The Best of August 2014

Can you believe it’s already the end of August? Yesterday was my last day with Pledge and it was extremely bittersweet. Despite leaving on great terms and knowing that I’m leaving to pursue a dream and make a huge impact, I was in tears by 9:30am as I posted my farewell on Instagram.

It was a quiet day for me with all of my campaigns handed over to my replacement and all intros made. The emails coming through were strictly “goodbye” and “thank you” with the occasional question or project update. One of the campaigns I managed (and pledged for) was the Soil & the Sun’s “Meridian.” This band is truly talented and I couldn’t wait until Monday to share, so here’s a video they posted of the ladies in the band performing “I Know It (I Feel It, Too).” Truly remarkable.



Anyway, it is the end of the month and it’s been a crazy month so I thought we’d look back on some of my favorite posts from the month…


Dream Big Things. Do Big Things. Make Big Impact.

50 states in a year graphic

Running with FlipBelt

flip belt7 Days of Positivity


A Tough Decision


Taking My WOD Up A Notch With Reebok CrossFit Nano


The Cool Kids

Photo on 8-8-14 at 8.43 PM

The Unexpected Benefit of CrossFit



(maybe this post makes more sense given the recent events)


From Eden


What was your favorite part of August?

Dearly Departed

I know I’ve said on numerous occasions how much I love the CrossFit community but it still surprises me how it’s provided me such a support group. Saturday night I went out to dinner and drinks with a couple of the Dawn Patrol (5:30am class) girls. After dinner we met up with another group of CrossFitters at another bar. It was a fun night and honestly, just what I needed to take my mind off all of the 50 States planning that needs to go down.

10448672_1542705352615033_5672779326569184887_oAside from being super thankful for these ladies, I was excited to wake up Sunday morning and get in a short run. It was super humid so it wasn’t an easy run but I pushed through which makes me feel like I’m on the right path to repairing my relationship with running post-marathon deferment.

1908421_10100224356724329_3657387542969115306_nAfter my run, I hit up the grocery store, did some recipe testing and then sat down to tackle my to-do list and prepare for the week. Obviously this calls for music. My Sunday soundtrack this weekend called for a little Shakey Graves, especially after hearing one of the songs off his new album due out in October called “Dearly Departed.”


SO GOOD, right? I swear I could listen to it on repeat for hours. And those harmonies with Esme Patterson – whoa! I hope they collaborate more often because it’s so good! But regardless, it definitely set the soundtrack for the rest of the day.


Side note: I made an appearance over at Olives N Wine today, check it out!


How was your weekend?

What’s on the agenda for your week?

*Joining in for Katie’s Marvelous Monday!*

Enjoying the Journey

I sit here on a cloudy Sunday morning, drinking my coffee in the corner chair of our living room. The house is quiet as my roommate is still sleeping. I’m looking back on the weekend I’ve had so far, filled with such a large range of emotions. I turn on a little music to break the silence.

10347227_10100220182793919_7126760802574675028_nSince I re-discovered Angus & Julia Stone this past week after seeing the deluxe version of their new album came out, I turn that on. I first listened to the oldie but still a goodie “Big Jet Plane”..



As Spotify played song after song, the quiet, calming music took me through the morning. Almost like riding a wave or sitting in a hammock, rocking back and forth. Sipping my coffee, eyes closed and reflecting on what’s happened, what’s to come and just allowing myself to enjoy the journey.



This was the first Sunday in many (many many many many) months that I didn’t wake up before the sun to fuel and set out for a long run. The quiet morning and the gray sky set the perfect tone to just rest, relax and reflect.



There’s big things coming in my life. Big changes, both exciting and scary. I’m a mix of emotions but I know this is right. That’s why I follow my gut.


I’m going to leave you hanging but I’ll share more as the week progresses… ;)


How was your weekend?

What are you listening to to start your day?

The Cool Kids

I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason. Every high moment and every low moment. Every person who comes into our lives and every person who leaves. They are all there for a reason. Some are to help lift us up and reach our fullest potential, while others are to teach us one of the many great life lessons.


As I look toward the big decisions sitting in front of me, I can’t help but also look back and see how far I’ve come. Sometimes I feel like I’ve been “on my own” for awhile now but sometimes it feels like I just graduated high school yesterday.

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Don’t mind the wet dog look…we had an outdoor graduation and the rain moved in FAST and started pouring!

I had on a Spotify playlist the other day when “Cool Kids” by Echosmith came on. I found myself immediately drawn into the lyrics.

She sees them walking in a straight line, that’s not really her style.

And they all got the same heartbeat, but hers is falling behind.

Nothing in this world could ever bring them down.

Yeah, they’re invincible, and she’s just in the background.

And she says,


“I wish that I could be like the cool kids,

‘Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in.

I wish that I could be like the cool kids, like the cool kids.”


He sees them talking with a big smile, but they haven’t got a clue.

Yeah, they’re living the good life, can’t see what he is going through.

They’re driving fast cars, but they don’t know where they’re going.

In the fast lane, living life without knowing.

And he says,


“I wish that I could be like the cool kids,

‘Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in.


If you asked me 10 years ago if I wished that I could be like the cool kids, I would have said “yes please!” but I look back now and while sometimes it’s hard to still feel like you don’t “fit in” with what’s “normal” for others your age, it’s just not my style. I am me. I dream big dreams. I climb big mountains. I push new boundaries. And it’s because of that, that I believe I’m going to bring big change and impact to the world around me. I don’t always know what that looks like but with each day, each idea and each step forward, I know I’m getting closer to figuring it out.



I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about an idea I had. I said “some days I question myself thinking I’m crazy, other days it just feels RIGHT!” Her response? “I’m fairly certain that 100% of people who have done something that breaks the mold and is successful felt that exact same way. ;)”


So I ask then, why be normal? Why fit the mold or try to be like the cool kids? Why not stand out, march to your own beat and break the barriers? I know I’m trying to do just that!

From Eden

The disappointment was having plans for my weekend that I had to cancel due to a not so fun cold. The good thing was giving my body the rest it was asking for with a break from formal workouts and LOTS of sleep. It meant a lot of fluids and as much relaxation as I could possibly allow myself. And by that I mean relaxing the mind AND body, especially as I’m sure the sickness was caused by an overload of stress and not giving my body and mind the break it needed to recoup.


Sleeping Saturday afternoon around 1pm until 6:30am Sunday morning, getting out of bed only to grab something to eat or grab more fluids allowed me to wake up Sunday morning with enough energy to get to the grocery store and even grab a lunch time walk around my neighborhood.

10552503_10100211339216519_5675036341311576601_nBut I didn’t allow myself to jump back into life at full speed as the glimmer of feeling better. After lunch, I grabbed my laptop and plopped myself in the chair, turned on some music and allowed myself to just chill out. Knowing my body still needed rest and relaxation, that was exactly what I wanted to give it.


I was listening to an artist that I recently discovered and have been LOVING ever since. He’s called Hozier but we’ll let his talent speak for itself…



Seriously amazing, right?!


What are you listening to and loving right now?


I’m still living in the summer of country music. I switch it up from time to time but some days, I just can’t get enough. I know country is either loved or hated so for some of you, this just won’t be your thing but for others, you may enjoy this…so give it a shot.


This week I’ve been loving the new one by Florida Georgia Line called “Dirt”… (careful the video is a bit of a tear jerker)



My favorite lyric that really just sticks right out and touches me is “You know you came from it, And some day you’ll return to it.”


For me, it’s a simple reminder where we come from, that life is precious and simple and that we don’t need to take everything so seriously, just enjoy this life and all of the simple pleasures.


And maybe, once and awhile play in the dirt.

Proof from last year's PrettyMuddy run ;)

Proof from last year’s PrettyMuddy run ;)


What are you listening to this week?


Before we get to this week’s Music Monday pick, I must admit I took this baby out of her case last week…

1513808_10100187058155959_3832712065505634204_nDon’t get excited for any performances soon, I’m basically starting from scratch trying to re-teach myself how to play. In fact, I broke out the book I used when I first started learning and have started making my way through that again. We’ll see how much I can actually do myself before recruiting my musician friends to help but I’m determined to at least get to a point that I don’t get super angry by how awful I am just by holding the guitar. ;)

10455772_10100189995893709_2597298321841848125_nThe good thing is, my guitar is super pretty and even after all these years, we still look good together. HA!


Anyway, at this point, I’m sure you all realize I love a variety of music – rock, country, pop, folk and pretty much everything in between. There’s definitely some genres that I don’t listen to as much as others, but at the end of the day, I believe I listen to music that I believe is good regardless of the genre it falls into.


One song I’ve been enjoying lately is from Nickel Creek called “Destination.” While I’m not a huge fan of some of their other and older songs, I do really enjoy this one. It’s definitely worth listening to.



Do you have a favorite genre of music? Or one that you don’t ever listen to?

Can you play guitar? Will you teach me? ;)

Turn the Radio Up, Roll the Windows Down…

And turn the radio up

Roll the windows down

She got a full tank of gas

Ain’t no stopping her now

I’ve mentioned this before but I grew up listening to country. That was all that my dad would listen to so any time he was driving us around, you could bet that’s what was on the radio. I’ve gone through stages of enjoying it more than other times and obviously there are some songs I can’t stand (as with all genres!) but for the most part, I’m not one of those people who hates on country.


I don’t often love the music on the radio but I do find it important in my industry to at least know what’s out there – the good, the bad, and the ugly so I do listen to it while I’m driving around. Lately, I’ve found myself in a pattern – local station in the mornings, Chicago rock station in the afternoons and evenings, and Chicago country station on the weekends. Of course this changes up a bit everyday but this has been a basic schedule anytime I’m driving somewhere lately.


A couple weeks ago as I was driving around I heard “Dust” by Eli Young Band and found myself immediately drawn to it. I turned up the radio, I rolled the windows down and jammed out. After hearing it, I wanted to hear it again…and every time I got in my car, I hoped it would come on. This song just speaks to me and in a way, it also tells my story.


Do you ever just want to get in your car and drive? Just drive with no agenda, no timeline and no destination? Just see what this world has to show you?


A friend asked me the other day what I do when I’m upset or mad. It was an interesting question but I said “I listen to music, I run or I drive.” He asked where I go when I drive and while I always give myself a destination (usually a coffee shop, errands, etc), I always wish I could just let myself drive and see where I end up. I know it’s a little crazy, but guess what? Sometimes that’s me.


Sometimes you want to just roll the windows down, turn the radio up, let your hair blow in your face and feel alive. I think that’s why I love it so much, it rejuvenates my spirit in some way that helps me feel alive.



Is there a song that makes you feel alive?

Any song that tells your story?


I heard this song on the radio the other day and immediately fell in love with it. I hadn’t ever heard if before and made sure to look it up later. I needed to hear it again and I needed to hear more just like it. Those harmonies make my ears so happy. Like SO freaking happy!


Johnnyswim released an album, Diamonds, earlier this year so of course I had to listen to it. I recommend you do too. I’m pretty sure you’ll thank me for it later.


What are you listening to today?


It’s no secret that I love music and if you haven’t noticed, I have a huge soft spot for musicians. Particularly, musicians that are working their butts off to make it. As I often say to my friends, this will either be my rise or fall within the music industry.

1546412_10100114978978209_871985270_nOne of the cool things about my job right now is that I get to work with and meet many of those musicians who are working hard to make ends meet through their music. Many may have other jobs, many may not; many may just be starting out, many may be a bit more established; regardless, they’re all trying to fulfill their dreams and this reaches to the core of my being.


I feel so blessed that one of the campaigns I was given to look over was for Mia Dyson, an Australian singer-songwriter, who’s also charging her way through the U.S. Mia had an awesome campaign, surpassing her goal, engaging with fans and releasing a seriously awesome record just last week.


Her manager sent me the record a few weeks earlier as a first listen and I found myself immediately connected to the album. From start to finish I was tuned in and immediately found myself replaying it from the beginning once it was over. I’m so excited the album is out so I can finally share this with all of you!



I emailed her manager back and thanked them for sending it to me. I let them know that I really enjoyed it and think it’s a fantastic record. The response I got was that knowing I’m listening to different musicians all day, they appreciated my kind words about Mia’s album and know that it means a lot. But they really don’t know just how much it meant to me in that moment. Music has a way of reaching out and touching our soul. It gives us something to connect to, often in a way that nothing else can.



I hope you all check out Mia Dyson, her new record and truly enjoy it as much as I do.


What are you listening to lately?

(Linking up to Katie’s MIMM)