Life, According to my iPhone: 100 Happy Days :: Vol. 4 & 5

 

If you are not familiar with the 100 Happy Days challenge, read my post explaining it HERE!

Okay, okay, I know I’m late!!! JEEEZ! But it’s been SUUUUUPER busy up in hurr lately (more on that LATER!). BUT! I still haven’t missed a happy day!!  Yesterday was Day 52 and I’m still going strong! I will admit that there have been a few days that haven’t been anything special, so they have resulted in some sort of Dewey portrait. But I almost appreciate those days more because it forces me to really look at my day and appreciate the little things. In fact, I’m working through binge watching How I Met Your Mother (I just started season 8 of 9!!!). An episode I watched last night ficused on Barney trying to convince Ted that they should do something”LEGENDARY” every night. The first few nights are pretty awesome (they start a Mariachi band, eat everything on the menu of their favorite bar and bring a horse into the bar!), but by night 4, Ted is getting tired and  implores Barney to understand that,

“Every night can’t be legendary. If all nights are legendary, no nights are legendary.”

WOOOOAHHHHH!!!!!! Mind. Blown.

 

Okay, in the episode, that was NOT Barney’s reaction. He vehemently argued against Ted…but MY mind was blown! If something awesome happens everyday, it becomes normal and the awesome things just seem regular. Does that make sense?

So because everyday isn’t “legendary,”, I get to value the little, insignificant days more.

*****

Here are my photos from the past 20 days!

OH! And check it out! I’ve gone long enough that I’ve had ONE FULL MONTH of Happy Days!!

I'm using the Photo 365 app to organize all my Happy Days!

I’m using the Photo 365 app to organize all my Happy Days!

And here are Days 11-20!

And Days 21-30!

(click to enlarge!)

Days 31-40

 Days 41-50

Day 31: Brunch with these cats!! I LOVE Sundays with Shelly (& Vikki)!!!

Day 32: 6am workout followed by coffee, tea and breakfast with the amazing Christine! We got to share incredible stories, challenges and I even got a few writing tips! All before 9am on my first day of spring break!

Day 33: Project Barbie Dream House Facelift continues!!! Where do you suppose this “Fabulous Grape” is going???

Day 34: I had a blast today hanging out with my sister and my favorite nephew (don’t tell him he’s my only nephew!)! Rarely do I get such quality time with the bugger!

Day 35: I knocked an item off my Spring Break To-Do list by exploring downtown and taking a little photo adventure!

Day 36: Good Friday: “IT IS FINISHED!” “It wasn’t a cry of defeat. It was a shout of victory. The great work of rescuing us was finished! There is now nothing you can do to make God love you more — nothing you can do to make him love you less. It is finished!”

Day 37: Got to spend the day being a model with this gorgeous girl for Drauma!

Day 38: Hosana! Hosana! Hosana in the highest! “Many will be counted righteous for He will bear their sin!” Isaiah 53:11 This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.

Day 39: “HOW DID I GET UNDER THIS DRESS?!” “WHEN DID I HAVE A DRAG BABY?!” Monday’s a Drag kicked off our Alternative Fashion Week (AFW) 2014!

Day 40: I Screen, You Screen Screen Printing Workshop! Another successful screen printing night! Check out my Mobster Red tank I printed with Kelli! 

Day 41: Stew’s first ever yoga class! I may have left out that Alexander is evil…but he survived anyways!! {Don’t get excited…we dated for a smidgeon, but he’s no longer in the picture! Pun??}

Day 42: So I joined a girl band after our Reconstruction Night for AFW 2014.

Day 43: Secret’s out. It’s Wig Night!!! I love having a friend that I can be silly and awesome and beautiful with!

Day 44: Wow wow wow. What a night!!! Amazing! Nerve-racking! So many words. Must sleep to process. Thank you too all who came out. Your love and support truly means everything. {Post AFW Grand Finale Runway Show!!!}

Day 45: Somethings will never change! I got to round out my amazing weekend with Yenny, visiting home from the Left Coast! 

Day 46: I spent the day paying bills, cleaning and reorganizing the Barbie Dream House. I found this love note stashed away in a corner! It’s easy to be a good friend when you have wonderful, kind and loving people in your life. 

Day 47: My life may not always be glamorous, but at least I get to cuddle up with the Dewster every night.

Day 48: Ahhhh…I heart Wednesday nights! Yoga, hit shower, dinner and Law & Order: SVU. 

Day 49: Just a typical Thursday morning sweating my ass off before work! 

Day 50: Oh y’know, just spending the day flexing & drinking champagne with my best model and workout buddy! Amanda and I spent the day prepping for the Cap City Marathon! Unfortunately, I couldn’t run due to a strained IT band, but I’ll be back next year!!!

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What a Wild + Crazy Weekend!

As I write this, it is late Tuesday night. My Uncle Art’s calling hours were tonight and the funeral is tomorrow. Writing just seemed like the best thing to do tonight. Uncle Art was an amazing writer and getting my words out on “paper” has always been therapeutic for me.

********************************************************************************************

Phew! That was one HELL of a weekend!! You know it’s a good one when you need a whole extra day (or THREE!) just to rest up from your weekend.

On Friday, Amanda & I got tattoos to commemorate our running of the half marathon, 13.1 miles! Our initial plan was to get matching tattoos on our feet, but being such flamboyant individuals, we were unable to decide on one design, so we each got something that spoke to us! Amanda went with the number 13.1 on her wrist next to her Wonder Woman cuff (because once you run at least a half marathon, you become a superhero automatically.) and I decided to get the number spelled out on my right foot, next to my runner cheetah tattoo. The neatest part of both of our tattoos is that they are both in our trainer Alexander’s handwriting. I know that he will say WE did it, not him, but I must say that I would have NEVER run a mile, let alone a 13.1 of ’em if it weren’t for his inspiration and support.

Looking for an awesine tattoo shop?? Check out Fate Tattoo, in Columbus, Ohio! Jack has now done half of my work and I couldn’t be happier!

13.1 Tats

Alexander's Handwriting. The bottom lines are just random letters we might have needed.

Alexander’s Handwriting. The bottom lines are just random letters we might have needed.

Not only did Amanda and I get tattoos, but Allie joined us for the fun! Unfortunately, we could not convince her to get a tattoo, but I think we’ve sold her on getting one eventually! Watching Amanda & I get our tats was her first experience even seeing someone get tattooed! Amanda’s only took (what felt like) 30 seconds and she braved it like a champ, saying didn’t hurt at all (and I’m actually inclined to believe her)! Mine took maybe 5 minutes, but…WOO! I definitely earned that one! My tattoo pain threshold has increased, but there’s something about the side of my foot and ankle that just stings!

This tattoo makes it an even EIGHT tattoos that I have on my body. When I started with my first at the age of 18 (a harmless lil Jesus Fish on my hip), I never thought tattoos would become such a large part of my life. My friend Justin told be the other day that with all my “word tattoos,” I’m gonna become a book eventually! WHich, would be totally fine with me!  All of my tattoos represent a part of my life journey. They either mark an important event in my life or represent a permanent part of my heart & soul. There really isn’t much that I am not willing to talk to people about when it comes to my life story, and I think that tattoos work as a perfect conversation starter. I love telling people my stories and hearing their’s in return. It’s part of that whole “people person” mentality that I embody.

After the tattoo gun was turned off, our wrists and feet were bandaged, and my faced relaxed from its grimace, Amanda, Allie & I fetched another member of our A-Team and headed to Tip Top, a DELICIOUS local restaurant for celebratory dinner and drinks. (As I write this, I am realizing that we celebrate EVERYTHING! You ran a race? Celebrate! You got a tat? Celebrate! You celebrated? Celebrate!)

As we visited with one another, sharing laughs, I took a moment to look at those women and truly soak up the moment. In that moment, I was surrounded by love & support. I am so very blessed to have passionate, smart, beautiful and STRONG women around me. I strive to surround myself with people who build me up to become a better person and that exactly what my friends do. Eating sweet potato fries and sipping malbec wine seems so simple and mundane, but in that moment, it became a memory that I will never forget.

Allie (and her almost real tattoo), Amanda, Amee, & Me

Allie (and her almost real tattoo), Amanda, Amee, & Me

Now onto the rest of the weekend!!

Saturday night was the second annual Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock + Roll Fashion Show! This is an event organized by Amee, breast cancer survivor extraordinaire! The event is a mix of locals bands playing while local fashion designers show off their latest collections. This year, each designer was assigned a band, and they were to design their outfits using the band’s music as inspiration. Not only is Amee is event creator, but she is the lead singer of Black Eyed Betty, a local rock + roll band! Betty closed out the show, barely able to observe the noise ordinance the neighborhood has instilled.The coolest part is that ALL, 100% of the proceeds go towards local cancer warriors, buying them wigs and gas cards to get to their doctors appointments. The bands and designers donate their time and effort and any money they would have pocketed from the event. This year, over $1000 was raised! Thanks to everyone who came!! RAWK!

Amee rockin' out with Betty!

Amee rockin’ out with Betty!

Making the event even more special was that Amanda and I got to model for designer Kelli Martin! She has such an edgy, cool aesthetic! This was the 3rd or 4th time I had modeled for her because I will take any chance I can get to rock her clothes. So most of our day was spent at the salon getting our hair and makeup done by the fabulous Jeffrey Steele and his assistant Casey Pennington! I swear, I need a hair and makeup team to follow me around every weekend! Once they were done with me, I looked like an edgy, original, 1950s Barbie Doll! It was a dream come true! My curled bangs and dark eyeliner made my green eyes just pop! And I’m a sucker for my bright-colored lipstick! Kelli’s designs were deranged rockabilly, and I just looked like Barbie on vacation! I got to wear a crop top and high-waisted, pocketed shorts, both in a floral print, and an adorable black, brimmed hat. Kelli’s work is normally very hardcore and requires a runway walk and face that yells, “I’m gonna kill a bitch!” but Saturday’s look was much nicer and more fun. Rather than walking like we re on our way to inflict some pain on some deserving soul, we got to walk with a bounce in our step and smiles from ear to ear. I even played up the hat a little bit, cheesin’ it up for the audience.

CRTC Modeling

Fellow Mobster & Model: Rachel!

Fellow Mobster & Model: Rachel!

Modeli silliness at the end of the night!

Model silliness at the end of the night!

One of the biggest reasons that this event is so important to me is not only because Amee is a kickass survivor and I have become her Hype Girl, supporting all of her inspiring ventures, but because my Grandma passed away from breast cancer when I was 9, my dad is a cancer survivor, my mom died from endometrial cancer 2 years ago and just this past Tuesday, my Uncle Art was taken from us because of pancreatic cancer. I am f**king sick of cancer affecting and taking people we love. I don’t think there is a person in this world that doesn’t know someone touched by cancer. So anything that works towards a cure or supports those battling towards survival is a worthwhile cause, in my eyes.

Which brings us to…

…Mother’s Day. This year was the 3rd Mother’s Day without Mom. It has gotten a little easier to spend it without her, but nonetheless, every radio ad reminding people to get Mom a gift, every Facebook post boasting that their mom is the greatest, only serves to remind me that I don’t have a mom to buy or make a gift for and that my mom really was the greatest mom and was taken from us years too soon. This year, I spent part of the day with a dear friend, Karen. Her mother also died way too early. Losing a parent is a grief I would not wish upon my worst enemy, but it is a blessing to have others to share it with, that understand the big and little pains of not having that person around. Karen and I spent our afternoon shopping for flowers for our yards; something that Karen really inspired me to do last summer. I was refreshing to walk around the nursery and be reminded that even though there can be such ugliness in our world, that there is a God and he is always creating and recreating beautiful things. It was too cold for our scheduled bike ride (ugh. Thanks Ohio. Jerk.), so instead, we went shopping at Rag-O-Rama, a local, quirky, thrift shop. I got a fabulous neon leotard and bright pink sunglasses for an upcoming costumed bar shuffle (I’m channeling Jem!) and a couple of pairs of cute shorts. If my mother taught me anything, it’s that retail therapy is a real thing. Once again, I felt very blessed to have such a compassionate person in my life.

The weekend came to a close with my weekly Sunday evening hot yoga class with Alexander & Co. I sweat out the weekend and left refreshed and ready to do it all over again!

Me & my 2 BFFs: Mickey Mouse & Mom (Easter 1987 ~ I was 2)

Me & my 2 BFFs: Mickey Mouse & Mom (Easter 1987 ~ I was 2)

Uncle Art & I playing on the beach in Florida, Mom & Aunt Nancy behind us. The beach is where I will remember Uncle Art most fondly. (Easter 1987)

Uncle Art & I playing on the beach in Florida, Mom & Aunt Nancy behind us. The beach is where I will remember Uncle Art most fondly. (Easter 1987)

Thirteen point FREAKING one!

If we are Facebook friends, you are more than aware that this past Saturday morning, May 4th, 2013, I completed my first ever Half Marathon. A friend told me Saturday night that he had to scroll through at least 97 status updates and photos about the race on his Facebook newsfeed before he could finally see what was happening in anyone else’s life!

Well, sooorrry! You run 13.1 miles and then see if you want to scream it from the mountaintops!

I promise. You will.

But yes, I completed the Cap City Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio. 13.1 agonizing, thrilling, endless, and yet gratifying miles. A year ago, hell, 10 years ago, when I was in my peak athletic condition as a varsity high school rower, I would have never completed 13.1 miles. But then, a few months ago, some friends alluded to the idea that if they could run a half marathon, so could I, and we should do it together. I laughed, shook my head and told them how crazy they were for running a half marathon, let alone thinking I would want to do it with them.

Well, time went on and they were able to convince me to run a few (much) shorter races with some friends. As we ran the Oktoberfest 4 miler, the Walk for AIDS 5k, the Thanksgiving Day Flying Feather 5k…I had begun to see a trend. As soon as one of us thought a particular race might be a good idea, it immediately became an “I’ll do it if you do it!” type of agreement. We had all suddenly become race buddies. The Oktoberfest race was fun because my friends and I will use any event as an excuse to dress in costume, so we ran the race in beer bottle costumes! Sure, people run it in lederhosen every year, but I think we were the first beer bottles to cross the finish line. Next year we are going to create some sort of pretzel costume…this could take some creativity.

So when one of us {ahem…Amanda…ahem} decided that, “Sure! I think I want to challenge myself to run the half marathon!”…my competitive side kicked in. Well, if Amanda’s gonna do it, I can do it! Fine. I’ll sign up too! Wait…what? You have to PAY for this torture?? Ugh. There better be a sweet medal.” One by one, almost all of our workout buddies began to agree to this masochism and signed up. A few could not be swayed to join us, but in the end, we had a tribe of 9 running warriors in all (I think I counted everyone!).

Once I had paid the entrance fee, I had to do it, I couldn’t let that money go to waste! I’m an underpaid teacher who is easily influenced by her friend’s fashion blog to purchase things she just HAS to have! So I began training. I asked Alexander, our fearless hot yoga and kickboxing and spinning and hip-hop and…you get the point…instructor how I should train. He told me that there are 2 camps of marathon training. I could either run, run, run, RUN! Or, I could do a little bit of everything. He is of the latter camp. He stressed strengthening my entire body, all my muscles, in order to help me run better. Being that I didn’t really enjoy running at the start of all this, I was stoked to hear that I wasn’t going to have to run 8 miles EVERY day.

I took Alexander’s advice and did a little bit of a lot of things.

Monday: Weightlifting

Tuesday: Run (distance varied)

Wednesday: 90 minutes of hot yoga

Thursday: Run or spin

Friday: Whatever I didn’t do Thursday

Saturday: This varied every week from running to biking to touch football…just something active. In all honesty, many weeks, Saturday was my day off.

Sunday: 60 minutes hot yoga.

This (flexible) training schedule truly prepared me for my race. Once it got nicer out, I started running outside, which was waaaay better than being stuck inside on the treadmill. Because I didn’t get bored so quickly, I was able to run farther! All of this running and training was great until about 4 weeks before the Half, I was running on the treadmill with a goal of 6 miles. Towards the end, my knee REALLY started hurting. Something I had never felt before. It was at that moment that I realized, Well, shit. I guess this means I’m a runner. What about this pain made me a runner? I knew what was causing the pain. Running. I knew what would make the pain go away. Not running. I knew that “not running” just was not an option. All signs pointed to the pain not actually being my knee, but my IT band. (for an explanation of just what this means, click here: OUCH!) So out I went to buy a special running brace. My first run with the brace was miraculous. 8 beautiful, outdoor, sunshiney miles without any pain! Huzzah! But then every run after that included the pain. So I just got used to it and ran through it. The pain would come and go as I ran, so I just kept going. My very last pre-race run was the Monday before the Saturday, May 4th race. I made it so close to my 6-mile goal before my leg just quit. There would be no “running through the pain.” So at this, I vowed to not run at all until race day and let my leg rest and heal. Alexander recommended not changing my workout schedule much the week prior to the race, other than to reduce my running, so this actually went according to plan.

Fast-forward a few days to race day. Saturday, May 4th, 2013. I woke up bright and early at 5:15am (that’s earlier than I get up for work!), got dressed, and scarfed a few eggs and an energy bar. I met my plucky race buddy Amanda and her husband Brad at their house, where we biked to the starting line. Once we arrived at race central, we were lucky enough to stumble across a few other race warriors (trying to find someone amongst 14,000 of your fellow runners was next to impossible!), Mandy & Roxanna. My dad came to meet me at the starting line as well. Us 4 girls just kept freaking out at the fact that we were actually about to embark upon 13.1 miles. Thirteen point one miles. That is a hell of a lot of miles. But we were ready. We had trained, we were hydrated and nourished, and we looked fabulous (c’mon. you don’t think we were going to use this as an opportunity to add to our wardrobe??).

Even my breakfast was cheering me on!

Even my breakfast was cheering me on!

 

My Lady Race Warriors! Me, Amanda, Mandy, & Roxanna!

My Lady Race Warriors! Me, Amanda, Mandy, & Roxanna!

 

Dad & I pre-race!

Dad & I pre-race!

8:00am: BAM! The race begins!

Well, it began for the people at the starting line. We were so far back that we didn’t actually hit the starting line until 8:14am. The four of us started jogging together, keeping up with one another, but eventually, we each hit our stride and it was every woman for herself to meet her goals. After a bit, I found a few more runner warriors, including Alexander. I passed them all and kept running. I was feeling awesome! I was high on adrenaline and passion! And then.

BAM! My leg gave out.

Freaking IT Band. It just started searing with pain. I was only about a mile and a half in and I was already walking! I had planned on running at LEAST 5 miles before taking a break. NO! NO! NO! But I had to listen to my body. So I walked until the pain subsided and I ran a bit. Searing pain. Walk. Run. Searing pain. Walk. Run. Searing pain. Keep running. Mind over matter. Run through it. This is it – what you’ve trained for. Pain is temporary, pride is forever. So I kept running. And guess what? The pain went away. I knew I had to keep running because if I stopped, it would only hurt again. So I ran. I pulled a Forrest Gump and just kept running. I was able to stop at every water station and take a little break without the pain reoccurring. I don’t know if I had just warmed up the tissue and stretched it out or if I was experiencing some sort of “runner’s high,” but whatever it was, I’m glad it happened.

As I turned a corner on the course from N. High St to Broad St., there was a woman in a wheelchair with a sign that read, “Run Strong Because I Can’t!” I’m not sure why she couldn’t run, but that sign spoke to me and gave me reason to keep going. It even made me tear up a bit. Initially, my dad had told me that he wouldn’t see me at the finish line because it would be too crazy with too many people. But at that moment, I knew that I needed to see him there. I needed to hug my dad at the end. I had my phone on me, so I texted Dad (He’s so old fashioned. He can read texts, but hasn’t figured out responding yet.) and asked him to please be there when I finished.

Throughout the race, I saw a few friends cheering me on (one group of friends, I actually passed them and then turned around and ran BACK to get a picture with them!), I had other friends texting me words of encouragement, and one friend even hopped in and ran with me for about ¼ of a mile! I was all good until about mile 11. I was at a good pace and my legs weren’t exhausted yet. But then right around that mile 11 marker…I. Got. Tired. I knew it was all in my head (Thanks girl with the “You’re legs are giving up, you mind is!” poster!) and kept pushing on. I knew I had made it that far and would only be disappointed in myself if I gave up then. So on I went, through German Village and back onto N. High St for my big finish. That was the point when Roni, a girl I don’t really even know that well, saw me running and hopped in with me. She’s run a few of these things before, so she knows how those last few miles feel. With her purse and all, she ran next to me. She gave me words of encouragement and asked if I could hear the beat. “You hear that? That beat? That means you’re getting close to the finish! You got this girl. You’ve worked so hard and you’re so close. You’re not giving up now. Keep going!” Man, that’s some awesome shit right there. I could write (SHOULD write!) a whole other post about the CBus community and how tight knit we are, even with people we vaguely know. But really, I sure hope that I wouldn’t have quit without her actions, but Roni running next to me solidified the fact that I would finish that race running.

And Mom. Oh, Mom. I knew that she was up above screaming, “PERSEVERE!” My mom was my biggest motivation to keep going. When she was alive, she NEVER let me quit anything I started and has been my inspiration for perseverance for many years now. So I carried on in her honor. I ran because she can’t.

I got to mile 13 and had that final .1 mile to go. High Street was lined on both sides with people cheering, holding signs, ringing bells…I felt like I was one of the first 10 to finish (I certainly wasn’t!). Once I had entered into that tunnel of buoyant support, not only did I NOT walk, but I sprinted. I ran as fast as I could through that last bit of racecourse.

The Big Finish! {sorry for the screenshot, but it's $20/pic!!}

The Big Finish!
{sorry for the screenshot, but it’s $20/pic!!}

And guess who was waiting at the finish line cheering my name…

…my Dad.

I fell into his arms with the greatest, most exhausted of hugs and cried. I cried because I had just accomplished the greatest physical feat I had ever attempted. I have spiritually overcome many things in my life, but today’s 13.1 miles required perseverance of not only my body, but my mind and my heart as well. I cried because I wished my mom were there to hug me. I hope she would be proud. I cried because it was MY body, MY mind, and MY heart that crossed that finish line. Yes, I could not and would not have done it without the support of my loved ones, but in the end, I was the one that had to take each stride and carry on.

Dad & I at the Finish Line!

Dad & I at the Finish Line!

So thank you to each and every one of you that called, texted, and even ran beside me. Not only have I learned that my body and mind are capable of more than I ever imagined, but so are my amazing and encouraging friends and family!

My Halfie Race Warriors Post-Race! And yeah! You got a free beer for running!

My Halfie Race Warriors Post-Race! And yeah! You got a free beer for running!
L-R: Brooke, Mandy, Alexander, Roxanna, Kendall, Me, Amanda, & Noreen. Not pictured; Jackie & Brenton!

RUN!

I’m about to head to the gym for a run! I’ve got a pretty solid workout mix assembled, but as I am training to run Cap City Half maraton in May (13.1 miles), I can always use new tunes in my playlist! Any suggestions??

 

Also! I got money for new running shoes for my birthday, so today I will be headed out to get my first new pair of workout shoes in over TWO YEARS!!! SO EXCITED! Especially since workout shoes are so darn cute these days!!

run happ!

run happy!

JanuAshley

…has come to an end. My birthday season has been well celebrated and thoroughly documented! It has been a true reminder of the many blessings and plethora of beautiful people I have in my life.

Last nights’ Closing Ceremony was a 90-minute hot yoga class, in which I got to pick ALL the music! Needless to say, my mix was a little erratic, but mostly filled with poppy, upbeat, and for the most part – 90s!, tunes. Have you ever played a song that you LOOOOVE for someone, and as soon as it starts playing, you rethink everything you ever liked about that song??

listening to music

Well, that was not the case. I rocked out to 90 minutes of some of my favorite songs and had a blast doing it! And I’m pretty sure that everyone there had a good time as well! If they didn’t like the music, They should have at least gotten a kick out of how excited I was!

I have included my playlist below in case you want to get your own JanuAshley Jam on! RAWK!

  1. Go For It! – Hot Sundae (Saved by the Bell)
  2. Autobiography – Ashlee Simpson
  3. Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
  4. Somebody That I Used To Know (KDrew Remix) — KDrew
  5. Stronger – Glee Cast
  6. Where’s The Love – Hanson
  7. The King Is Dead But The Queen is Alive – P!nk
  8. Fairytale – Sara Bareilles
  9. If I Could Turn Back Time — Cher (This led to an all out, queer sing-along!! Faaaabulous!)
  10. Wannabe – Spice Girls
  11. Tearin’ Up My Heart – ‘N Sync
  12. Fun, Fun, Fun – The Beach Boys (Did a little Warrior 2 surfing!)
  13. (You Drive Me) Crazy – Britney Spears
  14. Come on Over – Christina Aguilera
  15. Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) – Backstreet Boys
  16. Part of Your World – The Little Mermaid (Ohhh….my….Our trainer, Alexander, came up with a brilliant yoga parody on the spot. He has a gift, I tell ya!)
  17. Sparkling Diamonds – Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
  18. Runaway Baby – Bruno Mars
  19. Beauty and the BEAT! – Parody by Todrick Hall (If you haven’t seen this video, WATCH IT NOW!)
  20. Cheeseburger in Paradise – Jimmy Buffett
  21. Glamorous (Feat. Ludacris) — Fergie
  22. Say My Name – Destiny’s Child (Apparently Alexander loathes this song, so we got extra obliques…sorry guys!)
  23. Tubthumping — Chumbawumba
  24. Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkel
  25. Orange Colored Sky – Natalie Cole
  26. One Day — Matisyahu
  27. Because – Beatles cover from Across the Universe movie
  28. Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson (Most unproductive savasana EVER, but awesome nonetheless!)

I’m Gonna Make You Sweat!

Last night was my dear friend and athletic trainer, Alexander’s birthday spectacular! I say “athletic trainer” because not only do my friends and I hit up his hot yoga classes twice a week, but we recently got month passes to his gym and have been getting our asses kicked in everything from kickboxing to spinning to dancing. He has been a major, if not the biggest, influence on my recent fitness obsession. Well, Alex’s birthday celebration consisted of a hot yoga class. But not just regular, heart pumping sweat glands in overdrive hot yoga class. Oh no. This class had blacklights and glow bracelets! We yoga-ed in the dark, which made it super badass. I can’t remember how many times Alex looked around and in his cheerful voice exclaimed, “That’s badass!” So you know it had to be.

Click here to check out a video of last night’s shenanigans! (Can you see me? 😉 )

This time last year, I was going almost weekly to a different hot yoga called Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga was super challenging for me because the room was 115°, there was no talking, and you went through a series of 26 poses (2 times each). I really enjoyed it because it was something that I had to do on my own, my own body and my own will power. But ever since starting Alexander’s class, I haven’t been back to Bikram. Alexander’s class is different every time (wanna work on your obliques? Sure! Wanna stretch out your running legs? No problem!), ~8 of my friends share in the 2 times/week workout with me, and we’re allowed to talk! Not only to we talk, but we joke and enjoy each other’s presence. After all, at the end of each yoga session, we say “Namaste,” which means “The good in me recognizes all of the good in you.” How can we truly appreciate each other’s goodness if we’re working out in silence?!?

(and in all honesty, all the end of each yoga session, we close with “Namaste Mothaf#*kas!” Click here for that inspiration! I’m telling you, it’s an amazing class. Let me know if you live in the Columbus area and would like to join us!)

Thanks to Alexander and the amazing crew of fitness fanatics I have befriended along the way, I am in the best shape of my life and am surrounded by people that daily push me to challenge myself mentally and physically. And if it means looking like this and having Madonna-Man Arms (thanks, Mike :P), I think I’ll keep it up. 😉

My Body of Workout