Anna Maria Locke

life

Life lately - summer updates, recovery, and behind the scenes

2018Anna Locke

Happy August!

I know my last post was a bit heavy, but before I re-launch the blog back into "business as usual," I wanted to share a life update and behind the scenes on what I’ve been up to this summer and how I’ve been feeling. To remind you (and myself) that it’s ok to feel like your life is a hot mess. That it’s still possible to seek meaning and joy and work towards your dreams and business goals while processing grief and loss and all the shit too. Big love and hugs all around!

Our deck has become my happy place.

The weather has for the most part been cool and glorious and I love spending my mornings camped out on the wicker loveseat Ben gave me for my birthday, reading and journaling and thinking and be-ing. Feeling the breeze, watching the squirrels turn the power lines into their circus arena, watching the airplanes glide into O’Hare, trying to ignore the occasional wafts of summer trash smell coming from the dumpster right below.

Sometimes our neighbors across the alley blast mariachi music.

My little sanctuary in the city.

May and June were a whirlwind. Loss and grief as I went through the miscarriage, the high of our annual coach Summit, travel to Florida and Tennessee, bills on bills on bills. Between losing a pregnancy and having two new biopsies done on abnormal spots I have been an expensive human being this year.

So how have I been feeling, really?

Some weeks I’m doing great and flying high, but for the most part I’m just trying to put one foot in front of the other and enjoy summer and not drink too many margaritas and keep my business afloat and serve my clients and be a good friend/wife/daughter and not be wracked with uncontrollable envy when I see my pregnant friends. Because everyone and their mother is apparently pregnant right now, did you notice? I am happy for you, I truly am.

They tell me I am being so strong and I say “well, life happens!” and change the subject before I start crying.

But a piece of me likes playing victim and pity party too. I hear that the only cure for miscarriage grief is getting pregnant again, but at the same time I am terrified of losing all my energy and losing my body and being exhausted and can we even afford this? Am I actually ready to be a mother? FUCK I DON’T KNOW! They all say it’s worth it, in tired strained voices as they bark at their misbehaving toddler in the same breath.

I recently took the Enneagram personality test (here is a great free version!) and was “diagnosed” as a 4, which apparently means I'm good at processing grief, experiencing melancholy, and don't just have feelings ... I AM my feelings. YOU DON'T SAY. I feel like I suddenly understand myself so much better. I feel it all.

When July hit, I was desperate for a fresh start and threw myself into the pursuit of “reclaiming my joy” and my body.

But this week I had a fleeting thought: I think I’ve been putting too much pressure on myself.

I want this year to be my year so bad. The year my business finally blasts through the stable comfy plateau it’s been sitting in. The year I grow into myself. Confidence, gratitude, give zero F’s, overcome fears. The year we start a family.

I want this to be the year that good things happen. That life isn’t so hard. (Ha!)

My biggest fear right now is that I won’t be able to grow a baby and grow a business at the same time. That we won’t be financially prepared for this next step. That we won’t be able to afford to buy a house until we are 40.

But so what if we need to stay in our little apartment for a while longer? I can claim a plot in the community garden down the street.

I tend to focus on what's missing from my life, so I'm making an effort to practice gratitude and look at what is already here. Because overall I'm pretty much living my dream, and life is good.

And as much as I've been craving nature and mountains and wilderness...

Chicago isn’t too bad.

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A sneak peek behind the scenes:

Even though I tend to go into hermit mode, I’ve been making an intentional effort to get together in person with friends and family as much as possible, and create more coffee dates//networking opportunities with other coaches and entrepreneurs here in the city and I am so immensely grateful for the support and love and connections I have in my life.

I went to Iowa for my college roommate’s daughter’s baptism.

I went to my first Tony Robbins event, Unleash the Power Within (and the power was unleeeeeeashed). You can watch my re-cap video here!

My friend Amanda and I launched our workshop and wellness event business, Empowered & Free.

I've been running the beta round of my Cycle Sync Your Biz program with a small and awesome group of women.

Ben and I started LIIFT4, a new strength program together.

My mom in law Pat came to visit. We went to a concert in the park and other summery things and it was really fun.

I've been getting back into yoga, getting back into church, and spending lots of downtime reading Game of Thrones and watching Bachelorette, Nashville, and Real Housewives.

 

August Intentions

Heading into the final stretch of summer, here are my intentions!

  • I want to continue to focus on in-person relationships

  • launch my Cycle Sync Your Biz program! (email me if you're interested)

  • get back into a blogging groove

  • be intentional with social media consumption (loving the Facebook News Feed Eradicator plug in)

  • turn my piles of fabric into headbands and scarves for the fall season in the Etsy shop

  • dive back into the baby making journey without stress.

  • add more free resources to this blog!

Notes to self/you:

-it’s ok to be solitary, to dive into projects and work (I don’t have to be present on social media every day)

-it’s ok to have enormous goals and feel like there’s no way I can do it all. (lean on trust and faith and baby steps)

-don’t be afraid to show up and LEVEL UP. Do the work/hold the space/life the life/claim the energy as if I am already there.

-take action before I feel ready (I’ll never feel ready)

I'm excited about what's to come, but at the same time I'm content with how things are right now. I think that's a pretty good place to be :)

xo Anna

2017 in review ...and what's coming in 2018!

2018Anna Locke
10 life lessons from 2017

Hello my friend!

It’s a 60 degree day in February and we’re getting the most sun we’ve seen in Chicago since January 18th (not that I’m counting …)

This month has been a little rough! I thought I was experiencing a little bit of the February Blues but it kept spiraling into the Winter Sad’s and there was this gloomy cloud blanketing my mojo and productivity. I’m finally feeling more like myself and shifting back into the light with the help of friends, people who I pay to listen to me vent, tons of Vitamin D, and longer days.

And that’s the truth about self care: it’s not always about yoga and bubble baths and good vibes only.

Sometimes self care means getting uncomfortable, feeling the feels, setting boundaries, re-evaluating expectations, and investing in support. Do what you gotta do to thrive and function as your best!

At the same time, I'm also trying to embrace the fact that I'm a human being with a wide range of emotions, and that feeling moody is totally fine and safe. So often we pressure ourselves to be "on" and happy 24/7 which is completely unrealistic and counterproductive. It's ok to feel the feels and meet yourself where you're at!

Anyways, long story short...

I’ve been planning to write my own personal “2017 in review” blog post since December annnnnd now it’s almost March 2018 … but it’s never too late, right? Right!

I think I’ve been procrastinating and resisting this post because 2017 was such a personally massive year for me and I’m still processing and integrating and trying to understand all the lessons I’ve learned. But let's be real - as a recovering perfectionist I know that if I wait until I have the perfect post ready to share with you, it will never happen.

So this is my imperfect but real and raw edition of 2017 in review!

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Early in 2017 I traveled to Los Angeles for a leadership event for my health and fitness coaching business. It was my first time in LA so I had no idea what to expect except bad traffic and was prepared to be overwhelmed, but I was so surprised to fall in love with the energy of the city. It was like this magical, expansive energy of limitless possibility came over me that I'll never forget. I wrote in my notebook “this is the year everything changed" because I had this gut level intuitive feeling that whatever happened in the rest of 2017 would impact the course of the rest of my life, as if I was on the brink of a giant yet exciting sea change.

And it really was the year everything changed. Nothing like I expected, but in quieter, more subtle yet immensely powerful shifts.

I guess that's lesson #1: Life is never going to turn out as we expect.

If we're open and release our death grip on control, it might turn out to be even better.

I'll remember 2017 as the year I finally started to come home to myself. It was the year of alignment, flow, learning to trust myself. 

2017 was the year I turned 30!

My birthday is April 26th so in Illinois, that means a crapshoot between freezing and rainy or sunny and 70's. This past year it was the latter, and I kicked off my new year with lunch with a girlfriend, drinks and dinner with Ben at our favorite local restaurant, and wandering around my favorite high vibe neighborhood to soak in the sun and flowers. It was the perfect way to kick off a new decade!

I was a little nervous to turn 30, I mean there's such a stigma around leaving your 20's behind and becoming an official "adult." But it has honestly been my favorite year of my entire life so far.

It's like all the bullshit of my 20's was instantly washed away. All the self doubt, insecurities, drama, emotional baggage, it all went *poof* and was replaced with a fresh slate.

30 has been the year I discovered my voice and really felt like I found my groove with life, relationships, business, and my purpose.

Lesson #2: 30 freaking rocks

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2017 was the year I realized I'm creating a legit movement with Inspire Joy

I officially celebrated 3 years of coaching with Beachbody, my health and fitness platform. Three years is a long time -- officially the longest I've ever held one job. (#millennial) Ever since day one, I've had this crystal clear burning vision for the movement I wanted to create with my team of coaches, Inspire Joy.

I want our team to be a sisterhood, a leadership incubator for creative and big hearted women who are craving more in life -- more freedom, more connection, more impact, more purpose in their lives. A platform for self discovery, for sharing our stories to empower and serve others. 

We do our work online, so every chance to get together in person is truly special. In July we travelled to New Orleans for our annual coach summit, and physically meeting my coaches' coaches' coaches and feeling the instant synergy like we are all long lost soul sisters was overwhelming. 

I also officially launched my health and wellness website so I could branch out and keep the two arms of my business (life coaching vs. health and fitness coaching) separate! If you want to keep in the loop with my health and wellness groups and get my weekly motivational pep talks, you can join my mailing list here!

Lesson #3: Sometimes it's safe to stop hustling and striving and acknowledge that you have already arrived. Also -- it is possible to build an authentic, heart centered, and profitable network marketing business!

In 2017 I made family more of a priority. Ben and I live several hours away from both of our families and I sold my car last year but I was able to take the Amtrak home for several weekend visits, hosted my parents for a sunny and warm February weekend, visited the German Christmas Market here in Chicago with my grandma and mom, road-tripped to East Tennessee to visit Ben's mom (and hike!), got to see my younger siblings who are now adults living all over the country, and spent a little time on my grandma's farm in Iowa.

Lesson #4: The older I get, the more I realize how important family is to me, and also that I am happiest when I'm out of the city and in nature, whether that's a mountain or cornfield.

Ben and I didn't take any major trips together this past year but we made an effort to get out for mini weekend road trips as often as possible, to Madison, Michigan, Galena, Indiana Dunes, and a bigger trip to Tennessee. We love traveling and exploring new places together and want to enjoy the freedom we have in this season of life, pre-kids and pets! 

Oh, and we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and continued our epic Halloween couples' costume tradition by dressing up as the eclipse :)

Lesson #5: Marriage rocks. At least when you're married to Ben. Also, it's worth it to break out of routine and explore new places even if they're right in your backyard!

2017 will go down as the year I discovered so much about myself.

I finished my life coaching certification and launched my 1:1 practice!

I learned how to invest in myself and my business, and was able to connect with many other incredibly inspiring coaches and entrepreneurs to share this crazy rollercoaster.

Lesson #6: I can trust myself and embrace the journey

 

I also started to take my personal development obsession to a whole new level, dove into spirituality and my faith journey, and opened myself up to learning about so many "woo woo" alternative things like astrology, crystals, human design, manifesting, feminine energy, basically anything I felt curious about that resonated with me.

Lesson #7: Entrepreneurship (and life in general) is a spiritual practice, and the more you open your heart and surrender to the bigger power we're all part of (whether you call that the universe, source, God, etc), the happier and more in flow your life will become.

Lesson #8: Follow your curiosity!

I've been working on my health and fitness for years, but as my life evolves my wellness journey has evolved as well.

Instead of working out and eating healthy to be skinny-fit, I've started appreciating my body for what it does for me. I feel more comfortable and confident than ever, and have shifted my goals towards hormone health, strength, and most of all having fun!

I joined a yoga studio, tried a 21 day vegan reset, have learned a ton about cycle syncing since quitting the birth control pill, and feel a lot more relaxed about the whole health and fitness thing.

Lesson #9: Embrace the journey and make your own rules when it comes to health and fitness. We only get one body and it has to last a lifetime!

2017 was the year I truly OPENED MY HEART! Instead of being an introverted hermit and playing victim mode, I actively searched and created community and belonging whether with my team, friends, and by hosting my first live workshop!

Lesson #10: It is safe to be yourself and share that with others. It's also ok to ask for help, lean on friends for support, and be a team player instead of putting yourself and others on pedestals.

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What's coming in 2018?

Well, so far the year has been off to an exhilarating yet rocky start. Lots of up-leveling, growing pains, old fears bubbling to the surface, exciting new opportunities, but overall I feel like I'm finding my groove and am excited to keep growing, sharing the journey from the trenches, serving others, and having adventures!

I'm continuing to use my health and fitness coaching as a positive outlet for self care and mentor my coaches.

I'm also taking on 1:1 life coaching clients, and am super excited to be developing my first group program or e-course for creative entrepreneurs and women in biz who want to learn how to tap into their feminine energy and create authentic, sustainable success while making self care a priority!

My focus this year is to create more content, cultivate community, prioritize my creativity, and most of all relax and enjoy the journey.

Cheers to the next chapter!

xo Anna

Eating, drinking, and hiking our way through Galena, Illinois

2017Anna Locke

It's crazy that this summer marks the fifth year Ben and I have lived in Chicago!

I grew up in central Illinois and never thought I'd be a city girl, but I guess it's official now. I do love this town. It's where we were newlyweds, where I went through my crazy quarter life crisis, and where we've made some lifelong friends. 

But oh my gosh you guys, the energy of Chicago is intense. It's a scrappy, fast paced city of hustlers, movers, shakers, corruption, violence, extreme weather, more delicious restaurants than you could ever visit in a lifetime, and a patchwork of neighborhoods that are each as culturally and economically distinct as a small country. 

We live in a neighborhood that's as quiet as it gets, but there's still always a sense of urgency and go-go-go. I try my best to carve out a little oasis at home, but sometimes I just have to get out of town back into the "normal" part of Illinois to relax and breathe!

In just one hour you can drive out into cornfields and big skies, and take a giant exhale.

Ben and I love to explore new places together and take mini getaways, since there are so many cool towns within a half day's drive of us in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Last week he had some time off work between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer school, so we decided to visit Galena, IL. It was my first time there and I fell in love because it's SO ADORABLE!

It's on the northwestern most edge of Illinois, only 20 minutes or so from the borders of Iowa and Wisconsin. In the 1800's it was one of the biggest steamboat ports, and the very first mining "boomtown" before the silver and gold rushes in California. (Lead deposits = the name Galena).

The topography and history of the area is also unique and fascinating, especially to a geography nerd like me.

It's situated in a patch of land stretching into southern Wisconsin called the Driftless area, untouched by the glaciers that scraped the rest of the Midwest flat, leaving glacial "drift" (fertile, mineral rich soil) behind. 

There are rolling hills, rare species of plants, archeological remains, deposits of minerals, and unique microclimates as a result of the un-glaciated terrain, which gives you the feeling of being in a completely different country.

On top of the landscape, the actual town of Galena hasn't really been touched since the glory days of lead and zinc mining, and it's been revitalized into a trendy tourist destination full of boutiques and restaurants. 

Since Ben is a history teacher, we also wanted to visit because Ulysses S. Grant had a home in Galena and there's a lot of Civil War era history there, including an unexpectedly awesome small history museum!

Because we're cheap, we stayed at a Ramada on the edge of town but next time I definitely want to check out one of the cute bed and breakfasts or inns. 

In 36 hours, we packed as much into our trip as we could!

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The town was very quiet since it was the middle of the week right after Memorial Day, and the weather was perfect so we started our adventures at the Casper Bluff reserve, where there are ancient burial mounds that are part of the larger Effigy Mound culture that existed between A.D. 700 and A.D. 1000 in Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. We honestly couldn't figure out what was a mound versus a hill, and the bugs were driving Ben cray, but we met some adorable cows!

Oh, don't mind us. We're just the cliche city folk who are gonna take a selfie with your cows...

Oh, don't mind us. We're just the cliche city folk who are gonna take a selfie with your cows...

After our hike, we drove over to Galena Cellars vineyard, a gorgeous little winery, for a tour and wine tasting. After living in Oregon, I've turned into a bit of a wine snob, but I was really impressed with this place. It was super homey and friendly, and they had dozens of wines to try! We'll definitely be back. There are also lots of fun events there and hellooooo wedding venue if you are looking for a unique event space.

For just $10 you can get a tour of the facility and a wine tasting with 6 pours. The wine tasting ladies were very nice, friendly, and enthusiastic about the wines and gave us a couple extra tastes too. We ended our visit by grabbing a couple of (CHEAP AND HUGE) glasses of our favorite wines, some cheese and crackers, and sat on the front porch looking out over the countryside.

HAPPY PLACE!

That night we had dinner at Vinny Vanucchis, an adorable Italian restaurant with a great patio. 

The next day we started off at the Galena Historical Society and U.S. Grant Museum which was very impressive and full of things to learn about the geographic, cultural, and political history of the area (must visit if you are a Civil War buff). In a really cool twist of fate, the building is situated literally on top of one of the original mining shafts, which you can peek down into! The museum also houses the original Peace in Union painting by Thomas Nast, depicting the surrender of Lee to Grant at Appomattox.

It was still fairly early by the time we made it out of the museum, so we grabbed coffee and wandered around the park and downtown shops. 

We wanted to check out the brewery for lunch, but it was unfortunately closed on Wednesdays so we went to a tavern called Gobbie's with the most AMAZING unhealthy appetizer I've ever eaten in my entire life. They're called beer nuggets and I still don't know what that means, but they appear to be deep fried herbed dough bites dusted with Parmesan and served with a delicious chunky marinara sauce. NOM. 

On our way out of town we stopped at Blaum Bros Distilling Co. because heck, the theme of this trip was eating and drinking everything possible. It followed the theme of every other place: unexpectedly amaaaaazing! Ben sampled a few of the liquors and I had a delicious bourbon cocktail.

We worked off the buzz with a visit to Horseshoe Mound, which seems to be the highest point in the area with gorgeous views and a painfully steep little hiking loop. I mean, can you believe this is Illinois, only 3 hours from Chicago?

When people call the Midwest a "flyover zone," I say hey. Watch yo'self and come see and eat and drink your way through MY Midwest. (Also see: Bayfield, WI).

What to do in Galena

Galena Historical Society & Grant Museum
Wander up and down the boutiques and shops -- eat all the samples in the kitchen and canned good stores!
Hike or picnic at a nature preserve
Galena Cellars Vineyard (there's also a tasting room downtown)
Blaum Bros. Distilling Co.

On our list for next time:

The Grant Home
Belvedere Mansion and Gardens

Where to eat in Galena

Gobbie's -- Lunch or dinner, great outdoor space. EAT THE BEER NUGGETS (they come as a side with pretty much everything). The pizza looked good too.
Vinny Vannucchis -- Family style Italian restaurant with lots of pasta. Great outdoor patio and Negroni cocktails.
The Market House Restaurant -- Basic Midwest comfort food with lots of gluten free options. Good for cheap lunch!

On our list for next time (lots of places are closed Tuesday and Wednesdays):

Victory Cafe
Otto's Place
Fried Green Tomatoes
Fritz and Frites
Galena Brewing Company

SO MUCH TO EAT!

Where to stay in Galena

We stayed at the Ramada Inn because we wanted to spend all our money on food and drinks, lol! It was a very nice and clean motel, but skip the continental breakfast. If you want more of a special experience, there are a bajillion adorable bed and breakfasts and quaint inns downtown.

Where is your favorite place to go for a weekend getaway?

xo Anna