The Chicagoland Out of the Darkness Community Walk and Why I Volunteer

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is VERY important to me. I have been volunteering with the them since 2009. Three years ago I became the Chairperson for the Outreach and Education Committee for the Illinois Chapter and two years ago I joined the Illinois Board of Directors.

What I have noticed since joining this organization is that everyone’s journey to the AFSP is different, and mine is no exception. Often people come to the organization because they have lost a loved one. I come to the organization because I know what that intense feeling of hopelessness and helplessness feels like. I have been to that dark place and I don’t want anyone else to suffer through that. The fact is that quality treatment for psychiatric illnesses is effective. I was blessed to have some of the best doctors in the country. I was blessed to have supportive friends and family who stood with me through my struggles and educated themselves on my illness and participated in my treatment. I have come to understand that this support is very rare.

So I volunteer for two reasons.

  1. I was incredibly lucky and blessed and EVERYONE deserves that.
  2. I want something good to come from my suffering. It was an awful experience and I want to turn it into a blessing for others.


Our chapter hosts the largest suicide prevention event in the country in the form our of Community Walk. This year’s walk is in 5 days on September 20. If you are able, please consider donating to this great cause! The Illinois Chapter is able to offer all of AFSP’s programming and provide most of it to the community for FREE because of our generous donations. No amount is too small. Every penny adds up and helps the Chapter reach and help more people.


Click HERE for my donation link.

Click HERE to sign up for the Chicago Walk.


Pure Barre: A Testimony and One Month Update

Hi all! If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I am all about Pure Barre. So much so, that the sweet manager of my studio, Pure Barre Orland Park, asked me to be their first Testimony Tuesday. I was incredibly honored to be asked and wanted to share it with you all as well. I also wanted to take a quick moment to thank my instructors. They are always there to encourage me and help me with my form. I am incredibly grateful for their support.

Pure Barre One Month Update and Testimonial

Here is my testimony:

I am a master of all things domestic. I spend my time cooking from scratch, gardening, crafting, organizing and decorating. I enjoy roller derby, traveling and farmer’s markets. I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and volunteer countless hours a year to the cause.

I began my Pure Barre journey four weeks ago. After medical complications three and a half years ago that caused me to gain 50 pounds rapidly, I have been struggling with weight loss. I tried dieting, and not only was I not seeing results, I was missing my adventures in home cooking. I tried cardio, but again there were no results and the gym bores the heck out of me. It’s no secret that I need a fun and challenging exercise routine or it just won’t happen. I decided to give building lean muscle a try, and when I stumbled on a blog post about Pure Barre, I knew I had to give it a shot. I was hooked by the end of my first class just over a month ago. I have been gaining strength and experiencing less back pain and knee pain. To my delight, friends and family have been commenting on how my face looks thinner, my thighs look leaner and my waist is (finally!) shrinking.

Not only is my body improving, but the class heals my soul. For the entire hour, the only things I can think about is my form. Am I tucked? Are my hips square? Am I doing the correct movement? Am I using the right muscle group? My mind is not one that can “turn off” or meditate. However, the deep concentration needed for class gives me one hour where my problems and stress simply do not exist. I can’t help but leave in a great mood.

Pure Barre is helping me feel like my old 50 pound lighter self. My body is shrinking in size,  yet becoming stronger. I am achieving my goals without the deprivation of dieting or boredom of a treadmill. Rather I’m engaged and look forward to my workouts. Thank you Pure Barre Orland Park for helping me loose those inches, build that muscle and taking me on a journey to loving my body.

Pure Barre and Self Care

Alright ladies, we need to chat. Women don’t make taking care of themselves a priority. We are always taught that we have to do it all. (Have you ever heard a man say that he has to do it all?? I’ve only heard women say it!) I know housewife’s and stay at home moms find this especially difficult. If we had to sum up our job description in one phrase it would be: taking care of loved ones. Our entire lives revolve around providing the support system to our loved ones. And I love that that is my job more than anything in the world, but I can give you two reasons why its is important to take care of yourself. First: YOU DESERVE IT. Every one needs some self care time to feed your spirit.  Second: If you don’t believe you deserve it (us women have a tendency to self sacrifice), you honestly can not give to other people if you aren’t at your best.

To be honest, learning how to take care of myself has not been easy. It seemed selfish. And I didn’t feel worthy. I had to work hard to break of the guilt that I should be doing something else. I’ve had to work very hard about being ok with making myself a priority. Because, like I said, I am not good to the people I support if I am not at my best.

pure barre

Usually, my relaxation and self time comes in the form of cooking, but lately I have become incredibly addicted to Pure Barre. Exercise generally bores the heck out of me. As in I literally joined a gym, and didn’t use it once. I need an exercise routine that I absolutely love, or it just isn’t happening. I had been wanting to add some weight training (hoping it would help me burn more fat from my trouble spots) and Pure Barre sounded like a fun option, so I tried a free local class. It completely kicked my butt. It was incredibly challenging. So I signed up for a month long membership. Of the 14 day’s I’ve been a member I went 8 times. Even days I had planned to “take off” I ended up going. I love that the work is so intense I can literally think of nothing else. I am sore after and I leave feeling completely refreshed. I am already seeing myself getting stronger. I’m so glad I gave it a shot!