Tag Archives: friendships

Three Tips to Get on Track with Life

Well, it’s raining – again! I can’t believe how much rain we have been getting here in the South when so many people are desperately in need of rain in the mid west. I am SO glad I forgot to return the umbrella I borrowed from my office yesterday because I had to use it again today to get from the gym back to my office. I taught my TurboKick class, showered and got ready for the day again since I have a presentation to do tonight on campus.

It’s not going to be a super long presentation – but I’m hitting some highlights of how to get on the right track your first year of college. As I’m contemplating the millions of tips I could give, I’m trying to pick the tops ones in hopes that something I say strikes a chord with them and they actually take action! I don’t often interact with students on the younger end of the spectrum in my role, so when I present to freshman it’s always a refreshing perspective for me. Everything is new and interesting. Every piece of advice is something you might consider, even if just for a moment. Particularly when I speak to a group that focuses on leadership, I feel like the audience is there to hear something that will make a difference in their college careers.

Some of my top tips would be:

1) Don’t just be a student.

  • Grades are important, but they are not the only thing that you will be judged on. Being in college is about more than just showing up to class and turning in work. You need to pick a few organizations and be involved. Be a leader of some sort in at least one organization.Volunteer some of your time. Give back to your campus is some way.

2) Utilize resources while they are free

  •  Like the academic success center, tutoring assistance, counseling, career development (as in getting your resume reviewed, getting help with finding jobs/internships, interviewing help, etc), taking classes beyond the required so you can expand your skill sets, going to free concerts and events that expose you to new ideas and cultures, going to the gym and utilizing the free exercise classes or seminars offered, climb the rock wall, sign up for a trip that takes you off campus with your peers

3) Take responsibility for your own destiny

  • Don’t wait for someone else to tell you what you should do; spend time creating your own plan. Whether you stick to it or not doesn’t matter, but at least attempt to organize yourself. This means reading information about your major and understanding the classes you need to take and what order you need to take them. This means thinking ahead so you can block out time for that “must have” part time job or internship.

There are so many more that I could share – but I think those hit a lot of the highlights of getting on the right track. It’s so hard to get BACK on track from a crazy freshman year. Pulling your GPA up from a 1.5 will seem impossible. Creating good study habits and finding people with similar values is a lot easier if you start off in the right mind space. Setting goals for yourself and posting them in a place where you can see them is a great way to remind yourself everyday why you are here.

I think these 3 lessons can be transferable to non-students as well. It’s easy once we graduate and start our careers to stop really reaching for something more. To do more than just go to work. To get involved in the professional community, or to take action in your community through volunteering in some way. We forget that we are in the driver’s seat and let life just float by when we really need to take charge of our own destiny’s and have a plan for ourselves. We need to set goals, write them down and revisit them. We need to evaluate our progress and change things up when needed. We need to do more than just take up space, am I right?

And if you look around, I bet you have a lot of resources available to you that you aren’t using. That spare room could be a gym. Your neighborhood association could need some help. Your old sorority/fraternity chapter might need some extra hands during an upcoming event. Your church might need some help in the nursery. Your place of employment might offer to pay part of a class fee if you wanted to go back to school to work on that certificate or degree you’ve been considering. Take action. Take responsibility, take back the driver’s seat to your own life. This is your journey, where are you going?




Filed under Challenge, goals, just for fun, Life, motivation, resources

Thankful Thursdays: First Days…

Things are starting to become “abuzz” on campus – some students have already started to move in, but tomorrow will be the “big day” – all our new freshman will be coming to campus and getting moved in, meeting their roommates, orientation leaders – and of course, me! 🙂 Okay, well only a select few will meet me this weekend as I do teach a freshman 101 type of course. Our first class meets on Saturday (school on SATURDAY!!??). Want to feel old? These incoming freshman were born in (ready?) 1994. I’ll let that sink in for a second. And that’s not just a random call out for Forrest Gump – that movie actually came out in 1994 to put things in perspective. (You’re Welcome)


Phew, back to the post now.

I remember my college move in day and that whole weekend vividly. I went to a college 8 hours away from my home town. I grew up in a small town, went to college in a big city. I knew no one, but I don’t remember being scared. I remember pure excitement! I met new friends immediately, and it was a whirlwind of adventures that first semester in college. I don’t really remember any of the homework assignments, or readings – what sticks with me the most are the friends I made, the decisions I was faced with that first semester of being on my own, and how much fun college was compared to high school.

I had a chance to reconnect with some old friends from my college last weekend. Unfortunately, the circumstances weren’t great – we had come back together to provide support for a college friend who lost his sister suddenly in a car accident. But, it was good to tell stories about the stupid adventures we all got into, the movies was watched on repeat, and we laughed and I thought that was better than crying for a little bit. It reminded me of just how much the people I met in college meant to me, and still do. How that experience connected us with invisible threads we often forget about until we’re together again.

College was this magical experience for me. The people I met, the lessons I learned (inside and outside the classroom) shaped who I am in my adult life. I often think because of my college experience – it made me want to continue to be in that environment as part of my career. Here I am, almost a decade later, still sitting on a university campus – nervous energy bubbling up about the adventures of yet another school year. Wondering what amazing things I’ll learn this year, what new students may darken my doorstep and if maybe I’ll have the chance to help them grow and develop the same way the faculty/staff at my college helped me grow into the woman I am today.

I have a role where I get to meet new people every single day, and they are often searching for something. Someone to help them figure out a game plan, find an internship, to share excitement about a job offer.  I’ve also had the chance to connect with students on a deeper level and that has lead to a whole host of other types of conversations about life, relationships, healthy behaviors, and so much more. I often get bogged down by the paperwork and process part of my job, and I forget what a wonderful opportunity I have everyday to make a difference in someone’s life. Sure, I’m not SAVING lives by any means – but it’s so awesome to be in a role where the people I work with are in this magical stage of their lives where big decisions are being made. When they are learning how to be independent, gaining confidence, learning to tread water gracefully instead of just splashing around.

My hope is that every now and then, I can make an impact – even if it’s a tiny one. We all have the chance to open our hearts to helping others – and while I’m not a huge “volunteer-er” I have a big heart for helping my students and people around me so they can be happier with the choices they make as it relates to their work, their careers, etc. It’s a big responsibility, but I know I owe it to them, because someone took the time to mentor me, to be-friend me, to challenge me, to train me, to knock me off my soapbox when I needed it – and mostly, just to believe in me.

Today’s post isn’t about motivating you to lose weight, work out more, eat differently or anything like that. It’s about taking pride in who you are, how far you’ve come, and giving back when you have the chance. No kind thought or words are ever too small to make a difference!


Filed under family, health, just for fun, Life, thankful thursday

People Along the Way

What adventure are you on?

For every adventure, there are people you meet along the way. People who may change your course, obstruct your course, help you over an obstacle or just be there to go through it by your side. It really wouldn’t be quite the epic adventure if there weren’t people along the way, right? I mean, how interesting would Harry Potter’s situation be if it weren’t for Ron & Hermione?

The last four years of my life have been a pretty amazing adventure – one that I didn’t quite expect to happen. I’ve been on this adventure of trying to figure out what the best version of me is – really and truly. And while that has had me focus in a lot on weight loss, better eating habits and things that impact my physical self – it’s also been a quest to understand who I am a little bit more than I did before. All in all, it’s helped my soul heal a little bit from a lot of years of self bashing, and a few years of letting someone else drag me down.

As I’ve been up in the mountains and down in the valleys so to speak during these 4 years – I’d like to say I’ve learned a lot along the way. But there are some things that really ring loud and clear for me – and as I was thinking about it all of these lessons are kind of connected to a person (or persons!) and I wanted to take this Thankful Thursday (I know i’m a slacker at doing these every week) to recognize some of the “people along the way.”

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (but you should believe it, too)

I learned this lesson when I met my husband (for the 2nd time – but that is another blog post). I was really at the bottom on my personal barrel in a lot of ways. I was the heaviest I’d been in a long time, my heart had taken a major beating and I was just so tired of everything, including myself. When I met him and he thought i was funny, interesting, pretty and smart – he helped me start believing in myself again. I am so thankful to have him in my life everyday and he never has stopped believing in me, even when I wasn’t sure I could do something along the way.

Being healthy should be a part of your lifestyle

Growing up, I just wanted to be skinny like my friends. And I always had the concept that if i worked really hard for a while – I would hit my goal and then I could go back to life as normal. Obviously, this is not how it works.  Now, I get that being healthy is a result of making good decisions on a regular basis. One of my first friends at work who directs all the fitness programs here at our university is the person who really brought this to life for me. She was an amazing example of being healthy – and backs it up by really living the life. She even taught me how I could have fun while doing some of these things which I NEVER thought was possible before.

Thanks to her, I can say i’m a certified TurboKick instructor – she was a MAJOR inspiration in my decision to pursue that goal. It’s my hope to be able to show other people that working out can be a fun time (even if you will sweat a lot!).

Find a Bandwagon

I know this sounds bad – but it’s a lot easier to make better decisions for yourself when you align yourself with similar people (I would argue the opposite is just as true – as in, it’s easy to eat badly or not workout when no one else is either!). This doesn’t mean you aren’t friends with people who have differing views by any means – but it does mean  you should seek out people who have similar goals. I’ve met a ton of new people this way, and reconnected with old friends, too, who I hadn’t talked to in awhile. I also have been lucky to have a few people along the way who always stuck by my side in this adventure. And even though they might have different perspectives on how to “climb the hill” or “get across the river” – we’re still rooting for each other every step of the way.



These 3 things don’t represent every aspect of my 4 years of adventure – they are just a quick snapshot of things I’ve learned along the way – and hopefully a “nod of thanks” towards those who have been on this adventure with me for at least some portion of it!

And hopefully, there might be a few nuggets of wisdom or advice you can take with you on your adventure as well – wherever you may be going. Regardless, thank YOU for being on this part of my adventure with me.

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Filed under goals, just for fun, Life, motivation, relationships, thankful thursday, weight loss, work out

Trip & Tip

Tonight I’m flying out to our nation’s capital to see one of my very best friends. I am so excited to see her because it’s been too long. Plus, it will be fun to have a girls weekend because I don’t do that too often (love you hubby!).

I’m gearing up for my first trip since we are doing the Food Challenge. I am just always timing things wrong these days – because I’m still figuring everything out and being out of town for a few days is going to make it even more challenging! But my goal is to be as good as I can be – and avoid wheat and processed ingredients.

Since I’m going to be without my scale (no i am NOT packing my scale in my carry on), I decided to weigh in this morning. Now – this is a reflection of 3 days on this new plan. I’m still doing my TurboFire workouts as per usual (2 more weeks until my exercise challenge is COMPLETE!). I also decided to enjoy some wheat products (i.e. homemade mac&cheese & cookies – or 5) this past weekend as I was “saying goodbye” to all that for the next 30 days.

So 3 days of being totally wheat free and avoiding processed ingredients as much as possible! Drum roll please:

I’m down 2.4 pounds.

I’d also like to mention that I’ve had delicious bacon for breakfast every morning along with some scrambled eggs and veggies. I’ve had pork tenderloin and curry dishes for lunch, fajita salads with chicken and filet mignon for dinner. I’ve  been snacking on whole mozzarella cheese and olives as well as raw nuts (cashews & walnuts to be exact) and I’ve enjoyed a square of 85% dark chocolate every night before bedtime.

This doesn’t feel like a diet, really (and it’s not supposed to!). Even though I have to do a bit more “thinking” when it comes to snacks and things to help round out our meals (i.e. the curry dish was tasty but too light – we needed more food!) – I get to enjoy things that I wouldn’t have allowed myself before and that is pretty awesome.

Basically what I’m saying is that any lifestyle that allows me to eat bacon – I’m in. 🙂

I’m pretty impressed with my 3 day results – and I’m looking forward to seeing results on the scale next Friday so i can see what a full 2 weeks of avoiding wheat and non-processed foods can do for me. Granted, I’m just going to put it out there that I’m totally going to drink some wine and probably indulge in those bottomless belini’s I’ve been dreaming about since my last visit to DC – but I think I can make it work.

I’m bringing my work out stuff with me so I can do my 2 workouts that are scheduled for Friday and Saturday (Sunday is my day off). And i’m going to be working out this afternoon before I fly out so I’m staying on track.

As I was driving home yesterday – it dawned on me that I’m really changing for the better. And that I’ve actually developed a habit of working out 6 days a week. How amazing is that? I’m looking forward to feeling like I’ve made it a habit to pay more attention to the quality of foods that I’m eating (hence the ban on non processed junk!) and excited to see these results as I really combine the working out with this new Food Challenge.

Best Tip Ever.

I doubt that I’ll be posting again until next week – but you never know. Until then (here’s the tip!)  stay strong & make one BETTER decision every day for yourself. You just might form a good habit!

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Filed under Challenge, food, goals, health, Life, motivation, Real Food, Results, vacation, weight loss, what i'm eating, wheat free, work out

Weekend Mashup

Okay – it’s been a few days. During the summer we work half day Friday’s and every other Friday I have this huge project that has to be finished before I head out, so I didn’t get my normal lunch break time to catch up on blogs, write a post, etc. So I’ll do my typical “Results Friday” and “Weekend Review” all in one today and then hopefully I’ll be back on track!

So…I finished up my EIGHTH week on TURBOfire this weekend. Sort of hard to believe. I took my 60 day check in pictures over the weekend, and as I was examining them closely last night – I could see some changes in the shape of my body from Day 1 to Day 60. I haven’t seen a huge decrease in pounds this month. I know I had a few out of control weekends with my birthday and a few other celebrations this month – so my goal for month 3 is to really focus in on the food part of my life in addition to keeping up my workouts. I’m going to count my weight/measurements from this Friday’s results because I’m continually reminded of how I’m an idiot and scheduled my results weeks during the week that most women experience intense fluctuation in their weight. Oh the fun! BUT, on Friday i was only 1 pound heavier than my lowest weight so far on the program…so I think that is good news for my “official results” this week.

Today’s YAY moment: Today my chiropractor told me I was shrinking. So that made me feel like I’m still on track with people around me noticing changes. I also saw a friend I hadn’t seen in several months over the weekend and she commented on my “changes” as well. So double yay!

The Weekend

Seriously yummy.

As for my weekend – I was planning on some pool time with some friends on Friday, but it didn’t work out (as in, I was in my bathing suit already but it didn’t work out) so I decided to pretend my yard was a pool and I sat on my deck, put on sunscreen and read a book. I also fixed myself a White Trash Sangria (my new easy fav) and turned on some music. It wasn’t QUITE the same, but it was a nice relaxing afternoon. When hubs got home, we went for dinner to our favorite Mexican Restaurant – Taqueria Mexico. It’s seriously delicious, cheap, and the staff there are so friendly. We have gone enough times that when we arrive the waitresses know what I want to drink. Fortunately for our waistlines, we don’t go anywhere close to as often as we used to go – it’s definitely your splurge meal, but so worth it. I will probably do a more legit/full review of this place soon if you want to know more. But it’s totally worth a check out if you are a local!

We came back home and enjoyed a drink on the deck, but I was really good and just had a glass of white wine (as opposed to a whole bottle!). The hubs works on Saturdays so I got up and made the workout happen (last one of the week – woot woot!) and went to a baby baptism for a friend. I had never been to one before, so that was an interesting experience. Of course we had a reception afterward, so I had some homemade lasagna and a piece of cake. Double bad! But I had only had a granola bar for breakfast and I did my workout already – so it could have been worse I suppose.

I decided to do our grocery shopping on Saturday solo so that we could fast forward through cooking our meals for the week as we wanted Sunday to be our fun day. This week’s meals include:

Summer Squash Lasagna (Tried it today, will post about it later this week if you want to make it!)
Easy Sandwich + lite Caesar Salad
Shrimp & Black Bean Salad (haven’t tried it yet, I will let you know!)
Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Rice & Squash

So I think the menu sounds pretty appetizing this week. We had neighbors over for an impromptu cook-out – and had a blast. I can’t say this enough – I love my neighbors. They’ve turned into a little bit of extended family and I really love knowing that if I needed something or just needed a friend I could go knock on their door and be welcomed.

Sunday was the MOST fun though. We went to the Light Rail Restaurant for breakfast with our neighbors before we headed out to Carowinds (local themepark) for the day. Again, if you are local, you should check it out. It looks and sounds like a weird place – but breakfast all day long and it’s simple, cheap, and yummy.  Afterwards we headed out to the park (we got season passes this year and I want to go 4-5 times to really get monies worth) where we spent most the day at the water park and had a blast. I always forget how much I love water slides – they just make you feel like a kid again. We went on a couple of roller coasters and my throat still sort of hurts today from the amount of screaming AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS I did on the Intimidator. Seriously – even if you just watch the first 30 seconds of this video you will see why I almost died this weekend. The drop was UNBELIEVABLE.

I had a great weekend, and finally got my day off from working out yesterday. Back on track today and looking forward to starting MONTH THREE of my summer push series. What’s on your agenda for the week?




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Filed under food, goals, health, just for fun, Life, Results, weekend review, what i'm eating, work out

Meet Positive Polly (the sadly under-represented sister of Negative Nancy)

I was wondering to myself as I walked back from my last presentation to my office, is there a name for someone who is always positive? We have a name for people who are constantly negative, as in “Well aren’t you Negative Nancy, today?”

So I started thinking about it and I can’t remember anyone ever saying to someone else, “well aren’t you Miss Happy Holly today?” or “That’s awesome to think that way, Optimistic Opal” or (my personal fav) “Look at you, Positive Polly!”

If there is such a nickname, perhaps it’s sad that I’ve never heard anyone use it. And that made me think more about how negative we are toward each other and ourselves. How often do we judge other people and even more so – how much do we tear ourselves down? I agree with that saying about being our own worst enemy….I can apply that to myself on many different levels. And it’s easy to always see the down side of things instead of focusing on the good stuff.

Doesn’t this make you want to work out? 🙂 Having fun at Turbo training!

When I first started getting into fitness and living a healthier lifestyle, I found my niche in group exercise. And I wasn’t really sure why things clicked or why I kept going back. I didn’t understand why I felt the pull to become an exercise instructor or to be a beachbody coach. But looking back – I realize I was drawn to group exercise because the people who I went with were uplifting. They enjoyed working out and had fun while they were doing it and I wanted to feel that way. More so, I wanted to help others feel that way, too. I know myself well enough to know I am immensely more motivated to stay on track if I’m in charge of inspiring others along the way. Helping you, helps me – bottom line.

And even though I’m not 100% fit or the perfect role model for healthy living – being around people who enjoy living a healthy lifestyle is empowering to me. It makes me feel excited to be on this journey. It shows me that being fit isn’t about living this boring, rigid lifestyle. It’s about balance and self-control. You can still have a life, but you have to balance it out each and every day. Being exposed to “real people” who are excited about being active, are real about making good food choices but also allow themselves to indulge every once in awhile – has just helped me so much. I see them doing it and I know I can be one of those people. In a lot of ways, I feel like I AM becoming one of those people already.

Being around HAPPY people makes you feel happier. Being around NEGATIVE people makes you feel more negative. Simple, but true.

I have definitely been through phases in my life where I identified with the negative crowd – where there is always an issue, always something to gripe about, etc. I don’t remember that time in my life being all sparkles and rainbows.I remember feeling negative about myself, judgmental of other people and just sort of blah!

Working out with a group doesn’t always have to be at the gym! This is my Warrior Dash Crew!

In order to keep myself motivated and in order to (hopefully) inspire other people to make better decisions about their lifestyle (in terms of being healthier) – it makes sense to want to align myself with Happy Holly’s, Optimistic Opals, and Positive Polly’s. And just for kicks let’s add Hopeful Henry (I need some diversity after all). There are some things in life you do NOT have control over….but who you spend your time with and how you treat yourself is definitely not on that list. You absolutely have control over this part of your life.

Sometimes making healthy decisions isn’t always about what to make for dinner or what workout to do – it’s about making life choices that put you on the right track. Don’t forget to find friends who have the same healthy goals as you do – it will make this journey a LOT easier and maybe you’ll even feel a bit more like sparkles and rainbows, too.


Filed under goals, health, just for fun, Life, motivation, relationships, work out

Obligatory Birthday Post

No, seriously – pay attention to me. 🙂

I’ve written a lot of birthday posts in my life. Some celebrating others, some reminiscing about things I’ve learned so how about another birthday post for my ever growing collection?

Today is 31 for me. My friend/boss asked me if I felt any older today and as I pouring a ginormous amount of coffee into my amazing Tervis Tumbler (Thanks Caroline!) I said – “No, not really.” She then proceeded to ask me if I was having any new pains or aches, and I just smiled and admitted that I think I’d always had those and getting older had nothing to do with it!

Here’s the thing – I feel better about myself and my health at 31 than I ever did at 21. I am more active, more educated, and more energetic at this point in my life than I’ve probably ever been. My fitness mentor (Chalene Johnson), says that building muscles and working out is the true fountain of youth and I totally can get behind that statement. I hope I remain active for the rest of my life – as of right now, that’s my game plan.

Today marks yet another first for me. This is the first time in all of my 31 years that I’ve woken up early to work out on my birthday. As much as I hated my life this morning when my alarm went off at 5:30, I realized that making time for healthy habits is the best gift I can ever give to myself. It took me a long time to figure all this out…but as I’ve “grown up” over the last few years I’ve finally figured out I need to be taking care of myself in order to be fit to take care of anyone else in my life. It’s not selfish, it’s necessary. And I’m glad to have figured it out by 31 instead of 41.

This next year holds lots of opportunity and promise for my life and I’m extremely excited about it. I know a lot of people who stop celebrating their birthdays because they don’t want to be out of their 20’s – but I’m embracing every day I get here and trying to see it as another opportunity to do something awesome. I have heard a lot of women say that their 30’s were the best decade of their life because they finally were comfortable with themselves and knew what they wanted out of life. 30 was a good year for me, but 31 is going to be even better because I’m going to work hard to make sure I’m squeezing all the good stuff out of it along the way before I give it up for 32.

I am so thankful (appropriate since today is THANKFUL THURSDAY!!!) for amazing friends and family in my life both near and far, old and new. It’s hard to keep in touch with every single person in my life and I’m blessed to have such awesome people in my life who work to stay connected with me even when I’m not always awesome at it. After re-reading my blog from last year (Note titled: 30 in the bag – for those of you who are my FB friends) I’m really pleased to feel like I’ve progressed this year with a lot of the goals I set for myself.

But as always – every year brings new trials and the  chance for change. Mostly, I’m looking forward to a new year of opportunities to push myself more than I ever have before. So 31 -bring it. I am open to all your possibilities.





Filed under family, goals, health, just for fun, Life, motivation, relationships, thankful thursday, work out