My Summer Long Run Uniform

I made a pledge at the start of the year to not purchase any items of clothing for all of 2017 (with a few exceptions).  At this point in the game, I hadn’t signed up to run a marathon yet, so I made a few more exceptions once I was enlisted in this endeavor and had miles of training in front of me.  I wore two particular articles of clothing for every long run and during the race.  They were perfect and I have no complaints about either item of clothing.  Since I loved them so much, I want to tell you about each piece.  I will definitely be buying a second pair of each once my purchasing ban is lifted and I start summer training again next year.

The Perfect Running Bra

It does exist and it is made by Lululemon.  I have squeezed myself into sports bra after sports bra but this is the one y’all: The Enlite Bra.

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Summer long run uniform

I’m lucky in that I don’t have to contend too much with my girls and their bounce or weight when I run.  And I’d honestly never really thought twice about a good sports bra, until I wore this one.   It made the days I wore other sports bras seem restrictive and uncomfortable.

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Full coverage on the front and no bouncing!

I love the Enlite because it has individual cups for each gal.  Turns out I don’t really love having them smooshed into a uni-boob.  I also love that it hooks in the back in addition to the usual elasticity of sports clothing because that helped eliminate some of the bounce that happens when running (again, I don’t have much to contend with here, but I did notice).  The criss-crossed straps in the back also helped me feel tucked in and tight.  The best part though was probably the fabric.  It is SO soft.  And there’s something magical about it that doesn’t collect sweat (and man were there some sweaty days in July gearing up for that race).  I remember wearing a different bra on a humid night run of way less than half the distance of some of those morning long runs and I had to wring it out it got so soaked in sweat.  I never had to wring out the Enlite, because of the magic fabric.

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Enlite Bra + mid thigh tights = perfect running combo

The Perfect Running Bottoms

When I first started running, I wasn’t too picky about the kind of clothing I had on.  I didn’t know any better.  It only took one run over 5 miles to learn that shorts are not a good option for my legs for that many miles.  No thigh gap there.  So for years, I’ve run in mid-length tights all through the summer months for runs over 5 miles.  When the temps started to climb in Oklahoma on this marathon training cycle, I knew I needed a different plan.

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I spy a phone tucked into a side pocket

I bought my favorite pair of running bottoms to date.  They are the mid-thigh tight shorts that remind me of biker shorts.  They’re amazing for a few reasons:

  1. They are way cooler (as in temps) than tights just a few inches longer.
  2. They are way more comfortable than traditional shorts and I can wear them for miles and miles without a concern of chafing.
  3. THEY HAVE SIDE POCKETS

I’ve written about my love for side pockets before but I’ll reiterate again.  As a digital runner who uses her phone for music, run tracking and instagramming on the run, side pockets changed the game for me.  There is less sweat there than at the normal small-of-the-back pocket and the bounce from the large device is minimal when it’s snug against your leg.  There’s also plenty of room for hours of snacks and mid-run essentials like salt tablets and Aleve.  I’ll never buy pants or shorts intended for running without side pockets again.  Ever.

Unfortunately this version of the shorts is no longer in production but I’ll let you know when something similar is available for purchase.   I’ll definitely be buying another pair when they come back around!

 

 

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My StudiOne Story: Full Time Part Timer

Here is the fourth installment on the road to StudiOne.  If you missed the first one or three, you can link back through my journey below:

  1. The race that started it all
  2. The gym that shaped my training philosophy (and rest of my life)
  3. Choosing Tulsa

And now I present to you what I did for the two years in Tulsa while I waited for StudiOne to happen.  I did move here with high hopes of having my own personal training studio.  I wanted a place where I could train people one on one or in group fitness classes.  I also wanted to be able to coach running.  Yoga was nowhere on my radar except that I enjoyed taking classes.

I took a giant leap of faith and moved here with no job lined up.  (This was pre-budgeter Sprenk.)  I know I was spinning my wheels trying to get various training groups together around town.  I coached a small group of three people to their first half marathons in the Route 66 half.  I took over (and still manage) the events at my friends’ coffee shop.  My friend Katie works in the event industry and she helped get me a few leads to at least have some cash flow while I worked on growing my training business.

One of my main gigs at this point was working fancy style events for Skyloft (the top floor of one of the few skyscrapers in Tulsa) – galas, weddings, bar mitzvahs etc.  It wasn’t at all along my career path but it worked well for me initially.  I had a steady though small flow of income while I explored my training options in Tulsa, and was still able to have most of my daytimes free, sacrificing nights and weekends to work these special events.  By the wintertime, this job was wearing me out.  I’m grateful for the small stability this gig gave me when I first moved here, and that it led me to a bride named Leslie, who led me to swiping right on Tinder for a dude named Chap.

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View from SkyLoft

My second home was (still is) Foolish Things Coffee.  I did most of my work there since I didn’t have internet at my house yet.  Luckily for me, Justin and Katie needed some help managing the special events part of the business and I took over a job that I really enjoy and fits easily into my schedule (still does).  I manage inquiries for the use of the cafe for events ranging from birthday parties to book clubs to baby showers, rehearsal dinners and small receptions.  It’s easily manageable and I look forward to getting dressed up on the weekends.  I appreciated the smaller scale of this event management position compared to the one at SkyLoft.

Working the two event jobs gave me time to explore different gyms in Tulsa to see where I might want to train and/or teach.  I tried a lot of different things.  I ran a Groupon promo to have an outdoor bootcamp in my neighborhood.  0 people signed up.  I tried to teach bootcamps at my friends’ kickboxing gym but it was in a tough part of town for me to get to (I have a small radius).  I finally settled on teaching at the YMCA and working the floor.  I washed towels, cleaned machines and gave tours.  For one hour on my shift each day, I was able to teach a Sets and Reps weight lifting class.  I worked a split day 10-2 and then again 3-6:30.  It seemed to be a good fit for a while.

Then, an incredible opportunity fell in my lap while I was searching Demand.com as I did periodically to see what else was out there.  There was a fitness manager position available for a downtown start up called Live Streaming Fitness.  Their goal was to offer live fitness classes on their website all day, and filmed right here in Tulsa.  I applied and made it through the interview.  It seemed really wonderful at first as I interviewed and hired all different kinds of fitness teachers from Tulsa – conditioning coaches, yoga teachers, aerobics teachers, kickboxing etc.  I wrote plans for classes and planned out larger month long programs and challenges for members.

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Behind the scenes at LSF

Soon, the newness wore off and the expectations of most corporate or office jobs wore on me a little bit.  I wanted to be able to run or workout on my lunch break.  I wanted to travel for races and fun more than the number of paid vacation days allowed.  I quickly realized something I probably already knew: I don’t do well being bossed.

Much against Chap’s best advice, I turned in my two weeks’ notice and went back to part time at the YMCA.  I took on more teaching roles this time, added one private client and an outdoor boot camp.  I’m a big believer that nothing is a mistake and two of the trainers I hired at LSF led me to additional paying jobs I still hold today (that’ll be a later post – how to keep StudiOne floating).

Throughout all of this transition and job hunting and leaving, I found a steady yoga practice at Foolish Things.  Katie and Justin had envisioned having yoga on the patio weekend mornings before opening and as it happened, had a teacher inquiring about teaching for us.  I met with Teresa Moyer one afternoon at the cafe and talked to her about what we wanted as a coffee shop, and what she wanted as an instructor.  She was newly certified and wanted a chance to give a donation based class to our customers.  We gave her the green light and Saturday yoga became a thing.  I was stoked to get to have access to yoga every week.

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Yoga on the patio

There clearly isn’t a clean, straight line to living the dream.  I knew this as I walked through each of these transitions, trying to make ends meet (even driving for Uber for a while!) and just tried to promise myself that I would continue to work on and tend to the personal training and coaching dream.  Looking back it all is so clear how one step (and seeming mistakes) all led to a pretty sweet life I have going right now.  Important relationships (personal and professional), connections to future jobs, experience and income were all provided in some capacity from each job I tried and eventually left.  My bottom line for working – don’t be miserable.  No job is worth being unhappy.  I kept my eyes on my end goal and just meandered my way to it.

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My road to the Studio

StudiOne Story: Choosing Tulsa

Hi there!  This post is the third story from an undetermined number of pieces to make up the book that is “running my own little kingdom of StudiOne”.  A friend and reader asked me to talk about what it’s like to run our Studio and I decided to take several posts to show the evolution of this dream come true.  It’s been an interesting road to get here and I wanted to be able to portray that

even if you’re not doing in the immediate moment what you believe is your passion and your end game, you can still be well on your road to getting there.

If you missed either of the first two stories you can read about the race that changed my life, and the gym that made me a personal trainer.  Now I’m going to talk about how I went from being so heartset on returning to Memphis and ended up in Tulsa.

When I left the story last, I had just pulled away from Memphis for a summer at home taking summer school classes that were pre-requisites to my graduate studies at the University of Texas.  Yep, 24 years old and living with my (gracious) parents.  It was a mostly uneventful summer as I prepared for a move to Texas.  I can’t remember what sparked this thought but as I was mapping out my route from Indy to Austin I thought, I should swing through Oklahoma and say hi to my friend Katie.  (I really didn’t want to go to Austin and honestly think I was just postponing my arrival there).

 

Katie and I grew up as best friends and basically sisters in our small town WASPish childhood home.  We played basketball together, dated the same boys and I think she spent the night at my house more than her own.  We went our separate ways for college, she to Wheaton in Chicago and me to Rhodes in Memphis.  For a taste of how different our experiences were : when she called me to tell me she was engaged, I was buying tequila for the jello shots at my 21st birthday party.  I went to her wedding in January of 2010 to watch my beautiful friend marry this jockey football player I’d met only once and just remember thinking why would they quit college early?

Flash forward to 2012.  I planned a quick two night stay in Tulsa on my way southwest.  Katie and Justin were living with his folks while they did the buildout for their cafe.  We went to Fat Guys and Andolini’s, Old School Bagel and Brookside.  I got a tour of the under construction Foolish Things which was just the greatest and most inspiring thing that could probably have happened on this trip.  We had a great time catching up and I promised I would come back to see the finished cafe before I graduated.

I don’t write much about Austin because it just wasn’t a place I connected with.  This surprised me as much as it surprised anyone.  A warm, active city with beautiful parks, live music and plenty of options for running trails?  Sounds like my heaven.  I might have needed a massive attitude adjustment my first semester (I was on academic probation for bad grades and didn’t even know it until they told me I was removed from the list…..).  I think it was a combination of feeling like I left something great in Memphis, being massively disappointed in this “high ranking graduate program” I had chosen and generally annoyed at the ever present traffic.  I survived, I made some great friends, some poor decisions and adopted a sweet little puppy.  Now that I’m on the other side of the period of life that is 24-26 I would like to say to those approaching it, watch out!  There will be times of massive self-doubt, depression, confusion and carelessness.  Obviously this will not be the case for everyone but I certainly (and I have friends who agree) would have appreciated a little warning that this hurricane of a two years was even a possibility.

I made good on my promise and returned to Tulsa, Katie and Justin in November of 2015 to run the Route 66 Half Marathon.  I drove up on a Saturday, stayed that night, ran Sunday and left Monday morning.  They had moved into their own house and opened the cafe, all while I was floundering about in my Austin hurricane.  I don’t know if it was the nice toll booth lady who paid for my toll when I had absolutely no change coming into OK, or the majestic deco-inspired Tulsa skyline but as I drove into downtown Tulsa that night, coming north on 75 across the river, I just thought, I could move here.  As soon as I uttered those words to my hosts it was over.  If the coffee and floral business don’t work out for these two, they can be professional Tulsa recruiters.

We didn’t have much time that weekend to keep exploring Tulsa but I’m pretty sure we went back to Andolini’s and went over all the great things about Tulsa over and over on their couch.  Katie had started her own business since I was gone and the cafe was so cool to see finally open.  Another inspiring moment and I just thought, I want to be where people are living out their dreams.  And I drove off, making no promises this time but also kind of knowing what was going to happen.

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Majestic skyline

I had devised a plan that in March or April of my second year, I would visit Memphis and visit Tulsa while maybe still considering the possibility of staying in Austin, to really pick where I wanted to go next.  But first, I had a trip to New Orleans with Sharon (my friend and fellow blogger who inspired this series), and Erin my then-roommate.  We were running a race but the part of New Orleans that is relevant to this story is: I decided to have my fortune read in Jackson Square.  The lady I picked was a card reader and after talking for a while she said she would place three cards in front of me and then interpret their meaning to my life.  She laid three cards face down on her table.  In my head I assigned a city to each card: Austin, Tulsa and Memphis.  Here is how she talked about the cards and the cities they matched in my head.  Austin:  this card is chaos.  It represents an unsettled and difficult time.  Tulsa: this card is all rainbows and unicorns and new beginnings.  Memphis:  this card represents being inside out and upside down.  It’s really good and it’s really bad.  You’ll have a good ride but you better hang on.

Spot on.  But also kind of tossed aside, because come on.

I returned to Tulsa mid-spring of my graduating year.  It followed a trip to Memphis and my intention was to really think about each place and what my life would look like with each as a backdrop.  In my mind I really just had two choices: Memphis (familiar and home sweet home), Tulsa (fun and full of new opportunities).  The details of each trip are a little hazy but I remember sitting at Foolish Things with Justin and Katie, helping to host an event (sitting where I am this second actually) and I just decided.  It was a peaceful and exhilarating feeling.  I still had a few months until I would make my move but I just knew this would be it.  I told Katie and Justin that night and the next day Katie took me out to look at houses.  We looked at one over by TU, and two in Owen Park.  The third one we looked at in Owen Park is now my home!

I called my parents to tell them I was thinking about moving to Tulsa and that it was probably a good time to buy a house.  They agreed.  But I think also thought I jumped the gun a little bit on picking a house.  My mom joined me on yet another trip to T-town to see the house, and I think try to (unsuccessfully) talk me out of it.  But I know me.  And I know that when I find something I like, I’m not going to keep looking for something that could maybe be better.  I’m sure it doesn’t make sense to a lot of people from the outside that the third house I ever considered buying was the one but it doesn’t surprise me at all 😉

And that is how I got to Tulsa.  A deeply rooted friendship, the lure of a fun and growing city and a chance to try something I’ve never tried before.  I still love and will always miss Memphis, my first home away from home but I also knew what life looked like there.  I was ready for a new adventure and creating a life on my terms.  Stay tuned for the next installment which will be the story of the two years spent in Tulsa working while I dreamt of the studio.

 

My StudiOne Story: Part 2, Memphis

Welcome to the second installment on my series explaining what it’s like to “run my own little kingdom” that is StudiOne yoga + fitness.  In the first installment, I explained in detail the life event that I am certain changed the course of my life forever – my first marathon.  It’s a long read (mile by mile through the race) but it’s important.

Immediately after the marathon, I headed out for a fraternity formal (not a recommended recovery activity, but a damn good time) and then finished up my junior year of school.

I don’t remember the exact timeline of my working career at this gym that trained me to run the marathon, but I do know that first I taught Spinning there, and then I began working behind the desk.  I don’t think I can put into words the impact Lisa, Natalie, Donna and each member had on me.  It was my second home.

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My running family

I remember thinking and dreaming as I vacuumed around the cardio machines or mopped the red floor that I wanted to own my own place someday.  I wanted to have a place that made people feel as good about themselves and as safe as Inside Out did for me.

When I graduated, I had no promising entry-level positions in any career field.  My psychology degree didn’t give me a foot in to many places.  I was so surprised and don’t think I hesitated when the girls offered me a personal training position at Inside Out, even offering to cover the initial expense of getting certified.  I took the class as soon as I could and that first summer out of college was a personal trainer.

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TRX crew!

There were lots of opportunities for me and I soon loved the variety provided by a schedule of teaching mixed with personal training.  I was allowed and encouraged to develop my own programs, from Boot Camps to my own version of the marathon training club to private clients.  It took a while but with their encouragement and advice and my hard work and constant desire to just hang around that place, I had a full schedule fast.

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My last class 😦 

It wasn’t all easy and soon I was having trouble adjusting to weird times in the middle of the day being home from work, and then going back to the gym for my after work clients just as my neighbors and friends were coming home.  By the time I finished around 8 or 9, I needed to head to bed so I could get up for the 5:30 classes and appointments.  This was the only major drawback that I remember, and sometimes is still something I struggle with.

Sadly, after two years I moved on to graduate school in Austin, Texas.  Those few months preparing to leave Memphis were some of the toughest I’d experienced.  I had a client base that I loved deeply, and felt responsible for in some ways.  The best part of personal training was getting to know people on a deeper level.  I watched people get married, have babies, lose their loved ones, get dumped, move through divorce while we trained.  I met their dogs, got invited to dinners and set up on dates with mutual friends.  Some of the things I learned in sessions I don’t think spouses knew about their people.  I developed friendships that are still in tact to this day.  I loved my people and my town.

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Clients and friends

As I left with a broken heart, I had every intention of returning to Memphis after my two years in Austin were up.  For those of you who know where I am now, you know that’s not how it worked out!  But Memphis gave me two years of discovering that I’m on the earth to teach and encourage, and I learned from the best.  Thank you, IOG.

Stay tuned for Part 3: Choosing Tulsa.

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Goodbye, Memphis

 

Tulsa Love, Retro Den Homestyling (update!)

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After

Last time I wrote about my Retro Den Ashelys, they had left me with some serious homework.

  1. Paint the Fireplace
  2. Order a couch
  3. Buy some greenery

I decided to tackle the fireplace first.  It seemed a relatively simple task, one that I could handle on my own and reap immediate benefits in terms of feeling like the room was continuing its transformation.  The girls were very helpful over text, informing me what kind of paint to buy, and giving a little direction on the color.  Semi-gloss, soft white but not white white.  

I browsed the whites a bit at Home Depot.  Who knew there were so many shades of white?  I’m not one to get too hung up on decisions like this.  If I bought the wrong white, I figured I would just get more and repaint it.  Once I was satisfied that my Eggshell white was the right shade, I had the ladies behind the counter mix up a small can of it.  I also bought one of the painter’s kits that comes with rollers, brushes and a paint tray.  All set.

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This stop had been the last of a few errands I ran that evening.  I had been to the grocery store and one other place I can’t remember right now – all that to say, I had more than one bag I was carrying inside.  Both because of my several stops, and also because I’m a one-trip-in-from-the-car kind of gal.

I also had an extra dog staying with me because Chap was out of town.  These two things combined into one very messy start of this project.  I was walking into the house, 42 bags in each hand, determined to make it to the kitchen table with them all.  I’m certain I could have, if not for the two rowdy, hungry and easily excitable dogs running around my feet.  I set my left hand’s load down on the kitchen table, and the right on a kitchen chair.  I managed to do it in just the right place that as soon as I let go, the bag with the can of paint in it fell to the floor.  The lid came off.  White (but not white white) paint started slowly spreading across the hardwood floor.

Shit.

Clean it up before it dries.

Grab towels.

Then mop.

Corral the dogs.

That was my basic train of thought as the white pool slowly expanded away from the chair.  I decided before mopping, I should wipe up some of the bulk of the mess.  Then I realized I needed to put the lid back on it.  Decided I would do that with a towel in hand.  So, I ran to the bathroom and grabbed a white towel, ran back to the spill and scooped up the can and lid, still mostly in the bag.  I dropped the bag and can in the kitchen sink (not the best decision of this series), and went back to mop up more of the bulk of the mess.  Once the thick of it was on the towels, I threw them into the washer (again, not totally great thought process but I was so fixated on mopping).  I managed to scare the dogs enough with my frantic screaming and running around that they hovered together in the mud room.

It took me two mop buckets of water to really get all the film up.  But I was pretty satisfied with my efforts and results.  Major catastrophe avoided.  Until I realized I still had a kitchen sink and washer to deal with.  The soaking wet towels in the washer was the worst of the sequence.  I took a big trash bag and just scooped them up and tossed into the trash.  It was not worth it to me to try to salvage those.   The kitchen sink was fairly easy to clean.

The two biggest tragedies of this fiasco are that no one was able to witness this mess or take pictures of the frantic cleanup.  The second is that I now have white paint on my beautiful black Lululemon running jacket.

The best thing to come of this?  I had exactly enough paint, down to almost the last drop, left in that little can to cover the fireplace.  The Ashelys got to partake in my fiasco via text, and were very helpful in directing where the white paint should go.  Not inside the fireplace, and not on the floor bricks.  Just the wall bricks.  It’s beautiful, and was so satisfying a task to complete on my own, with a little texting help from my friends.

Stay tuned for more house updates, homework completions and furniture!

Organized Home: Tupperware

Howdy!  I’m still in the kitchen for my home organization this week.  Last week I tackled fridge and food storage in the cabinets (no pantry in my house).  This week I moved on to the tupperware cabinet.

On the Organize 365 podcast, she tackles this area the same week that she does food storage but I just couldn’t handle it that week. I was much more prepared this week to handle it in under an hour one morning.  It was also the morning that I prepped some food for the week, and that was a much more pleasant experience.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say opening my tupperware cabinet is a risky business.  Lids falling everywhere, things perfectly balanced once the cabinet doors are shut.  Unfortunately this is the same cabinet I store my NutriBullet and crock pot in; two appliances I use pretty frequently.

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Yikes

Here are the rules for this week’s clean out:

  1. Remove everything from the cabinet (no surprise here).
  2. Throw away anything that doesn’t have a base or a lid to match it.
  3. Throw away sizes of containers you don’t use.  In her book, and mine, it’s not a waste to throw it away if it’s no longer wasting space in your cabinet.
  4. Stock up on sizes of containers you use the most.
  5. Place everything back in the cabinet.

I listened to the podcast before the actual clean out so while on my grocery run this weekend, I stocked up on three of my favorite sizes of containers: the long and shallow ones, the square shallow and square deep.  During the cleanout, I put everything on the floor and then tried to match lids to bases.  Just like she said, I tossed anything without a match.  I kept anything with a match event though she advised against it.  I’ve got the space for now, and maybe since it’s organized finally I can actually find reason to use the itty bitty containers.

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Playing matchmakers

I didn’t have any particular system for putting things back into the cabinet.  I put all the appliances on the bottom shelf: crock pot, food processor and NutriBullet.  Then I organized the best I could by shape for the Tupperwares.

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So roomie!

The key to keeping it this way I think will be taking my time putting the containers away after I wash them.  No more opening the cabinets and casually tossing them back in there.  I used three of the new long shallow ones to store some veggies and cooked chicken in, and several of the deep, short ones for this week’s lunch salads.  My fridge is a lot neater, and now that I have easy access to actually choosing what size tupperware I want, I’ll probably break the habit of storing the big pots and bowls of entire meals in the fridge.

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Happy Fridge 🙂

Next week I’ll handle the dishware.  I have a cabinet of plates and bowls, and another cabinet of cups and mugs.  I may do one at a time, or maybe I’ll get crazy and go for both.  Either way, I’m on a mission to get this house in order, hopefully before my next series of trips in April!

Tulsa Love:Joe Station Dog Park

(please read this in a slightly broken British accent.  You know, as if Miley were speaking out loud to you.)

It’s a blog takeover today!  And that’s right, I’m a British street dog.  There’s no real reason for it except when mama makes me talk to her and other people, it always comes out in a slightly broken British accent.  You know, as if an American were trying to speak proper British.  But I let her entertain us and others with it.

Usually when mama writes these blog posts, I’m lying right next to her in bed.  She’ll tell you it’s because there’s nowhere else to sit in the house (true, there’s only a bench at the kitchen table for now) but I know it’s really because she is the most comfortable there and loves to snuggle up with me.

I know on Tuesdays she writes about things she loves about Tulsa so I thought a great way to get me to the dog park during the beautiful weather this week would be to recommend I guest blog for her….and it worked!  We went to run and chase balls yesterday.

Joe Station Dog Park is really close to the house – I think mama would run us there if it was not past the busy interstate but otherwise it’s just a quick car trip from downtown.  There are plenty of tennis balls provided to play with, water buckets and in the summer I love to play in the kiddie pools.

Most of the time I’ll run around chasing any ball that’s being thrown.  Mama does a good job of throwing them for me but sometimes I get distracted by others throwing balls too.  Or other kinds of balls like soccer balls.  I always go after those.  Luckily I’ve never heard owners get mad at mom, even though she gets embarrassed about me.  I just perk my ears up and wag my tail at people and they don’t mind.

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I love it.  Mama loves it so I can get tired without messing up her run.  Come play with us sometime!