Month: August 2014

Two Songs that are Special to Me

Hi kids!  Today seemed like a good day to pop in and almost finish that 10-day (or 10-thousand day, for me) Challenge.

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This edition is two songs.  The two that popped into my head are a little lovey-dovey, so sorry in advance for the cavity you may incur from the sweetness.

1. “Don’t Stop” Slightly Stoopid

This song is admittedly not my general type of music.  But it is “our song.”  Here’s why:

One day, we were in the car, and this song came on.  Danny said,

“Oh!  This song came on the other day and made me think of you.  It’s Slightly Stoopid.”

I had never heard of this band and so took his words more like “This song made me think of you, it’s slightly stupid.”  To which, of course, my jaw dropped, and he surely got the look.  He was legit confused, until it finally hit him how I must have taken that, and he clarified that Slightly Stoopid is the name of the band.  We still laugh about that.

When I finally got the chance to actually listen to the words, it was so sweet!  For our anniversary, we actually ordered a canvas of it with the lyrics that hangs in our bedroom.  I found it here on Etsy.

2. “I Don’t Dance” Lee Brice

This song is just so sweet.  My fiance typically isn’t one to dance when we go out.  I can usually get him out there for a slow dance or two, and he will be a little more active at a wedding.  But he surely needs some help, from me or liquid courage (or probably both), haha, to really get out there.  This song makes me think of him.

Had to have fun from the chair at this wedding, haha

Had to have fun from the chair at this wedding, haha

Plus, if you didn’t watch the video up above, watch it.  And have some tissues nearby.  Ugh, awesome.

What songs are you loving right now?

Any great music videos? 

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Finding the Illusive Balance

Hey guys…whoa, long time, no see.  This is officially the longest I’ve gone between posts since I started my blog!  Sorry for going MIA.

I have been busy lately.  But oh so happy.  🙂

So, I thought this post would be a good time to talk about balance.  Even if only a reminder for myself.

Balance...get it?  Yay, yoga jokes! Photo credit: Mel Koossy, Shala Plus

Balance…get it? Yay, yoga jokes!
Photo credit: Mel Koossy, Shala Plus

Here is what I know I have to do to keep my balance in life:

1. Be willing to say no.

Starting out in this new line of work, I feel like I have to say yes to everything.  I realize, though, that I have to set some boundaries and be willing to stick to them.  For example, Tuesday is “date night” for Danny and me.  We always make it a priority to set aside time together for dinner and conversation, whether we go out or stay in, on this evening.  I have been offered a Tuesday night class more than once, and each time I have turned it down.  I will sub on occasion, but we really love our Tuesdays, and they are important for us and our relationship.  Which leads me to…

2. Set priorities.

I have been trying to do this for a long time, and it was really the thing that made me decide to take the leap and leave my school teaching job.

Danny and I talked a long time ago about our number one priority to be building a happy marriage together.  So, theoretically, all I do should feed into that goal.  Now, of course, I don’t get ridiculous and still hold responsibilities.  Those responsibilities, however, can’t bring negative to our upcoming marriage.

My job teaching school is a perfect example of this priority being damaged.  I was under so much stress and was so unhappy in my work situation, I would be in tears three or four nights a week.  I would, admittedly, pick fights about little things and, for some reason, would be hurt by the littlest things.  This resulted in a lot of fighting and emotional exhaustion for the both of us.

Summer rolled around, and I was a new woman.  We knew right away it was time for me to leave teaching and pursue what makes me happy.

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I’m not saying that everything is all sunshine and butterflies, of course, but there is way more happy in Danny-and-Amy land.

3. Be realistic.

Sure, after Yoga Teacher Training finished, I would have loved to continue my practice 6 days a week.  However, with working an eight hour day, teaching a class or two on top of that, commuting, and working toward other goals, all while trying to have a life and time with my family, a 1.5-hour yoga practice is just not sustainable.  I am surely getting my workouts in with some of the classes I teach, which leads me to…

4. Take care of your body.

This one probably applies more to the fitness professional area of my life, but doing my own yoga practice is sometimes just plain more than my body can handle right now.

During Yoga Teacher Training, we would do our own practice for about an hour and a half and, later, do a more informal practice while we worked on teaching and adjusting.  Then, I would go on later that day to teach a class or two nearly every evening of the week, including on my only day of from YTT.  While I saw amazing changes in my body, I was so sore most of the time that working out stopped feeling good.  Not the goal when you are trying to motivate others to work out.

5. Plan ahead

Last, but not least, I am going to work harder on planning ahead.  Read: write some blog posts ahead of time so I don’t disappear from blog land for another almost-week.  🙂

How do you find and keep balance in your life?

What Makes a Great Gym/Studio?

Happy Friday everyone!

This week, I said goodbye for good to my previous job teaching middle school and started full time as the assistant manager at a yoga studio/medspa.

4 Person Pushup

Part of my job is to manage the studio end of the business, doing the scheduling, talking with clients, teaching classes, etc.

I’ve had ideas swirling around my head for ways I can enhance the studio, so I thought this would be a good place to share them and get some of your thoughts.

What makes a great yoga studio or gym?

1. Welcoming Atmosphere

There is nothing worse than walking in to a workout class and feeling like an intruder.  I am very conscious of new clients or beginners in my class, and I work hard to make sure they feel welcome and a part of the class.

2. Enthusiastic Teachers

This one isn’t a problem for a second in my studio.  We have excited, friendly teachers who love what they do!

3. Variety

I had an interesting conversation with a client last night that really made me think.  We are having difficulty finding a new teacher for a class in which the original teacher moved away.  This class is dance-based and quite popular.  In order to get some of the other teachers to take it over, we are looking in to changing the format.  However, this is tricky, because we don’t want to turn away the clients who loved it the way it was.

She mentioned to me that what she really values about that class is the cardio, as we don’t have many other cardio classes on the schedule.  This was kind of eye-opening as far as structuring the new class, and as I look at the schedule as a whole.  Which leads me to…

4. Connects with clients

It took me quite awhile to compile a list of email address for the members at my studio today, but I did it.  In my opinion, it is really important to communicate and build a community in order to get people to keep coming back and building a healthy lifestyle and a successful studio.

5. Fun!

This one has got to be the most important.  If you don’t enjoy going somewhere, you’re not going to go back, am I right?

What do you think makes a great gym or yoga studio?

Wedding Excitement Part 2: Decisions, Decisions

Happy Humpday, kids!  Our wedding is quickly approaching, so I thought it would be a good time to check in for another wedding fun post!

After getting engaged, as every couple probably gets to experience, we had a ton of fun.

There were lots of Facebook posts (I will probably always remember how many times Danny’s phone went off that day, haha),…

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…and we came home to discover there was some cleaning needed in our house!

Thanks Mom, Ashley, and Matt

Thanks Mom, Ashley, and Matt

When the dust settled, it was time to start making some decisions.

First up, the venue.  This was probably the most stressful decision I’ve made so far.  We looked at several places, and they just didn’t feel right.  Any of the places I saw online that did feel right were much too expensive.

Then, Danny remembered a golf course a little off the beaten path (wow, apparently I am in to idioms today) that he thought we should check out.

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We loved it, booked it, and brought the family to see.  It has the perfect charm, it’s not too big, and I adore the stone inside.  Danny loves the patio.

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After the venue, the Pinterest addiction started, as all brides these days probably have as well, haha.

Not long after, I got the dress!  Obviously, I can’t show it just yet, but it was a great day with the moms and bridal party.

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Read Part 1 of my wedding excitement, which tells the story of our engagement!

Do you have a Pinterest addiction?  What are you in to pinning these days?

Brides, what do you love about your wedding venue?

How Yoga has Transformed Me

Guess what, guys?  I’m officially a yoga teacher!

Now that my teacher training is complete, I thought it would be an appropriate time to take a moment to reflect on how this month has changed me.

For the title of this post, I originally wrote “My Body.”  Then, I realized that yoga has changed more than that for me.

I am more flexible than I probably have ever been in my entire life.

Now, by yoga standards, I am still not very flexible.  My past as a runner has blessed me with some wicked tight hamstrings and hips.  However, I am truly amazed by how much daily practice can do in a relatively short about of time.  I went from barely getting my leg into half lotus, to a full lotus in less than a month.  In a forward fold or down dog, I sometimes almost fall into it because I expected my body to start resisting sooner.  🙂  It’s pretty cool.

My posture and standing position have improved.

Photo Credit: Mel Koossy, Shala Plus

Photo Credit: Mel Koossy, Shala Plus

Nearly from the start, I was much more conscious of my posture.  This has continued, and I definitely feel it has improved.

The more interesting part to me is my standing position.  I have been pretty sore throughout the training process, but this past week became downright uncomfortable.  I has continued into the past couple of days (which makes since, because I haven’t rested much).  Yesterday, I was really uncomfortable just standing for a relatively short time.  I was in comfortable shoes and just couldn’t figure out the problem.  Then, I glanced in the mirror and noticed that I had all my weight shifted into one hip (my choir teacher in high school used to call it “pissy girl hip,” haha).  Not very yoga.  So, I evened out the weight in both feet, and, BAM, discomfort went away.  Pretty wild.

I’m stronger.

I remember on one of the first days of training, we went through warrior sequence, in which we have to hold warrior one and two on each side of five full breaths.  I couldn’t do it in the beginning.  Now, I do it regularly, and I could definitely do it longer.  My chataranga is a huge improvement as well.

Photo credit: Mel Koossy, Shala Plus

Photo credit: Mel Koossy, Shala Plus

This part is probably my biggest thing I want to promote.  So many people (me included at one point) view yoga as “less” than a workout, as it is supposed to be relaxing and connect you to yourself.  Sure, it does that, but you also get super sweaty and toned in the process, with a method of yoga that is built for those results.

I’m more poised and take better care of myself.

I don’t know if I can completely attribute this to yoga, or if it is just the result of what I have learned recently with my life changes.  Regardless, I truly feel like a better version of me.  I take the time to think about what I need and how to achieve it.  There was a time, not so long ago, when if something didn’t work for me, I would just deal with it, because that is what I was supposed to do.  Now, I am not afraid to speak up or act if I need a change.

Small example:  On Friday, Danny and I went out to dinner to celebrate.  It was a bit of a rainy afternoon, so, although I wanted to sit outside, we opted for an indoor table since the patio was still pretty wet.  We got our table in the second level, and it was freezing.  Not comfortable at all.  Plus, the atmosphere was weird.

Not so long ago, I would have dealt with it and probably got pretty annoyed and cranky.  Instead, we pretty much immediately decided to leave and check out the patio to see if we could deal with the water.  It ended up being perfect!

I have more clarity.

This one is kind of hard to explain, but I feel like I am waaaay better at clearing my mind because of yoga.  I will say that meditation is still quite the challenge for me, but I am getting there.

I am really able to clear my mind while I am practicing, which is a great feeling.  I do notice this feeling stretching into my daily life as well, which is so refreshing.  I am the kind of girl whose mind can be swarmed with thoughts to the point that it makes me want to freak out, but I have really been able to quiet many of those things, due to yoga and some practice.

Photo credit: Mel Koossy, Shala Plus

Photo credit: Mel Koossy, Shala Plus

So, that’s the Marvelous in My Monday!  (I’m linking up with Katie).

What benefits have you gotten from yoga?

Is there another type of fitness that has given you similar benefits?  Let’s hear about it!

Three Films

My progress through the 10-day You Challenge is winding down!

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Today’s topic of discussion is three films.

I will just start off by saying that I am NOT a movie person.  My fiance, on the other hand, loves movies, and could watch them over and over…and over…and over.  Which brings me to my first movie…

1. Rocky

This movie is on TV all the time lately!  And my fiance will watch it every time.  I’m still OK with the stairs scene though, and I rarely pay attention to it anyway.  🙂

I guess I should be positive and point out that this movie has a good message.  I’m just sick of it, haha.

2. Up

I just love this movie!  When I saw it in the theater, I cried like a little girl.  Twice.

It has such a great message, it’s fun, and it makes you smile.  What more could you ask for in a movie?

3. The Hunger Games

Given my former middle school language arts teacher background, I’m a sucker for young adult books-turned-movies.  It is a rarity for me to find a movie that measures up to its book inspiration.  This movie was one of the few I thought measured up (as well as the movie could).  I also think Jennifer Lawrence was the perfect Katniss.  It’s also not often that I approve of a director’s choice of actor/actress to replace the character I built in my head.  🙂

When I do watch a movie, it typically has some criteria in order for me to approve…

  • It must be something both myself and my watching partner (typically my fiance) is at least slightly interested in.
  • If it is based on a book, I must have read the book first.  Seriously essential.
  • It can’t be scary or overly violent.  Those movies just aren’t fun for me.

What are some of your favorite movies?

Do you have criteria when it comes to approving of the movie choice?  What are they?