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Life Update

The next thing I knew, I was running a half marathon…

2019 Recap

Well, my friends, I cannot believe that last year is over.

And somehow, I didn’t publish a blog post in nearly a year. I started last year with big goals. Just the other day, I was reviewing them, and it turns out that I didn’t actually check too many of those goals off, but that doesn’t mean that nothing happened.

2019 was quite a year. Looking back I did the following:

I started running.

After years of stopping and starting the C25K app without much-lasting success, I decided to try a different method and enrolled ina 5K running class through Not Your Average Runner.

Aubrey Shaw at the Woman's Club of Cayce 2019 Hot Flash 5K

The 5K class fed into a 10K class. And the 10K class fed into a half marathon class. And the next thing I knew, I was running a half marathon.

Aubrey Shaw at the Savannah 2019 Rock n Roll Half Marathon

I completed my first half marathon in Savannah on November 2, 2019. And I’ve already picked out two more to complete this year.

My business became debt-free.

2019 is the year we paid my insurance agency and. I wrote last year that taking out a loan through the Small Business Administration is a financial decision I would change if I had it to do again.

Aubrey Shaw, owner of LifeTime Insurance Agency in Cayce SC
October 2019

Paying this loan off has created a lot of breathing room in my business’s cash flow, and since then, I have paid off my car as well.

Want to get your business debt-free? I recommend reading & implementing Profit First by Mike Michalowicz.

Aubrey Shaw receiving the NAIFA-SC 2019 award for Young Advisor of the Year.

Last year, I was named as the 2019 Young Advisor of the Year by NAIFA South Carolina and was nominated for the national NAIFA Young Advisor of the Year award.

One final business win to share is that I had my first Open Enrollment season where I sold more than $1 million in insurance premiums.

Jujitsu travels took me all over the country.

Last year, I was lucky enough to travel to California, Florida, Chicago, and Atlanta for jujitsu and judo classes and events.

2019 AJJF National Judo Tournament in Atlanta
2019 AJJF National Judo Tournament

Our dojo judo team went to three tournaments. I chose to participate in the South Carolina State Judo tournament and the AJJF National Judo tournament; in each tournament, I brought home a silver medal in my division. I also tried my hand at the AJJF National Freestyle contest and placed third in my division.

I continue to find blessings in our martial arts school by helping teach the children’s judo classes. We now have more than 20 kids regularly attending class, which amazes me.

I hate that I didn’t find time to update this blog with last year’s adventures. This recap of the year doesn’t seem nearly complete enough, but I can say that 2019 was quite a year. Looking forward to the next decade (!!), I can’t wait to see where 2020 brings me.

Flying Aubreys & Other Shenanigans

It’s 9:15 on a Sunday morning.

And for the first time in weeks, I have a lazy morning planned. So the Mister and I are geeking out on our laptops. He’s watching YouTube, and I’m trying to clear my inbox and social notifications. Of course, it’s been more than a month since I’ve written a blog post. So, I figured that I also owe y’all a quick July & August life update.


We started July with the Mister having a week off work; his company always closes the week of Independence Day. My workweek was pretty relaxed as well.

We decided that was the week to push hard on our kitchen updates. The cabinets and wall have been painted, and the hardware has been updated. We also installed a new microwave.

Next on the to-do list is painting the ceiling and installing new linoleum flooring. I also plan to sew new curtains; the jury is still out on whether we’re going to replace the windows now or wait.

We also spent plenty of time with friends at the pool because it’s summer and we live in South Carolina.


After the holiday week, I’m happy to report that I made some progress toward one of my major goals for the year. I started interviewing candidates for my part-time admin position at work. At the moment, the search has been narrowed down to two really good ladies.

The next step is to have the Mister sit down with us for the second round of interviews; I’m hoping his gut will help me decide who would be a better personality fit for my work-style.


If there’s one thing that I learned from working with my business coach over the last 18 months, it’s that having space in my schedule for self-care is ESSENTIAL. For me, that means taking some time off. I’ve been doing that all year long by taking the last Friday of each month off, but taking a real vacation is also a priority for me.

A girlfriend and I made plans to head to the Chicago jujitsu clinic. We left a 5 a.m. on a Wednesday and hit the road. I love a good road trip, and we had perfect weather for this drive. We took our time, stopping for breakfast and lunch, and reached our destination right at dinner time.

As a martial artist, I love this clinic. It’s intimate and packed with great classes. Everyone is friendly, and the food. I love a clinic where they have the meals on-site; it really gives you a chance to get to know the person you’re working out with, make new friends and get some one-on-one time with the instructors.

Aubrey E Shaw: Life Update August 2018: Chicago Danzan Ryu 2018 Clinic & AJJF Judo National TournamentAfter the clinic banquet dinner, we headed to Toledo on Saturday night, and then Sunday morning we split ways to head to different parts of Michigan. My friend was spending her mother’s birthday at the lake; I was headed to my aunt’s house.

Those few days in Michigan with my aunt were just downtime for me. I really enjoyed a few days with nothing specific scheduled. We hung near the house, watching baseball and catching up – though I did find a local judo club to work out with one day and visited an indie yarn shop another day.

The drive home from vacation brought us lots of stormy weather. Have I ever mentioned that I dislike driving in the rain? Storms while driving through mountains or in rush hour traffic is stressful for me, but we made it home to South Carolina safely.


It feels like I barely got home before heading back out of town again. The weekend after vacation was the ATJA/AJJF National Judo Tournament, and I had committed to my judo kids that I would be competing. So the Mister and I headed to Atlanta for the competition.

There were 30+ states and 4 countries represented this year, and our school had 16 students entered. I’m proud to report that I placed Silver in the advanced seniors’ women’s division. The following morning, we had the opportunity to take a class with some Olympic level judo coaches, which was super-cool and extremely challenging.

2018 National Judo Tournament: Advanced Senior Womens DivisionAugust is my birthday month, but we’re staying near the home-front this year. After all the travel in July, I’m happy to stay here in South Carolina and celebrate with family and friends.


Where in the world is Aubrey Shaw?

What in the world has been going on lately? I sure have missed popping in over here to catch up with y’all and share pieces of life. I hate that I’ve disappeared, but I’m back now.

And the way I see it, the best way to get back to blogging is to give y’all a quick recap on what’s been happening that kept me away. So, we pretty much have to catch up on the second half of April, all of May and the beginning of June, right? Here’s what happened:

Around the House

Just after my last blog post (a round-up of favorite Instant Pot recipes), the Mister and I celebrated our anniversaries: 8 years married, 11 years in our house, 13 years together.

Some days it feels like we just met, and sometimes it feels like we’ve been together all our lives. Looking back on 13 years is kind of mind-boggling. I still feel like the 24-year-old girl who was giddy about the handsome guy with the sparkling blue eyes.

We started May on the lake with good friends, good weather and plenty of drinks. Boat days lead to a lot of laughs; I hope we’ll have the opportunity to head out for at least one more this month.


As we headed toward the end of May, it became apparent there was a problem at our house. We’re not exactly sure how, but our kitchen because infested with German cockroaches. Trust me, you don’t want those suckers in your house.

We tried treating the problem ourselves but eventually called in professional exterminators. Two good things about having to pack everything in our kitchen up for the treatment:

  1. We decluttered and donated a ton of unused kitchen items.
  2. This was the perfect excuse to some much-needed updates around the kitchen.

Also, the pups came to work with me one day, allowing this adorable picture of them stalking me around my office.


ddThe kitchen is still currently packed up, but no more creepy crawlies. The Mister and I are hoping we’ll be ready to paint next weekend. Also on the agenda for the kitchen is new cabinet hardware, updating the flooring, and making new window treatments. We hope to be back in our kitchen in the first week of July.

Around the Dojo

On the dojo front, I was pleasantly surprised by a few of my judo students giving me gifts for Teacher Appreciation week. Helping to teach the children’s classes is teaching me new life lessons all the time. I would never have expected to get so much enjoyment for my clan of 8-year-olds.

Aubrey E Shaw: Life Update June 2018

I had the honor of being the uke for a friend’s black belt exam in judo. (Read, she threw me around like a rag doll for an hour. Also, I don’t know how to fall properly on my left side.) Since passing her exam, she and I have taken over teaching a competitive judo class to help the kids who want to compete in our tournament this summer.

And on the note of judo tournaments, the South Carolina State Championship was the first weekend of June. Every student from our school who entered took home a medal, and our dojo won second place as a team. I’m really super proud of our kiddos.


Everyone’s sights are now on the National Championship, which is the first week of August. I think I may be crazy, but I’ve even committed to competing. The thought gives me butterflies every time it comes in my head – I’ve got conditioning to do and weight to lose. What was I thinking?

Around the Office

Work has been really good lately. I’m in a good rhythm with my sales and working hard to grow a few lines of my income.

The big news at work is that I’m starting interviews for an admin assistant. This is a big scary step for me. It’s one thing to work for yourself and completely another to be in charge of someone else’s employment. However, I know in my heart that I’ve grown my business to a point that this is the next step so I’m taking it scared.

So many friends have asked me about the work I’ve done toward scheduling and with my business coach – it was a huge financial investment that may be too big step for a lot of friends. A more accessible step is a course I took last month, Peace Pace Progresss by Shunta Grant. Since the course is only open until June 21, here is my endorsement:


Taking the course for me was a great way to re-focus my goals and re-energize some of the daily & weekly routines that have helped me get efficient in my schedule. My next step is to start getting up an hour earlier to build my personal time into my day; that’s going to be challenging since I’m not a morning person yet.

We also finally decided to sell my 1999 Pontiac and upgrade my vehicle. We are now officially a two Subaru family. I’m thoroughly enjoying my new ride, especially windows that roll up and down and cup holders that work.


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5 Things That Are Making Me Happy

Happy Friday, friends!

I want to take a few minutes every Friday morning to share with you a few things that are making me happy each week. I believe that focusing on the good things tells the universe to send more blessings our way. If you need a little help with consistently looking for the blessings, consider ordering The Five Minute Journal to start your day with a little gratitude.

5 Things That Are Making Me Happy:

  1. Getting back to jujitsu class.
  2. Finishing a good book.
  3. Listening to vinyl with the Mister
  4. Warmer temperatures for a few days.
  5. Massage class tomorrow.
What’s making you smile this week? Take a moment to share with me in the comments.