Yoga on the Rocks {and a Breakthrough}

July was quite a month for me.  I was movin’ and shakin’ all month long.  Non-stop.  Every day, there was something.  Every weekend, I over programmed myself.

While it was a wonderful month, I came back from San Diego…. EXHAUSTED.

Throughout the month of July, I was a little more open to dining out… to having a cupcake… and to skipping the gym, en lieu of working at night.  Seriously, I don’t even know how I wrote content for NTTC there was so much going on.  Thanks for hanging in there with me, folks…

And, when the end of July arrived, I felt as though I had been changed…. in many ways, for the better, but in other ways, I had slipped back into an uncomfortable place.

Uncomfortable in an eerily familiar way… uncomfortable in that way where I didn’t know if I could get myself back on track.  Truthfully, I was worried.  Very worried.   Not only had my eating habits slipped significantly, but I also hadn’t been to the gym regularly since… well… Fitbloggin.

For the past month in regard to healthy living, I’ve felt like I was on the edge of an avalanche… where the ground feels unsteady, as though it’s about to crumble.

I knew I had agreed to go to Yoga on the Rocks bright and early on Saturday morning.  My friends over at Core Power Yoga offered me free tickets to attend, and I even roped my friend Erin into joining me… but, did I really want to practice yoga?  Most definitely, no.  I was out of practice and had felt lethargic for the past week.

What I wanted to do was sleep… but I’d committed to going, so I set my alarm for what I like to call “the butt-crack of dawn” on Saturday morning.  I’ll let you in on a secret amongst us friends… I am so not a morning person. Not even close…

Saturday morning came quickly, and I dressed and headed to Red Rocks Amphiteater for the event.  I’ve talked about Red Rocks here before both for a concert and for Film on the Rocks, but I realize that not everyone is familiar with my amazing state… so I’ll give you a peek at its amazingness.

Film on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

It is one of the best venues in the country for live music.  Surrounded by gorgeous red rocks, the acoustics are phenomenal… and then, there’s that view too.  I’m guessing that not every state has this little gem.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

When we arrived, Erin and I checked in… grabbed our free Core Power mats and orange sunglasses and went to find a spot to practice.  I knew I was in for a treat when I saw my favorite concert venue filled with brightly colored mats and yogis practicing their favorite headstand poses throughout the amphitheater.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

As we set up our area, I was still hesitant about how I my personal practice would go.  Knowing that I’d be practicing on unforgiving cement, I layered the giveaway mat underneath my Affirmats mat for extra support… as if those the words staring back at me weren’t enough support.  I love this mat… and I love that these words stared back at me for the next 60 minutes.  I needed them, and I repeated them throughout the class.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Can we again pause at the magnitude of this venue??

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

As the class began, Amelia Earhart kicked the event off… what an incredible and beautiful story she has.  If you’re not familiar, she recently just flew around the world!

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

She also reported that she is a huge fan of yoga… and spoke about her practice.  The instructor, Inanna Jessop, took over shortly after and we got to work.

Inanna described the purpose of the class was to “ground down in order to rise up.”  How beautiful is that?  And, truthfully, I feel like that is exactly what happened to me during the next 60 minutes.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

We warmed up, and then completed the most beautiful sun salutations and balance poses.  We spent some time working the core (they don’t call it “Core Power Yoga” for nothing!), and as we were working our way into savasana, I had that moment… the “I’m practicing my beloved yoga at freakin’ Red Rocks” moment… and it was then that I realized things had begun to shift.

When our time in savasana ended and Sam Smith stopped singing (love him!), I wanted more time.  When we sealed our practice with a collective namaste, I almost didn’t want to say that beautiful word… because it meant it was over.

Erin and I packed up our stuff to leave, and it took me forever to roll up my mats.  In that moment, I thought I was just too relaxed and not focusing… but in reality, I didn’t want to leave.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Something else happened that was incredibly significant… I realized that my body and my mind was craving yoga.  My cells hadn’t forgotten how this practice serves them.  It remembered, even when I took a month off… it remembered.  And, it responded.

I was energized, poised, and for the first time in weeks… empowered and inspired.  I knew that I COULD again… and with that, I knew that I WOULD.  

And what would I or could I do?  Ever since, I’ve felt the possibilities to be limitless.

Yoga on the Rocks | No Thanks to Cake

Since then, I’ve had a laser focus on being grounded, fueling my body with healthy foods, and setting intention of what will come in upcoming days, weeks, months…

This journey that I’m on has lots of ebbs and flows.  I’m not going to pretend that it doesn’t… but the recent pause scared me.  After that beautiful practice on Saturday morning, I don’t fear a thing.  I’ve got too much that I want in my life to worry about fears… and it appears that when I get lost, all I have to do is get back on my mat.

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Thank you to Core Power Yoga for providing Erin and I with complimentary passes to participate in Yoga on the Rocks.  I can’t wait to join you guys again next year!

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7 Things I Loved About Fitbloggin ‘14

While there are really about 500 things I loved about Fitbloggin 2014, I did my best to condense the list to just 7 highlights… If you’ve spent time out in the healthy blogiverse over the past week, I’m certain my other blogger friends have filled in the gaps with their recaps.

Fitbloggin 14  7 Things I Loved About This Conference | No Thanks to Cake(Photo Credit:  Carrie D. Photography)

7.  Thought-Provoking Sessions

Fitbloggin 14, as in years past, came with a full list of sessions that I could attend to grow my blog in new and exciting ways.  I attended a little bit of everything, and walked out with notes from just about every session.

As someone who takes way too many notes everywhere I go, I decided to spend time in the moment this year rather than attempting to capture every word spoken.  Instead, I walked out with a simple notepad speckled with a few notes and a quote or two.  These “nuggets” of information are all I need to upgrade NTTC in the next year… no transcription needed.

Fitbloggin Small Groups | No Thanks to Cake

The small group sessions are always the most moving for me.  I love hearing my peers talk about their experience and sharing my story as well.  I attended two in particular that I loved:  Maintaining the Mojo and Life After Goal.   I’ll tell you more this week about how I was inspired by Roni Noone herself in one of the sessions….

6. That 80’s Dance Party

Every single year, it’s my favorite class.  The energy is fantastic.  The smiles are abundant.  And this year, it was 80’s themed!??  Totally tubular….

80s Zumba | No Thanks to Cake

This Zumba-inspired class was incredible with Sue, Sam, and Nellie making sure that I shook my money maker and laughed all the way through.  I got to dance with Monica, Aliyah, Dawn,  and Nathan and 100 of my closest friends. What’s not to love??

80s Zumba | No Thanks to Cake

PS… This outfit made an appearance.  Thanks, Amazon…

80s Zumba | No Thanks to Cake

Lastly, if I could have squished Sam and Sue (and Thing 2) into a carry-on, I would have brought them back to Denver with me… so that they could make me sweat and dance it out on the regular.  The fact that we’ll be dancing in Denver next year makes me SOOOOOOOO happy.  Thank you for inspiring me… every single year!

5.  Ignite Fitness

In past years, I’ll admit I haven’t loved Ignite… but this year, the presenters REALLY outdid themselves and made it an incredibly interesting, motivating, and entertaining session!

We listened to Dre rap (thanks for the shoutout!), heard Allie’s tremendous story of competing on behalf of the US, watched Alan take the stage, and even learned how to make a proper cuppa tea!

Ignite Fitness | No Thanks to CakePhoto Credit:  Carrie D. Photography

I love the personality and preparation that the team brought to the table.  It’s not easy to rock a mike like they did… and they crushed it!  Can’t wait to see what Fitbloggin 15 brings… 

4.  Savannah Shopping

Oh my, Savannah was so hot… this girl was super sweaty throughout the weekend.  Thank goodness there were a bunch of cute shops to pop into to cool down!

I found two unique culinary stores to stop into that I’m so glad I found.

The Savannah Bee Company:  How often do you walk into a store that offers honey tastings??  It was so awesome!  I ended up with a few flavors for myself (Savannah and whipped honey!) and a few jars for gifts.

Savannah Bee Company | No Thanks to Cake

I was heading to the airport when I stumbled upon The Salt Table, and couldn’t pass it by!  The Foodette sent me to this awesome store, and wow… she made an amazing recommendation!

The Salt Table Savannah | No Thanks to Cake

The shop was full of flavored salts and sugars…. Popcorn seasonings, dips.  I was in heaven!  I ended up walking out with some mesquite flavored salt, maple salt, coconut sugar, and some Ghost Pepper salt for my bro for Christmas!  It was probably better that we were in a hurry.  Had I more time, I would have bought the entire store… and had to figure out a way to get it home in my carry on (along with Sue and Sam)…

3. The Avocados

Prior to the conference beginning, I entered a recipe into the California Avocado Commission’s Culinary Cutting Edge Contest.  And, as luck would have it, I was named to the finals with the lovely Alyssa and Kia, for this recipe!

Grilled Avocado Caprese | No Thanks to Cake

The session on Avocados was amongst my favorite because I got to learn all about one of my favorite fruits… and they announced the big winner:  My roomie Alyssa!!!  While my caprese salad took second place, it was Alyssa’s yummy tarts that brought home the grand prize!!

California Avocados Contest Fitbloggin | No Thanks to Cake Photo Credit:  Double Chin Diary

The chef even did a live demo of her recipe and they let us try the winning recipe!  So delish!!!

Avocado Cream Tarts Double Chin Diary | No Thanks to CakePhoto Credit:  Double Chin Diary

I loved this contest for many reasons… my love of avocado being one of them, but also I love the art of creating deliciously healthy dishes.  I put some time into coming up with just the right dish to present… and I’m incredibly proud of what I entered.  I also am bursting with ideas for more avocado dishes.  So get ready, readers, there’s more avocado recipes on the way!

Lastly, it also made me really consider the types of brands that I want to work with in the future.  These guys completely align with my vision for NTTC… so, expect more like it in the future!

2.  Reflecting on the Year that Passed

2013 was a rough year for this girl.  So much going on… and frankly, not a lot of happy.  I battled with myself trying to figure out what my next steps were going to be… and felt a little lost at Fitbloggin 2013, as a result.

There were multiple sessions where I just cried.  (Yep)  I cried because the topics touched a little too close to home… and I felt sort of lonely in a crowd of people.  It’s not something I’ve spoken of until now, but it was a tough time… mostly, I was just trying to Pollyana my way through, hoping that it would pass.

Thank goodness it did!!!!!

AND THIS YEAR… so different.  For the past few months, I’ve been so genuinely happy.  To be at Fitbloggin and to be able to share that “happy” was awesome.  Nice to have my head held high again.  It’s so nice to be back…

1.  The People

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  The people are what make Fitbloggin for me.  This picture below is from my favorite moment of the conference…

Fitbloggin | No Thanks to Cake

You’ll notice that we aren’t even at the conference.  We didn’t even find a swanky restaurant to dine at.  We’re at a cheesy Mexican joint across from the hotel that could seat 8 with no wait, and later add a table to grow our group even more.

This is the night I got to meet Beth, hear about Jessica’s job transformation, understand how Sarah’s world is changing, sit next to my girl Monica and unknowingly order the same dinner (life twins!), visit with Dawn and meet her friend Lynne and plan yoga time for my December visit, hear about Sam’s tattoo plans, visit with Emily and gush about how I adore Harper, and spend more time with my girl Ash fiercely getting to know these women.  Awesome night.  Beautiful people.  

It’s moments like this that keep me coming back for more.  It’s people like this that make me want to be a better person.

Roni, I can’t thank you enough for another wonderful conference year.  I can’t wait to see you all in Denver for Fitbloggin 15.

xoxo

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Overcoming the Fear of the Mirror

I absolutely love yoga… if it is a sport, it’s my sport. 

I’ve been practicing for at least two years… and I’ve had the pleasure of practicing with many beautiful beautiful people over the years.  Different flows, different posture recommendations, the ones that are super spiritual, the ones that feel more like a pilates class…. You get it.

For me, it’s that hour that I have where I can just disconnect and breathe.  Yes, we all breathe all the time.  If we couldn’t breathe, we wouldn’t be here after all… I get it.  But when you’re practicing yoga, you REALLY breathe.  It’s the most conscious, meditative, beautiful breathing I do every week.

I can’t get enough of it.

Perfect example, last week I sat in long meetings for days and when my mind wandered, it wandered to yoga.  After sitting in a chair watching presentation after presentation, I wanted nothing than to be in a beautiful supine twist, downward dog, or even savasana.

I’m hooked.  I love my practice.

When I was in Temecula two weeks ago, I went to my friend Crystal’s gym and took a vinyasa class while she killed it on the weights. The class was incredible.  Dimly lit with candles and the most perfect flow.

There was only one problem with this class… and it was that huge plane of glass in the front of the room:  The Mirror.

Overcoming the Fear of the Mirror | No Thanks to Cake

While yoga is typically my hour of peace, the mirror was right there staring back at me and giving me an opportunity to peek at how my body was behaving in most postures.  I got to check my alignment in warrior 2, which was helpful, but I also took time to judge my body which was not helpful at all.

For some reason, peeking at my thighs and checking out how my curves looked compared to the girl to the left of me was oh-so-subtly acceptable from my vantage point.  In the end, the self-criticisim was not okay, but it was what my eyes were immediately drawn to.  And like a new episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians… I just couldn’t look away, even if I wanted to.

Like a dark cloud that crept in over my practice, this reflection was completely consuming.  I escaped only during the final savasana and found myself once again before the closing “namaste.”

While class ended and the day went on, I found myself returning to this question:  Why do I do this?  Why do I pick, pick, pick at myself?

The amazing thing is that if you were practicing next to me, I would never EVER judge you in the way I judge myself.  I would be your biggest cheerleader, applauding your efforts if my eyes fell upon you.  Wondering why I wasn’t more bendy/athletic/wore a flattering shirt like you did/etc.  For years, I’ve taught myself to criticize only me.

Much like I learned to shut of my mind during yoga and to stop checking my to-do list during poses, it’s time to break the cycle of self-criticism while working out…  and, frankly, all of the self-criticism that I have going on.

Anytime in my life where I’ve adopted mantras, I’ve experienced great change.  I’ve felt better.  I’ve smiled more.  I’ve overcome.  As a result, I’ve implemented a new mantra  to use when I hear that “Judge Judy” in my head criticizing my body.

Body Love Mantra | No Thanks to Cake

I say it during yogic breathing.  I say it when I don’t like how my jeans are fitting.  I say it when that very same body is working hard on a Colorado hike.  I’ll say it when I’m the biggest girl at the pool.  Mostly, I’ll say it….

Simple words to reflect upon, simple words that could cause great change.  While I haven’t conquered it yet, I’m doing something to stop the insanity.  To stop the criticism and to appreciate all that this beautiful body does for me every single day.

I’ll repeat it today, and maybe even a few times tomorrow… whatever it takes.  I’m too proud of myself to let this bully get me down… especially when I have full control over her.

How do you combat negative self-talk?

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Introducing Bic Bands

I’m incredibly excited to share a new brand that I began partnering with a few weeks ago.

Bic Band Ambassador | No Thanks to Cake

Are you familiar with BIC Bands??

Bic Bands is an amazing brand of non-slip headbands that I’ve been wearing for YEARS.  Perfect for working out, for hitting the beach, or even just holding back a hairstyle by day.  They’re so cute and versatile, they’ve become my staple!

Screen Shot 2014-05-29 at 8.21.07 PM

Something else that’s wonderful about the brand is that the founder Sandy makes sure that she’s giving back every single month!  She just announced the charity that will receive benefit for June – The March of Dimes!  Just another reason to buy from Bic Bands…

Bic Band - No Thanks to Cake

To kick of the new group of ambassadors {there are 13 of us in total!  Check out the awesome ladies here!}, Bic Bands is launching a GIVEAWAY that you guys might like to enter!

How to Enter:

All you have to do is post a picture of yourself on Instagram or Twitter doing something active that you love!  You could be taking a walk, burning calories at the mall, doing cross fit, hiking a mountain, practicing yoga… whatever floats your boat!

Tag the Photo:

Add the hashtag and be sure to tag @bicbands and @nothankstocake

Enter by June 1st and you could be one of THIRTEEN winners!

BicChick | No Thanks to Cake

Here are 3 submissions from other No Thanks to Cake readers?  Who’s next??

Ordering Your Own BicBands:

To order your own beautiful Bic Bands, simply access their site here and choose from hundreds of beautiful bands!  You can also save 10% by using the coupon code “KELLYBIC.”

Enjoy!

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