out is the best way to really change your life. I’ve always loved to lay out the week/month/year ahead so you’ll never catch me without a notebook, my planner, and daily notepad. I don’t use them all three all the time, but they’ve definitely played a role in getting me where I want to be in life.

We procrastinate when we’re scared, we tell ourselves we’re “too busy” when we don’t want to make important decisions and choices. So many of us go through life wanting more but rarely actually do anything to get more out of life. What are you going to do today to move you closer to getting everything you want out of your own life?

I’m going to challenge you again to take some time over the next few days to write out things you would like to achieve over the next year. They can be big or small but actually writing them down will help to hold you accountable! Once you have them written out, make notes next to each one about exactly how you will achieve them. Write steps and mini goals for each day that will bring you closer to reaching them. For the longest time, I have wanted to become a runner but I never really did anything about it. I just kept walking while my sister would run to train for her half marathons. Finally, I decided I wanted it bad enough that I would start to do something about it. I laid out a running schedule and have started running 3 to 4 miles a day. Sure it’s not much, but it’s still more than I was doing before and it’s still bringing me closer to running a half marathon than sitting on the couch! Maybe you want to start a blog but don’t feel like you have what it takes. Start by writing out ideas for a niche and just start writing some potential posts!

We are never too busy to do exactly what we want with our lives’. You owe it to yourself to set some time aside to work toward bettering your life each and every day. It’s simply a matter of making yourself a priority and waking up every day to live with intention.

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Going the Extra Mile.

“Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded.”

How insanely true is this quote? I took this picture after lunch with my parents last week and all I wanted to do was keep running. It ended up being a gorgeous day regardless of it being overcast with a major chance of storms. The perfect temperature for a run, yet there was no one around. I started thinking about how often the path is wide open for us to start working and follow our dreams, whatever they may be. Then it occurred to me how infrequently we advantage of these opportunities. Why? Is it because we’re scared of failing? Don’t feel like putting in the extra work? Too tired when we come home from our day job to work on ourselves and our own goals? There are so many things that keep us from accomplishing our goals, big or small.

It was 2009 when I first thought I wanted to be an orthodontist. I was born with a severe underbite and a crossbite and spent most of my childhood with mouth pieces, face masks, and retainers before having braces in 8th grade. I literally had every kind of contraption to straighten my jaw that you could imagine. And it all worked. My teeth were straight and my jaw was (& still is!) perfectly aligned. I had an amazing orthodontist through those years- he made the process bearable and even enjoyable. I wanted to do for people what he did for me. His passion for his profession showed every day in the office and it made me want to be that. Once he retired, I shadowed a different orthodontist several times. She was not only running her dental/orthodontics  practice alone, but she was a single mom, worked out twice a day, and was seriously killing it every single day. We spent a lot of time together before the office opened and after it closed and it quickly became official- that’s who I wanted to be like. For a few years, I felt that same passion, too. Then it took me 5 and half years to finish my undergrad and I decided I didn’t want to spend 7 more years in school. That’s what I convinced myself, anyway.
Or was it that I was afraid I wouldn’t get in to dental school? What if I wasn’t as good at it as those two were? I didn’t have the most exceptional grades, but I’d visited the advisors at UofL and they were encouraging every time I was there. Still, something in my mind was too scared to act on what I once felt so strongly about.

Then there’s Pure Barre. It was 2011 when I first heard about the studios in Louisville. I wanted to try instantly. I even had a friend who told me I could go with her. I was so excited, motivated, a little nervous, but actually terrified. I started talking myself out of it because it was too far from home, I didn’t look like the other girls there- the list goes on. It was 2015 before I ever even tried a class! This is the perfect example of why it’s so important to push ourselves to our limits because we never know how perfect it can turn out. Y’all already know how much Pure Barre has changed my life in the last two years so I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer.

It was also 2011 when I first wanted to start a blog. Now 6 years later and I’ve actually started one! I feel so proud to have this thing up & running, no matter how successful it currently is. I’ve achieved one of my biggest goals and it feels so. freaking. good.

I’ve always been one to put in the extra effort at work especially. I haven’t loved every job I’ve had, so it definitely hasn’t been easy to give 120% day in and day out. But in my experience, it’s worth it. At my last job, I started out selling tickets at a museum on the weekends during college. Then I started going on the trips with the mobile museum and quickly became the full time manager and Brand Ambassador for the museum. It was an absolute dream job. I moved up quickly and felt successful for the first time in my life. I reached this point because I was reliable, worked hard every day, and made sure to leave lasting impressions on the customers. Obviously not many other people around me had worked like that because there wasn’t anyone else who moved up like I had. And I’m proud to say I’m the only Brand Ambassador that museum has ever seen.

It’s so easy to give up on ourselves and our own goals because so many of us spend every day working for someone else to achieve their goals. I’m not saying quit your day job. I’m only saying take time to prioritize your own life. Time management is one of the biggest things that has helped me do things to benefit myself. Make bettering yourself each and every day a habit.

I challenge each of you to push yourself out of your comfort zone, no matter what it is. Sure we might not succeed the first time or even the second, but we certainly will never succeed if we don’t try. I recently participated in a 5 day boot camp that helped lay out visions and goals for my life and it’s insane how much something like that will help! Write down your visions and your goals, short term and long term. Then write out the smaller steps you’ll have to take each day to lead you to achieve those visions and goals.

Tell yourself failure is not an option and just keep going. Go the extra mile, unlike so many people we encounter each day. You will be amazed with yourself, I promise!

 

Imagine all the things we could achieve if we would just do them. Make yourself proud, you deserve it!

What are you going to do today that your future self will thank you for? Tell me! 

Not Your Average Girly Girl.

Alright, let’s talk sports & television.

I am the biggest sports fanatic that you could imagine- for all the sports! Very rarely can you catch me watching reality TV or primetime TV shows. The two exceptions are Hawaii Five-0 and NCIS: Los Angeles. Every Friday at 9:00 pm sharp, I watch Hawaii Five-0 with my dad & NCIS: LA on Sunday nights is a must. I cannot get enough of either show! LL Cool J always keeps my attention no matter what.

Other than those two, though, I’m always watching some kind of sport. In the fall & winter, on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday, it’s all about NFL football. Saturdays are for college football & from April through October, baseball is calling my name. Fall & winter also bring on college & NBA basketball & I’m glued to the TV for that, as well. I played golf in high school so I even enjoy watching the tournaments on the weekends throughout the summer! So many of my girlfriends spend their time watching the Kardashian’s or the Bachelor and I just can’t get into them like I get into sports! I love attending, watching on TV, & even playing all the sports. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with reality TV or any other kind of show- they really just don’t hold my attention like sports do. There’s something about the high of the players, of the coaches & of the crowd in each game that I just cannot get enough of!

In the summertime, there is literally no place in the world I would rather be than at the ballpark with friends and family cheering on our favorite teams. It’s my ultimate happy place. Since I was a little girl, sports have been life. See photo from first Chicago Cubs game below. And please excuse the poor photo quality, photography has come a long way since the early 90s.

First Cubs Game, circa 1993.

I’m particularly biased toward the University of Louisville Cardinals for all college sports. I love the Los Angeles Clippers as my NBA favorite, the Minnesota Vikings & Houston Texans for pro football, & the Chicago Cubs as my favorite major league baseball team. When none of those teams are playing, I still manage to find some kind of sport to put on TV when I’m home. You’re probably wondering how on earth I got to be a fan of all those random teams in various places across the country. Truthfully, I’m a fan of certain players on each team & have grown to be a fan of the entire teams. I mean really, who isn’t a fan of JJ Watt?!

I’ve tried watching Netflix series & getting addicted to shows like The Walking Dead or American Horror Story but I really can’t seem to get into them no matter how hard I try. I just can’t keep my undivided attention on the television for that long.

How many of you all love to binge watch shows on the weekend or on snow days? What are your favorites?? Help me! I’d love to get into more shows than the typical crime shows & sports games that I normally watch but I definitely need some guidance.

I do realize I’m at a much different place in my life than a lot of you, considering I’m not raising a family or trying to run a household. I cannot imagine how much stress, time, & energy goes into raising children! With all of the adulting that’s required, I know there’s not really so much time for just hanging around watching sports or any major TV time, for that matter.

The amount that I love sports can’t be that weird, is it? Does anyone else LOVE sports as much as I do? Soccer moms? Dance moms? Although I’m not a mother yet, I really look forward to the day when I’m able to take my children to their practices, games & tournaments, if they opt to play sports or take lessons of some kind.

Tell me your favorite sports teams! Any teams you just can’t bear to watch? What do you do when your kiddos are at practice?

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Wrigley Field 2016 Cubs vs Giants

Simple Tips for Healthier Living.

Over the last six months, I’ve been looking at my life & my overall health from a different perspective than ever before. Making big changes & small changes in an effort to just be happy. At the beginning of May, I decided I wanted the whole month to be focused on mindfulness and creating a healthier state of mind, rather than solely working on a healthier body. I figured spending 31 days being more aware of the simple things, paying attention to my breathing and thinking, and being more appreciative of the little things would create habits to be able to continue this lifestyle long after the month ended. For so long I put my main focus on the physical aspect of healthy living and had never even considered the mental and emotional aspects. Crazy right? Unfortunately I think a lot of young people approach ‘healthy living’ this way. I don’t even pay enough attention to the things I’m eating or drinking so I especially wasn’t paying enough attention to clearing my mind.
So here we are at the end of the month and I definitely feel like an improved woman. There are a few things that I’ve been sure to do every single day since May 1st that I wanted to share with you! I know we’re all so busy these days and sometimes it’s hard to take 20 minutes out of the day for yourself, especially in addition to your workout. But you need it! Do yourself a favor and take a little more time out of each day for yourself. Your body and mind will thank you. I promise! Here are a few of the biggest things I’ve incorporated into my daily routine.

  • Start each morning with green tea. No special brand, iced or hot. Add some lemon juice to it or drink it plain. Green tea is a natural diuretic and has been proven to help your belly flatten out when you drink it regularly. It’s also said to improve brain function. The biggest reason I drink it every day is because it honestly just makes me feel better.
    • You could also add cinnamon and apple cider vinegar to your daily cup. This combo has gotten a lot of good press because it can help to lower cholesterol!
  • Exercise. Do 100 crunches, 50 push-ups, go to the gym for cardio & weight work, hit a Pure Barre class, run outside. Anything to get your heart pumping and body moving. Working out in the morning boosts your metabolism and gives you all the endorphins you need to make it through the toughest days at work. Plus, it’s out of the way first thing! No one has ever regretted a good sweat session.
  • Deep breathing exercises. Maybe it’s before you even get out of bed, maybe it’s in the car on the way to work, or it’s before you fall asleep at night. Even if you only do this for one minute, the benefit is still great! I always breathe in for 10 seconds, breathe out for 12 seconds. This helps you literally blow off some steam and any anxiety or frustrations you have about the day will dwindle away. If you’re doing these at night like I usually do, it helps clear the mind from the day’s events so we’re not thinking about everything that we still need to do or about anything that happened throughout the day.
    • This has probably been the biggest key to success for me. I used to let so many small things frustrate me & by blowing off some steam this way every single day, I feel brand new.
  • Meditate. I recently downloaded the Mindfulness app on my phone and I can’t believe how much it helps! You can set reminders each day so you don’t forget and it also sends a motivational quote. They have 3, 5, 15, and 30 minute sessions. All of them are beneficial, and with as little as 3 minutes, there’s no excuse not to! This is one of the biggest practices that has helped immensely in realizing what’s really important in life. Spending time getting to know my mind better has helped me just be happier, more motivated, definitely more upbeat through the day. I usually spend 3 or 5 minutes right before bed with one of the guided exercises. I’ve slept better this month than I have in the last six combined.
  • Call someone you love. Whether it’s your mom, sister or brother, best friend, it doesn’t matter. Just give them a call, tell them you love them and you’re thinking about them. It will not only help you feel better but it will make their day too!

And that’s it! Just five little steps that have made me happier and feel so much more content with my life. I haven’t been the most happy with my current working situation so doing these things each day has helped pull out the good things in everything I’m faced with every day. I just decided one day it was time to control all the aspects of my life that I possibly could. By doing this, the negative things that come my way that I can’t control don’t seem so bad. My shoulders are far less tense, I laugh a lot more, and my every day feeling about life is much improved.
Each step is done in no particular order but every one of them is so worth the little extra time and oh so necessary. I’m definitely in the habit of each step and on days where I forget my tea, I just feel out of whack. These habits have helped me immensely and I hope they can do the same for you!

My next goal is to start incorporating yoga into my routine! Any recommendations on where to start?
Do you have daily routines that you just cannot live without?

Pure Barre Addict

On October 24, 2015, I took my first class at my home Pure Barre studio & my life has never been the same. I had taken two classes at a different Pure Barre location & absolutely loved it so when a studio opened up closer to home, I knew I had to start taking more regularly. I have always struggled with my weight, mostly with eating well, so it’s never been super hard for me to go to the gym, but I always get so bored with the same routine in a normal gym. I had been going to a regular gym doing the weight machines & elliptical every single day. I was seeing decent results, I just got so bored so quickly! It made it hard to be willing to get up in the mornings to go, especially when no one was there holding me accountable.

Pure Barre is absolutely everything I had been looking for & so much more. Not just in a work out, but really in every aspect of life. I found a new group of friends who I look forward to seeing every single day, and in those friends, I found the strongest & some of the sweetest women I have ever met. I’ve also found a second home at this studio. You should always sign up for classes, which is really great for me because my instructors know when I’m supposed to be there! That means if I cancel, they’re definitely going to check in on me! They’re never pushy, always the most motivating, & absolutely some of the best women I’ve ever met. I hit my 250th class in November & I could not be more proud of myself. The changes I have seen in every part of myself are phenomenal. I stand taller, my body is leaner, my muscles are stronger, and it’s incredible how much happier I am now that this workout has become part of my lifestyle.

Sometimes it’s hard for women to separate the number on the scale from the way their body looks. I’ve always been one who has needed that smaller number when I step on the scale. Since starting Pure Barre, I’ve only lost about 10 pounds. But my entire body is so much stronger than it’s ever been & I am honestly so amazed with myself every single day. I never in my whole life would ever have imagined I could plank for 30 seconds, much less 90!!

Each class has the same structure but they’re always different. We start with a warmup, move to thigh exercises, then seat work, and finish off with abs & stretching. Each instructor will always keep you guessing with what moves you’ll do next.

The women are so inspirational, so proud of you & of themselves every time they walk through that door that it’s impossible not to come back. I could literally go on for days about my love for this little studio- there really is just absolutely nothing like it!

When you surround yourself with people who want to succeed as much as you do, that’s when you’ll start seeing your results. In a class, the women feed off of the energy of one another. You’re there for your 55 minutes. No one is there to judge how low you sink your seat or how close to the mat you can get your shoulders during abs. Every single woman is there to help herself become better & they’re all there for the encouragement I know I need to get through that final 10 count.

My love for Pure Barre & our little studio is immense. I know anyone who takes Pure Barre knows exactly how I feel.

 

Have you tried Pure Barre?

What’s your favorite work out?

What about hot yoga? I would love to get into it so any feedback you have for me is much appreciated! There are so many options out there & I know there are some I’d love to try with you all!

Puerto Rico

For Christmas 2012, instead of our typical holiday celebration, I went to San Juan, Puerto Rico with my family. When we take trips, relaxation is definitely expected (& always much needed!) but we’re always sure to do a lot adventuring throughout the trip, too. Zip-lining through the Puerto Rican jungle is a memory I can’t imagine forgetting anytime soon. My sister, dad, & I went on a five-hour zip-lining excursion & saw some of the most beautiful scenery you could imagine. Although we didn’t see any mongoose, the different kinds of birds were very cool. From the mountains, to literally zipping through the jungle, it was truly an indescribable feeling.

zip line

We love to hike & find the path less traveled no matter where we go, & being in Puerto Rico was no different.

San Juan was the first trip we had taken as a family that included so much history, rather than just beautiful sand & long hikes to the most secluded beaches. We stayed right on the beach, just outside of Old San Juan. Below are a few pictures taken in Old San Juan, including the San Juan Cemetery. Even though winter there isn’t what we think of it as in Louisville, it still came with some cloudy skies & a whole lot of wind! Even still, it really was so beautiful.

I know better than to believe you’re totally & completely interested in every single city I’ve visited & every single thing we’ve experienced in each place.

Do you like to travel? What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

Or maybe you’ve found an awesome area that is your own little getaway close to home. I want to know about it!