Empowering Young Girls Through Running

Girls become women, but empowered girls become women who change the world.

I am passionate about all things that are associated with empowering our young people and, being the mom to two daughters, I’m especially passionate about those programs that are aimed at young girls. Combine that with my passion for running and fitness and you have Girls on the Run, or as those of us immersed in the program call it, GOTR.

Girl Empowerment + Love of Running = GOTR

Girls on the Run is a¬†non-profit organization “dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.” The program uses running and special curriculum that teaches life skills to build confidence and self-worth within the girls as well as team work and a sense of accomplishment. One of the best things about GOTR is that it can be offered in any size of community. Our small community (population 432) even offers it. My girls have both participated and I have been a “Run Buddy” for the past several years, running alongside the girls in the annual end of the season 5K. Here I am below with my daughter during this year’s 5K.

Coaches must undergo certification and often times personally foot the bill for the training and all materials. Local chapters (ours is Girls on the Run Nebraska) do fundraising annually to help offset the cost to the participating communities as well as to provide scholarships to the girls. No girl should be turned away because they can’t afford to pay the participation fee!

Enter in: ShopWithScrip. ShopWithScrip is a fundraising tool that takes all the hassle out of the mix! It’s an earn-while-you-shop style fundraiser. The formula is simple:

  • The retailers sell the certificates at a discount to ShopWithScrip
  • Families and individuals buy the certificates at full face value and redeem them for full face value
  • Your organization gets the difference as revenue

The typical percent earned is 5%. It’s that easy! The only catch is that you might have to pre-plan some of your purchases, however that’s not really a catch because even retail giants such as Walmart and Amazon participate.

Here is an even better explanation:

I’m joining forces with ShopWithScrip to raise funds for Girls on the Run and I’d love your help! If you’re game, follow these simple steps:

  • Go to www.ShopWithScrip.com and click How to Enroll, then click Join Your Scrip
    Program.
  • Enter your enrollment code for the program you’d like to support. If you’d like to help raise funds for Girls on the Run, please contact me for an access code!¬†
  • Fill in all required personal information and click ‚ÄėI Accept.‚Äô
  • Choose two security challenge questions from the list and provide answers.

That’s it! Super easy and super effective! Have you ever tried a program such as this for fundraising? Have you heard about or participated in some fashion with Girls on the Run?

Until Next Time,
Meg

***Please note, this post is sponsored by ShopWithScrip. Through my affiliation with the Sweat Pink Ambassador community, I am fundraising for Girls on the Run, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young girls through running. All monies fundraised are donated to Girls on the Run at the conclusion of the campaign. Thank you for your readership and interest in forwarding Girls on the Run’s mission of: “inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experienced-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”

Are You Holding Yourself Back?

I’ve never been the superstitious type, but I swear, today I had at least three signs that pointed to the same thing: Push past fear, get out of my comfort zone, and Get. It. Done.

Let me rewind to two weeks ago. Two weeks ago, I had a phone conversation with a friend of mine that is an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields. She along with her sponsor talked to me about an opportunity that I just didn’t think I could pass up. So…I said yes and now I’m a consultant for this amazing skincare company. The next morning I was thinking, “what did I do? I can’t do this!” I am so not a sales person!

I participated in webinars, read every single piece of information about the company and the products. I scheduled my “launch party” and asked my sponsor a million questions. Now, with the date of my launch party quickly approaching, I’m having anxiety and second thoughts.

Fast forward to today when everywhere I looked, there seemed to be signs telling me that I’m on the right path.

Sign #1: During my commute, my audio book malfunctioned, so I plugged in my iPhone and launched a podcast. I’ve been listening to Cassey Ho’s Sheroic series. This morning’s episode featured Sydney Olson (a free runner and stunt woman). One of the messages she left us with was, “find what you want and then go for it. There are going to be failures along the way. It is those failures that make the victory that much sweeter.” (something to that effect anyway, I was driving!)

Sign #2: After creating a graphic for my company’s FB page using Canva, a quote popped up just like they always do while waiting for the download. But the quote seemed to be tailored to me:

And finally, sign #3: While researching for a project at work about workforce trends/employee recruitment, I watched a Facebook Live from JT O’Donnell where her message was: Are you holding it in? What are you afraid of that is keeping you from success? She looked into my eyes (and the eyes of 800 others that were tuned in) and said: “don’t let fear hold you back from going after what you want.”

So, fear and all, I’m jumping into this business of selling GREAT skincare with both feet. I’m not quitting my day job or my fitness and wellness focus, but I’m going to do this and I’m going to do it well. I could use all the support I can get (in the form of encouragement and lifting me up, not purchasing products, though if you have any questions or want to try them, I’m your gal!)

Stay tuned!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Summer Fun Workouts

Today I’m linking up with¬†Annmarie at¬†The Fit Foodie,¬†Nicole¬†at¬†Fitful Focus,¬†Michelle at¬†Fruition Fitness, and¬†Jen at¬†Pretty Little Grub¬†for the Wild Workout Wednesday Linkup!

Working out in the summer has its ups and downs. For instance, I love¬†that the sun is up earlier so I can get my morning run in during daylight. However, I don’t like that if I don’t get said run in during the wee morning hours that it’s 100 degrees by the time I get off work.

I also love that most of the outdoor activities that we do in the summer sneakily are mini workouts as well!

This weekend, I finally got to try Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). You guys, if you have not tried it, it is So. Much. Fun. I didn’t even fall off (which surprises certain people that know me!). It is also a great core and arm workout — without you even knowing it!

My debut on the Paddleboard

My blister AKA Badge-of-Fun from my recent paddleboarding and kayaking experiences

I should warn you, if you do too much paddleboarding all at once, you might end up with blisters like I did! I also paddled around the lake in a kayak (also my first time). That was a lot of fun as well and I’ve added both a kayak and a paddleboard to my list of WANTS.

We spend a lot of time at the lake in the summer… jumping off the dock, swimming, playing “keep-away” with the beach ball, etc. all of which equate to a pretty good (non-sweat-filled) workout.

We like to rate eachother’s jumps off the dock — I think this one got me a 9.2

 

 

Two weeks ago, my daughters, husband, and I headed to the river and played what we like to call “sand-bar, no-rules soccer.” That is a lot of work! The sand feels hard on the top and just when you think you have your footing to take off at a sprint, you don’t and you just spin out and look silly. Sorry, I don’t have any pictures or videos of that!

What fun summer activities do you do that turn into mini-workouts? Have you tried SUP?

Remember to stop by the linkup and comment on some posts!

Until Next Time,
Meg

My Fears About Aging + a Product Review

I’m not going to lie, I have this irrational fear of aging. And it’s not all about vanity (though I’m very much not excited for wrinkles, age spots, saggy skin…I’m getting a nervous stomach just listing those!) It’s about so much more than that. First of all, did you know that most YP groups allow members ages 21-40? Soooo, do they just kick you out when you turn 40?! As if turning 40 didn’t have enough gloom surrounding it!

I’m not trying to be rude to anyone at or above age 40, I’m simply talking about my own (irrational) feelings towards aging and ME — me aging. Then, I’m going to talk to you about a product that I’ve been testing to help with some of those vanity items!

On a serious note, I have this feeling that time is running out, that it’s going too fast. Time with my kids, time to be successful (probably should get on that), just time in general. And then there’s this idea that my opinion will no longer matter to people when they need to know what “young people” want (this is why I said¬†irrational fears). For instance, I have a job in community and economic development and am very active in talent initiatives. For a while, I’ve been at the table of people that asked how to recruit/retain people my age. In a couple of years…they won’t want to know what I think because I won’t be a part of the target group anymore. I was at a conference a few weeks ago and the speaker said, “who in here is Gen X? she asked. Yeah, we don’t matter, we kind of disappeared off the list.”¬†Um, okay, so where do we go from here? Well I, for one am going to continue to speak up, share my opinions, and continue to be relevant, perhaps without bragging about my age. Which brings me to…vanity. If I look young, no one will know the wiser, right? Okay, I feel ashamed for even writing that!

I’m the queen of beauty products. I have tried it all from acne products to anti-aging products (some that target both — which I love!) When you read about aging skin, at the top of the list is 1) don’t forget about your neck and chest! and 2) don’t forget about your hands! These areas show aging the fastest, mostly due to sun exposure in our younger days and these areas are most often neglected when in comes to products.

Enter in…Exuviance Age Reverse¬†Hand Rejuvenator available at exuviance.com¬†($65). This powerful duo helps to¬†restore smoother, firmer, and younger looking hands using a 10% Citric Acid Peel followed by a rejuvenating hand cream.

Exuviance Hand Treatment

I grew up outdoors and enjoyed many hours¬†in the sun. While I did use sunscreen, I have to admit that I didn’t put it on¬†my hands. I spent much of my youth working in the hayfield, driving a tractor in the sun all day long. This type of exposure is going to lead me to dark spots on my hands, I just know it. My grandfather had them, my mother has them, so chances are… I’ll buck that trend by taking care of them now, using sunblock on them, using products like this peel, and applying regular anti-aging products just as I do to my face.

Exuviance Peel and Rejuvenating Hand Cream

Protect Your Hands!

Me – putting sunscreen on my hands before heading outdoors!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The acid peel felt invigorating. You apply it with a cotton ball, let it dry and then apply some more. After it dries, apply the Age Reverse Rejuvenating Hand Cream and then…go to bed and let it do its magic! In the morning, simply apply the hand cream once more. I used this every other day (though, you certainly can use it daily). I don’t yet have any noticable spots on my hands, so I can’t tell you if they are lighter or disappeared. What I can tell you is that my hands do feel softer and smoother as the acid peel exfoliates dead skin. I also notice that I need more lotion throughout the day in order to keep that new layer of skin happy. All in all, I think this is a product that I will continue to use and maybe even share with my mom!

***Please note, this post was sponsored by Brandbacker. I received this product complimentary in exchange of my honest review. All opinions are my own.***

First Ultimate Coffee Date of 2017

Happy New Year! Thanks to¬†Coco¬†and Deborah for hosting this awesome monthly link-up! Let’s get started!

If we were having coffee…I would show off my brand new coffee mug! I love mugs and have to restrain myself from buying a new one whenever I come across a cute one. This time, though, I went for it. I mean, this one was made for me. My birthday is in January and I’m kind of a sucker for anything related to my zodiac sign. This super cute mug says on the rim, “Aquarius is the sign of visionaries, unconventionality and intellectual independence.” I. Love. It. Happy early birthday to me!

If we were having coffee….I would tell you that SweatPink, one of the ambassador groups I’m involved in, is doing a year-long campaign, titled #IAmEmpowered I’m not sure if it really needs an explanation — the hashtag phrase itself is so powerful. We can all use a daily reminder of what makes us feel empowered. I’m excited to be a part of it!¬†

If we were having coffee…you’d ask me about any New Year’s Resolutions that I might have made. I’d tell you that I’m still deciding whether or not to put them on paper. Each NYE, my family and I have our own mini bash that includes making a time capsule. Part of the capsule is filling out a goal sheet. This year I¬†left it pretty general (you know the drill: be more organized, keep a cleaner house, drink more water, etc). If I put one resolution down on paper (or here on the blog) it is: Be more consistent

This is from our NYE Family Bash!

Well, I’m to the bottom of my (super cute) mug of coffee, so I better let you go. I hope we can meet up again soon!

I’d love to hear about your thoughts on resolutions!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Join the Ultimate Coffee Date Link-up!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Be Thankful

On this Thanksgiving Day, take time to reflect on all of the things that you have to be thankful for. So often we get caught up in what is wrong or what we are missing, that we don’t appreciate all of the wonderful blessings in our lives.

Just a few of the things on my list that I am thankful for:

  • My amazing family. I have a wonderful and thoughtful husband that I don’t thank enough. I also have great kids. They are polite, fun, and they love me. No matter what.
  • More family. I have pretty terrific parents, siblings, in-laws, aunts, cousins, nieces, and nephews.
  • My health. I am well and I am thankful for that.
  • My job. I have a good job with an exceptional boss that truly lets me use my talents to shape my “job description.”
  • My home. I love my house, the town that we live in, the school my kids attend, and our neighbors.
  • Life.
  • You all. Thank you all for continuing to read my blog. I know that it is sporadic at best, but I sincerely appreciate your comments, shares, and readership.

While you don’t have to actually make a list like I did, truly take some time to actually BE thankful this holiday season.

Until Next Time,
Meg

Get Back Out There & #OwnTheRun

I was on a roll. I was back. I had run every single day for more than a week and I was feeling good. Even the dark scary mornings weren’t keeping me from getting out there. Then, circumstances beyond my control derailed things and I almost can’t recall the exact day that I ran last.

Whether it’s excuses or life events, we probably have all been there. And we all know what we have to do now: get back out there and #OwnTheRun

Easier said than done, right? Especially with the promise of colder and wetter weather looming as winter approaches.

Those of you who know me or have followed my running journey on my blog, know that I am somewhat of a fair weather runner. I like sunshine, a slight breeze (at my back the entire time, of course), no rain, no snow, sleet, nothing adverse. Of course, you might also know that I live in Nebraska, where those types of perfect running days don’t come around very often. You can either choose to run on a treadmill or buck up, get outside, face the elements, and take on Mother Nature no matter what she throws your way. Rather than suffer the monotony of every day treadmill runs, I choose the latter.

The game-changer for running in adverse weather conditions always comes down to the gear/clothes you choose.

My head-to-toe guide for winter running includes:

  • a stocking hat (I’m partial to my Brooks Cross Country stocking hat with a cute little pom-pom on top — sorry, I don’t have a link to this one as it was a coach’s special)
  • a wind-proof pullover (waterproof is also a plus — no link to this one either as it is a golf pullover that my sister gave me!)
  • wind-stopper running pants (my husband found these Saucony Wind Resistant Nomad Pants¬†for me and they are the BEST!)
  • a good pair of gloves (no link because I’m still looking for the perfect pair of gloves — so any recommendations that you have, please put in the comments!)
  • wool socks (I like these Merino wool socks)
  • waterproof shoes (like these¬†Brooks Ghost 9¬†running shoes with GoreTex)

IMG_4056.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk more about these GORE-TEX¬†lined running shoes. Yes, they are a thing and yes, they are a-w-e-s-o-m-e! This is one genius collaboration and runners everywhere will be thanking¬†brands for joining the GORE-TEX¬†bandwagon. Want a chance to try a pair out for yourself? How about a chance to win an entire outfit? Our partners at GORE-TEX are offering readers the chance to enter the #OwnTheRun contest for a chance at great prizes. One lucky winner will win an entire outfit including¬†new shoes with GORE-TEX¬ģ liner, running shorts, running pants, a jacket, headphones, and more. Head over to their website, share your #OwnTheRun story and cross your fingers!

I’m forever a Brooks fan, so I’m a little biased, but look at the details — clear down to the insole!

***Sponsored Post***
Links contained within this post are NOT affiliate links, but simply placed for your convenience. As always, all opinions are my own

What gear do you swear by to get you through the winter months? Any glove/mitten recommendations?

Until Next Time,
Meg

Fall Running and The Ultimate Coffee Date Link-Up

the-ultimate-coffee-date2-1-600x600Hello,¬†friends! I’m actually ahead of the game this month (even though the first Saturday of the month happened to fall on the first day of the month!) Super happy to be joining the¬†Ultimate Coffee Date Link-up hosted by Coco at Running with Perseverance and¬†Deborah at Confessions of A Mother Runner. Please stop by their blogs and thank them for hosting!

If we were having coffee….you’d ask me what is new? Since it has ben FOR.EVER. since we last chatted, I’d have a lot to tell you. I’ve been in my position for a year now and things are going well. I’m happy and content and really really busy! I’d also tell you that I’m still writing freelance for FashionWeek.com and love it. It doesn’t pay much at all, so I’m not in it for the money. It is just fun to keep up on the fashion and beauty scene and write super quick articles. Plus, my hope is that it will get my foot in the door for more opportunities. You can check out my stories here.

If we were having coffee….you’d want to know about my running. I’d tell you that this fall has been tough (actually, summer was tough too). My mileage is way down, but I’m still getting out there. Lately it’s been super dark in the mornings and I’m such a chicken! Twice now I’ve encountered a skunk. The first time I didn’t see it until I was almost on top of it. The good news is, that I scared it as much as it scared me, so we both jumped, one of us screamed, and we ran away from each other. This morning I saw him, but luckily I was about 10 yards from him and managed to run across the highway before getting too close.

If we were having coffee….You would likely ask about my kids. They are growing So. Fast. I cannot get over it. I already have a 7th grader?! What?! How did that happen? It’s been pretty fun for the most part. I’m enjoying junior high sports but not junior high drama. I’m sure it will end….

Great to catch up with you! Can’t wait until next month when we can sit down again over coffee and chat.

Tell me about any tips you have for running in the dark or any funny stories about encounters you’ve had on a dark run.

**Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my two giveaways going on right now: Enter to win 50 customized holiday cards from Basic Invite and sign up with Audible for a free 30-day trial!

Until Next Time,
Meg

And Just Like That…Fall Is In The Air

With a title like that, I am sure you are expecting me to talk about the leaves, the crisp cool mornings, how it is super dark (and somewhat scary) out on my morning runs… BUT, you would be mistaken! I am going in a totally different direction this time!

With the start of fall, comes the rush¬†of the holiday season. I am sure there is a study somewhere that shows that time actually speeds up during this time of year and if you close your eyes for too long, the year will be over and we’ll be ringing in 2017.

It is because of this time-moving-at-warp-speed thing, that I fail Every. Single. Year. to get my Christmas cards out on time (on time = before Christmas). Last year, I didn’t even get them out by Valentine’s Day!

I stumbled upon Basic Invite late in the summer when researching holiday cards and I love the many creative cards with fun colors and cool fonts.

Keep reading to see how you can win 50 free customizable cards from Basic Invite!

Basic Invite has almost unlimited color options with over 160 different colors!  Once you select a card design, you can change the color of each element on the card and get instant previews online. Speaking of colors, even the envelopes come in over 40 different color options!

Basic Invite Color Options

This is an example of the editor box. Once you select a color or element you want to customize, the options seem endless!

In addition, Basic Invite lets you order a printed sample of the actual card. I don’t know about you, but I am a fan of touch. I have to feel everything (my husband always complains about¬†this when he shops with me). Who knew this would be so important when selecting cards, wedding invitations, baby announcements?! You get to actually feel the paper, the embossed lettering, the envelopes (which are peel and stick, I might add)!

Basic Invite has a huge library of cards ranging from thank you notes, invitations, save-the-dates, bridal or baby shower, graduation…you name it! I just happen to be a fan of Christmas cards!

Here are a couple of the examples that I created on the site. Now to narrow it down to my favorite!
Basic Invite Holiday Card

….And because I couldn’t choose a favorite, I ordered 5!

Basic Invite Holiday Card

card-3card-5

 

editor-2

This is the editor box for the card to the right

card-4

And now…how can you enter to win 50 customizable cards from Basic Invite? Simply enter using the Rafflecopter below! The giveaway will be open until October 9. I will notify the winner shortly after closing the drawing.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This one might be my favorite!

These two give me a huge window to send out (the Most Wonderful Time of Year starts in November and goes through January, right?!)

The card stock is super heavy, yet still feels premium

Which one is  your favorite? Do you send Christmas or Holiday cards? More importantly, do you get them out on time?!

Until Next Time,
Meg

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post. I did receive compensation and product to sample and review. As always, all opinions are my own.

 

 

Review: Vibrance by Eu Natural for Healthy Hair Growth

As you know, I am a beauty-product fanatic. I love to try the latest products and even more than that, I love to be able to share my experience and opinions.

Recently, BrandBacker announced a campaign working with Eu Natural on a vitamin to support healthy hair growth. As you may not know, I cut my long hair last fall and, while it needed it and I have enjoyed the change, I very much am longing for my hair to be long again. So, I jumped at the chance to sample this product in hopes of rushing the re-growth process along a little.

I received a full-size bottle, which is a 30-day supply (retail value of $29.99 on Amazon). While I am not yet finished with 30 days, I have noticed a difference. I haven’t measured my hair growth, but my hair does feel healthier overall. I am pretty rough on my hair. I shower daily due to my running, I use a hair dryer and straightener on a regular basis, so the damage is definitely occurring. After 3 weeks of using Vibrance¬†my hair feels thicker and is shinier.

According to the company, most results are visible around 60 days of use. Another great tidbit about Eu Natural — they have a 90-day money back guarantee with no questions asked! I love when a brand stands behind their promise with a guarantee like that.

Another perk: I’ve really noticed a difference is in my fingernail growth. My nails are stronger and longer than they have been in years!

Each soft capsule is packed with 23 vitamins, minerals, and herbs, including Biotin and OptiMSM¬ģ, that revitalize your hair from the inside. The vitamins are gluten, wheat, and dairy free and are packed with pure and natural ingredients (no junk or fillers!)

I’ve ordered a second bottle in hopes of maximizing the results and will check in with you later with my results!

PS: Want to try it for yourself? Grab a bottle here for only $5!

Do you have any tips on growing your hair quicker? I’d love to hear them!

Until Next Time,
Meg

This is a sponsored post. I received a complimentary product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.