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Oh Hey it’s Monday! March 13

March 13, 2017

unnamedIf you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that I just spent three glorious days at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health with my best friend Heather.

My sister has been a Kripalu employee for many years in their Healing Arts department, and I’m embarrassed to admit that this was the first time I’ve come to visit this amazing place. We spent the week attending the R&R events (yoga classes, lectures, etc.), eating delicious meals (they even have silent breakfasts!), and truly embraced the term “rest & relax”.  Kripalu has many rules for your weekend, one of which is no cell phones, so we spent the weekend with our phones set down and away. When was the last time you discounted from your phone? We stayed in “the dorms”, with 24 other women in bunk beds (hello white noise coming from my ear buds), and spent quite a lot of time in the whirlpool & sauna (helpful hint: bring ice cubes with you!). Heather and I often talked about hiking in the mountains, but each time we walked past a draft or open door, the frigid 4 degrees changed our mind…

As a mother, wife, and small business owner, I often forget about myself and my needs as I’m sprinting throughout my day trying to DO IT ALL. This weekend was magical, and so very helpful for me to realize what truly matters and how to go about getting where I want to be with a clear open mind (and often disconnected from my phone).

Here are a few Monday links that I wanted to share:

  • Yoga Dance – ever heard of it? We went to a class Saturday at noon with DRUMS! The energy in the room was out of control. Here’s a peak at KDZ The Kripalu Drummers.
  • I tried drawing a mandala on the plane yesterday for the first time. Upon further research this morning, I realize there is a process to it! And I plan on practicing this: How to draw a mandala.
  • In the dining hall at Kripalu, we learned about Ayurvedic eating. Ayurvedic gives some great guidance for eating, especially when it comes to digestion.
  • Remember how I talked about setting INTENTIONS for the New Year? This weekend was all about intentions, and it reaffirmed the ones I had set, and I added a few more to my list. Have you made a list? Here’s a great one from the Huff Post: Creating Positive Intentions for the New Year.

So I’m ready to start planning my next trip to Kripalu. Who wants to come with me? Happy Monday!

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What's Up

Women Who Create

January 30, 2017

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By now, I’m guessing you’ve seen the buzz on Facebook and Instagram about the upcoming Women Who Create First Annual Show, here in Virginia Beach over at Esoteric’s Tennant E.

This will be my very first art show that I will be participating in. To say I’m slightly nervous is an understatement!

Local friends, please stop by!

WHAT
WOMEN WHO CREATE” is a two-day event in the Vibe District of Virginia Beach, featuring local talent.

WHEN/WHERE
THIS Friday, February 3
4:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 4
1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Esoteric’s Tenant E
501 VB Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA

SHOP
You can expect to find the best of the best in Hampton Roads… These ladies are bringing it! From a wide variety of jewelry makers, a silversmith with high end modern pieces, to resin pendants, and vintage pieces. You’ll see beautiful metal work, fiber art, and print making. Kid friendly wool animals and stamps, hand drawn illustrated scavenger hunts, or custom designed stationary. Smell the handmade candles, and taste the delicious all-natural jam and macarons that are almost too pretty to eat! Don’t forget the handmade items you can wear, such as belts, knitted sweaters & hats, screen printed t-shirts, and custom made clothing. It doesn’t stop there, local photographers and a wide range of painters and mixed media artists will have art on display!unnamed

Back to Basics

2017: The year of PRACTICE

January 12, 2017

DSC_7575If my word for 2016 was “change”, then 2017 will be the year of: PRACTICE.

Noun
1. The actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use.
2. Repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.

or…

VERB
1. Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.
2. Carry out or perform (a particular activity, method, or custom) habitually or regularly.

My list of things I hope to practice this year:
Organize the chaos (daily and household clutter)
Be kind to myself and everyone!
Running a small business.
Being Mom.
Staying connected
Marriage – date my husband?
Daily Activity for myself
Weekly digital detoxes

Since January 1st, I’ve done a bunch of things on this list – making the steps toward being a better parent, successful and more organized as a business owner, attending yoga classes, being active in some way (almost) every day. I’m excited to share every few weeks how my practices are going.

What about you? Have you set a few New Years intentions/resolutions? What about personal goals? How do you keep yourself motivated to stay on track?

 

 

 

What's Up

A VB Basics Giveaway: Win a Spot to Dance on Stage at the Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon®

October 5, 2016

rita-cohen

If you’re familiar with Zumba® Fitness in Hampton Roads, then I’ll bet that you’ve heard of a certain Zumba® Instructor by the name of Rita Cohen. Not only is she one of the most positive and friendliest people I know, but boy can she dance and her energy is extremely contagious! She is also the best of the best when it comes to Zumba® Instructors near and far.

Over the years, my friendship Rita and our shared love of Zumba® has developed into something BIG. Together, we’ve created a wonderful annual event that not only brings people together, but also gives back to our Hampton Roads community in the form of an amazing cause.

Rita is upfront and honest why she does what she does.

I do it because my friend Louise Cheo, whom I met when I was doing an all female composer benefit recital for the National Breast Cancer Foundation in 2007, introduced me to Zumba® in 2008 before she died on Christmas Day that year from breast cancer.  I love it so much and how it’s changed my life and in turn change others’ for the better. I want a cure found!

For the past 5 years, our event: the Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon® at Norfolk Academy has raised over $20,000!!! This Saturday’s event will be the second year in a row that 100% of the donations will be given to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Hampton Roads chapter (after $500 is given to the our fantastic Norfolk Academy sponsors: The Cancervive Club).

So what exactly is a Zumbathon® you may ask. Picture a sea of 500+ people, all decked out in pink, dancing to music (for up to three hours!), all the while smiling, sweating, and having a great time. On a large stage at the back of the space, 50 of the 757’s finest Zumba® Instructors rotate on and off in groups, leading energetic routines that pump up the crowd and get everyone moving. Raffle prizes, tables of unique vendors lining the walls, and a silent auction break up the morning, giving attendees a chance to chug water and catch their breath.

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Every year, when I stand at the back of the Norfolk Academy Pavilion and watch the morning unfold, I always get warm and fuzzy feelings and am SO proud to be part of this event. And honestly, I’m especially proud of Rita for what an amazing woman she is, and that she is primarily responsible for bringing us all together.

WHAT
Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon®

WHEN/WHERE
Saturday, October 8, 2016
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Norfolk Academy Athletic Pavilion
1585 Wesleyan Dr, Norfolk, VA 23502

Which brings us to the Giveaway!

One lucky Zumba lover will win a chance to dance ONSTAGE with Rita during the “Survivor Dance”! I mean, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love dancing on stage?

TO ENTER
Simply leave a comment on this post if you’ll be dancing in honor of someone this Saturday, or why this event is special to you!

EXTRA ENTRIES (Leave a comment on the post telling me that you did so!)

Contest ends Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. Winner will be chosen at random, and announced at the Zumbathon that morning!

GOOD LUCK! And I can’t wait to see you at the fabulous event!

P.s. In case you want to purchase tickets, go to nazumbathon2016.eventbrite.com, suggested donation of $10 (or more) in advance/$15 at the door.
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Photography by the talented Lavern Rushin

Lifestyle

Sneak Peak

September 20, 2016

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Location: 89th Street, Virginia Beach

Photography: Jess Hill

Dress: Lilly Pulitzer worn by my Nana in the 1940’s

Weather: Quite windy, thanks to Tropical Storm Hermine

 

Lifestyle

The Basics: 5 Tips to getting Slim and Trim!

June 5, 2016

Barre Fitness

Hey there,

I’m guessing that your life is just as busy and full of organized chaos as mine is. We spend the majority of our days juggling children, spending hours in the kitchen, attempting to keep the home tidy, running around town on errands that “must” be done, and maybe you also have a 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. job that you’re juggling on top of everything else. We keep our days scheduled perfectly, carefully balancing all the things that MUST be accomplished. Our neatly daily “to-do” lists get checked off, only to have several more added to the list each time. Often, all this busyness ends up leaving out one VERY important element of life: TAKING CARE YOURSELF. I bet in the back of your mind, you wished that fitness was a priority in your daily life. What about that book of excuses on why you aren’t working out, have you used it up? I definitely have. Let me ask you this; How’s your energy throughout the day? What do you consume to keep your body moving? How well do you sleep at night?  What about that little bit of extra “padding” (as my mother calls it) on that mom bod of yours? Don’t worry, I know you wouldn’t change a thing about being a mother and the extra weight that comes with it, I wouldn’t either. But, what if you found a FUN way to get yourself “trim and slim”, something that you actually enjoyed and could commit yourself to go to? A form of exercise that didn’t take much thought and that fit nicely into daily life without messing up your schedule.. What if you could workout with friends? And REAL results that make you feel good? Even better!

So, I’ve been on the path of daily exercise for almost two months now, and I’ve actually started noticing a few little things: I’m sleeping better, I have more energy throughout the day (without chugging multiple cups of coffee!), I’m feeling stronger, and a few inches have disappeared from my waist (!!!!). To say I’m shocked at the beginning results is an understatement.

WHY NOT make a life change to improve the way YOU feel.

Here’s how I started:Cabanas - 2 WEEKS

Calendar 2 weeks1. Start with TWO WEEKS

THIS is where it all starts. Make it your goal to do some form of exercise that makes you sweat EVERY DAY for 14 days straight. Research has shown that it actually takes a bit more than 21 days to form a habit, about 66 days in fact. So start slow – with an attainable goal. Once you’ve completed the 2 weeks, try to finish out that month. Then finish the next month. Keep pushing yourself. Be consistent. I will warn you, by day #4 you’re most likely going to be exhausted… but by day #6 you’ll have gotten over the hump and will be good to go!

Sneaker friends
Dumbell family illustration2. Find your FITNESS COMMUNITY

These are the folks who will help you accomplish your goals. The people that you will see every day. They will become YOUR people, your friends that you see every day. They will motivate, encourage, support, push you to your limits and will help you succeed. I will admit, starting something new out of your comfort zone can be a little daunting. But the fitness community is there to help. Don’t like running? Don’t run. Find something that you DO LIKE. Local gyms often offer two free weeks to try them out (I’ve found the push I needed at Virginia Beach’s HIT & Run). Talk to your fit friends and ask to join in on their workouts. I promise, it’s always fun to suffer alongside someone you like! Also remember, it’s best to do a bit of everything, mix it up!

Kettlebell family at HIT & Run

Clock3. PLAN AHEAD

Pull out that planner of yours (or your icalendar), and schedule exactly when you’re going to workout. How much time will you need to get it done each day. Once you’ve written it down, it’s set. DO hold yourself accountable. DO follow through. If you say you’re going to do it, DO IT.

Quote to self
Hydroflask4. Drink WATER

This my friend, is very important. Especially since you’re working out every day. Make it a point to drink more water. Buy a fun water bottle, and keep it next to you at all times. Continue drinking it, and refilling it throughout the day. I have had my Hydroflask for almost two months, and my water intact has increased greatly. S’well Bottles are all the rage too, and come in fun designs.
No Bad Days

Stick figure family

5. Include your FAMILY

There are plenty of outdoor activities where your family can participate. Ride bikes on the boardwalk, or hike along the trails in First Landing State Park. There are even groups of parents who meet up for all different types of hikes all over, check them out to find your location at Hike It Baby! Have little ones who get tired after the first mile? Not a problem. Put them into a bike trailer or stroller. Hike with them on your back. Why not add a few extra pounds to YOUR workout! First Landing State Park hikeBike ride with kids

What have you got to lose? I challenge you to give it a whirl.

Local Spots

The Uninterrupted Mother’s Day Wish List

May 5, 2016

Orchard Cove Photography Mother's Day

Photo courtesy of Amanda, Orchard Cove Photography

Mother’s Day has become more significant for me ever since I became a mother. Having three boys has been a dream come true, as cheesy as it may sound. My days and nights may often seem long and weary, but the months and years are zooming by right in front of my eyes. In the past five years, I have sang the same three bedtime songs more times than I can count. I can give you quite a soothing rendition of “On Top of Spaghetti” if you like! I have wiped tears, cleaned “boo boos” armed with superhero bandaids while sneaking Neosporin onto it, and have comforted those upset and tired bodies tucked neatly into my arms. I have taught myself to draw trains, Power Rangers, Paw Patrol pups, and Ninja’s (thank you art classes in college). I have spent A LOT of time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals, some of which get eaten. And to my surprise, I’ve turned into somewhat of a decent cook and actually enjoy cooking! There is nothing better than hearing my children tell me “mom this is a good dinner!”, or “wow mom, good drawing!”, or the best yet “I love you mom”. Having these little humans look up with wide eyes full of love makes me so proud and happy that they are mine. My favorite part of being a mother is watching them grow, learn, and experience the world around them, especially those big milestones like walking, talking, reading, writing, riding a bike or swimming! My three sweet blond boys complete me.

Mother's Day hands

I had about a whole 5 minutes of uninterrupted time to hash out what I’d like for Mother’s Day, beside that gigantic steaming cup of coffee (cream & sugar please!).

On Sunday, in no particular order I’d like:

  1.  Someone else to wash ALL the day’s dishes. I’m not kidding, I don’t want to pick up that sponge once.
  2.  Stacking rings from Lisa Leonard. (I’ve been oogling over these for years)
  3.  An uninterrupted night of sleep, preferably in a hotel/inn or even at my in-law’s house down the street. By myself.
  4.  Good food all day, that doesn’t involve me preparing it. Esoteric, Tautog’s, Commune, Zeke’s, Three Ships Coffee, Gringo’s, Java Surf, The Green CatCroc’s to name a few nearby.
  5.  Stuff picked up off the floor and put away, NOT by me. Guessing the baby gets out of this one…
  6.  BEER. Preferably “heady” IPA’s. I’ll take anything chilled, while sitting on my porch or at the beach. (Local brews are preferred; O’Connor’s, Back Bay, Smartmouth, Commonwealth, YVBC)
  7.  A month of membership to local fitness boutique: HIT & Run so I can continue to get FIT and STRONG! (I will need this especially from drinking all that heady beer)
  8.  Handmade cards and artwork from the kiddos – my favorite is when they draw our stick figure family.
  9.  The bathroom cleaned, but not by me. Spotless please!
  10.  Relaxing family time. Can be at the beach, at home, in the park, in the garden, preferably accompanied by beautiful weather and sunshine.

Not too much to ask, right?! RIGHT.

I also polled my local mom friends to see what was something that they wanted for Mother’s Day. The responses were honest and to the point! Some practical (some a little pricy). But all wonderful ideas on how to celebrate the mothers in your life.

“A Bloody Mary and a babysitter.” – G

“Uninterrupted sleep for 12 hours.” – A

“A chocolate donut from Crispy Cream.” – L

“A day without an agenda or expectations.” – D

“A night stay at a hotel so I can sleep as much as I want, order room service and read all the magazines I’ve been collecting that I never have the chance to read. Accompanied by a bottle of champagne!” – M

“Coming home to an empty dishwasher and a clean kitchen.” – T

“Work in my garden and have someone else cook dinner for me.” – M

“I want my husband to clean the damn toilet!”- H

Need more ideas? Check out these ideas from my Virginia Beach mom friends.

Gardening
A plant to put in the garden to enjoy all year round, especially one that blooms around Mother’s Day (iris or lilac)
A Wind Chime from Wild Birds Unlimited
An Orchid (Orchid Station or Whole Foods)
A Flower Arrangement or succulent plants from Roost Flowers
New gardening tools
Gift card to a nursery to pick a few plants to dig in the dirt together on Mother’s Day

Jewelry
Gold disc necklace with kids initials monogrammed on it
A charm with son’s thumbprint on it
23451 keychain or earrings from 
The Lemon Cabana
Anything from The Beach Nut
Addison Weeks “Bendall” Cuff Bracelets
Be Brave Necklace

From/with the kiddos
Handmade cards from kids
Tea with mommy
Professional Photographs done of Mother & Kids
Mother’s Day Brunch with the husband and kids
A picnic basket for a lunch (and a hike) on the beach at First Landing State Park
Paint your own pottery – Mug with foot and hand prints

Pampering
Mani, Pedi, Hair, Massage at Massage Luxe, with Misty Smith
10 pack classes to your favorite fitness/yoga studio (Wareing’s Gym, Hot House Yoga, HIT & Run, Fushion Fitness)
Spa Day at Dupre’s
Lunch at Eurasia, with wine!
Brunch at Bay Local

Shopping
An afternoon alone to wander around Prince Books with a cup of coffee
A whole day of shopping at MacArthur Center
New athletic gear (Anything from Lululemon, LA BL & Athletica)
Any household goods from West Elm

Let’s end with a video that will probably make you (good) cry.

Lifestyle

My New Year’s Intentions for 2016

January 5, 2016

Me

Photography by Zoë Grant

At the beginning of a new year, we often make a list of resolutions. These resolutions could be a various number of things; for ourselves or to help others. Maybe you want to eat healthier, or cook more homemade meals. Maybe it’s getting to the gym to work-out daily, or writing thank-you letters for gifts you receive or simply to keep in touch with your loved ones. Whatever goal is on your list, it’s something that we plan to accomplish that make us a better or happier person. 

Let’s be real. How often do you find yourself actually completing your list? I honestly cannot remember a year I’ve ever stuck with it and actually finished one New Year’s Resolution, let alone an entire list of them. My pretty list of things tends to disappear from my mind and becomes a faint glimmer of hope, until suddenly the year has ended and nothing has been accomplished. 

Definition of Intention

This year, I’ve decided to set several intentions that I intend to carry out throughout the year. Instead of working on them all at once, I have given myself an “Intention of the Month”. I’m hoping that it will give me adequate time to fully dedicate myself to accepting the change and sticking with it. I also hope that once the month of intention is completed, that it’s fully ingrained, and sticks with me.

So, BRING IT ON 2016, I’m ready for ya!

My New Year’s Intentions for 2016*:
Declutter
Self Care
Correspondence

What about you, do you have resolutions you’ve made for 2016? Any tips or suggestions you have on sticking with the plan?

*I haven’t quite planned the entire year out, it seems as though I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-choose-an-intention-when-the-month-starts type of gal! So stay tuned.