August 30, 2017

How the Heart Hurts for Houston


Yesterday I realized it was the 12 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina landing in Louisiana and Mississippi. Twelve years ago I watched at my temp job as winds, water and levees breaking destroyed homes, towns, cities, roads, business, churches and lives. I felt in my bones I was called to help and joined my first mission trip that October. Five trips to MS and NOLA showed me the devastation of mucking out and cleaning out homes. Showed me the heart of people. Showed me the rebirth. The regrowth of a town. Of a city. How people were willing to run in and help. 

And here we are again. Glued to the news, watching Houston flood. Watching people flee for safety. Watching and crying as again people are driven from their homes. Some for the second time as many NOLA people migrated to Houston after Katrina. Heartbreaking. Beyond, just beyond. 

We are also seeing the good in humanity. The people running in to help. Borrowing boats to rescue people trapped. Churches opening their places to shelter. Furniture stores letting people rest and sleep in them because their homes were destroyed. JJ Watt constantly raising the bar for donations because people continue to answer the call. Please, if you haven't, answer the call. Be it money. Time. Things. Resources. Boats. Prayers. Answer the call, whatever it maybe. 

Do your research and make sure you are funding people, not pockets. UMCOR is an incredible organization who makes sure 100% of donates are used for help. Their motto is "First in, last out" just like the Marines. They are still doing work after Katrina, still in those areas and will be Houston until everyone is back on their feet. 

You don't need that new shirt. You don't need that cup of coffee. Put it towards helping your fellow humans. WE MUST ANSWER this call and help those in need. Let's be the country of people we know we can be together. 

August 29, 2017

Add It To The List

Quick post today, friends. I hadn't planned to post because Le Husband has been home since Friday and I wanted to enjoy the evenings with him and get stuff done around the house. Then, this morning I saw quite a few of these ADD IT TO THE LIST posts and thought, yup, I'm in it to win it.

Sleep has been something I've complained about since March and I'm slowly trying to find my sleeping rhythm. The past two months have been tough because I wasn't staying asleep for more than an hour at a time. I made the room colder, started going to bed later and FINALLY listened to Kathy and ordered some Natural Calm. I take 1.5 teaspoons about an hour before bed and my mind slows and I'm usually able to get to sleep quickly. I still wake up once a night, but that's way better than six to seven times. I bought the pink bottle [of course] and didn't realize it had stevia in it, so I"ll be guying the other bottle once this is done. Highly recommend if you need to ease your mind or get more sleep!

 Tarte Shape Tape: Y'all were NOT kidding, this product is pretty freaking fantastic. Thank you to everyone who suggested it last week. I went out and bought it on Friday and feel so much better about my eyes this week. Honest moment, I dabbed on WAY too much Monday morning and so randomly did some highlight work on my face to blend it in, oooops! A little goes a long way so I'm pretty happy with the coverage and the price. Thanks, friends!

While at Ulta I purchased a few other delights and wouldn't you know, this amazing palette was on SALE! YES, URBAN DECAY was half off. I'm not the best at the smoky eye, but for the price am willing to play around a little bit. I checked on sephora and it was also on sale there online, go snag one, friends.

Another recommendation, one from Kathy and one from my husband a year or so ago. Le husband started taking collagen for gut health and I tried it a few times but meh, didn't really stick with it. However, in the past few months I've seen a ton of other companies coming out with collagen supplements so I started putting it in my coffee a few times a week. After my whiny post last week, Kathy reminded me HOW GOOD this is for skin and as of last week have made sure my morning cup of coffee has at least a teaspoon. If you start this regimen, START WITH SMALL DOSAGES, or expect to be in the bathroom more than normal. I've already noticed a different in my face, woohoo!
Not too many products, but these are big keepers in my opinion. What should I add to my list?

August 25, 2017

Weekly Wins

>>> You wonderful people and your response to my post on Weds. Thank you for being such kind friends and beautiful humans. I appreciate all the tips and sweet sweet words.

>>> My husband came home a night early, woohoo! #missedthatguy

>>> I booked a massage for today and I'm thrilled to be taking some time for me. It's going to hurt, but that's okay. I can't remember the last time I had a relaxing massage, everyone I've had recently is about releasing tension in the muscles and not feeling so tight. Bring on the noodles feeling ASAP!

>>> This video. Hilariously sweet and funny. Gotta love a dad doing a makeup video.

>>> LES MILLS LIVE is this weekend in Philly and while I'm not there I'm so excited for all my friends attending. I knew back when tickets went on sale it wasn't in the budget and I didn't have the time off so I'm not too upset about being 'left behind'. Plus, it's going to be thousands of people in one location and that is so not my jam. It is also TAP SUMMIT and I know four of the new rookies and I'm so proud of their efforts. One day I hope to be there learning too, but for now I'm thrilled for those I know.

>>> MY VACATION TIME FOR THANKSGIVING WAS APPROVED! I am thrilled. Ecstatic. A weight has been lifted off my shoulders now I know I can visit family for the Thanksgiving week. God is good and I'm grateful, so so so grateful.

>>> My new devotional arrived and I am love, love, loving it. If you are in the market, check out SAVOR by Shauna Niequist, so remarkably wonderful. And soothing. And just a big blanket of love. If a book could hug you, this one would.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend, sweet darling friends of mine. Lots of love your way!

August 23, 2017

I Don't Know About You, But I Feel 102

Okay, that's a bit dramatic, Pinky. But friends, I'm feeling hella hella hella old right now. Something has been festering in my brain and I can't shake it. All of a sudden all I can see in the mirror is old.

I'm 34. THIRTY FREAKING FOUR. Next year I will be five years from the big 4-0. I am of the mindset every year is a blessing and every birthday should be celebrated because we all know life is fleeting. Life is temporary no matter what anyone tells you. We are not permanent. So I try to live thankful and grateful and happy.

Key word is try. Every now and then something happens and something festers. Usually I can find the culprit. Usually it is very easy to drill down to find the cause for the effect. But right now, I can't see it. I can't find it. I honestly don't understand it. All I know is I feel old and haggard and so past my prime.

All I see in the mirror now is gray hair I have to die every six weeks. Lines on my forehead that NEVER and I mean NEVER go away. Wrinkle lines around my eye and dark puffy bags underneath. Dull, sun spotted skin which has now decided to break out constantly. Add all of that onto the chicken pox scares on my forehead that seem even more pronounced. Let's not even talk about the more yellow than white teeth because of coffee, tea and wine.

My body seems to be tired more often than not, even with breaks from teaching. Even with BCAAs. Even with extra magnesium. Sleep, what is sleep? Or what is good sleep? I used to think I'd do okay with minimal sleep, but it seems to be part of the reason my body is so blah at the moment.

Most people guess my age to be 10 years younger than the truth. I still get asked if I'm in college, but by fewer and fewer people it seems. Apparently my age is finally starting to show. I've started to consider botox for my face which is something I'd NEVER thought of as an option. NO judgement with others, I just always expected to grow older just the way I am and be fine.

Right now though, fine is the last thing I feel. This age drama is the pits. The worst. And yes, I do know I'm being a bit dramatic, but that's where my head is right now. This is my head space the past ten days. This feeling of being old and drab. Maybe this is the food I'm eating. Maybe this is the solar eclipse. Maybe this is a lost feeling of self. Maybe this is an unsettling moment for another reason entirely. I don't know. All I know is I want to live my truth and be happy. Which might mean a few facials in the future. And maybe a massage. Who knows.

For now, send me all your tips on getting younger looking skin and how I can minimize the bags under my eyes. Oh, and allllllll the makeup tips for mmmmkay?

August 17, 2017

Random Thursday Musings

Last week I posted a ton, this week, oops. Lots of random musings today. Key word, RANDOM!

|| Facebook reminded me about my BODYPUMP filming anniversary this week. Yes, friends, two years ago I started this fitness instructor journey and wow what a whirlwind of a two years. I was such a scared baby filming WITH MY FAMILY. So nervous, so unsure and still not certain this was something I would be good at or would enjoy. Flash forward four more LES MILLS and one BARRE certification later. I'm beyond grateful for my family who helped me take this step and so thankful I said YES even though I was scared. Reach for your dreams, friends. You can do it!

|| Our Thanksgiving plans are set and I'm slowly freaking out about asking my boss for the time off. There is part of me, this scared to ask questions part, who worries upon worries upon worries about asking. Then there is this other part of me, this indignant part, who gets pissed off because I feel I have to worry about asking for vacation. I don't want to rock the boat, but, it's family. And family comes first, always. I need to decide whether to ask him in person now or send an email request, basically telling him I'm taking off. Honestly, this sounds horrible, but right now if he says no I think I'll look for another job by October. Dramatic much, right? All I know is I'm going and that's flat.

|| Friends, lend me your eyes and thoughts. I'm in need of a new address stamp and with Expressionery running a small sale I figured this was the time to jump. There are so many choices I barely managed to narrow them down to three and now I ask for your help. Which do you like best? My only issue with #1 is would it seem weird if I sent a letter but had the return address be myself and Le Husband? I love the heart in #2, but wonder if it's a bit much. #3 is unique but is it me?

|| Our country makes me so sad right now. My heart hurts. My head hurts. My eyes hurt from crying. I don't understand this hate. I don't understand how people can be so judgmental of others due to skin color. I don't understand how people can generalize so hugely. White. Black. Muslim. Christian. Democrat. Republican. Independent. We are all human and we must take care of each other. We must we must we must we must LOVE!

|| Oh my land have I been tired, mornings make me look like this lady duck. I'll attribute 25% to a bad diet, not relaxing before bed and going to bed later than I should, but the rest is all due to not sleeping through the night. Sadly I've gone back on sleeping pills this week because I just could not take the lack of sleep anymore. Granted normal sleep for me is waking up every 4 hours, which is still quite broken, but this every 2 hours is for the birds. I have some Natural Clam arriving next week and fingers crossed it will be the natural way to fix this issue. I need my body to recover with rest.

|| Speaking of taking care of myself, I started talking to someone. FINALLY! Now, this is a bit different than what I originally expected, but I can meet via FaceTime which helps with scheduling. I'm seeing someone and learning about the process of FOCUSING. Very interesting, very different but very helpful. Tuesday we had a session and things veered off quite dramatically, yet I was able to feel the emotions without letting them engulf me. Big first step, y'all. BIG! 

|| Due to lack of sleep and being tired, my skin has been quite blah. So I went to the closet Walmart and bought  few different masks to try and combat the issues. I drink a ton of water and take vitamins plus a hair/skin/nails supplement daily, which makes me think this is something to treat on the outside. Anyone have a favorite [not expensive] hydration/pore shrinking mask the recommend? Thanks and thanks!

August 11, 2017

Weekly Wins

|| I no longer have to teach a 6am SPRINT class on Thursdays. I don't mind early classes [that much] but going to bed early, getting up early and getting to class where only 1 or 0 people attended was getting quite old. I emailed the manager and we both decided it wasn't worth the time, yahoo! Only one class every now and then at 6am now, so excited for more sleep.

|| BODYPUMP this week was awesome. Well, my 7pm class I knocked out the park. I had more fun teaching, was funnier and smilier than normal and it just felt natural. Random shift, yet one I'll take gladly.

|| My ego received quite a bump when I was asked to take over a BODYCOMAT class at my home gym. Granted, other wonderful candidates already had a class and couldn't take over, but to be asked was still quite an honor. I'll be able to use my AIM1 feedback finally, while also getting back in COMBAT shape.

|| There was one night this week I slept five hours in a row, it was glorious.

|| Work/study balance is slowly coming about. I'm getting back into my textbook and taking careful notes this time around. Some of it I remember and some of it feels foreign again. I've started though, which is good.

|| The training I mentioned a few weeks back is HAPPENING tomorrow, yay! My BODYATTACK bestie is joining in the fun so we are just going to make it a day trip. Gonna be a long, but fulfilling day. I'm looking forward to learning, shifting and soaking up everything Thanks for the support, friends.

|| Finally purchased more lavender and two books on Amazon. Cannot wait to receive them.

What are your weekly wins? Wishing you a fabulous weekend, my loves < 3!

August 8, 2017

Show Us Your Books

FINALLY. Made it here for book recaps. I've read more than the four books below, but finally making  a post meant quick like bunny writing and I only had time for four. You'll notice a theme, intrigue. WWI intrigue, military sniper intrigue, con artist and saving the nation intrigue and of course, the military investigator intrigue. All books were 5 out of 5 stars because I could not put them down. Does this mean you'll agree? Probably not, but that's the fun in recommendations, right?

Fun fact: I've always wanted to be a sniper. Not the most logical job or relatable job but I grew up military and snipers always held a fascination. Cleary I don't have the stones or the patience, but I love reading true life stories or novels about snipers. This book is the sixth in the series that inspired the movie and television show, "Shooter". Bob Swagger is an old man, but returns to help clear the name of a fellow sniper, because he's the good guy. Great writing by Hunter, lots of twists, lots of intrigue and lots of military talk. If that and gun descriptions aren't your thing, this isn't the book for you. But, this book is really, really, really good.

Good ol Bess Crawford is back. Sadly, this is the last in the series until October, boo. You'll remember my affinity for this WW1 nurse/detective. The war is nearing an end, but young Bess is continuing to answer the call until the very last moment. My imagination brings up moments from Downton when Bess describes the war and the hospitals. I am also fascinated by all the rules back then, what was proper, what caused gossip and how Bess had to finagle ways to see people without it being a stain on her reputation. I will be sad when this series is over and might actually purchase hard copies of this series because truly enjoy it so. If you are interested, I would suggest starting at the beginning, you'll be lost in the characters starting so close to the end.

Baldacci was the first crime/murder/intrigue authors I read. I discovered him in college and it was my first taste of murder, deceit and descriptive evil people. His level of gore is about all I can take and I found myself trying to read every book of his I could get my hands on at the library. This is one of the last series of his I've started and I was immediately drawn to the military aspect of the main character John. Baldacci writes quick chapters, full of the unexpected and oh my gosh chapter ends. Pages fly as you keep looking for the next big thing. I realized halfway through the book I've read others in the series out of order, and this book solved a few 'huh' moments. I'm mad about one part, but don't authors piss us off on purpose? Great quick read.

The Camel Club is one of my favorites by Baldacci. Big fan of groups of misfits right wrongs and taking down the bad guys. Another book out of order in the series when I read it, glad to finally have all the background on Miss Annabelle [love her name by the way]. A big time DC player and a not so big time DC player are murdered and it's up to the Camel Club to put it all together to bring the bad guys to justice, all while staying out of harms way. Fun peeks into the rare book collector's life and the con artist's too. I really enjoyed it and think it would be a great last part of vacation book.

There you have it, some of the books I've read. Nothing groundbreaking and all very similar but I tend to read the same kind of books all together when I just need SOMETHING to read before bed. The next batch might be all romancey or silly. I have quite a few deep reads on my list but with my studying and busy days I want something light before bedtime. 

What's the ONE book I need to add to my list?

August 7, 2017

When Your Body Says Nope {& Still Productivity}

Before we get to the post, can we all give an AMEN for a weekend update on a Monday? I mean, last week I talked about not doing so hot with recaps and then BOOM, one this week. How bout them apples? Or peaches, mmmmmm, peaches. Moving on now.

I had very little plans for this weekend, which in itself is something incredible. Our weekends have bee nonstop recently and Le Husband has been traveling a ton for work. A clean slate of a weekend meant SLEEP - ANOTHER AMEN PLEASE - and getting things done around the house. Friday afternoon I came home from work and just plopped down on the couch because I finally could. Le Husband came home and we immediately got to work on our chicken and waffles dinner. It was SOOOO delicious and just a perfect chill meal to end the week. 

Bedtime was early for me because I was exhausted. Saturday morning we didn't move until 10am because our bodies were like 'nope, sleep' so we listened. A cup of coffee or two later and it was full steam ahead with the list of things we wanted to accomplish. Le Husband wanted to build a new bathroom vanity, I wanted to vacuum, clean the house, reorganize the linen closet, do laundry, clean up the master bedroom and study. Definitely an ambitious list but if something didn't happen nbd. Well guess what, we started projects then took a break for lunch and boom, passed out on the couch. 

Yup, our bodies gave us the big old NOPE, you're doing nothing today and we just rolled with it. I'm talking watching the NCIS marathon, taking a nap off an on, ordering pizza in which was followed by soft serve ice cream unproductive day. Y'all, it was glorious upon glorious. Sure I felt lazy as a sloth but it was something we N E E D E D to recharge and I'm so glad we didn't fight it just to 'be productive'. 

Sunday morning we slept in again [weird after so much rest the day before] then got after it all, checking things off the list one at a time. We didn't get to everything but a lot was taken care of and as I write this I feel soooooo good about the split of days. Le Husband and I needed this so badly. For our bodies. For our sanity. For ourselves. For US together. With all his traveling and all my teaching we've started to become ships passing in the evenings or just sending time together with other people too. We haven't had time to just be us, husband and wife, best friend to best friend with no deadline to meet. Just together with nothing to do but watch the wind blow by... and eat of course. 

No pictures, nothing exciting for Instagram and nothing really blogworthy. Except, it was one of the best weekends I've had in a really, really, really long time. Wishing you a fabulous week :)

August 3, 2017

What Are My Gifts?


Life has me adrift as of late. Shocking, right? Now hear me out, I'm past the point of feeling on an edge of a scary precipice. Of fearing the future and desperately pleading for something steady. I have something steady, which eases my fears, yet there is still a longing for a truer sense of belonging.

My job gives me no fulfillment and honestly is a waste of a day. Work is done before lunch, quite often earlier, which leaves hours of nothing. I've found ways to pass the time and am now refocusing my studying efforts for my PT exam, but the unexpected something always looms so I usually do not get fully invested in studying or learning new choreography for classes.

All the down time leads my mind to wonder, ponder and criticize my situation. Try as I might I can't shake the feeling, so I'm taking steps to work with someone on focusing. Small step, but a step none the less.  Hopefully it will help this sense of yoyo emotions.

One of the things giving me the biggest feeling of failure is remember what I've always been told as a child. Use your gifts. Use what you've been given to help the work. Make it a better place with who you are and your specialities.

But......what are my gifts? What do I do well? What can I do to make the world better? How do I parlay what I'm good at into a job? How do I find my calling or those specialties? Is what I'm good at anything useful? Are they worthwhile or things I just can do that get me through a day?

Please understand, this is not meant as a woe is me post. I've had plenty of those in the past and y'all have responded with such kindness. This is more of a something to speak aloud and ponder. Also understand, I know I do certain things well, other things okay and some ish for lack of a better term. I want to figure out how the good can become great and the great become a life.

I've made a list of what I think my positive attirtubes and gifts are and now am at the point of trying to parlay that into something good for life. For me and my family. For a job and for happiness. Please tell me I'm not the only one out there who's felt this way? Those who have, what did you do about it? Did you make a break and jump? Did you realize you were where you needed to be? What was your plan of action? Please share, I desperately need to know :)!

August 2, 2017


snacking {on}: peaches. oh my word I love me some in season peaches. and saltines. not sure where or why they became so delicious, I just can't stop snacking on them.

anticipating: another advanced training this month. I want to rock it out and check the box so I can move on to something awesome. fingers crossed I do well and fully immerse in the feedback.

borrowing: hmmm, nothing really. been slacking on my kindle time recently.

admiring: all the people who have the cute outfits and their life together. #notme

purchasing: hopefully something during the P&M summer clearance.

reading: Inferno by Dan Brown. GOOOOOOD!

watching: reruns of my favorite shows. because, bored at work.

hoping: my future will start to unfold the way I plan.

loving: the fact I have nothing planned this weekend. cheers to sleep.

August 1, 2017

A Weekend Post A Day Late {Because Family and Tired}

Gone are the days of blogging Sunday night on the couch, after a long weekend. Even though it's been over year since we moved and my blogging schedule changed I still find it hard to believe my post isn't already written and read. I mean, today is Tuesday, not Monday, and here you are reading recap of the weekend. I just can't justify the time behind the computer at home anymore, unless it's studying Les Mills or NASM. Not a complaint, rather a moment or a feeling. Anyway, moving on to the weekend.

Another two days where I could barely catch my breath because so much was packed in and family was involved so you had to commit. My SIL's sister's son [you get that] celebrated his one year birthday over the weekend and so my SIL and MIL drove down from Ohio to Knoxville for the party. Oh, yeah, my SIL's sister lives down here with her family now, fun right? Anyway, we had the weekend on the calendar marked off for family and even hoped to have a sleepover with our oldest nephew, A. Both Le Husband and I were excited to see the kids [three lil boys] and family. Then, an added bonus happened for me.

Okay, bonus is the wrong word. My aunt's father died last week at the age of 95 and my mother decided to come down to the funeral on Thursday. She stayed with T-Bone since we already had Le Husband's mother at our home and I was able to spend time with the two of them on Thursday night after teaching. If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen a funny drinking video with Mama B, T-Bone and myself, we enjoyed some sangria with our delicious dinner.

Friday night I skedaddled to an acupuncture appointment because my shoulder and rear deltoid had bothered me all week and I was beyond thankful for the healing power of needles and cupping. It made me so sleepy afterwards but we had dinner plans with everyone, or so we thought. Then kids happened and it ended up just being the two moms and me and Le Husband eating dinner at our home. It was such a fun and unexpected turn of events to have both moms in the house and a treat to cook them dinner and just be together. Oh and we got to go to sleep at 10pm, woohoo!

Saturday morning I subbed a BODYATTACK class for a friend and Le Husband and his mom went to Gatlinburg for a fun trip. While they were gone, I joined my mom and T-Bone at his house boat then hung out at the pool before the birthday party. Rarely do I just get to hang with Mama B and we had a fun time just chilling out in the gorgeous weather. The birthday party was a lot of fun and our adorable nephews were just a hoot to hang out with. The youngest is barely 3 months and he is the most smiliest happier kid ever so you know I got my cuddle on, haha.

Sunday morning the Ohio family left, Le Husband and I did some work around the house and then I went over to the lake for some more family time and dinner. Again, just a gorgeous day and lots of fun chilling with those I love. Sunday night was tough getting things all put together and Monday morning even rougher. I'm already looking to this weekend because we have NOTHING planned and I am so excited to just chill, sleep and relax. Three more days, woop!

Oh, btw, HOW IS IT AUGUST ALREADY!??! !I mean, what?!