dare to be different, friendship

A Little Chick Story

I am sure some of you are looking for a flirty chick flick type of story, but this is just a chick story about where we got our start. Boring to some but memorable to us.

2 Chicks and a Pen met on the lacrosse field. One chick on each side of the fence which is so symbolic to our overall bond and relation in general. One chick was a coach and one chick was a spectator. A particular spectator who spent most days hiding under an umbrella avoiding the sun, the shade, people, and rain on any given day. The coach however was loud and in-your-face kind of coach which was what made the two most unlikely to be paired in the way we are today.

An unlikely duo developed a friendship first through their kids. Then quickly friends turned into extended family. From there the friendship developed into a deep-rooted partnership that took on the brand that we know today as 2 Chicks and a Pen.

3 children’s books published, a business formed, countless blog adventures documented, thousands of fans around the world, and so many memories made. From napkin scribbles at a local restaurant to book signings to field research destinations, we have experienced so much on our path and we have so more ahead of us.

The picture below shows us running a 15k together this month. We have also run a half marathon, some 5k extreme races and some 10k races together. I’m sure when we started writing together running races wasn’t even a blip on the radar. Now we schedule fitness events throughout the year. This is just one of the ways we have grown in love of fitness, friendship and ability to share stories with others.

The way the story goes, we launched in 3 days according to Chick 2, but that’s fairly inaccurate. We actually have several years under our belt currently. Originally we connected almost immediately but that’s not 3 days or even 3 weeks. We began using writing prompts as a way to get to know each other. We traded countless hours writing and chatting. Trust followed.

Soon after, 2 Chicks and a Pen hatched as a legitimate business entity. Goals were set. Timelines established. Projects mapped out on the horizon. We went on to naturally evolve as writers, motivators, athletes and so much more. Our story is unique to us. Nobody will be able to replicate our vision.

The creative spark we have is definitively categorized as amazing. Our timeline is limitless. Our zest for life and sharing it on a large scale is fearless. Our opposite personalities is part of the dynamic. We just do things the #2chx way.

Our journey has had many twists and turns and ups and downs to say the least. We live life so it’s expected. Juggling families, careers, life and our own personal journeys. Somehow on our path Chick 2 joined the Crossfit movement and hasn’t looked back. We did some research and development on nutrition and used ourselves as guinea pigs. Some of these stories we share on this very blog. That’s just one of the side bars that spun off of 2 Chicks. One of many.

We took the road less traveled. We are a legal business entity. We register our business and pay taxes each year. We have a big online presence yet we are active in our community. We have an expensive hobby but we set out with a goal to improve lives through literacy. Whether we write on paper, print our stories in book form or write online we are communicating in our grandest fashion. We are succeeding at our mission and leaving a literal legacy behind.

Word wizards of sorts. We have so much to share some days that we are busting at the seams. While other days we may suffer from writer’s block and can’t string a sentence together. One chick may hold on to featured articles for days or weeks or even months on end until they reach perfection. One chick may write away fast in the moment but has to rewrite several times to correct typos. It’s a creative process for us. We do it over and over and love every opportunity we can sink our teeth into.

My favorite memory to date is reading our stories to kids and having them ask questions about us, our writing process and the whys behind the stories. When they realize what’s beyond the book itself their curiosity sparks. I want to be a writer! I want to be an illustrator! I want to make a cartoon book with my friend! Those innocent but curious minds are in growth mode. Exposing them to our stories lets them see opportunities for themselves. Infinite opportunities.

Chick 1’s writing process is notably different than Chick 2’s. Neither is wrong or right, just different. We are constantly evolving and choosing our path(s) as we mature in our creative minds. Keep watching.

We appreciate you joining in on our public ride or chickscapades whether it’s one post you read or many. We leave a trail of chick dust here, there and everywhere. You may see us on the web, maybe you follow us on Instagram, maybe you catch our tweets, maybe you are one of our local pals who knows us around town. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, we love you.

As Valentine’s week is upon us. We wanted to share a little of our inside story to you. As a sort of love story for the world. Our love of literacy. Our passion for serving others through words. Who doesn’t love a good back story.

Give us a like online. A social share. Be our Valentine this year. Send us a sweet note. A quick feedback note can let us know what you like about our brand. If you don’t like us it’s okay, we know we are not a one-size-fits-all model. That’s why you can choose to visit our page or invest in our books.

2 Chicks’ next public event is on 2/22/20, an event honoring Veterans and supporting suicide prevention efforts, which is near and dear to both Chicks’ hearts. If you are interested in getting involved check out this link. You can donate online.

http://www.official22wod.com/

Happy Valentine’s week!

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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featured, friendship

They Get Me!

My close friends get me.

They get me at my best but they appreciate me at my worst. And no matter what, they are ready to support me when the sky is falling or when the sun is shining.

That’s how lucky I am. In the past 7 days, I was on the verge of meltdowns for various reasons and each time I wavered I found a pick-me-up. I connected with a friend who knew just what I needed without me saying what I needed. Heck I might not have even known what I need myself. The point is they knew.

Today it was a bad hair day. Call me crazy but it was. My hair felt like a mop or dead weight on my head. A toupee of sorts. Just dead weight. I called my friend/hairstylist and she just knew I needed her services stat. “Drop what you’re doing and come now,” she said. I did just that! In a blink of an eye I was in the car to her shop and wow what a difference she made in my day.

Changing my scenery, even if for a brief moment, was a game changer for my mood and my attitude. A little snip snip. A little conversation. Some giggles and it was time to conquer the rest of the day. Today I celebrate my pal Kim. Her swift action made my day. She was a mood changer in a big way. #moodswings

There is no doubt about it. If you feel good about you, one is unstoppable. Today my hair was my Kryponite. Not sure If it could have been my threat of giving myself a haircut that made her react as she did, but no matter what I’m glad she was there when I needed her. She said exactly what I needed to hear. Change your environment now.

At another time, I needed to blow off some steam after a long and stressful
day. Not my normal workout time but I needed to get my fitness in. Because my mood and time was off I didn’t feel like working out in a class. I was interested more in solitude. Less people, more one-on-one time with myself and what I need to do to push through the day.

My fitness plays a role in releasing stress of my day. If my schedule is off and I missed my fitness regimen I may just shift my mood to bitterness or edgy at times without even noticing.

She didn’t know my plan for the day. She didn’t know the stress of my day. She didn’t know what I still needed to accomplish after hours that was time sensitive. We all can have peaks and valleys in our work load but this day was like a hurricane of sorts. Little did I know when I bumped into another pal she would make a positive shift in my day.

It started when she opted to run with me at the gym. An hour run to nowhere to be exact. She didn’t need to but she kept me company. We shared smiles. We gasped for air together. We challenged each other a bit. We people watched a little. We giggled. During that time there were no worries in my world. I just wasn’t thinking about my to-do list or the ignorant people I dealt with that day.

Unexpected timing and connections happen. Sometimes those unexpected plans end up being amongst the most treasured memories you can make. For today I am thankful for my friend Milags, her time and her ability to giggle on demand.

In this pic we might have even been having some competition on the air runners. I wonder who was going faster? It didn’t matter because the picture clarifies our happiness of just being side by side.

Friends come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. You never know when you will find a special friend. When you find a quality friend, let them into your world. They may not stay forever, but you can have fun making memories while they are present.

Remember friends may come and go in your life but when they come and make an impact, let them know. Friends are part of your journey. Some stay longer than others but they all play a role at some point. Kindness matters.

And last but not least, there is a virtual toast to my gal pal and writing partner Chick 2. There isn’t a day or week that goes by when we don’t connect to work on a project, plan a surprise or figure out how to balance our hectic and weird life on the daily. Her balance and kindness are always present and we make for a dynamic duo in all adventures we pursue.

In the past week, Beth was my listener friend. The friend that didn’t pass judgment or act as a Negative Nelly when she could have. She let her calmness lighten the load of the world’s woes. Maybe it’s the PhD in her or maybe it’s her tender heart. Either way I choose to celebrate her. Cheers to my pal Beth.

And to those I didn’t specifically name in this post, I adore you all. My relationships are valued whether near or far. Every relationship has a story and each story has a part in my past, present and future. Each of you play a role in making my stories and adventures fun and desirable.

When my friends say “that sounds like a bad idea. What time should I be there?” That’s dedication to my crazy. I couldn’t forget to mention this tidbit as it’s such an important one. I have many friends who are willing to test their limits and adventure on whim most days. Some even conquer fears with me. Mainly the fear of the unknown. The best part is we get to do it together. The adventures are sometimes big while others are small. When you read this you know who you are. There are many of you in my life that add to my crazy and adventure willingly with me. Thank you!

You make my day, my week, my month. These adventures matter. They matter because they keep my life moving and changing. My balance is about shifting, juggling, adventuring all of which represent growth in my world. Thank you to all my friends who help me grow each week.

Until I write about you or others in my future blogs, help me celebrate the Three Musketeers above and my unnamed adventurer friendships who impact my my mood, my productivity, my week and without question my attitude.

Friends matter. The friends that matter most value you in good times and bad.

#friendship101 #besties #1095days

fitness and nutrition

The Miles Won’t Run Themselves

Yup, I was going to write it – the dreaded “poor, poor pitiful me” post.

The “who peed in my cheerios?” post.

The “why-did-I-do-this-to-myself-what-in-the-world-was-I-thinking-why-did-I-sign-up-for-this-and-how-do-I-get-out-of-this-mess” post.

The ever unpopular “I can’t” post.

After some good running weeks, even a relatively successful 8-mile run that led me to write “I think I can finish this!” in my running journal, I hit an unexpected slump.  Suddenly, every run went from my usual mild discomfort to SO hard. Legs were leaden. Heat was overwhelming. The weight of the effort had me down and out. This went on for weeks. If I had the option to go to CrossFit instead of my scheduled run, I often took it. I was down to two runs a week, struggling for every mile.  I lost my mojo.

What do you do when something like that happens?  Sure, I wanted to give up at times…. many times! But I kept showing up for two runs each week.  Seeing friends on Sundays made such a difference.  Accountability to them and my goal kept me holding on by a shoelace when I was down.

Finally, a glimpse of hope.  The heat broke. There’s a huge difference between running in 95 degrees and 82 degrees.  Morning runs were even a little chilly.  A little spring appeared in my stride.  I kept going. I also broke a spell of bad sleep, which makes a world of difference.  I am back on track, more or less, a little more than a month out from our half marathon.

In the mean time, I have decided that overall, I am not a happy runner.  It is convenient, portable, and simple enough to participate in.  But, to be honest, I am bored by it when it gets longer than about 45 minutes.  It is hard on my body AND I have no desire to invest much time or energy in how to get better at it. There are too many other things I’d rather be learning or improving!

I do have to remember that there was a time (not too long ago) I would have been so proud of 15-minute miles.  I have made progress.  But I don’t see myself pursuing it once the half marathon is over.

So, for the moment, I press on.  I’m grateful for the ups and downs of training and for the goal in front of me, and the people I am sharing the journey with.  I’ll keep training the best I can, moving my legs along one step, one mile at a time.

celebrations, friendship

Full-on Festivus Fangirl

One part roadie, one part pit crew, one part media team, one part friend, five parts fangirl.  These were my jobs for the Faded Glory teams at this year’s Festivus Games.

Unlike Chick 1, I didn’t WOD in the sun and fun.  Scheduling and family commitments made competing impossible.  But I still got out and joined in for as long as I could.

My day started at 5am, just like most of the teams.  But, for my first stop I went and got my own workout in first at our home box (burpees over the rower, thrusters, and other fun times). I could have skipped, but even when (especially when!) you’re spending a lot of your time supporting others, you have to keep your own health in line.

Then it was off to the Games, sliding in with my friends to watch them work and support where I could, which led to these moments….

The roadie – Yes, I’ll carry your phone.  I’ll wear your watch. I’ll hold your bracelets.  Of course I’ll keep time for you and count down loud so you know how much you have left to go.

The pit crew – Yup, I’ll charge that dead (phone) battery.  I’ll change your oil (peppermint oil, of course, on sore hamstrings and lower backs).  I’ll drill your muscles with one of those crazy massage guns.  I’m there with your water when your engine overheats.  Creaky joints? Do you prefer Aleve, Advil, or Tylenol?

The media team – The pictures, the videos, the boomerangs. Did I get video of your snatches? Check. Boomerangs of your wall balls? Check. And THE LIFTING FACES!!!  Oh, the lifting faces. Can’t get enough of them.  Capturing the efforts and the agony.  The triumphs and the teamwork.  The small moments, the funny moments, the victories that many people miss – we even miss some of them ourselves!

Send them to each athlete, even send them to their spouses and our friends who couldn’t be there.  Those photos tell amazing stories of a time that will become incredible memories.

 

 

The friend – Just before she starts each event, I’m glancing at my partner, Milagros, and just give her the look.  The “you can do this.  Just breathe and do it” look.  That moment of reassurance between us!

Some of the highlights of the day are listening to pretty much all the competitors talk about their teammate.  In one way or another, each is fighting not to let their partner down.  To do their best, to give their all for that teammate.  This brings back memories of when I competed, and truly is one of the sweetest, most meaningful parts of the experiences.

Finally, the fangirl –  Cheering like crazy for each of them. (And all the videos with my shrill drum major voice!) Clapping from behind the lens.  “Pick it up!” I barked. Encouraging when I saw the looks of exhaustion, of near tears, of hating that stupid box, that idiotic dumbbell, that impossibly irritating kettlebell. And when I saw those fleeting looks of “It’s too hot.”  “It’s so heavy.”  ‘I’m not sure I can do anymore…” I’d get even louder:

YOU GOT THIS! COME ON!  LET’S GO!  And as others finished, they joined in the cheers. Surrounding teammates who had fought through adversity to encourage them to the bitter end.  We are fans of each other.

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What a day and a reason to support and shout for these incredible athletes.

Pushing themselves past the edge of the discomfort zone, some fighting through injuries and illness.  They showed up and WORKED.  All the training, the invisible hours, the practicing, the endless reps, heck even the no reps mattered.  It all adds up to knowing you fought like crazy to compete and give your best that day.

I’ll truly cherish wearing the #Katashi shirt with my honorary (if temporary) tattoo. That takes fangirling to a whole new level.  You’d be hard pressed to find two more fierce or fun competitors. Still gotta work on my booty game, though.

I’ll cherish the hugs and smiles and people laughing and feeling proud as they saw themselves in action. I’ll cherish seeing both first timers and “old” timers get in there to scrap with anyone who dares compete. Better bring your A game. I’ll cherish watching teams work with and for each other, and being on the team for all of them.

 

 

giving

Joy multiplies

Summer heat has arrived in Georgia. It’s zinnia season.

Fun fact about me:  I cannot grow anything.  I have been known to kill “maintenance-free” plants.

Everyone else in my family can grow things, though. So we have gardens in our yard sprouting flowers and food much of the year.

Zinnias are some of my favorite flowers. We’ve had small patches of them in the front and back for a while now. This year, without planting or any effort, a huge patch of them sprouted up in our front yard.

When we first got zinnias growing at home, I mainly wanted to watch them in the yard.  I never picked too many. I’d just enjoy them growing there for as long as I could.

After trying that for a while, here’s the cool thing I learned about zinnias:

The more you cut the blooms, the more blooms will grow.

So I try to cut all the new blooms a few times a week. I cut them just above where the stem splits.  These turn into a flood of endless bouquets that spread to friends from life, work, school, family, the gym, and so on.  And the more I cut them, the more blossoms appear and multiply.

It’s like the zinnias know you appreciate them, so they give you more of what you like.

When I think about it, many people are like that.  If you show appreciation for what they offer, they give you more of it. Gratitude matters.

With the zinnias, I also get to see smiles from friends who get a small gift of beauty and knowing they are treasured. Perhaps they, in turn, pass a bit of beauty or kindness along in their own way.

It really does not take much effort to brighten a day.  Joy multiplies and spreads.  Share some of what you have with others. Flowers, treats, even just a simple note can change a mood, an outlook, or make a challenging road more beautiful.

 

 

 

 

fitness and nutrition

Murph 2019

The infamous Murph workout. Every year as a tribute to a fallen soldier. What an honor to complete!

3rd year participating in Murph. Each year I get better, but each year I struggle. Year after year I come back to do it. And I enjoying doing it with friends.

It’s a grueling workout. Done in extreme heat with limited rest. Days of recovery follow and only the craziest of crazy normally put it on their agenda.

Well, I am one of those crazies and I have many of friends that fall into that category as well.

Some complete Murph strict. Some complete a scaled version and some even do a modified version if traveling on vacation where equipment is limited. No matter what version, the community and cheering section is like no other. Nobody is done until everyone is done! Those who finish early run more with stragglers. Those who complete with friends cheer, count and celebrate. Some even come to watch and I even saw pom-poms one year.

This year was special. I did it with my 13-year-old daughter. Her first time. A test of her will, her stamina, and her grit. She completed her flavor of the Murph WOD and felt good when she finished. A feeling of triumph and a great way to memorialize a soldier.

I got to see a Mom to be complete the murph workout with her Mom and another friend who completed it weighted for the first time.

Another guy in the gym completed it in a girl’s tank top for flair. What will be next for me and others?

I will be back again next year to complete Murph. A new challenge for me: maybe a weighted vest, maybe no partitions. Time will tell.

If you don’t know anything about the Murph workout, look it up. If you go to the gym, test your skills. Trust me, it’s a good physical and mental workout.

Be sure to look at the last picture. It signifies the end of a great WOD and a throw back to our first book, The End. The end of an elephant’s butt.

Have a fitastic day!