Tag Archives: being brave

Finding My Tribes


Life is good, but sometimes you have little slumps. I’ve been slumpy lately, but am pulling out of it. One of the big things motivating me to look forward to an un-slumpy future was a trip to Boca Raton for the Appreciative Advising Institute #AAI2016! More about that later once I’ve had more time to process. It all still feels a little raw, but that’s not a bad thing. Let’s just say it was amazing and just what I needed. It filled my cup ūüėČ (You know what I’m talking about if you were there!)

So, for now. Here’s a bit about part of my journey – the tangible actual there and back again journey. The mental, emotional, professional life journey will be a separate post!

Empty suitcase – endless possibilities. It’s been way too long since I traveled. I used to just zip, zip zip and fill up a suitcase. I kept getting side tracked. It took me forever but I got everything to fit and didn’t forget my swimsuit. (Although it ended up being unused.)

…even Andy Bear made the trip- my good luck teddy bear!! Yes. I’m 42 and travel with a teddy bear. Don’t judge me. There’s actually a whole huge family story and family history with this bear.

The shirt I wanted to wear but chickened out from packing. I love my thrift store finds!

The shirt I actually wore on the plane! Felt super proud to be representing my home state at this conference.

…and…the adventure. There were snags, but United handled everything wonderfully, they found a qualified co pilot after only a short delay, the firetrucks that met us after our air return 10 minutes out of the Denver airport only ended up having to escort us not douse us with flame retardant and whatever else they use….ya. That kind of journey to Florida. I was honestly so refreshed and amazed at the fact that the hundreds of passengers on the plane really behaved well, didn’t cause scenes, and laughed, joked and helped each other out through 5 hours of delays and a little bit of a scary (smoke in the cabin) situation!

Now to the things I’m amazed I did portion of my trip. ¬†Taking an Uber. It was seriously a big deal for me. Being a strong introvert going to a conference with lots of interaction and small groups… Well, thinking about that wore me out! I was pretty nervous about having a roommate in the dorm but signed up for the dorm anyway. Huge win for me.

I was tired and could easily have eaten junk food, but didn’t. Doubly amazed because I had to walk to Whole Foods and back in the Florida heat and humidity – 5 miles round trip. I needed the miles anyway!

I talked on occasion in my small group! I was pretty tired. Exhausted really the first two days. I was glutened at the Denver airport first thing on the trip and then discovered I’m pretty much allergic to Florida. At one point I was close to showing someone how to use my epipen just in case. Mold…grrrrrr! The first day or so was an antihistamine and inhaler filled fog of dizziness and coffee. Even then, I was able to take things in and keep smiling, enjoying and learning.

…and I even rallied enough energy to be social. GASP! I know!!!!! Wow!!!

I didn’t get to go see the beach because I made the decision to get a treadmill run in. But I did get some amazing seafood!! I’ll just have to go back to FL soon to go to the beach!

And one of the coolest things is…all those worries about having a roommate. Unfounded. I know…you all would have told me that from the start! Roomie and I were on the same flight back to Denver, too, and arranged to have our seats next to each other. The Uber driver to the airport kept saying, as we animatedly chatted on the drive, “You guys just met?” “Really…you guys didn’t know each other before?” OH…and we even colored one night. Because of course, essential conference packing involves a 74 colored pencil set and a motivational coloring book!

Ok. Yep…was going to write more about the conference but am still a little overwhelmed in a good way by all of the positivity and wonderful people I met. OK. Whew. Yep…coming back to this one. (This introvert needs more processing time!) Let’s just say #besthumansever and I’m feeling so refreshed and can’t wait to keep in touch with this new tribe of mine!

As soon as I got home I hung out a bit with one of my other tribes at a pizza fundraiser. I’m so blessed to have all of these wonderful, amazing, strong, powerful people in my life.

Before this conference I knew I had a lot of wonderful, amazing, caring, people in my life, but looked on it as kind of this fleeting, little pocket of luckiness I had stumbled upon. Now I believe I can go out and find my tribes and its not just me (individually) doing this “thing”…I feel the power of togetherness. Instead of seeing me as just one distinct little piece doing my own thing for the great good…I see and feel everyone lifting me up when I need it and surrounding me with love, hope and happiness…and feel the strength of my muscles and arms and legs, my heart and my brain providing support to all of these other wonderful people when they need it. I need you guys and am so grateful we found each other.

Also…Thanks Coach Jeff if you’re reading this! I said thank you last night for the encouragement. It’s really, really, really, really, really been life changing and has helped me so much on this journey to battle my depression and anxiety and to find my confidence again! You see the change…don’t minimize how you helped me get there!

So I challenge you…go find your tribes. If you read this…tell me in the comments who they are. Tell them who they are, too! Being told I was part of a tribe (or a family or whatever word resonates with you) is one of the things that helped me change my perspective from being one piece of something….to being something (Hope that makes sense!)


Oh yes…and ummmm…help me fight cancer here! ¬† I’ll be updating this blog with a running update soon!


Accidental Beauty Blogger

Accidental Beauty Blogger

I use my blog a lot to write about my struggles, adventures, running and fundraising to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma society and their fight against blood cancers! I’ll conveniently post my fundraising page link here – and again at the end of the post. I’m $2100 or so away from meeting my personal goal for the Vegas Rock n Roll Marathon event! That’s a lot of money to support this great cause ūüėČ

Go Big, Go Vegas and Go Team!

I get a few likes and views…mostly from Facebook friends! Last month I wrote a small post about my Face Spackle sample in my Birchbox. It is great stuff…but it cracked me up because I think I got it because I’m in the over 40 crowd! I got way more views and likes  from the beauty blog’ish post than anything before-which kind of made me laugh because the only reason I probably even have makeup is that my mom gifts me Birchbox subscriptions! (I really do love the samples though!) I accidentally became a beauty blogger for a day. And…oooof…those of you that followed my blog because of that Face Spackle post…no worries if you stop following when you realize this isn’t really a beauty blogging type of blog!

Ok. Here are more thoughts on beauty blogging though…You’ve all seen this pic on my blog before, but this is what I look like when I first wake up in the morning.

I think I may be actually wearing some make up in the picture below…maybe the LOC eyeliner and PBJ Lip Smoothie by The Beauty Crop from my June 2016 Birchbox?


I really got dressed up in the next picture…a quick spray of the dry shampoo I received a while back, the Coola mineral face sunscreen and some other stuff (pictured below…with my yoga mat background) and off we went on  a hike! Getting fancy… Not sure why I bothered with any makeup to go tromping around in the mountains. I think I was still giggling about my Face Spackle post!




And finally…here I am in the next pic with the most makeup I probably ever wear! I have a sample of some red lipsticks I got a while back. I’ll have to post those pictures at some point. I’m not used to that much color yet!! I’m failing as a beauty blogger because I don’t remember what products I used in most of the pictures. I can’t review them more than to say…I liked them, they felt good.  I’d buy them all if I had the money…except for that pink lip tar stuff I got once. See…I don’t even remember the names and am too lazy to go look on the packages! I guess the Coola would be the exception. It is perfect for when I run and think that my friends might take selfies or we’ll go out to brunch after. I would buy it by the gallon and bathe in it. It goes on smooth, doesn’t feel caky or dry like some face suncreens do – and I haven’t gotten a burn yet on my face on the days I’ve used it! (See…how was that?) I also really like the actual Birchbox boxes and have saved them all. I’m trying to find a good craft project on Pinterest for them! If any beauty bloggers ares still reading this…tell me what you do with your boxes!


If I don’t wear that much makeup, why am  I posting this, you ask? Well…for one…it really is fun to try out all of the samples. They make me feel special and a little glamorous. It helps with the depression to feel pampered, too. AND, It’s fundraising season again…time to bump up the training and start my fundraising. Since one of my goals this year is to ask for donations from strangers… (because it’s really hard for me to ask to do that) I’ll do this challenge. If someone I don’t know donates $25 or more – I’ll start my accidental beauty blogger blog… It’ll be separate from this but I’ll do it through to the end of the Marathon in Vegas in November.  My mom gets me Birchbox subscriptions from time to time (which really is one of the best gifts ever!!!), I know people who sell Younique, and I just treated myself to at least one month of an Ipsy Glam Bag subscription. I’ll have the supplies! My motto will be:


And, since I’m asking (and part of my motto this year is Go Big) – Birchbox, Ipsy, Younique, Coola, Laura Geller New York, The Beauty Crop…ya’ll want to sponsor Team in Training this year, right? Your naaaame would be on my running Jersey in Vegas and I’d blog about you!!! There are national sponsors and local sponsors  – go here for info become a TNT sponsor  and here are my local staff contacts – they could hook you up with all of the info! Sporty girls wear makeup too sometimes…even if you might not be able to see it! (Hint: any of you business people out there reading this could sponsor, too!)

Now granted, my accidental beauty blogger posts will probably be about beauty products and running…and maybe reviews of some of the gear I try out at run club. Like the heavenly Altra shoes and SmartWool socks! But can’t you just imagine…I could test how a fancy mascara stands up to a double digit run…I’d take photos of how that turns out! Brunch after a 20-miler – lets see what the dry shampoo can do for that. How does that perfume really  stand up after speedwork in 90 degree weather? Or maybe, the Garmin Forerunner 235 may be water resistant to a degree…but how easy is it really to clean sunscreen smudges from the watch face! The possibilities are endless…don’t some of you want to see this happen? This could be funny…and you would be helping support life saving cancer research and supporting blood cancer patients and their loved ones! If you can’t donate  – share – ask your favorite companies to donate or sponsor Team in Training!

I guess if you know me and want to see that blog come to life…donate and write a compelling argument for why I should do this…I’ll consider it.

Here is my fundraising site – Go Big, Go Vegas and Go Team! and more info about why I’m doing this.

Although…in closing, I have to say running, friends, and helping support a great cause like Team in Training is the best beauty product out there, right? Happiness is a great foundation and smiles are good face brighteners. Makeup and beauty products are fun, but they don’t define my worth or how I feel about myself or my looks! Just check out these two lovely ladies below and that’s all the proof you need! Me sans makeup for sure because this picture was taken at the butt crack of dawn the morning of the Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon in October! (That said…if makeup makes you happy – or not wearing makeup makes you sad – go for it -you’re beautiful when you feel beautiful!!)


OH… For the Love of…there’s a spider crawling on my hand…. (aka the Day I met Rosie the Tarantula)

OH… For the Love of…there’s a spider crawling on my hand…. (aka the Day I met Rosie the Tarantula)

So….today was the day I faced a fear. I asked, you answered. I pledged to hold Rosie the Tarantula if I received a certain amount of donations by a certain date. Check out this blog post if you want to see how this all came to be –

Risk-Free Sibling Rivalry

You lovely people made it happen! ¬†Ok. Without further ado…my journey to the Butterfly Pavilion¬†to meet Rosie!¬†(a Chilean Rose Hair tarantula).

Slightly nervous leaving the house.

Arriving at the Butterfly Pavilion

The moment we met . If you look closely you may notice my eyes were a little teary. Just a little. I didn’t full on cry, but it was pretty darn close. I took my inhaler before we left the house. The first part of the video is blurry – but stick with it. Sorry it is such a huge file…working on that. ¬†Listen for Dave softly laughing in the background. He was awesome moral support! I was thinking I’d have time to work up courage to see Rosie after we entered the Butterfly Pavilion. Nope. Turned a corner and there she was! I’m glad she was right there at the start though.

Done and done!

It was quite a while before I took that sticker off!

The room Rosie is in has several other tarantulas. ¬†Here’s the big’un. Involuntary reaction. That’s honestly how big I thought Rosie would be…but she wasn’t. There were walking stick insects and scorpions, too. Dave took about a thousand pictures. And if you know him, you know I’m not joking at all.

Still a little scary.

Happy to have moved on to sea creatures.

Although, I did decline to touch the starfish and the horseshoe crab. Hey…that wasn’t part of the deal ūüėČ

Stick insects delicately holding on to branches.

Mr. Crab? Mrs. Crab?

I think the signs said there were 1200 butterflies in the tropical rainforest area. You can apparently go to yoga classes there sometimes, too. I wish I lived close enough for that! It was beautiful – even though I am a little creeped out by flying things. As you leave this area you have to go through a mirror-filled room to make sure you don’t have any little butterflies hitching a ride out of Dodge.

In the tropical rainforest.

Look at that giant butterfly?!?!?!?!


Really? I mean….really? Come on.. birds, too?


The things I do for Team in Training.

Next stop lunch!!

Guess where we ate?

Guess who won game one?

Guess who won game two?

Enjoying our staycation day.

Yes. Yes I am sitting in a child-sized chair.

OK guys, what’s my next adventure? Help decide? How about this…if I can raise $100 additional this week (ending at 11:59pm on 9/6/15) I’ll go through the aviary at the zoo. If I raise $500 total additional by 11:59pm on 9/6/15 I’ll do that AND go have a sushi lunch after – the raw stuff, too! That’ll be a fun video, right? I’m kind of betting that no one will actually read this…lol. I’m still on the fence…but will put it out there again that if I exceed my fundraising goal of $2000 I will think about getting a tattoo…a small, discrete, cover-up-able tattoo so I can work at Disney again some day if I want to. What’cha think about that? Any other scary things you guys would like to see me conquer? I’ll do it for donations!! No shame. September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month…so it’s a good time to challenge me!

Be on the lookout for posts about my other upcoming fundraisers – Thirty-one gifts online party starting any day, Jamberry online party starting Sept. 13, and my painting party on September 19th¬†https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tnt-paints-the-park-tickets-18146492648 (Sign up by September 4 please?) I’ll update my Team in Training Fundraising site with info –

Here’s the link to my fundraising page!

My Magic Fundraising Portal – Help Save Lives Here

Thanks everyone for supporting and encouraging me along the way. It means a lot!!!! PS – don’t be scared of Rosie! She’s pretty awesome and was soft and light as a feather.

Stay-tuned! The next post is probably going to be about ¬†G-Ma Ham (aka Margaret ) learning how to drive. i think I would have enjoyed telling her about my visit to see Rosie the Tarantula… We would have chatted about it sitting side-by-side in those kiddie chairs outside of Cracker Barrel!

This is not a post about running…it’s about FOOD!¬†

This is not a post about running…it’s about FOOD!¬†

Ok. Before we get started – here’s the fundraising update.

We’re getting down to the wire, so please donate if you are planning to! I would love to be able to concentrate on my running (and eating….) and not the fundraising ūüėČ Even $10 helps!

How much can a few dollars really help anyone?

$10 helps researchers grow cells in a lab for a week, helping them better understand how well a new cancer therapy might work

$70 helps ones patient participate in an LLS web education program featuring medical experts who provide the latest disease & treatment info.

$150 raised funds necessary lab supply supplies for 1 week

$1,800 raised promotes LLS-funded patient and healthcare professional programs nationally

$2,000 raised¬†funds an LLS research fellow’s studies for 2 weeks

$5,000 raised funds 1 month of studying a patient undergoing new experimental therapy

$25,000 raised funds 1 year of monitoring blood levels of patients in a clinical trial
If you’re local and you want to contribute¬†– check out this event¬†Chocolate 4 Melina

My fundraising page is here Margaret and Me

I made Margaret’s Paradise Rolls today (recipe and further commentary to follow). It was fun – and fairly easy, although¬†a tad bit messy. Here’s the process:

  1. Drag your sorry behind out of bed.

  2) Open your eyes long enough to make coffee to enjoy in your favorite mug. Coffee press from Ikea, local honey from Vitamin Cottage and my favorite mug from the Abraham Lincoln museum back home.
3) Get distracted by adorable doggie following you around the house. Tuck him into bed and give him scritchy-scratches. Wash hands.

4) Curse the fact that you didn’t do the dishes last night before you went to bed. Do dishes.

5) Gather all of the yummy ingredients – including the not so hard to find but terribly expensive gluten free Graham Crackers – erm “graham style crackers”¬†I mean. Luckily I reread the recipe at the store. I almost bought 1lb of pecans instead of 1 cup! I did miss that I was supposed to get 1lb of graham crackers though. So, yea, we’ll be halving this recipe…

6) Realize that all of my mixing bowls are either in the fridge holding leftovers OR currently in the running dishwasher. Improvise with trifle dish.

7) Put on some chopping music. Strangely enough…this was the album that came on as I started. Yes, yes I do have high hopes for this recipe!!
  8) Realize I have no freaking idea how to chop marshmallows into fine pieces. Knife or scissors? I tried both and ended up going with the knife.

9) Have your husband admire your work and tell you what a great job you are doing. Swat his hand away as he tries to devour all of your marshmallows!
9) Oh man….chopping is not going so well. There has to be a better way to chop marshmallows!

10) Skeptically taste gluten free graham style crackers. (Not bad, they’re not bad….very sugary though.)
  11) Have husband skeptically taste gluten free graham style crackers. He approved. Swat husbands hand to keep him from eating all of the gluten free graham style crackers.

12) Ingredients assemble! (Silently wonder how this will all go together to be able to form a nut roll.)

13) Good grief – stir for 5 minutes?? This is an upper arm workout. Solve mystery of how this will all come together to form a nut roll.

  14) Roll
¬†15) Success! Paradise rolls!! They’re sitting in the fridge waiting for a few hours to solidify. Then..nom nom nom. I can say that I licked the spoon and the bowl and they. are. delicious…but oh my goodness – sugar overload!!!!

16) Add final goofy picture of finished product – even though it is hard to photograph well. BUT HEY – is that a TARDIS? (Distract people from bad picture of nut roll (and the fact that I have a tiny bit of said nut roll stuck to my teeth) by pointing out the TARDIS.

 17) Write blog post

Here’s the recipe – provided by Aunt Penny (thank you!):

Date Nut Roll (Paradise Roll)

1 cup chopped pecans

1 lb chopped dates

1 lb marshmallows (cut fine)

1/2 cup cream

1 lb graham crackers (rolled into fine crumbs)

1/2 cup milk

Mix dates, pecans, marshmallows with all but one cup cracker crumbs. Add cream and milk. Mix 5 minutes. Shape into loaf and roll in 1 cup cracker crumbs. Put in refrigerator to harden. Serve with whipped cream.

– As I was working through this recipe I realized I had a ton of questions. I got a little sad and emotional, too, because I won’t get a chance to ask Margaret about the recipe! I spent so much time with my Grandma Lois and my Grandma Blanche in their kitchens. We talked about food, life, their past, their families, etc. This I had to do kind of on my own. ¬†Oddly enough, it was also fulfilling. I talked to Margaret ¬†as I was chopping and mixing and asked her questions in my mind ¬†(how in the heck do you chop marshmallows into fine pieces? Which kid got the duty of stirring this sticky concoction for 5 minutes, etc.)- I bet she heard them! I had fun singing in the kitchen and dancing around making this sweet treat.

(Sorry this was so long…I blame the sugar. I couldn’t stop typing….)

In the Kitchen Teaser

Stay tuned! This week I’m going to be in the kitchen with Margaret…kind of.¬†I spent a lot of time in my grandmother’s kitchen’s growing up, but didn’t ever cook with Margaret. Aunt Penny shared some recipes of hers that sound delicious! I planning on trying one of them out this weekend and will post the results. Hmmm…shall I try the paradise roll or the date nut roll or both??¬† (I vote both).

Also just a quick fundraising update! I’m planning a date to go to the Butterfly Pavilion to pet Rosie the Tarantula! Thank you to everyone who has contributed to what I’m now calling my “Be Brave” fundraising campaign. Fundraising is being brave. Asking for corporate sponsors is brave. Starting to push my self in running is being brave. Being social is being brave.

Rockies Beads

…and petting a tarantula is definitely being brave! I’ll decide on a date an post it soon in case anyone would like to join and witness this monumental feat of bravery on my part. (My inhaler will be on hand.)

All of this bravery from Team in Training is starting to spill over into other aspects of my life. Like this:

Mt. Sherman

I climbed a 14er and didn’t get winded at all. Yea asthma medicine and running training! w00t! w00t! Oh look…I just realized I was wearing purple. ūüôā

I’m only about $100 away from my next “brave” event. If I¬† have $900 total in my fundraising account by 11:59pm on August 9, 2015 I’ll plan a trip to the aviary at the zoo and will walk amongst the birds. If you want to help me reach that goal, and I know you do, here’s a link to my fundraising page.

Margaret and Me

And…I’ll see if anyone is actually reading this…if I exceed my fundraising goal of $2000 I MIGHT¬†( begin to thinking about whether or not I want to) get a tattoo… Kind of along the lines of John Popper’s “I want to be brave” tattoo. Except not tattooed backwards on my chest. And yes…I am a big Blues Traveler fan! They’re so nice…. This was actually Day 1 of my “Be Brave” campaign, but I just didn’t realize it. More about that in another a later post…. but it involves me winning a Facebook contest a few years ago.

Red Rocks

It would have to be¬†a¬†¬†discrete tattoo though so I could work at Disney World in the future again if I ever want to…but you get the idea!

OK. Headed home. Long day. Headache and new prescription on my glasses = curling up with the puppies and watching a movie until I fall asleep….at, you know, 7:00pm or something.



In the Kitchen Teaser