Back from Hiatus

Well, unintentional hiatus. Grad school keeps you busy :p

So, what have I been up to lately? Finishing drafts for the first two chapters of my thesis, finished the first draft of a book chapter I’m a co-author on, finding an ever increasing amount of sources for said thesis, came up with a proposal for my CRM class, grading quizzes/coming up with quiz and exam questions for the class I’m a GTA for, working my way through the endings of Fallout 4, and just starting Farcry Primal…. oh! and now coming up with survey questions for some more tattoo research focusing on the military. And waiting to hear back on job applications and one more PhD application.

Also, coaching, working out, loving the new cafe latte shakes, taking care of my three crazy pups, and trying to grow my team and my business!  I recently shared some progress photos on fb and instagram, and I’m excited to say that since I started coaching with Beachbody in June, I’ve lost about 35 pounds! I’m excited to continue coaching and working on my own health and fitness.

This week, I was also able to start volunteering with the department’s Anthropology is Elementary program! It’s also a class – for both undergrad and grad students – but we added a second school so they needed some volunteers. Once a week, we go to one of the city elementary schools and teach kids about Anthropology as part of a partnership program! This semester we’re teaching the kids about the anthropology of West Africa – they learn about all four subfields while learning about the cultures in a specific region. They’re most excited about eating bugs, near the end haha. Today we taught them about ethnography – the class is separated into “clan” groups, where they have to create a mythic ancestor, a clan dance, pick a leader, and something they wear. Then each group sends one “ethnographer” to the other clans to learn about them and report back. It worked out pretty well, and our major point to get across to them today was that even though their clan cultures were very different, all of them were equally important (none were better than the others). I’m really excited about this program, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the semester goes :D.

Other than that, it’s just the usual school, GTA, thesis, and coaching schedule here. I’ve got a few posts in the works about some political stuff and just grad student/job hunt stuff that I’ll be posting soon!


How Coaching and 21 Day Fix Extreme Changed My Life

Well, it has been a very leisurely hiatus – but I’m working on publishing posts again! I will do a major update one, probably tomorrow or Wednesday, but be prepared because it’s coming! I’m getting into the swing of things (this has been the craziest semester!) and decided that a good way to break the hiatus from posting was to talk about my other job – the one that has nothing to do with schoolwork haha. I also thought it would be a good one to share while people are worrying about their holiday weight gain and struggling to keep on track and motivated! So, here goes nothing: this is the basic breakdown of how being a Beachbody Coach and doing 21 Day Fix Extreme in August changed my life.

I started my Beachbody obsession (let’s just call it what it is, right people?) with Insanity two summers ago – right after I graduated William & Mary and before moving down here to Alabama. I LOVED IT! And it really gave me awesome results. So a little later that year – around Christmas time, I tried PiYo in another challenge group, and also tried Shakeology shakes. PiYo gave me very different results than Insanity (OBVIOUSLY, because they’re very different programs), but they were still great, and the shakes made me feel so much better in the mornings – I am definitely not a morning person haha. I kept up with the shakes for awhile, but let it slide a bit and eventually cancelled the monthly order until this summer.

As y’all all know, this summer was a bit of a bad one for me. A relationship I thought was really solid ended fairly badly (at the time – we’re friends now and I’m in an amazing relationship and things are going really well now, so no worries about the sad stuff), I was worried about potentially not having funding – which thankfully didn’t happen, I ended up with full funding!! Because UA is an awesome place and the Anthro dept is great – and found myself with three dogs, two of which are fairly substantial in size, when I had only had one about 8 months before. I was depressed, in a very big funk, and extremely stressed studying for comps and worrying about everything else – basic every day life stuff for most people my age, especially in grad school. Cue my coach, Amanda, messaging me about potentially becoming a coach myself. I hadn’t thought about that at all, but I had nothing else to do besides read books about physical anthropology and worry, so I thought I’d take a shot at it.

As it turns out, coaching is amazing. I love helping people find their perfect program, workout a plan, and reach the results and goals that they want. I love organizing and running challenge groups, and the extra money has helped out A TON. It’s bought my dogs’ food for the past 4 months, left me some extra to put in my savings account, and gives me a little room to buy really silly things for myself every once in awhile – mostly a ps4 haha. My next step, or goal really, for the business is to start working on building a coaching team! I’m so excited to see just what Beachbody coaching can help me accomplish!

Now – what does 21 Day Fix Extreme have to do with all of this? That is the program I chose for the first challenge group I led, back in August. Not only did it give me some amazing results – I lost 9 lbs in a month – but it changed the way I eat! I’m not sticking COMPLETELY to the 21 DF plan – mostly because I don’t have time for meal prep and eating that much all the time (That’s something I’m going to work on for next semester!) – but I base the meals and snacks I eat on the color containers and I’ve actually started craving salads and healthier foods rather than junk! Not only have I continued losing weight (I AM DOWN 30 LBS SINCE JUNE AND I FREAKING LOVE IT), but I’ve maintained the new milestones I reach and kept from gaining any back or going on crazy junk food binges. I’m more confident in myself and my ability to talk to people – which led to me meeting and starting a relationship with my wonderful boyfriend, Marc. Things are not always super easy and peachy of course – especially as a grad student, with a research job, a teaching job, and this coaching job, and three crazy pups. But coaching, working out, and the support I have from Marc, my friends, my family, and the awesome people I’ve met through Beachbody make everything not only easier to deal with and handle, but also more enjoyable!

Basically – things right now are great, and Beachbody is a huge reason for that. 😀

Alright – that’s all I’ve got for now, expect a huge update post soon!!


Hurray!!!! A huge weight has been lifted, stress relieved, and life can resume it’s usual pace – kind of haha. I’m still striving to find balance, a loving and healthy relationship, and time to train Buttercup as a therapy dog – but I’m confident it’ll all happen when it’s supposed to happen. Will update more soon!


This week has been all about making positive changes, choices, and progress! I have lost 3 lbs in the last two weeks – thanks to Shakeology and working hard during my daily workouts. I’ve also, somewhat unfortunately, decided that I don’t think I can be with Chuck again. It was an amazing 6 months, and I really thought that maybe I had found someone who really understood me and wanted to be with me. But he’s had a complete personality change after this episode, he’s made it pretty clear that I’m not a priority and neither is Buttercup. And that’s fine. I just want all my stuff back, to give him his, and to move on – idk if he’ll let that happen, but one can only hope. He acts like everything is fine between us one minute, if something I say is taken slightly the wrong way or I’m not as enthusiastic about something as he wants me to be, he blows up at me. He’s taking out all his anger on me – but he can be nice and have fun with everyone else – his family and all his friends. I know he’s going through a lot, but I can’t take this for the rest of my life. It’s not fair to me, at all.

It’s also extremely unfair to poor Buttercup. Every day for the past month, she has sat at the door from around 4:30-5pm, waiting for him to come home from work. When he doesn’t appear, she cries and gives up. A few days ago, she looked at the door at around 4:30, whined, and then laid down on the couch. It breaks my heart more to see her so sad, but she’s bonding a lot more with me now, and I like that. I will take care of her, Sammy, and Jackson. We will all be fine, and we don’t need him – especially not if he’s going to act nice one minute and like a complete ass the next. I’m tired of being treated like that, and I feel like I’m being emotionally manipulated into waiting and hoping it will work when he’s nice, just to have my hopes crushed again and again when he blows up at me for no reason.

In happier news, yesterday I went to church for the first time down here. I really loved the place I went, and I’m planning to go back next week. They also have a lot of college and graduate students during the school year, so I’m excited for that and might join a small group to get to know more people. Everyone was really really nice, and I really felt welcomed and like I was at church at home – well almost, haha. I also took Sammy for his weekly 2 mile walk – lately I’ve been adding short bursts of running. We ran a mile!! A slow one, but it happened and even though we both felt dead afterwards, it was awesome! I finally feel like I’m back on track with my life, and that things are going to get better and change. It’s just going to take some hard work and time. I’ve been reading The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, I’m not super far into yet but it’s really been helping. It’s funny that I needed a book to tell me something like small positive choices will add up to make a large positive result over enough time. Today I’m all set to finish another book, do my PiYo workouts, have my shake, and get stuff done!! 😀 Hope everyone else’s weeks have started off great as well!


So, as I mentioned in the Etsy post – I’ve been starting some new things this summer. Chuck and I are working through some problems, and I’m trying to do some things that are just for me. Because, let’s be honest – everyone needs some me time. To quote a fellow grad student here at UA – “If you don’t question you’re abilities, everything you want to do, and why you’re even in grad school at least once, then you aren’t doing grad school right.” This is, somewhat unfortunately, an extremely true statement. Graduate school is supposed to be a learning experience – and part of that experience is learning more about yourself, what you really want to do, and what qualifies you to be here. For some people, that may be too hard, or they may not really belong in graduate school – which is a reality many people must face. For me, graduate school has been hard, but it’s something that I do actually enjoy – I enjoy my research, the courses, the relationships I’m building with professors and fellow students, and in teaching (something I never thought I would enjoy). The important thing to remember is that you have support – your advisers, your cohort mates, friends, family, significant others, children (if you have them) – and that your support network is there to support you! Sometimes, that means admitting that you’re having a hard time and utilizing that network to get some advice or just have a friend to talk to.

Now, onto what I’ve been doing this summer to focus on me. There are small and large things that you can do – some of them seem superficial, but that shouldn’t be as big of a concern. Do things that make you happy. I’ve been deep cleaning, organizing, and rearranging my apartment – I moved the bed to a different wall, got some cheesy string lights in two different colors (they match my bedding) hung up over the head board, and cleaned out my closet. I took the clothes I was getting rid of to Plato’s Closet – great idea if you are in need of some cash and have a lot of things you don’t wear or just want to get rid of – and I’m going to donate the ones they didn’t take to Goodwill. I also got a haircut yesterday – went back to the undercut but left one side and most of the back long, so it’s more me than just growing it out all the same length. I’m going home for a week and getting another tattoo while I’m there. These are all the small (and superficial seeming, to an extent) things I’m doing just for me.

The bigger things include starting my own business, changing up my fitness plan, and starting a new product from It Works!. As I already posted, I have an Etsy shop that I’m slowly stocking with all kinds of cute gifts ideas. I’ve had my first order too – a custom dish cloth order from one of my sorority sisters (see, I told you the support network is there for you!), which is really exciting. I’ve also decided to become a Beachbody Coach! I’ve been using shakeology, PiYo, and Insanity for awhile now, and I decided that I want to try and help people the way my coach (another one of my sorority sisters, and my phi director adviser) has inspired me. I’m having my “Getting Started Right” interview with her tonight and hopefully will be getting started selling products and starting my first challenge group soon! If you’re interested in learning more about the company, send me a message or an email! I’ve also signed up to be a street rep for Fresh Junky Clothing company – if you check out their website you can use my code MNSHN363 to get a discount! (Yes, I know, I’m a bit moonshine obsessed, hehe) Finally, I have a friend that sells It Works! products, and she needed a product tester for Confianza – an anti anxiety/greater focus supplement. Since I’m really not interested in prescription anti anxiety meds, I thought I’d give it a shot and see how it goes – so I’ll be letting all of you know as well, since I’m sure there are people out there in the wide world of the internet who might be interested in using it!

That’s pretty much all I’ve got for this post – I have a few more update posts in the works ;). I’ve also started contacting PhD programs (yikes!), so I’ll have a post about that once I’ve contacted them all and narrowed down the list a little bit. Stay happy and healthy, dear readers!

Etsy Shop!

Well, I have re-opened my Etsy shop and had my first sale! I’m also preparing a post overload of sorts for your (hopeful) reading pleasure, so stay tuned for that! Eventually I want to have all kinds of fun gift ideas in the shop, but for right now it’s hand crocheted dishcloths and potholders, some hand stamped cards, and a few candles. I’m working on some metal stamped jewelry, that I’ll hopefully be able to have out soon! Check out the shop and if you have any custom orders, please feel free to message me about it!


Staying Busy This Summer

Well, after a very busy Memorial Day weekend and a big week ahead, I thought I should do an update. Over the weekend we went just about everywhere – Chuck’s dad’s, the range, outdoor stores, the gym, shopping. I also had a movie night with Allyson! We watched Manhunter and Silence of the Lamb’s! Then yesterday Chuck and I helped his grandfather did a pipeline ditch for the waterlines into their new little Honey Store building – which was more fun for me than anone else I think, because I just love to dig, haha. Then we ended our Medmorial Day celebration by watching Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot. 

We didn’t do too much celebrating in the traditional sense – Chuck had a very hard weekend. As a veteran he is always thinking about the friends and officers who died serving with him, but there are times when that pain is worse on him. This weekend was especially hard for him, because he was thinking a lot about a sargeant who had particularly looked out for him and had kind of taken him under his wing who died in combat. It was the saddest I’ve seen him in the 6 months we’ve been together. There are several veterans in my family – including my grandfather and brother, but I have never really experienced helping anyone with PTSD before we got together. It’s never easy, and I know I say the wrong thing or ask the wrong kinds of questions of him a lot, and sometimes it’s very hard on me too. I just try to keep a focus on how we feel about each other and that he’s not angry at me, he’s just angry, which helps in many situations. I like to think that maybe I have helped him in some way just by being there and listening to him when he needs to yell, or talk about things. I just hope that I can be what he needs me to be, because he’s done so much to deserve an easier life, even though that may not be the reality now.

Anyway, on to some happier notes. I got in some of my fall textbooks and have been staying on track with my comp studying. Allyson and I have been doing a “book club” of just the two of us. We read The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove a couple of weeks ago, and now we’re about to start The Last Juror by John Grisham (in honor of Father’s Day, since both of our dads love Grisham). Writing Group is also picking up, so I hope to have somemore updates on articles and research to post about soon! I’ve also been trying to revamp and reopen my etsy shop – so look forward to some more info about that as well! Lastly, but not least, Chuck, all three pups, and I will be heading for a visit to Virginia this weekend! We’re heading out Thursday night to spend the weekend with my parents and do some fishing and shooting hopefully – so I will do a full recap of that, and probably post some pics of the trip while we’re there. Hope all of you had a great Memorial Day Weekend!