Thursday, December 11, 2014

How to not raise an a-hole

This morning I was at Walgreen’s ordering some prints through the photo kiosk with Charlotte. Errands like this I try to steer clear of with her because her attention span can be short. After sitting quietly in the chair by the photo booth a few minutes she wanted down so I let her play in the aisle because it was early and no one was in the store. About ten minutes into this social experiment a lady walked passed and remarked how well behaved Charlotte was. I turn around and see her organizing the bags of chips and candy canes on the shelves. “That made my day!” said the lady and then I overheard her telling the cashier, “Most children make a mess and that little girl was helping!” On our next errand of the morning another employee at a store commented on how friendly Charlotte was. “Most kids are so shy,” she said. “I’ve never seen one smile so much and be so forward at that age.”

You would think all this good behavior would elicit piles of presents from Santa under our tree. Last year was Charlotte’s first Christmas and at 9 months she didn’t really grasp the concept. This year she’s a little older and enjoys the tree in our house and had no tears sitting on Santa’s lap but she still isn’t old enough to know one day is more celebrated than the next. While we’ve bought Charlotte a few items I have to confess to you this – Charlotte isn’t getting hardly anything for Christmas.

It’s not that we don’t love her or can’t afford it, it’s quite the opposite. My husband and I are leading by example and we want her to grow up to be someone who doesn’t place her self-worth in material possessions. A few years ago our families started a tradition of dirty santa gift giving where instead of buying each other things we play a game involving gag gifts. There’s no awkward “oooh’s” and “ahhh’s” and we don’t bust our bank accounts buying each other items we can afford on our own. My husband and I don’t exchange traditional gifts but instead decide on a joint experience we want to invest in. One year we bought a house, another a trip to San Diego and then another a trip to Costa Rica for me for a yoga retreat. This year we’ve decided to save our money to ski in Telluride and fill our stockings to each other with miscellaneous small items of necessity. I know Charlotte gets her outgoing personality and love of cleaning and organizing from me and it already manifests itself in her world. I’m hoping that as she grows up in a home that puts emphasis of family time and travel that she’ll appreciate the gift of experiences rather than items that can be found on store shelves.

I do not believe you have to spank or punish your children in order for them to grow into good people. I don’t think violence and yelling and fear helps solve anything. I know Charlotte is her own person and she will grow into who she was intended to be but I can still lead by example. If I were to weigh 300lbs and try to teach group fitness, none of my students would listen or take me seriously. I have to motivate them by leading a healthy lifestyle on my own. I feel the same is true for our children and that they will follow in the path we’ve carved out for them whether that’s one of positivity or darkness.

There’s far too much entitlement from children in our society today and the problem is in our parenting. As a parent it’s our jobs to make sure our children are taught values and morals and raised in a home that’s loving and supportive. We can’t reward bad behavior or it will manifest into taking advantage. Our children don’t need more things they need our time and attention. Mental illness isn’t anything new but it’s our job to recognize problems before they spiral out of control. Take your children on trips to see the world so the realize how privileged they are and be kind to others so your children aren’t bullies. Raising a child is tough but what we need to realize as parents is that so much of a child’s behavior isn’t taught it’s mimicked. Charlotte says hi to others because I do. She pets animals “nice” because that’s how she was taught. She loves to read because I’ve been reading to her every night since she was a newborn. These are all moments that require my time not my money and these memories will extend far past the Christmas tree being taken down.

It’s like that line from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (one of my favorites) – maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store…maybe Christmas means a little bit more. Parents I’m telling you what your child needs for Christmas cannot be bought. Don’t stress out if your tree doesn’t have a gazillion (that’s a real measurement btw) presents underneath it like you see others have. Give your child the gift of spending time as a family – going to the zoo together, having a brunch date, learning how to ski or a trip to see the ocean. You’ll teach your child what is important is time and love and moments with family that can’t be replaced. When they see us shop and buy and want we teach them to ask and want as well. I can tell you this from my childhood that my parents went overboard almost every year buying us gifts and the only present I really remember is my ferret and cabbage patch doll. You know what I do remember? Our family cruise and seeing movies and eating Chinese food on Christmas Eve.

So how do you raise a child who turns into a decent human being? I don’t have the answers because I’m still learning every day. I can tell you this though the qualities others admire in Charlotte are the ones I like most about myself and the best I can do is lead by example every day. Stop buying and start loving that’s my advice this holiday season. Experience things don’t own them. Enjoy your children because like Christmas….it comes and goes quick and every year you’re another year older when it does.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The best attitude towards gratitude? Be thankful for what you don't have

Gratitude is an attitude and the week of Thanksgiving always serves as a reminder for us to be thankful. Watching an episode of “Extreme Couponers Black Friday Edition,” last night reminded me however, that most of us are still never satisfied with all that we have. On this reality show I watched as women who were, most likely counting their blessings the day before, stood in line shoulder to shoulder at big box retailers counting their money to shell out on things. Some were shopping for needy families which is a wonderful idea but others simply couldn’t pass up buying $100 worth of leggings and crock pots so they could get a free coin purse (true story). So what exactly are we thankful for? How does gratitude shape our attitude? I’ve had an exceptional year as I know many of my friends have filled with loss and gain, tears and adventures and I have to say when it comes down to it everything that happened to me this year happened for me.

I’m grateful for pain as a teacher. Without tears I wouldn’t know what it means to smile. I’m grateful for the loss of friends. People I would have never evicted from my life if the universe hadn’t shifted for me. I’m grateful for losing my house in the decision to sell it so I could know what having a home truly means. I’m thankful I can look back on my old house with fondness and even drive by there now and again when I feel nostalgic. I’m grateful for coming close to losing my job so that I can assess if flying is truly what I want to do or it’s just a bookmark before the next chapter. I’m thankful for when my daughter is sick so I can appreciate having a healthy child 99% of the time. I’m grateful for the cracks that show up in my marriage and getting a tiny peek into what life would be life without my husband. I’m thankful for the fights I have with my family because at least I have a family I can communicate with even if we don’t always agree. The scratches in my furniture and hair on the floor remind me how thankful I am for my pets even if I KNOW they love me more than I could ever love them.

I’m grateful for my friends who have become mothers themselves this year for the first or second time. I am happy to see their love grow as much as I am the dark circles under their sleepless eyes. I’m grateful they have the opportunity to have stretch marks and baby weight and months of abstaining from alcohol to breast feed because being a mother is a job the universe doesn’t grant everyone. I’m grateful for my friends who have gone through sickness this year so they can know what it’s like to be surrounded by love and support. I’m thankful for them to find their strength in a dark time in their lives and a voice for the illnesses they battle. When you know someone who has a parent, child or is fighting themselves it puts life in perspective on what truly matters in this world. I’m grateful for my friends who don’t keep in touch because it reminds me communication works both ways and I need to put in more effort.

I could say I’m grateful for my own health and all the things I have but in truth it’s the times I’ve gone without that have truly made me thankful. A sore throat gives me gratitude for the days I’m well and a bank account that’s lacking reminds me to enjoy the times I can buy a coffee without checking my balance first. Gratitude to me isn’t an attitude of relishing in my abundance it’s about the attitude I have when the universe smacks me down. How I get up from a fall teaches me more of a lesson than being untouchable on top. We can all be grateful for what we have…it’s harder to be thankful for what we do not.

So thank you pain for being a teacher. For the tears and the sorrow this year. Thank you work for making me fly on weekends so I know what it is to enjoy my family time. Thank you Charlotte for being difficult some days so I can look at you when you’re finally asleep with appreciation. Thank you opportunities that were never handed to me so I could make my own. My attitude has greatly shifted this year from one of entitlement to one of working hard to have what I need in love, jobs, yoga, friendships and family. It’s good to have nothing, to start over. To borrow from Brue Lee, ““Emptiness is the starting point. — In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup. My friend, drop all your preconceived and fixed ideas and be neutral. Do you know why this cup is useful? Because it is empty.”

Drop everything. Let life fill you up. Be grateful for an empty cup and see what life puts in there for you…and when it gets full? Dump it out and start over.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Just be in it

The other night I attended a yoga class – the first I’ve been to in a while. You’d think being a yoga instructor I’d be class all the time but I often spend more time taking care of everyone else over myself. Now that I don’t have a lot of free time to dedicate to my practice I really cherish every moment. I listen to what the teacher has to say and I enjoy every moment on my mat. My instructor was teaching back bends amidst a complex flow and midway through the class she said something that has stuck with me. “Don’t fight it, just be in it.”

Stop fighting it. I’ve been applying these words to my life off the mat currently although it’s not easy. When I think back on how I arrived at my current position in life the process of standing in what’s difficult has been all that’s ever gotten my through. When I arrived in Denver in May 2005 my life was a mess. A few months prior the guy I had been dating for two years broke up with me – a humbling experience everyone should live through at least once. Not soon after my breakup I was fired from my job – another life lesson I believe a person needs to go through - which was complicated by the fact I’d just leased an apartment. When I lost these things I had nothing left to loose which opened me up to the opportunity to go to flight attendant training in Salt Lake City. The day I was leaving for training a dump truck driver re-ended me at a red light and my recently purchased vehicle was totaled (this is not a life changing event I recommend). What I thought was important at the age of 25 were things that could all be replaced and by losing what I had I was open to gaining so much more.

By the time I had lost my job I had stopped fighting which made losing my car and then leaving my whole life in Alabama behind easier. I was no longer trying to swim upstream and against the currents of the universe I was letting it take me where it may and trusting I wouldn’t drown. Not fighting doesn’t mean you are apathetic – indeed it’s the complete opposite. Being in the situations life gives you instead of running from or numbing the experience gives one total clarity. In yoga when you stand in a pose instead of fighting the pose you start to transcend the asana. You start to allow yourself to feel the tightness of your hip flexors or the pain in the arches of your feet and the freedom of your chest cracking wide open. You don’t let go, you let what’s happening take place and realize the sensation won’t be forever. Ever have a cavity filled at the dentist? Where you wanted to jump out of the chair and run but you knew you couldn’t because the place where there was decay wouldn’t be filled? So you sit still and wait until you’re free again knowing the pain of not going through the journey would be a lot worse than what you’re currently enduring.

In trying to live my yoga every day I’ve realized there are a lot of aspects in my life lately where I’ve had to just be in it and stop fighting. Friendships have dissolved because I’ve stopped fighting with the belief that friendships should be easy. I have one friend I haven’t seen since Charlotte was six weeks old and yet we talk on the phone all the time like there’s no distance between us. Another has offered unwavering support based on the fact that there’s nothing I can do in her eyes that’s so awful we couldn’t be friends. Work is work and life is work so friendships should add to the quality of your existence. I stand in my relationships and I’m learning to stop fighting people because there’s no benefit to this. On my mat when I fight to stay in a pose I usually end up hurt but when I move with grace I can open to it.

Everything I thought I had lost when I moved to Denver came back to me in a new form. What I had before I struggled to have and I fought to keep. When this happens, the universe knows we are only harming ourselves and seems to step in and do the work for us. I have started to think of my life in the abstract terms of standing on the bow of a ship. Sometimes the water is smooth and the skies are clear and the sun warms me and I’m comfortable. Other times there’s hurricane force winds and waves and water trying to knock me down. If I let go, I’ll fall overboard and drown but if I stand in the seat of uncomfortable I’ll soon be free. As my yoga teacher reminded me during my practice, it’s better to stop struggling and see what happens then abandon hope all together. Let me tell you it isn’t easy to stand on the bow of that ship….but that’s where the best views are along the way.

danurasana - a pose dedicated to letting go of the struggle and being free

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Beginnings

Moving has to be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life. When I first moved to Colorado I had three suitcases and that was all. I slept on an air mattress in a two bedroom apartment I shared with three other girls with sheets from Wal-Mart. Almost ten years later I’ve moved nine times and accumulated a husband, daughter, dog and cat along with various other material possessions. I hate moving with a passion because it involves asking others for help and I’m always embarrassed having someone else see how much I have. In February we sold our home and moved into a rental and I’m happy to report after 7 offers, hundreds of houses seen and a few tears we closed and moved on to our newest endeavor. We hired movers, we threw away what didn’t serve us and we said good-bye to city living to head back to the suburbs. I’ve finally emerged from the endless tedious task of unpacking, painting and decorating to finally sit and enjoy our new home.

Moving with a child is an experience like no other. Not only do you have another person’s stuff to move and sort through but you also have someone who’s constantly in your way needing attention. This house we bought wasn’t like our previous “turn-key” purchase so we needed to do work on it before we moved in. Painting, flooring, carpeting – all these tasks we hired professionals to take care of but other projects we tackled ourselves. The house was not up to code and working in a construction zone with a toddler is a less than ideal way to spend a Saturday. There were many moments where I’d play entertainer while my husband endeavored to make the house safe. We painted and got paint on all of us in the process (even the dog). We ate apples from the apple tree in the back yard. We winced every time Charlotte got too near the stairs begging her not to fall down them and we took turns playing referee while moving – intercepting Charlotte when she got near the road. She slept in a pack in play in the kitchen while we painted upstairs and we all had a few nights in the basement freezing with open windows willing the polyurethane on the floors upstairs to dry faster. This move and renovation has been both chaotic and a test of our strength and love as a family. To commit to buy a house with someone is one choice…to trust them taking down dry wall is a leap of faith. Picking out paint, questioning each other’s abilities as do-it-yourselfers and working hard so you don’t go in debt too much for it all…well that’s the stuff that can pave the road to divorce.

Through it all though my main concern was my daughter. I worried for her because we weren’t devoting the time to her that we normally would. Naps were interrupted for trips to the hardware store and the pack and play was used on more than one occasion to contain her while we worked. At 18 months I know she won’t remember this time in her life but its heart breaking to have someone want you to hold them when you can’t at the moment. I felt I was making a wonderful home but at the expense of being a lousy mother and that didn’t sit well with me. It was bad enough we didn’t even have a microwave to warm her milk in the morning or a stove to cook her eggs…she didn’t need to miss out on being hugged and loved too.

I was reminded by someone, in my anguish about this conundrum, that what I’m doing now IS important. I’m making my daughter a home, a safe place she can grow up in where she’ll have wonderful memories. The house she was brought home from the hospital too will never be on her horizon and she’ll only see pictures of herself celebrating her first birthday in the rental but this, this house will be her home for (hopefully) most of her life. She will have birthday’s here and celebrate Christmas, bring friends over and spend summers laying on our deck. When I was little I can remember moving exactly once (although I know it was actually twice) and I hope that’s the same for my daughter. She will have plenty of time in her adult life to pack and unpack, throw away and acquire and deal with landlords and roommates but for now she can be comfortable in one spot.

In life I realize there are many events that occur that steal our time. Perhaps it’s a new job, a new love, a training or move. These life changing events may give us a chance to begin again or venture down a new path but the consequence is we don’t always have time for everything else in life we enjoy or love. What I find myself trying to remind my husband (and me) is that it isn’t forever. This stage, this growth, this moving forward and on – it isn’t forever. In the grand scheme of life this move is a tiny pin dot on my life map. Charlotte won’t remember and in a few years neither will I. You never do remember the moment’s in-between, the hard stuff, the uphill climb, the constant hitting of the pavement. You remember the view from the finish line, the summit of the mountain, the ease at which life is after. Tornados will come into your life and they will rock your world and leave a mess in its wake but you’ll pick up what you want and move forward. I won’t say enjoy the ride because sometimes you won’t. Sometimes it will be that roller coaster that you keep your eyes closed on the whole time until it’s over because you can’t stand where you are. And that’s OK my friends. Because at some point you’ll open your eyes and begin again.

Here’s to new beginnings.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Why do we care about hair?

Hair. We cut it, color it, shave it, wax it, pin it up and let it down. Hair can be become the calling card of who we are or something we hide behind. We make many judgments about others, both men and women based on their hair. I know personally whenever I see someone else with rainbow colored locks I instantly think they are someone who’s creative and likes to take risks (and also doesn’t have a 9-5 day job). Dreadlocks might signify a person is a hippy with a relaxed, laid back lifestyle. Baldness on a woman might mean she’s battling cancer though on a man it can be dignified without the same assumption. Long hair (think supermodel Giselle Bundchen) can be a status and sex symbol while women with short hair can be labeled in a way that has nothing to do with her sexual orientation. Having platinum blonde hair leaves me open to judgment as well but to quote Dolly Parton, “I’m not offended at all by the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb…and I also know that I’m not blonde.”

Recently it’s come to my attention that this judgment of what covers our head starts before we are even walking or talking. Charlotte, my 18 month old daughter was born with about as much head on her head as I have on my arms. A year and a half later she has more teeth than hair or eyebrows and what she does have is so light and thin it can only really be seen while wet. To me her lack of hair is exciting – it makes her blue eyes pop in photos and I still get to treasure that first haircut moment. I glued bows on her head when she was an infant but now she’s gotten so she’ll pull anything off her head so I don’t fight it. To me, she’s beautiful. To the general public she’s a boy.
I tried my best to dress her gender appropriate then I realized it didn't matter

From the cashier at Trader Joe’s to the carpet installer at Lowe’s, almost everyone we meet outside of friends and family calls Charlotte a “little dude.” She can be wearing all pink in a dress and it still doesn’t matter. If I dress her in something blue or orange then forget about it. I once was offended but now I’m amused. Society has a fascination with hair it seems and we have gone so far to use it to identify genders. I’ve had friends with cancer who have lost their hair and they’ve spent a great deal of time agonizing about the loss of their hair. For most women, identity is tied to their mane and the loss of it can leave one feeling less feminine. I know women who’ve cried from cutting their hair too short because, “I don’t want to look like a boy!” and I know men who’ve confided they hated pixie cuts on their spouse or other women. “She use to be hot…until she cut her hair.”

Seriously…why do we care so much about hair?

I’ve battled with my hair all my life. Mine is thin, it doesn’t grow past shoulder length and I never wake up with it looking perfect. My hair doesn’t air dry pretty and it doesn’t look good when it hasn’t been washed. I’ve had my hair short, I’ve let it grow long, it’s been dirty blonde, I’ve had highlights, it’s been orange and now it’s platinum on its way to ash blonde. When I was pregnant it grew thick and the longest it’s ever been and I enjoyed braiding my hair for the first time in probably 20 years. After Charlotte was born and the pregnancy hormones left my body it began to fall out in clumps. I’ve never had chemotherapy but I can imagine the horror of having your hair fall out if it was anything like what I experienced. I started taking supplements and I’ll let you in on a secret, I even got hair extensions to thicken it up. Hair extensions are not as awesome as you’d think they are – they fall out, they pull, you have to cover up the tape where it’s glued in and that’s not easy to do when you have 3 inch pieces of hair from breakage. I’ve been coloring my hair platinum for probably 10 years and I’ve never had breakage or unruly hair this horrible since having a baby.
bows and blondes before my hair started falling out

Between my bald baby and my broken falling out hair, Charlotte and I make quite a pair when we go out.
Charlotte, in all her perfection, is a girl and a beautiful one. Her identity is not tied to her hair because she’s not even aware she’s missing out. Her smile, her personality, her gentle nature and her laugh are what make her beautiful not what she’s wearing or what’s sprouting out of her head. She’s taught me a lesson in, what’s the big deal with hair? In our lifetime we will go through many hair changes and it’s important to remember not to become attached. Hair will fall out, it will change colors and eventually turn grey and it will probably stop growing. Some of us, like my grandmother, will worry about how our hair looks until the day we die. My southern belle of a granny put all her stock into how her hair looked and if it wasn’t done she always said she felt a mess. She probably spend hundreds of thousands of dollars over her lifetime on keeping her hair perfectly coifed. She kept her hair dresser as busy as I keep mine. When she passed away she was cremated so what her hair looked like then didn’t even matter. What people said about her at her funeral had more to do with how she was as a person than her appearance.

So my point is, enjoy your hair but know it’s not the core of who you are. Platinum blonde is my signature look and I’ll probably never deviate far from that no matter what the cost. I don’t care if people judge me by what’s on my head because chances are their assumptions are wrong anyway. Think of your hair as a decorative accent like paint is to a house. Nothing has to be on the walls or you can enhance them with whatever color you choose but at the end of the day no one really cares as much as you. Others can have their opinions but you’re the one living in that space so make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

As I’ve learned from Charlotte, if you don’t have hair…a little smile can go a long ways…


And there’s always hats. Thank God for hats.

Monday, October 6, 2014

It's been 29.5 years....welcome back....maybe

Welcome back Saturn. In case you don’t follow astrology Saturn has returned. To me astrology is like a handbook for life. Many times I feeling I’m wandering aimlessly through my life making irrational self-destructive decisions and worrying and holding on to people, ideas and possessions that I shouldn’t. I have had moments lately where I put my head in my hands and cry (and yes sometimes scream and yell as well) because I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing or why I feel so out of control. So I literally look to the stars and what do I find but that after 29.5 years Saturn has come back to meet my natal Saturn. The planet, because of its proximity, takes 29.5 years to orbit the sun and so for most people they only see the return two or three times in their life. The Saturn Return is described as a wake-up call which is why so many, myself included fear its realities.

Maybe you don’t believe in astrology or that your birth sign and the planets being in and out of alignment could have anything to do with the outcome of your life. None of us are born with an instruction booklet on how we should journey through life of course. Yet do a little research on star signs and you’ll see your life and the decisions you make are anything but random. Saturn, as I’ve learned often creates a crisis that puts you face-to-face with your fears. Everyone I know seems to be having a crisis lately. It’s also said that Saturn causes a mini earthquake to the foundations which enables one to shake off what’s not really authentic. Saturn’s other alias is the Lord of Karma and its return signals an opportunity to become your own authority. Saturn is the instigator of change and its meant to lead us towards healing and the real foundation of the self.
nature reminds us change can be beautiful

I could use a little healing myself these days.

Astrologers say it’s important to, “Do your Saturn,” which means taking steps to master the qualities of your Saturn sign. So I did a little research on a site called which plugs in your birth date, city, and name to map out your astrological chart. I must say I was blown away by the results. This isn’t horoscopes in the back of a fashion magazine, this is a mapped out guide to yourself based on birth. What I learned about myself was nothing entirely new, but the descriptions were a sobering reminder that who I am was born in the stars.

“You love to be the center of attention and you want to appear strong, confident, and dominant.” – I think my sister and husband would agree with this trait which often gets me into trouble.

“You require strenuous situations in order to grow and mature properly, even though you try to avoid them.” – I’m constantly told I make my life harder than it is in my approach to situations and relationships. I apparently enjoy the stress.

“You tend to talk on at times seemingly just to fill space” – Yes and more yes. It’s an annoying habit of mine I know.

“You are very obsessive and compulsive in your approach to things.” – Hiking 14ers immediately comes to mind…when I find an activity I like I become compulsive about whatever that may be.

“You enjoy administering and organizing group activities. You love to entertain in a big way” – Have you been on one of my retreats or to a Magee soiree? I have been throwing parties since high school.

My astrology map was of course even longer than the aforementioned but these little tidbits stuck out. There was even suggestions about me controlling my talking, focusing on personal relationships and avoiding being too much of a show off. Reading this was like a slap in the face from the universe; a refreshing acknowledgement to who I am and who I’ve always been and who I’ll continue to be.

Saturn returning has been a huge wakeup call for me. I had become complacent in so many areas of my life without even realizing. There are many days I’ve cried thinking I’m failing as a mother, a wife, daughter, and friend. Yet, like the I-Ching says, chaos is another name for opportunity. Saturn is trying to lead me towards myself and I’ve been running away. In myth, Saturn is also the God of the Harvest and like a harvest the old is being cut away which feels like a death of the self. Death is never easy to cope with but it also bring about rebirth and a new chapter and start. I can use this time in my life as an opportunity to plant new seeds and manifest new growth. I will always be who I am, but the bad habits and mistakes of my past don’t have to follow me into my future.

In yoga class the other day my teacher, Dawnelle, talked about how we need to step out of the shadow we create for ourselves. I realize now that I have cast a pretty large shadow which I’ve been walking in as of lately. I’ve let others views of me cloud my vision of who I know I am and it’s taken a toll both mentally and physically. My yoga teacher reminded me there is no good or bad that’s just labels we put on each other and situations. We are all just regular people trying to make it in life and out of the stars we were created and will one day return. Closing on a new house Friday I know that now is time for new beginnings and fresh starts. We have been stuck in this purgatory of in-between for a while and now we move forward (literally and physically). Even the house we bought will get new paint, carpet, flooring and with it a new life and memories. Our physical bodies are much in the same – the exterior remains but what’s inside can shift, change, be dusted off and cleaned to a more inhabitable space.

I will always be who I am but with this new awareness I can be the best version of myself.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Some Summer

Summer, in Colorado, usually kicks off with my birthday in May. When I lived in Alabama summer usually crept in around March and lingered until September or sometimes even October. Unlike the south Colorado doesn't have a long stretch of hot summer days and it's not unusual for us to have snow here in May or September. When you love hiking 14ers like I do then the season seems even shorter so I always feel pressed to get in as much Colorado outdoors as I can while the weather is sweet. Last year Charlotte was only 6 weeks old when May rolled around so I felt cheated out of my usual summertime activities. I loved having all my time off with Charlotte but wasn't about to get out as much due to her being so little and breast feeding. This was my year of redemption, my summer of family, friends and fun. Adventures were to be had and I aimed to travel and explore as much as I could.

Well friends, I believe I succeeded in this task. I could write you a blog ten years long about all the amazing people I met, the experiences I had and the miles traveled. Or I could show you in photos because I believe these photos truly capture the heart of what my summer was. Fall has officially arrived so I feel it's the perfect opportunity to reflect back on these past few months...say good-bye to the hot summer days and welcome a new season of change.

Kicking off the summer...was my birthday celebrated with a surprise trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming:

With a side trip to Yellowstone National Park and seeing Old Faithful.

There were many concerts at Red Rocks including my mom's first show there seeing One Republic
A trip to Michigan where my camera met it's fate in the lake

And two attempts before finally summiting Mt. of the Holy Cross 14,009ft

Many 4:14am wake-up calls to teach booty bootcamp, to climb the incline and run a 5k

And relaxing times in Monterey to visit my sister and brother in-law
But mostly there were a lot of weekends I spent driving and getting up at 3am to do this:

kit carson and challenger

pyramid peak
Mt. Harvard

Mt. Bierstadt
 Five 14ers in one summer plus one repeat summit equals about 83 miles in mountain hiking on foot

Of course there was my yoga + hiking retreat in Telluride which pretty much capped off my Summer


This was the summer of sunrises, sunsets, mountains, traveling and adventure. Most and best of all I didn't let having a baby slow me down I let her strengthen me by joining us. She enjoyed plane rides, camping trips and oceans. Charlotte is the reason I get outdoors and enjoy my life so she in turn can enjoy hers and all this earth has to offer.

I've journeyed all over the world and I have to say there's nothing like coming home to Colorado. You don't have to go far for beautiful scenery, new experiences or making new friends. Every year I live here I feel it just keeps getting better and better and as I say good-bye to summer I welcome fall and the rest 2014 has to offer

Coloradical is hOMe

Friday, September 26, 2014

Belize Yoga Retreat Registration Now Open! Don't miss your chance!

Retreats. We all deserve one. Imagine a space where you can completely unwind and relax. A spot on earth where you can not only focus on yourself but also your yoga practice. Imagine combining 4 nights in the jungle filled with Mayan ruins and jaguars with 3 nights on a private island spent snorkeling the second largest barrier reef in the world and watching the sunrise and set. Wouldn't it be nice to get away to a place where your airfare, transfers and food are taken care of for you? A place where you didn't have to worry about anything because everything is taken care of for you. A place you don't even have to travel to with a friend because you'll make new ones on the adventure of a lifetime. Well I'm here to tell you that such an journey exists and all you have to be willing to do is step into the wild and join us....

My friend Erin Wimert and are thrilled to be hosting a yoga retreat in Belize in April 2015. From the 11-18 we will practice yoga twice a day, snorkel, zipline, explore caves via river tubing, and hike to Mayan ruins. $195 reserves your spot, of which we only have 16 and the total cost is $2995 if you sign up before December 11th 2014. All you have to worry about is your packing and yoga mat as once you sign up everything else is taken care of for you. Although this is a yoga retreat you don't even have to be good at or participate in any of the yoga if you choose not to. After all this is your retreat, your time to focus on yourself and your personal journey and so you make it your own!

Won't you join us? Sign up here:

Have any questions? email me at

Your adventure awaits!

Letting the rest fall away

One can’t deny that fall is in the air. Somewhere in the beginning of September it begins to creep in whether that’s through pumpkin spice latte’s at Starbuck’s or the cooler nights. Colorado’s Aspen trees change from green to a brilliant yellowish gold seemingly overnight and people flock from all over to see them. I went hiking this weekend and at, 12,000 feet was greeted with flakes of snow as a reminder winter is on its way. Some of the willow bushes we hiked through had already lost their leaves and the alpine grass was beginning to turn brown. Nature is not hurried in its transition and the leaves know when it’s time to fall from their branches. This is my favorite time of year because the colors outdoors are so vibrant and the chill in the air makes me turn inward. It’s a time for hot coffee, hot yoga and introspection. Fall is also the perfect time to begin letting go of what no longer serves us.

Nature does a great job of letting go. As humans we’re not so great at this. Imagine if trees clung to their leaves like we cling to people and things we think we need. If the old leaves, flowers or fruit never fell off, new ones wouldn’t take their place and there’d be no room for the growth. Eventually decay would set in and the tree would die. The beauty is in the changing and the growth. People wouldn’t travel across Colorado to see a grove of trees that remained the same.

For my personal growth I’m learning to let go of the people in my life who no longer serve me. As a mom and wife I’m realizing my circle of friends has to become smaller. I confess that I just don’t have time for everything and everyone. Between my job as a yoga teacher and fitness instructor, flying, promotions for Pressery juice and running my own expedition business I just do not have the energy for what doesn’t add to my life. Lately I have found myself constantly stressed with worry about what other people think about me and it had me questioning who I am. I’ve thought a lot about the mother and wife and friend I want to be and who can add to this growth. I am unapologetically “ME” and as I journey through life I realize this often doesn’t sit well with everyone. People have tried to change me, to mold me, to influence me, to ruin me, to gossip about me and to hurt me over the years and it’s hurt my growth. Why do we get so bent on changing others and wanting them to live up to our standards?

Imagine if you went into your garden and started taping apples into your spruce tree hoping it would become an apple tree. No matter how much you yell at the tree, no matter how many apples you tape to its branches, no matter what you put in the soil or cut off that spruce it will still remain what it has been since it was a seed. That particular tree serves its purpose in your yard however and you just have to appreciate what you have for what it is. Your friends, family and loved ones are just in the same.

While we cannot change one another we can move on from the past. We can cut the dead leaves off and continue forward with growth for the future. If you came to my house you’d see I have a tendency to be a hoarder of greeting cards and cannot help but keep every sentiment given to me. I tend to treat people in the same way, and even if I know someone shouldn’t take up that space in my life I have a hard time letting go. I tend to be so non-confrontational that I’d rather let other people empty themselves from my life rather than clear the clutter myself. However, having a daughter now has taught me that I need to live by a different set of standards. Imagine if I filled her room with all of my stuff so she didn’t even have a place of her own. That’s how I feel about my free time and my heart….I cannot keep so much in there that there’s no room for her or my husband or the friends that really matter. By carving out space for the people I love there’s more room for them and less for drama.

I read a great article in a decorating magazine about a minimalist decorator. He lived in a 900 square foot house and didn’t have room for anything unnecessary and he loved this way of living. He said that by having such a small space he could display the items he found from his travels that were the most special and important. These items on display became the focal point in his tiny space. When people came to visit they could clearly see what was important to him because there wasn’t a bunch of clutter to take away from what was special.

Redecorating your life and the walls of your heart isn’t a terrible thing. As the seasons change it’s a wonderful time to clear the clutter from your personal life. Think about what and who matter to you and start with this. Build your life around those that make you happy and forget the rest. After all, you’re the one who has to live in the space…make sure what you’re looking at is what’s most important.