Emily // NPC Bikini Competition

my beautiful, strong, sassy sister

My sister Emily has been working¬†so hard for the last few months to get ready for her first ever fitness competition this weekend. My mom and I (and a bunch of her friends + some other family members) are heading to Charleston, SC to watch her compete! We have t-shirts and the whole crew will be there to cheer her on (I’ve got peanut butter and Double Stuf Oreos for backstage after the show!).

I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but I think what people miss is that this is a fitness competition. It’s not a bikini contest like you might be thinking; these women give their all and challenge themselves immensely, seeing what they are capable of and finding out they can do whatever they put their minds to. My sister and I live together, so I’ve seen firsthand how much she has pushed herself, how hard she has worked, how tired she has been at times, and how strong she has been to keep sight of her goals and not falter – not even once. I always think it’s important to show up for people, so of course I’ll be there! Then I’ll jet back Sunday because Monday is THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

Emily recently did a fitness shoot with Whitney and the pictures are amazing! I know my sister will always look back on this time proudly no matter what the outcome is of her show, and I will, too – she is already a winner to me! I can’t wait to see her strut her stuff and show off all her hard work in her fancy and sparkly mermaid bikini that she designed herself! Nails done, hair done, spray tan on full force, and a full face of makeup for the stage. I’m sure it will be a crazy experience for me, too, because I’ve never been to a show before! I’ll recap it sometime after the show! Follow along on social media to see some sneak peeks as it all unfolds this weekend! Good luck, Em!!! I am so proud of you!

go get ’em, girl!!!

Photos – huge surprise – by Whitney at J Parker Photography

Hustlin’

working at the mill, one of my new favorite places!

Yesterday was officially day one of teacher work days. A day full of meetings and emails with questions that I don’t know the answer to yet, and a classroom that still needs lots of unpacking, organizing, and decorating. I did get to borrow another teacher’s solar eclipse glasses and watch everything outside with Andrew and some other teacher friends, so that was an exciting part of the day!

I feel lucky in that I almost feel like I get two new starts to every year – school starts up in August, which comes with a whole set of “new,” and then again in January I get to experience the real new year with everyone else. It should really be no surprise to you by now that I have a lot of goals and love to run myself into the ground stay busy all the time ūüôā I mentioned that I am taking on some new roles at school this year, but in addition to that, my best friend is getting married in April, I’m staying on one night a week at the pub, I have the blog, and I’m making a promise to myself to commit to a very regular workout routine and really focus on my Weight Watchers tracking. I just need that physical exercise as an outlet for the stress in life! Plus, I’m going to be THIRTY in September and I need to feel thirty, flirty, & thriving!

Every new school year, I set new goals for myself, and this year isn’t any different. I feel like I have so many fun and important things that I want to focus on, and I love the challenge of working hard for something that I can be proud of. Another BIG goal I am setting for myself is to make some really serious financial changes. Pay off my car, some of my debt, save more each month, and track expenses more carefully. In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be something I needed to worry about, but the world isn’t perfect yet! Money is a huge source of stress for me because I don’t care much about it, but you need it, and life is expensive, but you can’t live lavishly if you don’t have a lot of money, and I don’t make a lot but I love what I do, but you have to live a little, and you want to do nice things for people, but you can’t if you don’t budget your money‚Ķ‚Ķsee what I mean?! So I have to care about it! My new planner has a monthly bill and budget tracker at the end of each month, so I’m going to use it diligently and use my extra money from my weekly shift at the pub to help supplement my teacher salary.

Being an adult is hard, y’all. I know I’m not the first to say it, but MAN.

So anyway, I’ve got some big goals and dreams and things to work toward this year, on top of my regular job and my part-time job. I am so excited to kick off another school year and to get back in a regular groove! Cheers to the year, and to all of my fellow goal-setters and ass-kickers out there (sorry Mom!).

what i’m using to keep track of all my hustlin’ this year, from¬†karma paper company!

So many people who are close to me have big, busy upcoming events – babies, weddings, new jobs, business growth, school, personal goals‚ĶI love getting to support all the people I love in their celebrations and achieving their goals! Comment and let me know what plans and goals you’re working on! And look for a post soon on how I try to keep it all together with so many things going on all the time. A colleague asked me for a mental health post, so it’s coming soon to a blog near you ūüôā

Recipes and Workouts

This week I’m focusing on some healthy recipes and butt-busting workouts. Originally, this blog was going to be mostly fitness and health related‚Ķbut then things in my life changed drastically and my life just kind of took a different direction. I used to be a bit of a gym rat, which is hard to believe maybe – but I was!¬†When I started practicing yoga a ton, I pretty much completely stopped going to the gym. I love lifting weights and doing all kinds of different training, so I’ve really missed that part of my life. I recently joined Weight Watchers, which has always worked well for me, and I always notice that when I’m eating better, my motivation to work out spikes, too. It all goes hand in hand – this is not new information. So I’m writing it in my planner and speaking it into existence! I really need to be more active again and be a little more proactive on my food planning.

Here are some recipes I’m using this week for my meals:

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image sources linked below

Whole Wheat Spaghetti Carbonara¬†– This recipe is SO easy. I made this a few weeks ago when I first re-joined Weight Watchers, and it was a huge hit with both me and Andrew. I had leftovers for lunch the next day, too! Sometimes whole wheat pasta isn’t my favorite, but it’s really great in this recipe and there are only a few ingredients.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole – My sister sent me this recipe and I am excited to try it! It looks pretty simple, and for someone like me who LOVES Mexican food, I think it will be a great substitute! I just won’t be able to have any chips and queso ūüôĀ

Zucchini Lasagna¬†– I made this a long time ago and LOVED it. It takes some time and is a little bit of a labor of love, but if you’re craving something cheesy and delicious, this can’t be beat! And it’s friendly to your waistline, which is a huge perk. I’m so excited to have a meal to really look forward to that feels like a cheat meal, but isn’t!

Green Monster Smoothie – I love this blog because the recipes are all really delicious. And if you’re following Weight Watchers, all of the points are already calculated for you which is a HUGE plus. I love to do this for breakfast, but it would work as a snack, too!

For my workouts this week, I have planned 2 gym workouts, 2 yoga practices, and 1 or 2 walk/jogs with the doggies at the lake. I will probably write up my own gym workouts because that’s something I enjoy doing, but I have followed this blog for a long time and she has all kinds of amazing workouts that are all so different. Great recipes, too! I also have a bunch of different types of workouts pinned on my Sweatin’ Pinterest Board. It’ll be good to get to check all of my workouts off my planner this week! Along with the 17,000+ steps I get at the pub each shift, I’ll be burning lots of calories to earn a real¬†cheat meal. Life is nothing without delicious food sprinkled in.

Wish me luck!

FriYAY feels!

Finally Friyay!

This week flew by. I was off Monday and Tuesday, and on Monday I worked for¬†hours agonizing over my budget and how I can save and plan better next school year so I won’t need to have a summer job. Reality check. I also made a goal to really focus on being active this week, and I stuck to it! Small victories.

I mentioned my Fourth of July plans earlier this week, but it was such a great time! The food came out perfectly and it was so nice to just relax and kick back a little bit. We didn’t end up going to the baseball game, but it was nice just to stay home and be near the dogs and take it easy!

filet mignon, honey lime ginger grilled scallops (adapted from here), garlic rosemary sweet potatoes, and grilled balsamic brussel sprouts (andrew had brats and burgers like a true american)

I got my hair done last Saturday and I am loving it! It’s always nice to get a little refresher from Jamie at the Parlor. (I’ve been going to her for like 10 years, no joke).

My family is going on a beach vacation in August, which I am so excited about! I am looking at these and these. Also loving this coverup and this coverup that could also double as a cute summer dress!

Finally, I mentioned my best friend’s wedding in this post, and a couple of weeks ago we ordered our bridesmaid skirts and tops for the big day! I absolutely can’t wait to see how everything comes together. When I put on my outfit and imagined everything on the big day, it suddenly became really real to me that this is happening! I’ll be crying like a baby when Whitney walks down the aisle (what else is new?).

That’s all, folks! Happy Friyay!

 

FriYAY feels!

It’s finally, ¬† o f f i c i a l l y ¬† summer! If you’re in the south like me, it has already felt like summer since April, but now we can finally be correct when we say it.

My sister and I planned on doing a free community event Wednesday morning for the summer solstice and international yoga day, but it got rained out and rescheduled. Since we were already up at the butt crack of dawn and dressed, I led us through a yoga class on our balcony while the sun came up. It felt so good; I have totally fallen out of a routine with my yoga and I always notice a difference when I get back into it.

pardon the poor quality selfie

yoga mat + blocks (blocks were a gift)

For summer, I’m focusing on some goals, like I said. Doing more yoga is one of them. Being more active in general, actually.

I’m also trying to make time to read for fun, which I love to do. I started summer off by devouring¬†The Girl on the Train. I know I’m way late to that game, but I finally got around to it. I’m about to start reading¬†All the Missing Girls.¬†I know I’ll be done with that one in a few days, so any book recommendations would be greatly appreciated! I also just got set up for Audible with my Amazon Prime membership, so I can listen to books while I’m driving or at the pool, too.

Speaking of listening to books, I¬†finally jumped on the bandwagon and listened to the S-Town podcasts. I went to see my dad for Father’s Day in Charlotte this past weekend, so I had time to do some listening. I tend to doze off at the wheel if no one is in the car with me, so I needed something to keep my attention. It was¬†so good.¬†It was one of those stories that really leaves you thinking about it for days. When it was finished, I just sat there for a minute, brain whirring and heart stirring (see what I did there? But really). I wish there were more chapters.

Finally, since I’m limiting alcohol due to 1. trying to be healthier and 2. not having money in the summer, I’m fixating on a couple of guilty pleasure libations right now. (As in, literally drank both of these while writing this blog post). I said I never would, but I find myself loving La Croix now. My sister and I found a new flavor that we can’t get enough of: ¬†Blackberry cucumber. So refreshing. We have only been able to find that flavor at Target near us. My other summer must-have is iced coffee. I drink it year-round, but in the summer it’s a given. Of course I can make my own, and sometimes do, but Emily (my sister) and I have been loving the Starbucks Dark Roast Iced Coffee. When I’m not paying a reasonable amount¬†way too much for pre-packaged coffee, I use my french press to brew strong coffee and stick it in the fridge overnight. Yes, I realize I also just wrote a blog post about our new coffee bar. It’s a drug, people, I’m telling you.

i have way too many pictures of food & drinks on my phone

That’s all that’s really new with me! I’m waiting for some sunshine so I can have a pool day and work on my golden tan getting more pink and freckly. It has been rainy and stormy on and off here for a few days now, so I haven’t had a chance.

Enjoy the weekend, and let me hear those book and podcast recommendations!

Summer goals

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Like I mentioned in my last post, it’s almost summer break for me!!! The kids are on ANOTHER LEVEL and the teachers are beyond ready, too…but before you start saying, “Oh, those lucky teachers, they get a whole summer off!,” remember that a summer off means a summer of ZERO PAY…so I am always hustlin’ side jobs through the summer. Last summer I juggled 3 different jobs, but this year¬†I’ll just have one – I’ll be serving at Salem Street Pub where I’ve worked on and off for years. Their food is delicious and it’s a great relaxed atmosphere, good for dates, friends, or the whole family – and trivia every Wednesday night! Lots of local brews, flights, and outdoor pup-friendly seating! That’s my shameless plug.

To gear up for the summer, I made a big Target run recently with my last paycheck of the school year. I needed black shorts and some comfy shoes for working at the pub, and I settled on these and these – the shoes are so comfortable and you know I love anything with an elastic waist. These shorts are nice because the elastic is in the back, so the front still has the zipper and button to look a little more professional – and you can’t beat the length! It’s just right.

Between shifts at the pub, I’m hoping to have some down time to relax and lay by the pool. I mentioned my favorite summer items last year in this post, but this year I needed a new bathing suit that I felt okay in since I’m working on my health and fitness! There’s always that fine line with a one piece that isn’t basically a connected bikini vs. a suit that seems too much like a “mom” suit (no offense to any mom suit wearers…I’m just not even a mom yet!). I saw a really cute young mom at the pool on Memorial Day and she was wearing this bathing suit – it looked so great on her. I looked it up online right then, stalked the reviews on fit and look, waited till pay day, and raced to Target to try it on. I was really pleased with how it fit, even at this fluffy stage in my life. The high neck keeps me covered, but the cutouts keep it trendy, and the subtle ruching over the belly hides a lot without looking like it’s trying to. I’m really happy with it! I got black, because black is the new black, but I love the other colors too! I’ll be using this sunscreen all summer – I discovered it last year and don’t know what I’d do without it now. It goes on like real lotion, smells great, and doesn’t feel as greasy as other brands. I am super fair so I buy the SPF 30 and 70 and use both in different areas to keep protected.

Finally, in trying to get moving more this summer, I’m so excited that I’m living right by a lake with a nice walking trail behind my new apartment complex. I plan to do lots of walking, renting canoes, and taking Bruno and Oliver for walks as long as their short, stubby little legs can carry them. I’m still loving my Cloud shoes, and believe it or not, Wal-Mart has these amazing running/fitness shorts for about $8 a pair! I bought two and plan on getting more since leggings aren’t going to cut it in the Raleigh heat.

Somewhere in there I’ll fit in reading for fun, cooking, dinner dates with my boo and girlfriends, wedding planning with my BFF, waking up early to enjoy coffee on the porch before it gets blisteringly hot…maybe even a few beach day trips on the weekend!

Summer 2017, I think we’re going to be great friends.

Back in the swing of things

source (and a cute card!)

Welcome to the new & improved maxouthappy.com! I am so pleased with the design and logo and have put a lot of hours into getting the site looking the way I envisioned. I got both the logo¬†and design theme from two Etsy shops, and it was simple, affordable, and now you’re looking at what I hope is a nicer, cleaner, more streamlined site.

In other news, I know, I know – you don’t have to tell me. It has been a¬†looong¬†time since I posted. Life is busy, and to be really honest, I’ve been super unmotivated lately. I have been in a slump with my weight and fitness, and that always affects other parts of my life. I haven’t wanted to take pictures or buy new clothes, I haven’t felt like my usual peppy and optimistic self, and so I haven’t felt inspired to write.¬† Along with that, it’s the end of the school year which is always hectic, and I’ve been in the process of moving for a couple of months now! BUT¬†everything is finally settling and the dust is clearing. My sister and I are having panic attacks because the apartment still isn’t perfect basically all moved in, and I plan to have some fun home projects up on the blog soon!

So that’s basically why I haven’t been writing. But I’m here! And I’m trying to get back up on the fitness horse (for the 9838472th time in my life), plan my meals better, and work on the blog! Writing has always been something that I love. My mom called me a few weeks ago and asked why I hadn’t been writing, and I mentioned how I was feeling. She told me I just sounded “heavy,” which I thought was a funny choice of words even though she didn’t mean it that way! It made me realize that if I am letting this weight slump affect my life and my outlook so much, the only way to fix it is to take some control and get back at it.

This summer I really hope to focus on getting exercise and taking care of myself. I went through a pretty long phase in life of pushing myself to be this perfect image I could never live up to, working out twice a day at times and counting every single calorie, measuring every single bite. I look good in pictures from that time, but there was an underlying stress and source of needing to look that way, much of which was for someone else. Then, I let go of all that and really found myself in a happier mental and emotional place, but lost my fitness priorities in the process. So now I’m heavier, but happier. And my goal is to find a happiest place in the middle where I physically feel good, enjoy putting outfits together again, and the doctor tells me my health is just right. You know, a happy place where I don’t get out of breath going up the flight of stairs to my new apartment! This isn’t about being skinny. It’s about being able to enjoy life more, which for me means moving more and being able to fit back into some of my favorite clothes! We only have one life, and I want to make mine last as long as I can so I can spend it with the ones I love.

So now you know – and now you know I am on a mission! Sometimes you need to put something out there to make it more real. So this is me, putting this out there. I am excited to start posting more again and to have more energy and optimism again. It’s time to take a page from my own book and MAXOUThappy…and it doesn’t hurt to have a new look on the blog to go with it ūüėČ

Teacher Warriors

This is my buddy Tony and me. We have spent about 2 years now working on something that I’m so pleased to say is FINALLY FINISHED!!!

It has always been one of my goals to write a book. When I was a teenager, I toyed with the idea of writing a novel, and started probably a thousand‚Ķbut I could never quite stick with the story. I blogged a little here and there through high school and college, took nerdy delight in writing massive research papers in college and grad school, and then decided maybe one day I’d write a memoir of my crazy teaching stories¬†(still thinking of doing that¬†some day – I can’t make up the ridiculous antics of teens that I experience on a daily basis!).

I met Tony when we were both working at a publishing company when I finished my Master’s degree and took a break from teaching. We traveled together for work a few times, leaving lots of time for chatting on the road. Tony used to be a teacher and missed it, and he loves writing like I do. I was fresh out of grad school and did my Thesis research on new teachers and why they leave the classroom. One thing led to another, and before we knew it, we kind of jokingly, tentatively said maybe we should write a book about teaching. Then we started making moves. We met countless times and had millions of cups of coffee, technical failures, cancellations and reschedules, but finally, finally, we finished our eBook on teaching¬†and it is ready to be purchased¬†on Amazon Kindle!!!

Teacher Warriors is¬†proof to myself that I can finish what I start. That dreams don’t work unless you do. That timelines are more like wishful thinking, but end goals should stay close by your side.¬†Whatever your dream is, whatever you “really want to do someday,” start it today. It is never too late. Start today, not tomorrow, and if you fall off the wagon, lose your steam, have periods of low motivation‚Ķjust never give up. Remind yourself of your goals and¬†do the damn thing.¬†Get out there and hustle!

Hey, 2017

A new year, a fresh start, a new chance to get it right this time around…happy 2017!

I always love New Year’s Eve because it creates so much excitement – there’s so much to do, I’m off from school for a week or two, and it’s right around the time when I get to see my favorite people. This year, I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to look forward to, including an exciting announcement coming soon! I have set a lot of goals for myself in 2017 – I’m always hustlin’ – but my main focus is just to take better care of myself. I need to focus on being honest about what I want to spend my energy on, slowing down, making better choices with food, saving money, and getting back to the gym. I used to love working out and have really gotten away from it since I started teaching yoga. Andrew joined my gym a couple of weeks ago, and we have made a deal to make more meals at home and be healthier in 2017.

We spent New Year’s Eve with our friends Kelly and Josh, wearing soft clothes and letting all the dogs run and play through their house and back yard. We snacked, listened to music, built a fire, played a couple of games, and finally watched the ball drop at the last few minutes. It was low-key and easy; I loved it!

For New Year’s Day, I¬†made a huge spread of food. I cooked all day and had Andrew and another couple over to eat – my sister was passing through¬†town, too, so she joined us! We had d ¬†e ¬†l ¬†i ¬†c ¬†i ¬†o ¬†u ¬†s¬†macaroni and cheese (recipe coming soon!), collard greens, black eyed peas, cornbread,¬†and buttermilk garlic roasted chicken. We had a good time sitting around and visiting while the Harry Potter marathon played on TV in the background (yep, I’m a nerd). My mom always made sure we ate our dollars and cents for the new year, so I wanted to carry on that tradition.

It was a feast! I just jazzed up some canned collard greens and black eyed peas (I know, I know‚Ķbut the macaroni was the star!). I fried up some bacon strips and then heated the black eyed peas in some bacon grease with bacon crumbles. The cornbread was easy (from a box), and the buttermilk garlic roasted chicken recipe can be found here. It was super simple¬†and really yummy! The macaroni is my sister’s recipe that she’s honed over the years, and I’ll do a whole post on it soon!

I hope everyone has a healthy and prosperous 2017 ūüôā

FriYAY feels!

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Hydration, goals, monograms, and daily reminders

It has been a while since I’ve written a Friday update! I have been covered up, but here I am. Things are getting a little more balanced around here.

-This week has been focused on prioritizing. I am teaching a unit on time management in one of my classes, and it always makes me take a look at my own life. I’ve been making plans (as you can see, I am no longer using my Passion Planner because it ran out – but I am trying this floral, $9.99 Target planner for this school year.) I’m trying to be better about looking at my weeks and being very deliberate about my priorities and when I can fit things in‚Ķas well as when I need to say no to things to take care of my own values.

-I was so excited this week to look at my progress on my six week shred! It really lifted my spirits and I know it’s only three and a half weeks, but it feels good to have stuck to something. My clothes fit better, I feel more energized and excited about picking out what to wear, and it has been a really nice way for my mom and sister and I to stay connected.

-I have picked up a new Monday afternoon class at Hot Asana where I teach yoga, and that has helped get me back in a groove with my own yoga practice. Lately I had felt like I was kind of in a yoga rut‚Ķusing the same playlists, having trouble making it to take classes, not feeling inspired to write brand new classes. But with my new class time, more consistent practice on my own mat, and holding yoga club meetings for the students at the high school, I feel revamped. My new S’well bottle that is beautiful, bright, and keeps everything freezing cold doesn’t hurt, either!

-After buying a sample of it at Ulta, I finally bit the bullet and purchased the Living Proof dry shampoo (this one comes with a free gift!). It actually makes your hair feel and look clean, not to mention the a  m  a  z  i  n  g smell that stays in your hair all day. I still love my Dove dry shampoo the best all-around, but if I constantly had $22 to blow on dry shampoo, this would be the one.

But‚Ķmost importantly…back to speaking of planners‚ĶI¬†do¬†have my eye on the pre-order 2017 Passion Planner in Blush. I just can’t help myself. I am who I am.

Happy Friday! Enjoy the weekend and stay out of the rain!