February 2016 Goals

Hi friends! Happy Monday! I trust everyone had a good weekend. The weather was beautiful here, sunny with highs up to the low 70’s. I haven’t seen the sun in what seems like forever, so I am getting some serious spring fever now.

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I am so glad I decided to go back to monthly goals this year. I think it’s helping keep me on track, so let’s see how I did last month before diving into February.

1.) Read a book: A+! I read not one, not two, but THREE books this month, and it was wonderful! I forgot how much I love getting lost in a good plot line. Must do this more and turn OFF the TV.

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2.) List baby items for sale: B+: I listed SOME baby items for sale but not all. I was able to sell a whole bunch at once to a sweet neighbor having a baby girl soon, and I have listed some more expensive pieces on Facebook. I still have a few things in the garage but not near as many.

3.) Go to boot camp 3-4 x’s a week: A+ I have been to boot camp four days a week every week, except for the week we were on the cruise, obviously. I’m really proud of myself, because Fridays in particular are hard to make myself want to go, but I have been sticking with it and seeing results in the form of gaining muscle. I have gained a POUND of muscle in a month, yall. I’m super proud.

4.) Run twice a week: B- I did this every week except for one week I only ran one time, so I am giving myself a B. This of course doesn’t count the running we do at boot camp. I typically do one short 3 mile run then a longer run of 5+ miles. Taking advantage of this nice weather is a must.

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From a NOT warm run in January

5.) Foam roll after long runs: F: No two ways about this one, I just failed. Really, I just forgot. I’m so out of the habit that I just never remembered. I foam roll after boot camp but REALLY need to make an effort to do so after long runs. My right hip has been tight so I definitely need it.

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So, what are my goals for February? As a person who doesn’t like to leave things undone, I am going to take my big fat F from January and put it at the top of my February list.

1.) FOAM ROLL AFTER LONG RUNS: Do ya hear that, self? Just do it. Must do it.

2.) Daily devotions: I have been doing well with this on daycare days, but the days I am home all day with Emma Kate are just harder in the morning, which is a terrible excuse. I need to start doing them at night on those days.

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3.) Walk the dog more: Yall, it’s been cold. I haven’t been walking the pup like I did in the fall. She weighs nine pounds so she gets exercise running around the house, but she loves being outside. I just need to do it.

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4.) Limit night time snacking: We eat dinner early because of the little one, so this leaves me wanting a snack around 7:30 or 8:00, which is fine, but I eat too much and all the wrong things. I want to limit myself to one fun sized piece of chocolate, and if I want anything else it needs to be more healthy.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Here’s to a great February!

QOTD: What is one thing you want to do in February?

Master It with MetaRun

When I think about Mastering things in life, one of the things that immediately jumps into my head are athletic related goals. I have been an athlete since the third grade (well, if you call 3rd grade basketball a sport,) and I thrive on competition and physical fitness.

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If I was being honest though, there are other  areas of my life that I would love to master as well, one being the way I see myself. Being a competitive person, I have always been VERY hard on myself when it comes to well…everything. If I made a 98 on a test in school, it was “gosh darn it why didn’t I make a 100?” If I had 10 kills in a volleyball game, I wanted 11. If I ran a race, I wanted to PR every time (well, I still do that.) While this is a great, goal driven attitude to have, it can also be destructive.

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Ever since having Emma Kate in September of 2014, I have been really, really hard on myself concerning my physical appearance. This once bikini wearing girl bought a tankini and a wrap to wear for the summer at the pool. I ran non stop but still wasn’t thrilled with my body. Still about two pounds from my pre-baby weight, I have beat myself up over why it is taking me so long, when other seem to bounce back in lightning speed.

What seemed to me was that I really needed to master my attitude and evaluate the process. This for me started in the summer while following the BBG fitness program. While I am getting a lot better, I still have some work to do. I realized a few things 1.) I can’t eat like I did while I was pregnant, 2.) JUST running isn’t going to get me in the shape I want to be in, and 3.) My body did an amazing thing, and even if I never look the way I “used to” ever again, I have done something even greater, and that is having a child

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I love my body for what it has done for me and continues to do for me, and taking bootcamp classes + running has done wonders for making me feel good about myself. However, it’s so easy to sit back in my yoga pants and sweatshirts and say I am proud of how far I have come, hiding the flaws and trouble spots.

So, today I have decided to force myself out of my comfort zone (which seems to have been the 2015 theme around here,) and take some pictures in my awesome new MetaRun ASICS shoes, baring the body part that I give the most grief to.

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Thankfully, the shoes are so adorable and awesome (and just so happen to be New Orleans Saints colors), I know you are all just staring at them, RIGHT? I know I have things to work on both physically and mentally, but I also know that with the right attitude and some hard work, I can master anything. Having cute shoes helps, too. (Also, WOW do I need some sun!)

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So can I tell you a little about the shoes that prompted me to write this oh so honest blog post? I promise they are super cool.

Over the last 3 years, ASICS’ Institute of Sport Science (the ISS) has been researching, prototyping and designing a shoe that they think will master long distance running, with no restrictions. They were told to create the best thing they could and they did.

These shoes adapt and contour to your individual running style. MetaRun was built using the latest ASICS exclusive technologies providing you with the best and first ever running shoe with a responsive ride. The first thing I noticed was that they are really lightweight, but at the same time very cushioned, which are two things that tend to not go together in the running shoe world. I basically forgot that they were on my feet!

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The following is from their website:

Constructed using groundbreaking midsole foam developed in the ASICS ISS. FlyteFoam isn’t a little bit lighter, it’s remarkably 55%* lighter than the industry standard. FlyteFoam isn’t just super lightweight, it’s organic fibres bounce the MetaRun back into its original shape in the space of each stride to provide perfect cushioning from the start of your run to the finish.

A carbon fibre reinforced, two-piece AdaptTruss gives MetaRun both incredible stability and amazing flexibility. This helps to reduce the impact of medial forces on the foot, so the MetaRun will flex safely but become rigid if the foot rolls in too much, meaning reliable stability no matter the distance.

A new one-layer engineered mesh minimises rubbing between the foot and the upper to create a super snug, glove-like fitting experience. A unique combination of closed and open weave patterns optimises flexibility and breathability.”

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Pretty sweet huh? I can say for myself after testing these guys out yesterday that they are pretty amazing. The Gel Quantum 360 is my favorite ASICS shoe, but these bad boys are giving them a run for their money. They are currently available for limited release through December 31. Christmas gift anyone?

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Shoes can truly take you anywhere, and I can’t wait to see where my MetaRun’s take me next year. Hopefully to not only master some great runs + races in 2016, but also to a place of being more at peace with myself and my body, and all of the amazing things it does for me every day.

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QOTD: What is something you want to Master in 2016? It can be running related or not!

Dealing with Negative People Online (and taking my own advice)

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking at Refresh Summit South on dealing with negativity on social media/blogging, whether it be someone being negative towards you, or falling into the comparison trap and having negative feelings about yourself. I have been meaning to blog about the two main points I discussed with the ladies in attendance, but I just wasn’t sure exactly how to go about turning a talk into words, and due to an unpleasant exchange with a neighbor on Friday, I decided to use it as an example for a blog post on one of my two main points.

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Being real here. One thing that I struggle with is holding my tongue. It’s a constant battle, and it’s one of the reasons why I enjoy blogging (I can go back and edit before hitting send.) Even with that filter of sorts in place, I still get myself in trouble from time to time for things that I say, that I really should just keep to myself. I can get angry in a hurry, and instead of giving myself time to think and cool down, I often spout off and it ends up leading to more damage. The Bible is clear on this, and says we should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry (James 1:19), but boy is this one tough for me!

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You can make fun of me for a lot of things and I will let it roll off my back, but to state something about my husband or my child as a fact that is NOT true, is something I have a hard time biting my tongue about. Without going into too much unnecessary detail, here is my own learning moment:

Our neighborhood has it’s own private Facebook group, which in theory is awesome, but sometimes not so awesome because as of late it has turned into a huge gripe fest. People complaining about folks speeding, running stop signs, dogs pooping in their yard etc. All of these things are valid complaints, but really, blasting your neighbors online for speeding it’s well, very neighborly, and we have had some issues with some not so friendly folk posting negative things. Anyway, somehow, on Friday there was an assumption made about my husband that was NOT true, and it turned into a nasty argument between me and a lady in my neighborhood I don’t really know. Come to find out from other neighbors letting me know, this is not the first time this particular neighbor has been less than neighborly. Part of me felt good about it, knowing that other people were “on my side” in letting me know how difficult this person is in general, but then I realized that honestly, I probably just should have kept my mouth shut to begin with and not even engaged with her, and it could have avoided a long morning of frustration.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is exactly the kind of situation I spoke about at Refresh Summit (how to get through/avoid/act kindly in) and here I was doing THE EXACT OPPOSITE. It all happened so fast I didn’t put two and two together and then realized I had messed up. If I had followed my own advice, maybe it would have had a different outcome, and hopefully I have learned from this and will be quick to listen and slow to speak next time. Instead of what I did, the following are things I should have done (things I shared at Refresh Summit for dealing with bullies/negative people online).

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1.) Realize you aren’t going to change them: I an usually spot someone pretty set in their ways from the beginning of a conversation, but my desire to defend myself can get in the way of realizing that no matter what I say or try to “prove”, people like this are just not going to change. It doesn’t matter if the facts are right in front of you, they will argue with you until the cows come home, so it’s wise to just save your breathe and realize nothing you say is going to change them.

2.) Don’t feed the animals: With a desire to be right and people please, this one can be tough. Not engaging or “feeding the animals” is a good tactic for keeping the peace. Sometimes it’s just best not to get involved. There have been so many times in my “blog life” where I have wanted to set the record straight or stand up for myself, but I knew that in doing so it would just add fuel to the fire, and I am glad I chose to ignore in the end. When I engage, I usually end up saying something I will regret later.

3.) Get some perspective: Perspective is a funny thing. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in being the victim we forget that a lot of people lash out because they themselves are or were at one time, victims. Hurt people hurt people. If you can take a step back and remember that simple statement, that those hurting themselves in turn hurt others, and instead of getting angry, feel sorry for the person, it will start to soften your heart towards them and help diffuse frustration.

4.) Forgive: There have been times in my blogging and social media life where people have really hurt my feelings. I still remember a very specific time where I was on a run replaying something someone had said to me online over and over in my head, trying to figure out why people are so mean to those they don’t really know, when I suddenly felt like I was supposed to forgive them. Through gritted teeth (because yall, I really didn’t WANT to forgive them) I said out loud “I forgive you, and Lord HELPE to really mean it”. I had such an overwhelming freeing feeling come after that prayer. it was SO hard to say and it took awhile to work up to, but once I let go of it, the anger and frustration had no power over me anymore. After all, the Bible calls us to forgive others, just as God forgave us (Mark 11:25).

5.) Move on: This one usually takes me a little bit of time, but moving on helps diffuse the anger that comes with seeing and hearing negative things about us. Remember that not everyone is going to think just like you, or be your BFF, and that’s ok. We are all so different, and some people just are going to flat out not get along with you. Move on, and as queen Elsa would say, LET IT GO! I know I know, so much easier said than done, but your heart will thank you if you can move past it and not dwell on it or let your thoughts constantly go back to a wrong done to you.

I hope someone finds these tips helpful, and please know that if you ever need to talk to anyone about any of these issues, I would be more than happy to oblige. Email me any time at heatherslookingglass@gmail.com Have a great Monday!

QOTD: Which of these 5 things do you struggle with most? Have you ever been the victim of online negativity?

My View of Success

Let’s sit down and chat. Have a cup of coffee perhaps? I have some heavy stuff on my mind I want to get out.

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Success. It’s a funny business. Some people want it so badly, they will do anything for it. Some aren’t sure how to define it, and some  search after the happiness that “success” brings. Other people get nervous when you talk about success, maybe because they have failed a lot, or maybe they are jealous. Some people may even feel “behind” when others around them have success after success, but not a lot of people want to bring it up.

I am a very competitive person, which served me very well in school. I made good grades, was captain of different sports teams, and luckily never really had to feel unsuccessful or unhappy with the way things were going aside from your regular high school drama. It was all well and good for 17 year old Heather, but adult world is way harsher and harder than high school sports and school world, and I quickly found myself feeling behind in life.

After college, things didn’t go as planned for us career wise, and I will be the first to admit it was hard seeing those around me succeed in that area. I was of course happy for THEM, but unhappy that I wasn’t there WITH them if that makes sense. Bobby and I had to deal with several struggles as young married folk that you don’t typically see, and I would like to think that looking back it has made us stronger, but I am also ashamed at how I have reacted in certain situations dealing with “success”.

The funny part is, that everyone thinks the grass is always greener on the other side, but what they don’t know Is that the other person has struggles of their own that they just haven’t shared. I could look at all of my friends and name success that they have had that they probably wouldn’t even consider a success, because it was something that may have come easy to them, or wasn’t something that they struggled with. unnamed (37)

I live in a very nice town. I love it, but the problem with it is that it’s like an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians. Fancy cars everywhere, huge homes, stuff, stuff, stuff, everywhere. Little kids wearing designer things, everyone with a boat, a country club membership, and first class airplane tickets. Let’s be clear: Is there anything wrong with those things in themselves? NO. However, the Bible is clear on this subject in Matthew chapter 6 verse 20-21:

20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

What do you consider your treasure? It will show evidence of where your heart is. Is your treasure a fancy house or the most luxurious car? Is it having the smartest kid in school? Is it having the fastest race time in your running group? Maxing out the highest weight at CrossFit?

Again, none of these things are bad, it’s awesome to set and reach goals, but if this, this is ALL there is, if it is something you OBSESS over and let it BECOME your life instead of part OF your life, then that is the problem. If your success lies in things, if it lies in awards, or pats on the back, or people telling you that you have it all together, then you are missing out on the treasure my friends. Have you ever been to a funeral, and in the casket there were items placed inside that the person who passed away would want to take with them? But…they are still sitting there, in the casket. You cannot take your stuff out of this world. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy things while you are hear, but let’s all think about taking time to invest in other things as well, right?

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I am including myself in this as well. As a highly competitive person I have fallen victim to many of these things time and time again. Why is she so successful, I try hard, too? Why do they seem to have it easy, what are they doing right that we aren’t? Maybe you are asking the wrong questions. What about, people, relationships, quality time, happy, healthy kids, a mission minded church family, an answer to a long awaited prayer, helping someone through a rough spot.

I think we could all benefit from taking a step back and thinking about society’s definition of success, and God’s definition of success. At the end of this life, it won’t matter how much stuff I have accumulated, or how many trophies I have, but the way I treated my neighbors, how I sacrificed my time to help a stranger, and the way I chose to love others will indeed matter. I’m going to work on storing up the right kind of treasures, and being a success in the eyes of the one who really matters.

QOTD: What is your definition of success? Do you ever fall into the “stuff” or “awards” trap?

How I Organize My Day

I have often had people ask me “how do you fit it all in?” when they find out I work three jobs (Orange Leaf and blogger) and Emma Kate is only in daycare three days a week. Well first of all I will say, I DON’T fit it all in! Things are constantly having to be taken off my plate, because I am just one person and when I work too much I get sick. That being said, I am able to pack a lot of things into a day by keeping a schedule and trying not to have too much idle time perusing Facebook or playing on my phone. I decided to write a blog post with some general guidelines I follow in hopes it might help someone get organized.

1.) Get a planner: I know a lot of people are into google calendars and such these days and while I loosely use that for some things, I really prefer to have something I can physically write in. It helps me remember to remember things better I think when I write them down and see them all working together in blocks for the days and weeks of a month.

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2.) Use the monthly blocks for “big” out of the ordinary things and the daily blocks for more mundane tasks. Let’s face it, the blocks in the monthly calendars aren’t that big, and no way could I fit everything I need to do in a day in them, so I use the monthly space for things like doctors appointments, Bible study, events at church, community events, dinners with friends etc. Then I go back and use the daily blocks to write in things like my workouts, going to the grocery store, etc.

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3.) Download the Any List app. We stumbled upon this app a couple of years ago and I LOVE it. Bobby and I have a shared list on it, and we use it for grocery shopping. No more losing your list in your purse or leaving it on the kitchen counter, and no matter where you are you can add to it, and it will show up for the other person as well. We add to our list whenever we think of something we need or if we run out of something, and then I will also text Bobby when I am on my way to the store and tell him he has ten minutes to add anything to the list. That way he can’t say “oh but you forgot xyz!” if it’s not on the list, it’s not my fault for not buying it. It has worked really well for us and makes grocery shopping a breeze. We also have a hardware store list, and you can make a list to share with some of pretty much anything you want. It’s a great way to stay organized on your phone when multiple people are involved.

4.) Don’t get sucked into social media. I know. It’s SO HARD, especially when you need to be on social media for a living. I have learned to limit my time during the day because a 30 second scroll can turn into a 30 minute rabbit trail. Don’t say you have never done it! How I combat this is by getting on social media for about 10-15 minutes every morning to see what I missed and to check on my blog, etc. Then after that, I try not to get on again until I’m eating lunch or going to post something, and even then I don’t linger. I have known some people who set timers for themselves. I have yet to have to resort to this. In the evening when I’m relaxing or watching TV, I allow myself to search and browse all I want. This way, I don’t get hung up during the day because I know I can “catch up” later that night.

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Bella likes to help vacuum the rugs. Not. She is terrified of the thing.

5.) Have a chore list. Ah, the ever messy house. It’s so frustrating, especially when you clean your kitchen from top to bottom in the morning and by the evening it looks like a bomb went off. Why even bother right? I have just started doing something that is helping me not be overwhelmed by the big/monthly tasks and keeps me doing some housework every day, but not all. In the morning I try to:

do dishes, make the bed, and do one load of laundry along with one daily chore. In the evenings, I do dishes again, clean off counters, and pick up toys.

The daily chores I do in the morning are one per day 5 days a week, and you could always double up if you have extra time. Monday: sweep/vacuum. Tuesday: bathrooms. Wednesday: dust. Thursday: mop. Friday: Anything undone like extra laundry, extra baby messes, random picking up, changing sheets.

On Saturdays I do a monthly chore such as: baseboards, clean windows, clean microwave and stove, trim bushes outside, wipe down cabinets, etc. I try to do 2 of these on Saturday if I can.

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6.) Plan a time to workout. If I don’t do it, it won’t get done, and since I much prefer to workout in the morning, I look at my week first to see what kind of workout I need to do that day (gym or home) and then decide how to plan things based on the “big things” on my calendar. For instance on daycare days for Emma Kate, I can change into my clothes before I bring her to daycare, then either head straight to the gym or back home to run. This way it’s done and out of the way and I already feel accomplished fairly early in the morning. It also gives me energy for the rest of the day. If I don’t add it into my daily schedule. IT WILL NOT GET DONE. I know this about myself so I PLAN AHEAD.

7.) Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are absolutely times my daily chore doesn’t get done or I skip a workout, and that’s ok! I just try to make it an EXCEPTION and not a habit. There are a lot of days I got to bed with my house a mess, but just knowing I have some guidance in place for the next day helps keep me on track. I like structure, but loose structure. I could never plan out my day hour by hour, because some things just take way longer or shorter than expected and I think I would stress out if I got off task, so my loose plan works for me. Good luck!

QOTD: How do you organize your day? Do you use a day planner?

PS- I am hosting a GIVEAWAY with some other fabulous bloggers on Instagram. We are giving away a Kate Spade purse, bangle, and $100! Enter before tomorrow!

The Door of Opportunity

 

Have you ever been in a situation where you were waiting for an answer, a step forward, something to happen so you just “knew” it was what you were supposed to do? What happens when the door opens but then you are faced with opposition? Does this mean that you are supposed to stop because the road has become difficult, so it must not be the way you were supposed to take after all?

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My friends, this has happened to me SO many times over the years (and is currently happening right now!) On Sunday, my pastor spoke about this at church and it really hit home. Are there times when bad things happen that we should take it as a sign to NOT proceed, absolutely! But I feel like a LOT of times we simply give up too easily.

Just because God opens a door, does not mean it’s going to be smooth sailing all the way down the hallway.

There are so many things in life that take a lot of hard work and dedication, and you can’t quit just because things get tough. Those are usually the things that are worth fighting for the most and offer the greatest reward!

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When I am walking through what I believe to be an open door and reach resistance, I do pray for wisdom and guidance to make sure I am doing the right thing, despite the bumps in the road. I tend to second guess myself…this is too hard…maybe we aren’t supposed to be doing this….shouldn’t it be easy if it were meant to be? Not always! But I believe with great risk comes great reward, and so suffering through the rough patches is just part of the process sometimes.

Bobby and I are in the midst of a new business venture, and to say there have been bumps in the road would be the understatement of the century. We have been praying about it every step of the way, and slowly (VERY slowly, way more slowly than I would like…) been moving forward. We are taking a big financial risk and it’s very scary, but we think in the end it will be all worth it. I am *almost* to the point where I can share with you what is going on, but I just want to make sure a few final things are 100% in order first. (This is why I didn’t get a chance to blog yesterday, we have been up to our eyeballs in legal mumbo jumbo and paperwork.)

Please hang with me as I may be a bit MIA over the next 1.5 weeks as we try to get everything in order. I will try to blog as much as I can though. I love yall and appreciate your support!

QOTD: Have you ever taken a big risk? Was it worth it?

Stop the Hate

On Monday night, I watched the Bachelorette’s Men Tell All episode. (I also totally realize you may have officially lowered your opinion of me now that you know that I watch said show.) Anyway, it’s always one of my favorite episodes because you get to see the contestants get “real” about their season, ask questions, and hopefully get some closure. Monday’s episode took an interesting turn that I have never seen before, and it really struck a chord with me.

Midway through the show, the bachelorette Kaitlyn was brought out. Now, I will be honest and say she has made some decisions I personally wouldn’t make, but that’s her prerogative and she seems like a very nice (and pretty funny) person. Chris Harrison started talking to her about some of the decisions she has made on the show, and then the topic turned to how hateful some of the viewers have been. My ears immediately perked up when the began talking about remarks made to Kaitlyn on social media, and my heart immediately went out to her.

There were people tweeting to her calling her a whore, cursing at her, and telling her she needs to die. To DIE people! How AWFUL is that? I immediately got a pit in my stomach as I watched tears well up in this poor girls eyes. Kaitlyn went on to say that she has gotten death threats, and one of the most hateful of the messages read out came from a mother.  Kaitlyn was so shocked, and didn’t understand why someone would spread such hate that has a child….how is this mother any better for teaching her child how to hate with the way she was talking to Kaitlyn?

Oh my friends, this hits so, SO close to home for me. I have been blogging over five and a half years now, and have gotten my fair share of hateful comments, emails, tweets, and the like. I absolutely do not expect everyone to like me, read my blog, or agree with me, (it would be WEIRD if you did!) but I DO expect people (especially MOTHER’S for crying out loud!) to show some respect, kindness, and compassion. Saying something hurtful then disguising it as “I have a right to my opinion” isn’t nice either. Just because you CAN say something, doesn’t always mean you should.

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It seems like the majority of the hate I have gotten has come since having my baby, and is directed at my parenting style. Why? I am honestly wanting to know why? For some unknown to me reason, mothers have this way of directly or passive aggressively making other moms feel bad about their parenting decisions, and it’s really not cool.

Unfortunately, I feel like most of the hate comes from insecurity, jealousy, and anger in a mother’s own lives, and I really and truly just want to give you a big hug. I will admit, my initial reaction is often anger. What did I personally do to you to deserve this? Why are you wasting precious time you could be spending with your own kids, writing me hate mail? Do you honestly CARE about what I do and don’t do with my child, or does it just make you feel better about yourself to make me feel bad?

But once I get over that initial anger, I truly feel sorry for you. Sorry that you have so much anger in your life that you need to blow off steam on someone, and obviously don’t have that outlet. Sorry that your three kids being home with you all day drives you insane but you feel too guilty to admit you really need a break from them. Sorry that you wish you could afford to stay home with your kids and you feel guilty because you don’t get to spend enough time with them. Sorry that you don’t have any family nearby so you never get to go on date nights or vacations. Mostly, I am sorry that you feel so alone with no one to discuss this with in a healthy (aka not bashing people online) way.

I wish I could just talk to you over coffee, and find out what I could do to help. I want to find out why it bothers you so much that I formula fed my baby after a month of unsuccessful breastfeeding. I want to find out why the fact that I travel for work and leisure and leave her with her very capable grandparents for a few days makes you so angry that you leave passive aggressive comments about it on my blog. I want to find out what I have personally done to make you lash out, and get to the root of the problem.

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I so, so wish that moms would be more encouraging and compassionate. We know how HARD raising kids can be, so instead of pointing the finger and declaring that what someone else did as “wrong” why not be sympathetic? Aren’t we all trying to strive toward a common goal? To raise these tiny humans to be happy, healthy, and the best that they can be? I don’t know what is going on in your life behind closed doors just as you don’t know what is going on in mine. I am working really hard to never try to measure someone else’s pain. Just because I find a tough situation “not that bad”, doesn’t mean it’s easy for someone else to deal with. None of us really know what others are going through.

I know it’s so easy to read a blog or an Instagram profile and feel like someone else has it “easy”, or is “lucky”, but just remember, you may not know the whole story. You may not know that a mom who formula feeds her baby would love to breastfeed but can’t due to a medical issue. You may not know that a mom who puts her kids in full time daycare needed to do so because she struggles with postpartum depression. You may not know that frequently traveling out of town is part of the job, and bills have to be paid.

Everyone is going through their own stuff y’all. Trials will always come, and I thank the Lord that He is there with me every step of the way because I can’t do it on my own. I pray that every hard time that comes will turn into a learning experience and an opportunity for me to grow and be better. I have made many many mistakes in my life, some even involve being rude to people online, and I will totally own it. The key is in the learning. I have grown up and hopefully am making better, kinder decisions every day.

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If you don’t like my blog, that’s fine, and I am ok with that! No one is forcing you to read it (I hope!) I really don’t want you wasting your time reading something that you don’t like, what fun is that? I know what I have to say is not for everyone, and that’s ok, too. I do want one thing though, I want us to all step back, and take a deep breathe. Before you hit the “submit” button on a Facebook status, blog comment, or tweet, just think about what you are writing. Re-read it. Can anything you are saying come across wrong, rude, mean, or passive aggressive? Is your comment going to genuinely HELP the person or tear them down? Is what you are about to say something that you would want a stranger saying to your child online? (that one gets me to stop and think every time!) Just be careful. be kind.

If we all took the hate and anger and disagreements we have with people, and instead of commenting online about it would say something nice or beneficial, this world would be a better place and we could hopefully get a handle on cyber bullying.

In closing and thinking back to the show, I hope that Bachelorette Kaitlyn realizes she has worth and value aside from what the people on social media said about her, and I hope YOU realize that you have value, too. If you ever need to chat, vent or cry, my door is open fellow mom, blogger, woman, or reader. I’m here, and I won’t judge. Life is hard, and we all need a cheerleader sometimes.

Coming Soon: The Henderson

Destin Florida has been a favorite vacation spot of mine for many years. I have great memories of staying in a condo steps from the sugar white sands, staying out in the sun all day and playing board games with my family at night (I know, I was a super cool teenager).

As I got older and then got married, our tastes and wants in a beach vacation changed, and we quickly fell in love with Henderson Park Inn, a wonderful adults only bed and breakfast right on the beach that is a part of the Southern Living Hotel collection. We have been guests of the Inn for the past three summers, so you can imagine my surprise when an email hit my inbox at the beginning of the year outlining a new hotel to be built right behind my beloved Henderson Park Inn. I had a moment of panic, followed by several questions.

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We went to Destin for our annual stay last week, and I am happy to report that the Innkeeper, Ryan Olin, put my fears to rest, and actually got me..dare I say….excited about the great things coming to the property. I sat down with him one afternoon to discuss the new resort, and I had quite the list of questions. Thankfully, Ryan had a great answer for every one of them, and then some. Follow along as I tell you about the newest addition to the beautiful Destin skyline…The Henderson.

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The Henderson will open in the summer of 2016 as a five diamond resort managed by Salamander, who is known for amazing dining and spa experiences. It will boast 171 rooms, a spa with 11 treatment rooms, two pools including an adults only area, a lazy river, a bar, restaurant, and beach access.

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This beautiful upscale resort will also include amenities such as free shuttle service to and from the airport, complimentary cars to take you around Destin, and tram service to the beach walkway 24 hours a day. Every room will have a balcony, and a smart TV. This place is going to be so nice! Think of it as a “beach club” experience. There will be chair and umbrella service, a pool bar, water and beach recreation, and lots of attention to detail.

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On top of all of this, the Henderson will be home to 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space, something that is lacking in Destin. There will be private ballrooms, boardrooms, and 30,000 square feet of outdoor space to host private parties, weddings, and corporate functions. (Hello vow renewal?!?)

Guests of the Inn like myself were concerned about what that means for the adults only establishment that I consider one of Destin’s best kept secrets. I was assured time and time again that great strides will be taken to ensure the tranquility of the 35 room Bed and Breakfast remains intact. The guests of the new hotel will have beach access, but not free reign of the Inn itself, but instead designated areas and walkways (however, guests of the Inn will have use of the pools at the new resort!).

Ryan showed me exactly where the walkway will go along the side of the Inn’s property down to the beach, and we talked about gates, security, concierges, and making sure everyone remains happy at the Inn, and at The Henderson.

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I know some people have a large family, or prefer to do some of their own cooking on vacation, so there is something for everyone coming! Ryan told me about a condo building that is in the works as well to be completed at the end of 2016. There will be  one and two bedroom units near to The Henderson, with beach access as well. These condos will be available for purchase pretty soon from what I hear.

The news of the new resort is exciting not just because it’s going to be gorgeous and fancy, but because this is something that you won’t find anywhere else in Destin. This place will be the nicest new hotel you will find from New Orleans all the way to Tampa, and the most grand hotel built in all of Florida in the past five years.

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I personally cannot wait to see everything come to fruition from renderings to reality, and hopefully enjoy The Henderson for myself in the future.

Be sure to follow along on their Facebook page for updates!

QOTD: What do you look for in a beach hotel?

Summer Travel Plans

Every summer, Bobby and I go to Destin, Florida for three days. He attends a work conference in the mornings, and then we get to hang out in the afternoons. Last year my parents went with us, and this year they are coming again! (It’s nice to have someone to hang out with while Bobby is in his meetings). Baby girl will be staying home with Bobby’s mom. She lives out of town and so she doesn’t get to see Emma Kate a lot, so I know she is excited!

We can’t take the baby because we are staying at Henderson Park Inn, an adult’s only bed and breakfast. I have written about them before, and I cannot wait to go back for the third year in a row.

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At Henderson Park Inn, they spoil you rotten with an amazing buffet breakfast with create your own omelets and waffles, fruit, bacon, grits, you name it. Included in the price are water front beach chairs, towels, snacks, water and soda, and a happy hour every night.

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Rooms are gorgeous and spacious as well.

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Not to mention, we will be right in the heart of Destin just minutes and walking distance to restaurants and shops. It is just across the highway from the Destin Commons, the huge shopping complex, and down the road from the Silver Sands outlet mall. I love to explore Destin and find new restaurants and places to go. As a kid, we went to the beach most summers, so while I am familiar with the area, every year there are new places to go!

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We always try to get away somewhere in the summer, and I try to look for ways to make our travel easier and more efficient. The Discover It Miles credit card is a great option for your summer travel plans, wherever you are looking to go. This card has no annual fee, and includes a $30 credit each year for in flight Wi-Fi! For those of you traveling out of the country, there are no foreign transaction fees. Discover it Miles cardmembers can redeem miles at any amount for cash, or as a statement credit toward their travel purchases, including commercial airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, commuter transportation and taxicabs.DSC_0893

You can learn more about the card and explore rewards to see for yourself how it can help your summer travel plans!

We leave for our trip in less than a month, and I can’t wait to sink my toes into the sand again, and enjoy that Florida sunshine.

QOTD: What are your summer travel plans? Do you use a credit card to help you travel? Reward points?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

A Day in The Life: April 2015

Emma Kate is now 7 months old. I haven’t done a “day in the life’ post in awhile, and things change mighty quickly around here! Emma Kate does go to daycare certain days of the week, but I thought it would be way more entertaining to do a day in the life post of when we are together all day. Smile

5:15: Emma Kate is crying. it is WAY too early to get up. I close my eyes and wish her back to sleep. It works! She’s quiet again by 5:30 and I fall asleep at 5:50.

6:05: I hear the creature stirring again. Maybe if I ignore it, the crying will stop. I kid. I know she is up for good this time.  I get up, go to the bathroom, turn on the Keurig, and get my little darling child. I change her diaper, ask her how she slept, and we go into the kitchen to make a bottle.

6:15: Emma Kate eats 6 ounces, while I down a giant mug of coffee, let the dog out, and check my email on my phone. In the mornings she is really calm and content to just hang out and not need my attention every second, so this gives me some time to fix breakfast and answer a few emails/tweet out my blog post for the day.

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7:00: Baby is tired of playing on the floor (it’s SO nice now that she can sit up on her own!) so I hold her and talk to her for a few minutes then put her in her jumparoo. At some point, Bobby gets up and gets ready for work. We talk while he eats breakfast, and I realize I never fed Bella. Oops. That happens more than I care to admit recently, but she always lets me know.

7:30: I sit on the couch and sing songs and talk to EK. She is babbling, singing, and making high pitched noises a lot these days, so it’s fun to carry on conversations with her.

8:00: We do some tummy time, and I answer more emails for clients, and start thinking about tomorrows blog post.

8:30: Emma Kate is getting fussy and rubbing her eyes. Nap time! She usually goes down for her morning nap without too much of a fight which is nice. One of my least favorite things to do is put her down for naps. it can be quite the battle some days.

9:00: Like clockwork, she is awake. 85% of EK’s naps are exactly 30 minutes. The other 15% fall somewhere between 35 and 55 minutes, with the VERY rare 1:15 minute nap. Last Sunday she took a two hour nap and I kept checking on her to make sure she was still breathing. Anyway, I  change her, feed her a bottle, and answer more emails.

9:30: it’s a nice day, so we go out on the screened in porch and sit on the couch. I put down a blanket and some toys so she can play. She loves being outside, and so does Bella (and me!) so everyone wins.

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10:30: We are meeting a friend at 11:00 to walk at the park with her and her baby, so I load up the diaper bag, stroller, and all the other stuff (ssoo much baby stuff!) and we drive to Smoothie King where I pick up a smoothie before getting to the park.

11:00: We swing on the swings while we wait for our friends, and then we walk 3.5 miles. Somewhere along the way, Emma Kate fell asleep and slept for about 35-40 minutes, so there goes nap number two!

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12:00: We get in the car and head back home. Emma Kate eats another bottle and plays on the floor while I get some work done. I go back and forth checking on her, talking to her, and giving her toys and consider just putting my laptop on the floor next to her.

12:35: She starts getting fussy so I put her in her highchair and give her some baby food. She lloovveess her some bananas. We talk and sing while she eats, and then I clean her up. I realize I am still hungry so I grab a quest bar and we walk around the house pointing out different objects and just hang out.

1:15: I really need to get going on my blog post, so I put EK in her jumparoo and turn on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She loves him, and especially the hot dog dance. Yes, I am brain washing her form a young age.

1:45: I take Bella out, and put Emma Kate under her activity gym to bat at some toys. She can reach them now and tries to pull the whole thing down.

2:00: I haven’t even thought about dinner yet and still have a lot of work to do. I decide we will do something easy, like tacos, even though it’s not taco Tuesday. It can be taco Wednesday, right? I get out some of the ingredients so I won’t forget, and I work some more on my blog post.

2:30: Emma Kate is ready for another nap, so I take her into the nursery and rock her in the rocking chair. Oohhh she is putting up a fight today. She cries and screams and acts incredibly dramatic, but finally calms down and passes out. I put her in her crib and pray she sleeps longer than 30 minutes.

3:10. Well, I guess I should have been most specific with my prayer. She slept 40 minutes instead of 30. Another diaper change, and another bottle, and she’s a happy girl.

3:30: I keep looking at the clock. 2 hours until Bobby comes home, and then I will have some help so I can get dinner ready and finish up a few emails to clients and such. Some days just really seem to drag, and this is one of them. I think when I don’t run or go to the gym the day seems longer. Since I typically walk with my friend on Wednesdays, I consider it a rest day. Anyway, Emma and I hang out on the floor with her toys and I try to do some dishes and laundry as long as she is happy. I hate when Bobby comes home and it looks like I have done nothing all day long.

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4:30: Little miss thing is getting cranky. Usually between her last nap and bedtime she gets fussy and today is no exception. I can hold out for one hour I tell myself. She gets in a mood where she only wants to be held at this time of night, so we walk around the living room and I try to do a little picking up with one hand.

5:10: Bobby texts me that he is on his way home. My favorite phrase. I start pulling out the food for dinner and getting it going.

5:30: Bobby walks in and takes the baby so I can finish cooking. She goes into her highchair and Bobby feeds her some sweet potatoes and apricots while I set the table. We eat and feed the baby at the same time, and then it’s time for her bath.

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6:00: Baby bath time, PJ’s, lotion, and hair brushing.

6:20: Bobby gives Emma Kate her last bottle while I finish up my blog post and other work odds and ends.

6:45: baby bedtime! Bobby says prayers with her and puts her to bed while I take a shower.

7:00: Baby is asleep, woo hoo! I do some more work then force myself away from my laptop. I really need some down time.

7:20: We head upstairs with the baby monitor. Bobby gets on his computer and I watch some TV while I catch up on social media on my iPad. I eat a snack, and unwind. Whew. I have work to do but don’t do it, it is never ending and will be there tomorrow.

8:45: I am a loser who goes to bed early because my baby gets up early. I tell Bobby goodnight, we chat for a minute, and then I go downstairs and hang up some clothes in my closet. I’m just constantly doing random chores around the house. Then I get ready for bed and do a little magazine reading. I am SO behind, there is a huge stack by my bed. I don’t know why I keep up my subscriptions.

9:30: I’m falling asleep reading, so I turn out my light, hoping EK doesn’t wake up in the night! She has been pretty good lately and sleeping through the night is amazing.

…and then we do it all over again!

QOTD: Do you have to force yourself to stop working at the end of the day?