Oh Baby, Oh Baby

On Sunday, March 25th, I told my fiancé, “Hey, at first I thought my water broke, but I think we’re good…so I am going to head to take class!” He looked at me confused (as he should) because 1. if my water broke why would I be heading to class 2. if it didn’t what the heck was I even talking about?

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On my way to class (22 days before my due date)…ok, maybe I did look ready! 

I showed up to the studio and tried to play it cool, but by the end of the class (it was a class for just teachers) everyone could tell something was off with me. One of the owners hopped in my car with me to drive me home and another owner followed in her car. I kept insisting that everything was fine and that I would give the doctor a call. I eventually called the doctor, but not before finishing off some Papa Gino’s…just in case baby boy was going to make an early appearance – I did not want it to go to waste. At this point, I still figured it would be at least a few days before my little homie showed up.

I had Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the entire third trimester and as the day progressed I noticed that they seemed a little more frequent, but still had no pain associated with them. Just to be safe I went ahead and showered, packed my bag for the hospital and did some things around the house.

As the evening started, I continued to have some signs (I’ll spare the details) that baby could be coming earlier than expected, but at this point, I think I was still thinking I had at least another week or maybe a few days.

10:00pm rolled around and I started to track the contractions because at this point there was a lot more power and pain coming along with them. During my pregnancy, when I had Braxton Hicks contractions, I would really focus on breathing through them even though they weren’t painful. This proved to be extremely helpful once the real ones started. I would also focus on my breathing (more than usual) when taking Pure Barre and Pure Empower classes. I kept telling myself, and others, that I was training for the big day.

I tracked the contractions, and did not sleep, through the night. Trust me, I would’ve slept if I could but could not find any position to sleep in as I started to get more and more uncomfortable. Tracking the contractions on an app was extremely helpful. As soon as one would start I could hit the button and then hit it again once it ended. That way, I knew how long the contractions were lasting and how far apart they were. For a while, they were kind of all over the place as far as how long they were lasting and how far apart they were. I would have some that the window would get a little smaller and then the next one wouldn’t come for a while. Somewhere in the middle of the night, I started to accept that I would most likely not be going to my doctor appointment in the morning, but would be heading to the hospital instead.

Right around 5:00am, I had two contractions that were about 7 minutes apart, but then the next one would be a little longer. It was back and forth like that for a little bit, then right around 7:00am, sh*t started to get really REAL. I started to think that maybe I waited too long and we should have already been on our way to the hospital. The pain was progressing A LOT and I calmly let Randall know that we needed to leave ASAP, but it was going to take some time for me to get dressed since lifting up my legs to get pants on did not really seem to be an option.

Eventually, we made our way down to the car and the 20-25 minute ride to the hospital felt like it lasted at least an hour. I was holding on to the handle above, blaring gangsta rap and wondering why the hell we were not going above the speed limit. As soon as we pulled up to the hospital, my water broke. We got inside, got situated and confirmed that it was in fact my water (for real this time) and that I was already 5cm dilated.

On our way upstairs, I let them know that I did NOT want an epidural, but needed something. By the time we were upstairs (probably took a few minutes), I remember asking how much longer this was going to last as a contraction seemed to take the life out of me. They let me know it would be at least a few more hours. I was so set on not having an epidural, but then found myself saying, “Ok, I know I said I didn’t want one, but how quickly can I get one?” I had really hoped to power through but after not sleeping through the night and how things were progressing, I gave in. I 100% do not regret this decision. I know every person is different and everyone’s body receives thing differently, but the epidural was absolutely magical. The contractions overrode any potential pain that could’ve came along with getting the epidural and I was pleasantly surprised that I could still move my legs. I was under the assumption that I would basically be temporarily paralyzed from the waist down.

Around 12:30pm, the nurse let me know that we would start pushing in an hour. OH MY GOODNESS, in just ONE hour, I was going to be meeting my son?!?! Looking back the entire 24 hours was so surreal, especially once we got to the hospital on Monday morning. I’m truly blown away at what the female body is capable of and how it just kind of knows what to do.

A little after 1:30pm, the doctor and nurse came back in as promised…and Braylon Kirk Thompson made his debut at 2:04pm.

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March 26, 2018

I vaguely remember having a conversation with the doctor and nurse letting them know that what they were asking me to do during the delivery was basically a “tuck” that we do in Pure Barre. I really had been training for this for years! The doctor said it was one of the best deliveries she had seen and had no doubt that me taking Pure Barre consistently during my pregnancy played an incremental role in that.

I took my first official class exactly six weeks after having Braylon. I had went to the studio a couple times prior to that and marked through a couple of classes, but given the distance I am to the studio, lack of sleep and everything going on, I didn’t take an actual class prior. For most women, it’s the norm to wait six weeks after delivering – sometimes more or less depending on a number of factors. While I do think I could’ve taken a class before the six weeks, taking class this past Monday night felt perfect.

I found out I was pregnant in August, so for about eight months, I had a workout buddy with me no matter what. At first, it was not known by most and I loved keeping my little secret. Right at the end of the first trimester, I let all of the clients at Pure Barre Cranston know that I was expecting. I remember heading to the studio and made the decision I was going to tell my classes that night because I was really starting to show. Looking back, I kind of just looked like I went to town on a dozen donuts, but whatever.

I didn’t anticipate that I would go through so many emotions during my first class back, but I did. So many things popped into my head. First, the majority of the Pure Empower classes that I had taken, were done while I was pregnant. Early on that didn’t mean that I was modifying too much, but as it became harder and harder to engage my core, I had to modify a number of things throughout class. I had to remind myself that I would not be back to pre-pregnant Danielle instantly and should still modify as needed in order to avoid overstraining anything. I like to think of pregnancy modifications like a slow climb up a hill and then you have to make your way back down. Basically at the bottom you don’t need to modify and then at the peak of the hill (aka the end of your pregnancy) you are modifying the most. After baby, you’re not automatically back down where you started from, but you need to work your way back down the hill. Some people get there a little quicker and others needs a bit more time.

I’ve always loved how strong Pure Barre makes me feel. It’s a different type of strong than any other workout. I’ve felt strong running, strong doing yoga, strong in cardio dance classes, strong doing CrossFit, but have always felt a special type of strong in Pure Barre. Taking class while pregnant introduced me to a new type of strong. For years, I had suggested and explained things to pregnant clients, but until experiencing it first hand on my own body I never truly understood it to the level that I wanted. Basically, I got pregnant to become a better Pure Barre teacher…just kidding. But seriously, I remember seeing clients opt to do certain things while pregnant, that I eventually opted out of it — remember, everyone (and every day) is different and that’s ok.

Now, post pregnancy, I’m so excited to see and feel the changes that my body goes through as I got back to the barre. It’s like Braylon has instilled a whole new level of strength and empowerment in me. It’s literally mind blowing what the female body is capable of.

So, that’s my story in a nutshell. My attempt was to make this a short post, but I failed. I could honestly go on and on for days, but don’t want to scare any of you away. Now, a little over six weeks postpartum, I am learning so much about myself and Braylon every minute of the day. This first month and half of motherhood is everything that I dreamed it would be and then some. I know everyone says it, but until you are “in it” and experiencing it for yourself nothing or no one can truly prepare you for it. You’ve just got to take each day as it comes, find a balance of taking advice and not taking advice and knowing that being imperfect is in fact perfection.

The majority of my days, as the sun is setting, I look at Braylon and think where the eff did the day go?! I know they tell you that it flies by and I have no doubt that it does. Some moments I feel like a rockstar and others I want to throw my computer and phone out the window so I can’t google anything in regards to what I should and should not be doing. In just 46 days with Braylon here, I feel like I’ve already learned so much…and I know the journey has just begun. As I write these last few sentences, I look at him and start to tear up.. partially because he just started crying and partially because I still can’t believe that this little human is really ours.

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April 26, 2018

Right as I was about to post this, my best friend, Ashley, sent me this video and I just had to share…


…now Braylon and I are both crying.

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Saturday Night Ramblings

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I love trying new things, visiting new places and meeting new people, but there’s something to be said about the things that you are familiar with, the places you know and love and your closet friends and family.

I have the tendency to make things more complicated than they need to be. Most of the time, it’s because I am trying to do too much, to be too much and to please too many people at once.

It can be hard not to get caught up in the midst of everything going on and lose your focus (over and over) again. It’s never too late to reset your intention and get back on track. Whether it’s something that could be quickly attained in the near future or something that you will have to work towards over days, weeks or even years.

Every time I take a lapse from writing, I always feel guilty that it’s taken me so long to make the time to do it. There’s been a number of times lately where I’ve sat down, opened up my computer and just stared at the screen. In the hustle and bustle of things, I’d have all sorts of ideas and thoughts that I wanted to put down, but then when I finally sat down to do it… Nothing.

Over the past three months, I’ve spent time trying to slow down a bit and be more present. Despite that, I’ve found myself in Phoenix, Hawaii, Denver, Toronto, Charlotte… and of course Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I’ve worked a lot, became a godmother, celebrated my 31st birthday, got a new car, went to a couple of concerts, taught a lot of Pure Barre and spent time with family and friends.

I’m starting to get better at finding a “work-life balance”, but definitely still have room to improve. I’ve tried to focus more on the positive in every situation, but still fall off track and slip to the dark side more often than I would like…but I’m getting better.

Now, let’s switch gears slightly and begin with my ramblings…

Think about your favorite restaurant. Let me try again. Think about one of your favorite restaurants – if you’re anything like me, how can you just pick ONE?! When you go, do you get the same thing every time, because it’s that good? Or do you venture out and know that anything that you get there will be great? When I was in Charlotte earlier this week, my Mom and I ate at Luna’s Living Kitchen. I’ve been eating here for years – obviously not as frequently since I moved to Rhode Island, but no matter how much time goes on I still think about their manicotti (thin slices of zucchini pasta stuffed with ricotta cashew cheese and topped with a tomato basil marinara). The 100% plant based dish is simple… and it is perfect. As much as I branched out trying other things on their menu, more times than not, I always find myself coming back to my favorite dish.

Moving around quite a bit and traveling a lot, especially over the past 12 years, I’ve had the chance to try all sorts of amazing restaurants. Yet, there’s certain staples that always remain special for one reason or another. Some places… for their consistency, others for their simplicity, those that bring back memories. There’s the new places that we try to continue to be adventurous and then are only left disappointed, wishing that we had stuck to what we know and love.

As you probably know, I grew up dancing competitively. I also ran indoor and outdoor track all four years of High School. After high school, I definitely fell off track (pun intended) a bit as I moved onto college. I remember going to the gym sporadically during my freshman and sophomore year. From what I recall, somewhere around my junior year, I started to get back on track a bit more at the gym and getting more involved with group fitness. Fast forward to finding Pure Barre in 2010, becoming a teacher in 2011 and turning it into my full time job in 2015. Back story a bit to preface my next rambling session. For my non-Pure Barre peeps, don’t worry, I’m not going to go 1000% Pure Barre on ya… well, I’ll try not to.

People often get bored with exercise. Yet, exercise IS redundant. For my runners, you are “moving the legs more rapidly than a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground”. You may add variety by changing your course, listening to different music or adjusting the length and / or time of the run. You may enjoy running the exact same course or the same distance to be able to compare your times between the same course (or distance). Like with any form of exercise, there’s so many factors that will factor your performance – what you’ve eaten, hydration, sleep, indoors vs. outdoors, mental state, injuries, how long it’s been since you last ran… the list goes on and on. For my cyclists, you hop on your bike and are moving your legs in the same direction… again and again. Similar to running, variety can be added through resistance, coming up out of the saddle, the music that you may be listening to, the scenery (if you are outdoors).

If you’ve fallen in love with running or cycling, you may find simplicity in this form of exercising. Simplicity does not mean that you can’t still have variety and it most definitely does not limit the challenges. You can always grow.

I tried quite a few variations of group exercise classes – kickboxing, cardio dance, boot camp, pilates, yoga, spin… There were certain aspects of each of them that I thoroughly enjoyed. Of course, with group fitness, you are than considering the other people in attendance and the person leading the group. I like to think that I’m a pretty motivated individual regardless of the people around me or leading me, but throw me in a room with people and a kick@$$ teacher and I’m bound to get a little more competitive and work just a little harder!

One of the things that I loved about Pure Barre from the beginning was the fact that each class would follow a similar flow each time. While you wouldn’t do the exact same class each time you came, you would start to get accustomed to the various positions. With any of the positions that you are in, your body needs a few times (some more than others) to get familiar with it. The more that you take your body through each position the better that you get at it. Better does not mean that it gets easier. Better means that you find proper form and are able to challenge yourself even more. The majority of the class, you are going through small ranges of motion in each of the positions that you are in, in order to get a total body workout. Ultimately, if you held each position, without any of the small movements, class would still be very hard. The small movements throughout and subtle differences in the various positions give you just enough variety. Variety also comes through each teacher’s personality and the music. After taking classes for over six years, neither my mind or body has become bored. Both are still challenged each and every class.  For me, while variety is important, simplicity is even more important in order to maintain the true essence of the purpose of this class and it’s effectiveness.

Maybe you have a coworker or a friend that always needs MORE. Nothing is ever good enough. The glass is always half empty – it is never half full. As soon as one “issue” is resolved, they can immediately find the next problem to complain about rather than taking the time to enjoy what they just got. Those that don’t even give things a chance before they jump to conclusions or turn on the negative vibes. There’s always a BUT. “I met this guy, but…” “It was good, but…” As soon as they throw in the but, anything positive that they’ve said before it basically goes out the window.

“If you’re not helping to make it right, stop complaining about it being wrong.”

Don’t get me wrong, I have my go to people that I pick up the phone and b*tch to, but then before long we are enjoying ourselves and laughing (usually about how much I just overreacted). I mean, c’mon, I don’t trust people that are 100% happy and positive 24/7.

Anyways, as I get older, I’ve found myself truly cherishing my long term relationships. By long term, I guess we can call that those that have been around for 10 or more years. Hey, all of you that entered my life after 2007 are great too… just give me a second.

All of my family and quite a few friends fall into the 10+ years group, but there’s one person in particular that impacted my life tremendously over the past twelve years since I met him.

I’ve share this quote before, but it’s good not to share it again:

“Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.” ― Bob Marley

Every time I read this quote, my heart melts. It makes it all sound so simple. Relationships are not always easy. Love is not always simple. If we can stop doing the wrong things – putting our time and energy into the wrong things – then life and love can become simpler. There are so many distractions and lots of ups and downs, but hopefully when you find the right one, it’s all worth it and neither one of you give up if it truly was meant to be.

You’ve probably stopped reading at this point or at least had to grab a snack or take a bathroom break.

I’ll leave you with this…

“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.” – Andy Rooney

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

…gently down the stream lake. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.

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On April 30th some of my Pure Barre Greenville gals are teaming up with Fox Fitness to participate in the Dragon Boat Upstate Festival.

“The Dragon Boat Upstate Festival benefits cancer research and survivorship programs at the Cancer Institute of Greenville Health System (GHS), Winn the Fight and South Carolina Ovarian Cancer Foundation. To date, Dragon Boat Upstate Festival has raised over $1.7 million for local cancer research and rehabilitation.”

If you’re interested in donating on behalf of their team, you can head on over right here.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to make it to the actual event. However, I will be teaching a 75 minute Pure Barre class this Sunday at 1pm at the Augusta Road location. This 75-minute class offers the Pure Barre total workout with a focus on sculpting your back and toning your arms. The class is a donation class (minimum $15) and you can sign up online or drop me a note.

All of the donations will go to the Upstate Dragonboat Festival on April 30th. The money raised will go directly to Greenville Health System for cancer research!

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Photo by Red Apple Tree Photography.

Hippity hoppity, Happy Easter Day!

“A good conversation always involves a certain amount of complaining. I like to bond over mutual hatreds and petty grievances.” – Lisa Kleypas

Don’t worry, I’m not about to start complaining to you all.  I read the quote above the other day and couldn’t help but laugh at how relevant it was. Everyone has to have that certain friend, family member and / or coworker that they have that special bond with, right? No? That’s just me…Oh, ok. 😉

Last weekend I went to Charlotte to teach a Pure Barre class to celebrate my friend, Caroline, who is getting married this week. A bunch of teachers and “barretenders” came to take the class last Saturday morning at Pure Barre South Park.  It. Was. So. Much. Fun.

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Special spot for the Bride to Be. 

After class, we did what anyone should do after working out. Snacks and mimosas. Duh. Oh yeah, and cake.

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Congratulations, Chad & Caroline!!! 

“Friendship is weird. You pick a human you’ve met and you’re like, “yup I like this one,” and you just do stuff with them.”

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White tutu. Beyond necessary. 

That night a big group of us went to dinner at Aria Tuscan Grill.  There was a “Milano Mule” on the menu, so naturally, I had to give that a try. It was Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur Vodka, Galliano and Lime Juice Ginger Beer.  The first one was amazing. The second one, I swear they must’ve grabbed the wrong liquor (or liqueur) and I ended up sending it back. I NEVER send anything back.  The redo still tasted a little off to me, but oh well. For dinner I had the Wild Mushroom pizza that was made with goat cheese, caramelized onion, arugula and truffle oil. Surprisingly, I didn’t eat the whole thing. That’s a first. After dinner, some of us headed on over to Bubble to burn off dinner on the dance floor.

Sunday morning, my Mom made me a breakfast sandwich.  That should’ve been enough, but she also had leftover pizza so I had a slice of that as well. I headed back to Greenville on Sunday afternoon and didn’t feel like cooking so I picked up take out from Carrabba’s.  On the bag it said:

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Perfection.

On Monday morning, I was starving shortly after I got to work.  I happened to look in my bag and find this:

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YES! Caroline had given me it when I was at her studio on Saturday.  A couple days before she had given me the Apple Pecan one to try.  They were both so good. Probably the best bars I’ve ever had.  I had tried them before when I lived in Charlotte, but I think they may have changed them up a bit. I highly suggest giving them a try.  They are made from scratch in Charlotte. Read all about ’em on their website.

This past Thursday, I went to meet up with a few of my fellow Pure Barre Greenville teachers to take some photos.  There’s a reason why we’re sporting all white (or black or gray or blue) everythang.  Stay tuned…I can’t wait to see the finished product!

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Lauren, Josha, moi, Helen ❤ 

I was rushing to get there (I know that’s a surprise) and didn’t have time to stop for lunch.  Once I got home I begged Randall to go get Mexican with me.  He knows better than to say no when Hangry Hippo comes through the door.  Our waiter asked if I wanted a regular or a large.  Large seemed like the logical option. Right? Little did I know that it was going to be larger than my head (and my head is pretty big). Whoops.

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I guess it’s a fishbowl Margarita?

Friday night I did a whole lot of nothing.  On Saturday morning I woke up to Full House.  It was right at the point when Stephanie was dancing to “Good Vibrations”.  I wouldn’t let myself sleep at night if I didn’t share this scene with you:

Hold on, I can’t stop now…

I really can’t think of a better way to start my day.  After being inspired, reevaluating my life and getting ready I headed to the studio to teach and take class. And then headed home to do…a whole lot of nothin’.  I watched Hitch, The Breakup, Jerry Maguire, Sleepless in Seattle and then fell asleep at some point during You’ve Got Mail. I’ve seen all of those movies at least once.

This song played during some point of Sleepless in Seattle. Enjoy one minute and fifty one seconds of happiness from 1964.


“It’s so important to make someone happy.
Make just one someone happy.
Make just one heart to heart you, you sing to
One smile that cheers you.
One face that lights when it nears you.
One girl you’re – you’re everything to
Fame, if you win it,
Comes and goes in a minutes
Where’s the real stuff in life, to cling to?
Love is the answer.
Someone to love is the answer.
Once you’ve found her,
Build your world around her.
Make someone happy.
Make just one someone happy.
And you will be happy too.”

This morning I headed to the studio to teach myself a class before heading to Charlotte to go stuff my face at my parents. My Mom had made ham, broccoli casserole, green bean casserole, maple carrots and mashed potatoes, which I was VERY excited about.  She had hinted that she had made SOMETHING with Cadbury eggs and I could barely sleep last night wondering what it was going to be.  Let me introduce to you Cadbury Candy Coated Mini Egg fudge.

IMG_6636Happy Easter!

I mean who even needs food…

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I hope you all had a marvelous Easter and had the chance to spend time with friends and family. 

Love is in the Air

“There are only three things women need in life: Food, water and compliments.” – Chris Rock

Last weekend I headed to Rhode Island for one of my closest friend’s baby shower.  My flight was leaving out of Charlotte, so I made sure to get there in enough time to eat dinner at Luna’s before I made my way to the airport.

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Still in love with the Manicotti.

I’ll never be able to wrap my head around the fact that everything here is raw and vegan and SO delicious.

Of course my flight was delayed a bit…by the time I landed in Providence and then made it to my Aunt & Uncle’s house it was about midnight, so I went right to bed.

I woke up to a winter wonderland the next morning.  Normally, I would’ve loved this, but I had so much to do and the snow was accumulating fast and wasn’t showing any sign of stopping.

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At least it was pretty.

I finally made it on the road and headed to Ashley and Keith’s in Rhode Island.  On the way there, I stopped at Garden City to grab a few things and get a bite to eat.  I finally ate at b.good. My friend, Christina, eats there all the time and I’ve been dying to give it a try.  I opted for the Citrus & Avocado salad (with chicken) that was made with boston lettuce, radicchio, orange, avocado, pistachios, goat cheese, fennel and lemon-mint vinaigrette. So good.

We went to dinner at Celestial Cafe.  Growing up, I hated seafood, which is such a shame considering that I grew up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  About eight years ago I gave it another try and voila!  These days, there aren’t too many things that I don’t like.  I decided to get the RI Mushroom, Kale & Onion Risotto with Scallops.  The dish was spinach, artichoke hearts, Schartner Farm kale, RI mushrooms, carmelized onions, Naragannasett Creamery garlic & herb cheese, roasted garlic and Marsala broth with risotto.  My mouth is watering as I am writing this!  We started with “Pat’s Pork Nachos”, which were made with Pat’s Pastured smoked cubed pork belly & pulled pork, Celestial’s honey onion BBQ, pickled hot peppers, green onions, cheddar and served with a side of salsa and side of Cool Ranch.  Since we had a (pregnant) DD, it was time to go all out. Just kidding. However, “The Navidad” caught my eye and I found myself sipping on tequila, tepache, ginger liqueur, pineapple juice, cinnamon syrup and bitters.

Saturday morning, Ashley got up and she made us a healthy green smoothie.  Moments later, her husband, Keith, arrived with Allie’s Donuts.  Basically the best of both worlds.  If they weren’t expecting a baby in two months, I would’ve probably asked if I could move in.

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Been around since 1968. 

Then, it was off to the shower.  The snow added such a beautiful touch to the back drop of the shower and perfected the “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” theme.

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Quidnessett Country Club

Ashley’s Bridal Shower was perfect. Her wedding was straight out of a magazine.  So, it was no surprise when her baby shower had my heart melting quicker than the snow.

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Can. Not. Wait. To. Meet. Him.

All of the sweets were right up my alley…

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Tasted as good as it it looked.

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Hot Cocoa Bar. YES!

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Tiniest little mama to be.

I seriously can’t wait to meet Ashley and Keith’s little man.  They’re definitely one of my favorite couples and Ashley and I have been super close since 9th grade…hope this kid lives up to my expectations and is as wonderful as his parents (and grandparents…and Uncle) 😉

After the shower we went back to Ashley and Keith’s for a bit and later went out for dinner.  That night we watched 21 Jump Street and then called it a night.

I had an early flight back down to Charlotte the next morning.  I decided to stay in Charlotte for the Super Bowl. I was really excited to relax a bit before heading to my friend’s an then out.  And then, the auras started. Noooooo…. not a migraine?! Yes, indeed.  Plans got rearranged, but I did end up making it over to my friend’s house to watch the Super Bowl.  It’s always so wonderful to catch up with my “big sissy”.  Especially, when Snap Chat gave us this option:

We really bring out the best in each other.

Monday morning, I went to check out Pure Barre South Park with my Mom.  Afterwards we headed to lunch at Luna’s. Yes, again. I clearly had to get the Manicotti, but also ordered the Cacao Cacao smoothie.  It was even better than I remembered.  We were torn between getting the Caramel Brownie and the Turtle Cake. And by we, I mean me.  Luckily they were out of brownies, so Mom and I decided to share the Turtle Cake.

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Thee Best Raw Food.

On Thursday, I figured it was time to make sure my coworkers were feelin’ the love since Valentine’s Day was right around the corner. With some love inspired jams and a red tutu that my coworker, Elizabeth, had in her desk drawer, I was ready to go!

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I want to wear this every time I teach.

On Thursday night, I stayed in Sparkle to teach a Platform class.  I had been going and going all day and didn’t even realize how cold it was when I went outside to talk to Olivia.

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Get back inside!

When I taught on Friday morning in Greenville, the girls told me it was supposed to snow.  I didn’t take it too seriously.  I made my way to Spartanburg, taught class and then came out of the studio to find that it was snowing….hard!  By the afternoon it had all melted.  Short lived. After working in Sparkle all day, I made my way back to Greenville to teach Bring on the Men.  This version was particularly special because 1. It was Platform instead of regular Pure Barre 2. 5 of the girls from the office were bringing their significant others!

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SO much fun!

The guys did AWESOME! (Girls, I guess you did alright too).  I had so much fun teaching it and think I may have been sweating as much as everyone else.

I had today (and tomorrow) entirely off.  I still got up around 8 because I don’t know how to sleep in, but took advantage of all of the free time. Made breakfast. Cleaned. Cleaned some more. Laundry. Cleaned even more.

I wanted to bake, so it was time to convince Randall that he wanted sweets for Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  At the end of January, Randall suggested we eat “clean” for the month of February.  I was semi on board.  I decided I would do my absolute best Monday-Friday, but then on the weekends would treat myself as much (or as little) as I felt like.  Randall has zero interests in any sweets, so I found myself on Yelp looking at bakeries.  I decided to head to GiGi’s to get cupcakes.  If I baked, there would be WAY too much in the house and I wouldn’t be able to cut myself off.  Most of the cupcakes were decked out for Valentine’s Day.  I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so I got the Red Velvet and Champagne.

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Champagne is already gone. Red Velvet half way gone (half way there). Whoops!

Having sweets and treats sometimes and eating clean and green other times is a MUCH better balance for ME.  Last year, when I did 30 Clean, I felt like I was losing my mind.  Afterwards, I had a really weird relationship with food… for a while.  Hey, I’m not knockin’ it, so much respect to you if it works for you, but eating “good” during the week and then mixing it up on the weekends is working wonders for me (says the girl that has been doing this for only two weeks)

Whether you’re single and ready to mingle or have googly eyes for your boo thang, I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. Treat yourself. Love yourself. Remember it’s Sunday Funday.  Tell someone how fabulous they are or how much they mean to you.  The world needs more love.

Calm Down 2016

“Lots of people go mad in January. Not as many as in May, of course. Nor June. But January is your third most common month for madness.”
― Karen Joy Fowler

And just like that I said farewell to January. Not only that, but we are already into the second week of February. Slow down! January seemed to get the best of me and I never found myself able to catch up.

Looking back the first two weeks of the year are kind of a blur. After that, I headed to Bronxville, New York to lead two days of training.

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Hopefully this means something to you.

In addition to working while I was there, I had a few other items on my agenda. Katelyn had been raving about 305 Fitness and promised I would love it…and man, oh man she was so so right. I was obsessed from the moment I walked in the door.

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Smart Water chandelier, anyone? Password – I’m in love.

“Named after Miami’s area code, 305 Fitness is a dance cardio workout based in New York City. Each class infuses dance moves, sports drills and high intensity interval training (HIIT) to create a full-body, fun workout. Featuring a live DJ and the city’s best instructors, our non-stop cardio classes feel like a night out partying disguised as a workout.”

If you’re anything like me, you’re known to burn some calories on the dance floor (which balances out the calories coming from the drink in your hand). I think I may have blacked out during a mashup of Adele, Justin Bieber, Trina and Missy Elliott.  The class is so fun. You will more than break just a little bit of a sweat. It’s 55 minutes of non stop dancing complete with a DJ (uh, yeah) and lights. To really get an idea of what to expect at 305 Fitness, head over here and watch the video they provide for you.

A lot…and I mean a lot of my friends have raved about Soul Cycle and I know I am late to the party.  There was one right nearby where I was staying so I was finally able to give it a try!  Once again, no disappointments or complaints.

All this working out meant I had to treat myself to a New York bagel.

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When in New York.

I made it back down South and headed just about two hours North to get my hair did (love you, Kristy) and visit some long lost friends at Pure Barre Lake Norman.

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And then I got to spend some time with one of my fave coworkers. Can not wait to meet her baby girl in just over a month!

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Tucking for two.

Then, South Carolina braced for a winter storm. I’ve finally gotten used to handling snow / ice entirely different down here rather than back home.

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All is calm, all is bright.

I ended up spending the night in Sparkle City to make sure the scheduled training could still take place. These chicas don’t play around.

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Platform. Over. Err. Thang.

Oh, can’t forget about cupcakes in the office to celebrate the bride to be.  Katie, thanks for getting married and giving us a reason to celebrate (eat) 😉

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Gimme s’more.

I’m sure a lot of other fantastic things happened in January, but it came and went just like that.  February was off to quite the start…but, more to come on that next time!

Happy New Year!

Well, well, well…where do I even begin?  I guess I will start by saying Happy New Year!  I hope you all had a chance to relax over the holidays and spend time with family and friends.

Let’s rewind to November…yes, it’s been that long.

My parents came down for Thanksgiving and the four of us went to a late lunch at The Nose Dive and then headed to The Local Cue later on to watch football and play board games (Don’t Break the Ice, Chutes and Ladders, Penguin Pile Up, Let’s Go Fishin’, etc.) . Oh, and I can’t forget the most important part of the day – Mom showing me up with her hula hooping skills.

The day after Thanksgiving would’ve been my sister’s 23rd birthday. I can’t believe this is already the fifth Thanksgiving / birthday without her here.

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Served with a side of tears. ;(

The next day, Randall and I went to Columbia for the USC vs. Clemson game. It was incredibly warm (I’m not complaining) and a perfect way to spend a work free Saturday.  I’ve finally gotten used to drinking beer, thanks to his job.

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I miss taking pictures for the @redbullnc instagram. 

I had a lot of nutritious food that day – mini hot dogs, french fries and… cheetos.

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I only ate them to show my Clemson pride.

No long day of tailgating would be complete, if you didn’t walk two miles back to your car to find it had been towed. Womp womp.

On December 5th, I decided to try to cut out caffeine (chocolate doesn’t count). Other than an emergency Red Bull on December 12th, I haven’t had any!

The second week of December, I flew up to Boston to lead a Training in Hingham, MA.  My second flight got delayed and I was stuck at the Newark airport for an extra 3+ hours.  However, I wasn’t too upset once I got situated with this sweet lil setup:

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iPad Menu (order from it too!), outlet at each seat & awesome sushi. 

After Training each day I was lucky enough to see two of my best friends. On Friday, Christina and I went to dinner at Spoke Wine Bar.  On Saturday, Ashley and I went to dinner at Tavolino at Patriot’s Place.  It was so fantastic to see both of them.  WHY, didn’t we take any pictures?! We are the worst.

It’s finally starting to get cold here. Well, every once in a while.  This is probably the closet thing I will see to snow this year..

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Car window on December 19th.

Tuesday the 22nd, was the last day that I would be in the office before the holidays.  On Tuesdays we have a class at noon, so it only made sense to dress like this:

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 Red and green all the way.

When I got home that night, I was welcomed by this amazing gift from Katelyn and Katy. We have way too many work conversations with the help of Bitmojis…and any of my friends who have this app, know I’m basically obsessed.

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Katelyn even photoshopped my bun to complete the bit.

My parents gave me an early Christmas present – Marley headphones.  I’ve been dying for a pair of headphones like this, so I was very very excited.

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I just can’t get enough of ’em.

Speaking of not being able to get enough.  I got to meet my cousin’s little bundle of joy, Madison, on Christmas Eve.  It was love at first sight.

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❤ ❤ ❤

And the other side of the family will welcome another little baby girl in just a few more months…

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My little Mama to be.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, both sides of the family had a great time torturing each other by playing Beanboozled. What better way to say I love you than getting someone to eat jelly beans that could be any of the following flavors; dog food, rotten eggs, moldy cheese, skunk, grass, boogers and more!

My trip home was short, but I’ll be back again in February (can’t wait!!)… I headed back to Greenville for a few days, then took a day trip to Charlotte to go the Hip Hop Nutcracker with my Mom.  That night, my parents and I went to dinner at CO.  I loved CO when I lived in Charleston, so I was very happy that there is now one a little bit closer to me.

On New Year’s Eve I went out with my better half…

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Goodbye, 2015. Hello, 2016.

Of course, a lot more has happened in the past month and half, but here’s a few highlights.  And to finish this post out… here’s my “Best Nine” Instagram posts:

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(1) Popping bottles (2) Purple hair – I miss you! (3) Platform (4) Elfin’ (5) Pretending to join the circus (6) More Platform (7) Moved to Greenville (8) Barre in the Park in Nashville (9) Donuts 

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and that 2016 is off to a magnificent start.  My only new resolution is to let less time go by in between posts 😉