Challenge Accepted

Coming back from Christmas, I knew that I really wanted to get back into feeling better about myself, get a hold of the unconscious eating and start moving my body more. I spent the fall really focusing on eating when I was hungry and making better choices. I wasn’t perfect by any means but changes here and there helped out a great deal. Then the holidays hit…it’s always a rough time for me no matter how much I try to prepare or make a mental game plan.

A challenge was coming up for Tone It Up, a fitness community and program that I follow and I thought, “ok, girl. It’s time to get serious!” When I actually follow their program, I’m solid and I’ve seen real results. What I’ve come to realize is that when I focus and work hard I have great results. Duh. Like that’s big news. But when I start to see those awesome results, I usually backslide. I start to think, “oh it’s okay to have a little more of this, I’ve done so well!” or “I can skip that workout today because I did a really hard one yesterday and look how good things are going!”

Those little indulgences, if you will, add up when you do it over and over again and before you know all those good habits you’ve started to introduce just go away. In case you didn’t know, no matter how much you plan or daydream or think and wish about taking care of your body, it doesn’t do a dang thing unless you put those thoughts into action.

That’s been a big problem for me over the years; a little results, backsliding and then nothing but thinking for a long time until I’m ready to get started again. I’m really burned out on that cycle. I want to make actual changes that are sustainable.

The #loveyourbody challenge is here and I’m doing it but a little bit differently so I actually see the 8 weeks through. I have to have a realistic plan going in because if I did all the things at once I would just be setting myself up for failure.

I started with simple goals and decided to add a new element each week. One thing at a time so that I get a week to practice and get better at it. The week before the challenge, it was all about just getting up and working out, trying to find the time that works best for me. Also, just trying to change the mindset of being too tired or simply put-it-off-til-tomorrow mindset needs some serious focus and I need to actively practice that.

This last week was all about eating better and making smarter choices. Swapping out items, adding more greens, listening to when I’m hungry and when I’m not, downing the water, and trying for a few less sweets. All these things I know and I try to practice but it needs a refresh and I need to be consistent.

This week will be all about sleep. I need it and I can tell that going to be at 11:00 is not allowing me to be successful at getting up at 6. Yup, I’m an 8 hours a night gal and that last hour really does make a huge difference for me. Next week? Probably adding in the daily moves three times a week. After that, who knows, but I’m adding each one as I get better with the previous.

The point is to add in something each week, building better habits rather than trying to change things all at once. I think that was always my downfall; I’d start strong with good intentions and drop it after a couple weeks because I didn’t build in the practice so the work and habits weren’t sustainable.

If you’ve found yourself in the midst of a challenge or looking to do one, get back on track and all, maybe figure out where you can actually push yourself to better and then make that happen in a realistic way. Going all in can work for some, but not all. One step at a time still gets me there, maybe at a slower pace, but hey. It’s my pace!

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Currently Reading...

Back in college, I couldn’t wait for summer to happen so I could dive into reading for pleasure! There simply wasn’t enough time with projects to work on, classes to craft, and tests to study for so summer was the time to catch up.

When adulthood happens, that is to say, life after school, I got really focused on work and suddenly there wasn’t really a summer break to spending reading gobs of books. I just had to somehow fit in reading for fun and I wasn’t very good at that.

To get better with having some fun reading outside of work, I make it a goal to read for 15 minutes every night. I get as far as I need to, sometimes I stay up a little later and sometimes I just crash, either way I get a little closer to my goal of more reading for fun!

Lately I’ve been on a fantasy kick with Bear and the Nightingale (A Winternight Trilogy) by Katherine Arden. Actually, I blew through that so fast and now I’m on to The Girl in the Tower, the second in the trilogy story. If you think I’m stopping at two, you are dead wrong! And oh, they’re great! Russian folklore with a twist, a mysterious magical young woman and her great adventures on a noble stead. Seriously. What more could you ask for?

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She Wore Blue Velvet

I think velvet is divine and this last fall I found a dress on Pinterest, a velvet dress mind you, and I had to have it. Of course I couldn’t find it but I did call my dear sweet mother and asked her pretty please could she help me out and y’all, she did a bang up job on this dress!

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I really wanted a blue velvet dress to wear for our Christmas show performances and I felt so classy and elegant in this pattern my mother made. Yes, my mother is a whiz at sewing. Have I told you she made my wedding dress? From three different patterns? I feel terrible sad for my future children who will not know the fantastic Halloween costumes I had growing up. It’s a skill I work on intermittently and needs attention desperately.

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I digress. So my mother made me this gorgeous dress (yes, I know it’s truly velour fabric) and I’ve been dying to find the right time to wear it again when I saw my favorite childhood musical is coming to town, Phantom of the Opera. Years ago my mother ordered a top hits of Andrew Lloyd Webber album back when CD’s were brand spanking new. I fell in love with every song from Phantom and oh, how I wanted to be Christine Daae! She was beautiful, she could sing like a bird, and everyone (who really mattered in the story) loved her. Sort of sounds like Snow White but a little more dark and haunting. Oh, and no poisonous apples or dreamless sleep.

Dad took me to see the tour when it came through Dallas when I was about twelve and I was just captivated. I’m pretty sure I wore that souvenir sweatshirt until it had holes. When the movie came out, I had the biggest crush on Patrick Wilson. I practically swooned when I met him at a music theater intensive that same summer.

To see a favorite production in a stunning blue dress, what more could gal possibly want? In short, I’m really looking forward to a night at the theater!

You can find a version similar by Calvin Klein at Macy’s or this plunging neckline wrap dress at Lulu’s. Another wrap dress at Dillards is beautiful as is this thin strapped number at Nordstrom!

Do you have a favorite show you enjoy seeing live? Straight play or musical? Opera? Ballet? Spill!

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A Little Relaxation

Made it! Made it to Friday!

And now? I give myself one large glass of wine, my newest book, and one evening to soak with my very favorite bath bombs!

Happy Friday to me!

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Winter Whites Over Winter Blues

Now we’re really into the winter weather, folks. It’s cold. We’ve already had some wintery mix watches in OKC and I’ve officially broken out the giant jacket for the chilling winds. Yup, winter is here.

I’m happy to say that with the blustery winter weather means more time to enjoy those cozy sweaters I love so much! This one has been a favorite for sure.

Click  here  for this Lou & Gray Sweater

Click here for this Lou & Gray Sweater

It’s giant, it’s comfy and I can dress it up or down. Black or navy leggings, jeans or joggers, it doesn’t matter because it’s all good! Boots, booties, tennis shoes or just plain ol’ socks, you can’t go wrong.

You’ve got to find the things that are going to take you out of all the winter blues that happen this month and for me, sometimes that’s putting on a deliciously cozy sweater and tackling the day.

January is one of those months that’s easy to fall into a blue mood like it’s blue weather. The skies don’t seem to shine as bright, it’s cold which makes all warm blooded creatures want to retreat to the comfort of cozy covers. Nothing gets me more fired up than the promise of spring, but we’re a ways from getting there.

Rather than succumbing to the gloom of the month, I’m all for finding ways to lift my spirits. I think getting dressed up always helps! You’ve got to put on that outfit, pull up your hair and get started. Sometimes you’ve just got to make your own sunshine, you know? For me, well, I guess it’s an oversized snow white sweater that’ll do the trick!

Some winter white options for you: this white wrap sweater from LOFT or this awesome V-neck and this fuzzy sweater from Anthropologie! For a less pricey option, this one from Target is darling as is this one!

What pulls you out of the winter blues?

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Happy Spring Semester!

Happy back to school for all those starting back today! This marks my seventh year working with this university which seems like both an enormous amount of time and yet the shortest amount of time. Isn’t that funny how time works?

I’m ready for the semester as best as I can be and looking to another full and busy spring time. Knowing it’s going to be a full semester (I counted, there’s only 4 fully work free weekends this year—eep!) I’m going to try and beat the burnout phase as best I can by being as prepared as can. Maybe you’re about to enter a busy season, too, and if that’s the case, here are a few things that might help you out as well:

Tips for Busy Times

  1. Meal Plan - Yes, this really does help and I really do this faithfully every week! I plan meals to be leftovers for both Janson and I, meals that are easy to fix when I’m dead tired and also based on what’s in season and on sale.

  2. Meal Prep - If I have lunches already in my fridge at work, that’s one less thing to worry about the night before or the morning off. A little time on Sunday basically saves me a lot of time during the week.

  3. One Stop Shop - I’m not a person that goes to the store eight times in one week. That does not work me. I enjoy my shopping time but I plan to pick up everything and not return until the next week’s list is ready. I’m thinking this year I might investigate online grocery delivery or rapid pick-up just say me a couple hours.

  4. Chore Chart - So I don’t have a specific chart up anywhere, but I do have designated days when I get household things done. Friday’s are meal planning and grocery shopping. Saturdays are my days to spend with Janson or with friends. Sunday’s are always my get-it-together day to do meal prepping, laundry and any picking up around the house. I’m going to try to designate one night to vacuuming and one to wiping down the bathroom just to sneak those in without being an all day affair. Just make it a habit each week and you’ll find your house is less of a disaster than you thought.

  5. Planner Time - By taking some time on Sundays to look ahead, I can see what all needs to get done and when, which allows me the opportunity to plan for what’s coming down the pike that week. It doesn’t have to be more than about 15 - 20 minutes and I’ve saved myself some sort of freak out for the week. I call that winning. PS - I wrote about my favorite planners here. Check it out.

  6. Daily Tasks - Each day I take a sticky note and write down 1 to 5 things that have to get done based on what I have written in my planner. You’ve probably heard of this before, but I’m telling you it helps get your long to-do list done so much easier. I can’t save the world in a day, but I can grade some papers, choreography 4 sets of eight, send off that email and prep the next days class efficiently if I make them a priority. Sticky notes. Go buy a ton!

  7. Schedule It All - Friend time to date nights, I have to schedule it in. Fly-by-the-seat-of-pants moments just don’t work when my time is that precious so I have to carve out the time. That allows me to actually make time for fun, relaxation, connection, and oh yeah, living my life outside of work.

  8. Don’t Forget to Breathe - Yeah. Take time for yourself. My time looks different depending on what I need. This year I’m hoping it’s reading for spell, spending time on the blog, taking more baths or going to a do a yoga class. The point is, do something for you even if it’s just sitting for 5 whole minutes without any screens or sounds.

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You know that saying, “You have to spend money to make money.”? Well, I feel that can be true for time. You have to spend time to make time happen. What I mean is set yourself up for success by taking time to plan it out with just a few short minutes. Set a timer if you have to, put your phone away (I leave it charging in another room—that’s a habit I’ve started doing), and write it out, get it done. You’ll be surprised how much extra time you make for yourself and how much faster you get at things when you practice those good habits.


What are the best things you do during busy, busy times of life?

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More Greens Please!

Oh yes, y’all! It’s that time of year where we see an overabundance of health club adds, active wear sales, pushes for the latest exercise craze and tons of new year diets. In short, we’re all ready to get back to some good habits after months of indulging. All I can say is pass the greens, please!

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I’m pretty proud of the fact that I didn’t go hog wild, but I definitely enjoyed every piece of fudge, little cookie, and decadent meal we had and y’all, we had many a good meal! When Janson and I got home we both couldn’t wait to get back to simple meals, veggies included, and ate oranges like they were going out of style.

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If you’re in the mood for a simple morning drink, a mid-morning pick-me-up or an afternoon snack, I’d say this isn’t half bad!

Basic Green Drink

  • 1/2 a banana

  • 1/2 cup of orange juice OR 1/2 an orange OR 2 small cuties

  • 1 large cup of spinach

  • 1 TBLSPN of peanut butter (or almond butter or protein powder)

  • Dash of cinnamon

  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup of coconut water (or plain ol’ agua)

Blend all ingredients together, add more liquid if desired and voila! One very easy green drink.

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Options:

  • Add any fruit you like. Personal favorite, mango with banana and pineapple

  • Blueberry works really well with ginger and chocolate almond milk

  • Classic strawberry and banana is always a winner, too! Add a little almond milk to make it a tad bit creamier

  • Side tip, slice up your perfectly ripened bananas and freeze them in a Tupperware to use as needed

That’s as simple as it gets. Unless you just want to eat spinach by itself, but if you ask me, this is tastier and offers a few more vitamins and nutrients as well so maybe go with what’s more appealing.

Here’s to getting our bodies back in order!

Happy healthy eating, y’all!

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See Ya Later 2018! Here's Looking to You, 2019!

Boy, what a year! I think everyone walked away from 2017 ready to jump into a fresh start and for the most part, this was a pretty awesome year, if I do say so myself.

I feel very fortunate that I had opportunities come my way and I’m so glad that I took them, not always knowing how the balance would work out. We got another year closer to Pyro Man’s graduation and with every step, we’re even more sure of the direction that’s taking us.

I thought it would be fun to go back through pictures from this year and I quickly realized that when I’m feeling swamped, the only pictures I take are of my animals and my dinner plate. Sooo, that’s a goal for 2019, more pictures of life and less meaningless shots.

In all seriousness thought, putting together this little grid made me stop and reflect on the last year, remembering more than just the last three months. This year started off a little slow, low on energy and low on inspiration. About May, just as I got out of school, I dove into living a heck of a lot more. I saw shows, spent tons of time outside, and went on adventures with Janson. Don’t get me wrong, I still taught like crazy but I felt refreshed and enjoyed every minute of it. Dancing really pulled me out of a slump. Go figure, right?

I traveled a bit, spent time with family, set an amazing show on an incredible group of kids—truly, probably the highlight of the year. In fact, I set a bunch of great pieces this year I felt really proud of. I worked. A lot. But this year I learned how to balance some things, let stuff roll off my back (still working on that one) and started shifting my mindset to help be a little less crazy and stressed. I’d say that worked about 85% of the time and whoa baby, did that do a lot for my fall semester!

My blog had a restart and thanks to a supportive picture taking husband, we had a lot more opportunity to collaborate together on something that I found creatively fun. Spending more time with him was a huge win this year and I’m happy we made those moments happen more often and those will keep happening this year! Best of all, I saw dear, dear friends that filled my love bucket and made so feel so grateful for that time. When everyone is scattered across the US, it’s so difficult to make visits happen. I’m glad I had chance to hug the necks of women I dearly miss.

When I stop to look back at 2018, I really think about the fun I had. Yeah, I know, a lot of those pictures I look just a wee bit tired, but I’m serious. I made a solid effort to enjoy my summer even with tons of classes and prep work to be done. I spent time living outside of work and I loved it. I made time and travel plans to see people and again, I loved that. Being worn out and exhausted is frustrating, but a change in mind set, a conscious choice in making the most out of what’s happening gave me a year of incredible fun.

Lately I’ve been feeling tired and looking ahead to the jam packed spring semester, I’m worried I’ll be in a constant state of irritation for lack of rest and free time. Looking back through 2018, I think I can change that attitude now. I just have to choose to make the best of a busy time. That’s life! It’s full and thank goodness there’s work to be done and pieces to be set and a need for me in this world!

If I want to have fun, I need to set time for it! If I want to travel, I need to just do it. If I want my life to be full, I need to live it.

As we wrap up this year, close out the old to welcome in the new and usher it in with new resolutions and knowledge from this year. There’s nothing special about January 1st, but there is something special about another opportunity to take another 365 days and fill them up with good memories, new ideas, and full hearts.

Alright, y’all, enough of carrying on! Bottom line, I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2018 and I want to wish you the happiest of new year’s!

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Winding Down

I’m three days into finals week and only a few more days away from wrapping up this fall semester! We’re making it, y’all! We. are. MAKING IT!

Hope everyone has been enjoying the December month so far! I’m totally behind on Christmas presents, what I have isn’t wrapped, no baking has happened yet and only half of my decorations are up but I’m 100% fine with that. That’s life, right? Things get a little hectic and you just roll with the punches. Honestly, I’m keeping my eyes on next Monday evening when I can crash a little bit before all the Christmas traveling beings.

We’ve got dear friends coming in this weekend to visit and I can’t wait to hang out! To top that off, we’ll all be watching another sweet friend marry her man this Saturday—can’t wait for all the fun celebrations we’ll have going on this weekend! It’ll be so great to let go of work for a couple days (we’re going on day 18 at work here, straight…) and even though I’m ready for little down time at home, I know these are the moments that mean the most.

During busy times like this I always feel exhausted just around the time I should be enjoying all the fun of the season and in someways that seems so unfair. Rather than sitting in that sulking moment, I’m choosing to remember what this time of year is for and what really is important. Now I’m not saying I don’t still need a nap or 9 pm bed time for the next week to help get me there, but I am saying that I’m actively choosing not to be a Scrooge with my time this year. Or at the very least, being present with the time I can give.

In other news, Miss Penny Pup is doing so much better. Last week she got very sick and after seeing three different vets, having three different x-rays, and two ultrasounds to be sure, they found something was lodged in her small intestines as it connects to her stomach. One surgery later and a week out of recovery, she’s doing very well and almost back to her Penny self! She still can’t understand the no jumping thing or why she has to wear a cone of shame. Another week and she should be released to return to her natural routine, sans squeaker toys though!

Well, folks, it’s time to get back to grading and doing a little house cleaning! Gotta get those grades in so I can get to all the fun stuff of the season including a holiday nap!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

In the spirit of the season, my favorite holiday, five grateful thoughts for today:

  1. I’m thankful for the sweet people in my life. From husband to sister, mother and mother-in-laws, precious friends, nieces, nephews, brothers, fathers and all, I’ve got good folks in my life and I’m so very grateful to have them!

  2. I’m thankful for my job. I have the best students in the world, a team of faculty and staff to lean on when needed and encourage whenever possible and days filled with dance. Sure, some days I might feel like my hair’s on fire, we all have stressful times, but most days, most days it’s just about pouring into students the passion for dance, teaching, and choreography.

  3. I’m thankful for my fur creatures! Yes, truly! Without my shadow, Penny Pup, I’d be a little lost. She gives me so much love and I can’t imagine a day without her by my heels. Those kitties, while they may be persnickety at times, they are without a doubt the best fuzzy motors anyone could ask for, especially my Honey.

  4. I’m thankful for all the great experiences I’ve had this year. Choreographing new works, meeting new performers in new venues, teaching, teaching and more teaching—it all fuels my life. It’s easy to forget in the trenches of work that all the time and efforts comes back ten fold to me, but I remember when those magic moments happen and I’m always grateful for those moments of pure bliss.

  5. I’m thankful for you, dear reader! Whether you’re a friend, family, someone just reading, each time you click on to my site, you help to build my little passion project up and I appreciate those clicks and those comments. Small though it may be, this blog has been a small dream I keep coming back to, way too stubborn to quit even when it feels indescribably frustrating at times. You’re engagement helps and I thank you for that!

Alright y’all, go dive into that turkey, enjoy the game, watch the parade, but most importantly, take a moment to say “thank you!” for the life you have, the blessings around you, and the people you’ve got your in life!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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