Thursday, July 27, 2017

New Orleans and Summit

I went to New Orleans a couple of weeks ago for Beachbody Summit, a big event where coaches gather for company announcements, recognition, workshops, professional development presentations, and more. It was a great time with my friend and sponsored coach, Kathryn. Our days and evenings were pretty full with Beachbody activities, but we did get to see some cool things. New Orleans was an amazing city, and I’d honestly love to go back (whenever I will sweat the least).

We landed before 5 and got an Uber to our cute Airbnb called “Little Orange.” It’s described like this, “Built in the 1860's, "Little Orange" is half of a "shotgun"; thus, it boasts the hallmarks of traditional New Orleans architecture: 13 foot ceilings, cypress mantels, pocket doors, tall shuttered windows, and hardwood floors. The shutters are a vibrant orange to remind you of this city's Caribbean spirit.”

Our first Uber ride was a relative success. I couldn’t really understand our driver very well except that her fiancée had passed away recently, and that was her first day back at “work.” She kindly took us to Wal-Mart where we got some almond, milk, egg whites, yogurt, veggies, and other things. I won’t lie, I was initially pretty tentative about the area as a whole, including the street we were on. It was a little run down and sketchy looking. But I felt much safer over the next several days.

Thursday night was the opening session at the Superdome, where some cool announcements were made. Most notable was about the new snack portioned shakes called Daily Sunshine. It’s a good serving size for kids, and a good snack size for adults. It’s plant-based, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO. It’s pretty tasty, too! I actually like the strawberry banana better than the chocolate. Not sure how that happened, but it’s a true story.

Friday morning was our workout with the super trainers. I didn’t register early enough to get in with Shaun T. But I did get in with Tony Horton. We had to be at the Convention Center by 6:00 for this. Afterward, we had a team photo with my coaches, Chelsea and Robb, who are some pretty amazing humans. It was my first time meeting them and some other teammates I’ve chatted with or followed online.

6am workout with Tony

Me and my coach, Chelsea

Me and my other coach, Robb

Me and Caitlin B

We walked from the convention center back to our house, which is about a mile distance. I immediately put on my running shoes and ran four miles. It was a little frustrating since I wasn’t familiar with the area. I had to do a lot of turning around at dead ends, or places where there was no sidewalk. But I got it done, and that’s what counts.

We headed back to the superdome at 9:30am for some motivational speaking from Brendon Burchard. I’m his new biggest fan. It was good stuff. After that, we went to the shuttles to get a ride to the convention center. But it was a mess, and the lines weren’t moving. We decided to walk to the Riverwalk outlets, which are almost attached to the convention center. The walk was pretty terrible, if I’m being honest. I was sweating so bad my garments and clothes were soaked through. It was awful. The crowds were bad to fight through too. We ate at Raising Cane’s, which wasn’t as good as everyone said it was. It was fine, but nothing special. 

Next we had our afternoon workshops in the convention center. About four pairs of coaches talk you through different aspects of coaching, whether it’s on-boarding new coaches, how to attract your lifers, building your brand, etc.

After that, Kathryn and I went to the Core, which is basically Beachbody’s shopping center. I didn’t get anything except Daily Sunshine samples. Stuff was too expensive for me. We then took photos with the super trainer cutouts.

Then we walked over to Drago’s seafood for an early dinner. We beat the crowd. It was tasty, except for my wilty salad, and the service was not good.

Charbroiled oysters

Seafood pasta

Kathryn's shrimp dinner
We wandered back to the outlets to try some beignets at Café du Monde. They were good, but I liked the ones at Disneyland better. 

We took some pictures outside the restaurant since it lines the Mississippi River.

And then we wandered over to the French Quarter to see Bourbon Street. It was way too crowded. The chaos is fun; it was an experience. But I didn’t need to spend much more time there.

When we got to a less busy spot, we called an Uber to get home.

I spent a few minutes on my running app to see if there were any runs people had done in the area. Thankfully, a girl had mapped a 10 mile run up St. Charles Ave with a loop around Audubon Park. I decided I could follow her route and had no excuses to use like, “I don’t know the area.” I am SO glad I went on that run. It was long, but the best way to see a town is to run in it. The homes I saw gave me all the heart eyes. They were amazing. If you are bored one day, use Google Earth or street view to look at the homes on St. Charles street in New Orleans. It won't do it justice, but you'll get an idea.

My run was great, besides the excessive humidity (80 degrees and 87% humidity). I ended up not doing the full loop of the park on accident (it was huge; I thought I had completed a loop but only did half). So I ran down Magazine Street for a little while. It was awesome. I guess it’s a big tourist draw, and I could totally see why. But after a while it started to look a little sketchy, so I ran back up to St. Charles Ave for the rest of the way.

After showering and getting ready, we got to the Superdome a little earlier than the previous day. We got to hear from Chalene Johnson and Darren Hardy. I texted highlights to my family from Darren Hardy’s presentation because it was so good. We cut out a little early when Carl came on so we could get on a shuttle more easily than the previous day. We took the shuttle to the convention center and walked a little ways to a pub that had been mentioned on Yelp, called Dino’s. The bartender was our server, and she was really cute and nice. I got a chicken bacon ranch wrap with waffle fries, and Kathryn got a salad.

Darren Hardy 

From there we walked back to the outlets where we visited the fudge and ice cream place. We got fudge to bring back home, and ice cream to eat on the spot. We headed back to the convention center for our final afternoon of workshops. We actually got to sit with our team this time, so that was cool. It was a much more leisurely afternoon, thankfully. 

We walked back to our Airbnb again, looked for this Bakery Bar we had walked by (and had to backtrack to find it—my bad), ate some veggies and macro-friendly frozen meals, and got prettied up for the closing ceremony. We got to the Superdome early again for another team picture. It was kind of an ordeal because 1) lots of people and 2) poor lighting).

The purple and mint houses

The Bakery Bar

We both slept in a little bit on Sunday morning. I checked out reviews for nearby restaurants. A local had recommended Surrey’s. I ran by it a couple days before, and it was showing up as #1 on Yelp. So we walked to the restaurant. Kathryn got the Strawberry stuffed French toast, and it was yummy. I got a biscuit and gravy with potatoes and bacon. I’m sad to report that my biscuit hadn’t been cooked all the way. It was dense and doughy, not fluffy or raised. I didn’t even eat it. Everything besides that was so, so good. I knew they had messed up my biscuit when I saw other people’s plates come out of the kitchen as we were leaving. I was really sad about it and wished my server had followed up or asked what was wrong with my biscuit, and offered to bring me a new one. I don’t know if Louisiana is considered by others to be “the south,” but I was sad to have such a disappointing biscuit in what I consider to be the south.

My favorite home in the neighborhood
We packed up our things to make sure we were ready. Thankfully, our Airbnb host said we could take our time checking out since the cleaning lady wouldn’t be coming until later. So we hitched a ride to the French quarter where we did a self-guided walking tour. If you ever end up in New Orleans and want to know what you’re looking at, this site was helpful and cool:

In the French Market, we stopped and got some pralines and also went to Harley where I got my dad a shirt that is sadly, too small. After some more walking, we got some lunch at a random little stand in the marketplace from an Italian lady. I got a grilled ham and cheese. It was fine. We sat in a little park area where a lot of vagrants were. And oh my word, the flies. So many flies.

We walked a little way out of the French Quarter so we could catch an Uber more easily. The girl who picked us up had only been in the city for a few weeks; she was from Virginia if I remember right. We caught an Uber really quickly to get to the airport very early. I guess they had a lot of delays and issues early in the morning, so we wanted to get there early. After passing through security. Kathryn spotted Tony Horton with a line of coaches waiting to take pictures with him. He’s so handsome, and he was so nice. I was star struck.

I won’t say much about our flights home except that I don’t believe I’ll be flying with Frontier again. We left an hour late from Colorado due to all their other late connecting flights, and landed a half hour late in Salt Lake. And when you have to work the next day, those 30 minutes matter.

All in all, I found New Orleans super fun and charming. I absolutely love the style of the homes there and couldn’t take enough pictures. I would definitely come back for more, but I would visit in the coolest possible season. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Social Epiphany

I had an epiphany today while texting a good friend of mine who moved to Colorado a couple of years ago. She is very social and extroverted, so she naturally craves social interaction and was telling me how she doesn’t have many friends. (She does; they just live far away now.) I told her I hope she schedules girls’ nights and stuff so she gets the fulfillment she needs. She is a teacher, and said her department at work is very collaborative, so that fills her social cup.

And then I had this grand realization! A full circle moment where I have realized why I’m struggling so badly lately.

See, I am an introvert. I need and want alone time. I don’t like my time being encroached upon by others. I don’t like people pressuring me to do certain things with my time. It’s mine. Leave me alone.

When I was teaching, I exerted all my energy toward my students and other teachers from 7:20 to 3:30. My social cup overflowed at work. I came home exhausted and ready to retreat to my silent home where I was content to work out and then chill for the evening.

Here’s where my friend helped me realize something. Since switching jobs, this position fills my anti-social cup. My introverted nature is satisfied in 8.5 hours of mostly quiet time at this office. That means that after work is done, I am ready for something fun. I want all the conversation and all the company.

It’s a weird change for me. I can’t believe it’s taken a year for me to realize this.

I feel lonely not necessarily because I want romantic company (I mean yeah companionship would be pretty awesome; having someone to spend time with by default is my favorite), but because I spend most of my day inside my own head. Most everyone knows my obsession with the Color Code framework. Blue personalities seek intimacy (deep connections) with people. While I don’t like to have an excess of socializing in my life, and I don't do big groups, I absolutely do need fulfilling collections, or I feel incomplete.

The problem is that the introvert in me is bad at making advance plans. I find myself on Saturday thinking, “Well shoot, I want to go to dinner tonight because I ran a gazillion miles, but who’s available at this point?” And typically, most people already have plans.

I also face the problem of not wanting to bug people. There is less than a handful of people I could probably hang with every day and not get sick of. I sort of assume the same is the case with me: probably most people don’t want to hang out with me daily. So if I have plans with a friend one night, I don’t want to ask them again another night in the same week. I assume they have other things they need or want to do, and I also don’t want them to feel bad if they say no.

The final problem I face is that I sometimes get invited to do things that I just don’t want to do. I often feel like I have to mentally “work up to” doing some things, like pre-charging a backup battery or something. Even if something seems fun, I have to mentally prepare. I know extroverts don’t understand this at all. It’s just a fact of my life and how I function. Sorry. Kind of.

I’ve tried to make good plans to fill my summer evenings because summer is when I come alive. I love being in the pool and by the pool. I love to read and take my sweet time to do whatever. I love to go to concerts (Twilight, anyone?). I love to go to baseball games. I love to be outside. I love to eat dessert with friends. I tried to work all this into my calendar when I {designed my summer}. But I’m finding that for the most part, I left too much time open with no plans, which is not good when I’m feeling this lonesome.

Anyway, this may have seemed like an obvious thing to everyone except for me. But now that I know, I need to be more proactive about making advanced plans with other people at least two or three evenings a week so that I don’t feel so empty and unfulfilled.

So... Who wants to have a campfire in the canyon with me?