Be The Best You in 2014 With the 100 Day Yoga Challenge

I am super pumped to be writing this post! When I originally envisioned this series this challenge was at the top of my list. My recent partnership with the inspired me to get back into a regular yoga practice. Counting today, there are 121 days left in the year, so I figure if I start my challenge today, I  will have a little leeway to mess up, but still be able to reach my goal.

IMG_2967 final

Also, I just found out that September is National Yoga Month, so it is the perfect time to kick this challenge off. To celebrate, the Yoga Health Foundation is offering one week of free yoga at participating studios. Click the link to sign up:


I want to achieve some real results and I think yoga is the way to do it. There are a few poses and stretches that I’ve never been able to do and would love to achieve at the end of this challenge.

Monkey Pose

I’ve never been able to do the splits before, but I know I could get there if I work on it.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Wheel Pose

I took gymnastics when I was little and I was the only one who could never do the bridge. My upper body strength sucks and it would be a personal victory to be able to get into this pose.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Crow Pose

I’ve been able to get into the crow pose when I practiced last year, but I could never hold it or feel stable in it. I would love to be able to get into the pose and hold it.


Photo via Pinterest

I am going to record my progress in this post and would love for you to join me and share your achievements in the comments. Each day, I am going to share a new yoga tip or something that I’ve learned along the way.

Day 1

So, my first class in the challenge was HOT! I made the mistake of walking to yoga, so I was dying when I got in there. It was extra hot in the room, so everyone was sweating. Next time, I am going to need to bring a towel so my yoga mat doesn’t get all slippery. I also need to bring water. I made it through, so I was proud of myself!

A number of students had these Skidless Towels to put over their mats to help absorb moisture so you don’t slip.

skidless towels

Our instructor talked about how today was the beginning of school for most people and that you always see people taking first day pictures, but never last day pictures. She said that we tend to focus on that fresh start all the time and not so much on the transition or the end. Our practice today was supposed to help us focus on the journey and the end of practice. We don’t want to rush through the end of things just to get to the beginning again, we should want to enjoy the end just as much as the beginning. I liked this thought because I always have a hard time finishing, but I love starting over. I found this quote that sort of sums it up:


Day 2

Day 2 went much better! I brought water this time and it was a lifesaver! I am still going to need a towel if I continue at this studio because it gets hot and sweaty! I was really inspired today by the girl next to me. The instructor helped her get into the wheel pose (one of my goals) and it inspired me. I’m not there yet, but I know I can get there. We spent a lot of time learning how to get into the pose, so that will be helpful later on.

I liked this article from FitSugar on some poses to work into that will help you get into wheel pose in the future:


Photo via FitSugar

Day 3

Day 3 was great! I took a slower yoga class which I was able to keep up with for the most part and loved it. I also brought a hand towel this time which helped me to wipe down my face which in turn helped keep my mat dry. We did some split poses and one of the women in my class was able to do a full split! This blew me away, but also got me excited to get to that point myself at the end of this challenge.

I learned today that the Sanskrit word for the splits or monkey pose is called Hanumanasana (pronounced hah-new-mahn-AHS-anna). It got its name from the Hindu Monkey God, Hanuman. As the story goes, Hanuman made a giant leap from India to reach the Lankan Islands and the splits are supposed to commemorate that.

Photo via Pinterest

Photo via Pinterest

Day 4

Day 4 was great, I kept up and felt good about myself and my practice. In my class they keep talking about Bandhas and I had no idea what they were talking about, so I decided to do some research. In Sanskrit bandha means to lock, hold or tighten. I found this great article that went into much more detail about what a bandha is and the different types of bandas. This was extremely helpful – now I will know what they are talking about in class.


Day 5

Day 5 was great! I was able to get up into the crow pose for a little bit. I couldn’t hold it for very long, but I got up there. I think that will be the first goal I master. I would love to be able to get up and be stable for a while.

Our instructor talked about the past today. She said that the past is just a story we tell ourselves. It doesn’t matter what you did before or in yesterday’s practice, it only matters what you can do today. (I guess this is a quote from a movie, but I loved it).

the past

Day 6

I did not want to go to yoga today, I wanted to lay around and do nothing, but I signed up for the class and got my butt up and out the door! I am SO glad that I did go, everything felt so great and I left feeling really good. We did some balance poses and I definitely need to work on that, my balance was terrible.


Day 7

I started yoga at a new studio today and it was a little frustrating trying to get into the new routine. Plus they had a hard concrete floor, so I may need to get a thicker mat if I end up staying at this studio. I was able to keep up in the Vinyasa and this studio wasn’t as hot, so I think I moved through everything a lot easier. I did get a complement on my Zella pants that I got at the Nordstrom sale!


Day 8

Today I took a much slower class, but I really worked hard. Our instructor focused on being grounded in all of these crazy storms and floods. There was a beautiful full moon tonight, so it was sort of a cool day to think about being grounded and connecting to the energy of the earth.


Day 9

I loved my class today. Our instructor was telling a story about an 87-year-old woman who teaches yoga and is amazing. One of the things she teaches her students is to be sweet, be soft and be simple in their poses. Our practice today focused on doing that.

Day 10

Day 10 saw me back at Vinyasa and I think that all of these slower classes helped me work on my poses and form. We tried the crow pose again and I got up for a second but wasn’t able to hold the pose. We did get into pigeon pose and the instructor had us put a yoga block under our tailbone which really helped me in this pose. I hadn’t been able to do this and fold down, so with the block I was able to get there. We did spend some time talking about the do’s and don’ts in Chatarunga and I found this image that explains it perfectly.


Day 11

On Day 11, I had to do my P90x Yoga video at home. It was a lot harder to stay focused at home because our house is still a mess from the flood and we are waiting for the basement to get recarpeted before we can move everything back. So it was hard to shut everything out because I kept looking around and thinking of what I should be cleaning/organizing. I made it through and I think that was really important.


Day 12

Today I was back in class with a Vinyasa class. It was fabulous! I loved the instructor and I was really jamming on everyone’s energy. Our instructor kept talking about how we take for granted falling and being able to get back up. She said that is a sign of getting old, when you fall and can’t get back up again. The girl next to me was a yoga rockstar. She did full splits on both sides and got into a yoga nidrasana pose! It was inspiring!

yoga nidrasana

Day 13

So yesterday was the first day that I skipped a class, so I only have 20 skip days left to reach my goal. I have to say that it felt so good to get back to my practice after one day off. Our instructor had us doing poses that I had never even heard of. It was intense, but I think I kept up well enough. The Dancing Camel was one of the new poses that I learned. Here is a diagram of how to do it:

dancing camel

Day 14

Today’s class was a slow flow. It wasn’t as physically intense, but we did some great stretches and balance poses that I think will help me later on. In many of these classes, I’ve discovered that my hips are really tight so I have trouble getting into and holding some of these poses. The more classes I attend, the better it gets.


Day 15

So, I skipped a few days here because I started a new job. It felt really good to get back to it. I ended up going to a Sunday class and they also tied in meditation to this one. Before we went into our meditation we tried alternate nostril breathing, also known as pranayama. It seemed sort of weird when we were doing it, but apparently it has all sorts of benefits. This article explains it in much more detail and I learned a lot more about it.


Day 16

Day 16 was back to Vinyasa and this was a fast class. When our instructor left us on our own, I got totally lost and couldn’t remember what came next. I faked my way through it, but I was in the back and I think that hindered my ability to get the directions down.


Day 17

Tuesday is Slow Flow and I think that is my favorite class of the week. It is the perfect class for a Tuesday. I walked in the door super cranky and left feeling wonderful. After my missed days, I have 14 skip days left if I still want to reach my 100 days of yoga goal by the end of 2014.

slow flow

Day 18

I had a great time in Saturday’s fast paced Vinyasa class. I had a good flow and felt really confident in my moves. We did pranayama again and we also talked about looking within. That is the hardest part about yoga, to release all the thoughts that pop into your head and just focus on the practice and your breathing.

look within

Day 19

Tuesday was Slow Flow Yoga, which I’ve come to know as my favorite class of the week. Our fantastic instructor made a point last night to talk about how we are pressured to move so quickly in today’s world. Our yoga class should be a time to slow down and enjoy the life that we live. I think that is why I love slow flow so much, I love to keep busy and add new commitments to my schedule. Yoga is the one time where I have to force everything out of my brain and just focus on my practice.


Day 20

I did Hatha yoga today and I wasn’t really sure what the difference was other than it wasn’t as fast paced as Vinyasa. I figured I would look it up and discovered that I pretty much had it right in the first place. Hatha is basic yoga so it is a good class for beginners with a slower pace.


Day 21

This day was Vinyasa and I love this Saturday morning class. At the end of class our instructor made an interesting comparison. She has a one-year old daughter and she has been watching how determined her daughter is to crawl, stand and walk. If she falls she keeps going, it is instinctual. That is how our yoga practice should be. We should have the tenacity and determination of a child.


Day 22

Sunday was a yoga meditation class and while my legs and hips were really tight, I thoroughly enjoyed the meditation. This quote pretty much summed it up:


Day 23

I got out of work a little later than planned so I had to take the slower class. My balance was about 50/50, but we got some really great stretches in. I felt completely relaxed afterwards. I had something on my mind that I was getting worked up about, but I found that after yoga I was able to be more rational and not react emotionally.


Day 24

So I started a new studio today and I don’t think that I was prepared. It sort of reminded me of what a club would be like if we were doing yoga. It was super jam-packed and the temp was cranked up. After a less intense studio, I really wasn’t prepared for this. I got through it, but it sort of made me want to go back to the old studio. If you don’t remember, I am taking advantage of all the new member specials in the area and then will decide on what studios I like best. After I left I realized that I might not have went in with the best attitude after a few days off from practice. When I came home, John said that at least I went and got through it, so that was my accomplishment.


Day 25

First of all, I made it a quarter of the way through!! I am so proud of myself for sticking with it! On another note, the second class at the new studio was Slow Flow and was a lot better. I was more prepared and kept up. There were still a lot of people, but I could probably get used to that. If you haven’t joined me in the challenge, there are still 75 more days left!!

Day 26

This Slow Flow class was so much better! I really liked the instructor and felt like I was totally rocking it. I definitely need to get some new yoga pants. I was out of clean ones and had to wear the pair with holes, lol. I think I should spring for these Zella Eleve leggings ($58):

zella leggings

Day 27

I had a great class today. Sunday afternoon yoga is the best! Our instructor was sharing some information on Sanksrit today, the “yoga language.” She said that the words were really the vibrations or the frequency of the object. I found this article that explains it really well.

Day 28

This class was awesome! I felt like I was killing it and I got up into Bakasana (crow pose) for the longest amount of time yet! But then I got too excited and fell over.


Day 29

This was the first class back after about a two week break. I hadn’t planned a break but life got in the way. I’m glad I got back on the yoga horse. It was a great class and I kept up pretty well. This was the start of a new unlimited package so hopefully that will keep me motivated to stay on track.

Day 30

I was so sore from the day before, but I decided to go to class in spite of that. Our instructor talked about samskaras, which are patterns that we tend to repeat over and over again. She compared it to finding ourselves dating the same type of guy over and over again. Your brain is hardwired to repeat the same pattern of habits. The good news is that you can change your patterns and this article explains how to do that with yoga.

samskaras (1)

Day 31

I was back at yoga today and I was trying out my new Manduke Pro Lite mat – you can read my post about it here. It was sort of funny today I was all excited about trying out my new fancy yoga mat and then two minutes in I get a terrible Charley horse in my hamstring. It went away after a while but it sort of took away some cool points. Something the instructor said at the end of class really stuck with me – Yoga is the death of the ego. I couldn’t agree with this statement more. Every class is a humbling experience.


Day 32

This was a fun class – I felt like I was hitting my stride. My new mat was still a little slippy, but not too bad. Our instructor talked about how freeing it is to be able to do all of the yoga movements. Think about people that break a leg or can’t move anymore – we take the freedom of movement for granted and yoga reminds us not to do that. This struck a chord with me as I broke my foot last year and can relate to not having that freedom. Even if you can’t master all of the movements just being able to move is a gift.


Day 33

Mat was definitely slippery in this class, I will have to check out the salt water scrub that is recommended to help with this problem on the Manduka mat. On another note, our instructor always says “Om Shanti” at the end of class and I had to look up the meaning. This is a parting salutation to send someone off with well wishes. “Shanti” means peace. Namaste roughly means I see and appreciate the light within you.


Day 34

Yes, this challenge is still happening even though I haven’t posted in a while. I never said this would be 100 consecutive days, lol. Since we’ve moved into our new house I haven’t had a lot of extra cash to spend on classes so for Day 34, I did the P90X Yoga. This was great because we have a wood floor in our dining room and I was able to set up my mat at the edge of the floor and still see the TV in the living room. It felt good to be doing yoga again and I really need to get back into gear!


Day 35

Stay Tuned!

Click here for more posts in this series here.

Be The Best You in 2014 with Random Acts of Kindness

This post was inspired by Kerry at Till Then Smile Often.

She recently started a Random Acts of Kindness series and I love following along. This has inspired me to include this on my Be The Best You in 2014 series. I’ve been involved with many nonprofits and volunteer opportunities throughout the years and I can tell you that there is nothing that makes you feel happier than giving back.

Till Then Smile Often

This sort of reminds me of the Friends episode where Phoebe tries to find a selfless good deed and realizes that there is no such thing. Putting good into the world makes you feel good – and there’s nothing wrong with that:

My challenge for 2014 is to commit 52 Random Acts of Kindness – one for every week this year. I will detail all of them at the bottom of this post as I complete them.

1. Vending Machine Treat

I found my first RAK idea on Pinterest. I will leave a few dollars taped to a vending machine for someone to enjoy a treat or drink on me. I found the cards to download here and I wrote the hashtag #BetheChange2014 on the back. I sort of got caught taking the picture – next time I need to be faster!


2. Elevator Surprise!

I came up with this idea on my way into the office. I wanted to leave something in the elevator one morning. Last night I purchased a three-pack of $10 Starbucks gift cards (more to come on the other two) and taped the Random Acts of Kindness Card to the front. This morning I taped the cards to the top of the elevator panel.


3. Well Wishes on the Windshield

I am still working on my three-pack of Starbucks gift cards, so this is the second card. I decided to leave it on someone’s windshield so when they came out to their car after a long day they would have a nice treat. Now I need to figure out what to do with the third card.


4. Gift at the Gas Station

With my final Starbucks gift card I decided to leave a surprise for someone at the gas station. I hope it brightened someone’s day.


You can join Kerry’s challenge by using the hashtag #BeTheChange2014 on Twitter and Instagram.

I would love for you to join me and share your stories below!

Click here for more posts in this series here.

Be the Best You in 2014 Without Being “Busy”

So, I’ve been meaning to write this post for a week, but guess what? I was too busy and didn’t have time. I can’t tell you how often I have been “busy” this month.


It’s sort of a funny story on how this post came about. A friend of mine contacted me about getting together for lunch to reconnect (I hadn’t seen her in a long time) but I was going to decline because I was too “busy” to get out for a lunch date. On a whim the night before I just decided to go for it and set a time and place for lunch. I am SO glad I did because it was great to reconnect. During lunch she mentioned an article that she had read about being busy and promised to send it to me. After reading it, I knew it was going to be the next step in my Be the Best You in 2014 series.

You can read the article by Tyler Wardis here.

A few points that stood out to me were:

  • “Being busy is not the same as being productive.”
  • “It can actually be a sign of an inability to manage our lives well…We simply don’t know how to live within our means, prioritize correctly, or say no…Being busy is not the same as being productive.”
  • “Busy often keeps us from the finer things in life.”

This article really opened my eyes to some of the things I am guilty of. I’ve had a number of people use that excuse for me to explain why I haven’t made time for them “We know you are so busy,” they will say.

So the author proposed a challenge, that I am going to implement in my life this year:

“For one month, I’m going to stop using the word “busy.” I’m going to resist the comfort of it to try and dig deeper to explain how things really are. If I feel busy, my hope is to be aware enough to discover why and to learn how I can change it.

Join me. Or at the very least, remember that being busy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and often isn’t as necessary as we think.”

So starting now, for 2014, I am not going to use the word “busy” as an excuse for not doing something.

The author provides a number of resources on how to re-prioritize your life, but I think the first step for me is to finally get my Erin Condren life planner (I will be getting the sorority edition of course).

Erin Condren Life Planner

Erin Condren Life Planner

In the article the author mentioned the 80/20 principle which is introduced in Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. In order to get my schedule under control I decided to purchase this book for myself. I want to make sure to work smarter, not harder.


I will keep you updated on my progress on this challenge as I start to go through the planning resources and share my tips.

I would love for you to join me in this challenge and share your stories below!

Click here for more posts in this series here.

Be the Best You in 2014 with Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps

I recently introduced my new Be the Best You in 2014 series and I have to tell you how much fun I am having with it. I am so inspired and really motivated to make positive changes this year. Each Sunday, there will be a new post in the series. These posts are meant to challenge me (and you) to be the best we can be in 2014.

The second topic in my series is on money. 2014 will be the year I get out of debt! I have listened to Dave Ramsey’s podcast for a while now and love it, but so far I have really only been paying lip service – listening but not actually doing. If you’ve never heard about Dave Ramsey before, you can read more about his story here, but I’ve really enjoyed listening to his thoughts about money. He has a series of famous Baby Steps that are part of his plan:

dave ramsey baby steps

I am on Baby Step 2, which is to get out of debt and I have decided that 2014 is the year to make it happen. As Dave says, I plan to do “plastic surgery” and cut the credit cards out of my life. I’ve crunched the numbers and figured out that I can make it happen this year, but I will have to work hard to do it.

Dave talks about working your debt snowball, which is paying off your debts smallest to largest. This method helps you to gain momentum in paying off your debt and keeps you motivated with small wins.

Dave and his daughter, Rachel Cruze were just on Katie Couric’s show, which you can see a clip of here:

I took a long hard look at the times where I’ve used my credit cards and realized that it usually is a failure to plan in advance. This year we have three big weddings coming up and a number of other events. We already know about them so we can financially plan in advance and be prepared instead of making things happen at the last minute. I took some time and compiled a list of all of the big events we have in 2014 which includes trips, birthdays, Christmas, weddings, showers. I think the key to getting out of debt and sticking to a budget is to cashflow our big events in advance and not waiting until the last minute.

So, in order to get started with this goal, here are a few of the steps that I am going to take:

1. Get rid of the credit cards – as of publishing this blog post I am no longer using plastic (aside from my debit card).

2. Get Dave’s The Total Money Makeover Book. I’ve listened to the podcasts, but this is the next step.

Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 9.05.32 PM

3. Start using Dave’s Envelope System. This means paying cash for groceries and entertainment, gas, etc. This is key to start realizing how much I am spending on certain things. I found this cute Envelope Wallet on Etsy to get me started:

envelope system

4. Continue to make my budget, but actually stick to it (the envelope system will help with that)!

I get paid on the 15th, so this is the perfect time to kick off my new plan and actually start living the plan instead of just listening to it.

If you still aren’t sure about it, I encourage you to listen to Dave’s podcasts here. I love hearing the debt free screams on the show and think that they are great motivation!

I will plan to update everyone as I pay off each debt on this post and would love to have you guys post in the comments if you are paying off debt too!

Click here for more posts in this series here.

Be the Best You in 2014 with “Wife After God” Devotional

Disclosure: I generously received a free copy of this devotional for an honest review on my blog. 

Today is the first day of my new Be the Best You in 2014 series! I introduced the new series here in my New Year’s Day post. Each Sunday, there will be a new post in the series. These posts are meant to challenge me (and you) to be the best we can be in 2014, so a lot of the topics are going to be areas that I need to work on.

I got the idea for the first post from Elise from Cheers Y’All when she mentioned reading this 30-day devotional. I thought it was a great idea and combined two areas that I really wanted to focus on this year, faith and marriage. I contacted the author and received a free copy of the devotional to review on the blog (which was so awesome!).

The devotional is called Wife After Godand is a 30-day marriage devotional for wives that want to focus on their relationship with God and their husbands. This spoke to me because we are talking about starting a family soon and this might be the last year with just the two of us.


To get started, you need to get a copy of Wife After God, which you can buy here, an NIV bible and a journal. I found a cute journal here. I found the most adorable prayer journal on Etsy! It even has pages where you can record prayer requests and lined pages to journal!


I just received my prayer journal and it is awesome! Jennifer at Integrity Graphics has generously donated a custom prayer journal to one of my readers. Make sure to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I plan to start the first devotional tonight and to make time each night to do the devotionals and journal. Each of the devotionals has a challenge at the end of something for you to do/talk about with your husband. At the end of the 30 days I will give you an update on the devotional and what benefits it has brought to my relationship with God and my husband.

Jennifer Smith, the Unveiled Wife and author of this devotional, is also doing a video series for each devotional, that you can follow along with here:

You should also check out Jennifer’s story here. It is an amazing story and is really inspiring. Just keep scrolling to where it says “Biography.”

There is also a Facebook Group Chat that you can follow along with and share your comments:


I hope you will join me in this devotional journey and Be the Best You in 2014!

Be the Best You in 2014

2013 was a year of transition for me. There were a lot of endings and beginnings and I finally brought this blog to life, something I wanted to do for four years. 2013 was a year of preparation, getting us ready for what’s to come in 2014. I’m looking forward to 2014 to bring us a new home, a puppy and maybe even a baby!

So in the interest of preparing for all of these major life changes and instead of making resolutions that I probably won’t keep, I want to focus on being the best me possible. Throughout the course of 2014, I will introduce a new series of posts talking about how we can be the best versions of ourselves. Topics will include beauty, health, faith, family, money, career and fun! I want 2014 to be the best year yet!

John and I had a great time ringing in 2014 and we couldn’t be happier about what’s to come this year. I wish the best for all of you and can’t wait to share in this journey!


Happy New Year!


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