How Yoga Prepared Me to Run a Business

I recently commented to a fellow yogi/communications professional that I loved how she flowed her business and her yoga philosophy together so seamlessly. After journaling and reflecting on interviewing Necole Kane at Boss Women Who Brunch, I realized that I too blend my yoga practice into my business, but in different ways.

I have practiced yoga for more than six years, and I still consider myself a student of the practice. Much like I am learning every day as a business owner, from creating processes to client relations and building partnerships, I am learning more about my mental and physical capabilities on and off the mat, to be present in the room and continue growing as a teacher.

Be present

In your practice, if there one thing you’ll hear from a teacher, it’s to stay present. Our monkey minds often want to think about what happened before class and/or what is going to happen after class, instead of the moment we’re in currently. Physical and mental discomfort brought about from your practice can make you separate from the moment.

Stand in it.

I felt the same way about starting my business. It was challenging to say what I do at networking events and among friends who only knew me as an employee. So I didn’t. I checked out, and I’m sure I missed opportunities by not speaking up.

I had to give myself a reality check: you’re not serving anyone by remaining small.

Photo credit: TONL

Say that again, out loud, to yourself. I’ve never been a shy person, and if you know me IRL, you’re nodding in agreement. (Don’t nod too hard!) I had to learn how to be present in this new situation, smile, and say who I was. No hesitation, no pause, no downsizing. Whew, that made my heart race the first few times. But much like the feeling of peace that settles over you once you accept where you are in your yoga practice, good or bad, I began to find calm in saying my new normal. And it was reflected in the level of engagement I received from my conversations.

Practice and all is coming

I love this phrase, because it speaks to the need to remain consistent. Do the work, and all is coming. What is “all”? Well, that’s for you to decide. When I first began as a yoga student, consistency wasn’t so much of a challenge. I had a set work schedule and I looked at what I was paying for membership and said that I had to attend at least four classes a week to make it worthwhile. More often than not, I was able to hit that goal.

As life has gotten busier, it is harder to stick to a consistent practice. However, I know that when I regularly attend class, I’m a happier, more clear-minded woman. Plus, my skin looks great with a regular sweat session!

Now, as a business owner, I am tapping into the idea to inspire consistency in my business marketing and outreach, sharing my thought leadership through writing and networking, and learning. In  business, the “all” that I want to come is a stream of opportunities to do dope work, help others, and live the life that is for me, not pre-written by what is expected of me. That means by practicing  making genuine connections, seeking to help others, and writing, I become a better professional and have more to offer to clients, friends, mentors and mentees, and my industry.

Ahisma- Kindness to Self and Others

Yoga goes beyond the asana, or physical postures. The principles of behavior and attitudes laid out by Patanjali in the “Yoga Sutra” are life lessons we can all use to live better. If you want to learn more, start here with the eight limbs of ashtanga yoga: yamas (ethical restraints or abstentions) niyamas (lifestyle observances), asanas (postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (bliss or enlightenment).

The first of the yamas is ahisma, or the principle of doing no harm in thought, speech, or action to all living things. Another interpretation of ahisma is kindness.

Flickr – Caro Wallis

I think many women will nod with me when I say that it is hard to be kind to ourselves. On the mat, I practice ahisma by not comparing myself to others in the room and, as a yoga teacher, I encourage people to work to their level and remind them that there is no perfection in yoga.

As a business owner, and as the executive director of the ColorComm Dallas, kindness is important to give to myself, my clients, my fellow volunteer leaders, and the women we are connecting with throughout the city. Kindness means that I don’t have to be “on” all the time, at every event. I can, and should, take time to be alone, or with friends, or with my husband. Kindness means that even though I’m in charge as executive director, I don’t have to be a “boss” of ColorComm Dallas; I get to listen and allow others to lead and shine for the work they do for the organization. Mostly, kindness means taking a breath and a break when I need to, and not beat myself up for it.

I’d love to hear from my fellow fitness folks out here doing it for themselves:

How has your fitness practice informed your business, and vice versa?

Drop a comment in this post!

Why Dieting Is a Waste of Your Time

Last week, I got my daily Quartz Obsession email and the topic was “diets.” With Weight Watchers recently hiring DJ Khaled as its social media ambassador – for the culture – and January being the month that everyone and their mother going “new year, new me,” it isn’t surprising that dieting is a hot topic.

I’m going to share a potentially unpopular opinion here – dieting is a scam.

Now, let me clean that up a bit. Shifting your perspective and making wise food choices is always the move. But diets as a larger cultural movement of restricting calories, eating Frankenfoods, and judging foods as “good” or “bad” has never made sense to me.

I grew up in a house where dieting – Atkins, low-fat, low-calorie – helped my mother lose weight and keep it off. Thankfully, she never assigned labels to the foods my sister and I loved to consume, which were sugary, salty, savory and generally not good for your health long-term.

As a 30-something wife, stepmother, and aunt, I recognize that my attitudes about food influence the young minds around me. Rather than say a food is “bad,” I let my behavior show that my choices fuel a healthy lifestyle and help me move, sleep and feel better.

Image via TONL

Diet companies that promote their branded foods that you have to nuke before eating, along with proprietary cookbooks, scales, clothing and more, leave a nasty taste in my mouth. I find it hard to believe the programs are set up for success, since success for their clients means a loss of future money for them. Once I lose the weight, what good is your point system and associated prepared meals to me?

I’m not alone in this sentiment; 77 percent of Americans said they’re trying to eat healthier, but only 19 percent said they’re on a diet in a 2015 survey conducted by Fortune magazine and the percentage of women who claim to be on a diet has decreased by 11 percentage points between 1992 and 2012 according to NPD Group, a research firm.

I will not pretend that making healthy options is something I do every day, all day. When I read about people who say they haven’t had sugar in a year, I shake my head and go have a bowl of cereal for them. I just know that I’ve had my best gains in pounds lost and muscle gained by upping my weights, low-impact cardio, and mindfully eating more whole foods and less processed foods. Surprisingly, I’ve lost weight over the past couple of months, even after I slacked on my workouts due to travel and general year-end ennui.

A post shared by Leisa (@veleisapburrell) on

Bottom line: there are no “good” or “bad” foods, only better decisions to make about what you eat and drink. Consider ditching a “diet” and focusing on eating what makes you feel good long-term, not just in that moment (hello, donuts), and you may find the results you’re looking for.

Image via TONL


Plantbased Product Review: 22 Days Nutrition + Giveaway

Earlier this summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend BlogFest at IDEA World in Las Vegas. Not only did I meet some of the best fitness bloggers in the country and hang out with some of my Dallas Fitness Ambassador family, I also got schooled on the latest in plantbased protein at the Expo.

Walking the aisles of the exhibition floor, I saw everything from sweet potato-based noodles to Daiya’s yummy desserts. The company that caught my eye was 22 Days Nutrition.

Their premise is that it takes 21 days to create a habit and they want to help everyone get to the 22nd day and achieve a major breakthrough. Founder Marco Borges is a vegan and an exercise physiologist who was constantly searching for a solution for optimum wellness so he formulated the perfect vegan options for folks trying to “transform their lives, bodies and habits.” Plus, Marco was the trainer that helped Beyoncé and Jay-Z when they went on their 22-day vegan journey a couple of years ago.

I thought to myself “If he can help the Queen B, how much of a glow up could I achieve?” I reached out to the 22 Days Nutrition team, eager to try more products after tasting the sample of their protein bar at IDEA World, and they obliged by sending me their vanilla protein powder and several flavors of their protein bar: Chunky Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Salted Caramel, and Fudge Brownie. Below is my review of the powder and bars, which are my own opinion and not influenced by 22 Days Nutrition.

What I Loved

I enjoyed the variety of flavors from the bars, with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip being my favorite and probably Salted Caramel as my least liked. The PBCC had the perfect balance of salty peanut flavor to the sweet of chocolate. I ended up grabbing bars when I was on the go, running from teaching a class to making a proposal for clients, and it kept me full and energized.

The 22 Days Nutrition Plant Power vanilla powder was one of the tastiest I’ve had. I tried it in a simple form by shaking it into 8 ounces of almond milk and I blended it with a fruit smoothie. Either way, it’s excellent. The powder gave my drinks a nice protein boost and was easy to blend and take with me on the go.

For those who are concerned with getting “enough” protein from plantbased foods, rest assured that 22 Days Nutrition has you covered. The powder has 20 grams of protein per serving from pea protein, and the bars are 15 grams a piece.

What I Didn’t Like

The texture of the Fudge Brownie protein bar didn’t sit well with me at all: chalky and chewy. Interestingly, this didn’t translate to the other flavors.

Tip: don’t leave the caramel bar in a hot vehicle! I learned the hard way (insert sad face).

As with most protein powders, when you’re shaking it together with a liquid – as opposed to blending – a shaker ball is recommended. I do not have one of those so I had to make do with the coil from my tofu press. Bootleg but it worked; three cheers for ingenuity.

Final Thoughts

I would recommend the bars and powder to someone who is struggling with finding enough meals throughout the day or someone who isn’t a big meal planner (raises hand). Flavors were on point and with the advancements in non-soy plantbased protein sources, 22 Days Nutrition is right up there in delivering the goods for those with soy sensitivities/allergies or if you want to keep your soy intake low.


22 Days Nutrition is giving one of my excellent readers a 4-pack box of protein bars in my favorite flavor, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. Enter below for your chance to receive yummy protein bars courtesy of the 22 Days Nutrition team.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Must reside within continental United States to qualify. Must be at least 18 years of age to enter. Winners will be selected and verified.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram or Facebook.

Don’t want to wait on your chance to win? You can find 22 Days Nutrition products at your local Target! I know you already had your next #TargetRun planned, so be sure to put a box of protein bars or a canister of powder in your cart.

I’d love to hear from you about your experience with plantbased protein bars and powder. Have you had 22 Days Nutrition before? Talk to me in the comments!

Strong Fitness & Performance Center Review: An Essential Workout

The Dallas Fitness Ambassadors rolled into Strong Fitness & Performance Center recently for a group workout in their newly designed Fitness area. The North Dallas gym, which is massive and well-designed, is divided into four Core Programs: Fitness, which we tried out, 24/7 Olympic, Crossfit, and Strength training.

strong fitness dallas review veleisa burrell

Once the DFA team took our time to Instagram and Snapchat the posted workouts – because what is a workout if your followers can’t follow along – the fun began! We split between two groups and handled a low-impact warm-up which had me thinking “Okay, I can do this.”

The lovely trainer, Coach Lizzie, took us to the next level as one group jumped on the spin bikes for intervals of sprints, standing resistance and recovery while the other half worked on lunges, rows, burpees (the worsssttttt) and mountain climbers (the other worsssttttt). Mind you, at this point, I am hungry and trying to work through it, but I was making eyes at the vibrant green selection of juices that Substance Juice had lined up for post-sweat session recovery.

substance juicery dallasEight minutes finished on the first half and it’s time to switch to treadmills and TRX for squat jumps rows, chest press, and knee tucks. I’m a huge fan of TRX so I was actually excited to finish the session on these straps. The self-propelled treadmills…will one day be the death of me.

veleisa burrell strong fitness dallas review

Workout finished and it’s time to jump on the healthy snacks provided by Strong Fitness and the yummy green juice mimosas courtesy of Substance Juice. I recommend coming to this Fitness workout fully satiated, since my hunger slightly sapped me of energy that could have gone into lifting heavier or pushing harder. If you get to work with Coach Lizzie, you’re in luck. She managed to be both motivational and funny, which you don’t always get in a trainer.

strong fitness dallas trx workout

strong fitness dallas treadmills

Thank you, Strong Fitness & Performance Center, for a hard workout that hit all the high points of what I need to stay in shape: conditioning, cardio and weighted exercises. Plus I won a beautiful “Millennial pink” Lululemon yoga mat that is already a constant companion in my CorePower classes!

strong fitness review veleisa burrellStrong Fitness & Performance Center provided my workout at no cost. The opinions expressed about the facility and employees are my own and have not been influenced by Strong Fitness & Performance Center. 

Photos provided by Dallas Fitness Ambassadors.

How to Not Be an Absentee Friend When Life Gets Busy

When I was in my mid-20s, I recall reading a magazine article about women who had to schedule their catch-up meetings with friends. I thought to myself “Well maybe you don’t like your friends that much, madam.” Recently it hit me that I am now that friend, and so are my closest confidantes. We are the group that has to open Google Calendar and iCal to scroll through work meetings, appointments with clients and quality time with family and significant others to determine when we can sit down to break bread.

I now give a weak chuckle at my previous ignorance of how life can get busy enough to need to schedule time with friends. Knowing how busy life can get, I am insistent on not becoming the flake of the group. Nearly all of us have that associate or girlfriend that promises to meet up with you soon and never actually confirms a time, place or nail bar to catch up over mani-pedi time. Or, even worse, they agree to grab lunch or book a bike in spin and never show up, offering weak excuses only after being called out. Our time is precious and I have to value my friend’s resources as much as I want them to value mine.

So how do I stay connected?

In this season of launching my own company, here are the ways that work for me to stay accountable to my schedule and keep in touch with friends:

  1. Finding Balance at City Surf FitnessSchedule a sweat session – It is a tried and true rule for me that if I put a workout in my calendar and if I know someone is expecting to meet me there, I won’t miss the class. My sorority sister and I have been known to prep for the week by texting each other on Sunday evening to set up our HIIT class schedule for the week. We may only get 10 words in between stations but it’s a great way to see her smiling face as the sun rises and I’ve completed my workout for the day: two birds, one stone!
  2. Try a new restaurant together – As a plant-based eater, I can be particular about where I meet up for meals. If I know that the group plans include a BBQ joint, I’m likely to flake and miss out on the latest updates. However, for my more open-minded acquaintances, I am quick to suggest a new eatery for a mid-morning coffee or smoothie or a healthy Instagram-worthy lunch. I’d been dying to try Flower Child, a new restaurant that listed delicious sounding salads and wraps on their menu. When a friend called in a raincheck after missing my birthday dinner, I leapt at the chance to catch up over a meal I knew I would love, and I wasn’t disappointed.
  3. Get outdoors – My birthday gift, a Samsung Gear 2, is a blessing and a curse in the way that it tells me I need to get off my booty. Combine inactivity with (often) working alone from home and it’s a recipe for weight gain and losing social skills. I counteract that by extending an invitation to circumnavigate White Rock Lake or people-watch along Katy Trail. It is easy to knock out a couple of miles while plotting a strategic work move, dissect the previous night’s date or simply shooting the breeze.

I’d love to know ways you other busy ladies (and gents!) prioritize your time with friends alongside running the office, your company or figuring out your next side hustle or entrepreneurial enterprise. Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter (@veleisap) or Insta (@veleisapburrell)!

Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe + February Events

“Your vibe attracts your tribe.”
“What you seek is seeking you.” – Rumi
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

The end of 2016 was a rocky time for me. Changes, necessary changes, were happening. While I recognized the utility of these developments, they still didn’t feel good. I have been working on feeling comfortable with discomfort, as that is usually a sign that circumstances are changing, but it’s a challenge. In 2016, part of my self-development also included shooting my shot: inviting people to coffee, lunch or drinks and saying “I need your help.” Vulnerability can be scary, but I found that once people know they can help you, they’re more than willing to do so.

As such, I started to notice my network expanding as friends made introductions, acquaintances became advisors and I became comfortable in making requests and subsequently helping to connect others as friends reciprocated with their own needs.

In January of the new year, I am now starting to see the benefits from the connections I made in 2016. The statement that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with is true. As you become the least smart person in the room, you grow and expand your knowledge. Thankfully, this notion applies to both my professional life and my fitness life, as I connect with yoga friends for two events this month!

Feb. 18 – Soul Sistas Yoga Kickoff

Last year, a friend said she looked around and realized she knew several black female yoga teachers and enthusiast, so she brought us together and Soul Sistas Yoga was formed. J, Kawanah, Tam and I are all dedicated to creating sacred spaces for women of color to practice yoga and connect breath, movement and energy.

I’ll be leading two yoga sessions at our debut event on Feb. 18, 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the SunstoneFIT Mockingbird Plaza (5400 E. Mockingbird Lane).

Session A – Beginners’ Yoga: 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Mental Health and Meditation Workshop: 1:45 PM – 2:15 PM

Session B – All Levels Yoga: 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Tickets range from $15 for one class to $40 for the entire day of learning. Get your ticket and then get one for a friend who keeps promising to come to yoga with you but never has made a class.

Feb. 25 – Athleta Namaste After the 5K (Leap of Faith Motivational Run and Yoga)

I’m all about this event because it reminds me of Wanderlust 108, which I’ve been to twice and will be attending this year again on April 15.

I can manage 3.2 miles of jogging and who doesn’t deserve some good stretching and breathing after accomplishing that, right? When Kory, the event organizer who I met at Wanderlust last year, asked me to teach the Namaste After the 5K yoga session, I freaked a bit. I had to remind myself that my vibe, what I’d been cultivating, was bringing me new opportunities. If I run from them, I’m not being true to myself.

namaste after the 5K image

As the yoga teacher for Namaste After the 5K, that means I have to invite, you, your mom and your partner to come out to Ronald Kirk Bridge and Felix Lozada Gateway (Continental Avenue Bridge) on Feb. 25. The warm-up starts at 7:30 with Orangetheory Fitness and the 5K kicks off at 8:45 for runners and 9 a.m. for walkers. If you’re coming for the yoga, that starts at 10:45 a.m. Get your ticket today!

These two events in February came because of the tribe I attracted, as well as saying yes, even to actions that were outside my comfort zone at the time. I’d love to know what you gained when what you were seeking found you because of your energy.


Congrats to the Leap of Faith 5K + Namaste After the 5K Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest for a ticket to the Leap of Faith 5K and the post-run Namaste After the 5K yoga session.

I’m happy to announce that Ginger Marie of The Ginger Marie Blog and Stephanie Suire will both be making an investment in themselves on February 25, 2017 at the Leap of Faith 5K! I can’t wait to run alongside both of you and then get in a deep stretch.

leap of faith 5K giveaway winners

If you didn’t win, don’t worry. Tickets for the 5K and yoga event, which will also feature a rousing speaker to inspire you, are still available. Sign up for Leap of Faith 5K today!

Getting Out of My Own Way + Leap of Faith 5K Giveaway

I had a personal realization in the last week. I am exactly that friend that will have you believing you can jump from the rooftop and fly into Never Never Land, but I fail so hard at applying these same “You can do it!” vibes to my own life. Over brunch, I’m leading the band in the parade celebrating my friends’ successes. Over a glass of wine later that night, I’m doubting my own abilities.

It sucks. I’m a Millennial. I’m smart. I’m driven. I’m a feminist! I should know better than this, right?

My "You know better" face.
My “You know better” face.


I get in my own head and in my own way regularly. And then it becomes a cycle, because I should know better, and I feel bad. I feel bad about feeling bad about feeling bad…you get it by now, right?

Time for a reality check.

I had to ask myself: When did I become so afraid of failure? We build structures around ourselves through the expectations we have for our own success. Willingly exiting these structures can cause anxiety because then how will we know whether we’re succeeding?

What does it look like to abandon our structure, to build a new one based on new understandings of what our work looks like? Or, even more frightening, to do away with structures altogether and figure out as we go?

These are the questions that I’m asking myself as I wrap up 2016 and plan for 2017. It’s uncomfortable (we talked about staying strong in discomfort earlier this year) and pushes me and I need it.

One area that I don’t have to ask questions is my fitness. Though cardio continues to fill me with dread, I will be running in the Leap of Faith 5K on Feb. 25, 2017.

leap-of-faith-5knat5 I met the team behind the Dallas event (Kory and Vanessa) through my yoga community, and they’re inspirational and dope people. Exactly the kind of people I need in my life as I ask myself the hard questions. Here is how they describe the spirit behind the Leap of Faith 5K (and the post-event, fantastically-named Namaste After the 5K):

“This event was created with your success in mind. This is your “call to action” to start your own business, to write your autobiography, or to put checkmarks by your incomplete bucket list to-dos. We push you to go forward on the run path with motivational quotes that require you to look down at the ground yet still keep your head held high with all confidence in fulfilling your dreams. After the run, you will get to hear a dynamic motivational speaker who will provide clarity on what it takes to overcome anything tied to retrogression followed by an amazing restorative yoga session. Let’s do this guys, your prime is now! The time is now!”

I don’t know about you, but I’m pumped. So pumped that I’m giving away two tickets to the event. Enter through Dec. 20 via the giveaway form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t want to wait to see if you’ve won? Register now for the Leap of Faith 5K. (Feb. 25, 2017 at the Ronald Kirk Bridge and Felix Lozada gateway in downtown.)

Staying Motivated + Keeping the “Winter Fluff” at Bay

Texas finally decided that fall was in session this past weekend, as temperatures dropped into the low 40s overnight and the wind started blowing leaves around the streets. The cool weather, combined daylight savings having it dark by 5:37 p.m. on the regular, means that no one is very motivated to visit the gym or attend outdoor fitness events.

I learned a harsh lesson recently when I tried to explain to a coworker that I felt uncomfortable lately due to a 5-7 pound weight gain. Apparently, I’m not allowed to feel discomfort about my current weight level since it’s short over overweight/obese.

(insert side eye)

Let me state for the record: Everyone has the freedom to feel how they do about their own body. While I will never advocate for self-loathing, I understand the occasional “Ugh” feeling that accompanies weight gain (or loss), bloating and any other kind of fluctuation. Combine that feeling with cold weather and throw in fewer daylight hours, and you have a recipe for what I call “winter fluff.”

Fluff is whatever you define it as; for me, it’s about 10 pounds that sit around my hips and midsection that are hard to move come spring. I swear, post-30, my body is holding on to weight like dog on a bone!

Self-motivation is going to be key for me (and you, if you have a mission to avoid the winter fluff), and I have some tips and tools about staying motivated when staying seated, wrapped in a blanket, seems like a good move.

Summer bodies are built in the winter


Whatever your definition of a “summer body,” and there is no one true definition, you work at it year-round. I can’t blame anyone but myself for my winter fluff, so I have to make the best decision every day when it comes to my food choices, workouts and stress levels.

Assemble your workout crew

I’m very fortunate that not only do I have my Dallas Fitness Ambassador group as motivation to attend community events and get inspired to be up and at the gym, I also have my sorority sister Ashley, who is always down for the cause!

Photo courtesy of Ashley Hatcher
The DFA ladies (Photo courtesy of Ashley Hatcher)
Sweaty smiles with Ashley!
Sweaty smiles with Ashley!

It can also help to have an accountability partner close to home. Incorporate your partner, roommate, neighbor or coworker in your workout and you’ll be less likely to skip your gym appointment.

Motivated by mom
Motivated by mom

K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple silly)

A good round of exercise doesn’t have to look like a Parkour video from YouTube. Help yourself keep it simple by using apps that put the workout together for you. My current fave is the Nike Training Club. I’m entering week three of the 8-week Gym Strong program which is supposed to “build full-body strength with a focus on weight training over 8 weeks.” All I have to do is make it to the gym, download the day’s regimen and get to work. You can add in your own workouts done outside the app and none of the workouts are longer than 45 minutes. Super simple, right?!

Connect with free/low-cost fitness events

Yes, it is much more fun to do rooftop yoga on your #SundayFunday but we have to deal with the realities of the colder temps. Take advantage of the studios in your city who are looking for folks like you who want to get in a good workout and may be looking for a new studio for 2017.

My favorite plug is Mai Lyn of Deep Fried Fit, who puts out a monthly list of free (or low-price) fitness events in Dallas. Keep your eyes open for her December list.

How do you stay vigilant against the winter fluff?

Making Memories + Camping at Best Day Ever Ranch

True confessions: I’ve never been camping. I’m from Houston, I am a true-blue city girl and I hate bugs. Camping has never been one of the activities I feel like I missed out on and I haven’t had the opportunity in my adulthood.

Thankfully, I roll with an adventurous group called Dallas Fitness Ambassadors, and when they let me know they were planning a glamping trip, I jumped right on it. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of glamping, it’s glamour + camping. Think fireside wine glasses, luxurious rugs and all plaid everything.

In the true sense of Texas being a state of many landscapes, I didn’t have to go far to get the camping experience. I drove 45 minutes north of Dallas to Whitewright, turned off the freeway and a left and a right later, I’d made it to Best Day Ever Ranch. The Ranch includes event space in the form of a barn – perfect for the bride and groom who want a southern touch – and cabins for rent. Our less structured living space was down by Dream Lake.

View of our lakeside cabins (courtesy of Best Day Ever Ranch website)
View of our lakeside cabins (credit: The Best Day Ever Ranch website)

Though we were only there for a day and a half, I feel like we had all of the adventures. I’m so happy I went with semi-professional campers, who knew that we needed all of the food. Seriously, we had a spread that rivaled the craft services table at a Hollywood movie set, all courtesy of Sprouts Farmer’s Market. 

Our spread, perfect fuel for hiking and walking.
Our spread, perfect fuel for hiking and walking. (photo credit: Ashley of Fit Girl in Flight)

The first night, we indulged in fireside chili made by the lovely Chandler of The H is For and, of course, wine.

Tip for first time campers: It gets COLD, not chilly but actually cold, once the sun goes down. I was not adequately prepared for spending time outdoors after dusk. Bring your thermals, a hat, boots and extra blankets/comforters or an insulated sleeping bag.

The next day arrived bright and lovely, with steam coming off the lake. We did have some nighttime visitors, which brings me to my next tip: make sure you clean up your camp site well before turning in for the night. I was not brave enough to open our tent to see what kind of nocturnal creatures visited us. I’m fairly sure they were disappointed because we did not leave food or drink out for them to scavenge.

After the breakfast of champions – tacos and mimosas – we decided to go explore the Ranch grounds.

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Out here getting browned while walking at @the_best_day_ever_ranch. We #glamp and we exercise out here.

A video posted by Leisa (@veleisapburrell) on

I like goats and other animals from afar, so I stayed outside the pen and watched the other ladies play petting zoo.

From there, we went to see the event barn, which was being set up for a later wedding, and the garden with a gazeebo that is the DIY dream of many a person. We sent good vibes to the couple getting married later that day and set back toward our camping grounds.

We ended our full day with sangria, fajitas and more wine and tucked in for the night.


Early the next morning, we packed up our various vehicles and bid goodbye to Best Day Ever Ranch. It’s good to know that if I ever need a quick getaway with the girls, I don’t have to go far to find paradise. Between the quiet nights under a star-filled sky and the lack of cell phone reception, which makes you slow down and have deeper conversations with those around you, I really enjoyed my first camping experience.

Thank you to The Best Day Ever Ranch and Sprouts for their sponsorship of our adventures.

All photos below are courtesy of Ashley of Fit Girl in Flight, who worked with the best artistic directors, Chandler and Stephanie Suire.dsc_7537-1

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