What I Learned From: Reading Celebrity Memoirs (And Why You Should Read Mine)

“Bookworm” is a badge I wear proudly and have ever since I was a kid. My books of choice then were mainly fiction tales, never dreaming that as an adult I would write my own memoir.

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What I Learned From: Y Membership (And Why I Switched to Another Gym)

I initially joined the local YMCA during the summer that my daughter was turning 5, to get a discount on summer camp.  The main draw maintaining my Y membership over the years since then has been TurboKick classes.  I loved the combo of hip hop music and moves mixed with martial arts-infused flair. Once I became certified to teach classes myself (and eligible to purchase my own TK rounds), ironically I started slowly falling out of love with it.

Don’t get me wrong–I still enjoy my old-school rounds, but gradually, I became less attached to it than ever before (from 2008 to present).

Source: In Montgomery

During the past several months, I still enjoyed my group exercise classes at the Y, but couldn’t easily fit some of the classes into my schedule. I also found myself wanting to do different things in the classes and be more independent with the exercises chosen.  For example, one instructor in particular, although very fit and good at instruction, seemed to always want to do the same exact warm-up and same leg and butt exercises when she taught every Wednesday.  It got on my nerves after awhile, especially when I thought about all the other moves we could be doing.

Yes, I’m a certified instructor, but I really don’t want to teach classes. I guess it was more like a form of (expensive) self-enrichment. Continue reading

What I Learned From: “Going Natural” (And Why I’m Back on the Creamy Crack)

I don’t regret “going natural” 4 years ago. I mainly did so to teach my daughter to love herself as she is.

She’s worn her natural hair all her life. I started “relaxing” since about age 13 for manageability, independent styling (Mom was no longer braiding me as a teen), and to fit in.  20+ years later, I bravely did the big chop.

When I took my daughter to the airport to visit other family members for the summer of ’13, she sternly told me not to cut my hair while she was gone. “You should let it grow back and get long the way it used to be,” she said.

She missed my long straight hair, and honestly, I did too.

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What I Learned From: Homeschooling (And Why I Don’t Anymore)

This story is not profound.  I still condone homeschooling for any family who has the time and money to do so, and I don’t rule out doing so again in the future.


I was actually prepared to have my daughter attend our state’s Connections Academy this school year, but her old charter school notified me of an opening. What I wasn’t prepared for was all the back-and-forth between administration and myself regarding documentation and proof that she successfully completed the previous grade.

Although I was challenged and my daughter was tested (literally), we succeeded and now she is back. There was almost no adjustment since she attended the school three years ago and remembered the environment, staff and students from before. She liked being home with me, and it made us closer. But she loves her school experience now.

I don’t expect to make another school change decision again until she is finishing up 8th grade, which is the last grade there. But even though I don’t do or teach her lesson plans anymore, I’m ever vigilant and involved in her education.

What I Learned From: Doing Weight Watchers for 2 Years (And Why I Stopped)

I am a “Lifetime” member at Weight Watchers, but I don’t know if I’ll ever go to another meeting again.

Every month when it was time to weigh in, I would fast and starve myself while still running outside in Hotlanta, killing myself to keep within 2 lbs of my unrealistic goal. I didn’t even make it to my meeting in June, so I had to pay $14 in July (if you weigh in successfully, your meetings are free that month).

I am still running and working out every week, but not always tracking every meal as I was taught.  Even when I abstain from sugar and other carbs, I don’t lose pounds because I am gaining muscle.  I measure my maintenance success mostly by how my clothes fit and my consistency with workouts and eating a cleaner diet. I recently started going to a chiropractor and during my consultation, he measured my body fat. I like that better than the BMI measurement. But I still have work to do.

I like the accountability of meetings, but otherwise don’t need them. WW recycles the same topics so with 2 years in, there was nothing new to discuss. Plus, for reasons unknown, all my original WW buddies no longer attend the meetings either.


Source: TaraBurner.com


So after struggling for a year to maintain the required 2-lb allowance from my goal weight, I guess you can say I gave up.

Quitting and giving up are not synonymous. I think giving up is the right thing for me to do in this situation–not stressing every month about an ideal that was not based on reality.

Still Trippin’: The Big Easy, Sweetie Pies, and A Christmas Story

Today I’m going to recap a few of my most recent travels. When it comes to traveling, I can’t allow years to pass me by waiting for friends to be ready to go where and when I want to. So since I’m free most of the summer, my get-aways are flexible, and solo.


Daree wears an original Mardi Gras costume at the World of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, LA.

Mardi Gras costume

I’ve had a trip to the Big Easy on my list for some years, but it’s usually in the context of the annual Essence Music Festival at the Superdome on July 4.  Every year I think about who would go to NOLA with me, and I can never find anyone to go. Then on July 4th, I see lots of posts and pics online of friends at the EMF. This year, I did the world’s largest 10K race–Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race–which is also held on July 4th. So I decided that even if I had to go alone, I would go to New Orleans in July.

My trip was about a 7-hour drive each way, on a beautiful weekend. I had been warned about how much hotter it was in the Gulf area, but brushed it off. After all, I live in Hotlanta! How much hotter could it be? Continue reading

Nonstop 10-Min Mile to Be Proud Of

10494464_10154573728395440_4356526996612175449_oSo it’s literally the 11th hour on  Daylight Savings Time, and I’ve decided to participate yet again in #NaBloPoMo this year.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve thought about blogging every month since my last post in the Spring, but would feel overwhelmed and move on to some other whim… Anyhoo, there are prompts I can use but I will spend this month catching you up on some notable events in my life this year, since I’ve been MIA.

Today I’ll make this uncomplicated and talk about something in my top-of-mind.  Running. (Surprise!)

I have made some great accomplishments this year with my runs, including my half-marathon on “Labor Day Eve.”  But as much training and effort as that took, I am just as proud of a much shorter running feat I accomplished yesterday.

I ran a mile on the treadmill at a challenging pace nonstop for 10 minutes. For me, that is a huge deal.  I think my intermittent progression runs of 1-2 miles have helped me with this. I even ran at hotels when I traveled last month.

I did a half to check it off my to-do list, thinking I’d never want to do another. But I probably will. Next time though, I’ll see if I can get into a group training program to use a coach. And I will also finish all my long runs so that I half feels a little easier (I stopped at 10, thinking that was good enough based on advice I got from a few other runners). During the race, when I hit 10 miles during the race, my legs started screaming at me.10629875_10154575361050440_472591591433407887_n

What I am grateful for is choosing a place where I had family support. My mom and sissy were there to cheer me on, even though it was hot and sticky. Training in hilly Hotlanta helped my effort, but I still did a lot worse pace-wise than I planned. I saw the 2:30 and the 2:45 pacers pass me eventually, and…. oh well. I finished. I did it!