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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 😉 (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 😉

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!!)


Fundraising 101


I’m collecting my change for Team in Training Every little bit helps…who needs caffeine anyway? Any guesses on how much change (in a dollar amount) it will take to fill my tea pot? I’ll think up a prize for the person who guesses the closest once my fundraising ends! 

I’m way more nervous about the fundraising than I am about the running. This will be my fifth half marathon, but is my first big fundraising experience. I’ve had my fundraising coaching call, but haven’t met my team yet….well, I guess I should say that I haven’t met all of my team! It turns out that one of my coworkers is a team in training alumni…and will be on my training team for the Fall season! What a neat coincidence!!! 

Visit http://pages.teamintraining.org/rm/denver15/4margaret to help me fill my teapot and help ou a great cause. I’m guessing something like $2.00 down…$1798 to go! 

I’ve also got some more great stories in the queue….should have some posted this weekend! 

Margaret Meets Marion

Margaret Meets Marion

By guest blogger Penny (Cunningham) Newsom

Note from Heather: This is actually the first picture I remember ever seeing of Marion. It’s also the first picture I remember seeing of Margaret as a young woman. Now that I’ve read Penny’s story about how her parents met, I think I remember hearing parts of it before! I bet it’s something Margaret and I probably talked about on our cross-country road trip.  When I was in college I always thought I would want to do a thesis project somehow around how people meet – and, more importantly, how they tell the stories of how they met. It seems fitting, then, that this is the first story shared with me for this project. I can’t stop looking at this picture tonight!

Penny wrote to me that back of the picture has a note that it was taken in 1943. she looked at the original picture with a magnifying glass and didn’t see a ring on her mom’s finger. She let me know that she wrote the story below for a writing class and tried to keep it true to the story as told to her by her mother.

Fortune Teller

On Saturday the third of July, 1943, Marion Cunningham and Hazel went to a fortune teller at the fair in Casey, Illinois. Marion, a handsome divorced 30-year old blond man with a ruddy complexion, wore a starched white short-sleeved shirt, tie, sharply creased tan pants and a straw hat. Hazel was engaged to Marion. A wedding date had not been decided.

The fortune teller, not knowing of the engagement, told Marion, “You will marry a woman by the name of Mary or Margaret”. As they exited the tent, Hazel said to Marion, “I’ll introduce you to the girl you are going to marry!”

They wandered around the fairgrounds until they came upon four of Hazel’s girlfriends walking their way. Hazel stopped the girls and introduced them to Marion. One of the girls, Margaret Maria M. , was a petite pleasingly plump girl sporting a dark brown pageboy, brown eyes and a beautiful smile. Hazel told Marion that he was going to marry Margaret. Margaret, only eighteen years old, giggled at Hazel’s pronouncement.

The following Saturday, July 10, Margaret walked down Main Street where she met Hazel standing beside a car. They chatted for a little bit. Hazel suggested they get into the car to talk. Hazel opened the door and Margaret slid into the front seat under the steering wheel. While Margaret was still sitting there, Marion came up to the car. He told Margaret to scoot over as he opened the door. Margaret said, “If I do, I’ll be in the middle. Don’t you want me to get out so you can sit next to Hazel?” Marion told her, “It’s alright if you sit in the middle. Stay where you are.” Margaret, uncomfortable sitting in the middle, stayed seated. When the evening came to an end, Hazel and Marion took Margaret home.

Margaret had worked as a waitress at the local ice cream store since graduating from Casey High School in the spring. Except for babysitting, that was Margaret’s first and only paying job. When she left work on Saturday, July 17, Marion waited beside his car outside the ice cream store. He asked her, “Care if I take you home?” Ordinarily, she refused rides from men but that time she made an exception.

The next week Margaret received a letter from Marion, who lived in Paris, Illinois. In the letter, Marin told her Hazel had broken their engagement. Hazel did not want to keep him from marrying Mary or Margaret. Marion asked Margaret for a date. He anxiously waited for her response. Margaret’s reply did not disappoint.

Six weeks after their first date, Marion asked Margaret to marry him. Despite the fact that he was twelve years her senior and the father of two children, she was madly in love with him and accepted the engagement ring that had been Hazel’s. They were married on October 23, 1943. Margaret gave birth to her first child, Penny, in December of 1944. Sons David and Larry were born in the next 3 years. After almost 45 years of marriage, Marion passed on August 8, 1988. Margaret lived another 19 years until August 16, 2007.


Thanks for reading everyone! For more about why I’m running with Team in Training-Rocky Mountain take a look at this page! And, as always, any kind of support is greatly appreciated. I know not everyone can donate- so cheer me on and, if nothing else, share my blog and help me get the word out!

Team in Training Rocky Mountain – Getting Started

Team in Training Rocky Mountain – Getting Started

Post 1 about team in training! I set up my Fundraising page  a week or so ago, but am just now starting my blog. I’m running the Denver Rock n Roll half marathon with Team in Training in honor of my step-grandmother, Margaret- on my birthday, too! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. Some of my posts will be about my training and others about my journey to learn more about Margaret’s life. The end goal is to raise money to fight blood cancers! 

I was a grown up when she came into my life and I didn’t have nearly enough time with her. Here we are at Christmas in about 1998 I think. What a classy pair, right! 


 One of my best memories is a road trip we took. I don’t remember the year, or the destination, but we probably drove to see the parents in Virginia. I learned a lot on that trip about how to properly position seat cushions and use clothes pins to properly secure a seatbelt for a tiny human passenger! Margaret was one of the only people I know who made me look tall! To put the above picture in perspective-I’m only 5’1″.  We also treated ourselves to some kind of special lunch deal at TGI Friday’s somewhere in the Midwest. It was way more food than we bargained for and I remember just laughing and laughing and laughing each time they brought us another plate. 

Margaret was also a great inspiration. Every morning she would do an exercise routine from TOPS and she even taught it to me. I didn’t keep up with it back then, but think of it often now when I’m feeling like being a slug and sitting on the couch. That memory of seeing her exercise – always with a big smile-helps encourage me to keep up with my training and reminds me to have fun! I think she would have liked that!