The Month of May | 2017

Hi Friends!  How about a little Weekend in Review — the month of May style?   May was a whirlwind of events leaving behind nothing but incredible memories and maybe even a little nostalgia for it all to happen again.

The month came in with a bang as we celebrated our favorite bride-to-be Jessica for several days straight.

From the innocence of elementary dance and “smoking” candy cigs in the barn; to mid-twenties shenanigans and foolishness that Erin, Jess and I often found ourselves in (oh, the stories you’d hear if those walls of 12939 Camden Ave could speak); to an adult friendship built on truth, authenticity and trust; I’d say Jess and I have figured out this friendship thing quite nicely.  She’s the real deal, y’all and it was a ton of fun helping prep for her big day.

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We started with her Bachelorette party on Thursday evening at The Magnolia.

Prior to heading up to the room, the three amigos stopped at the lobby bar for a drink.  This was the first time Erin, Jess and I had been together and drinking at a bar in YEARS.  Jessica of course looked like a doll,  Erin was jet lagged and insisted on sunglasses and I had my gum on full display.   This about sums us up.

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Thanks to Lega’s impeccable planning and attention to detail, the get-together was exactly what Jessica wanted.   An intimate evening with her closest girlfriends, booze, snacks, games and girl talk.

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Friday rolled around and a few of us headed down to the wedding venue to load in the hay bales and hang up lights in preparation for Saturday’s main event.  Then it was time for the bridal shower at Nosh Bar in the Old Market.   Again, another evening of fun with Jess’s friends and family.

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And then Saturday.  THE day. ❤  First order of events:  re-stock of beer in the cooler, vehicle swap for the Impala, a drive-by pickup of Erin and hotel bound to get dolled up for the wedding.

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One of Jessica’s top requests long before they had even set an official date was her desire to use Clint’s Impala as her mode of transportation.  I couldn’t have been more happy to drive that sexy beast around for the day.  Add all these hotties in the vehicle too??   I’m not saying we caused any accidents that day, but we certainly garnered a few head-turns. 😉

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Right before we walked the aisle.  ❤

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It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day.  Couldn’t have asked for better weather for the outdoor event.  Sugar Clay Winery provided a stunning location, impeccable service, the yummiest food and wine and an open carefree environment.

And heck yes I changed into chucks.   There’s only so many hours of heels that are appropriate. 🙂

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And this man performed his first wedding ceremony as an ordained officiant.   He did a great job, humor and all.

What a stud.

The next weekend consisted of quality time on the bike, cat snuggles, beers, baseball games and mom’s day.

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Did I mention I failed at sunblock while watching baseball?  Like, FAIL, FAIL!

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Clint and I took off on the bikes to Clarinda to spend mothers day with our mama’s and a sweatshirt was quite necessary for me to prevent burn on burn.  And hot as hell!  Seriously will never understand the folks who wear full gear on hot summer days.  I don’t buy the safety thing as heat exhaustion climbs high on the un-safe-o meter, if you ask me.

An afternoon with mom, grams and fam, I found myself making my way back to Omaha on my own as Clint had already left from his moms earlier in the day.  I know you’ve heard it from me before, but I say it again… I cherish those miles and days just me and my girl.  Someday I will take off on a multi-day roadtrip just me and her.  Someday….. someday.

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And just like that we were into the third weekend of May, and most importantly, Liz and Andy’s WEDDING! ❤   Tracy, Tyree and I were asked to decorate the reception venue so we headed down around noon to get things set up and glowing before the big event.    The weather was less then stellar that day, but the fun going down on the inside far outweighed any of that.   The ceremony was PERFECT, the couple shared their smiles and tears through their beautiful vows and then we partied the night away.

I also went blonde somewhere in the middle of month as well.   Summer hair, friends! 🙂

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We finished the weekend with three graduation parties + a pretty fun road-trip with the Miller newlyweds and before we knew it, Memorial Weekend happened.

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For four days my Jeep was parked and my two wheels were out to play.  Friday night consisted of an Iowa bar hop with Tyree, Cole and friends from Colorado.   We did about a 150 mile loop through SW Iowa, met some interesting folks and even got our thrills riding on roads that some would consider sketch after dark.

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Saturday we took a little jaunt up to Cottonwood Marina for a late lunch, overpriced drinks and cheesy ass smiles from the hubs.

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Sunday we made our way down to Clarinda with the Larson’s for a little afternoon BBQ and beers with the Hagey’s.  It was an easy day of conversation, beer drinking and damn good food.  And for once the boys were pretty well-behaved!   I know – equally as shocking for us when that happens.

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The ride home proved to be the best ride of the weekend thanks to one of the most beautiful sunsets we have seen.

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Monday provided a day of cat snuggles, a full Jeep detail and wax, bike wash, another quick solo ride around the city, cut short as the weather had turned cold and my tanktop was NOT cutting it and an evening of water chugging trying to combat the bloat of the weekend.

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And let’s not forget about my Papio Trail run (refer back to water statement above) where someone decided living room furniture would be a good gift to those on the trail.  For relaxing purposes I guess.

Thanks, no thanks??

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Cheers friends!   I hope your June is off to an incredible start!   Four days in already, before you know it we will be into July!  Enjoy the heck out of every minute of everyday.

And always Be Present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summertime Kale and Cauliflower Salad

Hey friends!  I hope you are all finalizing your calendars and gearing up for an epic Summer 2017.  With the way mine looks, it’s bound to be a memorable one as always!   Summer means bbq’s, friends, bikes, beers, sun and tons of fun, which is why I thought now would be a good time to share with you my summertime twist to the Cauliflower and Kale Detox salad so you have something new and fresh to take to your patio parties.

 

I changed a few things to give it more of a summery-citrus vibe by adding more lemon, some balsamic vinegar, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.  It’s addicting and oh so good.

The Salad

  • 1 Head (or bag) of Cauliflower crumbles
  • 2ish cups kale, chopped
  • 1 bunch sliced green onions
  • 2 oz. bag slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

The Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
    • Note: the balsamic vinegar will turn the cauliflower brown, so if that weirds you out, you can omit and replace with more lemon juice.

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Cheers!

Fulfilled Purpose

For those who have followed along on my escapades over the years know how much I try to live a life of purpose and intent and do so with involvement and a present mind.

I like to do.  I like to experience.  I like to break barriers.  I like to set goals and destroy them. I like to push myself.  I like to serve others.  I like to involve myself in things that have a larger purpose.

One being a Master Trainer for Beachbody Live.

In 2015, I set out with a goal and a purpose.  I conquered the first goal of auditioning and proving to myself that age and body-type don’t have to be barriers for a role as a Master Trainer for a fitness company.   And for two years I trained and educated the minds of current and future fitness instructors.  And it was incredible.  And purposeful.   And was for a larger purpose.

And it was fulfilling.

Today I tell you that I am an officially ‘retired’ Beachbody Live Master Trainer.  I have hung up the hat and packed away the jacket.  I am happy.  I am content.  My cup runneth over with two years of certifications and the opportunity to experience things outside of my comfort zone and meet people I’d never have crossed paths with before.

It’s been a helluva ride and I loved the journey.

To all my peeps I have met along the way, thank you.  Thank you for trusting me and living out this dream with me.  What a ride.

As for the future, I am going to continue doing me and all that I love.   Work, teach fitness classes, ride my motorcycle, hang with the hubs, attend more concerts then my bank account can handle, drink my PBR’s, enjoy happy hour with my girlfriends, spend more time in the weight room, help my husbands business on the weekends.  Who knows what you’ll see me getting into now that I won’t be traveling and certifying on the weekends. I have a hunch you will see and hear about it along the way.

On that note, please allow me to share the many pieces of my heart from the last two years.   To all of those in these photos (and those photos that I missed) please know you impacted my life in an incredible way.  Thanks and see y’all on the flip.

Cheers!

   

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Employee Spotlight

My division at work does a really cool “Employee Spotlight” feature once a month.  Our division is fairly widespread and it’s not uncommon for me to only see some of my colleagues once or twice a year at large staff meetings due to proximity and job responsibilities.  This feature was added about a year or two ago and it has become one of my favorite emails to receive.  I love reading about people and learning a little more about them other then the work-face we interact with.   I don’t know about you, but the “career me” is considerably different then the “real me” in regards to personal interactions and conversations.

My spotlight was last week, so I thought it’d be fun to share with my readers as well!

Cheers!

Name:    Jordan Pirtle

Position:  Director of High School Outreach

City of residence:  Omaha, NE

Inhabitants at my residence:

  • Clint (husband)
  • Kyle (the college-going 20 year old bonus kid who appears at our house once a year, if we are lucky)
  • Harley (the cat)
  • The real Harley (my baby who sleeps in a garage and not in a crib)

Start date:

  • August 2011 (Associate Dean of Instructor, Academic Affairs)
  • January 2014 (Director of HS Outreach, Student Services)

My role at IWCC:  I am going to keep it incredibly vague.  Under the guidance of the Iowa Department of Education’s Senior Year Plus programming and NACEP accreditation, I oversee all operational and administrative aspects of College Early Start which allows High School students to enroll in college classes.  Natalie oversees the Southwest Iowa Workplace Connection focusing on connecting high school students and teachers to local careers, through work-based learning experiences and Jake, Secondary CTE Advisor, promotes career and technical education via a variety of practices.  Natalie and Jake work very closely together on initiatives.

What brought me to IWCC:  Prior to IWCC, I was a music teacher for South Page Community Schools in College Springs, IA and Omaha Public Schools for a combined 6 years.   After finishing my Masters programs I was ready for an administrative role and began applying for leadership positions at the Secondary level.   In 2011 I went through a promising AP interview process but was passed over by an internal candidate.   That bummer experience ended up being a blessing in disguise as it opened my eyes to post-secondary education and the Associate Dean position at IW.

What I like best about working for IWCC:  I specifically enjoy my position as it keeps me heavily involved in the secondary school system, which was my first true career love.  The position keeps me on my toes with the ever-evolving State legislation changes and NACEP accreditation requirements.   I enjoy the challenge and the immense knowledge I’ve gained and the professional growth I’ve experienced from working at IWCC.

Best job before IWCC:  Working for South Page Community Schools.   I was the Director of Bands, 6-12th grade Choral director, competitive cheerleading coach, dance team sponsor, junior class prom sponsor, etc.  Listen. When you are a teacher in a rural district, you don’t just teach.  You do everything.  I loved every second of every day when I was around those students, and with my lineup of responsibilities, I basically lived at the school.  From 6am rehearsals/practices, to late night games, to cheer competitions across the state. You name it, I was there.   I was young and fresh out of undergrad and had a ton of fun learning and growing with them.

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I’m happiest when:  I’m on my Harley, the sun is shining and an ice cold beverage is on the horizon.

My biggest fear: Alzheimer’s.  Losing my cognitive ability at a young age.

I’m proudest of:  As a teenager I faced some adversity that some would allow to change them, or use those experiences as excuses for bad decisions.   I was presented with two paths I could have followed, either one impacting my future greatly.  I chose the middle road. I chose to take my experiences from the evil and the good in my life and create a middle ground that fit me.  I am proud of that.   In 2006 I went through some crazy life changes.  I call it my quarter-life crisis.  It was the real deal, y’all.  At 25 I quit my job, moved out of my beautiful country home in Clarinda, left my bff’s and family and the only life I had known for 25 years and moved to Omaha with no job lined up, a U-Haul with all of my belongings and settled into a house in West O with two High School friends who opened their arms and hearts.   It was a life-changing few years that followed and I wouldn’t trade one single experience, the good and questionable, from those years.   I am proud of that.

I strive to live life in the present moment. 

I don’t take things for granted. 

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What I do when I’m not working at IWCC:  I am teaching fitness classes at IWCC and the YMCA or I am training future fitness instructors on the weekends as part of my Master Trainer role.    I am attending concerts (total junkie) with friends or chilling with my hubs in our backyard around a campfire.  I am on the Harley by myself for some solo and self-reflection time or I am riding with 30+ of my biker friends cruising the back-roads of Nebraska and Iowa.

Top three highlights of my life:

  1. Not being afraid of starting over at the age of 25.   That reset button was hard to push, but it was completely worth it.
  2. Auditioning to be a fitness Master Trainer at the age of 34.  I consider myself a non-traditional fitness spokesperson and I didn’t let age or body type stop me from pursuing that dream.
  3. Marrying Clint in 2011.  And not just because of all that mushy love yuck.  But because we compliment each other.  He gets me to see the world through a relax and don’t try to control every aspect of life lens.   We operate as a married unit but also as individuals with our own lives.  We respect each other, encourage each other to seek out new opportunities and set higher goals and we both love sushi.  Win!

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People would be surprised to know:

  1. I used to play clarinet for the Nebraska Wind Symphony.  While I was teaching for South Page, I also traveled to Omaha from Clarinda (and back) every Monday evening for rehearsals.  I took a hiatus for a few years but am auditioning to be a part of the 2017-18 ensemble soon.
  2. My 25 year old brother Gabriel is a dwarf.  He’s the coolest cat you could ever know and challenges me to find the “art” in life.  Not that I want you to stalk me on the world of social media, but I did a little fact sheet on Gabe and included additional information on dwarfism if interested in a little education: Click here.

Work-related hidden talent/special skill:  Not Excel, that’s for sure.

Favorite song, or book, or movie, or food (or all four!):

  • Song:  Impossible to choose.   Music junkie in all aspects, remember?
  • Current book: The Mindful School Leader by Valerie Brown.  I am in a grad level class for CEU’s to keep my K-12 administrative license active. I recommend it as it’s been a great read!
  • Movie: Sweet Home Alabama
  • Food: mashed potatoes

Best vacation:  All of the vacays spent on the Harley.   Sturgis!  Specifically our first visit when Clint proposed at Full Throttle Saloon on the bridge.  Our second visit we made it on TV for our 5 seconds of fame, thanks to the Full Throttle TV series.  Sadly FTS burned down in 2015, shortly after our third visit.   Bikes, Blues and BBQ Rally in Arkansas takes a top spot as well.   WOAH!   Arkansas is gorgeous and even better from the seat of a motorcycle.

 

 

Colorado Dreaming

In less than 24 hours our family will be heading out for our 5th Annual ski adventure to Copper Mountain!

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This years adventure will be minus the two patriarchs of the family due to priorities at home.  Can you all please do me a favor and keep your thoughts and prayers with Gr’pa Drake, my mother-in-laws father, as he faces declining health.  Gaylen and Debbie have chosen to stay back this year to be with her parents and let us kids continue on with the skiing adventure.  We have promised a TON of photos, GoPro videos and memories made so that we make it feel like they are right there with us.

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Each year brings new adventures, more wipe-outs, daring jumps and good quality family time.   We are always so thankful and appreciative of this trip.

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From family dinners and card games, to pool challenges, trips down Kokomo, terrifying journeys up the lifts (It is no wonder I keep it together when the lift stops mid-way and starts swinging), beers on the mountain, to snow ball fights while we wait for shuttles and everything in between.  This trip ranks high amongst the favorites each year.

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Cheers!