Thursday, June 30, 2016

Country Heat RESULTS: Beachbody's New Line Dancing Workout

OK eekkkk...My 30 Day Country Heat RESULTS are in! SOOOO flipping nervous to post hahah

I will be the FIRST to admit I was SKEPTICAL about this workout (to be fair..I'm skeptical about evvvrrythinggg until I read reviews from other people lol )

When Beachbody started promoting it...we thought the promo video was a spoof haha

HUH? Country...line...dancing....as a ...workout...uhhhh Okkayyyy?!

But...once I popped that baby in... I could seeAutumn Calabrese was a master...and she wasn't messing around haha

I love the music. I love the moves. It's SO fun to do WITH people (hellloooo workout dates!!) and the workouts go by so quickly.

The first week or so was a bit frustrating...I'm not naturally a dancer..I have absolutely NO rhythm and I felt a bit ridiculous trying to copy Autumn's smooth moves :P
But...I just focused on MOVING. Much like I did when I started P90X... If I couldn't do the move, I would go slow, pause the dvd or simply do what I could.

But week by week...I've been feeling more confident and actually able to add my own flair.

  • You Sweat. 
  • You're sore (in places you didn't even realize you're working)
  • Once you get the moves down, you end up having so much fun you forget it's a workout. 
  • You twist, turn and shimmy so much that it really cinches in your waist! YAY! 

I found myself checking in to the private Beachbody facebook group to see what the other girls were doing...to share struggles...share tips and honestly...it really reminded me why I LOVE CHALLENGE GROUPS. The support and motivation is like none other ...which is why I CANNOT wait to host my own County Heat group! (COMING SOON!)

Before we started...I was DREADING the "DAY 1" pics because I got a little fluffy. We'll call it happy weight... from all of the fun date nights and dinners out haha

I am SO glad I took the pics though because while I'm "only" down 4 lbs...I FEEL so much better! I feel like ME again.



I would HIGHLY recommend this workout for...
  • Anyone who struggles with hypothyroidism/Hashimoto's like me
  • Anyone who needs a LOW impact workout
  • New moms who want to get back in the swing of things
  • Anyone NEW to fitness who wants a program that is NOT intimidating
  • Anyone who gets BORED with their workouts and wants something FUN
  • Anyone who loves country Music
  • Anyone who wants to learn how to dance haha
  • Anyone who wants to shake things up! 

If you are considering this workout...I say GO FOR IT! And that is coming from someone who really was NOT convinced it was going to be good (but it is!!) hehe

Feel free to share if you are excited about this program =)



Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Story About Love



This is an exciting post to write...as it was so unexpected...

Like completely unexpected.

As I look back on my path... I can't help but think the entire universe conspired to help me meet him. 


Isn't it funny how a broken path can lead us exactly where we're supposed to be?

On paper, he's everything I imagined my ideal partner would be.. He doesn't know this (unless he reads this haha) but sometimes I look at him and wonder if I wished him into existence ... Impossible since he is older than me lol ... but still ....I like to imagine we were crafted to fit.

While I've never wanted a man to "complete me"... I have always wanted a true partner. (Random side note: Shel Silverstein's book, "The Missing Piece" perfectly illustrates this. It's my favoriteeee!)

A relationship where....
...we help one another

...inspire one another to be our best
...we respect one another
...encourage one another
...have each other's best interests at heart
...and we're best friends.

Someone who has my back and does what they say they will do... someone who I can count on. 


Now before I get wayyyy to ahead of myself... our relationship is just about rounding the 4 month mark. A mere speck on the relationship longevity meter...but I just can't help myself as I have never felt this way before. Cue the fireworks, butterflies and stars in my eyes.

While I don't want to put any pressure on this new relationship, you guys know that I always do my very best to listen to my gut. My instincts & my intuition tell me to stay the course =)

I, without a doubt, have learned more about myself in the last 6 months...than I have in the last 30 years of my life. As I look back on previous relationships, I can so clearly see the lessons, the reasons they could never work out, and ultimately I am grateful for them because they led me to this point.

This is hard to articulate... but I've realized something a bit astonishing. Something I think I always knew (deep down) but was afraid to admit... so let me see if this makes any sense...
In the past, I was hurt very deeply in a relationship where I felt like I gave my whole heart. When it dissolved, I couldn't imagine that I would ever recover or love that way again.  Along came my next relationship...someone who was totally different... kind and patient.... BUT wasn't a perfect fit for me. It was an okay fit. It felt like a "safe choice" where I could avoid getting hurt...because I  could 
never love him deeply, passionately and truly. 

However, we all know how that story ends (see my previous blog posts lol). It was unfair to both of us...and I wish I could have spared us both the pain.

But as hard as it was... it makes me appreciate how I feel now about 100 million times more. (And hopefully he feels the same way)

"God blessed the broken road that led my straight to you."
Ok so I know many of you have been wondering how this all happened...


Well......

At the end of my last relationship, I started seeing the Christian Counselor my best friend recommended. As we were working through things like forgiveness, my patterns, behaviors, and beliefs... I became slightly obsessed with just becoming BETTER. Everything from my health...my spirituality...current relationships (family, friends etc) ... to future romantic relationships...

I started reading a book that inspired me to take action. Now I feel like I should say... my counselor was against this lol  She felt like I needed to take a year to myself, to process everything and focus on me. While I think that is solid advice, I just didn't feel it was right for me.

As I mentioned above... I was basically trying to make the wrong relationship work... Fitting a square peg into a round hole... we just weren't right. In that sense, I felt like I had already spent a couple of years "sitting on my hands."

I wondered if I would ever meet someone that I was truly head over heals crazy about.

My friends know... when I get an idea in my head... I like to ACT on it. IMMEDIATELY.  It's how I've ended up painting my entire house in the middle of the night because I got the inspiration to change the walls at 8pm. Or how all of my furniture ends up completely moved around in a single afternoon.

Anywho, this book talks about a concept called "Duty dating." Basically, you go on some dates with guys you might not necessarily have chemistry with to practice... By practice I mean... work on your conversation skills & practice being a lady.  During this process, you might end up going on a date with someone you DO have chemistry with.
(Disclaimer: This does NOT mean to go on a bunch of dates and act scandalous.) Does that make sense?


Ok so I know the concept sounds a bit... odd?...but it got me thinking...

With my current situation, the ONLY way I was going to meet a nice guy was...

  • At Target
  • At the grocery store
  • At the dog park
  • ....maybe Home Goods? 
I'm still fairly new to Florida (aka still clueless about what to do/where to go)...and I am not going to be heading to the bar anytime, ever.
Let's be honest... What are the chances of me bumping into a single, handsome, put-together guy...who I have chemistry with...   It wasn't looking good.

One of my very dear friends moved to a new town after graduating. Between work and all of her responsibilities she didn't have time or the desire to go out... making it nearly impossible to meet someone. Now, she's happily engaged to a great guy she met on Match.

That got me thinking...

I do everything else online...why not give it a whirl? I thought surely it would take 6 months...maybe a year before I met someone I really clicked with...

Made a profile...which I nearly nearly deleted the next day. I have no reference point for how many messages people typically receive... but it was a bit overwhelming... and... let's just say I got some reallllyyy interesting proposals haha

(An awkward side story: My last relationship was over for months & months before I was ready to make it "Facebook Official." In the meantime, I had just created my Match profile. A girl here in Tampa, who was also on Match, sent me a very kind message warning me that someone created a fake profile with my pics on Match. I was SO caught off guard that I fibbed about it! OH MY!  I definitely owe her an apology! Since I was just testing the waters, I didn't expect anyone I knew to see me! haha WHOOPS! ) 

I ended up going on two very boring coffee dates. One decent but VERY platonic coffee date... but they were a nice distraction and a nice way to ease myself back into the single world.

I decided my main focus was going to be on living my life to the fullest...love or no love...

Then...

I saw a very handsome guy pop up. I was intrigued... but didn't want to make the first move.

Thankfully...he saw me and messaged me.

I had a lot going on that week...and wasn't in a huge hurry to waste an evening LOL 
 

In hindsight, I'm glad I was so "whatever" about us meeting up because it just made our first date that much more memorable.
I thought it might be fun to share some of our first texts =)   Basically... Saturday... Feb 13th... he had dinner reservations... which I declined. I was volunteering at the animal shelter until 9pm... at which point I would be a sweaty mess (not the best scenario for a first impression)... but hey, how 'bout tomorrow?  ....
...then I got home and finally realized "tomorrow" was VALENTINE'S DAY. Uhhhh I basically just asked a guy to take me to dinner on quite possibly THE most awkward and weird day for a FIRST date... 
....He was sweet enough to find out whether or not we could get a reservation...  but leave it to me to forget to respond with whether or not I wanted to go.... 

...and then get lost on my way there. Park WAY too far away ...and I had to call him for directions even after he sent me the name of the restaurant, directions to get there and instructions on where to park! LOL I don't drive well under pressure haha

I didn't know what to expect...and while I threw on a dress and some heels... I spent too much time at the dog park to bother fixing my hair or put a lot of effort into my makeup. 


BUT... it was worth all of the hassle... because as soon as I walked up... sparks... weak in the knees...took my breath away. I instantly regretted not doing my hair LOL

We had such a nice dinner... during which he said I barely looked at him. We laugh about that now, but o.m.g I was so nervous. I can't even remember what I babbled about.. What I DO remember though... 

A nice dinner. Great company. And never wanting the night to end. 

He took me for a nice (but windy) walk through the park after dinner... was so polite, kind, well mannered (my weakness)! 


Since our first date, I haven't been able to get him out of my mind. He has awakened parts of me that I didn't know existed... That might sound a bit sexual? But to clarify.... I mean... he lets me be feminine.  With him around, I feel safe. I can put my guard down - I don't have to worry or be a stress ball.

One of the challenges with being a girlboss is feeling like you have to be in charge of EVERYTHING. While I LOVE being a BOSS and running my own business, in my "personal life" ...it's such a relief to trust someone enough to call the shots. 

I feel a little crazy saying this...I realize it's SO soon... but because of him...I have this desire to start a family.  
 I've always wanted kids in a very abstract "one day" in a galaxy far, far away kind of way...  But now, I've literally almost blurted out..."I want to have your baby" hahah (dear Lord, help me if he reads this LOL)  

What I adore about him... He's brilliant. I love his brain and that he is constantly teaching me new things. He's RELIABLE, sincere, open and truthful. 

I love that he is so thoughtful and affectionate. He will randomly bring me flowers...or do little things like pack my favorite drink for a trip to the beach.

I asked him to grab me strawberries at the store. Normally, I will spend about 5 secs looking at the packages before picking one... but he was considerate enough to look through all of the strawberries and pick the very best one for me (PS they were to die for!)

When he kisses me, it feels electric. I still get butterflies and little hearts in my eyes when I see him. 

It's not just about passion. It's about the quality time spent together...holding hands, sitting together, enjoying one another company. It's about all of the meaningful and meaningless conversations. We can laugh about everything and nothing. Serious or silly... I love it all. 

When all you have to do is look at one another and you both feel warm and cozy inside.

I love that he's willing to try new things with me (like painting portraits of the dogs) or going on both grand and mini adventures alike.

I love that he's a realist...always prepared for what may be around the corner.

I love that we can work as a team...something as simple as doing the dishes together. I feel like we have each other's back.
It's about being happy to be together....even when you wake up and your hair is explosively messy...you look at one another (with bags under your eyes haha) and smile.

 I wanted to share something my counselor gave me that was super helpful. I didn't want to jump into a relationship that might not be right for me...so she gave me a list. It's 4 pages long...

You can see it here: Ingredients for a Successful Relationship

Group 1: Deal Breakers & Red Flags
Group 2: Characteristics for Compatibility
(Example: In the past, I overlooked a lack of ambition in my partner (even though that was very important to me... but over time that became a HUGE issue).
Group 3: Things you will have to continually work on in any relationship.

As we started dating, I went through this list and even talked to Rich about some of these things to make sure we were on the same page. Honestly it's a great list of topics to think about and would have saved me a lot of heartache if I had it years ago haha

Our story is so DIFFERENT from what I expected...something I never could have predicted. It just goes to show that God always knows what he's doing - even when we feel lost or clueless. We may not always understand his plan, but over time it becomes joyfully clear. 
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.















Monday, June 6, 2016

Restoration Hardware Hack - DIY Vintage Book Decor




Time for another Restoration Hardware Hack! This time it's all about DIY Vintage style books for decor!

You guys know I LOVEEE DIY! Annddd I LOVE Restoration Hardware. 

While I think they have amazing furniture that will last a lifetime...their accessories can be a bit INSANE. 

If you have ever shopped at Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn, they load HEAPS of books on shelves, endtables and anywhere else they can cram them in LOL
While I think they overdo it... I'll admit I love the look.

If you want a small bundle of books filled with blank pages, it can set you about $125. Uhhhh NO...Just No.

LUCKILY.....there are a few VERY inexpensive options.

OPTION #1 Head to Goodwill and ransack their book section. For about $1 a pop, you can snag some awesome, aged paperback books. Rip off the covers and you're good to go! (I have these on shelves all over the house).
You can also UPCYCLE some (not-so) old novels into "antique" book bundles by soaking them in tea and letting them dry and bundle with twine! 










OPTION #2 If you need BIGGER books, you can check Home Goods or TJ Maxx for inexpensive FAKE books. (You know...the ones that are boxes for your treasures hehe)
Get crafty and you can TRANSFORM them into some magazine worthy accessories.

I started with these super busy, dark fake books.

You have a few options for covering them... 
  • PAINT  I would recommend a white matte paint like chalkboard paint 
  • FABRIC  You can Mod Podge some muslin fabric on those babies!
  • OR....I wanted a very CLEAN but vintage look (if that makes any sense) ...so I opted for a thicker sketch paper in ivory. 



I had 5 books total to cover and basically experimented with different methods...from measuring and using ONE solid piece...to measuring three separate pieces (Front, back and spine)

Because they are supposed to have a vintage look to them...you really can't mess them up.

As a kid, my mom was always a huge fan of Mod Podge (...or Modge Podge as we all call it :P ) I never appreciated her obsession until I started doing little projects. That stuff is AMAZING.

Finished Product: 



Thoughts...YAY or NAY?


If you love Hacks & knock offs, check out my Pottery Barn Style vase for only $8!
Pottery Barn Knock Off

Another FAVORITE project...how to turn a shower curtain into a HUGE piece of wall art 
My FAVORITE project EVER- Shower Curtain Wall Art