Is your check engine light on?

I’m talking about YOU.

YOUR check engine light.

The engine that needs tending to is your mind, your body, your spirit.

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Maybe you don’t ever think about checking in with yourself like you would your car. Or maybe you know you need to, but you just….. don’t. 

Recently, I had a conversation with someone I work with about taking better care of herself, and that meant learning how to start saying no. I felt confident in giving her this kind of advice because just a short 8 months ago is when I had this epiphany myself.

You’ve likely heard it before from other people… “Take care of yourself first” “you’re going to burn out” “you’re overloading yourself” and yadayadayada. And you might believe the words your family or friends are telling you. You might even see them as warning signs. But you believe in yourself and your resiliency more. So you keep going.

9 times out of 10 it will take some major life event, or some major breakdown for you to have the same epiphany as I did. And only then will you truly see that check engine light for what it is. A cry for help that is long overdue. 

As I was texting back and forth with this coworker, she said to me:

“You’re so right. Such a hard thing to learn, especially when you’re young and everyone says ‘put your head down and grind it out’ “

And that’s exactly it. So many other people preach to be busy. They preach to grind grind grind with no rest, because while you’re resting someone else is working. We are told to try new things, say yes to everything because the moment we say no is the moment further opportunities cease to exist. We are told that we’re not experienced enough yet, but if we keep working for it, we might just get there. So head down, laser in the focus, and get to work. Who cares if your plate is overloaded. There’s no rest for the wicked.

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But here’s the thing. 

You can rest. Will other people put more hours of work in than you? Yes. Will other people work tirelessly for years on end with no quit? Yes. Will those people ever tell you that they too, are burned out? No. Because they too are being fed the same “grind it out, no rest” bullshit.

The difference between you, as a person who has learned to say “no”, and those people who you might admire that don’t ever say no is the quality of the work you put in.

When you say no to things that might only feed your soul temporarily, you leave room for the opportunities that fill your soul to the brim. You’ll become more excited about your work or tasks at hand because what you have chosen to say YES to is what you truly LOVE TO DO. You’ll be putting in your very best to those few yes items, while those around you might be only putting half effort into too many yes items and not enough no’s.

That same friend of mine said later in our conversation “I can’t have it all”. To which I replied, you CAN, you just can’t have it all at 110%.

Some things require 110%.

Other things you mistake for needing 110% because when you don’t give them 110% is when you are letting other people down. And that’s the problem. If someone else wants something to be 110%, you’re not required to put 110% in for the both of you. Let the other person make up the slack. You don’t have to dismiss the job, the duty, the relationship, etc from your life completely, just know it isn’t all up to you to fill it to 110%. or even 110%

Remember kids, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Fill your cup first.

you can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no

It’s not up to you to please everyone else.

It’s not up to you to clear other people’s plates so they can feel relieved while you overload your own plate.

It’s not up to you to make sure that any besides yourself is feeling alive, is feeding their goals, is on track to greatness.

The only thing that is up to you is YOU and how you choose to live each day.

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So let’s say it again….

The moment you start saying “no” to things that don’t truly matter and won’t positively impact you, and start saying “yes” to yourself is the moment everything will change.

Not only will you be happier, because you will be less stressed. Your mood will lift, you’ll be more productive because you aren’t weighed down as much. You will think clearer, move with more efficiency and purpose. You will be a well oiled machine! And THOSE are the kind of machines that we need working. Those are the kind of engines that get you to your desired destination.

Empty tanks.

Engines with rusty old fuel.

Machines that are falling apart.

They will never work. They will never compare to the well oiled machine.

And you my friend, YOU’RE the machine.

And you’re the only machine that you need to focus on.

Because the other machines around you that appear to be well oiled and fully functioning, probably have deep issues far beneath the hood.

And to be completely transparent my friends, this is something I still work on daily. Is it true that I had an “epiphany” about 8 months ago that told me to chill out? Yes. But at the same time, grinding it out, helping others, loading my plate has been something I was proud to do for the past 8 years. It will take time to find the perfect balance. The hardest thing for me right now isn’t saying no, it’s the feeling of needing to justify why I am saying no. And that simply isn’t something that needs to happen. Saying no is a singular person’s decision, it impacts just one person, and YOU are that singular person. Not everyone needs to know your motives. So as I go on, I’ll keep saying yes to the blessings and no to the rest. And when I say no, I need to just leave it at that. To all my family, friends, and co-workers reading this, I hope you understand <3.

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you are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm

Fill your cup.

Fill it.

 

Thanks for reading!

Do you too, feel like your check engine light is on?

Let's talk this one out

Email me at lifeofcarlyb@gmail.com

Or find me on Instagram @lifeofcarlyb_

Peace, love, happiness, and FREEDOM

❤ Carly B

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

The One Thing I Wish I Would Have Done on My Wedding Day

Take. it. all. in.

Five minutes of uninterrupted silence with my new husband.

Watching everyone from a birds eye view.

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People say it all the time, to take it all in on your wedding day. You think “duh, why wouldn’t I do that?!” But regardless, it’s the advice everyone tells you leading up to the big day.

But what they fail to explain is what they really mean when they say to take it all in.

I remember going up to my husband at least 3 times during our wedding and putting my hands on his shoulders to look him straight in the eye and say “this is our reminder to take it all in“. And looking back, the whole night was still a blur! It’s not that we weren’t taking it all in, I mean we were! We just weren’t taking it all in as just the two of us. Instead, we stayed in the midst of it all, center stage, life of the party, so we took it in as us and 150 other people. And that’s how the night blurs together. The alcohol didn’t have much of a factor in that, especially in the earlier hours, and yet we still got pictures back from our photographer where I’m like wtf when did that happen?! (Thank goodness for photographers and videographers though! If you don’t have one booked for your wedding then you are sorely fooling yourself).

Here’s the truth. The day goes by both slow and lightning speed fast, and there are moments you can’t decipher between the two speeds. But before you know it, it’s over, and you’re sitting there the next morning with the biggest smile on your face with your new spouse, trying to piece together parts of the night.

So take it all in my friend.

Set an alarm on your phone.

And when that goes off, make sure no excuse, no matter how big, can hold you back from grabbing your new husband or wife to get away together for 5 quiet minutes together with a bottle of champagne.

If you can, find a birds eye view to watch everyone who gathered there today for you, everyone who you love, mingle together having the best time.

And if it’s your style, take a quick 10 second video of all that action.

And then put the phones away and anything else that can serve as a distraction and just sit there. Together. Breathe deeply. and take. it. all. in.

 

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Health, love, and happiness from a former bride,

Carly B

Simple Changes You Can Make To Start Doing Your Part in Saving the Earth- RIGHT NOW!

Top scientist say we have 12 years to save the Earth.

In the next 12 years we have to make big strides in reversing the insane human destruction to this Earth before it is irreversible FOREVER.

TWELVE YEARS. that’s it.

A lot can happen in 12 years. And that can be a lot of good if we try.

I like the positive vibes I see when Earth Day rolls around each year. But only weeks, days, or even hours after it’s over, most people forget to actually do their part. I used to be one of those people, until I reminded myself to do better, because it isn’t that hard to do so!

I am no “Save the Earth” perfectionist, and I still have some changes I plan to make to make my footprint a little bit smaller. BUT I’ve started making changes, and the changes I’ve started with are easy for anyone to implement.

Here are some simple changes YOU can make to do better for the EARTH- today and forever.

 

1)  Recycle, and recycle smart!

This seems like a no-brainer, but it is something that humans get so lazy with! Instead of throwing out your empty box of cereal, that can be recycled! With that being said, know what you can recycle and what you can’t, because recycling improperly could do more harm than good. Pay attention to the boxes and labels and look for the recycling label indicating that the item can be recycled. Some items will even tell you you that the box for example CAN be recycled but the inner bag cannot. While you’re looking that closely at the items too, you can go a step farther and choose products while shopping that can be recycled. Get ahead of the extra trash before you even purchase!

P.S. this includes newspapers! Recycle those, if they still exist in your household 😉

 

2) Watch how much you use water and turn it OFF

The water does not need to be running while you are transferring the dish from the sink to the dishwasher. You do not need to have it on while you’re washing your face or brushing your teeth, nor do you need to preheat your shower water. Pay closer attention to when your water is on and think about if it needs to be on for that long, or even in the first place.

How does using less water actually help the environment?

From EnergyStar.gov 

“Using water-saving techniques can save you money and diverts less water from our rivers, bays, and estuaries, which helps keep the environment healthy. It can also reduce water and wastewater treatment costs and the amount of energy used to treat, pump, and heat water. This lowers energy demand, which helps prevent air pollution.”

3) Re-usable grocery bags.

And if that isn’t an option (which it always is, but let’s just say in case you forgot yours) opt for paper bags! This one is so so so easy, and let me add with these re-usable bags, you end up having less bags to unload and can make it from the car to the house in one trip!

And if you have a plethora of plastic grocery bags sitting in your pantry like we do (because we never threw them away, just didn’t know how to properly dispose of them) you can take them to your grocery store and they should have ways to properly dispose of those. Be sure to ask your store first though before throwing those bags in some random place.

 

4) Eat less meat

I’m not suggesting you go full on vegan, or even vegetarian, unless you want to, just make a few conscious efforts to eat meat less. I used to eat meal twice a day every day. I ate the typical “fitness bro” lunch that included some sort of chicken or ground turkey and at night a different, usually more creative dish that also contained a meat product. It was just how I thought I should eat, and get my protein in. I not only eat meat for maybe 1 meal a day 5-6 days a week. Eating less meat does have a positive impact on the earth. Plus, it can still be tasty and high protein if that’s what you’re looking for. I know, because I’m sitting here eating a plant based burger with 20 grams of protein and still delicious! You just have to open your mind enough to try

 

5) Invest in a travel mug, reusable water bottle, etc.

Plastic water bottles should essentially not exist. Not with the plethora of reusable water bottles and tumblers on the market now a days. Not only are you saving the planet with one less plastic water bottle at a time, you are also likely to intake more water daily as most of these reusable options are 20-35+ ounces each!

ALSO: if you’re a coffee addict, invest in buying your own coffee mug, this includes the ones at Starbucks!

 

 

6) Ditch the straws

Like for real! Just like reusable and washable cups, there are reusable and washable straws! Hell, go a step further and always have one in your car or your purse, etc. and ditch the straws that restaurants so irresponsibly pass out

Did you know:

According to the Trash Free Seas Alliance, the average American uses 1.6 straws a day. In the US alone, that’s enough to circle the equator two and a half times.

Quoted directly from WorldWildlife.org to learn more about how your plastic straw negatively impacts the environment, click here 

 

7) Adjust your heat and A/C when you’re gone and be sure to turn the lights off!

This one also seems like a “duh” moment, but turning off your lights, your TV, unplugging electronics when not in use and adjusting your heat and A/C will not only do good for the Earth, it will also do good for your wallet! According to WorldWildlife.org the impact of adjusting your thermostat, or turning lights and electronics off can have a dramatic effect on giving you a greener thumb with these 2 simple changes:

1. Dial it down. Moving your thermostat down just two degrees in winter and up two degrees in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year from being released into the atmosphere.

2. Turn it off. Artificial lighting accounts for 44 percent of electricity use in office buildings. Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you’re leaving any room for 15 minutes or more. Same goes for electronics; switch off power strips and unplug electrical devices when you’re not using them.

(quoted directly from worldwildlife.org )

Imagine if you and all of your neighbors played by just these 2 rules, what kind of impact that could have!

 

Additional Earth friendly suggestions: fuel efficient cars and energy efficient appliances. We drive a Kia Hybrid Niro, which gets 50-60 miles to the gallon. If you’re in the market for a new car, please be sure to research fuel efficient options! The same can be said if you are in the market for any new appliances. A few extra dollars up front for these items could save you and the Earth big in the long run!

 

Glad to have you here!

If you've had success in changing any small habit in an effort to save the Earth, I'd love to hear it! 

Email me at lifeofcarlyb@gmail.com 

Please share this on your social media platforms to spread the word.

These simple tips can go a long way, especially if we all act now!

Find me on Instagram @lifeofcarlyb_



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

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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

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable: Part 3: It’s Your LIFE

 

In part 1 of this series, I talked about the importance of this simple concept, getting comfortable being uncomfortable, as it pertains to fitness. Part 1 was probably the most widely recognized and relatable concept, as it could and should pertain to everyone, because everyone can use a good kick in the rear to get started, keep going, or to work harder.

So, Part 1 was relatable.

Part 2, which was all about relationships, became a very relatable piece without people realizing it prior to reading. But once you started reading you began saying to yourself “yep, I agree with that” or “yep, I need to do that”.

So part 1 and 2 were both relatable, part 2 just took some extra digging.

Part 3 y’all, you’re likely going to need to dig deep. Dig deep because we don’t like to realize that we are being complacent with our lives, and the one and only shot we have at it. Unfortunately, more times than not, that is how we live our lives- complacent without realization.

In order to reach your full potential, to see what this world truly has to offer for you, to live out your life so wildly in love with it, you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. The changes you should be making in part here, they will be the most uncomfortable of all.

When you think about your life as is, what you’re doing, what you’re accomplishing, the people, events, and experiences you fill it with, what does it look like?

Does that match up to the goals, as lofty as they may be, that you have for your life?

Maybe you’ve got 1 area, maybe 2, where you can say “yes, THIS is how I want it to be for the rest of my life”. May that be your significant other, your kids, or where you live.

But what about the rest?

Do you have goals that are floating out there somewhere?

Maybe some within swimming reach.

Maybe some so far away that you’d have to rent out a yacht to get there.

Only, you can’t afford a yacht, so you leave them out there floating…. floating… floating…

So you tell yourself that you can’t afford that yacht, and that you will never be able to afford that yacht, because the risks, the sacrifices, and the effort it takes to afford that yacht are so far out of your comfort zone, it just doesn’t seem possible to you.

That is where getting comfortable being uncomfortable comes in.

THIS LIFE IS SUPPOSED TO UNCOMFORTABLE AT TIMES.

IT MEANS YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING NEW.

SOMETHING CHALLENGING.

SOMETHING SO WILDLY FRESH IT WILL AWAKEN YOUR SOUL AGAIN.

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Here’s where we fail at getting uncomfortable:

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The first step

May this be the first step out of your comfort zone.

The first step into a new interview.

The first step into a new home.

The first step literally anywhere.

We have a hard time taking it because we like our comfort zone. It’s warm and fuzzy like a newborn baby all swaddled up.

It’s comfortable until it’s not.

But there’s a minor part before this first step that we fail at before we can even fail at taking the first step, it’s realizing that a first step is needed in the first place.

How do you know? How do you know it is time to take the first step, that any part of your life even requires that first step? Here let me help you….

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re ready, and in need, of taking the first step:

  1. Do you feel complacent in your job?
  2. Do you feel complacent in your relationship?
  3. Do you feel complacent where you live?
  4. Do you feel complacent in your friend circle?
  5. Do you dream of living somewhere else?
  6. Do your day dreams take you far away from where you currently are (physically or mentally)?
  7. Have you tried something new within the past year?
  8. How about the past 6 months?
  9. Have you lived your life according to your own terms?
  10. If you lived the rest of your life, exactly where and exactly how you are now, would you be happy with it by the end of your life?
If you didn’t have one single “yes” answer, then you my friend are a gem. That means you’re living your life to the freaking fullest. You’ve grasped opportunity, you’ve found your tribe, you have found and understand the importance of YOUR happiness.

And if you didn’t have one single “yes”, go back through again to make sure you’re not lying to yourself.

And for those of you who did have a “YES”. Are you ready? Because it’s time to get stepping.

Here’s your cue, make the first step, and make it now.

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Justifying our decisions

Once we’ve made that first step, for some wild reason, we feel the need to justify it. Both to ourselves and to our family and friends.

What’s wrong with that you might ask? I like to make sure I’m making the right decision, I like to let my family and friends in on it. FRIEND, NO. Just NO. Let your gut do the talking for one time in your whole freaking life. DON’T JUSTIFY IT. Tell yourself and your family that you are doing this because it is the best FOR YOU and you are so excited. Point blank, this feels right, and it feels right for you- RIGHT NOW. **Now, if there’s a significant other or kids involved, I hope you are all on board with it, maybe prior to making the decision to step**.

You’ve made the decision to take the first step out of your comfort zone and towards something more. Be proud as f*ck of that, wear that shit on your sleeve. And ignore the feeling to justify it.

It’s weird, isn’t? I’ve done it before, still feel the need to do it sometimes. We have grown into a society where we constantly have to explain ourselves. Social media is primarily to blame.

You’re moving? Got a new job? Cutting your hair? Cutting the cord on a friendship? Trying a new exercise routine? Sending your kids to a different school? Adopting a new dog? Taking a first step WHERE EVER?

Sweet good for you. You go Glen CoCo. Don’t explain it. Just do it. Shout it from the rooftops.

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Coming to terms with it

Otherwise put, second guessing ourselves.

Unless you’re making a total on the spot, impulsive decision, then you’re giving yourself room to second guess yourself. I’m not saying to make every decision an impulse decision, not at all. I am telling you to prepare yourself to get uncomfortable again, the second time you have to make the decision to make the first step, or in this case, it’ll feel like the second step, out of your comfort zone.

We’ve all been there.

We make a decision, but it takes time to fully birth, so there is a period of time when we can second guess ourselves. Most of the time, we do. This is where it truly matters. I hope that you trust your gut enough, and trust your desire for more to not turn and walk back into your comfort zone.

Sometimes, in this period of coming to terms, we turn to those closest to us to talk about it. But beware, that can be equally helpful as hurtful. If this is a decision you made all on your own the first time, don’t let someone else talk you in or out of it. Is it uncomfortable being the only person to make that decision for yourself again? Hell yes. We like to feel secure in our decisions. But news flash, if you’re making a big life decision, you might not feel secure in that until months after. How freaking uncomfortable! Ride it out. Trust yourself, and trust the higher up. You might be uncomfortable for a few months, but that’s better than being uncomfortable knowing that you are still in the same freaking place as you’ve always been.

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Running after you step

There is no turning back now. You’ve stepped, made the decision, shouted it from the roof top and squashed second guessing. It’s all in now.

Things will pick up speed, whatever this big life decision is, I promise you it will pick up speed. So lace up! It’s go time.

Take it from me, this part of being uncomfortable can turn into the most fun part. Things are spinning around you, but there is so much to see in that blur of newness and the unknown.

  • Had we not realized we wanted to leave Iowa and the Midwest to see what else was out there for us.
  • Had Alex not said yes to a job in Greensboro, NC.
  • Had I said no to going with him because I was so sad about the thought of leaving my friends and family.
  • Had we not moved to NC.
  • Had I not gotten a job at Orangetheory Fitness.
  • Had I not met people with connections to so much more.
  • Had I not started volunteering with animal rescue
  • Had we not done all of those things PLUS MORE we…. I…. wouldn’t be who I am today. I can tell you that I would be a slightly more bitter, more tired, less fulfilled version of myself who would constantly be thinking of the what-ifs and stuck in my day dreams.

But we went for it!

It was fast. I tried to hold on for dear life at times. But when I let go and let the rollercoaster of life take me where I’m supposed to be, when I laced up my shoes and ran with the wind, I learned to enjoy the ride. And holy hell what a ride it has been!

Was I uncomfortable at times? Hell yes.

I still am. Because we are still going for it, still saying yes to more and to new.

I like being uncomfortable. Because it means I’m feeling something new. It means I’m doing something new.

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And with each step out of my comfort zone, that comfort zone grows smaller. It becomes a smaller zone to step back into, forcing myself to stay out of it.

And with each step out of my comfort zone, I’m getting closer to that yacht. Figuratively and literally. I will own a yacht someday. And when I do, I’ll grab that last piece of dream floating out there in the deep blue, only to find that there are more floating out there, ready for me to catch.

 

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

It’s the only way to LIVE.

 

Cheers to living!

 

As always, 

Thanks for stopping by!

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Cheers & in health,

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

 

 

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable- Part 2: Relationships

I heard on the radio this morning that we peak at age 23 when it comes to making new friends.

it makes sense though, that’s the age when we are trying new things, out at the bars, just finishing college, starting new jobs and yadayadayada. But i say lets be above average! Don’t stop making new friends at 23. Hold true to your best friends but be open to new friends. But it’s sometimes awkward, I know. Which is why I’m here to tell you….

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.  In part 1 we dove into what it means to be uncomfortable in your health and fitness journey and why it’s important.

Here, in part 2, we will talk about why getting uncomfortable in relationships, of any kind, is necessary.

What makes us most uncomfortable when it comes to starting and maintaining relationships? Why is it sometimes hard for us to make friends, feel comfortable around friends or significant others, etc? 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 though, is that generally we don’t know why we should step outside of our comfort zones.

Let’s talk this one through shall we?

Relationships of any kind are not something we should force, that’s obvious. However, the are also something that we shouldn’t force to not happen. Often times we get so caught up in avoiding new relationships- with significant others or friends- because we like where we are currently and we are afraid of someone new coming in and throwing that equilibrium off balance. But how do you know that the person asking you on a date or asking you to hang out with their group of friends doesn’t have something amazing to offer? When it comes to relationships we like to be stubborn. Even more so, sometimes we get stubborn in how we protect our friendships. How many of you reading this have gotten jealous when your best friends has made a new friend? That’s nonsense!

We need to get comfortable being uncomfortable in 3 pieces of our personal relationships.

  1. Making new relationships
  2. Maintaining relationships
  3. If necessary, cutting the cord

1)  Making new relationships

This is the hardest part. By far. It’s hard putting yourself out there. But let me tell you friend, sometimes in life, this is an absolute necessity. I remember just 2 short years ago after moving across the country, I was faced with the task of making new friends. I mean I had to, I only knew my husband and my dogs in this large, new, and strange city.

So yeah, this is the hardest part, but here is why it’s the most important.

Those new friends that are out there somewhere on the horizon, they may have walked a similar path to you, and you don’t even know it. This becomes beneficial when you find yourself in a hard spot in life, and you need someone to talk to about it who has been in a similar boat. Trust me, that similarity in tough times is life changing.

Or those new friends out there could offer you something so much more. A new perspective on things, connections to someone or something that could help launch you into a new hobby, a new career, a new ______ you fill in the blank.

But meeting new people is hard. Whether it’s hanging out with a friend for the first time or going on the first date. Here are the excuses we tell ourselves as to why we shouldn’t even bother. And let me reiterate that they are just that- excuses. So once you’re done reading these excuses, I need you to burry them in your backyard.

  1. I’m not sure we’re compatible.
  2. We’re so different.
  3. I don’t know anything about them.
  4. I’m too busy to foster a new relationship.
  5. I like being alone.
  6. I can’t risk getting hurt again.
  7. I don’t have to emotional capacity to even try this out.
  8. I’m not outgoing enough.
  9. I’m socially awkward.
  10. They’re unlike all of my other friends

Have you thought one of those to yourself before? Likely. Now here’s reasons why all of those are bullshit.

  1. But how do you know?
  2. Isn’t that a good thing?
  3. Now’s a great time to learn.
  4. You have 30 minutes to spare. Just try it.
  5. Chances are you don’t like to be alone 100% of the time. And hey, what if this person likes being alone most of the time too?
  6. What a negative mindset that everyone is going to hurt you.
  7. But do you have the emotional capacity to walk through this chapter of your life alone? You don’t like the idea of a support system?
  8. Who said you have to be?
  9. Maybe they are too. Here’s a secret: those are the best kinds of relationships/ friendships
  10. GOOD! Expand your horizons!

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Here’s the thing new friend. Making NEW FRIENDS is hard. Trying a new relationship is HARD. It’s the hardest part of all of this. So many unknowns come from the excuses listed above. But you’ve got to push past that. I can guarantee that half of my audience currently reading this are the friends that I made because I put myself out there. Most of you reading this never would have thought we’d be friends, I never thought we’d be friends. Because the truth is that my current friend group is the most wildly different friend group I’ve had in my entire life. In fact, put all of my friends from my first 24 years of life together and they still wouldn’t be as diverse as the friends I’ve made in the past 2 years. And you know what? I love it! It’s beautiful! I’ve met people from so many different walks of life- background, ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation, age, hobbies, etc. And it has been the wildest ride so far. But had I looked at any of them from first glance and used the “We’re too different” excuse. Then I wouldn’t have travelled halfway around the world with some of them, or experienced new things with others. You see my point?

If you feel a little awkward, and a little uncomfortable the first time hanging out with this potential new relationship, then good! You’re putting yourself out there. Hey, no one is saying you have to see them ever again, but at least you tried.

*and if you get along like lifelong sisters on the first hangout, even better!

*and I need to note that I think it is good to foster your longest term relationships, hold those close if you can. But just like we open new chapters of our lives book, we need to open room for new relationships in those chapters too.

If you’ve been waiting for a sign to finally say yes to that first date. To foster a new relationship. To dive in. This is it friend, THIS IS IT!

2) Maintaining Relationships

If only it were as easy as we are led to believe. BUT IT’S NOT.

You’ve been with your significant other for a year and a half now, and it’s all of a sudden no longer easy. Why?  The newness wears off. Just like eventually a car will eventually lose its new car smell, your relationship will lose some newness too. But unlike a car, you can’t put an air freshener in it and it’s magically new.

When it comes to maintaining relationships you have to be both selfish and selfless. Selfish in knowing what you deserve, and selfless in knowing what the other person deserves. It’s like walking a tightrope across the grand canyon at times. You’re wobbling just to get there, to the other side with your partner, but on the way you hit some road blocks. A gust of wind comes and nearly knocks you completely off, a bird flies across and shits on your shoulder, your partner moves faster than you, changing the slack between you two. But don’t get knocked down, understand that sometimes it does feel like you have shit sitting on your shoulder, find a way to eliminate that slack.

I am no relationship guru, I won’t even pretend to be. But what I do know is that a relationship of any kind is a two way street. Where we most commonly lose our footing is when we feel that it is no longer a two way street and instead of expressing those feelings, we turn into little school girls and think “well if they’re not going to try, then I’m not going to either”

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that no one can read your mind. So SAY WHAT YOU’RE FEELING. Oh, you don’t want to? Why? Oh right, because it’s uncomfortable.

So instead of speaking what you feel, instead of working to shorten the distance between you two, instead of fighting to stay upright, you let the fear of being uncomfortable knock you off and make the distance between you further than ever.

Talk it out my friend.

And then do it again, and again.

If it’s worth your worry, then it’s worth your time.

If you spend more than one second thinking about it, then it means you care.

But don’t get caught up in what used to be, that was then and this was now.

If your relationship is falling apart, if you feel distant from your friend, and you don’t like it, then it is on YOU to try to work it out. It’s worth the shot, trust me.

3) Cutting the cord

There will come times when you have to cut the cord. The reason people don’t do this as much as they should isn’t necessarily because it’s uncomfortable, it’s because they don’t realize its needed. We get blinded by what we think “it is” and don’t realize what actually is. Here’s how you can tell if it’s time to cut the cord in any of your relationships:

  1. Do you feel drained of energy when you’re around this person?
  2. Does this person no longer serve your dreams, hopes, etc.?
  3. Can you see this person in your life 5 years from now?

I’ve had to cut the cord multiple times in my life. The most uncomfortable thing about the act of actually doing this  is that other people won’t agree with you. Once we realize it’s needed, generally we ignore that. Because now it’s not the fact that we don’t realize that it should be done- because we do realize it- it’s that we don’t know how to handle the discomfort of it. So yeah, I’ve cut the cord before. I’ve had people in my life that drained the freaking shit out of me. They didn’t serve much of a purpose before, they didn’t support me or my dreams. Sometimes, they slowly slipped out of my life, and other times it was as fast as literally cutting a cord.

The other hard part about this? Is the fine line between trying to maintain the relationship and cut it. The difference between points 2&3 is that you fully realize that the relationship is worth your effort in point 2, vs. knowing that the relationship is draining you in point 3. Know how to spot the difference. Allow yourself a few moments, weeks, or months to assess how this person truly makes you feel. Note how you feel when you’re around them vs. not around them. If it’s astronomically different, well, then you know what you need to do.

And, if while reading this last section, you had someone in your mind the whole time, take a look at that relationship. I’m not trying to tell you to start cutting wildly like a child cutting a snowflake out of a piece of paper, but I am trying to tell you to focus on your happiness. Who brings that? Who doesn’t?

Relationships are hard work.

But if you never try, you’ll never know.

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Thanks for reading! I know this was a long one.

If you found any of this relevant to you- share it!

And then share with me what was helpful.

I love that :)

And to read Part 1, click here 

& for more from CarlyB, you can subscribe to my email list

In health, Carly

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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(going over lifestyle and relationships comfort zones)

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