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Work duties bring me back to Vienna, Austria this week-the city I find me to be my happiest self.
The number of times I’ve been here are countless. But each time I’m here, I fall truly, madly, and deeply in love with this wonderful city.
It’s not that I go to the finest restaurants or see the tourist sites. Those are the last things I do. Instead, I find the coffee shops frequented by the locals. I take the Strassenbahn to work just to observe the Viennese culture. And I shop at the Naschmarkt so I can pretend, if only for a week, that this is my home.
Because my German speaking is poor, rarely do I engage in conversations when I’m exploring. But what ensues is my internal voice reminding me just how richly life has showered me with gifts. Gifts like this experience. Gifts like other experiences.
And with John Coltrane filling the background of the cafe I visited for dinner and this in my foreground, I took stock of things, only to find just how amazing life has been.
That’s not to say that the life I’ve lived has been easy, it’s just that I’ve chosen to accept the things I’ve been given as gifts with the greatest gift in just loving this life I’ve been given.

Let's Go

I am lucky because I get to travel.  And I am lucky because that travel frequently involves international jaunts to Europe. While I am all about being comfortable during those long, international flights, I am also about traveling in attire that doesn’t consist of yoga pants and over-sized hoodies (although, I’m all over that combo on week-ends).  

And as I’ve tried hundreds of outfit combos, I typically land on my two, tried and true combos:  leggings/tunics, for summer travel; and jeans/long-sleeve t-shirt/boyfriend cardigan for winter travel.  

So, as I’m about to embark on a European trip in a few days, allow me to share what I love about my winter travel attire.

Anemone sports bra

Vince Long-Sleeve T-Shirt

Levi's

Boyfriend Cardigan

New Balance

Instagram
As someone who uses all forms of Social Media to keep in touch with friends; keep abreast of the latest-breaking news; and generally follow the goings-on of the world, I am a firm believer it its infinite power.  So after launching this blog, my first-ever attempt at blogging, I naively thought that my creating it and pressing it for all to see that people would just come to read it. 

Little did I know that was NOT how it worked and that I would have continued down that meager path until the timely intervention of a marketing-guru-friend (whom I will later write about).  And being the Fairy Godmother-Marketing Guru that she is, she jumped into my melee of marketing mayhem and used her super powers to help me transform my blasé blog into what it is today.   And as she continues to guide me down the path of success, she sagely suggested that I do this quick-blog.

While I understand that asking for followers is somewhat of a social media faux pas, I will breach whatever credo that is and ask for followers, at the risk of being tacky.   

So, here it is:  Please, please, please follow-me on Twitter @Lesliepittsc1.  And while you’re there, please follow me on Instragram at “oneblondelawyer”.

 Sending mega-watts of gratitude to all!!!! 

KettlbellThe year after I graduated from college, I moved to Winter Park, Colorado to train with the Development Team for the U.S. Disabled Ski Team.  This was the fall and winter of 1990 into spring of 1991, at a time when disabled sports were still making their appearance in the Olympics as “Demonstration Teams”.  It was the time just prior to the U.S. Ski Team adopting the U.S. Disabled Ski Team under the same umbrella, the occurrence of which subsequently changed the world of disabled sports and athletes.

While I was vying for a much-coveted spot to be on the Demonstration Team going 1992 Winter Olympics in France, the end of a physically grueling ski season found me just shy of making the team.  With achieving an otherwise impressive international ranking in women’s three-track downhill skiing after one season, I was ready to head back to Minnesota.  Quite simply, I was still toying with the idea of going to medical school and I was tired of living on ramen noodles and day-old bread, even though I had procured a $500.00 financial sponsorship from Colgate Palmolive –something almost un-heard of at that time, especially in disabled sports.

So, with sense of accomplishment; a broken down car; and less than $13.00 to my name, my brother came out to Colorado to pack up my stuff and take me home.  As we crossed the Berthoud Pass and headed east, I never looked back, except for the fitness routines that I developed during my dry-land training.

While I have dabbled in pretty-much all things fitness for most of my life, I was always seeking to find the Russian Kettlebell training that one of my coaches made me do on a regular basis.    And three years ago, I found it at the Pilates House in Hopkins with an especially astute, Russian Kettlebell-certified trainer. Shannon.

Not only do I love the efficient cardio work-out that I get after a 30-minute Russian Kettlebell work-out, but I love that it’s a total kick-ass sport with a high caloric burn, too.  According to WebMD, an average adult burns about 400 calories in 20 minutes.  Umm, hello!  How amazingly efficient is that?

Although I work-out religiously with Shannon, I have tried group classes offered at other studios and would never recommend them to anyone as the lack of one-on-one training is too risky.  I mean, let’s face it:  you’re swinging a 19 kg iron bell, which in U.S. measures is nearly 39 pounds, and doing it improperly could cause some serious harm.

So, with the watchful eye of my Shannon, and more recently her newly adopted dog, Shiloh, I continue to marvel at the amazing effects of Russian Kettlebell.  My abs are firmer.  My bra fat is less flabby.  And my “Hello Helen’s” are now saying “Good-Bye Gertrude’s”.

Not only do I love it for the benefits on my body, but I love that it is a limbitless (my term for “prosthesis friendly”) fitness routine.  And not only do I love the work-out itself, but I love Shannon, who has taken the time to see how I adapt to things and continues to push me to make the most of my work-outs.

Here’s to the long-lasting benefits of being a professional athlete!

I had the tremendous opportunity to be the key-note speaker at a recent event, the T.O.D.D. Field Day, in Minneapolis last week.  The event was sponsored by Ottobock Healthcare, OPAF, Courage Kenney Rehabilitation Institute, and took place at the BSA Base Camp.  Named after Todd Anderson, the event is in its third year of honoring Todd and his mantra of “Taking Opportunities, Defying Disabilities”.

I was honored to know this man while remaining eternally grateful for the influence he had in my life.

Check out my guest post on the Ottobock Momentum blog-http://ottobockusmomentum.squarespace.com/guestblogger/2013/10/2/celebrating-a-colleague-friend-hero

My Beautiful MomFor as long as I can remember, I have loved clothes.  I love getting new clothes.  I love wearing new clothes. And I love the thrill of mixing old favorites and creating new looks.  All of this, I attribute to one person:  my mom.

Growing up in a large family with a mother who was a costume-quality designer and seamstress herself; my mom developed an early knack for fashion, sewing, and re-purposing hand-me-downs, long before it was Etsy-chic to do so.   She designed and re-purposed her own promdress, the likes of which were similar to fashions only seen on the big screen.  She designed and sewed her own wedding dress, with painstaking detail to the placement of every seed pearl from the bodice to the hemline.   And for as long as I can recall, she has lovingly designed and sewn my clothes, with some of our fondest memories spent in her sewing room.

Unfortutately, the sewing gene stopped with me.  Although I seriously lack her engineer-worthy seamstress skills, I did get a teensy-weensy bit of her creativity and can devise ideas for certain garments; describe them to her; and then, marvel at her ability to translate the ideas into actual articles of clothing.

As subsequent posts will feature some of our creations, from what I have coined the “KarLes Collection” (taking substantial liberty in morphing a catchy name, with her name being Carol and mine), a blog about my love of fashion would be incomplete without basis for my fondness. Here’s to my mom-may she always be crafty!