When Sharyl Salmonson from Laughter Loves Photography shared her vision of doing a photoshoot with the theme of a Rock Princess, I eagerly volunteered to be a model. I mean who doesn’t want to be a Rock Princess? Plus, any opportunity to work with Sharyl is a complete blast. The process began.
After finding a lavender ball gown and getting all gussied up, I headed downtown to meet my beloved friend. I started to get anxious that I might not be what would make her vision become true. But she was my dear friend, after all, and I had to try.
Pulling up to brick buildings covered with painted art, I was wowed by all of the vibrant colors. I stepped out of the car and got my usual excited hug from Sharyl. I knew no matter what, this was going to be awesome.
She gave me a rock t-shirt to cover the top, tugged at my hair to make it more messy, and handed me the brightest pair of neon pink shoes I had ever seen. Yes, we were going to rock this indeed.
Once again, I attempted to follow her instructions. I really wanted to help her vision come alive. The more we shot, the more that sassy Rock Princess started to show up. Her confidence grew, and she was ready to rock.
I giggled my way through the first 20-30 minutes. I couldn’t make a serious face to save my life. However, this Rock Princess was ready for her performance to wow the world anyway!
Costume change. Another rock t-shirt came out, with new neon blue tennis shoes to switch into. Nothing was cooler than being surrounded by so many bright colors. From her usual gymnastic routine requests, to being covered in flour at the very end, I had the best time yet.
Sharyl made me give back the shoes and shirts, which were super comfortable. She hugged me with excitement and promised pictures soon. As usual she delivered. The Rock Princess was captured on film, along with her sassy attitude.
This is why I love Chasing Stormi so much. I meet so many great people that become dear friends, and I get to do awesome things at the same time! Yes, it definitely pays to step outside of your comfort zone.
If you ever get the chance to do the Cats & Mats Yoga Class, do it. It will make you giggle, while you get a great workout, and you’ll get to share your love with furry friends that deserve your time and attention. Thank you Cindy, for inviting me to play with these fabulous creatures, and teaching me some new yoga moves. I look forward to doing it again.
You know of my love for all furry creatures. When Cats & Mats Yoga Class showed up on Facebook® Events, there was nothing that was going to stop me from checking this out. I grabbed my yoga mat, and headed to old Independence. It always makes me smile to drive through streets with which I was familiar as a teenager. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew it would be a blast either way.
I walked through the door and was immediately greeted by an orange, tabby infant that squeaked at me with big eyes. He took off running, skidding into the curtains across the room. That was my first meeting with Mufasa, one of the many furry friends that the Great Plains SPCA brought. I loved every second of it.
From kittens to young cats, they watched, “helped,” and snuggled with us as we did yoga. What a great way to start the day! Relaxing and invigorating yoga, mixed with an opportunity to bond with the amazing personalities of these little furry comrades. How could it get any better?
Cindy Newland, another friend of Belize Yoga, volunteers at the Great Plains SPCA. She manages Intentionally Eat and is another yoga goddess. We also share the love of blogging.
So there I was…doing downward dog, with Mufasa under my feet. Another kitten stared at me, making it difficult to swing my leg through into Warrior 1. Eyes of curiosity watched my every move…from the middle of mat, of course.
Any bridge position enticed Mufasa to run frantically through the arches we formed with our bodies. During meditation, I felt some tiny paws crawl over my leg. When I rose to take a peek, there was a tiny, black, little buddy staring at me with a tilted head.
We watched these kittens take over our mats, skid across the wood floor, climb the curtains, and check out the scenery outside the window. For some reason Mufasa was fascinated with crawling under everyone’s belly while we were in child’s pose. It was hard to continue doing yoga rather than stopping to cradle this tiny ball of curiosity, and unconditional love. These furry companions were stealing our hearts.
We learned more about the Great Plains SPCA. Not only do these animals need homes, but a simple hour or more of showing them love will help them do better when they get a home.
Most of the Great Plains SPCA animals, dogs and others included, come from such situations where there has been hoarding, or abuse and neglect. They need to learn that people are okay and that they won’t be hurt again. The animals need to learn the power of human love and compassion.
I was tempted to take one home, of course, but had already reached my allowable limit of pets in apartment life. I had to pull myself away with a reminder that the pets I already owned count on me for their care and affection. Besides, I doubt I have the energy for another baby kitten like Mufasa anyway. Goodness!
I had such a great time while collecting money for a much needed service. Thank you CASA for keeping our neglected and abused children of Jackson County safe. Your work does not go unnoticed.
After watching movies like Avengers, Captain America, Thor, Spiderman, and more, I realized that there was a lot that went into becoming a superhero. You must start with the following…
1. Choose your super power. Remember this power will define you and all that you are. Think of the given talents that you already possess. If you don’t feel you have any, then simply pick something you would like to master.
2. Design a costume in which you can easily fight evil, and that won’t strangle you while wearing, and will become a symbol of your secret identity.
3. Choose your weakness. Let’s face it, everyone has a weakness and that’s okay. It levels the playing field for everyone. It’s not fair to others if your awesomeness is so overpowering that no one else gets to share their awesomeness, too.
4. Come up with a name that is easy to say and remember and won’t be easily forgotten. Remember, this will be the most important part of your identity. Be inspired by what already makes you amazing.
5. Practice your superhero stance. This will come in handy when you are standing on rooftops looking over the city after another great adventure.
6. Practice and prepare to face evil. Make sure to keep the innocent safe.
This is exactly what CASA does. Jackson County CASA was founded by the Kansas City chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women to ensure that all abused and neglected children are given a voice in court. Their two main goals include: 1. securing a safe, permanent home for the child, and 2. advocating for appropriate medical, educational, and the therapeutic resources. CASA always makes sure that the child’s interest is protected in court.
When I was offered the opportunity to become a superhero to help raise money for this amazing organization, I jumped at the chance. I mean, who doesn’t aspire to be a superhero?!
On June 21, 2016, Chasing Stormi came to the rescue….
Superpower = spreading awesomeness with a smile, while inspiring others to be brave and step outside of their comfort zone.
Weakness = being a people pleaser to the point of losing herself.
Name = Chasing Stormi.
Costume = Cape + Tutu + Mask + Hair Pom-Poms.
Stance = chin up, hands on hips, resolved expression.
Ready = always.
When I entered Chef Amber’s Bed and Breakfast I was immediately wowed by this petite woman full of energy and passion. Amber DiGiovanni was buzzing around making last minute preparations as I wondered around the living room looking at all of her pictures. The first one that caught my eye was of her in a showgirl outfit holding feathered fans. It immediately reminded me of my Vegas days. When I asked when she was a dancer she said she still was! This petite, blonde woman that reminded me of my Grandma Max is a one woman show. LITERALLY! When she’s not teaching cooking lessons, writing cook books, speaking, playing historian among so much more, this ball of fire is performing a one woman show portraying Miss Sally Rand! And she was going to continue to wow me for a whole hour while teaching me cooking tricks I never knew before!
As we learned how to make Chicken in White Wine Cream Sauce, Garlic Herb Scones, and Bananas Foster we had interesting discussions on cooking tips. When boiling pasta do you add salt or not add salt? Add oil or not add oil? Which is healthier? Salt or sea salt and why? Did you know that you can find sea salt as far up as the Appalachian Mountains? Because if you think about it, the whole world was under water at one point. Did you know there’s even such a thing as black sea salt?...Would you like to save 1/3 of your asparagus? Simply peel the woody part that is so hard to eat to get to the delicious meat. I even learned that a potato can’t fix an overly salty soup, so remember once you salt you can’t go back…. We learned what utensils worked best for specific tasks and how to use them properly and oh so much more!
We laughed, drank wine, and had a blast learning tricks of the trade for every day chores! I even made a new friend out of it. So when you get on Groupon be sure to get the Chef Amber Cooking Class voucher. You never know what tricks and secrets you’ll learn!
When Super Sue got me into contact with Jeremy Struemph I really had no idea what a great friendship this was going to become. However, Jeremy provides an adventure of his own. You see, he works at iFly in Overland Park, KS where you can do indoor skydiving! Super Sue went and of course did the “You must do this for your blog!” hook line making it impossible to once again say no.
I have to say that I had never looked at any other adventures before jumping into them, but this one I did investigate a minimal amount because for some reason this was proving to cause more anxiety then snorkeling did and we all know that I was in tears before I did that. So I guess I peeked because I didn’t want to be quite so hysterical this time….ha!
I watched the videos of Jeremy jumping from planes and helping people to safety on the internet, and I still didn’t quite get why so many people liked this activity. Maybe because my doubtful rationality side was kicking in on overdrive with thoughts of “I don’t understand how watching the land below you come at you before you crash land could possibly be fun…” but it was time to be less doubtful. Doubtful rationality keeps us safely tucked away in our comfort zones and quite frankly that’s not what Chasing Stormi is about. So I watched the video explaining how the tunnel worked and called it a day. It was time to say yes and jump. No more letting doubt win. It was time to go back to having faith in myself again. So I contacted Jeremy and set a date.
When you first meet Jeremy you like him right away. He’s full of energy and reassurance and you immediately know you’re in good hands. I did the classroom first where you learn how to position yourself and the hand signals they use in the tunnel since there’s no way to hear each other. Then I got to watch a class before me fly so I could see what works and what doesn’t work. The first thing I noticed was how attentive and amazing each instructor was with each group of students. They are all fun and reassuring and make it easy to feel comfortable with them to the point that no matter who you get you know you’re in great hands. They love what they do and their number one goal is for you to love your experience too. A goal they succeed at with ease!
So yeah….nerves had my stomach tightening, my heart racing, and my breathing increasing but I was not hysterical like I was snorkeling. So either I was getting better at this “stepping out of your comfort zone” thing, or I was just at such great ease knowing I was in very capable hands. I’d like to say it was a bit of both personally…. So I suited up and giggle at Jeremy’s ongoing cheerleading routine to get me pumped up. He, like all of his co-workers, love to get their students pumped and excited because if we have a great time then it makes their life that much more enjoyable. A feeling I am well too familiar with when it comes to working with kids myself. We’ve got this!
I took a deep breath, stood into position, and leaned into the wind as instructed. The force of the wind that hits you is not only deafening but it’s powerful and makes your cheeks flap against your face like all those silly cartoons you see falling through the sky on tv. But the anxiety quickly exited my body and I actually found myself enjoying it despite one of my greatest fears it to plummet through the sky to my possible death. HA! So there I was. Flying. And LOVING IT! A cool thing they do is when you are done and walking to the end of the bench to take a seat everyone high fives you with congratulations along the way. On your second round you actually fly with the instructor circling towards the top of the tube.
In the beginning I had said that wasn’t going to happen. Jeremy smiled and said we’d wait and see how the first round went, knowing that even someone like me would be so much in love that I would easily be willing to circle to the top with him. I just didn’t know it yet. But sure enough I was TOTALLY ready! And so we did. When you’re done you feel exhilarated by your accomplishment and are actually so tired and relaxed that you have NO trouble sleeping that night! You even have the option of getting pictures and video of your experience to keep for a lifetime! Although it was funny to bust the other instructor that was making faces and whatnot behind me knowing he was on camera and I couldn’t see him until I viewed the video….Yes. These people love their jobs and make sure you have the best experience by not only letting you fly in a wind tunnel giving you a realistic skydiving experience, but they also make sure to position you just right so you get great photos and videos to share proudly with your friends and family. So would I jump out of an airplane?....I’m still thinking that’s a hard limit. HOWEVER, if I get another opportunity to fly at iFly then I am SO THERE! What an amazing experience to have! Thanks again iFly KC!
What the heck is a Far Infrared Fat Flush? Yeah, I couldn’t tell you either. So I went to Spa 7 to find out! Apparently, infrared heat is used to pull toxins from the organs and tissues while burning up to 1200 calories per session! Benefits include the following…
· Removes Toxins – Detoxification, removes heavy metals and harmful toxins stored in the body.
· Reduces Stress – Promotes better sleep, relaxes, melts away tension.
· Aging – Reduces some problems associated with aging.
· Improves Skin – Helps clear cellulite, tones and hydrates cells and pores.
· Burn Calories and Control Weight – Burn as much as 1200 calories or more in 30 minute session through profuse sweating.
· Pain Relief – Arthritis, muscle spasms, joint stiffness, sprains.
· Strengthens Cardiovascular System – Heart rate, cardiac output and metabolic rate increase, helps stabilizes blood pressure.
But does it really work? It was time to find out! So I stuck my feet into the base of the tube and pulled the top up. At first the heat felt great. It had been cold all morning and I was ready to thaw out! Then it started to get a little warmer. That’s okay. I was the scalding hot shower kind of girl. It felt like I was lying in a tanning bed, only it was just heat and I wasn’t going to get skin cancer. You could feel the heat getting deep into your skin. Sweat was definitely a side effect. It was getting really warm so I pulled my arms out to cool off some. I really wish I had my ipod right now…. My heart started pounding. It was getting really warm! So after 30 minutes I had to call uncle and crawled out.
Even though it was really intense and I only lasted 30 minutes the first time, I can honestly say that I was putty and had no tension, and I definitely felt healthier and less weighted. And I slept better than I have in a long time! I know it’s hard to believe that stuff like this is really beneficial and not just a hoax to gain another buck for some random business. But as I try all of these different things I’m finding out first hand that most of them actually DO make a difference! The essential oils help you without facing side effects and the harshness of medication on your system in general. Yoga really does help you relax and gives you a great workout at the same time while making you feel at peace. And now I can excitedly add Far Infrared Fat Flush to my list of awesome things that will make you feel better! I wish I could handle the heat a little better, but it’s definitely I would try again.
The “Bomb Squad Bank ABC” isn’t the only escape room at Trapped KC in Lee’s Summit. Once you escape one room, there are always other rooms to fight your way out of. Second only to my trip to Belize, I’m a big fan of this new pastime.
In the claustrophobic room, a male voice comes over the speaker to set the scene:
“You are broke, and you don’t get paid until next Wednesday. You scrounge for all of the change you can possibly find, and head to the bank to cash it. Or at least that’s the plan. Shortly after you enter the bank, a man with a ski mask sneaks in behind you, carrying a bomb, with no help in sight. Or is there?....”
It was the fabulous foursome to the rescue! The bomb starts ticking and becomes a constant sound ringing in your ears. They say it’s an inside job, but where do you start? This is the scenario you face when you’re in the Bomb Squad Room at Trapped KC, where there’s no rhyme or reason to the ordering of the clues. You just tear the place apart until something sticks.
With my girls Erin, Briana, and Tiffany and me teamed together, there was nothing we couldn’t conquer. We got to work immediately, scrambling to see what we could find, spotting clues right and left. It was just a matter of piecing them together to get all of the locks opened.
When I got the first lock undone, I was hooked. The adrenalin rushed. My heart raced. I listened to the bomb ticking away, and watched the clock telling us just how much time we have left. Cut the wrong wire and it could do nothing, detonate the bomb, or double the time, so we had to be very careful to choose the right one.
I’m sure that the ladies at the front desk were finding this girl group very entertaining. We continued to whoop and holler as we pieced the puzzle together. There’s even a button on the wall that someone can push to get a clue. The best score includes only asking for a single clue or none at all. I burst out laughing when Erin pushed the button and yelled, “Do you SEE the look of disgust on my face right now?!” at the camera. Yes, this fabulous four was determined to take this mission by storm.
We got all the clues, opened all the locks, and cut the right wire with 10 minutes to spare. Yes, this dream team of Charlie’s Angels had completed the task. We diffused the bomb, and saved all of the innocents at the bank while having the best time of our lives!
It is true that after an hour of solving clues and beating the clock, my heart continued to race for at least a half hour after we were done but it was totally worth it! The best part was spending time with some girlfriends I hadn’t seen in a while, making this adventure one of my favorite ones yet.
When Sue Park invited me to take part of the Spring Equinox 108 Sun Salutation led by Tung Bui, I had no idea what the heck that meant but I knew it was yoga and figured I’d be just fine. However, this was not a yoga I had ever experienced before! Definitely something I should have gotten more information on before I jumped right in….On March 21st we met at Lifetime Fitness to celebrate the change in seasons and do some “spring cleaning” of the mind, body, and soul breaking from the darkness of winter. A process that apparently takes 1.5-2 hours to complete.
At first I actually liked it because after two rounds it became a dance. I knew the steps and simply got to enjoy the performing. The first 45 minutes flew as the chimes changed tempo and length. “This isn’t so bad”, I thought. I was sweating a ton and getting a massive full body workout with just a few simple moves. This was awesome! However, as I surpassed that hour mark I began to feel worse and worse. The room started to spin and I was getting the WORST headache! This was not only a powerful experience, but it was becoming truly physically challenging! I had to sit in child’s pose in order to make the room stop spinning.
When everyone was done I talked to Sue trying to figure out what I had possibly done wrong. It turned out that I was hanging my head down constantly causing all the blood to rush to my still healing concussioned head instead of tilting my head upward even when my body was bending down. Luckily the Equinox ritual is usually performed four times a year, however, I think I will work on building my stamina and keeping my head up before I attempt it again. It’s an amazing workout that is simplistic and will make you sweat like never before! Full of fluid movements, a cleansing feeling, peace and tranquility, and balance from head to toe; it was truly a spiritual experience even if I couldn’t finish it.
When I needed current photos, I knew just who to call. I contacted my good friend at Laughter Loves Photography, setting a date for a nice sunny afternoon. Then, wanting to be more glamorous than usual, I enlisted the help from my acquaintance, Kat. She would know just what I needed to get my glam on.
First, she curled my hair to perfection. Then we headed off to the mall in search of the “perfect outfit.” We avoided the shops that specialize in petite sizes. Memories of my super fit days surfaced. It’s discouraging when nothing fits properly on your skinny frame, but it’s a lot more psychologically painful when the largest size in a shop is size 9. But we were still trying to be fashionable, so we started to hit some stores with which I wasn’t familiar.
After visiting three stores where absolutely nothing fit, I sat in the chair of the dressing room and began to silently cry. It had been a long time since I was this depressed. I hated myself at that point. My self-confidence was shattered. Then the anger kicked in. This wasn’t right. I had nothing to be ashamed of. I left the dressing room resolved to head to the Limited where I knew I was safe. At this store, my size is considered merely average. I had plenty of attractive options from which to choose. After finding a flattering outfit, I headed home to finish getting ready. The real question was whether or not that smile that I’m so well known for would come back in time. I guess we were going to find out.
To say it was windy would be an understatement. I told a friend that I was, “eating my hair more often than not.” She joked, “You’re going to get a hairball.” The question still remained…would I be able to recover and regroup after my earlier struggles?
I quickly got my answer the minute I stepped out of my car and was greeted with a huge hug from Sharyl, owner of Laughter Loves Photography. My mood lifted immediately, knowing just how much fun we were about to have!
I began to relax and smile once again. This girl never disappoints. With her unsuspecting intern, Breanna, in tow, Sharyl’s hug of reassurance signaled that it was time to get back to being me. Especially, since there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an average size. In fact, my Twiggy’s twin look didn’t hold a candle to my curvy, average shape.
Self-confidence grew as I did what I do best….being the biggest nerd ever. Laughing, shoulder rolling and frantically trying to keep my hair out of my eyes and mouth was just the beginning. Yes, this was just what I needed.
My favorite part of Laughter Loves Photography is they are never shy about getting that perfect shot. Whatever crazy pose strike, or however hard you are laughing, this company lives up to its name. You can’t be around those women ten minutes before you find yourself doubled-over and giggling. Laughter Loves Photography is truly run by some of my favorite people.
The day might have started off a little rough. It had me questioning my self-worth. However, Laughter Loves Photography quickly reminded me who I really know myself to be. As always, I was anxious to see the final results of all their fun shots, and I was not disappointed!
Sally doesn’t just manage and teach classes at Studio on Main in Independence, MO, she offers them with a unique twist as well. These include a “Girl’s Night Out” doing yoga, Pilates, piloxing, or a combination of them. From bachelorette parties to simply having a great night out with your gal pals, there really is no better way to spend an evening together while getting a great workout. If you are looking for a unique, personalized, fun way to celebrate you and all your friends, contact Sally and get your groove on today!
When my high school friend, Sally Whitaker, invited me to do Piloxing with her, my first response was “sure!” My second response was, “Would love to! You’ll have to tell me what the heck that is…” Piloxing turns out to be a combination of boxing, dance, and standing Pilates. This style of exercise was developed by Swedish dancer and celebrity trainer, Viveca Jensen.
I was totally intrigued, and couldn’t wait to find out more. I invited my friend, Aerial, to come along and get challenged, too.
Sally remembered the fit dancer version of me, and didn’t know the current out-of-shape, struggling-to-have-stamina-and-not-pass-out version. However, I have never had so much fun getting my butt kicked! She was honestly amazing. Sally kept us motivated, made us laugh, helped us when we struggled, and performed each and every move right along with us the whole time! Between Sally and Aerial, my abs were dying from laughing so hard.
Try crossfit! Just be sure it’s a place that will support you no matter what your level, will keep you safe, and will let you have fun along the way, making it a "perfect fit” for you. This was not what I experienced at Iron Tribe Fitness.
I was inspired by Chef Shannon to try Iron Tribe Fitness. Shannon vouched for it and absolutely loved it. She couldn’t stop going on about her happiness with the results. I decided to give it a go as well.
Day 1: We completed a base test that included running, squats, and assorted moves and exercises. I was so out of shape! I was sure I was going to either pass out or throw up. As it turned out, I waited to throw up until I got home. For not knowing if I could run at all with a busted knee, I was quite proud that I went as far as I did. I’m not a fan of running in the dark, unable to see, in the freezing cold, with ice on the ground, and not to mention all without stretching previously beforehand. I’m still proud. Go me! I’m told I have good form. SWEET!
Day 2: My new tribal friend, Mike, and I laughed while we waited for class to start. My second new tribal friend, Staci, and I chuckled when I told her my legs were sore. I had to sit down like a pregnant woman all day. Then I had to figure out how the heck to get back up. Today was a new day, and we were ready.
I discovered I really like the rowing machine, minus the struggle to get out of it. I did push ups on the rack, because after several surgeries, I’ve been left too weak to hold up my own body. I joked and laughed at my own weaknesses as usual. I knew my arms were going to hurt. I did extra stretching at home. I was told once again that I have good form. This is nice, because even though I was behind, at least I had something to hold on to.
Day 3: We ran again because it’s warmer, in the dark, with the ground full of puddles from melted ice that we find by accident. This soaked our shoes and socks. Still not a fan, but I ran somewhat well, so YA!
My new tribal friend, Laura, started to get a little frustrated. I took the opportunity to cheer her on and to keep going. I know I have to do the easiest version every time. I’m slower and have to take a lot of breaks, and sometimes I can’t even finish. I was still proud. I tried to joke and make fun of myself in order to not get caught up in the frustration. I’m ready to have a break.
I began to hurt a little less. I was making great new tribal friends. We teased Mike some. He’s a young, mean machine that is just blowing through everything, but we also cheered him on even though he didn’t really need it. We laughed and tried to make the class light since several of us struggle. Mike said he liked working out with us silly girls.
I really love Staci! Even though she gets so focused on trying to survive that she loses the ability to count. I helped her out by yelling “STOP STACI” and laughing. We had a good time, even though I slowed her down which caused us to finish last. I love Laura, Kati, and Mike, too. I can tell we’re going to be great friends after this.
Knowing I can’t do pull ups for medical reasons, I bowed out and choose rings. They’re still hard but more doable. Staci joined me because she’s really nice. I realized there are three groups to this tribe: 1. The “youngsters” that can conquer anything. 2. The people that said they were out of shape, but still excelled in all exercises. 3. Me….medically limited, struggling with every exercise, and whose number one goal was to not throw up in front of everyone. I can still do this.
Day 3: This day was the most difficult. They asked me to do a lot of things I can’t physically do. I tried it all the same. I chose to do the easiest version of Burpies, and then took a break while everyone else practiced the jumping version. That earned me the name “Debbie Downer”. I was not really happy about it. No one should call you that. And besides, a Debbie Downer I am not! I was doing my best to keep up and not complain, but actually staying cheerful and encouraging.
Later, I tried to encourage Staci to keep going. We got a snide remark that “obviously it wasn’t hard enough if we were talking,” followed later by “Not talking now, huh?” I was really upset at this point. There was a lot of negative feedback that day. I was ready to go home. I was not as upset as about how bad they made me feel when I was honestly doing my best.
The next day I was still upset. I sent management an email stating that they didn’t really know us. The tribe should not put us down. The tribe should cheer us on for our small accomplishments. I’m really upset because they made me feel bad, and I’m not sure I want to return.
The response email came from the coordinator. He told me that the trainers knew plenty about the athletes. 90% of the athletes love their relationships with the trainers before they ever see results. (Apparently I’m in the 10%...) I was told that with the coaches’ feedback, it seemed that this was “not a good fit.” The tribe “only promotes a positive environment,” which I was not doing. Wow! You’ve got to be kidding. Truly the pot calling the kettle black.
I still stand by my opinion. They can’t possibly know anything about me or my medical history when they only asked me this one question, “So tell me who Stormi is…”
Having said that, I don’t believe this is the experience everyone has. A few of my friends have gone through the program and absolutely loved it. I didn’t mind it myself until they started criticizing rather than encouraging.
I can see how crossfit is a great workout. I do suggest that you try other sports to help you get in shape before taking on crossfit. It’s definitely a workout. Fitbit says I was averaging 2,000 calories per session.
I found out there was still a lot that I can’t do. But at least I can jog short distances with a busted knee, and that’s pretty impressive. In the end, they were right. We’re “not a good fit.” I like being able to cheer people on, and I’m not willing to be verbally abused by anyone. As they say, ain’t got time for that!
With Kelly, the photographer and owner of Elements Photography Studio , I was full of confidence and anticipation by the time I left her studio. The excitement to see the final product was totally overwhelming.
I strongly recommend that you try a photo shoot for yourself. It's the best way to step outside your comfort zone. See what hidden confidence you have!
I saw the Groupon® for a Boudoir Photo Shoot and knew I would be totally stepping out of my comfort zone with this one. Since my medication had played havoc with my weight, I rarely feel comfortable in my own skin. However, when I saw Kelly's work, I knew I was in good hands. Her photos were artistic and vintage. I loved every single one! I was not nearly as skinny as the people on Kelly’s website, but who cares? “I am what I am” is my new motto!
Kelly's vibrant personality automatically put me at ease. When she turned on the music, my inner sex goddess just appeared. We talked, we laughed, and I had never felt more comfortable in my pj’s before! I knew Kelly was looking at me as art and that made me very comfortable. I relaxed and started to enjoy myself.
Talking to Kelly, I learned that she actually has an extensive art background. My favorite thing was how laid back she was. Kelly never asked me to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. It was shocking how quickly my confidence grew.
We talked about how women always doubt themselves. They feel discouraged if they don't have anyone to share the pictures with. However, by the end of the photo shoot, these women typically want the pictures for themselves. More proof that I was in good hands.
This personal adventure reminded me how beautiful I was inside and out. When I received the pictures, I saw nothing but confidence, happiness, and love. Yes, this Storm Chaser was going to be just fine.
I typically don’t investigate where I’m going when I set out on a new adventure. Mostly because it practices my flexibility. So when I showed up to Plunkett Fitness I didn’t really know what to expect. However, walking into the gym and seeing all the weights, dumb bells, and bars I knew I was in trouble.
I have never been a weights kind of girl. I prefer taking classes. I think it comes from my dancing background and how I grew up, but I made a commitment and I was going to go for it the best I could! So I warmed up with the group, and paid close attention to the directions that were being given. Luckily, everything is done in reps. Being the new kid I always had a spotter close by, but I had something else too. My own personal cheerleaders! There wasn’t an activity that I tried that Jamie and his staff didn’t holler out encouragement when I felt like I couldn’t go any further. I even surprised myself and my ability to keep going even when I thought I was too tired and would normally have quit.
I, of course, had no weight on the bar. I even laughed more often than not at them when they showed us what we were going to work on. Mostly because I was full of doubt and was defeated before I even began. Every time they had more faith in me than I did myself, and they proved me wrong every time as well! We may have had to modify the suggested weight to the bar minimum, and there was a couple of times that the staff had to help me finish my reps, but I kept pushing through and succeeding every time! I felt great, and I had a little more belief in myself too!
Not only are they super supportive, but if you have a goal: weight loss, building muscle, or improving mobility, Plunkett Fitness makes it their top priority to help you meet your goals. They even got this non-weights girl to enjoy the experience! So if you’re looking for a supportive environment that can help you meet your goals, try Plunkett Fitness!
When I saw the salt therapy Groupon I had no idea what it entailed. So when I entered the Kansas City Salt Mine I truly didn’t know what to expect. What I learned was truly fascinating. Salt therapy, known as halotherapy, has long been established in Russia and Eastern Europe as one of the most effective and affordable ways to gain relief from a wide variety of health challenges including allergies and other respiratory issues. Even the gentleman that entered the salt room with me said his doctor sent him to help with his allergies and he swore by it. So I thought “why not!”
Basically, dry salt is ground into tiny micronized salt particles, and are blown into the salt room while you lay comfortably in a recliner with a blanket to nap with. While you nap, the tiny, crushed, micronized salt particles enter the deepest portion of your respiratory system. Since salt is a natural anti-inflammatory, it opens restricted airway passages making it easier to breathe. It also strengthens the immune system. The dry Salt Therapy also contributes to balancing our nervous system, causing us to relax and enter a calmer state of mind.
Between the salt mist and the instrumental music it was easy to doze off into a peaceful nap. However, it was what happened when I woke up that was the most amazing thing. I could breathe! All the swelling that I didn’t know I had had disappeared. I felt calm and less stressed. It was almost saddening to know that I had to leave. Who knew Salt Therapy could make me feel so much better?!
If you have any breathing issues I highly recommend the Kansas City Salt Mine in Lee’s Summit. It worked great for me and even lasted a few days later. It was relaxing and comforting. Definitely something I would do again!
I’m not suggesting anyone go jump off a cliff or anything too insane. However, we should try things that make us a little uncomfortable. The end results might surprise us.
I have a terrible fear of heights. Even when I rock climbed; my fear of heights took over at 50 feet. When I went to the Renaissance Festival, they offered a zip line for the courageous. I surprised myself by jumping at the chance. It was lower than a typical zip line, but still high enough to scare me to death. I felt a pull to do it anyway.
I paid my fee, got suited up in my harness, and climbed to the top of the tower. My body started to vibrate as fear consumed me. The girl that was supposed to go before me started to have a panic attack. She scrambled down the stairs past me, her face frozen in fear. I battled with myself. Should I back down too? I realized that I could quit and regret what might have been, or I could face my fear and just do it because that’s what Chasing Stormi was about.
I let them hook me up. I asked the guy, “So I’m afraid of heights. Any advice?” He said, “You’re not alone. The best thing to do is just treat it like you’re jumping into cold water. Close your eyes, run and jump to get it over with. If you just step off, you’ll freak by not feeling anything under you. You’ve got this!”
Run and blindly jump. Well, that’s what we’ve been doing this whole time. This is what I have asked you to do regularly. I was more determined than ever. So I closed my eyes, ran, and jumped into the air.
The breeze was blowing the hair out of my face, and I began zipping towards the next tower. I opened my eyes and squealed as I soared to the other side. There was a guy standing on the top of the tower that slowed me down to land. My body was shaking more than ever. However, a sense of pride flooded over me. I DID IT! I ZIP LINED! Now I had to do it again. So I closed my eyes and jumped once more.
By the time I was done, I was vibrating excessively from head to toe! I had never felt more alive! I was really proud of myself. I had been doing small things, but this was something big for me.
Bollywood is a dance style that caught my eye first when I saw an old friend, Kimberly Wyatt, show off in the Pussy Cat Dolls video “Jai Ho” from Million Dollar Slumdog. Then again I saw it while watching Smash. It looked so fun and exciting that when I saw it being offered on Groupon.com I jumped at the chance to take a couple of classes of Bollywood Fitness!
When the instructor walked in and was a tiny framed, 4’6” I figured I was in trouble. You see, by the time she’s on her third move my orangutan arms and giraffe legs were just finishing the first move. I tried to stay positive and keep trying to follow along, but by the end of the class my bad knee and ankles were so sore it was almost unbearable.
Well, it was only the first class. Maybe the second would be better…..unfortunately no such luck. Even though this class was bad for my knee and my ankles, it’s definitely a cardio workout! So I suggest you giving it a go. Even though I tried with my old and injured body to no success, I strongly encourage you to give it a try! You may not be able to fully get into it on your first go. At least sign up for the two classes and give it a second try before you decide if it’s for you or not. Although there will be no Bollywood Fitness in my future, I love that I can say I gave it a go. TWICE!
When I saw the Groupon to go to 68’s Inside Sport, I thought to myself…”Why not stand in a cage and swing at various flying balls?” You see, I was not built for sports. I cannot catch, throw, hit, dribble, or kick. The only thing my body was able to do that was considered sports was running track and volleyball. “How could you play volleyball if you are so sadly uncoordinated?” you ask. Well, you just have to keep the ball from hitting the ground. And the ball was rather big.
However, on my quest to try new things I grabbed a helmet and a bat and took my stance hoping to leave with minimal bruising… STRIKE ONE! Which is what I was expecting to do for an entire hour, but somehow I managed to make contact with the ball to my bat and made it soar out in front of me! What the heck did I do?! And could I do it again?... I can only imagine the shame that a coach would take on my stance, but I didn’t care. I hit another one! A miss, and then I hit three more in a row!
I had the baseball fever all over again! Even though it had been over 15 years since I was forced to play sports I was not built to play in gym class, I found myself thoroughly enjoying myself. I only hit about ¾ of the balls. That was a new record for me! My stance was gosh awful, but I can proudly say that I was successfully hitting the ball far out in front of me! Not bad for being a clueless kid. Ha! So whether you’re a pro or a novice, I would suggest trying the batting cages. It’s also a great place to blow off any built up steam....
As you already know, I was a dancer for most of my life before I hurt my knee and my world came crashing to a halt. My identity has always been “Stormi-the dancer”, but I would never dance again. Who was I now? Well, I had always been a teacher off and on, and they say those that can’t….teach. So I started teaching. Even when I moved back home I still looked around until I found a studio that would take me. You see, it gets harder to find a studio to call home when you’ve been “out of the field” for so long, but I found a place that I thought would do. However, I was wrong. Working at a studio that didn’t put children’s safety first wasn’t a place for me. I sent out my resume looking for another studio to call home, but got no bites.
Four years later, after several moves and no responses, I came to the determination that this was yet another chapter of my life that I needed to close. So I gave away my dance shoes and buried the desire as much as I could. Then just recently I received an email from a dance studio. They wanted me to teach! Seriously?!! It’s been five years now! I had no shoes! I had also just started a job that didn’t let me have a lot of flexibility. When I informed the studio of this I thought surely this would be the end. That this opportunity was sent as a torture of my inability to once again do something that I had loved so much to do. But the studio redid their schedule just so I could teach! That’s when I realized that this was shocking new destiny. Fate if you would have it. Proof that this was what I was supposed to be doing right now whether I knew it or not.
I was full of anxiety and excitement when I went to teach my first class. Did I still have it? Could I still captivate their attention and teach them stuff they didn’t know? Knowing that I had experienced the best training possible from White Oak Dance Academy I decided to stick to the techniques that had proven to turn many young bodies into professionals that loved their jobs. And even though it’s only been a couple of weeks, the kids are having a blast and show signs of improvement each week! I guess I still had it after all! Nothing is cooler than witnessing change that you caused and encouraged. It fills your heart with pride to the point of almost bursting! And even though I know when I go back to school next semester it will get a lot more crazy, I’m loving that I’m making a difference in these girls and boys lives. I hope to keep it up!
When I saw the Groupon® for Learning 2 Fly, I knew I had to try this out. I had seen it done in Vegas. I knew that ribbons required a lot of upper body strength. I also knew I didn’t have upper body strength. However, I wanted to try the ribbons all the same.
Once I entered the building, I was in awe of my surroundings. The walls were covered in vibrant colors, and brightly colored silk ribbons hung from the ceiling. Underneath were thick, blue mats. It was so warm and inviting.
The #1 rule at Learning 2 Fly is that you are not allowed to say the word “can’t,” or any other negative words describing your inability to perform. You must always use positive statements about your ability to improve with practice. The price for negativity was 10 push-ups. My kind of class!
I broke the first rule right off the bat. I said the word “can’t” as I tried to figure out how to do the first exercise.
Everyone else had taken the class for a while now. They were able to climb the silk ribbons with very little effort. I couldn’t, I mean I struggled to get off the ground for more than 5 seconds. This was going to be a very long hour….
The instructor took pity on me, and my lack of upper body strength. She gave me exercises that I could actually do. I managed to pull myself up and stand within the ribbons. GO ME! I was so excited and proud. I could fly like everyone else after all.
The instructor also taught me how to hang upside down, ha! After finding about 3-4 positions that I could actually do, I could see how people loved this. Who doesn’t want to fly?
I was nowhere near climbing to the ceiling. I wasn’t able to do many of the other positions either. However, my body did manage to get a really good stretch without breaking any bones in the process. I was glad I gave it a try.
At Learning 2 Fly, you have the option of taking two classes. Someone had mentioned trying the Yoga class on Sunday afternoons. Intrigued to see this new view of yoga, I signed up for my second class the following Sunday. Once again, I found myself in the brightly colored room. It was fun just standing in such a happy place.
Having a new found love of yoga, I will admit that I enjoyed the freedom the silk ribbons gave me while performing the poses. My spine truly felt longer as I sat upside down, safely and securely wrapped in the ribbons.
The poses were familiar for the most part, but we also did poses specifically designed with the use of the silk ribbons. Some felt good. Some I struggled with. However, I was able to do much more in this class. The yoga class definitely proved to be easier on my body and my self-esteem.
When my friend, Shannon, invited me to go with her and her daughter, Kelsie, to a gun safety class, excitement shot through me. You don’t need training or a license to carry a concealed weapon in Kansas. However, safety must always come first. We signed up together with her friend, Joy.
It was a two class course at She’s a Pistol. Our instructor was Ryan. He made the Power Point presentation educational and fun. I learned so much about guns in general. We were told that we would be practicing at The Bullet Hole Gun Range on Thursday.
When I arrived, there was a thrill of enthusiasm and uneasiness. I wasn’t sure that I was ready to shoot a live gun. I struggled with darts and archery!
It turns out that I am a lefty with right eye dominance. This makes it more difficult for me to make a successful aim. First we learned to load a magazine. My shaking was going to make this a bigger struggle than normal. I have grown accustom to my shaking. However, it sets me back a bit when other people notice it. Shannon asked me if I was nervous. I responded quickly and honestly with a “No.” This was just going to be another challenge I was going to face squarely and walk through.
We started with a 22. It fit nicely in my hand, even if it was a right-handed gun. I was going to need a lot more practice to master any kind of aim. This was proving to be more difficult for me than archery was.
Next was the 9 mil. The gun was heavy and felt awkward. It made shooting the gun even more difficult. The heavier the gun, the harder it was to hold steady. The instructor tried holding my hand steady to help me out. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t make it work for me this time. I was frustrated and defeated. I graciously left and headed home to find my peace again.
Even though the evening didn’t feel like a success, my target sheet revealed that I could hit the tape holding the target in place. I just could not hit the actual target. I determined not to give up. As my dad pointed out that night, this was just another obstacle that could be conquered. It would just take some time and practice.
I am not a gun owner yet. I’m no Annie Oakley either. However, I do plan on trying again. I also know how to handle a gun safely now.
I had heard that Comic Con was an event like no other, so I decided to check it out for myself. I drove downtown to Bartle Hall and got my badge to enter a world like no other. You could feel the excitement build around you as you ride the escalator up to a land beyond…Comic Con. Everywhere you turn there are comic books, trinkets, and fantasy figurines. The best part was seeing all the people that dress up in costumes! There were a so many different characters walking around from Lord of the Rings, Maleficent and more!
It’s not just what you see around you that makes you know you have entered a new community with it’s own language and culture, it’s how people talk. It was fascinating listening to people contemplate which characters trumped others. People shouted foreign words to me trying to excite me about their products and what worlds and characters they were representing. I was definitely an outsider not knowing what they spoke of, but it was interesting none the less.
I was even proud to see my friends, The Autism Society-The Heartland, representing. I spoke with one of the representatives who was beaming with pride when I asked what they were doing at Comic Con. Her response touched my heart. She explained that whether people were autistic or not, The Autism Society-The Heartland supported people being unique individuals, and there was no better place to do that then to support the participants of Comic Con. I loved that answer. They even have a new superhero who they were calling ASH. (Autism Society-Heartland or as someone said A Super Hero). Rumorhas it that ASH will be seen more in the future.
So after an hour of being emerged in this land beyond my normal realm I had had my fill and headed home. It’s definitely a world of its own, with a culture and even a language to go with it. People watching was the best! It was exciting, amusing, and I had a blast!
Yes, like many of you, I enjoy my Real Housewives series. Orange County, Atlanta, New York, you name it I watch it. There’s just something about watching rich people and their “problems of life” that makes any issue I’m facing a lot smaller. However, there’s one thing I do love about them is that they are always traveling and getting pampered at spas.
I was always curious what a full body spa treatment would feel like, but I never thought I could afford it. Then I went to an event at La Belle Angele where they were offering their services at 50% off! I could do that! So I scheduled an appointment with Heather to do a body wrap and a facial.
When I first arrived and was asked to undress it was a little nerve wracking, but Heather showed the utmost professionalism and put me at ease almost immediately. I laid down on the table and relaxed as she spread the cream all over before being wrapped in plastic with a blanket to cover me. Then I started to “bake” as they say while she moved onto my face.
It was so nice to spend a couple of hours being pampered from head to toe. Now I know why the women of the Real Housewives series were always going to the spa! And now you can get the same treatment in Johnson County at an affordable price! My heart sank a little when it was all said and done, but I had the smoothest and softest skin even 5 days later! My pores were cleared and my skin had its elasticity back. I couldn’t believe it! We may not be Real Housewives with disposable income, but you can get spoiled all the same at a very reasonable price at La Belle Angele.
I went downtown to the studio of Happy Tree Painting Co Inc. Melissa Butler, the hostess and instructor, greeted me warmly. She was sure we had already met. It turned out that we were just kindred spirits. I know I’ve said that before, but no one feels like a stranger these days because I am determined to live each day to the fullest, and make the most of each experience that comes my way. Carpe diem!
I entered the room filled with excitement and anticipation. Could I look at a painting and make one just as good? I was about to find out. Melissa’s instructions were simple. The only rule included, “Don’t put your brush in your wine glass.” Ha!
The background was easy enough. It was the tree with a swing in the foreground that made me nervous. But I had I surprised myself at my ability to look at that painting from across the room and reproduce something similar so far. It made the creative side of me dance a little. I’ve got this, I thought with pride.
It was time to paint the tree. Melissa gave us implicit instructions to make it our own. I loaded my brush with paint. It was time to let the perfectionist side of me sit this one out. It was time to let the creative juices flow. I took a deep breath and began.
Thirty minutes later, I was surprised at how well my creation had turned out. Even the woman sitting next to me told me it was a work of true art. I liked her immediately. The group drank, painted, and chatted with their partners and the people around them. There was nothing but support and budding friendships as we all painted our own version of the same tree.
I took a break to walk around the room. It’s truly astounding that no person saw the tree the same way. Everyone’s picture was completely different. Each had its own flair of creativeness from its artist.
My swing did not turn out as well as I had hoped. I was too shaky from my medication. But I shocked myself again when the two red hearts on my swing came out perfectly on the first try. I felt like a kid again. I was a little bummed that the time was up already. My creative side was pouting. She had to go home now.
I got to keep my painting. It proudly hangs in my bedroom where I can view it every day. Thanks Happy Tree Painting Co Inc for letting me come play. I’ll be back for sure.
When we first got to the Royals vs. Astros game on July 25, 2015 everyone seemed frustrated. It seemed like everyone was exhausted including the players and we had only just begun! We were running a little late due to a random monsoon down pour so they were already in the beginning of the third inning, score at zero on both sides. I lucked out because I had tickets that were practically right on the field, and it was my friend, Brianna’s first game ever. However, as we sat in the heat sweating immensely we, too, began to get frustrated. Both sides were playing such a great defense that no one was getting on the bases!
Then something happened in the sixth inning…Astros got a homerun and it was as if the Royals woke up to finally defend what was theirs. The crowd went wild as the Royals loaded the bases in the seventh inning. Even I, the non-sports girl, was on her feet whooping and hollering encouragement as they stacked up the bases. Ah yes, this is what I remembered games to be like as a kid! Then the Royals took a homerun before getting their third out.
I was awake and alive! And I wasn’t the only one. The whole stadium was on their feet cheering with hopes of that next homerun to break the tie and take the win. Anxiety rose as people cheered for the tie to be broken. The eighth and ninth inning brought no homeruns with the tenth inning starting off the same, but the Royals were determined to take this win and they did just that at the end of the tenth! The roar of the crowd was deafening! The Royals beat the Astros 2-1. Now I understood the anticipation of the game. I had forgotten how exciting it could be! Even Brianna liked it for her first experience to a baseball game. The fans of the Royals definitely help to make the game an exhilarated experience! Although, you won’t find me at every game, I wouldn’t mind going again.
I highly recommend taking a kickboxing class with Mrs. Elizabeth Cummings at ATA Martial Arts Studio. Find out how empowered you become after just one class!
When I first entered ATA Martial Arts Studio, I was greeted warmly by Ms. Bethany Gagelin. Her excitement transferred immediately as she eagerly got me signed up. Ms. Bethany’s radiating energy was welcomed after my long day at work. I also knew just how out of shape I had recently become.
Watching the chatter around the room, it was easy to see that everyone was family at ATA Martial Arts Studio. I was welcomed right off the bat. I knew I was in great hands from the second Mrs. Cummings started us with warm ups. She was never far away and always assisting me.
The coolest thing about kickboxing at ATA is that you never feel helpless. I knew it would be a struggle. I had no stamina; I was overweight, and weaker than a small tree twig! This class was going to kick my butt. But if you do have to take a breather, at least five people come running with moral support. I swear I heard more "You're doing great!" "You've got this!" "I'm so proud of you!" comments in one hour than I had in an entire month. This was an incredible family I would die to be a part of. Even though I still have to quit early in the game, I'm motivated to push through longer each time. With only two classes under my belt, I am already missing my new friends and a great workout.
I was so mentally and physically at peace, and already empowered after that first class. It was easy to just fall asleep when I was done. I cannot wait to see where I'm at once I finish my ten classes. So far, it's one of my favorite things new activities.
A girl just trying to find her way, stepping outside of her comfort zone, trying new things, and making new friends along the way!