I never set out to be an “entrepreneur,” but when you focus on creating something of real substance and value, with a little luck and the right supporters, that foundation of value builds itself up. In business and in life, I consider relationships to be incredibly valuable and helping people to be of the utmost importance. We can find our own joy by watching other people smile and seeing our friends feel at ease when they breathe. We can find our own inner strength and self-love by encouraging those around us to feel life and connection when they look at themselves in the mirror and as they buzz through their days.
I admire companies that build positive environments in which people can work together for a greater purpose—but simply creating that environment isn’t all it takes. The real key is how each person values and respects the positive culture the company is trying to establish. How each member handles his or herself within a community really matters to the overall success and potential of any group. People who only look out for themselves, or who are unable to manage their personal moods or intentions, can really cause damage in far deeper ways than they might ever intend. It is so important that we all work to ensure we are making every person we work with, and those we serve, feel safe, valued, and at ease. Working together doesn’t mean there can’t be individual styles or differences of opinions. That diversity is what enables a colorful yet collaborative outcome to emerge from all the various layers that go into building anything.
In addition to the obvious benefits to your community, it is essential to your own well-being that everyone in your life knows they are solid, safe, and supported. I do not believe people are “disposable;” I do believe that if people feel safe and are able to be honest with themselves, to truly know their personal challenges and what they have or haven’t earned, then your “place” will feel honest and connected, too. I am a big believer in the life lines, “there are no small parts, only small actors,” and “you are better than no one and no one is better than you.” Every person’s part is vital. All the more reason why it is so important for people to feel safe.
With all these thoughts on safety and community, it comes as no surprise to me that my interview this week is with a woman who is in the business of healing and helping people. Thus far in life, she has championed through her journey with the knowledge of what is truly of value. Her smile lights up the world. Her connection to herself is loving, but driven. Her energy is infectious. I have been lucky enough to move with Elise (@ek4tam) in person during a ViTAlity week—and I knew she was a team player from the second I met her. The medical practice she works at is blessed to have her; she is sharp and bright. One of my favorite Instagram posts yet was of Elise in her scrubs inviting her boss into, oh, just a little #TAREALTIME in the office!! She is giving and deserving. I was so happy to hear her story; she is a single mom who has found the love of her life in a friend she has had for many years. That is by no mistake, because friends really care about you—and that means caring about all of you, especially the places that hit the deepest. True friends are loyal to the end. I can tell that Elise is this kind of mother, woman, and friend—the kind who embodies loyalty, encouragement, and positivity, the kind who delights in other’s joy—and I am super delighted to bring you her TAmily Tale.
All of my love,
I was born and raised in Shreveport, LA and am blessed to have 3 sisters and supportive, loving parents who have been married for 41 years! I’m a mother to an artistic, silly and adventurous 5-year-old boy. My son views “mommy’s workouts” as just part the of the regular daily norm, and I can only hope this serves as an example for him and impacts his health in a positive way throughout his life. Recently, I was lucky to find love again and married a brilliant, strong, selfless and loving man.
Work keeps my days very full, as l am a Physician Assistant for an orthopedic spine surgeon in a very busy practice. The amount of energy and drive that my personal and professional lives demand requires that I stay as healthy, balanced and fit as physically possible. Both my job and family inspire me to live my best, most balanced life. My job is physically demanding, as I stand for long hours in surgery. When not in the operating room, I am just shy of running from hospital to clinic, from patient to patient and from room to room. Once, I had a patient refer to me as a “hummingbird”, and I just had to laugh because it was such an accurate description. My job inspires me to be and stay healthy. Everyday I encounter many people who have not cared for themselves over the years. These patients have decreased mobility, chronic pain and a generalized deconditioned status that leads to a very poor quality of life. Sadly, but more often than not, we operate on patients who have an extreme excess of adipose tissue, which in turn, creates a much more challenging surgery and increases the risk of both intraoperative and postoperative complications. Although genetics play a role on body type, it is not the final answer. Our environment and daily choices to eat a healthy balance diet and move our bodies has a dramatic impact on a variety of levels of our mind and body health.
I found Tracy 2 years ago and have not looked back! Although the road to finding The Method was not a straight path. My first memory of dieting was in 7th grade, and I recall picking sesame seeds off my hamburger bun to decrease the calories. I became so focused on diet and calorie restriction, that I earned my college degree in Dietetics at LSU in Baton Rouge, LA followed by my Masters of Science in Food and Nutrition at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA. Throughout the years my weight fluctuated. I was never consistent with any exercise program and pretty much tried it all. At age 26, I moved to the Pacific Northwest, 3,000 miles away from my family and friends. During the 6 years I lived there, I never weighed myself, and found it much easier to live in denial than face the mirror and scale. My reality check came when I was 5 weeks pregnant with my son. During my first ObGyn check up, I was petrified to weigh myself, so I stepped on the scale backwards and asked the nurse not to tell me. But, I snuck a look and was shocked. I was up almost 30lbs from what I “thought” I weighed. After my son was born, I nursed him for a year and was strict with my diet and lost the baby weight and additional 30lbs but remained disconnected from and putting myself, last. It took a divorce and a move back home to the South to realize I had been beyond unbalanced all this time.
It was a moment in history that I remember exactly where I was, who I was with and what I was wearing, when I decided to commit to TAM. I was sitting on the deck of my parents’ beach house in Destin, Florida with my best friend Christin (@christin4tam). She strongly but gently suggested that I need to start exercising and recommended the Tracy Anderson Method. After discussing the philosophy of The Method, the flexibility of home workouts, and taking the body type quiz, I ordered and started Metamorphosis. I quickly realized how amazing it felt to take care of ME! Since, I found great results with Meta, I signed up for streaming the day it was released. This took my excitement and results to an entire new level. The #TArealtime contest was a genius way to have us streamers go “all in” for the first 30 days and post on Instagram (IG) from which the priceless “TAmily” was born. I currently workout in my pool house just about every day with an array of thermometers, steamers, heaters, extension cords, speakers, mirrors, mats and weights! It is like a TAM party everyday in my pool house and everyone is invited 🙂
The first challenge that comes to mind is protecting my workout time and handling the associated guilt that comes along with taking time for myself. In order to have up to 2 hours uninterrupted for TAM, I have no other choice than to wake up at 4:15 am and get going. Is this ideal for me or what I would prefer, NO! However, TAM is a major priority for me, and if it’s going to happen based on my current family and work schedule, then 4:15am it is, and no complaints! Trips and weekends can be challenging, and my family sometimes gets frustrated that I schedule workout time, however I know that at the end of the day the Method makes me a better, mom, wife, sister and PA. TAM helps me feel more focused, increases my energy and give me a positive attitude, which is why some of you might see me working out in my office doing dance cardio on lunch break or waking up in the middle of the night on vacation to do a master class. It may appear ludicrous to others, but I am doing it for ME, and that is so important. As wives and mothers, we tend to put ourselves last, and trust me, I have been there. However, that is crazy talk! Once I switched the order to take care of me first, my entire life has blossomed and relationships with everyone in my life are more rich and fulfilling.
It’s hard to articulate how supportive and special this group of ladies is. They have been there for every single challenge I’ve approached along the way. Whether it’s validating that I’m not crazy for waking up at 330am on vacation to workout, or encouraging me to hit the mat on days I may not feel my best, or creating different challenges to promote our health (i.e. 50min dance cardio for 10 days, wine-free for a week, drinking 8oz water every hour, etc.), our #TAmily makes living a healthy life fun, infections and exciting!
Like other Tam Tales ladies have mentioned, I could fill up a book on how everyone has inspired me. It’s insane! We are all lucky if we have one true person in our life as our inspiration, and with #TAmily we have many! My number one inspiration is Tracy. I could go on forever, but she is the brain, heart and soul behind the method. After spending time with her at two vitality weeks, her genuine spirit blew me away. Attending vitality week changed me forever on so many levels, and I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone, it will take your workouts and health to an entirely new level.
My mother always said “you get out of something what you put into it” and that’s so true in the case of connecting with #TAmily. I won’t forget my first IG post during the #TArealtime contest. I was nervous and completely out of my comfort zone. Overtime posting has gotten easier but still feels foreign. However, I have realized if it helps to inspire others, then it’s worth it. I connect with my #TAmily girls daily via FaceTime, text, IG, Periscope and our What’sApp text groups. We meet up in person whenever we can. For example, I met Jennifer (@fernandzgt) at Miami Vitality Week in June, and over Thanksgiving in Atlanta, I had so much fun going to her Tam Cave and sweating out the master class and dance cardio! These girls have become some of my closest friends, and I cannot imagine my life without them 🙂 They not only support me on the mat, but we all help and support each other throughout all of life’s trials and triumphs.
LIKE MOST WOMEN I KNOW, YOU ARE BUSY! WHAT TIPS DO YOU HAVE FOR FITTING WORKOUTS INTO A HECTIC LIFESTYLE?
This is one my biggest challenges, but its not impossible. You must have the mindset that it’s “non-negotiable.” Like Tracy says, ‘it’s like brushing your teeth, do it every day’. I do not schedule rest days, I workout every single day that I physically can, which ends up being at least 6 days a week. Also, I NEVER take more than 2 days off in a row. Find what keeps you internally and externally accountable. I log into my calendar everyday I do master class and dance cardio. I check in with the TAmily and I like to invite friends and sisters over to workout with me. I lay out my clothes the night before and set the coffee pot and heaters on timers. So, when I wake up, all I have to do is get dressed and press play…just that easy 🙂 I know if I didn’t post on IG or check in with TAmily for a day or two, I would be getting texts from plenty of girls! (You know who you are … @melissarigdon @agikonwali @emery5 @latam34 to name a few.)
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TA MOMENT?
Since I workout so early, I only drink black coffee and water before and during my workout.
Well I LOVE to eat which makes balance challenging. I love all things sweet, wine, good cheeses and traveling and trying new foods.
I love that my body grew my son! What a miraculous achievement human development is. Physically, I love my collar bones, upper abs and dimples 🙂
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR INTERNAL SELF?
I love my strength and optimism. I had no idea how strong I was until life presented circumstances to test my courage and determination. However, throughout my heart breaks and struggles I never once thought that I would not be okay!
I love cold summer soups, especially Gazpacho! My grandmother had the best recipe. I could eat this for days!
2 cups peeled diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup chopped purple onion
1/2 bunch chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 small garlic clove, chopped
Juice of one lime squeezed
3 cups tomato juice (like Snappy Tom)
2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tsp Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
1 Tsp Cajun seasoning
Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients. Stir well. Chill in fridge several hours before serving. Serve cold.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
10 black olives, sliced
6 green olives, sliced
8 medium mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flou
2 16 oz cans stewed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/2 lb cooked shrimp
5-6 dashes Tabasco
1/4 Tsp black, red and white pepper
1. Saute all veggies except tomatoes in butter
2. Add flour and brown
3. Add tomatoes and bay leaf, simmer for 15 minutes
4. Add shrimp, tabasco, pepper, and bring to a boil, simmer for 5 mins
5. Serve over rice
FAVORITE CURRENT QUOTE:
“SUCCESS IS NOT FINAL; FAILURE IS NOT FATAL. IT IS THE COURAGE TO CONTINUE THAT COUNTS.”
– WINSTON CHURCHILL
ALL-TIME FAVORITE QUOTE:
“IF YOU MUST LOOK BACK, DO SO FORGIVINGLY. IF YOU MUST LOOK FORWARD, DO SO PRAYERFULLY. HOWEVER, THE WISEST THING YOU CAN DO IS TO BE PRESENT IN THE PRESENT—GRATEFULLY.”
– MAYA ANGELOU
CURRENT FAVORITE BOOK: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOK: Gone with The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I have read it twice! Once in 7th grade and again a few years ago. I love books that combine history in their story. Scarlett was such a strong survivor of a female character!
CURRENT FAVORITE MOVIE:
I am so embarrassed but I have thought about this for 5 days and I cannot remember the last movie I saw that was not Disney or G rated. However, I LOVE Steel Magnolias, it’s an oldie but goodie and everyone needs to watch how important powerful connections between women are throughout life.
ALL-TIME FAVORITE MOVIE:
The Notebook based on the Nicholas Sparks novel (which I have also read and love!). Classic love story, set in may all time favorite city of Charleston, SC.
ADVICE ELISE WOULD PASS ONTO YOUNG WOMEN THAT SHE WISH SHE HAD KNOWN EARLIER ON IN LIFE: