Where in the world is Wendy....

In a world where our main outlet of communication is through text messages, emails & DMs, the gentle beauty of a handwritten letter seems largely forgotten. Recently, I received a letter that not only allowed me to experience the power and sincerity behind a pen to paper note but it left an imprint on my heart that I will never forget. Sharing this story with you that I ht5old close to my heart in hopes that maybe you too could brighten someones world by sending them a note or a letter to say you love them or just that you are thinking of them.

Quick background story about this letter. It was addressed to me but not delivered to my residence so unfortunately got lost in the shuffle for over a year before I got a hold of it. The letter was sent from Wendy, a retired phycologist and fitness instructor from Arizona who I actually have never met. She found my YouTube channel and was cardio dancing with me & Brie from across the country, in her living room - stating it was her way of working out and keeping her energy up while battling lung cancer. She wrote "I have enjoyed so much dancing with you and your sister and learning your routines - it is important for me to keep my lung capacity strong and you have provided a fun way for me to do this. I wanted to say you thank you and let you know that you have helped someone you don't even know who is going through the most difficult time in their life - just by being you & doing something that you so clearly love to do"

Cue the non-stop tears after reading that.

What courage it took for her to write something so powerful to someone she had never met. What courage it took to be battling such an awful disease but deciding to find a fitness routine that made her feel good, despite what she was going through, despite what she was actually feeling inside. What courage it took to see joy in someone else and choose to not only embrace that joy but to join in on it, when her life situation was less than joyful. Not many people have the courage to do that. I want to have an ounce her courage. So often I can be wrapped up by what someone said or how they made me feel - I complain about the littlest upsets, the weather, traffic, being late to something because of said traffic or weather — those things are not worth complaining about as life problems when there are so many people, people i know, and people i have never met that are going through real life problems and being optimistic through those times. Though in her letter, Wendy says she is inspired by watching my videos and inspired by me — but that is not what this story is about. This story is about how Wendy is the inspiration, the inspiration behind so much more than these words I write.

She closed out the letter saying that if her health was stabilized in July, she had plans to come to Boston and while here, wanted to come take my class live. To be honest, I felt a little sick to my stomach after reading that because this was sent the previous November, which meant she didn't hear from me before taking that trip to Boston. It killed me to think that this woman who took the time out to write me this beautiful letter could have possibly thought that I opened it and tossed it to the side because she never heard back from me. So I made it my top priority to find Wendy from Arizona. I started by writing her a note back that next day to the return address on her letter and of course, I tried to find her on all outlets of social media, but I came up with nothing. I searched for her on google and couldn't find an email address or phone number. When I got a "return to sender" on my card to her a week later, my heart sank. What if something happened to her in that year and I never got the chance to tell her she made me feel important, loved and like I had made a difference in her life.



I had to get creative, I compiled a list of "possible relatives" of Wendy that google gave me and sent out 8 messages on Facebook explaining to them this story and reassuring them that I was not a crazy person but just needed her email address to get in touch with her. As the weeks went by, it was weighing on me - how could I feel SO connected to this women but yet so completed disconnected at the same time? 

It was then on Christmas Eve that the weight of the unknown lifted off my shoulders. I was telling my family members this story at the dinner table, each of them teary eyed and feeling my feels completely when I got a buzz on my phone from facebook messenger from one of the 8 possible relatives saying "What is your email address, I will pass it along to Wendy." I couldn't even contain my happiness just knowing that Wendy was alive AND I was about to be in contact with her!!!

Wendy ended up sending me an email a few days later, just as joyful as I was that we had connected (it happened to be the same day Eric and I got engaged so I was able to share that happy news and a photo with her!) And we have been emailing and having phone dates ever since, sharing our professional goals, giving each other advice, telling stories and being a small light in each other's lives, from one side of the country to the other. She even ended up joining the ‘Get Aligned’ challenge at EB last month to keep up with a healthy diet. Though she still has reoccurring cancer, her tumors have not spread so her health is stable at this time.

My new friend Wendy is just as amazing as I made her out to be in my head after reading her heartfelt letter to me - she has a beautiful soul, lives her life to the fullest and has helped me grow as a person in more ways than I ever could have imaged and I know she will continue to do so - all because she grabbed a pen and paper to write a note to a girl from Boston just to say thanks for giving her a reason to dance :) 




I'M BACK, BABES!!!

…and sharing with you my 'Must-Have’ wedding guest dress of the season!

Hello friends! Long time, no talk! It’s been a little bit since I have written a blog post but I am thrilled to be back and communicating again with you on a more frequent basis. I had taken a hiatus after my first few blog posts because of an unrealistic mindset that made me believe that when I wrote, the content that I was sharing had to be top-notch, super professional, witty and ascetically pleasing to the eye. I would open my laptop and my mind would freeze. For years, I have been inspired by many lifestyle, fitness, and fashion bloggers, viewing their blogs as pure magic. So that mental block was coming from the pressure of trying to exceed my own exceptions of what I believed to be a truly engaging and enlightening post that would be worth reading.

But then one day recently it hit me — I am not writing to be a top-notch blogger and I have never been one to compare myself to others (marching to the beat of my own drum has always been my motto) - I am writing to share with my peeps what I love, share inspiring stories from clients, talk about new products I am crushing on, share my favorite outfits, my favorite places, fun workouts and everything in between. As long as I can add some value or inspire a few of you guys, that is all that matters! So, I am taking baby steps as I re-enter the blogging realm. Starting small means that I am starting and that makes me really happy. As my favorite EB quote reads.. Forward is forward!

 
Sooooo, I AM BACK, BABES!
 
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Ah! Here it goes. A few weeks ago, I had posted this photo from Eric’s brothers wedding and I had received multiple messages and comments about the dress that I had worn. I thought that sharing the details would be the perfect way to reintroduce myself to this page :) I will start by saying that this dress is the greatest purchase I have made in quite some time. Long before the wedding, I had stumbled upon it online and purchased it on a whim, without even thinking about when or where I would be wearing it. Now if you know me, you know that I usually am at the mall or Marshalls 20 minutes before an event starts, purchasing the outfit I am wearing to said event -- most likely changing into it in the parking lot. Having this gem a few months before this special occasion made me feel oh so prepared - which is very unlike me :)

 
 
The dress is from Lulus.com - which is my go-to online shop for vacation clothes and shoes, but I had never bought any dressy dresses from there. When I first saw the Infinite Glory Forest Green Maxi Dress, I was obsessed with the color, the low (but not too low!) neck line, the fitted waist and that slight mermaid hem. On top of that, the dress was under $100 bucks! All things that lead me to believe that I just had to have it! With the click of the mouse, it was added to my cart and the rest is history!
Click HERE to be directed to this exact dress from Lulus.com!!
 
 
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DRESS REVIEW

When I got in the mail, it was everything I was hoping for. The deep emerald green was just as vibrant as the photos on the website. Then when I tried it on, I realized that it was a gem of a find. The material is thick and the dress is fully lined, which is why it is great for any late fall or winter occasions (if I ever have a winter wedding, I would seriously consider this dress for my bridesmaids, that’s how much I loved it!!) It is the type of thick material that hugs your body without showing everything but not too thick where it feels stiff or uncomfortable. It’s actually pretty stretchy – I mean, I danced for a solid 6 hours the night I wore it so that says something about the comfort and stretch!

SIZING

I bought both a Size XS and S, as it was the first time I was purchasing a dress like this off this site and I tend to be in between sizes at a lot of places. If you too are a middle man when it comes to sizes, I would recommend going down a size. For instance, I am a dress size 2 in most places - the small fit, but was a little lose in the bodice (aka in the chest where I don’t have a heck of a lot to fill in). The X-Small was snug in all the right places and hugged my chest enough that I didn’t have to worry about pulling it up at any point in the night. As far as length, I read some reviews prior to purchasing the dress that said it was a bit long and they had to get it hemmed. I usually have the opposite problem, where Maxi dresses are never long enough - I am 5’ 8 so the length of the dress was great - I even got away with wearing a heel and the hem just grazed above the floor.

 
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FINAL THOUGHTS

So overall, I would give this dress a 10/10 for comfort, fit, color, length and how it made me feel when I wore it! I will definitely be using Lulus.com in the future when I am in need of any formal wear. They ship fast, and have free returns which was also really great considering I bought two of the same dress in different sizes so I was able to return the other dress without any hassle. I am not a brand ambassador for Lulu’s so I don’t have a personal discount code for you (and I did not get paid from them to write this review!!) BUT I did some research and found this active coupon online that you can use below!

 
Click here for $15 dollars off + Free Shipping - Use promo code: 'take15' at checkout.
 
 
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ONE MORE THING BEFORE I GO! SHOES!!!!!

I mentioned above that Lulus.com is my go to from booties & heels - here are direct links to some of my all time FAVORITES!

Lover Black Suede Ankle Strap Heels

Lover Black Suede Ankle Strap Heels

Taylor Natural Suede Ankle Strap Heels

Taylor Natural Suede Ankle Strap Heels


Thanks for stopping by - let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!! xo

DIY Crafting: Bathroom Printables!

Eric always jokes with me that anytime he travels for a business trip, he walks into a completely different apartment when he comes home. Leave me alone for a few hours and that is exactly what will happen, so I completely understand why says it! I love to DIY and I love sprucing up my décor in my apartment (quite frequently!), so if I am not teaching my classes at The Energy Barre or at my office job, my “me” time will usually include a trip to Michael's Crafts stores, a glass (or 2) of wine, Pinterest, and a project ready to be crafted. It relaxes me quite honestly – for a gal constantly on the go, having something that helps me relax AND makes my place look pretty is a win-win for sure!

For my latest DIY project, I wanted to add some love to the walls in my bathroom. I have searched at Homegoods and Target, but nothing had piqued my interest. So, I figured I would take it into my own hands to create exactly what I wanted. After my trip to Michael's, I poured a glass of wine and was ready to CRAFT! I found these adorable FREE printables on Pinterest, printed them out on cardstock, and placed them in the $3 frames that I found on the clearance shelf at Michael's! This was a very inexpensive crafting project and now I have very happy bathroom walls!

I had shared the DIY project that I was working on my Instagram story last night and from all of your messages that I received about where I found my printables, I knew posting them here for an easy download was a perfect way to share the love! So, enjoy :) And If you make these for your home, snap a picture and share it with me! I would LOVE to see how they come out! xo 

 
Simple & affordable - my kind of  DIY  home project :) 

Simple & affordable - my kind of DIY home project :) 

 

Nana Bette

I have had all of these fitness-related write-ups planned for months leading up to the creation of this blog -- write-ups including my journey into the fitness world, my experience being an instructor at The Energy Barre, and I am sure I will get to each and every one of those eventually but for my first blog post, I wanted to write about someone near and dear to my heart and tell a story that has touched my soul so deeply.

My beautiful grandmother - also know as Nana Bette - a woman who has been my role model, my rock, and the one who has all the answers to everything in life has Alzheimer's - a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time.

Nana Bette was (and always will be) my life cheerleader. Before she was diagnosed with Dementia, she was the most full of life, adventurous & a force to be reckoned with type of gal. She was always the first person at all of mine and Brienne's dance recitals, came to every school science fair or award ceremony, and always in my corner providing support, laughter & love. She was strong and independent, while also being kind and gentle. Along with an adorable spunk and the endearing way she made you feel special, Nana Bette's grace & humor made everyone around her want to talk to her, be friends with her, and love her - when Nana Betty talked, everyone listened. Her laugh lit up the room and warmed even a stranger's heart. I really could go on and on explaining all the magical, wonderful things about why my Nana Bette is simply the greatest, but I’d likely have to take four cry breaks, and this gal can’t have puffy eyes in class tomorrow!

It was about four years ago when my nana started developing signs of dementia, ones that weren’t alarming initially, and I don't know if I was in denial or couldn't see those early signs but when she would tell stories more than once, and forget certain things, I just assumed it was because she was getting older. Still full of energy & life, there was no way Nana Bette had Alztimers. Then those stories she would repeat a few times, started to be more frequent but I noticed it was always the same story for who ever she was talking to, so I truly believed that she was holding on to her favorite memories of the people she loved and her telling them over again kept them fresh in her mind. The story she would repeat to me, one of which I would give anything for her to tell me again was from the time  I came home from college for a visit and planned on taking her out to a nice girls day brunch. I thought Stephanie's on Newbury Street was PERFECT. But not as perfect as what we ended up doing - driving to Revere Beach to get Kelly's Roast Beef. We ordered our two hot dogs (all time favorite food) and French fries, grabbed a blanket, and walked down  to the beach where we sat for hours talking about  life, plans for my future, and love stories about her and my Papa Bill.

and let me tell you - it was

the

best

day

ever. 

I remember sitting on the blanket, my toes in the sand, thinking to myself ‘This is a memory day’, and indeed it was. 

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For the last two years, my nana's dementia has worsened – it has been the saddest thing in the world knowing that she is here physically, but mentally, this disease has taken over her brain. When I am with her, I just hold her hand and hug her – I can still feel her love just by being next to her. Though every time I visit her she doesn’t necessarily know who I am or is able to talk to me, I cherish my memories of playing Yahtzee on her porch, eating endless amounts of pancakes in her kitchen, and making a whirlpool with her, as the leader in her pool. I tell her those stories on our visits, and though she does not respond, I know deep down she hears me and is reliving those memories as well. Alzheimer's is such a terrible disease and reminds me to cherish the big and the little things in life -- especially the little things we take for granted. Loving hard has always been a part of who I am, and I am thankful to say I got that from her. We loved hard, and made the most of every moment. I will never be able to walk into my grandmother’s home and be greeted by her loving embrace and the "K-K-K, Katie, my beautiful Katie" song she sang to me every time we were together since I was a baby - but she is still with us and she is very much alive. 

It saddened me to think that I was never going to hear my grandmother say, “I love you, my baby” to me again. This is something that I can vividly hear her saying in her adorable tone of voice - the endearing one I spoke about earlier.

But little miracles happen all the time & they say that in Alzheimer's patients, they have moments of lucidity where they come to briefly so this is where my heart could explode sharing this story with you. At my last visit to Nana, I felt as though I had a little miracle happen, as she was not only alert as can be with her big beautiful green eyes looking right at me, but she gave me a smooch, held a back and forth conversation for over a half hour with me and the best part…she said those words over and over to me, the ones I was so afraid I wouldn't hear from her again -

 “I love you,”

and that right there is something I will hold on to forever. I felt like I had my Nana Bette back for a brief period of time, like I really felt that she was with with me - both physically and mentally at this visit.  

(Press play for a little clip into my memory day with Nana Betty)

Alzheimer’s may have taken her mind and her strength, but it will never take away the love that she has stored in that beautiful heart of hers. Life is about creating ever-lasting memories, and just when I thought I may not have any more memories with my nana that filled my heart with as much joy as ur Kelly's Roast Beef date - I did. It truly was a blessing. My wish for everyone who is reading this is for you all to take the time to appreciate the moments that make life beautiful, the conversations that make you feel whole, and tell the people in your life who mean the world to you that you love them, like truly say it - loud and proud, I LOVE YOU! because those words are words that every single person wants to hear. <3