author moments, perspective

The Story Within a Story

Every story has a hidden story within. The why or the why not of the subject. Maybe the storyteller shared the hints, maybe they didn’t.

For example, I may write a blog post or story that shares a fun adventure but within the story is another story of personal triumph for a person on the journey with me. Maybe it’s even highlight a memory that is meaningful to me yet just a unique story to another. That is the beauty of storytelling.

In our last book we invited children to be authors with us. We did this intentionally. We wanted to provoke learning without telling them they were learning. We wanted to promote creativity. We wanted to share our love for writing. You wouldn’t know that from the book cover, but we left hints all around the book. It’s one of the coolest author notes we share with kids when we read and engage at book signings. Talk about a wow factor. It’s the story within the story.

Often times online we invite our readers to join us on the adventures we write about. We invite, provoke, engage others to do more with what they have. Be a better version of themselves. That’s a story of inspiration from within the bigger story.

Maybe my co-author is writing about something she wants to share and it includes her vantage point. Could there possibly be another vantage point within? Maybe you have to find the hidden door to find the message. Maybe that is her hook within her story. Of course there can be a story within a story, maybe even more than one story.

For each post we write we have many who like, some who don’t like and others who just breeze through the content. Whatever the reason or the season for the read, whatever the outcome is, we enjoy sharing our stories as authors. It’s what we choose to do.

We write our way. We leave clues in one post that may link to another or maybe not at all. We may write about the same topic yet it seems so different based on the voice we use or the vantage point. We may provide a visual or maybe we don’t. No real rhyme nor reason to our madness rather we just create what feels natural much like any other artist.

Our blog is a glimpse or a snapshot of us, not a biography or novel. For a tell-all you will most likely need to purchase our upcoming publications. Our blog space is a tool. A tool to motivate and share who we are with others. Today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Our interests will change over time as will our appearance and influences. This is another reason to check in with our site often. We change like the wind. We bend and flex with life. We share the ebbs and flows of life, even the tough stuff.

Since we are talking about a story within a story, I will share the inner secret of this post: bravery.

We are brave enough to share to the level we do. We are exposed. We have readers from Serbia to Japan and beyond. We are forever thankful for all of our readers (see our reader map below). We have friends and family who read our posts. We may even have business and professional colleagues who see us in a different light on this site.

To visualize the magnitude of our bravery: We could be on a plane and somebody notice us but we not notice them. This is a level of fearlessness that many will never encounter. For that, we share our story of boldness, bravery and unwavering sense of self with the wild and tangled web called the internet. The super highway of today.

We invite readers into our world. We are depositing a piece of us for our future grandchildren to read and learn about. There may be secret clues or passages within but you don’t get the full Monty online. We save the juicy stuff for the books and unfortunately we charge for those.

Until next time.

adventure

Relax Was All She Typed

RELAX!

The one word received by text before I left the country for vacation in the beautiful island of St. Maarten. “Relax”

 How that word sat with me on the plane ride to my destination and beyond. Relax. 

How does a high strung, fast moving girl really relax? Is it possible? The questions that ran through my mind. The soul searching that would happen over the next few days as I figured out if I am capable of relaxing and what relaxing really feels like.

Routine went out the window first thing. No up early to workout. This was a first change of routine in over 4 years. Is this relaxing or was I stressed because I was breaking my routine? I did a shoulder shrug to myself repeatedly when I thought about this change.  Instead of working out hard core, I opted for a casual walk to a quaint little bakery kiosk where I was greeted by a bubbly island girl each morning. A creature of habit, I ordered the same thing each day. A plain but buttery croissant and a jug of orange juice. Both of these are not normal items I would have in the morning or in general but this week was about doing things differently. I was choosing to select differently while on vacation. Maybe not the best choice for balancing carbs / fats / proteins, but for this vacation break I was not worrying about what time I was eating and so on. Just like I wasn’t worried about writing on my blog. I was “checked” out on island time.

Island time is interesting. Everything moves slowly. People are extra bubbly and social. It was easy for me to go to bed early and sleep late each day. I had nowhere to rush to. No deadlines to meet. No bosses to answer to.  I enjoyed the sunsets, the spectacular views, the fresh smells and the people of the island I was on. I had no reason to stress over technology, business or life. There was no rushing to sports practice, no to do list, no deadlines to meet, no bosses to answer to. It seemed there were smiles everywhere. Workers smiled and greeted you at every interaction. Guests were cordial even if there was a language barrier. Island life is definitely slow. It seems to take 2-3 hours for a meal. Food is fresh, service is slow but pleasant, atmosphere is always “happy.”

At last a relaxing time of do something, nothing or whatever strikes my fancy. I snorkeled, enjoyed fish and shipwrecks in the waters below, ate many varieties of food, tasted a new drink called “ting,” rode a horse in the ocean, enjoyed a massage, and met many friendly faces. A few notable friends are described below:

New York – A sweet and sassy woman from NY whom I shared giggles with on my snorkeling trip but then found out she stayed at my resort. We bumped into each other multiple times making us new friends. 

Nix – A bus driver that was a bit quirky. He didn’t smile much and had a long face. He said the word “WOW” a lot. His quirkiness was memorable and his driving skills were interesting to say the least.

The New Zealanders – An older couple I met on a tour. A whole day spent with strangers who had a funny accent but enjoyed learning about our cultures as much as we did theirs. They arrived by cruise ship, us by plane. A chance encounter but one that left many memories. I especially enjoyed eating lunch with these new friends while we learned so much about our different countries. Again, a chance encounter that was very insightful.

John – A taxi cab driver turned tour guide. He picked us up in town at random for a ride back to the resort. He shared his cooler of drinks and gave us his card for his side hustle (tour guide). We booked a tour with the kind gentleman and spent another full day learning about the island from him. His charm, his humor, and his knowledge was a big part of our trip memories.

The cookie man – There is a cookie man and he works in a cheese shop. It may sound weird but he serves the freshest almond paste cookies at the cheese shop when you check out. These cookies were so amazing we went back for more a few days later. He was all out but he offered to make a special batch the next day. We couldn’t wait. We went back out of our way to meet the cookie man at the cheese shop to buy tons of cookies to bring home for our families. Do you think any actually made it home?

AJ – The jeweler, the joker, the hard worker. The friendliest jeweler in town. Oh, how he added to my memories this week. AJ was another chance encounter. I met a wonderful older lady on my plane ride to the island. She had been visiting this island for years and mentioned I should visit AJ should I desire any jewelry this trip. Of course I had to check out AJ and see what all the hype was about.

As you can see from the post above, I relaxed and enjoyed my island vacation, but more importantly I met new people. The kind souls that made my memories will be forever cherished. Some I will never see again, while others I hope to see sometime in the future should I make it back to this island. I never set out to meet new people nor did I have a specific goal in mind for my trip. In the end I had a great time and have an awesome memory book of the time spent on St. Maartin.

My travel time was just right. Enough time to enjoy the relaxing life yet not too long to miss out on all that requires my time on the daily on the home front. I am thankful for many things after this week. Too many to list. As thanksgiving has recently past, I will just say I am thankful for the “relax” text as it set The tone for my week. Thank you, Kim, for the one word text! I appreciate you.

My vacation time was spent on the friendly island of St. Maarten. I spent most of my time on the Dutch side, however I did visit the French side as well as visit Anguilla and Prickly Pear on the British side. I highly recommend travel to St. Maarten and I encourage you to fly a big airline vs. a discount airline. If you make it there be sure to visit the beach by the airport to watch the planes land. It is definitely an experience.

I am leaving you with a few snapshots of my trip. It is my hope that you find some peace in the tranquil pictures. They are meant to spur thought of relaxation and happiness.

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fitness and nutrition, hustle

Beth’s Training Track

I hear the whistle in the distance.  Faint, but getting louder, coming closer.

Half marathon. Ready or not, it’s coming.

Getting ready is the challenge right now.  Training plans, equipment questions, all of it – but mainly, finding the time to run.

I love CrossFit.  We all know this.  With work and home and complicated lives, I can’t really give much more time to fitness than I already do.  So, giving up a little bit of CrossFit time to spend more time running has to happen. It’s a temporary tradeoff in pursuit of a big goal.

One good thing about running is I can do it pretty much anywhere.  Or, it’s at least more flexible than getting to my gym at a certain time. Even still, life is hectic. It takes some creativity to fit it in.

Here’s an example of what that looks like:

In a recent 10-day span I did 4 training runs, 4 wildly different places.

First, Philadelphia.  I flew in late one Friday night, on the way to my family reunion.  Searching online for tracks and trails near my hotel, I saw a posting about the Rocky Steps.  So, I mapped a route along the Schuylkill River to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  4 miles early on a Saturday morning including the Rocky Steps (twice!).  Done. Then, off to the Reading Terminal Market for some local deliciousness.

Next, Spring Lake, NJ.  Gorgeous run on their 2-mile boardwalk (each way, for a total of four miles) just along the Atlantic, first thing in the morning with many other runners.  I looked a little out of place in my Panama City Beach shirt (air conditioned all the way up the back), but why not?  “Beach, Please” came true! Then, off to family time.

Back home later in the week, a five-mile after work slog at a park near my home.  Late afternoon, on a route that usually suits me well but this time it was awful.  I blame the time of day and the heat, but discouraging in spite of the nice lake view.

Finally, a two-mile run after a Saturday morning strength workout at the gym.  Five long hilly laps in the parking lot.  Not the most impressive scenery but the sun gave me a smile as I turned to head down the hill. Had to get it in somehow. Not every run can be beachside.

Four runs, one busy ten-day span. My training weeks will each look different.  It’s an adaptation of my summer vacation workout routines.  Making it work, however I can, whatever is needed, wherever I am.  The train continues to get closer!  I am determined to be as ready as I can be.

perspective

Have You Ever Been Ghosted?

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Interesting question if you don’t know the meaning!

Different age groups might define ghosting differently but the term came up in discussions more than once this past week, leading me to write a ghosting blog post.

To get started, an acquaintance asked for some advice about getting ghosted as it pertains to applying for a job. As in, this day and age requires one to apply online for most companies. What happens when you have an interview and think all is going well but then the call back never comes? You’ve in essence been ghosted. The business could have shifted focus or decided to hire from within but you feel ghosted. Rejected. Unwanted. It happens and was the case in this recent conversation.

In this scenario of ghosting, one has to look at the history. Does this ghosting happen after every interview? If so, one has to dive in deeper to see what may be going wrong to avoid this type of ghosting in the future. Is this an isolated situation? Then maybe ghosting was in your mind, but without knowing the facts from the hiring professional’s standpoint, ghosting can’t be confirmed.

In another example, a young adult felt the ghostly chill of no call back when submitting job applications online. Am I not good enough? Why can’t I have a chance? This might be a far-fetched example of ghosting due to no initial contact from the perspective employer, however the feeling of being ghosted in any way can be hurtful and hinder the job hunting process for many. I would guess technology is good for some but challenging for others when one looks at this type of ghosting or emptiness.

How about being ghosted in a casual relationship? That’s a big pill to swallow but it happens more often then you think. No closure. No explanation. One is just cut off entirely. This scenario of ghosting can wreak havoc on one’s emotional state and ultimately impact future relationships, especially in the trust area.

How about the friend circle? Have you ever been ghosted without explanation from a good friend? Have you ever ghosted somebody in your friend circle?

It happens. It happens more than you think. All along as a kid I learned about Casper the friendly ghost. Fast forward to this day and age and ghosting is a thing of the times. Ghost or be ghosted!

I see it more often then I care to think about. Some get ghosted for good reason. Others get ghosted out of fear. Some people ghost people over and over once that individual has limited value to ghoster.

Could you feel ghosted if you are not on the hot invite list for an upcoming event? Sure. But one thing to consider in this scenario is most invite lists are not unlimited. It’s like a wedding. There is a cutoff point. To me this isn’t ghosting but do some think of this scenario as being ghosted?

Do you ever think you inadvertently cause yourself to be ghosted? Maybe you are the Negative Nelly of the bunch. The one who always complains. The one that makes an excuse for this and that. Could you ghost yourself through your own actions? I think the answer is yes.

Having a friend circle has some ebbs and flows. Some friends are around for the short ride. Some are along for the long haul. And then there are those that seem like speed bumps along the way.

Ghosting is interesting to think about. It’s a people thing. A relationship thing. It’s also the kind of thing that can make some people fall off the deep end emotionally. One thing I can say about ghosting is it can be necessary. If you are in a toxic situation/relationship ghosting a person may be the best option. A clean break.

I dare you to think about ghosting. How it impacts you. How ghosting actions can impact others.

I doubt I will write about ghosting again but this was interesting enough to toss this post out here to the readers to ponder thoughts.

hustle, working women

A CEO, a Donkey and an Employee

What do the three above have in common?

Each can be considered a jackass at one point or another! Yep folks, you got it. A jackass!

Not to get off topic, but I start a post sometimes and circle back to finish it up. It could be hours later, days later or even weeks later. But I could not ignore this photo and blurb that I randomly got today….

Look closely folks. My quote said “look, somebody lost their ass on the side of the road.” Now this became a sign for me to finish this post.

Who would have guessed it? I am a jackass a lot of days as the CEO of one of my companies. I know perception isn’t often reality but for some employees their perception can be that I am an ass. I am pretty sure at least one employee has made that claim and I am sure others may in the future. I get it. It’s okay. As the CEO I sometimes have to make unpopular decisions. I sometimes have to offer counseling to employees and they may not like it. It comes with the territory of being the CEO. Taking charge of any and all situations. Most think the view from the top is the best but many don’t see the turbulence a CEO faces on the daily.

In any company, the CEO takes risks. There could be big rewards but there could also be big failures. I’ve experienced both. That’s why so many on the bottom don’t fancy the CEO at the top. Why? Because it’s a seat they will never have! Plain and simple.

Oddly enough, I wear multiple hats in a day, week or month. This gives me the unique vantage point of being an employee some days. Under a different set of circumstances, but an employee nonetheless. An employee, by definition, does a job, collects a fair wage, and completes work assigned or agreed upon for said pay. And guess what? I could actually be a jackass there, too. How could this be true? Hypothetically, I could be the manager nobody likes or respects. I could be the poor performing employee who complains about everything and everyone. I could even be the office gossip.

Whatever my role in those four walls, I am bound to be a jackass to somebody. Is it perception or reality? Maybe I’m a pay tier ahead of the one who thinks I am a jackass. Maybe I make them do more work when I am on vacation. Maybe the boss favors me more. The list could go on and on. I’m sure you get my point. Jackassery can appear amongst the rank and file as well as leadership in any company. Clearly I am using myself as an example to prove a point, but I tell you, I lived all these scenarios at one point in time or another during my professional career.

At the end of the day, a CEO has a job. Their job is to drive the vision of the company and take the company to the next level. The employees are the ones who push the paper, press the keys and provide service to clients. They are the hamsters who run the hamster wheels in whatever industry you work.

Everyone has a role in an organization. Everyone has a lane. At any given time, one of those people in the mix can be a jackass. Do you take it personally and dwell on it? No, because you can’t control it. You move on. You rise another day. You grind another day. You make new decisions as the CEO or you work hard as an employee.

If you zoom in on the jackass picture, who is the jackass? The real ass, as in the donkey? The person who created the donkey in the road mess at rush hour? Or the person driving the car that thought it was a good idea to get out of the truck and…

Well, a picture is worth a thousand words they say. I don’t have a thousand here in this post but I hope I gave you some perspective today. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the street, even if it looks that way at a quick glance. Not everyone is meant to be the CEO even if one makes it look easy.

Not sure how I got on the jackass theme but it was a random rant or thought that I jotted down and figured I’d publish it at some point in time. Find your path. Follow it. Don’t worry about others perception of you or your jackassery.

Again, I know plenty of folks who judge me for my choices but at the end of the day they are my choices and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Now seems like the perfect time to post this because I am a jackass. I will be one today, tomorrow and in the future. No doubt about it. I bet you have been a jackass at some point too.

Do you know a jackass?

Bonus tidbit: if you don’t want to be known as a jackass, adjust your attitude and train your mind to respect others in their roles because you never know what another person is going through or what they have on their plate. Jackassery is not just a debate, it’s a movement.

Now I am ready for a game of pin the tail on the donkey. How I love childhood memories that reflect into adulthood. Have a donkeylicious day folks!

author moments, celebrations

101 Ways to Say…

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There are 101 ways to say thank you! And this is my global thank you to all the readers worldwide who invest time reading the 2 chicks blog on the daily, on the weekly or even monthly.

Your time is valued. You inspire me to keep writing and sharing. With every new country who hits our blog, we celebrate. We wonder about the people reading our content. We get inspired.

My words are mine yet they impact others near and far. How incredibly lucky am I to have this platform?

Pretty lucky, I am. Cheers to another 100 blog posts and thousands of new readers. As I sign off on this post, I attach a picture of me. A symbol of my strength, my beauty, and my confidence. All of which I have the power to control each day. I also have the power to share those same things with others.

We all have good days and bad days but we can also all make a choice of how we carry ourselves each day. I choose to be strong. I choose to embrace my beauty my way…all the way to what my shirt says. Anyone can have pretty eyes, tattoos and thick thighs, but one has to be strong, to be honest and proud to show it to the world. I am doing that for you now. You can do the same your way. Be strong. Have courage. Show your inner beauty to others.

Hugs and kisses to all! Embrace your inner badass today. You can do it.

More posts to come from Chick 1 in a hop, skip and a jump.

fitness and nutrition

It’s a 1/2 but it’s a start

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Today I registered for my first 1/2 marathon. I might be crazy but in about 4 months I will walk, jog, or crawl over that finish line.

I will blog about my training along the way and of course the emotions that will go along with the whole process as well.

I have 5k’s, 10k’s and one 15k in my past, but never a half marathon. My running spans over 20 years but I’ve never been a runner, if that makes sense. I am more of a 50-yard-dash kind of girl. Quick and easy and over before you know it. I also never really ran any of those races start to finish…they all had a mix of breaks built in.

Why a 1/2 marathon? I got a push from my oldest son to sign up and guess what? I took the bait. Now it’s time to see if I can get some friends in the mix.

My most recent 10k time was 1 hour 16 minutes in the July heat. I am aiming for 2 hours 30 minutes for the half marathon. Can I do it? Let me know what you think my finishing time will be. An online bet of sorts. Send us a message with your best guess!

Wish me luck! And don’t forget to send me tips if you are an avid runner.