My new life and lessons in progress

I had grand plans of posting along the way and keeping the blog updated as I traveled 2200 miles across the country but instead, I just let go of the blog for a little while and LIVED, and enjoyed the ride.  Let me tell you, it was marvelous.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my little blog (and the 3 people who still read it) but it was nice to not think about writing content, or taking time away from living to sit at the computer.  I believe I will be doing that more and more.  I’ll still update and I’ll always write, because let’s face it, I love it.  It will just be when I have time and on no specific schedule and that is okay.

I’m learning so much about myself and the person I still want to become.  I’m learning the art of saying “no” because let’s face it, every time you say “yes” to something, you give up minutes, hours, even days of your life.  You don’t get those back.  So, I’m learning to make every yes count, and every time I say no to something, I make room for an all important yes somewhere else.  I’m learning that sometimes you have to say no to things that could be fun and exciting so that you can always say yes to what is most important.  The great thing is that each of us gets to decide what is most important and worthy of that yes.

I am learning that busy does not equal productive.  I’m learning that silence is good and being alone is awesome.  I’m also learning that communication is key and companionship is precious.  I’m learning to love more freely and accept more openly.  I’m learning that a smile and a kind word go a long way.  I’m learning to stop and smell the roses and to slow down and enjoy every minute of every day.  I’m learning that I have so much to give and that everyone and everything has value.  I’m learning to truly live and love.  I’m learning to slow my pace and be more aware.  I’m learning that everyone has a past and we all deserve a bright future.  I’m learning to embrace my past and accept my mistakes and to truly learn from them.  I’m learning that when you start making changes in your life, you will upset others in the process.  I’m learning that you cannot allow the opinions of others to dictate how you live your life.  Most importantly,

I’m learning to love me.

When you make some of the decisions that I have made in the past year and change your life so drastically, you have to expect a lot of backlash.  In the past year, I have had more major changes than you can imagine. You may have already read a few others from early 2013 like my pregnancy and miscarriage. But here are a few more for the past year:

Quit drinking.  After years of battling with myself over this, I finally quit drinking.  I started going to AA and that program helped me change my life.  My faith was huge in the process as well, but following the steps in AA really made me get honest with myself and that was something I had been avoiding for years.  Getting honest with myself also led me to the next big decision.

Got divorced from the man I had started dating when I was 18, and married at 22.  After nearly 13 years of marriage and 16 years together, we called it quits.  I will never use this blog to discuss any details of the why and will only say that it was my decision and I caused my ex an enormous amount of pain and humiliation with how I handled things.  That being said, it was the best decision and the right decision and I only wish him the best.  He was and is an amazing man and I know he will go on to find the perfect woman for him. One that will be all the things he needs and wants and one far better than I ever was.  That is all I will ever say of that – PERIOD.

Made the decision to leave Florida and start a new life in Arizona with my boyfriend.  After living in the same state for my entire life, 35 years, the state where almost all of my family and friends live, making the decision to move was not one I took lightly.  Moving across the country with a new boyfriend, after having just divorced, well I’m not stupid, I know how it looks.  That being said, it was the best decision I could have made and I did so with a true peace in my heart.

Quit the job I had been at for 8 years in order to move across the country.  I truly had it made at work.  I worked for an attorney that had been in practice for over 30 years and decided he wanted to go off on his own and start his own firm and I’m grateful that he asked me to come along.  I had only worked for him for a couple months when that decision was made and less than a year from my start date, he opened his own firm.  Working for someone for that amount of time brings a closeness and a bond and he was a good man.  The firm was small – just he and I.  He was the most honest attorney you will ever meet.  Brilliant and witty, understanding and generous.  I was blessed with that amazing job and it was a torturous decision to quit to move to Arizona.  I know I made the right decision but will miss my attorney, that job and will forever be grateful for what he taught me in those 8 years.  Lessons that will carry me far in life.

So you see, I sort of made some radical changes in the past year.  I’m now living in Arizona, 2200 miles away from friends and family, in a State where I have only my boyfriend and his friends to surround myself with.  I came here not really knowing anyone – except a few of his friends I had gotten to know “through Facebook” – if that counts.  I don’t yet have friends here – not in the true sense of the word since no one knows me yet. I have no family here.  I have a job lined up but have not started yet.  My life has changed directions drastically, dramatically and seemingly in an instant.  But instead of being scared and sad, I’m excited and happier than I have ever been.  Please don’t take that as me saying I don’t miss my friends and family.  That is not the case.  I miss them very much.  But as a 35-year-old woman, I have finally decided to live my life FOR ME.  I prayed about my decision and I have a peace about where I am, who I am with and this journey that I am on.  I’m excited for what the future holds and I’m in a relationship with someone who I never thought was possible.  I’m with someone who truly lets me be me – 100%.  I’m with someone who shares and communicates with me and loves me with a fierceness that seems almost tangible.  I’m with someone who challenges me and encourages me.  I’m with someone who knows all my flaws, all my sins, all my shortcomings and failures.  He knows all the dirty secrets of my marriage and the person I was and had been.  He knows about my drinking and all the stupid and reckless things I have done in my past because of drinking.  And yet he still loves me, still chose me, still admires and respects me.  That kind of honesty in a relationship is amazing, a true gift.  To know that you can tell the person you are with ANYTHING and EVERYTHING and work through it all – well I just can’t describe how awesome that is for me.

I’ve lost friendships and family relationships over my decisions.  That part hurts.  But change scares people.  Sometimes by making a change in your own life, you make someone else examine their life and what they see may scare them.  I’m taking control of my life and I think it scares people.  But I can’t allow the feelings of someone else to dictate my life.  Just like I can’t tell someone else how they should live their life and what is right for them. The flip side to that is that I have had many come to me and tell me they admire and respect my decisions.  So many have said they are too scared or too weak to make necessary changes in their own lives.  Whether its addressing a drinking problem or a marital issue or a dead-end job – too many people are scared to take control.  The right decision is not always the easy decision.  Making the right decision is always right though.

This turned into a much deeper post than it was intended so if you made it this far, I applaud you.  I’ll try to wrap this up with a pretty bow and move on.  With all of these changes in my life, expect a different tone to my blog, expect new adventures and life lessons and expect honesty as I start over in a new place, with a new man and start loving myself again.  I plan on living life to the fullest out here.  I plan on getting stronger, and healthier, physically, emotionally and spiritually and I plan to grow as a person in every way that I can.  I’ve lived in an unhappy place for too long, and now is the time for me to truly live and be free and happy!

I hope you will stick around for the ride.

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Arizona Living

I know I owe you a post on my cross country move to Arizona and I promise I will get to it but for now, I am getting settled in and having some fun. I just wanted to a least share a few pictures!





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Moving Day!

After 35 years in the great State of Florida, it is finally time to say goodbye. This will always be where I am from, but I am on to make my home somewhere else.


See you in a few days…in a brand new state!

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Becoming a Minimalist vs. Minimizing My Life

Becoming a minimalist vs. Minimizing my life

I doubt I could tell you the first time I ever heard the word “minimalist” or that when I did hear it, I gave it much thought.  I’m sure I thought it was some strange hippie thing and didn’t give it another thought.  The reason for that may or may not surprise you. You see I was a HUGE over consumer a/k/a shopaholic a/k/a spent money I didn’t have on things I didn’t need.  I can fully admit that I was a binge shopper.  You know what a binge eater is, right? Well, I was a binge shopper.  Upset, depressed, sad, bored – I would go shopping.

I LOVE pretty things.  Purses, jewelry, stationery, shoes (oh Lord, the shoes…), trinkets and knick knacks – I love it all.  I had every “space-saving” device known to man.  My plant shelves were straight out of Kirklands or Home Goods.  Target was my playground and don’t even get me started on DSW, Ross, TJMaxx, etc.  Ulta, CVS or Walgreens? I could go a year without buying hair, make up or skin car products with the amount of items under my sink.  I was always out for a good deal, and believe me, I found AMAZING deals.

But at what cost?  How many shoes does one person REALLY need?  How about flip-flops?  How many is too many?  I was the girl who had the same shirt in 8 colors and 15 pair of flip-flops – 4 of which might be black but different so it was ok.  How many purses can one person realistically use?  I think you get my point here.

The past few years have been difficult for me and I have done a lot of soul-searching and learning about myself and truly getting honest with myself in a ton of areas.  Part of my “come to Jesus” moment with spending was having to file bankruptcy in 2012.  I prided myself on having good credit, paying my bills on time, maintaining a well-paying job and having nice things, etc., so it was very humiliating to have to admit how far I had let things go with my spending.  I have held great jobs over the past 16 years.  Even as a 20-year-old working customer service for Capital One, I made great money.  But even with the good, steady income, I let my over consumption of stuff become a huge setback and stumbling block in my life.  We live in a consumption-based society and I was joining in big time.  And I wasn’t just spending on me. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays – I splurged on everyone!  Sure, there were some extenuating circumstances that helped push me to bankruptcy, but ultimately, I have myself to blame.

In August of last year, I decided I had to stop drinking.  I fully admitted that I was powerless over alcohol at that point in my life and had been for a very long time and that I needed to do something about it.  Did I WANT to quit drinking? No.  Did I realize my NEED to quit drinking? Yes, thankfully I did. You see God gave me ONE FINAL chance.  He gave me a moment where it was obvious that He was saying, “you either stop drinking and get it together, or you are going to kill yourself or someone else”. August 18, 2013 is my sobriety date and the beginning of a journey that has changed the course of my life.

AA is an amazing program.  I started going to AA the week I decided to get sober and I didn’t miss a meeting for 5 months.  But something happened to me when I started working the steps and really working the program.  You see part of AA is being real with yourself.  Brutally honest.  There are no more excuses, no more hiding the truth. You either embrace the program and work the steps, or you fail.  I refuse to fail, so I jumped all in, and what I had to do was face a lot of stuff I never wanted to have to face.

I will spare you my list of sins because it is long and ugly, but my point here is that although AA helped me get sober (and continue to stay sober a full year later), it also made me get real with myself in every other area of my life.  I was hiding from a ton of demons and my life was spiraling in ways I never wanted to admit.  I was queen of brushing things under the rug.  The drinking was just a small (but serious) part of the problem.  I had been running from so many things for so many years and getting honest with myself was exactly what my life needed. Drinking was just a small part of the problem.  Getting honest about the drinking made me get honest about other areas that needed work in my life and I can truly say it saved my life.  I hated the person I was before and no one knew.  I had hidden it for so long and I finally had to work on me.

Enter minimalism.  I don’t think people understand minimalism at all, and it’s frustrating at times.  Not because I want to change the world and make everyone a minimalist, but because others don’t understand it, they make assumptions about it and most of them time, they could not be further from the truth.  Getting honest about all my demons made me get honest about my over consumption and my frivolous spending habits that were not only dumb, but harmful to my financial freedom and well-being and just downright idiotic at times.  What I have finally realized at 35, is that I don’t need all the “stuff” to be happy and fulfilled. In fact, all of the stuff is a distraction to what is really important.

I was really introduced to my first minimalist when I met my boyfriend, but let me back up a tad on that.  My boyfriend has been a minimalist for almost 15 years.  That is not to say he does not have nice things, valuable things or things that hold sentimental meaning to him.  What it means is that everything he owns has a function, a purpose and fulfills a need and is useful in his life.  It also means everything he owns can fit inside his small Toyota Corolla, and then he owns a bike and motorcycle.  I’ve known my boyfriend’s mother for much longer than I have known him.  One of the first times she talked about him to me, she explained in passing that he was a minimalist.  I admit that the small bit she told me, had me thinking it was strange because I didn’t understand it at all. But then, about a year later, I met him and had the opportunity to get to know him and really see what minimalism is TO HIM.

You see minimalism is not the same for everyone.  Am I a minimalist? No.  Will I be someday? Yes, I probably will.  The journey I am on right now, is so different though.  I really love the blog Becoming Minimalist and I get so much out of Joshua’s site.  One post he wrote was about finding a rational minimalism that works for you.

“Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it.” —Joshua Becker

He does a much better job at truly explaining the concept behind minimalism and its so powerful to me, especially where I have come from with over consumption and the journey I am on right now.  You should really go read his post, all of them actually (subscribe for that matter) and I think you may get a better understanding of the concept.

I guess what I want people to understand when they hear that I am on a journey toward minimalism is that it’s MY journey, and will be defined by what minimizing my life looks like.  I also want people to know that I am not trying to pass judgment on them for their consumption needs and desires.  My life is going to look different from your life in that we all have different goals and dreams and desires.  And it’s going to be constantly evolving as we humble ourselves and grow and mature.

For me, as I look back on the past 16 years, I see a girl who has always made a great living, had nice cars, nice houses and lots of nice pretty things.  But I also see a girl trying to fill a void with stuff.  I see a girl who has nothing to show for all the hard work she put into working full-time since graduating high school.  I see a girl who has worked to pay for a car she was never going to own, only use for a few years and then roll into another one she would never own, and so on. Same thing goes for the house I had to have. One that I just sold in a short sale and that was really too much house for my needs.  What do they say now? Look for the house that fits your needs and you can afford, not the most expensive one you qualified for…something like that.  I see all the purses and shoes and clothes and knick knacks and accessories that I have sold for dirt cheap at garage sales or given away and I think of the money wasted on that STUFF. That is what pushes me to analyze my possessions, to analyze my purchases and to prioritize my time.  You see, the over consumption leads to less time for what is important.  We have to work harder to pay for the toys we have, or pay for the ones we bought on credit.  If you do buy it on credit, you end up paying more because of the interest.  That “great deal” you just got, isn’t a great deal at all if you buy it with a card that you will then have to pay interest on.  We work so hard to pay for the stuff we just had to have, but yet can’t enjoy since we have no time.  As we remove the unneeded items from our life, it should free up time for what is truly important.

Again, I want to stress that this is a personal journey for me.  If you like purses and shoes and clothes and nice cars and big houses – that is fine.  I like those things too. But at this point in my life, and the journey that I am on, I see where my priorities have been so clouded for too long.  I have missed the rainbow for the clouds, if you will.  I have missed living and giving back in my pursuit of happiness with a full cart of junk from Target.   I have been a slave to my job, sometimes a second job, in order to keep the cycle going and I’m done. I want to fill my time with experiences and living instead of filling my house and closet with useless material possessions.  I want to have time to give back, to volunteer, to work on ME, mentally, physically and spiritually.

I used to have a huge walk in closet and it was full.  I owned more than 100 pair of shoes (flip-flops, heels, boots, sneakers, etc.).  I had well over 40 purses, 15 wallets, 40 scarves, 20 belts.  I had enough shirts to probably wear a different one every day and not have to repeat for over six months. Beach towels? I had 15.  Regular towels? Enough for a household of 10.  Cups, plates, silverware, utensils, kitchen gadgets – I FILLED every space and there were just two of us and over half of it was NEVER USED. THAT is over consumption.

Here are some tips to help you minimize and simplify!

1)  If you have not worn it or used it in 6 months, get rid of it.

2) If it holds no purpose or sentimental value, get rid of it.

3) Does it add value to your life or bring enjoyment, if not, get rid of it.

I’ve been living in a small, transitional apartment for the past 6 months.  I knew I was moving to Arizona when I got that apartment.  The goal in living in such a small space (389 sq. ft.) was to save money and learn to live with less.  In that, I have learned what I really NEED, what I really USE, and what I have not touched since I moved in six months ago.  Things that I HAD TO KEEP six months ago, and that made the transition into my tiny apartment with me, are now moving to the donate/trash pile.  If I have not used it or needed it in the past six months, I doubt it needs to make the 2,200 mile trek to Arizona with me.

One other thing I wanted to touch on regarding this subject.  My blog has been my accountability for health and fitness for almost three years now (this one and my previous blog).  I have really been trying to educate myself more on what I put in my body and how I fuel and maintain my health and fitness.  I am learning so much about GMO’s, Monsanto, chemicals and dangerous ingredients hidden in so many of the products I have used and loved and the foods I consume.  I’m even finding that some of the most trusted “clean” products are sometimes full of hidden dangers.

Part of my minimizing has been eliminating all of the excess products I was hanging on to that contain these dangerous chemicals and ingredients.  I easily had a years worth of lotion, shampoo & conditioner, make up, hair products, etc. all hanging out under my sink and in the linen closet. When I went through and looked at the ingredients in so many of them, it was scary what I have been putting in and on my body for too many years.  You may think that I have become a hippie (maybe I have – I promise I shower Haley) but I have seen drastic improvements in my skin and how I feel since eliminating harmful chemicals and ingredients from my beauty regiment.  One example, I have rosacea.  Chayet commented early on, that it always seemed more agitated AFTER using one of my nice, expensive moisturizer or soaps.  I decided to experiment with it and was amazed that switching to just coconut oil for my moisturizer drastically improved my skin and my rosacea is all but gone.  I also have stopped wearing make up.  I wear no foundation, no powder or blush and only eyeliner, mascara and lip moisturizer.  My face and skin have not looked this good in years and I sometimes feel it looks even better than it ever did WITH the makeup!  Maybe its my mindset – whatever it is, I like it.  Don’t ask me to get rid of my mascara though – I’m so NOT THERE yet. =)

So this was a really long, wordy post and I apologize for that.  If you made it to the end, thank you and congratulations.  I know that this lifestyle is not for everyone, but I think we can all learn from taking a serious look at our material possessions and what we hold important.  I know the Lord has convicted me of “storing treasures on earth” (Matthew 6:19-20) and I’m hoping that with fewer distractions and stuff, I can focus again on storing up treasures in heaven.

I hope this post was informative and gives you a little glimpse into what I am trying to accomplish in my life and opens your eyes a little as to what minimalism really is all about.

My dream is to someday own and live in my very own Tiny House so I have a long way to go toward that dream, but at least I’m heading in the right direction!

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More of my Arizona Vacation

You know I couldn’t leave it with just one post about my vacation! I fully intended to get these posts up quickly but coming back from vacation, from such an amazing place, knowing I only had 3 weeks of work left….well, let’s just say there is a ton going on right now and a blog post is the last thing on my mind!  That being said, I do want it documented and want to share, so better late than never, right?! Here is a little more of my Arizona Vacation!

I left off after our amazing hike up Camelback on Friday.  Since we got such an early start, we were done with the hike by lunchtime and had the rest of the day to play.  We hit up Rubio’s for lunch (which was so fresh and delicious) and then spent the rest of the day and evening wandering around Old Town Scottsdale and checking out the shops.  We ended the evening at RA Sushi, which was so good.  It was nice to not have an agenda, to just pop into any little shop we wanted and browse around, chill in the grass and do hand stands (it’s kind of our thing), take pictures with the LOVE sign and play with the ducks.  Being with Chayet is such a wonderful change of pace and a welcome change.  I truly feel like I am free to be myself for the first time in too many years!  It’s a wonderful feeling! He’s my best friend and truly gets me which is so refreshing! It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s HOT!

OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE - LOVE signhandstands in the park - Old Town Scottsdale Relaxin with TheCharilla- scottsdale

It really was a fantastic day and we still had THREE MORE DAYS! It was amazing to me how long the trip felt! I felt like we were there for a month instead of 6 days because we did so much!

Saturday we got up and went to East Valley Crossfit for a fundraiser event, WOD for Dogs benefiting Wallace the Pit Bull and Pittie Me Rescue.  It was a fun event, even though Chayet and I just went to watch.  It was so nice meeting everyone, especially people who have known Chayet for years.  Great group of people and East Valley Crossfit is a top-notch place with excellent coaches!  I was also able to meet a bunch of his friends from Crossfit FullStrength – also great people and great coaches.  Be on the lookout for their brand new location coming soon!

EVCR WOD for Dogs

From here we decided to spend the day sightseeing and just being together.  I experienced In-N-Out Burger for the first time, met up with old friends at Core Crossfit, had a fantastic pastry from an authentic German bakery, ate lunch at Wildflower Bread Company and then went back to the hotel to shower and relax before we hit up Rush Club at The Duce.  I wish we had gotten there earlier so we could have seen more – it was such a cool event!  From there we headed to Squid Ink for dinner.

 wildflower meal german pastry

Date night chayet and i

event squid ink

Sunday was all about sleeping in and sightseeing.  We started off at Regio’s for huevos ranchero – and it was my favorite!


We spent the rest of the day shopping and sightseeing.  It was fun to hit up a few places we had not tried yet – one of them being Bikini Beans Espresso.  Super sweet girls, gorgeous too and the peach tea was super yum!  Something funny about that tea – it sat in the car for several hours (3 1/2) and was still cold in 113 degree heat!!! Crazy!

113 degrees - still ice

A few more pictures from out day!  We did Scottsdale, Hole in the Rock, Botanical Gardens, Stax – it was a great day.

ribbon artchayet at park in grassBotanical Gardens chayet in hole in rock me in hole in rock Park after Stax  Stax Us in hole in the rock Us in hole in the rock2

 We ended the evening at Westgate Mall to see the fountain light display and enjoy the post haboob weather.  I got to see my first mini dust storm!

haboob, Phoenix, AZGlendale, AZ

On Monday, we had to turn our rental in by 10 AM but our flight home was not until 11 PM.  Chayet decided last-minute that we could not waste the day being car-less, so we rented another car and headed to Sedona for the day!  I can’t even put into words how beautiful Sedona is and it was such a perfect way to end our trip.  We spent the day checking out shops, driving up into the mountains and enjoying the beautiful scenery.  Here is your obligatory picture dump!

Sedona, AZSedona view sedona drive view Sedona and bell rockbell rock2Chayet - squating on barrier - SedonaChayet - lunch in Sedona@thecharilla@thecharillaSedonaSedona

As you can see, I HATED Sedona.  I wish we had more time and it’s certainly top of my list to return when the weather gets cooler.  I can’t believe I will be living there in a month.  I will be able to take a quick drive up to see that whenever I want.  It will be as close as shooting over to Orlando is now – crazy!

Chayet and I had an amazing trip and are so excited to start this next phase of our lives together in a new (to me) place.  I can’t wait to share all the new and exciting things we will be up to in the coming months!!

Lovers kiss Us in Sedona - at lunch balcony

See you soon AZ!

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Arizona Vacation

Arizona Vacation

I’m not really sure how to sum up my vacation to Phoenix in just one post but I know you don’t want to read 10 posts about my trip so I will try my best to keep it kind of short and sweet.  That being said, there is a LOT to show and tell so if you want to see a ton of pictures about Phoenix, then you won’t be disappointed.

I feel like this was truly my first “adult” vacation – one that I planned and executed and one full of all the things I chose to fill it with.  It could not have been better – truly an amazing trip!!  If you followed along through pictures on Instagram, then you were able to see a glimpse into my trip already (or you got annoyed with all the pictures and had to unfollow, but I hope not…).

This trip was a two-part mission.  The first was to secure housing for when we move to Phoenix at the end of September.  The second was to have some fun in my new state. When I say things could not have gone more smoothly, I am not blowing smoke and just showing you my “A” roll in life.  This trip was perfect, but it was not without its frustrations and obstacles, that is for sure.  I am not afraid to tell it like it is and there was some moments – trust on that! Even with those moments though, this was the best vacation I have ever had, and it truly made me fall in love with Phoenix, with the mountains and with all of the possibilities it holds for my future.

The day we flew in to Phoenix was all about having a little fun and checking into our hotel. Day 2 was going to be devoted to apartment hunting, and into day 3 if we were not successful by the end of day 2.  Well – our hotel turned out to be in way the wrong part of town and all rooms smelled like smoke.  We canceled immediately and decided to wing it!  We figured we would just go day by day unless we found an awesome deal.  As a “planner” that was hard for me but I decided to let it go and just live in the moment and it turned out just fine!

After landing, our first order of business was going to Los Cerritos.  My boyfriend has raved about this place (among others) so we went there first for a carne asada burrito and a horchata.  The place doesn’t look like anything special but the food and horchata were awesome! From there we headed to Papago Park to play a little. I was able to get my first taste of climbing and catch some amazing views! It was a quick visit and I’m still nursing a bum knee so I didn’t do anything special, but I can already tell I’m going to LOVE trail running!!!

Papago Park - @wildlyd @thecharilla & @wildlyd Papago Park - @thecharilla & @wildlyd Papago Park - @wildlyd

Papago Park - @wildlyd

We got a cheap hotel close to Papago and then grabbed dinner at another favorite, Rice Paper.  I’ll have to do a separate post on all my favorites because there are too many to list right now!  Pho Tai soup and spring rolls made the perfect light dinner shared outside under the mist.  Then we headed over to “A” Mountain in Tempe and took in the lights of Tempe Town.  What a fun climb….in the dark!  Chayet tells me some day I will do 400 m sprints up A Mountain with him.  After climbing it in flip-flops – I’m not so sure!

Tempe Town lakes from top of A Moountain On top of A mountain

Day 2 was all about apartment hunting.  We saw so many places that day.  I had a list of “musts” and then we stopped at more along the way that caught our eye.  There were many on the list that were “possibles” and a few “fall back on” but none that were just “this is it”.  We took a break late afternoon and wondered a mall in a really nice area and it was nice to just step aside from the apartment hunting for a moment.  It’s just what we needed too because we got in the car, realized there was one on my list that was right around the corner and figured we had one more in us for the day.  God works in mysterious ways because that was THE PLACE.  We fell in love instantly, they had an opening for our move in date, it has all we wanted and more and is in a perfect location for us.  I was so thankful to get it done and not have to spend another day looking too! Thank you Lord for directing us to where we needed to be!

Our apartment is REALLY close to Camelback and so we drove over to get a quick look after we left the apartment.  I was in flip-flops but that didn’t stop us from climbing the first section to get a little taste.  I knew that the next day we would be climbing to the top so getting a little taste of it was fun!

Camelback Mountain

Camelback at sunset

Day 3 was all about Camelback Mountain.  We got up early and hit up LGO for a good breakfast and then went straight to Camelback.  We knew that we would be taking this hike slow since it was my first time and I’m not in shape and my boyfriend claims to not be in shape for it either (insert HUGE eye roll here). Our goal was to take it slow, take a ton of pictures and have a blast.  I had a few other small goals in mind too – don’t fall and don’t die – NBD.  My boyfriend has been on that mountain more times than I can count and has run up it and in places I will probably never venture too.  In fact, one such area is so steep, if you slip and fall, you will more than likely fall to your death.  Just looking at it from far away, and then up close gave me the willies and thinking about him RUNNING up it? NOPE – never gonna see me do it (famous last words of someone who later tries it…I know).  I won’t kill you with pictures but I have to share a few from the trek up.

@thecharilla and @wildlyd on Camelback Mountain Hole in Camelback @wildlyd climbing Camelback @wildlyd beginning of camelback Camelback Camelback @wildlyd on camelback @wildlyd camelback @wildlyd handstand camelback camelback - @wildlyd @wildlyd silliness

I will admit that I did way better than I expected.  There were parts that were a little scary but for the most part, I felt completely in control and had faith in myself and what I was doing.  I will also admit that we took a lot of breaks for pictures and to just chill and take it all in so had we been pushing the pace, things may have felt different for me.  There was a lady out there that was OWNING that mountain and boy did she inspire me….every time she RAN up and by me or down and by me.  And I say every time because in the time I was out there (3 1/2 hours) she ran by me several times.  We finally asked her how many times she had gone up and down and she said she was on her last trip at NUMBER 5!  Girl had a body to die for and the grace of a gazelle and sure-footed like a mountain goat.  It was amazing to watch her and inspiring too.  It was also amazing to see how comfortable Chayet was on the mountain and how “in his element” he was.

Chayet in hole on Camelback Chayet being silly

I have to share a funny story here.  I left my ego at home for this trip and especially for the hike up Camelback.  I am fairly competitive and I like to push myself and I like to excel at things.  BUT, having never climbed like this, I wanted to leave all that ego and competitive nature at home and just live in the moment and take it all in.  That is exactly what I did for the entire climb.  I kid you not, I took some risks but they were calculated, I took the easy route in some places if I felt the opposite was too much for me at this time, I stood back and took my time and enjoyed every second of my time on that mountain.  It was amazing.  And then, once we were done with the “climbing” and just finishing out the last few hundred feet to get back to the parking area, I did something silly.  Chayet and I were talking about that amazing woman we watched run all over the mountain.  I was talking about how inspiring it was to watch her and how someday I would love to have that kind of grace and athleticism to conquer the mountain like that….and the next instant I slipped and was on my butt in the gravel!  I had been doing some pretty gnarly climbing ALL DAY and never once fell or even slipped down, and the moment I let my guard down, and let a “thought” of being better or good enter my mind, I was humbled.  It was really no big deal, I slipped on some loose gravel and was in the middle of the trail – it was nothing (but really funny).  I wasn’t even saying I wanted to be better than her, or claiming I would someday be a bad ass on that mountain, more just admiration for that woman and hoping to someday have half her ability on that mountain.  But, it was a reminder, in that moment, to always check your ego, and it made for a great laugh for Chayet and me.  The ego is a dangerous thing.  It can get you in trouble by taking a stupid risk, it can get in the way of relationships and friendships and can cause irrevocable harm.  I’m glad I was given an opportunity to be reminded of that with a lesson in humility.

Being on the top of Camelback just made me so thankful for the experience, the ability to climb up there and wonder at God’s handiwork.  I had to stop several times and just thank Him for the opportunity and ability.

Top of Camelback Top of Camelback Top of Camelback Top of Camelback Top of Camelback Top of Camelback Bottom of Camelback

I think you get the idea – no need for any more pictures, right? Can you tell I had a good time?  I cannot wait to get back and explore those mountains more, and explore the area and visit more of the surrounding states!  It opened my eyes to just how small I am and just how big our world is! I can’t wait to LIVE there and experience more!

There is still so much about my trip I want to share, but this has gotten pretty long so I’ll save it for another post.  I also want to share more about that amazing man in my life – but that is a separate post all by itself.  He must be properly introduced and that is coming soon!  For now, I’ll leave you with this:

pushing rock

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Next Stop: Arizona


If you want to follow along on all the fun that will be going on – be sure to follow me on Instagram.

I’m about to experience a lot of “firsts” and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Charilla and Wildlyd


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This FLORIDA Girl is heading WEST!

I was born and raised in Florida.  I have never lived in another state and have only visited a few.  I love my Sunshine State.  I love my family and friends that live here.  But this girl is making a change and off to see what the West has to offer. Be sure to check back because things are changing around here – changing BIG – and you will certainly want to see what my journey has in store!

Arizona State Flag

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You only get one turn

You only get one turn at this carousel of life.  Once your turn is over, there is no line you can go get back in for another turn.  There is no chance to get back on the ride and choose a different seat.


You have one shot to make your life count. You have one chance to do the things you want to do – not the things your friends are doing, or your family says you need to do – what YOU want to do.  Maybe you have been told all your life that you need to be a doctor or a lawyer – but YOU want to be an artist or a musician.  Maybe you were told you need to find a good man, get married and have babies and be a stay at home wife and mother.  But instead, you want to figure out who YOU really are first, and travel and experience life before you decide on a life partner and a family.  Maybe you don’t want to work a full time job so you can have a huge house and drive an expensive car and wear name brand clothes.  Instead YOU want to live in a small place, consign for your wardrobe and travel, meeting people, making a difference and experiencing life.

I’m not saying one way is better than the other.  I’m not saying one way is right and the other is wrong.  I’m saying do what YOU want to do – not what everyone else is doing or what everyone else thinks you should do.

I love when people bash Crossfit but then tell me the “thing” they are into.  I’m sure we could sit together and come up with positives and negatives about every sport.  What baffles me is that we all feel the need to correct everyone else on what THEY are doing in THEIR lives.  You want to do Zumba? Awesome.  You want to do P90x? Get after it!  You want to Crossfit? Heck yea! The important thing is that YOU chose to be active and YOU chose how best that would work for you.

So back to my point.  Do you want to work a ton of hours at a job that you don’t like to earn money for a house you cannot afford?  A house you cannot afford and never spend time at since you are always at work?  Do you want to work all those hours for that car that gets you from that beautiful house you can’t afford and never spend time in to the job you hate so you can keep making payments on that car and house and never truly live and enjoy the time you have on earth?  If you do, more power to you.  Don’t get me wrong, I know that we all have to work.  We need jobs, we need money to survive.  BUT, how much money do you truly NEED.  Earning enough for some of the WANTS I had in life did nothing for me.  But learning how to fulfill my NEEDS and still live and experience life – now that has been LIFE CHANGING.

The 16 months have been a crazy time for me.  I miraculously got pregnant.  I lost that child through a miscarriage.  I got sober (11 months going strong on the 18th).  I started evaluating myself and my life.  I got divorced. I started to make decisions for myself.   I started to figure out what I wanted for myself.  I started to learn what is truly important.  I started to live again.  And now, I’m faced with another life roadblock.

The past year or so has been full of ups and downs.  Happy to say, that through all the the downs, the ups have been amazing.  I’m in a fantastic place right now. And yet I’m facing a potentially life altering roadblock.  I have no answers right now – only questions and WebMD.

I may take a little break from the blog until things settle down, and I have more answers.  But I’m going to keep on living, keep working out and keep on doing things that make ME happy and continue dreaming about what’s truly important.  I hope you do the same.  I hope you take a good hard look at your own life, and at the end of the day, I hope you are prayerfully living the life of your choosing – not one that you think others will approve of or that others have chosen for you.  I know I will be.


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2014 Bacon Beatdown

The 2014 Bacon Beatdown Crossfit competition took place this past weekend in Daytona, Florida at the Ocean Center.  I participated as an individual last year (remember when my stuff got stolen??) and I was excited to compete this year in the intermediate team division with two friends from my old Crossfit box.  Although I was excited to be participating in this event with my friends, I was not happy about some of the “programming”.  Now, let me just say it right off the bat, this post is not about bashing the organizers of this event.  There were a lot of things I did not like, but at the same time, there were a lot of things I DID like and for the size of the event, it ran fairly smooth. The event set a record with having the most athletes registered to participate – over 1,000 athletes competing over 3 days.  There – now that I have said that – let’s move on.

When I consider doing a competition, the first thing I consider is my skill set and where I think I should fall in the division categories available.  I am not now, nor will I probably ever be a contender to win any competition I sign up for.  I’m just not that strong/fit/dedicated.  I Crossfit because I love it, it keeps me in shape and I love feeling strong and healthy and because it challenges me.  I don’t do it as a “job” or with some aspirations of going anywhere with it. I’m also not ego driven when it comes to Crossfit.  I don’t compete with others in the gym.  It’s me against me and the clock.  Everyone has their own journey and I’ve realized, at 35, I am just happy with what I can do and applaud others for their successes as well.

So, back to my point, when I sign up for a division, I want to pick appropriately.  I don’t want to sandbag and go beginner so that I can “beat” others and I also know my limitations and that I will never be in an “RX” or “Elite” division.  I’m a “middle of the road” kind of gal.  For the Bacon Beatdown, I considered the standards with the other two girls on my team, and we chose intermediate because we could all do the movements and weight standards for that division.  I’m not gong to pick a division that has say pistols or muscle ups even if I can maybe do some of the other movements and weights.  Since I don’t have those two movements, I would obviously not choose that division.

This is where my first issue with this event comes into play.  If you list standards for a particular division, don’t then throw something else in there that was not listed.  For example, I can do push ups.  BUT, I can’t do incline push ups (feet on a 20 inch box).  I understand that Crossfit is all about constantly varied and functional movement and being prepared for something unexpected, but changing a skill to that extent feels sort of like setting someone up for failure.  We signed up for intermediate because we could all do push ups so when the WOD’s were released and one of them included incline push ups, it was frustrating.  It reminded me of last year, with this same organizer for the 2013 Bacon Beatdown.  The standards said “push ups” but what was programmed was ring push ups with feet on a box – not the same thing! It set me up for failure last year and it felt like a repeat this year. Thankfully, this was a team competition and one of our team members COULD bust out a few incline push ups.

That was a huge rant and I don’t want to sound ugly.  I know there are people that are RX that will sign up for an intermediate division to pump up their ego and ensure a win.  I get that.  I get that organizers try to manipulate the programming to account for that.  But at the same time, you screw with those of us that actually signed up for a division based appropriately on our skill level.  Ok, I’ll get off my soap box.  Just wanted to get that off my chest and now I will move on.

I drove over to Daytona with my friend and teammate Thursday night so that we could sleep in a little before check-in and the day of competing.  What an experience that was! Don’t ever trust online pictures and reviews on smaller, less-known brand hotels!  From the moment we drove into the parking lot, we were scared.  From the clientele “hanging around” outside and the 80 year-old female security guard to the guys that offered Bud Light and a good time as we went in our room – we were more than a little apprehensive about staying. Once we got in the room and got a look, we barricaded ourselves in – since you could wiggle the doorknob and see into the room and quickly decided this was not happening.  After a trip to the office to tell the lady we felt unsafe, we were given a full refund and quickly found a beautiful hotel a mile away and for only $15 more a night! Crises averted!

barricade at Daytona Inn Beach Resort Nice hotel - Comfort Inn Daytona Beachcomparison of hotels

We arrived at the Ocean Center Friday morning and got checked in.  I loved that you were given a lanyard with badge that had your heat time and lane assignments – very efficient since this was such a large event.  We made sure to take a “before” picture – who knew if we would be smiling at the end of the day!

 2014 Bacon Beatdown "before" shot Bacon Beatdown

Once the athlete meeting was over, it was time to sit back and relax for a few hours until our first WOD.  Oh, and try not to get nervous over competing in such a huge venue!

Arena - 2014 Bacon Beatdown

Although things did not stay entirely on schedule, I will give it to the organizers by saying they kept it pretty close most of the day.  This was a huge event with over 1,000 athletes so staying on schedule was important.  Toward the end we were way behind, but the first two WOD’s happened within 15-20 minutes of the actual listed start time.  One thing I didn’t like was that the floater WOD was scratched from the event because they did not have enough judges.  Most teams were happy about that – I was actually looking forward to the snatch floater.

Our first WOD was 9 rounds of 30 double unders, then 10 thrusters @ 65 lbs. The cap was 12 minutes.  If you completed the 9 rounds under the 12 minutes, you moved on to max pull ups with the remaining time.  Our plan was for one of our team members to do all the double unders (her specialty) and myself and the other team mate would alternate on the thrusters.  We were hoping for at least 3 minutes at the end for pull ups.  We only ended up with 1:27 left for pull ups and managed to get in 30 before time called.  The rig was so high you had to assist each other up so precious time was wasted with that as we each contributed to the pull ups.  Over all though, I was happy with how we all performed. [special thanks to Jon Bojar for all the pictures he took of us competing]


20140627-IMG_3311-S 20140627-IMG_3314-S


20140627-IMG_3328-S 20140627-IMG_3329-S 20140627-IMG_3337-S (1)

@wildlyd 2014 Bacon Beatdown 20140627-IMG_3347-S

WOD 2 was broken down into 3 movements.  Each team member did one movement.  Five minutes of either the airdyne bike, back squats at 95# or row. The airdyne and row were for calories and the back squats obviously for max reps.  I took the back squats.  When I practiced it the week before, I got 61 and wanted the same if not more during the comp.  I got 60 and was no rep’d twice – I thought I did well, until I saw that people in my division were getting WAY MORE.  In fact one girl got 108!!  My teammates got 40 calories on the airdyne and 65 calories on the row.  Don’t let the run picture fool you.  Doing 5 minutes all out on an airdyne and then trying to run 30 yards is no joke!

20140627-IMG_3483-S 20140627-IMG_3489-S  MAX back squats in 5 minutes @wildlyd 20140627-IMG_3506-S

WOD 3 is where the day sort of just fell apart.  We did not start WOD 3 until 6:45(ish) p.m. – a good 30 minutes after our scheduled heat time.  At this point you have been sitting around most of the day since WOD’s 1 & 2 totaled all of 27 minutes of your day.  So we were DONE.  It was apparent at this point that we were well out of our league in this division and would not be advancing to Sunday.  WOD 3 was sort of a ladder.  It was a 9 minute cap and started off with 7 rope climbs to 15 feet, then 4 incline push ups and 4 box jump overs, followed by 5 rope climbs, 8 incline push ups, 8 box jump overs, and so on.  The rope climbs continued to go down each round as the push ups and box jump overs went up.  We never made it past the round 2 of 5 rope climbs.  I’m not sure what happened to all of us but we forgot how to climb a rope after the first few and then spent the remaining time frustratingly failing to get up that damn rope.  I have the bruises, blisters and rope burns to prove it (you will notice my poor form and the rope location during my climbs – hence the horrible inner thigh bruising).  Even when I did get my feet locked in correctly, I was so tired and my arms were blown out that I could not get up that damn rope for the life of me.  I did a total of 4 in the WOD and could not get another.  No clue how many times I got half way up and failed.

20140627-IMG_3671-S 20140627-IMG_3682-S @wildlyd at the Bacon Beatdown @Wildlyd - 2014 Bacon Beatdown20140627-IMG_3692-S

I am happy to say that we all made it up the rope at least twice and that we had a good time together.  At the end of the day, we paid these people so that we could go workout in front of a bunch of people.  That’s it.  We had no grand illusions of winning but we did want to do our best and have fun.  Could we have done better? Probably.  But we did have fun!  I love having friends that are like-minded and love just being active and having a good time.  Yes, healthy competition is fun, but at the end of the day, none of us are getting paid for this and we are just thankful to be healthy and fit enough to do what we do and to the best of our abilities.

Bacon Beatdown "After" shot

I will tell you though, one thing that this event reiterated to me was that this is not my kind of event.  Give me a 20 team cap, held in a box with no air and real comradery over this any day of the week.  Not bashing the event, just saying it’s not my cup of tea. I had a great time with these two girls and on a smaller scale would totally tackle another team comp with them both!

Oh, and this is what can happen when you use poor technique when rope climbing! No Bueno!

bruising from rope climb

rope climb wound

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