New Beginnings

After a ton of hard work and help from family and friends, Rob and I are finally [somewhat] settled in our new home. I can’t even begin to say thank you!

This is our FIRST house and the biggest financial purchase we’ve made thus far. My favorite spot is the wooded backyard, where I’ll be spending many Sunday mornings enjoying a big mug of coffee.

Backyard

We had a smooth buying process, thanks in huge part to Tom Farwick, our realtor, and a thoughtful, caring seller. Moving can be stressful but a solid support system makes everything easier.

I’m excited to continue this big adventure and intend to make the most of every second. Especially those that will bring a laugh in the future… like the time Rob spent half his Sunday battling a faulty lawn mower with the help of our two [awesome] neighbors. Ha!

Celebrating a Very Special “Birthday”

A few weeks ago I received an email from Chobani’s community coordinator asking if she could send me some samples. Free yogurt? Yes please!

The yogurt’s arrival coincided with the five-year anniversary, or birthday, week of barre3. For those unfamiliar, I’m an instructor at the barre3 Columbus location. The company is all about being tuned into your whole self, and finding balance in your mind, body and life. Why not share my plethora of healthy yogurt with some of my favorite people?

The studio owners, Courtney and Whitney, welcomed the idea with open arms. I thought the 6 a.m. crew would be the perfect bunch to try out my barre3 Birthday Smoothie. I reasoned that they deserved the extra boost for waking up when most folks are still snuggled in bed. I was also happy to finally use my cupcake carrier. I have to document this day in case Rob ever forgets why we definitely needed to register for it. 

CupecakeCarrier

100 percent necessary cupcake carrier.

Here’s the recipe I created:

SmoothieRecipe

Note: Although it says Chobani Low-Fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt, it was actually non-fat.

It was fun and rewarding to see clients grabbing smoothies and chatting before running off to get their day started. We received lots of compliments and I’ll definitely be adding this smoothie to my list of regulars.

SmoothiesDesk

I’m obsessed with the little straws.

In case you’re wondering, to create the perfect smoothie sample I poured about 3 oz of smoothie into a 5 oz Dixie cup. I took flexible straws and cut about one inch from the top and two inches from the bottom so they fit nicely into the cups.

I definitely recommend trying the recipe, and then getting creative in coming up with your own smoothie concoction. Feel free to share your favorite recipe in the comments!

KatieCourtneySmoothie

Courtney and I enjoying some morning smoothies!

My Road Not Taken

Rewind four years ago. I’m one year out of college. I had taken the LSATs. I was accepted into law school and getting ready to start my first semester as an evening student with a full-time job in communications during the day.

Rewind two years ago. I reach the halfway mark. I’ve been working 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and going to school from 6 – 9 p.m. I’m not happy. I’m weighing a choice in my mind but haven’t spoken the words out loud to anyone.

And then I did it. I quit law school.

Back to present day. Today, Tuesday, July 30, 2013, is the day that I would have been joining my fellow law school grads to take the bar exam. It’s given me the chance to reflect on how much has changed in my life since then. 

At 23, you don’t know as much as you think you do. I’m actually finding that as I get older, I know even less. I went into the whole thing blind. I was smart. I liked to read. I loved school. I thought that was enough.

Despite the lost time and money, I wouldn’t change a thing about the past four years. (Okay… maybe the loans. Yes, definitely the loans.) I learned a lot, not only about myself, but about how the world works. I notice myself reading every word of any legal document set in front of me. I look at news stories about legal proceedings differently.

In school, while I was learning to look at the world with a more discerning eye, I also looked at where my life was heading. I realized that this degree wouldn’t give me what I wanted.

I didn’t want to work at a law firm. I didn’t want to put in long, horrific hours. I wanted to work an eight-hour day doing something I loved, with time and energy leftover for my family. And thankfully, after two years, that’s where I’m at.

I’m building a career for myself as a marketing and communications professional. I’m sharing my passion for health/fitness with the Columbus community as a barre3 instructor. I’m married to my best friend and we’ve started a strong foundation for a life together.

While law school wasn’t for me, I’m happy for those who have found their passion in it. I’m grateful for the time I spent there and for all that I learned. I’m especially thankful for the friendships and the amazing people I met.

Today is a huge day for those taking the bar exam. It’s also a huge day for me. I get to reflect on how proud of myself I am for realizing I wasn’t on the right path and for getting myself to where I am today. It’s been a long road but I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m doing what I love and I get to share that with the people I care about the most.

If you don’t like something about your life, change it. It really is as simple as that.

Back to Reality

VacationGroupLast week I was preparing to leave for what turned out to be an amazing vacation with even more amazing friends. There were 21 of us that planned and executed a trip to Ocean Isle Beach, NC.

The house we stayed at was perfect. We had a pool and private beach access, and it was spacious enough that no one felt cramped. Not to mention Laura, the owner, was beyond responsive and made sure we had everything we needed. The weather consisted of sun the entire week, with the exception of our last day which was spent playing cards, packing and cleaning.

I wanted to capture the only picture we were able to squeeze everyone in for, which happened to be the night we deemed “tank and taco night.”

Speaking of tacos, if anyone is going on a large group trip and needs help meal planning, I’ve got the list for you! We cooked many of the meals in our kitchen, which saved us a lot on expenses. While the initial grocery trip was exhausting for the four of us that went, it was well worth it. It ended up being pretty comical, with each of our carts overflowing with food and drinks. I’d be lying if I said we weren’t asked twice if were extreme couponers.

I appreciate the time I was able to spend with my friends and am so grateful for the memories and laughs.

“The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater”

During my usual morning internet scan, I found a blog post that started with this:

I know you. We have a lot in common. You have been doing some reading and now you are pretty sure everything in the grocery store and your kitchen cupboards is going to kill you.

That IS me (sometimes, at least!) While I think it’s important to be health-conscious, there’s always someone out there telling you what you’re eating/drinking/doing is completely wrong. At that point, it’s time to take a step back, breathe and ignore the madness. Have a laugh at your own expense!

Read entire blog post: “The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater”

Tame the Ping

Last week I attended the American Society of Association Executives’ Marketing, Membership and Communications Conference in Washington, D.C. It was a great two days, and it still amazes me how the association world differs from other types of marketing and communications. The breakout sessions were helpful and insightful, but it was the general session held on the last day that struck a cord with me.

Todd Henry, founder of Accidental Creative, and author of Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice, spoke on purposeful practices to support your creative process, which include developing stimulating relationships, curating an environment that helps you stay focused, and leveraging your hours wisely. He then gave us this statistic (from Merlin Mann):

If you glance at your phone to check email every 5 minutes, you’ll check email 24,000 times per year. That’s 66 hours of doing nothing.

He wasn’t talking about diligently checking and responding to emails. I know too well exactly what he means: the idle time when we grab our phones while waiting in line or when we’re sitting on the couch just to refresh our email to see if anything new pops up.

We don’t do this because we think something life-changing is waiting for us, but because we think something might come along that’s better than what we’re doing. There is rarely a time when you absolutely need to be checking your email (substitute: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc….).

Todd encouraged us to “tame the ping” and become aware of this. By ignoring that little voice in the back of our heads when we’re tempted to waste time, we can spend more time (66 hours a year to be exact) doing purposeful activities to better ourselves. By creating a more focused environment, whether it’s at home, at work or at school, we can be 100 percent in each moment.

I can multi-task with the best of them. I can write a newsletter, read an article and update social media accounts all while eating lunch and listening to music. But I’m not saving time. I’m actually cheating myself by not giving each task the correct focus it deserves. That focus is where a lot of really great ideas come from.

Along the lines of my June resolution to “save”, I’m going to diligently use the rest of this month to save time and energy. It will require constant attention and mental reminders, but my goal is to tame the ping. I’m going to bring my attention to what’s in front of me, and harness my creativity both at work and in the every day.