4.22.2015

Tortilla Chips and Delusions







Dress: Lotus (15% off anything online with coupon code MODA at checkout)Shoes: Dolce Vita, Bracelets: Alex & Ani and custom Celene Stones (email Krista at CeleneStones@gmail - mention ModaFresca and get 15% off any order - CeleneStones on Instagram)

What up, What up!?!?!?!?!

Allow me to introduce you to the dress I will be wearing pretty much every day for the rest of my life.

It's one of my favorite colors, has adjustable straps, POCKETS <whoop whoop>, and does not cling anywhere. It basically begs you to go to dinner and eat your face off in it. In fact... it really should have been sold with a side of chips and guacamole to save you a trip to your local Mexican restaurant.

Anytime another outfit is too tight and makes me feel self conscious (and subsequently puts me in a no good, terrible, foul-ass mood) I'm just going to throw this bitch on and twirl. Twirl around whilst shoving corn chips in my face and then all will be well with the world once again. Best part about this dress? On the tag... it says.... wait for it... S/M. I mean... it's pretty much a one size fits all dress, but something about the tag saying S/M makes me love it even more. Like... oh man... I really SHOULD eat these corn chips. I mean... I am wearing a SMALL. I don't want to get TOO skinny. I'm SO close to getting too skinny. Scarily close. What if my friends start to think that I'm sick? Oh, gosh... I look sick.  I do. "Sir... more guacamole please! It's an EMERGENCY. Clearly."

Other than professing my love for this garment, I don't have much else to share.

The only noteworthy thing that has happened since my last post is that I am now 35. I had a birthday last week, and for some reason it hit me pretty hard. Now, don't get me wrong... I am SUPER happy to be celebrating a birthday because the alternative is to ya know... not to be alive, but I was in a shit mood last week.

My corporate job has been sucking my will to live here lately. It's one thing after another. There is a ton of change happening and I was SO incredibly fed up that for the first time in 12 years... I cried at work. Yup. Angry tears. They felt like fire falling from my face. I was so mad. I stared out my window so no one would see me until I got my shit together, but whew.... this guy pissed me off so badly that I wanted to walk out. On top of carrying that shitty anger with me into the next day... it was the first birthday I didn't hear my Grandma's voice over the phone saying... "Happy Birthday, Dolly. I love you." I cried all morning thinking about that. And then...

FACEBOOK.

Say what you will about social media, but there is NOTHING better than having a Facebook account on your birthday. People from all different seasons of your life taking a second to show you some love? Posting pictures, wishing you well, reminding you how much you mean to them. Man, it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. It's awesome to hear from people you went to grade school with all the way to present day. It's like a big, bear hug that gives you a little squeeze with each ding of your phone. Unless of course no one wishes you a happy birthday at all that day and the notifications from your phone are an just invitations to play Farmville. Then FB can fuk off. Seriouly.

NO ONE wants to play Farmville.


4.08.2015

Scared Shhtless







What I wore to work yesterday: Skirt: Lotus (15% online with checkout code: MODA), Shirt: Old Navy, Shoes: Guess, Watch: Michael Kors, Necklace: CeleneStones (15% off when you mention this blog and EM Krista for your own custom bracelet, earrings or necklace- celenestones@gmail.com)

You know that old saying "Be careful what you wish for."?

Yeah. About that... 

If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you probably know (and are sick of hearing me talk about) how I have spent the last year working on creating my best self.

Although I have not been 100% on point all of the time...  I mean... I have taken a bottle of canned whipped cream right into my open mouth whilst standing in front of the (non-judgemental glow of the light from my open) refrigerator more times than I can count and enjoyed one too many glasses of wine one (or 10) too many times... but, I have been conscious and deliberate about doing things that scare the shit out of me and working on making myself proud over the last year.

I have written out goals, made plans to achieve them and executed. I have tried, learned and taught new things.... Pilates, PiYo, and becoming a certified Health Coach. I  have stopped buying quite so much meaningless shit, paid down some debts and developed a deeper faith and trust in God.

My goal throughout this journey has been to:
  •  become physically, mentally, and emotionally healthier
  •  be happier with how I look and feel
  •  become a kinder, more supportive, enthusiastic, positive person
  •  ditch ALL extremes... extreme self-loathing, extreme fear of judgement, extreme diets and/or  binging, and the tendency to compare myself to some unreal/unattainable standard of beauty
  •  to learn how to take care of my body with food and exercise
  •  to balance self-discipline with grace and realism

And then, once I had a handle on all of those things...

  • help other people reach their goals and become the best versions of themselves

Those have been the goals all along.

So why... now that these things are happening... am I absolutely terrified?

I got a message from a friend I went to high school with (who is now a trainer/nutritionist/chef in another state). She asked me if I would be interested in doing some blogging for a fitness and nutrition website. She said she thought that what I have to say might resonate with people. The current contributors (two VERY fit individuals who have made careers out of fitness and nutrition) are inspiring and extremely knowledgeable, but they are SO physically fit that your average person may not always be able to relate to them. When you see people who own studios, are personal trainers, have a half dozen certifications, and are paid to work out all day, or are a paid to be a fitness model... you may write them off as not being able to understand the struggle of the average person who is along way from having a handle on food addictions, or who wouldn't know where to start if dropped off at a gym.

After an amazing two-plus hour conversation I said... "Most definitely!"  I'd love to partner with you and contribute to this website.  She asked for a bio, a few blog posts, and some photographs to post on the site.

I was extremely excited.

UNTIL.............................duh.....duh.....duhnnnnnn.....................

I went to the website and actually saw the pictures of the other contributors!!!!!

Holy Hell.

This man and woman are insane. I'm talking 6-pack abs, chiseled muscles, and not an inch of fat to be pinched. The only way either of them would have a belly roll is if someone placed an actual pastry on their abdomens. A roll sitting on a "belly". That is it.

Instantaneously all of my excitement turned to terror. No friggin WAY you are putting my pictures next to their professional fitness photographs. Sweet LAWD. No one would take me seriously as a fitness and nutrition contributor. Who the hell would read what I had to say??????? The fear had set in and it was major. I could  hear it now...

She's fat.
She's not even in that good of shape.
She doesn't have a Masters degree in Nutrition.
Why would I want to take advice from her?"

Thank gosh I had to leave the house to get to my Pure Barre class or I may have written my old friend an email backing out of the whole thing.

While I was in Pure Barre and later that night teaching PiYo I was surrounded by mirrors. Mirrors that forced me to look at my meaty thighs, the rolls I have when I'm bent over in a forward fold, or the back fat creeping out of my new (super tight) sports bra. I looked at all of it. For 2+ hours. At the end of the night I laughed and told a girlfriend and student of mine not to be surprised if all of our workouts are extra hard over the next few weeks while I prepare to have some pictures taken for this website. I briefly mentioned that the people I would be contributing with are physical specimens. She scoffed at my remarks and rolled her eyes. Then I looked around that room full of women I have grown to love and thought of the ladies I just left in my barre class and I realized that I am in really good company.

Most of us are not fitness models. Most of us are just trying to feel better, be healthy, live a good, long life and be the best version of ourselves. And... the more pictures of average, healthy body types there are out there in the world (or on the worldwide web) the less we will feel like we all have to look "perfect" to look good.

So, I figured that it is time to "walk the talk".

I can't just talk about how proud I am of turning my life around and then be ashamed of what my "transformation" looks like. I can't extend grace to other people and talk about realistic expectations to my health coaching clients and then turn around and condemn myself for not looking like a fitness model. I may not ever feel "ready" so I guess now is as good a time as any.

It's been 48 hours since the phone call, almost 24 hours since I freaked-the-F-out, and I'm happy/terrified to report that the photo shoot is scheduled, the bio is in the works, and the blog posts are-a-coming.... 

Even if the thought of all of that does make me kind of want to vomit in my mouth. Like that slow burn of a burp that turns to puke. You know the one... 



4.02.2015

Sneak Peak: Spring 2015







Shirt and Skirt: Lotus (shirt is from a long time ago) <<You get 15% off of any online purchase at Lotus with the coupon code MODA>>, Shoes: Aldo, Bracelet: CeleneStones (15% off if you mention ModaFresca when you EM Krista at CeleneStones@gmail.com), Necklace: a gift from my mom

"Going Up... on a Tuesday..."

These were taken Tuesday night... and it was the first weeknight in a loooooong time that I haven't been in gym clothes. No sports bras or Lycra here folks. I'm surprised my skin didn't have an allergic reaction.

You might be like...

"We get it, bitch, you work out a lot... enough. Shut your mouth."

But I'm serious. I cannot remember the last time I was in "real" clothes after 5pm.

I write down my workouts in a calendar and I tallied them all up for January, February and March. I worked out 76 of the first 90 days in 2015 and in those 76 days I completed 127 workouts.

127 1-hr. workouts... in 90 friggin' days.

Between teaching Pilates, PiYo, and taking Pure Barre classes I did 2 (sometimes 3) workouts a day. I say that not to brag (well, okay... maybe a liiiiittle to brag) but mostly because HOLY SHIT.

My 2013 self wouldn't even recognize my 2015 self. I may not look drastically different, but I feel like an entirely different person. I know there is some uber-bitch out there being like.... "if I did 127 workouts in 90 days I'd look ridiculously ahhh-mazing". Well, you can Fuk off. This is how I look. Never going to be "Skinny-Minny". Proooobably not going to deprive myself of things I love to get visible abs, but I'm strong  and I can do lots and lots of things I never thought myself capable of. So... if that's bragging SO.BE.IT. Basically what I am saying though, is that if I can do it... you can do it. You have to give back to yourself. Working out may not be your thing and you may not have 2 hours after work, but you have to set aside something for yourself that brings you joy and makes you proud.

I haven't totally changed though.

I may be motivated to workout but I doubt I will ever be motivated to do my hair. I am still rocking my gym hairdo. A dirty side braid (as per usual). There is enough baby powder on this head to prevent chafing on a baby's ass for a good fiscal quarter. If someone were to have pat my head that night I swear a cloud of dust would have appeared around me like "Pig-Pen" from Charlie Brown. 

The reason I got dressed on a weeknight was because I attended a fashion show for Charlotte bloggers at Lotus boutique. The show was put on by my two favorite boutiques in the city, Lotus and KK Bloom (boutique besties)! The two shops came together and put on a small, private fashion show giving bloggers a sneak peak into their spring favorites 

Each boutique showcased 8 looks. Everything you see below is available now in the one of the two stores.  (Instagram: lotuslook & kkbloomboutique, Facebook: Lotus & KK Bloom)



Bags at KK Bloom

Clockwise: Lotus, KK Bloom, Lotus

First Pic: Lotus Store Manager and creator of Celene Stones jewelery, Krista. If you ever want to work with Krista to create a custom piece you can reach her at CeleneStones@gmail.com. Bracelets usually run anywhere from $35-$55 and necklaces will run anywhere from $55 -$95. If you mention ModaFresca Blog though you'll get 15% off your entire order. You can also find her on Instagram at CeleneStones. Second Pic: (far left) Owner of KK Bloom, Kendrick Slaughter, (middle) Owner of Lotus, Jackie Rodney.  

Clockwise: Lotus, KK Bloom, Lotus, KK Bloom

Clockwise: KK Bloom, Lotus, Lotus, KK Bloom

Clockwise: KK Bloom, Lotus, Lotus, KK Bloom

Clockwise: KK Bloom, Lotus, KK Bloom, Lotus

3.31.2015

Trust me.








Shirt and Pants: Lotus (15% off online with code: MODA),  Shoes: Guess, Bracelet: Gift, Watch: Kate Spade (a wedding party gift from my dear friend, Ali)

YO YO YO!!

I hope everyone is coming off of a great weekend.

Mine was one of the best I have had in a long time.

I had 12... yes, 12 house guests over the weekend!!! My mom came from NY to visit and my brother's family stopped through for a couple of nights on their way to their spring break destination a few hours from Charlotte. There were kids running around all over the place, adults everywhere, bags piled in every corner, and one or more dogs at your feet at all times. It may sound chaotic, but it was awesome. I loved seeing my niece and nephews, laughing with my brothers and getting to hug my mom whenever I wanted. We played around at a park, went out to lunch,  did a little shopping, and just hung around the house (eating, playing ping pong, video games, and hide and seek). It was great. I cried like a child I dropped my mom off at the airport and everyone was gone.

I like a clean house, peace and quiet, and order as much as the next OCD 34 year old women who has never had children, but there was something about having everyone here... the absolute craziness of it all that made this big house feel like a home. It was alive. When everyone left and it was clean and organized again, it didn't give me the same satisfaction as it had. It just made me miss everyone even more.

Growing up in a home with a young mom, lots of little brothers, and not a lot of money, sometimes I'd look around at other people's families and think, man.... why can't mine be easy like that?  I remember my mom being stressed out to the point of tears over bills, and us all letting the phone ring until the machine picked it up in an attempt to dodge a bill collectors. When I was younger we lived in a lot of upstairs apartments that we would rent for a year and then move out of. We drove Ford Escorts with rust on the doors and as a young shitty pre-teen I thought that that stuff mattered. I'd look at my friends with big houses and nice cars and be embarrassed when I was dropped off at their houses in our car.

I had no way of knowing then that I was the lucky one.

I got a hug and kiss every time I came in the door.
I was told "I love you" by someone every day of my life.
Every.Single.Day.
I was taught to care for people and about people.
I know how to fight.
To forgive.
To be vulnerable.
I am not afraid to tell someone how I feel about them.
I know what love is because I grew up in it.
Love was all around me.
There wasn't always money, or certainty, or sanity, or peace, but there was always love.
Always.

 In my family we don't look or act similarly. Some of us have different last names, and in some cases we grew up in different homes. We have disagreed, hurt each other, fought, made up, gotten over things and moved on. I have a mom, 4 brothers, a dad, a step-mom, and a man I consider a step-dad. We are a motley crew and we have all made some mistakes in this life, but I thank God for every last one of them. I know what love is because of that crazy cast of characters that  I call a family. I have realized as I have gotten older that not all families look the same, do the same things, or have the same journeys, but that's the beauty of it. We aren't supposed to. And, as cliche as it is... the only thing you really need in order to create a family is love. Most of the other stuff is just noise.

So, if you are a parent who sometimes wishes that  you could do more for your kid(s), be more for kids, raise them in a different home, different city, pay for them to go to a better school, have more, afford more things, or go back in time and do it all over again with more patience and grace... (although I know nothing about being a parent)... I can tell you from experience that love can overcome all of that.

If you let a child know you love them, and if you are there for them (always, no conditions, no matter what) they will grow up thinking you hung the moon.

Maybe not today, but someday. 

Trust me.


3.25.2015

Mean People Suck









Skirt: Scout & Molly's, Sweater and Bag: Target, Shoes: Guess, Necklace: CeleneStones (15% off when you mention ModaFresca- email Krista to order/create your own- celenestones@gmail.com)

Hola! Happy mid-week.

This is what I wore to work on Monday. It wasn't quite warm enough for bare legs so I had major goosebumps all day. And let me tell you, the hair that rose from those bad boys was sharp enough to lacerate if brushed up against other unsuspecting skin. I guess I just want it to be summer so badly that I'm trying to will it into existence with poor outfit choices.

Wise people (or at least quotes on Pinterest) remind us that we shouldn't waste the present by focusing too much on the future...



...and while I would agree that can be a slippery slope, lately I can't seem to help it.

I spend most days of the workweek looking forward to the weekend, when my time is not dictated by meetings in my Outlook calendar or emails marked "important" by that (annoying) red exclamation point. And, while I am grateful for warmer temperatures I still spend every day under 60 waiting for summer; when (at least in NC) it rarely drops below 80. I am ready. Ready... and seriously wondering why I ever left teaching for a corporate job that does not recognize the importance of summer vacations.

And while I have not yet mastered NOT being able to focus on Fridays and summertime, I have gotten pretty damn good (if I do say so myself) at not "waiting" for happiness.

I've seen a lot of people around me lately bummed out and "waiting" to be happy. Waiting for  a relationship, a new house, a different job, a child, to be engaged, to hit a career goal, make more money, reach a weight or fitness goal, be able to kick a bad habit, get over someone, etc. That kind of waiting gets dangerous. That kind of waiting puts you straight up in a shitty-ass life slump.

You know what I mean by "life slump", right? We've all been there. Those times in your life where you may seem okay on the outside, but you're self destructing on the inside? You're sedentary a lot more than you're active, you start to resent people around you who seem happy, you use humor to mask the fact that you hate yourself most of the time, and then you get upset because who are you to hate yourself when you have health, first world privilege, people in your life who love you, etc.???

Do you remember that bumper sticker from the 90's... "MEAN PEOPLE SUCK." I happen to think that mean people are just people who are really unhappy. I have never met a genuinely happy person who is mean. I don't think the two can exist in the same being. They are diametrically opposed. 

I tend to write about "happiness" a lot, and I think that's because it hits me in the face all the time (or at least whenever I have meaningful conversations with people). And of course it is easy to say "be happy" and another thing entirely to genuinely feel that way. I think it's really important though to not be miserable.

Why? Because, life is short, and someday (God willing) we are all going to be old. Then we will realize that we wasted many of our best days/months/years "sweating the small stuff" and we may have regrets and think... "Damn... if I had it to do all over again, I would have made happiness a real priority." I don't know about you, but being in a foul, negative mood most of the time sucks. No one wants to be that person, and very few people want to be around that type of person.

I don't know what will work for you if you're feeling this way, but I'll tell you what has worked for me in the past.

1. Stop playing the victim and please, stop complaining so damn much.
2. Stop being around people who play the victim all the  time. All that "woe-is-me" stuff is for the birds. Stop for a second and realize just how good you really have it and hush. (If you're on social media and you feel bombarded by other people's complaining, unfollow that shit. You don't have to let other people's constant whining bring you down.)
3. Try doing a lot of different things out to see if any of them bring you joy. You could try out different hobbies like different forms of exercise, writing, reading, taking pictures, creating music, cooking, whatever. There are countless things to do, and if you think you're too busy to do something that brings you joy, just ask the people around you if they prefer you miserable and present 100% of the time, or happy, and taking a few hours here and there for yourself. You've got to sharpen your own saw, as they say. Find something you love.
4. Gratitude. As your day is winding down, or you are lying in bed, think..."What if tomorrow, I only woke up with what I remembered to thank God (or the Universe... whatever you believe in) for the night before?" Then silently in your head start listing people, things, privilages, blessings that you want to make sure are still in your life the next day. You can do this with big things all the way down to the teeniest, tiniest things. It's a pretty great way to end the day and helps you remember just how much you have in your life that you cherish.
5. Be realistic. Most meaningful change does not happen quickly.
6. Stop with the "what-ifs". You are where you are in your life right now, at this moment. You have ZERO control over the past, but you can work to shape your future. 
7. Don't pin your happiness on  someone else. It's not up to your kids, partner, spouse, boss, ex, or your friends to "make" you happy. It's not their responsibility.
8. Spend time around people who want to see you succeed. Not those who prefer you stay depressed, sad, overweight and/or unhealthy. Misery loves company.
9. Don't compare. Fact: Bad things happen to EVERYONE (whether you know about them or not). Being broke, sick, in debt, broken up with, heartbroken, gaining weight, having a miscarriage, being depressed, losing someone you love, losing a job, unplanned pregnancies, abuse, unplanned divorces, unable to get pregnant, having a shitty job, being fired, having a child who makes bad decisions or treats you like shit, being lonely, and feeling scared. All of this stuff is part of life and it will pass. I promise. Some pain never goes all the way away, but if you live in it every single day, there is no hope of it lessening. And naturally, with time, it will lessen if you let it. Don't ever look at someone and think that they don't know pain. We all know pain.
10. Try to figure out if you are in a slump, or genuinely depressed. If it's the latter, get some help for yourself so you can start to feel better and enjoy this one, precious life you are given.

This rant was inspired by a conversation I had very recently. If it didn't apply to you at all, I'm sorry you wasted your time reading it. But, if it hit home at all... you're not alone, we've all been there. Start with small changes and... start now.

"You have the match!"



3.17.2015

Turning 35... and other musings.








Jeans: LOTUS (15% off online- code MODA), Shirt: Vestique, Shoes: Jessica Simpson, Necklace: CeleneStones (15% off if you email Krista and mention ModaFresca celenestones@gmail.com or on Instagram at CeleneStones) Bag: Target


Happy St. Patrick's Day. This is my take on festive attire. I wore it Saturday afternoon when we went out to celebrate St. Paddy's Day. 

I love this cute little shirt, but the strapless bra that I was forced to wear with it??? Absolutely friggin' useless. To get strapless bras tight enough to be of any service whatsoever you have to essentially forgo breathing. Not to mention deal with a bulge of newly formed back fat that puts you in a mood bad enough to want to scrap going out all together. But... on the flip side... if you don't get it tight enough the thing just slides down around your waist. By the end of the night you're basically wearing a boob belt. I call it that because both your boobs and bra end up around your waist. UGH. The struggle.

Anyway... enough about that.  What is really on my mind is the fact that in 1 month from today I turn thirty-five. 

35. 

Man, I used to think that sounded so mature. Not old, but definitely "mature". As in... I would have my life totally together by then because I'd be well into adulthood. But, as I sit here, so close to 35 that I can smell it, I assure you... my definition of "mature" has changed.

Things that make me think I am not fit to live without supervision:

  • The fact that if faced with the decision to buy a cute outfit or groceries, I will never choose groceries. 
  • Bathroon humor makes me laugh. Farting. The funniest.
  • I still cross my fingers when I want something to go my way. 
  • When asked who my doctor is I still want to say, Dr. Shepard. I have not gone to her since my mom had to drive me there. 
  • My favorite word (of all time) is wiener. It's hilarious and I will always think so. 
  • I have a 401K, but I don't really know what that means.
  • None of my towels match and I have no idea where half of them came from. That's weird, right? 
  • There is an air mattress in one of our guest rooms. It's a mac daddy one, and it's made up really nicely, but still. It's an air mattress.  


Things that make me realize I am most definitely 35: 

  • I think most of "today's music" is garbage. 
  • I still believe college was ten years ago.
  • I'd  rather be in bed at midnight than "out". 
  • I no longer care about "skinny". I feared I'd spend my whole like worried about that shit. Now I exercise to be strong and confident. Sweet Freedom.
  • I speak my mind. Always. 
  • I own 3 crock pots. 
  • I have a bad knee. 
  • I will not tolerate someone in my life being mean to me or making me feel like shit because they hate themselves or the decisions they have made. 
  • I own a car that takes Premium fuel.
  • I now know that nothing is "black or white". "Good people" do bad things and "bad people" do good things. 
  • There are place settings on my dining room table. Always. 
  • I have crows feet and when I sweat profusely during PiYo my mascara runs down my face and pools in the lines around my eyes.


Yup. 35. I don't have all of my shit together, but I've come a long way. So... if you are reading this and you are quite a few years younger than me... here is some advice:

  • Find a job that has medical insurance. 
  • Get regular oil changes.
  • Free yourself from anyone who does not inspire you to be your best self. 
  • Find at least one soul friend. Someone who does not compete with you. Wants the best for you, and laughs at the word "wiener". Keep them close, you will need them as you make good decisions and bad throughout your life. 
  • Find something that makes you happy and do it. Even if no one else understands why you're doing it. 
  • Love who you are with. Really love them, and tell them a lot.