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National Coffee Day

In case you were not aware, today is National Coffee Day (September 29), which is kinda weird because every day is Coffee Day for me. I mean, how is today any different from a regular day? I guess it would be acceptable for me today of all days to join this coffee club. Saying that though, I probably would have done it on any day. But I’m glad coffee is getting recognized for what it is. A large part of mine and many other’s lives. You may be thinking, how does a coffee person celebrate a day dedicated to her daily ritual? Well, I’m currently sipping a Bulletproof Coffee as I write this (I add a tablespoon of MCT oil, 1-2 tablespoons of grassfed butter, and some simple sweetner – if you wanted to know) and then I’ll pour a second cup after I hit the bathroom (TMI?), then around 1:00pm I’ll swing by my coffee shop for my usual cold brew with a little heavy cream and Truvia.

I know many folks may scoff at my caffeine addiction, but I honestly don’t care. It’s probably my only indulgence and the BPC actually helps to keep me full through the morning and it gives me a ton of energy.

What about you? Will you raise a cup today? And do you drink coffee as a necessity, an indulgence or just not at all?

Summer Reflection – 2018

What’s the best thing you did this summer? If I had to distill 2018 into its best part, it would no doubt be all the miles and miles I’ve ran along my favorite paths and trails.   The simple peace I’ve found pounding away at the pavement in that thick, humid, hot Summer air, it sounds ridiculous, but it’s fed my soul in ways I never could have imagined. It’s so difficult to articulate the way I feel immediately following an all out sweat session.  It’s unlike any rush I could describe.  And although I admit this training cycle was brutal at times, it will feel so odd once it’s done.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget some of those crazy lightning storms I ran through and cannot possibly emphasize enough the rush it is just to go full-out trying to outrun mother nature. I know it sounds ridiculous and a little dangerous, but every now and then you need a little excitement and brush with possible death to remind you just how important it is to be grateful for every day of your life.

 

What about you?  What is the best thing you did this summer?  Ever get caught in an electrical storm?

 

 

 

Getting Crafty with Aerie Lane

** This post is sponsored by Aerie Lane, however, all content and opinions shared are my own.
Although I would love to be the crafty Pinterest mom, showing up at my kids’ school with intricately painted gifts for teachers, hand sewn costumes for halloween, and festive party favors or decorations, as it turns out, I’m actually more of an Amazon Prime mom. And that’s okay. I made peace with that real quick. Which is why a night at the quaint little DIY studio and gathering space, called Aerie Lane, was more than intriguing. I wondered. Could someone incapable of simple crafting be able to hold her own, or would this project turn out like my last disastrous attempted creation? And by the end will I be hopping online and visiting vinylcuttingmachineguide to begin my crafting journey again!
Aerie Lane is located in the quaint coastal town of Safety Harbor, just outside Tampa, FL., the same beautiful town where my favorite race takes place. Just a block off Main Street you’ll find the picturesque cottage that houses the crafting workshop and gathering space. Upon entering the workshop, we were greeted with a beautiful spread of snacks and beverages to enjoy during our experience.
I quickly bypassed the refreshment table and found myself wondering around intrigued by all the beautifully crafted decor and art work. There is no denying the rustic-farmhouse vibe that greets you with signs of family gatherings and wreaths displaying family monograms hanging from the walls. Shelves and table tops adorn framed chalkboards with “Welcome” scripted out, wooden boxes and repurposed ladders shelving plants and succulents arranged around the precious corners of the gathering space. Everything was absolutely darling and I wanted it all.
In one corner of the shop I spotted a peg board with wooden shelves labeled the “Craft Bar”, complete with all the materials, tools and inspiration to help you make your project shine, even for someone as DIY challenged as I.
Each table was arranged with additional tools and all the prearranged supplies required to complete our projects. My selected project was a rustic centerpiece. There were stenciled vinyl already printed and lined out at my place seating with the blocks of wood stacked neatly beside. It was quite lovely to see all the difficult work had already been done. All that was left was for me to do was stain, paint, apply, repeat, enjoy a little wine and snacks while waiting for them to dry, then assemble… it was so simple.

Aerie Lane is the perfect place to gather together with your friends, crafting fun memories along with a charming home decoration. I walked away with so much more than a beautiful decoration. The experience truly was exceptional and I so appreciate the personal value of the piece I created that will now remind me of that.

I would highly recommend Aerie Lane to all my friends and family for social events, girls night out, bachelorette parties, etc. I even spoke to the owner about bringing some of my running friends in for a crafting night to create a rustic medal holder soon.
Please make sure to visit Aerie Lane online and follow them on their Instagram and Facebook to view more inspirational pieces in their gallery, discover more info on workshop schedules, private events, and retail and open craft hours. There are several locations so please be sure to select the location nearest to you to make your reservation and information inquiries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

#mrttLove Three Years In the Making

Today is a very special day for me.  Aside from the fact that three years ago today, I was 9 months pregnant with my second child, today also marks the third birthday of the Riverview chapter of Moms Run This Town for which I am happy to call myself the leader.

It was this week three years ago that I made the decision, despite knowing I would possibly be unable to run following the surgical birth of my son, to cultivate a community of women who could gather for the sake of companionship and fellowship centered around their mutual love of running.

Truthfully, it’s hard to believe that it’s been 3 years since I established this chapter.  When I crafted the idea in my head, I had envisioned a group of ladies running and chatting together, but had absolutely no idea of the magnitude and enthusiasm waiting in our future. I just wanted others to run with me.  It was all done quite selfishly if you really want the truth.  I knew nothing about the new area to which we were moving, but I knew I wanted to run and needed others to run with.  What transpired out of that desire was pure luck.

The chapter took a few months to gain momentum, but once it did, the nucleus of the group was all we needed.  Almost every single Saturday since, those first few gals have gathered together behind that McDonald’s’ parking lot, each week, adding a few new faces to the mix.  A friend of a friend, a colleague or neighbor.  We’ve even been guilty of chasing after random ladies on the trail in hopes to persuade them to join our group.  Some running faster and farther because of it.

 

It’s true what they say.  If you want to go fast, go at it alone.  If you want to go far, go out together.

Amidst these amazing women, I have seen first time marathoners conquering their first twenty six point two.  I have seen casual runners become die hard 5am early birds.  I have crossed finish lines beside them. I’ve pinned bibs on them and they’ve pinned bibs on me. I’ve learned their coffee preferences after countless trips to Starbucks. We’ve roadtripped together. Our kids have become friends together.  I’ve poured them mimosas at 6am in the pouring rain while spectating at races with them.  I’ve cheered louder and prouder than ever before because of the women in my badass lady gang.  I’ve witnesses amazing spirit and determination within these spectacular women and I am proud to be part of their tribe.

 

Thank you to the fabulous ladies of my MRTT/SRTT for giving me so many amazing miles.  And for all the friendship and love that fills my heart.

 

I love ya batches.

 

Why I Decided to go Back into Direct Sales

It seems like everywhere you look, everybody is selling something these days. Clothing, wraps, fingernail decorations, fitness DVDs, protein powders makeup and skincare. Direct sales are taking over the world. And rightfully so. With the boom of social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, it’s never been easier to get your products in the eyes and palms of your target market.

If you are not familiar, direct selling is the marketing and sales of products directly to consumers away from a brick and mortar store. Most companies encourage their sales associates to host parties and/or online events to bring their products into the hands of their friends and family. Not to forget, there’s also the method of online selling where companies and businesses choose to make use of the clickfunnels marketplace to incorporate effective sales funnels on their website to get more people to purchase their products. It appears that most businesses these days seem to be using the internet to its full extent.

As a direct sales person, I’m all about technology, so I’m always on the lookout for ways to save money and work more efficiently. Using tools like Salesforce ActiveCampaign integration software may be something worth looking into, if you are working on improving data integration amongst your business.

If, like me, you work in direct sales, perhaps Sales Mapping Software by GSMtasks is something your business could look into to optimize sales routes and, consequently, increase sales?

Once upon a time, I signed on as a direct sales associate with Beachbody. You know the one. You’ve seen all the infomercials with Shaun T, Tony Horton, Autumn Calabrese, Chalene Johnson or one of the other celebrity trainers. Beachbody is the company behind The 21 Day Fix, Insanity, T-25, Body Beast, PiYo and many others. They’re also the brand/company that creates, markets and sells Shakeology. One of the things they do differently from most companies is label their sales associates “coaches.” Being a fitness instructor, I loved the idea of helping people lose weight and get healthy. I was already using Beachbody DVD workouts and love their programs, so it seemed like a great fit. I tried to dive right into the methodology of the business, but after going through their “training” I just couldn’t accept the culture 100%. If I’m being completely honest with you, I had a tough time selling the Shakeology subscriptions. From the beginning, I had reservations about buying for myself. It’s expensive. It’s not for everyone. And I wholeheartedly didn’t think people “needed” a nutrition shake to lose weight or maintain proper nutrition. Personally, I was not a shake person, so you can probably understand why selling one was a struggle. And if I’m being completely transparent, I took issue with the entire “challenge/accountability group” tactics. I won’t go into details with that, but I will say this. Too many people, myself included, were annoyed by these so-called coaches adding them to random Facebook groups(these “challenge groups” are utilized as a sales techniques by many beachbody coaches) and I hated being lumped into the same category with them.

Okay, now that I’ve burned all my beachbody bridges with that last paragraph, how about I talk about how I just didn’t put much effort into being a coach because my life was in turmoil and I was singlehandedly parenting two children and struggling with my own challenges at the same time.

Yes, Life was extremely difficult for me at that time. I was attempting to balance life as a new mom to two, along with with my son’s health concerns and my husband’s traveling schedule. My daughter was rebelling and struggling with her new role as I needed her to be more independent and I was barely sleeping.

No, I didn’t put the time and effort into developing my business the way I knew I could have done. But even if I had, deep down I didn’t groove with their practices, so I was doomed from the start.

As most people will agree, if you don’t fully buy into a philosophy or a product one hundred percent, you’re going to have a really tough time trying to persuade others to do it.

So after about 10 months of struggling and contemplating my decisions, I resigned as a beachbody coaching.

After that debacle, I swore I’d never get sucked into another direct marketing gig every again.

Fast forward eighteen months later, and I’ve signed on as a consultant with Rodan + Fields.

So what the heck made me change my mind?

Well, it wasn’t just one thing to be honest.

First and foremost, I have always valued a great skincare regimen. Much like staying fit and healthy, skincare has been a consistent in my life since I was very young. My mother instilled great habits in me as a teenager and I carried those with me through my life. I saw a dermatologist biannually, applied sunscreen daily, washed my face nightly, drank plenty of water and used creams and serums like a good little lady.

However, as the signs of sleep deprived motherhood started to sink in, I knew I needed to aggressively tackle those visible signs of aging. The need for a great product line became more and more important.

I did my research and discovered Rodan + Fields through a couple way-back-friends. One of my girlfriends was posting her promotional posts on Facebook and I became more and more intrigued. I didn’t let her know that, of course, but instead searched all over the internet for reasons why I should stay away from R+F and continue using my regular skincare line from Nordstrom and Sephora.

After weeks of reading blogs, seeing mentions in Nationally published articles in magazines like these from Allure, OK Style, People, Women’s Heath and Smart Business, it became clear that R+F was a well respected brand. Everything I read was positive and lead me to dozens of product testimonials. I’ll let them speak for themselves.

I mean, who wouldn’t be intrigued to get involved with a product line that yields results like these?

The second really significant reason I decided to become a R+F consultant was because I respected their business practices.

Not only was i not required to purchase any inventory or product to start my business as a consultant (even though I did for my own personal usage) , but I was given the amazing opportunity to earn back every cent I initially spent developing my business. How amazing is that! What other company allows the investor to do that??

You may ask how that’s possible. Here’s how.

With Rodan & Fields, ordering from the website is simple and products are delivered straight to the customer. Rodan & Fields provides an easy way to order, ships the product to my customers, pays me a commission and provides a ton of reports and information about sales from my down-line.

Another huge selling point was the 60 DAY EMPTY-BOTTLE MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. This wasn’t just for customers but for new consultants as well! So going into this business, I understood that all the money I invested in the products, was safe and secure if I decided after a month I didn’t want to continue being a consultant. I was free to return my used products for a full refund.

I believe it’s because of this that Rodan + Fields has a 1% return rate. You have to admit, that is pretty remarkable!

If you did your research like I did, you’d read about how R+F is the number 1 anti-aging skincare line in the United States. You’d also read about how R+F has experienced over a 100% growth in business since 2009. That’s way more than Estee Lauder, Clinique, and Lancome combined (which subsequently were two of the three products that I was formerly using).

When I really consider why I became a R+F consultant, it’s really simple.

Rodan + Fields is a much better fit for me.

I stand behind the guarantee, I completely embrace the philosophy and culture. And I I support the products one hundred percent. I am passionate about leading women and men to a product that is proven to impact their lives.

Rodan + Fields Multi-Med® Therapy is designed to deliver the right ingredients, in the right formulations, in the right order to transform your skin. We combine pharmaceutical ingredients with active cosmetics for effective formulations that feel like luxury skin treatments (and some of those treatments seriously do feel like silk).

Above all I support the practices and the philosophy. It’s easy to sell a product that is proven, not only to work, but to be the best in it’s market. And while no single ingredient or product can effectively treat a complex skin concern, we don’t claim to be a one-stop shop for all dermatological issues. What we do is offer the RF Connection, which can work in addition to your products to support you on your path to great skin. At the RF Connection, the R+F trained nurses and product experts offer custom support and are a source for skincare questions and product advice.

So unlike my previous DS business, I can feel confident selling a product that is backed by proven results and allows for trained medical professionals and experts to help support my clients and offer advice.

Looking back at my previous direct sales journey, I can really appreciate some of the things that I discovered and learned about myself. Direct sales is definitely not for everyone. Some people need help getting started. Impel Dynamic offer sales training services, which can help some people find their passion for it. Most importantly, I learned that just because one direct sales gig doesn’t groove with you, it doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in the business. For me, it really just took me time to find the right direct sales team and the right product. Rodan and Fields is that for me. I think that’s a pretty good reason and it’s a decision that I am really glad I made.

If you would like more information about Rodan + Fields, you are welcome to visit my personal website for product inquiry, but I am also happy to assist you with any questions. Feel free to email me. haleydduke (at) gmail (dot) com

Have you ever tested the waters of direct sales marketing world?

What is your thoughts on the many direct sales companies out there?