Responsible Pet Ownership Begins With Proper Pet Education — What you should know and what you should ask yourself before adopting.

So you want a new furry family member eh?

That’s great! I hope you are ready for the love, support, and truly live changing experience that only an animal can bring you. But I also hope you are ready for the responsibility, time commitment, piss stains on the carpet, vet bills in the hundreds, sometimes thousands, the training classes, the food expenses, and so on. Adopting a dog is no walk in the park, but it does require many walks in the park to keep that little one from being destructive in your house 😉

*for reference, I will refer to dogs a lot in this piece, but many of the tips, etc. here can be applicable to all animals*

There are some questions you need to ask yourself before bringing a new dog into your life, even if you grew up with animals or have adopted in the past, things can change. The questions to ask yourself listed later in this blog can result in YOU helping the animal shelter crisis by not only educating yourself on proper pet ownership and readiness, but also by hopefully sharing this with others.

Let me preface though….

I’m an animal lover, I have been for as long as I’ve been able to comprehend what those words even mean. I got it from my mama. I grew up in a house that always had multiple animals in it, dogs and cats primarily. In my first 18 years of life we had 2 amazing Golden Retrievers, Oliver and Zoey, and we also “fostered” a third one, Pete, for family friends when their young son was going through cancer. We also had a plethora of cats growing up too. There was Mason, Twinkie, Lizzie, Callie, and Garfield. So yeah, not only was I an animal lover, and not only was my mom an animal lover, our house was essential an animal haven.

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(one of my childhood dogs, Zoey)

Simply being an “animal lover” isn’t the only box that needs to be checked when deciding to adopt an animal. You could be the most passionate animal person in the world, and have all the best intentions, but your 14 hour work day job schedule that also takes you across the country multiple times a month should raise a red flag. Your 2 kids under the age of 3 who like to crawl and pull all over dogs should also raise a red flag. Maybe you LOVE animals but have never owned one, maybe you don’t know the first thing that proper pet care requires, that should raise a red flag. Or maybe you love animals but your spouse doesn’t. That too, should raise a red flag. All of these red flags should be seen as warning signs. A warning that you need to think about the next step you’re going to make. They don’t mean that adopting an animal is completely out of the cards right now, but like with anything in life, red flags should bring you to a temporary halt and allow yourself to think about things further.

If you’re gone 14 hours a day, you’re not fit to get an 8 week old puppy. If your kids love to crawl on dogs, you shouldn’t adopt one who has never been socialized to kids. If you’ve never had an animal of your own before, maybe you shouldn’t get one that is hard headed who also still needs a lot of training and patience. If your spouse doesn’t like animals, maybe you should start with fostering, you know, test the water.

There’s many reasons people should adopt a dog.

And there are also many reasons that people should not.

There’s many reasons why people fail at being fur parents. Many of those reasons can be eliminated by being properly educated prior to taking the plunge.

But I’m not here to judge you, not at all. I know that some people adopt a dog or cat thinking that they are fully ready to do so. They don’t realize all of the hard work, manual labor, and personal finances that stand behind a new animal. They don’t realize that because they’ve seen the glamor of it all.

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(looks easy enough, right?)

Right now, there are millions of animals in high-kill shelters. And more than half of them are on death row if someone doesn’t step in soon to adopt them. There are millions more in no-kill rescues, and those rescues are drowning. Take look at these animals, the ones who are afraid in the shelter, who are now anti-social and depressed. The ones who look like absolute shit, their fur is matted, they smell, they don’t know what a loving hand is. And now imagine the horror they’ve been through only to be discarded like yesterday’s trash. That’s why they appear so bleak and sad on the surface, because they are. Now, this may be true for some, if not the majority of those animals, but not all. There are beautiful dogs in shelters and rescues. And you know what, all of those sad and dingy animals we just talked about? They turn into the most beautiful and often times most loving animals! It’s all about giving them a second chance…. at life.

It’s true. People hurt dogs, people discard them because they are ignorant and stupid. But no matter how mad this makes me, I can’t help but believe that those numbers of animals in shelters and rescues will decrease if the human race became more educated before choosing to adopt an animal.

Instead of judging people who give up their animal for various reasons. They’re moving, their kids don’t get along with them, they’re allergic, etc. Try to find a different approach to this. Trust me, I’ve judged and still want to judge many of those situations. But the more I work in no-kill animal rescue, the more I am able to see between the lines.

While excuses are often times exactly that…. excuses. There are times where lack of proper pet education is what causes the gut wrenching decision to surrender a dog.

There are times where lack of proper pet education leaves a family drowning with thoughts of “I don’t know what to do”, “I can’t train this puppy”, “I’m afraid I made a mistake”, “this is not as easy as it was supposed to be”.

There are times where proper pet education could have been the difference between a family being prepared for the lifelong commitment of a pet, and giving up on it too soon.

PET EDUCATION 101:

When, where, who, and why?

The decisions to make before adopting a pet.

 

WHEN

is the right time for you (and your family) to bring a furry friend into the home?

Your kids have been begging you for 3 years to get a pet, or you’re mourning the loss of your family dog 1 year ago, or you are finding yourself alone in a new city. You suddenly have the urge to get a dog, I mean your best friend got one and it is going swimmingly for her.

Here’s what you need to further consider:

Are you caving? You’re sick of your kids constantly asking you for a dog, and quite frankly you just want to make them happy and shut them up at the same time. You’ve interacted with dogs before, and so have they, why wouldn’t now be the right time?

Between you and your spouses work schedules and each of your 3 kids being in a different sport, you are essentially only at home for dinner time and bed time (and sometimes not even dinner). If you’re gone consistently from the home for more than 8-9 hours a day, you need to consider the fact that your furry family member will not only be alone for that long, but will also potentially be in a kennel for that long. Further more, leaving the dog alone for that long will result in lack of proper socialization and training, which in turn can lead to frustrating moments between you and him. He could behave wildly when you get home because he’s got so much energy built up, is excited to finally see you, and oh yeah, he’s realllllly got to go to the bathroom. Not to mention he hasn’t had a chance to be properly trained, so the jumping will begin, potential barking, oh and sometimes he just might get the zoomies and as a result knock something off of the table, or worse knock your littlest child clean off her feet. To be fair, this will be no fault to the dog, he’s just excited to see you, he’s got energy to burn and no better knowledge of how to properly behave. So you get frustrated, and as a result, finally realize that your family doesn’t have the time to put the effort into your dog, so you surrender him to the pound, leaving him confused, alone, and sad. All of which could have been avoided had you realized and decided long ago in the decision making process that your family just does not have the time to commit.

Mourning an old dog is one of the realest and rawest emotions you can feel. But before you dive into another one, consider how your life is different NOW vs. THEN.

What has changed? Are you busier with work, do you now have children, are you in a different city with different potty training barriers, etc? The last time you got a dog might have been 10+ years ago. You could have been living with your parents still and therefore had help potty training. Or maybe you adopted an older dog who didn’t need any training. Maybe you had more flexible work hours to let the dog out on your lunch break. Does your current job make you travel for work? If so, how long are you gone for and do you have someone who can watch the dog responsibly when you leave? Have you moved to a bigger city and into an apartment on the 10th floor with little potty training access? On the plus side, things now could be an even better bring-a-new-dog-into-your-life scenario. You could have more time, more help, a larger yard, easier access to training, etc. but they are still all factors that need to be taken into consideration. Saying yes to some of the barriers above might not mean not getting a dog at all, but it might alter the age, breed, and personality traits of a new dog you might be adopting.

Will getting a dog truly fix your feeling of loneliness?

Dogs, in my opinion, are hands down the greatest companion. So it is easy, especially for dog lovers, to turn to the idea of adopting one when they are feeling alone. But all of the factors previously mentioned, especially the time commitment, need to be considered even more if you are about to make this decision as a result of one very strong emotion, may it be sadness, loneliness, self-pity, etc, that is clouding your judgement. Allow yourself to think on it, ask a friend or parent for some advice. And then, if you truly are ready, be prepared for the greatest companion ever.

Here’s a simple, yet tough question: do you really want a dog?

This one sounds silly, but it happens more often than you realize. To some people, adopting a dog is a trend. Their family and friends have dogs, who you generally get along with when you see them. You see the dogs that are fully trained and think “how hard can this be”. Or maybe your new flame likes dogs, and therefore, you jump on board with the idea because well, you want this new relationship to work. Your kids might want a dog, but do you?

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WHERE

Are you going to adopt from? Have you done your research?

Whether you are hard set on rescuing or hard set on adopting from a breeder, there is still research that needs to be done on both ends.

Rescue:

from a no-kill rescue organization or from a high-kill animal shelter? Here are the pros and cons of both:

Rescue (no-kill organization that relies heavily on fosters):

  • You are helping an organization that pulls animals out of the high-kill shelters or saves them from terrible living conditions (PRO).
  • You have a higher chance of getting paired with a dog that is a perfect fit for your family due to adoption screening processes (PRO).
  • There are fewer dogs available due to their reliance on fosters, most of the time, and the fact that most are run strictly by volunteers, and therefore don’t have as readily available resources to hold more dogs (CON).

Shelters (high-kill, generally. Where people can just dump their dogs at *sigh*):

  • By adopting an animal from a shelter, you are clearing that kennel out for another one to come, therefore saving an animals life somewhere along the line from the doom of euthanasia due to overcrowding (PRO).
  • More animals to choose from, including many breeds (PRO).
  • The animals rescued from here, seem to know that they are rescued the moment you set foot in front of their kennel (PRO).
  • The match-making skills plus the true personality of the animal can be sometimes unknown and unpredictable until you get home with them (CON).

Regardless of the route chosen in the realm of rescue, research still needs to be done. Just last week I read a news story on a man who got charged with 117 counts of animal cruelty…. All in the animal SHELTER he ran! Not all rescues and not all shelters are run with compassion and love. Make sure you do your research, ask around, ask for a tour of the facility first, and most importantly read reviews on the web.

Where to start your research?

  • Google “animal shelters in ____ city” or “animal rescues in ____ city” and if you’re looking for a specific breed you can search “Golden Retriever Rescue in ___” for example.
  • Click on each shelter or rescue as it comes up in Google and click on the reviews section, read them all, especially the bad ones. Get a feel of it the bad reviews were left by just a generally disgruntled person who didn’t get what they wanted (likely because they were unfit to own a dog) or if there is a common theme among many reviews.
  • Go to each website. Is it up to date, does it have good quality, is it legit?
  • Once you’ve narrowed your search down, physically go to your top 3 locations, if possible, and trust your gut feeling once you’re there.

 

BREEDER:

You might be thinking, oh this one is easy, I’ll just find the nearest breeder to me, and at the cheapest price, and I’ll have myself a full bred ____!

WRONG.

The research required in the area of animal breeders needs to be much more in depth than that of rescues. Simply because backyard breeders exist in massive numbers, and if they’re “good” and “experienced” in backyard breeding, then they are experts at covering up their tracks and coming off as angelic people who love dogs and truly care for them.  I suggest you do some deep digging if getting a dog from a breeder is the route you decide to take (although I hope you highly consider rescue first!).

The Humane Society has outlined some good tips, which I will lay out below, on how to spot a responsible and credible breeder, but if you want to read further into their input and advice, you can do so here.

How to tell if a breeder is a responsible, caring, and reputable breeder:

  • They let you visit, play with, sit with, and get to know all of the puppies
  • The puppies appear to be well groomed and excited to meet you and play
  • The living area for the dogs seems to be well kept and nothing appears to raise any  red flags
  • They breed one specific breed, or a few at most (vs. any breed that crosses their mind or has a backyard full of many types of breeds)
  • Has a list of interested people or a waiting list for puppies, because they don’t always have puppies readily available, meaning they don’t crank out puppies
  • Is well respected by a local veterinarian and has a good relationship with them
  • Knows the background of the puppy and can provide information on the parents and grandparents as well as the genetic and health risks of the breed
  • Can provide tips and guidance on proper training and how to find training courses
  • Provides you with a written contract

A responsible breeder will also want to get to know you, the reason behind why you want a dog, make sure your whole family is on board with it, and any other questions applicable that might help them determine if you will be a responsible pet owner.

*above information is quoted from The Humane Society 

If you are talking with a breeder who doesn’t meet many, or all, of the criteria above, you should look further. And if it is a glaringly obvious backyard breeding situation, get in contact with your local authorities, save those dogs that are ‘living’ there!

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(this is Timo, a full-bred English Creme Golden Retriever that my volunteer organization, TGRR, has in our care. He came from a terrible backyard breeding situation, which has scarred him for life)

WHO

will take care of the dog?

This might sound like a no-brainer, but it is a very serious question. Often times, people get suckered into getting a dog because their family wants one and crosses their heart, hope to die, that they will help take care of the dog. But when it comes time to take care of the dog, the promises often don’t hold up. Make sure you have a serious talk with your family members about the needs of the dog and what proper care looks like. Then, once everyone understand what care looks like, determine if the promises to care for it will hold up. Otherwise, the one person who didn’t fully want the animal in the first place will end up with the responsibility, which can often lead to resentment toward the dog, or worse.

On the other hand, if all members of the family do in fact want to adopt a dog, the question here becomes, who is available to give it the care it needs? Is there time in each of your daily schedules to feed it, let it out, walk it, and train it? Adopting a dog goes farther than just wanting it and knowing what proper care looks like, it’s being available to responsibly care for it.

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(Our first dog, Otto, during one of our daily 5AM potty breaks. Because this is reality people. If you get a puppy, they WILL need to go out once if not 2-3 times per night, as well as nearly every hour during the day. It’s just a part of potty training. Do YOU have time for this?)

WHY 

Do you want to adopt a dog?

The question you should ask yourself first, before/ with the when, where, and who. But also ask it again at the end of your decision making process, to make sure you still have the same reason for wanting to adopt. If your answer to WHY isn’t a resounding “yes! I want this NOW! It will change my life, make me happy, fulfill a broken piece of my soul” then my friend, it might be a good idea to wait.

After going through the when, where, who, and why, you are more sure than ever that you WANT TO ADOPT!

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So what’s next?

Make sure you are prepared for some of the “unexpected”. Here are some of the things that blindsided us when we got our first dog, and that I see blindside other people when they get their first pet.

The vet bills

People will tell you “owning a pet is expensive” to which you will reply “I know”. NO, you don’t! Trust me! I thought it was going to be oh, $50ish bucks per vet visit and a few extra dollars for food each month, but….. I. Was. WRONG.

Firstly, the larger the dog, the more expensive everything is.

Secondly, don’t be fooled by puppy prices, they’re SMALL then, remember?!

Here’s what we pay per dog of ours (one weighs 65 lbs, the other weights 80 lbs)

  • One bag of dog food, that last 1 month, per dog: $37
  • One round of annual shots: $175 (for the most recent visit)
  • Heartworm preventive (purchased in a 6 month supply): $47
  • Flea and tick preventive (purchased in a 3 month supply): $57

The cost for the bare minimum (food, vet, preventive medicine) for ONE dog per year is: $723

But wait, here are other expenses you might not realize:

  • Dog bowls: $20 each (don’t forget you need one for water and food)
  • Boarding (for vacation): $30 (ish) per day, per dog (depending on where you go). Say you go on a 5 day vacation: $150
  • Dog bed: $30
  • Dog crate (needed for training): $30-60+
  • Puppy training school (a 6-8 week course for the basics): $80-$120

And because no dog is ever perfect, consider the emergency vet bills. Because I keep good tabs of my dumbass (but actually really smart dog), here is the breakdown of all of the emergency trips within the first 2 years of his life:

  • Ate my shoe strings: $400
  • Ate the rubber ring on the water dish: $520
  • Sickness for we don’t know what: $441
  • Ate 12 dog “boots”: $320

Total emergency vet visits (not to mention the cost of other events where items needed replacing): $1,681. That’s just from ONE dog.

Maybe you’ve read this far and don’t actually want a dog, maybe you want a cat. The madness does not stop there my friend. Our $20 “budget kitty” has cost us:

  • Ear infection: $426
  • Blocked bladder/ kidney stones: $1,800
  • Total: $2,226

Proper training

An important topic, because without it, families and owners get frustrated that their dog hasn’t turned into the “angel, cuddle bug of a dog” they expected which can turn to surrendering the dog to the local shelter.

If you want your dog to be potty trained, you have to commit to it. And commit longer than 1 month. It took our first dog about 3-4 months to get “relatively potty trained” but even by the time he was 10 months old and pretty trustworthy, he literally took a shit in the middle of a crowd of people hanging in our living room. Talk about a party pooper.

If you want your dog to be obedient, you have to train it. If going to puppy school isn’t in your budget or schedule, you better be researching self-help training books or youtube videos to work with. And then, commit to working on some skill every single day of the week. Repetition works.

If you want your dog to get along with others (dogs, cats, kids, people), you need to commit to socializing them at a young age. If, on the other hand, you adopt a rescue who is already not good with any of the above, then you need to respect that and not put them at risk of getting into it with anything or anyone they don’t like.

If you want your dog to be anything, do anything, behave a certain way, then that is on YOU and not THEM. They are not mind readers, but most will do anything for a treat and an extra belly rub. So use that to your advantage, show them the love they  deserve and thrive off of.

The Time Commitment

Coming from someone who has only ever been a dog mom, and not a human child mom, this might be an inaccurate assumption, but I’m going to say it anyway. The time commitment that dog’s require is similar to that of a human child. It’s not as easy as getting a dog, locking it in it’s kennel, and continuing on with your partying or crazy busy life. I mean, I guess it could be that easy, only if you’re a piece of shit.

When considering the time commitment for this new furry family member consider all of the following:

  • Late night potty break wake up calls (and I mean like 2AM, 4AM, something of that sort, especially with a young dog)
  • Early morning breakfast feeding wake up calls (our dog is 4 years old and still tells us that anything past 6:30 is indeed too late)
  • Training the dog (as previously mentioned) only works if YOU put the time into it. Factor in the time it takes to drive to training, to be AT training, and the time you need to work on it together when at home.
  • Vet visits, are just like doctor visits, they take time out of your regularly scheduled day. And they operate on normal working hours too, so be prepared to have to adjust your work schedule to take them to the vet for sure once a year, but likely more because well, everything in life is unpredictable, including your dog!
  • Socialization, as previously mentioned is important. You need to be ready to budget time into your weeks to get your dog out of the house, take them to a park, the store, a friends house, etc. Anything beyond sitting in the comfort of your home is good for stimulation of your dog and will result in your dog being better behaved around other animals and humans.
  • The unknown. Something always comes up, be prepared to roll with the punches of it when it does!

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Is it lot to consider? Absolutely

Is it a potential risk, new life jump, a big change? Without a doubt.

But is there a lot of potential love & happiness to gain? 100%

At the end of the day, know that a new furry member of your family always comes with more baggage than a basic chick flying to Coachella for the weekend. There’s A LOT to consider. I hope that you take some serious time to research, talk with your family or friends, think it through yourself. And then, when you’re ready. Be prepared, because your life will never be the same. But be patient, open your heart, open your home.

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A checklist to download, save, take with you, and share with friends!

A dog-readiness

 

From one dog lover to (hopefully) another,

Thanks for reading!

If there is someone in your life who you feel....

isn't fully prepared for a dog

or maybe not educated enough.

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An open letter to Orangetheory Fitness

Isn’t it both funny and amazing how one decision can change the trajectory of your life?

How one new relationship, connection, job, move, etc. can have a bigger impact on your life as a whole than all other decisions you’ve made combined?

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If you follow me on Instagram, then you definitely already know my love for Orangetheory, but maybe you don’t know how it started.

I had heard of Orangetheory Fitness long before I lived in a town where there was a studio. I mean, back in late 2016, Orangetheory Fitness hadn’t made its way into Iowa yet, let alone small town Iowa. I was so intrigued, and I had imagined traveling somewhere someday where I could try a class! But things have a funny way of working out exactly how they’re supposed to.

Whether you’re a current or former Orangetheory member, an owner, a coach or a sales associate, or someone simply interested, you’ve likely had an experience with Orangetheory worth noting. My hopes, is that many of you reading this have had a similar experience that I have. Because if that’s true, then it confirms my beliefs that Orangetheory is bigger than a 60 minute workout, bigger than a multi-country corporation, bigger than the numbers on the screen.

It confirms that Orangetheory is absolutely life changing. 

It’s hard to put into words something that takes up such a big part of your heart, something that has altered your life completely, but here it goes….

Dear Orangetheory,

It was approximately January 25, 2017 when my world changed. My husband got a job moving us 1,000+ miles across country from Cedar Falls, IA to Greensboro, NC. I was excited, shocked, and sad to be leaving home. However, the very next day began my search to get a job in our new city that we were bound to be in within 3 weeks. My first Google search? “North Carolina Orangetheory Locations”. And hold. the. flipping. phone?! There you were, a location right there in Greensboro.

Orangetheory, you already know the story, but for those of you who don’t, long story short, I got the job! I got in contact with the manager, had an interview only 10 days later when we flew out to find a place to live, and began work there 16 days after that interview.

When I stepped into Orangetheory for the first time, it felt as if I was in a movie when they open the doors to some place spectacular and a halo of light shines around it accompanied by an “ahhhhhh”. A bit dramatic? Maybe. But the point is that something struck me deep with that first step. I felt home, my gut feeling was that I was home. It’s been 2.5 years since then and I haven’t looked back once. Within 2 months I went from sales associate to coach, and 2 years later I went from coach to assistant head coach. I’ve grown as an employee, as a leader, and as a coach. I’ve gotten new, “big girl” jobs between then and now, I’ve moved houses, I’ve begun volunteering and taking on more responsibilities, but one thing remained the same: OTF has to stay on my schedule, and in my life.

In case I haven’t said it before, or said it enough, thank you Orangetheory.

Thank you for the friendships

When I look at all of my friends in this city, literally all of them, I know that I know them because of you. If I didn’t meet someone directly in the studio, between exasperated breaths after an all out, or while wiping the sweat from our faces, I met them directly through someone I did meet at OTF.

To this day, my very first friend in this city I met on my, oh 3rd day of the job, and she stood by my side at my wedding.

I guess it makes sense to make friends with people inside of these walls, because if we’re all crazy enough to be there in the first place, we all have a common factor 😉

Beyond that, I watch people walk in the door every single day at Orangetheory, and they too come there to chat with friends they’ve made along the way. The time in the lobby before class begins has become a little bit of a social hour. It’s amazing to be standing there, with the mic around my neck and coaches shirt on my back and watch new friendships bloom. I’ve seen people introduce themselves for the first time and weeks later they’re choosing each other for the partner workout and then hopping across the street after for post workout beers. That’s a benefit I have being a coach that the members don’t have, I get to watch friendships blossom, friendships that aren’t mine but put a smile on my heart just the same.

 

 

Call us a cult, call us a tribe, call us whatever you want. Orangetheory, you grow families, so thank you for that.

Thank you for the mentorship

Not many people become close friends with their boss in their lifetimes. I’m glad I’ve had that chance through you, Orangetheory. My boss, the OG head coach at our studio, has become more than my boss, more than my friend, more than my “NC MOM” (as I call her), she’s my mentor. I turn to her for advice that could be OTF related, dog related, LIFE related. And I recognize that none of this wouldn’t be possible had I not stepped into those doors on February 3, 2017. I think my head might have fallen off from whirlwind of stress had things gone differently.

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Thank you for my physical health

Sometime in the fall of 2017 I said, somewhat arrogantly, “for the first time in my career, I contribute my physical health and success to something outside of my own workout programming”. I’m talking about YOU. In all of the jobs I’ve had, the group exercise classes I’ve taught, I’ve never fully wanted to participate in the workouts like I want to participate in these. In the past, I felt like I had to, you know just part of the job description. But now, you are a part of my weekly routine. You’ve helped me run a half marathon only 1 month after signing up. You’ve helped me be the most confident in clothes and swim suits that I’ve ever been. And my strong heart and strong muscles are here to prove the rest of the benefits I’ve felt from you.

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And then there’s the members, the transformations they’ve gone through. Losing 50+ lb, running again for the first time in years, lifting weights they never though possible, going from awkward and novice rowers to leaderboard rowers! The list could go on, and I’m sure to anyone reading this, you could find a friend that you know who does Orangetheory, and they have some sort of success story to share!

Thank you for the connections

Beyond the friendships, the connections I’ve made through people I’ve met inside your walls has been INCREDIBLE. I’m not going to go into details of every little thing, but let me just leave it with: I’ve done things, experienced things, and tried new things that never would have crossed my mind had I not been influenced by my connections from you.

Thank you for the stress relief

After a hard day at work, a long day in general, family stress, life stress, any stress, I turn to you. I hop in my car, get to the studio 20-30 minutes before class and shoot the sh*t with my friends and connections there. And then, when the studio door opens, my phone is on do not disturb, and I laser focus on the workout. If I need to get out of my head completely, the bumping loud music, the interactive heart rate monitors, and the fast paced, grueling (yet fit for anyone) workouts do the trick!

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Thank you for the comic relief

On the days when I’m not there solely for stress relief, well, we open the door to fun a little more. The one-line zingers from coach Val, the comedic relief to keep us going into our 10th all out from Tracy, the friendly competition on the rowers from Kristen, Ed, or Dave, or when I trip over another dumbbell, all offer much needed comic relief. Life needs comedy, every single day. And there is not a day I leave this studio without smiling ear to ear at least once.

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Thank you for the career skills

A person cannot grow within a company like I have without learning crucial career skills along the way. They just cannot. The skills I’ve learned, so far, through you have spilled over into my day job. Literally, my boss has said before that he appreciates the added skills and creativity that Orangetheory offers me, he can see it in how I program my classes and schedules at work. I believe that job should always be more than a job, it should leave you with more, it should give you more. 

Thank you for the life skills

Besides the ability to multi-task like a freaking pro (legit, watch a coach the next time you’re in a 3G class and how they most of the time, seamlessly get 36 different people going, throughout 3 different sections, all within a 2 minute window. Or for more comedy, watch how a coach talks through the “Orangetheory works through 5 heart rate zones” warm up while a member is asking them a question- and the coach can still spout off that warm up scpheel while helping the member fix their heart rate monitor), I’ve learned necessary life skills through you. Patience, extra customer service, how to not give up, how to put yourself first, how to truly care for yourself. The list could go on.

Thank you for quite literally everything about my life as is.

When everything in life seems to be going left, I turn right….. right to Orangetheory. I know I annoy my non-orangetheory friends with how much I talk and post about you, but when you’re passionate about something you should let it be known!

And to all of my friends that I have met through Orangetheory, all of the members, and my co-workers. I love you DEARLY. I couldn’t do my weeks without you. If the sad day comes sometime when I can no longer coach (you know, if kids ever come), I will hands down STILL purchase a membership to be there! I’m not letting you go, and I’m not letting YOU let me go”

 

-Much love, now and always,

Carly B

And for the record: for those of you thinking “if she says everything about her life here is from Orangetheory, how do you explain her full-time job, and the people she’s met there?” Well, while at Orangetheory, my friend (the first friend I made if you recall), told me to use the Linkedin easy apply options just for shits and giggles, something that never would have crossed my mind. The result? I found the job I currently have and obviously….. I got it.

 

Thanks for reading!

Are you an Orangetheory member too?

Let's connect! @lifeofcarlyb_

Got questions? Want a topic covered?

Email me @ lifeofcarlyb@gmail.com

In HEALTH,

Carly B

9 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List (with a wide variety to fit all personality types)

I’ve got some books sitting on my shelves that I’ve never finished. I’ve also got some books sitting on my shelves that I have read multiple times. The following books fall somewhere in that category of “I can’t get enough, and think YOU should feel the same way too!”

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So huddle up on your porch early some morning or late some night. Bring these to the beach or the pool. Or save them for a long car ride. Because these books all have captivated me.

Self Help, Self Empowerment.

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1)  Girl, Wash Your Face

Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be.

By Rachel Hollis.

Let’s be real, WHAT reading list in 2019 can you NOT find Rachel Hollis on? I actually hope you’ve read this one, and Girl, Stop Apologizing (recommendation #2 below) but if you haven’t, here’s your cue to head to your nearest Target and purchase yourself a copy!

Girl, Wash Your Face is a self-love, self-empowering, total #girlboss motivational type of book. Rachel Hollis goes into detail of every lie she’s ever believed about herself and how she found the way and the courage to get past that lie. Both equally humorous and serious, you’ll find yourself pausing multiple times to jot down some brilliant line or self-help tip Rachel has relayed to her readers, yet again.  Even if you don’t think you’re in need of a self-help journey, this book will find a way to reel you back down to Earth and give yourself a chance to assess your goals, your dreams, and your current reality.

“You and only you are responsible for how happy you are”

-Rachel Hollis

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2) Girl, Stop Apologizing.

A shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals

By Rachel Hollis.

Trailing off of her first female empowerment book, Girl, Wash your Face, Rachel goes into everything she feels women feel the need to apologize for, and why we SHOULDN’T. This book has a more detailed “map” for you to follow, as she breaks it down into behaviors that we possess to make us feel apologetic, and skills we can develop to overcome that.

“You are beautiful and worthy of good things, and if you don’t believe that, nobody will”

-Rachel Hollis.

A story of overcoming the impossible. A story to make you stop feeling bad about yourself because you don’t have it that bad.

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3) Locked In

-By Victoria Arlen

Out of all books on this list, as much as I love Rachel Hollis or dogs, this book is hands down my favorite. It reels you in, it makes you sit there with your jaw hanging open that something like this could actually happen to someone. Better yet, your jaw will hit the floor when you read how Victoria rose above all expectations, surpassing miracles to be the inspiration she is today.

About the book (from Simon and Schuster )

ESPN personality and Paralympics champion Victoria Arlen shares her courageous and miraculous story of recovery after falling into a mysterious vegetative state at age eleven and how she broke free, overcoming the odds and never giving up hope, eventually living a full and inspiring life.

When Victoria Arlen was eleven years old, she contracted two rare diseases simultaneously and fell into a mysterious vegetative state. For two years her mind was dark, but in the third year, her mind broke free, and she was able to think clearly and to hear and feel everything—but no one knew.

When she was fifteen years old, against all odds and medical predictions, she was finally able to communicate through eye blinks, and she gradually regained her ability to speak and eat and move her upper body, but she faced the devastating reality of paralysis from the waist down because of damage to her spine. However, Victoria didn’t lose her strength or steadfast determination, and two years later, she won a gold medal for swimming at the London 2012 Paralympics.

In Locked In, Victoria shares her never-before-published story—the pain, the struggle, the fight to live and thrive, and most importantly, the faith that carried her through. Her journey was not easy, but by believing in God’s healing power and forgiveness, she is living proof that, despite seemingly insurmountable odds and challenges, the will to survive and resolve to live can be a force stronger than our worst deterrents.

Not many people get a second chance at life like Victoria has, and she made a promise to God that she would make every moment count.

“I learned early on that extraordinary challenges lead to extraordinary victories”

-Victoria Arlen

If you’re in need of a sappy book or a totally basic beach (or basic b*tch) book to take your mind away

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4) The Real Deal

By Lauren Blakely

I don’t normally go into book stores and think “oohh I want a sappy romance book!” but I found myself in a Barnes and Noble stalling some extra time and for some reason, I kept getting drawn to those basic chick books. So I went for this one, and was pleasantly surprised! I finished in within a week, which is pretty darn fast for me.

About the book from Good Reads

“April Hamilton wants you to know she hasn’t been on Craigslist since that time she sold her futon after college. She doesn’t even spend that much time online. And even if she did, she would not be looking up personal ads. But going home alone for her family’s summer reunion is an invitation for every single relative to butt into her personal life. She simply can’t handle another blind date with the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker from her hometown. So when she finds the Craigslist ad for a boyfriend-for-hire, she’s ready to pay to play.

Heading Home and Need a Buffer? I’m the REAL DEAL. 

Theo Banks has been running from the past for years. He’s this close to finally settling all his debts, and one more job as a boyfriend-for-hire will do the trick. He’s no gigolo. Please. He’s something of an actor, and he knows how to slip into any role, including pretending to be April’s new beau — the bad boy with the heart of gold.

Even if it means sleeping in close quarters in that tiny little bed in her parents’ inn. Even if it means spinning tales of a romance that starts to feel all too true. What neither one of them counts on is that amid the egg toss, the arm wrestling, and a fierce game of Lawn Twister that has them tangled up together, they might be feeling the real deal.

She only wanted to show her family once and for all that she had no need to settle down.

He didn’t expect to have the time of his life at her parent’s home.

They didn’t plan on loving every single second of the game.

But can a masterful game of pretend result in true love?”

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5) Firefly Lane

I got this gifted to me from my mother in law one Christmas, and to be honest this book never would have been on my radar but it was SO GOOD. In fact, it was so good that it is on my list of “to-read-agains”, once I get through my current list of “to-read-for-the-first-time”.

About the book from Good Reads
“From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you—and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.”

For all Dog Lovers

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6) Saving Sadie

How a Dog That No One Wanted Inspired the World

By Joal Derse Dauer

Another one gifted to me by my mother in law, she’s coming in clutch eh?! It’s dog book that ends happy! I figured this is a good one to start with. Not only does it end happily, Sadie, the star of the show, is still alive today! She is inspiring others, especially children to embrace your uniqueness and to not let others tell you what you can and cannot do. I’d recommend this book a hundred times over, a great book to read to or with your middle aged children as well!

Reviews from Saving Sadie website

“An uplifting story with tremendous heart. I couldn’t put it down.” ~ Helen Brown, NYT Bestselling Author of Cleo

“A triumphant tale of second chances that shows how patience, hope, compassion and love can truly transform lives.” ~ Modern Dog on Saving Sadie

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7) The Art of Racing in The Rain

By Garth Stein

Clearly, I was even more drawn to this book by the sheer fact that the main character is a Golden Retriever. It hit home with me, growing up in a household that always had Goldens, and being a dog mom to two Golden’s now, I couldn’t not read this.

This might be #7 on this list, but if you are a dog lover, and a dog lover who watches each and every movie starring a dog, no matter how hard you know you’ll cry, then you need to put this on NUMBER ONE of your list! Because this is becoming a movie this summer!

About the book from GarthStein.com

“Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life’s ordeals.”

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8) Walking With Peety

The Dog Who Saved My Life

By Eric O’Grey

I first heard about this book on some segment of the Today Show. The author came on to tell his story of how one old, and overweight dog, helped him go from a severely unhealthy lifestyle, overweight with joints aching, to a healthy man with a newfound love.

A book great for both dog lovers and those on search for a new life path, a new healthy life path.

About the book from EricnandPeety.com

“Walking with Peety is an inspirational and informative story about recovery, redemption, hope and achieving dreams, made possible by a doctor who listened and cared, the unconditional love between a man who thought life was over and a shelter dog who wouldn’t let him quit, and the kindness of others who inspired him to become the person he always wanted to be. The book includes many surprises and subplots featuring stories of legendary man/dog road trips, animal kindness, overcoming chronic disease with plant based nutrition, how angels are not always human, and a fairy tale of love lost and found again 40 years later.

Eric was 150 pounds overweight, depressed, and sick. After a lifetime of failed diet attempts, and the onset of type-2 diabetes, Eric went to a new doctor, who surprisingly prescribed a shelter dog. And that’s when Eric met Peety: an overweight, middle-aged and forgotten dog who, like Eric, had seen better days. The two adopted each other and began an incredible journey together, forming a bond of brotherhood and unconditional love that forever changed their lives. Over the next year, just by going on walks, playing together, and eating plant-based food, Eric lost 150 pounds, and Peety lost 25. As a result, Eric reversed his diabetes, got off all medication, and became happy and healthy for the first time in his life, eventually reconnecting with and marrying his high school sweetheart. Walking with Peety is for anyone ready to make a change in their life, and for everyone who knows the joy, love, and hope that dogs can bring. This is more than a tale of mutual rescue. This is an epic comeback story of friendship and strength.”

And for a good freaking laugh

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9) My Horizontal Life

A collection of one night stands

By Chelsea Handler

“In this raucous collection of true-life stories, Chelsea Handler recounts her time spent in the social trenches with that wild, strange, irresistible, and often gratifying beast: the one-night stand.”

As always, thanks for stopping by!

To hear more from Carly B or to get my emails

Subscribe to my email list here

You can also find me on Instagram @lifeofcarlyb_

Got questions? Reach out to me at lifeofcarlyb@gmail.com



In health, and good reading,

Carly B

5 Boozy places you must visit in D.C.

Doing touristy things in the nations capital is fun and all, but all of that can work up a real thirst. In between touristy things, or hell if you’ve already done the touristy things and are looking to visit D.C. like a local, here are 5 very cool, and very unique places to go- for the Boozy Traveler.

1) Agora

This place is so cool, like SO COOL. It was literally the first place we went to once we got to D.C. We enjoyed our first experience here THAT much. I tell all my friends about it, and now, I’m telling all of YOU about it.

I mean, who wouldn’t love endless food dishes AND bottomless mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, or well liquor drinks?!

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You sit down, they automatically assume you want the bottomless brunch, because DUH you do (side note, everyone at the table has to do the bottomless, or none, that is a rule of theirs. It makes sense though once you keep reading). They ask you what you want for your drink and they bring it right out, along with all of their “spreads”, which can be called appetizers. Your drinks get filled up even before they’re empty, and all the food is brought out into small, yet shareable sizes. And the best part?! If you want items A,B,C,D,E,F, & G on the menu, they’ll bring them ALL to your table in the same shareable sizes, and they’ll do it again until your belly is stuffed. Which is why everyone at the table must be doing the bottomless, otherwise there would be a lot of freeloaders, ya feel?

Fair warning: by the end of your meal (which is a 2 hour time limit), your bottomless mimosa pretty much turns into a flute of champagne, they just keep topping it off.

But hey that’s okay, it leaves ya feeling bubbly and happy, as seen here 😉

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Agora: 1527 17th st NW.
Washington, DC
Brunch hours: 11AM-4PM

2) Blue Jacket Brewery

I love finding amazing places, unexpectedly. Okay, our D.C. friend we were with did recommend this one, but I was fully expecting it to be like any other brewery that are popping up across the U.S. But it was goooood. Not only was the beer spectacular, the Bloody Mary? Good lord, it was tasty and a perfect blend of spicy and not, if ya feel me? And then there was the food. #GetInMyBelly

My recommendation? Go with a group of people, each of you get your own flights of beer, a few get a Bloody or another signature cocktail, and plenty of apps, and share them all! 

Blue Jacket: 300 Tingey St SE.
Washington DC

3) Bardo

Located on the Anacostia River, which is a nice draw, but this one was an odd one for sure. The most compelling thing about it, wasn’t even the river behind it, no it was the freaking car on the roof. Yep, a car on the roof. And then the second surprise came, it was a completely outdoor brewery. Like completely. And then there were all of the old restaurant booths, crooked tables, and old school chairs for seating that made it just out of the world weird. But let me tell you, on a nice summer day I bet this place is BANGING.

Even if you don’t like beer, go just to see the unusual-ness of this place. Just go.

Bardo. 25 Potomac Ave SE.
Washington, DC.

4) Dacha

I wish I could show you the bathrooms in this place, but that would just be weird, and also creepy and likely a felony if I had taken a video in there. But this place was LEGIT. And also suppperrrr futuristic.

IMG_7081 (1)There are 2 locations, to my knowledge, in the D.C. area, the one we went to was also located on the river and had only been open a week but y’all… they had their shit togetherThe service? Excellent. The food? Speedy and delicious. The drinks? Crafty, adorable, tasty and strong as f*ck. It’s a nice cocktail lounge if you’re looking to chill with the girls, but also upbeat enough to be a pregame spot for a soccer game (which is what we did). Oh plus a nifty outdoor area. It kind of can fit all needs. Like I said, it’s legit.

 

Dacha. 79 Potomac Ave. SE
Washington, DC.

5) Jack Rose

IMG_7077For the love of whiskey, this place had it ALL. Bookshelves on bookshelves of whiskey could be intimidating to someone who doesn’t know jack about whiskey, but their staff was so highly trained that we all got something we thoroughly enjoyed. I went for a cocktail, the 2 guys I were with went for whiskey neat, and our fabulous bartender helped each of find our “taste”. Like I said, we all enjoyed what we got, and somehow she managed to narrow down our choices among thousands of whiskey to just the right one. Miraculous.

Oh, and if you’re on the fence of going here, let me just say that when we asked the bartender if she had ever met anyone famous there she replied “I don’t kiss and tell”, which means she had. I mean with 2oz pours of whiskey costing $1,2000 (at the max, don’t worry we were more in the $10-20 range!), it can be assumed that some famous people would float into there. Not to mention that she’s had “regulars” come in from around the world, just for the whiskey here. If that doesn’t scream this place is the shit and the whiskey is bomb, then I don’t know what does!

highly recommend this place. Even if you’re not a whiskey connoisseur, the atmosphere of the place is neat enough! Plus, they can make a cocktail to fit your taste, I promise.

Jack Rose Whiskey Bar. 2007 18th St. NW
Washington, DC.

 

Cheers to that! 

If you find other favorite boozy place in D.C.

Especially ones that go kind of off the radar.

Or aren't the traditional 'tourist' spots.

Let me know!

Holla at me at lifeofcarlyb@gmail.com

Or on Instagram at lifeofcarlyb_

Subscribe to my email! 

Cheers,

Carly B

 

 

The Truth About Finding My Path After College

Graduate college they said, it’ll be fun they said.

But DAMN life after college can be a whirlwind! 

I graduated exactly 4 years ago today. Ironically, I found this very blog post in my drafts from- 2 YEARS AGO! I started this but never finished. I guess I didn’t find my voice completely enough to publish it.

Even more ironic? Every bullet point listed below is still true today. I’m still baffled by how different adulthood is from college life. It’s like the second I graduated I was thrust into adulthood without a how-to guide, without any warning. It was like being pushed off of a cliff and being expected to know how to fly.

My question to those who have been doing this for awhile is…. when does it feel normal?

Like I’m 26 and I still don’t want to be an adult. Do I like the freedom of it, and the feeling of making BIG strides and awesome new accomplishments? Absolutely! But damn, where is my mom when I need her! When I’m behind on laundry and haven’t even started dinner yet. When I’m so exhausted that I zombie mode it through work. And let me tell you friends- I don’t even HAVE KIDS YET! Good Lord help me.

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I try to stay optimistic and happy all the time, but forgive me for being human, some things are just challenging! I know for damn sure that I’ve realized adulthood has come with a few realizations…..

-8AM is nowhere near an early time anymore

-Going to bed at 10 is the glory of all things glorious, and the thought of getting ready to go out on the town on a Wednesday night at that time is enough to make me fall asleep standing up on some days

-A relaxing Sunday is getting all of the household chores done, leaving me, and my house, feeling refreshed for the week ahead

-Since when is grocery shopping fun (most of the time)?

-Oh bills, right, I have those now

-AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON STUDENT LOANS!

-Which job do I apply for? Do I qualify? What if I don’t? I double majored in college, certainly there is something out there

-Oh, you mean to tell me that my dream job doesn’t exist until I gain more than four years experience of college studies in my field?

-And let’s not even talk about that word metabolism. I’m only 26 for goodness sake! How can I see the results of a slowing metabolism already! 

-And don’t get me started on hangovers. For anyone under 25 reading this. IT ALL CHANGES OVER NIGHT. Holy shit, I can’t imagine 30-year-old hangovers.

-Fewer true friends are better than a hundred fake ones- cliche I know, but totally true

-Surrounding yourself with like-minded people will be your saving grace on some days

So yeah, things are different once you graduate college. Weekends are no longer for partying, Thursday’s are no longer for “pre-weekend partying”, and Monday’s are no longer dreaded for an early 8AM class wake up call.

Screen Shot 2019-05-09 at 8.27.32 AMRather, Monday’s are now for the go-getters. I might not be exactly sure where my career path will lead me in the next 5 years, or hell where my life will lead me, but I do know what I’m passionate about. So on Monday’s I GO-GET-IT. And on Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s, Thursday’s and so on. I wake up early, go to work, and help people achieve their fitness goals. And I do it day after day. But in between all of that I volunteer in animal rescue, I write these here blogs, I read, I walk my dogs, I binge watch New Girl with my husband, I grab drinks with friends, I travel and take in new experience, and I sweat like a mad woman at Orangetheory Fitness. I have no idea if any of those things will get me somewhere farther in my career in the future, or if they’ll impact my life in the future. But that’s not what it’s about. The Go-Getting, the life-enjoying, the self-improving, that make me damn happy right now. And right now is my favorite place to be.

The truth about finding your path after college:

it’s not actually about finding a path to walk on like everyone else. It’s discovering an unfinished path that looks crazy and curvy and all over the place. But the unknown in that path is what makes you see the potential in that path’s adventure, so you take it anyway.  You pave that path along the way. And when the work gets too tiring to keep paving on your own. You kick back for a few, relax with a mimosa and give it to God to lay the next few stones for you.

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I spent too much of my time focusing on how different life after college was compared to the 22 years before that I sometimes missed the beauty of it. Did I find spots where I felt financially depleted? Yep. Did I work jobs that made me want to pull my hair out every day? Yep. Was I struggling, exhausted, and emotionally depleted at times? Hell yes. But here I am. Standing tall, even if I still don’t have the slightest bit of clue what tomorrow might bring me. News flash, no one does. Not one single person. So in midst of the struggles somedays I remind myself of everything I’ve done, accomplished, and been to. And then I remind myself of my hopes and dreams. And I work for them, I work towards them, while simultaneously folding my husbands underwear and rescuing a dirty sock from my dogs mouth.

Adulthood will never feel normal. I’m convinced. There won’t be a moment where I’ll be like “ah so this is how to handle adulthood”, but that’s the beauty of it. I’ve decided on that very answer. It’s not supposed to be the same way for everyone. It’s not supposed to be the same every single year. But I’m here like “Hey look Ma I made it!”.

Adulthood if a fucking whirlwind.

But you can do it

….I whisper to myself as I go to sleep

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Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable- Part 1: Health and Fitness

My favorite quote of all time:

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.

Meaning, in the quickest explanation possible, that nothing can be achieved within your comfort zone. If you’re uncomfortable, embrace that, because it means something great is on the horizon.

In this 3 part series we will talk about what it means to get comfortable being uncomfortable in 3 different areas of your life. Your health and fitness, your relationships, and your life and lifestyle in general.

What makes us most uncomfortable in each area? Do we avoid whatever makes us uncomfortable because we don’t know how to handle it? Are we staying stagnant and going through monotonous efforts because we don’t know how to step outside of our comfort zone? More importantly, because we don’t know why we should step outside of our comfort zones?

The easiest and most obvious comfort zones that we can identify nowadays are those related to your health and fitness journey, which is why that is Part 1 of this series. Those comfort zones are what keep people from achieving their goals that they’ve had for a long time. The goals that they’ve written down at the beginning of each new year, resolving to finally achieve them, but don’t.

In order to step out of these comfort zones and launch ourselves on this great health and fitness journey, we first need to pin-point the areas that are holding ourselves back.

Generally, these are the areas where we feel the slightest ping of discomfort and we go running for the covers. Hiding from what could be. They can be broken down into physical and mental barriers. 

The physical:

When your body actually feels, oh I don’t know, the actual effects of exercise

This one kind of baffles me. So many people go to the gym, yet they don’t push themselves to the points they need to. When was the last time you’ve gone outside of your routine in the gym (that is if you’ve been actually going to the gym)? It’s hard for people to feel levels of well, pain.

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But here’s the truth:

The last few reps of your sets should be hard. If they’re not then you simply are not working hard enough. Put those 5 lb weights away that you’ve been using for the past year and pick up something heavier. But wait, that is where people lose it. When they get to rep 8 out of 10 in a set of bicep curls and their muscles are burning. It’s weird, so they stop at that 8th rep and drop their weight the next set they do. Wait what?!? That is not helping you grow, at all. It’s actually teaching yourself to accept failure. You let that feeling of discomfort win over you.

No my friend, those last few reps of each set should be challenging. Aim for the last 2-4 reps, depending on how many reps total you’re doing (the more reps total, the more challenging reps you’ll feel). Because if you find that the reps are getting challenging, it means you are challenging yourself. Get comfortable with that. That is where the magic happens.

And when doing cardio? You need to get comfortable with the feeling of your lungs burning. If you hop on the elliptical day after day and only break a light sweat, then you haven’t challenged your body to a new stimulus. Therefore, you will not improve, and your fitness goals will always be dangling in front of you – just out of reach. Try incorporating HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) into your workout. There will be points where you can’t speak more than a few sentences, that’s normal, don’t let that scare you. And when you really amp it up, there will be points where you can’t speak more than a few words. Again, that’s normal. All of the above (including some steady state such as the elliptical), need to be worked into your workout in a balanced format. Try doing some intervals – on a cardio machine, or with bodyweight cardio exercises. To program a HIIT workout, you can use the formats below, in order of beginner to advanced:

1:1 ratio= equal work and rest time

2:1 ratio= 2X the amount of challenging work to rest time

4:1 ratio= 4X the amount of challenging work to rest time

The above ratios can be seen in formats such as:

60:60 = 60 seconds of challenging work followed by 60 seconds of rest
60:30= 60 seconds of challenging work, followed by 30 seconds of rest.
60:15= 60 seconds of challenging work, followed by 15 seconds of rest.

or 30:30, 30:15, 30:10, 20:20, 20:10, and so on. As long as you have rest periods on there, you are working in a HIIT format.

In addition to creating your own HIIT workouts, you can also try publicly known workout programs such as Orangetheory Fitness, first class free!

*p.s. this is not an Orangetheory sponsored Ad, but I know first hand the amazing effects that can come out of it, in true HIIT fashion. Not to mention I’ve seen it first hand help people overcome every single one of the barriers listed in this blog 😉

And lastly, if your muscles are shaking, that isn’t a BAD thing! Shaking muscles while holding a plank or a wall sit? Yeah, your muscles are under constant contraction, and this is okay, as long as you are keeping good and proper form!

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The mental:

“I’m scared”

“I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know where to start. I am probably the only person in this gym who hasn’t worked out before”.

You’re scared? Good. Use that and let it ignite the flame. Don’t use is as an excuse to turn towards the door and run. You’ve already paid the gym membership, you’re already at the grocery store. So don’t waste your money, or your time. Finish what you came to start.

If we all let our feelings of being scared dictate the ending of each situation we’re in, then we all would have walked into a job, felt scared, and turned right back around. We’d let that happen over and over again until we’re all unemployed and living under a bridge.

But what do you actually do when you’re scared and nervous on your first day at a new job? You run with it! You let it fuel you. You focus in on learning as if your life depends on it, because it kind of does. You are open to trying new things. And most importantly, you COMMIT to it.

So you’re scared as you walk into the gym? Let it fuel you. Let it help you learn new things. Let it open your mind (and body) to trying new things. Let it allow you to COMMIT.

Scared is a feeling of discomfort. But that’s what we’re looking for here aren’t we? Yes. So go run with it. Get comfortable with using your feelings of fright to launch you into something new.

“I’m not good enough”

I’m sorry, but good enough for what? The images you have in your head because social media has pounded them there? Yeah, okay, let’s stop that.

Let’s allow feelings of discomfort to come in for a moment to squash those images. I know, that’s a hard thing to do. Because you want to cling to those images to allow yourself to keep telling yourself you’re not good enough. Because with that, at least you have an excuse. 

Not today Satan. 

So go ahead, squash them. And then when you’re left with a clean slate. One where you can draw ANY image of yourself you want. Make it one you are proud of. And let me tell you, THAT can be one of the most uncomfortable things. Talking ourselves up, hyping ourselves up and dreaming big. But do it friend. The world needs more self-hype.

“I don’t know how to do it correctly”

This one can fall under both physical and mental, and it is the most logical barrier out of all of them. Bad form can indeed bring your fitness journey to a screeching halt. But what makes people the most uncomfortable is asking for help. But here’s the secret- ask for help! You don’t have to commit to hiring a personal trainer 4X a week, but every single gym [should*] have qualified professionals who can help you! In my years of working in a gym it has surprised me by how little people actually ask for help. I mean sometimes people don’t even ask how to turn on a machine. If it’s not on, it won’t work, and therefore- neither will you.

I think the biggest barrier here is that you might feel embarrassed for helping. But let me remind you that every single fitness professional, and every single long-term gym member all WERE BEGINNERS. None of us just “poofed” into the gym knowing how to use it all. We all had to learn. We all had those moments where we felt uncomfortable too. But the difference between your repeated efforts and repeated resolutions to telling yourself that “this is the year I go to the gym!” is that we actually sought out help. We learned. And now, we’re here to HELP YOU TOO! And if you find that someone is an asshole and not willing to help, politely tell them to fuck off, and then go ask someone more friendly (there’s always one asshole or one un-knowledgable person who only got the job because their mom is screwing the manager in each gym. I wish there wasn’t, but if you find them on the first try, just move onto to the next employee or a friendly well-versed member and ask for help!)

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When it comes down to it, it’s talking to yourself and telling yourself that you are bigger than even your BIGGEST barrier. Mind > matter.

What’s your biggest barrier in actually going for your health and fitness goals? Identify it and read the paragraph corresponding to it above. And if you’ve identified a barrier that isn’t listed above (because had I listed out all barriers, you’d be here reading this for the next year) then reach out to me at lifeofcarlyb@gmail.com OR on Instagram at lifeofcarlyb_ and I’d be glad to help you find ways around those barriers.

But spoiler alert:

The first thing I’m going to tell you to do is….

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.

Your true abilities don’t lie within those comfort zones.

They’re somewhere out there, behind each lie you tell yourself and each excuse, just waiting for you to grab them.

Just like how the juiciest apples could be sitting at the top of the tree, but no one wants to climb to get them.

Your greatest abilities could be sitting up there too, just out of reach if you stay in your comfort zone.

So go grab that apple friend.

Go grab it.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Be sure to subscribe to my email list 

so you don't miss out on parts 2 & 3 of this 3 part series

(going over lifestyle and relationships comfort zones)

Happy to have you here!

Rescue Dogs Know They’ve Been Saved

Just last week we were down in Fort Lauderdale, FL for a vacation. We stayed at an Airbnb at a pretty darn nice apartment complex. Every morning before hitting the music festival we were there for, we would go to the pool. It was here we met Rex, and Rex’s parents.

Rex was a rescue dog.

And every day around lunch time they would come down to the pool and he would lay in the chair, or on the ground, whatever felt right that day. Just like he and his owner do every other day of the week. And he would just watch the commotion around him and take in the sounds of the dripping water.

Rex, they assume, used to be a bait dog. Although they can’t be sure. His ears were chipped and clipped, a trait seen on bait dogs. He also had scars on his body.

Yet, he was always smiling. He would lick everyone’s face with the most aggressive and loving kisses as if he was licking spoonfuls of peanut butter off your face. He was so freaking happy, and so freaking grateful.

Rescue dogs know they’ve been saved. You can see it in their eyes, in their demeanor, in everything they do. Even the ones who are skiddish because of the internal scars from their previous lives, you can still tell how grateful they are to be where they are now and not where they used to be.

Rescue dogs are a breed all of their own. And I think everyone needs to experience it.

 

Me? I’ll admit, my two Goldens I got from a breeder, which I am not regretful of, nor am I ashamed. That’s a blog post all of it’s own (and coming soon!) However, I work, or I should say, volunteer, in animal rescue. Since November of 2017 I have dedicated over 200 hours of my personal time to helping dogs who are less fortunate. But boy, they turn out to be the most fortunate dogs you could come across once they find their forever home.

There’s something about seeing a rescue dog realize that their life has forever changed. It could happen the moment the kennel door opens at the shelter, or when they settle into their foster home, or when they meet their forever family. Something, somewhere along their timeline, it sparks. And they beam from the inside out.

(My rescue cat – we LOVE him, he’s a character, clearly- and my not-so-rescued dogs)

 

I wanted to prove my point to you even further, so I took to Instagram to ask people to share with me their stories, feelings, and thoughts on their own personal rescue dogs. Here’s what they said:

What has been the best, and more rewarding part of rescuing?

  • Watching her bloom from a terrified of everything dog, to a full, bouncy, loving dog- it’s beautiful.
  • Seeing a once scared pup blossom into a goofy, loving dog. the change in personality over time is the best
  • Knowing that I got them out of whatever hell the were living in before. Knowing that I gave them a much better life and love them better than anyone else ever could.
  • Knowing that he has a safe home- with me!

What has rescue taught you?

  • Rescuing is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.
  •  That people suck sometimes BUT there are also a lot of really awesome people out there that dedicate their lives to helping animals. See the good in the world
  • So many dogs lose their life each day because not enough people rescue (and I will add because people also suck, and put these dogs in the unfortunate situations, that is also why so many lose their lives).

What would you say to someone thinking about rescuing an animal?

  • It is literally that, you’re rescuing them. To watch my girl grow and become a loving carefree dog, that’s my favorite part. To see her settle in to bed or next to me knowing she’s now safe. She’s HOME. More animals deserve that feeling.
  • If you are ready to put in some work DO IT, its life changing (for you and the dog).
  • You will always know you saved a precious life.

And my most favorite, full of heart, full of passion and love, message that I got:

“It was the most rewarding and love-filled experience we (as a family) had together. The best part of rescuing is knowing that your dog’s life could have looked so different if not for you. You’re able to provide a home, endless love, and a sense of security and community for this beautiful animal who is totally dependent on the actions of others for her quality of life. Rescue taught me to be humble, it taught me about myself and the capacity I had to be a mom, and it reminded me of the absolute most joyful purity that dogs bring to the world. If I had the chance to adopt 100 more dogs, I would rescue 100 times out of 100. For someone considering rescue, they should think about the potential they have to change a dog’s life. You will not regret that extra family member. I miss mine daily.”

 


(Photo courtesy of Mikaela Hammes and her rescue pup Cooper)

And with that…

April 30 is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day.

If you’re ready to add a 4 legged love ball to your family, then consider taking action on this day!

But do your due diligence first. Research now what it takes to raise a dog- the costs involved- monetary, physical, emotional, etc cost. Know how much time and patience it takes. Most importantly, be familiar with the fact that different types of breeds have different behavioral traits.

Then, when your due diligence is done. Take a trip to your local shelter. Be a dog’s hero today (or on April 30th 😉 ). And share this with a friend– allow them to be a dog’s hero too.

(Pictures courtesy of Jessica Stricker and her rescue pup Bella)

 

Follow me on Instagram @lifeofcarlyb_

Notable animal rescue Instagram profiles, follow them too!

@theasherhouse

@primaldomain

@bestfriendsanimalsociety

And the picture that hit me in the gut so hard this week while scrolling Pinterest.

Bless the rescuers, curse the abandoners

In health, love, and wet doggie kisses,
❤ Carly

Triad Golden Retriever Rescue – Join our efforts!

Shameless plug for my favorite non-profit organization, Triad Golden Retriever Rescue out of Greensboro, North Carolina.

Yes, this is a different blog post from what I normally post, but C’MON PEOPLE WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Coming up on Saturday, April 27, we are participating in our largest fundraising event of the year- The Human Race 5k FUN RUN!

Did I mention it is also the Human Race’s 25th anniversary this year?! So big & fun things will be happening.

Our fundraising goal has just been increased to $2,000- can you help us pass that?!

How can you help?

It’s simple:

Join our team of fundraisers by creating 
your own fundraising page CLICK here

Donate to our team fundraising page 
(no need to join as a fundraiser yourself) CLICK here

Share this blog, the link to our team page, or both!

Come join us on 'race day'! And tell your friends too. 
The more publicity the better!

(TGRR at the Human Race 2018)

Did we mention your dogs are welcome to walk the 5k with you?!

Where does your donation go?

Vet check ups and procedure (a large portion). Every dog we get in goes through a vet check up to make sure they are up to date on vaccines, etc. If they aren’t microchipped or fixed, they get that done. And in the unfortunate case of a more serious medical issue (heartworm, broken bones, mange, etc), we still cover the cost to get that done! We try to put the best possible effort into our dogs. And yes, I said our dogs because every dog that comes through our organization steals all of our hearts!

Misc fees such as participating at events, or booths, transportation costs, items that the foster homes might need, etc.

And if you’re encourage to do more with us, well dear friend, we are ALWAYS accepting new volunteers! Especially foster homes. The amount of work you put into your volunteer time is UP TO YOU! I’ve been with Triad Golden Retriever Rescue since November of 2017, and although I’ve taken on more responsibilities over time, I didn’t have to I wanted to! Because the outpouring of love and dedication throughout this organization is inspiring!

 

If you’re on the edge of signing up to become a volunteer with animal rescue, let me plug a few more things in here to sway you 🙂

Does that picture not speak to you?! How about this link? 

 

TGRR, my dogs, and ME, thank you for even considering helping us out with our Human Race fundraising goal this year!

Who is LifeofCarlyb_?

HELLO WORLD!

Let me…. reintroduce myself!

Nearly four years ago I started this blog. The general intent behind it was to educate YOU guys about various health and fitness topics. Within the first few years I wrote about topics from proper exercise, recovery, nutrition, and provided fitness challenges and tips. Then I kind of…. slowed down, to a near stop with all of my posting.

Within the past few months I’ve amped it back up, but in a new way!

The original title(s) of this blog were InFITiny Health (the idea that your health should last you to infinity, and not temporarily) and Commit Fit Carly (the idea that you should COMMIT to your fitness, with me!). Now, we’re at Life of Carly B, which is the same thing my instagram handle has changed to. Why the change? Simply because I want to share with you more than just nutrition and fitness topics. LIFE is about more than that. WELLNESS is about more than that. And quite frankly, I like talking about my dogs, and being blunt about controversial topics now more than I care to write about how to do a proper squat (for that, come chat with me in person 🙂 ).

So let me say again,

HELLO WORLD!

My name is Carly. Or as some like to call me, Carly B. My last name is Buehler, by marriage, which I guess you can saw is also by choice 😉 I’ve had that last name for just over half a year now and have already heard FERRRISSSSS jokes approximately 429580103 times.

You can also call me: dog mom, fitness junkie, optimist, realist, down to fuggggin earth, muscle barbie, whatever floats your boat. Insult me? I’ll brush it right off these strong & bulky shoulders of mine.

I grew up in IL, spent the first 19 years of my life there before moving to IA where I attended school at University of Northern Iowa (Go Cats!). There, I double majored in Exercise Science and Health Promotion. I loved school. Like if you want to pay me to go to school for the rest of my life, I think I would! I like the structure of the schedule college requires, I actually enjoyed research, and presentations, speaking in front of crowds, and just learning. My last four semesters of college I had anywhere from 18-21 credits going at a time, and I f*cking rocked it!

While studying exercise, I began my career in Exercise as a Personal Trainer while in school in 2013. As I’m writing this, I’ve worked in the industry for six years. I’ve done nearly it all. Personal Training, group exercise, fitness management, small studio management, and social media marketing for said gyms. I’ve worked with 13 year old athletes, D3 athletes who underestimated my skill as a female kickboxing instructor, and 70+ year olds, some who were training to hike the grand canyon, others who were training to be healthy with two stints in their heart. I’ve started my own online training business, and then quit it because quite frankly it was not fueling my soul. You want to know what DOES fuel my soul? Writing. This right here. Oh and animals…. and Orangetheory, the beach, my family, my friends, and a good ole MIMOSA.

I’m an animal lover, I volunteer with Triad Golden Retriever Rescue on a weekly basis, putting in anywhere from 1-5 hours of volunteer work per week. I have two English Creme Golden retrievers and they f*cking rock my world. Oh, let’s not forget the rescue cat that behaves just. like. a. dog. As previously mentioned, I’m married. I met my husband in college through a mutual friend (s/o to Luke Nuehaus) at a party (#noshame). My side hustle is coaching at Orangetheory Fitness, and I will never give that up – TRY TO MAKE ME OR JOIN ME!

I grew up being friends with everyone, but somehow always find myself being one of the guys. #lessdramahoney at the same time, I take pride in trying to out-lift your ass (yes guys, I’m talking to you). I preach, encourage, and shout to the world the importance of being a strong & strong-willed BOMB ASS WOMAN (insert fist pumping emoji here).

And if you haven’t been able to tell yet, I like to cuss, and no I will not change my language for the sake of you and YOUR opinion.

I get it, I can be a little bit much for some people. Sorry- not sorry. I don’t live my life to impress. My life quote? You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable. My life song(s)? Meghan Trainor “Me Too” & Drake “Headlines”- I might be too strung out on compliments, overdosed on confidence. You catching onto the trend here? Love yourself first. If you don’t, no one else will. And I do not lack in that category. Like I said, I can be a little bit much for some people.

I speak the truth. I’m constantly spilling the tea #realtalk. I’m working on saying no more frequently and explaining the reasoning behind my actions less. I love my friends and family fiercely. I’m a humungoussss extrovert, I’ll likely make friends with anyone and everyone, especially if you show me a picture of your dog. I’ve got a creative side, I used to make all of the banners for the football and cheerleading teams in high school because I have surprisingly great handwriting. Oh and all 5’10”, 155lbs of almost pure muscle of me used to be a…. cheerleader. SURPRISE! And I was good. We competed in high school, I cheered in college. My biggest perk? I could lift the top girls like the guys could #musclebarbieforlife.

I lift heavy and also run half marathons.

I look like a hot mess express in the gym 
yet have also modeled in two runway shows.

I like dogs and cats.

I drink water and drink beer (& wine, tequila, rum, and whiskey).

I'll eat a salad a legit whole pizza by myself in the same weekend.

I'm friends with people of ALL kinds
- regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, LGBT community, etc.

You can catch me in a bikini at the peak of my physical ability...
as well as at the peak of my greatest bout of bloating #BODYPOSITIVITY

I listen to both sides of any argument or opinion.

I can be a basic bitch and the biggest tomboy within the SAME day.

Clearly, I don't discriminate, no matter the topic.

Oh and I like to travel the beautiful fricken world

So hey, nice to meet you. Come get to know me!

Subscribe to this here, truly honest, open to all topics, mostly vulgar blog.

& find me on Instagram @lifeofcarlyb_ 

So adiossss to the old “Meet the Carly” post. Hello WORLD. It’s me. Let’s chat 🙂

 

& In case you missed it, click here to SUBSCRIBE & be added to the newsletter list

To the girl planning her wedding

The the girl planning a wedding….

Take it all in.

I know, barf right. You’ve heard that before. But I mean it.

Because when it’s over you will feel empty. There will be a big black hole hanging over your head for at least the first week and you won’t be sure how to handle it or what to do with yourself.

  • Take in the joy of getting to choose your perfect venue and your perfect dress.
  • Take in the stress of dealing with changes, vendors that might back out, miscommunication, and whatever else can go wrong.
  • Take it in when all of your loved ones gather in one city for YOU
  • Take it all in because it will all go away.

16 months of planning. That’s how long it was for me. 16 months of planning for what?

A damn good time I’ll tell you that!

Your wedding day will be here before you know it. Trust me. It might seem like it is light years away at this point, but just like anything else in life, time moves quickly. And this is no exception. You will only get this experience one time in your life (or at least my hope for your marriage is that you only get to experience this one time). So think about that. How many other things in your life do you get to experience truly only ONCE? Not many.

Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to do this or how to do that, or which vendors to choose or any of that. There are plenty of self help pages for that on Pinterest or the Knot. But I do have TWO major tips for you that were so so SO beneficial to me:

  1. Hobby Lobby: know that shit, use that shit. Did you know that Hobby Lobby ALWAYS has 50% off deals? And they rotate. For example, if I went to the store for flowers and they weren’t half off, I’d come back the NEXT WEEK because then they would be! Same went for some pieces of furniture I got for the wedding, and utilizing their wedding section. If you are there for anything DON’T BUY IT ON THE SPOT IF IT IS NOT 50% OFF. It will be next week, TRUST ME! (except for furniture, that is always 30% off and doesn’t rotate).
  2. Hire a day of coordinator. I only did because our venue required and holy shit balls it was hands down the BEST forced decision I had ever made. Do it. Trust me. That is all.

And now, for the most important thing you should hear:

Be selfish.

This day is about you. And if I’m being honest, the only true stresses that I got out of my wedding planning stemmed from the opinions of others. Sure it’s nice to have others there to support your decision making, but if an opinion comes without first being prompted by you, then brush it off. This is your day.

Make it your goal from the start to not be bridezilla. That was my goal and I have to say besides getting pissed that my family wasn’t on time for pictures and therefore we had to wait and I was hot as a mother from being outside so long only to take a few pictures inside, I’d say that I wasn’t a bridezilla at all. (holy run-on sentence!) And with not being a bridezilla comes with not having unrealistic expectations in your head, which could totally kill the vibe of your day if they don’t play out exactly as you imagined.

I picked out my dress in 45 minutes and with only 6 try ons because I wasn’t looking for something so specific, so overly specific that I couldn’t even design it myself. I wasn’t looking for specific, I let the dress find me.

 

 

We looked at 3 venues and ended up picking the FIRST one that I saw online. It was meant to be. I let my bridesmaid pick out their jewelry and shoes and their style of dresses. I let Alex pick out his groomsman accessory (i.e. socks, tie clips, etc.) I got my flower girl dresses online from Macy’s to not spend a fortune and I made nearly 90% of our wedding decor. I let our wedding coordinator display the decor in the venue how SHE thought was best because well, she had done it a time or two before 😉

But above that…

Don’t feel like you have to please everyone. Don’t feel like you have to invite everyone. Think about your big day and who do you picture there? Those are the people who should be invited. Not people who you only met when you were 3 years old and wouldn’t recognize them in person. Not the people who were once a part of your life but aren’t anymore, but you feel like you need to invite them to save feelings from being hurt. This is your day. YOUR DAY.

Know that vendors will try to screw you over. Learn how to be a negotiator. I got a discount from every. single. one. of my vendors because I didn’t accept the first price point given (except for maybe my photographer because we love her). I didn’t do my hair trial because why in the effing world would I pay $75 for a hair style that I AM going to take out as soon as I get home? So I didn’t do it and guess what, they still did my hair. Oh and keep good records, because chances are one or more vendors will come to you the week of the wedding saying you owe more just because they didn’t record it correctly.

If you want traditional stuff done at your wedding then great, go for it! But if you’re like us, then you just wanted to party. And I am so so glad that we didn’t do an hour worth of specific dances (i.e. dollar dance, etc) or that we didn’t make people sit there and watch us try to horridly perform a pre-coreographed dance. Instead, we got the “stuff” done and everyone headed to the dance floor. Where it was packed for the whole night.

Oh and speaking of partying. Let me be the first to recommend having your rehearsal TWO nights prior. Because by the way all of us were feeling the morning after our rehearsal dinner, none of us would’ve been comfortable if it were the wedding day 😀

Know that you set the tone for the wedding. If you’re stressed, it will show. And people will either try to comfort you (which might piss you off more) or they will walk on egg shells. I can gladly say that I had only one 10-minute stressed out freak out moment and was OVER it. For the entire day.

If people ask you questions that are not relevant to YOU. Or they want direction on wedding related stuff (i.e. what to wear) I suggest delegating someone to answer that! If you don’t have any specifics in mind, then don’t stress out trying to come up with the answer. We directed these tasks to other people and I must say that all questions were taken care of by people other than us, and everyone looked rather dashing at the wedding.

If you want specific pictures then MAKE A LIST. I wish I would have made a specific list, but I have to say that my photographer did GREAT. The only picture I knew I wanted FOR SURE was one with my dogs. Were my dogs brats that day? Yep. Did we get a picture? Yep. And if your wedding is outside. Take charge when you are hot. Don’t ask to go inside, say that you are going inside.

It’s okay to go outside the box. And if you’re looking for permission to well then let me tell you some things that we did that were out of the ordinary:

  • My bridal party dresses were not the same style, nor were they all the same color
  • We did not exchange our own personal vows at the alter and rather did a private exchange
  • We did not know our pastor personally before the day of the wedding
  • We didn’t do pre-marital counseling
  • We didn’t take dance classes
  • We didn’t pre choreograph a stupid dance
  • We booked our cake and cupcakes without even sampling first. The reviews were good enough
  • We didn’t use real flowers. Not even my bouquet
  • I didn’t give 2 shits what people other than my wedding party wore on the day of the wedding
  • We didn’t save the top layer of our cake. Our freezer is small and we eat healthy so that thing would sit and sit and sit
  • We did not do the garter dance, just the garter toss
  • We did not do the dollar dance (put your money elsewhere people)
  • We did not go on a honeymoon right after the wedding. We’re waiting a whole year
  • We lived together for 3 years prior to the wedding
  • I didn’t do a hair trial
  • We did our own make up
  • We had our rehearsal two days before the wedding
  • I didn’t invite everyone that I had ever interacted with in my life

And some things that I wouldn’t have done, had I not been talked into it by important people in my life

  • A bridal shower
  • A gift registry

I just had a really hard time asking people for gifts just because I found my soul mate. Still is a weird concept to me- like hey I found love, now give me gifts!- always will be.

At the end of the day. Enjoy it. Take it in. Both the planning process and the actual wedding. Because people tell you that it goes by so quickly, but what no one told me was that it goes by so quickly that it turns into one big blur. I’m still finding that I’m like OH yeah that DID happen! And wishing that we had taken more pictures on our personal phones to show behind the scenes. A total blur. But one hell of a partying, rowdy, fun-loving, fairytale type of blur.

 

Last tip? Get a go-pro, and let that shit do it’s own thang.

Sincerely,

The new Mrs. Buehler

And if you’re a guest of the wedding, someone in the wedding party, or family. Here is my note to you

BE ON TIME AND DO WHAT YOU’RE ASKED! The bride and groom have a million things to do and are being pulled in a million different directions. They do not need to wait on YOU. Be respectful. 

That is all I have for you