Just Say Thank You: The Art of Accepting A Compliment



Sunday March 1 is World Compliment Day and I feel a bit unprepared.

I have never dealt well with compliments. As an extremely introverted child, I was very happy to just go unnoticed in the world. I would hide behind anything or anyone to avoid comments about my cuteness. (When you’re a little girl it’s always about how you look, by the way. Never about how skilled, smart or inquisitive you are). Hiding in the clothing racks or under the grocery cart while my mother shopped wasn’t just a game, it was about self-preservation.

In my teens, compliments were an opportunity to put myself down. If a friend told me a pair of jeans looked good on me I would always come back with critical retort. Are you kidding? Don’t you see the fat hanging over the sides? If someone said something nice about my nail polish I always suspected it to be secret criticism. Why did they notice my nails? Is it because the color is really hideous? Did I mess them up that badly? The idea that someone would go out of their way to say something nice to ME just didn’t compute in my insecure teenage brain.

In college if a professor, made a comment about my writing or a presentation in class, I could never bring myself to say just thank you. There was always a qualifier:

Thank you but it’s not my best work.

Thank you but it really isn’t anything special.

Thank youbut I feel like I could have done better.

I would like to think as an adult I have gotten better at taking a compliment. When it comes to my appearance I do a much better job of saying Thank You. I can’t remember where I heard it but once someone said:

When you put yourself down after a compliment you are really insulting the person that gave it to you.

It’s like saying they don’t know what they are talking about when they say they love your outfit. It says you think they are either a liar or incompetent. I like to think of myself as having decent manners, so I take a moment, smile and say thanks.

When it come to my accomplishments it’s been much harder. When people tell me they enjoy hearing me on the radio or seeing me on KY3, I say thanks. I also give credit to Kevin & Liz for leading the way. I always say Paul is so great to work with. I just follow his lead. While they do deserve credit for their work and professionalism (and I have learned A LOT from them) I just started realizing how I am shortchanging myself when I do that. While reading Lean In I had lightening bolt moment. I should be PROUD for all the work I put into getting those Fit Friday segments. I prep each two minute segment meticulously. I practice it and time it so Paul and I just have to do a few minutes of set up and then GO when the camera comes on. While I don’t have to give someone that explanation every time, there is nothing wrong with just saying a heart felt thank you for the time they took to recognize MY hard work. It’s not conceited. It’s not bragging. It’s acknowledging my effort. There is nothing wrong with that. I think all women need to do more of it.

On World Compliment Day I want you to not only give some compliments but also receive them with grace. Receive them because YOU deserve them. Smile and just say Thank You.


How To Find the Right Sports Bra

How To Find the Right Sports Bra

When you have three women (plus their personal trainer) in the gym there is bound to be good conversation. Most of the time we are talking about food and how to fit it all in, but there is a another hot topic that comes up quite often. It is the topic of how to find the right sports bra.

It’s a question I always feel that I don’t have a good answer for.

At least not based on my personal experience. I am not as “blessed” as most women. At 5’3 and about 116 pounds (give or take half a pound) I usually wear an A cup or a small in a sports bra. I can get away with less support for most of my gym activities, choosing only to strap the girls down tight when running. I do use a little padding, not for aesthetics but for modesty. I keep the gym about 65 degrees. It’s a great temperature for a workout but chilly the rest of the time. To prevent anything from “popping out”, I always buy sports bras with padding.

Other than that I am pretty free to choose from any sports bra that I feel looks good (no side boob, please). Many of my clients, however, need more when it comes to a sports bra. While fat loss does tend to bring about the untended side effect of going down a cup size or two, sometimes it doesn’t. High impact movements like burpees, jumping jacks or running can make someone blessed with even a B cup can feel uncomfortable. Imagine a client who wants to start running who is a DDD or a G? They ask me if I can suggest a bra but, without more personal experience, I feel lacking.

My job is to solve my client’s problems. I am not afraid to admit it when I need help to do so. I know when it’s time to consult the experts. That starts for me with the Internet.

Bra Search Online

I know not everything on the Internet is true but you can learn a lot of things from the World Wide Web. I recently read about a web site that sounded like a reliable resource. It’s called Brayola. The concept seemed like the perfect fit (pardon the pun). You tell them a bra you have worn before and fit really well. They make recommendations based on what you already know works for you. I have a Moving Comfort bra that I really love but it is past its prime. (Sports bras should be replaced every 6-12 months). I added that to my profile and I got several reasonably priced recommendations. The problem was when I went to select one of the more supportive options they didn’t come in my size. While my bounce may not be as big I do still need to keep it under control. A dead end for me , but maybe it will help someone else. If you have an every day bra you like you can add it to your profile and search for a sports bra recommendation. They have a huge selection and offer free shipping anywhere in the US.

Bra Search iPhone App

The Internet let me down but I wasn’t giving up on technology just yet. After all, there is an app for that. The app ThirdLove is supposed to guess my perfect bra size (via pictures) and help my find the right bra. Genius! Except for two problems. You must take your phone case off to take photos that the app uses to measure you. I am somewhat clumsy and ineffective when it comes to such things, so I could not figure out how to take my hard case off my iPhone. Brian was away so I couldn’t test out the photo feature. I decided to try to search the site anyway and ran into the second snag. No sports bras. The app is a great idea but it wasn’t going to help me on my quest for the perfect sports bra

Consulting a Bra Expert

I know when it’s time to call in the big guns (sorry!). I found a bra expert. Emily Crites is the owner and specialist at Amelia Madden, a local specialty bra and intimates shop. After following them for several months on Instagram, I knew they carried sports bras. I felt certain that I could get the answers to my (and your) sports bra questions there.

I asked Emily if shopping for a sports bra differed in shopping for a regular bra. She said:

The sports bra needs to be the correct band and cup size just like an everyday bra.   Many women will purchase a sports bra that is sized Small, Medium, or Large or just buying a bra off the rack.  That is the same as sliding on a pair of flip-flops to go for a run.   Even if you don’t immediately feel pain from your ill-fitting bra, the motion of your breasts could be causing irreversible stretching of your Cooper’s ligaments and premature sagging.  Women need to understand a good sports bra is just as important as a good pair of athletic shoes.  

I always say you need the right tools for the job. Perhaps I have been short changing myself with my aloof attitude towards my own sports bras. Sagging is a problem no woman likes to deal with. I do always say you need the right equipment for the job. Maybe I needed to consider more support for ALL my workouts and not just running?

Emily raves about the Panache Sports Bra. As an active CrossFit devotee it’s the bra she wears herself. The Panache Sports Bra is an encapsulating bra, which prevents the dreaded “uniboob”. Emily explained:

There are two types of sports bras, compression and encapsulating.  Compression bras have one area in the front and compress your breast against your body to reduce movement.  These bras give the “uniboob” effect and are outdated technology.   Encapsulating bras separate your breasts into two compartments and support them correctly.  

The smallest size they had was a B but, since I have never truly been fitted, I decided to give it a go. At first I was worried about a little extra space in the cup but once I was shown the J hook in back everything felt like it was just where it should be. Never fear, the Panache also goes all the way up to an H cup. I went home with one in basic black (paid for with my own funds). I’ve worn it in the gym every day since, for my own workouts and training my clients, and it fits like a dream. No chaffing, no unsightly bunching and the J hook converts it from regular to racer back in one quick snap. With the snow on the ground I have not tried it for running but I give it a thumbs up for jumping jacks and the elliptical.

The best answer to the big questions – how to find the right sports bra – is to consult an expert. I’ve also found a brand that I can solidly recommend. It was also a bonus to find out a might be a little more “blessed” than I thought I was. Maybe I need to upgrade the rest of my bra collection!

Farmers Market Finds for Winter

Farmers Market Finds for Winter

Spring is almost here!

Despite the snow this week, I have spring fever!  It’s hard not too after the had 60 degree weekends in SGF a couple of weeks ago. It’s easy to image spring flowers or when the early spring vegetables like asparagus starting to appear in the grocery store.

Farmers Market Finds for Winter

It is however still winter. The Farmers Market of the Ozarks is still open but I’ll be the first to admit the produce selection is still limited. There are still winter squash and beets for sale. On a recent trip I was also able to pick up sweet potatoes to make sweet potato fries and leeks for Crustless Leek, Greens and Herb Quiche. While I left with a light basket I didn’t leave disappointed. I left hopeful at the signs of things to come! I saw signs welcoming the sign up for CSAs. A CSA (community supported agriculture) is a great way to support a local farm even if you don’t have the time to make it to the farmers market on Saturday morning. For a set price you receive a share of a farmer’s weekly harvest. Some will deliver and some have set pick up times. Either way the process is easy. Your share includes a little bit of everything the farmer grows so you get vegetables that may be new to you which can spark come creativity in the kitchen and expand your food horizons. Some farmers also include things like eggs or meat. To find a CSA in your local area check out LocalHarveest.org.

Farmers Market Finds for Winter

I am also hopeful when I see the wide variety of locally produced products, not just produce, at the farmers market. I love online shopping for saving time but I also love supporting local small businesses like myself. You can find many unique quality products at your farmers market (although the selection may vary based on market rules). I was paying special attention to the selection of bath and body products at Farmers Market of the Ozarks on my recent visits. Winter is harsh on my hands. Not only is it dry in my house, I am constantly washing and hand sanitizing in the gym. My hands are red and cracked with the occasional bleeding knuckle. I sampled a variety of hand salves at the market to see if one can help nurse my hands back to health. I’ve also set a reminder for my next market Saturday to take my Wustoff chef’s knife to the market to get it sharpened. It’s only $1!

Don’t write off the farmers market in winter! If you’re market is like mine you can also pick up bread, eggs, leather goods, wine and spices. Take some time to see how you can support local business and see if you can plan ahead for when your farmer does have a bountiful harvest to share!

Do you use a CSA? Is there a local product that brings you to your market besides the produce?

Where To Find More Time In The Day

Not sure where your day goes? Not sure what to wear to your next BIG EVENT? I’ve got you covered with my favorite things this month.

When I start working on my monthly favorite things list, I don’t start with a theme in mind. Yet when I put them down on paper and narrow it down to the top three or four there always seems to be a common thread. This month it is time. Not having enough time. Figuring out the best use of my time. How to make the most out of the time I do have. Do you feel like your constantly battling time? Maybe these things will help.

  • I’ve decided to take my love of data and the Quantified Self to the next level.

    TogglIn my quest to create harmony in my life, I’ve decided to keep a time log for a few weeks. Like everyone else I have the constant complaint of not having enough time. Logically I know we all have the same hours in the day. Logically I know  how it’s really about priorities. But why does everyone else have time for naps and to read a book a week and not me? Being a soloprenuer, I do mostly create my own schedule (client needs dictate it some). Why don’t I feel like I have time to do what I want to do? I picked up a book, 168 Hours by Laura Vanderkam, based on a recommendation from a friend. It has inspired me to dig in and understand where my time goes. How I do REALLY spend my day and can I change that to better meet my life goals. To do that I’ve been using Toggl. It’s a web site, a desktop app and a phone app all in one that helps me track my day. I’m only a few days in but I find it very easy to use and quite enlightening. More to come on that after I’ve done my study. Stay tuned……

  • I live in gym clothes.

    Rent The Runway
    While this is mostly a benefit it comes to time (no dry cleaning!) it can be a big problem when I have an event to attend. I don’t have a lot of time to shop either. Also my local shopping options for stylish and age appropriate cocktail wear is also somewhat limited. I was starting to panic, earlier this month because I was unable to find that ONE specific item – the elusive red dress – for the Heart Ball. One of my fellow Circle of Red members turned me on to Rent the Runway. Lifesaver and game changer! I perused styles online, read reviews by other women (who are gracious enough to post pictures with height, weight and size of the dress they wore) and scheduled my choice to arrive the day before the Heart Ball. They let you order a second size at no additional charge – which I am so grateful for! I ended up using my back up size instead of the size I hard originally requested. The dress looked just as great as the pictures online and I got a THUMBS UP from Brian. The next day I put it into the return enveloped provided and dropped it off at my nearest UPS Store on the way to the grocery store. I know exactly where I will start my search for outfit for the GoRed for Women Luncheon in September.

  • I know it’s not just about how many hours you have; it’s about how you spend those hours.

    HappifyHappiness is the current buzzword and I am not immune. I spend a lot of time encouraging others and helping to build up their self confidence. I have few opportunities to receive the same kind of feedback in my own life. I also get so caught up in chasing a never ending to do list that I get a little anxious, almost afraid to stop and just be present. I have been using an app called Happify to help replenish myself so I can keep up that positive attitude both in and out of the gym. Happify lets you choose a track to follow based on your goals (mine is Decrease Anxiety) and then provides a list of activities to help you achieve them. My favorite so far has been the Angry Birds style game where I “destroy” my stress words. I’ve started with the free level but you can upgrade to more activities with a premium membership. This practice along with my use of Buddhify has started to make a difference. I don’t feel so tightly wound and my focus in the gym has greatly improved.

Do you feel like you don’t have enough time in your day? Here’s another time saving tip:

I’ve been doing A LOT of online shopping. I’ve discovered I can order pantyhose and my shampoo from Amazon. Big time saver! Are you an online shopper? What do you buy and where do you get the best deals?

How To Spend Valentine’s Day Alone – And Enjoy It

How To Spend Valentine's Day Alone - And Enjoy It

I will spend Valentine’s Day this year alone.

Brian is taking an adventure to Bali, leaving very early in the morning on February 14. Before you BOO him or send him hate mail, I am completely okay with this decision. Our anniversary, February 13, has always held more meaning to us than Valentine’s Day. We’ll have a great time celebrating US, although it will be an early night since his plane leaves at 5:25 a.m the next day.

I am getting quite used to Brian being be gone. I miss him but I have also come to appreciate the value of the time by myself. Instead of trying to work myself to exhaustion to fill the time while he is gone I am learning to use these solitary weekends as a way to restore and recharge myself.

Valentine’s Day this year will be a date with myself. There won’t be any flowers, unless you count the roses in my tea. There may or may not be chocolate, perhaps in the form of a protein shake. To be honest I am not sure what form the day might take… which is half the fun. All I know is it will be a chance to celebrate the things I enjoy and spend some quality time with ME. Compromise is important for a happy marriage but so is taking time to honor yourself.

Most of my days are highly scheduled. Time to do NOTHING is truly a luxury. Honestly, doing absolutely nothing for a whole day wouldn’t be much fun anyway. I am not the kind of girl who enjoys staying in bed all day. My idea of a perfect Valentine’s Day for one includes the following:

  • Meditation

    I would love to mediate before I get out of bed but I’ll be rolling out of bed at a very early hour to take Brian to the airport. Meditation will just have to wait till after I get back. The Buddhify app has a wonderful selection of waking up meditations. Maybe I’ll try to go back to sleep and maybe I won’t. Either way, starting with a positive message in your brain can make a big difference in how you approach the rest of the day.

  • A Trip to the Farmer’s Market

    I love the hum of the market. I get great pleasure out of shopping for food. The early spring vegetables just starting to appear. I’ll find something fresh to make myself for dinner.

  • Afternoon Tea and a Good Book

    Depending on my mood and the weather, I’ll either buy something special to brew at home or take my book to Tea Bar and Bites or the Mudhouse for a special cup. Reading is something I love so very much but I don’t do nearly as much should. These days the only time I have to read is at the end of the day. Unfortunately that is also usually the only time I have to talk to Brian. Opening a book without feeling as though I am ignoring him is a nice. It’s a toss up as to what I’ll read. I have two options. I could nourish my professional self with Conscious Business by Fred Kofman or I can read for pure joy with The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty.

  • Dinner for One at Home

    It will be simple but delicious. It will be fresh. It will be nourishing. I’ll surprise myself with whatever I find at the market that morning. I plan meals religiously and advocate to my clients to do the same. I also believe that we should give ourselves a break every so often. A “spontaneous” meal can be a true treat. Especially when the only taste I have to satisfy is my own. Dessert is completely optional. Perhaps I’ll bring home an anpan from the market. But I won’t eat in front of the television or a screen. Just like a date out with Brian, I will give myself my full attention. I will savor the meal and the company without distraction. When was the last time you had a chance to do that?

  • Basketball

    It’s All Star Weekend!! Ok, maybe basketball isn’t your thing. But the idea of choosing exactly what YOU want to watch and not having to bargain with anyone else can be a rarity. At least it is for me. Especially when it comes to basketball. Brian doesn’t like basketball.  If he were home I know I would miss the skills challenge, slam dunk contest and 3-point shoot out. We would probably watch something together on NetFlix (currently he has me hooked on the original Star Trek series) while I occassionally peaked at the NBA festivities on my GameTime app. I may be the only person watching All Star Saturday night while giving myself a facial and drinking a cup or two of Yogi Bedtime tea.

And then I will try to sleep. More meditation, my diffuser and hopefully sweet dreams.

In working with women these last five and a half years I have learned that we are not very good at making time for ourselves.  I struggle with this myself.  We want to take care of others. We want a compromise that makes us happy. Compromise is an important thing in a relationship but it also means we are often sacrificing something we want. I’m going to take advantage of this compromise, of being okay with Brian being gone on Valentine’s Day to show some love to myself.  Take time to get reacquainted with yourself this Valentine’s Day. It’s okay to be alone. It’s okay to take time for YOU.