I live so close to work. Now that spring has sprung (except for tonight’s freezing temp predictions!), I’m even more excited to walk to work.
For inspiration, and for fun, here’s a photo dump of some of the things I found on my walk!
Juicing is THE thing at Pompadour Place. In the winter, I’ve leaned more toward smoothies (Green Monster, anyone?), but fresh juice is my number one crush.
I’m doing everything I can to beckon spring and I can’t stop thinking about my all-time favorite juice combination.
I use this Breville Compact Juice Fountain that I absolutely love. I’ve used it for nearly 2 years with no issues. Set-up and clean up are a breeze. I do slice and core my apples and cut the carrots into smaller pieces before pushing them into the juicer.
The “Rise & Shine” Juice: Apple, Carrot, Orange, Pineapple, Grape.
Bonus: my other favorite juice: Apple, Carrot, Ginger.
This is my go-to, daily juice. The apple and carrot balance sweet/wholesome taste and the ginger adds the right amount of zing! Plus, at just three ingredients this juice takes no time to prepare. 5 apples, 6-8 carrots, 1 inch of fresh ginger.
Happy First Day of Spring! In Chestertown, the sun is shining, and I’m only wearing a light jacket. Next to April 25, this is the perfect date.
With all the happy that’s surrounding me, I want to share the light.
Spring is a time to shed the winter coat, to re-awaken, to celebrate new life while remembering the history. It’s a time to check in with those New Years Resolutions, recalibrate, set new goals, and push forward toward summer.
5 Ways to Spring into Wellness
1. Clear the Clutter. Starting with your closet. Adopt a new rule: if it doesn’t fit, toss/donate it. If you haven’t worn it in 6+ months, it’s probably not going to happen. Getting rid of the clutter in your closet will help free your mind, every time you open the door.
Looking for a creative way to shed some of those clothes? Host a “Clothing Swap Party.” Invite your friends, tell them to bring gently-used clothing and/or a dish (or drinks!), and plan an evening of fun as friends turn your used threads into new “purchases.” Beats spending money on new clothes!
2. Get Active. Okay, so maybe those New Years Resolutions are gone with the passing of the winter months. That’s okay! Choose a new (achievable) goal and get started with it. Today.
Looking for someone to help motivate you? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’ll do everything from chat with you about your goals, create a plan, and get you pumped up to join one of my fitness classes! You got this.
3. Eat Lighter. While wearing bulky winter sweaters and covering up more, we’re more likely to excuse our extra serving at meal times habits. Winter is over. It’s time to lighten the load on your plate so you feel lighter and ready for the clothing shed!
I’m a huge fan of morning smoothies – my favorite is a Green Monster (spinach, one peeled banana, yogurt/milk, and either a scoop of protein powder or peanut butter). Credit to Angela of Oh She Glows for introducing me to them!
4. Connect with Nature. A friend recently introduced me to the concept of Earthing. We tend to feel happier when our bodies connect with nature. Think about your toes in the sand or walking barefoot along the grass/earth. Feels good, right? Get outside and feel the sunshine on your face. Just don’t forget the sunscreen.
5. Slow Down. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day madness of living. The emergence of spring reminds us to slow down, stop to smell the flowers, and breathe in the sunshine.
Repeat after me: it’s ok to say no. We want to say yes to every invitation, but then your time is divided and you can hardly be present (really present, not checking your phone) at every event. Choose carefully and really connect with others.
Welcome, spring! I look forward to celebrating with you.
I’m not sure if it’s the 20 ounces of caffeine I’ve had today, sunshine, sweet kisses from my favorite redhead, the fact that nothing can stop the productivity I’ve mastered today, or listening to this song on repeat…but I’m feeling happy.
Actually, I’ve been feeling happy for the majority of my days recently. Though I’m not one to question bliss, I’ve been thinking about the source of the happiness.
- Work has never been more demanding of my time and energy – if I’m not working out or catching a few hours of zzzs, I’m working. And not busy work – creative, detailed, personalized attention work.
- I haven’t had any scheduled (or unscheduled) nothing-to-do time. Usually, I’ll spend some quality time with Rory and Lorelai or Veronica Mars (because those are the only two shows that I can honestly stand) and knit or do some other kind of craft. But I haven’t done much of that lately at all.
- I’m spearheading tons of non-work projects. For example – the Friday Night Block Party before the huge Chestertown History/Tea Party Festival in May (MAY 23 MARK YOUR CALENDAR). I’m also on the board of Colchester Farm, and working through hours of filmed interviews for Potomac & Chesapeake ACAC’s 50th Anniversary.
- I’m teaching 8 group fitness classes a week, possibly starting one more, and prepping for the FOUR different formats like crazy (seriously…the amount of time fitness instructors pour into planning for a one-hour class is nuts).
So, what’s the deal? How is it that I’m more productive and my schedule is fuller than ever, but I find myself buzzing around with a smile on my face?
Even in the midst of my packed schedule, I’m embracing each day and each new opportunity. I also have a sweet partner-in-crime who not only encourages me, but also makes me dinner on long days (and then does the dishes, too). Lucky lady!
I think I’ve finally reached the point where I’m not busy – I’m choosing meaningful ways to spend my time (and being better about who I choose to spend that time with). What a happy, delightful thing – to be purposeful and happy in one. Clap along!
I love creativity, surprises, and celebrating a loved one. I’m like a kid in a candy store sharing the details of this fun adventure!
It all started with a thought: I’m dating a man who I treasure and want to do something fun and happy for him. What better way to celebrate him than surprising him with something unexpected?
This took some careful planning. I worked with Johnny’s boss to get him the day off (which he was not to know about!), and planned a series of clues in a scavenger hunt to lead him to the final BIG surprise. Each clue represented a place or an idea that we’ve shared. Everyone knew about it but him AND managed to keep it a secret.
The scavenger hunt began Sunday morning. I managed to hide the first clue in a book. He flipped through the pages, and out popped a red and pink clue! At first, he was confused, then he re-read it and looked at me like “what’s next?”
I sent him on his way to retrieve 4 additional clues, working his way toward solving the mystery of our Valentine surprise.
Here’s one of the clues that I placed at the end of the dock, on the mighty Chester River. (I placed the clue here moments before he retrieved it…and he never knew!)
The final clue held the details of the surprise and I placed it on the train tracks in his parent’s basement (this train development is super neat). Johnny’s dad even placed a super special train in front, to go along with the surprise…
a trip to New York City! The final clue told him to go home and pack, we’re meeting the train to head to NYC. I was there to savor the finding of the final clue, and it was so much fun!
I planned a few things: dinner at Guy’s American Restaurant (from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives), a comedy club show, and staying in a sweet boutique hotel in Times Square.
I loved getting the chance to surprise my Valentine with a fun trip!
On Monday, we spent time playing in Central Park, exploring Chelsea and the High Line, and ate lunch at my favorite lunch/brunch spot in the Upper West Side: Alice’s Tea Cup.
This whole thing was so much fun to plan, even if I did give him a few hints (I was so excited). Happy LOVE Day!
I love teaching group fitness.
I love the energy, the team-like atmosphere, the accountability, the joint feeling of accomplishment and success when we’ve completed a tough workout.
I’ve been leading fitness classes for 5 years. In that time, I’ve learned a few things about myself as an athlete, as an instructor, as a mentor. I’ve also learned a few things about my class participants.
Some have been with me since the very beginning. Some students come to all or most of my classes (I teach 8 classes a week right now). Some students message me before class asking details about it, saying they’re nervous, asking can I do this?
I love getting these messages. I love helping people break that comfort barrier, show up to class, rock it, and then share it with their friends. In my mind, I’m helping people build confidence, strength, balance, be active, and spread happiness.
Here’s a list of wishes I have for anyone interested in changing their lifestyle to be more active through group fitness classes:
1) Come as you are. I’ve had people tell me they’ll start my classes when they’re “in better shape” or “5 lbs. lighter.” Come to class now and get those results even faster! As an instructor, it’s my job to make sure you’re doing moves correctly, that you’re pushing yourself, and to showcase variations for moves so you can personally rock it. You’re awesome right now…coming to class will only make you more awesome and hey even stronger and more balanced.
2) Let go. You’ve done half the battle by showing up. Now get ready to rock the class. Take a deep breath, relax, and have a good time! Everyone wants to, trust me.
3) Work toward a goal. Be intentional with your workouts, even if the goal is just to have fun (see #2). Have a sense of what you’re working toward – is it to be stronger? To be more active? To be able to chase after your wild toddler?
If you set goals you’re more likely to achieve them and you have the bonus of added motivation to get sweaty.
4) Ask me questions. I’m always available before class, after class, and plaster my email and phone number on every non-moveable surface. I’m here to make your experience the best. Get in touch with me, and no question is too silly to ask.
5) Hydrate and Refuel. Hydration is key to a healthy lifestyle. We need water to live. If you’re working out, you need more water. Refuel after workouts in a way that will help you achieve your goals (see #3).
I like to think that I’m eating and drinking to fuel the next awesome workout; not that I’m working out because I like to eat.
6) Mix it up. Some of my students have been taking Zumba with me for 4+ years. I LOVE this but I’m also not sad when they leave Zumba to try something else, especially when they eventually cycle back to Zumba.
Your body wants variety; try something new. Stick to a workout for 6 weeks and then either try something new or find a new way approach to your workout.
Group fitness classes are awesome for changing up the routine – I try to mix it up every 6-8 weeks so we’re focusing on something new, or trying new songs and moves.
7) Stick with it. Consistency and perseverance are your two best friends when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Set goals (see #3) and even add fitness to your calendar. Make it a date you cannot break with yourself (because you’re smart, kind, and important).
See you in a class soon!
I add a little yoga to my everyday workouts. It’s nice to end a cardio class (like INSANITY or Turbo Kick) with hip openers or deep lunges. It’s also nice to take a few moments to reflect on each day, take deep breaths, and re-focus my energy.
I like to create small combo or asana challenges for myself, so I can continue to see improvement and movement.
My latest obsession? Learning to open up and gain enough confidence to perform a split.
I’m close to my desired form! Over the past three weeks, I’ve performed a series of hip openers, deep single-leg balance stretches, and hamstring stretches to get myself ready to ease comfortably into this position.
I love single-leg balances. We hold many of these in my PiYo Strength classes. I love using the wall or a nearby column to go even deeper into this stretch.
Bird of Paradise has been another go-to stretch in my pursuit of the split. I’m loving the seated version.
Performing each of these hip openers and stretches, I’ve been able to gain more confidence and strength in my legs and hips. Check out my progress in just three weeks:
I can’t wait to continue practicing this form. It’s a crucial form for a fun new yoga combo I’ve been trying to do! One step at a time.
Now for an announcement! Do you like the fly sparkly headband I’m rocking in the first photo? It’s a Sparkly Soul wide silver headband, my absolute favorite to wear.
I teach a ton of classes and these headbands are the best – they don’t fall off my head or slide, or hurt my hair. Seriously, they rock.
I love them SO MUCH that I’m hosting a giveaway on the blog this Friday for a wide silver headband. This giveaway is sponsored 100% by me, just because.
Stay tuned for more information!
For our short holiday stay in Concord, Massachusetts, I chose Hawthorne Inn.
I knew I wanted to stay at a B&B, and there were a few to choose from in the Concord area. Thanks to help from TripAdvisor (recommended tool by my dear friend Cheryl, who owns a B&B in Chestertown), I found Hawthorne Inn and sent an email inquiry to request a stay.
First, I loved the location: it’s located just down the road from The Orchard Inn, where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women.
Second, two awesome things happened: I got a reply almost immediately, and the message prompted me to call for a final reservation.
I frequently stay at hotels for work (Silver Elite Marriott member), and I love the ease of online booking. But for a personal trip, and because I didn’t want to stay in a chain hotel, I loved the idea of staying at a B&B for a more personalized experience.
I loved all the details of this stay. The decor of the B&B was lovely – beginning with the pretty front door.
Upon our arrival, Gregory (one of the owners – the other is Marilyn) greeted us with tea and cinnamon bread. We got there late because of rain and traffic, but he was happy, smiling, and super accommodating.
We stayed in the delightful “Alcott Room.” I love how the suites are named for local celebrities!
I quickly fell in love with their German Shepherd dogs. Say hi to Pashka! Isn’t he beautiful? So well behaved, too. And playful.
As part of a Christmas adventure treat, Johnny and I spent a few days in Concord, Massachusetts!
I’ve wanted to check out Concord for awhile. Probably since I first read Little Women. It was written here! Here’s the house where Louisa May Alcott wrote it. We toured the house and saw where she wrote the book.
This is the house!
We also visited the Old North Bridge, site of the start of the Battle of Concord. There’s so much history in Concord!
For example, did you know that this is the place where the shot heard ’round the world that started the Revolutionary War was fired? Or, did you know that literary greats like Louisa May Alcott, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, lived and wrote here? See? Lots of history.
I wanted to ice skate, but Johnny thought that might be dangerous. Probably because the water wasn’t completely frozen.
He did think it would be a good idea to pose like a minuteman, though.
It’s not a trip with Aundra unless there’s a hawt yoga move or two. A bridge ON a bridge!
My favorite part of our trip? A visit to Walden Pond.
The concepts of self-reliance, questioning the system, and the illusion of progress intrigue me. I loved sitting on a rock alongside Walden Pond and thinking about Thoreau pondering these same ideas, with the help of visiting friends.
It wasn’t until I read (really listened to) Into the Wild that I started thinking about the pressure we put on one another to achieve self-reliance only to learn later that happiness is only real when it is shared. We can work toward independence, but real bliss comes from building a community and sharing.
I’m continuing to find and challenge my own bliss, and sweet adventures like this with people I love help me move toward it!