Taking a Step Back, Filling the Well, and Letting Go

Greetings 12 Months of Lent readers—it’s been quiet a while, I know. My last post was at the end of July and I was at the airport in Las Vegas, heading to the pacific northwest for a dear friends wedding. I had intended to figure out my challenge for August during the week that we spent road tripping around the state of Oregon after the wedding, but then something happened…I just didn’t want to.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, I didn’t think it would be forever, I thought maybe I just needed a little break—but then it happened again the next month…and the month after that…and the month after that. I wasn’t really sure what it meant for the fate of the blog, so I resolved to just sit with it for a while and see how it played out.

That’s when I stumbled on a series of posts that were circling around the blogosphere about “Blogger Burnout” (mainly this one and this one), and after nodding my head in agreement through the entirety of both articles, I was pretty sure I had found my culprit. Five+ years of not only doing these challenges every month, but then writing about them too, had caught up with me. I was burnt out, and to quote the New York Times article, “I needed a little less online and a little more in life.”


So that’s been my intention since I last wrote: less online, more in life. After so many years of constant output, I’ve been trying to take a step back and focus on “filling the well” rather than drawing from it. I’ve been taking a little respite from incessantly documenting my life and focusing more on living it, being fully present in it—and it’s been just what I needed.

So, that being said, at least for the time being anyway, I’m closing out the 12 Months of Lent chapter in my life. Not sure if it’s forever or if it’s just for now, but I don’t think the commitment and rigidity of adding a monthly challenge to my already jam-packed mix is serving me in the way that it once did. Rachel Brathen, aka, “Yoga Girl”, wrote this in a recent blog post:

“Sometimes we let go of things or people just to find them back in our lives a while later, but with a different energy. Sometimes letting go means finding something different, of more value, along the way. Sometimes letting go means realizing you weren’t even holding on in the first place. But, most of the time…Letting go just means choosing to be free.”

So thank you all for the memories, for the support, and for following my journey over the past 6 years. I had no idea when I started this blog back in 2009 what I would have learned from it and where it would have taken me, but it’s been a pretty amazing experience to say the least, and one that I can’t imagine my life without.

With love and gratitude,



p.s. I do think I’ll continue to blog, because one of the many things 12MOL taught me was that I love to write. I’m not sure where and in what format yet, but I’ll be sure to post on here once I’ve got my next blogging adventure in motion.


The Real Challenge Starts Today

Ok, ok, ok, I have to admit, I’ve kind of been cheating a little bit this month. No, I haven’t been skipping workouts, but in addition to home workouts, I’ve been working out at a gym for the past 2 weeks too. My intention was to strictly do the home thing this month, but my parting gift from lululemon was a consultation and month membership to AFS, a fitness studio that’s super-close to my new job, and I decided to not wait until August to get started (plus since someone else bought it for me it still qualifies as free fitness, right?).

Although it isn’t in my budget to meet with a personal trainer regularly, it was really helpful to have even a single session with one. Not only did she take measurements of my entire body so we can track results over time (I’ve never had this done before, I’m kind of excited), but she even wrote me a home routine to do when I can’t make it in for a group class, and she set a daily calorie goal for me to maintain (this is the hardest part, by far). So yeah, maybe weekly sessions with a personal trainer aren’t an option for you either, but meeting with one once a month, or every few months even, might be worth the investment to get you set up to workout effectively on your own.

And I have to say too, the group classes I’ve been doing have actually been beneficial to my home workouts as well. I was quickly reminded how much harder you push yourself in a class setting when there’s an instructor making sure you aren’t slacking off, and I’ve been trying to maintain that mentality when I’m working out alone and don’t have anyone making sure I get those few extra reps in. Plus, it’s always nice to have someone show you proper form and technique so you don’t end up injuring yourself, which isn’t that hard to do.

The real challenge starts today though, because Dan and I are out in Oregon all week for a wedding/extended vacation (I’m writing this from the airport in Vegas), and I’m setting an intention to not ruin all the hard work I’ve put in over the past month by overindulging during the next 10 days. Wish me luck. Hopefully all the hiking and swimming and farming I’ll be doing will offset the inevitable hipster restaurant and craft beer calories that are coming my way…

In the midst of a long layover in Vegas. How many calories does pulling the lever on the slot machine burn?

In the midst of a long layover in Vegas. How many calories do slots burn?



Abs Like Brit

Britney Spears that is. There was a time in my life, 2001-2002 to be exact, when I had a slight obsession with having abs like Britney Spears. Remember the “I’m a Slave 4 U” video? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

At the time, I remember reading somewhere that she did 700 crunches a day, so I decided that I should also be doing 700 crunches a day—and I did…for a while, until I realized that 700 crunches a day is only really worth it if you’re a celebrity and the entire world is seeing your midriff. Right…

But because this month is all about the home workout, I thought I’d see if I could find Britney’s “Slave 4 U” ab routine online, and low and behold, I did (because unlike in 2001, you can find everything on the internet now), and I’m thinking about giving it a shot to see if I can reach 18-year-old Danne’s dreams. Hopefully I’ll have more luck this time than the younger version of myself did (doubtful):

Britney Spears’ “Slave 4 U” Abs Routine

And if 750-1,000 reps becomes too intense, I found this video on YouTube that looks pretty legit (and slightly less insane):

And of course, I’ve been pinning little ab workouts to my “Workin’ It” Pinterest board all month long too.

Anyone have any favorite ab routines to share?



Yoga on the Cheap (Read: For Free)

While I’m more than happy to pay for yoga (it’s hard to find a more lovely community of people to support), I haven’t found a studio in Ann Arbor that I’ve totally jived with yet, so I’ve been primarily practicing at home. Luckily, I’m a certified yoga teacher so I’m able to lead myself through a sequence, but for days when I’m feeling like I need a little guidance, I turn to Yoga International.

Yoga International is run by the Himalayan Institute, which is “a non-profit, international organization dedicated to serving humanity through educational, spiritual, and humanitarian programs” (as quoted from their website). They’re a leader in the field of yoga, meditation, and spirituality, and they offer tons of FREE classes online—not to mention countless articles, digital courses, products, and a whole host of other wonderful offerings. In short, take classes from expert teacher for free (although I do opt for the $5 monthly membership—because why not?).

You can check out their extensive listing of online classes here, and below are a few links to practices that I’ve personally enjoyed recently:

Stretch and Breathe with Rolf Sovik
Twist and Flow with Kathryn Heagberg
Peak Pose: Eka Pada Rajakapotasana with Jen Stout
Build Ojas with Gentle Movement with Ginny Mazzei

Enjoy yogis!

One-Song Workouts

Who’s heard of these? So fun, right? Just as the name suggests, One-Song Workouts take a song and assign a little workout circuit for you to complete while listening to it. And yeah, if you only do one you probably aren’t burning enough calories for it to qualify as a “real” workout, but do a few of these back to back and you’ve got a nice little home routine lined up. Here’s where you can find some:

One-Song Workouts on Pinterest
5 One-Song Workouts from Buzzfeed (you can play the songs from here too)

And here’s one so you can see what I’m talking about:




One, Fifteen, and Forty-Minute Workout Routines

So, a few months back I mysteriously started receiving Family Circle in the mail. Figuring it was either an accident or some sort of promotion, I tossed the first issue into the recycling bin and didn’t think much else about it. Then, when talking to my Dad a few nights later, he asked if I got “some magazine” in the mail, because Nana had got me a gift subscription and wanted to make sure I got it.

Now even if Family Circle might not normally be my jam, when your adorable 94 year-old Nana gets you a subscription, you read every issue cover to cover, no questions asked. Right after I got off the phone, I retrieved the issue from the recycling.

I have to say though, I’ve been enjoying the magazine a lot more than I thought I would. A lot of the stuff about families and kids doesn’t necessarily apply to me just yet, but they have some great articles and recipes, and when I was reading this month’s issue tonight, I found “3 Anywhere, Anytime Workouts” that I’m putting on my workout to-do list:

1-Minute Routine
Do 60 seconds of jumping jacks, with a squat in between each.

15-Minute Routine
2 minutes walk in place
2 minutes run or brisk march in place
2 minutes push-ups
2 minutes jumping jacks
2 minutes fast squats
2 minutes burpees
2 minutes lunges
1 minute plank

40-Minute Routine
5 minutes walk in place
5 minutes run/walk as fast as you can
5 minutes recovery
4 minutes go as hard as you can
4 minutes recovery
3 minutes go as hard as you can
3 minutes recovery
2 minutes go as hard as you can
2 minutes recovery
1 minute go as hard as you can
1 minute recovery
5 minutes cooldown


Diet > Exercise

Anyone remember that article from Time Magazine a ways back about Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin? The whole thing is worth a read, but the main gist of it is that you can workout all you want, but if you’re eating too much then you’ll never lose weight. Oh, right…

That being said, it doesn’t make much sense to do a workout challenge with expectations of seeing results without at least somewhat monitoring my diet, right? So, in addition to getting my home workouts in, this month I’m also using the app FatSecret to keep track of what I’m eating. While part of me kind of hates counting calories, another part of me is finding it really useful to see how many calories I’m actually consuming vs. how many I thought I was.

Plus, it’s helping me to make some smart choices when it comes to selecting one food or beverage over another—like the time I assumed tonic water was calorie free, wrong! It has upwards of 80 calories a glass and 21 grams of sugar, as opposed to zero in soda water (checkout this slideshow from Shape that shows how certain drinks stack up against each other calorie-wise). The more you know…

Anyone out there an avid calorie counter? Any tips and tricks for me?

Home Fitness Find #1: Popsugar Fitness

This whole challenge started when I was creating a Pinterest “Fitspiration” board for one of my social media clients. I was looking for fitness motivation imagery and kept coming across all these fun little graphics for workouts to do at home. One of them linked me back to Popsugar Fitness, which has a TON of great workouts that you can do just about anywhere, including this Bikini Body Workout Plan that I’ve been focusing on for the past week.

Win! Let’s see what else I can find…


July’s Lent: The 21st Century Home Workout

Early on in high school, I discovered my mom’s treasure trove of workout VHS tapes from the 80s and early 90s. Exercising outside of gym class was a new and intriguing concept for me, so I spent a good chunk of time working my way through all the different types of workout tapes in her collection. Countless hours were spent doing sit-ups with Tony Little, belly dancing with Neena and Veena, kickboxing my way through Tao Bo with Billy Blanks, and learning sun salutations from Kathy Smith—just to name a few.

My interest in the home workout waned once I had free access to a gym in college though, and for the last few years I was lucky enough to work for a company that paid for any fitness class I wanted to take (pretty sweet benefit, right?), so I’ve been primarily getting my workout on outside of the home. Now that I don’t have the luxury of working out for free whenever I want though, I need to figure out an affordable way to stay in shape. Hello, home workout—21st century style.

This month my goal is to navigate my way through the internet’s plethora of free workouts, whether it be through fitness sites, blogs, YouTube, or Pinterest (I’ve surprisingly found a bunch of really good ones on there), and report back my best finds to you guys. Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll have a whole host of good options for getting in shape on the cheap.

Anyone have any favorite home workout resources to share with me?


I plan to make my way through all of these while I’m home visiting my family on the Cape this week.