Redeeming Florida

After last week’s post on the horrendous birthday adventure I gave Bill, I feel the need to help Florida redeem itself a little. So let me introduce you to Sanibel Island, an unbelievable place mere minutes from our home.

When first researching the area after hearing of Bill’s stations interest, I happened upon a few things – the sleepy downtown, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, the incredible shopping in Naples, and the rest of the typical touristy stuff. But then I happened upon Sanibel, pictures of which prompted a few seconds of speechlessness, frantic emails to my mom, and probably a squeal or two in my highest key. 

I made Bill take me as soon as we got here. I can’t think of too many places more magical. Yes, I said MAGICAL.

Heading over the walkway, you can already tell it’s not your average beach. In fact, you can feel in the air that there is something different about this place…

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And removing your shoes, you notice that in the place of your normal sand, this beach has these.

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EVERYWHERE.
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There are sand dollars the size of your hand.IMG_6156

And of course, more seashells.IMG_5786

Bill admired them from way up here. (By that I mean 6 feet and 7 inches off the ground.)IMG_5787

While I spent most of the time picking up every third shell I saw to show him. We made a deal that I could only take one home, and the winner was a little guy that faded from yellow to white to pink.IMG_5788

And Indy? Well, Indy appreciated the shells so much that she pooped on them. A lot. Immediately. And didn’t feel an ounce of remorse.

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And so the sun set on my childlike giddiness, Bill’s quiet admiration, and Indy’s utter disregard for the sacred beauty of the natural world.IMG_5785

And the only thing that could top off such a surreal moment in our lives was. of course, calamari and mango sangria at the Island Cow, a beach shack on the way home. Partially because I wasn’t ready for the feeling to end and partially because Bill is always hungry, in true Halter style. IMG_5789So see, Florida is not all bad. In fact, I believe the saying goes a little something like “Live where you vacation”, yes? Well, despite leaving paradise to move 3,000 miles across the country, we’ve still managed to have that covered.

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Home Sweet New Home!

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New state, new home, new chapter…

Florida Bound Day 2: Crossing Borders

We woke up this morning to a warm and cozy Macauley house, complete with hot showers and turkey egg cups and apple oatmeal homemade by the beautiful JJ. Home cooked meals = hot commodity in the Halter household.

20140627-212643-77203598.jpgUpon learning we hadn’t had time to plan out too much of our day, she promptly headed into her bedroom and came back with a stack of Shnsrt magazines full of articles on roadtripping, the best views, and a food lover’s guide to the West Coast.

20140627-212642-77202795.jpgThen it was yet another difficult goodbye as we left another best friendship in the rear view mirror.

20140627-212641-77201487.jpg20140627-212642-77202202.jpgThe day brought the Arizona state line…

20140627-212635-77195403.jpgSome gorgeous American Southwest landscape…

20140627-212644-77204264.jpgA lunchtime sushi date with past KSBY friend Danielle Lerner…

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Indy’s first experience with the Arizona heat (yes, she had shade and water, the poor little thing…)20140627-212640-77200746.jpgCrossing the border into New Mexico, the obvious Land of Enchantment, complete with a #WorkHardDreamBig shirt photo opportunity to send back to Cal Poly Career Services…

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New Mexico BorderSpontaneous roadside pitstops to admire the view…20140627-212637-77197067.jpg20140627-212639-77199234.jpg

Surprise kisses in front of big rocks…

20140627-212638-77198438.jpgBill’s loss of sanity… At one point, he looked over at me and said, “I think I’m going to pull into McDonald’s and get an ice cream”, which caused me to almost crash the car and is now as famous of a Bill Halter quote as “Dessert is for the weak.”

20140627-212640-77200030.jpgNew Mexico sunsets offered moments we will always want to remember… even if we were just at a truck stop (looking for Jesse Pinkman everywhere).

20140627-212645-77205276.jpgWe reached our goal of El Paso, TX, and I preceded to freak out about everything… the lights on the side of the road, the Lone Star lit up on the hillside, and “IS THAT MEXICO?!?! THAT’S MEXICO, ISN’T IT?!?!”
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Day 2 in the books, but tomorrow we will still be…

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Florida Bound Day 1: Tearful Goodbyes and “Oh, Hi”s

5:30 a.m. is when our alarm went off on moving day, but you can bet your cute butt I had been lying awake staring wide-eyed at the ceiling long before that. My dad had come down to San Luis Obispo to say goodbye and make sure our house was ready for the new renters to move in, but he also surprised us with the generous offering of a hotel room in the same hotel he was staying in the night before the big move. I don’t think we were ever more thankful for a bed in our lives.

The cleaning crew was showing up at 6 a.m., so we rushed home to let them in, get ready, and do any last minute packing (which, of course, ended up being way more than expected). During the chaos, my beautiful friend Danae popped over way before her normal wake-up call to steal me away for a coffee at Black Horse in my neighborhood. It had been both bitter and sweet having so much to do and so much logistical nonsense to take care of that I hadn’t quite had time to remember that I was incredibly heartbroken to be leaving my friends, my job, and my home, but it definitely hit me on the quiet, early morning walk through the houses that had surrounded me for the last 8 years. Saying goodbye to Danae was hard. Harder than I could have imagined. But she said it all when, through tears, she reminded me that gratitude was due for the time we did have together, and we promised to plan a trip for early January. It’s never goodbye – always “see you soon”.

Bill and I pulled away from our first home together, but instead of heading straight out of town, we stopped for one last breakfast with my dad at the Apple Farm, the restaurant he had been taking me to every time he visited for years. I managed to make it about 5 minutes through breakfast before I teared up, and then I utterly and completely lost it when it came to hug my dad goodbye. As I watched him walk across the parking lot and get in his car, I just stood there sobbing until I ran over and pulled him out of the driver’s seat for one more hug. I finally tore myself away, and we were off.

It took awhile for me to get ahold of myself as we got on the road. However, I couldn’t help but laugh when, despite my OBVIOUS dire need for support, I lost both Bill and Indy before we even got to Nipomo, a mere 25 minutes down the road. I was in good company.

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The salvation of the day was that we had planned our first two stops, and they were both in places I had been dying to go: Ojai and JJ’s house. Knowing I was going to land in both places gave me something to look forward to and helped me ease into the trip. Visiting Ojai had been a dream for years, and 3 years ago I even bought a Groupon for a hotel with the hopes that if I did so we would HAVE to go. Didn’t happen. But it was as cute as I had thought it would be, and it was worth the wait even for the short time we stopped to walk around the famous Ojai Valley Inn and the quaint downtown. Not too mention how entertaining it was to hear my GPS, whom I lovingly call Daphne, pronounce the name as “Oh, HI”, like she was in the middle of giving us directions when someone she hadn’t expected to see joined our conversation. “Take a slight right onto Highway 33 East toward – oh, HI.” Bill and I laughed a little more than was probably warranted, but I’ll never hear the name Ojai the same way again.

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We arrived in Yucaipa at the Macauley residence around 3:30 p.m., just in time for me to take Audrey to meet her mama at swim lessons in Redlands while JJ’s husband Adrian took a business call and Bill parked it on the couch to watch the NBA Draft. Here’s my precious cargo!

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Okay, so I never doubted for one second that a toddler swim class would be in the Top 10 Cutest Things in the World Ever, but holy my goodness. See for yourself.

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We made it back to find ourselves amidst some unexpected love affairs. The first being between Audrey and Indy…

20140626-232913-84553365.jpgThe second between myself and JJ’s AMAZING closet – a to-die-for gift from her husband Adrian for Mother’s Day… She obviously likes it too.20140627-212506-77106230.jpg

And lastly, between Bill and bedtime stories.20140626-232911-84551863.jpg

Day One fabulously, warmly, heart-breakingly completed. Tomorrow, we leave California as we continue the trek to our new home in Florida.

 

 

Another Newlywed First

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

And what an interesting one it has been so far. Bill and I are apart today – he is at work and I am in San Francisco for the weekend of a lifetime at the Wisdom 2.0 conference (!!!). I have been pretty sick with the weirdest flu all week, so that’s been fun. We decided to celebrate last night with a three-course meal at the local OG (Olive Garden, of course), after which I showered, packed, popped some NyQuil and proceeded to pass out. We also decided not to do presents this year. Despite all that, today is still a special day. It’s out first Valentine’s Day as husband and wife!

Two thoughts on that:

1) It’s really strange to find yourself in the “Husband” section of the Valentine’s cards, and even stranger to find that it doesn’t feel that strange.

2) I’ve decided that having Bill as my Valentine for all the Valentine’s Days to come for the rest of forever is, in fact, a great thing.

So dear world, I would like your forgiveness in the sappiness that is about to occur:

I love you Billy, and I couldn’t imagine another Valentine’s Day without you.

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Figuratively, of course.

❤️

Be of Good Cheer

On our first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs….

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Happy Holidays from the Halters!

Get Your Cute Butt Out the Door: A Working Girl’s Musings on Exercise

There is a question that I get asked often, and that is how I manage to motivate myself to go to the gym after a long day at work. It’s a topic that comes up frequently in the following forms:

  • Friend: I was going to go to the gym tonight, and then I decided not to… Now you’re making me feel bad.
  • Coworker: You’re so good.
  • Husband: I can’t imagine having to go to the gym after work. I don’t know how you can do that.
  • Friend: YOU’RE GOING TO THE GYM TONIGHT?!?!
  • Another friend: I’m going home to sit on my couch and watch TV. I’m exhausted, and I don’t know how you do it.

It’s true. I go to the gym a lot, and it’s often after a full(+) workday. But don’t get me wrong: this is not something that has come easy. I used to go months without working out. In fact, if you had conducted a close study of my health and self-care habits in college, you might be utterly disgusted. After class and work and meetings and rehearsal and dates and friend time and on and on and on, the last thing that I wanted to do was stand up, change and exercise. No thanks. But now that I’m older and much more educated, I just wish I hadn’t wasted so much time.

Now there are definitely some life circumstances that contribute to making it to the gym so often, but I want to make a huge disclaimer. This is not your out. Yes, I do have a husband who works most nights, leaving me at home to do as I please. Yes, I don’t have to cook a dinner for a family of four. I am able to put off chores until the weekend if I so choose. If you have those things, I genuinely congratulate you, but they are not to be used as excuses. Dictionary.com offers the definition of an excuse as “a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or forrelease from an obligation, promise, etc.”, and in this case, that obligation or promise is to take care of yourself. Excuses are for someone else. Working out is for yourself. If you are legitimately too busy, or have a family, or can’t physically get there today, fine. But take a minute to think about how taking care of yourself actually benefits your mind, your family, and your relationships, and I think you’ll realize that excuses are not accepted here. Sorry.

I used to be captive to my excuses. I would tell whoever would listen and hope that it would make me feel better, that this little feeling in my stomach that felt like I was doing something wrong would go away. Want to know how I made it go away? I started doing what I was supposed to, but all the reasons I was telling myself were bullshit. True, honest-to-God bullshit. I was the only thing holding myself back, and it turns out that the real trick to exercising on the regular was to change my MINDSET, not my circumstances, This took a lot of initiative and a swift kick in the proverbial pants to start educating myself and becoming aware of my body, my thoughts, and my self-talk. And then on top of that, I had to change it. Like I said, not an easy task.

But here I am today, hoping to make it a little easier for you to get your cute butt out the door and in shape by giving you some of the tips that have helped me get to the amazing place where I have (shockingly) found myself, Getting out the door is no longer as hard as it used to be, and the payoff is incredible. Here is what personally changed my mind, my body, and my life.

1) I’ve fallen in love with my gym.

Notice I didn’t write “I’ve fallen in love with THE gym”. That’s because I have tried a few in my area, and they never quite fit. All throughout college, I had access to a huge recreation center right on campus, and I hardly ever went (except for hip-hop class – that was great) because despite strict dress code rules of no tank tops or super short shorts, it was an absolute meat market. I went to a huge state-of the art gym in the community for two years, but I had to wait in line for cardio machines, for weight machines, for classes, for everything. I spent $50 a month to stand around. Oh, and it was a meat market. After all that, I finally settled on the one that was right for ME. I go to Equilibrium Fitness for Women, an all-women’s gym less than a mile from my house. Everyone here is supportive, welcoming, stoked on life, and okay – yes, female. I never wait in line, the girls at the front desk no my name, and I’m surrounded by badass empowered women every time I walk through the door. I found where I wanted to work out, and now it feels like my other home.

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2) I turn my excuses to skip my workouts into reasons to exercise.

It is so easy to make excuses to skip workouts, and one of the best things I’ve done is commit to getting honest with myself. For example, I HATE getting ready (i.e. showering, blow drying my hair, doing my makeup) more than once in a day OR any time other than in the morning. Lunchtime workouts just do not work for me. I can’t do it. Therefore, since I’m going to get a workout in, I know I have to plan my them as either my first or last public outing of the day. That way I can make myself presentable for the rest of the day after getting sweaty, or I can shower right before I hibernate for the night. I also hate washing my hair every day, and the truth is, I don’t need to so I tend to go the every other day route. But when I work out, I SWEAT. So how do you get to the gym a majority of your days when it would just be so easy to say, “I don’t want to have to do my hair” tomorrow? Well, I do my hardcore workouts on hair-washing days and then plan a yoga class and light cardio on the others. Easy-peasy. Maybe this sounds ridiculous to you, but we all have those excuses we are secretly ashamed of. You know, those ones we rationalize in our heads, but know that if we said out loud we’d get an eye roll to put us in our place from the nearest person, no matter stranger or closest friend. But who cares?!?! OWN YOUR EXCUSES. Once you do, you can turn them into reasons. Now I always try to workout on hair-washing days, because that to me is a reason to get a weight lifting session in, not skip it.

3) Do what you FEEL like doing.

The key here is not to ask yourself whether you feel like going to the gym. By then you’ve already given yourself “NO” as an option. But if you ask yourself instead, “What kind of workout do I feel like doing?” then you’ve eliminated the possibility before you even realize it. Too tired for cardio? Yoga or Pilates. Want to get outside? Go for a run, or if that sounds like it sucks, walk your dog. Have a bad day? Take a combat class, and get out your anger. Feeling like turning your brain off? Find a magazine and park yourself on an elliptical. Hate even the thought of working out? Go dance your ass off, for God’s sake. The truth is that ANY workout is a workout, not just the hardcore ones. If you don’t feel like leaving your house, give yourself permission to do push-ups on the stairs or pop in a Jillian Michaels DVD. It doesn’t matter how long or short your workout is. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing right now. Comparison will do nothing for you. Check in with your bad self and do what you feel like, because as long as you’re moving, I’ll count it. So move!

4) Find what gets you pumped.

ONE new song on my iPod = Instant change in my mood about working out. The new issue of Women’s Health magazine in my mailbox = Four to seven days of inspiration, depending on how fast I devour it. But the thing that really gets me excited? (And disclaimer, I am totally unashamed for what I am about to reveal.) NEW WORKOUT CLOTHES!!!! I love the way I feel in brand new exercise gear. And yes, I am that girl rocking neon in the worst way in the corner of the gym. I don’t care if it’s obnoxious! I LOVE it. My highlighter yellow Nikes got me through my first half marathon. I feel like a boss in the purple UnderArmor tee my sister-in-law got my for Christmas. I kick ass when I wear all black in my combat class. Once I figured this out, I started to spread out my purchases. New yoga pants here, new sports bra there. It keeps me excited, no matter how weird it sounds. My newest obsession? THESE BABIES.

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I can’t wait to put them on! So find your song, your subscription, your hot pink leopard print kicks, and rock them. Whatever gets YOU out the door.

5) Most importantly, make your working out about getting, being, and staying HEALTHY, and nothing else.

This one takes work, and the effort is two-fold. First, you have to start educating yourself on health and wellness. For instance, you know that the sticky stuff you lick on an envelope to seal it? Well, that’s called gum arabic, and they put it in M&M’s and marshmallows. Gross right? I don’t want to put stuff like that in my body, but I would have kept doing it had I not just chosen to read about it. There is so much information out there, and it’s just waiting for you. Whether you prefer blogs and websites or magazines and good old-fashioned books, it’s there, and it will change your life. The second part of this is you need to decide what being healthy means to you. To me, it’s not just a state of being, it’s a lifestyle. It means exercising and eating right, yes. But to me, it also means getting 8 hours of sleep, reducing my stress level as much as possible, having supportive relationships in my life, maintaining a healthy weight, going to all of my doctors regularly, and generally living clean. So why do we each have to define “healthy” when we could just look up the definition the easy way? Because once you take the initiative and define it yourself, you’ve just found your ultimate motivation. You will not get off the couch unless you feel compelled to, and once you attach real meaning behind your action, you will do just that. Promise.

There is a quote from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer that goes as follows: “Don’t die with your music still inside you.” Well, there is a whole lot of potential living inside your kick-butt self right now, just waiting to be set free. Don’t just let it sit there! Go out there and release your energy into the world. I’ll meet you at the finish line.

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P.S. Check out my sick new Lorna Jane jacket. That puppy has already gone on a run, on a hike, AND to yoga class since I got it with my step-sister a week ago. No shame.