When I first tried out Pure Barre back in December it was honestly only because I forced myself to. I was really sad and overwhelmed, and had found myself at my lowest point fitness-wise, AGAIN. The Arlington Pure Barre studio is only two blocks from my office, so I had walked by it hundreds of times before. I had other people tell me before that because of my dance background, that it might be something I’d be interested in, so without dwelling on it too much I just walked in and signed up.
I am so, so happy that I did.
At first I liked it because it gave me something regular in my schedule that I could control and that was in a positive environment. If you miss a class or don’t drop a class enough hours in advance you get charged a fee, and that was just enough to hold me accountable. But as time went on and I kept forcing myself to go, I eventually fell in love with it.
The instructors and staff are always welcoming and encouraging – and that really does make a impact. The pace of the class moves along quickly and fluidly so I’ve never felt uncomfortable. I know that if I am having to focus so much, then others probably are too. Now I might be a bit biased because there are elements of Pure Barre that do align with dance training, and since I grew up dancing (tap, jazz and a teeny tiny bit of ballet), it certainly helped build my confidence that I picked things up quickly. But regardless, I also love Pure Barre because it is easy to make it your own. There are ways to both modify moves and push yourself.
I like that it is low impact and great for injury recovery. I played sports (including dance) growing up, so I have a knee that hates too much impact and ankles that roll on command. Last fall, I sprained an ankle, and unlike before, I did not bounce back quickly like all the times before (probably the first time that I’ve ever felt “old” lol). And after I moved to DC three years ago and because a regular pedestrian, I single-handedly gave myself plantar fasciitis by walking everywhere in poor shoes. (My ultimate advice… invest in shoes that are cute AND supportive). I definitely notice a difference in my strength overall, but most all in these areas that need a bit more help.
Pure Barre really has brought me back to a place where I feel good and want to tackle other exercise again (like cardio) because I am stronger, more flexible and motivated. But most of all, this studio and structure has strengthened my mental game. Previously, I almost always worked through my lunch hour and honestly really didn’t mind it. But now I commit almost every lunch hour to class, and I think the balance and mental break everyday has helped sharpen my focus back at work.
On a more personal note, I said above that back in December when I first started, I was not feeling so great. I’m not saying that taking a fitness class everyday over lunch just solves all of the world’s problems, but a welcoming and encouraging environment that helps you do something positive for yourself does make a huge difference. I’m not sure that I can express enough gratitude for the women at Pure Barre Arlington that have helped give me that.
I thought about trying to explain what exactly Pure Barre is, but they have an awesome intro video that does a much better job than I can!
I was really pumped to reach the 100 club mark and I am looking forward to joining 250 club next!
I discovered Erica and her blog randomly last summer and I am so happy that I did! I have so much respect for her story as a military wife, mom and young entrepreneur. I love her tone as a blogger and I have become to faithful reader because I appreciate how relatable she is. Also, she just happens to be a recent resident of my favorite little city in the Midwest – Manhattan, Kansas.
Erica’s Saturday Sit-Down features a new guess blogger every Saturday and I am so excited to share a little piece of my story with her readers!
With social media it is really easy to get caught up in people’s “life highlight reels” and whether its subconscious or not, we make comparisons. I think there are a lot of great things about social media (hello, its a part of my job), but that pitfall is not one of them. When it comes to bloggers, I usually follow new ones I’ve found for a little while, but if I don’t relate to them or just get too much of the highlight reel, instead of everyday real life, then I tend to let them drop off my list of those I follow.
“Day in the Life” posts from other bloggers are always some of the most simple posts they do, but they are always interesting to me. It’s fun to get a peek into how someone else, who has a different job, location and life circumstances does their everyday life. I finally decided to do one myself because also liked the idea that it captures my life right in the moment and season of life that I’m in. Someday I might look back and think, wow, how different things were then.
In order for it to be somewhat spontaneous, at the beginning of February I decided that I wanted to do a day that was mid-month and then I asked one of my friends, without giving her the context, to pick a number from a range of dates. I laughed that she ended up selecting Valentine’s Day, but I decided to stick to it, so here we go!
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
My alarm went off at 5:20 am. In all honesty, this was a bit early for me. Most mornings I usually wake up between 6 and 6:30, but this particular morning I had signed up for a 7 am Pure Barre class and I had to account for a 30 minute walk. The barre studio is two blocks from my office, which is just about a mile from my apartment. I walk most days because I don’t have a permanent parking spot at the office, so days that I drive mean that someone that is a regular driver is away from the office that day, or when its super cold or bad weather I can use the visitors spot from time to time.
Anyway, when I first wake up, I always quickly check my work email on my phone to see if any emails from our overseas offices came in overnight and breeze through a few news headlines. After I pried myself out of bed, the rest of my early morning consisted of packing my outfit for the day, makeup bag and lunch in my backpack. (I switch between a backpack and a large purse, based on my mode of getting to work and what I need that day.)
I always need something small to eat before I workout, especially if it is in the morning so I grabbed a cereal bar and also downed a small can of cold brew coffee mixed with a little almond milk to take my vitamins. The cold brew is my favorite go-to if I don’t have time to brew hot coffee for my to to-go cup, or days like today, where it made less sense to bring it and then have it sit while I was in class.
I left my apartment about 6:20 or so and arrived at 6:42, which was great because that meant when the class before me got out at 6:50, I was first into the studio and got to snag my favorite spot. Pure Barre is something new I started right before Christmas and I am really loving it so far!
Class lasted 50 minutes. So at 7:50 I was out the door and immediately walked right around the corner to Peet’s Coffee. Like I said before, most days I make coffee at home, so I try to stick to making Peet’s a treat maybe 3 to 5 times a month. So I got my usual small dirty chai latte and also grabbed a bowl of apple spice overnight oats.
My office building has a small locker room which is SO convenient. I keep a towel, small body wash, deodorant, dry shampoo and body spray in my locker. It took me about 30 minutes to rinse off, dress and put on my makeup. My hair is naturally curly and doesn’t get very oily, so I only wash my hair every 3 to 4 days, even when I’ve straightened it, like I had done earlier in the week. So with a little dry shampoo and some bobby pins I was good to go.
I walked into my office at 8:39. We are allowed to choose our arrival and leave within some guidelines, which is nice. I typically get to work between 8:30 and 8:45 and leave between 5 and 5:15. Others in the office who have longer commutes and/or kids, typically start and leave earlier.
There wasn’t really much to take unique pictures of throughout my work day. My morning was filled with planning and scheduling out some social media posts and responding to various emails (and eating my overnight oats.) The last few weeks were busy focusing primarily on our board meeting that wrapped up last Saturday, so I also had a few random tasks on my to-do list that I needed to circle around to again.
At lunch, I walked two blocks to the Walgreens to pick up a prescription and then came back to the office and ate a small plate of the leftover spaghetti that I brought with me from home. After lunch, I turned my attention to our website redesign which is set to launch in late spring or early summer. I met with two other staff members to work through the plans for the pages that require their attention and made some really good progress on a few decisions that need to be made. For the rest of the day I worked on website content and planning, snacked on a orange and wrapped up the afternoon with a catch up with my boss on a meeting he went to earlier in the day and what we need from each other for the remainder of the week. I also eventually moved from sitting to standing. I got my adjustable table top desk back in December and absolutely LOVE it!
I left the office at 5:13 and was home by 5:41. I was excited to see that I had a sweet Valentine’s card in my mailbox from my best friend Megan. I needed to be out the door again in about an hour so I relaxed on the couch to unwind and flip through my personal social media and put on an episode of NCIS on Netflix, which is the show that I am currently slowing working through. I like other types of shows, but crime serial shows are my favorite, partially because I can half watch/half do something else and still feel like I enjoyed it.
At 6:40 or so, I got ready to leave again and my friend Lance called to catch up, which was great timing because I had a 30 minute walk ahead of me again and it was a great way to fill that time.
At 7:20 I met up with my friend Carley at the Clarendon Grille, which is also really close to my office. Carley just moved here after the new year, and works for an organization that essentially does the same thing as mine does, just for other grain commodities. I am friends with one of her colleagues who connected us. Anyway, Carley is in an intramural league for cornhole (how awesome is that?!), so I tagged along for the evening to hangout, which included a dinner of a bacon cheeseburger, fries and a Yuengling. We wrapped up a little after 9 so I justified getting an Uber for a quick ride home.
Once at home, I made some decaf lemon tea, watched the rest of the NCIS episode that I had started earlier and did some work on this blog post. I also put on a face mask, which I do maybe once or twice a week, especially in the winter, when my dry skin can use all the help it can get! Around 10:30 I called it quits and headed to bed.
Nothing too exciting, but overall it was a good day!
I’ve never personally been really big on making New Year’s resolutions. I think goals should be made as we see a need for them and not just because we pushed an imaginary reset button. Plus, if I am being honest, January is always my least favorite month and I think we put way too much pressure on it. We come off of the holidays a bit burnt out, the weather is usually crappy (if you know me, you know how much I hate winter) and for me, the first six weeks of the year always tend to be pretty hectic work-wise. But that’s just me and how I’m wired. I don’t mean to knock anyone down who really anchors themselves to New Year’s resolutions — I think it’s great!
But coming off of a really crummy and unexpected end to 2017, my mood and attitude have been really down. A few weeks ago, I was out in the evening with some friends and they all were sharing what their resolutions were. When it got to me, I fairly bluntly said, “I don’t have any. I’m just in survival mode and doing the day-by-day thing.” I know my attitude is something that I am responsible for working on, but I also accept that this phase is just something that will eventually get better with time.
With all of that said, I was invited to a “Vision Board Making” Party this weekend and really had a great time!
My friend Brenda from my young adults small group invited a group of women over and really did a great job at creating a positive environment. We had yummy food, a relaxing scent in her diffuser, an upbeat music playlist, the Grammy’s on in the background and all the magazines we could ever need to pick through.
Some of the women had specific focus words or goals that they planned their vision boards around, and it was fun and motivating to hear a little bit about how each one is planning to own their 2018. I decided to just focus on words and things that were positive and just made me smile (or laugh in one specific case). In middle school and high school I used to cover my binders like this, so I really enjoyed the chance to relax with some girl chat and feed my creative side for an evening.
In the last week or so, I did finally jot down I few basic things that I really want to focus on in the next few months.
I haven’t been a regular reader since before college and its something I really miss. I’d like to try to read at least two books a month. My childhood self is cringing right now, but hey, baby steps.
My blog is still just a hobby, and it probably always will be only that, but it does make me really happy so I am shooting for at least one post a week, but more striving toward 2 to 3.
Balancing healthy eating and consistent exercise is probably permanently on my list, and that’s ok. I also want to try to focus on finding things that just make me feel good overall and make bettering these habits less of a chore.
I want to read or seek out resources to learn more about personal finance. I have a good budgeting and saving system in place, but I want to learn more about long term planning.
After being here for almost 3 years, there are still a few DC-area things that I haven’t crossed off my bucket list! And I want to explore at least one new-to-me East Coast city.
I have a few work/career related goals and plans toward being a better professional and communicator
There are a few other things on my mind lately, but I’ll keep those to myself for now. I’ve always believed in goal setting, but not just as set hard line of accomplishments to check off. I see a lot of goals as guidelines toward being your best self, whatever that might be during that season of life.
Wishing you all a wonderful 2018 and good luck on those goals and resolutions!
Today theMomfessionals blogis hosting a fun topic, talking about “Reverse Bucket Lists” on her “Show and Tell Tuesday.”I think bucket lists are important to have because they make us think about what we want in life and what it might take to get there. But personally I have always clumped bucket lists together with goal setting. Sure, its important to dream and take the time to write down your list, but I think it is so easy to never get past that step if we don’t set goals and think through the actions we need to take to get us there.
Anyway, I love the idea of celebrating and highlighting a reverse bucket list because I do think it is easy to look at other people’s lives (especially on social media) and feel negative toward your own life experiences and accomplishments. I’m all about looking ahead to what’s to come, but I think its important to remind ourselves how far we’ve come too.
As I was writing this, two things stood out to me:
I included some things that weren’t necessarily on my bucket list or a particular goal before they happened, but they are significant parts of my story that I am proud of.
As I browsed around for pictures to use and to help spark ideas for what to include on this post, I was reminded that though everything might not be a “bucket list” caliber item, I’ve lived a pretty awesome, fun and love-filled life so far, and that thought really made my day.
— Going to and graduating from an out of state college —
Graduated from Kansas State University in 2013 with a bachelor of science in agricultural communications and journalism, and was recognized as the Outstanding Senior in my department.
— Serving on the National AFA Student Advisory Team in college —
Not sure I would call this a bucket list item, but more of a “I don’t have high hopes, but I don’t have anything to lose by applying” that turned into one of the most important experiences of my life thus far. A year of traveling with these 8 other college students to plan a student conference and learn about agriculture and careers, has shaped me personally and professionally in a way that is beyond measure, and brought so many wonderful people into my life. And more importantly, years later it is a network that continues to push me and support me in so many ways.
— Traveling internationally —
For three of those I have my job to thank. On those trips I got to do some pretty cool things like boat on the Andaman Sea, ride an elephant and hike a volcano! Obviously there are a LOT more places on my list to check off…with Greece and Australia at the top!
— Building a career I love —
I started out my career in the pork industry in Kansas and now I work in the wheat and trade industry just outside of Washington, D.C. On one hand I know that I am extremely lucky for the opportunities that have come my way and the people who have supported me along the way. But on the other hand, I do feel very proud of myself for the hard work I’ve put in to get to where I am only 5 years out of college. I’ve wanted to be a communicator for farmers for as long as I can remember, and that’s exactly what I am doing.
— Moving to Washington, D.C. —
I often tell people the story about how I went from randomly finding out about this open job position on January 9, accepting it on February 9 and starting in on March 9 (all in 2015). And that all included picking up and moving from Manhattan, KS, to Arlington, VA, a place where, once again, I didn’t know anyone, and was WAY different than anywhere I lived before. Looking back, I really do often think, “who the heck does that??” People have asked me whether moving here was a dream or goal of mine, and for the most part, the answer is no. I visited D.C. four times throughout middle school, high school and college, and have always been fascinated by it, but never thought too seriously about moving there. As I finished college, I looked for jobs in Kansas and the PNW (where I grew up.) I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to make another life changing move ever again and I was happy with those two areas. So when I decided that I was ready to move on from my first job, those are the areas I looked again. Yet, less than 12 hours after stumbling across this job posting on Facebook I called my parents to tell them that I had this really strong gut feeling that this was what I needed and wanted to do next.
— Attending an inauguration —
I could (and maybe should) do a post just focused on my “living in Washington, D.C.” bucket list and reverse bucket list. But once I moved here and knew that I would probably be here at least a few years, attending an inauguration in person was definitely at the top, regardless who ended up as the President. For me, I just just excited to be experiencing a part of U.S. history in person.
— Getting a sister tattoo —
While the other major things on my list above are accomplishments and great experiences, this is more of fun to-do that my sister and I talked about for a long time before we finally decided what we wanted to get and followed through on it. Tattoos aren’t for everyone, but this is extra special because not only it is our last name, but it is written in our mom’s handwriting.
I also thought this would be a fun post to look back on. Many of the ones that I glanced at in the link up were mom’s, so their descriptions revolved around lazy days with their families. I am sure someday my description will read much like that, so I think it’s fun to capture where I am at now.
To be honest this post will basically read like a “get to know me” because my “best day ever” mostly revolves around my favorite food and places. It is also a bit unrealistic, because I would actually need to time travel (preferably in a blue police box, because #closetwhovian) to make it happen…
My “Best Day Ever” would start at sunrise up at my family’s cabin “The Diggins” in the Blue Mountains near Sumpter, OR. I’m a fan of sleeping in, but not at the cabin, so ideally I would feel well-rested and refreshed to start the day early. I’d begin with an easy walk/hike, maybe just by myself with my dog Jack and enjoy a beautiful sunrise. When I returned my chatty family would be up and ready for breakfast which would include a dirty chai latte, my great-grandma’s sour dough cinnamon rolls and bacon. (Definitely not our typical breakfast up there, but hey this is MY best day ever.)
After breakfast, I might take a nap because I woke up so early or relax on the porch with a favorite book. Then I would leave and…
…magically arrive in no-time in Manhattan, KS! My best day is a warm, golden fall day by the way, because obviously that can only mean one thing…
Before the game my friends and I would head to So Long Saloon in Aggieville (and wouldn’t have to wait forever to be seated) for raspberry chipotle bean dip to share and then I would order a Nancy and a bleu cheese bacon burger.
We’d then head to the stadium for some tailgating, and while I’ll always be fond of my “tailgating out of the back of someone’s truck in college days,” I think by now I will have upgraded to the asphalt lot with an obnoxiously decked out RV.
K-State would be playing Oklahoma or Texas, because I LOVE beating them. And the K-State team would be circa 2012…
Because, #nostalgia and #BIG12CHAMPS!
After the game, I would magically travel BACK to the cabin where my Dad would be cooking tri-tip in his big BBQ for all of my favorite people. The sides would include grilled asparagus, sweet potato fries, watermelon and rolls. Oh, and tiramisu for dessert.
We’d spend the evening (which is now somehow mid-summer, instead of fall) around the campfire, drinking summer shandy and listening to Logan Mize. We’ll probably end up two-stepping a bit and definitely stay up too late.
So, in conclusion, you basically now know all of my favorite foods.
Though I don’t blog much about specific agriculture topics, I still label myself as an ag blogger to some degree, because it is the industry that I work in and am passionate about. Last year, I joined a Secret Santa exchange for ag bloggers and really enjoyed it, so I decided that it was something I wanted to participate in again. It is a great way to get to know more people in the industry, and obviously it’s fun!
I was given Gracie Weinzierl who blogs at A Farm Kid’s Guide to Agriculture. Gracie is also in ag communications, working at an agency in St. Louis, where she works with a variety of clients in agriculture. She is originally from Central Illinois where she grew up on a small corn and soybean farm. Right away I saw that Gracie had some things in common, like our love for coffee and DIY. She wrote all about the gifts I sent her over on her own blog post, which you can read here. I did have to laugh though. Gracie is a HUGE cat lover, something that I don’t understand AT ALL. I mean don’t hate them, but I’m not really a fan. My sister is the complete opposite though, so I am used to buying gifts for “those kinds of people,” and buy the sound of it, the quirky little cat pen that I gave Gracie was a hit.
My secret blogger was Hannah Neuenschwander who blogs over at Texan Meets Midwest. Hannah is a Texan who relocated to Illinois for her job as a entry-level manager at a Monsanto soybean production facility. My first thought when I was looking through her blog was how much I appreciate that there are other young professionals in agriculture that make big moves like I did for my career, and those like Hannah are willing to share about it on a blog.
I was a bit late to open my gift (not Hannah’s fault) because I wasn’t able to get it from my apartment office before I went home on a long holiday vacation. Which is quite all right because who doesn’t like opening gift on a random day! When I picked it up from the office, the manager was very enthusiastic and said, “Oh Amanda, it looks like your new TV came in, you must be really excited.” Instead of trying to explain to her that I was positive that it definitely was not a TV, I just went along with it. But it definitely made me really curious and excited to get back to my apartment to open it!
Now I wish I could have had someone taking a video of me when I opened my gift from Hannah, because I literally shrieked out loud. Hannah did a great job “stalking” my social media and blog to learn that I love decorating my home in styles that I love and personal touches that reflect who I am, and also that I LOVE a good quote. So she had a local friend and small business woman (Tina Gonnerman at TMG Designs in Ashton, IL) make this sign specially for me. I have a few of my favorite quotes and verses on the left sidebar of my blog, but Exodus 14:14 is my FAVORITE VERSE. Up until now I have kept it written on the white board in my kitchen. Plus, the colors and style go perfectly with my decor in my living room! Really Hannah, you could not have sent me a more PERFECT gift than this. Right now I have it propped up on a book shelf in my living room, until I decide whether or not I am going to hang somewhere else or just leave it there.
Isn’t it great!?
Thank you to Darleen and Jenny for being this year’s hosts for the blogger exchange. I really enjoyed participating again!
Friends, I know I am not the only one who struggled a bit with the first full week back to work after the holidays.
I knew that the Christmas in the Country Gift Reveal blog posts were going live this week but everyday after work I just couldn’t bring myself to look at a computer screen again.
So my slacker plan was to write the post on the plane this morning on my trip to the West coast and post it during my layover.
And then I missed my flight this morning.
So now I’m back in my living room, with a re-booked flight for this evening.
Such is life.
Anyhow, I excited to finally share about my first Christmas in the Country exchange!
I particularly love that this exchange brings together bloggers in agriculture.
I received my fun box from Chelsea at BoilermakerAg, and she did a fabulous job! Everything was so personalized and well-thought out. Chelsea is a newlywed from Indiana, a proud Purdue Boilermaker and like me, an agriculture communications grad! I have read Chelsea’s blog before and I’m guessing that we have a lot in common. I am looking forward staying in touch.
First I want to share about that little lump of coal you see above on the red bag. This lump of coal (which is really a colored and scented piece of soap), has been passed along through the exchange since 2013 as a little reminder of the true reason for the season. The white tag says” A lighthearted reminder coal deserving sins places us on Santa’s naughty list. Thankfully naughty boy and girls are offered the gift of Jesus.” On the back of the tag it has the history of where this coal has traveled each year so my job now is to keep it and pass it on to someone next year!
If you know me or have read my blog before you know that I love to be creative and tap into my artistic side, and paints are probably my favorite to use. Chelsea sent me a jar of turquoise custom chalk paint and a few brushes. I haven’t done as many projects since my move to DC and my mind is spinning with all of the ideas that I could use this for! Plus you can never have too many brushes.
In my mind coffee is a love language all on its own. Chelsea sent me this adorable mug, a few K Cups and homemade chocolate spoon stirrers. They were SO GOOD — now I feel like I need one for every cup of coffee I have.
Everything in the gift was great, but this last part really hit it out of the ballpark. I love saving different wine corks (and the wine itself of course) and stealing them out of my stash from time to time for a craft. But I’m not sure Chelsea understands just how PERFECT this particular holder is for me. Yes, I used to work for the Kansas Pork Association, but my love for pigs runs far deeper than that. Everyone has a few things that they find hard to explain their love for without seeming a bit loony, and for me, pigs go on the top of that list. This is SO CUTE, and will go perfectly in my home.
Chelsea, thank you so much for taking the time to get to know me and for each of the fun gifts. I hope you had a wonderful season with your family and I wish you the best in 2016.