#reverb15: Final Note

Something happened during #reverb15.

I let go.

I let go of a lot of anger and resentment I had been harboring over a life situation I can’t change. I let go of a relationship that let go of me long ago. I let go of the fear I had of being seen as a fraud by the fitness community for not being a size 6 and for struggling with an eating disorder.

Ok, maybe I still fear judgement from the fitness community over my size, but I’ve acknowledged it and I am working on it.

That’s a lot of positive change in one month. Certainly a lot for a chick who is a self proclaimed change-hater. Perhaps that’s just one more positive that came out of December: Change doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

I have spent my entire adulthood defining myself with absolutes.

“I’ll never move.”

“I don’t like animals.”

“I’m not an adventuresome eater.”

“BodyJam. God. Family.”

“I hate change.”

Those statements feel suffocating now. SUFFOCATING. Change sounds like freedom from these boxes I’ve placed around myself.

Feeling Feels

I’d be remiss not to mention my friend and fellow blogger, KayShay at authentistic.com  because I’ve already touched on several of her last few posts. I am so glad she is writing them now and I am reading them now, as in, this moment in my life. Even just two months ago, I didn’t have enough space in my mind to really hear the questions she’s posing and be able to have my own authentic answers to them. There was too much anger and resentment and pain and loss and frustration in the way.

I’ll be posting in more detail about these questions, specifically about the ways I have defined myself that I no longer wish to be stifled by. (Such as “I am not a person who ends a sentence with a preposition.” However, I am still a person who considers herself a decent writer and just spent 20 minutes coming up with different ways to word that sentence that did NOT include ending it with a preposition only to decide to leave the first crappy sentence because without the crappy sentence there’s no joke about being a person who ends a sentence with a preposition).

This “letting go” thing is not perfect. I find doubt creeping back into my decisions. I have moments of crushing sadness over the loss of someone close to me. I feel rage bubbling up over issues at work. Yes, rage. I feel feel feel all the time. All the feels.

I think, though, that I am finally starting to learn what to do with all the feels. I’m learning that controlling the expression of my feelings is not the same thing as ignoring them and that emotionally healthy people do not fly off the handle – happily or angrily or sadly.

Learning how to deal with my feelings allows me to eventually let go of the negative ones. I’ve never been very good at that.

I feel (there’s that word again) like a cloud lifted in December. I feel like what’s real and true and important became so much clearer.

I feel like maybe I’m ready to be happy.

My One and Only Resolution for 2016.

Practice happiness.

It is a skill I lost somewhere along the way and I’m excited and motivated to get it back. I even downloaded an app. No kidding. Maybe you’ve seen it advertised on Facebook. It’s called Happify. Maybe you haven’t because you’re not the Debbie Downer even Facebook realized I’ve become and then capitalized on. (Damn it. Preposition).

Regardless, it’s an app to literally practice being happy. There are games and activities. brain_with_labelsLast night I played the Happify version of Duck Hunt where balloons float up on the screen with words on them and you have to click the positive words to get points. I think they subtract points if you accidentally click a negative word. I don’t know for sure because I had a perfect game. #notcompetitiveatall 😉

I am reading The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin and beginning to write down positive moments each day. I can’t believe how quickly my mindset is changing. My initial reactions are calmer. I remember to choose to be happy instead of allowing spite and anger to take over immediately. It’s only midway through January and I can feel the shift happening.

2015 was a craptastic year, but I wonder how much worse I made it with my negative mindset. No matter because it is over now and I am moving onward and upward to 2016: The year I decided to be happy.

happiness project





#reverb15//Day 31//Brand New

In December, we remember. Kim, Barbara and I have spent the last month thoughtfully reflecting on 2015. Ok, mostly thoughtfully. Day 18: Tips and Tricks was a half-assed attempt, but the rest of December, I reflected thoughtfully 🙂

Day 31: Brand new. You can have a fresh start whenever you want. But there’s something nice about January 1. Share your plans for the new year.

Here I sit, cramped for time and not wanting to skimp on this post at all. I want to take my time and really think about this because while I’ve been thinking about thinking about it, I haven’t actually thought about it. Ya follow? So I will post this now, to say I have big dreams for next year and I can’t wait to share them, but sharing will have to wait for January 1.

The suspense builds…

I’m off to prepare for our New Year’s Eve Open House. There are citrus (Curtis?) fruits to be purchased, tables to set, an ADORABLE pup to bath and dress in his formal wear and maybe a quick make-out session with my husband before friends and family arrive.

Enjoy your evening, be safe and remember, Schick Intuition is where it’s at.

why not


#reverb15//Day30//Process Over Outcome

In December, we remember!

Day 30: Process Over Outcome. What did you take on this year where you truly enjoyed the process (and didn’t just focus on the outcome).

This one is tough. I am definitely an outcome-oriented person and I’ve spent the last few hours mulling this over and I’m still struggling.

I just wrote about RPM training yesterday. I enjoyed that process very much. I generally enjoy learning my BodyJam choreography (though the January launch is always the toughest to prepare for time-wise and has the most riding on it recruitment-wise).

I turned to Kim’s post today for a little inspiration only to find she feels essentially the same way I do – though, she enjoys the process of laundry very much. I do not. At all. The mention of laundry made me think of a few other household chores and the processes behind them.

I really enjoy doing the dishes. This isn’t to say I look forward to it and I definitely feel overwhelmed when I come home to a sink full of crap to be cleaned, but once I get going, I really do enjoy it. It’s a few moments of solitude cleeeeeaning. I like the feel of the soap on the dishes. I like the squeak of a clean plate or mug. I like when the sponge or dish cloth gets SUPER sudsy. I like really hot water. The hotter, the better. I have hands of steel that way (thanks, Ginzo!).

I do not, however, like putting the dishes away. I don’t really like putting anything away. Ask my husband and roommate (both of whom have a “touch” of OCD”, my sister (I might have been messy, but I saved Caleb’s face that one time!) or my parents. I’m a “walk into the bedroom (only bc it’s not socially acceptable to do it in the hallway when you have roommates), drop trow, step out, leave them in a heap with two perfectly formed leg holes on the floor” kind of gal. Sorry roomies.

But washing the dishes? Yeah, that’s ok in my book.


#reverb15//Day 29//Decisions, Decisions…

Today’s prompt: Decisions, decisions. What decisions did you make this year? Were they easy to make? Or hard? How did you come to your decision? Did you make a pro and con list? Go with your gut? Ask for advice?

My friend Kim wrote beautifully about how she struggles making decisions in her personal life while making decisions at work effortlessly. I feel mostly the same way, though my need for validation and approval can often make it tough at work, too.

This year, I made lots of decisions. I decided to go back to therapy. I decided to apply for a new position. I decided between partial knee replacement surgery and far less invasive arthroscopy. I decided to create a budget and stick to it. So. Many. Decisions.

I don’t have much of a gut feeling on anything. I think it’s because I learned somewhere that I need approval which made me doubt my gut. Now, I think the ability to hear it is gone because I think I just got out of the habit of listening to it. That’s getting better with therapy, though. #myfeelingsmatter

Heather and Kim
My Faves

So a couple years ago, when I initially considered training to be a Les Mills RPM instructor, I had a few thoughts about why I couldn’t do it and then assumed most people agreed.

I didn’t look like a cycle instructor. At least not like my faves.

I didn’t ride a bike. Like, outside. Ever. (Until this fall. Two bike rides qualify me as a “cyclist,” right?)

I couldn’t sprint on pace when I took RPM.

I didn’t think I was authentic. Or, as Les Mills puts it, I didn’t think I “sat in the essence” of the program.

With a little push from my sister-from-another-mister (and a whole lotta work on my sprinting) I finally took the plunge and registered for training. “Do one thing that scares you everyday” – she says it all the time. Not sure what it was about that day that made me really hear her.

Because I was really scared.

But on October 10, 2015, I walked into a Gold’s Gym in Leesburg, threw on my cycle shoes (I just Googled “cycle shoes” vs. “cycle cleats” – because THAT is how you would know if I was legit or not, right? For the record, equal hits on both, though I suppose “cleats” is more accurate.) and got to work.

Tamara Pitard was our trainer and she was EXCELLENT. I learned SO much that weekend and worked SO hard with my fellow trainees. What an amazing experience. It was by far the best of my three initial trainings with Les Mills and it was one of the BEST decisions I made this year.

Thank you, Tamara and fellow trainees for a truly inspiring weekend.

And thank you to my RPM Fairy God-mentor. I would not have made this decision without your nudging. support, and sprint coaching every Tuesday morning!!!



#reverb15//Day 26//Grown Up?

In December, we remember!

Day 26: Another year older. You had a birthday this year. Do you finally feel like a grown up?

While I have had my fair share of grown-up issues this year, the short answer is still no.

I still refer to myself as a girl instead of a woman.

I still prefer “play clothes” to real clothes.

I am still pretty good at burying my head in the sand (read: bottle of wine) instead of dealing with responsibility.

I don’t cut coupons.

When I say my age out loud, it actually surprises me every time.

I am still a kid a heart and I definitely do NOT feel like a grown up!

Beth Bow


#reverb15//Day 28//Alexandria

In December, we remember!

Day 28: Home Town. Talk about where you lived this year. Why did you choose this area? Did you discover a new place in town you love? Tell us about it.

I live in Alexandria, VA. I still don’t really believe it. Neither does Kate, I bet. Or my mom, for that matter.

friendlys_logoEleven years ago, I was living int CT, working full-time as an athletic trainer and part-time for Friendly’s Restaurant (the best place on Earth second only to Studio One, Les Mills, Auckland, NZ). I was in an unhealthy holding pattern. My full-time job advised me of a change I was not pleased with and it, thankfully, was the catalyst to me making a very permanent change for the better.

I called Kate up, told her – for the second time in two years – that I was packing up and moving to VA. She told me, quite literally, “I’ll believe it when you’re on my doorstep.” That was July 31, 2004. September 1, 2004, I showed up on her doorstep in Alexandria. My dad drove the UHaul, I followed behind in my Cougar. I had never driven longer than two hours anywhere and I had never lived any further away than 45 minutes from home, but here I was, six hours away – no job, very little money, no friends.

But what I did have was a desperately needed fresh start.

Life is nuts. After moving out of Kate’s, I lived in Vienna, Fairfax, Alexandria again (two locations), Burke, and Fairfax again. I moved eight times in seven years before Mark and I bought our townhouse in Alexandria a month and a half before our wedding. I had an uneasy feeling a year later when I realized I wouldn’t be moving again anytime soon. Upheaval had become the norm.

Welcome to DC Party 2004
Welcome to DC Party 2004

But now, four years later, Mark and I (and Jaime 🙂 are settled into our home in Alexandria. We live four miles driving from Kate’s house – though if there was a straight shot, it’d be more like one and a half miles maybe. It’s seven minutes door to door. It’s perfect. I knew I wanted to be near Kate and her family. I knew I wanted to be near my cousin, Craig. I knew where ever that was, it would be home, and that has been the case.

I love the diversity of Alexandria. I love the hundreds of dinner options – even if we choose to eat at Dos Amigos nine times out of ten (best margaritas ever and mmm…chip babies….). I love that we can shop, go to the movies, play golf, hang with fam and friends and go to the gym all in our city. I love that we are ten minutes from DC, even if we don’t take advantage of that nearly enough. I love that where we live in Alexandria, we are also only ten minutes from Springfield Towncenter, a new fave place to hang out.

Yard House - Springfield Towncenter - with our peeps
Yard House – Springfield Towncenter – with our peeps

The move I made in 2004 was life changing in the very best of ways. I met my husband. BOOM. I found a career that follows my passion. BOOM. But I’ll say this. If I hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t have the relationship I do with my sister. There is no way. We are five and a half years apart in age, but while I was in CT, we might as well have been strangers. I can’t express how grateful I am that I moved here, that she took me in with open arms, and we’ve had the opportunity to have the relationship I hope all sisters can have. #bestfriends


 In December we remember. Kim, Barbara, and I are reminiscing on 2015.

Day 24: Values. What did you value this year? How did you live from your values?

2015 was all about hard work, dedication and better prioritizing.

Starting off the year injured, I spent February through April in physical therapy 3 times a week working to get my knee ready to Jam again (read: walk, sleep through the night, then Jam. Maybe.) I had homework to do on my off days and I knew if I didn’t commit to it, I might be out of teaching for good.

So commit is exactly what I did. I worked extremely hard in PT and out. I followed my doctor’s and PT’s orders even when it was killing me to do so – like, “You can ride the bike at level one for 8 minutes. That’s it.” UGH! I wrote all about it so if you’re interested in the progression, click here!




Physical hard work wasn’t the only kind I put in this year, though. I hustled HARD to get CTF up and running. I knew nothing about starting a business, but I did it anyway. Below is my WordPress stats page. I’m pretty sure Ginzo is responsible for about half of these views, (thanks, Mom!) but even still – that’s a huge increase from 2014. I feel like the hard work paid off – now here’s to doubling this in 2016! Favorite stat? Views from ten different countries!!


Priorities, Priorities.

I feel like I’ve written about this endlessly already, but I really committed to prioritizing family

I was a jerk. Can you every forgive me?
I was a jerk. Can you every forgive me?

first better this year. I am somewhat ashamed to say it was hard to do. I feel like family should always come first, right? It should be a no-brainer. My classes at the gym have trumped just about everything else in my life for 10 years and breaking that habit has been difficult. Making decisions that support a better quality of life for my husband and me (and Sam Adams, too!) has certainly become easier with practice. I still LOVE my classes. LOVE THEM.

But I love my husband more. Period.

EbMark SA