Hi, friend! How’s life?
I’m doing well over here and am geared up for the last few weeks of the year.
This week has been business as usual. I’ve been working, teaching group fitness, playing tennis, doing all the mom stuff and more. The winter weather is finally here in Charlotte, so it’s been chilly, which makes it oh-so-hard to get out of my warm bed in the morning, you know?
We launch right into the holiday fun this weekend, and Dave and I are looking forward to our first big Christmas party this Saturday night at our country club.
Now, let’s get to the faves. And there are a lot of them today …
Our Thanksgiving 2023 with my family
Last weekend, my brother, Matthew, and his wife, Stephanie, came to visit us from Atlanta for a couple of nights. We hadn’t seen them both together since March, and my brother since September, so it was great to spend some quality time hanging out, and with my mom too. While we really didn’t do all that much, the time flew by and we had just enough activities, with plenty of down-time to relax. We love that Matthew and Stephanie don’t need to be entertained, and they are totally cool to just chill with us around the house, when the time calls for it.
Some highlights included …
Shred. Taking the whole group to my Thanksgiving Day Shred class, which was a first for both Matthew and Stephanie (who don’t do a lot of group fitness). It was really fun having them out there in the classroom, and I think they were challenged! Also, I don’t normally teach on holidays, but this day was a blast, because a lot of my members brought their families to class.
The meal. Our Thanksgiving meal was excellent, and it was a team effort by all of us. Dave and I bought the turkey, ham, rolls, salad and wine, and I set the table. Stephanie made some delicious sides and desserts, and my mom made some excellent sides as well. It wasn’t too much work on any one person, and I like doing it that way. We ate the leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day too, before sending them on their way. By the way, I used to not love Thanksgiving food, but I definitely do now. My favorite side dish was the sweet potatoes made by Stephanie … mmmmm!
Games. We love to play games with Matthew and Stephanie when they are around, and one night we played Cards Against Humanity and the other night we played Apples to Apples — both super fun and both done once Brady was asleep. I won on the Apples to Apples night, but really, we were all winners. We also played Uno with Brady when he was awake and that was a good time too. We’re loose with the rules for him, and he ended up the champion, which made him very happy.
Nephew time. Brady would say his highlights from Thanksgiving were coloring with Aunt Stephanie and building Legos with Uncle Matthew, and he looks forward to doing both those activities with them again soon.
(Rocking my comfy slippers for nearly the entire holiday.)
Overall, it was a really nice Thanksgiving! I love having all these people together in one place.
Light the Knight in Uptown
I was looking around for one outing we could do with Matthew and Stephanie the day after Thanksgiving, and I knew I wanted it to be outside and family friendly. I hadn’t heard much about Light the Knight, but upon some research on the event’s website, it looked cool, so we went for it.
Light the Knight takes place at the Charlotte Knights baseball stadium in the heart of Uptown, and it’s a daily festival with ice skating, a Christmas market, light displays, and tube slides. We went up that way in the late afternoon the day after Thanksgiving, so we had some time in the daylight and some time in the evening when all the lights around the stadium were in full holiday mode.
We were there a little over two hours, and we had a ball ice skating and doing the tube slides. It definitely got significantly busier as the sun went down, and the lines got long, so I’m happy we went earlier.
I’ve only ice skated a handful of times in my life, and I’m not exactly a natural, but I really have fun doing it. Brady was super cute and needed some assistance the whole time, and Matthew and Dave are both great skaters, so they held him up, while I looped carefully on my own.
The Christmas market stores were minimal, but festive, and Stephanie bought some Christmas stuff while we were there. We also had a little bit of food, but waited to eat our official dinner at home — I was holding out for Thanksgiving leftovers and Thanksgiving leftover dessert.
It was $40 a person to access the activities, but only $10 a person if all you wanted to do was walk around and not skate or slide. And I would say our entire group of six really liked this activity. It was much more fun than I anticipated, and we’d definitely go back next year.
We’ve done a lot of holiday stuff around Charlotte in our almost three years here, and I’m trying to do new and different stuff this year. Light the Knight delivered, and if you’re local, I’d recommend it — but go early, because I’m sure those weekend nights will be the busiest.
“Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My friend and blog reader, Courtney, sent me her copy of “Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and I was so excited to read it. Thus far, I’ve loved every book I’ve read from Taylor Jenkins Reid, and this one was no different. Except, it was different. This book is written like a news article with accounts from people, sharing stories from their past. And it’s about a rock band and how they came together, how they became famous and how they all felt about it after the fact.
At first, I was taken aback by the writing style, then I started to love it. We heard different versions of stories from each of the main characters, and it somehow flowed seamlessly. Truly, I soaked it up, and I stayed up really late the night before Thanksgiving finishing up the book. You know it’s a good book if it keeps me up late, because otherwise, I’m way out by 10:15 p.m. each night.
(“Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid)
When I shared a picture of this book upon arrival on Instagram, quite a few people told me that this book was turned into a show. And it was! Right after I finished the book (because if I know I’m going to watch a show and read a book on the same story, I always like to read it first), Dave and I started watching “Daisy Jones & The Six” on Amazon Prime. And let me tell you … even though books are always better, the show is so good. We’re almost done with the first season (I’m assuming there will only be one season), and we’ve loved it so far.
Either way, I like the book and the show, and if you’re into music or good stories, check either of them out. Also, thanks, Courtney!
Hanging out in the Panthers stadium
I’ve now taken Brady to two Carolina Panthers games and both have been fun. (Although one of them involved way more traffic than we’d ever like to experience again.) But I also had the chance to take Brady to Bank of America stadium, where the Panthers play, for a special employee-only event just a couple weeks ago. We got to go on the field, have some fun winter treats and get our picture taken on the field with our name on the scoreboard too.
(I’m very into these new bootcut/flare-ish high-waisted jeans I just bought and debuted this night.)
Brady and Dave got to throw the football around on the field a few times, and Brady thought it was the coolest thing ever. We loved this little activity!
Hosting a wellness day for my girlfriends
A couple of Fridays ago, I hosted a little “Wellness Day” for two of my girlfriends. I invited them to Life Time to take my 45-minute Barbell Strength class, then we used the percussive massage guns, sat in the water massaging chairs, spent 20 minutes in the sauna (wearing eye patches, of course) and then moved over to Restore Hyperwellness (just down the street) for cryotherapy sessions. After that, we went to a healthy lunch at Cava. It was such a perfect combination of events.
It’s not very easy to get together during the week, and it was so cool that both of these ladies moved their schedules around, coordinated child-care and joined me for this fun day of self-care — which we all really needed. I love to show my friends a little bit of my world, and I think they enjoyed it to the fullest. We all felt great afterward — so refreshed and energized!
I’ve been to a couple cryotherapy places in Charlotte, and so far, Restore is my favorite. Their cryotherapy chamber is the most intense, and you get to choose a song to listen to while you’re in the freezing air, which is very motivating. I chose “Karma” by Taylor Swift, and it totally got me through the maximum time you can be in there — 3 minutes and 15 seconds.
Our next ladies activity will include dressing up and plenty of adult drinks, but we all appreciated this health-focused time together to regroup right before the holidays started.
That’s it for the faves. Let’s get to the movement …
My workouts from the last two weeks
Now it’s time to take a look at my workouts from the last two weeks.
I share this recap to show you how I try to get diversity of movement in my week (with a focus on lifting weights), and how I always take a rest day (almost always). But remember, I do a little bit more than the average person, because I’m a group fitness instructor, so you don’t need to compare your movement to mine.
Workouts from the week of 11/13
- Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class, 9:45 a.m., played 90 minutes of doubles tennis, 11:15 a.m.
- Tuesday: Taught 1-hour barre class, 9:30 a.m., took 60-minute tennis clinic, 12 p.m.
- Wednesday: Taught 45-minute barre class, 5:30 p.m.
- Thursday: Taught 45-minute combo class, 9:45 a.m., took 90-minute tennis clinic, 11 a.m.
- Friday: Taught 45-minute barbell class, 11:30 a.m.
- Saturday: Did 40-minute weight-room workout, 10:30 a.m.
- Sunday: Rest day
Workouts from the week of 11/20
- Monday: Taught 1-hour barbell class, 9:45 a.m., played 60 minutes of doubles tennis, 11:15 a.m.
- Tuesday: Taught 1-hour barre class, 9:30 a.m., took 60-minute tennis clinic, 12 p.m.
- Wednesday: Taught 45-minute barbell class, 8:30 a.m., taught 45-minute barre class, 5:30 p.m.
- Thursday: Taught 45-minute combo class, 9:45 a.m.
- Friday: Took 30-minute neighborhood walk, 11 a.m.
- Saturday: Did 35-minute weight-room workout (shown below), 1 p.m.
- Sunday: Played in 90-minute doubles tennis match, 4 p.m.
The last two weeks of movement had classes, tennis, rest and weights, so I’m pleased. It’s almost been a full year that I’ve been (mostly) consistent with my solo workout, and I’m definitely lifting heavier and heavier. Here are the details on one of my short weight-room workouts …
Best read of the week
Here’s an article worth sharing with you …
Incorporating gratitude into your skincare routine. Although I try not to multitask too much, I think you can safely pair some activities without lessening their effectiveness. And this little article about how to add gratefulness and mindfulness into the time you spend taking care of your skin is a good one. The takeaway: Spend time caring for your skin and be grateful for the ability to do so, savoring each step along the way.
Quote of the week
Here’s a thought worth sharing with you from Amy Porterfield on Instagram …
Blog archives of the week
Let’s look back at two posts worth revisiting …
Gifts. I really enjoy making gift guides, and I already have or want to have everything on this list. If you need some ideas for your own wish list or for a lady in your life, check it out … “Best gifts for ladies for 2023 (Holiday gift guide for her).”
Dresses. I had fun putting together this post, because I was simultaneously shopping for holiday party dresses for myself … “10 holiday party dress ideas.” To follow up — I got a few questions about the dresses I ordered, here’s what I kept based on my real-life try-ons:
- This gold dress (planning to wear it on my birthday)
- This red dress (planning to wear it to a few holiday activities)
That’s all I’ve got for you today! Have an amazing day, friend!
Questions of the day for you
Do you have any holiday parties on the agenda in December?
What’s your favorite part about the holiday season?