HELLO
Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.

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I tried Jazzercise for 6 months and Here are the Results

Six months ago I did something I never thought I’d do – I joined Jazzercise. As mentioned back in March (just one month in), I was curious to see how I would feel about it at the six-month mark. Well, here I am and here’s how it went.

In order to really get a full understanding of how Jazzercise works and how it works for my body, I decided to set a personal goal to attend 100 classes before my 6-month contract was up. Despite several weeks of travel, being out for two weeks because of a pulled neck muscle (not Jazz-related), and being slowed down due to multiple colds, I’m proud to say – I met my goal! My 100th class was just this week and now the verdict is in:
I’m just as in love with Jazzercise as I was when I first started.


Taken on a celebratory (wine) walk after I completed my 100th class.

The Basics:
+ In a perfect world I go to about 5-6 classes a week. However, with a busy work schedule, lots of travel, and a kid who likes to bring me illnesses home from daycare, that certainly doesn’t always happen.

+ The sessions last for a full hour and include a warm-up and a cool-down. When I started I was surprised to discover that there are several different formats, which took me a while to fully understand. Now I know that Fusion incorporates more strength, while Dance Mixx features more cardio. All I bring to class each day is a huge bottle of water, as they have plenty of mats and weights to use.

+ Unless you pay for each class individually, you have to sign a contract and pay a sign-up fee. However, occasionally there are specials where they waive that fee or a have free, no-strings-attached month. The longer your contract is, the cheaper your plan is. More info can be found on my first post or directly from the source at Jazzercise.com.

Why I still love it:
+ It’s a one-stop-shop. I do Jazzercise for the same reason I subscribe to Blue Apron. I want to work out for the same reasons I want to eat well, but in the past all of the preparation and planning got in the way. Due to my crazy busy schedule, I don’t have time to master the week of perfect recipes the same way I don’t have time to seek out the perfect fitness routine on my own. With Jazzercise, I know I have a place that I can go every day and get handed a full, well-rounded workout. With cardio, strength, and stretching – it’s everything packaged up nice and neat in every class.

+ I admit I had preconceived ideas about what Jazzercise was before I tried it and it wasn’t necessarily favorable. Of course I assumed it was stuck in the 80s, but the soundtrack proved instantly that it’s not. Also, I immediately realized how much people really loved Jazzercise, so I wondered if there was some sort of incentive to share the excitement and get your friends to join. I was actually happy to learn that the fanfare is genuine. So if a girlfriend tries to get you to go, it’s most likely because she really thinks you’ll love it too. One exception to this is that I did once win a sweet Jazzercise water bottle during a special sign-up promotion, but I think you still get my point.

+ That brings me to one other thing I’ve earned – my very own Jazzercise beach towel. And yes, I mean earned and not won. Jazzercise holds periodic challenges throughout the year, where if you attend a certain number of classes during a set amount of time, you earn some special Jazz-merch. This was the first challenge I’ve accepted and, while the towel is great and all, it’s more about having a goal to work towards.

+ The workout creates such a positive feeling. As cheesy as it is, there’s something about the combination of music, pushing your body has hard as you can, and the encouragement of the instructors that leaves you feeling incredibly happy to be giving it your all. While some days I might think about going to the happy hour next door instead, I still look forward to it instead of the normal dread I have about other exercise. And by the way, according to their website, the average person sticks with Jazzercise for seven years. That’s a long time for a workout regimen.

+ Even after six months, it’s still just as much a mental work out as it is a physical one. Jazzercise does a good job shaking things up with new songs and routines just as soon as you think you know what you’re doing. This is still the only hour of my day where I’m totally focused on one thing and one thing only.

+ After my very first class, the instructor told me that it takes about a month to fully get it. She was right. I still have my off days and I still mess up during every song, but I don’t care and neither does anyone else. You’re made to feel comfortable and are reminded that this is your work out, so you can make it your own. And believe me, we all do.

What I’ve gotten out of it:
+ I went from not exercising at all to exercising 4 – 6 days a week. So, did I lose a bunch of weight? Not really, but that wasn’t my goal. I’ve always had a smaller frame and I tend to eat semi-well, so I started this journey to tone-up and to feel better overall. While I’m not perfect (who is?), I am more confident and I’m finally wearing clothes again that I hid in the back of my closet long ago. Shockingly, I even fit into my wedding dress recently, which took place nearly a decade ago.

+ I also gained the confidence to wear a bikini in public for the first time since before Iris was born. While I still often choose my one-piece, it’s amazing to have options you feel good about.

+ Beyond the outer benefits, I definitely feel better inside too. I fall asleep easier, I haven’t had a serious migraine since I started Jazzercise, and I have more energy. I also like knowing that Iris sees me taking time to care for my health and I hope it instills something in her too.

Will I continue?
+ My answer at this point? DUH! Right now Jazzercise just works for me. It works for my schedule, it works for my body, and it works for my mind. So right now my answer is a resounding YES! Will I be writing a year update? Two year update? Seven years? Only time will tell. Till then, see ya there?

PS – This is not at all a sponsored post. I just wanted to share my honest journey.

TRAVEL LOVE: Tulsa, OK

This past weekend Todd and I booked a somewhat last minute trip to Tulsa, which is less than two hours away from Fayetteville. On Friday we hopped in the car after work, picked up Iris from daycare, and were on our way! Our main reason for visiting was that we’d heard fantastic things about the new Prairie Brewpub. Todd being the craft beer lover that he is, has been wanting to try it since it opened. And me? I’ll never turn down a food and drink inspired trip! We were also lucky enough to be hosted by the Tulsa Convention and Visitors Bureau. They hooked us up with a great room at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Tulsa Downtown, which is about a 30 second walk to the brewpub’s front door.

As soon as we checked into our room, we headed over to Prairie for dinner and drinks. We knew immediately that it was worth the drive. The building itself was nicely done, a mix of historic and modern charm with a very Instagram-worthy feel (the important stuff, I know). But with each appetizer, drink, and meal we fell more and more in love. Everything was SO good. Even Iris, who is terrible at eating dinner ate all of her rotisserie chicken and then half of mine. She even loved the spinach. THE SPINACH! It was so good that we went back the next night for appetizers and drinks before heading to the baseball game down the road. After we left the ballpark, we were still hungry, so we went back for a third time and got late-night burgers to go. All of it was some of the best food we’ve had in a while. And if you’re curious, this part of our trip wasn’t sponsored at all. We probably dropped close to $250 at Prairie over the course of the weekend. That said, the prices actually are very reasonable, we just wanted to try everything – and we almost did.

Enough about Prairie, back to Tulsa! We spent Saturday morning at the Oklahoma Aquarium which Iris absolutely loved. Besides a few exhibits at zoos, she’s never had an experience like that before.

For lunch we actually ate somewhere other than Prairie and, what do you know, it was also incredibly delicious! SMOKE on Cherry Street was serving brunch, which was fine by me because the breakfast burrito was amazing as were the pineapple basil mimosas (yes, plural). From there, we looked around Cherry Street for a bit before ending up back at our hotel for a much needed nap. After our afternoon snack at Prairie, we ventured to the Tulsa Drillers baseball game, with tickets courtesy of VisitTulsa.com. While at the game I got a tip from an Instagram follower to try Antoinette Baking Co. because it was Pie Night. Not knowing exactly what that even meant, I knew I didn’t want to miss it. Located right next door to our hotel, we saw the massive line and knew it had to be legit. It was.

Each night we also took advantage of the completely empty indoor pool at our hotel, which really helped make a short road trip feel like a real vacation. Overall, I was completely impressed with our time in a city that I often forget is so close by. I’m sure we’ll venture over again soon, probably hitting up Prairie at least three more times.

Eve Mattress Review

You know what makes me really feel like a grown-up? Besides making my own dentist appointments (and actually showing up), it’s my love for a nice, new mattress. We were recently given the opportunity to receive an Eve Mattress in exchange for our honest review – and lots of cute pictures, but that’s a given. Iris was the lucky recipient of this one since earlier this year I went through the process of picking out a mattress for Todd and I at a chain mattress store, which was about as fun as it sounds. It took lots of laying down in public, all while talking to different sales guys (awwwkward). While I’m happy with our in-store purchase overall, the Eve experience was more simplified and a heck of a lot more convenient.

First of all, they only sell ONE mattress, so the only decision you need to make is what size you need. Iris sleeps on a full-size bed, so once we made that distinction it was shipped directly to our door. Shrunk down in a bright and sunny box, the condensed mattress is super heavy, but once it’s out of the box and the plastic cover is punctured it starts growing in size. It says to allow 1-2 hours for it to fully expand, but within 10 minutes it had already taken most of its shape. There was a distinct new smell to it, but that’s to be expected with a piece of furniture that has been factory sealed.

Personally, I love the look and feel of the Eve. The sunshine yellow trim and squishy, yet firm style was a major upgrade from Iris’ previous hand-me-down mattress which squeaked every time you got on or off the bed. Iris is pretty pleased with it too, however I think it’s safe to say that her favorite thing is the big box it came in. For a solid week she used it as a little playhouse. Even so, she was excited about a new bed and now I am more excited about bedtime, strategically spending a few extra minutes lingering before I turn out her light. The only downfall is that we had to worry about getting rid of our old mattress, where as with the chain store they offered a deal where they would haul off your old one. Totally worth it though for everything else being beyond convenient!

Wanna know more about the Eve Mattress? I found the FAQ section of their website is super helpful. There, you’ll see they offer a 100 day trial, free shipping, how it’s made, etc. Overall, I would certainly recommend it… the mattress AND the box.

Backyard Memories

Every once in a while I ask Todd to take my picture with Iris. While I don’t love being in front of the camera as much as I love being behind it, I’m always happy that I took my turn. For as many photos that I take, it’s rare that I’m actually in any of them. I think that’s true for a lot of moms. Some of my most cherished childhood photos are with my parents, so I try to hop in Iris’ photographs of future memories when I can. So here we are, just the two of us, hanging in our backyard this past weekend wearing some of our favorite summer wardrobe pieces we that we keep wearing over and over.

What we’re wearing.
ME: Ace & Jig fiesta dress / jewels c/o ROCKSBOX (code SARAHFORTUNEXOXO gets you a free month) / Sunglasses via DITTO (code SARAHFORTUNE gets you a free month)

IRIS: Pink Chicken dress / Freshly Picked moccasins

The Daily Grind

Around here, every weekday is more or less the same… LONG. I typically wake up around 7 am, start my coffee, drink just enough to get me going, and then spend the next 10 minutes trying to convince Iris to start her day (why is it that kids are impossible to wake up on weekdays, but will pop out of bed like it’s Christmas every weekend?). Once Iris is slowly moving around, I help get her dressed and then we both stumble through the rest of our morning. Breakfast – usually just cereal or yogurt with fruit for her, and more coffee for me. Todd always takes Iris to school, and I rush off to work after haphazardly putting my own self together. I have to stop right here and say how thankful I am that, A) I live less than 10 minutes away from my office and B) my office is super casual so I don’t have to dress up each day. I’m in the office by 8 o’clock and I usually get to leave by 4:30, which means I have just enough time to make it to Jazzercise.

After a full hour of working out, off to Iris’ school I go! Usually with just minutes to spare, I pick her up, dripping with sweat, right before closing time. Should I feel bad that she’s often the last kid to get picked up? Nah. I’m just getting my money’s worth. Well, and there’s the fact that she gets really pissed if I pick her up any earlier. In the afternoon they get to look past all of the “work” and pick the fun toys to play with. Yesterday when I picked Iris up, she was shoving glow sticks into baby dolls’ mouths – and was in pure heaven doing so. Can’t take her away from that!

From school we go home, but not to rest. That’s when another round of work begins, but it’s the best kind. It’s the kind where I make dinner while my family hangs around. Todd’s usually playing a record, Iris is usually begging for a snack, our animals are generally annoying me at my feet, and wine is usually somewhere near my mouth. Finally, we get to eat! And by eat, I mean that we shove food into our faces while Iris sits there eating only her bread, complaining that everything else looks disgusting.

Straight after dinner, it’s Iris’ bath time. After bath time, it’s book time. After book time, it’s song time. After song time, it’s “one plus two equals three time” (that means stay three extra minutes, please). After “one plus two equals three time,” it’s finally MY TIME. Around 9 o’clock I get to take a shower and wash all the work of the day away. From there, it’s time to climb right into a mountain of pillows in bed and watch some sort of mindless television (Real Housewives of ANYTHING). Even though it’s the only time for myself, I usually don’t last more than an hour or so before falling asleep… And then start it all over again the next morning.

Just typing all of this out makes me feel exhausted, however I’m usually excited and ready for each new morning. I realize how fortunate I am to have the family that I have, a job that I love, and to live in a city that makes everything so sweet and easy. One of the very best parts of my day is kissing Iris’ cheek as I wake her up in the morning, even knowing I have a marathon to run until it’s dark. My other favorite part is the feeling of driving to Iris’ school to pick her up in the afternoon. She’s nearly five years old and I still get excited to hang out with my tiniest best friend after work each day. The wine isn’t bad either.

These days, they are long. But more than anything, they are good. In fact, they might just be the best. They will continue to evolve and I will continue to try to capture them, like in this post, because one day I will miss these moments – sweat and all – more than anything.