The perfect morning

beyonce-mugI have been one of those insanely sensitive and absurd bleeding heart liberals who can’t get her head wrapped around the election results. (Don’t worry, this isn’t about politics, it’s about how ridiculous I am). The crying, the denial, the crying, the anger, thinking my whole family hates me, the f**king crying. I am about to break up with myself.

Having said that, I had the perfect morning this week. Thursday was our office Thanksgiving. I was cooking one of my favorite recipes from Queen Ina Garten. Her bacon balsamic Brussels sprouts. Although I did all of my prep work Wednesday night, for the sake of food integrity I waited until 6:30 a.m. Thursday to cook. No ma’am, I am NOT serving soggy refrigerated Brussels, even to my co-workers. The Queen would not approve.

So for just the first few hours of Thursday morning, I was that woman who could DO IT ALL. I cooked three and a half pans of only the good Brussels sprouts (get it, Ina fans, GET IT?), I worked out, I walked the dogs, fed them and the cats both (please note I do this every morning, I don’t starve my kids), made and finished my smoothie before I left the house, and managed complete hair, makeup, and outfit to get to work earlier than normal. Please note: if you want me to start working before 9 a.m., you need to let me work at home permanently. Otherwise, I stand by my conviction that my optimal work day would be 11-7.

Most of all, that morning I was in a GOOD MOOD. I did not hate myself.

Here’s the problem with The Perfect Morning. You start getting ideas. It’s kinda like how you go to your first yoga class in months and you almost sign up for an unlimited membership immediately because of how good you feel. When you probably should just try to go once or twice a week for a few weeks before being an idiot. But The Perfect Morning makes you think you should do this more often. Like, you should get up even earlier, workout 10 extra minutes, walk the dogs 10 extra minutes, maybe do a load of laundry or dishes, read the papers and trades BEFORE work, and maybe even get to the office “on time.”

This, much like my mood swings the past 10 days, is ridiculous. My bed is awesome. My dogs are old and sleep even more than me. Dishes and laundry are stupid. I work out more than anyone I know already. And reading the papers and trades, as everyone knows, is what the first 30 minutes and cup of coffee at work are for. Don’t get crazy.

DEBUNKING DETOX: Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good

Today is Day 15 for me on Whole 30. Although I feel absolutely amazing (seriously, better than I have in months!) I am still very tempted by many things. Mostly pizza. And cake we’ve had in the office THREE times. I look for inspiration wherever I can get it. This post by Tiffany Hendra on Sanctuary of Style, especially that infographic, hit the spot today.

Read it here: DEBUNKING DETOX: Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good

A love/hate relationship with yoga

One of the websites I go to almost every single day without fail is Wanderlust. Several years ago they brought an outdoor yoga event to Dallas; I went with a friend (and then co-worker), as it was walking distance from our building at that time. It was only the second time I had done yoga outdoors, and it was amazing. I’ve kept up with Wanderlust over the years, but now it’s an all out obsession. They have studios in LA and Austin, both of which I’d love to visit at some point. And they host these huge, fabulous yoga festivals all around the world.

One of their first posts of the year encouraged followers to set intentions for 2016, as opposed to resolutions. We often give up on our resolutions, or just flat out fail at them, which leads to disappointment and dejection. I am the self-appointed queen at beating myself up anyway, so this sounded like a great idea!

My first intention: more yoga, please. I love yoga. But also, I sometimes really hate yoga. I leave some classes very frustrated. Frustrated I can’t do some poses well at ALL or ridiculously pissed off I can’t do others as well as I could three years ago. This, I am fully aware, is not the point of yoga. After all, it’s called a practice for a reason. And letting go is a huge part of that practice, which is clearly not my forté.

I bring up three years ago, as it was the summer I famously played Real Housewife of Dallas. I was floating on severance after the company for which I worked sold and at that time, thought I had a lucrative job lined up (it later fell through, so tragic). A girlfriend and I went to yoga three to four times a week. It was glorious. And these were not easy classes. There were plenty of poses I couldn’t do because of my ankle (and all its metal) and the fact I have very little upper body strength. I have a better chance of marrying Jake Gyllenhaal than I do of ever performing a successful crow pose. But still, I was in great yoga shape for me, personally.

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How I survived week one of Whole 30

The-Whole30-299x300Plot twist: how I did has absolutely nothing to do with the food.

But first, why am I so bad at this blogging thing? October? Really, Nikki?

Anyhow, I’ve wrote before about my lifelong struggle with my weight. And when I say lifelong, I mean at least since kindergarten. I was well aware at that time I was not as small as the other girls. My cheerleader uniform didn’t fit as well as theirs, just like my basketball uniform didn’t two years later. In 1st grade we had a 50s dress and dance competition; I was obsessed with the 50s then – much like the 60s now – and I won, which was amazing. But it was also the day one of my crushes told me my belly looked like a bowl full of jelly. Around a year later, I dressed up as Tinker Bell for Halloween. I was even late to school because my mom put so much effort into it; although it’s still one of my favorite costumes to this day, I remember the looks, the stares, and all the laughs because of how I looked in a leotard.

Given that this all happened during formative years, the feelings and insecurities never left. I’ve made a lot of terrible choices and decisions because of decades of being ashamed of my weight. Not until the last two or three years, full of life’s real problems (not the size of jeans I wear) and a lot of soul searching, have I finally grasped the idea that losing weight, for some, is much more of a mental process than physical. I know many people reading this are thinking “but Nikki, you look fine!” or maybe you’ve struggled even more and want to punch me in the face right now. But it’s all about perspective and one’s own personal experience, and weight has be a huge part of my personal experience.

I made myself stop stressing about all of it over the holidays (cause, really?) and focus on a game plan for Sweet 16. I made the investment in Class Pass in November (more on that later) and decided to start Whole 30 on Jan. 4.

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What to watch: Fall TV (the pilots)

E-CardAs I’ve discussed here and here, I love television. A lot. Probably more than I should at my age. Or really, at any age. But also like I’ve mentioned before, there are worse things to which one can be addicted. Cocaine, for example. I’ve never tried it and don’t really intend to. But a glass (bottle) of wine and a fantastic new episode of Empire or Scandal is the equivalent of a good high in my world. Easily excited, this one.

Fall is undoubtedly one of my favorite times of year. First you have the typical white girl reasons why: pumpkin spice everything, boots, scarves, and clothes that actually cover up all your wobbly bits and transgressions. Second you have football, hockey, and playoff baseball. And last, but certainly not least, you have fall television. One must now specify FALL television, as TV programming (much like film releases) is now year-round. Summer TV has brought us plenty of goodies: Entourage, Ray Donovan, Mistresses, and so much more. But the golden eggs still lie in Fall.

This season also gives me anxiety. Because amongst all of my returning shows, I must make major decisions about what new ones to watch. By the time September and October actually get here, it’s usually easy to cross many off the list simply because I am exhausted by how much a network is trying to push a show (or four) down our collective throats. I almost dumped Blindspot for this very reason, but so glad I didn’t. This year there were many debuts that caught my eye. But  between an enormous amount of returning shows and the fact I can’t stop myself from starting new binges (Damages on Netflix and The Leftovers on HBO, currently), I didn’t try out very many this year. I don’t do many comedies, never have, so although Grandfathered and The Grinder made me go hmm originally, I haven’t watched them. Please, by all means, tell me if I should. So one-hour dramas are up to bat.

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Fun to read: Texas Hustle, Cynthia D’Alba

better-in-booksI read and listen to a lot of books every year, the subject matter nothing less than a United Nations level of diverse. I have an addiction to Irwin Shaw and Frank Sinatra biographies. I read books on climate change. I’ve read all of Sue Grafton’s alphabet (except for the newly released X), the complete series Bones is based on, and anything and everything written by Gabby Bernstein and Liz Gilbert (I would read their post-it notes for fun). I don’t have many “guilty pleasures” when it comes to reading; I believe reading, in general, is nothing but an amazing pleasure. I don’t do comic books or graphic novels and will never understand anime (but have nothing against them). But every once in awhile, in the midst of a biography spree or after 10 chapters of Song of Ice and Fire, I have to stop and take a break.

Thus enters the classic American romance novel. I have a friend who has read these books since we were in high school, only then she carried them around in a brown paper sack. About as racy as I personally ever got was reading my stepmom’s Danielle Steel novels. Having said that, I feel like the days of hiding a love of adult lit is now over. Thank you, Mr. Grey. And really, why would you even care what someone reads? If it brings them a moment of peace and it’s not Let’s Bomb Shit or How to be an Axe Murderer, get off their junk about it.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of meeting two authors from this world via mutual girlfriends. At first we were just Twitterfriends, but I’ve since met both in person and can honestly say they’re two of the most fabulous women I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. As a “writer” I envy anyone who can create fiction as much and as often as they do. Cat Johnson and Lorelei James are both New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Authors and are very well known and respected in adult contemporary literature, most especially in western romance. Ladies love those cowboys. So I’ve been told.

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How to be: a beer and a kiss before I go

YYL IntroI’ve not blogged in months, at least not on a personal level (but for paying gigs, yes). Many, many embarrassingly long months. If you know me well, you know the last two plus years have been — what the’s the best word — complicated. But the wonderful news is, that chapter is coming to a close. Although the next is not yet decided, I am excited for whatever it may bring.

What I do know and can share is this, whatever is next, it will be entirely different than anything else in the last 19 years of my life. As many of you know, I have been in the movie theater and film distribution business since I was 16. Shoveling popcorn and tearing tickets was the very first job I ever had. Never did the idea it would turn into a career cross my mind. Especially since, at that time, I was absurdly obsessed with anything and everything hockey. However, one thing lead to another, I blinked, and there I was at 35 still in “the industry”. From here to LA and countless trips around the country, I have enjoyed every single experience I’ve had because of this business. If I listed every wonderful memory, person, place, and thing I have because of it, we would be here for quite some time and you would never read a single thing I posted again. Trust me, it’s absurd how long a list it is. Though I will admit meeting Seth MacFarlane is without a doubt on top. (You knew I wasn’t getting through this without mentioning that, don’t lie).

The aforementioned complicated past two years have resulted in a lot of soul searching. Should I leave the business, should I move back to LA, should I just stay here, should I say screw it all and move to a beach. The questions (and tears…and wine) have been endless. But about six weeks ago, I decided the time for great change had come. Although I am not sure I’ll spend the rest of my life in Dallas, I’m certain it’s not yet time to leave. For many reasons. But it is time for me to leave the industry. This was not an easy decision. But I am ready to grow, to change, to meet new people, and find out what life is like when Monday’s mood isn’t determined by the box office and your next boss knows nothing about your personal life. Wherever I end up next, it will be a fabulous adventure and I know my experience will serve me well. And for that and everything else mentioned, I am thankful.

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What to do: afternoon at the INNER Beauty Shop

o65_99gSThe events we get invited to via Facebook are quite numerous. Birthday parties, showers, girls’ nights out, and countless from organizations and places of businesses whose pages we “like”. I”ll be honest, unless it comes from someone with whom I am truly friends and it’s a personal event such as a birthday gathering, I rarely pay attention. Don’t deny it…you’re the same way! However, a couple of weeks ago I received an invite from one my favorite yoga instructors that immediately caught my attention, the event popped up as “The Inner Beauty Shop” and was being hosted at Karmany Yoga here in Dallas.

It was described as thus:

“The Inner Beauty Shop™ is an interactive workshop for girls or women, ages 12 – 100, that allows participants an opportunity to find the beauty within themselves and those around them. Each beauty shop is a transformative experience that includes several interactive and embodied activities, including yoga.”

If you know just one iota of the purpose behind this little blog, you should know I had to RSVP immediately. Having attended this past Saturday, I cannot tell you how incredibly happy I am that I went. At the risk of sounding over-dramatic, I will say this was the most life-altering experience — in a GOOD way, not the I was laid off/my grandmother died and this ass hole just broke my heart bad way of last year — that I’ve had in a significant amount of time. Given what I know about Jayme (the aforementioned yoga instructor) and the positive spirit and juju she brings to her classes, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

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Where to sweat: bodybar Studios

origFor me personally, working out is about much more than trying to be fit, losing weight or any additional health-related reason (though those are on my list of reasons I do, of course, not to mention heart disease runs spastic through my mom’s side of the family). However, without a doubt, the number one reason I workout as much as I do is to keep me from punching people in the face repeatedly. Or crying my eyes out on a daily basis. Basically, it keeps me as close to normal and sane as I possibly can be. If you’ve met either of my parents you certainly know I naturally come by multiple forms of crazy.

Getting into a rut with workouts is extremely easy to do. I overdosed on P90X two years ago and still can’t make it through an entire week of that bloody program anymore without screaming at Tony Horton. And I know a lot of people who are over going to standard, run-of-the-mill boring gyms. Can’t say I blame them. I am a member of one just because it’s, well, cheap. Trust me, if I had my way I would frequent boutique fitness centers only: Flywheel, American Power Yoga and bodybar Studios. Of course, if I had my way I would also be dating Seth MacFarlane. But that’s…clearly off topic.

I have been super excited to write about bodybar for quite some time. I am 150% biased when it comes to these workouts and this Pilates studio. Up until the end of June I worked for them regularly, which is why I held off writing this. In full disclosure, I will still be working there on occasion when someone needs me to fill in; I couldn’t bring myself to leave it all together!

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What to read: Liane Moriarty, John Green, Allegiant, Insurgent and MORE!

248190_537582386299388_285614533_nWell now I just have an overall case of reader depression. I haven’t posted any book reviews on here since February and after updating Goodreads, I discovered I am actually three books behind on my reading challenge for this year. I would call myself a slacker but I know what the problem is (was). The problem was Orange is the New Black and Game of Thrones. But I am now finished with both. That’s right folks, I watched seasons three AND four of Game of Thrones over Fourth of July weekend. I am a WINNER. Nothing says America like a good television binge. Before you judge me as a lazy heifer, you should know I also worked out three times, had a great holiday cookout with friends for which I made homemade pimento cheese and ensured no vodka went to waste, went to a concert, decorated my back patio, started an herb garden and organized my jewelry (do you understand what an undertaking untangling necklaces can be?!) So THERE.

My biggest accomplishment out of all of this, however, was surviving the Red Wedding. You people have had like a year to recover. As I write this (I always let a post rest overnight before publishing) I’ve had all of one friggin’ day. I’m still traumatized. I need extra therapy after watching 20 episodes of that show in such a short amount of time. I am unfortunately going to have to now give in and read these books. If you know me well, you know that what will drive me up and down a wall faster than anything is NOT KNOWING. My innate sense of impatience and uncanny ability to be a nosy ass (the journalism degree wasn’t a coincidence) doesn’t allow for much “wait and see.” I have avoided reading these books much longer than the show has been on or its fans knew of their existence. The Song of Ice and Fire series was my ex-husband’s absolute favorite. Back in our happy days together (when they actually existed) and thanks to my love for Lord of the Rings, I read a lot of fantasy myself. I know what a ginormous project it is. I can pretty much kiss my reading challenge goodbye if I officially decide to do this.

In the meantime, I’ve read many other fabulous, non nerd alert (for the most part) books since I posted about Wild in February. If you recall, my primary literary mission was to read a lot of the books upon which many of this year’s movies are based. This already included Fault in Our Stars, Labor Day and Wild. There are several others listed here. I want to point out, due to the context of my full-time job, this post and anything else I write about related to movies is completely independent of my profession. I ain’t making money off of this, folks. At least not yet and never in relation to that aspect of my career.

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