Collaboration, Mean Girls, and No Apologies

A week ago, before Thanksgiving, a big crew of us went to see the pre-Broadway production of Mean Girls (written by Tina Fey).

Mean Girls Playbill

Holy moly, y'all.  That show is hilarious and off-the-chain creative.  It is no longer running in DC (or at least it ends it's pre-Broadway debut here this weekend), but you catch it on the real Broadway starting in March 2018 in NYC.  And GO see it!  It is soooooo good.  I literally left the show in DC and started looking for tickets to see it again.  Miss O enjoyed it, too.  I was happy that 10% of the humor was over-her-head.  After all, she's just a tween still (though she appears taller than me in the photo below.....I like the "appears" part). 

I can neither confirm nor deny her height compared to mine.  Ha ha ha.

Miss O and her mama

On a professional and passionate front, I just collaborated with the CC Daily to write a blog post about.....drum roll, please....coaching.  This post, however, is a bit different than my other coaching blog posts so far as it outlines how my college's coach training program came to be and what our next steps are including hardcore research related to it.  If you have an interest or just want to hear me speak in my informal, blog voice on an academic blog, go here.

Y'all, I cannot write like a professional, academic anymore.  I can only write in my bloggy voice.

And, I'm not apologizing ;)

I gotta be me.

Happy December,


Sale Ends Tomorrow on Taco Tuesday

Is this graphic gigantic or what?!  Go shop if you need a fun gift for a great educator or coach.  25% off shop-wide (no coupon code necessary) through Taco Tuesday at our new Etsy shop.

It's just fun to say Taco Tuesday, isn't it?



Black Friday Through Taco Tuesday Sale

It's time y'all - our first ever Black Friday through Taco Tuesday Sale starts now!
Hello Strategies Sale
No coupon code necessary.  Just head on over to our new Etsy shop and automatically, all of the products in our shop will be 25% off through Taco Tuesday.  Go find your favorite coach or educator a great gift for the holidays.  

Fun, right?!


Thankful (plus, bonus graphic for you)

thanks graphic

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  I am so grateful for you reading this blog and being such a big supporter of Upcycled Education and Hello, Strategies.

I am off to enjoy a little time outdoors before heading to my in-laws for a Thanksgiving gathering.

With love,


PS - If you want a to use the image I made above, go to this link to find it.  I made the Thanks graphic on PicMonkey, which is still my graphic design crush even after all of these years. 

PSS - See you back here on Black Friday for our first ever Black Friday through Taco Tuesday Sale at our new Hello, Strategies Etsy shop!  Yay!

Etsy Shop Launch - Yay!

Hello, Strategies opened an Etsy shop! Since Etsy started allowing people to sell goods they designed (but did not personally manufacture themselves; after all, how would Jackie and I ever perfectly stamp our YOU ARE AWESOME nickels?), we decided to open a shop.  Etsy is fun. We are fun. And why not?  Plus, I don't know about you, but sometimes, I get an inch to shake things up.

Hello Strategies Opened an Etsy Shop
In honor of our new Etsy shop, we are having our first ever Black Friday through Taco Tuesday sale!  Yep, you heard me.  Jackie and I are going all-in; this sale will last through Taco Tuesday and all of Hello, Strategies products will be 25% off shop-wide. You don't need any special coupons at our Etsy shop - just start shopping Black Friday - Taco Tuesday and you will be good to go.
There are so many fun, useful teaching and coaching products ready to gift to your favorite educator and/or coach.

xo, dear friends - Jackie and I are psyched,


My Rebellious Name Tag

This may not seem very rebellious to most; Perhaps, I am a faux rebel or rebel-wanna-be.

Jen's camp nametag

Close up of camp nametag

This year, instead of my standard college name tag, I am wearing my camp name tag.  Why?  Because camp rules.  Period.  End o' story.  However, you know I can't stop blabbing and thus, I continue.  If I can channel the spirit of camp into my day and "real" life, then, that to me is as good as winning the lottery.  Maybe better as the lottery doesn't buy you long lasting, impactful relationships and a whole lot of time outdoors.

As you can see in the photos, my camp name tag is a simple cross-section of a tree branch cut into a small disk (with a drilled hole for the lanyard).  I decorated my camp name tag with paint pens - we all did this summer at camp. What do you think of the pine-tree-running-water motif I've created?  

When I wear my camp name tag to my college - this is the important part - I bring a little bit of camp with me.  Which if you knew my camp, you would say BRING MORE. 


Teacher, Parenting, and Coaching Tip: Ask Great Questions

Jen blogging with new friends at Apperson

For the last few days, I have been blogging with some very, very new friends at Apperson.  I don't know about you, but that is one thing I appreciate about social media - all the connections and collaborations that can happen in weird, random, unforeseen ways.  Let me explain.  I noticed a few weeks ago the Apperson blog was referring readers to Upcycled Education because of this post of theirs.  So, I reached out to Apperson to say thank you; how lovely Apperson included me in one of their blog round-ups.  Then, Courtney from Apperson and I got to talking - through social media, of course - and she invited me to guest blog for them about....huge shocker....coaching!

One of the foundational skills of a coach is to ask curious and powerful questions.  With these three tips, you expand that skill immediately at school, at home, at work, and beyond.  Go read the post if you are interested and say hi to my new friends.


My Dream Job Found

I think I've discovered my dream job.  Training people to be life coaches.  Let me explain before you stop reading or think I've abandoned the ship.

You have an awesome dial - turn it up

I think you know I have three college degrees.  One from Michigan State University.  One from University of Colorado and one from Johns Hopkins University.  These aren't shabby institutions and yet, I would trade in all three degrees just to have my certification as a life coach.

Why?  Because I can use my coaching skills with every single human on the planet in any place, industry, discipline, or environment - at home, at work, in the community, with family, with friends, with complete strangers, and even at 30,000 feet!  Yep, I've coached on airplanes before.

Whereas my colleges degrees from said institutions are lovely and beautiful to romanticize about, if you are a practical person like me, you want skills that can transcend all areas in your life and can be used daily.  My coaching skills are all that plus more.  If you are unfamiliar with the kind of coaching I am talking about, the kind of coaching I'm talking about supports another human move from Point A to Point B and beyond.  Isn't that what most of us do in life for ourselves and others - in education, in parenting, in business, as leaders?  We support ourselves and others' growth and life journey.  We support other humans (and ourselves) as we adjust our awesome dials (hence, the graphic above) to find our own individual sweet spot to live the most fulfilling and engaged life as possible.

AND, what if more people did that?  What if more people lived their optimal, best, most fulfilling, healthy, low stress, engaged lives?  What impact would that make on our society, our world, our lives? 

I'll tell you what impact it would make.  It would translate to more bliss.  More joy (the message and research of this book).  More connectedness.  Less violence.  Higher engagement, so we don't have to be this dismal poll any longer.  And if you need more hard line research about this, let Harvard Medical share their work or let ICF convince you.  Or just trust me.  Seriously, when have I steered you wrongly?

Now, the dream job part...

With the help of an amazing friend and fellow coach, Sue, we co-created and co-lead my college's first ever Engagement Coach Training Program last academic year.  Yep, my college is now in the business of training life coaches (we call them "engagement" coaches at my college).  AND, I am over-the-moon proud to announce, our coach training program received ICF accreditation which means we are now the only community college in the nation to have an accredited ICF coach training program. 

Cue the largest confetti drop you have!

In the mid-Atlantic, where I live, we are also one of just five higher education institutions that offer a general, coach training program that is ICF approved.  My college joined the ranks of Duquesne, Rutgers, George Mason and Georgetown Universities.  I would say my college keeps great company and our program, by far, is more affordable and - if I may brag - our coach training program is super high quality, hands-on, well-designed, and dare I say transformation and enjoyableI might be bias and honest. What can I say?

Go see what we created - my college's coach training program - and better yet, what if we came to your organization and lead the coach training just for your people?!  Wouldn't that be amazing?!  We would get to spend nine days together in person over 3-6 months, learn a new set of coaching skills that will literally change your life (and the lives of others) immediately, and have the best time doing so.  Plus, we can come to your school, business, non-profit, or organization anywhere in the world!

Let's do that!  Email me.  Leave a comment below.  Send a smoke signal.  We are going to see each other in person and train coaches!  I am not fooling around.  You know, I am serious.

....I just have to point out, I literally have to self-coach myself to calm down.  I am sooooo darn excited about this and the impact having more trained coaches will have on our lives and the lives of others.

Totally psyched and even more psyched that we will get to see each other this year or in 2018! 

Thrilled beyond belief,


PS - I am a hugger.  So when we see each other in person, if you aren't a hugger, you have two choices:  Either quickly become a hugger or let me know not to hug you.  In that case, we can just smile at each other.  Ha!

Oh, Hi There....

I had no idea it has been so long since I last blogged.  What-to-the-what?!  What have I been doing?

Jen on her Stranger Things Bike

Let's see.  I think I've been really living my life.  And sometimes, you can't or I chose not to document it all on social media. So forgive me.  It's not that I didn't want to share.  I just didn't want to take time away from the actual experiences I was enjoying to take photos, edit them, upload 'em, write something clever... you get me, yes?

With all that being said and quickly explained, I do want to reignite more blogging in my life.  Lately, I have a lot on my mind in both good and creative ways.  This blog has always been a fantastic place for me to hash out my thoughts and get feedback on them.  Plus, I could really use some collaborators.  Allies.  Comrades.  Let's-get-stuff-done-together types of people.  That's you - in case you are still reading. 

Here is a sampler of blog posts coming your way....
  • The one big difference between public schools and independent/private schools.
  • How I left Under Armour's headquarters completely inspired.
  • Why a tea from Colorado has changed my life for the better.
  • Family updates:  Miss O, Mr. UpCyclist and Master Jedi.
  • My new rebellious name tag.
  • Wardrobe re-do.  If you know me, you are laughing about me blogging about fashion, but I have some great wardrobe finds, tips, and tricks to share - especially for you educator-on-the-go types.
  • What's next for Hello, Strategies.
  • My break-throughs regarding money and helping others.
  • And the big-daddy of them all:  How I got into the business of training {life} coaches and why that job is the dream job of mine.

More to come, dear friends - 


Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July (if you celebrate it)!  We are enjoying Breckenridge, Colorado today and man, do I love it here as you know.  This town and community is just too much fun and so outdoorsy (as are most things Colorado).

Yesterday, my family and I volunteered at the Firecracker 50 mountain bike race check-in.  We are wearing our new, stylish F50 t-shirts below.  It was so fun to see Miss O be so confident and chatting away with total strangers about the race and gear.  That gal is growing up for sure.

This photo below is looking back on Breckenridge Ski Resort.  Mr. UpCyclist took this on his run with Jedi this morning.  Isn't it gorgeous here?!  Pinch me.

And, because this photo of Jedi is one of my new favorites, here is Jedi testing out the Fourth of July parade route at 7am today.  He gives it two paws up!  I love Jedi's smile.
Have a super holiday and wherever you are, get outside, enjoy your loved ones, and keep making the world a better place.

xo from Breckenridge,

Celebrate Those Teachers and Amazon, say what?!

It's almost the end of the academic year and time to celebrate those teachers who are awesome (or those teachers who could use more awesome in their repertoire).  Ha!

Go to Hello, Strategies and use the code:  MYTEACHERSROCK2017 to get 25% off of all products sitewide.  Why not shower your favorite teachers with thank you gifts they can use with their current and future students - like our Question Cards, Wooden Nickels or our ebook?

And....Jackie and I are totally psyched to announce.....our ebook is now available in softback/paperback on Amazon!

Get your copy of Hello, Teaching Strategies on Amazon (and while you are there, be sure to review the book once you purchase it).

Yay for awesome teachers and another great academic year!


Graduation Subway Art 2017

Hi y'all -


It's that time of year again when we start thinking ahead to all those graduations in May and June.

Thanks to a reminder from Elizabeth, here is the 2017 version of ....drum roll, please....Upcycled Education's graduation subway art!

To save and use, right click on the image below and choose "save as."  Or visit this link here to retrieve a copy of the image.

Enjoy and Happy Graduation to all those amazing graduates in your life!



Words in the Running for 2017

While I wait for my 2017 word to magically appear - you can read more about my word for 2017 here - I thought I'd share the list of word contenders and one more ski photo, because why not?  Plus, this angle - with the sky totally in the background - is so cool as is my lovely, ski bunny partner.

Jen and Miss O ski

I am down to this list of words and a few phrases....

  • Now - as in "be in the present moment"
  • Prosperity - which is a strange word for me, yet there is something I like about it.  I think it is the "thriving" part of the definition of prosperity that speaks to me
  • Go - This word might be too active for me, yet I like that it's slightly fiery to me and I might get some cool projects done.
  • Minimize - As in minimize the noise, wasted time, junk in my life, self-sabotaging thoughts.  I'm so done with those thoughts.
  • Intuition - Love this one!  I'm a big believer in my wise, inner voice.  And, if I were to listen to my wise, inner voice more?!  Oh my!  
  • Flow - This one is about living my values, listening to my intuition, being in alignment; I like flow. This is a good word for me.
  • Momentai - which is a Cantonese phrase that means "no problem."  I was told by a fabulous former student, C, that it bears the meaning of "assuring the listening to stay calm."  I love that - assuring the listening to stay calm.  It reminds me a bit of minimize.

And....believe it or not, this phrase keeps coming back to me as my word (phrase) for 2017:

Leave it all on the dance floor.

I'll give my intuition a few more days to figure this out and then, I'll be ready to embrace what word or phrase appears to serve me for 2017.

Have you figured out your word for 2017?  Share it below or on your favorite social media outlet.


Happy 2017!

Lara Family Skis in Breck 2016-17

Good bye to a fantastic 2016 and Hello to 2017!  I am soooo excited for what's ahead!

All the best to you and your dreams - Let's do this!

With love from Breckenridge,