Things I did before 30

Yesterday was kind of a big day. It was my 30th birthday. I don’t know exactly how I feel about it – I didn’t want to make a huge deal of the event, but it does seem to be a birthday that has a bit more significance than others.

A lot of people I know have made lists of things to accomplish before their 30th birthdays – a “30 before 30″ list, or something similar. I truly thought about that, but instead thought that it would be a good thing to reflect back on the things I did on my own before this birthday…without being prompted or feeling a sense of urgency.

Before turning 30 I….

Mozzarella, Tomato, and Basil Couscous Salad with Arugula

Became a vegetarian. I probably should have done so sooner (I officially became veggie early 2014), but I did finally decide it was the right thing for me to do. I’d thought about it for years, and always told myself that I should be a vegetarian, but taking that leap and actually doing it was scary. But why not? It all hit me one day when I went to order a salad at a restaurant and as soon as I told them my salad order, I said “and add chicken.” When my salad arrived, I started to think, why did I just automatically order chicken? Is the salad just as good without it? Yes. So why was I pre-programmed into ordering meat? I decided to take a look at my habits and the next day I stopped eating meat. I’ll be honest – I don’t crave it whatsoever anymore. Can it be a little bit of a challenge to eat out at restaurants? At other peoples’ houses? Yep. But hey – it’s all good. I’m so happy that I made the decision and I’m not looking back.

Learned how to fold a fitted sheet. You guys – I NEVER thought I would be able to do this insane feat. Folding a fitted sheet is basically impossible. Mine usually ended up being wadded into some sort of wrinkled ball nowhere close to what it should look like. But after watching a few videos on YouTube, I freaking DID IT. Now, they aren’t perfect – maybe by the time I’m 40 my fitted sheets will be in a perfect, smooth fold…but hey – you’ve got to take victories when you get them.

Pure Barre equipment

Got in shape. This one sounds kind of silly, but it’s true. In my teens/early 20s I really knew nothing about fitness. I was one of those lucky individuals who had a fast metabolism and could get away with not working out in some way. I didn’t step foot in a gym even once in college, which kind of shocks me now. I wish I would have taken the initiative to get into a fitness regimen earlier on in my life, but I suppose my late 20s were the time that finally happened. I highly recommend everyone do the same: it doesn’t have to be anything intense. It doesn’t even have to be every day of the week. Finding something you enjoy doing and sticking to a schedule, whether it is a barre class, boot camp, weight lifting, or simply walking around your neighborhood, is what it’s all about. Signing up for a membership at a Pure Barre studio was one of the best things I ever did. When I knew I was paying for a class package, I got my butt in gear and made sure I didn’t miss classes. If you don’t currently have a fitness regimen you enjoy, don’t be afraid to try new things! I was terrified to take my first Pure Barre class, but if I hadn’t branched out to try something I’d never done before, I never would have found the workout I absolutely love to do every day!

sunset

Learned to relax a bit more. If you knew me when I was in school, you would know that I was an insane perfectionist. I was a straight A student, my attention to detail was ridiculous, and I never wanted to do anything less than 100% perfect. It served me well academically, but when you get to the real world and when you get older, it just can’t happen all the time. I struggled with this in my early 20s, I really did. I don’t know if it was age, I don’t know if it was that the world beat me down a little bit, but somehow in my late 20s I started to realize it was ok to just CHILL. I don’t mean “be lazy,” but to be ok with putting something off for a little while, or to let myself accept that sometimes things are out of my hands…there is nothing I can do to change them, and to just MOVE ON.

Took risks. None of these were terribly earth shattering, but as a person who was oh so very calculated for most of her life, closing my eyes and diving into something where I wasn’t sure of the outcome was pretty terrifying. But I’ve done it now…multiple times. Has it worked out perfectly every time? Nope. Not really. But if you don’t take risks or take yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll never change. You might miss out on some wonderful opportunities. If I hadn’t taken a leap of faith and contacted my studio about becoming a Pure Barre teacher, if I had been too scared to show up to the airport for training knowing NO ONE, I would never have realized how much I would love becoming a teacher and I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing right now. No risk, no reward. It doesn’t have to be high stakes, but taking yourself outside of your comfort zone every once in a while can truly reap benefits.

Changed career paths. Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up back when you were a child? Maybe that happens for some people, but I am pretty sure that question of what you are passionate about does tend to change over the years. It did for me. If you asked me what I was going to do for a career at age 21, my answer would have been different than at age 24. And different yet again by age 26. Annnnd again now at age 30. Whatever. Life is a journey, and sometimes you have to figure out what makes you happy. It doesn’t come to you all at once. I’ve learned through different jobs, through different coworkers, and more – sometimes things weren’t a good fit for me. Sometimes a job made me miserable and it wasn’t worth my well being to stay. It happens. You live, you learn, you take steps in new directions and hope that ultimately you will land in a place that makes you happy!

So…what will the next 10 years bring? Who knows! Here’s hoping my 30s will be a wonderful time to be alive!

Family Photos with Ashlee Hamon Photography

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

Ok, I’m going to admit it: I’ve been holding on to these photos for a little bit of time. Since…March, to be exact. Shame on me, shame on me! However, I thought it would only be fitting to share them in conjunction with our 5th wedding anniversary, which just so happened to be this past weekend. Instead of revisiting wedding photos, how about sharing some NEW family photos with Ashlee Hamon Photography!

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

Here’s the thing: Justin and I never really take photos together. I am either taking pictures of something (food, the dogs, our house), or we are taking a photo of one of us…but the two of us in tandem? It just doesn’t happen. So, enlisting Ashlee Hamon Photography to help us out with some new family portraits was the perfect idea.

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

I think these photos are the perfect way to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary – with new memories, and even a new family member in Sherman. He even dressed up for the occasion, sporting a bow tie like the fancy little man that he is.

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

There is even another little confession I want to make: we are not “pictures on the wall” kind of people. If you walk through our house, you won’t see a photo of us hanging on the wall. Artwork, yes…but photos: no. I didn’t feel like displaying wedding photos because they seemed dated as of a few months after the event. I know: I’m strange. But I just might change things up with a few of these photos, as I have a place for them in a gallery wall I’m putting together for my office! I am sure I’ll be sharing it as soon as the project is complete. That is, if I ever manage to pull myself together and clean up the office. It is now a bit of a disaster zone, since we’ve had a lot of construction going on in our house in the past few weeks. The office is now home to a lot of items that used to be in our bedroom that we had to move out when we had the flooring torn out. I’m scared to tackle that huge task, but I can’t wait to finally have my office put together completely. I feel like it is one of those projects that I have started and made progress on in the past, but I’ve never completed it to a point where I’m done making changes. One day soon, I swear!

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

Anyway, I could not sing more praises for Ashlee as our photographer. She was absolutely fantastic to work with, captured some awesome images I am glad to hang on to, and is just a great person in general! She even was nice enough to capture some glamour shots of my rings during our session – something I never was lucky enough to have before! If you happen to live in the Tampa Bay area and are looking for a photographer to work with, definitely check Ashlee out: you won’t regret it!

The Comptons Ashlee Hamon Photography

So – here’s to five years of marriage, our little family, and many more years to come!

Elevate Entertaining with Chinet® Cut Crystal® Tableware & Giveaway

Elevate Entertaining with Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware

The beginning of spring is the perfect time for a celebration! Living in Florida, the months of March and April are pretty much the best of the entire year. The humidity hasn’t kicked in yet, the weather is in the 70s, and it is the best time of the year to get together with family and friends. Elevate Entertaining with Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware

To welcome spring, I was inspired to invite a few friends over to our house to enjoy a few light bites and sips, sit outside in our backyard, and enjoy the fantastic weather we’ve been having! When it comes to entertaining, there is one dilemma I’m always faced with: what tableware do I use? As much as I love using the plates, cups, and flatware I have in my kitchen cabinets, there is the sometimes annoyingly large stack of dishes I have to do after the get together has concluded. I don’t know about you, but seeing a pile of dirty dishes that I have to deal with is one of my least favorite things… and is why I typically coerce my husband into doing them. That’s love, folks.

Elevate Entertaining with Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware

The other problem with my traditional plates and cups is the hazard of having them in a place where they can break. When we are sitting out on our patio, I like to avoid bringing glass into that environment. No one wants to have to clean up broken shards of glass if something falls! So – what to do? I have to admit: disposable tableware isn’t always my favorite option. Flimsy paper plates that don’t match my decor… drinking wine out of a paper cup? No thank you!

Elevate Entertaining with Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware

Thankfully, there is a lovely solution, and it comes in the form of Chinet® Cut Crystal® disposable tableware. Pretty, right? I am quite fond of their full line of coordinated products that are perfect for styling a party. Chinet® Cut Crystal® cutlery, plates, and cups are the only fully coordinated line of disposable tableware, and now includes the new stemless wine glass! I am SO glad to see these little beauties – they are perfect for enjoying a glass of wine without worrying that a guest (or ME) will break one of my pieces of stemware. Elevate Entertaining with Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware

Personally, I love that the products are clear in color, and the subtle swirl pattern is able to match any theme or décor you have set for your soiree. All of the components in the line are perfectly coordinated with one another. Plus, clear matches everything! From plates, to cups, cutlery, and stemless wine glasses, the line will really allow everything to pop on your table. The quality is fantastic as well: all of the pieces are sturdy, as well as beautiful! Elevate Entertaining with Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware

So really, there is no excuse for you not to get together with those you love for a gathering. Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware makes cleanup easy, so you have more time to spend with your guests.

Elevate Entertaining with Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware Elevate Entertaining with Chinet® Cut Crystal® tableware

Pictured: Chinet® Classic White® Chip & Dip Party Tray

In addition, the Chinet® Cut Crystal® website has tons of other inspired decoration, craft and recipe ideas to make your next gathering perfectly coordinated. Make sure you check it out for more inspiration!

So, I want to know: How would Chinet® Cut Crystal® elevate your next get-together?

Each comment posted below garners an automatic entry into a random drawing for a $100 Visa gift card and a Chinet® gift pack.  

Entry Instructions:

No duplicate comments.

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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This sweepstakes runs from 4/15/15 – 5/14/15.

Be sure to visit the Chinet brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Pure Barre: my journey so far

Pure Barre equipment

I am going to categorize this post in a list of “things I have been planning to write about but haven’t had time to yet.”  The reason why will present itself as this unfolds, so bear with me. Today I want to talk about Pure Barre. Specifically, how I found it, and why I love it!

Things have been relatively quiet here on the blog for the past two (ok, more like 3) months. I know this. That is because I’ve been a wee bit busy taking on a new adventure! If you asked me at the beginning of 2014 what I thought I’d be doing by this time in 2015, I never would have dreamed it up. So, let’s start from the beginning.

Pure Barre studio

How I found Pure Barre

I had a pretty strict gym routine. Justin and I would head to the gym on most weeknights (and some weekend mornings) to weight train and get in some cardio. All of a sudden in late April, disaster struck. I developed a painful case of tendonitis in my left thumb, which made it impossible for me to attempt gripping weights and putting any kind of stress on my wrist. What was I to do? I moped around for a few weeks in self pity, heading to the gym but just running like a hamster in a wheel on the treadmill. Fun fact: I hate running on the treadmill. I knew there had to be something else.

So, I took to the Internet and thought about trying something completely new for a change. It just so happened that I’d been hearing about Pure Barre classes from a few acquaintances, so I looked up where the nearest studio was located. I registered for my first class and headed there the next day. And the rest is history.

Pure Barre balls

The first class

I’m not going to lie – even if you are a physically fit individual, taking your first Pure Barre class is going to be a bit of a new experience (and a challenge). You’ll work muscles you didn’t know existed. You’ll be a little overwhelmed as you go through the routine. Paying attention to the teacher is important and confusing at first. You’ll have to learn the difference between a tuck and a pulse, and realize that making one inch movements is a LOT harder than you would think.

I went in thinking I was going to be good at it, and I quickly realized that it was going to take a few classes to understand the technique fully. It does, by the way – I would say you need to take at least 3-5 classes to fully understand what is happening and to get comfortable. On my very first class I experienced what it felt like to have my legs shake (which is a scary scenario when you first see it happening, but you learn to embrace it for how great it is). I honestly needed help getting up out of bed the day after my first class: I was so sore! But in a good way.

Pure Barre stretch

Getting hooked

After the first class, I knew I was hooked on Pure Barre. I found myself attending classes regularly, and getting excited to hop in my car to go to the studio. My flexibility increased SO dramatically, as well as my core strength. I went from being able to get about a third of the way into a splits position into almost fully sitting into the splits a few months later. Being able to physically see how much more flexible and strong my body was getting was definitely a huge hook. That, paired with the flow of class, the music, and the interaction and support I received during classes. It all added up.

Pure Barre sticky socks

The next step

About 6 months after taking my first Pure Barre class (late November 2014), an opportunity presented itself. A new Pure Barre studio is opening nearby, and at that time they were searching for teachers. I immediately jumped on the opportunity and got in touch. Despite my fear and nervousness, I auditioned. What did I have to lose, I thought? The next thing I knew, I was being booked on a flight to South Carolina to attend teacher training for four days the following week. What?!?!

Training was a whirlwind. Pure Barre from 8am to 4pm in the training facility, but really more like eating, sleeping, and breathing Pure Barre 24 hours a day. I was able to bond with my fellow teachers during that time – it felt like we were all college roommates as we sat in our hotel room eating pizza and studying into the wee hours of the night. Who would have thought that after meeting as complete strangers at the airport on a Wednesday night that we’d end up being fast friends by Sunday?

After returning home, it was crunch time. I spent the next few weeks practicing diligently so I could take my teacher test. There were days that I just wanted to throw in the towel and sit down on the floor and cry; it got a bit overwhelming to balance work, practicing, getting errands/chores done, and having some personal time to myself. But thankfully it was all worth it in the end, and now I am so excited to be able to help others to get the most out of their Pure Barre experience alongside me when the studio opens in a few short weeks! The journey continues…

Have you been to a barre class before?