Posts in Wellness

My Morning Routine // Tips for Creating a Healthy Start to the Day

November 9th, 2017 Posted by Wellness 2 thoughts on “My Morning Routine // Tips for Creating a Healthy Start to the Day”

The morning is my favorite time of day. I love waking up before my family to take care of myself before the daily demands of my life hit me in the face. I can handle the pressures of my life (work, small people, etc…) better if I take time to take care of myself first.

I know not everyone loves waking up early. If early, early mornings aren’t you thing, maybe you can shift some of these tips around to make them work for you.

Tip #1: Wake up before your family

I wake up around 5 a.m. If I let my kids be my alarm clock, I start my day off in the toilet. I need to start my day AWAY from them. Again, I know not everyone likes waking up early. I’ve been an early riser all my life, so I’m accustomed to it. For me, waking up early starts the night before with going to bed by 9:30 p.m. This is also probably not realistic for everyone, but I know I’m no good after a certain point, so no point in me staying up.

Tip #2: Start your day with exercise

My alarm goes off, I swing my feet over the bed, and once my feet hit the floor, I’m waking up. I head into my bathroom where I’ve already laid out my exercise clothes, shoes, and towel. This small step of preparation means everything in the morning. I’m not wasting time fumbling around in the dark looking for clothes. Make it so easy on yourself!

I decide the night before what exercise I will do in the morning. I teach a couple times a week first thing in the morning, so if it’s one of those mornings, I grab my pre-packed bag, and I’m out the door to my class. If I’m not teaching, I head down to my studio in basement to exercise. I often review/learn choreography for a class I will teach in the future or I do yoga or barre.

Tip #3: Take a walk

After I exercise, I walk the dog. If you don’t have a dog, maybe you do a cooldown with a walk outside. I love being outside, and I love walking. There’s something so therapeutic about it. It’s a great time for me to listen to podcasts, and I find it relaxing.

Tip #4: Coffee (duh!)

I survive on coffee. (And sometimes crying in my van. But that’s a story for another day!) After my walk, I pour myself a hot cup of coffee. I drink my coffee black, and we recently splurged on a new coffee maker, and it’s been worth every penny. I drink several cups of coffee every morning. Emphasis on several. I often bring my coffee with me into the shower. Which leads me to my next tip…

Tip #5: Scrub a dub dub!

I love a good body scrub. I’ve tried just about every available option from the drugstore, and my favorite is the lavender and sea salt scrub from Trader Joes. It’s about $6, and it’s huge. I feel the blood circulating in my veins when I scrub with this stuff. And it smells amazing.

Tip #6: Fuel up

I’m usually hungry in the morning, and I fuel up with a protein packed breakfast of an egg scramble. I scramble up two eggs with peppers, spinach, quinoa, chicken sausage, and bacon. If you don’t like eggs, you could make a scramble, minus the eggs, and use quinoa as a binder. If you don’t like that, try overnight oats or a smoothie. Or maybe breakfast isn’t you thing. You do you!

I know I won’t get to eat again until 1 p.m. (and I eat breakfast at 7 a.m.), so I need to pack it full of protein to stay full.

Tip #7: Swallow those supplements

As I’m scrambling up my eggs, I get out my supplements. I take turmeric and a probiotic from Organifi. I’m obsessed with these. Turmeric is essential for decreasing inflammation (the source of so many bad things) and good for joint health. And that probiotic is good for my gut. Enough said on that, right?

To try these supplements out for yourself, use the code bagley at Organifi for 20% off!

I also take the opportunity to fill up a tumbler with water. I don’t love water (it makes me cold AND have to pee every 20 minutes!), but if I fill a tumbler in the morning, I’m more apt to drink.

Tip #8: Green juice to go

On my way out the door, I bring along three beverages: my coffee, my water, and my green juice. I’ve tried to make my own green juice before, and it not only costs a ton of money in produce, but all my greens go bad before I have the chance to use them. Now I use the Organifi green juice powder, and I get all the nutrients and none of the mess (or wasted dollars). Remember, take 20% off with my code bagley.

And with that, I’m out the door (or down to my basement to record a podcast!). This routine keeps me moving and feeling productive and efficient. Until about 3 p.m. Then I’m toasted. HA! But I’m not joking. That’s my crash period, and how I deal with that is a post for another day!

You tell me – what’s your morning routine? What keeps you energized for a productive morning?

Protein Powders, Juice, and Supplements, Oh My!

October 21st, 2017 Posted by Wellness 0 thoughts on “Protein Powders, Juice, and Supplements, Oh My!”

As a fitness and wellness professional, I’m careful about my diet. While I do have the occasional piece of cake or handful of dark chocolate chips, I like to eat 80% “clean” (meaning real, whole foods) and 20% treats ( I love ice cream!). Sometimes I find it easy to eat well. And sometimes I don’t. I don’t when I’m low on time and/or don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on produce that goes bad before I can use it.

When Organifi reached out about partnering with me, I jumped at the opportunity because it’s tough to find companies that create powders and supplements that aren’t filled with mystery fillers. Since Organifi offers a bunch of different products, I want to share my thoughts on what they offer and what I like about each of their products.

Daily Turmeric

I am OBSESSED with turmeric. Inflammation is bad, bad news. It’s the source of all sorts of bad health-related issues. Turmeric is shown to help reduce inflammation, supporting joint health. For example, when I first got on the phone with Organifi, I mentioned my dad suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. Organifi generously sent my dad their turmeric, and after it arrived he tried it right away. He called me after he took the first dose because he was amazed. Usually he has to pry his fingers apart in the morning, and after his turmeric, he didn’t have to force his fingers open. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

Biotic Balance Probiotic

So many people I know suffer from digestion issues. Not a day goes by that I don’t hear about some sort of gastrointestinal distress from someone in my circle. Biotic Balance is a vegan probiotic capsule with ten of the worlds most potent probiotic strains. Each strain is specifically chosen to fix your digestion, stop bloating, soothe stomach pain, reduce inflammation in your gut, and improve fat loss. I don’t want to get too TMI, but this probiotic has been good for my gut.

Green Juice

Have you ever tried to make green juice? It’s a big mess. And requires lots of produce. And if you don’t use the produce in time, it wilts, dies, and looses all it’s health benefits. Whomp, whomp. However, I was skeptical about this green juice powder. Could it be as good and as good for you as green juice you can make or buy? Yes! And way less mess and way less money. I mix my green juice with water, and I find it a refreshing afternoon pick me up. If you’re thinking you’d like to add more greens to your diet, this is an easy way.

Red Juice

My kids love this red juice. Thomas, my toddler, screams RED JUICE! Again, if a toddler will drink it, what more do you need?! HA! This red juice features all those good-for-you red things, like acai, beet, and pomegranate, to name a few. Like the green juice, I mix this up with water for a refreshing pick me up.

Chocolate Protein Powder

I’ve probably tried 39,534 chocolate protein powders, and this one is my favorite. Not too sweet, not at all chalky. Here’s one of my favorite ways to enjoy this protein powder:

Sarah’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake

+2 scoops Organifi Chocolate Protein Powder

-2 cups unsweetened almond milk

-1 frozen banana

-1 scoop natural peanut butter

-1 handful of spinach

Blend in a blender until smooth and you’ve got a protein and vitamin packed shake.

Vanilla Protein Powder

If I’ve tried 39,534 chocolate powders, I’ve tried even more vanilla powders. Again, not chalky, no weird after taste. I like to blend the vanilla powder in an acai bowl (video coming soon!). It’s also easy to scoop this powder into a blender bottle (the Organifi one is my favorite), and you have an instant on-the-go meal. (Hint: add some cinnamon to the powder and almond milk in your blender bottle!)

Okay, here is the best part. You can take 20% off your order with the code bagely. Also, all this several of these items are on sale right now – and the coupon stacks on top of the sale! This is the best time to try these products out. If you’re looking to make a change to your health, trying out supplements is a great way to get started.

Let me know what you think!

Mindfulness in Marriage

September 12th, 2017 Posted by Wellness 0 thoughts on “Mindfulness in Marriage”

While being a mindful parent is challenging, being mindful in marriage can be equally challenging. I find since I’m so comfortable in my relationship (I’m not trying to impress Dan or make him like me!), I can spew words out of my mouth I don’t mean or check my phone while he’s talking to me. Not okay.

A big part of mindfulness for me is paying attention to the present moment so I can be attuned to the people in front of me, instead of every passing thought. It’s easy to get caught up in my own thoughts and tune out my family, Dan included. It’s even harder to be mindful in marriage when our marriage competes with our three small children. And since they are loud, demanding, and in our face, it’s difficult to hear ourselves, much less each other.

When I get frustrated and angry about whatever it is, be it something work related or personal or what have you, and the last thing I want to do is be mindful, it helps me to pull back and remember: we’re on the same side.

Dan wants me to be happy and successful. And I want the same for him. We both want a happy family. When I take a moment to stay in the present, I can remind myself that we both want the same thing. I can hear him and see how even if we’re not picking the same words, we’re both usually saying the same thing. And if we’re not saying the same thing, we are often using different methods to arrive at the same conclusion. Staying in the present moment helps calm my mind and see that things aren’t as big and horrible as they seem.

How do you stay mindful in your relationships? What works for you?

Mindfulness and Motherhood

September 6th, 2017 Posted by Wellness 0 thoughts on “Mindfulness and Motherhood”

If I could ever benefit from mindfulness, it’s during a stressful parenting moment. And for me, stressful parenting moments seem to pop up a lot. It’s like whack-a-mole stressful parenting  moments around here.

For example, the morning rush to get out the door for school. No matter how much I prep ahead and no matter how much we go over the routine, meltdowns abound! It’s just a fact of having young children, I have learned.

The other day as we attempted to scramble out the door, it was one tantrum after another from one kid after another. With three kids, the tantrums and meltdowns are like waves with no break. They just keep crashing on my head over and over again. On this morning, Thomas pitched a fit about his shoes, Michael screamed about socks, and Kate cried about her hair. It was a doozy!

Truth time: I wanted to scream at everyone. Knee-jerk reaction. I wanted to say (and my say I mean YELL): PUT ON YOUR SHOES AND GET IN THE CAR FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THING! And I have done that, screamed at them. And it never, ever works.

Instead, I try (try so hard!) to practice mindfulness. I let my thoughts about wasting time and being late and my t0-do list float on by and attend to the present moment. The shoes, the socks, the hair drama in turn. I repeat out loud (and to myself): I am calm and nonreactive.

Repeating my mantra, relaxing into the present moment, and breathing deeply in and out of my nose helps relax my body and my thoughts, allowing me to attend to the drama unfolding. It also has the added bonus of calming the rest of my clan. When I start to spin, we all spin. When I calm, we all calm. Sometimes I can even crack a joke! And they laugh instead of cry! Sometimes!

This takes practice and it takes being kind to myself when I mess up. Mindfulness as a parent, for me, means everyday, every moment, bringing myself back to the present moment. Again and again and again. It makes me a better parent, and I love feeling good about my interactions with my kids. I want that feel good feeling, so that helps me stay mindful. Yelling will feel good in the heat of the moment, but I’ll regret it right quick. Mindful parents is always worth it, even though it’s painful in the moment.

How do you practice mindfulness as a parent or caregiver?

Talk It Through: How Do You Process Your Feelings?

August 16th, 2017 Posted by Wellness 0 thoughts on “Talk It Through: How Do You Process Your Feelings?”

I love personality frameworks! I know they aren’t perfect, but even if I don’t 100% agree with everything about my “type,” I still find nuggets of wisdom.

Recently I realized something about myself that relates to personality frameworks. When I’m trying to work through something, maybe I need to make a decision or I’m struggling with how to proceed with a choice, I have to talk it out. I must talk it out. It can’t not talk it out. I don’t really know what I’m thinking unless I can verbally process it.

This explains so much!

My current life situation is one-part stay-at-home-mom and one-part work-from-home-mom. Neither involve talking to adults about adult things very much. I’ve struggled and struggled and struggled with being alone, and I thought it was because I’m an extrovert. And that is partly true. But the other part is: I need to verbally process to other people. And when you’re alone a lot, well, there’s no opportunity to do that. So I go around and around and around in my head, and I can’t get anywhere because I need the words to come OUT, not stay in.

Writing is the only other way I can process. I do write to know what I think. And it gets me far. But not as far as verbally processing.

Realizing I’m a verbal processor is both a relief (because now I know when I’m struggling, I need to find someone who will listen while I go on and on) and it’s a problem because, well, I need a willing person to listen to me as a I blab on and on. Dan and my mom are excellent listeners and willingly listen to me go on and on. But sometimes I need someone else because I need someone not as close to me or I need to tell someone who doesn’t know me as intimately.

I so wish I was like Dan and several of my friends who inwardly process. They think on things and run them over in their heads (quietly), and then they can come up with how they really feel. I can’t do that. It’s like trying to make a night owl into an early bird. While I do believe humans have the capacity to change, in some ways, I do think we are hardwired. And I am hardwired to need to talk. And talk. And talk.

How do you process and work through things? Any fellow verbal processors out there? Any words of advice?

Don’t be Afraid of the Bike // What is RPM?

February 15th, 2017 Posted by Wellness 0 thoughts on “Don’t be Afraid of the Bike // What is RPM?”

I love teaching RPM (in-door cycling). So I get so sad when people tell me they are interested in trying in-door cycling. But they’re afraid of the bike.

Sad!

Don’t be afraid! I know it’s a piece of equipment. And it looks intimidating. And uncomfortable. And has a lot of knobs. But you needn’t be afraid because you control the bike! You turn the knobs, you tell the wheel what to do.

So, let’s start with the basics.

What’s RPM?

RPM is high intensity interval training on a stationary bike. It’s a cycle class where you ride to the beat of the music. During class you’ll sit, stand, climb, and race. You control the resistance dial, so you control the work out.

What happens during a RPM class?

There are eight tracks in a RPM class: warm up, pace, hill climb, mixed terrain, intervals, speed work, mountain climb, and recovery/stretch. It’s not important to know the order – you’re instructor will lead you through. The class is designed to mimic the conditions you might encounter on a ride outside: hills, stretches of flat road, big climbs, etc… During class you will work hard, recover, work hard, recover, work hard, recover. That’s that high intensity interval training that’s so effective for fat loss. The RPM class is only 45 minutes total. But this class proves you don’t need to work out longer to have an effective work out.

So what’s the deal with the resistance dial (the knob, that thing you turn)?

The resistance dial is where the work is at. That dial controls the weight on the wheel. Turn to the right, it’s harder to push. Turn to the left, it’s easier to push. You’re instructor will say to turn the dial up or down. When your instructor tells you to turn it up, how much should you turn? A good rule of thumb is: turn it enough so you feel a difference. Each of the bikes can be a little different. Some of them you barely have to touch and you feel a difference. Some of them you need to crank to feel a change. What is this change I should be feeling? When you turn the wheel, you should feel the bike pushing harder back at you. Your legs will need to work harder to stay on the beat.

What if I don’t want to turn it up?

This is your ride! If you’re not feeling it, then leave that dial where it is, especially if you’re new to RPM. Maybe start with tiny turns up, see how you feel. Then work to increase your load over time. When I first started riding, I didn’t turn it up very high. Now, I’ve been indoor cycling for almost eight years. So now I can really turn it up. Don’t compare how much you turn the dial compared to your neighbor. He or she could be an accomplished cyclist while you’re just starting out.

I don’t know.  That seat looks terribly uncomfortable.

So let me just help you with that fear and say, yep, it’s uncomfortable. But only for the first couple rides. Give it at least three times. It takes a while to get comfortable on the seat. And it looks like it won’t support you, right? It will. All it takes is time to get comfortable on the bike.

Here’s an example: I was three weeks post-partum after a vaginal birth with Michael. (And one that resulted in a hematoma.) But there was an open audition for RPM instructors at a gym I wanted to work at. And this was a limited time opportunity. So I auditioned to teach RPM, three weeks post-partum after a somewhat complicated vaginal birth. I sat on the bike seat and everything. And I felt fine.

So, that’s proof that once you get used to it, that bike seat will feel as comfortable to you as your favorite chair.

Okay.  But what about those fancy shoes I see people wear?  Do I need those?

Those shoes are bike shoes with SPD clips. The shoes “clip” into the pedals, which is optimal for riding because it allows you to better use your whole leg. Meaning, you push down with your quads and pull up with your hamstrings. The shoes especially help with the pulling up motion. The shoes are stiff, as opposed to sneakers which have bend and flex in them (so you can run, jump, etc…). That said, do you need them?  If you’re new to cycling and unsure if you want to commit, then don’t worry about it. Snugly fit your sneaker into the cage on the pedal, and then take a good deal of classes. If you find you take a couple cycle classes a week and you’re really enjoying it, then spring for some shoes (they will run you $75 as a starting base). If you only cycle in doors with those shoes, they will last your forever.

Okay, I’ll come.  Now how do I set up this bike?

Ideally, get to your cycle class a few minutes before class starts and ask your instructor to help you. No need to be shy about this. We love helping people get set up on their bike! But, if you’re feeling shy, here’s a few tips:

+Stand next to the bike seat with your feet flat on the floor and your hips square (so one hip bone is next to the seat). Raise or lower the seat so that it’s in line with your hip bone.

+If your bike seat moves forward and back, a good rule is, the distance between the handle bars and the seat is about the distance from your elbow to your fisted hand.

+The handle bar height is mostly a comfort thing. The higher the handle bars, the “easier.” Generally, the handle bars are in line with your seat. As you get better at cycling, lower your handle bars as much as is comfortable. The lower the handle bars, the more you’re engaging your core. (Note: If you’re just starting out and/or pregnant, keep the handle bars up higher. That will help you stay more comfortable on the bike since you won’t be leaning forward as much.)

+Now hop up onto the seat to test the seat height. Sit up with your hips back in the saddle. Stop your legs with one knee bent and the other leg down. There should be a slight knee bend in the down leg. Just slight. If you’re leg is entirely straight, you’re seat is too high. If you’ve got a super knee bend, you’re seat is too low.

Especially when you’re new, the bike will feel weird. I always tell my class: if at anytime the bike doesn’t feel right, hop off and adjust. You are never stuck on the bike. Never. Even if we’re in the middle of a climb.  Just hop off an readjust.

Why is this class good for me?

High intensity interval training is the fastest way to get in shape. The intense work sessions tap into your biggest calorie burners: fast-twitch muscle fibers. The interval training taps into the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which your body will use to continue burning even after class.

RPM is also great for people with knee issues. The low-impact nature of bike riding allows people with knee issues to get a great workout without slamming on their knee joints.

Cycling is fast way to get in shape. Combine cycle classes with BodyPump and some mindful eating and good sleep patterns, and you’ve got a recipe for getting in shape quick.

Okay, what do you say?! Will you try RPM?

The Mixing Bowl Salad // How To Make A Delicious Salad You’ll Actually Want To Eat

February 8th, 2017 Posted by Wellness 0 thoughts on “The Mixing Bowl Salad // How To Make A Delicious Salad You’ll Actually Want To Eat”

I love ordering salads at restaurants. Restaurants have all these ingredients to mix together into tasty entre salads. I’d order a salad and wish I could come up with a way to make them as tasty at home.

Turns out I can. And it’s not as hard as it looks or require as many ingredients as I thought. Certain ingredients morph well and let you make a variety of salad options.

Before we get started on the ingredients, I must share two tools I use: a large mixing bowl and a salad chopper.

Why a mixing bowl? When I eat salad for a meal, I want it to be a MEAL. Not some little side salad (side salads are fine, as long as I’m serving it along side something else). To make these salads as big and a protein packed as possible, I make them in a mixing bow. The mixing bowl gives me lots of room to mix up my ingredients, too.

To get my greens finely chopped, I use a chopper. Do you need this? No. You can shred up your greens with your hands if you like or use some other tool. But this tool isn’t that expensive, I use it all the time, and it doesn’t take up that much room.

Okay, let’s get mixing!

Ingredients:

+Some sort of greens. I like spinach (I chop it up using the chopper), and I also love this “slaw” I get at the grocery. It’s broccoli and carrot slaw, and I love the texture in my salads. I don’t like taking a giant bite of lettuce. Chopped up spinach and the slaw give a nice crunch and bite.

+Some type of seasonal vegetable. Lately I’ve been using butternut squash since it’s in season and easy to get. I buy the pre-chunked cubes at grocery and roast them (Coat the cubes in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes until fork tender). I’ve also used sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, carrots, etc… (mostly roasted or pan sauted). Mix, match, or just use one.

+Some sort of grain. You can leave this out if grains are not your thing. I like to make a batch of quinoa and toss a little in my salad. I like the texture it adds. You could do tabbouleh, couscous, rice, etc… Remember, these are starchy, so if your goal is fat loss, omit or just use a small amount for that texture fix.

+Add some crunch. I like pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, chopped walnuts, etc… A little bit goes a long way.

+Hummus (or tzatziki). I prefer hummus, and I buy it from the store. This takes the place of salad dressing. You can also do hummus and tzatziki.

+Some good cheese. I mean good cheese. Something with a strong taste like feta, goat cheese, sharp cheddar, etc… If you go bland (like American cheese), you will need a lot more to get a good taste. If you use a good quality cheese, a little will do you.

+Some protein. I love meat, so I do meat. If you don’t like/don’t do meat, pick your favorite vegetarian option with some protein. I like to add bacon, chicken sausage, ham cubes, shredded chicken, etc….

+Additional items: chopped up apples, a few dates, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, grapes, avocado, etc…

It took me some trial and error to find my favorite combinations. But I made a vow to not eat any more tasteless salads (or food!) without compromising my healthy habits, and this mixing bowl salad does just that. I am super full after this salad (I pile on the greens and make the greens the biggest helping), and I feel satisfied from all the protein and rich sources of good fat. I think the “secret” is just adding a little bit of some of those other ingredients (like the quinoa) to beef up your salad without compromising your goals.

One other note: I prep the pieces at the beginning of the week. That way, when it’s time for lunch, I just dump it all in.

What do you like in you salads? How can you adapt a less healthy salad to make it work for you?

The Yirah of Sarah

January 1st, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “The Yirah of Sarah”

Last year, at this time, my pal Kelsey announced her Year of Kelsey. At the time I was still breastfeeding and Thomas wasn’t yet a year old and no one was sleeping. I knew our family was complete, and I was eager to get my body to myself (So long, breastfeeding! Good riddance to you!). And I really wanted everyone to sleep.

At the start of 2016 I knew it would be my last year having a baby and my last year using my body to sustain life. And that in 2017, I’d do my own year.

Now here, at the start of 2017, I’m done having babies and praise be I’m not nursing anyone. Dan told me the other day that I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding since 2009.

SINCE 2009!

Now, I’m aware of 1) how blessed I have to have three healthy children and 2) that many women have many more children and are thus pregnant/nursing for longer. But everyone’s hard is hard. And that was hard. And now it’s my time.

Time for The Yirah of Sarah.

(Yirah, what? Hang on. I’ll get it it.)

I find this both thrilling and terrifying. Which is why I picked YIRAH for my word for the year. I picked it after I read Tara Mohr’s book (highly recommend, by the way), Playing Big. In a post on her blog, she writes:

“There is a second Hebrew word for fear, yirah. Rabbi Lew describes yirah as “the fear that overcomes us when we suddenly find ourselves in possession of considerably more energy than we are used to, inhabiting a larger space than we are used to inhabiting. It is also the feeling we feel when we are on sacred ground.

If you’ve felt a calling in your heart, or uncovered an authentic dream for your life, or felt a mysterious sense of inner inspiration around a project or idea, you recognize this description.”

Yes. YIRAH. I’ve felt that so many times. And then I stepped away. Because I decided I wasn’t good enough, didn’t deserve it, yada yada yada.

But not this year.

This year is the Yirah of Sarah.

I’ve thought a lot about what I want to do for this year, and I’ve got a couple ideas, all centering around these concepts of connection, creativity, and community.

+Finish my book. I AM SO CLOSE.

+Define my style. I did a good job this year of donating/selling clothes on thredUP that don’t work for me, and I’ve also done a good job at finding the styles, brands, and colors that do work for me. Now I’m looking at what’s left, and how I can create a functional style that works for all the kinds of work I do.

+Deepen my creative community. I finally realized this year that I struggled with periods of sadness NOT because I don’t like what I do but because I don’t have a community. So I got to work on addressing that. I created a Facebook group where I hope podcast/blog listeners/readers can connect with me, each other, and my podcast’s guests. And I also created a local community of creative women, and so far we’ve been in person a few times, and I’m eager to see where else I can take that group.

+Dive deeper into my current fitness programs/try some new things. This March, I will have been teaching group fitness for five years. I don’t want to get stale as instructor, so I’m looking to take some trainings and also expand my fitness net. I’m already signed up to take an advanced instructor training for BodyPump in a few weeks, and I’ve been trying out a local yoga studio. I’m super interested in mind-body connection, especially since I realized that exercising is a form of spiritual practice for me, so I’m excited to dive deeper into the world of fitness and mind-body connection.

+Plunge into my creative ideas. I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS. And, like everyone else, not enough time. But, I know I can more than I think I can, especially if I don’t spend precious time pondering my ideas and if they’re good enough and just doing them. I plan to dive into those creative ideas by writing everyday, exploring photography and videography, and experimenting with other creative projects, like furniture painting.

I think that should keep my pretty busy. What do you want to do this year?

How I Found My Nanny

November 16th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “How I Found My Nanny”

For the past couple years I’ve been working part-part time for New Dimensions, Inc. Yep. The company that built my home. Nope. I did not receive a free house.

I have more to say on my job later. But this post is about finding a nanny.

I tried to skate along without childcare for a long time. Until the point where it became ridiculous. Why didn’t I want childcare? I don’t have a great reason. I like to do everything myself. It felt complicated to add another person to our mix. And I didn’t want to deal with it. And I didn’t work quite enough hours to justify help to myself.

But then I was asked to increase my hours and define the type of job I wanted to do. That opportunity I could not let pass me by.

So it was time to get help.

Dan and I decided that the nanny route would be best for us for a couple reasons:

+I did not want to pull Michael out of his preschool and into a different facility.

+I did not want to drive to three different places to drop off three kids every morning and every afternoon.

+Financially, a nanny would be a better fit than paying for two kids in daycare.

I was resistant to a nanny because I didn’t know how to manage that relationship. I also didn’t know how to go about finding a nanny. I wanted someone who would feel like a member of our family. Someone I would feel comfortable around in my bathroom (because I’m often not dressed until 5 minutes before I have to leave the house). I doubted that I could find that person.

At first, I asked for personal recommendations. I interviewed a couple of people, but either I didn’t feel a good connection or the days/times didn’t work out or both. I tried posting on my mom’s group Facebook page. I tried asking other preschool moms. But no one felt like quite the right fit for our family and our needs.

Very reluctantly I opened a care.com account. I’ve heard people who had great success on care.com. And people who didn’t. But we needed someone, and I was running out of options.

At first I felt overwhelmed on the site. There are a lot of caregivers. And trying to sift through them to find a match felt impossible. Here’s a few things I did:

+I created a very specific ad. I clearly spelled out the days and times I needed. I also asked for someone who was okay with pets and could drive. And also someone who would be willing to care for a child home sick from school. And she couldn’t live too far away.

+I put up personal information about us. I added a picture of our family. And I was upfront in saying I wanted someone who felt like a member of our family. If someone didn’t want that type of relationship, that’s fine. But then we would not be a good match.

+I was clear about who I was and our life. I said that I sometimes worked from home, sometimes would be gone all day, sometimes would be in and out. I needed someone who was okay with that.

I think being clear in my ad helped the people who were applying. When they messaged me about the job, I made sure a candidate was okay with the days/times before having her over for an interview. Sometimes I found the candidate met almost all the requirements…but could not work Wednesdays. Wednesdays are a must for me, so I had to be clear on that point.

I received several good matches, so I asked the candidates to come to our house to meet us. I needed a potential nanny to meet all of us – Dan included – because, I wanted someone comfortable with everyone in our family.

When I met with potential nannies, I was interested in a couple things:

+Can we communicate? Communicate is SUPER important to me. I know things will come up, she’d be stuck in traffic, she’d have a question about something with the kids, etc… I’m okay with all that – just tell me! I wanted someone who I felt could communicate well and let me know if she needs anything, if something’s going on and she needed help, etc…

+Good judgement. I prefer to not have to give a lot of directions. I wanted someone I could give minimal direction to and have her make herself at home and come up with a routine that works for her and the kids. Since she’s in charge, I need to trust her that she will keep everyone safe.

+Willing to do a few things for me around the house. I desperately needed help just putting the kid’s laundry away. If she was willing to help me with just that, I’d be over the moon.

+Kind. Someone who is kind is super important to me.

+And, of course, someone who loves the kids. If she could communicate and exercise good judgment, I wasn’t too concerned about her years of experience with kids. Just that she loved them in her way.

I’m so happy to report that I found her! I could not have found a better nanny if I cooked one up in a lab!

I can’t remember if she messaged me or I found her, but she was willing to come meet us, and I felt a connection to her from the minute I opened the door. She was honest, an excellent communicator, and I could tell she would be a great fit for our family.

Our sweet nanny, L, has been with us for a couple weeks now, and we all adore her. I’m glad I waited and really thought about what I needed and who I wanted to work with. L feels like part of our family, and we are truly lucky to have found her. I view her as a part of my support system – she supports me as much as she helps with the kids. She’s so easy to talk to and a dream to work with. I never worry when she’s in charge. I know she can handle anything, and she will let me know if she needs help.

I’m so impressed with her, and I tell her all the time how much we care for her and value her. She’s just the best.

B+ Goals // October 2016

October 5th, 2016 Posted by Uncategorized, Wellness 0 thoughts on “B+ Goals // October 2016”

Oh man! Where did September go?! I never say that. Usually I find that time passes soooooo slooooooowly. But not this month!

It’s time to link up with Elizabeth and review how I did with my B+ goals for September! Here’s the Cliff Notes version: WHOMP WHOMP

+Finish updating my blog: IN PROGRESS

Nope! Well. I did do LOTS of things for my blog. But not the thing I set out to do. I planned to update my headshot, the about me page, the sidebar, and a couple other pages. I did not do those things. BUT! On my retreat to Sedona, I wrote 20+ blog posts and came up with an editorial calendar. So, I’d say that’s pretty good!

+Order photos for picture frames: HIT AND MISS

I ordered the engineer prints for my hallway picture frames. And it was like a Goldilocks moment. I have three frames. One print fit perfectly! One was way too small! And one was even smaller! I have NO idea how that happened, since they are all the same size photo. I put them in the frames anyway. Maybe next month I’ll reorder the other two in the correct size.

+Try out vlogging one more time: IN PROGRESS

I ordered a camera, and I shot a bunch of footage. And then did nothing with it! Classic! There’s always next month!

+Take more photos: IN PROGRESS

I did take more photos, but I always need to take more! I finished my photography class (WAH! I loved that class, and I’m twisting on the instructor’s arm to do another one). I find I take the most pictures when I participate in something like Week in the Life, so I’m trying to think of something I can do like that on my own.

I feel like I accomplished a lot in September…just not the things I thought I would accomplish. I’m taking on more hours at work, so I used most of this month to hire some help (!!!) and think through what I need to (and want to) accomplish for work and my personal work. Plus, transitioning back to school has felt like a slap in the face!

So, here are some hopefully do-able goals for October:

+Send out my new e-newsletter

I enjoy writing my e-newsletter, but I haven’t been able to get it going recently. I have some fun ideas, so I hope to have it up and running again this month.

+Investigate essential oils

I know I’m late to the game on this. A friend of mine was diffusing oil when I was at her house, and it smelled so good and created this calm atmosphere. I love good smells, but I’m sensitive to scents (I get headaches walking into Bath and Body Works). But this oil she was diffusing smelled and felt different. But I know less than zero about it.

+Create a new work at home mom schedule

As I said, I’m increasing my hours at work, and I found the most delightful young lady to nanny for me, so I’m working on creating a good work-at-home mom schedule. I feel like I can take a deep breath for the first time in…six years? It’s taken me a long time to accept help, but now it’s no longer optional. I’m excited to get our new routine going!

+Take a small step with a new idea

As a work-at-home mom, I’m probably the loneliest I’ve ever been. I’ve started reaching out to other work-at-home moms and finding that they feel the same way! Then why on Earth do we continue to suffer?! I spoke with a fellow local entrepreneur and work-at-home mom the other day, and we chatted about how we could better support each other. I need another thing to do like I need a hole in the head. BUT! I feel so passionate about this that I can’t not do something. I’m thinking about how I can take a small step with this idea.

Okay, that’s it for me! So, how did your September go? And what do you have planned for October?

Hi! I’m Sarah, I am passionate about creating community, building deep connections, and the power of creativity. I live in Northern Virginia with my husband, our three kids, and our golden-lab mix.

I believe in leggings as pants, and I drink my coffee black. I love shopping at Costco, teaching group exercise classes, and, athleisure.

say hello!

sarah@bagley.org