Ragnar Style


This was by far the hardest thing I have ever done.  Physically, mentally, emotionally…you name it.  I was challenged from every direction possible, we all were.

The best explanation I can give you is imagine getting less than 3 hours of sleep for 36-48 hours, no consistent food sources and at no consistent time.  Have no time to roll or prep for your run, maybe a minute to stretch and then run the better part of 17 miles over 3 legs in the heat, humidity, trails, concrete, hills (OMG the hills) of the scenic Midwest with 12 folks you may or may not know (I knew 1 and had met 2 before), and finish under 36 hours ending at Montrose Beach in Chicago after basically living with each other in a van the entire time!

In those 36 hours I laughed, cried (a lot on leg 3), van danced, navigated, dropped off / picked up /  and met runners mid run, cheered folks on, took care of the ill, bitched about the hills and the freaked out running a trail in the dark, sprained a foot, slightly dislocated the other ankle (there’s a lot of give in it so it slips around) and still ran across the finish line, on the beach, in a sandstorm!

It was a huge leap of faith that I took the plunge head first, as did all my teammates.  We all had to just give in and put a ridiculous amount of trust in complete strangers.  Neither of these comes easily for me.  I also learned in the value of a team and community, which is something I don’t get a feel for often as I do most of my training alone.

But after all the challenges, I can tell you without a doubt I am a changed person… as once you tackle something so freakin’ epic, you can’t possibly go back.  All of us agreed this was so hard and so big, you can’t possibly return to who you were before.  Nor would any of us want to.  And we all want to run a Ragnar again, as a team!

I saw a post that Ragnar was a like a powerful drug.  I didn’t get that before.  I couldn’t have understood because until you toe that line…nothing compares.  Literally nothing you have done before or even potentially after, will ever compare….hence that’s why they equated it to a drug.  The only thing that’s bigger than a Ragnar, is another Ragnar!

I need to thank my teammates, especially Liz who got me involved in this epic adventure run-cation.  A special thanks to Ragnar for taking care of us from crazy people, extreme heat and wayward dogs, and the volunteers (especially our own) who were our lifeline, and to my Mom who got up at 2am to have breakfast ready for 6 weary, smelly runners who were desperately in need of food, showers and sleep, only to do it all over again for another 7 folks a few hours later.  I need to thank my coach and my massage therapists,  a friend who suggested Infinite Nutrition (2 weeks out I realized I wasn’t going to be able to handle gels over that period of time) and to Todd at CRC for helping me get my shoe issues straightened out in the nick of time (Hokas still rule).

There’s a reason the tag line for Rangar is Find Your Inner Wild….




6 Days of Closet Organizing to get ready for Spring/ Summer!

Today I finished emptying out the “not” pile out of my closet and drawers for Spring/Summer and Early Fall.  I will probably return to the project for Fall / Winter once I have some downtime.  In the South, I won’t need to worry about it until October at least, lol.  So for now I am declaring the project complete, but if you know me, I will be back at it in a week do to the rest lol.

My job today was daunting.  Finish accessories (purses, belts, shoes) and it was time to really take a long, hard look at my wardrobe.  This is the place I usually stop.  Or should I say – always stop.  I got rid of the all deadwood, what’s the big deal right?  Well the big deal is you still have things you aren’t wearing, and there are things you are still buying that you probably won’t wear for the simple fact that you don’t have a wardrobe put together to know exactly what you need (or don’t).

So I love the looks a fave blogger I follow posts and I have followed her pretty regularly for a year.  She has put out a number of ebooks, a few of which I have which just helps put outfits together using a minimal number of pieces of a wardrobe.   Anyway I printed out her suggested pieces for Spring and Summer and then ditched the pieces I wouldn’t wear (I hate skirts and button down shirts with a passion and I will not wear them so don’t even start with them included) and certain clothing styles and cuts that are not flattering or realistic to my lifestyle.   She puts together full outfits for you (down to accessories), but I am more independent than that, and my jobs are hardly typical.

Anyway then I got to play.  It was sort of like a toy I had as a kid that allowed you to mix and match clothes as a plastic template and then use color pencils to shade them in…it was kinda fun and my guess is I sucked at it then too.  I have included a few of my favorites.


So I came up with a number of outfits and just a couple things I need to add back in….like who doesn’t have a black t-shirt?  Really? Apparently I don’t.  And who doesn’t have a nice pair of sandals…again, guilty as charged.   Hello Old Navy!

I have a full trunk to go to my Donation site this week, and having that just out of the house already feels good!  I have conservatively 5 pair of shorts, 3 pair of capri’s and 5 pairs of jeans.  That isn’t minimal living at it most dire on it’s face, but how many of you can say you have only 13 bottom pieces to your wardrobe?  When you look at the fact that indeed that portion is a 4 season wardrobe I could go less but remember that first lesson – how much laundry do you want to do and how often?  Well my once a week can’t swing by with too much less,  I can’t actually count the number of sleeveless tops because of workouts and yoga, but let’s say 12 for personal use, and probably close to that in short sleeve tops.  So 24 tops x 13 bottoms = is 312 outfits.   Now some may not quite work.  For example, I am probably not going to wear white on white, or denim on demin, but even if we assume 250 outfits, that’s pretty dang good for 37 pieces.    My bottoms are white, tan to khaki, grey to black, plus demin in middle ranges (so neutrals) …they pretty much go with anything on top that is white and ivory to taupes and tans, dove grey to charcoal and black, and some pops of color in pinks and peaches to corals, turquoise and teals.  I have topper pieces as well in pretty much these same colors whether it be a jacket, or sweater.

It becomes pretty simple, almost like, dare I say “garanimals” for adults!  Now this doesn’t include dresses (sun, fancy, party, etc), or workout/yoga clothes.  It doesn’t include undergarments or jackets, nor accessories but I am not aiming for a specific number (at this point), I am aiming for cohesiveness and functionality in clothes I really like.

Now please do remember I get covered in oil multiple times a day and street clothes don’t respond well, nor can you do yoga in them and I am doing that 5 days a week as well, so you won’t see these clothes at work (sorry) but if you do I must be going somewhere pretty cool after!


Plan, Plan, Plan and Adapt

Sorry for the day off from the blogging world, but I needed a day to wrap my head around how to make this all work into my tiny closet.  What I came to was the conclusion that I was OK making it fit without the sports stuff, but seeing I am not quitting that, then my other bedroom closet needed to be way better utilized.

So closet number 2 had just Holiday Decor, gift wrapping, some crafting goodies and the cat box, and that was just not going to work, so I got the brilliant idea to make my luggage impossible to get to (Lol) by moving the decor bins with pullout drawers up top and easily accessible and move my stacked poor luggage off to the side (up top still), but with some creativity (and a few cuss words) I can make it work.  The guest bedroom closet now holds all it did before plus all my tri gear and all the sports stuff from tri kits and wetsuit, bike helmets, hydration packs, run nutrition stuff, and even my winter coats too!


With some folding creativity I got all my run clothes into my 4 nightstands drawers.  Two drawers ( one nightstand) for bottoms, and 2 drawers for tops and folks that includes a temp range of 20-90 degrees!

So if you fold well you’d be amazed what you can fit.  The Kon Marie books about Tidying go into depth on this but in general these should give you some ideas.   I need to apologize to her as I loved the books, but I was originally thinking the folding thing was over the top.  Yeah, I get it now…lol.

I also apologize for the shifting direction of the pictures but I wasn’t sure what direction would be best.  The top left pic shows various tank tops for yoga and personal.  The ones to the left are thicker as they have built in bras, the next column are really over shirts that will need a top under, those who are sideways are truly just thin cami’s and then the far right are plain old tank tops.  In the right hand top pic these are short sleeve run shirts and then run tanks multi-folded on their side (I put them 2 different directions to be able to find what I wanted easier).  The bottom pic are my long sleeved run gear (thick ones in a single fold, thinner in a multi-fold).


The best news is this pile gets to find a new home (minus Daisy)!  The bins go back under the porch for future uses and the bag goes to donation!  I am now one step closer. Technically if I hung up my jackets I could say all the clothes are in the closet, but I still want to go through the wardrobe and really make it cohesive (for a change) and see where we are really at!  Once I get that done, it’s time to re-arrange the bedroom to something more fun, functional and way less traditional and we are good for awhile (until I tackle those damn Christmas decorations), so I say now.


Happy Tiny Closet

So this morning I found happiness was a very simple thing.  I was able to walk into my “tiniest closest in America” and stand there and get dressed.  I mean holy cow that was all it took to put months of slight annoyance to full blown irritation to rest finally.

So with a very long day today I did something just really super simple, I straightened up clothes in the metal rack under the window that you couldn’t really see in the earlier pic’s.

So I really didn’t do much but here’s the key….don’t lose momentum or forward progress or whatever you want to call it.  If I blew off today it makes tomorrow twice as hard.  Anyway training for an event can tell you that.  Sometimes it is just easier to keep going.

Secondly, I am now more organized and I know exactly what lower body clothes I own.  I have way, way, way more tops that bottoms but still I know where I stand so when I am deciding on clothes yet this week I can actively decide what I want to keep and what I am going to have to let go.


So just for transparency sake, the top row is yoga clothes since this is what I spend most of my time in as 5 days a week I teach some version of it.  Top left is tops, top right is capris’s folded one way and pants folded a different direction in the wicker basket.  Second row are shorts and capri’s (jammie pants in the basket), and bottom row are full length pants and jeans.  Pretty easy right?  Well I don’t own dress pants (I’ll deal when I need them) so I don’t need hanging space (thank goodness based on how little room I have).

In the pic below I want to be really honest about what I am dealing with as far as trying to put things in some semblance of order.  To the right of the panoramic is my trusty extra dining room chair that is buried by jackets, then the tv is sitting on a chest of drawers (yep full you guessed it) then you can see part of one and all of another nightstand (yup full too) and then in the corner a metal shelf that is holding swim crap on top, run crap in the bottom bin and a bunch of purses and totes in the middle…heck my tri gear is still in a bin outside on the porch.


Even I have a ways to go.  We all do.  Find your project and jump in.  Feel free to ask any questions along the way!




Closet Day 1….and so it starts!

I ordered a tall 4 shelf/wicker cubby the day I moved in (March 3rd), I just put it together tonite (May 1).  I am the queen of procrastinating when I want to, as I have been banging around that huge box in my living room for nearly 2 months.  And just in case that isn’t conclusive enough, I got home at 4:30 and waited till after 8pm to put it together….lol.

Today, I also came to the conclusion over a FB conversation that the only room in my new/old little house that I absolutely hate is my bed/bath/closet combo.  My Mom pointed out to me that in my last house my Master En Suite was my sanctuary, and huge, ridiculously so honestly.  And that’s why this area bothered me so much.  She’s probably right, she usually is…lol.

So in building my little shelf cubbies thing, I also started the re-organizing of the closet.  Sorry I didn’t take a before pic (at it’s worst) but I did get a better layout to work.  I am not sure I could have gotten one pic of the closet with me in it, it is that small.  So this is the view when you walk in from the bathroom, and to the left is a small short metal shelf that sits under a window out to my screened in porch.


Originally I had the metal shelving rack opposite the hanging rack.  I ditched my laundry baskets which didn’t fit at all and I tripped over them daily (grrr) for a car organizer that is now repurposed..lol.

I have added the cubbies / shelving (below far right side) that I built in a 12″x12″ bump out that was totally useless and so far I still have to contend with the dang file cabinet but over time I might be able to get that less and move to a smaller unit.  But those cubbies are invaluable already.   The cubbies are for socks, underwear, bras and sports bras so that I can actually start getting put together or at least grab and go – lol!  Did I mention that the ceiling is 7′ on one side and 6′-4″ on the other.  I have never been able to reach a ceiling before at my 5′-4″stature!


So you can clearly see we have some work to do here and that’s not even showing the rest of my room, but today was a good start!  I can walk again into my closet… but I made a pile elsewhere, temporarily.  Over this week I will try to get something done each day or so as my schedule permits but the important part is to start with something easy.  Get some momentum going and feel progress being made.  It makes it a lot easier to tackle the next step, whatever you deem it to be if you are positive to start!

I knew undergarments were going to be the easiest to do for me (you know which bra is stretched out, you know what styles of underwear you need (to work with the clothing you know you will keep) so in order for me to start there, I had to build the cubby thing.  In less than 2 hours I sorted 4 items, built furniture and re-arranged the world’s smallest closet and took out a bag of garbage and the recycling stuff from the box that the cubbies came in.  Not a bad start!

This idea holds true for whatever project you are tackling.  If it’s a desk you can’t do anything till you file to get the extraneous stuff out of the way, if it’s a game room, you know which games your family plays and which they don’t, if it’s personal stuff like photo’s you have plenty of options, from having a scrapbooking party to hiring a smart teenager or virtual assistant to scan them onto a thumb drive, or giving them to the family member who’s they are in the first place.  There are always choices.

Just FYI, I am holding on to the 5 laundry baskets for a few future exercises in sorting but I  promise when the last trip to a donation store is made, they will go too! Honestly I can trip over air so why give me something to aim for!


Time to hit that closet!

To me, part of wellness is living well.  That means a lot of different things.  One is eating well, one is working in good, healthy situations, and a biggie for me, is having a home that is a sanctuary.  Trust me there is always dog fur around and you’ll find dishes in my sink until the end of the day but that’s life for me.  What I don’t handle well is clutter and too much stuff.

Clutter is a big agitator for me.  It adds stress to me physically and with autoimmune living it has taught me to control what I can, and honestly I can control the amount of crap I own.

At least I thought I could…and then I moved.  And in moving I downsized – a LOT.  But as many times as I downsized (5x in my formerly huge walk in closest that honestly was bigger than both my bath rooms combined now), I need to do it again.  Not because everything is magically going to fit, but I am just tired of this still bugging me every time I walk into my room and every night before I conk out….and it’s nearly 2 months later.

Welcome to closet downsizing 101 or maybe 106 since I have done it so flipping many times.   Every day or two I am going to tackle something else and let’s see how much I can get under control in a week or two.

So there are a few things I hate doing around the house – for me it’s folding laundry and attempting to put it away.  If you are anything like me, you probably avoid things you don’t like… and I learned that while tri training  few years ago that I could be lazy about my clothes and honestly I have been ever since.

In that spirit, it might not surprise you to learn that for the last 2 weeks I have apparently been living out of laundry baskets, so as I washed those loads and folded last weeks left overs and then folded all of this weeks clothes it dawned on me… exactly how much do I really need?  I mean here is the pile other than a few white t-shirts and a pair of white socks that were in the load I folded after the picture was taken.

To get the reality of what I am dealing with, the one aspect of my century old home that really bugs me is my bedroom.  Honestly I have a 3’x4′ area that is not built out well for all the storage for the bath and the bedroom as well as my business storage filing cabinet. I have been creative, I have downsized and it still sucks to be perfectly blunt.

So seeing this heap of laundry and really being mindful that I was putting things away in cubbies and folding things just so, so that they fit that I have decided I have an easy week this week so I am just going to do it and downsize for the last time for awhile.

This whole concept is not new to me, honestly I have been sort of obsessed with it for a few years now.  I read a book about 10 things a California girl learned while studying abroad in Paris, and the biggest takeaway, and what she has since become kinda famous for is her 10 item wardrobe per season (now that doesn’t include cami’s, jammies, undergarments, sport stuff or outwear).  Now I am not going that far as I don’t have another closet I can stuff things in for another season.  I have also bought a few pdf books on seasonal wardrobes and how 25 items can get you about 100 looks (this includes jewelry, handbags, shoes and scaves) – see I told you I am kinda of obsessed.  Ask me and I will publish links to these ladies ideas!  I have even read the books about downsizing.

But I have decided to start my journey into finally just wearing clothes I love that fit and make me happy.  Ladies, we know this is a challenge so bear with me.

The first step in my mind (so that you guys can use this technique later) is how often do you, or are you willing, to do laundry?  So I bring home sheets literally 4 nights a week if not more on busy weeks, so I have no intention of doing my personal laundry more than once a week one my one day off, that’t it.  It’s not reasonable in my lifestyle so I need at least 7 days worth of clothes at the minimum (think of packing a carry on for a vacation), now the reality is NC has a climate that ranges from 20 to 100 degrees so this won’t be a one season wardrobe but it’s a place to start and then add other seasons in….

That means to get through one week I need at least:

  • 4 sets of yoga clothes
  • 5 sets of run gear (with a temp range of 40-85 degrees, I won’t run colder or hotter)
  • a couple days of bike clothes
  • a couple days of swim clothes / wear (I don’t want everything to smell like chlorine)
  • 6 days of massage clothes, these can overlap to some extent, but these items have to with oils and gunk that I seem to get into.
  • real people clothes like fun tops (4), sweaters (3?) and jackets (3?), I tend to layer
  • a few dress up items (yes even I need a LBD – little black dress)
  • 2-3 pairs of jeans, plus pants, capri’s and shorts
  • I am going to have to work on the purse and tote addiction some more
  • and apparently buy some real shoes – lol,
  • variety of outerwear

I have to be honest I am not sure how much my tiny closet space can hold without collapsing but I think I have a whopping 25 hangers in there now, plus two shelving racks in my room, 2 nightstands with 2 drawers each, and a 4 drawer dresser.

So jump on the bandwagon if you have a closet you want to tackle…we start tomorrow!






First run post marathon…

So, I said I wouldn’t take too much time off post training….again.  The Honolulu marathon was December 11th.  And I screwed it up, yet again, although I had a monster sinus infection that has literally taken about 6 weeks to clear up.  Today’s run, wasn’t fast, wasn’t particularly focused, but I wanted to make it a fun run.  It’s been months since runs were fun and I could just enjoy the weather.  I talked with neighbors on a beautiful 70 degree afternoon, petted a few new dogs in the area and just enjoyed an easy 20 something minute run around the hills of my neighborhood.



Just had the biggest a-ha moment

Most of you don’t know but I am a closest junkie for self help/meditation/yoga/personal growth kinda books and programs so when a biz program came up that melded a bit of self help for businesses, it was a given!  So why did it take me 3 years to get to it then?

Bottom line is I wasn’t ready to ‘Go Pro’ as Marie Forleo (google her, she is a genius!) puts it.  I was still trying to do everything myself and a big reason behind that was I hadn’t changed my priorities when it comes to my time.

In short, her version of GO PRO is in it’s most simplest terms, just not wasting your time on stuff you suck at– that indeed someone else could do in a fraction of the time, costing you less overall!   Now I count my pennies, so it took awhile for me to realize that it is costing me more to do certain tasks than it would to pay someone else to do it.   So what was I thinking?  I wasn’t.  I was doing what I have always done to get the work done and play later (that’s that damn Midwestern work ethic – lol), which leaves no time for play, ever.

Then it hit me.  Last weekend when I was feeling like crud I made a conscious decision to shift my priority this year to my marathon only, and in doing so I started to question other things around work.  So as I was listening to a Mercedes Maidana podcast about abundance (she’s an ultra cool big wave surfer girl who has a great outlook on abundance and life–check her out too) and she too started talking about priorities.  In her words…if it isn’t a ‘Hell Yeah!’ then in fact it is probably not worth doing.  I understood it then and it made sense… but it wasn’t till I put that thought into Marie’s biz context that I realized…very simply.. there is way too little Hell Yeah in my world.

Since we area apparently in a monsoon outside…it seems a good time for me to make some shifts, and I am chomping at the bit to do so!  So the time is right to break out my fave book to do that with is Danielle Laporte’s Desire Map (here’s the link: http://www.daniellelaporte.com/store/shop/books/the-desire-map-book-new.html?dlap=58859).  Danielle rocks and is one of my total fave personalities and writers.

Off to do some soul searching…this ought to be interesting!  See ya Monday!





A few weeks back I thought I was bored, or maybe even a little down. What I realized it I hadn’t had any creative time in over a month.  Yes the house needs attention, as do the dogs, the accounting, the world it seems, but I learned that if I don’t get my time to create and just be….I’m no good to anyone.  It’s almost as important to me as water or food.  So when I saw Danielle Laporte’s post within the same week it was too good to pass up and not share!

Check out her stuff on http://www.daniellelaporte.com.  Her books are pure magic!

Criticising your creative process? No baby, no.

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I don’t want to starve for my art. I don’t want to bleed for it. And I certainly don’t want to be all judgey and perfectionistic and pseudo motivated(read: punishing) about HOW I MAKE my art.

(Note: I’ve bled for other things — men, money, ideas, deep angsty longing for communion with a god figure. I’m over it. Back to my art…)

I used to be critical about my creative process. So sad. It was part of my self-improvement affliction. Because if there’s a better way to be myself (I hope you see the humour in that), then there must also be a better way to get better at finding the best way to be…better.

This is how I used to regard my creative process:

Focus issues. Lack of patience. Too insular. Workaholic.

This is how I see my creative process now:

Focused. Swift. Centered. Turned on.

What changed? Nothing. Just my perspective. So, everything.


I thought I struggled with focus. Sometimes, mid-article, I want to wander over to Pinterest and pin lusty things on my Man, O Man board. Or I just have to text my girlfriend about that obscure song reference we heard in a movie soundtrack, or about really important things like, Is Beyonce still a vegan? I also shop online late at night for kimonos. That’s never a bad thing (because you can never have too many kimonos), but it tends to happen while I’m “working”.

I wondered if I was just easily bored, but that’s not it (and BTW, I’m cynical about bored and cynical people because there’s so much to find interesting).  It’s not that I easily lose focus. It’s that I prefer to be really engaged. Luckily, this is easy to make happen: I just work on stuff that I’m passionate about in that moment — no grinding.

I also got down on myself for being distractible, but it turned out that all I really needed was…a break. I was talking to Martha Beck in my Beautiful Writer’s Group podcast and she told us that she never writes on one subject for more than an hour. That’s it! Rhythm. It’s all about creating rhythm. And rhythm requires movement — which often looks distracted — but it’s movement.


I worship at the altar of word economy. I usually finish a painting in one or two sessions. I used to be down on myself for this. Like, if I grew up and laboured more over a book chapter or acrylic tonality, it would all have more merit. The fact is, I instinctively write and paint quickly. And it usually works out, meaning — I often get my point across in a way that’s effectual, maybe even pleasurable on a good day. I’m not in a race. I just have a lot to say.


I go on regular inspiration diets. I don’t read other people’s work when I’m writing my own books. I don’t want to be influenced. I want to write about my own experience in my own words. Maybe I should do more “research”, I used to think. But the only way to research your own experience is to be still….with yourself.


I can go days without working but I never go long without an idea. Last week I was earring-deep in the juiciest paragraph on porn, morality, sex, and the sacred — it was GOOD, I was on a roll, I’d been ruminating on it for months. Then, my awesome kid walked in with his guitar and my work day was officially, blissfully over then and there. Because life was right in front of me, with a new chord. I pull over to the side of the road with #truthbombs to write down. I once wrote a poem on the way to a funeral. Some of my emails to girlfriends turn into blog posts. I’ve ditched deadlines for yoga and loving. I’ve worked through a business deal with pneumonia. I walked away from a big offer because I wanted to…just stay home instead. I work when I want to.


Late at night, when it’s really inconvenient, painstakingly slow, in a flurry of sexy madness… All at once. Once in awhile. In a barn, sprinting, loudly. At the kitchen table before dawn….However and whatever it takes….

Make stuff that feels good to make — your way.


All yes,

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You have got to try this!

This is the best desert in a long time.  Still healthy, even paleo if you want or need it to be.  It’s sweet without the fake sickeningly sweet, and oh man if you use cacao instead of cocoa, you make it superfood worthy!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Paleo, Vegan).

See? Looks just like regular chocolate pudding! You can’t taste the avocado, it just adds a really nice creaminess. And of course it adds some nice nutritional benefits as well, like lots of good, healthy fats. Dessert without the guilt.

5 mins
5 mins
This avocado chocolate pudding is a healhy and delicious treat!
Author: The Pretty Bee
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2
  • 1 medium avocado, ripe
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoons honey for Paleo diet OR 2 Tablespoons agave nectar for vegans
  • 6 Tablespoons almond milk
  • optional: pistachios or other nut for topping
  1. Cut open the avocado and scoop out the pit. Cut it into large chunks and put in the blender.
  2. Add the cocoa, honey or agave, and almond milk. Blend, starting on low and then moving to high speed until it is smooth.
  3. If the avocado is larger, you will need a bit more of each ingredient. If it is too thick, drizzle in a bit more almond milk. Add more cocoa or honey or agave to taste.
  4. Refrigerate the pudding and serve cold. Top with pistachios or other nuts. Enjoy!