Post Vacation Blues

I’ve got the blues.  And not the musical kind.  I’ve got the post vacation blues.  They started last Wednesday.  They started before I even left.  They started as my vacation was winding down.  The thought of leaving magical worry free vacation land was too much for me to handle.  The grief swept in early.

Those travel commercials are all too convincing.  You spend a year dreaming about your escape from the mundane repetitiveness of every day life.

“Come away to the peaceful tranquility”
“Relax in the soothing hot springs of Jamaica while jet skiing around the islands or explore the enchanting streets of Europe and all that history has to offer.”
“Enjoy culinary experiences beyond your wildest dreams.”


They sure do sell you don’t they.  Why wouldn’t you want to go.  Get away!  Enjoy!  There are no diets on vacations.  Cellulite and flabby bits are non existant.  No one cares because you’re in paradise!  Vacation is amazing!!

Here’s what no one warns you about, you’ve waited all year for this trip and then on day 4 you realize, “ahhh my vacation is halfway over.”  This is not a pleasant experience but you pull yourself out of this funk and attempt to enjoy your last blissful moments of vacation however inevitably vacation ends and you’re back to reality.  Reality bites.

What’s that over there?  Oh it’s just post vacation blues and they’re headed your way.  This time they hit me like a hurricane.  Maybe it’s because this was my last vacation of the year.  Nothing else is on the books and nothing will be because once again I overspent.  Always happens, never regret.

Yesterday, in the middle of my funk, I turned to a most trusted source to find a solution to my problem: Google.  What I found was that alas, post vacation blues are a real thing!  At least according to Google.

Web MD describes Post Vacation Blues as follows:


Yes! Web MD you understand and you even provide a solution:


Basically make sure you have some time off to recuperate when you get back.  Got it.


People on vacation tend to drink more alcohol and stay up late.  Also if you have children confined to a hotel room, this might cause you to drink.  Watch your alcohol and sleep.  This is easier said than done.  You’re on vacation.


Tip 3 was not applicable.  The larger explaination says try not to annoy your significant other or family…ummm that’s vacation.


On vacation you eat food like your life depends in it.  This way when you go home you feel like an inflated platypus you then look forward to drinking water and eating green things.  Continue the trend!

Good advice?  Decent and logical but still not helping my funk.  Let’s look at  another trusted source:  Wikipedia.


Tiredness, yes.  Loss of appetite, never.  Strong feelings of nostalgia, absolutely.  Let’s look at the treatment:


Wikipedia, I can’t plan a new vacation already! I spent all my money on this one, weren’t you listening!!

I wonder what Similar Moods are:


Hahahahahaha.  These are clearly all serious medical conditions.

What I’ve gathered from my Internet search is that post vacation blues are serious and real.  The internet doesn’t lie.

All my research provided me with this: a much needed laugh.  I’m sure in a few days I will come back around to ordinary life.  It just takes some time and a few giggles.


All in the Framily

When you tell people that you’re headed to England to watch the Rugby World Cup and visit some friends they typically respond by saying, “you must really like rugby” or “those must be really good friends.”  Well the simple answer is yes and yes.  Why WOULDN’T I want go to England anyway?…look at it!


My love of rugby and of England just so happen to be forever intertwined.  The story is a long one so lets start at the very beginning…

Once upon a time a 17 year old mustache-free college freshman decided to join a rugby team.  Quickly the man learned to love the game and got to travel the world.


After years of playing rugby, and then playing more rugby, the man got married to a beautiful wife.  A few years later the man befriended a British import who showed up to play for the team.  After practice, at the local watering hole, the men and their wives became friends. The rest as they say is history.

As these tales usually go, the following spring both couples had their first baby girls, only a few months apart.  Three years later two more baby girls arrived.  This, my friends, began the Callen/Bailey Framily.


The term ‘Framily’ (a combination of the words friend and family; or referring to friends who are like family) was created by my college roommate circa 2004. More recently the term has become popular but I’m fairly certain she deserves the credit.

Framilies are an important part of life.  Although you are not related by blood, they become a part of your history and bring undoubted value to your life.  When I moved across the country and away from my family, the adjustment period was difficult.  Holidays became lonely and the little things like movies or Sunday dinner become something that you long for.  It’s not easy to be without a support system.  Its times like these that you come to truly appreciate what you have and the people around you.  Luckily over the past several years I have adopted numerous Framilies  who have been there and supported me through the ups and downs of life.  For that I am eternally grateful.

Often people diminish the roll of Framilies and give families all the credit when in fact framilies are incredibly important and life wouldn’t be half of what it is without them.  We all need somebody to lean on. We should all be thankful for family as well as our Framily each and every day.

Now back to the story…

Through our friendship Framily, the English Bailey’s were intermixed.


They’re just as crazy and loud as the Americans, don’t let them fool you.




Eventually the Callen/Bailey Framily went from playing on rugby sidelines, drinking juice boxes and trying to avoid getting hit, to growing up.  We moved apart, some of us farther than others, but with this kind of history we are stuck with each other.  We’ve celebrated births and deaths.  Weddings and birthdays.  We drink, we laugh.  We hug, we cry.  We are there through the good times and the bad because that’s just what Framilies do.







Your Mission

Loyal Followers,

Today I will be leaving you for a short time to visit jolly ole England. 

As you know before I launch some exciting new updates to I have a goal of 100 email followers.


When I get back next Friday I expect we get there! SHARE, TWEET or ENTER your friends or husbands email!


Simply scroll to the bottom and enter an email address.

All of my fun English stories will be delivered directly to your inbox when I get back!

See you in a week!!


Pseudo Ballet for the Clutzy People

A few months ago I decided to break out of my exercise comfort zone and try something new: Barre Pilates.  Not to be confused with a regular bar, that would be an awkward place to do pilates.  Someone should really come up with a workout/bar though.  Drinking in yoga pants, I like it and I’ve been practicing!


From what I knew going into a Barre class was that it is a style of Pilates with elements of ballet.  This peaked my interest.  Prior to attending the class I thought it would be a good idea to warm up with some old pilates DVDs from years gone by.  Not Jane Fonda era but definitely old school.  For those of you who have never done pilates, or still have no idea what pilates is, it is essentially a pattern of movements based on stretching and breathing.  It works on your muffin top and overall strengthens and stretches all of your muscles. 

Don’t be fooled, this isn’t your mama’s stretching.  Some people still look at yoga and pilates as wimpy or easy.  These people have clearly never done it or been to a class.  They are solid workouts and as with anything workout related you should start at the beginner level and learn the proper technique to prevent injury or looking like a fool.

I recommend Pilates for AnyBody if you want to learn the basics and still like workout DVDs.  Click the link to order.


When I stepped into my Pilates Barre class on that fateful Saturday morning I have to admit I was a little intimidated.  The last time I had done a dance class I was 6 and I’m fairly certain my mother just decided to save her money and end it right there.  When your family nickname is ‘grace’ and you have the unique ability to fall both up the stairs and back down the stairs at the same time, the graceful elegance of ballet becomes a wasted dream.

I walked into the pilates room, grabbed a mat, 2lb weights and what looked like a bouncy ball.  So far so good.  As I draped my mat strategically in the back of the room, I started stretching with confidence.  Make it look like you’re supposed to be there and it gets easier.  The warm up was challenging and used basic pilates moves to get your core engaged and your body warmed up to be flexible, or so we hope.


Next the instructor went to the barre (aka bar). Thank goodness for that!  They let you hold on to a ballet barre and I certainly needed it.  Looking around at my competition (I mean classmates) you could tell who had a dancing background.  Their toes were perfectly pointed at all times while all my little piggies went in multiple directions.  Cramp, Cramp!

If my hands and feet were in a ballet movie, I would be thrown out of Center Stage by the mean ballet teacher in record time. Thankfully this class is not about your ballet technique, it’s about having fun with fitness and working out.

A lot of the leg work was based around different types of a plie (I couldn’t figure out how to add the French accent mark to the E but you get the idea), which was very much like a squat.  I rocked that part.  After legs we did arms, abs, balance and more legs.  I wobbled through an hour and SUCCESS!  I finished my first Barre Pilates class.  Woo hoo.  I was so excited I called my mom to tell her about my first class and lack of poise.  She hung up the phone because she was laughing so hard she couldn’t speak.  Apparently my lack of ballet skills are still amusing to her after 23 years.


So of you’re looking for something new check out a Barre Pilates class.  You’ll leave a little sore but don’t worry it’s a good sore.  Don’t hate me for saying that.

Let me know how it goes,


Trash Talkin: Not just football, it’s personal

Football season has officially begun.  Let the smack talk begin.  What better way to start trash talking than with a Packers/Bears game.  Especially a game in which the Packers won.  Jay Cutler is the best thing to happen to the Packers since Aaron Rodgers.  Throws it to us every time.


Sure everyone knows about the Packers/Bears rivalry, and the Packers/Vikings, but unless you’re from Wisconsin, Minnesota or Illinois you don’t fully understand how deep these rivalries run. 

Every time the Packers play the Bears I keep some xantac next to my beer because I know it’s going to be a rough game and I might need some extra help.  Emotions on both sides are high.  No one wants to lose. It’s gonna be a knock down, drag out fight to the finish.  Losing is not an option on this one…

His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti
He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs…

In the NFC North we take our trash talking to another level because it’s not just football, it’s personal.  If you walk into a bar in Wisconsin with a Bears hat on, you came ready to battle.  You KNOW it’s gonna be a smack talking showdown and the only way you can walk out with your head held high is if you earn respect.  Give that smack talk back as good you get it and someone might just pat you on the back and buy you a beer. 

Now if you whine and get offended it’ll be a dark day for you my friend and I suggest you change your hat before you get run out of town.  Last month I was out with some friends and a guy with a Vikings hat stood next to me.  What is the natural course of action?…trash talk.  He didn’t take it well.  If you werent born a Vikings fan then learn the rules before you buy a purple hat, that’s all I’m sayin.


These rivalries go beyond the field.  If you want to see state pride then head to the Midwest.  We’ve taken pride to another level.  Any respectable Wisconsinite will tell you 50 reasons why Wisconsin is the best and any Minnesotan will beg to differ.

Not only is our pride on the state level, it’s on the city level as well.  Milwaukeans and Chicagoans notoriously dislike eachother.  Maybe because they’re so close together, you just get annoyed after awhile.  I like to say we show mutual respect in our dislike for each other.  The important thing is that at the end of the day, after the trash talking is done, we can sit down and have a beer together.  That’s how we roll.

So happy football season NFC north.  PACKERS PACKERS PACKERS.  Let the trash talking begin.


Dedication Matters

My job requires me to be in the car for 90% of the day.  In the morning I depend on various radio personalities like Bobby Bones to get me through.


Last week he said that quote (or something very similar) during a segment.  It’s been keeping me going all week.  Motivation is great but it usually only lasts a few hours or days.  In order to be successful and accomplish what you want you have to have dedication.

Congratulations to my friends Summer and Jeslyn for following their dreams and accomplishing their Kickstarter $10,000 goal.  It took time, dedication, planning and persistance.  Can’t wait to see Scandalous in stores soon!


Scandalous: The Naughty Drawing Game click picture for link!

Surround yourself with people who inspire you every day to reach for your dreams.


Muscle Up with Marcus

Who remembers the high school weight room? Mine still had sweat stains from a 1985 Jheri Curl and smelled like someone stuffed 40 old socks in every air duct.  I can count the number of times I went in there on 3 fingers.  Generally I thought of the weight room as a place the boys had yet another pissing contest over who could bench the most.

A few years ago I came to the end of a long weight loss journey and wanted to tone up but the weight room was a foreign entity. I had a little extra money so I decided to reward myself with personal training sessions to teach me more than I learned doing workout tapes.  Enter Marcus.  Marcus was very knowledgeable and after months of torture on the weight machines, lifting became my preferred form of exercise.  I was more toned and fit than every before.

So to help us all be a little more comfortable with the weight room I asked Marcus to weigh in.


Marcus Lawrence Personal Trainer

Ask a Trainer-Marcus Lawrence

How long have you been a trainer?

6 years in December.

What made you decide to become a trainer?

Well, I had Stills’ Disease, an autoimmune dysfunction, it would give me arthritic joints. It sucked.  I had been working out and my rheumatologist said to just keep working at making my muscles strong to support my joints, so I did. Having to be up on that, having to research things for management of pain, etc, made me want to help others who may have to be pushing through something in life.

As an advocate of weight lifting, why is weight lifting so important?

Put aside the aesthetic reasons (you will get in shape a lot faster and look better a lot quicker), and look at the health reasons. It decreases Diastolic blood pressure, which reduces your chances of a stroke. increases your metabolic rate at rest, which means you will burn fat while you’re not even moving. Building muscle will burn calories a lot faster, just cardio isn’t going to get you there. I am not saying you shouldn’t do cardio but I am saying don’t just put on your headphones and head to the elliptical. Check out the weight room! Oh, and it also increases bone density, as women are at a higher risk for a loss of it throughout their lives! I could go on…

Many women are scared they’ll get bulky if they lift weights, does that happen?

Are people still saying that? Really, it’s 2015. Ok seriously, it’s not true. What causes “bulkiness”, is testosterone. When you see female bodybuilders , many of them aren’t as big in person as you would think.  Nobody said you have to bodybuild, either. Or powerlift, where weight totals are lifted competitively.  If you want to reap the results of a well – rounded workout routine (and diet), strength training is where it’s at.

What are 5 things to remember when starting a weight regimen?

1) If you don’t know what you are doing, talk to a trainer.  ​I see people just diving into a routine and attempting things they have had no instruction on and are doing more potential harm than good.

2) Do some research.  ​There is a LOT of misinformation out there.  Do some cross – referencing, check credentials if you have to.  Some cool stuff is out there from Mark Rippetoe, Bret Contreras, etc, they all have CSCS next to their name. This stands for Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.  These are good qualifications. They train performance athletes.  Also look for CPT, Certified Personal Trainer.

3) Youtube, blogsites, or Bodybulding sites are not research. F​irst off, don’t try to pull off what you saw in a video. It may look cool, but if you don’t know how or why they are doing it, why do you think you should? There is a lot of misinformation out there, and the marketing of supplements that have no regulation or proof of controlled test results and tends to muddy the waters.  I am not saying that all supplements are bad, but I am not paid to test them, either. Neither are many of the endorsers.

4) Be you.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Don’t make someone you see in the magazine be what you aspire to. You don’t know their situation, their backgrounds, their genetics, whatever. I have seen many of the magazines with a star on the cover, promoting their latest blockbuster, and inside promising to let you in on the supposed secrets of how they got that way. It’s usually a series of exercises that they may have done once, easy ones to diagram. However, it takes more than pushups or goblet squats to look like a superhero. It takes a program written out just for them, and it’s what it will take for you. A martial artist once told me, “There are many ways to the top of the mountain, you must find the one that works for you.”

5) See #1.

What’s the biggest mistake women make when choosing a diet plan?

Not eating enough. The idea that an active woman can operate on 12 – 1500 calories is preposterous. You have to eat to perform, and perform for results.

What’s the biggest mistake men make when choosing a diet plan?

Protein, brah. Brotein.  You kidneys can only take so much protein. Your body will only metabolize so much protein anyway. It’s not a guarantee that a shake with every meal will turn you into Ahnold at 28, man.  Dudes are also the WORST about asking advice. I have heard some pretty outrageous crap from young guys getting into bodybuilding with a gym bag full of magazines and articles from a website.

Favorite exercise: Push presses. Love them. A great compound movement.

Least favorite exercise: Elevated side lunges. Flexibility and range of motion are super important, and they remind me of where I am the least flexible.

Outdoor or Indoor workout? Both. I like both. Variety will keep you interested, and there’s nothing like a caveman workout in the alleyway.  Batman loves tire flips.

Say the first thing that comes to mind:

Sit and Be Fit: Cognitive Dissonance.

Jillian Michaels: Please stop yelling. When the cameras are off, of course.

Hip Hop Abs: My living room isn’t big enough!


P90x: That’s not funny, Tony.


Marcus with a client who looks like me but is not me

Special thanks to Marcus for answering all my questions.  If you’d like to learn more about lifting and weights contact Marcus via facebook:

Marcus Lawrence Facebook Page

and check out his Brutal Bootcamp if you’re up for a scary challenge!  I am…sometimes..if I’m not sleeping.

Happy Lifting


Olde Milwaukee Home

For better or worse your hometown is woven into the fibers of who you are.  Whether you live there or not, it will always be your home.  Milwaukee is my home.

10505580_10101237759417596_7966205615181232231_nThe name Milwaukee comes from the Ojibwe language meaning “Gathering place by the water” and it more than lives up to its name.  Milwaukee was once a booming industrial town, thriving off of manufacturing, grain exportation, motorcycles and beer.  Beer came from the Germans who made their way to Milwaukee beginning in the early 1800’s. Milwaukee was an attractive homestead due to its potential for trade and agriculture distribution throughout the Midwest.

Soon after the first wave of German immigrants arrived in Milwaukee with beer, Polish immigrants began flooding to settlements on the south side while Italians immigrants took up residence in the Third Ward. Third Ward Sign

For hundreds of years the Third Ward housed an Italian produce exchange that fed the city.  Ironically today that market is a parking lot used for the summer festivals that celebrate cultural heritage.  Milwaukee is known as the City of Festivals, the most popular being Summerfest, German Fest and Irish Fest.



We celebrate our heritage because less than 200 years ago Milwaukee was a growing city of immigrants all hoping to find the American dream. Throughout the 20th century Milwaukee became most famous for Harley Davidson Motorcycles and the Miller Brewing Company.  As my boyfriend found out, Milwaukeans are passionate about Miller beer.  Miller, along with Pabst, Blatz and Schlitz called Milwaukee home with pride.

As the twentieth century drew to a close, however, jobs and industry disappeared. Milwaukee was becoming a shell of its former greatness.  One by one the breweries left. The tanneries closed.  Textile manufacturing moved overseas and the warehouses sat bare.  Vacant buildings began to line the streets and rivers, a constant reminder of what used to be in Olde Milwaukee.

To me this was normal.  Growing up in the late 90s, this was the Milwaukee I loved.  Nothing ever changed and I liked it that way!   The rundown Irish pub where my parents met was filled with unchanged memories.  Even the abandoned lakefront Coast Guard station, decrepit from years of neglect, held a nostalgic place in my mind.

A running joke is that someone turned the lights off in 1987 and that’s where Milwaukee has remained.  Yes, some Milwaukeans needs to stop dressing like its 1987…but then again, aren’t hipsters making it cool again?  Other people joke that all we do is drink beer and eat bratwurst with a side of cheese curds.  To these people I say, your city clearly needs to have more fun!

A few days ago I returned home for Labor Day weekend and realized something pretty spectacular: Milwaukee turned the lights on!


Slowly but surely industry is back and Milwaukee is revamping its style without losing the olde world history that makes it so special.11221899_10101235259592266_5317610789231580621_n

The Pabst breweries have been vacant for a few decades but thanks to Joseph J. Zilber Historical Restorations and the City of Milwaukee, the Pabst complex is now home to several new businesses, a new hotel and Jacksons PBR Bar with more to come.

All the warehouses down by the river have been turned into apartments for the under 30 professionals and that old coast guard station was torn down.  I have to admit the lake front looks a whole lot better without it.

Watching my city change was hard at first.  When you live far away sometimes you wish everyone would just turn the lights off until you get back.  Life doesn’t work that way and I can’t wait to see what else Milwaukee has to offer the next time I’m in town.





Ask A Trainer-Catesby


For those of you who know me, improving my fitness and overall health is something I deeply care about. There are a lot of us who struggle with eating right and being healthy so I came up with the idea for ‘Ask a Trainer” in the Wednesday Workout Series.  I’ve reached out to some of my friends in the Health and Wellness Industry and asked them to answer some questions in hopes that we learn a few things to help us on our journey!

First up is Catesby.  Catesby is not only a trainer/instructor, she is also the Owner of FlyFitnessInspiration in downtown Fredericksburg, VA. 

Catesby Payne

Catesby Payne

How long have you been a trainer? 

About 8 years. Fly will be open 2 years this month

Why did you go into this business?

I’ve always wanted a business of my own. I am a native of Fredericksburg and always wanted a business downtown. When I never really found a place that I enjoyed to work out and teach, I started looking for my own place

On a scale from 1 to 5 (1 being easy and 5 being extremely difficult) how hard is it for you to stick to a diet/eating plan?

3 right down the middle- if I take the time to prepare, then I am fine. Lately I have been travelling a lot and its made it a little more difficult. But I look at it as a learning curve and am starting to educate myself on how to handle diet and travel.

What is your healthy eating philosophy?

Just eat clean. Whole foods, the right portions. Lots of green veggies and drink water. Allow yourself a small treat every once in a while and jump right back in to your plan. You will never achieve the results you want unless you control your eating habits.

Worst diet you’ve ever tried?

Low Carb-I hate it

Favorite food:


Least favorite food:

Green Peppers

Favorite exercise:


Least favorite exercise:

Abs anything!

If you had a sedentary job and only had 30 minutes to work out each day, what would you do?

Alternate spin and lift

What would you suggest for someone who says “I hate exercise” or “I hate to sweat” (aka my mother)?

Then you haven’t found the right one. Its impossible to hate. Exercise releases “feel good” endorphins so its going to make you feel good regardless of the excuse you are making . Try something else. You don’t have to be completely out of breath all the time to exercise. Its totally possible to find something for everyone.

Being a mom, how did you juggle having a baby and maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

Its not a juggle at all. Its showing by example how to live and be healthy. It makes me a better (and nicer) partner, mother, friend and business woman to be and live healthy. I love to live in that balance and be that example to my daughter.

Best advice anyone has ever given you?

Go out and do what you love- everyone should have that chance in life and try.


Fly Fitness Inspiration

Fly Fitness Inspiration

Thanks to Catesby for her motivation and advice, for kicking my butt at TRX and Cycle and for inspiring so many!

If you’d like to check out classes and membership to Fly Fitness Inspirtation click the link below

Fly Fitness Inspirtation

Get out there and become a better, healthier you!


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