About the Girl Behind the Keyboard

Greetings! My name is Carly Wolf and one thing you will learn quickly is that i LOVE what I do! Health,fitness, nutrition, and just being a kind hearted, people friendly, hard working gal is just who I am.

So what makes my site different from the rest? Unlike some sites you may come across, I do have some experience in the related topics. No, I am NO expert, I could probably learn from YOU just as much as you can learn from me, but here’s what I know:

I just graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with two degrees: Movement and Exercise Science, and Health Promotion. I have 2 years of experience as a personal trainer at my college and have been certified through ACE as a personal trainer for 6 months. I have also taught group fitness classes at a gym called Kosama. I have done crossfit for 4 months, but enjoy working out on my own and kicking not only my butt, but those around me too! Working out and eating right is important to me, and who knows maybe I’ll compete in a bikini competition soon? I am VERY interested in all the nitty gritty stuff with nutrition and plan on pursing some sort of certification in that very soon. I am no expert in mental, emotional, or social wellness, but I think that some of the resources I have and the education I’ve received in classes is a good jump start to further research on all topics.

Got questions? Just ask!

Want to see a little deeper into my life? ask for my instagram account 🙂

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To the girl planning her wedding

The the girl planning a wedding….

Take it all in.

I know, barf right. You’ve heard that before. But I mean it.

Because when it’s over you will feel empty. There will be a big black hole hanging over your head for at least the first week and you won’t be sure how to handle it or what to do with yourself.

  • Take in the joy of getting to choose your perfect venue and your perfect dress.
  • Take in the stress of dealing with changes, vendors that might back out, miscommunication, and whatever else can go wrong.
  • Take it in when all of your loved ones gather in one city for YOU
  • Take it all in because it will all go away.

16 months of planning. That’s how long it was for me. 16 months of planning for what?

A damn good time I’ll tell you that!

Your wedding day will be here before you know it. Trust me. It might seem like it is light years away at this point, but just like anything else in life, time moves quickly. And this is no exception. You will only get this experience one time in your life (or at least my hope for your marriage is that you only get to experience this one time). So think about that. How many other things in your life do you get to experience truly only ONCE? Not many.

Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to do this or how to do that, or which vendors to choose or any of that. There are plenty of self help pages for that on Pinterest or the Knot. But I do have TWO major tips for you that were so so SO beneficial to me:

  1. Hobby Lobby: know that shit, use that shit. Did you know that Hobby Lobby ALWAYS has 50% off deals? And they rotate. For example, if I went to the store for flowers and they weren’t half off, I’d come back the NEXT WEEK because then they would be! Same went for some pieces of furniture I got for the wedding, and utilizing their wedding section. If you are there for anything DON’T BUY IT ON THE SPOT IF IT IS NOT 50% OFF. It will be next week, TRUST ME! (except for furniture, that is always 30% off and doesn’t rotate).
  2. Hire a day of coordinator. I only did because our venue required and holy shit balls it was hands down the BEST forced decision I had ever made. Do it. Trust me. That is all.

And now, for the most important thing you should hear:

Be selfish.

This day is about you. And if I’m being honest, the only true stresses that I got out of my wedding planning stemmed from the opinions of others. Sure it’s nice to have others there to support your decision making, but if an opinion comes without first being prompted by you, then brush it off. This is your day.

Make it your goal from the start to not be bridezilla. That was my goal and I have to say besides getting pissed that my family wasn’t on time for pictures and therefore we had to wait and I was hot as a mother from being outside so long only to take a few pictures inside, I’d say that I wasn’t a bridezilla at all. (holy run-on sentence!) And with not being a bridezilla comes with not having unrealistic expectations in your head, which could totally kill the vibe of your day if they don’t play out exactly as you imagined.

I picked out my dress in 45 minutes and with only 6 try ons because I wasn’t looking for something so specific, so overly specific that I couldn’t even design it myself. I wasn’t looking for specific, I let the dress find me.

 

 

We looked at 3 venues and ended up picking the FIRST one that I saw online. It was meant to be. I let my bridesmaid pick out their jewelry and shoes and their style of dresses. I let Alex pick out his groomsman accessory (i.e. socks, tie clips, etc.) I got my flower girl dresses online from Macy’s to not spend a fortune and I made nearly 90% of our wedding decor. I let our wedding coordinator display the decor in the venue how SHE thought was best because well, she had done it a time or two before 😉

But above that…

Don’t feel like you have to please everyone. Don’t feel like you have to invite everyone. Think about your big day and who do you picture there? Those are the people who should be invited. Not people who you only met when you were 3 years old and wouldn’t recognize them in person. Not the people who were once a part of your life but aren’t anymore, but you feel like you need to invite them to save feelings from being hurt. This is your day. YOUR DAY.

Know that vendors will try to screw you over. Learn how to be a negotiator. I got a discount from every. single. one. of my vendors because I didn’t accept the first price point given (except for maybe my photographer because we love her). I didn’t do my hair trial because why in the effing world would I pay $75 for a hair style that I AM going to take out as soon as I get home? So I didn’t do it and guess what, they still did my hair. Oh and keep good records, because chances are one or more vendors will come to you the week of the wedding saying you owe more just because they didn’t record it correctly.

If you want traditional stuff done at your wedding then great, go for it! But if you’re like us, then you just wanted to party. And I am so so glad that we didn’t do an hour worth of specific dances (i.e. dollar dance, etc) or that we didn’t make people sit there and watch us try to horridly perform a pre-coreographed dance. Instead, we got the “stuff” done and everyone headed to the dance floor. Where it was packed for the whole night.

Oh and speaking of partying. Let me be the first to recommend having your rehearsal TWO nights prior. Because by the way all of us were feeling the morning after our rehearsal dinner, none of us would’ve been comfortable if it were the wedding day 😀

Know that you set the tone for the wedding. If you’re stressed, it will show. And people will either try to comfort you (which might piss you off more) or they will walk on egg shells. I can gladly say that I had only one 10-minute stressed out freak out moment and was OVER it. For the entire day.

If people ask you questions that are not relevant to YOU. Or they want direction on wedding related stuff (i.e. what to wear) I suggest delegating someone to answer that! If you don’t have any specifics in mind, then don’t stress out trying to come up with the answer. We directed these tasks to other people and I must say that all questions were taken care of by people other than us, and everyone looked rather dashing at the wedding.

If you want specific pictures then MAKE A LIST. I wish I would have made a specific list, but I have to say that my photographer did GREAT. The only picture I knew I wanted FOR SURE was one with my dogs. Were my dogs brats that day? Yep. Did we get a picture? Yep. And if your wedding is outside. Take charge when you are hot. Don’t ask to go inside, say that you are going inside.

It’s okay to go outside the box. And if you’re looking for permission to well then let me tell you some things that we did that were out of the ordinary:

  • My bridal party dresses were not the same style, nor were they all the same color
  • We did not exchange our own personal vows at the alter and rather did a private exchange
  • We did not know our pastor personally before the day of the wedding
  • We didn’t do pre-marital counseling
  • We didn’t take dance classes
  • We didn’t pre choreograph a stupid dance
  • We booked our cake and cupcakes without even sampling first. The reviews were good enough
  • We didn’t use real flowers. Not even my bouquet
  • I didn’t give 2 shits what people other than my wedding party wore on the day of the wedding
  • We didn’t save the top layer of our cake. Our freezer is small and we eat healthy so that thing would sit and sit and sit
  • We did not do the garter dance, just the garter toss
  • We did not do the dollar dance (put your money elsewhere people)
  • We did not go on a honeymoon right after the wedding. We’re waiting a whole year
  • We lived together for 3 years prior to the wedding
  • I didn’t do a hair trial
  • We did our own make up
  • We had our rehearsal two days before the wedding
  • I didn’t invite everyone that I had ever interacted with in my life

And some things that I wouldn’t have done, had I not been talked into it by important people in my life

  • A bridal shower
  • A gift registry

I just had a really hard time asking people for gifts just because I found my soul mate. Still is a weird concept to me- like hey I found love, now give me gifts!- always will be.

At the end of the day. Enjoy it. Take it in. Both the planning process and the actual wedding. Because people tell you that it goes by so quickly, but what no one told me was that it goes by so quickly that it turns into one big blur. I’m still finding that I’m like OH yeah that DID happen! And wishing that we had taken more pictures on our personal phones to show behind the scenes. A total blur. But one hell of a partying, rowdy, fun-loving, fairytale type of blur.

 

Last tip? Get a go-pro, and let that shit do it’s own thang.

Sincerely,

The new Mrs. Buehler

And if you’re a guest of the wedding, someone in the wedding party, or family. Here is my note to you

BE ON TIME AND DO WHAT YOU’RE ASKED! The bride and groom have a million things to do and are being pulled in a million different directions. They do not need to wait on YOU. Be respectful. 

That is all I have for you

Volunteering Changed Me, It Can Change You Too

13 months ago I began volunteering in animal rescue. More specifically, I began volunteering with Triad Golden Retriever Rescue out of Greensboro, NC. It wasn’t even something I was looking to do at the time, something I didn’t know I wanted to do. But things have a way of finding you when they need you, or when you need them.

Growing up I, like many of you I’m sure, had to do “community service” for sports or schooling organizations, or had to do X amount of volunteer hours for a college class. I didn’t want to, I slacked off, I didn’t understand the value of giving my free time to help a cause. I was young and immature, I know that.

However, choosing to volunteer has created a snowball effect in my life. It’s not just one snowball either. It’s as if the main snowball of volunteering, branched off, broke off, into many different smaller but still important snowballs. Volunteering with TGRR led to volunteering with 2 other animal rescue groups. It has led to me volunteering for free shifts at work or other things , just because! It has led to me talking more about causes beyond animal rescue such as cancer. It has led me to a philanthropist mindset.

In a different snowball it has changed how I interact with my dogs. It has changed how I interact with new dogs that we meet. I’ve learned how to approach new dogs, knowing now that now all dogs can be approached the same. And by approaching a dog wrong, you could get an adverse reaction making that dog seem rough, cruel, not adoptable, etc.

In an additional snowball it has changed how I talk about dogs with others. Knowing that proper pet education is one of the most important things in the future of animal rescue.

It has given me new connections, allowed me to connect with new people. Opened my heart to new things.

Volunteering has changed me.  It can change you too.

With the holiday seasons coming up, my heart is feeling a little extra heavy.

  • Heavy because I know there are animals that are tied up outside, away from the love of the family interacting inside. They are yard dogs and nothing more
  • Heavy because I know there are animals in shelters, living out their last few hours in hopes of some miracle family coming in to take them home. That family won’t come, there’s too many animals in the shelter, and not enough awareness about it.
  • Heavy because I know there are dogs and cats having unexpected litters right now because their owners failed to spay or neuter them. And when those litters can’t be given away for free (NEVER a guarantee at a good home either.  In fact, giving your animal away for free often lands it in a puppy mill, or a dog fighting home) those tiny puppies and kittens will be taken to a shelter.
  • Heavy because there are animals in shelters who will be alone for the holiday. And while they don’t know what Thanksgiving or Christmas is, they will most certainly be more lonely when the staff disappears for their holidays, only to have few staff members check in infrequently to let the dogs out. No fault to the staff members either. It’s to the fault of the bastards who surrender their animals there in the first place.
  • Heavy because I know there are animals out there, maybe even in my own neighborhood, who are being neglected and abused, but their angel person hasn’t discovered them yet, hasn’t rescued them yet.
  • In every. single. animal rescue organization operation there is never enough volunteers. Which is why I’m urging you today to consider taking on one of these roles. I’m urging you to help
  • First and foremost, consider opening your home (or garage!) to a temporary holiday foster. Relieve some dog or cat from the loneliness of the shelter around the holidays
  • And if you can’t foster, go walk some dogs! Never underestimate the healing nature of persistent and consistent human interaction on a dog or cats mental stability while being sheltered.
  • Sign up as an actual volunteer, and stick to it! It’s more common to have people sign up to be volunteers and never actually put an hours worth of work in, than it is to see volunteers actually go through with their actions

You can be any of the following:

  • A foster, hands down the most important role that every organization is lacking in

  • A dog walker

  • A part of the events team, working events only

  • Part of the social media team, working on the organizations page and sharing on your own too

  • Part of the fundraising team

  • You could even create fun events for volunteers and prospective volunteers to mingle and engage with one another

  • You could be part of the adoption application process. There are many steps to this. Intake, phone interview, vet reference checks, home visits, match-making between dog and family, etc.

  • You could work with animal transport team, bringing animals into a no-kill organization, sparing them from the shelter.

  • Heck, you could even just focus on proper education on proper pet ownership

There are many ways to help. Trust me. I started off as a volunteer just to write the pieces for our website about our adoptable dogs, and now I’ve expanded to also do:

Write about our recently adopted dogs, the ever so anticipated “adoption announcements”

  • Telephone interviews for adoption applications
  • Vet reference checks for adoption applications
  • Home visit checks for adoption applications
  • Some weekend events
  • Dog walker and socializer

I get not everyone is suited to volunteer in animal rescue. Some think you may not have time, trust me you do.

Some of you may have thought about volunteering but have questions about it. Just ask!! We will answer.

And for those who consider being a foster family. No organization will just thrust a dog or cat upon you. You have to agree to it, you get to know about the dog or cat first, you decide if you think it will work. Fostering is hands down the most important part of any animal rescue. So what are you waiting for, go sign up!

Below are some of my favorite organizations, yes some are local to my area, but some are nationwide too! If none of these are close to you, then take it upon yourself to do a little research. Google works magic these days

  • Triad Golden Retriever Rescue- Greensboro, NC
  • Humane Society of Alamance County- Burlington, NC
  • SPCA of the Triad- Greensboro, NC
  • Tracy’s Dogs- Texas
  • Paws4Ever- Mebane, NC
  • Big Fluffy Dog Rescue- Nashville, TN
  • Silver Muzzle Cottage- Michigan
  • Merit Pit Bull Foundation- Greensboro, NC
  • Almost There Foster Care – Arizona
  • Best Friends Animal Society – Utah
  • Kansas City Pet Project- Kansas City
  • Underdog Rescue- Minnesota
  • Humane Society (International and of the United States)
  • ASPCA

I know many people are getting a little, tired, of seeing me posts about animal rescue so much. But I believe that there is much more reward in trying, and in doing, and because of that I will not stop talking.

I urge you to sign up as a volunteer today. If any of the above reasons doesn’t convince you enough, think of all of the new people who could meet. Think of the lives you could change. 

Why Puppies and Kittens Should Not Be Christmas Gifts

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Look at that face! You want it for Christmas soooo badly right?!

Please. Stop there. Think again. Read on and you’ll find out why.

But first, let me introduce myself

Hey, my name’s Carly

For the past 12 months I’ve been volunteering with the Triad Golden Retriever Rescue (TGRR) out of Greensboro, NC. Over time, I’ve taken on more and more responsibilities.

In 2017, TGRR took in 39 dogs throughout the whole entire year (all Golden’s or Golden mixes only). So far into 2018 we’ve taken in 57, and counting. It’s the Chinese Year of the Dog (literally!) and we feel it.

I’ve also done some volunteering with SPCA and Humane Societies.

I’ve gotten attached to 3 dogs who I would walk weekly, as much as I could, who were couped up in a shelter because we couldn’t find a foster home for them. All 3 of which had to be euthanized, 2 of which because of behavioral issues that grew to be too harmful because they were kennel crazy.

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My work in animal rescue has opened my eyes to a lot of things. And I know that proper pet ownership education is one of the most important things that needs to be addressed. More chat on that later. 

As I opened an email this morning to an adoption announcement of a 9 year old dog, I was flipping through the pictures seeing it interact with the children and thought “Now THAT is a true Christmas present”. A family, a loving family, for that dog in old age. And we know that family is a good family because we’ve done research on it. They reached out to us, they didn’t go to the nearest back yard breeder for a cheap, cute puppy. They did it right.

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So let me say this, for the general population. For you “act on impulse”, “I want to be the hero of the family” type people….

ANIMALS ARE NOT CHRISTMAS GIFTS.

Especially the “oh look I surprised you bull shit” 

Choosing to get an animal is a HUGE decision. You don’t do it because your 4 year old begs you, or because your girlfriend of 3 months talks about how bad she wants one. You don’t do it on impulse and you don’t do it if you work long hours, every single day.

Because animals are hard work:

  • They outgrow the puppy stage
  • They require annual vaccinations, which alone can cost you $100+ per animal. Not to mention check ups or emergency visits
  • Do you even know how much dog food costs?
  • How about potty training. That puppy will pee and poop in your house and you will get frustrated and return that thing quicker than you got it.
  • Animals, dogs moreso than cats, require quality attention. You can’t just leave your animal alone all freaking day while you’re at work. Not only is it terrible for their need for socialization, they will eventually get bored and get into things. And you’ll get mad, and you’ll return it.
  • And then someday that animal will grow old. And it will move slower than you’d like or require extra medical attention, which yes- costs more. And you’ll be frustrated and you’ll send it off to the shelter because like it never was a part of your family.

And if you’re thinking that your impulse decision to want to get a puppy now doesn’t put you in that category. That you’re ‘aware’ and ‘a good person’. Well, look at these statistics, I will bet ya that many of these pet owners thought that they knew what they were doing. But like many facets of life, convenience overrules every aspect of pet ownership. And when that pet is no longer convenient or no longer a puppy, they got fed up:

In the state of North Carolina, among 89 reporting shelters, during the year of 2017:

  • 57,561 cats were euthanized
  • 24,907 dogs were euthanized
  • 82,902 euthanasia’s were performed as a whole (this includes, bats, pigs, misc. animals)

Think about that puppy or kitten you’ve been considering getting as a Christmas gift for your 5 year old because they won’t shut up about it. They’re so cute and precious and everyone loves a puppy. How much work is it really?

Now think about those numbers. The amount of dogs and cats who were waiting, with loving eyes and a hopeful, yet scared soul to find their forever home. They were confined to a kennel, going more stir crazy with each passing day. The only hope be any volunteer that could let them out for a walk. If the shelter had enough volunteers that is.

Moreso, the number of animals surrendered to animal shelters rises dramatically about 3-6 months after Christmas. Why? Yeah, you remember that cute puppy you got. Not so cute now that it’s peeing in the house, escaping the kennel, and not responded well to training (oh wait, you’re not trying to train it).

Shelter’s have a max capacity. And when influxes of Christmas gifts come in, it puts the shelter into an overwhelming, over capacity place. Some dogs, as a response to that, have to go. The first ones on the chopping block? Old dogs.

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Many dogs in shelters are older in age, which is sad because that means they likely lived the first part of their life with a family. And not all cases are the story of a dog tied up in the backyard being neglected to the point that someone else saved them and called the shelter. No, some of those dogs were part of the family. Until something came along that made the family just throw their hands up, and say forget it. A new child, a new job, a move, a divorce etc. All invalid reasons in my opinion, try to change my mind.

Out of our 57 dogs so far this year with TGRR, 25 of them have been in the later half of their years. Yes, some are in our care because their owners died, others are in our care for previously mentioned “excuses”.

People neglect getting older dogs because they don’t want the heartache that comes with losing it. You people, are the real MVP’s, because that shows that you care about your dogs. However, think about the life the dog potentially has had, why not be their hero and give them an amazing end of life? Not to mention, they generally are pretty decent with commands at that point!

Okay, so you really want a puppy. Out of our 57 dogs at TGRR, 15 of them have been 2 years old or less. A large percentage of dogs (and cats!) in animal shelters are in the puppy or kitten stage too. So look beyond that PetSmart window, or the “ad for puppy” on the side of the road. News flash, those are all backyard breeding cases. Another rant for another time.

So let’s round back to my point. Choosing to get a puppy or a kitten as a Christmas gift is NOT the way to go. Walk into an animal shelter, connect with one of those hopeful souls, give them a second chance at life.

And to those of you who are incredible pet owners out there, I salute you, and I want to be friends with you. I do believe there are more good people in the world, so cheers to you!

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I also encourage you to volunteer at your local animal shelter because they ALL NEED IT! And while you can, spread the word of proper pet ownership. If your neighbor is planning to get a dog, but you know their gone most of the day, talk some sense into them. If you see a dog chained up on a short leash 24/7, no matter the season, call for help. THAT is when it’s okay to be a hero.

You don’t have to be your family’s hero on Christmas, buying that cute puppy.

But you can be a shelter animal’s hero on Christmas, adopting them- the right way. 

Take That Leap of Faith

Take that leap of faith.

And take it with your whole heart.

Lately, I’ve been places, in social situations, hanging with friends, etc. where I have
stopped and looked around and literally thought “man I love it here”.
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But it hasn’t always been that way.

17 months ago, almost exactly, we moved from Iowa to North Carolina.

That’s over 1,000 miles between where we’ve always been to where we were heading.

I grew up in the MidWest. It was all I knew.

But then the time came where we knew we wanted to venture out, we felt stuck. And so we began acting on that. Alex starting applying for jobs around the country. Yes, most were in the Midwest, but in places that we loved- such as Madison, WI and Kansas City, KS. But then there was one in Greensboro, NC with Volvo.

We acted on our feelings of wanting to be elsewhere, but did I ever think it would happen? Nope, not really to be honest.

And then it did. Volvo called Alex. They did a phone interview, and then flew him to Greensboro for an interview. 3 weeks later he got the call that he got the job.

I remember that night. He had a call set up about the interview, he knew it would go one of 2 ways. The phone rang, he stepped into our bedroom for 5 minutes, and then he slowly came out. He was quiet, he walked slow, and then a smile crept across his face as he said “I got the job”. We cried. We cried out of happiness, but then literally 60 seconds into that cry I started to sob.

And that wasn’t happiness. 

I was hit with a wave of realization that I was going to have to leave my family and the place of the nation where I always called home, the Midwest.

I grew up in Illinois. Every Sunday when we were young we would go to my dad’s parents house for Taco Sunday. My dad was one of six children, so the family was large. My cousin on my dad’s side was my best friend growing up and still is to this day. We’d always go to my dad’s side for Christmas Eve or Christmas day, and go to my mom’s side for the other. Every year. My mom was one of five children, so that family was big as well. I would go to my mom’s sisters house and hang out with my other best friend cousin. We would put on my aunts shoes and play dress up. As we got older we would party in their pool and eventually we started a “Black Wednesday” tradition of getting a party  bus for the family the night before Thanksgiving. Growing up we never missed holidays with the family, even Easter where we began doing “Adult Easter egg hunts”. We would go to every birthday party that we could. We were involved, and family time was never something I hated.

Alex and I had lived in Iowa for 4.5 years at this point. It was where we went to college and met. It was where we met the people that are standing beside us in our wedding in 4 weeks. It was home away from home, with a family there too. Sure, a slightly more inebriated, crazy, stay up late and eat bread sticks kind of family, but a family nonetheless.
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So there I was, sobbing. It was scary. How was I going to move away and miss all of that? How was I going to be ONLY one on both extended sides of the family to make a permanent move farther than 3 hours away from home?

I was 23 years old and terrified. The dreams of leaving that we had hoped and prayed for had come true and I was terrified.

I remember the night before we left, our friends came over to say goodbye and the conversation kept going, as if to put off the actual good bye.

And I said goodbye to my best friend. My literal twin in a shorter versioned body of myself. Someone I never would have met if it weren’t for Iowa. And when she left I went into our empty bedroom and cried. And Alex came in and said “We don’t have to do this. We don’t have to leave. I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to, but I need you to tell me now” And I contemplated saying “yes let’s stay here, I can’t leave”.

But I didn’t. And the next morning we packed up the uhaul and began our 15 hour trek, divided into 2 days, across country.

 

And then, 3 days later when I dropped my dad and brother off at the airport after they had helped us move. Even after getting into a screaming argument with my very hungover brother on the car ride there. I sobbed again. Alone in my car. I put my sunglasses on so no one could see. I cried because this was it, we were on our own.

Now so far, I probably seem like some wildly emotional person, and I kind of am. But 90% of my cries are dog related. But in this period of my life I was crying for other reasons.

I was crying because I went from a town of less than 10,000 growing up, to a town of 41,000 for college, to a town of 287,000. And now we were on our own, with 287,000 strangers surrounding us.

My mom worried, because I didn’t know anyone out here. She knew the kind of social butterfly I was and how important it is to me to have social events to go to and friends to hang with. It’s true, I am an extrovert like that.

But to no one’s surprise, I dove in, I got a job at Orangetheory Fitness and within the first 2 weeks I met one of my bridesmaids. The first 4 months flew by and I was making friends, I had stopped using my GPS as much (but definitely still needed it!), we had found places that we liked to revisit, such as 913 whiskey bar.

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But truth be told I still would drive to and from work and miss home so agonizingly bad that I would either crank up some upbeat tunes for jamming to get my mind off of it, or I would play songs that reminded me of home.

On this exact weekend last year we went back to my hometown in Byron, IL for the annual summer festival. We were supposed to fly in on Thursday night, but our flight got cancelled and I cried. I cried because that was 13 hours less of family time that I would have, even though we would see them bright and early the next morning.

That trip home reminded me of why i loved the Midwest. And when people asked why I was so excited to be going home, I would simply say “you don’t understand the Midwest unless you’ve lived there”.

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And we returned from that trip and I still didn’t feel like I was home, I feel like I just left it, because i did. Yes, I was making friends. We were fitting in. We were engaged and moving into a new home, but I still missed some things.

But then we went back to Iowa in September and this wave of “ahh things DO happen for a reason” came over me. Maybe I didn’t need to miss the Midwest so agonizingly bad afterall. I realized that the college town needed to stay that, the college town. That it’s better to look back at places with good memories than to be stuck there wishing you were out.

And as time flew by I made more friends either through Orangetheory, or my new job, or Alex’s job. And things have changed.

I took me 9 months to say for the first time “I like it here”

It took me about 14 months to say for the first time “I love it here”

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I now view this place with the same loving heart that I viewed my Midwest home’s with. Except I also realize the potential within the city that was not possible in Illinois or Iowa. I don’t want to leave.

You see, Greensboro has introduced me to a wide variety of friendships.
We got engaged here (okay well Myrtle Beach but you get the point), we bought a house.
I’ve walked in a few fashion shows.
I’ve done a photo shoot.
I’ve started an online business.
I’ve started volunteering with animal rescues which has put animal rescue into the very center of my heart.
I’ve seen the craziest sunset and some pretty sweet fireworks from the top of a parking deck.
I’ve dipped my toes in the sand more times in these past 17 months than I had my entire life prior.
I’ve also seen the prettiest view from high up in the mountains,
I’ve made friends with owners of restaurants and bars.
I’ve been a boat for the first time in years.
I’ve tried wake surfing.
I’ve had a birthday bar crawl that I have to say, was beyond epic.
I’ve gone to my first NFL game.
Greensboro has given me opportunity after opportunity.
I get to coach people at OTF weekly who are my friends, who are grateful for the experience.
I have friends who refer friends to me and my business, in which I’ve gotten to change people’s lives.
We have friend groups that are so separate that can also intertwine and mingle as if they’ve know each other for ages.
We’ve made friends that would fly across the country to go to Vegas with us, or to Kansas City.
We’ve made friends that are fellow dog parents and therefore, have had many doggy play dates!
PicMonkey Collage2
So when I take a step back and look at the people I’ve met and the experiences I have had SO far. I am happy. I am blessed.

I freaking love this city. I still miss the Midwest. But I consider myself lucky. Because not everyone gets excited about vacationing to the MidWest. Hell, some people will NEVER travel there. But I get to go there, and go to all of our favorite places and it is a darn good vacation when we doo!

Greensboro, you and your community of nice, yet wild people have stolen my heart.

I fell in love with this city and the experience.

I did it because of a leap of faith.

You can too.

Enjoying Your Vacation

Like really enjoy it. Enjoy the shit out of it. Check your worries and to-do lists at your front door when you leave. In fact, lock them in the house, leave them there for when you return.

Get rid of your mentality that vacation will always leave you feeling a little guilty. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Don’t fear the vacation.

Your vacation is meant to be enjoyed. It isn’t meant to be about counting every calorie to ‘stay on track’. It’s not about feeling bad for having that local burger, or that craft beer, or for not getting one single workout in the whole time.

Yes, I write a blog about health and fitness. I have an Instagram dedicated to that. I run a business on it.

But I also understand the glory of flexible dieting and flexible mindsets. I believe that if you plan vacations and fear them for the potential to throw you off track then you will never enjoy another vacation in your life. But it’s good that I believe in the 80/20 rule, in flexible dieting, in giving yourself a break.

BUT there are ways to enjoy your vacation AND feel darn proud for the decisions you make while there. I’m not saying your vacation is either a total fail (health & fitness wise) nor is it a seamless & perfect trip of nothing but salads and water.

There are ways to enjoy your vacation and not drive yourself crazy while doing it.

Here’s how:

Last weekend I went to Myrtle Beach with some family and friends. We’re all adults with full time jobs, bills to pay, and too little hours in the day. So a vacation was so needed. And you know what? We didn’t hold back. We had pizza, and fried food, and beer, and rum, and tequila, we stayed up late, and were outside ALL. FREAKING. DAY. (My body is still burnt). It was great.

And you know what? We may have gotten to the end of our vacation thinking “holy shit I didn’t do one healthy thing that whole time”. But we did, we just had to take a step back to see it.

We got our exercise in unusual ways. We played a friendly game of sand football, we went for a 2 mile walk just to wake up one morning, we walked more steps than my FitBit could even count for. We drank some water in between the booze, we had some fruit, we made homemade guac, and we got some pretty decent sleep.

The reason we were able to do those healthy things is because it was part of our routine. For months and years now most of us have lived in the healthy lifestyle. We workout consistently and cook healthy meals for ourselves. It has become routine- and a good routine at that.

So when it comes time to vacation we aren’t the ones crash dieting for the beach, no we go about our normal lives. And because of that we are able to spill over some of those naturally healthy choices in between all the fun of vacationing.

I believe that crash diets set you up for failure in more ways than one. You gain more weight back than what you lost (but that’s a story for a different time) and you lose all control when it comes to events that are outside of your routine. Because of the crash diet, your mind breaks down and you don’t even know which way is up, let alone choosing a healthy option.

So when it comes to enjoying your vacation, my number 1 tip?

Don’t treat it as a one time ordeal. Lead up to it with good intentions, get in a good routine. And you won’t even feel like you are failing yourself by choosing that burger for dinner because guess what? Been there done that. It’s called the 80/20 lifestyle that you live.

 

Beyond that, I asked my friend Kristen (co-founder of The WHEYSTED Girls Project) to help me make a list of how to enjoy your vacation.

  1. Treat it as just another one of your “cheat meals”. You’ve worked hard for this, why not enjoy it?

  2. Pack water. If you pack it, you will drink it

  3. Pack fruits and veggies. Again, if you pack it you will eat it.

  4. Choose one meal for the day that will be your “go out” meal. For us? It’s usually dinner. This helps save you calorie wise and saves your wallet. For the other meals, pack your own food. We packed oatmeal, toast and peanut butter, eggs, deli sandwiches, chips and salsa and guac, and fruit- all for us to eat at home (or on the beach!)

  5. Go for walks. Not only does it get you moving, but if you’re in the business of drinking all weekend it will give you a little break in between the alcohol consumption- and that break can save you from a super nasty hangover the next day. OR if you wake up with a hangover – go for a walk! The fresh air will do you good.

  6. If you want to eat healthy- then do it!! Just make sure you want to

  7. Piggy-backing off of that, if you choose a salad at dinner at the people you are with make fun of you for it- F*ck em, don’t listen to them. You do you boo boo.

  8. There ARE *healthier* beverage choices—Michelob Ultra’s/Corona Premier, Truly’s (or other spiked waters). If you want to avoid beer altogether, opt for a frozen concoction using REAL fruit, low calorie/no sugar mixers, and do some research about lower calorie liquors (shout out Blue Chair Rum!!!)

  9. Replenish your electrolytes. Sitting in the sun and having some drinks dehydrates you quickly. Grab some Powerade/Gatorade—Kristen’s go to is Rehydrate from AdvoCare.

  10. Avoid the vacation hangover—get back to your normal routine as soon as you get home. Yes, you had a blast and ate/drank more than normal; but, once you get back from vacation start fueling your body with the right stuff again.

  11. Be active—sitting in my beach chair, staring at the waves and zoning out is my favorite. I not a napper, but have been known to doze off on the beach every once now and then. Get up and move every 30 mins—play in the sand…there are sooo many beach games out there (heck, we even made some up), take a dip in the water, toss a football.

  12. Enjoy yourself, damnit. Vacation is YOUR time. You work hard every single day to earn vacation. Give your mind and body some time to relax and slow down for a few days.

  13. Wear sunscreen  🙂

Healthier drink options:

Corona Premier: 90 calories / 2.6g carb

Michelob Ultra: 95 calories / 2.6g carb

Blue Chair Bay Rum: Ranges from 75-96 calories

*Banana Rum Cream: 75 calories / 8g carb. White Rum: 95 calories/ 0g carb*

Mix with low calorie mixers like 5 calorie Ocean Spray juice mixes, Diet Soda, Club Soda, Seltzer water

Homemade margarita: 102 calories / 7g carb

*2 oz Sauza Gold Tequila + 2 ounces Trop 50 Orange Juice + 2 ounces Roses Lime Juice*

The bottom line? You’ve only got one life to live, and this life is YOURS to live. Tackle your vacation HOW you want and WHEN you want. And be nice to yourself in the process ❤

HIIT IT- Memorial Day Style

Who’s got big Memorial Day Weekend plans? Many of you I’m sure. Who wants to get their sweat on before or after (or both) they attend all their parties, etc?!

No fear, I’ve got your back.

Test this MDW (Memorial Day Weekend) workout on for size:

-8 exercises X 8 reps each (AND EACH SIDE) X 8 rounds and DONE!

All you need is ONE weight

Exercises:

Snatch burpee

Side lunge high pull

Double jack

Ground to ceiling squat press

Lunge to curl

Around the world

Plank drag rows

Alternating v-ups

 

You are racing against the clock – let me know how you do! Or stop by BodyByBuehler on Instagram and comment there!

Less Is More

How many of you have wanted quick progress in the gym or push past a plateau? How many of you adopted the mentality that in order to do that, then more was MORE? In other words, the more I workout, the quicker I will get to my goals, because afterall a calorie deficit is what I’m aiming for right? You’ve worked yourself day in and day out, not missing a workout, restricting your calories, and so on. And you get to a point where you are now just so fatigued all the time that you don’t even want to work out, but you do it anyway because that is what is pushing you towards your goals? Maybe you’re not even sure if you’re exercising right – you’re working the same muscle groups each day, you’re always sore, but you don’t know if its right or wrong, but it doesn’t matter because your FitBit tells you that you just burned 800 calories in 2 hours – SCORE! So you develop this relationship with the gym that is nothing short of an obsession.

I’m sure some of you have been there, I have.

But what if I told you that less is more? That you don’t have to workout 7 days a week, sometimes 2 times a day, and restrict your calories and feel so fatigued you could fall of the treadmill? Maybe you’re not quite that obsessed with the gym, but you still can’t go a day without skipping the gym without feeling guilty. But what if LESS was MORE?

Let’s start here. Do you know what happens to your body, specifically your muscles when you workout? Let me tell you what most people say to this answer – my body is getting stronger! I’m building my muscles! WRONG. When you exercise you are literally tearing your muscle fibers apart. The growth happens in the rest period. So no, you aren’t getting stronger when you are working out, when you’re curling 50’s and squatting 200’s. No, you are setting your muscles up to get stronger while you are resting. The workout is like the pre-game. The fun stuff, the magic happens AFTER you leave the gym.

When it comes to muscle fiber repair, one of two things can happen leading up to this.

A) You aren’t overloading your muscles enough to break down the muscle fibers enough to a point where they have to be repaired during the rest before. Thus starting a repeating cycle of working your muscles to an almost pointless effort. If you’re not setting them up to repair and get stronger, you are essential wasting your time (Cue encouraging words to start lifting HEAVIER! You will NOT get bulky)

B) You overload too much to a point where your muscles can’t sufficiently repair themselves in the rest period. This can happen from lifting too much weight, but it likely going to be cause from lifting too much weight too frequently (Cue talk on overtraining).

The phenomenon of OverTraining. 

Overtraining occurs when you push your body too hard and pass the point that your body is able to recover from. To improve you must overload the muscles and then allow adequate time for recovery and growth by resting. Overtraining occurs when either the overload is too high, or the rest period (recovery time) is too low.

Overtraining in the form of too much intensity on a constant basis, in the form of working out for hours on end, in the form of not challenging your muscles enough but still working them too much, in the form of over exercising and under eating will all hinder your results.

Let me show you a real life example.

At the beginning of my fitness journey I would work out for HOURS upon HOURS and be so freaking happy that I burned 700 calories on a total of 3 different cardio machines combined. I didn’t bother to try to educate myself on proper nutrition, I didn’t really care, because I was working out. I mean at this point, I was an 18 year old who just graduated high school – I was naive. BUT this exercise obsession continued into college, trying to beat the Freshman 15. And here, in college, I discovered that 2-a-days were a thing. UM HELL YEAH sign me up?! More exercise, yes please!

So I exercised, and exercised, and exercised. I was doing too much. I thought I was working at high intensities, but now seeing what I CAN do, I realize that it was definitely only moderate intensities – I couldn’t muster up energy for more!

I became “skinny fat”. Where I would hold on to extra body fat, primarily around my stomach, because my body was screaminggggg for proper nutrition and less exericse, but I didn’t know. My arms and legs looked relatively skinny, but my mid section didn’t exactly match up. My body fat was at a solid 23%, which was in normal range so I was happy with it. And so I kept going- working out 7 days a week for probably, oh 10 hours in total or more.

BUT what happened was I started to get educated. I mean I was now in school for Exercise Science & Health Promotion. And I learned the right way to do things, I actually began to love researching articles on those topics in my free time. I was like WOAH.

(Over-exercising -left VS. Getting it right -right)

So now? Now I exercise 5 days a week and eat more than what I used to – but my body needs it! I’ve figured out how to truly work at my highest intensities. BUT THATS OKAY! Because now I take 2 rest days and I kid you not, I only exercise for a total of 5 hours a week – MAX. Most of my workouts are now between 45 – 55 minutes and IT. IS. GLORIOUS.

And what has happened to my body composition? 8% lower body fat, more muscle, and more personal records. My body is thriving. And it’s because I stopped digging it into a hole I couldn’t get it out of.

(Too much cardio, not enough strength VS. getting it right)

My point is not to brag about what I’ve done, but rather show you that LESS IS MORE when it comes to your exercise, and WHY that is true.

Is it tempting to want to exercise more, to hit the gym after a night of rough eating, even though it isn’t supposed to be on the schedule? Absolutely. Do I sometimes do extra? Sometimes, yes. But I make sure that if I’m doing an extra workout it’s because I want to not because I’m trying to punish myself.

Working out less and eating more [of the right things and right proportions] are the hardest thing to wrap my clients minds around. But it WORKS. Results will 110% not come over night. Hell, you won’t have your “dream body” (whatever the hell that means) in one month. Nope, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. And the patience needed for that is something that is LONG GONE in this day in age where we all have access to instant gratification.

But do yourself a favor. Love yourself enough to do things the right way. Eat right, exercise right, and give yourself a solid 6 MONTHS to start seeing the progress you want. Hell, it has taken me FIVE YEARS.

Let that sink in.

One Year, NC <3

One year. 12 months. 365 days.

That’s how long I’ve had with you so far, North Carolina.

1 engagement.

10 months of wedding planning.

1 new house.

2 “buffer” jobs.

1 real job.

3 volunteer organizations.

1 fashion show.

1 photo shoot.

3 trips to the beach.

2 trips to the mountains.

Numerous new friends.

A whole family at Orangetheory.

And memories that are just the beginning.

 

That is what you’ve given me so far, North Carolina.

 

Moving is a big deal. It’s full of the unknowns. And when, not given a lot of time (3 weeks) to prepare yourself for the move, it becomes something that is hard & scary & frustrating & emotion draining. Sometimes I still feel like I’m dealing with the emotional strain of the move, of being so far away from family and friends. That might not ever go away. In fact, I hope it doesn’t. Because the moment I forget about those feelings, when I go weeks without missing my roots, becomes the moment that I have become complacent. Missing the Midwest and reflecting on the good times there keeps me grounded. It reminds me that life is an adventure, and it reminds me to be constantly looking for adventure where I am. I don’t need to search the country anymore to find new adventure, I don’t need to move again, I can branch out here with new opportunities. Because frankly, there are already too many people here that would give me the same heart breaking feelings of loss if I had to move away today.

 

If you were to look back at my post 6 months ago (“Six Months Southern”), I may have sounded confident. I may have sounded optimistic on our life here and everything that came with it. But if you read close enough you might be able to tell that I was still sad. Sad about missing my family, my friends, and everything that I knew. I was not comfortable yet. I was still figuring the city out. I was still feeling left out. Even with the friends I had made at that time, I still didn’t feel like I could call this place home.

In fact, that lasted 3 more months. I remember, lying in bed one night at about 10pm, when I finally realized that I like this place. I didn’t just uproot my life for a boy, I uprooted my life for adventure. It was then, on that night, where I said for the first time “I like it here”.

 

And I do.

 

The past 3 months have done something serious to my feelings towards this place. I like it. In fact, I love it.

I have a heavy hand in animal rescue organizations and am only looking for ways to help more animals. And that makes me happy.

I am THAT girl that is obsessed with her gym. Orangetheory has given me nearly all of my friends here (get your laughs in now Val), and there isn’t a day where I walk into that gym and don’t have a meaningful conversation with someone. Orangetheory has not only changed my physique, it has changed my life. It is one of the things that I contribute to finally being able to call North Carolina home, and for that, I am thankful.

I have gotten to walk in a fashion show & do a photo shoot. I have another fashion show coming up in 4 weeks. Someone go ahead and tell me where I could have been introduced to opportunities like that in Iowa. I’ll wait.

I’ve launched an online business. It is doing so well in fact that I have had to put a hold on taking new clients (except for my Pump It For Paws program. Hollaaaa for helping dogs in need). This business I am 110% confident wouldn’t exist if I were still in Iowa. It wouldn’t exist because the clients who inspired me to start it were my clients in Iowa (S/O Amber & Jeremiah). And if i were still training them in person, what purpose would an online platform serve?

Our dogs have had more experiences out here too. Dog dates, trips with us to the bar arcade, trips with us to Pig Pounder Brewery where they are now known by name 😉

We can travel 3.5 hours to the East and be on the beach. And we can travel 3.5 hours to the West and be in the mountains. That sure as hell beats 24 hour trips to the beach that we have taken in the past!

 

12 months with you North Carolina. And for the first time, I have a different response to people when they ask “How long do you think you’ll be here?”. 5 years used to be my optimistic view. I would tell myself that I could hold on for 5 years out here, and then pack up back to the midwest.

But now. Now when people ask i don’t have an answer. I tell them that I am happy. I am flourishing out here. How did you do it North Carolina? How did you convince me to stay in just 1 short year? Okay, maybe the trips home to 12 inches of snow only to return to NC in 70 degree weather helps. But my love for this state goes beyond the weather.

And to the Midwest & all of my family and friends there. I still love you, i’ll always miss you. But change is good. Trying new things is good. And if I’ve learned anything in this past year, i’ve learned that a year flies by way too quickly. If you don’t take chances, if you don’t make jumps now, then you never will. Branch out, try something new. I promise, you won’t regret it.

One year. 12 months. 365 days of the biggest emotional roller coaster of my life. The ups & the downs this year have been immeasurable to other years. The emotional year goes way beyond getting comfortable with the move. It goes with feelings of finding myself. Going through family issues from afar. Finding solace in friends here. Learning new things, about life, about friends, about me.

One year. 12 months. 365 days of the biggest emotional roller coaster of my life. But I feel that because of you, North Carolina and the people you brought to me, that I was able to tackle that year. Overcome. Rise above.

“& When I need something to remind me of who I am, Carolina Can”

-Chase Rice

Cross-Fit Inspired Weights Workout

I bet you can’t get through this without breaking a sweat.

Why would you want to leave the gym fresh anyway?

Set 1: 7 sets

  • Deadlifts X6,4,3,3,3,4,6 reps
    • Increasing weight with decreasing reps. Try to match the same weight you did the first time when you get back to the reps of 4 & 6
    • Last 3 sets: compound with pull ups to failure

Set 2: 3 sets

  • Dumbbell stiff leg deadlift X10
  • Single arm dumbbell alternating snatch X10 total
  • Bodyweight squats X15

Set 3: 3 sets

  • Single arm dumbbell thrusters X8 each
  • Dumbbell or kettlebell swings X8

Set 4: 2 set burnout

  • Heavy med ball over the shoulder tosses to failure
  • TRX pistol squats X8 each

Try it out and throw your results in the comments!

For more workouts follow me on instagram @bodybybuehler

Dynamic Vs. Static Stretching

When it comes to exercise, you’re supposed to stretch right? Did you know that there are proper forms of stretching and right times to do them?

Dynamic Vs. Static Stretching – or Warm up Vs. Cool down

Dynamic:

adj. (of a process or system) characterized by constant change, activity, or progress.

Static: 

adj. lacking in movement, action, or change

Think of dynamic as constantly moving and static as not moving at all. Perform a dynamic warm up, like the one seen in the video below is beneficial to warm up your muscles while also lengthening them. Performing static stretches before exercise puts your muscles at risk for injury. It is a lot harder, and a lot less safe to stretch a cool muscle. Muscles stretch best when they are warm, allowing them to lengthen to their maximum ability, and also allow them to recover after the stretch.

For your next workout, try these basic dynamic (warm up) and static (cool down) stretches!