A GalPal In Need | Brittany, the Artist Behind Saoi Photography

My favorite photographer and someone I’d consider a solid acquaintance as we’ve stayed connected over a period of 8 years is currently in need of support.  Brit of Saoi Photography, has in the past week been diagnosed with a brain tumor in her left frontal lobe.  In a matter of days she underwent surgery for removal, tests for the tumor were sent in (benign) and now she begins the many weeks of recovery.

brittany

As many small, private business owners know, it isn’t an option to miss work “unplanned”.  As Brit’s sole income is based on her artistry and vision, it comes without saying that her work is currently sidelined during recovery.  And without work, no income.  Without an income, finances become a struggle and medical bills pile.  Brit is not only a photographer but also a mom of two handsome little dudes.

brits boys

Brit is surrounded by folks from all walks of life thanks to her work but also her hobbies and interests.  She is a free-spirit, music-loving, hipster without being hipster because she is cool without the trendy classifications kind of chick.  Her vibe attracts her tribe, truly, and she has a kick-ass one.

Some of which have set up a Go Fund Me account for her to help with the costs associated.  If you are so inclined, please help by clicking HERE.

Her guy has a pretty sweet lineup of well-wishers as well and if you want to chime in, send something fun his way, or just follow along, on IG by clicking HERE.

Any and all can help this gal.What drew me to Brittany so many years ago is how relatable she is.   She’s someone that I knew would fit in with my crew and our personalities and I just KNEW I had to have her for our wedding.   And so began our history.

What drew me to Brittany so many years ago is how relatable she is.   She’s someone that I knew would fit in with my crew and our personalities and I just had to have her for our wedding.   And so began our history.

First our engagement photos:
32(2)

Then our Wedding.  This gang is full of nuts and I knew she’d fit right into our non-traditional vibe, and she did!  And she survived!  That is a true testament to her character, especially with those bad influence boys.

A6C561F1-5961-42E7-9EEC-23CC81982772

661B2B30-C54B-44F3-887B-40C969B28C15

6F765A5B-10C9-497C-9EF7-7E49D6DE13CB

And Family Photos in 2013

Family2013-021

 

Brit’s photography style has evolved so much over the years and it has been incredible to watch her artistic eye develop and change as she became more aware of her own styles and ideas of art.  I can’t WAIT to be in front of her lens again soon.

PLEASE, do yourself a favor and check out her webpage, Facebook and Instagram (<-all live links) for her work.  Give her a follow.  GIve her support.  She’s incredible.

And again, if you feel so inclined to give this galpal a helpful hand, please visit her GoFundMe account.

 

Cheers!

 

 

2018 Motto | Are You Living Yours?

Oh hey there kiddies!  Welcome to March 2018 AND my first post in the New Year!

So, what gives?

Life.   

Sweet Life.

 

The last word vomit I left you with surrounded the resolution trap and goal shift mentality.   Let me wrap up my long list of goals I set out for myself into what has become my 2018 motto:

 

Let Go Of The Bullshit.

Focus On The Real Shit.

 

.

Authenticity: Real Life application.

What is considered B.S. is going to differ from person to person.  Only you can decide and only you can act on it.  Each day provides an opportunity where you can learn from yourself and others and grow as a person.  As an INDIVIDUAL.  Evolve your authenticity.  Gut check, friends.   How authentic are you in what you put out to the world?

So, what are some things I have done to shift my mindset and focus on what is real to me?  I’ll give you a little insight and provide a few suggested takeaways, but not all.  Afterall, 2018 goals were to be a little less of a book and a little more of a mystery.  A bestie lives her life like this and I admire her for it.  My previous life REQUIRED me to be an open book.  And it was completely fine for that time.  Now, I think a little differently about what I share and how much.  I still share via social media (mainly my cats cuz I’m all about that #catmomlife) and I will certainly be sharing blog-worthy stuff once summer rolls around (hello… HARLEY LIFE) but shifting my focus of MUST SHARE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE to, will share what feels right to me OR others.   Again, life of authenticity.

 

Friend Dates.  Each month of 2018 I have set dates (or vice versa) with friends.  In January I had 3 meaningful “dates” with different gals and in February I tallied up 4, whether it was an hour lunch during the week in the Old Market, a weekend brunch, a Jeep road trip or an adventure to a small neighboring town to watch the ever popular duck races, etc.

  1. I haven’t social media plastered all of it… with the exception of the duck race on Snap, because woah.  Y’all need to experience that redneckery.
  2. Instead, we used our time to focus on connecting about the positives in life, the truths of life, the HARD STUFF of life.
  3. One reconnection was merely about listening, reflecting, apologizing, understanding.  It was good for our souls.
  4. Most connections were just friends taking a REAL time-out for each other.  Not just social media shout-outs and tags (which are appropriate too, as long as it’s not the only means of connecting).
  5. I will continue to make these dates as the months continue on.  I truly have a lot of friends who I value for different reasons and want to continue making these meaningful connections.
    • Your Take Away:  Set up some friend dates.  Make it happen.  Even if just an hour of face to face time to reconnect.  Trust me, they will fill your cup up so full. ❤

Avoca, NE Duck Race Beer Tent: AKA the entire town.

Listening Skills

  1. The hubs work is demanding.  I don’t think anyone can truly understand what it means to be a business owner that is high profile and high demand with employees, partners and the like.  Add to that TWO businesses and I have an overworked, tired guy on my hands.  Literally never has a day off at home.  I promise you that.
  2. I am working really hard at listening and understanding but not providing as much commentary unless needed.  Being his outlet to vent.
  3. And Vice Versa… cuz LAWD knows my career (currently) is a wee bit high stress and he listens to it too.
    • Your Take Away: Talk less, listen more.  Truly HEAR what your spouse/Significant other is saying and be careful of what you say in return.  Maybe they aren’t seeking feedback.  Maybe you are a safe place for them to just talk.   So, listen.

Career

  1. It’s challenging.  But, it’s a good challenge as long as I shift my mentality to focus on how the challenge is making me a better leader.   Each day I set small attainable goals to achieve that will assist in keeping my focus on the here and now.
  2. Working on trying to worry less about the stuff/people I can’t control and are life suckers.
  3. Don’t be one of those work-life suckers…
  4. Flowers on desk are a total bonus
    • Your Take Away: Career changing LEADERSHIP advice: 

Before you assume, learn the facts. 

Before you judge, understand why. 

Before you speak, think. 

Before you hurt, feel.   

 

Selfish PERSONAL changes

  • I decreased the number of fitness classes I teach.  Don’t get me wrong… I LOVE the formats.  I don’t ever NOT want to teach these people I ADORE: 
  • But…
    • I have also found another gym that I love for ME and provides challenges beyond what I have been able to do for myself the last couple of years
    • I feel like a total Effin Bad Ass
    • I need to continue down this path because it has been mind changing, body changing, confidence changing.  And I have met some seriously incredible people that I get to connect with through sweat, tears, smiles, laughs and major milestones.  No one knows the pain exhilaration of a partner workout consisting of battle rope jacks, tire flips, dead-hangs, hollow-holds, etc then your partner who is side by side with you… and probably the one making you hold that damn hollow hold so long because they are still working on their required number of battle rope jacks.  Growing stronger together.  Physically & Mentally.   THAT is my happy place. 🙂
      • Your Take Away:  REMOVE anything from your life that is causing an unnecessary level of stress or nuisance to your CURRENT situation.  FIND something that challenges you and KEEP DOING IT!   Doesn’t have to be a new gym.  It doesn’t have to be a physical challenge.  Make it a mental challenge.  Doesn’t matter.   

GROWTH will never happen if you keep doing the same shiz.

 

I am going to leave you with that.   Make decisions each day that catapult you to who you are, what you stand for and what you want to be remembered by.   Be YOU, whoever that is.   And live authentically.

 

And for goodness sakes:

Let Go Of The Bullshit.

Focus On The Real Shit.

 

Cheers!

 

A Countdown to 2018

In just a few hours many of us will be ringing in the New Year with the clinks of our cheap champagne glasses, kisses from our loves ones, hugs with our friends and family and new goals on the horizon.

If you have certain things you want to accomplish in 2018, I still stand behind the notion of letting go of the New Years Resolutions and instead focus more on goals and the experiences that go alongside them.  I laid out a few steps towards goal setting back in 2014 that you can read here.

In looking ahead at 2018 I actually find myself focusing less on specific goals and more on the bigger picture.

Focusing more on living a life of purpose and intent.

Being truly PRESENT.

Being more observant in my career.

Being MORE present for my husband and his business.

Allowing more time for myself to learn and grow in the areas that mean something to me, my self-awareness, personal health, well-being and my bigger purpose.

Making more time for meaningful conversations with friends.

Being quiet, listening more, saying less.

Canceling out the unnecessary noise that life wraps us up in and spending more time on the quiet.

Being less of a copy and more on owning my original.

 

Here’s to a great end to 2017.  I hope you grew, you learned and you loved.

Cheers to 2018!

 

 

 

 

 

Hope | Love

In the aftermath of Las Vegas, I know many of us are left with feelings of uncertainty, helplessness, anger and sadness.   Evil is all around us.  It’s part of our world.

But, we also live in a world of light, faith, love.

Hope.

In the days since the recent tragedy, our news feeds are full, the conspiracy theories are alive, political sides are being taken and anger is being fueled with fire.   While I have my thoughts, I will not fall into conversations or feed into the conspiracies or the political sides.   What good does that do anyone?

I am an American.

I am Human.

I will not tie myself to anything outside of that.

 

In this devastating time, there are also stories of hope.   Stories of survivors, stories of the first responders and the average American like you and I who chose to help those in need in what surely was one of their darkest hours.

With that, I want to leave you with a few web page links that focus on hope.  That shed light on love.  Stories that provide us with a renewed sense of hope that good can come of tragedy.  Stories that give us hope for our American neighbors.

Love What Matters

Love What Matters Web

Ellen’s Message of Hope

Survivors Provide Messages of Hope

I hope you find yourself focusing on the good, finding the good, being the good.  

 

 

Stand Up Desk

I finally made it happen.

5 years of sitting and I’ve had enough.   Welcome to my new stand-up desk.

img_1405

.

I am PUMPED!

As a band teacher, I stood and walked around all day.  That percussion section always needed extra proximity love.

Contrary to popular belief, drumsticks are in fact not light sabers, swords or any other weapon of choice.

So, for seven years I was a mover and a shaker and sat only during prep time or for a quick lunch break.   In 2011, I moved into a career where I am sitting 90% of the time.  That time-frame is also when the major back issues set in.   I am thankful that after last years troubles, the injection I received last year into my sciatic nerve solved a lot of the issues, however, there is still residual muscle tightness.  I am confident that sitting all day is a major contributor.

img_1409

.

I’ve been contemplating a stand up desk for quite some time.  I’ve read a lot about the pros and cons of standing all day and for the most part the only con I can find that is worthy of repeating is that prolonged standing can have just as much of a negative effect on the back as sitting.   Good thing I have plenty of meetings on that calendar of mine, so having a standing desk is actually going to balance out quite nicely.

If you have done any type of research into the cost of a stand-up desk you are aware of the cost.  They aren’t cheap.  But, thanks much to Jenny of Prairie Californian, I found a cost effective alternative.  She made her own by using materials purchased at Ikea and so graciously shared the details with me, of which I will now share with you!

img_1410

Click on the titles to be linked directly to IKEA.

 

img_1407

 

Today is my first day using my new desk and as of right now (lunch break, four hours into it) I am pretty darn happy.   The only addition I am going to make will be a padded mat under my feet and an extra pair of tennis shoes that will stay in the office.   What you can’t see is that I already have a mini stockpile of work shoes under my desk as it is.  A girl can never be too prepared in the shoe department.   🙂

What about if I need/want to sit?

No problem!  I also have a work laptop that I can easily prop open for those days when I don’t have any meetings and need a position change.

I’ll keep you posted on the transition.  I am sure there will be an adjustment period getting my legs and back used to this new norm, but I am happy to take it on!

img_1405

Cheers!