Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy Birthday Babylove

If you'd like to read all about the day Charlotte was born, or when I climbed my personal Everest click here _ I wanted to share my birth story to bring hope and inspire others that a natural un medicated midwife attended childbirth is possible and I was fortunate enough my body cooperated. So for my daughter on her second trip around the's a poem I wrote for her....

You came into the world on Easter morning

From that moment on I knew life would never be boring.

You had a pink little face and blonde little head

You wanted nothing more than to be changed and fed.

Now you are growing I wish time would stand still

It’s hard to describe the emotions I feel

When I look in your face I see a lot of me

You’ve showed me what patience and true love can be.

I’ve watched your master sitting up, crawling and walking

Each and every day you learn more words for talking.

Some days with you are amazing while others are tough

No one ever tells you all this mom stuff.

Your eyes light up when you see us and I love when you hug me

Who you’ll be in the future I cannot wait to see.

Now that you’re two you can do so much

From slides, to jumping and running you pack quite a punch.

I call you my baby because that’s what you’ll always be

Although I know you’ll get older and maybe someday tire of me.

You’re the best gift I’ve never asked for and I don’t deserve your love

I have to thank the universe and the stars up above

For sending me a daughter that’s so full of hope and joy and light

From the moment you were born it was love at first site.

So happy birthday daughter, my Charlotte, my babylove, my binksy boo

We love you so much – I’m so happy you’re two.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Evolution of Barbie hair

My sister has been begging me for years to do it. My husband would bring it up now and again and I’d always shoot the idea down. I like to think of myself as adventurous but not even the best of my friends could convince me. It finally took someone I see about once every 5 weeks to sway my opinion. She looked at me, begged me not to be mad, and told me what I had to do and after years of relenting I finally resisted.

I finally colored my platinum locks dirty blonde. 11 years of being a “hey-look-at-me” blonde now muted and understated.

I like change, in fact I welcome and even seek it out. The first time I went all over blonde I was in desperate need of a change. I had been highlighting my hair for a few years and had just gone through a devastating break up. I was living in Alabama, hated my job, had an apartment I could barely afford and the guy I was waiting for to graduate college just ended our 2 year relationship. My hair stylist at the time warned me that going all over blonde would be a lot of maintenance. She warned me that going so blonde would damage my hair and was a hobby and if I couldn’t afford that hobby not to bother. Coloring my hair felt like adopting a pet….I swore I would take care of it no matter how hard it would be and I wouldn’t fail on the job.

My hair dresser was right and my hair and I, we did have some hard times. I moved to Colorado for my flight attendant job and had a hard time finding a stylist that I liked and could afford on my $17 an hour job. I’d find girls that would do a great job and then quit their salon leaving no forwarding address. I had one touch up my roots then highlight with bleach causing it to be over-processed and fall out. I can look at pictures from 10 years ago and know exactly what state I was in by the length of my roots. When you live paycheck to paycheck and have no credit cards it’s hard to justify $200 on maintaining your hair. I struggled, I sacrificed, but I always found a way to keep my hair blonde as the sun. It’s changed and evolved as much as the hair dressers I had over the years. Sometimes it took on a more yellow hue, other people couldn’t seem to take it past orange. Color, it turns out, is a science and most hair dressers aren’t savvy enough to keep your locks in tact while using a 40 volume bleach. I’ve had my scalp burned so bad I had horrible 2nd degree scabs on my head from a job gone badly. My sister has often compared my hair to Barbie doll hair.

when I first moved to Denver
I found Candace Post at Foundations Salon through a mutual friend, who ironically enough we are both no longer friends with. She made me a deal the night I met her at a party that if I’d come in every 4 weeks she’d save my hair. “Your hair is orange” she said bluntly, “And it’s fried. We need to fix that.” The deal was too good to turn down so I took her card and found myself sitting in her salon chair a few weeks later. She was able to not only save the integrity of my hair but take it from orange to beautiful shades of platinum where it sometimes was almost purple. People would stop me and ask me if I was Swedish and stare in amazement and ask if that was my real color. When I became pregnant with my daughter my hair grew thick and longer than it had ever been. For the first time in my life I finally had the color, the length and the look I wanted and there was no more sacrifice.

Unfortunately pregnancy can not only wreck your body but also your hair. After Charlotte was born my hair began falling out in clumps and my shiny long hair became dull and brittle. Candace let me get away with it for a while then sat me down one day for the cold hard truth- we had to go darker. She thought I’d be mad but to her surprise I said OK. Yes, after years and years of bleach and processing and toners and clumps falling out it was time to let go.

I was ready.

A week after I went darker I was at a bar with my husband and one of his friends who remarked that his daughter, “Once had dirty blonde hair just like you.” This was the turning point for me. Of course we don’t look at ourselves in the mirror all the time so how we see ourselves becomes our interpretation of how others see us. My friend Dawnelle remarked that she loved the change in hair color and said it was an evolution of Yogi Magee. So I began to wonder, did changing my hair color change who I was? Could it change who I was?

I have to admit that comparatively I find myself a bit invisible now. I don’t feel like I stand out like I did before. People weren’t turning their heads to stare at me (which is both a good and bad thing) after I had my hair done this time. It was as if I put an invisible cloak on and started to walk about my life to see how people really saw me. For so long I held my identity in the color of strands of hair falling from my head and now I had to almost start over and redefine who I was…or rather who I always was and am.

Dawnelle was right, this was an evolution of my-self. Without the platinum blonde who else was I? I know I am a teacher and a student; I’m a mother and a wife. I’m a friend, sister, daughter, flight attendant, yogi and outdoors woman. I’m someone who hates to cook, loves to write and will never have twiggy legs. I can’t say that I was all of these things before I ever decided to go platinum but I’ve opened door after door to find who I am along the way.

The truth is, I was all of these things and it only took the right situations, people, spaces and city to bring out this version of myself. What I look like on the outside, what we look like on the outside, really has no bearing of what’s on the inside. For years I’ve wanted others to reflect who I wanted to be. I wanted others to see me as I saw me. I didn’t want to be the sad girl who was broken up with and living with her parents working a dead end job. Maybe I needed to color my hair 11 years ago to kick start what would evolve to the version of myself I am now…without that boost of confidence outwardly who knows where I’d be.

I can tell you now, I won’t have darker hair forever. I love the sunshine and light on my head and I’m sure I’ll be drawn back to it eventually when the time is right. For now, I’m enjoying the change outwardly which truly does reflect all the changes I’m going through on the inside. Perhaps that’s all that our appearances really are in the end…a manifestation of what’s happening inside…even if we’re a few years resistant.
having a baby kick started the next chapter of my life....everything's the same but everything's different just like my hair color...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I promise, it's not that bad.

Friends, fellow happiness seekers, as your best friend I have a truth bomb to drop on you that I want you to let absorb into every aspect of your life. Ready for it?

It’s not that bad.

Let that sink in a minute OK? Take a deep breath and inhale these words in and let them become your mantra for life…

It’s not that bad.

I know, I know, we love to make big deals out of occurrences in our daily lives. As human beings we almost crave the drama. We thrive on comparing our days and our activities with one another. I recently flew with a flight attendant who had only been on the job two years and took delight in re-enacting her personality conflicts with fellow flight attendants and passengers. She should have been an actress the way she’d swing the coffee pot  around and stomp her feet and furrow her brow telling me how the cops had to be called to resolve this and that incident. None of the stories she told to me, were that bad in retrospect. No one lost their life, no weapons were pulled on anyone else, there was no fist fights in the galley. I could blame her age of 23 but the truth is I know many people like this, myself included who tend to make mountains out of ant hills.

It’s not that bad.

Women, I believe are especially guilty of putting ourselves in a sinking boat. There are some days when my nearly two year old is beyond naughty. She throws her food on the floor, she throws toys off the balcony and across the room, she hits and she lays down on the ground when it’s time to leave the park in a fit of tears. I am exhausted and fed up and I become frazzled. It’s easy to think my life is tough in those moments and it is tough compared to my carefree childless days as a 20-something. Then I remind myself of a family friend who has a special needs child. Her child requires 8 hours of physical therapy a day which costs about $1400 a day and requires 4 hours of driving. That’s just the tip of the iceberg this family has to deal with because their child suffered from terrible jaundice that left her brain impaired.

I remind myself that as hard as my days are I have a husband who helps out. Let me just say that if you have a spouse you are not a single parent so please don’t even begin to compare yourself to single parents. If you have someone who calls you on their way home from work to see if you need anything while you’ve been home all day with a vomiting child; if you have someone who cooks you dinner so you can have a break before going to work all night; if you don’t have to get a babysitter just to attend happy hour or a wedding or a bridal or baby shower then you my friend are not a single parent. I also think it’s insulting to say, “I don’t know how single parents do it because….” It’s like anything you do it because you have too. Why do I fly stand-ups three nights in a row with 4 hours of sleep each night and come home and take care of my child all day, then teach spin then head back out to work? I do it because that’s where I’m at and that’s what I have to do. Some people are single parents by choice and others weren’t given one but those of us who have the support of another spouse should be grateful because trust me…

It’s not that bad. Even on your hardest day, you don’t have it that bad.

Life, my friends, for the most part, for the majority of us is pretty good. If you are able to travel and enjoy happy hours, to ride your bike, to meet friends for lunch, to enjoy a yoga class and occasionally read a book and grocery shop I’d say your life is pretty fantastic. Most of the world is living with struggles, real struggles that don’t include what latte to have at Starbucks or how much should you spend on your child’s birthday. Most of our drama that we encounter on a daily basis is self-created. We can eliminate this drama by simply saying no to what doesn’t serve us. Say no to toxic relationships, to toxic food, to jobs that poison and confrontations no one will win. If you start to open your eyes you’ll continually see forks in the road at every opportunity given to you.

It’s not that bad.

We love to play the victim, to see who will take pity on us and join us in the hole we dig for ourselves. We wait for someone to pull us out. Some of us wait a lot. We wait for the right job, the right love, the right anything to come our way before we think we can begin our lives. Well friend, here’s another truth bomb – life is happening all around you. Happiness is something we create for ourselves in our own reality it doesn’t come from anything external. I’ve met people with so much less than I have who are happier than myself and I’ve met friends who would give anything to have what I have in hopes that it will change their lives. The truth is, we all struggle, we all feel pain, we all have demons and we’re all mostly lonely people with hidden sides and some very dark sides.

But there’s so much more out there waiting for you if you just get out of that hole and start enjoying the sunshine.

Because friends, it’s not that bad. I promise you, life’s not.
I got this tattoo right before Valentine's Day. It reminds me that in life I've faced many difficulties, both people and things and my own self drama that's pulled me backwards. Ultimately all of it has prepared me to launch towards something greater. Of course the pain of it hurt but the pain, like all pain didn't last forever and now I'm stronger for it.

"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards so when life is dragging you back with difficulties it's really just preparing you to launch into something great."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

QiTopia Retreat at Mt. Princeton

The 19th through the 22nd of February I had the opportunity to be a part of something I had wanted to be a part of for the past two years. My home base yoga studio - QiFlow hosted their third annual QiTopia at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs in Buena Vista. QiTopia has featured different adventures and teachers each year but the basis for the retreat is to be an affordable yoga getaway that's within a two hour drive of Denver. The first year I was pregnant so I was unable to attend and the second year I couldn't make it happen so I was beyond thrilled to be ask to teach and lead a back country snow shoe hike this year.

Two of my greatest passions are teaching fitness and getting outside. When I hiked my first 14er here in Colorado all I could think was that learning to breathe in yoga class had prepared me more than I thought possible for that adventure. Prior to living in Colorado I was not a person who was into working out or interested in spending much time outdoors. Now my life has been changed so much from this state and I find a lot of peace and solitude in being outdoors. One of my greatest joys comes from being able to introduce others to exploration who normally wouldn't have the knowledge or gear to adventure on their own. When my boss Dawnelle asked if I was interested in leading two snowshoe hikes I jumped at the chance to be apart of this event.

I briefly toyed with the idea of hosting a snowshoe hiking and yoga retreat this winter so coming to QiTopia was a perfect fit. The hike was an add on to the retreat so we targeted those who had already signed up to join me for this additional adventure. I wasn't sure what the snow situation would be up there so we were taking a gamble, everyone involved, that this would actually be a go. I approached it, like I approach all of the risks I take in life that involve others - join me and let's see where it takes us. At the most you'll get to snowshoe and at the least you'll get a great hike in the backcountry in and meet new people. Dawnelle also put me on the schedule to teach a yoga for hikers and climbers class that would follow my first day snowshoe trek.

Upon arriving at Mt. Princeton on Thursday there wasn't a lot of snow on the ground but I was hopeful. My husband and I decided to drive past the resort and scout out the trailheads I wanted to use. The hikes had to be about 2 hours roundtrip so I picked the Narrow Gauge Railroad Trail and segment 14 of the Colorado Trail which were both about 2 miles down the road. Thursday's hike had more signed up so I chose the Colorado Trail segment to lead them on. We met at 6am with the goal being to hike at sunrise and catch it coming up over the mountains. The first part of the trail didn't have any snow which concerned me a little but once we crossed over a road and into the back country we found plenty of snow to hike in. There were many moments where snow covered the trail so much I had to guess based on the snow drifts which direction to go but we ended up topping out at a gorgeous overlook. There were quite a few switchbacks and significant elevation gain so I recommend this hike to anyone wanting to get their heart rate up whether summer or winter hiking. My assistant and friend Stephanie headed up the rear which was great because not everyone was quick enough to make it to the top with the first faster group.

Saturday's hike had snow from the very beginning and was a straight shot from one end to the other. The trail was site of an old railroad line that connected Nanthrope to St. Elmo. I have been back in the area for hiking the 14ers Antero and Mt. Princeton but never even knew these popular but off the road hikes existed so it was wonderful to see these 14ers from a different viewpoint. We had a smaller group Saturday and everyone pretty much stuck together allowing for a lot of chit chatting and getting to know you. What I enjoyed most was hiking with all these women from different backgrounds who enjoy the outdoors as much as I do now. It's always hard for me to find willing hiking partners and so I more than enjoyed my time in the backcountry over the weekend. While I only got to take two classes at the retreat myself, I felt more than satisfied with how my time was spent at Mt. Princeton.

Teaching yoga in the mountains, being there with my husband and daughter and sharing a cabin with some old and new friends was the highlight of my weekend. To be paid to do what you love is something I never thought would happen to me and I'm glad I took the chance to pursue my dreams. Joining in on QiTopia was wonderful because I had the backing of my studio and the established group of students to target so there wasn't as much pressure to "sell." After running my own retreat in Telluride I know just how hard the journey of marketing a retreat can be and the effort it takes to put into having your participants leave with unforgettable memories.


Now I have two more retreats to look forward to - one in Belize with Erin Wimert that has two spots left (April 11-18th) and my Telluride Yoga + Hiking Retreat August 12-16th which just went live to accept sign ups. Information for both of these retreats are on my website under the retreat tab. I hope that with each new experience teaching away from the studio and in the "wild" I will learn, grow, meet more like-minded adventure seekers and open doors for future retreats and opportunities. I remember my first yoga retreat and how it changed my life and opened my eyes to celebrating yoga in all forms in different parts of the world. My wish is that same experience I can provide will inspire and enchant others....