AWBU 2014- Finding Where I Belong

AWBU 2014- Finding Where I Belong

Have you ever walked into a room and felt completely at ease? Felt like you could strip off the layers you may pile on, and just be yourself?

I don’t experience that often. I am usually self-censoring, monitoring myself, making sure I am appropriate for the time and place. However, at AWBU this weekend, I felt that personal freedom. It was awesome.

I learned a lot, made some amazing new friends, and have a renewed inspiration and focus for this space.

I want to recap some things so I don’t forget the details….but in the coming days, I will be sharing recipes that I learned at Foodie Friday, sharing more about the amazing Arkansas companies that we heard from, and giving you more details about the direction I’ll be taking here.

So, let me take you to Rogers this past weekend for AWBU. Friday we all met up at Northwest Arkansas Community College in their AMAZING culinary area for Foodie Friday.  While this event was mainly for food bloggers (which I am not!), I really enjoyed learning how to take better food pictures, and how to cook some recipes.

A highlight was when chef Matthew McClure from The Hive at 21C in Bentonville came and taught us how to make a roasted chicken and okra-touille (a recipe I’ll be sharing later in the week!).  The smell in this room was out of this world as he cooked.  He sort of made me want to go to culinary school.

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We were treated to some yummy bites…and gallbladder be darned, I sampled them.  We had one of the most delicious BLTs I’ve ever eaten, courtesy of the Farmer’s Table Cafe in Fayetteville, and we had a belgian ale from Ozark Beer.  And I don’t always love beer, but this one was GOOD.

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Another highlight was meeting some online friends in real life.  I stole this from her Instagram, but this is Jacqueline from Creative Outpour.  She’s pretty awesome (and just look at that leopard skirt. I die.)

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Friday evening, they took us to the Rogers Little Theater for some delicious food, entertainment by Sock Monkey Improv, and a night on the town.  We got a group together and walked around Rogers to the Brick Street Brews for a drink and some laughs.  These ladies are amazing.  This is me, Jenny Mac, Sarah, and Amanda.  Erin was taking the picture. 🙂  I had a darn good time with these ladies. And not just these 4, but all of them.  Everyone was so honest, gracious, fun, and authentic.  I have much to learn about being that way as well.

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Me and my roomies, Amanda (from the pic above) and Kim stayed up entirely too late talking and laughing Friday night. But when you find a place that feels like home, you don’t want to sleep…you just want to enjoy the moment.


More on AWBU tomorrow. Until then,

New Design and Medical Stuff

New Design and Medical Stuff

First off, I have a new blog! Well, it’s still the old blog…but it now lives at!!  And it has a new design.

I will tell you all about the Blogger to WordPress migration in another post, including the WONDERFUL woman I used for my migration (in case you are wanting to move your blog too).

But for now, I want to tell you about my current frustrations.  I’ve not been feeling great for a couple of weeks.

I’ve had some stomach pains and sickness, but yesterday it hit a terrible high.  Along with the pain increasing, I also got the cold sweats with it and felt AWFUL.

The frustrating thing is that we don’t have any answers yet.  I’m just uncomfortable, hurting, and dealing with the symptoms.  The also-stinky part is that I’m having to not teach Zumba until we know what’s up….just in case.  We don’t want to shake anything up if it could be damaging.

So, if you think of me, say a little prayer for less pain and answers. I don’t want to drag this thing out with lots of tests and such.


I hope I have some better news to share with you soon. 🙂


How do you like the new blog design?  It’s still a little bit of a work in progress…but we are getting there!

Pushing My Buttons

Pushing My Buttons

Last week, I got some backlash from a guest blog post that I wrote.

I wasn’t prepared for the post to get such harsh criticism, and some of the feedback really pushed my buttons.  Some of the feedback really hurt.

A friend, Jasmine, challenged me to look inward and instead of trying to make the Internet understand and be nice (because, duh, that will never happen) to fight my insecurities and better myself.

I liked that.  I liked the thought of better, not bitter.

So let’s talk about a few things that pushed my buttons.

First off, the thought that I would be rude/ugly/insensitive to something I care so deeply about.  I wrote about my topic because I love it – not because I wanted to be ugly.  And I hated that anyone thought I would be mean on purpose.  I am insecure that maybe I complain too much, am too negative…and that button was pushed.

I was also hurt by the thought that I’m not a “good” Zumba teacher.  I work hard to pick music, make up dances, be encouraging (even on days when I’m not feeling it).  However, I know that I could be doing more. You can always be doing more.  I’m not the best dancer on the planet, and I know I’m not the most creative choreographer, or the best teacher.  I am insecure that I should be spending MORE time, MORE effort, MORE thought to teaching Zumba.  That button was pushed.

I was also hurt by the accusation that I don’t care about people.  I can understand that my sarcasm came off the wrong way…but I am insecure that I’m too self-absorbed, too selfish…and that button was pushed too.

All that to say, I’m focused on being the person I want to be.  The person who has fewer buttons available to push because she knows who she is, and is proud of that.

It’s me. Trying to be better today.  Insecurities and all.

And on another note…here are some awesome sunflowers that I grew from seeds.  Pretty, huh?  I happen to love them next to our red barn.




Yesterday I guest posted on my friend Leslyn’s blog.  It was a post I took my time writing- you can go read it…but I’ll sum it up.  It was confessions of a Zumba instructor where I give some real truth to some common things that happen to me.  I explain why I don’t need an excuse when students are gone, why I can’t use every song suggestion, and why I can’t give medical advice (I’m not a doctor!).

I shared this post, and several of my students read it and told me in class last night they found it funny, informative, or insightful.

But somehow one person read it and misunderstood.  She found it negative and disappointing.  She left a comment telling me all about it.

This made me very anxious.  First off, negativity was not my intention at all.  However, this person also read all kinds of things from the post that simply weren’t there.  I had to come to the realization that she just misunderstood.

That’s the tough thing about blogging.  We put it out there, and we have control of the post as we write it….but once you hit “publish” the post isn’t yours anymore. It belongs to the reader.

It can’t always be pats on the back, high fives, and “great post!” comments.  Sometimes it’s someone criticizing you and calling you out.

I had to let that be ok.  I had to determine that no matter what she thought of that post, I didn’t regret writing it.  Those were my thoughts, my words, and her reaction is not up to me.

I won’t second guess myself.  I will keep writing, and hoping that most of you “get” me.