Author: Sarah Shafer

Happy Hearts In BWI

Work trips are always interesting. They are unique in that you meet municipal officials, encounter local flair, and travel a large area. My most recent trip to Baltimore was highly productive. Meaning? I literally saw my sites, the hotel, and Whole Foods across the street.

During my stay in Silver Springs, I ventured out one evening and experienced multicultural dance aerobics in the street, a vast array of food options (which we all know I did not participate), amazing clearance purchase of two pairs of compression running pants, and a very strange 5 lane road system with three alternating directional lanes. Yes, you bet I was mega confused with the fact there were absolutely no turning lanes yet a signal head hovering; a signal head that I, out of habit, maneuvered my vehicle in front of awaiting a green arrow. Luckily, the old man who chose not to hit me head on, gave me a warm east coast welcome and a quick lesson in local transportation culture using only his hands. A very talented man. All that being said; I really did like the Silver Springs area, I’d go back.

After 4 days of work, I won’t lie, when I woke up Saturday morning, I was really ready to be home. I booked the earliest non-stop flight and said farewell to the Marriott staff and headed across the sky bridge. This is the moment when I really felt I was in Baltimore, more importantly that I was not in Kansas (or Florida) anymore. I was walking in the hotel parking garage and I notice a bag with some brown broken glass, “Wonder why someone would break beer bottles in their backpack? Weird…” and marched onward. Then I notice a handbag on the trunk of a car, “Oh no someone dropped their bag last night, must have been a good night. That’s nice someone set their stuff up, hope they are happy to find their stuff.” and still continued toward my vehicle. Then another car with some glass and that’s when it hit me…I’m slow with reality, rose colored glass remember?!…wait for it…”OMG THESE CARS HAVE BEEN BURGALRIZED! WHAT IS GOING ON?” It was only when I saw a travel bag and a work computer bag trashed that I remembered the PSA we regularly ignore in real life.

Thank you. You are welcome.

Luckily my rental was fine. The Good-Samaritan in me struggled with the All-About-Me tantrum and won. I made sure to call and report to the police and I took pictures, just in case (okay, not really, I was just being nosy and thought it was intriguing). The police were definitely uninterested and my time was wasted similarly as if I called to order a pizza from Chinese take-out.

And we as society wonder why we have bystander issues.

But…the best part of my Baltimore experience was the airport. Groggy and probably catching a bit of a cold, I patiently waited for the plane in my A2 spot secretly contemplating if 10AM is too early to use my drink coupon. Don’t judge, Summer Shandy is available for a limited time! I boarded, let Adam know we were pushing off…aaaaand then we sat. We sat for a while. I began to get a little worried only because no one was saying anything. I even looked at the construction contractors in the area to make sure they weren’t shutting down shop and running for cover. Seriously. Our trouble turned out to be due to communication towers and radar system malfunctions…ironic for someone who just completed site visits on communications towers. While our plane was fine, our pilot was ready, our crew was entertaining, we would have been flying dark, which if you think about it, would be incredibly dumb. I for one was super excited to be grounded given the circumstances.

My excitement was not shared by others.

The anger and frustration spewed from strangers. I observed in amazement the joy some folks felt from throwing their anger towards others in a situation that is completely out of everyone’s control. The planes were operational. The pilots were rested. The crew was prepared. We were in a cool building with access to food, water AND clean bathrooms. I mean seriously, pretty golden in my book. Yet the complaining, finger pointing and the “what about me” complex was visible and incredibly ugly.

While there were far more distraught than content, I did encounter some beautiful folks who were making lemonade out of the lemons we were all handed by the FAA. My comfortable Advocare long sleeve shirt attracted some looking for a Spark and some looking to exchange positive conversation about the craziness of the day. I welcomed the icebreaker my shirt provided and the positive people it attracted to start conversation.

A family with three children…the children were playing nicely, dancing, and practicing yoga “just like mom” which was more like bear walks. The mom and dad were calm, sitting hand in hand, watching their kids be kids and encouraging their creativity.

A young man on his way home…thankful he had vacation time to visit family speaking fondly of his job at Dell.

A mom with a daughter…on her way to help her move to Kansas University jokes about the checklists she was texting and how she would just be so busy at home, it may be a blessing to be grounded at BWI where you can’t even rent a car to drive the distance overnight.

Just to name the memorable but here was one that left me feeling like happiness as first choice still thrives.

A pilot…impacted me on a personal level. There are still genuinely nice strangers out there. People still enjoy talking about the happy things in life. We talked about Advocare, running, and family. He shared with me his wife’s incredible feat of completing half marathons, while making sure I was fully aware he was NOT a runner. He was so proud when he talked about his wife. You could see it in his eyes. You could also see his disappointment that he would not be home to meet her and their daughter for dinner at Disney World. He spoke kindly and softly about his daughter. Proud of what she has overcome and the young lady she is becoming. That guy and his family are people I would want to call friends in my world.

You don’t hear that much these days. Love and admiration. You hear about the struggles of children and the complaints of a spouse.


Why do we choose to focus on complaining and negativity as a source of enjoyment? Why do we feel as though we cannot speak fondly of our family, demonstrate pride of our successes, or have a kind ear when listening to someone’s story?

After 18 hours of BWI fun, I ended up in Atlanta for the night, stranded and exhausted, looking for a hotel room. I chose to happily discuss a hotel option with Southwest’s services and she even mentioned how refreshingly cheerful I was given the situation. I simply explained, situation isn’t anything I could control and nothing you can fix, but you can help me with a room and no one can be angry about that! You know what? I don’t even care if my sincerity had nothing to do with anything, but she took a few extra moments and found me a discount code for “distress traveler” to save my company money. I thanked her and then looked over at a family still smiling only to see the dad GLARING at me and telling his kids to get comfortable because this is what it is like to be stranded! The glare continued the day’s theme…still baffled, perplexed, bewildered with the individual choice to be happy or angry. Why is this so difficult for people in public? Internal struggle is totally different subject. Publicly happy should be easy. Happy is light, warm, and comfortable. Who doesn’t want to feel all those things? Fake it till we make it? What do we accomplish with anger? Why would we want to make someone feel shadowed, cold and isolated?

I cannot say I have ALWAYS handled situations with a happy heart. But I can say I do take moments to breathe and think. I take a moment to decide how I am going to project my energy into the world.

Take a moment to choose happiness and passing positive attitude forward.

It is contagious, I promise. I encourage everyone to take 10 seconds to think about how you would love to feel when communicating and connecting with people…do that. And if you really do embrace anger…well…that’s just not awesome and I don’t want to meet you or be your friend. The end.

The Power of the 5K

The 5K is an introductory distance.  It is the most empowering distance that gives a person a sense of accomplishment and curiosity as to what could be next in their athletic ambitions.  It is a distance that takes more perseverance to achieve equal to that of a marathon.  Yes.  I said it.  A 5K is as difficult to achieve as a marathon.  Why?  Because running is hard!  So if you have ever tried to get into running and after about getting to two miles you think eff this!  You are not alone.  If you want some encouragement to get past that 5K, push through a 10K and find your self loving half marathons, I’m here for you.

I forgot how difficult it is to get to a 5K.  Once you run for a while, 3 miles seems like a warm up.  Then you take too much time off and well, starting over is the only place to begin.  My current inspiration is drawn from my mom, my friend Gwen, and others who have reached out to share with me their achievement of their first 5K.  Heck, my mom had a PR in CROCKS, yes Crocks shoes.  I am overwhelmed with acknowledging that my love of running has inspired others and now, as I remember how to get back out there, you inspire me.  Thank you.  So here is where I remembered to begin and how I got back into the love of my own 5K glory.

1. Love your gear.  Be comfortable in your clothing. shoes, and equipment.  People tend to just “make do” and feel guilty for wanting gear.  I say hogwash!  If you feel comfortable, you are confident, you are ready to keep going.  Warning, you may find yourself changing your favorite gear as you change up your running levels.  I started out loving yoga pants, t-shirts, a ponytail, and an arm band for my phone.  Little by little my clothing preferences changed to tights, tank tops, a bun, and a belt.

2. Run to your own beat…or find a program to help you explore your style.  I tend to just get out there and run.  But getting back into my happy pace included a lot of excuses to keep me on the couch.  Adam and I decided to start with a Couch2-5K program.  This helped us with accountability, a schedule, and getting into a habit.  One morning, after a few weeks using the app, we hit 3.1 miles using a walk-run method and my body yearned to pick up the pace for another half an hour.  It was then I knew I had found my happy pace again.  Ultimately, I eased back into my three days a week schedule.

3. Listen to your body but know that your mind is usually the one who entices sedentary behavior.  The battle is REAL between your fit and your lazy self.  So encourage the fit self to be stronger than the little voice that says to walk or stop.  Reward your lazy self on your rest days.  Look forward to them and plan them accordingly.

4. Eat well to feel awesome.  When you pick great food, you will choose to stay active longer.  Your body will just love feeling good and will want to stay feeling that way.

5. Enjoy your surroundings.  If you prefer a treadmill, awesome.  But if you are like me, outdoors is where I need to be.  But if running around your neighborhood is boring like my old block was 2 miles MAYBE so running that loop 5 times felt like torture, find a new spot!  Make a destination of it.  People like to go to the gym because they like the surroundings.  Runners like to find their spot be it downtown or at a park.  At time it IS about where you are.

6. Just keep at it.  If you end up loving to walk, just keep walking.  Add in some running here and there until you are adding in more running than walking.  Might sound odd, but do stuff while you walk to keep your mind off of the activity.  Adam likes to listen to books.  My friend Jess likes music.  I like to people/traffic watch or run TO a destination to for an errand (no pun intended) or get a treat.

I know this all sounds so simple.  But take time to be in wonder and awe that your body can move when you want it to and it will respond with strength and resiliency.  The runners high isn’t for everyone, but you will feel the amazing effects of exercise and finding time to turn off the daily grind.  Soon a 5K will feel like a walk in the park and an accomplishment to smile over!

A Challenge on Travel – Day 10

Day 10 and the final day of the cleanse phase!  While I have a bit more to go to get back to myself, I cannot believe how incredible I feel after 10 days, just 10 simple days to erase two months of struggle…during a very busy business trip.  Staying at a Marriott Residence Inn helped give a few more options than the typical hotel room as it is equipped with a full sized refrigerator, a two burner range, and a microwave but a very large majority of food was eaten at restaurants.

Restaurant choices take will power and at times don’t have options that meet all your cleanse needs, but overall, fairly easy to stay on track.  I still ate at every meal and if options didn’t meet the cleanse needs, I didn’t treat it like the end of the world.  You do the best you can with what you have in front of you.  My co-workers and clients were not aware that I was on a cleanse as there was nothing dramatically different or restricted.  This peaked their interest in Advocare!  I am amazed at the immediate assumption that a cleanse must be the epitome of food angst and requires a permanent appointment with the toilet. UM, no thank you on whatever cleanse they are referencing.  The pride in the company I promote is indescribable.  The products work and they are meant for normal, real people…with normal, real lives…with normal, real budgets.  No expensive programs with expensive foods.  THIS IS DOABLE!  Anywhere, anytime, for everyone who is looking for a personal wellness journey.

I encourage you, if you have been thinking about a change but unsure where to start, Advocare may be for you.  Lifestyle changes are never overnight and they take patience and persistence.  Advocare helps by offering products that work with your food and your body to help keep you motivated, the people are so energetic and encouraging who are always excited for you to continue your journey, and you get to eat…a lot…of real amazing food :)

Day 10

Sausage, egg, strawberries

Beef Enchilada

Peanut butter and apple slices

Brats and veggies
Chocolate Chip Cookies

Weight 129 lbs
Height 5’9″
Chest 31″
Waist 25″
Hips 38″
Thigh Lower 19″
Thigh Upper 22″

Cleanse phase wiped away 6 pounds and 6 total inches in 10 days while on travel.  I am so excited to get back to my personal normal wellness and fitness levels…one day at a time.  Critiques will wonder why I couldn’t workout more, or eat better, or say no to a few adult beverages and sure, I guarantee that my results could have been more dramatic and I could have done more.  But that isn’t the point of this blog.  The point is that with the best products, the best choices, and the most exercise I could manage, I am closer to obtaining my personal wellness goals than if I had put off my start date another two weeks.

A Challenge on Travel – Day 9

A terrific Tuesday in the books.  Project review and site walks today with some down time.  I am a bit conflicted with the down time.  I enjoy having the opportunity to enjoy Florida, but feel a bit guilty for it at the same time.  I am not experiencing anything new, but I’m still experiencing the beach without my best friend, my Adam.  I know he is home doing his thing, hanging out with his friends, and enjoying his time.  I’m not sure why, aside from the fact my personality is a together type of personality, I get so sad when I have so much beauty around me to enjoy.  I pulled myself together, got in the car, and went to the beach.  It rained all morning so the sky was over cast with the sun peaking through, the sand was compacted and easy to walk on, the water was warm with waves that spoke of storms to come.  I enjoyed my floating time in the ocean with a swim.  I won’t have many other ocean opportunities in the coming months for these moments.  So I allowed myself to enjoy and the sadness dissipated.

Day 9

Peanut butter and whole grain toast

Spinach, tomato, chicken, and pesto flat bread with tomato soup

Mixed greens salad with chicken and tomatos

Ocean Swim
Slider Set
20 Mountain Climbers
20 In/Outs
10 Caterpillars

A Challenge on Travel – Day 8

Monday…even on travel they are grunty.  Our site walk schedule was based on others today.  We have a few escorts that required specific meeting times and that means there were moments of extended down time to get caught up.  While I may not have enjoyed walking sites in the heat of the day, I did enjoy the mid morning break to finish up some additional paperwork and take my inhaler.  Not sure what was up with the weather or air today, but I needed some extra treatments.  MAYBE I pushed my “light” activity the past few days, but this felt more like weather than physical.  I decided I would take it easy today, all around.

As I was not feeling well…I hit up some comfort food at lunch today.  I’m sure I could have worked around the menu, but it was a pizzeria.  And I love pizza.  #sorrynotsorry  Knowing that I will probably regret this decision tomorrow, my order went in as quickly as possible as if that demonstrated my commitment to pizza.  Do I recommend pizza?  No, never ever.  Do we all have a food friend we just can’t say no to?  Yes, and for me that friend is pizza.  While not a true justification, I told myself, “at least it was a fiber day.”

 Day 8

Peanut butter and apple slices

Personal sized pizza

Avocado salad and a beef enchilada

Carrots and snap peas with Italian dressing and sliced almonds

A Challenge on Travel – Day 7

Day 7 of the classic cleanse means one more day until the FIBER DRINK IS BACK!  Okay, I maybe I’m the only person out there who loves the fiber drink, but seriously I do enjoy the fiber drink.  Especially when I don’t have my MNS.  Just keeps me feeling great.  Let’s celebrate that day 8 is just around the corner.

Today was a “me” day and away from work and the hotel.  I ran my virtual run for the 5K Romp.  I had breakfast on my own.  I did my nails.  I traveled to Clearwater to see my brother in-law and his wife, Justin and Rachael.  Seeing Justin and Rachael was absolutely amazing.  I have been so homesick, seeing family and walking the beach helped remedy my Adam-blues.  I definitely am NOT missing Kansas, missing my Adam and pets, yes.  Hotel life just isn’t my thing, although I do accomplish many tasks in the chore-free solitude, I’m still in solitude.

While my day was full of many wonderfully relaxing things, I just couldn’t keep my chill.  I did end up doing work when I returned for a few hours in my hotel room.

Day 7

Breakfast wrap and hot tea

Planters NutTrition Mix and Apple Slices


Frenchy’s grouper nuggets with buffalo wing sauce

Spinach Salad with snap peas, carrots, sausage crumbles

5K Virtual Race in a sauna style workout facility
(oh I was very much wishing for 45 degree Leavenworth weather)

A Challenge on Travel – Day 6

Day 6 and I’m back on cloud nine.  I cannot believe how great I feel…and the results so far! Teaser alert stats below.  I think back to just a week ago and I’m just so thankful I did not put this off any longer.  While my sleeping is still not sound or for prolonged periods of time, I did force myself to go back to sleep after 4:55AM hit and after 6:45 hit.  But I couldn’t make it much longer.  I got up and around but took it easy in the hotel room.  Read a little more Andy Andrews and watched some TLC TV…which amazes me what is on TV these days.  The hotel has digital cable or dish or something, but it skips a lot so it doesn’t stay on much.  Which is okay by me, but I wonder about everyone else who really loves their television.

Today was a good day.  I got out and about to see some of the beautiful areas that surround the communications towers that I have been inventorying for work.  Initially, I wanted to find my face lotion.  Yes, face lotion…what?  I forgot mine and my face is already reacting to Nutrogena’s sensitive skin sunscreen.  Well I got super frustrated trying to find a specific store and came up on a beggar at the stoplight.  Without hesitation, I grabbed two waters and two granola bars from my backpack and handed it to her.  I realized at that moment, I’ll just drive around giving out food and water.  It’s what I know.  It is what I did when I lived in Florida.  Each interchange has someone looking for food or work.  I always had granola bars and water in my car…sometimes a bag of apples, just for them.  So I did that for a few hours instead of buying dumb face lotion.  My pimples and Rosacea can wait…I can’t imagine being thirsty.

Then I went to the beach.  I know…tough day, right?

Day 6

Sausage, eggs, fruit

Hamburger with lettuce and tomato
(no bun and NO PICKLES!)

Sunset Salad with Grouper
(fancy house salad with farm to table like everything)

Another day where additional snacks just didn’t feel necessary

Restorative Yoga

Weight (no scale)
Height 5’9″
Chest 31″
Waist 25″
Hips 38″
Thigh Lower 19″
Thigh Upper 22.5″

Day 6 and I’m down 5 inches overall.  BOOOOM.  And no loss in my boobies or booty so my Adam will give that two thumbs up! HA!  I just love feeling like myself again.

A Challenge on Travel – Day 5

Hopping back on after day 4 was easy peasy.  One thing I’ve learned is that no matter what, a new day is a new beginning.  Regardless.  Can’t think about yesterday, don’t dwell on it.  Love the fact that the sun rises everyday with a promise to get up and get going.

Day 5

Meal Replacement Shake

Salmon on a bed of salad with veggies, fruits, and pecans.  New dressing was tried: Tomato Pesto…kind of like Italian but tomato-y, soooo good.

Steak, smashed sweet potato, green beans

Wasn’t feeling snacks.
Between the heat (death heat was upon us) and all the food from the night before, I was completely satisfied and full with the spread I had above.

2 Mile Run
25 Situps
25 Right Oblique Crunches
25 Left Oblique Crunches
25 Push-ups
REPEAT 3 TIMES (run not included)

Sleep.  Let’s talk about z’s.  Sleep is incredibly important on the cleanse, and every other day for that matter.  But so important in a time where you are asking your body to restart.  I will be the first to admit, my sleep patterns are not great.  I get 4-6 hours of sleep on average during the week days and 8-10 on the weekends (Friday/Saturday).  SOMETIMES I’ll get 12 hours if my body says so.  Tonight I’m wide awake because someone is getting married and they are partying hard with their family after the rehearsal dinner.  I can’t blame them and honestly, I enjoy hearing them even though my eyes burn with exaustion.  The only think I can think while I sit and watch the clock roll over 2AM is that lately I’ve been up at 4:55 on the dot in my hotel room.  I haven’t quite figured out why.  But I tend to wake up when I get too warm or the room becomes too bright.  At 4:55 we aren’t discussing bright, so I will try to mess with the thermostat tonight.  I have not been sleeping like I should and I’m feeling the effects.

A Challenge on Travel – Day 4

Okay, so truth…day 4 is my toughest.  In the “old” cleanse, it is the first day without fiber, which typically makes a huge difference in how I feel about food.  Today started out great food and nutrition wise.  Everything up to lunch was right on track.  Life wise, it was a bit of a stressful day.  Full of phone calls and on site politics.  Struggle with an escort who believes the best three lunch choices for our team is McDonald’s, Chick-Fil-a, or Chinese Buffet. And by 4PM the unanimous vote was for a wind down evening at the beach.  Being out with clients and your project team, creates an incredible space where will power is a struggle.  The indulge occurred.  It is 2PM and after a few Kona Big Waves and an enjoyable visit to the beach, I am at the hotel thinking I should be sleeping.

While today was not a winning day while on the cleanse, it was a day of getting to know my coworkers and my client for a successful two year project.  I will wake up in a few hours with a new day and new choices to conquer.

Outside of my current goals, being on travel brings a host of emotions.  Today is the first day I missed home immensely.  The tricky part is which HOME do I miss more…Florida or Kansas?  Hands down I miss my Adam and our pets, but after that…I still miss Florida.  Three years later, Florida still feels like home.  The smell, the heat (yes, the heat), the water, the life of just the two of us.  I miss it.  I know with our newest move, Adam is helping me get back to my roots, my family, my Adam.  And I’m ready to come home.  10 Days.

A Challenge on Travel – Day 3

Day 3 and I’m getting antsy to measure! I’m feeling great and I am surprised.  I didn’t think this would go as well as it has…honestly.  But the day is done and here is how it went!  The morning was long.  We started site walks at 8AM and continued without a break until 2PM which was an amazing lunch on the beach.

Day 3

Meal Replacement Shake

NutTrition Mix, Peanut Butter Pretzels

Bison Burger and broccoli
(no bun and NO PICKLES!…because pickles are ew!)

Fresh Fruit
(I may have broke my golden rule or “pair with a protein” but my satisfaction was awesome and that is a win in my book! No cravings, no worries.)

Buffalo Wild Wings Chicken

Power blast workout
10 Pushups
10 Mountain Climbers (brought sliders from home)
10 Sit ups
10 Toe Reaches (sit ups with legs in air, reach to touch your toes)
30 Second stretch