Portland Love

Almost two weeks ago, I spent five days in Portland, Oregon at my favorite conference.  The conference was A-MA-ZING and I feel refueled in the biggest way.  I hadn't been to Portland in many years.  Have you been there?  That city is pretty awesome.  I would rank it in my top three US cities - Portland, Denver and San Francisco.  You can tell I have a thing for western cities that are eclectic.  I asked some locals if living in Portland is ever too inspiring because of how thoughtfully crafted each shop, restaurant, and space felt to me.  They looked at me and laughed, no.

Here are the highlights from my trip and conference including a new way to know if you are stepping into stereotyping.....

  • I led a workshop on Dr. Carol Dweck's work on mindset mixed with coaching strategies from my coach training.  Though I've done this workshop many, many times before.  This AEE group is so ready that the information landed in the best way possible.  I have never had so many people contact me during the conference to talk about the workshop or after the conference ended.  The information and take-aways evidently are still resonating with a lot of different people from all over the world, which is totally exciting and speaks to the importance of Dweck's work and co-active coaching.  I'm putting this one in the win column, for sure.
  • Speaking of win, I felt like I won the lottery when a participant, Marli, in the workshop I led gave me that You are awesome wooden nickel above.  Besides being so touched, I immediately wanted 1,000 wooden nickels to inject into the world.  Who is with me?  
  • You are with me?  I'm thinking about ordering wooden nickels that you can order, I ship and we all shower the world in what people deserve - a true compliment about how awesome they are!  Wouldn't it be fun to give out the nickels to your favorite educators?  Nurses?  Neighbors?  Kids?  The lovely guy at Trader Joe's who scores you more pumpkin-flavored coffee?  Yes!  We need nickels and lots of them.
  • Portland is such a delicious town - I'm talking tantalizing restaurants.  My favorites that I am still dreaming about included: Cheese and Crack, Stumptown Coffee, Pok Pok,  Tasty n Sons, Pine State Biscuits, Olympic Provisions, and Salt & Straw.  Seriously, none of these will let you down when you visit PDX.  Being at home now - where the food isn't super tantalizing - is a bit of a tummy/taste bud let down, I got to be honest.
  • The theme of the conference was social justice.  Not every single workshop aligned with that theme, but all of the main speakers did.  At the keynote with Caprice Hollins, she shared an interesting and super easy way to detect if you are stereotyping (and at risk of discriminating or being prejudice).  Ready to learn it?   It's easy like I said.  When you are in a situation and are surprised (I'll share an example in a moment), be watchful - stereotyping is lurking.  
For example, I am often surprised when I go see a medical doctor (who is a specialist) when they are either 1) a woman or 2) younger than me!  Yep.  When that doctor walks into the examination room and they are either female and/or younger than me, I have a split second of "wow, they are a woman!" or "wow, they look like they are 20 years old."  That's the moment where we need to be aware - stereotypes are present in our mind (whether we thought they existed or not).  It is how we use that surprise information to proceed that makes all the difference.

If I thought, "Oh, no...this doctor can't be capable (because of their gender or age)," then that would be the discrimination/prejudice part.  See?  Caprice encouraged us to use surprise as a way of noticing bias that may unconsciously exist in our minds.

What surprise moments have you noticed?  Come on....I shared mine.  I'd love to hear what catches you off guard.  Awareness is always a great step one to combating prejudice and social injustice.


Yep. Right now.

let it go or do something about it

After catching up with Sue and thinking more and more about Dr. Carol Dweck's work on mindset, I think this quote (from Sue) sums up how I will behave this fall.

Either let it go or do something about it.

This kicking-a-dead-horse thing doesn't serve me anymore.  And really?  When did it ever serve anyone?

Join me,

Life Updated: Early Fall Edition

I'm usually not a fan of fall - too much change and craziness coming off of a mellow summer - but this fall I'm feeling it in a really good way.  Here's what's been happening in my neck of the woods....

  • Since I finally chose a word for 2015 - FUN! - I've been working new fun experiences into my life like spending more time outdoors (1-2 hours is my daily goal) and saying yes to fun experiences for my family like Climb Zone (pictured above).
  • Apparently I'm sharing FUN with Miss O.  She said aerial class is the most FUN activity ever! I am raising a future Cirque du Soleil star.
  • On the FUN wagon, Jedi keeps me grounded and in the moment.  How will that dog ever know how much I adore him?  He is life-changing to me and my family in the best possibly way.  
  • I had the BEST time at Tarrant County Community College (in TX) and Calvert School (in MD) delivering two different keynote addresses and workshops.  If you want to know what beautiful, preK-12 school grounds look like, Calvert could be a magazine spread.  The school buildings and grounds are that gorgeous.  Plus, couple that with awesome teachers and leaders and voila, you have the formula for school success.
  • On a deeper note - ha! - do you have a fall uniform?  I think I have mine. This flannel and these pants.  Not together.  Kudos to Costco!
  • Could someone please stop time?  Lil O is now Miss O and growing up at warp speeds.
  • Since I appear to be growing up too (read: aging), I'm going to start taking better care of my skin.  I've heard so many wonderful things about R + F (they make Proactiv) that I bit the bullet and just purchased the Redefine starter kit from here.  Thanks, Shannon, for steering me in the right direction!  
  • See that middle artwork up above in the photo collage?  The "She dreamed she could and she did?"  I have some fun career news to share with you soon.  Very, very soon :)
Happy Fall, friends, and tell me....what's happening in your neck of the woods?


Love. This. Quote.

Picasso quote

The back-to-school time period is always super busy for educators, parents, children and teens.  To stay ahead of the curve, I'm reminding myself of this Picasso quote daily.

Amen, Pablo.  Amen.

You got this,


PS - My secret for staying ahead of the curve is ESC.  Extreme Self Care.  Lots of this, this, and this.

Graphic created with PicMonkey, of course. 

Favorites for back-to-school

It's that time of year again.  And for the record, that was an incredible summer.

Colorado (and North Carolina), I adore you.  I mean really.  Look at that scenery below.

Breckenridge, CO

I am refueled and ready to meet my new college students.  I have some fun keynotes to deliver over the next few weeks, too, plus I need to get my trip to Portland squared away.  In the meantime, these are my very favorite back-to-school activities and resources:

  • Professor KP's textbook gems.  How awesome are those?
  • I love easy tech tools. Recite this helps make quotes more engaging.
  • My all time favorite tech tool, though, is still PicMonkey.  I used it to make the graphic above. (Tip:  If you follow PicMonkey on Instagram, you can see their cool effects in action)
  • If you need new classroom props, I would purchase anything from the "other" Jennifer.  I still have a crush on her miniature metaphor kit.
  • Speaking of props, have you bought Sue's Curiosity Cards?  She's been using them all over North America with her newest endeavor, 1Conversation.
  • And, if you are like me and have cobwebs growing on your dreams, hire Sue!  She's doing a 100 conversations in 100 days challenge.  Which means, you literally pay her what you think the session is worth.  Contact her here (and remember, all the coaching is done by phone which makes it soooo easy to do).  You don't have to drive anywhere.
Off I go - Happy semester!