Our first home // Inspiration

she’s a beaut!

We close on our new house TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY! Crazy to think that in just the two months since we’ve been married, we have moved in together, put our money together, I’ve changed my name, and we’ve gone through the home buying process to move in to our first house.

I love to decorate and search online for home decor ideas – of course I have several lists of what needs to be done in each room, what items I’d like to buy, or at least the look and feeling I’m going for. The new house has 4 bedrooms, so we have plenty to work with! The downstairs is all completely open concept with a covered back porch and a big back yard for the doggies. We already have a lot of items and furniture, but when you think about filling a house, it helps to take it room by room to try to figure everything out.

The big change will be our living room! Like I said, the downstairs is open concept, so it’s the living room/dining area/kitchen all in one. I love it, but I do want to try to make sure it feels like there are different spaces, which I think we can do. We already have a kitchen table with bench chairs and a rug to go under it to kind of divide the space, so that part is done. But we are purchasing basically a whole new living room, which is SO exciting! The couch and chair that we have now have been handed down and are very old, the dogs have lived on them, several different people and houses have had them, and I’ve had them for about 5 years now! So we are getting a new L-shaped sectional with a chaise lounge (yay!!!), all new coffee tables and end tables, and a TV stand that all match. We also got a recliner that looks really nice and comfy, and a large ivory shag rug to put on the wood floor underneath all of that, so that part can feel like a completed room! I can’t wait to get everything in there and see how it all looks!

I really love a cozy room with everything in its place – I am a little bit of an organization freak so when I think about decorating a room, I am also considering functionality in addition to comfort and visual appeal! I guess I would classify my decor style as industrial farmhouse or modern farmhouse – I love the comfort and softness of the farmhouse style, but I like to bring in a little edge with metal and wood accents for things like side tables, wall decor, lamps, or other accessories.

So without further ado, here are my inspiration ideas for our new home! I also had to google it to make sure it wasn’t “further adieu” rather than “ado,” but it turns out I was right. Feeling pretty good about that.

coffee table/end table set with tv stand, couch, recliner, table lamp, plant, floor lamp, mirror

The coffee table set is currently out of stock but Wayfair offers similar styles underneath it! We got it on super sale. Furniture is expensive! But these pieces are sturdy and will last a long time with any type of decor. The couch has wonderful reviews and was a GREAT price. I did a LOT of research on items and prices and compared before making any decisions, so I hope this couch is all it was cracked up to be! We also got a shag rug from Amazon for the space, and the cream sectioned mirror (or something similar) will go above our fireplace! Love the gold lamps and plant, but haven’t pulled the trigger on those yet.

lamp base + shade, bench with storage, standing mirror, dresser, plant, map

We already have a set of furniture for the bedroom, but if we need an extra dresser, the white one pictured is affordable and looks similar (from IKEA). Our bed is a navy upholstered platform bed like the one pictured, and we already have a floor standing mirror from the wedding that we’ll use! We want a storage bench but I know Home Goods has them all the time so it may be less expensive there.

rose chair, cube storage

I LOVE this rose chair and first saw it when Lauren Bown posted it to her blog. I’ve been obsessed ever since! We have a gift card to World Market from the wedding, so if it’s okay with Andrew I really want to use it for this chair! I can just see a cute little pillow on it with a blanket tossed carelessly meticulously¬†across. I already have a white desk and chair almost exactly like the picture, and we already have the white cube storage, too. And it will be nice to finally have a functional space to have my white filing cabinet so I can do some real adulting ūüôā

side tables, bench, lamp, mirror, plant, wall sconce

I LOVE the feeling of all of these items together. The dresser in the picture is VERY expensive, but we will paint a dresser we already have that was my grandmama’s. I think we’ll paint it a similar minty color, which will be much less money with the same vibe! I am loving the round mirror for above the dresser, and the gold accent tables and accessories will be a nice contrast to Andrew’s wooden bed frame we have that his great grandfather built! So our guest room will have items from both sides of our family ūüôā I like this neutral gauzy bedding¬†because it looks clean and cozy. I put a lot of thought into making the guest room somewhere that I would love to stay, with any needs covered. Our family and friends will be staying here – people we love the most – so I want to make sure it is a cozy retreat with storage for all of their things and the comforts of home.

So those are some of my ideas! Obviously it will take time, and that’s ¬† r ¬†e ¬†a ¬†l ¬†l ¬†y ¬† hard for me because I really ¬†just want everything to be done immediately. We have a lot of work to do on the yard, we will have to decorate all of the walls, etc. and then little things need to come into place like the guest bathroom and downstairs bathroom, garage and laundry room and pantry storage‚Ķthe list goes on! But I cannot wait to be settled into our new home and working on all of these projects!

2018 // Happy New Year!

photo by my talented bff j parker photography

Happy New Year! I cannot believe we are in 2018. I feel old! I remember the year 2000 when the world was anxious about Y2K; I was only 12 years old and just didn’t get it. Here we are almost 20 years later, and I’m ringing in the new year with two of my favorite people, my sister and Andrew (+ all the dogs, of course!). This year, we decided to keep it really low-key and celebrate with Mexican food and soft clothes. We watched an old childhood movie (Camp Nowhere),¬†and we¬†have the ABC Rockin’ New Year’s Eve playing in the background in another room for check-ins and for when it gets close to midnight. I’m thinking of what a great year 2017 was – and how great I hope 2018 will be!

In 2017, I finished my eBook with my buddy Tony and we got it up for purchase on Amazon! That was a HUGE life goal of mine. I got to start wedding plans and help find a wedding dress for my best friend Whitney, I finished and got to start out two fantastic school years, got to see Andrew every day at work, and got to teach so many amazing teenagers. Almost all of my best friends turned 30 years old, I turned 30, and some of my favorite people got engaged, got married, got pregnant, or had babies! Andrew and I moved into the same apartment complex, did a lot of grilling by the pool, went to prom together (so nerdy), I got to watch him coach his first season of baseball at the high school, we celebrated 2 years together, and most importantly, we got engaged!!! I got to be roommates with my sister, cheer her on through her first fitness competitions, had a lot of good eats, and an amazing trip to Arizona with my mom. I spent so much special time with friends and family, and the list could go on and on.

In 2018, Andrew and I will be getting married! I can’t believe it. Whitney will get married, another best friend Kelly will have her baby, and Andrew and I will go on our honeymoon and hopefully buy our first home together! Big job and life things are happening for a lot of people I love. Maybe it’s just that time of life for me, but I’m so excited to experience my own and share in joy with others!

I love setting goals and making plans, so a new year is just a naturally great time to do just that, and to look ahead at your big overarching goals for the upcoming 12 months. I have a few resolutions for 2018 and I’m sharing them here so I can speak them into existence and hold myself accountable!

1. I mentioned the Year of Cozy book in a previous post, and I got it for Christmas! I plan to make my way through it, month by month. I am not going to tell myself I’ll do everything in it, but I do want to follow along and pick some crafts, recipes, and ‘do’ items from the book! I’m really excited to work through it!

2. I plan to kick my rear into gear (#shreddingforthewedding), and work out¬†at least 4 times a week. That is doable, and I know once I really commit and get back in the swing of it, my body will remember how much it loves to exercise and I’ll start seeing some progress! Walking, get back into my yoga, lift weights, whatever I feel like that keeps me active.

3. Get back to – and stick with – my Weight Watchers plan so I can feel better, look better, and confidently walk down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams!

4. Skincare, hair care, self care. I want to be consistent in my morning, night, and weekly routines to get in some ‘me time,’ and really take care of myself and my skin. I ain’t no spring chicken!

5. I wrote an entire blog post about my Passion Planner¬†¬†a couple of years ago, and I have mentioned my shameful obsession/addiction¬†love for planners in general and Type A personality several times on the blog. I don’t need any judgment, but I bought a new 2018 Passion Planner for all my exciting 2018 plans! I want to stick to the goals and to-dos I put in there, and create weekly grocery lists, workout plans, and whatever else I need to keep myself on track.

the year of cozy & my 2018 passion planner

I tried to keep my goals simple and realistic. I think looking ahead and mapping things out is a great way to reach important goals, but you also have to keep it within reasonable limits and make goals that you know you can achieve. I think 2018 is going to be a fantastic year, and I can’t wait to celebrate so many important milestones in my own life and huge life events for my best friends and family! ūüôā

What are everyone else’s goals this year? I hope everyone had a safe and happy NYE, and cheers to 2018!

Trying to do it all

I’m currently sitting on my couch with a cup of coffee, candles burning, and all the windows and patio door open to let in the crisp fall air. It’s a perfect morning. I’m making a list of all of the things I need to get done today, like laundry and grocery shopping and cleaning the apartment, and thinking of ideas for lessons/better seating arrangements in my classes. I am also thinking of how I would really love to just sit here all day and hang out with the dogs and put everything off until next weekend. I recently had a chat with a friend at school about trying to do it all in life. I guess I could make this post short and sweet and just say, “don’t,” but I think we all know me a little better than that.

I’m not sure why, as humans, we feel like we have to go, go, go, until we get ourselves into a corner that we can’t get out of. We have so much trouble admitting that we might not be able to handle everything, or that we may need a hand with something that we’ve committed to. “Too much on my plate,” “Burning the candle at both ends‚Ķ” We sprinkle around these cliches like confetti, peppering our conversations with superficial statements to sweep under the rug the hideous reality that we are secretly flailing around and gasping for air. We act like we have it all together and cover up our stress with a smile and a winning, can-do attitude, when really if someone would just ask us what’s¬†really¬†going on, we might be able to say that we’re only human, and we can only take so much before we drop something or stop taking care of ourselves.

Here’s something I think we all need to hear: ¬†Let something go. Feel good about taking something off of your clich√©d plate.¬†Here‚Äôs permission to fail. To say yes to too many things and then realize you may have taken on too much. Permission to say out loud (or at least to admit to yourself with zero shame) that you need help, or a break, or some time for yourself. We¬†are only human, after all.

The more we try to fake happiness and act like we have all of our ducks in a row, the more power we give to the idea that we have to be successful and happy at all times. To admit that life is tough, that we can’t be good at everything or have everything together all of the time,¬†that is where the power lies and where we can share a human trait together. No one’s life is as perfect as their social media newsfeed; we have to be empowered to admit defeat, to ask for advice or help, and to proudly face the fact that we are not perfect.

For someone who is about as Type A as it gets, I have a really hard time with saying no. I’m a control freak, so I find myself saying yes to so many things because I can’t stand to think that they wouldn’t be done¬†“the right way.” In addition, I have a hard time saying no to things because I have a terrible fear of letting anyone down.¬†But at some point along the way I’ve had to admit that it’s better for me to preserve some of myself than to drive myself into the dirt by trying to please everyone else or make everything perfect.

Sometimes, we need the reminder that we’re all in this together. It’s not a competition of who has a better job, a cleaner house, or a fatter bank account. This isn’t about the latest clothes, or the newest line of makeup. It’s¬†life. It’s messy and complicated and we barely make it – but we¬†do make it, and it’s so much easier if we do it together and stop competing with each other and comparing ourselves to everyone else.

I hope everyone takes some time this week to just focus on¬†you. Take a walk, take a bath, do some yoga, read a book, whatever it is that helps you decompress. Soon it’ll be the holidays, travel, more to-do lists, and stress, whether good or bad. Take some time in advance for some self-care, and maybe practice admitting to yourself that you don’t need to do it all.

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

Classic with a twist // MAXOUThappy

my first-ever blog photoshoot with whitney ūüôā

When I started MAXOUThappy, I really wanted to do it¬†the right way. I researched for hours, stalked favorite blogs, read articles about how to blog, how to design, what hosting site to use, etc. All the behind the scenes stuff. I worked for Kate Bryan at thesmallthingsblog last summer as an intern, which was so cool,¬†and I learned a lot about blogging. I took a Skillpop class about blogging basics with Molly Stillman and hope to take another one from her as soon as it’s offered.

I recently met up with Whitney, and we were discussing ideas and thoughts for her photography business and for MAXOUThappy. I mentioned that I never really know what to say when people ask me the inevitable question: ¬†“So what’s your blog about?” I usually just say it’s a lifestyle blog, so it’s a little bit of everything‚Ķbut I wanted to have a more focused description. I’ve mentioned my “classic with a twist” style before; but what is MAXOUThappy really about?! A fair question.¬†Whitney¬†helped me really narrow my focus into an idea that makes the most sense to me.

We both went to Meredith College and majored in Family and Consumer Sciences. We met on freshman move-in day and have been partners in crime ever since. I always wanted to teach high school, but I started out as an English major. I ended up switching after my sophomore year and Whitney did, too. Family and Consumer Sciences is what used to be called Home Economics, or “Home Ec.” I’ve caught a lot of flack over the years for going to Meredith, which by the way is a fantastic school, and for changing my major, which by the way is a fantastic¬†major that is little-known and not as widely supported as it should be. A lot of people love to joke about getting your M-R-S degree at Meredith, or that my major is to help me be a better housewife some day. I’d love to tell all those people where they can put their opinions, but instead, I’d really rather help people get it. Family and Consumer Sciences is based on the idea that everything begins in the home and spreads out to the community and beyond. What we can solidify in the home/family and what we can improve on with an individual directly affects the outreach and impact of that individual. We are not people in a vacuum. We are all interconnected and how we live our lives and help others (or not) affects and sparks change in the world. My major is not about cooking and cleaning to be someone’s home maker, although there’s nothing wrong with that job, either. Family and Consumer Sciences is about creating change, addressing global issues, and helping others.

Being able to teach about Parenting and Child Development, Human Services, Foods and Nutrition, Food Science, Interiors, Personal Finance, and Textiles/Apparel gives me such a wide range of topics to be able to help mold the teenagers in my classroom, and hopefully it spreads out beyond them. I realized that the things I write about on the blog tend to trace their way back to one of these areas, and figuring that out really gave me a sense of pride for all the hours I have spent defending and supporting my college major.

So that, along with my “classic with a twist” take on life, is what brings me back here to the blog drawing board week after week‚Ķto say “a little bit of everything,” but with this lens of helping others, improving life, talking about real issues from time to time, and throwing in some happy fluff in-between the real talk. It always seems a little silly to think that a post I wrote about lipstick or a new pair of shoes I got is going to¬†help someone, but I guess the idea is just to spread a little joy around, because life has enough¬†blah already. I am a generally happy person and I work on maximizing that happiness to enjoy the life I’ve been given. It’s not realistic to say I’m always happy or that life doesn’t get me down; if you’ve been reading for a while, you know that isn’t true. But I am an optimist and I love to write; I always have. I used to write chapter books as a child, I’ve started a million novels, I wrote my eBook last year, and I have this blog. I’m so interested in words, the meaning of them, and how they can go together in a million different combinations to evoke different feelings. A nerd? Sure. But I’m happy with that. If I can help get anything positive across to anyone, in any small way, I feel so accomplished. When people come out of the woodworks to tell me they read my blog or enjoy it, it truly makes my day. So, happy reading! Now you know what MAXOUThappy is all¬†about. ūüôā

a magnet reminder on my fridge 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:

SpaghettiCarbonara_085_xl
Skinny-Green-Monster-Smoothie-550x751
Weight-Watchers-Chicken-Enchilada-bake-Post1
Skinnytaste-Zucchini-Lasagna-550x827

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!

Reality check

photo by the talented samantha leonetti while we were on a yoga retreat in mexico last year

I recently hit a low point. That sounds so dramatic, but we all go through those from time to time, and I think it’s always best to be honest and unashamed of who you are. So there it is. I had a low point and I was worrying and stressed and everything felt like it was going to close in on me if I didn’t fix it¬†immediately.¬†But of course that’s not how life works. We can’t snap our fingers and fix everything. (Can we?!)

So anyway, I allowed myself to be upset and have a pity party for a day or two, but that’s generally my limit on feeling sorry for myself. I knew I had to make a plan to turn it around. I have always tried to be proactive about solving problems. I know some people have a hard time with that when they’re already feeling overwhelmed or down, but it’s the only way to dig yourself out of a rut. So I made my lists, stretched my brain, got advice from people I trust, and started putting my plan to action. I was taught my whole life that while we can’t control what life throws at us or what comes our way, we¬†can control how we handle it and how we move on. My mom recently reminded me that we can’t keep looking back; we should only glance (quickly) to remind ourselves of what we’ve learned and why we aren’t there anymore.

Here’s a little reality check that surely you already know, but maybe, like me, you need a reminder of: ¬†It doesn’t really matter what the struggle is about. Family issues, friend issues, money, weight, grief & loss, new life changes, jobs, etc. The truth is that everyone struggles. Yes, even the celebrities and fancy bloggers you follow on Instagram with their pink peonies tucked into their designer bags.¬†Even them. We all post the best, most pristine versions of ourselves on social media. Generally only our happiest moments, our favorite things, make their way to the screen, as if to say, “Look at me go! I’m really killing it. Life is good for me, and low points are for people who don’t know how to handle stress.” It’s not necessarily a bad thing that we don’t post all of our negative thoughts or moments online – it’s kind of a fun, easy, make-believe land where everything is funny, lovely, happy, and it takes us to a place where we can escape for a little while. But we can’t forget that life happens. It happens to us, it happens to the people that we love, and it even happens to the people we don’t love or don’t even know. My point is, it is okay to have bad moments and low points. It is okay to feel overwhelmed and stressed and to accept that life is not always fair or happy. Everyone struggles in different ways, and if you were to get right down to it, I truly believe that even people who seem very different can have so much in common. No one has a perfect life, even if their Instagram or Snapchat streams would suggest otherwise. Because life is messy. Sometimes it hurts, kicks you while you’re down, and then hits you with another shitstorm juuuuust to see if you can take one more thing before you crack wide open.

But life is also such a beautiful experience. A tantalizing dance of twists and turns, spinning fast, and then just when you get too dizzy, it slows the music so you can catch your breath for the next round. The space between the highs and lows is what makes us appreciate every golden moment that we get to keep. So we remind ourselves that at some point, the sun will come out again. The chaos and turmoil will lift eventually. We surround ourselves with people who love us whether we are up, down, thin, fat, rich, poor, in a good mood or cranky, because life happens and we need them there when it does. When you focus on what you¬†don’t¬†have rather than what you¬†do¬†have, it really just poisons everything else.

So here’s a reminder to not compare yourself to others, to not get lost in the negative, and to not get mad at yourself for being in a low point. We have all been there.¬†Make a plan about what you¬†can¬†do, thank God for everything you have been blessed with, keep being grateful for the air in your lungs and the love and light in your life, dust yourself off, and start climbing back up the hill to the sunlight‚Ķeven if your footing isn’t sure and you don’t have a safety harness.

Here is to low points and the people who love us through them ūüôā

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!