LFM #22 - Taylor on Moving with Purpose, Motivation, and Morning Light

You know when you find a friend who just has that special spark about them that makes you want to bask in their presence? Taylor is that friend. Taylor and I met because of our shared love for barre—I actually subbed for several of her classes before ever meeting her in person—and she’s such an inspirational force I’m so glad to know. 

Taylor is a health coach, barre instructor, and events coordinator—spreading love and positivity wherever she goes. 

“The first thing I do, every morning, is open the shades and let the light in,” Taylor says. “I’ve always been a morning person, and generally wake up very motivated and energized,” she says. “When I was first starting to intentionally wake up earlier, I’d have all these notes on my alarms to motivate me and remind myself of what I need to do first thing… it’s totally a habit now.” 

A thread throughout everything Taylor does during the day is music. “With almost everything I do, I have music playing. It’s in my morning routine, on my drive, while I’m working, and I love making playlists for barre class. Music is like my therapy. It motivates me and helps my work flow.” Taylor’s current favorites are folk pop and electronic chill music (“I can’t do anything that has an aggressive vibe,” she laughs)—Some of her favorites are John Mayer, Dead & Company, Jack Johnson, and Maggie Rogers. “I set a goal at the beginning of this year to see as much live music as possible in 2019,” she shares. “We have a few concerts planned for this summer already!”

Taylor wakes up early around 5:30 and spends the first hour of her morning working on her coaching business; whether it be checking in with challenges or other coaches on her team, creating content for that day, or planning out future challenge groups. “I’m an ESFJ on the Myers-Briggs scale, so I definitely function off of other people’s energy and love connecting with others… I thrive around positive, uplifting people, and I hope to be that for others as well.” After her power hour working on her business, she’ll move on to her workout. “Right now, I’m doing Transform 20 which is a 20-minute HIIT style workout, so although it’s a challenging 20 minutes, it doesn’t take me long to squeeze it into my mornings.  After my workout, I jump in the shower and get ready for the day, which is really all of 15 minutes from stepping into the shower to being ready for work,” she laughs. “I really am not a makeup person at all, and I like to be efficient.” 

Then she’ll prep her morning shake, lunch and snacks for the rest of the day before heading to work at Cunningham Children’s Home, where she manages fundraising events. “I love my job and it’s super meaningful work that I do, but event planning can be exhausting with constantly balancing so many different projects.  I find myself wanting to spend any pocket of time I have working on my own business. So, I find little pockets of time throughout the day to work on it as much as I can… waking up extra early, using my hour lunch break and often an hour in the evenings when I get home for the day. I’ve always felt I was made for more than what was expected… not climbing a corporate ladder, but instead living a meaningful life that makes me excited to wake up every morning and want to work!  Time freedom is really important to me, so I’m working hard now so I can eventually create my own schedule and be my own boss! My morning time spent working on my business is super motivating and makes me excited for what the future holds.”

She’s also found that working out in the morning has been a big shift in her life. “Moving with purpose feels so right for my body… and now that I’ve started working out in the morning, I have so much more free time in the evenings. I am less stressed and feel like I can actually just live my life and enjoy my day… it’s so freeing. I used to try and go to the gym after work in the evening and was just drained and felt like I had no time at home. I like to stick with my workout programs for consistency, but when it’s nicer outside, I love to go for a walk or run when the sun is coming up… I love being outside first thing in the morning, it’s my favorite time of the day.” While she teaches barre at 6 a.m. on Friday mornings and loves her super committed early morning students, she has loved building her coaching business. “Leading group fitness was such a dream of mine for so long, and then it just aligned perfectly. But I’ve realized there’s a definite difference in coaching versus teaching… with coaching, I’m able to support others while not actively leading the workouts and being in the same room… so it’s nice for me to have that balance of teaching class some, and then saving my energy to work out for me on other days, but still making an impact by helping others live their healthiest lives through coaching.”

Even with an early wakeup, Taylor isn’t a coffee person. “I used to be a coffee person! But I cut the coffee habit cold turkey over a year ago, because I thought, I don’t think I really need this… and I really didn’t miss it at all. I’ll have a coffee every now and then when I’m out, but it’s not a normal part of my morning anymore.” She does love the occasional hot tea, though—her favorite is a chamomile/lavender/spearmint blend, but she also loves orange spice for a more invigorating tea, as well as green chai. 

Taylor and I discussed how much we both love personality assessments as well as Zodiac sign meanings. “There is just so much power in accepting yourself, understanding who you are, and living it out. Really living it out. And while I like horoscopes, I don’t check them daily or let them alter how I feel. It’s important to have that connection… to listen and to grow into yourself. Embracing who you are and living it out is such an important part of discovering happiness and purpose in your life.”

“I am seeking knowledge, always,” Taylor says when I ask about favorite books and podcasts. “I try to read as much as I can, but I find that I don’t have much free time between coaching, teaching, and working full time. I try to find time when I can, which usually happens before bed or on the weekends.  But if I’m at work and not actively working on a detail-oriented project, I’ll listen to a podcast or listen to trainings from other coaches. For podcasts, right now I’m loving Rise with Rachel Hollis and the Rise Together one, on relationships… I’m so excited because this summer at our annual coaching training event, Summit, Rachel will be the keynote speaker! Dream come true to hear her speak live!” 

Her main morning motivation? Sharing. “I naturally share my story and I want to help other people. Fitness and health has always been a passion of mine, but I know a lot of people struggle with finding consistency and balancing a healthy lifestyle. Since actively sharing my journey and helping others reach their goals, I’ve received so much support and it’s so reassuring that I’m doing exactly what I was meant to do. The best feeling is when people reach out to me and let me know they started working out in the mornings because of something I shared, or that I am motivating them to work towards their goals, or that what I’m sharing is making an impact on their every day. You just never know what kind of impact you’re making on others by sharing your journey and living out your best life.”

You can follow Taylor on Instagram and, if you’re in central Illinois, take a barre class with her.

The first thing I do, every morning, is open the shades and let the light in... I’ve always been a morning person, and generally wake up very motivated and energized... When I was first starting to intentionally wake up earlier, I’d have all these notes on my alarms to motivate me and remind myself of what I need to do first thing… it’s totally a habit now.
— Taylor Jules Tureskis

LFM #18 – Brianne on Brave Fear, Encouragement, and Grounding Moments

I know there’s a lot of talk that Instagram can be a terrible thing to look at when you first wake up. I definitely try not to open it right upon waking—which can be a hard habit to break—but I definitely gravitate towards Instagram most mornings, and one of those reasons is to watch Brianne share her #morningaffirmations in her turquoise robe. Hair adorably askew; turquoise robe wrapped around in fluffy splendor; no makeup upon her beautiful face—and she just shares, through Instagram stories, the affirmation she’s chosen, usually at random, for the day. (Today’s was “I am open to healing and growth.”) I found Brianne through Instagram, beautiful place that it is, and instantly wanted to be her best friend, and also, felt that I was. She loves swirly dresses, Paris, Disneyland, and we’ve definitely bonded over a shared adoration of Mary Poppins. She is a bright light I knew I wanted to interview, and I’m so happy this conversation took place. 

Brianne is a life and business guidance coach with an absolutely lovely podcast called Brave Fear. She helps entrepreneurial women create a brave mindset for success through her podcast, group coaching, and Brightly Immersive Mastermind groups. 

 CENTERED THROUGH VARIETY

“My morning routine helps keep me centered,” Brianne says. “But, as an enneagram 7, I have to have variety to keep it fun… but, it’s super grounding for me to have.” Also an enneagram 7, “the enthusiast,” I feel Brianne on this point; maybe that’s why I’m so interested in what everyone else does for their morning routines. I’m always switching it up! Whatever feels good in the moment.

“I do always journal in the morning,” Brianne says. “I’ve been journaling for years; right after I feed my cat, I’ll write out a gratitude list of at least five things I am grateful for. I try to make them very specific, too, like not just ‘my cat’ but ‘my warm cat, snuggled in my lap.’ There’s so much emotion behind that that I want to feel the gratitude with. I love the Cultivate What Matters brand… I have the Write the Word journal. It’s my prayer time… I can get out my thoughts and talk to God. It feels like a conversation, so I can process and let go of whatever is weighing on me. It’s been really healing for my soul.” She then reads from the devotional she loves by Christine Caine;  and then she’ll pull an affirmation card or make her own. “If I’m drawing from a deck of affirmation cards, I just pull them out at random, and trust that whatever I choose is what I need to hear that day.” Brianne says her #morningaffirmations in her turquoise robe came out of a challenge to herself to let go of her perfectionism. “I wanted to show people what I’m doing in the morning, but really, truly, how I am. I wear this robe a lot of the time… it was like, why am I not showing that? You’re literally getting me first thing in the morning. People kept telling me that it helped to ground them for their mornings, and they felt connected—and I felt so connected, too. So it’s showing all these things.”  

BRAVE FEAR 

Brianne doesn’t do caffeine anymore (“It was terrible for my anxiety levels,” she says) but does kickstart her metabolism with bone broth heated on the stove. “It’s such a calming moment, even just stirring it, of a morning,” she says. She throws in an added scoop of collagen as well. 

After that, she gets started with her day—which, as a life and business coach working from her home, looks different every day. “I work with entrepreneurial women as a coach… every business coaching session ended up being where we would talk about our fears, and go deeper. You can get business information anywhere… but without doing the work on your fears and what’s holding you back, you really can’t move forward,” Brianne says. That’s where “Brave Fear” came in. “I’ve lived in fear for nearly three decades,” she laughs. “So I realized, I’m really a fear expert. The name came from a conversation with my mom… and I started to run with it. Brave. Fear. It’s two words, and while you’re not going to erase your fears, you’re going to allow that fear to be brave.” Brianne is passionate about finding a different way to approach fear: “It’s like a friend trying to protect us… embrace it, and then let it guide you.” She places a lot of emphasis on the words she chooses, largely in part to the emotions behind them. “Words have a lot of power… it means a lot when I choose them,” she says. 

Brianne feels like her life has consistently been in transition—from a career in music to photography to branding to business and life coaching—which I can absolutely relate to. “It feels like a strange path, but I just keep following that fear, and somehow, it’s all connected.” Leaving the music industry was difficult for her, but also a big relief. “It’s wonderful to let go of what I ‘have to’ be or ‘should be’… it’s a beautiful roller coaster that you’ve never been on before.” 

She blocks her calendar in a way I can only describe as brilliant, with meetings one week, and all the “behind-the-scenes” work the next. “On the week I don’t have meetings, I’ll definitely stay in my robe all day and not get ready,” she laughs. “I’m glad to have the freedom to separate the two aspects of my business. It’s hard for me to follow to-do lists, so I will pick a bigger project for a day and let myself really dedicate focused time to it.” To keep her focused on her goals, she loves the Start Today journal by Rachel Hollis, which has you write your goals as if they’ve already happened. “It gives me that momentum to make a better choice; and it’s been huge in my accountability. I let this be my reminder, so progress towards my goals happens throughout the day… because you’re already capable of achieving your dreams. It’s just time to brave your fear and make them happen.”

You can connect with Brianne on Instagram, through the Brave Fear Instagram, her website, and listen to her lovely podcast

Words have a lot of power... it means a lot when I choose them.
— Brianne Wik
Photo: Casie Marie Photography

Photo: Casie Marie Photography

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Photo: Casie Marie Photography

Photo: Casie Marie Photography

Photo: Casie Marie Photography

Photo: Casie Marie Photography

Photo: Casie Marie Photography

Photo: Casie Marie Photography

LFM #12 - Autumn on Morning Intentions, Simple Living, and Raising Creative Kids

I talk frequently—with friends, relations, hundreds of people on stage at conferences—about Instagram. I love it so much. Truly, if you’re not ever finding a sense of beauty and inspiration from Instagram, you’re following the wrong people. Follow people who make your heart sing and inspire you to take a breath of fresh air. Like my friend Autumn—a blogger who homeschools her lovely children and each time I scroll through and see a post from her, I feel lighter. Happier. Calmer. More content with my own life, even, because I see the beauty in the parts of hers she shares on her Instagram feed and stories. Autumn’s Instagram bio headlines a Mary Oliver quote, “Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.” And you really feel that, reading her content.

Autumn is a stay-at-home mother of three, homeschooler, and lifestyle blogger with a love for simple, clean living. She is also a certified birth and postpartum doula.

COZY

“I wake up with kids in my bed,” Autumn laughs. Homeschooling Marli, Hunter, and Luna—ages 9, 7, and almost 2—she wakes up when the kids do. “Most of our day is following their lead, and their interests… it’s very open, flowy, and easy,” she says. “So while we have a rhythm, there’s nothing rigid, and no set schedule, which helps me keep less stressed… if I have no schedule, we can’t be late.”

In the mornings, she and the children will make breakfast—“usually smoothies or oatmeal and always coffee for me”—and have time for reading to start the day slowly. “I’ll often get my journal out while they have time with their books,” Autumn says. Then they all wash up. “They brush their hair and teeth, wash their face, I’ll do my morning beauty routine… and then if it’s nice out, we’ll go outside for a while and take lots of deep breaths out there and play. We go with the flow as long as it’s fun. I’ve had to train myself to be easygoing… I have my moments, of course, but if I’m stressed, I always apologize. It’s important to teach them that even if we lose our temper, we can be sorry, admit we make mistakes, and that’s ok.”

“Mornings are when I set my intentions for the day; my attitude for the day, the headspace I want to be in, it’s the perfect time to take whatever time I need to meditate, move my body… literally whatever it is that I need. I used to be go-go-go with the kids, but when I take this time, I am so much better being able to communicate and be present with them… mornings and bedtimes are the grounding experiences. We base a lot of our homeschooling on the Waldorf method, which says a child’s day begins with bedtime… how you put them to bed impacts their day when they wake up. So as much as we have a rhythm to our mornings, we also have a rhythm at bedtime—with stories, being tucked in, kisses and hugs, and time together. It’s so important to take those moments.”  

INSPIRED

Autumn started her blog with her vintage Etsy shop. “I sold midcentury modern houseware, atomic age goodies… that’s where I gained a following, with other kitschy, retro vintage bloggers. It just naturally happened… at the time, I was 21 years old, with a three-year-old at home and had just had my son and blogging was just really becoming a thing—so I thought, let’s homeschool and really do the blog… the blog has evolved over time and grown with me.” (P.S. You’ll want to read her post on self-care here.)

 With her love of vintage things, I’ve noticed her kids flipping records on her feed quite often—and my kids are thrilled to know there are other kids out there that have records. “Music is so much better on a record, I want to hear the dirty cracks and pops on it!” Autumn says. “Music is a huge part of what our life is.”

In addition to blogging, Autumn sells and provides education on essential oils with Oils&Honey Essentials. “Essential oils are naturally a part of my life and what simple living looks like for my family… so it doesn’t feel like a lot of work. I like to do the live videos, the classes, a lot… you can buy oils from the shelf, but no one is going to show you how to use them—safely, in ways that work—that education and leading people through it, makes all the difference. It becomes overwhelming for people otherwise, and natural alternatives should be known to people… I really want to make it accessible.”  

Between homeschooling, blogging, and sharing essential oils, it’s all about finding the balance. “I used to be a birth and postpartum doula—I had to be on call, away from my duties at home… I feel called to it and love it, but it just wasn’t right for this season of my life.”

I knew we could count on Autumn for some amazing book recommendations; she’s sharing them consistently on her Instagram stories! “Right now I’m reading The Creative Family Manifesto, which I’m loving, and Heaven on Earth, a beautiful parenting book… we’ve been doing a French unit in homeschool, and so a lot of our kids’ books have been Paris-focused, like a Magic Treehouse chapter book set in Paris, and impressionist artist books. We’re planning to take them to Paris in the spring… we like to match our learning with our activities whenever we can.”

“I think there’s this misconception that if you can take a pretty picture, there isn’t chaos,” Autumn says of social media. “Instagram is a highlight reel. I’m a normal mom, we all have the same things going on—there is frustration! And mess! And chaos! But I try to have a good time. I am a creative, I like styling, I like pretty things. Instagram has been a wonderful outlet for me to channel through, for my photography and my business, and I try to share a good mix of vulnerability and creativity… I can style a pretty photo, but the real life, the chaos, it’s there.”  

You can follow Autumn on Instagram and her essential oils account, as well as her blog.

While we have a rhythm, there’s nothing rigid, and no set schedule, which helps me keep less stressed… if I have no schedule, we can’t be late.