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There & Back Again…& There Again

I didn’t gain the Freshman 15. My metabolism waited until I was about 25 to decide it wanted to start faltering on me. I didn’t play sports growing up but my figure, while never incredibly svelte, stayed in the normal range. And then this happened:

I know. I KNOW! Who is that woman? I didn’t feel great. My confidence waned. My pants didn’t fit. My normal jean size went from a 2-4 to a 6-8. Somewhere between quitting my waitressing job and moving into a desk job, I had gained 23 pounds. And when you stand at 5 feet 2 inches, there isn’t really anywhere for those pounds to go but to my very round pumpkin face.

I went to a friend’s wedding that summer and when the pictures came back…I was taken aback. I didn’t recognize the girl in the photos. Those images set me on course to learn how to take care of myself. Mentally and physically. Stepping into that gym the very first day was incredibly overwhelming. I had never touched a treadmill. I didn’t know what free weights were and how I was supposed to use them. I had no idea what I was doing…but I knew I needed to make a change. So I did.

I changed the way I ate. I changed the way I grocery-shopped. I started meal prepping and measuring out portions. I learned how to follow along with the 21 Day Fix DVD’s and used the gym in my building. I started seeing results and it kept me going. And by that time next year, I had dropped all that weight plus some. I didn’t worry about the scale and learned how to balance fun and fitness: progress was made.

So… why bring this up now? My regimen has worked for me and I’ve enjoyed being self-taught.But I’ve gone as far as I can on my own. The last 6 months or so, I’ve been feeling unmotivated and drained. My workouts aren’t fun and I am not feeling challenged. I started working from home and am finding it harder and harder to remotivate myself to stay the course. I am bored and need something to get me excited about fitness. I knew again, it was time for a change.

So tomorrow, I begin another leg of my fitness journey! I signed up with a personal trainer, Sasha of YourFIT, and begin my first session with her tomorrow. I decided on her “comprehensive” package for an all-encompassing experience. Sasha is providing personalized meal planning, one-on-one training, and the opportunity to be challenged again. I am looking forward to getting my mind in the right place and learning new skills.

And don’t worry, I won’t be turning this into a fitness blog 😉 I won’t be “checking-in” every time I enter the gym. But I figure this is just another form of accountability and I will be needing all the help I can get. Wish me luck!

Downtown Blondie


Those I’ve Loved Along the Way

I was introduced to a song by Eric Church many years ago –  it’s called Those I’ve Loved and it’s the inspiration for today’s post:

I feel like I’ve been several different people in my life – a completely separate and unique girl for every stage and age. People cross our paths at certain times; to teach us, to love us, to leave us. It makes me wax poetic, thinking about all the people that are no longer in my life as I (and they) have moved on to the next stage of life.

But those people stay with you, don’t they?  Friends, lovers, family, co-workers, and teachers. They knew you when… you had braces and acne and untamable hair. Before you figured out who were you meant to be; before you knew who you were.

The stars aligned a few weeks ago, 1500 miles away from home, on the Gulf side of sunny Florida. As I was taking photos for DTB, I heard the most distinctive shout. Gentle readers, if you’ve ever met this woman – you would know her voice from a mile away. It was Ms. Janet Johnsen.

Ms. Johnsen was my Creative Writing teacher my senior year of high school. My best friend and I (who fancied ourselves the next great American novelists) signed up for the class together to indulge ourselves in the art that is creatively writing. And boy, did she make an impression on me!  From day one, she exuded warmth, energy, and toughness. She and her red pen could rip your paper to shreds but still end the massacre with an “I LOVE YOU!”

To this day, I still hear her voice in my mind that continuously reminds me to:

Stop Ending Your Sentences with Prepositions Pookie

Seeing her made me think about all the amazing teachers I’ve learned from in my life. As a kid, the last day of school was always met with a sense of relief. Growing up, moving on, new teachers, and new friends.  At the time, I didn’t think much of the classrooms I left behind. But as I’ve gotten older, I think about those teachers more and more often. I often wonder if they know how much they’ve truly shaped me, moved me, taught me, guided me into young adulthood.

So here’s to you Ms. Johnsen and all those who chose to impart their wisdom. What you giveth is not long forgotten, and I am eternally grateful for all of those that I’ve loved along the way.


Goodbye Fast Fashion. Hello Sustainable Fashion.

I will be honest. My draw to thrifted and vintage clothing didn’t arise from my desire to help the environment. I was drawn to vintage initially because it seemed to fit my body type better than the Forever 21s and the Hollisters of the world. And I gave second-hand clothes a try because as a cash-strapped young 20 something, it was often all I could afford. But somewhere between watching The True Cost documentary and coming to the realization that I didn’t want to spend my growing income on spendy fashion trends, I simply stopped going to the mall. Minus Sephora. Because second-hand makeup is where I draw the line. The line is there and I won’t cross it 😉


I also have to bring up the fact that I don’t like having a thousand wardrobe twins. There’s nothing fun about going out and seeing my exact outfit on someone else. The world has enough Lululemon yoga pants, give me a tailored vintage pantsuit. I find joy in the treasure-hunting, the lazy Saturdays spent at my favorite second-hand stores. There’s nothing better than finding that perfect 60’s mod dress or a sparkly bow belt. And guess what… unless you travel back to 19XX, no one at (enter local hot spot) will be wearing the same thing. I love that. Most of my items, while maybe not “one of kind” when originally the market, are now rare. To me, rare is special. Rare is unique.


You know what else is special? Supporting local businesses. These men and women spend hours sorting through clothing, sewing, washing, digging through Estate Sales; all to bring the best of the best to you and me! I don’t know about you, but I sure feel better when I know my money is staying local and supporting people’s dreams.

So I am going to challenge you. The next time you need an outfit for…who am I kidding, you don’t need a reason to go shopping! Instead of heading to your local mall or strip mall, try a local boutique. Head over to your friendly neighborhood vintage store. Try out a Good Will. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Downtown Blondie