Thursday, April 28, 2011


Well its almost that time of year...graduation time.  Every year I would get nostalgic at this time and think back at how much I loved college.  This year, things are a bit different for me.  I will be graduating with my MBA.

While I will openly admit I'm not graduating from my first choice school, I still happy and proud to have achieved this while running my company, radio show, etc.

I was looking back today at all of my books and thinking about what I've learned.  While I have gained a ton of valuable company and business information, I think the real lessons have been life lessons.

I have learned that I can do more than I ever thought possible.  When my days were so full I couldn't sleep at night, I found the strength and energy to dig deep and get done what I needed to do each and every day.

I had to learn to work in groups again.  Since I've been self employed for over five years, I have not had to work closely with others very often.  Group work was foreign to me and learning to work effectively was a challenge.

I most of all learned that anything worth doing is a challenge.  School, like life, is hard.  But anything that challenges you, helps you to grow as a person and makes you a better version of yourself.

So while I'm happy that I've learned how to develop a new product and how to write an ecommerce business plan, I'm even more thrilled that I know what I'm really capable of.

I'm going to give myself some time after I graduate to enjoy the free time and not having to worry about class work at the end of a long business work day.  I'm going to read a fiction book which is something I used to love to do and have missed dearly.  I'm going to take some longer runs and work on my training schedule.  I'm also going to be able to sleep in from time to time...(maybe all the way to 7:30 in the morning!)

Once I've given myself this break, I'm diving head first into another big, life changing project. I'm diving in with the knowledge that I'm capable, strong and determined and can do anything I set my mind to.

Buddy System for Your Best Running Buddy

We all know by now that my dog is new to my family and that she's a very
energetic border collie with more energy than I can imagine.
We've been trying out different leashes and leash systems to find one that
works well for her to walk and run with me.

When I came across the Buddy System I was unsure how a waist leash would
work.  For a small dog, Roxy can really pull and I was concerned I was going
to be pulled off my feet by this leash.

I was sent the Buddy System leash and the Lunge Buster.  I tried them out
today when taking my dog up her first mountain.  Granted, its a small
mountain but we wanted to give her a chance to try this leash out before we
headed out for a whole day's hike.

My husband tried the leash first and snapped it around his waist.  From
package to set up, we were ready in less than two minutes.  My husband said
the Lunge Buster gave her the room she needed to move, and when he had to
pull back on her, it wasn't as jarring or unpleasant for either him or the

I gave the leash a go next.  I was worried she was going to pull me and I
was going to fall over, especially because we were hiking of packed ice and
snow.  I adjusted the waist strap very quickly and we were ready to go.  I
was shocked at how nice it make hiking with my dog.  My hands were free and
I could pull her back when I needed to.  However, she was able to roam free
and move from side to side and I was able to maintain my natural gate and
really enjoy the hike as if I wasn't managing a dog at all.

The Lunge Buster was amazing.  I had to pull her back in a few times to
avoid other dogs and people, and the Lunge Buster allowed me to do so
without jarring her and choking her as I would end up doing with a normal

At the end of the hike I was dying to see how this leash will work for
running so I handed over my pack to my husband and ran about 1/2 mile with
the leash and my dog.  It was perfect!  My gate wasn't affected at all.  The
dog was forced to fall into my gate and speed.  It was a pleasant experience
for both of us.  This will be the only leash I use when we leave the house.
The best thing is that The Buddy System has though of everything.  The leash
attaches to another hook on the waist belt so you can stow the leash when
its not in use.  You never have to carry the leash.  The leash also has two
quick release clips so you can get your dog in and out of the system if you
need to quickly.

If you get one leash for your dog and you are active and walk, run or hike
with your dog, this is the one for you.

Although you can purchase The Buddy System lots of places, take a peek at
their website here:

Since I first wrote this review I've been using nothing but this leash.  Its amazing.  Not only can I run or hike handsfree, it allows us both to have our personal space and deal with the natural movement that comes when you run.  I also love the security.  Dogs can get excited at lots of different things and you never know when they will pull or twist.  Having the leash around my waist gives me confidence that even if she tried to run away, I would never lose her.  Leashes can get pulled out of hands and you can get caught by surprise.  Even if you hold the leash part of this system in your hand, you will always have a backup around your waist.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Old Dog, New Friends?

I just got done having a conversation via text with a new friend.  Someone I just met and am still getting to know.  If someone had told me years ago that at my age, (in my 30s) I'd still be meeting new people and making new friends, I'd have been shocked.

I guess I always thought that after college and my first job, I'd have a set of friends that would stay with me through the years.  And while this is somewhat the case (I still talk with my college roommate for example), I find myself always looking for opportunities to make new friends.

Being self employed makes lunches out and water cooler time difficult if not impossible so all of the small, inconsequential relationships you have in an office environment fade away quickly once you leave it.
I have to go out of my way to meet someone for lunch, and there is a formal plan involved well in advance.

I know that you change as a person as you get older and I know that I have indeed changed.  However, a number of my relationships didn't make these necessary changes with me.  I'm more open, honest and caring than I was in my earlier years and my relationships reflect these changes now.

I love it when I can meet new people, find out about them and potentially develop a friendship based on a common theme, hobby, etc.

Very recently, I met another organizer who I'm very much enjoying getting to know more and more as the weeks go by.  Although I KNOW a lot of other organizers, up to this point, I haven't made a lot of organizer FRIENDS.  I was also just introduced to someone else my husband knew in high school who shares my love of running.  I look forward to getting to know her more and possibly doing some runs together.

Ironically enough I've found some friendships from relationships that have faded away.  I've made it public knowledge that I had a rough summer last year and it resulted in the ending of some relationships I found very special to me at one point.  However, due to the ending of those friendships, I've found others that are equally fulfilling, if not more so.  So when God closes a door, he opens a window...just look for the window.

I've also really enjoying talking to a lot of the people I've met on this blog, other blogs and Twitter.  Although I may not hang out with these people over coffee, I get to share the joys in my life with them and vice versa.  Its a wonderful, quick way to connect and reconnect with people.  (I even chat with someone I went to high school with almost daily now.  We grew up in RI.  I live in CT now and he lives in California!)

And so I'm not ashamed, but proud to announce that I'm always looking for new friends.  I have resisted the urge to email the nightly lifetime show anchor asking her to be my friend but that's a whole other store for another time.

So while you may love the friends you have, be open to what and who are out there.  And when you open your life you will be amazed at the vibrance and life that new friends can breathe into it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

My New Favorite Bag

So its no secret I have a thing for bags.  And I have a lot of them.  Its also no secret that I have a lot of different things going on in my life.  On any given day I may be with a client, doing marketing, speaking at a company, completing school work, and going for a run.  All of these activities require me to have a lot of stuff on my at any given time.  (keys, laptop, books, running sneakers, you name it!)  Thus far I haven't found a real solution to carrying all of the things I need to.  I usually have multiple bags with me.  A bag for my running stuff, a purse, and a laptop/school/reading materials bag.

I came across the Ellen Allen series of bags online one day and I was curious.  Could this bag do everything it said AND be cute?

I was sent the Eastport bag and the Oxford Clutch.  First, let me tell you about the Eastport bag.  Obviously, its cute.  You can buy it in a few different colors (green, yellow and navy).  The bag is much bigger than I had thought, but its still small enough to slip over your arm easily.

I was taken aback at how pretty the bag is.  The solid color parts are just the right about of shiny and the pattern is quite striking.  The material is not plastic feeling but clearly has a coating on it that makes this bag super durable.  If you spilled some water inside, it wouldn't be a big deal.

The details are really what sets this bag apart.  There are lots of interior pockets that are open so you can see the contents and grab them when you need to.  There is one large zippered compartment too.  There is even a smaller zippered compartment on one of the short sides of the bag.  (What haven't they thought of!?)  I love the clip on the interior designed to hold your keys.  Even with all of my organizational gadgets, I dig for my keys more often than I'd like to admit.

The metal on the bag is shiny and pretty, but not gaudy.  And the handles are easy to hold.  I loaded the bag up and it was still comfortable to carry.

I mentioned the interior pockets earlier.  Usually when a bag has pockets like this, once they are full, you can't fit anything else in the bag.  This bag allows you to fill the pockets and still have room for large items.  I love to put all of my small gadgets into the compartments, phone, headphones, pens, notebook, etc and still have lots of room for a laptop and running sneakers in the middle.  I will be using this bag to head to speaking engagements, consultations and of course all the appointments, etc I go to on a daily basis.  Its very quickly become my go to bag.

So, although I'm in love with the Eastport tote, my true love is the way it works with the Oxford Clutch.  The clutch is the size of a regular clutch.  However, instead of one large aimless compartment inside, its organized with pockets for cards, money, coins and anything else small and important you need a place for.
The clutch closes with a really cool clasp mechanism.  I have gotten a LOT of compliments on the clutch.  Again, the pattern is striking and the fact that it matches the Eastport bag is nice.  Again, its available in navy, green and yellow.

What I love about the Oxford/Eastport system is that I can carry EVERYTHING I need with the Eastport tote.  However, when I am running into a restaurant, or the grocery store, I simply grab the Oxford clutch and I'm ready to go.  I no longer have to be "that person" out to dinner with my friends, who has the giant bag full from the day's events.  I become streamline and stylish in a matter of seconds.  And, when I'm done with my meal, meeting or errand, I can quickly go back to the car and have access to everything I need.

These bags are going to be your go to bags.  You won't use, need or want your others anymore.  And with these patterns and colors, they go with just about everything you have and need in your closet.

Check out the full line of Ellen Allen products here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Writing Notes

I recently interviewed Mike O'Mary of The NoteProject.  It really got me thinking about the notes I've sent and received over the years.

When I first went to college, email was rare and people back home like my parents and grandmother certainly didn't have access to it.  And so, besides making a phone call (which were also very expensive at the time), the only way to get news home was to write a letter.  At the time it was normal, although growing increasingly rare.
When email really became popular, I was still seen almost daily dropping a letter into the slot in the mail room of my dorm.  I got a lot of questions and a lot of funny looks.  However, I felt like the best way to talk to those at home, was to write to them.

When I put pen to paper, I always feel better.  If I'm sharing an exciting event, I feel like they can share in my joy.  If I'm upset and venting I feel its a catharsis and I am relieved after I've finished writing.

I still write hand written letters.  I write to my God Parents as often as I can.  I know that despite my not being able to visit as much as I'd like, I can always brighten their day a little with a letter.

I also write in my professional and personal life.  If I have something to work through, I write it down.  If something needs to get done, I write it down.  I know that this may take a little more time or a little more work, but I love the finality of putting pen to paper and being able to look at what I've created.

I did receive letter back from my grandmother.  However, after she sustained an injury, they came less and less frequently.  However, I kept sending them.  I sent them more and more frequently the less she could send.  After she passed away in 2000, I took all of the cards and letters we had sent each other over the years and put them into binders with page protectors.  I now have a beautiful display of our affection for each other over the years.  I can see how our relationship grew and changes as I went from small grandchild to adult and friend.

So although hand written notes are seen as paper clutter and time consuming, I'm here to inspire you to write one to someone you love today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Winnie The Pooh

I love Winnie The Pooh.  the quotes from A.A. Milne apply to so much more than life in the Hundred Acre Wood.  Read on and you will agree.....

A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference.
Winnie the Pooh
Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh
Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the Forest that was left out by mistake.
Winnie the Pooh
Pooh's Little Instruction Book
And by and by Christopher Robin came to an end of things, and he was silent, and he sat there, looking out over the world, just wishing it wouldn't stop.
Winnie the Pooh
The House at Pooh Corner
Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.
Winnie the Pooh
Pooh's Little Instruction Book
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh, Disney Pictures
Don't underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering.
Winnie the Pooh
Piglet, Pooh's Little Instruction Book
Eeyore was saying to himself, "This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it."
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words Bother me.
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
"I don't see much sense in that," said Rabbit. "No," said Pooh humbly, "there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way."
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
I used to believe in forever
But forever's too good to be true.
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh's Most Grand Adventure

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Waiting For....Something...

When I picked out my races at the start of the year the April 3rd race seemed VERY far away.  Well, it is tends to do, time flies and the date snuck up on me.

The date sneaking up on my has really forced me to evaluate my training.  All winter I kept fighting the weather, waiting for training to REALLY start, etc.  Well now is the time for everything to start.  The spring is upon us, the birds are out and so am I.  

I could just have one more crappy meal, one more day on the spin bike instead of sprints outside....and so I feel like I'm four months into the year, and haven't made the progress that I'd hoped to all all this year.  There will be no more excuses and this will be the year I find balance and success. 

I feel like this is a balance between my perfectionist ways, being hard on myself and feeling lazy all at the same time.  Some days I don't know which side is going to win out.  Well,most days, I don't know which side is going to win out.  I do know that my thoughts switch back to running when I stop thinking about other things.  More often than not, they think about pushing myself harder tomorrow.  Why I didn't go up another hill today or why I didn't look at my watch and make up a few more seconds.

I know that making progress running is a hard battle to fight, filled with LOTS of hard work, miles, blood, seat sweat and tears.  My problem really lies in the line between me quitting before I've reached my potential and working myself too hard.  Its a line I've been trying to find for years and have ended it a few times with mono and once with a disconnected IT Band.

However, I feel like I can achieve more.  I need to push that line a little bit, every day.  Its true for every aspect of life, that pushing just a bit more each and every day can add up to a BIG impact down the road.  I always tell my clients to try to do just 5% better every day.  

My husband recently told me that I am all smiles at the end of my races and others are drooling, crying or really looking like they ran.   I'm not competitive.  I'm not going to win.  But I do need to fight the battle with myself and win.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

One of My Favorite Things~My Kindle

I received my Kindle as a gift last year and I fell in love right away.  I am a full time grad student and a business owner.  At any given point in time I am reading a fiction book, a business (non-fiction) book and I need a textbook on hand.  This all gets cumbersome and heavy very quickly.

The Kindle changed all of this.  By allowing me to store all of my books digitally and in one lightweight location, I no longer have to carry big heavy bags of books.  And the best part is that it fits in my purse or work bag and I always have something ready to keep me busy when I have to wait at an appointment.

I have read my Kindle on the beach and I've taken it camping with no problems.  You do have to make a mental note to charge it from time to time.  (Turing off the 3G can save your battery).

Once I know I need a book, I can be reading it within minutes.  However, being able to obtain a book so quickly makes not buying them hard!

I did also receive a case for my Kindle and I would suggest this in order to protect the devise while its in your bag.
There are lots of different types of Kindles available now.  You can check them out here:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Today someone said the words "shanti, shanti" to me and I immediately stopped in my tracks.  I had an idea of what they meant, but I did what every person does, I Googled.  I found that specifically, they mean, peace, tranquility, calmness, rest and bliss.  I mean who DOESN'T need more of that?!?

While this saying gave me pause, I started thinking about things this morning on my run.  I was having a hard time on a trail that was ravaged by the winter and is now full of downed trees, exposed roots and over turned rocks. I wanted to stop, but I realized that by stopping I wasn't going to gain anything.  As a matter of fact, I'd lose.  I'd lose the opportunity to prove to myself that I could complete the trail, no matter what was knocked in my way over the past few months.  And this because such a great metaphor for life for me.

The past few months have been hard.  I've still be recovering from an injury I sustained last fall.  My husband has been quite ill, and business has been bad.  These things coupled with some unexpected expenses, has made all aspects of life challenging.  However, all of this really makes you stop and think about what exactly what you do need in life.

Life is about fulfilling our needs.  We need to heat our home, buy food, and all those other things we have to pay for on a monthly basis.  However, we also need to live, love and laugh.  Life is all about those precious moments when you get to find five minutes and hug someone or just send happy thoughts their way.

I have been so blessed this past six months to a year.  I've met so many people through Twitter, this blog, and running in general.  I have kindred spirits across the country that even though we aren't close in distance, are there for support when I need it.

I have also been blessed to meet so many wonderful people in my profession recently.  Organizers are unique, inspiring and curious people.  Spending time with a lot of them is uplifting.

And so I'm asking you to stop and count your blessings for the hard times you've encountered.  They help us learn, they help us persevere and they make us better versions of ourselves.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Candle Burns

This has always been one of my favorite poems.  Its short but so meaningful.

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light.

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Friday, April 8, 2011

Running with Asthma

I have Exercise Induced Asthma.  Its gotten better and worse over the years, however, its always there and I have to accept it and deal with it.

Lots of people wonder why I chose running as my sport when I have EIA.  Sometimes I wonder that too.

However, I love running and with proper planning I can run comfortably.  I have to take my inhaler at least 30 minutes before I work out.  Sometimes, I forget and cut it too close.

I need to avoid super cold or super hot temps...sometimes I fail on that one too.

Sometimes I end up coughing for the rest of the day after I run.  There isn't a thing I can do but drink wanter and take better care of myself the next day.

I'm not here to give you tips on running with asthma or anything like that.  I'm not a doctor.  I am here to tell you what asthma has taught me.

I now know that we aren't all created equal.  We all have strengths and weaknesses and while some feel its important to focus on and enhance your strengths, I feel that focusing on your weaknesses can teach you more.  In areas that you are weak, talent wise, physically, mentally, etc, you have a much greater opportunity to learn.

From having asthma I know that I need to try harder, work more, remain focused and always be thinking of the next step  in my training.  All because of my asthma.  Other runners might not have this focus or desire. I know that I have to try harder than the person next to me to achieve the same thing.

So instead of feeling sorry for yourself, or avoiding the things you don't do well....dive into them and learn from your challenges.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bear Mountain

We had a hard winter here in New England...I know I've talked about it a lot...but for someone who loves to bike, run and hike, its been especially brutal.

One of my favorite places over the past few years has become Bear Mountain, New York.  Today I wanted to take a moment to share it with you.

Of course, you can climb Bear Mountain.  Its a pretty steady climb, but not a huge mountain.  There are lots of train options, some more challenging then others.  My husband and I go up the steep side and down the less steep side.  There is one part that scares the heck out of me.   You use a chain to hold onto the mountain to pull yourself up OR you can try to push your center of gravity forward and hold onto a crack in the rock.  I've never tried coming down this part, which is why we always go down the side without rock faces.

The view from the top is beautiful.  There is a tower on the top.  It has about 100 stairs which aren't so easy to climb after you've done the mountain :)  However, there are visual guides so you know what you are seeing.  My favorite thing is that you can see the Manhattan skyline from the top of the mountain.  Its so close and yet so far.

The mountain does have an auto road so if you go mid day in the summer months there will be lots of motorcycles and cars up on the top.  However, go later int he day or early in the morning for a quiet and breathtaking picnic lunch.

The AT goes over Bear Mountain, so you can follow the iconic white blazes if you plan out your route correctly.  If you time your trip right you will also meet some through hikers.

There are lots of trails that go part of the way up the mountain, around the mountain etc.  The park is HUGE.  And although the top is wonderful, there are some really cool features to the park itself.

In the winter there is a skating rink.  In the summer, the carousel is open, there is an ice cream snack bar and on the small pond that is there, you can rent paddle boats.
The grounds are expansive and there are always lots of people having a picnic, grilling out (there are picnic tables and grills there for you to use), playing ball, flying kites, and sun bathing.

There are lots of public restrooms and vending machines.  In October they have October fest with beer, music and food.

One of my favorite parts of the park is just across the street.  You cross the road via tunnel and enter a ZOO!  The zoo is actually part of the AT.  So if you walk the whole AT, you have to see the animals.  Its not a huge zoo, but it does have some cool features such as an bald eagle and BEARS!  I could watch the bears for hours.

So, Bear Mountain is fun for the whole family...literally...there is something for everyone.  We usually leave out house very early in the morning and come home at sunset.  Pack lots of food and water and rest up before you go!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Danbury 5k Race Review

This is the second time I've tried to write this race review.  The first try resulted in a blog post about balance.  You will see that later this month.

Anyway, I ran the Danbury 5k today.  As of right now I'm still waiting on my time.  This was my first race with a real timing chip (attached to the back of my bib), so I don't know my real time yet.

The course was NOT scenic in any way.  For those of you who know downtown Danbury, you know what I mean.  However, it was kind of cool running down roads that I've driven down since I moved to CT.

Although there was a building there for check in, massages, bathrooms and changing and there were two bathrooms, the lines were still LONG and mark my words, I'm no longer having any coffee before I get to races.  I could wait and in and get to the start with plenty of time.  However, waiting in the bathroom line is not how I like to mentally prepare.

I always like to look at how all the other races dress, check out their shoes, etc. I know its superficial and silly, but its my favorite form of people watching.

As I always do at races, I was greeted with an over whelming sense of being with "my people".  People who understand the need to get out of a perfectly warm bed at 6:30 in the morning, put on a pair of ugly shoes, and go into the woods.

The race was made up of two loops.  I drove it with my husband the other day and what looked "flat" in the car, wasn't at all.  Well there was one small hill that didn't seem so small the first time around.  The second time around it seemed down right LARGE.

I am hoping this was a PR time.  But like I said I'm still waiting to see.  And if anything, its going to be very close.  I had my Garmin on.  I watched it closely for the first mile and did it in under 9:30, the second mile was very similar, 9:35 I believe.  I don't feel like I lost a lot of time on the last mile but I stopped looking.

I did update my iPod mix before this race and it made a big difference.  Some old songs came on and they were inspiring (Right Now), and there was a little new in there (think Britney) and it was just the boost I needed.

I stopped and walked for a few seconds to take water.  I have learned the hard way that I'm not coordinated enough to run and drink and it results in a near drowning experience.

There was also a half marathon going on today.  It started 10 minutes before the 5k.  I didn't stay around for the results or to see the finishers cross.  Maybe someday I will be running that part of the race...

I did wear the tutu this time around.  I debated the bunny ears and left those at home.  My new dynamic sneaks from Nike (not new really, just new to racing) and my compression socks were a great pair.  I will wear them together again.

My nest race is in about a month and I'm already looking forward to warmer temps, more races and a whole season of running!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Congratulations are in order for our very dear friends Joanna English and Andrew Brown who are expecting their first baby this fall.  We are so happy for you and cannot wait to be by your side (although across an ocean) on this journey.  We love you! xo