Archive | May, 2012

Working Out Your Ego

31 May

I know that many of the readers here are part of the fitness community, so I thought I’d blog today on a topic that’s come into the forefront for me lately:  What role does your EGO play in your workout?

As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, I’ve been taking a lot of  yoga classes lately.   Specifically Vinyasa flow, but I’ve also had experience with Bikram and other types of yoga.   Lately, I’ve heard many instructors say to let go of your ego in your yoga practice.   In other words, focus less on being perfect and more on what is perfect for you.   Focus less on pleasing the teacher.   Focus less on what everyone around you is doing and how you compare to them.

The classes I’ve been taking are considered all-level, and that’s a fair statement.   Folks are definitely working at their own level.  But I can’t help but notice the 4 people right next to me doing some crazy arm balance or inversion while I’m hanging out in downward facing dog.  And guess what?   It arouses my ego and I immediately want to be doing it with them (or at least going home to practice so that I don’t fall on my face in front of everyone).   Helloooooo ego!

By nature I’m type A (some call me A+), and I don’t like to settle for average in anything I do.   So how do I reconcile this with practicing yoga?   I’ve been in the dance and fitness communities most of my life, and we strive for perfection, or at least continuous improvement.   Last night I taught a BODYPUMP class (group-based barbell training, for those of you not in the know) and I came home thinking how it’s our ego that pushes us to lift more weight, finish each rep and generally not phone-in the workout.

But can ego also harm our workouts?   Too much ego can result in injury, sure.  But I’m looking at this from another viewpoint.   In some of the classes I’ve observed, the ego is what is hindering us from achieving our goals.   The gym (and yes, even the yoga studio) is a very image conscious environment.  Just take a look at the ocean of Lululemon clothing (guilty as charged!!!) and the hair and makeup and spray tans.   I think the ego is causing us to NOT work as hard.   No one wants to fail in front of others.   God forbid we sweat too much.  Women don’t want to lift more weights than those around them (OMG… I might bulk up!!!  WRONG).   Dudes pile on the weights for chest and biceps, but fail to push themselves in squats and lunges because guess what… chicks only notice how big my chest and arms are (again… WRONG… I’m talking to you Mr. Chicken Legs).

Instead of listening to my ego, I’m definitely going to try to focus more on listening in all my classes.  Listening to the instructor’s directions and teachings.  Listening to my body.  How am I feeling today?   Everyday is different in the studio, and no workout is the same.   Confession… I do yoga for the workout.  Not for the spiritual experience.  Not to relax or de-stress, though I appreciate those benefits that come along.   But for my hour in class, I want to start giving myself a break.   It’s hard to be “on” all the time.   Sure, I’ll continue to work hard, but as yogi gurus will remind you, it’s often the INTENTION that gets you to your goal.   Not the end result.

So here’s my challenge:  EGO OUT! Get rid of it. Bow your head in humility, ignore the other people, they don’t count, you do.

What role does your ego play in your workout?  Is it aiding or slowing your progress?   Or are you just there for the experience?

Discuss!   Comment!!

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

29 May

This blog was supposed to be about life in Dallas.   Well, finally!   The crazy travels of May are over and I’ve spent my first weekend in Dallas, TX.   Didn’t I move here over 3 weeks ago?   Anyways, a beautiful 3-day Memorial Day Weekend was a great first full weekend in the area.   After returning from St. Louis on Friday, Kevin and I checked out a local spot in the Knox-Henderson area called The Porch (www.theporchrestaurant.com).   This was right up our alley… totally our scene.   Great food and drinks, and a casual but still lively atmosphere.  Up until now, we’ve been in lots of fun corner bars (what we’ll refer to as “watering holes”) and fancy/uber trendy restaurants.   So we were glad to find a spot like this.

Speaking of watering holes, Kevin is planning to guest blog here on Danielle Does Dallas on one of his favorite topics: we’ll call it Watering Hole Wednesdays.   As we check out the local spots, the hubs will post his expert review for your reading pleasure.  Stay tuned!

So Saturday I dragged Kevin to the yoga studio I blogged about in What’s On the Agenda for Tonight?   After his successful completion of P90X and its required yoga workouts, I thought he might actually enjoy a live class.   I was so stoked that he agreed to come with me and I’d say it was a success!   Kevin has often taken my classes at Gold’s, but it was super fun just being on the mat next to each other.   Hopefully he’ll give it another whirl in the future.    I bought an unlimited monthly pass and am planning to take full advantage this month.   That evening we got together with several members of his family to celebrate his uncle’s retirement and had some awesome barbecue with all the fixins.   Note: BBQ-ing does not mean burgers and dogs in these parts.   We’re talking brisket, ribs, beans and Texas Toast.   Okay, now that we’re on the same page…

Sunday was quite the adventure.   I grew up in Fort Worth, TX and have always enjoyed the long-standing PGA Tournament at Colonial Country Club (otherwise known as the Crowne Plaza Invitational).  This is where Fort Worth’s Finest get together on a sweltering Memorial Day weekend to enjoy some spectacular golf, drink lots of beer and margaritas, and generally get their “see-and-be-seen” on.   Kevin scored us some tickets and we took my stepdad and brother Chris.   Zach Johnson donned the red plaid jacket and we didn’t get sunburned.  A win-win!

Adding to the win, I spotted one of my favorite chef celebrities at the tournament, Tim Love (check him at http://www.cheftimlove.com).   Tim is a well-known and respected chef in Fort Worth who owns several restaurants, including Lonesome Dove and his newest spot, The Woodshed.  You may also recognize Tim from stints on Top Chef (guest judge plus contestant on Top Chef Masters).   I’m dying to check out the Woodshed next time we make it over to Fort Worth.   I’m super shy around anyone I deem a celebrity, but my stepdad forced me to say hi and I’m glad I did.   I was in foodie heaven!

Since the tournament was held about an hour from Dallas, and we stuck around for my favorite Tex-Mex (and MORE margaritas) at Mi Cocina, we decided to stay the night at my parents.   Plus, we got to hang around with this little guy:

Sophie 8 weeks

Sophie 9 weeks

Everyone, meet Clooney!   (Yes, that’s Clooney, as in George).   He is a Goldendoodle puppy, about 9 weeks in pictures.   They already have one adorable Goldendoodle named Sophie, and it was time to add to the pack.   So freakin cute I can hardly stand it.   What a little furry ball of joy!

Monday was another family day, this time with my dad’s family at our place.   We hosted them for dinner (turned out fabulously, thank you very much) and yet another Texas Rangers WIN!  I’m quite enjoying entertaining at our new place; something I rarely, if ever, did in our old apartments.

And all the sudden the weekend ended and it’s back to work for all.   Luckily it’s a short week and we’re looking forward to next weekend already.

What did you do for your Memorial Day Weekend?  I saw lots of pics of folks at the beach… jealous!   Surprisingly I missed the familiar noise from Rolling Thunder rolling into DC.

Who’s ready for Watering Hole Wednesdays?   I’ll be happy to just go along for the ride.  :)

Racking Up Those Frequent Flyer Miles

29 May

Well, I’m way overdue for a new post here.   And so much has transpired that I’m going to break it into 2 posts.

I’ve been on the road over the past 4 weeks, traveling to 4 different locations and staying in lots of hotels.   Two of the trips have taken me to conferences for work, both to Omaha, NE and St. Louis, MO.  Hello Midwest!   You’re friendly, laid back, and pretty much stress free.  These trips were beneficial from a networking standpoint, and usually have some great extracurricular activities built in.

A few highlights were taking in a Cardinals game (from Box seats, no less) and visiting the City Museum (where about 500 adults enjoyed free drinks, 2 story slides and an over-sized ball pit).   Boondoggle?   Perhaps… but this is where relationships are made and the interaction between industry and our customer was priceless.

Cardinals Game

I also enjoyed one of the most fabulous dinner experiences I’ve had (especially dining solo) at Anthony’s Bar (located in the venerated dining establishment Tony’s Restaurant in Downtown St. Louis).   Anthony’s/Tony’s promises  impeccable service and exceptional food and they hit the mark on both fronts.  I had an amazing lobster risotto (off the menu treat), prosciutto and fresh fig salad, and a brown butter almond tart with homemade praline ice cream and caramel sauce.  Are you drooling yet?   I so wish I would have taken pictures!   If you’re ever in St. Louis, definitely check it out for a fine dining experience (http://www.saucecafe.com/tonys/)

I was pretty disciplined about pacing myself through both of these trips… they are long days and often events go into the wee hours of the morning.  But I declined a few events and made sure to get my workouts in (props to the Embassy Suites and Hilton for having well-stocked and spacious hotel gyms) and some time to relax as well.

The other two trips this month took me to Charlottesville, VA for a friend’s wedding, and to Greensboro, NC for my brother Mike’s graduation.   Both trips were short (Friday-Sunday), but so nice for seeing family and friends.   A few pics from each weekend:

Courtney's Wedding

Mike's Graduation

Both events were held on gorgeous days, rich with celebration and full of Southern charm.    Best wishes to Courtney and David, and Mike, I’m so proud of you on your graduation!   Congrats!

Anyone else living the jet setter life recently?   It has definitely impacted my ability to help contribute to the unpacking and decorating, but luckily my wonderful hubby has stepped up to the challenge and made our new place feel like home.  I’ll have to post some pics of it soon.

Next up… Danielle finally does Dallas over Memorial Day Weekend.

What’s on the agenda for tonight?

16 May

First a shout out to my homegirl LAQ for inspiring this post.   You can check her at http://www.laquillen.com.   She just made a pretty big job change which is resulting in an even more major life change.   Both of us have spent the past few years juggling multiple jobs and working strange hours which pretty much eliminated any sense of a “regular” day.   Who are those people who work 9 hour days and then just go home?  What do they do?   Isn’t it boring?

I remember when I first made the change from running a dance studio (hello, odd hours!) and took on an 8-5 job.   I LOVED  being able to go home after work, cook dinner or go to happy hour to see friends.    I had a choice to go to the gym or take a dance class.   I never had to watch my favorite shows a week later on the DVR (then, it was my friend Tivo).

And then I started teaching again, and life has never been normal since…

Whether it’s been teaching dance classes or group fitness classes, my evenings and weekends have always been full of commitments.   I love what I do.   It’s so ingrained in me that when I have a night off of teaching, I’m usually there anyways checking out a friend’s class.   My husband is used to eating dinner at 8:30 or later, if we even eat together at all.  It’s been the new normal.

But man, it’s all so exhausting!   I often feel overwhelmed or burnt out… my house is never as clean as I want it and I struggle at keeping in touch with friends I don’t see everyday.

So with this move, I swore I would take my time before jumping into another crazy schedule.   Despite the stress of moving, unpacking and lots of traveling, I’m actually finding space to breathe, and it’s because I’ve been in control of my schedule so far.

Case in point:  I’ve intentionally stayed away from the Gold’s Gym all week.   I’ve taken a few classes recently (with mixed results… man it’s hard being a participant in a class that you teach… we’re just so JUDGY!) and realized I just need a little break from the scene.   No, I’m not talking months off here… Just some space from the familiarity of it all to allow me to explore other things that I enjoy.   There is a yoga studio on my block and I signed up for a new member package.  I’ve taken Vinyasa classes the past 2 nights and I LOVED IT!   I think yoga practice is so healing, challenging and renewing, and the classes and instructors were fantastic.   I used to take Bikram Yoga regularly and shared the same feeling… it’s so nice to take a class just for fun… and not be in a position to already know the choreography and walk in knowing you’re an “advanced” student.   I definitely plan to make classes at Uptown Yoga (www.uptownyoga.com) part of my regular schedule (hear that… REGULAR schedule).

I’ve finally eaten a few home-cooked meals too… I love cooking in my new kitchen!   Here’s what we had for dinner Monday evening to go with our highly comical viewing of the Bachelorette premiere (don’t judge…).   Thanks for the recipe, Pinch of Yum.    Check out this delightfully delicious site at http://www.pinchofyum.com.

Post image for Chicken Tamale Pie

I’m also hoping to get back in the dance studio.  There are some great studios in Dallas that have classes for adults and even professional dancers, and I’ve neglected my dance training for too long.  I’m super excited to check them out.

I know what you’re thinking… there she goes over-committing herself again.   I always will… it’s in my nature.  But I’ll have a choice.   If I need the night off or don’t feel like doing anything… I DON’T HAVE TO!

I definitely look forward to picking up some classes at the gym once the right one becomes available and I’m ready, but how cool is it that I have ZERO commitments on my calendar after work for the foreseeable future.  I am so excited to explore this new city, make new friends, try new things, and get back in the kitchen!

Homesick… For my new home!

9 May

Is it possible that I’m feeling homesick… For my new home?  We left Arlington, VA the morning of May 1st.    It is now beer-thirty on May 9th and I have YET to sleep in my new house.   On my new king size Tempur-pedic mattress with new sheets and comforter.   Next to my new (ish) husband.    But tonight’s the night… Tonight I finally get to LIVE in our new house!

So what’s been the hold-up?    Let’s recap:

1)  Flat tire delays trip

2)  Car gets picked up 2 days late and shows up 2 days late

3). No electricity in townhouse

4). No water in townhouse

5). Mattress gets delivered

6).  Movers dont show up until the last day of their 6-day quoted range

7).  Danielle gets on a plane to Omaha

8).  Danielle spends 2 days wearing suits, saying Pledge of Allegiance, shaking hands and experiencing slow death by PowerPoint.    Or is it death by sleeping in 4 different hotels plus casa de parents over the past 7 nights?

I want to be home.   I want to nest.   I want to unpack.   I want to eat a home-cooked meal.  I want to teach a Les Mills class.   I want to spend a full-day in my new office.

I love tomorrow because I get to do ALL of these things!

And then in 36 hours I get on another plane, and go back to Virginia.

I guess there’s always next week!

 

 

A Tale of Two Cities

8 May

So if you read a Bump in the Road (if you didn’t, go ahead… scroll down… I’ll wait for you), you’ll know that our drive down to Dallas was interrupted by an unfortunate flat tire which resulted in a day-long stopover in Kingsport, TN.   Kevin and I were planning to spend a full day and 2-nights in Nashville during our drive, but alas, instead we spent 24-hours doing this (notice the hole in the illustrious red roof):

And this:

Image

That is what happens when you drop your car at the BMW dealership, beg a ride to the nearest hotel and amuse yourself for 24 hours in strip mall hell.   Special shout-out to the team at Rick Hill BMW, who were so kind to us and went out of their way to get us replacement tires from Knoxville and treated us like family while we were there.

Once we FINALLY made our way to Nashville, wow we learned what we were missing.   We entertained ourselves with an awesome dinner of sweet potato fries and fried chicken and southern-style ham biscuits at Whiskey Kitchen… Yum!!   Do I dare mention that we got the recommendation for Whiskey Kitchen off Gweneth Paltrow’s GOOP blog?  Thanks Gwenny!

Following dinner, we walked down Broadway into the heart of downtown Nashville and had an absolute blast.   We listened to live music at Honky Tonk Central, The Stage, checked out the mainstays Tootsie’s and Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop, and got caught up in the excitement of the  NHL playoff game going on live in the middle of downtown.


I can emphatically say, we wish we could have stayed longer.   Till next time, Nashville… we hardly knew you, but we sure loved you!   Special shout of to the Loveless Cafe on the way out of town… home of the Biscuit Lady!

Back next time to blog about our landing in the Big-D.   News flash— it’s HOT!

A Bump in the Road

2 May

It wasn’t really so much a bump, as it was a sputter and swooshing sound as the air shot out of our rear passenger tire somewhere just south of the VA/TN border.

But first lets rewind to my last trip from TX to VA… Driving my not at all scandal riddin Ford Explorer with Firestone tires, my stepdad Doug and I blew a tire on the first long leg of our trip, ran up onto a construction barrier and totaled my car (we were okay, gratefully).  Fast forward to our trip that began yesterday from VA to TX and the parallels are eerily similar…

So my current predicament coud be worse, considering there was no wreck and everyone is safe and sound     But as a result of that sputtering sound and bumpy ride to the nearest exit, I’m sitting in a snazzy Red Roof Inn in Kingsport, TN waiting for a replacement tire to be shipped from Knoxville so we can continue our travels to Dallas.

We’re trying to make the most of this unfortunate detour, enjoying our complimentary breakfast at the Red Roof (yumm???….) and still trying to digest last night’s feast next door at Longhorn Steakhouse, which may have included more than a few margaritas and beers to numb the frustration (hey, we didn’t need a designated driver!).

Perhaps I will walk over to the Hobby Lobby to kill some time.

Onward and upward… Next stop Nashville.    Please send us some prayers and good vibes for the rest of the trip,whenever we’re able to hit the road again.

Do you have any amusing road trip experiences that you can share?

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