Slowing down and letting go

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If there is one thing having a baby has taught me, it is that a lot of things really matter, and many, many things do not. Ask anyone who knows me–I’m a type A organizational control freak who doesn’t do well when things don’t go to plan. I’ve never been great at going with the flow–but I have always tried my best. Since having Reagan, I’ve had to learn to let go of a lot of my control issues, and let him run the show.

As I’ve jumped back in to my work headfirst, I’ve had lots of surprises along the way.  I started working again about 4 weeks after having Reagan. Since I own my own business and wasn’t getting paid maternity leave, I felt I had to start working right away to have an income again.

Jumping back in so soon let me exhausted, a little depressed, and insecure about my ability to balance mom and work life. I wasn’t able to keep up, I was caring for a baby 24/7 by myself–except for when my husband wasn’t at work, and then also when my mother in law started to come on Tuesday mornings to give me a little break (bless her)–and I was still in major holy crap I just had a baby what happened to my body recovery mode. The work I was doing for my clients was pretty awful, but somehow, I was getting a lot of referrals and new projects thrown my way–some that I got right before the baby, and some that I got very soon after.

Because I had this idea that I basically needed to double my income because we now had a baby in the picture, I said “yes” to every project and client that was tossed my way. Even if the work was a little out of my comfort zone, I said yes.

At 9 weeks postpartum, we had a nanny start watching Reagan 3 days a week. I went back to a somewhat regular work schedule and starting really focusing on my new clients and projects. But, something didn’t feel right. I’d often sit in front of my computer just frozen with anxiety. Hours would pass and I would have accomplished maybe 2 things off of my to-do list. The days weren’t long enough to get all my work done–and once the nanny would leave, I knew I wouldn’t be able to open my computer again until the baby was asleep or Ryan was home (and those are precious moments where really I would need a shower, finish laundry, or simply pet my dog).

I eventually felt like I wasn’t doing anything well. I wasn’t being that mom that could balance a career, marriage, child, and healthy lifestyle perfectly. I hadn’t had a decent conversation with my husband in weeks, I wasn’t feeling fully present with my baby, and my client work sucked.

I knew something needed to change. I had client projects piling up that I wasn’t excited about finishing–and proposal to do’s topping my to do list, but with no energy or time to do them. It was time to take a step back and re-evaluate what really mattered.

I’ve said it before, but I truly believe there are seasons that we all go through personally. Chris McAllister talked about his view on seasons in his book, The Stuck Book. I heard him speak about his book at a lululemon event when I was pregnant, and it’s something that has stuck with me since. I have definitely been stuck trying to figure out post-baby life, and I knew it was time to do something about it. From Chris’ book explanation, “You’re in a different season. You need customized wisdom. You have to figure out where you are. The stuck book is a short book you can pick up when you have a question and get an answer for what needs to be done. Seize the day? Wait and ponder?”

Just this past week, I have turned down 3 great business opportunities, ended a relationship with a client that wasn’t a positive partnership, bought clothes a size bigger so that I can wear items that fit my current post-pregnancy body, and made sure that I fit in workouts in my schedule again. Already, I feel less stress, less anxiety, and a little more present.

My business isn’t going to suffer from this. If anything, I’ll be able to better focus on the clients and projects I have now–and I will be more prepared when more opportunities come at me in the future. And, I can be sure that I’m only working with clients that light me up and I’m excited about–this is when I do my best work. Personally, it’s been nice to not chastise myself for not fitting in my post-baby clothes, and being able to sweat a little a few times a week makes me feel more alive.

I want to make sure I enjoy this time with Reagan right now. He’s starting to smile and laugh and I feel like he’s changing every minute. I want to spend any free time with my husband and not glued to my laptop, and I want to enjoy workouts and not feel like I’m only going because I need to lose the baby weight.

This is the season I’m in right now. It’s different from the season I was in a few months ago, and it’ll change again really soon. Some things really matter–and I want to focus on those things more and more–and some things really don’t matter–and I’m becoming okay with letting go of some of those.

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Four years

To my husband–

Four years ago we did this…

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and this…

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and this…

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and this…

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Four years ago was the best day of my life. I realize I just had a child a few weeks agoand I’m supposed to say that the day I gave birth was the best day of my life–but honestly, that shit hurt, and nothing about my wedding day hurt. It was the most perfect, pain free day surrounded by my favorite people where I got to marry my very favorite person. That was the best day ever. (Maybe once I’m totally healed from childbirth I’ll change my mind on this, but for now, I’m sticking with it.)

And now, here we are, with this:

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I was never that person who wanted to have kids–and I don’t think you were either. We had a strong phase in our relationship where we thought we would be happy just married with lots of money, and spend our time traveling the world (there is NOTHING wrong with this, by the way). Then one day, probably when you were playing with our nieces or nephews, I decided that you were meant to be a dad. I couldn’t imagine you any other way. The thought of you teaching our kids sports or feeding them or rocking them to sleep made my heart melt, and I knew in that moment that I wanted to have kids with you. And at the same time,  I felt comfortable saying I wanted to have kids because I knew that with you by my side, I’d be a good mom and it would be the best adventure.

So here we are, 4 years later. New career goals, a new baby, same dog…but with a whole new outlook on life. Thank you for giving me the first 3 years of our marriage to just focus on us. To drink lots of wine, go to a million concerts, travel, golf, sleep in, change careers…to become the best us. I hope that years down the road our relationship is still our top priority, because in order to be the best parents, we need to be the best us. And I hope we still squeeze in a few concerts and wine nights as well.

If the first 3.5 weeks of Reagan’s life has proven anything, it’s that parenting is hard. But you’ve already shown up, been there for me, and taken care of us when we needed you the most. I’m confident that we have got this whole parenting thing, and even though I know it’s going to throw us for lots of loops, I’m confident in us. We’ve got this.

Thanks for the best 4 years ever. I can’t wait for the next 44. I love you.

Oh baby, baby

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I am 8 days in to this new life called motherhood. I had two other blogs posts written and ready to be posted, but those now seem silly and unimportant. They were filled with more pregnancy stories, complaints, and thoughts about the future. It’s no secret my pregnancy was not a breeze…but I am confident that it was just preparing me for my new life as a mom.

Reagan James Rauch was born on February 4, 2018 at 10:48am. I was scheduled to be induced late in the evening on February 4, but had a feeling that he would come earlier. I had a ton of anxiety about being induced, and didn’t know if I could handle the build up a few days prior. My body must have felt that anxiousness because my water broke on February 2, and after not being totally sure if it was really my water or not (it was a slow leak), we finally went in to the hospital on February 3 to get checked.

I was half way expecting the nurses to send us back home since I wasn’t have any contractions–but was so relieved when they came in to tell us that my water had, in fact, broken, and that we’d be having a baby soon.

We had to start the induction process since I wasn’t have contractions and also because my water had been broken for over 24 hours. I was put on pitocin and within two hours, I began to feel real labor contractions that started coming really close together. The next 16 hours are a little bit blurry–but I know they included a peanut bouncy ball, lots of tears, quick and close together contractions, an active baby, the sweetest nurses ever, lots of cervix checks, and finally–an epidural. I went from 6 cm to 10 cm out of no where and it was suddenly time to get this baby out.

After 40 minutes of pushing and coaching from Ryan and the best nurse ever, the doctor came in and 5 minutes later, Reagan was on my chest. It was the most surreal experience of my life. For 9 months, I knew that there was a baby growing inside of me—but it doesn’t all really make sense or seem real until you are holding that baby in your arms. No words can describe the feeling or overwhelming sense of love that happens in that moment.

Now, we are home, figuring out our new normal. Our new life. We are working on sleeping, breastfeeding, and getting to know one another. We are tired, sometimes a little sweaty, hungry, but so in love. It’s truly something you can never be prepared for. I’m so grateful I have the best partner ever in Ryan…who does all he can to make my life a little bit easier each day–and who loves his son more than anything else in the world.

More to come later…but for now, I’ve got a baby to snuggle.

The challenge I wasn’t expecting in my pregnancy

Here we are — 33 weeks pregnant — with roughly about 7 weeks to go. While I feel like I have been pregnant for 3 years, the last few weeks have really flown by and I know the holidays are only going to speed things up even more.

I knew that pregnancy wasn’t going to be a cake walk, but honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it would change our lives drastically once the baby was here, but I honestly didn’t think much about the 9 month process before the baby arrived. IMG-3494

Pregnancy is humbling. It’s physically and emotionally draining and demanding and I don’t think women get enough credit for taking almost a year of their lives to go through it. I’ve spent the better part of my pregnancy throwing up, napping, and looking for ways to relieve my back pain. I’ve cried through both Wal-Mart commercials and CMT music videos, and I’ve felt emotions I didn’t even know were inside of me.

The thing I wasn’t prepared for, and the thing I don’t think many women talk about, is dealing with body image. We all know that our bodies are going to change and grow and morph to fit this new human, but you can’t be prepared for how you are going to handle all those changes.

Before I got pregnant, I was in the best shape I’ve been in. I was in a great workout groove, eating a balanced diet, and fitting better in my clothes than I have before. I’ve talked about it before so I won’t go into much detail again, but when I used to be overweight. I wasn’t in a great place emotionally and I buried myself in bad food, drinking, and not exercising. The last six years have been a constant journey of finding balance, fighting old food demons, and making space for health and fitness in my life.

For the first part of my pregnancy, I threw up just about everything I put inside my body except for bread and eggs. My mainly healthy diet went out the window and workouts slowed a little just because I was so nauseous all the time. The only positive I saw was that I didn’t gain any weight. This is when I started to be in a negative head space, and where I’ve stayed my entire pregnancy.

As my body has grown and put on weight, I’ve found myself burying my bump in layers, comparing my bump to others, looking through Instagram to see if I’m bigger or smaller than others, and talked negatively about myself quietly and aloud on a daily basis. I started to wonder if people thought I was huge, and would feel so insecure when anyone commented on my pregnancy. I’ve had people tell me I look like I’m pregnant with twins, and people tell me that I don’t look pregnant at all. I wouldn’t let my husband see me change in fear that he would be scarred by the sight of my ever-growing body. I weighed myself daily in fear that I would see the numbers I saw in college creep back on the scale. I became obsessed with not looking pregnant. And it affected me 100% negatively.

It’s only been in the recent weeks where I have come to realize that I haven’t been giving my body the respect it deserves. I have been trying to listen to my body, feed it when needs it, move when it feels good, etc., but the way I have talked and thought about myself has not been good—and I’m not ok starting this kids life with so much negativity. Another spoiler alert — I’m growing a HUMAN. Laying in bed at night and feeling him move around so much has made me realize that what I’m doing is amazing. What our bodies can do is truly a blessing. Our bodies HAVE to grow and get bigger in order to produce this life…and that is OKAY. I’m learning to say more positive things to myself, and I’ve stopped talking about how huge I look to others. I’ve started wearing clothes that don’t totally swallow my bump, and I’ve learned to try to take people’s comments with a grain of salt (for the record, just tell a pregnant woman she looks beautiful. Don’t comment on her size in any way).

I’m learning to love my body through this process. While it still throws up and is still exhausted 90% of the time, it’s producing a baby boy, and that’s pretty amazing. I’m embracing the growth and the discomfort, and I’m reminding myself daily that this 9-10 months is such a short-term process in the whole scheme of things.

Tonight, I went to a prenatal yoga class. My first one my entire pregnancy. I walked in wondering how many weeks everyone else was and if I was smaller than the other 33 week girls…but I quickly got myself out of that space and decided to offer up love and positivity. It was beautiful to see 15 pregnant women at all different stages move together the best they can, embracing their bodies, and honoring what they needed in that moment.

I’ll say it again–This pregnancy has been humbling. I’m learning to love myself a little more, spread a little more positivity, and embrace changes that I can’t control.

Catching Up

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There have been so many times I’ve thought about writing on here and so many things I’ve wanted to say in the last 5 months. But, going to this website, typing it out, and publishing all felt too exhausting and really low on my list of priorities. But, I like this space. I like talking to no one or maybe a few of you and having these posts to reflect on in the future. I like having a space just for me–while I spend most of my day doing work for others, this feels like a safe space that is truly about and for…me.

So, what’s been going on lately? Let’s start with the basics…

Work. My business (Local Anywhere) has been great. I’ve been fortunate to have amazing clients over the past two years and I’ve come to a point in my business where I know I need to start adding to my team in order to grow even more. Really looking at my finances to see how I can grow effectively and efficiently is enough to make me break out into hives. Change is scary, and sharing my money is scary. But, I know it’s the right thing to do and I just need to work a little harder to get a few more clients in order to support this growth.

I learn something new with every client. I am always humbled when I make a mistake (which has happened more than I’d like to admit lately), but I grow from it every time. In my old work life in the corporate world, I never felt growth. I was running on a wheel doing the same thing over and over. Yea, I messed up then too, but when I did, someone else was there to clean up my mess and I wouldn’t learn anything from it. Now, I have to take full responsibility for every failure–and, thankfully–every success. I’m so grateful I made the jump into this crazy self-employed world. If entrepreneurship is something you’ve been thinking about, stop thinking. Just do it. You’ll figure it out. And if you don’t, you’ll grow from it.

Sweat Local. Most people would put this in the work category, but I look at my clients as my work and Sweat Local as my “I hope someday this makes me money but for right now I just love doing it” project. We had a great Sweat Local Columbus Fitness Expo, and even though attendance was a little lower than I had originally hoped, I am still chalking it up to a success.

I tried to plan Sweat Local Cleveland for the fall, but then life happened, client work became more important, and I had to cancel. It was a huge kick in the gut to have to pump the brakes up on a project I really believe it, BUT, I plan to reschedule again for the spring.

Baby. Oh yea, I’m pregnant. Maybe I should have started with that? Right now, we (I try to include my husband) are just about 21 weeks pregnant. Pregnancy so far has been, well, honestly, not great. I always thought I’d love being pregnant because that seemed to be the feelings of the majority of women I knew. But, I don’t love it. And I’ve finally come around to being okay with admitting that. Of course I feel so lucky to be pregnant and I’m now feeling the baby move and that’s awesome and as far as we can tell, the baby is really healthy. All of that I’m grateful for. But trust me, throwing up multiple times a day, feeling constantly exhausted, not being able to work out, seeing your body enlarge every day, and dealing with unruly skin has not been blissful. Not to mention constantly being hungry yet unable to eat most foods because you remember that one time you threw it up a few weeks ago…

Being pregnant is hard. I know women have been doing it for a very long time and some women have way more complications than me–but that doesn’t mean I have to love it. I am very excited to become a mom, and it’s forced me to really move along my business (see above paragraph regarding growth in Local Anywhere) and also given me a reason to make some updates I’ve been wanting to make to the house because EVERYTHING HAS TO BE PERFECT BEFORE THE BABY COMES! My poor husband.

Let’s not wait another 5 months to catch up again. I’ll be back soon–probably talking more about pregnancy than wine and healthy eating. Because there hasn’t been much (none) of either of those. I should consider renaming this blog Carbs and Couches until I have this child.

What if I didn’t put my yoga mat there?

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This morning I went to a yoga class and I was the first person there. I don’t normally go to this studio and I figured it was going to be a small class since I was the first person there six minutes before class started. But, I slightly panicked about where to put my mat. Do I put it up front? In the back? I don’t want the instructor to be annoyed if I’m in the back in a small class (sidenote, as an instructor, it’s the worst when you have a small class and everyone is in the back hiding while you have to stay up front on the bike, mat, etc.). Do I face this direction or that? Do I want to be under a heater or close to the mirror? So many thoughts before 6am. I ended up choosing a spot in the middle, not under a heater, and not near the mirror.

Soon after I laid down my mat, three other people walked in a laid their mats close (but not too close) to mine. I started to think about how the class would have been set up differently if I put my mat in the front corner. What if I started in the front row? Would everyone else then follow suit? Some instructors often say, “you’ll never again be in this same room with these same people in these exact same spots and this environment.” This thought then led me down a rabbit hole of other thoughts. Thoughts that I often have and think about…

Every single decision that you’ve made has led you to the exact moment where you are right now. Is it a good place? A place you’d like to improve? I’m not talking about big decisions–marriage, buying a home, etc.–I’m talking about the smallest, tiny decisions–taking a shower, locking the door, leaving five minutes late.

If my yoga mat was in another spot of the room, someone else would have set up their mat differently. How would that have affected their practice? Their day? Maybe nothing would have changed. Maybe it would change everything.

What if I would have never gone over to Kenzie’s (my now best friend) house to jump on her trampoline even when I hated her when I was in fourth grade? What if I would have decided to go to one of the other colleges I had scholarships to? What if I wouldn’t have gone to get drinks with those guys after a work event where I first heard about Ryan? What if I went out to dinner with my girlfriends like I was supposed to instead of meeting Ryan for a date? What if I went out with that other guy? What if I stayed at my first job? What if I actually let my hair grow? What if I didn’t turn around to make sure my curling iron was off? What if I didn’t drink that last drink?

Life could have been so different. Maybe better. Maybe worse. Maybe I’d be just as happy. Maybe I’d be in another state with babies, or not married, or without a dog, or with five dogs. Each and every decision I have made has led me to this place. Writing this blog will change something about my day. If I hadn’t gone to yoga, I wouldn’t be writing. If I wasn’t writing, I’d be working. Maybe in my office. Maybe not.

You get it. My point is, small decisions are as important as big decisions. The things you say, what you do, how you treat people–it affects everything. Think a little harder today. Be a little better. Maybe think about something that might be a mindless, everyday task. Everything matters. Every move you make matters. You matter.

And we’re back…

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2014 and 2015 were good years for Corks and Kale. I started this blog with the hope of writing every week. Every week turned into roughly once a month–but I still enjoyed it. 2016 was the year of changes, travel, new businesses, and no time for this. I didn’t miss it. I felt like I needed to write, but I didn’t want to. So I let it be.

Now we are in 2017 and I have a million things I want to write about. Lots of those things are political, and I promise not to write about those but we all know what’s happening and we definitely don’t need more political arguments around here. So, in order to start this blog back off with a real bang, I decided to do a recap of all the things that are on my mind.

Get ready for some randomness:

  • I turn 29 next week. I remember when I was younger and any age in your twenties sounded SO OLD. Now, I just feel so young. It seems everyone my age is having babies, moving up corporate ladders, traveling the world on what seems like endless budgets, and remodeling their houses. All the while, I’m sitting over here with my husband and dog trying to figure out which lightbulb we need for our lamp and why our lightbulbs go out every 3 months when they say they last 8 years.
  • Speaking of comparison to others, it truly is the root of all evil. It does bother me that I feel like everyone else has it all together except me, but I do know that that’s not the case. We are all really good at pretending things are totally fine–and social media only creates a beautiful mask on an otherwise messy life. I need to remember this.
  • About a month ago, I was feeling so tired all the time. Getting out of bed was a serious task and all I could think about all day was a nap or when I could get back to bed. Working from home definitely didn’t help the feeling. I finally went to my acupuncturist because I always feel better after a session–but she also told me to start drinking this tea, taking these vitamins, and taking more iron. I feel SO MUCH BETTER. It seriously is insane. I’m not sure what helped the most, but I just know that I’ll keep taking them all because I feel like a whole new person. Holistic cures for the win!
  • Houses should come with manuals. This should be a thing. Our water heater recently broke because it’s 14 years old. I had no idea there is a life span on these things (I realize that this should be an obvious thing, but I have other things to worry about). What else in my house will need to be replaced that’s more than $200? What other things should we be doing to maintain our house?
  • I cut out eating dairy about 6 days a week. Only 6 days because I love pizza and I love pizza with cheese, so I leave 1 day for that or maybe a salad with cheese. I used to have cheese 7 days a week, so I cut back a lot. I don’t miss it at all and I feel so much better. Dairy never agreed with me so I cut out all milk about 6 years ago, but was still going strong with cheese. Now that I have cut that back, my skin is clearer and my stomach is happier. Definitely worth it.

Ok, now that we are all caught up, what’s going on with you? I do want to be more present on here, so I hope you hang with me while I try. I want to talk about the things I think about on the regular: being an entrepreneur, living a healthier/vegetarian life, working out, and dogs. If you’re into that stuff, hang around.

Is this thing still on?

Hello? Anyone there?

It’s funny because one of my goals for after I quit my job was to write more on here. But, that definitely didn’t happen. All that time I thought I would have it totally not there.

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Oh yes, I quit my job at the end of May. I’m officially done with the corporate world. I still can’t believe it. I’m now doing marketing consulting for small businesses full-time through my company, Local Anywhere, while also growing our new fitness initiative, Sweat Local Columbus.

I feel like I have learned a lot in only my short 65 days of being self-employed–and I thought it’d be fun to write about mainly so I have something to look back on and laugh at in a few months or years.

Here are the top ten things I’ve learned since working from home on my own business:

  1. I had to stop saying “yes” to every opportunity. Thankfully, I had the chance to really grow and work on my business for about a year before I went on my own completely to really make sure I had a small list of solid clients. It was because of those clients that I was able to make the jump for my old job. But, as soon as I made the jump, I got a bunch of referrals…met with a bunch of people…and said yes, a lot. Like 3 times in the first week. It was, well, totally overwhelming. And  I became totally overbooked. Luckily, some of the “yes’s” were only short projects, so it didn’t last long. But I still struggle with overbooking myself and becoming overwhelmed easily.
  2. Not every business is right for me. I learned this early on over a year ago when I took on a client that was a lot of money but totally not the right fit. After 3 months of night sweats, dreading our phone calls and texts, I decided I had to break the contract. I met with another potential client recently, and after our meeting, I knew in my gut it wasn’t a good fit. Again, good money, but I wouldn’t be happy and frankly, neither would the client. It’s okay to be a little picky.
  3. I don’t get dressed nearly as much as I thought I would. I had this big idea that I would still shower, do my hair and makeup, and put on normal people clothes. That was a fun idea, that only happens when I have meetings. I still do my hair and makeup for the most part mainly because I see the UPS man every day and I don’t want to scare him, but I live in workout clothes and it’s amazing.
  4. I’ve become more attached to my dog and vice versa. This is not surprising.
  5. I drink coffee everyday. Back in my old working life, I NEVER drank coffee. Ever. I don’t know why, but I can’t start my day now without a cup. It’s my favorite way to start going through emails with a fresh cup in hand.
  6. I thought I was organized before–but this is a whole new world. I always thought I had my shit together at my other jobs, and I probably did. But now my tasks are ALL OVER the place and I have to balance those tasks between 8 clients. It’s been hard to focus in and keep it all together, but I’m learning.
  7. My posture has gotten worse. Need a new office chair, asap.
  8. I eat way more at home. This isn’t surprising, but the main reason is because of point number 3. I don’t get too dolled up too often and going out in public seems like a lot of work.
  9. I work later and harder than I did at my other jobs. Again, not surprising. But I find it interesting how I never have an urge to sneak out for coffee, close up my laptop early, or talk to my dog (coworker) for 15 minutes-hour to kill time. My clients mean a lot to me and I make sure I deliver on my tasks everyday.
  10. I love the flexibility. I love that I can take phone calls all day long without hiding it, I love that I can workout at 8am if I want to, I love that I can gchat with my mom again, I love that I can wear workout clothes, I love that I can go on vacation without prior approval, I love that the money I make is purely in my control. I know that I meant for a work-life like this, and I’m grateful that I finally have that opportunity.

Okay, back to work. It feels good to write out how I feel–so hopefully this is the start of a new weekly series.

Anyone else work from home or for themselves? What surprised you or what have you learned?

It Works! (no, IT doesn’t.)

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I was at lunch today and overheard two girls talking. One was trying to sell the other on becoming a consultant for her wrap company. I have no idea what it’s really called…but you’ve seen the tagline – It works! (maybe that’s the actual name?) Anyway, the seller was telling the potential seller about how much weight she had lost, how much better her clothes fit, and most importantly, how much money she was making.

I so badly wanted to jump into their booth and tell the poor girl that no, it doesn’t work, and no, you will not become a millionaire from selling seran wrap for bellies.

Now, in defense of the wrap seller, I have never tried the wraps, nor have I done a ton of research. But along with the wraps, I also know that people are buying every tea, drink, powder, waist trainer, pill, sandwich, etc. that claims “GET SKINNY FAST!” While these solutions may work temporarily, they won’t give you the long-term results you want.

You know how I know none of these work? Because I know there is only one thing that does work to lose weight and get healthy–

A healthy diet and exercise. 

That, my friends, works.

Nothing worth working for comes easy and it’s the same for a healthy body. Sorry to bring the bad news today. Please, I’m begging you, stop pouring your money into “quick” fixes that don’t work, and start investing in your health. Buy more vegetables. Buy a gym membership. Buy a class pass. Go on a walk. Go on a run. Hike up a mountain. Start somewhere.

Just move your body and eat real food.

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” – Michael Pollan

 

And while you’re at it–Register for Sweat Local Columbus, a 5k and expo on July 30!

YOLO – The Year of Travel

Ryan and I have been talking about 2016 basically since we met. Not that we knew the exact year of 2016 would be a big year for us, but we did know that we had big plans to travel and make some big changes in our lives. 2016 just so happens to be that year. The purpose of this post isn’t to boast about what we have going on–my hope is to inspire you to stop talking and start doing (beyond traveling).

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I’m fully invested in the idea of “If it doesn’t make you happy, get rid of it.” I’ve purged my closet, items in our house, freelance clients, some work opportunities, etc. I’ve come around to the idea that shopping and buying new things is an immediate emotional reaction, but not something that will last and sustain my happiness. So while I still love to buy things here and there, I’ve majorly cut back on the old habit that got me into some nice credit card debt in college.

We’ve saved our money, not a ton, but enough. We have purposely decided not to have kids anytime soon. We have tried to simplify, but also take on challenging projects that make us better and provide some extra income. We are cutting out going to concerts, eating out at fancy places, and buying unnecessary items. These small changes are making a big difference.

We have deemed this year the Year of Travel, and YOLO (“you only live once” for my lingo-challenged readers). For us, this is a big deal. In the past, we’ve come up with excuses to not do things (money, time, our dog, work, etc), but this time, we let go of the excuses and said “F it, we just need to go.”

We are both dreamers. Neither of us have traveled much, though we both have major wanderlust. We like to talk about things we want to do later in life and places we want to see. We’ve just changed the narrative a little to, “why not now?” instead of “later in life.”

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So in two weeks we’ll be heading to the Cayman Islands with my whole family (my husband, mom, dad, bro, his wife, and nephew). It’s a trip for my mom’s 60th birthday, and while traveling with your fam may not seem totally YOLO, for me it totally is. Our family has never truly taken a family vacation (usually golf shows or trips to see Grandma) so this is a big deal. Ryan and I plan to take full advantage of all the water sports and experiences that we can. Maybe I’ll even let him jump off a cliff (I hear there aren’t many in Cayman so hoping there’s a small one to fill his desire).

A few months later, we’ll be heading to Nashville for a long weekend to see my best friend, her husband, and their baby. I was so proud of my husband last night when I told him that flights were super cheap on Southwest and that the sale was ending soon. He was totally cool with deciding right then and there to book the trip–something two years ago he never would have done. He would’ve wanted to think about it, talk about it, then inevitably, probably not do it because we’ve then talked ourselves out of it.

The big grand finale of the year comes in September when we try our luck with the Irish and head to Ireland. This is a dream trip that I have always wanted to take and I couldn’t be more excited for it. We may pop over to Scotland for a day or two while we’re there…but we’re doing something I’m not usually comfortable with–going in without an agenda. We want to drink beer, see the sights, but most importantly, mix and mingle with the locals. We want to feel fully enveloped in the culture. Experience new things. Get uncomfortable. Learn something. Come back with an Irish accent.

While three planned trips may not seem like much to some, for us, it is. It’s out of our comfort zone to leave this much and to spend this much money. But like I said, 2016 is going to be a big year. Beyond traveling, we have a lot of other exciting things happening…but more on that in another post.

Take some chances. Stop thinking so much and start doing. Stop talking about it. F it. Just do it. Go. Explore. Grow.

 

Cheers.