2.01.2016

What's your "WHY"?











Hola Mamacitas!

I'm fresh off a trip home to New York where the manfriend and I spent a few days with my family. I got a lot packed into a few days! I went up to help my cousin launch her Rodan + Fields business last Thursday and stayed until Sunday afternoon. While we were there I put on a presentation for my cousin, hung out with my dad, stepmom and brothers... celebrated my mom's birthday a few days early, celebrated my grandmother's 90th birthday, ate too much, hosted an R+F brunch at my SIL's house and busted my ever-loving ass to qualify for and win a R+F leadership trip/vacation to a resort in June.

I know that I just mentioned Rodan + Fields 3 times in the previous paragraph, but stay with me (because that isn't even the most annoying part). The most annoying part is still ahead.

As many of you know, I decided this past summer to start my own Rodan + Fields business. It's not something I ever saw myself doing, but it has turned into one of the best parts of my life (FO REAL). As part of leadership training I am going through, I was asked to really dig into my "WHY".

Your "WHY" is basically the reason why you would join a direct sales company, run the risk that people are going to talk shit about you, run the risk that you'll "fail", put one more commitment of time, energy and money on your plate AND commit to learning an entirely new business? What is going to make you work when you don't want to? What is going to make you get up when you fall? Go the exta mile when you are tired, disheartened, nervous, scared, etc?

Doing that "assignment"... writing out my try "WHY" was pretty friggin eye opening for me. It's a bit personal (obviously) but I am sharing because it made me realize that I have a reason to work really hard and do more than I ever thought I was capable of... and once I got to the heart of those reasons, they inspired the shit out of me. Maybe your "WHY" has nothing to do with working a business, but if you have ever desired to do, have, or experience "more", then you have to figure out what the hell is going to inspire you to work to get it. We all know that coasting (and bitching about being unhappy) is actually a hell of a lot easier than doing the trench work that is involved in changing.

My WHY:

I keep inspirational quotes all around me; written on sticky notes by my nightstand, on my bathroom mirror, on my refrigerator, and pinned to a cork board at my office. They say things like:
  • “Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.”
  • “It’s never too late to live the life you have imagined.”
  • “Self-made or never made.”
  • “What is it that you plan to do with your one, precious life?”
WHY*
I keep these phrases within view so that I am constantly reminded to live. Truly live. To be brave, to take chances, and to focus on what is important to me.


WHY*
In 2011 I got spinal meningitis during the only 6-month period of my life that I was uninsured. I was acting as a consultant with my current company and I got sick. Really sick. I have never in my life been in that much pain. I was taken to Urgent Care, a stand alone ER, then rushed in an ambulance to the hospital. My manfriend held me up as a doctor gave me a spinal tap and there I stayed, in the hospital, for a while. Drugs, tests, scans, etc. My "manfriend" had to call my family and tell them that the doctors were saying I may not make it and that they may not be able to make the trip from NY to NC in time to see me before I died. It was terrifying. When the entire ordeal was over I was out of work for over a month and over $54,500 in medical debt. 


I make a good living from my corporate job but it has not been enough to get me out of this crushing debt. 
Being in debt is an incredibly heavy weight to carry and it limits the choices you have in life so I needed to get out from under it. (I spent 4 years trying to get out of it organically... by going to work, saving money and paying it down every month and I was only half way through it.)

WHY*  

Ever since I got sick I am incredibly sensitive to wasting my life. I do not want to wake up one day and realize that I did what I was "supposed" to do but not what I wanted to do. I want to create an exciting like. One that gives me the opportunity to help other men and women have a chance to live on their own terms. One that gives me security in knowing that I am taken care of. One that allows me to see the world. Give back. One that allows me to do things for the man I love. One that makes my parents, my brothers and extended family proud of me. 

WHY*
Because I am the daughter of teenage parents. My mom and dad split when I was 2 but I grew up watching both of them work all of the time. My mom would work days, evenings, nights, holidays, weekends, etc. She was always working. My dad had different jobs. He is a hustler; always working a day job and then coming home at night and working on a side gig. Ever since I was a small child I have been aware of money. It made me anxious, nervous, terrified. Talking about it gave me a stomach ache. I have vivid memories of coming into the kitchen in the middle of the night and my mother sobbing over a pile of unpaid bills. If we keep the lights on this month we may be without a phone for a while. I'm not saying we had it worse than everyone else, I am just saying that money was ALWAYS a source of anxiety. Also... I have always felt like I wanted to prove people wrong. When kids get pregnant at 15 and 17 most people don't have high hopes for them or their baby. I wanted to be the exception to the rule, but part of me wondered, "who am I to live a life of adventure and abundance"??? I should be content with "enough" and at least that way I wouldn't run the risk of publically failing at anything. 


I have since decided to give ZERO fuks about "publicly failing" and THAT decision has made all the difference. 

Authenticity, a genuine desire for all women to feel confident and beautiful, and opportunity...that is what Rodan and Fields represents to me. That is what I will share. My hope is to spread the word so far and wide that eventually I can work on my own terms, run my R+F business, teach Pilates, travel the world with the man I love and live a life I am proud of. One that is a little non-conventional requires a bit of bravery and leaves me with no regrets. 

If you've ever wanted something really badly but not been able to accomplish it, maybe it's in part due to the fact that you have never peeled back all of the emotional layers of the excuses you're making and dug down, deep for your "WHY"? Putting mine on paper and out into the universe has helped motivate me. Maybe it will help you too??

What's your "WHY"? 


1.11.2016

John Snow and New Year's Resolutions








All my clothes are from Target and my booties are from the mall, 2 years ago - I forget where.

I felt very "Game of Thrones" in this cloak.

Like I had just made a kill and threw the pelt around my neck, or that I was layering up for the long journey ahead in the freezing tundra like John Snow. I found this sweater-thing at Target (no shock there). I like wearing throws like this in the winter because I get hot easily and with this I'm not committed to keeping a sweater on all day. I have a short sleeved t-shirt on under this for when the inevitable happens... I burn up, beads of sweat start forming on my upper lip and I want to murder everything moving because I am fkng overheating. < typical >

Anyway...

Welcome to 2016, Mamacitas!!!

We are in a brand new year. I just love that. If you've been reading this blog for a while you know that I dig new chapters, resolutions, challenges, goals and new beginnings. I truly believe that any day you are fortunate enough to wake up in the morning is a chance to make a new ending, craft a new story or create a new life for yourself. Any day will work, but there is something really special about a new calendar year. I know it sounds cheesy, but it can be the beginning of anything you want and THAT is encouraging.

I love new years and I love resolutions. I hear a lot of people talking shit about those who take on resolutions (especially resolutions about health and wellness)... like all of the comments about the gym being packed. Bitching because the bench press is taken by a newbie.  I hate that shit. Shut up. Instead of acting like you're better than someone else because you've been committed to something for longer than they have, how about supporting them in what is never an easy task... changing their lives. I love when the gym is packed.  I love when people are hopeful, inspired and motivated. Smile at someone, say hello. And if you can't bring yourself to do that... at least don't be a dick, man. Life is hard enough.

Speaking of a new year... 

I'm going to make some changes from last year.

Don't get me wrong... I had a great year. I learned a ton, accomplished almost everything I had set out to do the January before, and I even started a new business. I felt very accomplished, but you know that else I felt???????

EXHAUSTED.

Really, really friggin' tired.
(And although there is some annoying meme going around FB that says that people w/o children don't know what tired is.... I strongly disagree. I was fking exhausted.)

So tired that I found myself preoccupied by exhaustion. I felt it all of the time. Every.Day.

It's my own fault. I have a tendency to go from 0 to 100 real quick << real fkng quick>>.

Last year I...
  • Took 100 Pure Barre classes
  • Completed my Nutrition Program and became a Certified Health Coach
  • Started a new teaching job at Synergy Yoga
  • Taught Pilates and PiYo
  • Got certified to teach and then taught P90X
  • I taught private Pilates lessons that forced me to set my alarm for 4:10AM on some work days
  • I worked my full time job in Corporate America
  • I started my own Rodan + Fields skincare business

Some days I would teach a private lesson at 5am, drive home to get ready for work, work from 8:30am to 5:00pm, teach a Pilates group at 5:30, then drive 20 minutes to teach a bootcamp at 6:30pm FOLLOWED by a Pilates class that finished at 8:45pm getting me home and starting dinner at 9:15pm. THEN after dinner, at  9:45PM I would start working my Rodan + Fields business. My day started before 5AM and ended after 9PM.

A 9AM-5PM job is enough, but a 5AM to 9PM!?!?!?!?! Shhhhhiiiiiittttttt?!

Now, I'm not saying that was my schedule everyday, but I am saying that I cannot go another year with a similar schedule. That fact has forced me to take a long, hard look at what I want  (and don't want) out of the next 12 months.

I'm going to work on balance. Balancing my personal health/personal relationships/my corporate job/my R+F business/teaching and having a social life. Sometimes you need to step back, stop and reevaluate. Hustle is great, but too much of a good thing can bite you in the ass.

This year I am going to make more time to relax... read... go on dates with my Manfriend... share meals with my girlfriends... go home to visit my family in NY and have them come to Charlotte... stroll aimlessly around town on a Saturday afternoon in the summer... do my laundry before it's a pile so high that it stands eye level and stares back at me.. be a student in more classes and teach a little less.

I'm still going to work my ass off (because I have some monster goals to meet before I am 40) but I am going to do it in a way that doesn't leave me strung out and miserable.

Focus and Balance are my words for 2016. What are yours?








12.03.2015

5 people...










I swear to you that when I saw this cape in Target a few weeks ago everything around me went silent. Then small, adorable birds and woodland creatures came out of nowhere. They started singing, picked this cloak off it's hanger and brought it to me. They dressed me in it as I spun around slowly letting it fly around me in a swirl of happiness. You know... just like when the mice and Fairy Godmother dressed Cinderella for the ball. It was magic. Fking magic I tell ya. I love this thing. What a score. << I friggin' love Target.>>

On another note...

Do you remember when you were a kid and adults would caution you about your friends? Like... "be careful who you hang out with... It doesn't matter if YOU weren't doing anything wrong... Guilt by association... etc, etc."I used to think that was a crock of crap. "I'm my own person, blah, blah, blah... I like my friends, but that doesn't mean if Johnny jumped off a bridge I would too."

As an adult though, I have changed my tune a bit. I buy into that whole, "be careful who you hang out/associate with" thing a lot more than I ever used to when I was a young punk. Maybe it's all of the self-help/motivational stuff I read and listen to, but I keep hearing over and over (from a different source every time I turn around) that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

Let that shit sink in.

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. 

(Oh, and you're kids don't count. Although, I'd assume you'd want to be a pretty bad-ass example for them if they are spending a lot of time with you.)

That can be a pretty eye-opening statement if you really digest it. It can make you think about a lot.

Number one... who are "your people"?
Number two... what are they like?

Are they people you want to emulate? People who have good energy? Positive people?

Are they negative, fear-mongering, condemning, racist, sexist, uneducated (and I don't mean schooled... I mean are they informed)?

Do they give a damn about anyone but themselves or just people who look just like them, worship like them and are in the same socio-ecnomic class?

Are they wealthy? Healthy? Fit? Motivated?

Do they give? Are they "takers"? Hypochondriacs? Always playing the victim card? Complaining about their lot in life? Bitching?

Do they give grace to themselves but judge the shit out of everyone else? 

Do they have goals? Dreams? Are they successful? Happy? Do they talk mostly about other people or do they talk about ideas?

Are they always worried? Self- conscious? Fearing the worst? Sick?

Do they do a whole HEAP of talking, but rarely take action? Do they commit to anything? Grow?
Take chances? Live? Or just exist?

Do they encourage or are they more comfortable talking trash? Are they supportive? Jealous? Haters or Lovers?

That's some big shit. It matters. It's not always easy to see ourselves, but we can get a pretty accurate picture (good or bad) by looking at the people in our lives. The people we see and/or talk to a lot. For many of us those are our partners, spouses, girl/boyfriends. They are our "work" friends and our "after-work" friends. They are the people we chat with on the phone, on social media, the people we make plans with, our families.

It's been said that water seeks it's own level and as I get older the more I believe that to be true. I know there is power in association. If I'm around skeptical, shitty, unmotivated people who complain a lot... it drains me, man; BUT... if I'm around exceptional, driven, loving, supportive, fun, healthy people I am energized. Inspired. Encouraged.

I have pretty limited free time (like almost everyone else I know) so I'm very deliberate about who I spend it with. It's important to protect your energy.

It might be worth it to take a good, hard look at the people in your life because those are the people you get lumped in with. Those are the people you are making memories with. Those are the people you are comfortable with for a reason.

You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

That shit get DEEP.












11.18.2015

My Whole 30 Challenge







Shoes: Lotus (15% off any online purchase with coupon code MODA at checkout), Jeans, T & Scarf: Old Navy, Watch: Micheal Kors, Belt: Target
Yo Yo Yo.

Some of you may know that a month ago (30 days ago today to be precise) I started The Whole 30. The Whole 30 is a program based on the book, "It Starts with Food".

The program (in it's simplest form) challenges you to ELIMINATE all :
  • SUGAR (real or fake)
  • DAIRY
  • ALCOHOL
  • SOY/MSG
  • LEGUMES (beans and peanuts) 
  • GRAINS ( no wheat, corn, quinoa, oats, etc.)
  • PROCESSED FOOD OF ANY KIND

No "slips".
No cheats.
No exceptions.
If you "cheat"... you start over from Day 1.
30 days.
All in.
End of story.

It allows for:
  • EGGS
  • SEAFOOD
  • MEAT
  • FRUIT
  • VEGETABLES

You "cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making. You learn once and for all how the foods you’ve been eating are actually affecting your day to day life, and your long term health." 

If I make it to midnight tonight (which of course I will... I have come too far not to), I will have completed my very first Whole 30 challenge. 

I decided to do a Whole 30 Challenge for a couple of reasons.

1.) To see if I had the will power to do so. I've always had a rather unhealthy relationship with food and used it as reward, pleasure, fun, etc. Attached to that food were fleeting feelings of happiness and joy followed by shame, sadness, anger and fear. I would eat too much or be preoccupied with restricting it. I would restrict and then go off the damn rails. I have NEVER challenged myself this way. So... a part of me just wanted to see if I could do it. I love experimenting on myself.

2.) To see if it would make me feel better. I know that when I eat gluten I feel like a steaming, hot pile of dog shit. But... eliminating gluten from my diet did not make all of the stomach issues I have had all of my life magically disappear. I still have a LOT of trouble going to the bathroom (you KNOW what I mean), I feel bloated, uncomfortable and all around "heavy" or weighed down. Every.Single.Day. I have never been regular in my life. And let me tell you. THAT sucks. I also don't sleep well. Like... at all. I sleep like shit. I stay up too late, am restless, wake up and am up for hours in the middle of the night, etc. It.Is.Miserable. 

So... what The Whole 30 Challenge like? 

Days 1-3 not too bad. 
Days 4-5 pretty freaking tough mentally and my stomach was a MESS. I'll spare you the details. 
Days 7-9 I felt like I got hit by a bus. Like I had the flu. I was SICK. Body aches. Headaches. My sinuses were a mess. I felt like hell. 
Days 9-23 where the HELL did this acne come from????? It was on the perimeter of my entire face and around my neck/below my ears in that area. THAT was a bitch. I have read you release toxins through your skin and holy geezus. WOW. But... now, it looks pretty damn bright if I do say so myself.
Days 23-26 UGH. I was on vacation with friends in the mountains. I couldn't join in morning mimosas toasts, afternoon cocktails, amazing dinners or the desserts everyone was sharing. FML. 
Days 27-30 I am a warrior. A goddess. I can do ANYTHING. I am master of the universe. I am half woman, half amazing. Move out of my damn way. All HAIL THE QUEEN. 

I just named some of the not nice aspects of the challenge. However... this is what I left out. 

  • I am regular for the VERY first time in my life. Maybe you need to read that again. For the first time in 35 and a half years. No stomach aches and I use the bathroom like a normal person. THIS is huge for me. 
  • Also... every morning when I wake up I have a really flat stomach. I even lift my boobs up out of the way and jack them up towards my chin to get a better look at the washboard that is my abdominal region (okay... washboard is a stretch... a BIG one, but it feels and looks flat every morning). 
  • I sleep better. I fall asleep more easily and stay asleep better. I wake up feeling refreshed. I am sure it is no coincidence that this happened when I cut out my nightly ritual of a glass (or 3) of red wine before bed. 
  • I do not really snack any more. I eat A LOT when I do eat my meals, but not much (if at all) between them. 
  • I have found that (contrary to what I feared) I can actually live without cheese. 
  • I do not sneeze or have a runny nose like I used to. I have a consistently runny nose. My manfriend is always giving me a subtle swipe of his nose in public to signal to me that I may need to wipe mine. I got to the point where I didn't even feel it any more. Like a 5 year old with snot running down their face. It was always just running. 
  • I lost about 6lbs. Not sure about inches. I wasn't really concerned with losing pounds though. If I was I probably wouldn't have eaten white potatoes, cashews and coconut milk every single day, multiple times a day (which I definitely did do). 
  • I got rid of my excuses. I had to "live" during this last month... celebrate birthdays, go on date nights, attend and host parties, cook for other people, go on vacation, eat out, be in bars, travel, stay in hotels, be on the road, go to work, have candy in the house for Halloween, etc. There is never a "good time". Okay.. well, maybe January 1 is a better time than the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but you know what I am saying. There are no perfect conditions.

I found out that I am stronger than I thought I was, BUT I don't think I could have done it alone. I started a Facebook group for anyone interested in just silently checking out The Whole 30 or participating in it with me. There are 114 people in this group now. Only a small fraction of those people actively post and are doing their own challenges, but having that page held me accountable. It made this something that I had committed to. I would post pictures of food in it, throw some quotes in there, links to recipes and comment when other people did the same. This was a CRUCIAL factor of success for me, personally. If you want to be added to the group and you are on FB just let me know. I am going to keep this group up. I am not stopping and I have a feeling more people are going to join come January. All are welcome. Go to the website whole30.com or get the book It Starts with Food. Educate yourself on the program and if it sounds like something you may want to do you'll have a built in support system. 

If you feel like shit, battle with your willpower (or lack thereof), have an unhealthy relationship with food, get headaches, have arthritis, stomach issues, are dead tired ALL of the time, constantly bloated or constipated, drink too often or smoke (none of either is allowed), have skin issues or just want to challenge yourself to do something difficult then I would recommend it. IF you are looking to drop a ton of weight... be patient. You didn't pack on 30 lbs in 30 days so you're not going to lose it that fast either. Set realistic expectations and center them around your health, NOT your bullshit scale. 

I half expected to be counting down the days until this was over. I thought FO SHO I'd have a bottle of wine waiting for me and a grocery bag full of food I had been "craving" ready to be devoured on day 31, but surprisingly, I don't feel that way at all. I don't want to NOT feel this good, so I guess tomorrow is Day 31 of my 30-day challenge. I can't promise I'll never have a glass of wine again, but I feel too good to blow it now. 

If you have any questions... I am an open book. And.. shit, if you made it through this whole blog post and are still reading you clearly don't have issues with committing to something. That was a long one. My bad.


10.27.2015

Quitter








Skirt: Lotus Boutique- Charlotte (15% off any online purchase with checkout code: MODA),  Shirt: Ann Taylor, Shoes: Off Broadway, Watch: Michael Kors, Bag and Earrings: Target

Well Hello There.

The calendar tells me it's been 7 weeks since my last blog post.

I do this shit every year around September/October.

The summer comes to an end; I get depressed that I have to put away my colorful, light, breezy warm weather clothes and replace them with gray and black long sleeved items, so I wear nothing but yoga pants and leggings in protest and have no desire to contribute to a blog that features photos of outfits. Fall clothes, although comfortable, do not really inspire me much. Leggings, ponchos, boots, over-sized sweaters, flannel and scarves... bah humbug. I also don't do pumpkin spice lattes or Ugg boots, so I guess you can go ahead and pull my "White Girl Card" right now.

Take it. Go ahead.

Here's a recap of the last 7 weeks:

1. Style Night Out took place. It was THE SHIT. Best.Night.Ever. The fashion show was amazing, the venue looked beautiful, we raised a ton of money for a local breast cancer non-profit, my friends and family were there... and... I got to open up the show by singing along to Drake's "Started from the Bottom".  Onstage singing Drake? Dreams really do come true. HA .<<... started from the bottom now my whole team fkin' here>>


2. I started The Whole 30 challenge. I am on day 8 today. No sugar, dairy, grains, legumes or alcohol. I am trying to see if I feel better without foods that commonly trigger inflammation and an overall feeling of "shitiness". So far, so good. The only thing that's been inflamed since I started was my temper when my manfriend ordered Chinese food on Friday night. Baaaaaaastard.

3. I decided that leather falls under "business casual". I wore this skirt to an event at work last week in a kind of quiet rebellion of Corporate America. (Black leather may be the only thing I appreciate about the weather getting colder.)

4. I almost quit. Teaching my evening Pilates/PiYo classes that is. I've been teaching almost every day in some way, shape, or form for over a year and a half. But lately, attendance has plummeted and I started to take it really personally. I got sad, then kind of pissed. I doubted myself as a teacher, started to wonder if holding classes (especially for $5 a person after a full day of working my corporate job) was worth the time and energy it takes to prepare them and spend in and on them. I would see a lot of people sign up for classes and cancel last minute, just not show, or stop coming all together. Not showing for weeks and months on end. I thought... it's not worth the money I spend renting the space out every month. It's not worth getting home at 9:15-9:30pm 3-4 times a week. It's not worth getting up early on Saturday mornings. Not seeing my friends, having to schedule "date nights" for the one night a week I am free after 7pm. Then... I remembered that I used to be that person. The one who would be committed for a while then get unmotivated. It was never anyone else's fault. I just didn't want to workout. Staying in was easier. Sitting on the couch reading fitness articles and "pinning" workouts I never actually did was enough.  Envying the strong, healthy bodies of other women was just part of life. They must have been "born" that way, or that there was no way they were as busy as I was. I told myself I would start again "next week". I was not that unhappy with how I felt. I was too tired. Too stressed. I had too little time. My commitment was fleeting. My motivation, temporary. I never once stopped working out because of any outside influence. It was all me. It wasn't my teacher's fault.
So... I decided not to quit. I decided that I would still make a weekly schedule and sign up, still post it, still create workouts, spend the time and money it takes to get certified in new things, and still show the hell up. If I quit what was I saying to the people who do still come when then can??? To the people who leave their homes at night, after work, when it's dark and getting colder (when it's easier not to)? Fitness and health are very personal, emotional things and if I was going to be dedicated to it (for myself and for other people) that I had to be dedicated to it when it was easier not to be.

Quitting is easy, but it sure as shit never gets you anywhere worth going.