Sugar and Sass, Champagne and Class… That’s What 40 Is Made Of

VALERIE

Age: 480 Months

Height: 61 3/4″

Weight: Fabulous

 

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Every girl, everywhere, listen up.

Take a page from the book of Valerie and celebrate age with enthusiasm, youthfulness and excitement.

Like fine wine, we get BETTER with age.

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By 40 we’ve been through a lot, learned a lot, mourned losses, and celebrated wins.  We’ve redefined boundaries, established meaningful relationships, and evolved into our best selves.

 

And we are wise enough to know that we will continue to evolve and redefine who we are, what we stand for, and what we believe in.

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We take life seriously…

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But we know how to let loose, make fun of ourselves, be eccentric, and LIVE our life for us.  And only us.

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We get ONE life, and darling… 40 is another chapter in our book.  A chapter WE get to write ourselves.

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Valerie, my friend.   I am not sure in what chapter we became acquainted, but I am ever so thankful we did.  Your spontaneity, humor, EXTRA AF attitude is everything.

EVERYTHING

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May you never lose your light, your sparkle or your youthfulness.

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Forty

(well, near 40 since you started celebrating exactly 35 days early)

looks SO good on you.

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Cheers to your teens, twenties and thirties.

Forties? 

Watch it… She’s coming for ya.

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CHEERS!

 

Snow {Love} Birds

Nebraska’s most recent snow storm created the most beautiful backdrop for a Sunday morning shoot at Zorinsky lake.  Add in the warmth these two lovebirds share and we barely noticed the 28 degree temperature.

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Cole’s MILLION dollar smile, Tyree’s natural beauty, and the love and affection these two share gave way to an easy, natural and relaxed morning.  My goal was to simply capture the respect and admiration these two share for one another.

 

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Between walking through the snow capped trees and wading through ankle deep fields, we made sure to have fun and enjoy the moment in nature, which is definitely their element.

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And can we just take a moment on this next one.

Simply. Stunning.

 

Thanks for the fun, Tyree and Cole!

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Cheers to July 4th in Colorado!

Which Wolf Are You Feeding?

The Fight of Two Wolves Within You

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

”It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil–he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you–and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

What wolf are you feeding?

Our thoughts can be our own worst enemy, or are biggest advocate.  How we channel our thoughts effects the trajectory of our lives.  It is inevitable that both “wolves” will always be a part of our journey, however, we have the power to choose which one wins minute by minute, day by day, one small victory at a time.

The evil wolf allows negative thoughts in that add up over time to where you no longer realize you are living in your own self-made world of pity, sorrow, skepticism.  You have fed into the negative talk for so long that it has now become a part of who you are and maybe even how you are perceived.  This wolf is the easiest to feed.  It’s easy to slip into negative self-talk.  It’s even easier to complain, gossip, brush-off, ignore, or give-up.  Even the negativity that you brush off as joking is feeding into the evil.

Negativity breeds negativity.

But the second wolf?  That second wolf is full of promise.  It’s also full of work.  And THAT my friends, is where the magic resides.   The second wolf requires patience, commitment, tenacity, grit, perseverance, trust.  It feeds on learning, sharing, praising and the forming of habits.

The second wolf brings forth a sense of accomplishment, pride… peace even.

What’s that cliche phrase?  Nothing worth having comes easy.  You could apply it to this evil versus good wolf scenario.   Take the road with the challenge for the end result is worth more than its weight.  Feed the good wolf.  Feed the wolf that reaps the most benefit.

Right?

But what if I told you to feed both.

If you read into the Cherokee story, the alternative resolution is “if you feed them both, they both win.”

Think on that for a moment.

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Both wolves have characteristics necessary to life.  The evil wolf provides fearlessness, courage and strong-will.   The good wolf provides reason, clarity, courage, longevity.  When paired together they are powerful.

It is up to us how we manage our thoughts and how we provide an avenue for both wolves to co-exist. Mental clarity, self-awareness and confidence resides in the mind over matter.

“How you choose to interact with the opposing forces within you will determine your life. Starve one or the other or guide them both.”

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Pirtlefest 2016… and 17

Pirtlefest 2016 & 2017 highlights coming at you today.   

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We believe 2017 made for year 11 of this nonsense, but the memory of its origination is slightly blurry.

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Pirtlefest 2018 is right around the corner, so no better time than now to dig into the ghosts of Pirtlefest past.

It might also serve you well to check in on your liver and start giving it a few pep-talks.

Perhaps even your off-roaders.

 

Pirtlefest originated all thanks to the Patriarch of the Family, Gary!

His birthday, his idea, his fun.

Let’s just say it has evolved a smidge since its inception, however, the underlying tone still stands.

Family, Friends, and good clean Fun.

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From horses …

 

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To Mud…

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To burying your prized possessions…

 

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To Music…

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To Family…

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And Friends…

 

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One thing is for certain…

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If you aren’t having any kind of fun…

 

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… we probably aren’t your people.

 

Cheers to Pirtlefest 2018! 

 

The countdown is on…

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End of A Fitness Instructing Chapter…

After a nearly ten year long chapter in my book of life, the time has come to say “see ya later” to teaching fitness classes.  I taught my very last class this morning at the Council Bluffs YMCA and I absolutely cannot think of a better gym to close out my fitness instructing tenure.  These people all showed up in my fave color of BLACK, with smiles on their faces, ready to get their butts handed to them as I dished out a mashup of all my FAVE moves.

Even the slackers killed it. ❤

 

I know for most, this isn’t much of a thing.  But this thing is HUGE for me and I am not sure I am emotionally QUITE ready for this chapter to end, however, professionally and personally it’s time.

With a career shift (I am still in higher education but have switched institutions and programming size), comes great opportunity, and I am eager to spend my time really digging deep into strengthening programs that cater to our under-served student population and bridging the gap between secondary and post-secondary education across the Metro area.

Some really exciting stuff, guys!

But, with that, comes sacrifice!

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My fitness instructing career began clear back in 2002 in my hometown fitness facility and after a brief hiatus in between my move to the City, I held positions with 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym, IWCC, and the Omaha Metro YMCA, specifically with the Council Bluffs branch.

I LOVE(D) it.

Teaching fitness classes in the city opened up the door to my stint as a national fitness trainer as a Master Trainer for BBLive, which provided an incredible opportunity to meet fitness minded folks from all across the U.S. and within my territory of Iowa and Nebraska.   (You can read more of my Master Trainer life here and here).

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I still to this day talk to Sarah (second from right) at minimum once per week.  The friendship built through MT’ing was a gift in and of itself.

And the HUNDREDS of people I had the great privilege of training over the course of two years was such an incredible journey.

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To close this chapter is pretty sentimental.  But, to close it with the YMCA folks who have been with me for nearly FIVE YEARS at the same time, same day, is something I will cherish to the end.

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The CB-YMCA is where the Slacker Corner was formed:

 

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And where I earned the OFFICIAL rights to be the Supervisor of them all:

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It’s where I learned time and time again that age is just a number and mental strength always perseveres.

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It’s where I got to know members on a deeper level and held the honor of celebrating their milestones and achievements in their health and wellness journey (here’s looking at YOU Randy in your incredible journey to doing a BURPEE in class with us)

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The folks at CB-YMCA learned to live with me through all my costume themed classes and endless photo opportunities:

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The CB-YMCA is where we celebrated members, turned family, and fought with them battles never before imagined:

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We celebrated BIRTHDAY’s and HOMECOMINGS in a BIG way:

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They chastised me with signs, questionable words under their breath and always with splashes of humor:

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And celebrated with me my LOVE of all things BLACK:

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We grew together as a family as we left the old for the new:

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And banded together to overcome not only the end of the workouts, but life’s ever waving highs and lows.

Class was more than class. It was (and will continue to be) a time of togetherness, camaraderie and love.

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In my reflection over the last several years, I see grit, tenacity, passion, exhaustion, fear, triumph and happiness.  I gave it my all and I sure hope every class, every trainee, every one-timer and every regular truly felt the love I had in teaching and took away something from their experiences.

Putting that mic on brings out a side of me that is a rarity.  Taking the microphone off for the very last time this morning has left a void, but I know, in my heart of hearts, I WILL be back again one day in front of the class.  Let’s just call it a cliff hanger with a sequel to be determined.  And I am sticking around on the sub list so I can get my “fix” on the occasion… 😉

Until then, I am going to continue my participation at a gym I attend as a participant (here’s looking at you, Edge Body Bootcamp) that challenges me physically and mentally every single day.  It’s my personal happy place.  Fitness is a LARGE part of who I am and what makes me happy.  It is not something I will ever let go.  I live for the challenge it places on me. It’s my own personal competition and I am my own opponent.  I friggin’ LIVE for it.

So, on that note…

Here is a CHEERS to my run in fitness instructing.  It’s been fun!

Until next time…