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Meg Visits Ramsey Solutions

Benefit of my sister moving to Nashville? I get to visit Ramsey Solutions!

Mom, Dad, and I were killing time before Taylor got off of work on Tuesday, so I convinced them to take me down to Ramsey Solutions to stop into the lobby while Dave was on the air. I walked through those doors and wow I wasn’t alone. About 20 people were in the lobby, too! I was blown away, and it was kind of surreal.

I missed the first hour debt free scream. Here is, I assume, Jarod and Joylynn signing the plexiglass wall:

Jarod and Joylynn (needs to be confirmed, but the videos for this day haven't been uploaded to YouTube yet) signing the wall. They paid off $85k in 18 months!
Jarod and Joylynn (needs to be confirmed, but the videos for this day haven’t been uploaded to YouTube yet) signing the wall. They paid off $85k in 18 months!

The Wall: Get out of debt using Dave Ramsey’s principles and you, too, can sign this wall.

Oh, the wall? It’s full. Now they are using smaller plexiglass rectangles and even those are getting filled up with signatures from amazing individuals and couples. Wow!

I obviously didn't do a good job at centering this photo. But check out this wall of signatures!
I obviously didn’t do a good job at centering this photo. But check out this wall of signatures!

Because the room was so crowded, I had plenty of opportunity to say hello to lots of folks. I sat in a chair next to a couple who are outside of the 6-month window for the debt free scream to be done on-air, but they are DEBT FREE. Yeah, buddy. She told me that she bought a new car, her first big girl purchase, and the next day her brother (in law?) gave her The Total Money Makeover. She cried. But she kept the car and paid it off diligently.

I also met Chris, who was doing his debt free scream in the third hour (no scream during the second hour… bummed I missed one live). This kid (he’s 24, I think) paid off $16.5k in 16 months. He knew it down to the day. Oh, and he was only making between $24,000 – $27,000/year.

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Chris is a young guy… and he’s debt free! Rock on, Chris!!!

I also had the chance to listen to the radio show live. Dave Ramsey does exist… behind glass. Haha, there’s a really funny sign at the bottom of the full-length window that says, “please do not feed the monkey.”

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Check out the sign! I love it! What an awesome set-up. The YouTube stream actually does the lobby experience justice.

Dave sits behind the glass and never comes out? Nope. He’s a real person, super nice, and kind! I shook his hand!

So, yep, Dave does exist. Kat (the Ramsey Solutions lobby’s head honcho, basically?) mentioned that on the upcoming break Dave would be coming out to say hello, sign stuff, take pictures. “What? I didn’t know that! I never even expected that to happen.” She kind of laughed… I think I was the only one there who didn’t know Mr. Ramsey occasionally greeted people. 🙂

He came out, promptly extended his hand with a smile, and said, “hello, and where are you from?”

I have no clue what I said after I stumbled over- “Willia- I mean, Huntington, West Virginia.” At some point in this 20 second encounter, I mentioned I was excited to coordinate my first Financial Peace University. I think he said, “alright!, that’s cool.” I’m not sure. But he did say that they have something special for all of the coordinators that stop by. I’ll post that little gift later, stay tuned!

I’ll leave you with these two photos:

Dave and Me: I will be back here in less than 5 years to do my debt-free scream. I can't wait for our next photo op!
Dave and Me: I will be back here in less than 5 years to do my debt-free scream. I can’t wait for our next photo op!
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The facade of Ramsey Solutions and my giddy smile. Awesome experience!

Amazing things happen inside the Ramsey Solutions building. Amazing people, amazing stories, amazing faith. Again, I will be back here in less than 5 years. I will do my scream, and I look forward to waiting until that day. This journey will be fantastic!

VoxBox Win! TRESemmé #ReverseYourRoutine

I recently signed up for Inluenster because my friend got some awesome lip gloss to review and promote if she liked it. After I linked my social media accounts and reviewed a couple of my favorite products, I was invited for my first VoxBox. This month I have the pleasure of testing out TRESemmé’s newest product. #ReverseYourRoutine

Please note, I received this product complimentary for review and testing purposes. They did not pay me for my review, but they did send it to me in a very nice box.


From Amazon’s description:

  • Revolutionary Reverse System with conditioner before shampoo helps you achieve volume and softness at the same time – from TRESemme

  • Bounce-friendly formulation, with Fleximax Volumizers and Fiber Polishing Actives, bind to the cuticle to leave hair smooth and polished, even after you shampoo

  • Hair is left beautifully soft, but not flat

  • Finish with the Beauty-Full Volume styling range to create beautiful bouncy hair that feels as great as it looks

  • Condition first, then shampoo to wash away the weight

Now for my thoughts:

  1. My hair is somewhat thin, coarse, and curly/wavy. It frizzes very easily. Also, I don’t like volume in my hair. I know, I’m reviewing a volumizing conditioner/shampoo system… but I’m always down to try it.
  2. The reverse process was kind of weird for me. Conditioner first? I felt like I couldn’t work it through my hair very well. I did the best I could, and I left it on my mane for the minute prescribed by the back of the bottle. It rinsed out quite nicely, but I did feel the heaviness of the conditioner.
  3. Washing the conditioner out sounds quite counterintuitive, but that’s the point of the Reverse system. The shampoo felt good, smelled good, and rinsed out well, too. It left my hair feeling light and airy.
  4. I didn’t use any product before I blow dried my hair because I wanted to see how the Reverse system did on its own. It looked like my hair would come out quite dry, but it held up with the heat pretty well. Did great with my straightener, too. Right now (post-Argan oil to tame some of the dryness and fly aways), my hair still feels somewhat dry.
  5. Volume? I already told you I don’t like volume in my hair, but boy does my hair love fluffiness. The conditioner-shampoo system seems to definitely unleash the volume.
  6. My hair is still somewhat dry. I think I’m going to try it again and report back on how it feels with my pre-and post- blow dry products: hair serum, blow dry foam, Argan oil. I have high hopes.

Look at my hair. Look at my Lilly. Now look at my hair again.

So, that’s it. Check out #ReverseYourRoutine on Instagram and Twitter to catch other reviews. Thanks Inluenster for my VoxBox! TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner and Shampoo Reverse System seems like a great product, and I am looking forward to testing it out further!

Rhabdomyolysis: The Elephant In The Room

I’ve gone missing again… for valid reasons this time. Today’s post is about the elephant in the room: Rhabdomyolysis. Specifically, Exertional Rhabdomyolysis.

I’ve had it before, I just know it: the inability to extend or flex my arms, the searing pain in my legs even while at rest. Rhabdomyolysis is what people in the fitness world don’t want to talk about, don’t like to talk about, or (shamefully) are unaware it even exists.

My experience does not reflect on my trainers, my gym, my yoga instructor or studio, or even my friend I went dancing with on Saturday night. I repeat, my illness was not a result of poor training or instruction. My rhabdomyolysis experience was a result of a perfect storm:

  • my lack of hydration all week long & tons of coffee
  • a pretty rough workout at CrossFit on Friday (programmed by Dave Castro, 16.5, aka Thrusters & Burpees for 84 reps each)
  • some beer, even less water
  • a hot yoga session on Saturday
  • more beer & less water
  • and a sweaty (but fun!) 45 minutes of dancing Saturday night

Then on Easter Sunday… I woke up and couldn’t bend my right arm past 90. 

Definition: Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers and release of toxins into the bloodstream. In many cases, it may cause kidney damage and sometimes heart rhythm disruption.

I drank a lot of water on Sunday, but the swelling and pain had already set in to my biceps and triceps. I looked “swole”. That was never–NEVER–my intention. I’ve been active regularly for over 6 years now. I’ve never wanted to inadvertently get my swole on… And I don’t want you to, either.

Thankfully I work at the VA hospital and my employee physical was on Tuesday. I asked the doc to run my numbers… he reluctantly obliged… then he called me in a panic. My numbers were not sky high compared to what some of my friends have had before. All of these people were hospitalized.

  • Friend 1: over 100,000
  • Friend 2: 25,000
  • Friend 3: 33,000
  • Friend 4: 6,500
  • Me: 9,523 (170 is about normal for a rested female)

A few super intelligent medical friends and I figured I had peaked on Sunday or Monday, so I opted to hydrate at home and retest on Wednesday. My lab came back at 12,554. Considering the labs went back up after almost 24 hours exactly, and considering the sheer volume of hydration I was getting, it was time to go to the hospital.

Studies show Rhabdomyolysis (I’ve capitalized it to give it the respect it deserves) in athletes may have higher baseline numbers than 170, but no “athlete normal” range has been established. A higher baseline makes sense when you think about what the condition actually is. Athletes who train regularly have muscle breakdown regularly. If I had to take a guess, I’d say that the “athlete normal” is still less than 1000, but no one knows for sure; 12,554 was simply way too high to be ignored.

Sometimes you have to hold your hand up in the air to prevent even more swelling.
Sometimes you have to hold your hand up in the air to prevent even more swelling because of the IV fluids. A necessary evil.
So I went to the ER, where my friend happened to be working. She stormed out of the triage area and sternly wondered why I was there. I showed her my labs, she got me right in, I had an IV hooked up within the hour, and was quickly awaiting admission.

I had 3 full bags of saline in me by 8:30pm. I basically ballooned from all the fluid. Of the few people who knew I was in the hospital, the couple that sat with me can attest that I was going a little cuckoo because of my signs of hypervolemia: shortness of breath, headache, dizziness.

Over the course of 48 hours, my CK numbers were still reluctant to come down. They kept spiking when I was off of the IV fluids. Oral hydration alone couldn’t keep the CK numbers down: it was a frustrating experience. But despite all of the concern, my kidney function was perfect. Being in the hospital when you feel healthy is one of the worst things ever. I knew my blood needed diluted & flushed, but I felt fine. Finally, the number stayed below 5000, and I was released on April Fool’s Day. No joke.

I still had elbows, but I was plump.
I still had elbows, but I was plump.
Why did I go to the hospital? Rhabdomyolysis can be horrible. Kidney function is not something you should gamble with!

And Rhabdomyolysis can happen at any time if the conditions are right. It can happen to anybody. And none of us who has had it should be made to feel like a pariah for it. We should not feel ostracized. It’s not like we were searching to incorporate Uncle Rhabdo into our family tree.

We don’t want anyone to get Rhabdomyolysis. So you need to be educated. Yes, you, Mr. Newbie, and you, Mrs. All Star. Everyone should be educated.

Warning Signs (not all-inclusive):

 Pain (even at rest)
 Muscle Weakness
 Gross Swelling or Muscle Cramping
 Muscle “Tightness”, Difficulty Moving Muscles
 Dark Brown Urine

Prevention Techniques:

 Stay HYDRATED!
 Avoid jumping into high intensity workouts without proper introduction.
 Don’t forget salt! Electrolytes are important.
 Hydration is even more important during hotter temperatures.
 Lay off the booze post-workout.

Activities That Can Cause Exertional Rhabdomyolysis:

Running: hill work, marathons, tough trail runs, etc
 Spinning Classes
 High Intensity Interval Training, CrossFit-Style or Military Training-Style Workouts
 Hot Yoga
 Weightlifting: super sets, bicep curls, high-rep deadlifts, etc

Your best bet for keeping Rhabdomyolysis at bay is to keep prevention at the forefront of your mind and then put it into action. Being mindful of drinking water does nothing for your actual hydration levels if you don’t actually drink the water. And you definitely need to watch for all the warning signs. Please note, though, that 50% of the time you won’t be able to recognize that there’s even a problem. Sometimes you might simply feel sore in a different way than normal.

Be careful with your hydration and training state in long distance running. Listen to your body and stop a workout with any sign of overexertion or hyperthermia. And if you still get Rhabdomyolysis despite being well-hydrated and well-trained… don’t make yourself feel bad. PLEASE–just go get treatment, check your kidney function, and be an ultimate Rhabdo educator for all those around you.

Last note: my pee was NEVER brown, so don’t use that as your only measuring stick.

Resources for you:
Breaking Muscle: A Scientific Looks at Rhabdomyolysis

Recovery Time in Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

The CrossFit Journal’s Take on Rhabdomyolysis

A Super-Old Web Article With Lots of Comments

Another Person’s Account of Her Rhabdo Experience

Almost a Mirror of My Rhabdomyolysis Story: 2014 Edition

Plenty Of Magic: Meghan The Magnificent & Meghan The Mopey

There’s plenty of magic in the world. Can you point me to the nearest magic store?

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32-year-old Meghan the Mopey isn’t always so mopey. She know’s plenty of magic is available in her world; she just can’t get her act together lately. She’s been searching and searching to find the magic, but alas she must not be reading the directions that came with the magic tricks.

Wouldn’t it be great to go back to 1989 to have a conversation with Meghan the Magnificent? She was so energetic. Tiny, but intense. And that little girl had plenty of magic!

Surprise! 32-year-old Meghan the Magnificent is me. That’s a magician’s trick called misdirection.

But right now I have no magic… or at least I don’t feel as if I have any left.

Disclaimer: this post isn’t a pity party. It’s just a post. And it isn’t an Instagram version of my life. I have no filter, as my mother can attest to that. I am just really having trouble with adulting lately. I’ve lost clothes: jeans, shoes, winter hat. Good thing I found all of those items… My dirty laundry is in the hallway a mere 5 feet from the laundry basket. And I swear I can’t drag myself out of bed before 7am. Okay, I lied… 7:15. Maybe 7:20.

I need some magic! 🙂

So let’s ask 1989 Meghan the Magnificent if there is plenty of magic left for her 32-year-old Meghan the Mopey version.


Meghan the Mopey: Hi! I love your little stick!

Meghan the Magnificent: It’s a magic wand!!! Would you like to see one of my magic tricks?!?!

Mopey: Absolutely, but first can you tell me how you learned how to do magic tricks?

Magnificent: I read the directions, but did you know I had a dream last night?!?! I was walking on the road and then there was this green slime that came down and then–

Mopey: –wait so there are directions for magic tricks?

Magnificent: yessssssss, you’re silly!!! There’s a piece of paper in the bag and you read it and practice the trick. There’s lots of magic tricks out there. There’s plenty of magic. You can learn some, too!!! And you know what else was in my dream?!?! I had–

Mopey: –Well, huh, thanks, kid. Can you point me to the nearest magic store? I think I need to pick up some new tricks. I’ve got some studying to do. And practicing. Right?

Magnificent: Right. Wait, wait, wait, you don’t want to hear the end of my dream?!?!


No, Meghan the Magnificent, I’m sorry but I don’t have time to hear about your dream. Seriously, I really don’t have 24 minutes to hear you ramble on about slime and cliffs and… anyway. You’re an awesome kid, though, and you’ve got a lot of big dreams and big magic ahead of you. <iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=mesethwo-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1594634718&asins=1594634718&linkId=XB77CP5LWXNHRVSD&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true”>
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Let’s wrap this up:

  1. When feeling not-so-magnificent, do something that makes me feel magnificent.
    It won’t feel that way at first, but I know the magnificent feeling should return. That’s the magic of the tricks! The trusty standby card trick (sic and for realsies, I have a trusty standby card trick) usually makes me feel the magic in my life. It’s the old-and-true way back to finding the magic.
  2. When the old tricks don’t work, read the directions or buy a new magic trick and read THOSE directions.
    Read the directions, as the 1989-version of me suggested. Read books and blogs. Read the Bible. Go to the magic store to pick up some new tricks. Listen to others–they provide directions, too. Those are all great suggestions, I think. Life’s magic moments don’t always have directions, though, yet I know magic still exists. Be open to the directions and faithfully read them. New, old; faithfully read those directions!
  3. Be ready to put the new skills into the daily routine.
    I should think about the things I read, and then I should practice what I learn. 1989 Meghan the Magnificent practiced so much for her magic show at Country Club Apartments in Huntington, West Virginia. Her parents encouraged her to keep practicing. Now the stakes are a little higher. Practice patience, and love, and kindness, and courage! Practice card tricks and happy tricks. The Magnificence should will happen.

Summary: try something old-and-true, read the directions to the old stuff or get some new tricks and read those directions, practice magnificence.

Plenty of magic is to be had. Just because I don’t feel the magic in my soul, and just because my life is so not together right now, doesn’t mean the magic isn’t all around me. Maybe I’ll come up with an life magic trick to reveal magnificence instantaneously before your very eyes? Until then, however, think about 1989 Meghan the Magnificent: learning magic tricks is easy. Finding magic as a grown up can be easy, too, right?

Gratitude Fills The Holes & Happy Birthday To Me!

Okay, first up, yesterday was my birthday! What a fun day and thank you to all the people who made it special. 🙂 Now then…

Crumbling brick walls still stand.

Have you ever just looked at a brick wall? Really observed the missing mortar? Wondered how the wall can keep standing when the binding agent is crumbling; when it seems that the mortar is barely holding the wall together?

At times I feel like I’m that brick wall. My gaps in the mortar are tiny holes in my heart, bruises that threaten to harm my integrity. How do I fill these holes?

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See those slips of paper? There’s something to be thankful for written on them.

Back in November, Brown Dog Yoga offered the chance for its students to write their gratitude on a little slip of paper, roll it up, and slip it in a crack in the brick wall. These thanks still fill the gaps in the mortar even today. Thankfulness, gratitude. Those are the things that fill those holes.

So how do I fill my holes, my gaps, the chinks in my armor? Gratitude & thankfulness.

And, wow, do I have a lot to be thankful for.

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One dark nail in a sea of super bright pink.

I got my nails done Tuesday night as a birthday treat. Hot pink, almost Pepto pink. But a happy pink. My left ring finger nail is a shimmery dark grey, almost black. Why? My life is full of brightness, and sometimes it gets a little dark. But that darkness isn’t bleak… it’s sparkly. It shimmers.

That’s thankfulness represented. The shimmering base of the darkness. At times I feel low, I cling to my gratitude to fill the gaps in my mortar. It supports me so I don’t crumble. It fills the holes so that tomorrow I shine a little brighter. Hopefully I go from the dark grey to the bright pink; it takes time. But it happens.

Gratitude and thankfulness. I can’t live without them.

And why did I choose my left ring finger? I’m committed to myself, my growth, my abilities, my vulnerabilities. Ever day that I have this manicure, I’ll get to look down and be reminded that my energy is bright. I’ll know my thankfulness includes being my own brand of crazy, my own uniqueness. I’m me, crumbling mortar and all. And I accept that. I’m committed to me.

And for that I am thankful.

SECO Recap: Meet & Greet With Optometrists

Oh, how I love going to Disney World! The meet & greets are some of my favorite parts of going to the parks. Mickey, Minnie, Belle, Prince Charming… I love them all.

Going to optometry conferences is very much the same experience for me. Being able to meet & greet with fellow eye doctors is so enjoyable. The camaraderie is something that is experienced in other occupations, I’m sure, and it is nice to be able to nerd out with people who get the same type of humor.

Would you like to meet some of the people I ran into at the AFOS & SECO meetings?

  1. Scott Slagle! I’ve gone to lots of meetings. They get made 100x better when I get to spend time with Dr. Slagle. My career would be nowhere near where it is today if it weren’t for him. 

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Scott Slagle: my residency supervisor and my ultimate example of a compassionate, brilliant, and enjoyable person.
2. Tammy Than! I was so excited when I found out Dr. Than was going to be able to come to the AFOS meeting at SECO to lecture. She really takes the cake when it comes to content, organization, and delivery. Subtle humor, concise, and thorough! I’m not nearly as intelligent.

Poor picture of me... quick selfie so Tammy could get started with her lecture.
Poor picture of me… quick selfie so Tammy could get started with her lecture.
3. James Venable: “It’s not a democracy, it’s a dictatorship.” Dr. Venable said that during my first year in optometry school when we were essentially whining about the test schedule. Haha! We got over it.

Dr. Venable in the middle!
Dr. Venable in the middle!
4. Chris Lievens: I have so many memories of Dr. Lievens from lab and clinic. He was always very encouraging of me in pursuit of my passions, and I thank him!

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Dr. Chris Lievens and I were waiting to hear from his wife and one of my mentors, Kristin Anderson.
4. Steve Wilson: His son, Wes, is my sister’s photographer. We figured we’d get a selfie together at the expo to say, “see, we take good photos, too!” Hahah! Hometown pride!

Dr. Wilson was really into this selfie.
Dr. Wilson was really into this selfie.
5. Steven Lowinger: I met him as part of our “Optometrists Who CrossFit” group meetup in Seattle, Washington in 2013. It’s amazing how both of our passions combined to bring us together. So good seeing you!

Steven Lowinger and I... how he found me in a crowd of 4000 people I'll never know.
Steven Lowinger and I… how he found me in a crowd of 4000 people I’ll never know.

I, obviously, met so many more people. But I don’t want to bore you… nor do either of us have the time! Until Thursday!

 

PS: Tomorrow is my 32nd BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Dating Is Like Sampling Flavors At Cold Stone Creamery

I’ve recently been asked about my thoughts on dating multiple people at once… I think it’s akin to sampling ice cream at Cold Stond Creamery.

Dating is fun, exciting, and amazing! You believe that?

It can be. But it can also be stressful. With a generation of ghosters (I’m guilty of it, too, unfortunately), it’s difficult to judge a person. I tend to keep myself guarded so that when they ghost me it doesn’t hurt so bad.

Let’s get one thing straight right away, though- just because I’m dating you doesn’t mean I’m in a relationship with you. There is no exclusivity. There is no “in a relationship with” status on Facebook. We are just going on dates, figuring out if we like each other, and hoping the other one doesn’t ghost us.

That said- can you date other people? Can I?

Absolutely.

And here’s my random thought… an analogy, if you will, about dating and ice cream. 

You’re supposed to choose a flavor after sampling all the ice cream available.
 

You go to Cold Stone Creamery. Most people sample a bunch of different flavors, and that’s perfectly fine! But at the end of the day, the goal is to pick a flavor to fill your “Like It”, “Love It”, or “Gotta Have It” container. No problem with sampling; Cold Stone just wants to make sure you actually buy something. It’s terrible to think that you’d sample all these flavors just to end up walking away without buying anything.

That’s your Meghan’s Musing of the week, folks. Don’t walk away from a bunch of possible relationships because you keep sampling the flavors. Give one of them a chance in a “like it”, “love it”, or “gotta have it”. 

And on a completely unrelated note, I bought a ton of books recently. I have a book-buying problem… I guess I could have a worse problem: not having any flavors to sample at Cold Stone Creamery!

Have you read any of these books?
 
Also, a couple of great reads for you to check out:

Why Good People Ghost (such a good read that my friend shared it twice a week apart)

Love What Matters (embed link not behaving properly… will update later!) Click here to go straight to the Facebook post. 

And, because it was Valentine’s Weekend:  

WordPress was having trouble with the embed. I’ll fix it as soon as I get home. If you can’t wait until then, though, be sure to head to Ms. Gilbert’s page to read the whole card. ?
<3 xoxo

-Meghan

Clean Your House

I wasn’t going to post today because I just hit the snooze button 9 times… and I knew I had to clean up my house today a bit before work. So I just really couldn’t justify spending time blogging when more pressing things needed to be done in my house.

Have you ever lost a pair of pants? I lost these boyfriend jeans last week sometime. I looked EVERYWHERE for them, or so it seemed. I called the Hampton Inn asking if they were in the lost & found. I called my mom to have her check her jeans.

Nothing.

My home has been cluttered a bit lately. When I travel, I tend to throw a bunch of stuff down, pick up my next adventure gear, and then go about my way. The last two weeks has seen me traveling for skiing, work commitments after hours, church projects, etc. I had “organized piles” everywhere. And laundry built up. Not my finest moment.

To be honest, I didn’t really want to pick any of it up. I felt overwhelmed by the daunting task. So much work. So tired. No win situation.

Anyway, I was picking up my piles and placing them in their correct places (or putting uncategorized things under my bed… I’m a work in progress, folks), and LO! BEHOLD!

I found my jeans.

They were under a scarf that was folded neatly and hanging off the back of my chair.

Sometimes you have to clean your house in order to find what you’ve been looking for. I think that’s a good metaphor for my mind, too. Or my soul. Go ahead and clean both. I almost guarantee you’ll find your favorite jeans.

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Ten Instagram Accounts I Think You Should Follow Right Now

Do you love Instagram? I do! I know a couple of people you should begin following ASAP and I’ll tell you why.

  1. Thuy (tnt_yoga)
    I went to optometry school with her and was always amazed at her positivity. She was so sweet! And then she started doing yoga with a passion. Follow her account for some fun moments in her life.  (Um, it appears as if her account is private… just trust me.)

2. Summer

We went to West Virginia University way back in 2002. Dadisman Hall. No air conditioning! Now she’s living it up in LA, but my favorite posts are the ones from Disneyland.

A late #mcm for ya – Aidan Turner in Poldark

A post shared by sumshel (@sumshel) on

3. Ashton

This chick was my resident at WVU, and I’m so glad we have kept in touch. She smiles bright, and her subjects smile, too! I love this travel mug and must get it.

4. Caroline

Stumbling upon her Instagram account via her blog was one of the best happenstance moments I’ve had in a while. Check out her Better Lettering course, too. Totally worth the $20. 😀

⚡️Pre-order this Thursday, 2/11⚡️ #AbstractAffirmationsDaily 39/366 • “Again” *** Do you just ever have one of those days? Those days where you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed and it throws your whole day off? It doesn’t happen that often but boy did it hit me today. I mean, I tried *everything* I could to snap myself out of it, but from the moment I opened my eyes, something just felt unsettled. I threw every perspective-shifting, optimism-wielding, jedi-mind-tricking, mood boosting strategy at myself… and yet I just couldn’t shake this OFF feeling. It was still running through me as I painted this tonight and it’s still running through me even as I type this. I know I post a lot of positive messaging around here, especially through this daily project, and it’s because I believe in it. I truly want to show up as my brightest self in as many ways as I can, and I think we have far more choices in how we handle situations than we give ourselves credit for. BUT… I’m also a realist. And the REAL truth is, not every day is as bright as this painting. (And that’s okay.) BUT that’s what tomorrow is for. 🙂 Tomorrow we get to wake up and try again. And that’s something. I closed the door to my studio tonight and tomorrow I plan to return with fresh eyes, a fresh heart, and — hopefully —a fresh attitude. If you too found yourself feeling unsettled today, close your eyes tonight knowing tomorrow is a new day. *** #AbstractAffirmationsDaily prints will be available for pre-order starting this Thursday, 2/11! To get updates FIRST and exclusive deals, get on the email list here: ➡️madevibrant.com/daily. (Plus get a free downloadable print by entering your email!) #creativity #dailyproject #lettering #abstractart #acrylicart #BetterLetteringCourse #🎨

A post shared by Caroline | Made Vibrant (@ckelso) on

5. Tim
Tim lifts in our front room are at CrossFit Thunder. He’s a beast. And then he smiles around his eyes (you can’t see his mouth because of his beard)… total nice guy. I hear, though, that he’s shaved his epic beard in the last week. The Internet almost died.

6. Huntington Insta

They take a bunch of photos from area IGers and repost them for your perusal. Huntington can be BEAUTIFUL!

7. Tonya (Reflections Spa & Salon)

You’ve seen her on my blog before. Her hair skills are INSANELY good. And her IG pics are amazing, too. Hair, running, and fun dog moments. Give her a whirl.

Thanks @shelleymariejames for my new color😘😘😘

A post shared by Tonya Cool (@reflectionssalonandspa) on

8. Lauren Love Photography

I love me some photography accounts, and Lauren’s photos have become stellar over the last year. You can totally watch as her depth of knowledge and push for creativity continues. Great work!

All the best things are wild & free •

A post shared by 🔺Fine Art Wedding Photographer (@laurenlovephotography) on

9. A Southern Co.

I just bought this top from this Huntington-area boutique. Had to have it. The people are super nice, too! For the record, I’m writing this post without coffee. EEEK!

10. The TRex Runner

You MUST check out my friend, Danielle. I met her in Williamson at the Hatfield McCoy Marathon and I was giddy with excitement for being able to meet one of my blog heroes. Love her spirit, her resilience, and her words. Her photos are pretty cool, too. Check out this one… she’s wearing the Hatfield McCoy race shirt!

So that’s it. That’s all I’ve got this Tuesday, but I think you’ll find quite a bit of things to scroll through on your lunch break. Hope you enjoyed 10 IG accounts that are some of my favorites! Until Thursday!

The Art Of Friendships

My thoughts on the art of friendship:

As I get older, it’s a really surprising finding to me that friendships can grow organically. You don’t have to force it. It can just happen. I’ve had these moments earlier in life, but a lot of times I find myself gravitating to a couple of people to fill my circle of friends. Having been out of school for 6 years now, I find that friendships can totally surprise me! I’m taken aback at the people I meet and how we have become friends. Sometimes it hasn’t worked out. Other times it shocks me we get together on a semi-regular basis. That’s the art of friendship: letting friendships grow at their own pace.

Sometimes friendships develop like a science… you meet, you have a couple of things in common, and then BOOM– you’re friends. Those friendships are fun because the connection is immediate and strong. Then you meet other people who speak to your soul, but you aren’t sure if you can build something together. It’s timid; intimidating. Those friendships can be anxiety-inducing. You don’t want to screw it up. You don’t want to scare them off. Friendships, relationships, it’s all basically the same pathogenesis to me. Whenever you invite someone in to your life, you sometimes have to play the game.

 

An example of fast friends. Love you Jen!
 Sometimes it can happen immediately like you really want it to. The guy calls and you go on a date. Friendships are the same way. I call those dates “frates” (that’s friend dates, if you can’t follow that logic).  But what if your potential friend doesn’t call or text? Those instances it just takes a little bit of time… or they don’t like you and you’ll never be friends. Wow! Frustrations! LIKE ME! BE MY FRIEND!

I guess I see it like this: I shouldn’t fret. It can sometimes take a little bit of time to earn someone else’s trust or to let them have that opportunity to really realize I actually care about them. I care about their happiness. I want to offer a piece of my soul. I want to be that reassuring smile. The high five. The encourager. I want to laugh until they cry. I want to roll my eyes with them over an inside joke.

It’s okay to want these things, right? I’d even guess that introverts want one person they can relate to as I’ve just described. I’m not alone in my quest for friendships like that, right?

In the last couple of years it’s taken me some time to just let friendships develop. I want it all immediately. I want you to come over to my house and look at all my pictures then we can go and hang with your family and I can teach your kid to play Mario… or something like that scenario. But Meghan, dude, just chill… that’s what I have to tell myself.

Chill. Out.

 

We didn’t immediately hit it off. We can’t remember when our friendship started. But our friendship is real.
 Just let friendships happen. Let friendships develop. Allow each other the opportunity to choose the friendship. Sure, it’s awesome when sparks happen (I’m not talking about romantic sparks, people). But, when you just know you can have a good relationship with another person, sometimes you just need to chill. Slowly get to know one another. Allow it to develop naturally. No forcing. No demanding. Just accepting each other as you both are. Letting each person fill a little gap in one another’s lives.
The art of friendship is a beautiful game. I’d love to be a starter. I’m okay with coming off the bench. Those supporting roles are important, too. I just want to be on your team.

If you would like to check out one of my new friend’s blogs, hop on over to The Mountain Gypsy. We share a lot of the same philosophies, but I love her not because of that. I love her because she is a genuine soul.