Pure Barre, Think - Speak - Inspire

Best and Final 10

Yesterday I taught my “last” two classes at Pure Barre Lake Norman. I say “last” because I definitely plan on coming back to teach from time to time when I find my way back up there. Hey, I’m at least coming back to Charlotte to get my hair done by Kristy Misch.

To show our love and support for one of our amazing teachers, Michelle, we all wore orange (color for leukemia awareness) since she couldn’t be there. Michelle had been in remission for 17 months (she kicked AML‘s @$$) and unexpectedly came out of remission earlier this week. They have started treatment to achieve a second remission…

“After that she will have at least one 5 day booster treatment at Wake with a bone marrow transplant immediately after that. Two years ago there were some matches out there for Michelle. We hope they are still out there. If you would like to see if you are a match you can order a kit online at bethematch.com. It only involves a cheek swab and even if you aren’t a match for Michelle you may be someone else’s match. The age limit is usually 45 or under.” – borrowed from a post on CaringBridge by Michelle’s mother

Michelle has the most amazing spirit and attitude about EVERYTHING and it’s so incredible to see that her spirit and attitude stays the same under her current circumstances. Michelle and I were joking earlier in the week about this whole thing not “being compliant”. She was ome of my fellow 30 Cleaners and we would often joke around about all of the things that we had to eliminate. For her, her beloved Nutella, was not an easy thing to say farewell to for 30 days.  We also joked that her lack of Nutella brought about the current circumstances and with enough Nutella everything would be fine. #NutellaForTheCure.  When I got home today, I opened one of the gift bags and to my surprise found a thing of Nutella with the hashtag written on top.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  She is so so thoughtful, sweet and high spirited. Such an inspiration. After having the privilege to have her mother at the studio as well during my time at PBLKN, it’s no wonder she turned out so amazing.  Anyone who has met either of these two ladies would have nothing but wonderful things to say.

After the 8:30am class.

After the 9:45am class.

I wish there was a way to bottle up the energy that I felt in that room during that two hour span. I’ve had the pleasure to get to know each of the women in these two photos on a much higher level of them “just coming to take a fitness class that I teach”. I’ve heard stories of struggles and triumphs, shared laughter and tears and they’ve impacted my life in so many ways.  I look forward to seeing each of them continue on their individual journeys and the journey of the Pure Barre Lake Norman community.

It was definitely hard heading to the airport yesterday leaving all of these beauties behind at my apartment…

At least Randall will have some purple to look at while I’m gone 😉

I’m often guilty of eating dessert first – especially when I’m hangry – so CLEARLY, I had to sample the Bundt cake and cupcake that was given to me. Guess they’re trying to sabotage all that lift.tone.burn!  I opened up all the cards and read them, but then brought them all with me so I could really read them once I got on the plane.

You all are too sweet and so thoughtful. I can’t thank you enough. Gifts are great, but your kind words are even greater and I will cherish them forever and ever.

If you aren’t amazed most of the time you aren’t paying attention.” – Michael Lipsey

One of our clients, Allison, included a poem that she wrote for me. Allison is such a talented writer and what amazed me most is that she threw it together this morning. She mentioned it was corny, but I think it’s anything but. I absolutely loved it:

For Danielle:

A raven-haired beauty,
Danielle’s easy to spot,
With that rock-hard body,
Just lookin’ all hot.

Her passion for chocolate
Runs deep in her veins,
And her DQ obsession
Seems to never wane.

When she’s not at Pure Barre,
Danielle blogs on ‘Net,
Often funny, yet poignant,
Thoughts we soon won’t forget.

Always up for adventure,
Won’t back down from a dare,
From shooting a firearm
To cool purple hair.

Danielle’s love for her family,
Randall and friends,
Is honest and pure,
She doesn’t pretend.

We’ll miss her fast talk
And that gleam in her eye,
But she’ll stay in our hearts –
This is not goodbye!

I absolutely love it!!

During the last working part in class it seemed only right to use “Turn Down for What”. For a number of reasons

  1. I knew it would make at least a few of the clients particularly happy.
  2. It fit perfectly with what we were doing.
  3. How could I cry listening to Lil Jon?!?!

Well, well, well – come to find out I actually CAN cry during Lil Jon. Who would’ve thought? As I was counting the last 10, the entire class joined in with me to count my very last Final 10. If you’ve never been to a Pure Barre class this might not make any sense. Even if you have been, you still might not get why I started to tear up.

As happens sometimes, a moment settled and hovered and remained for much more than a moment. And sound stopped and movement stopped for much, much more than a moment.” – John Stainback

It was one of the most memorable bittersweet moments and I will never forget it. Then, came the real tears as this song came on for the stretch:

I won’t run far
I won’t run far
I won’t run far

I can always be found
I can always be found

If you need me
If you need me
If you need me

I can always be found
I can always be found

If you want me to stay
If you want me to stay
If you want me to stay

I will stay by your side
I will stay by your side
I will stay by your side

I won’t run far
I won’t run far
I won’t run far

I can always be found
I will stay by your side
And I want you to find me
So, I’ll stay by your side

If you need me
If you need me
If you need me

I can always be found
I can always be found
I can always be found

I won’t run far
I won’t run far
I won’t run far

I can always be found
I can always be found
I can always be found

Yesterday was a blur. A beautiful, beautiful blur.

“You have to remember that goodbyes are temporary because no one ever really leaves and nothing lasts forever. People are always with us, because they are in our hearts and in our memory. The only thing we can depend on is change… Life is just a series of moments — a string of pearls that make up the necklace of your life and so every once in a while, to complete the circle, you need to end a chapter.” – Amy Poehler

Music, Think - Speak - Inspire

Sprinkles on the Sundae

I knew that even if I made it through Fast and Furious 7 without crying, I wouldn’t be able to make it through the tribute at the end that I had heard about it.  This isn’t the exact reel, but this will give you a pretty good idea:

Whether you’re a fan of the franchise or not and whether or not you’re a Paul Walker fan or not… I think it’s pretty hard not to be moved by the above video. Whoever it was that decided to keep the lights off for all of the credits, I thank YOU – between my allergies and crying, I know I looked a hot mess.

I happened to read this earlier in the day:

“I have seen death too often to believe in death
It is not an ending, but a withdrawal.
As one who finishes a long journey,
Stills the motor,
Turns off the lights,
Steps from the car,
And walks up the path
To the home that awaits him.”
— Unknown

I found it particularly fitting for both the movie and how Paul Walker lost his life. Not only for him, but for anyone that has left this world…it really creates a positive image for what’s to come after we leave the world as we know it.  When I read it, I can imagine some of the people who I’ve lost in the most peaceful way – just turning off the lights of a car, slowly stepping away from it, waving goodbye and heading on to their new home.

“Death is a part of the future for everyone. It is the last post of this life and the reveille of the next. Death is the end of our present life, it is the parting from loved ones, it is the setting out into the unknown. We overcome death by accepting it is as the will of a loving God, by finding him in it. Death, like birth, is only a transformation, another birth. When we die we shall change our state – that is all. And in faith in God, it is as easy and natural as going to sleep here and waking up there.”

It’s so hard to associate positive thoughts with death. Most of the time we think of the tears, the grief, the loss, the memories that we’ll never get to create… We typically fear the unknown or things that we don’t fully understand. We don’t like the idea of not having all the answers. Through all the sadness and anger, it is so important to remember those we have lost in a positive way. Even if that means smiling and crying at the same time.

No matter what your thoughts are on what happens when we leave this Earth or what your religion might be, I hope that you believe in something that inspires you in whatever way that you need in order to get up each day and feel ALIVE.

One of the definitions of faith is “the complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”  Remember, it’s all about believing…you don’t know how it will happen, but you just know that it will. So believe in something, someone or some higher being.

Have faith in someone to not let you down when you will need them the most. Have faith that we all are here for some bigger purpose despite all of life’s ups and downs. Have faith in whatever it is or whoever it is that will give you the motivation to get up out of bed each and everyday. Have faith that if things never seem to go your way, that one day they will.

“None of us knows what might happen even the next minute, yet still we go forward. Because we trust. Because we have Faith.” – Paulo Coehlo

I’ve realized that a lot of my posts start out one way and than unfold in a totally different way than I first thought they would. I don’t try to fight it. I think it’s really appropriate. First and foremost, because it’s how most of my conversations go with people on a daily basis. Secondly, it perfectly portrays the uncertainty of how each day will turn out and all of the unexpected moments that happen to us each and every day. I’ll aim to keep my blog and my life a beautiful mess. Thank you all for being a part of it. ❤

Pure Barre, Think - Speak - Inspire

The Adventure Continues

“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”  ― Jon Krakauer

In the next couple of weeks, I will be packing my bags and heading a little further South. This girl just got a little bit more seduced by the South. I’ve accepted a full time position with Pure Barre Corporate and need to be closer to the headquarters in good ole Sparkle City. Like most things in life there’s pros and cons to just about everything. I’m sad to say “see you later” to all of the amazing teachers and clients at the two studios that I currently spend most of my time at, but am honored and excited for this new opportunity. Friday, April 17th will be my last official day teaching in Birkdale.

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Well, you also never get a chance to make a last impression. And more often times than not, we don’t know when we are doing something for the last time. The other day while I was teaching I had an “ah ha” moment during one of the “calmer” parts of class. A few thoughts ran through my mind:

1. What if this is the only class of mine that someone in this room ever takes?
2. What if this is the last class of mine that someone in the room takes?

Better try to make it my very best, right?

We always know when it’s someone’s first class, so that didn’t cross my mind. I started to think about this even more as the next couple of days went on. Just as I took my thoughts with me outside of the studio I took the whole idea outside of the realm of Pure Barre.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.” ― Lemony Snicket

I agree, often times first impressions are entirely wrong, but that doesn’t make them unimportant. More importantly, whether they are right or wrong they are usually quite memorable.

If it was going to be your last time seeing someone, whether it was a stranger, friend or family member, I would assume that you would want to leave that individual with a positive impression. While you might be less concerned with how a stranger remembered you as, it’s quite possible you would still prefer that he or she remembered you in a good way. After all, there are times that our interactions with strangers or acquaintances can have the same kind of impact or even larger impact than friends or family can.

“Seize the day.” “Live everyday like it’s your last.” “In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” We hear sayings like this all the time. While they can seem quite cliche, when it comes down to it they really are true. There are so many things that add craziness to our lives blocking us from focusing on what’s really important. When we least expect it we are thrown a curve ball that snaps us back into reality and allows us to focus on what is actually important. However, that usually only lasts for a short amount of time before we find ourselves back in our routines with all of the hustle and bustle.

So, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be teaching each class as if it was the last one that a client would ever take from me. I’ll apologize in advance 😉 Since the mindset can easily be transferred into any interaction, I’ll also carry this mindset outside of the studio. If I grab lunch with a friend, return a phone call from a family member or give someone a compliment…I’ll keep in mind it could be the last time that I ever interact with that person.

Better leave them with a good last impression, right?

Dine, Pure Barre, The 30 Clean, Think - Speak - Inspire

Every New Beginning Comes from Some Other Beginning’s End

A little over a month ago, I decided to accept the challenge to participate in The 30 Clean with a few dozen Pure Barre clients and teachers. I went into it with the mindset that is was going to be extremely hard, but knew I was going to do whatever I had to do in order to make sure I made it to the finish line.

The Pure Barre community is unlike any other bond that I have experienced in my adult life. It takes me back to my competitive dance days. The group of girls on my dance team were more like sisters – we shared lots of laughter, tears and were by each other’s side as we all grew up and headed off to college. The clients and teachers at each studio become one big family and it is SUCH a positive environment to have in your life. You’ve read all about my love of Pure Barre – so back to The 30 Clean.

First off, let me tell you a little bit more about The 30 Clean as far as the interaction goes. I’ve already talked about what foods were being eliminated and what I was hoping to get out of the challenge. On a daily basis, the participants on the private board were encouraged to post photos of breakfast, lunch and dinner. We were also given feedback, answers to our questions, daily tips and a whole lot of encouragement. At times, my Facebook news feed was flooded with food photos and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t drive me a little crazy sometimes. I was trying to really stick to my three solid meals a day, but every time I opened up Facebook – BAM! – there’s my mind thinking about food again.

Secondly, I will let you know as day #30 comes to a close…

  1. I am so proud of myself.  As much as I went into it determined to do it, I guess there was a little doubt lurking in the back of my mind (or should I stay in my stomach).
  2. I (sort of) stuck to the program. The only reason I say sort of is because this should be pretty black and white, no gray area, right? All of the foods that I ate were compliant, BUT there were times that I had food in between the three meals. I am fully aware when I am hungry rather than when I’m bored and knew to listen to my body. I wasn’t trying to pass out while teaching or rip off my boyfriend’s head.
  3. I notice a huge difference in my body. My skin is better. I fall asleep much easier. The quality of my sleep is higher. I have more energy. No stomach issues (compared to almost daily stomach issues). I lost a little over three pounds (not a goal, but added bonus). I lost inches. I see more definition in my muscles (PB you’ve been doing your job all along but now I can see y’all a little better!)
  4. I could go back and do the exact math, but I would say about 80% of my meals were homecooked. That’s probably the exact opposite of what it was before. I love cooking, but would always wait until I was hungry and then get annoyed with the idea and hop on in the car and go grab us food from somewhere.
  5. I felt like I was eating fairly healthy…However, the more I think about it, I know I had a dessert like item just about everyday. I would eat lots of vegetables, but the way they were being prepared wasn’t usually the best option (oh adding cheese and butter isn’t a good choice?). Because I was getting some much take out food or going out to eat so much, I rarely knew what was actually going into my food. Even items that I would purchase at the grocery store – I rarely looked for the RIGHT things on the labels.

So, what’s next? I learned a lot. More importantly, I felt and saw the differences. I loved all the food that I was eating. However, there are definitely things that I will add back in. For me, it’s all about balance and moderation. Is it ok if I have a few pieces of Easter candy that I know is NOT good for me? I think so. Should I eat 3/4 of the bag? Absolutely not. Other people would argue that certain things should be eliminated indefinitely. I like to be realistic with myself and know that a piece of pizza or a cupcake may find it’s way into my hands within the next week or so and I don’t want to make myself feel guilty about it. Hey – I already know the repercussions and that my stomach will most likely hate me, but that’s the risk I’m willing to take 😉

And, one more thing before I go and I’ll make it short and sweet – even though I could go on for days about this…

Today some of the participants that were on this 30 day adventure with me shared before and after pictures. With those pictures they shared measurement and weight changes. The most important part, that had me in tears, were the descriptions of how they felt because of being able to make those changes. Some were shocked. Others had a new found confidence. Motivation to make this a lifestyle change for themselves and for the betterment of their family. Looking back on the board of all the photos, encouragement, struggles and triumphs – it’s beyond inspiring. I am so proud of each and every one of them. Most of these women have already inspired me inside the studio and now they have taken it to a whole new level.

This may be the end of this particular run of The 30 Clean challenge…but, for most of the people who participated they have seen such a difference in themselves both mentally and physically that I think most will at least take some of their learnings along with them. After all, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

I truly believe that one of the most important things in life is to surround ourselves with people who motivate, inspire and encourage us. Think about the people that you associated yourself with and more importantly spend the majority of the time with. If they don’t do these things for you, maybe it’s time you start to incorporate more people into your life who WILL motivate you, inspire you and encourage you to accomplish all of your goals and dreams.

“Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.”
– Karl Marx

To read more about my 30 Clean experience check out We Become What We Repeatedly Do, Almost Halfway There and The Starting Line.

Think - Speak - Inspire

Heaven on Earth

“Would you wanna know when you were gonna die?”

“No.”

“But if you did…what would you do if you knew how long you had?”

“I would try and figure out how to be happy.”

“Then why don’t you?”

“Maybe I will.”

We watched The Angriest Man in Brooklyn this afternoon. I’ve always been a big Robin Williams fan (Who isn’t?! You’ve got to at least like Aladdin!). It was particularly moving to see a film in which he plays a man who is mistakenly told he has 90 minutes to live by his doctor.

“l’m sorry this only came clear to me now that l’m dying, but…that’s how life rolls out. The only people who don’t look back with regret are idiots and psychopaths.”

Williams’ character starts to record a message for his son in case he dies before he makes it to him to apologize for their broken relationship. Clearly, I didn’t have dry eyes at this point in the film, but it doesn’t take much for the waterworks to turn on.

Upon searching for the quote from a conversation that Robin Williams’ character shares with Mila Kunis’ character and the one where he is filming a message for his son, I came across this quote from 1998, where he was asked about his thought on heaven:

“I think you just look at your own life and just realize what things are precious to you and that’s what I did when I was doing it. You know I would come home and just realize how extraordinary that you have Heaven in front of you.”

Before the movie started, I had found myself in a particularly irritable mood and couldn’t even figure out why. As always, I usually find something to quickly snap me back to reality and remember all that I should be grateful for.

It’s really easy to let life’s nuisances get in the way of all the wonderful things. When I get frustrated I try to start making a mental list of all things that keep me motivated, energized and ultimately light up my life. 

“Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.” Think about the last time someone said thank you to you and they genuinely meant it. When someone waited those few extra moments to hold the door when you’ve already been struggling with the bag, water bottle, phone, keys and mail that you were carrying. How about when someone flashed a genuine smile for no reason at all. Asked how you were doing and the sincerity could almost be bottled up and saved forever… You never know if those little things that you are doing for others are making their day just as much as it’s done for you.

More little things that are often overlooked. Front row parking spots. Being able to carry all your groceries in all at once (even if you lose feeling in a couple fingers). Taking a fitness class from your favorite teacher. Being surprised with your favorite treat, flowers, handwritten note..whatever! A genuine compliment. Choosing the quick checkout line. Sunshine after days of rain. No traffic. Don’t forget to appreciate all of life’s “little” blessings.

My parents. They are tied in first place for the “Most Important Person in My Life”. I always use to think that something like this would go without saying. However, over the years, I’ve met a lot of people that don’t have amazing relationships with their parents. Luckily, I am fortunate to have a great relationship with both of mine. I’m even more grateful for the fact that they are both still here with me. In my eyes, they are as perfect as they come. I could go on for days and days as to all of the things I love about them, so I will save that for a separate post. 😉

My boyfriend. I’ve never been one to profess my love over social media or talk nonstop about my significant other. I do not choose to participate in the ever so popular #MCM (Man Crush Monday) on Instagram or post all of our biz-nass on the Book of Face, but he definitely gets the silver medal since my parents are tied with the gold.

You. If you’re reading this I know you’re a special part of my life. All of the friends, family, clients and coworkers I have currently and have had over the years are such amazing people.

So back to the beginning… most of us don’t know when our last day will be. However, most of us should live each day not only as if it is our last, but as if it’s the last day for all our loved ones too. I know it sounds cliche and a little dramatic, but hey most great things in life are.  When Williams’ character was told that not only it was his last day, but that he only had 90 minutes to live his priorities immediately switched. On the top of his list was getting to the people who meant the most to him and telling them how much he loved them.

As today comes to a close… were you happy with how today was spent? If not, what can you do tomorrow to make things better? Are you dreading tomorrow? What do you need to do to get to where you will look forward to tomorrow instead?

Think - Speak - Inspire

Girl Power

Don’t worry this is not going to be a post about The Spice Girls. Or, should I be apologizing? Maybe that’s what you were hoping for.

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. And by doing it, they’re proven right. Because, I think there’s something inside of you—and inside of all of us—when we see something and we think, “I think I can do it, I think I can do it. But I’m afraid to.” Bridging that gap, doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that—THAT is what life is. And I think you might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s special. And if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself. Now you know. A mystery is solved. So, I think you should just give it a try. Just inch yourself out of that back line. Step into life. Courage. Risks. Yes. Go. Now.” – Amy Poehler

First off, let me say Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope, is beyond amazing.

Leslie Knope

Leslie Knope 2

Leslie Knope 3

Leslie Knope 4

When addressing the topic of “girl drama” I often joke around about my own thoughts on this “issue”. There’s a component to the teacher trainings that I lead that I often joke around about how “When I got of High School, I thought ‘Hello, Drama Free World!'” Eh, not so much. Sure enough after college it would be time to say “bye, bye, bye” to it all. Wait a minute, what are you still doing here? As I hit the ground running into corporate America post college I KNEW that drama would be a thing of the past… Right?

BathroomI had to laugh at this one.

It seems each year the media gets more and more obsessed with the physical appearance of women. Seems kind of impossible to get MORE obsessed when they already are over the top. It also seems that girls start this obsession at such a young age – more than even before. I think social media has a HUGE impact on this and I’m sure that you would agree. It makes me scared to have a daughter someday and raise her in the world that we live in.

“If tomorrow, women woke up and decided they really liked their bodies, just think how many industries would go out of business.” – Dr. Gail Dines

Pretty true, right?

Then, if we really wanted to get into it we could think of all the women’s rights and equality issues over the years…many of which still take place today. Step outside of the United States of America for a bit and visit some other countries and we’ve opened up a million other talking points. I’ll save all of that for another day and a post of it’s own. BUT, if you’re itching for some solid facts and progression check out this article from TIME – International Women’s Day Shows Awareness is Not Enough. That should get the wheels turning.

Back to the beginning where I started with a quote from Amy Poehler. For today, I’d like to replace “great people” with “great women”. Giving us – Great WOMEN do things before they’re ready. Great women do things before they’re ready when they are empowered, inspired and supported by other WOMEN. Yes, men play a part in it, but the journey is always better with your girls by your side.

With so many bad examples of “role models” for young girls today, it’s so important to give girls and other women a positive example of what women should and CAN do.
– Be inspired by the strong women around you
– Support each other on each other’s journey – whether it’s work or personal
– Celebrate your success and the successes of others
– Know your facts – we’ve come a long way, but there’s still room for improvement

And last but definitely not least…Express yourself. Let people (insert WOMEN) know how you feel (positive/constructive vibes only). Dream big. Tell other women how they’ve inspired you. How you love what they stand for. There’s SO much positivity that can take place when great women get together. Just remember what you were taught from a very young age.. if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

After all of my rambling, let me just wrap it up with.. We live in a world that is quick to make us feel bad about ourselves and then provide products and services to just as quickly make us feel better…this whole cycle would be a little less disastrous if we, as women, could make a conscious effort to use our WORDS to make one another feel just a little better each and every day.

And before I sign off, just a little music to give you a whole lot of sass.

Dine, The 30 Clean, Think - Speak - Inspire

The Starting Line

Day #1 of The 30 Clean‘s Spring Break Challenge is coming to an end!

“The 30 Clean™ is a 30-day clean eating challenge where participants eliminate the main food culprits causing systematic inflammation, skin problems, depression, bloat, and weight retention. For 30 days participants focus on eating only the REAL, WHOLE foods our bodies were meant to digest.”

There’s people all over the country that are participating. A group of about 40 clients and teachers from Pure Barre Lake Norman have decided to embark on the adventure together. We share all sorts of recipes, thoughts and questions on a private board that is run by a 30 Clean Coach and a Health Advisor.

I didn’t make it to the grocery store yesterday – luckily I had foods that were compliant that I could eat for breakfast.

BreakfastSpinach, broccoli and eggs with red pepper, salt & pepper. Aloha Berry Greens, Pineapple, Peaches & Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk.

I made a salad at Whole Foods for lunch…

Lunch

…and then it was on my way to Trader Joe’s for my first run through of goodies.

Looks a little different than when I normally go:

GroceriesTaste the Rainbow.

I plan on checking in with y’all at the half way mark and then at the end. I’m sure there will be some mention of it over the next month or so too…since it’s all I will be thinking about – just kidding (sort of).

This morning we received an email asking, “What is YOUR motivation for 30 days of clean, real, unaltered food? What is driving YOU to succeed?”

Here is my MOTIVATION:

  1. You – If I can do this, so can you. I love sugar, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, french fries, YOU NAME IT. When I complete this, I’ll be able to tell people how great of a program it is.
  2. My fellow challengers – Just when I thought that the clients at Pure Barre couldn’t inspire me anymore… well look at ’em! You women are really so great. I could write a whole post about you all (oh, wait, I already have!) When I taught the class yesterday, I legit had tears in my eyes.
  3. My boyfriend – I really do love to cook. I’m just not good at planning stuff out. I know what I should and shouldn’t eat, but clearly do not always make the best choices. I know this will be great for the both of us!
  4. Me – Sounds selfish, right? You bet! When I cut out sugar for 10 days I noticed such a difference in my body – energy level, bloating, sleeping habits… Cutting out added sugars (in the many forms that it exists), gluten, dairy, grains, soy AND corn – I can’t even imagine how wonderful I will feel!
  5. Challenge – If it was EASY, every one would do it. 😉

Here are a dozen quotes to *inspire* all of my fellow challengers and ANYONE looking for a little extra inspiration today. to ANY part of life. Enjoy!

“You don’t really deserve it until you are willing to sacrifice for it…Anything worth having requires a process, and most people commit to the process right up until it’s time to sacrifice, then they quit. You’ve come too far to quit, be willing to do whatever is necessary to earn everything you say you deserve.” – Rob Hill Sr.

“You are meant to fight. When you are sick, your body fights for its right to function. When you hold your breath, your body fights for its right to breathe. There are billions of tiny events—from the surface of your skin, down to the very cells of your body—that have to happen in order for you to be simply sitting here today. If your most minuscule parts haven’t given up yet, Why should you?”

“Be mindful of what you put in your body; in your mind. We not only consume the food that we eat, but also the thoughts, images, and energy we surround ourselves with. Choose wisely.” – The Blissful Blog

“For most of us the problem isn’t that we aim too high and fail – it’s just the opposite – we aim too low and succeed.” – Ken Robinson

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure.” – Sean Combs (P.Diddy)

“People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves.” – Paulo Coelho

“Even if you know what’s coming, you’re never prepared for how it feels.” – Natalie Standiford

“There is nothing in this world that can trouble you as much as your own thoughts.”

“Don’t trust the beginnings, truth is told in the last moments.” – Ahlam Mosteghanemi

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided… The most important thing you can do to achieve your goals is to make sure that as soon as you set them, you immediately begin to create momentum. The most important rules that I ever adopted to help me in achieving my goals were those I learned from a very successful man who taught me to first write down the goal, and then to never leave the site of setting a goal without first taking some form of positive action toward its attainment.” – Tony Robbins

“There’s no one to stop you but yourself.” – Dave Thomas

“For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent. Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards… If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you’ll accept in life, you’ll find it’s easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve… Whatever happens, take responsibility… The only thing that’s keeping you from getting what you want is the story you keep telling yourself.” – Tony Robbins

 What gives you motivation? Do you eat clean or have you done a similar program before?

Think - Speak - Inspire

Do It. Yes, You.

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” — Hugh Laurie

Six months ago I left my full time job to head down an entirely different path. As a whole, I was with that company for over seven years. During that time

    1. I created some of the best memories of my life. I wouldn’t even know where to begin with reliving some of my favorite memories, but the fact that I went to the following locations due to my job can give you a little idea – Atlanta. Santa Monica. Tampa. Amsterdam. Austria. Key West. Nashville. Charleston. Hilton Head. New Orleans. Las Vegas. Charlotte.. I’m sure I’m forgetting some. Honorable Mention: Myrtle Beach, I feel compelled to include you.
    2. Made life long friends. You all know who you are. I started working for Red Bull during college. I still believe that job is the best job any college student could ever ask for. When you spend time working with one other person driving all around and going on all sorts of adventures, you get to know each other pretty well and get to share some pretty crazy stories. The four positions I had after college didn’t disappoint either.
    3. Learned so much about myself. The company culture at Red Bull can be definitely be thought of as one big family. I was 19 when I first came on board and left shortly before my 28th birthday.  Looking back, the jobs that I had were all held as I really became an adult. So much happened during that time – wins, losses, breakups, marriages, deaths, moves.. I could never recap it all!
    4. Got amazing experience in Marketing and Sales. Whether you drink Red Bull (or any Energy Drink) or not, it’s quite undeniable that Red Bull is recognized as knowing a thing or two about marketing. Don’t agree? Maybe one of these articles will change your mind. The titles alone are quite the compliment – “Red Bull: Masterminds of New Age Marketing” and “Is This the Top Content Marketing Company in the World?
    5. Found out what it meant to “work hard (er), play hard (er)” The majority of the jobs at this great company are lifestyle jobs. The employees work hard and play hard. If you’re awake (and why wouldn’t you be?) you’re probably working or at least dreaming up some new idea. And… These. People. Know. How. To. Party. I like to think of them as Professional Partiers. Can I add that to my resume?

So, sounds pretty amazing, right? You might be asking yourself why would you EVER even think of leaving? Don’t worry, I think a lot of my friends and family members were thinking the exact same thing.

“Making a decision isn’t about knowing every potential consequence. It’s about knowing what you want and chasing a path that takes you in that direction.” — Malinda Lo

We always want what we can’t or don’t have. The grass is always greener on the other side. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

However, there comes a point in your life where you just have to do it. Sometimes it’s worth taking a risk to see if there’s something out there that’s greater what you already have – even if what you have is already great.

HOLD UP! If anyone talks to my boyfriend I never said this and I am by no means encouraging him to go see if he can find someone greater than what he has 😉

Carry on.

Not knowing is scary. We tend to fear the unknown. What if you make the biggest mistake of your life?!

I’ve mentioned this before, but it constantly pops back up into my head. A couple years back a complete stranger asked me, “What is your passion?” I don’t remember this individual’s name nor could I pick him out in a room again. It was a short conversation, yet life changing. I was stumped. What WAS my passion? I knew I was passionate about a lot of things, but I could not provide an answer instantly as to what my passion was. Later in the night, I realized that my passion was helping people and making a positive impact on peoples’ lives. There’s so many ways in which this can be achieved…and I realized that I was already doing this as I was teaching Pure Barre. When I got the opportunity to take on a larger role at the studio I was teaching and get more involved with our Corporate office I knew it was my time. I was risking a lot, but was ready for any consequence that it would bring.

So six months have gone by and how do I feel?

    1. I’m creating some of the best memories of my life. Before, I had a full time job, taught Pure Barre and would help with trainings when I could. There wasn’t a whole lot of free time. I definitely did not get to spend enough time doing the things that I really wanted to do. Often times, I wasn’t making the best choices – little sleep, bad food choices, over indulging a little too often… Over the past six months I’ve definitely started to change the way I’m living and have a much better mental state. For the most part, I’m usually stress free. Wait, WHAT?
    2. I’m making life long friends. I meet new people each and every day. I also get the privilege to see friends more often then I used to. For my friends and family that aren’t as close, I have more time to visit and reach out via phone, computer, etc.
    3. I’m learning so much about myself. I’m much more self aware. I try to SLOW DOWN a bit. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” – Anaïs Nin I love to write. Years ago, I wanted to start a blog, but never had the time. Now, I do. I hope you’re enjoying it – I sure am! 
    4. I’m getting amazing experience. I am surrounded by empowered women and helping to empower women even more each and every day. How’s that for powerful?  Yes, the roles that I have definitely entail more than just that, but I think that’s right at the top of the list.
    5. I’m working hard and playing hard. I’m working hard, but in a different way. I’m experiencing a new type of “reward” through channeling all of my time and energy into my two roles that I now have. I’m playing hard, but in a much different way. I’m not out 4-5 nights a week until 3am. Hey, don’t get me wrong those nights still happen, just not as often.

I used to get really stressed all the time. Little things that shouldn’t of bothered me always did. Tears were often coming down when they weren’t really necessary. I wouldn’t change one thing about all of the experience I had with my five different roles at Red Bull. But, since we’re focusing on the NOW and the future I will say this. I don’t get stressed out anywhere near as much as I use to. I try not to let the little things bother me, but more importantly I try to appreciate the GOOD little things more (front row parking spots, a night in on the couch with the one you love, an unexpected favor – I could go on forever and might even do a whole post on this!). More often, I find myself crying happy tears. A moving song comes on over the speakers, someone pays you a genuine compliment, a really good hug, a beautiful smile…

So, before I go:

“It was one of the best days of my life, a day during which I lived my life and didn’t think about my life at all.” — Jonathan Safran Foer

This warms my heart and I hope it warms yours too. Imagine if you could feel like this everyday?

What’s holding you back? What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? What are you waiting for? If not now, when?

Think - Speak - Inspire

Living in the Moment

“I think everyone has a certain part of their life where they truly wish they could freeze time. Whether it was three years ago, today, or still to come. Whether it was just a moment, a whole day, or a whole summer. Everyone has a time in their life where they wish everything would just stop, the world would stop turning and the people would stop changing. Because to them, at that time, everything was perfect.”

I read this this morning on The Love Whisperer‘s Tumblr.

There’s so many times I wish I could bottle up a certain moment, day or even a certain stage in my life and get to go back and relive it. I try to focus on the times that I would want to relive or revisit because they were just that wonderful. There are certain occasions where I think back and would like a second chance because things didn’t go the way I wanted – but, always try to see the bigger picture and focus on what I learned from that particular point in my life. I started to think about if I had 5 days that I could revisit, what days would I choose to travel back in time to? Off the top of my head, this is what came to mind:

        • A Friday in High School: No particular day. Just go back and experience my friends, my favorite teachers, eating cookies and chips with Ashley as soon as the cafeteria opened, dance class, go for a run on the track, sneak out to go to Coffee Connection, Papa Ginos pizza and breadsticks, a dance (those things were serious), a sleepover with my friends… You know, just really get a chance to appreciate High School for all that it was… before life got even crazier and a little messy.

High SchoolSenior Year.

      • A Dance Competition: Growing up, the girls that I danced with were some of my best friends and we were for sure a little family. We spent so much time together and got to share a lot of laughs and tears over the years.  They were the big sisters I never had. These girls were amazing then and now they’ve all become such beautiful women, most of them have started their own families – can’t wait until they turn into crazy Dance Moms! 😉

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Are these Danskin or Capezio?!

  • My Cousin’s Wedding: My cousin Patrick got married on May 28, 2011 in Mobile, Alabama. I absolutely love weddings and this one was no exception – it was perfect. My mother, sister and I had driven down from Charlotte to go to the wedding. If I could relive every single moment of that trip I would – mainly because on May 29th my sister was unexpectedly taken from us. Our first experience at Whataburger, lipsyncing SirMixAlot in the video booth, all of the pictures taken that night, Samantha laughing at me for crying during the ceremony, watching Lady Gaga’s “Inside the Outside” (particularly when she mentioned cycling around NYC, “What’s the worst that could happen? ‘Are you Gaga?’ ‘Yeah’ *ding ding*”) and SO much more. It REALLY is about the LITTLE things in life.

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Cupid Shuffle. Naturally. Was this before or after my Mom demanded I got on stage to do the “Dougie”?

      • A Christmas Eve: It’s always been tradition to go to my Mom’s side of the family on Christmas Eve and go to my Dad’s side on Christmas Day. I would love to go back to a Christmas Eve when all of my cousins (and sister) and I were young. The excitement and joy that was present on that night is so heart warming. Nowadays, when I see young children open presents and the sparkle they get in their eyes when talking about Santa, I literally melt. It never seems to matter how big or small a present was. The look on a child’s face when they are opening a gift, especially on Christmas, is absolutely priceless.

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I didn’t have any photos that capture the madness that took place at my Nana & Papa’s house, but figured this precious photo of my Sister and Nana would be sufficient.

      • Christmas Night 2010: Once we got a little older, my sister, two cousins and I would go with my Mom to the movies. After eating all day and being in a crowded house, we would get out for a little bit to go see one of the new releases. Four years ago, Brittany, Peter, Samantha and I went to the movies together. I would love to go back to that night and cherish each and every moment. It breaks my heart when I think that Samantha and Peter won’t be here with Brittany and I as we continue on life’s journey, but it’s moments like these, captured in this photo, that bring a smile to my face (even with tears streaming down).

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There’s plenty of things that I am missing on this short list. Our brains have a funny way of working. We can see, hear, taste, touch or smell a particular thing and it immediately brings us back to something a few years ago – often times, something that we never thought we would think about again. I keep coming back to the same theme lately of “Living in the Moment”.

I’ve always been the type of person that jam packs my schedule full with more than I should. As a child, I grew up dancing competitively and doing gymnastics. Gymnastics didn’t last too long because once it got time to doing things with no hands (“Look Ma, no hands”) somebody got a little scared. If I wasn’t at school, the dance studio or a dance competition I was with friends and family pretty much nonstop.

Once I got to High School, I continued to dance competitively, but also got involved with my High School’s Dance Program and ran Indoor and Outdoor Track all four years. Since High School brought along a even busier social life, my days were a constant go go go. Going off to college and getting more responsibility, I was introduced to a lovely little thing called WORK. I did work during High School (oh, the days at Hava Java *sigh*), but started working A LOT more post High School.

Throughout college I always had a least one job and when I look back, college was a complete whirlwind. I have no idea where those four years went between school, work and friends. Post college my work became my life. The jobs I had were essentially “lifestyle” jobs. There were so many learning experiences during these years and I wouldn’t change it even if I could. From 2008-2014, I definitely felt like I was going 100mph. Towards the second half of last year, I made a decision to change the pace in which I was going. It was a really hard decision, but it was something I needed to do for me. I’ll share more about that journey and what that looked like some other time 🙂

“Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.” ― Patti Digh

More and more lately, I’ve been making a strong effort to PRIORITIZE more.

  1. What on that To Do list really needs to be done?
  2. What do I need less of?
  3. What do I need more of?
  4. Make time for the people and things that matter most – you never know when those things or people will be gone.
  5. Thanking people more and letting people know how appreciated they are – regardless of how small the act may have been.

Do you find yourself going at 100mph? Do you think you need to reprioritize certain things in your life? At this very moment in time what are 5 days that you would like to revisit?

Think - Speak - Inspire

Stay Grateful, Not Hateful

“Keep a grateful journal. Every night, list five things that happened this day that you are grateful for. What it will begin to do is change your perspective of your day and your life. If you can learn to focus on what you have, you will always see that the universe is abundant; you will have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

I read this earlier in the day and it kept popping up into my head throughout the day. I like to think that I’m pretty grateful and let people know how much I appreciate them. However, sometimes it’s hard not to get caught up in my everyday hustle and bustle…and just like that another day is coming to an end.

As today comes to a close, I’ve decided that I am going to start keeping an (electronic) Grateful Journal. That way it can sync on my phone and computer giving me no reason why I can’t finish each day with five reasons that I should be filled with gratitude.

I figured I would share my first 5 with you all:

  1. My compact car and awesome brakes: I was inches away from getting in a car accident today. Traffic went from 65 mph to almost a complete stop in the matter of seconds.
  2. The Missy Elliott Pandora Station: Enough said.
  3. “Best EVER Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies” from Chelsea’s Messy Apron that I made tonight: Hey, I need to get some sugar in before The 30 Clean starts in 19 days!
  4. 32 Things You Should Be Grateful For: Sometimes you really need to get back to life’s basics and appreciate the little things.
  5. Hugs: Some people aren’t “huggers”, but I really think hugs are underrated. What’s better than a hug after a long day or when you’re just really feeling a little down?!

HugsBoy Meets World Fan for Life.

Hugs 2#ByeFelicia

Hugs 3We all need somebody to lean onnnnnn…

Hug 4Oh, come here you.

What about you – do you take enough time to think of all the things that you’re grateful for? Do you like the idea of writing down five things everyday?