Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Reading, Running, and a StrideBox review

It's hard for me to believe the summer is almost over! I have one (ONE!) class left to teach for my summer session. Then a week off and back at it for the fall. So much craziness :) I've also just started teaching a new class for employees at a local hospital and it's been so much fun so far! Very different from my other classes and I love it.

J and I have been making the most of these last few weeks of summer. Lots of good food from our garden and our CSA box. And finally using our grill.  We've gone to a few more sporting events, including a baseball game with awesome fireworks, and an arena football game where we got to sit in a corporate suite!

In less fun and exciting news, I had some more medical tests done last week to try to figure out what's been going on with my stomach for the past (almost) two years. We may be a little closer to an answer, but I'm not going to count my chickens before they hatch. I won't get into much detail about personal medical stuff on this blog, and we're still waiting on biopsy results, but I do currently have an ulcer.  It's funny - when you feel sick for so long, you start to hope for tests results that show something is actually wrong with you and it's not all in your head...  Think good thoughts for me that we may solve this mystery!

On a happier note - I've been doing a lot of reading this summer. I've probably read more for fun this summer than I have in the past few years combined. I'm working my way through Boris Akunin's entire Fandorin series (I think I've finished 4 so far and have the next two checked out of the library), and have also read a couple of random books on creativity and organization (Such as Getting Things Done, and Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind). Side note: I'm trying very hard to implement the "two minute rule" from Getting Things Done. I found the rest of the organization tips a little overwhelming for my current situation - but the suggestion that if something takes less than 2 minutes to complete - just go ahead and do it. That I can get behind!)  I already blogged about reading 10% Happier (which I highly recommend!). I'm currently reading Amy Poehler's Yes Please and have Kate Mulgrew's Born with Teeth and Tina Fey's Bossypants checked out. I made a few recipes from Linda Ly's The CSA Cookbook and all were lovely and delicious.  And in true Erin fashion, I also have The School to Prison Pipeline: Structuring Legal Reform By Catherine Kim on my summer reading list ;)    I feel like there's something I'm forgetting, but even with that list it's a lot! I've been inspired by both my work teaching that literature seminar for adults in the workplace back in June and by my awesome friend Amanda's blog: Amanda Loves Words     So - if I ever finish my giant pile checked out from the library, does anyone have any other recommendations for me? ;)

My running has been going well so far this summer. I finished a ten-mile race last week! I wasn't fast, but I finished and I didn't get sick during the race. So I consider that a win in my book! :) Plus I got a shiny new medal!  Next up is a virtual half marathon, followed by a real half marathon in October...   I have to admit that one of the ways I got myself back into regular training and running longer distances was straight up bribery. ;) After getting my first box as a birthday gift (thanks, mom!) I subscribed to StrideBox. (Note: they don't have a referral program yet, so I'm sharing this just because I love it so much) Every month you get a surprise box of running related goodies. I told myself I could use one item from the box for each run over 5 miles. (two for 10 miles!) And it's been a fun way to try new products and keep my mileage up ;)  Not all of the products have been winners, but there's been at least one product from each box so far that I've liked enough to buy :)

May StrideBox

I ended up buying the Osmo Active Hydration power from this box. I've used it on several of my runs in hotter weather and during my ten-mile race.

June StrideBox

In this box I really liked the MESTRENGTH recovery drink powder. I've found it really helps after my long runs or other tough workouts :) I also really like the Ruby's Lube and might buy it instead of BodyGlide *gasp*! 

July StideBox

I really like the Huma energy gels from this box! I bought more to use during my ten-mile race and they *knock on wood* don't seem to upset my stomach :) Yay! 

August StrideBox

Just got this one in the mail! I haven't had a chance to use anything yet, but I generally love the Honey Stingers chews and can't wait to try this flavor :) 

And that's it from me for this evening! I leave you with a few more questions (in addition to my above request for book recommendations ;) )  Have you ever tried a running (or other) subscription box? Did you discover something you love? 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Thirty-One Conference 2015

I'm really excited to finally be sitting down to write this and share about my conference experience! I've been very busy since I came home, but fortunately it's been a lot of fun stuff including my first double-digit long run in almost 2 years (10 mile race next weekend!), a cookout with J's coworkers, a 14-mile bike ride that was part of a friend's birthday celebration (he did 40 for his 40th!), and the Cleveland World Festival today. I've been loving getting to spend so much time outdoors this week :)

Now, on to conference...
I have to say that I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the conference, so I tried to go in with an open mind. And I am so, so glad I went.  Just in case anyone was worried, I didn’t leave there wanting to quit my day job and just sell Thirty-One for a living. ;) If anything, it strengthened my commitment to using my talents to change lives... and my talents are much more about teaching than sales :) 

My top 5 takeaways:

1. I’ve already shared this on Facebook, but love your journey.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  You don’t *need* to know where you are going to end up (this is a big one for me!). Everyone moves through life differently. There’s no sense in feeling sorry for yourself because others are “doing better” than you. We all have a different journey, so focus on the path you are taking and try to enjoy the ride. Choose to be happy where you are.

2. Success without joy is worthless. Not that every moment is going to be amazing and perfect. Work will be hard. But it has to give something back to you and not just suck all your energy.

3. The question “How is someone’s life better after crossing my path?”  It doesn’t have to be something life-changing every day. But what can you do to help someone feel a little bit brighter?

4. How to stop catastrophizing. Again, another big one for me. The speaker who talked about this suggested, after thinking of your crazy worst case scenario, acknowledge that thought and then try to think of an equally crazy best case scenario. And then find something much more likely in the middle. I’ve been working on this and it seems to work well so far!

5. Whatever your vision is, keep it in front of you. Remind yourself of it. And replenish your energy from goal fatigue by celebrating small milestones along the way.

Of course, I got some great business ideas, too. But those 5 things are so incredibly valuable for helping me be the best possible version of myself in ALL aspects of my life.

Here are some other things I loved about the conference: 

New products and patterns

 This is the new Fashion Games bag. It comes in three different colors and they're all lovely. It would make a very nice work bag. 

Those of us who like more neutral colors are in for a treat this season.

Those who like blue, green, and teal are also in luck :)

Here's a great setup of all the different totes Thirty-One offers! We have a bag for that :)

Kitchen organizing ideas!

Awesome things Thirty-One does for consultants

Like I said, while I'm not going to quit my day job,  I am definitely feeling inspired to help others discover the Thirty-One opportunity. The company really is good to its consultants, does so much to give back to the community, and is all about empowering women to do good in the world.

All of this is included in the new consultant enrollment kit! $99 for over $400 in products and business supplies to get you started. I have several of the items in this kit and they are great. I use them all the time! 

Conference amenities. We got all this just for attending the conference! I'm really excited about the Soft Utility Tote and the Everything Crossbody (on special in August)!

New personalization options

I love the new "I (heart) ________" design!  You can customize the color of the text and of the heart :)

The large initial is another new option coming soon for our bags!

You can now get the Thirty-One Gives logo on your products. What an awesome way to help others learn about the Thirty-One Gives charity!

Thirty-One celebrity encounters

I was randomly selected for a photo op with Thirty-One founder Cindy Monroe! Pretty awesome :)

I also met Janet Kinkade, who designs Thirty-One's new JK by Thirty-One jewelry line.

Other fun things in and around Columbus

I finally stopped at Grandpa's Cheesebarn on the way down to Columbus. Oh my goodness. Cheese heaven. I want to go back and eat more samples and buy more cheese.

Shakespeare in the park with my awesome friends who let me stay with them conference weekend. You guys are the best! 

And, of course, the aforementioned friends' adorable little kitty :)  I don't get to spend a lot of time with cats, so it was fun to hang around two of them for the weekend.

And that's it from me for now! I hope everyone had a great weekend and that you found something in this post that helps you strive towards the life you want to live :)