Friday, June 17, 2011

Conversations With Coca-Cola

On Sunday I boarded a plane headed for Atlanta to take part in Conversations with Coca-Cola. What I did know is that I am a fan of both Coca-Cola and McDonald's and I was looking forward to learning more about both companies. I know it's not popular to admit that you are a fan of McDonald's or Coca-Cola, because, you know, obesity! Fattening! Sugar! But you know what? There is a thing called "moderation" and it is wonderful because it allows you to enjoy things that you love, that may be fattening or sugar-y every once in a while.

True, yes?

The event started bright and early Monday morning with a lovely breakfast inside the World of Coca-Cola building. After breakfast, the lovely Elisa of BlogHer led us in a Vision Board Exercise. Let me tell you, nothing stresses me out more than having to "craft like" things. I am the worst, THE WORST! With a little help and guidance from Jenny, who lovingly demanded that I stop tearing photos out and start cutting/gluing, I was able to quite accurately represent, through old magazine clippings, what was holding me back from being successful with my blog (in my life) and a clear visual of what I hoped to be able to accomplish with both in the future.

We were asked to stand in front of the group, explain our vision boards and choose one word to represent it.

I couldn't do it. I couldn't think of just one word because, you guys, life is stressful for me right now and I'm feeling lost, overwhelmed, guilty, stressed, and like I'm doing it wrong. I stood up there, shaking and trying so hard not to cry as I explained my board. I tried to make sense of it all, but I couldn't. And right then I realized how very lost I feel in my life, both online and offline right now. And right then I realized that I needed to be there with people who could relate and who could offer words of support and encouragement. It probably sounds cheesy, but it was pretty awesome.

Shortly after that experience, we were introduced to four incredible women who were part of the women's leadership council. I was still feeling emotional about my near break down during the vision board session when Jenny asked the panel a question.

"How do you balance it all?"

I will never forget the response.

"Balance is a false goal. I am unwilling to put a job I love against a family I love."


She spoke about managing your life in slices-- work, kids, home, marriage. I hate to go All Oprah on you, but that was definitely an "a-ha moment" for me. I have been trying to balance it all-- my job, my time with my children, household chores- and have been failing miserably. Her words helped me see things from an entirely new and wonderful perspective.

That session alone was worth the trip.

Later that afternoon, we were treated to a tour of The World of Coca-Cola lead by archivist, Phil Mooney! Mr.Mooney was a wealth of information and a pure joy to listen to and learn from. I have to be honest, I did not know that The World of Coca-Cola existed. What a fun place! I would love to be able to take my family there some time. If only so that I can get my chance on the machine where you get to try to replicate the Coca-Cola logo. (Didn't get a chance while I was there, two little adorable girls were hogging it up the entire time. I may still be bitter.)

After the tour was over, we got to enjoy samples of Coca-Cola products from around the world. THIS IS A REAL THING! WITH REAL BEVERAGES FROM AROUND THE WORLD! What a great place.

Day number two was spent a Coca-Cola headquarters where we learned about the company and some of their community and health initiatives. The most discussed program was Sprite Sparks Parks.

Sprite Spark Parks Project to invest $2 million to construct, refurbish and refresh more than 150 neighborhood parks, athletic fields, playgrounds and basketball courts in 2011

While in a session while we were learning about things like "aspartame" and how the body processes it, I noticed some rumbling on Twitter about the event. I was confused because no one from Coca-Cola had made any health claims about their product other than "it was safe to consume in moderation." Which is true! I do not allow my kids to drink Coke or any soda on a daily basis, but they are allowed to have a glass/can occasionally. It's the same with candy or cake or cookies.

I was impressed with Coca-Cola's willingness to answer our questions, to provide us with their research, and to allow us to have a frank and honest conversation. They were definitely there to engage us in conversation, not sell us a product. It was, dare I say it, I'm going to say it, refreshing.

(I would love to share with you all of the information that I learned about their beverages, including research on aspartame, but their informative website- TheBeverageInstitute-- will do a much better job than I can in this blog post.)

I would like to end this by telling you that this event was inspiring, informative and well, fun.
I enjoyed the company of the other women in attendance (who are all way smarter than me. And if you don't believe me, go read their posts and you'll see what I mean.) Many thanks to Coca-Cola for inviting me and to BlogHer for making this happen.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

On Living Positively

I've been invited to take part in a blogger event sponsored by Coca-Cola next week. (Super! Excited!) One of the cornerstones of Coke's philosophy is Live Positively. I've asked myself the question-- Do I live positively?

The honest answer is I'm trying.

Living positively is not something that comes naturally for me. I have struggled with negative self, body image since I was a teenage years and that negativity had spilled over into other aspects in my life. When you view yourself as "not worthy" of good things, it's hard to live positively.

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease. My perspective on life and the way that I live it changed drastically. I've learned that in order to live life to the fullest, I would have to let go of the negativity and embrace positivity. I had to change my attitude about myself and the body that I live in.

I take practical steps towards living a more positive life.

I take care of my body. I exercise daily, allowing myself one day of rest. Moving and pushing my body has made me stronger physically (and helped me lose 59 pounds!) I run, I lift weights, I take Zumba classes. I also play outdoors with my children. Riding bikes, basketball with the teenagers, etc.

I surround myself with friends and family who are loving and supportive. I try to spend as much time with those people as possible-- Dinner, dancing, eating good food, getting the kids together. Life is good when you're surrounded by good people.

I treat myself kindly. This may sound cheesy and I'm okay with that. I spent most of my teenage and adult life putting myself down. I decided I may not be the most fabulous person on the planet, but I am deserving of love and kindness.

I'm looking forward to attending this event with Coca-Cola and would love to be able to take some of your questions with me. If you have any questions you'd like for me to ask on your behalf, please leave your question in the comment section and I will do my best while I'm there to get an answer for you.

(Disclosure: I have been compensated by BlogHer for writing this post. Additionally Coca-Cola will be paying for my travel, lodging and activities while in Atlanta.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Degree motionSENSE- Join the Movement!

I've recently lost 59 pounds. For health reasons, I have to lose another 35 pounds. I know that the only way this will be possible is by moving my body and staying active. Exercise has been the key to losing weight and it will be the key to getting to my goal weight.

When you're active, you need a few things. Comfortable clothing, a good pair of shoes, motivating music on your ipod and a good deodorant. I was sent a sample of Degee motionSENSE deodorant and truth? I loved it.

MotionSENSE technology is different in this way-- most deodorants/anti-perspirants release fragrance upon contact with sweat. motionSENSE is designed to start working when you start moving (tiny capsules break and release once friction takes place) keeping you fresher for longer. Longer Underarm Freshness= good.

I have set a few fitness goals for myself that I want to achieve before the end of August.

* lose 20 pounds.

* Run 2 miles outside (not on the treadmill.) I have such a hard time running outdoors and I want to overcome this. I want to be a Real Runner-- not a treadmill runner! (The only 5k's I have ever ran have been on a treadmill.)

* shrink my waist by 3 inches.

Here's the problem: My life has become busier than normal and it's becoming harder and harder to find the time to fit in an hour workout each day. But I have a plan!

I will go to bed earlier so that I can do my workout before the work day begins. This means going to bed before 10pm and getting up at 5:30 am to be sure I have eaten, worked out and recovered before 9am.

Degree has a new app-- a Facebook app that I plan on using as I work to achieve my goals. It's called "Get into the Move".

About the app:

About the app:
Move. Earn. Win*. In celebration of the launch of Degree Women with motionSENSE, register today for our Get into the Move app to start earning motionMILES for all the ways you move & redeem them for the *chance to win great prizes!

By registering for the Degree Women “Get into the Move” application on Facebook ,fans can start earning motionMILES, virtual currency redeemable towards chances to win thousands of prizes. Earning motionMILES is easy - eligible activities include going to the gym, taking Zumba® or yoga classes and various other activities women already do, like grocery shopping or catching the bus. Fans can also earn motionMILES by answering daily trivia questions on the Facebook application, inviting friends to “Get into the Move,” and even logging in daily.

Once earned, fans can use motionMILES for a shot at winning instant prizes by spinning the prize wheel or by entering weekly and grand prize sweepstakes. Prizes include a surfing trip in Hawaii, designer shoes, gift certificates for Zumba classes and much more. Fans can also choose to donate motionMILES in a dollar amount to one of two charities: The Challenged Athletes Foundation and Girls in The Game.

It's easy!

I "liked" the page, then I filled out the information to get started. It took me less than 2 minutes to get started.

For the next 2 weeks, I will use this app, track my movements and will report my results back to you in a follow up post. I encourage you to sign up and do the same!

Do you have fitness goals? How do you plan on achieving them? If you're willing to share your answers in a comment on this post, you will be entered to win a $100 Visa Gift card! Please be sure to include a valid email address within your comment! (Sweepstakes dates are: 6/20-7/18: 5pm PST)

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment
on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on
this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about
an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail.

You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be

The Official Rules are available here.

(Visit BlogHer's Prizes and Promotions section for more chances to win!)

Good luck!