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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California Bound!

As a parent, there’s nothing more fun than to surprise your kid with awesomeness. So when we booked a trip to California, we kept it a secret for a little while and told her that in two weeks, we’d be packing our bags and heading to the west coast. Our besties at the Loews Hollywood Hotel are hosting us and we’re going to explore Universal Studios while we’re there (Iris is a recent Harry Potter fanatic, so she’s super pumped). Here’s a little video of how we told her! She’s just starting to read, so I thought it would be fun for her to sound it. As for Cali – any other places we must visit? We can’t wait to explore!

TRAVEL LOVE: 21C Museum Hotel

Iris and I ventured just 30 minutes away from our home in Fayetteville and treated ourselves to a mini girls’ getaway right here in Arkansas. I’ve been dying to experience a 21c Museum Hotel since I first heard about them, so when they offered us a media rate to stay this past Saturday, I knew it was meant to be. Todd was backpacking through the wilderness for the weekend, so I thought Iris and I would have our own (much more comfortable) adventure. We were given the Kids Exploration Package, which included tickets to The Amazeum and even milk and cookies delivered to our room!

Speaking of our room, there were plenty of restaurants and shops to walk to, but I would have been perfectly happy staying put right there for the entire time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m a bit of a hotel snob. Through my work and blogging travel I’ve gotten to experience the best of the best and I’ve really grown to appreciate a good hotel.

The beauty of 21c is that the hotel also doubles as an art museum. There are things to experience and take in throughout the building, like our favorites – the huge green penguins that mysteriously always seemed to be moving around the property when we weren’t looking. There’s also The Hive restaurant and bar, which made a killer pomegranate lemonade for Iris and of course had plenty of wine for me. Our package also came with an I spy card, which was a nice way to explore the hotel with a kiddo.

While certainly tempted, we didn’t stay locked in our room the entire time. We had a lovely brunch and dinner just a short walk away, a fun-filled trip to The Amazeum, and of course we had take the short stroll on the Art Trail to Crystal Bridges. The entire weekend was perfect – the location, the weather, and of course the company. As sad as I sometimes get realizing how big my only “baby” is, it’s so amazing seeing her bloom into such a lovely girl and share experiences like this past weekend with her.

While I did pay a media rate to write about my stay, all opinions are all my own.

Life Lately – April 2017

Wednesday, Wednesday, Wednesday. I’m not a fan of Wednesday. This week, like most weeks lately, I’ve been checking items off my to-do list. Including: getting my car serviced, getting my hair done, and getting my skin lasered. Lots of maintenance going on around here, but at least two out of three are ones I look forward to (hair and skin, duh).

Last week was of course equally hectic, but with a bit of excitement. I had not one, but TWO speaking engagements. The first was for the local chapter of PRSA (Public Relations Society of America). I talked about being a blogger/social influencer (gosh I really don’t like those terms, but there’s nothing else that captures what we do), as well as what it’s like to work with brands. My other presentation was bright and early on Saturday morning to a a funeral directing group. Hey, at least I’ve got range!

This weekend Todd is going on an overnight backpack trip into the wilderness with some of his best buds, so Iris and I get a girls weekend. I think we’re going to get a hotel nearby and have a mini-getaway just for something different. Speaking of Iris, she has a few exciting things in her life currently too. She has three loose teeth (unfortunately, one is wiggly thanks to a bad fall on the school playground), she is counting down the days to her favorite holiday – Easter, and she is becoming such a great READER! It’s so incredible watch her mind grow.

For now it’s off to bed, but I’ll leave ya with my new hair and fresh skin (I’m guessing you don’t care to see a picture of my oil change).

A Beginner’s Guide to Jazzercise

Some of my most popular blog posts have been the ones about my journey with Jazzercise, and some of my most commonly asked questions from friends and folks online is about Jazzercise. Since I was a beginner myself not that long ago, I thought I would answer some of the questions I’ve gotten, as well as some that I had when I first began:

What do I wear?
Sorry to disappoint, but the neon leotards and spandex left with the 1980s. For your first Jazzerise class wear whatever you are comfortable in, but remember you’ll be jumping and moving around, so you’ll want something that gives you flexibility and support. Personally, I wear cropped leggings (even in the winter because you truly work up a sweat), sports bra, tank top, and sneakers. You’ll see a wide-range of outfits though. Some people are head-to-toe is cute workout gear, while others keep it ultra-cas in a t-shirt and shorts.

What do I bring?
Just water and yourself! Some people bring their own mats and weights, or even a towel or extra cushion to put down on the mats that are provided. At my center, there are almost always enough mats and a range of weights to choose from. While you use weights in every class, mats aren’t always needed. You’ll occasionally use exercise balls and resistance bands, but those are provided as well (and no prior experience is needed).

Okay, so there are weights. What do I start with?
If you are already familiar exercising with weights, then you probably know what’s best. But if you are a newbie like I was, I started with 3-pound weights and then after about a week went up to 5-pounders. Currently I go between 5 and 6-pound weights depending on the class.

So there are different types of classes?
Yes! That’s what helps keeps it fun and what helps keep it a well-rounded workout. Each class format is a different mix of songs/workouts, with some being more focused on cardio (Dance Mixx) while others are more focused on strength (Strength 60). You can read more about the different class types here. And you can always find out what classes are happening and when via the Jazzercise app or by searching for your center on their website. For example, here’s my center’s schedule!

Is it really a good workout?
As with any exercise, you’ll only get out as much as you put in. Overall though, people (like myself) are surprised to find out how much of a challenge each class can be. The classes are typically an hour long and are a good “one-stop-shop” for your daily exercise.

I can’t dance. Does that matter?
Anyone can Jazzercise. I don’t consider myself a dancer in the least, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have fun trying. Plus, one of the many things I love about Jazzercise is that it’s helped with my coordination overall. You’ll learn that each routine is choreographed to work specifically with each song, so you can feel (and hear) when you’re about to change movements. And if you count in eights, it will be easier to stay on track. None of that truly matters though – The environment is made to make you feel comfortable so that you can just do your thing and make it your own workout. It’s a no-judgement zone.

Do they still dance to 80s music?
While I think a throw-back class would be awesome, Jazzercise definitely keeps it fresh with what’s popular on the radio (my fave routines are the ones to Bruno Mars). That means we get to learn new routines pretty often, so even if you are brand new to Jazzercise, it’s likely that the veteran next to you is learning something for the first time too.

I have an old injury. Can I still try it?
Absolutely! While there is a lot of hopping and lunging that can be tough on the knees, instructors give low-impact options for each workout.

How many calories do you burn?
I wear an Apple Watch and I find that I burn approximately 450 – 550 calories per class. I discovered this blog, which has some good insight into the amount of calories burned for each class format.

How do I get started and how does it all work?
Once you sign-up (you can pay per class or join for 3, 6, or 12 months), they print you out a little card with your name on it. Before each class, you pull your card so that they can scan it. This helps keep track of how many classes you attend in a year. They usually announce during class when you hit a milestone, such as 25, 50, 75 or 100 classes. And with the new app, I think we’re going to see a transition to scanning your phone instead of the card, so that’s exciting! Jazzercise also announces great deals a few times throughout the year, so be on the lookout for a joining special – that’s how I got hooked.

Any questions I missed? Feel free to ask or share your insight below! The Jazzercise community is a warm and welcoming one, so if you are curious the best thing to do is just give it a shot and keep in mind it usually takes at least a few classes for it to “click.” You can read my previous posts here and here.

PS – This is not a sponsored post. I’ve just enjoyed sharing my Jazzer-journey!

Come See Me Speak at PRSA NWA!

Well, isn’t this cool? I’ve been asked to speak at the Public Relations Society of America – Northwest Arkansas chapter (PRSA NWA) meeting this month. As a former public relations student at the University of Arkansas, I admit it is kind of awesome to see things come full circle and be invited to share my experience in the social media world. You don’t have to be a member to attend, but either way – there’s lunch, so I consider that a win no matter how good of a job I actually do. Find out more and buy a ticket here!