Archive for April, 2014

Apr
25

Hello friends! I’m thrilled to have Friday here! And I’m thrilled to be sharing another AMAZING woman with you for our 12 Fridays Feature…

THIS IS WEEK ELEVEN!

Time to meet Sheree…

Besides my passion for photography and fitness, I have a secret love for hip hop music + dancing. That’s actually how I met Sheree. Some of my friends had been attending her Hip-Hop Dance Fitness classes and couldn’t stop talking about how much fun they were having. Hip Hop + dance fitness? I had to try it for myself. I was instantly hooked! Sheree has energy like no other and is so upbeat and encouraging! She’s built her business from the ground up and has created quite a team of instructors. Not only does Sheree teach Hip-Hop classes, she’s also a Zumba, Red Hot Dance, Red Hot Barre, Zumbatomic and Urban Striptease Aerobics Instructor. The girl is busy and her passion shows with each class she teaches! If you’re looking for something to add to your fitness routine or just want to have fun with fitness, try one of Sheree’s classes at Shake It Off Dance Fitness! It won’t be long before you’re hooked!

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m 38 years old and am originally from Gladstone, Oregon. I moved to Washington to attend Pacific Lutheran University where I played softball 1994-1998. I double-majored in Secondary Education and Spanish. Out of college I taught Spanish for 4 years. I met my husband in 1996 and we now live in Woodinville with our two children, Malakai 10 and Maliyah 7.

Q: What does a day in your life look like?
VERY busy. I get up around 7:15am to wake the kids and get them off to school. I am typically at my computer for at least 2 hours each morning catching-up on business emails, facebook messages, and working on new marketing materials for classes, events, socials, etc….I finally make my way to the shower around 10:30 – 11am. By noon I’ve gotten dressed and usually work on a little choreography review or learn and/or create a new routine. I like to “get out” every day so I might head out to grab lunch and run errands along the way, nothing too exciting….sometimes to get groceries, stop at the bank, or grab my kids from school to get them to an audition (acting/modeling). I like to get home to get back to work before my kids get off the bus, so I am usually back by 2pm and I head back to my computer. When the kids get home I make them a good snack, help with homework and get them to their after school activities. I usually find a little time for me between 4-6pm, that might mean more choreography or sitting and watching a show on DVR. I figure-out dinner and my husband gets home around 7pm—-some days that is when I’m off to lead a class. I enjoy taking baths, that happens ALMOST nightly before bed!!!

Q: How has fitness impacted your life?
Good question. Fitness has been part of my life for as long as I remember. I have always had a very active personality. I’m always on the go and it seems that I prefer it that way. I don’t know how to “slow-down” or relax. I feel like I always have to be productive. Fitness, dance-fitness, to be specific has allowed me to release some of the energy I have and makes me feel like if I eat a donut everything will be okay. LOL. I love to dance, I love to motivate, I love to encourage and make people happy. If by leading people in this aerobic activity can positively affect their lives then it makes it all the better. I have met so many amazing people in the world of fitness. I have met people that inspire me and who make me better. Not only has dance-fitness affected me, but my kids see me as an active Mom and they understand the importance of exercise.

Q: Any advice for those wanting to start an exercise routine?
Try a lot of things. Don’t give-up until you find something that you want to go back to. Find something where you never feel like you’re dragging your feet to get there. If you love to dance and you try a Zumba class and don’t like it, don’t give-up on dancing, it may not have been the right instructor or gym/studio for you. Instructors can make or break a class- just because you don’t like something the first time doesn’t mean you won’t like it with someone else, somewhere else. Enter your exercise routine with realistic expectations. Starting new or over is a transition and it will take time. Find a workout buddy or friend to come to class with you- hold each other accountable for attending regularly. In time, you will likely meet more people and make more friends.

Q: How do you stay balanced between being a mom and wife, owning your own business, staying involved at school and finding time for you?
Any tips for those of us that struggle to do this? I am quite the multi-tasker but am not perfect by any means. I don’t know if anyone can do it all, many of us try but sometimes one or two of these areas have to fall short. My husband works long days but he helps me with the kids when I teach an evening class. I do my best to get my work done during the day so it doesn’t interfere with evening family time. My husband probably suffers the most, but we try and make-up for lost husband-wife time by having regular date-nights and planning family vacations where the kids get to spend time in kids-clubs for a few hours at a time.

Q: What do you want your daughter to remember most about her childhood?
I want for both my kids to remember a fun, adventure-filled childhood where Mom and Dad were completely present. Whether it’s our involvement in school activities, sports, or just sitting around the dinner table.

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, how far back would you go and what advice would it be?
5 years. I’d advise myself not to “sweat the small stuff.” There is way too much “gray area” here, but I think if I had known then what I know now about running a business and the various people that would be involved, I would have been a lot less stressed-out throughout the process if I wouldn’t have let the little things bother me so much.

Q: What motivates you?
Mostly myself. I’ve always been very motivated to do the best, to BE the best at everything I set forth to do in my life. I was a very competitive athlete growing-up. Motivation is just in me.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Holland. My Grandpa is from there and I remember practicing many Dutch traditions growing-up. It seems like a very cool place.

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner?
If we stay in its Salmon (from Costco) and potatoes with green beans. If we eat out and it needs to be quick, we all love Mongolian Grill.

Q: What tips do you have for a working mom wanting to start their own business?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. As long as you enjoy what you do, keep doing it. Do not let the business consume you or define you.

For more information about Shake It Off Dance Fitness or to check out their current class schedule, visit the website at www.ComeShakeItOff.com. You’ll also find Shake It Off Dance Fitness on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ShakeItOffDanceFitness.

Until next time.
xo,
Kristie

Apr
18

Hello friends! Happy Friday! We’re holding on to Spring Break over here. Enjoying being off-schedule and soaking up as much rays of sunshine we can. Wishing we could have just one extra week. Like Spring Break, it’s hard to believe our 12 Fridays feature is close to an end. This Friday it’s sweets treats by my sweet friend.

THIS IS WEEK TEN!

Time to meet Sarah…

Somehow we always manage to hit the awesome-neighbor-jackpot! Insert Sarah and her adorable family. She is one of the most caring, thoughtful people I have ever met. She has the nicest hubby and three of the most adorable kiddos on the planet! It only makes sense that someone so sweet and incredibly awesome could create equally awesome cake pops. I mean there’s cake pops… and then there’s Sarah’s cake pops. They are heavenly! They are adorable! They are delicious! They are artistic! And, they are 100% made with love! I’m thrilled for you to meet my dear friend and I’m hoping it won’t be long before you try her amazing cake pops because I know you’ll fall in love.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Eastern Washington and went to Central Washington University where I earned a teaching degree. After college I moved to Seattle and worked as an elementary school teacher. In 2005, my husband Josh and I moved to Los Angeles where he completed his law degree and we soaked up the sun for a few years. In 2009, we moved back to the Seattle area and currently live in Woodinville raising our family of three children – Sophie (7), Jake (6), and Max (4).

Q: What does a day in your life look like?
Hectic. I stay home with my kids so a typical day for me is very schedule driven. I spend most of the day dropping off and picking up kids at school, t-ball, softball, ballet and their other activities. The rest of a typical day is filled with helping in my kid’s classroom, homework, children activities and playtime. After the kids go to bed, I usually either work on a cake pop order or just relax with Josh.

Q: Tell us about Sar.n.dipity Sweets. What was your inspiration for starting your business?
I stumbled upon the idea of cake pops in 2011 when I was offered one for dessert. I was intrigued by these tasty, tiny treats. I have always loved baking and creating different desserts so I had to give it a try. My first pop was terrible. Unwilling to give up, I tried again. According to Josh, the next version was much better. My passion for making cake pops was born.

Amazingly, I learned days later that Washington had just passed the “Cottage Food” Law permitting the sale of home-baked goods. It was serendipity. I named my business Sar.n.dipity Sweets, obtained a Cottage Food license and began making cake pops from home.

Q: How do you stay balanced between being a mom and wife, running your business, staying involved at school and finding time for you? Any tips for those struggling with this balancing act?

Finding balance is hard. I have been very fortunate to have great support from my husband, my parents and friends. When I first began my business I tried to do it all. I was a mother by day and baker by night. I found both areas of my life suffered and made a conscious effort to take time for myself. While I have not found the perfect balance, I am learning when and how to say ‘no’. My number one priority is my family, and then my business. Maintaining balance is a constant challenge. I do my best to make sure I do not miss out on my kids while they are young – it goes by so fast.

Q: What do you want your kiddos to remember most about their childhood?
It was fun, they were loved and they had great experiences to bring to their adulthood!

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, how far back would you go and what advice would you give?
I would probably go back to high school and tell myself not to worry so much.

Q: What motivates you?
Doing things that make my family and friends smile.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Disneyland. I want to take my kids there before they outgrow Disneyland’s magic.

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner?
Taco night!

Q: What tips do you have for a mom wanting to start their own business?
Go for it! Life is short and you will always be glad you gave it a try!

Want to know where to find Sarah’s amazing cake pops? On the web, http://www.sarndipitysweets.com and on Facebook, Sarndipity Sweets.

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie

Apr
11

Happy Friday friends! With spring break upon us, there is a definite excitement in the air. I imagine from here on out, we’ll be going at warp speed to the end of the school year. Maybe I should wear a helmet or just put up post-it notes around the house reminding myself to slow down. Actually, that’s not a bad idea. Slow down. Breath. Hug more. Eat an apple (what I really want to say is eat a donut). Laugh. Signs will be made, but before I break out the markers, it’s time for you to meet another AMAZING woman for this week’s Friday Feature.

THIS IS WEEK NINE!

Time to meet Heather...

Before my photography+advertising+public relations+graphic design life, I was a PE major. True story. My heart belonged (and still does to some degree) to Physical Education. My first semester in the program, I met Heather. We had classes together and ended up going for the same gymnastics coaching job. Apparently we impressed them because they hired us both! Oh brother, what a job it was though. Heather and I still laugh about it. We also had the funniest dog combination you could imagine. Heather had “Barney” the Beagle and I had “Belle” the Great Dane. Our dogs were the best of friends too. Sometimes it feels like that was just yesterday and other times it feels lifetimes away. Our college days are far behind us, but Heather will forever be a dear friend. Not to mention, my fitness hero! She was born to motivate and encourage others! She’s competed in countless bodybuilding and fitness competitions. Her passion for exercise and health shows in everything she does and I love that her entire family is involved in her fitness movement! Her energy is contagious and her optimistic personality shines. Plus, she looks INCREDIBLE in a tutu! I know you’ll agree!

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

2 Boys (Brodie, 10 Bradley, 8)
4 dogs (Chichi, Haus, Valentine and Happy)
1 Husband (Clay)
Not quite an entrepreneur yet…more of a Family Business Woman…Full time with Parents (Ed and Connie) & brother (Ted) @ Davidson Insulation & Acoustics, Inc…Misc. odds and ends with Clay @ Henson Contractors, Inc.
CrossFit Level 1 Trainer
CrossFit Kids
AFAA Personal Training and Group Exercise

Q: What does a day in your life look like?

5:00-6:15am Gym/Run with the girls
6:30-7:45am Get everybody ready for the day
8:00-2:45pm Work @ Davidson
3:00-5:45pm Homework (kids and myself) prepare dinner, misc. Henson Contractors stuff
6:00-7:45pm Activities (Baseball, gymnastics, workouts)
8:00-9:15pm Eat, finish homework, BED!


Q: How has fitness impacted your life? 

Has always had a huge role since the time I started gymnastics @ age 6. Love it, can’t imagine not having it!

Q: Any advice for those wanting to start an exercise routine?

Find a person or group to help motivate you and hold you accountable. Get it done early in the day. Do activities that you enjoy. Set small goals, register for fitness related events (races, competitions, etc.) Have fun!

Q: How do you stay balanced between being a mom and wife, owning your own business, staying involved at school and finding time for you? Any tips for those of us that struggle to do this? 

Get-up early. Have a plan to accomplish for the day/week/month/year, but be flexible.

Q: What do you want your sons to remember most about her childhood?

Family time, Love, Respect for self and others, Fun and I hope I instill a love of fitness in them!



Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, how far back would you go and what advice would it be?

College; be true to yourself; don’t change to fit somebody else’s ideals or stereo-types

Q: What motivates you?

Everything…

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Back to California to visit more of the state. Only went to LA and didn’t even get to see half of that but I did get to see the CrossFit Games and Muscle Beach! And I made it before I was 40.

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner? 

Grass-fed hamburger

Q: What tips do you have for a working mom wanting to start their own business?  

Get back to me in a year….

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie

Apr
7

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I ADORE love stories. I can watch When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle or The Holiday over and over again. So, having the chance to photograph dear friends where they met almost 20 years ago, was a special experience.

It was their sophomore year, they were 19 and living in a co-ed dorm at the University of Washington. Mutual friends and a game of volleyball brought them together. It was love at first spike, um, I mean sight. This year they’re celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary and are blessed with three of the sweetest kiddos. I loved hearing their history and being able to capture it in this moment. I’m grateful to have these amazing friends in my life.

Harry: I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. -When Harry Met Sally

 

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie

Apr
4

Hello friends! And just like that, April is here and another Friday too! Which mean it’s time for another 12 Fridays Feature! Today’s feature is one that I’ve looked forward to all week.

THIS IS WEEK EIGHT!

Time to meet Heather…

Heather is the sister of one of my dear friends. Not only do we both have bloodhounds that we’re sure are distant cousins (based on their love for all things fluffy, rugs and food from the table), we’ve also both experienced the unthinkable, a high risk pregnancy that resulted in being hospitalized for several months on bed rest. Thankfully, both of our stories have happy endings. Heather’s experience, however, motivated her to establish High Risk Hope, a nonprofit organization that is near and dear to my heart. Heather and the team of High Risk Hope volunteers touch the lives of women and their families who are experiencing a high risk pregnancy resulting in hospitalized bed rest through support, encouragement, information and resources. Heather is an absolute inspiration to me and a blessing to so many in the Tampa Bay area. I’m grateful for the work she’s doing.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have been married to my husband Bennett for almost nine years and we have two children, Claire (7) and Hill (5). I graduated with highest honors from The University of Florida with a Master of Accounting and Bachelor of Science in Accounting and am also a Florida Certified Public Accountant. I am the founder and Executive Director of High Risk Hope (HRH), which is our family’s third baby. In my down time, I love to scrapbook, bike and practice yoga.

Q: What does a day in your life look like?
I wake up around 5 am and start my workday answering emails and posting to HRH’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. The kids wake up at 6 and we are all out the door for school or work at 7. I head to the HRH office at 7:30, and leave at 2:30 to pick up the kids from school and shuttle them to afterschool activities. We are usually home by 5 and the kids do their homework while Bennett cooks dinner. We all say grace and eat together as a family every night where Claire wants to hear (and provide) details of everyone’s day. At 6:30 we read to the kids and put them to bed. After bed time I usually spend an hour or two wrapping up any outstanding HRH items, hang out with Bennett and am in bed by 9:00.

Q: Tell us about High Risk Hope.
High Risk Hope is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed on February 16, 2011 to provide support, encouragement, information and resources to women and families who are experiencing a high risk pregnancy resulting in hospital bed rest, potential premature birth and neonatal intensive care after delivery. HRH serves 1200 families each year at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital and Tampa General Hospital. With no paid employees, our 100+ volunteers do 100% of the work! This means we have a very low administrative cost so the majority of all donations go directly into HRH projects and programs.

Q: What was your inspiration for starting this nonprofit organization?
HRH’s incorporation date is the second anniversary of my water breaking 24 weeks into my pregnancy with my son Hill. I was admitted to the hospital with Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes and sent to labor and delivery for the impending birth of a very sick baby boy. The doctors were certain I would deliver within 48 hours and were very grim about Hill’s quality of life, if he survived at all. With the support of family and friends, Hill and I survived over 8 weeks of complete hospital bed rest and Hill came into this world kicking and screaming at 32 weeks gestation. Hill had an uneventful two-week stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and is now a happy and healthy five-year old little boy.

It is hard to imagine, or to adequately convey, how difficult and stressful this type of ordeal can be on a mother-to-be and her family. While in the hospital, I did not receive any type of support from a local or national nonprofit. HRH evolved out of one mother’s mission to encourage other families in similar terrifying circumstances and offer the hope of bringing home a healthy baby.

Q: How do you stay balanced between being a mom and wife, running a nonprofit, staying involved at school and finding time for you? Any tips for those of us that struggle to do this?
I cannot say that I always stay balanced. It is something that I struggle with every day. I am blessed because my career at HRH is fully supported by my family, most of all Bennett and the kids. They are also fully vested in HRH’s outreach, which makes devoting so much of my time to HRH an easy choice. A long-standing fight between Claire and Hill is which one will be in charge at HRH ‘when’ something happens to me.

I try to focus on HRH when the kids are in school or asleep and give my full attention to them when we are together. Some days I do a better job of this than others. I try to cut myself a little slack and if at the end of the day I feel like I did the best job I could for my family and my HRH families, I call it a great day.

One suggestion I would give others would be to schedule some time for yourself every week. You are no use to anyone if you are running on empty. We all need to recharge.

Q: What do you want your kiddos to remember most about their childhood?
I always tell them to enjoy every second of being a child because it goes by so fast. I hope they have memories just being a kid and all that entails (snakes and horses for Claire, scuba divers and eels for Hill), Both of them have been volunteering at HRH since we began so I take pride knowing that giving back to others will be something that is engrained in their character from their earliest memories.

Q: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, how far back would you go and what advice would it be?
I would go back to the hospital the night that my water broke with Hill and tell myself “you will not believe what God has planned for your family, stay strong and have faith.”

Q: What motivates you?
My family. I want to use my time here to leave this world a better place for Claire, Hill and my HRH babies.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Antarctica

Q: Do you have a favorite go-to weeknight dinner?
Anyone who knows me knows me knows I cannot cook. My favorite dinner that Bennett makes is grilled Salmon, zucchini and cubed potatoes

Q: What tips do you have for a working mom wanting to start their own business?
Do your homework and research. Before you file your articles of incorporation, know where you are going, what skills you have, and what help you need to get you there. Find a mentor who is in a similar business but a few years ahead of you, they can offer so much help to a start-up business woman. Once you are a few years out and successful, pay it forward by mentoring someone else. We all benefit from collaboration and you just never know where your mentee might end up one day!

Q: How can others get involved with High Risk Hope?
We have several ways people can help out:

 

Until next time.

xo,
Kristie