Friday, August 28, 2015

Ride To The Barns- Recap

Last weekend I completed this years ride to the barns 65-mile bike ride along with Kyle and two friends. We woke up around 5:30AM to get in a hearty breakfast and lots of stretching. I decided to have a bowl of oatmeal mixed with fruit and an egg topped with avocado. That way I would have a well rounded, energy packed breakfast to sustain our journey. It was a beautiful morning and we arrived at our starting point in Hartford, checked in, and hit the pavement around 8:00AM with a slow roll out. This was the first time Kyle and I have ever biked 65 miles so it was a fun milestone and experience to complete together. After starting in Hartford, we made our way through multiple counties such as Ashippun, Oconomowoc, Dousman, Ottawa, Delafield and so forth.

Throughout the ride we had four different rest stops which were hosted by local farms along the way.

Our first rest stop was at mile 20. 

Each farm offered riders a selection of food, music, and lots of Skratch which we both had for the first time and LOVED!


 We refueled and on we went. Riding against the wind during the first half of our ride was tough. Not to mention we didn't have the best road bikes so it made our ride a bit challenging. Luckily we were able to catch a break with the wind on our backs for the last 20 miles or so which was a nice relief. It was funny as we passed through certain cities Kyle would point out some of our friends homes from when they were growing up. We'd point, shout out their names like crazy people, and excitedly wave like we haven't seen them in years. Keep in mind we were never waving at people. So yep! We were those people...

We continued with our ride, rest, and repeat. Hitting the rest of our farms along the way. 

As we neared the last half I was over taking pictures. Looking back I wish I would have snapped some while we were riding, but at that point there was no time to allow any extra stops. The last 5 miles were the most brutal. I think by then our legs were starting to get fatigued and the wind really picked up. My left knee was a bit achy by this point so I was feeling ready for the finish. And we made it! 65 miles and we did it together. We celebrated with some well deserved Fat Tires, more food, and music.

Now I can't wait for the next one. Especially after I received an early birthday surprise the next day with a brand new whip!

A great surprise always includes blindfolds. 

Pedal on!

Friday, August 21, 2015

It's never too late

Hello again! Today I am switching things up from my usual Friday sign off and links. Since our return from vacation we have been busy settling back into real life again, which I'm sure you know can be a bit of an adjustment. Lately I've been thinking about how life changes as we grow up and how I hear more and more of these "it's too late to do...X,Y,Z." Whether it be the media feeding in this youth is the prime garbage OR society as a whole sending a message of life is work and no time for yourself crap, there's a tendency to undermine your abilities. Think about it, don't you think there are more responses of surprise or admiration for people who are "older" doing things they love or pushing themselves to new and difficult challenges? I do.

Why is that? Why are we surprised? Unfortunately I don't have the answer(s). Perhaps I'm even reading too much into it and making this a bigger deal than it needs to be, but I don't care how old you are or how many previous opportunities you've passed. It's not too late! If we want to get technical, unless you are referring to living in a time capsule and wishing you could relive a previous experience than you've got me beat. But I will also argue you have control of what's happening NOW in your life. Even though I hate the word control, more than you'll ever know, I'm going to use it as a way to see that we can all make a choice with what we have in the here and now. 

This weekend I'm riding in a 65 mile bike ride/race. Am I nervous and scared? Yes. Am I excited? Even more. While I've been training, I've never biked a whole 65 miles in my life. Maybe you're thinking "that's nothing," and I'm making this a bigger deal than it needs to be, but its a big deal to me. As I mentioned, it hasn't happened before and it's going to be a good challenge. You see, I'm hinging on 28 and never got remotely serious about cycling until about a year and a half ago. Sure I'd putz around but never used it as a means to really push myself past my limits. Like running, cycling has taught me how to embrace the challenges and unpredictability of my journey. If you asked me ten years ago if I would picture myself riding 65 miles I would have thought you were dreaming. 

One thing I'm noticing about myself as I age is that I push myself harder to live bigger and be kinder. Compassion is the best gift we are given as human beings. And giving yourself compassion is the first place to start. So instead of telling yourself all the reasons why you can't, shouldn't, OR should be blah,blah,blah. Start being gentle with yourself and discover what's kept you from doing what you want. I once read to ask yourself... "If I weren't afraid I would___________." As you incorporate this question more and more you'll begin to recognize your true desires and authenticity. Don't let a silly old number or fear hold you back from your true potential. Cast judgements aside and go out there and live it. 

Tomorrow I will be pedaling right into fear and uncertainty. Wish me luck. I'll see you next week!

What have you been avoiding? 

Was there a time when you punched fear in the face? 

What helped you do it? I'd love to hear.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. You know how I am about music, so I have to share my new obsession with "How Deep is Your Love" by Calvin Harris. To relate it with this post, see if you can listen to it and think about your passion and what you want out of life... Can you take it deeper? (Yes I already am aware I'm a cheese ball. Thanks for putting up with me ;-) 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Desperate times call for desperate measures

The most horrible thing you could ever imagine happened last night. There. Was. A. Bat. In. The. House. What did I do? Well I handled it like any sane human being would. I panicked. Jumped, screamed, and barrel rolled towards the nearest blanket. There I laid flat, like I was hiding from someone during an intense game of hide-and-seek. Making sure any opening was tightly sealed shut. Because clearly the bat would not find me under there! I guess all those episodes of extreme infestation have paid off!

Monday, August 10, 2015

So long!

Aloha! How was your weekend? We are back up north for our annual vaca, but this time we are spending a whole week on the lake which is the longest we've ever been up here. Internet and basic reception has been extremely difficult to come by, which is also why I kind of just seemingly disappeared. But I wanted to pop in and let you know there may be bit of silence this week. Depending on if and when I'm able to get access to Internet long enough to make it through a post.

In the meantime I hope your Monday is treating you well! We woke up early to catch some fishies and now we're laying out before we get some good skiing in. We mostly caught some small bass and I still hate getting the fish off the hook so I leave Kyle on that duty ;-)

What did you do this weekend? Anybody spend some time on the water?

Take care and see you soon! 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

What's the most important quality you look for in a partner?

Recently I was chatting with a friend about her dating adventures and a relationship she had decided to call quits. She shared she likes and dislikes of the relationship and the reasoning behind her decision. And like any good friend I quizzed her on what she actually wants in a relationship and the types of men she's attracted to. (See what I'm doing here?) I'm THAT stereotypical matchmaker friend. I'm going to find you a man! We ended our conversation with me on her phone, jokingly swiping right for yes and left no. Using a popular dating app, Tinder. As I can imagine what you're thinking right now, I'm REALLY scoring friend points, ha ha. But our conversation got me thinking, what do people look for in a partner? If you could choose the most important quality in a person, what would it be? 

I reached out to a few friends for their thoughts. Their answers varied as some shared faith, compassion, or drive was the most important, and others identified personality or humor as the top priority. 

As one friend put it,

{"Being able to laugh at yourself when you do/say something random or ridiculous, while being able to also find humor in times of struggle and happiness is the number one thing I value in my relationship right now, because it really is a huge portion of what life is all about."}

Another friend shared,

{"A quality that I find most important in a life partner is passion. Not just the hot and steamy kind of passion.... but the kind of passion that motivates others. Someone who is passionate about life, their career, their family, their hobbies, their future, etc."}

And another one added,

{ "Faith -  because everything else follows.... trust, compassion, love, and so on."}

I found a lot value and understanding in each of my friends responses and had a difficult time pinpointing one exact quality myself. I agreed with all! So I decided to do some research and I came across an article discussing this exact same topic. Here's what they found... 

Kindness was the most important quality desired in a partner. It glues a couple together. Which makes sense because a lack of kindness devalues every other quality mentioned and so forth. As I continued my research I time and time again found the same evidence all pointing to kindness and generosity. Even when looking across different cultures!

It was one of those aha! moments for me. When I thought about my relationship with Kyle one of the best qualities I could think of was his kindness and generosity. That was one of my favorite things about him! I also remember being a young college girl, skeptical of nice guys... I would ask myself, could there truly be a guy I would date that would actually be kind-hearted? Well I discovered my answer was yes... and fast forward a few years and here we are married. 

Researching this information and asking some friends for their input also got me questioning different stages of a relationship and could those qualities change as your relationship evolves? I believe yes! I loved the example my friend said about humor. At this point in her relationship humor may be the one thing that keeps the bad not looking so dark or the happy times 10 times more joy to savor. 

So according to the research this might put the nice guys finish last myth to an end. Or at least highlighting what people really want out of a partner.

What are your thoughts? What's the most important quality you look for? Do you believe those qualities can change throughout a relationship?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Summer Bucket List- August Challenge

I absolutely love August. With it brings all sorts of excitement, including the host month of my birthday. But August also gives me a little nudge, whispering "you need to make the most out of what's left of Summer." So I'm left trying to fit in everything I'd promised myself I'd do back when it was 20 below, when I'd fantasize about what I would do with hot sunny days. I tend to walk into Summer with these vague ideas of what I want and how I'm going to somehow make it the Best. Summer. Ever. But I never quite do all the things I promise. So this month I want to have a more specific plan on how I will spend Summer's precious time that's left.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Have a fun weekend + links around the web

To say this was an easy week would be an understatement. Lately I've been burning PTO as I usually do in the Summer months. Living in Wisconsin you have to make the most of the hot weather while its here because its short lived and soon we will be getting ready for wiinnnt... I can't even finish that word. Makes me cringe at this point. But even though it was a short week, since we spent the first two days frolicking up north and I have my Friday's off work, I am still happy to see a weekend on the horizon.

What are you up to these next few days? We have another wedding on Saturday and tonight I'm headed out for a girls night accompanied with a bon fire and crispy s'mores. It should be a fun time catching up with friends and relaxing by a fire. You always need some girl time, too. Am I right?

But before I sign off from the week I wanted to share a few photos from last weekend. As I mentioned before, I took the kiddos I previously nannyed for and we ventured to the Milwaukee Zoo. We had a great time and it was nice spending some quality time together.

 We tried to get a good picture... This was the best out of 3.
 Then we enjoyed our friends wedding in downtown Milwaukee

Followed by some beautiful sunsets in northern Wisconsin. I ended up with a good paddle boat workout trying snap this photo before the sun completely set.

And here's some links from around the web!

 Milwaukee lifeguard's surf-n-turf sends them to GMA

Trying this for the first time this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes!

Hope your weekend is full of fun!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Inside my beach bag

We are finally in the thick of summer and I'm left over here wondering where July went. It's about time Wisconsin have some consistent hot temps! Last night we returned from our excursion up north. It was a wonderful time with family, boating, and lots of water volleyball, just to name a few. I probably lived in my swimsuit about 90% of the time. It was amazing! 

Being on the water is my favorite place in the summer. Intertwined with adventure and relaxation, the water is the perfect place to rejuvenate and enjoy a flavor of summer like no other. Every time I head out to a beach or cruising on a boat, I always bring my beach essentials. What I bring varies from time to time, but it usually falls within the same category of items. Skin care, sunnies, and some good reads. So let's take a look at what's recently made the cut, shall we.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Have a great weekend + links around the web

Hello again! I am incredibly happy Friday's here and I would imagine you are as well. Speaking of Friday, this picture is from last week when we went to a Brewers game with a group of friends. Lately I've been soaking up a lot of Wisconsin things to do. Today I am reuniting with the kiddos I used to nanny for, Ari and Addi. We are heading to the zoo and hope to see some lions, tigers, and bears. Oh my! Its so nice seeing them again. In fact, three years ago when I stepped out of the nanny role, I vowed to continue a relationship with the family and I have. In some ways they have become my second family. Do you have someone(s) in your life like that? Sometimes we go a bit without seeing each other and this marks the longest stretch, since March. Too long! So we are overdue and I am overjoyed with the thought of seeing those precious kids and their beautiful spirits. Kids sure know how to keep things entertaining and I can guarantee to have a story or two for you in some upcoming posts.

Overall this weekend brings another wedding, so we will have lots of celebrating, followed by a quick trip up north for a few days. We will be visiting with family, celebrating some birthdays, and seeing Kyle's cousin who is returning from Afghanistan for a brief period. Per our usual weekend agendas, I am hoping for some fun outdoor adventures coupled with lots of rest and relaxation. Hope whatever your weekend brings its sure to be something great!

Here's your links around the web!

My favorite celebrity couple has called it quits. I'm in mourning.

Top 3 ways parents embarrass their kids. 

A Beautiful story in finding friendship while battling cancer

Do I dare?

Speaking of kids, here's a sale you might what to check out

Love this post

How does exercise fit in your life?

Theee holy grail of running shorts

What are you plans for the weekend? Do you have someone in your life you consider family even though they may not be blood related? What's your favorite thing to do outdoors? 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to make exercise a part of your life

Ever have those days when you're not in the mood to workout? How about those seasons in life where it takes so much energy to push past the workout dread? Exercise is a word some people despise and other people praise. But a workout out doesn't have to be a chore. It can be an experience you can enjoy and perhaps even learn to love.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Have a peaceful weekend + links around the web

Want to know what beats a Friday? Falling into a staycation weekend that lasts through Monday, which I am greatly looking forward to since I am dragging today after a week leaving me feel less than energized.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Weekend in Review

Weekends fly by way too quick. I swear it was only yesterday I sat with my computer on my lap and coffee in hand while writing Friday's post. Fast forward a few days and voila! I'm back already giving a recap of my weekend. And I am not going to lie for a minute. Monday was one tough gal. One of those it definitely feels like a Monday days. All starting with the painful noise of my alarm clock. Reminding me it's time to get up. SO I am so happy to say by the time you're reading this it's Tuesday which means we have knocked one work day out of the ballpark. Oh yeah! 

We had a super busy but fun filled weekend. On Friday afternoon I went for a six mile run...

Friday, July 10, 2015

Have a fresh weekend + links around the web

Who's happy about Friday? This girl! And I'm assuming you're riding in the same train as me, so hello + Happy Friday to you! This was a short week for me since I had Monday off work and my days are still a little hazy as a result. Nonetheless it feels good falling into another weekend. I kicked it off with a few coworkers and a little gigantic margarita. Last night peeps, not this morning! I didn't realize how huge they were before ordering, but I wasn't complaining either. The lizard made it all worth while. Wouldn't lizard be more frun to write AND read with two Zs? LIZZARD!!! I thought so too.

Speaking of a fresh weekend (see title of post) I never mentioned my fresh hair cutting extravaganza. About two weeks ago I threw up the peace sign to a nice 5 inches of hair. Too short to donate and I discovered this post pony tail chop, albeit a new hairdo feels amazing. And take heed. Sometimes you need to be spontaneous and just shake things up. And that's exactly what I did.

Okay, so apparently I haven't taken many pictures of me since I chopped it but hopefully you can kind of see where it lands.
Have any plans this weekend? Some of our great friends are getting married in Milwaukee and we will be in tow. We have all the traditional pre and post celebrations. So with the rehearsal dinner tonight, wedding day tomorrow, followed by a friends brunch in Tosa on Sunday, I think our weekend is set. It should be a fun filled time, and I'm hoping for good weather since Summer has proved to be quite a doozy. 50s one day and 70s the next. I'm crossing my fingers, eyes, and toes for some consistent 80s! Woo!

Here's some of the girls at our friend's Bachelorette party from a few weeks ago. Happy wedding weekend Lexi & Andy!

Here are some links I loved this week:

A friend sent me a video of the most amazing guided meditation

Start gathering your wishlist for Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale!

A sad but important reminder for the power of words on a child's self-esteem

What do you think of the bucket bag trend? I think I'm warming up. 

Cricket flour the new craze! Would you use it?

Looking behind the business

A repeat of the black or gold dress debate. Only with nail polish this time.

Thank goodness there are benefits for this

In case you missed this AWESOME recipe I'm putting it on repeat

And I read a line earlier this week that has stuck with me... 

"The health of your mind tomorrow depends on your thoughts today"

This has been my mantra when I need a good reminder to be in the present moment and not be dwelling in any worries. I had to share in case it's something that resonates with you. 

What are you up to this weekend? Have any mantras that help keep you grounded? Do you have those spontaneous moments where you change up your look? Whatever your weekend gives, I hope it brings plenty of pleasant moments and fresh feelings. Ha ha, whatever fresh feelings may be. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Small Business Start-Up: BodyWise Wellness & Spa (+ A Giveaway!)

Life can be busy and chaotic at times. Or let's be serious, most of the time. There always seem to be some event popping up, a project due at work, or daily duties that outstretch even the most organized person on the planet. Working in the mental health field myself, I noticed a trend contributing to accumulated stress and fatigue. Pointing to a common theme of self-care. Or should I say a neglect of self-care. When life gets stuck in autopilot mode it's easy to forget how imperative it is to take care of ourselves. But at the same time it's such a necessary part of a fulfilling life. Even success with work, relationships, and our own personal goals depend on how we are taking care of ourselves in the process and responding to our needs.

Therefore today we are talking self-care as we are back with another installment of our small business start-up series, where we take a behind the scenes look into the minds and hearts of entrepreneurs who take the leap of faith and follow their dreams. Today we are talking with the passionate and visionary owner of BodyWise Wellness & Spa, Kristina Ochoa. 

I have had the pleasure of personally knowing Kristina from our high school days, and one thing that still stands out in my mind today was her drive and determination with setting and achieving goals. We competed in sports together, and even at the time, I knew she could take off in life given the right resources. And boy has she succeeded. More like dominated.

 How calming is this yoga studio? You can even do aerial yoga!

 A tranquility room where you can rest and relax before, after, or in between services.
 Enjoy a beverage while you wait.

Pamper with a little pedicure...
Or massage. Or grab your buddy and get a couples massage!

Kristina designed BodyWise as a space for individuals to meet all their wellness needs in one place. I was SO impressed after touring her building and learning about all the various services they offer, such as: yoga, acupuncture, health coaching, and massage therapy to name a few. I couldn't wait to have her be a part of this series. 

So without further ado let's take a look behind BodyWise and the incredible mastermind who created it all...
Your Name: Kristina Piehl-Ochoa

Hometown: Kenosha, WI

What services/products are offered? Therapeutic Massage, Esthetics (Facials, Microdermabrasion, waxing, eyebrow threading, body wraps), Yoga, Pilates & Meditation Classes, Tai Chi,  Nails, Ayurveda (Abhyanga, Shirodhara, Bliss Treatments, Rain Drop Therapy), Health Coaching, Acupuncture (Herbal Consultations, Shiatsu, Blood Type Diet), Essential Oils

How would you describe BodyWise? BodyWise is a wellness center and spa that offers a combination of services that work well together, because as a person becomes interested in one aspect of a healthier lifestyle, it naturally leads to interest in other aspects of the health and wellness field, and the components we offer are part of a larger healthy lifestyle continuum. The atmosphere and ambiance allows our clients to relax, calm their minds and feel peaceful. BodyWise is a great place to escape from all the stress and chaos we tend to have in our everyday lives.

Where can readers find out about the services you offer?

What prompted you to start your own business? I’ve just always liked the idea of having something of my own. I chose to open BodyWise in Kenosha because we need something like this here! I have a passion for health and wellness and I want to share that with everyone.

What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself as a result of launching BodyWise? That I am a strong person and I will stop at nothing to reach my goals. I basically lived at BodyWise for a few months through the renovations. I would be there some days from 5am – 2am non - stop working.  I’ve realized that nothing is ever easy and the only way to get what you want is to work hard, figure it out, stay positive and have a good sense of humor.

What was your biggest challenge bringing your idea from concept to fruition?
Getting everything done in the time frame that I gave myself. I set very lofty goals and I haven’t always been able to accomplish everything in the time that I planned for it. I wish that there were more hours in a day; that’s for sure!

How do you find inspiration? I give about 25 massages a week and each massage is usually an hour long. I have a lot of time to think about ideas and brainstorm plans that I have. I am obsessed with Pinterest and that is where I’ve found my inspiration for the décor and room set up. 
What motivates you? I’m very self motivated. I’ve always been an independent person with big ideas.

How do you find balance in your life between work and personal time? Now that all the dust has settled, I’m starting to find a balance again, but for a few months during the build-out, my life was pure chaos! I came to work one day with the same clothes on that I slept in and wore the previous day. For a while sleep, showering and eating were not priorities. But when you do something like this, you have to make some sacrifices. I figure while I’m still so young and have all of this energy, I’ll work really, really hard and one day it will pay off and I can relax a little more. 

What advice would you give to any readers looking to start their own business?
Don’t do it if you think that by owning your own business you get to set your own hours and do whatever you want. Running a business is a 24/7 job and it’s not easy. 

What’s your favorite quote? I have a ton of favorite quotes, but this one is perfect for the place I’m at in my life now. I will breathe. I will think of solutions. I will not let my worry control me. I will not let my stress break me. I. will. simply. breathe. And it will be okay…because I don’t quit.  –Shayne McClendon (The Good Girl)

What do you enjoy most about running BodyWise? I enjoy the clients we have at BodyWise. I love hearing the positive feedback they give about how much better they feel and how our wellness professionals have helped them to reduce their pain or reach their wellness goals. 

What is your vision for BodyWise this year? My vision for this year is to keep growing and build awareness in the community of our new location and all the amazing services/classes that we offer.

About the Giveaway! 
Kristina is giving away a FREE WEEK OF YOGA CLASSES at BodyWise in Kenosha for one lucky à la Carte reader! What do you have to do??? Simply write a comment below on why you love yoga, and "LIKE" the BodyWise Facebook page HERE to be entered.

*Giveaway will be announced on Tuesday!

Don't forget to link up with me HERE!

In case you missed them, check out other Small Business Start-Ups below: