Member Business Spotlight

By June 27, 2022 blog
We’d like to take a moment and highlight Dragonfly member, Amanda Doyle! She’s an author who writes a lot about local St. Louis history and fun stuff to do, like in her best selling books, “100 Things to Do in St. Louis Before You Die” and “100 Things to Do in Missouri Before You Die.” We asked Amanda to share a little about herself, her experience at Dragonfly and her business as a writer. If you’re interested in Amanda’s books you can find them here.
I have been an “official,” on-the-books Dragonfly member for just over 3 years…but that’s only after Renah got me into the regular system of membership and payment. I first did a semi-private group intro session (at the old location), and then after that I somehow talked her into letting me act like a month-to-month tenant, paying in cash every month and never quite getting off the fence because I was basically afraid: afraid to commit, afraid I’d have to actually change and show up, afraid I couldn’t afford it. Thank goodness she finally was like, Uh, so listen, what are we doing here? And I got my act together and got regular. I think I might’ve had more than a year as a rogue Dragonfly before getting legit.
Before I joined Dragonfly, even in my half-ass initial foray, I had belonged to “a gym” for, like, ever, off and on. The Y, a cheapie fitness center, all the way back to my student rec club at Mizzou. But when I came to Dragonfly, I really found myself engaged by the well-planned workouts, the clear ways to keep track of my progress and next steps, and of course, the support and encouragement of other members and the coaches. Physically, I am much stronger now than I’ve been in recent memory. There are still weeks of killing it and weeks of not so much, but my mindset is that I am a person who takes care of herself, and one way I can show up for myself is by being as consistent as I can in showing up at the gym.
I’m not going to lie: I literally never want to come to class. I’m not one of those people who bounds out of bed feeling fit and active and thinking, “ooh, I can’t wait to do something hard and get sweaty!” I don’t want to get out of bed, or if it’s a later workout, I don’t want to wait until after that to get dressed/have breakfast/whatever. I can nearly talk myself out of coming Every Single Time. This is as true today as when I started. But I also have literally never regretted getting over myself and showing up. I always feel better after I come to class. That’s the bank of past experience I draw on now in those moments of weakness when I think, “Eh, I just won’t go.” Plus, I can’t handle the shame of getting an email from Missy wondering if I’ve skipped the country. I am an old parent with still-young kids, and I want to be around and as vital as possible in their lives for as long as I can, so I think of my workouts as helping me towards that goal. Making myself harder to kill, as one of our past coaches used to say!
My favorite thing about Dragonfly is that every coach is so skilled at assisting with modifications on the fly; I have cranky knees and weird feet and just various infirmities that come and go (ah, hello, 50!) and I’ve learned to have no fear when it comes to working out. Either I’ll do it as written or someone who knows their shit will help me figure it out. I love that I just don’t have to think about it, either. That might not sound good, but I like showing up and just doing what’s on the board. No muss, no fuss, no excuses.
This all feeds into what I do for my livelihood: I’m a writer (lots of freelance travel stuff, plus family fun, St. Louis history, etc.) and book author, and two of my best-selling books include “Before You Die” in the title, thus my need to keep myself alive and kicking for a long time! “100 Things to Do in St. Louis Before You Die” and “100 Things to Do in Missouri Before You Die” are super-fun, grab-and-go-do-something books that you can keep in your guest room or the glove compartment of your car and just have on-hand when you need something fresh to explore. Even if you’ve lived here forever, I promise there’s plenty you haven’t explored in the ways I suggest. I’ve also co-authored a super-cool music history of St. Louis, full of amazing photos and artifacts, called “St. Louis Sound, An Illustrated Timeline.” If you haven’t seen the exhibit of the same title that’s up at the Missouri History Museum, it’s a fun afternoon. Take your earbuds, since there’s an all-STL playlist you can enjoy while you wander the exhibit. I think being a Dragonfly member, and being around other women who are supporters of all things local (from our local businesses and sports teams to the Realtors who sell houses in our neighborhoods), keeps me curious about our city and enthusiastic about helping others find the best of our area.
If you want to see more of the books I’ve written, you can find them all at; I’m always happy to sign/personalize copies for you, for gifts, for whatever! And sneak preview: my newest book, a hardcover, coffeetable book commemorating the 150th anniversary of Tower Grove Park this year, will be out by September!