Category Archives: Personal Life

Real life after playing competitive sports

With the Olympic Games happening this week, the world is watching the world’s most elite and dedicated athletes compete for the status of being an Olympic medalist. For some of them, it will lead to short term glory, an endorsement deal and being a household name. For the majority of them, however, the ‘real world’ that we all live and work in awaits them when they hang up their gear. Let’s face it — the majority of athletes are not Michael Phelps.

In this vintage photo, you will see a super skinny girl in the second row on the far right. That’s me! For ten years of my life, competitive swimming was a huge part of my life. I joined the swim team because I thought it sounded like fun. It was — I still have special bonds with all of the people I swam with to this day. The first year I swam I was terrible — and I have the third and fourth place ribbons to prove it!!

That year, however, was when my competitive spirit kicked in. I wanted to be better and I knew if I practiced hard enough that could happen. I knew I couldn’t be selected for a relay team if I wasn’t a team player, yet I couldn’t be considered for one if I wasn’t doing my personal best. I had a lot to learn and a long journey in front of me. So I practiced many hours (many, many, many hours) and swam up to 8,000 yards a day six days a week, and ultimately became an excellent swimmer. There was drama, laughter, successes, and losses — just like the real world.

But I was no Michael Phelps. (Who is?)

In the real world (life after chlorine) I started a business in 2002. The feelings of anticipation were the same as when I started swimming all those years ago — I had to start somewhere. I wouldn’t be good at first but with dedication, practice and being a team player, maybe I could become a success. Around that time I began seeking out established mentors in my industry who could share their knowledge with me, their personal journey, and their lessons learned. I set up my business plan, website, packages and marketing materials. I sat back and watched all the drama (not just with brides — those vendors have a way of creating their own drama in the industry!), learned, and focused on how to make the business a success.

I swam competitively for ten years — a term that spanned through high school and college. By the time I stopped, the big ‘swimming fish’ had made a name for myself in her little pond. However, I was primarily known as ‘the swimmer’ by most people in my ‘pond.’ The whole time I was swimming I had earned decent grades, so my focus and that same discipline were then applied just to my academics. 

I officially hung up my competitive swimming goggles 20 years ago, and a lot of new techniques and technology have made swimmers even better and more efficient than in my days. It is very exciting to watch all these Olympians destroy these records and swim these incredible times!

Today, eleven years into being a wedding planner, the entrepreneur journey has parallels to my swimming days. It took a lot of practice, learning, and being a team player. Like swimming, the journey has had lots of ups and downs, triumphs and losses. Today many know me as ‘the wedding planner,’ just like 20 years ago people knew me as ‘the swimmer’ in my little pond of Ohio. (That is exactly the reason I started this blog — there is so much more to me than just weddings! Yet another journey!)

I truly believe that playing sports gave me the foundation for the person I am today. It taught me discipline, teamwork, and gave me the confidence to know that hard work and focus can pay off in high rewards. 

Statistically, 2% of all high school athletes will play in college, and of that total 2%, 1% of them will play sports professionally. So the odds are, if you are a college athlete, you’ll hang up your gear when you graduate from college, just like the other 99% of the people in that statistic. (I hung mine up after Freshman year of college, but hung up my goggles during college nonetheless!) On the internet I found a copy of the last article written in the school paper at LeMoyne College about my last swim meet. (After that I transferred to Xavier to become a life long Muskie!)

The real world is a fun place too! Life is great off the court and out of the pool as well!

Kpl πŸ™‚

Life is short

This past weekend, my husband and I attended the memorial service for the father of his best friend’s wife. It was a reminder to both of us just how short and precious life is. Both Jim and I have dealt with the loss of family members taken too soon — his father and brother (both 54), and my sister (32) from cancer, my brother from a brain virus, all of our grandparents. 

When people say life is too short, it seems like a cliche. But in the blink of an eye, I turned 40. I remember my 21st birthday like it was yesterday! If you ask a person in the twilight of their life, they will mention a lot of the things listed above. They will also say that they wished they had walked away from unhealthy situations and relationships, enjoyed the little things in life, and to live for yourself and not other people.

How are you living your life right now? You can’t change the past but you have control over your future and what it holds. You will have obstacles — everyone will — but how you navigate those obstacles speaks to your strength, integrity and values. Those define who you are and your legacy.

Deep thoughts, but how are you living your life? Would your ten year old self be proud of who you have become?

Kpl πŸ™‚

ο»ΏBe Happy No Matter What: Book of the Month

Each month, I try to do something to improve my inner self and spirit. This month, I am reading “Be Happy No Matter What,” by Ellen Seigel. I won the book as a door prize at the Cincinnati eWomen network meeting and the timing couldn’t be more perfect!

I’ll be sure to write a review of it next week! If you are interested in hearing the author speak next week at the Dayton eWomen network meeting on Wednesday, June 8 from 11-1:30pm at Yankee Trace, contact me about how you can attend at no cost!Kpl πŸ™‚

Safety at the pool

Pools are a great way to cool off during the summer, exercise, and create memories with your family!

Back in the day, I was a competitive swimmer and lifeguard. (Trivia — my high school 100 backstroke record stood for 19 years!) So today I want to talk about safety at the pool, in particular HOA, backyard or community pools that don’t staff a full time lifeguard. 

These tips will keep you and your family safe(r) when you’re at the pool!

(1) Use a zipped life preserver on children who can’t swim well, or who are under 4. (Please don’t buy the inflatable arm floaties, they can easily be poked, creating a slow leak, that can catch an unprepared child off guard if you aren’t paying attention! Those make every lifeguard cringe!)

(2) Walk around the pool — no running. Every time you go to a public pool you hear a lifeguard blowing the whistle asking people not to run. There is a good reason for it. Puddles make pool concrete very slippery and easy for anyone running to slip, break a bone or sprain an ankle or wrist. Kids tend to run when they get excited, just discourage them from running.

(3) Don’t swim alone. This is a universal rule for children and adults alike. It is dangerous to swim alone — anything can happen while you’re in the pool, such as a leg cramp, that can impair your ability to swim to safety. Depending on the posted pool rules, a child under 14 or 16 may require supervision. 

(4) Pools with no lifeguard are at your own risk. So you are responsible for anything that happens to you or your family while you’re there.

(5) Stop texting when supervising. This rule didn’t exist in my day, but it certainly does now! Anything can happen in a matter of seconds — like a 2 year old wearing blow up arm floaties can drift into the deep end of a pool where it doesn’t belong!

(6) Drink responsibly, if at all. Drinking impairs your judgement and reaction time. This can put you in danger at the pool. This is especially important in hot tubs where your heart rate is impacted with the combination of the excessive heat and the alcohol.

(7) No glass. Period. Bring plastic cups, plastic or beer cans, and paper plates. You can injure yourself and the people around you.

(8) Speak up to your HOA or community if the pool water doesn’t look right. If the water is cloudy, green, excessive amounts of debris floating, doesn’t smell of chlorine or smells to the point where is is overpowering, stinging your eyes or making your skin red or excessively itch, say something to the powers that be! Readings for chlorine should be between 2-3, and pH 7-8, at safe healthy levels. You can also call your local health department for the latest report.

Pools are a refreshing way to cool down and enjoy the summer sunshine. Just be safe!

Kpl πŸ™‚

Beauty in Sharon Woods

Today’s weather was beautiful! The sun is shining, a light breeze was blowing, the trees have green leaves on them again, and flowers are blooming. (This means that summer is finally on its way, correct?)

My husband and I decided to rent a pontoon boat after work for an hour ($45), and we enjoyed the beauty of Sharon Woods from the Sharon Woods Lake in Sharonville. (This is the same lake I like to jog around — it is 3 miles around. Two times around gets that magical 10,000 steps per day!)

I took these photos of a pelican from the boat. I didn’t realize we had them in Ohio!

This family of geese also swam over to the boat to say hello.

It is hard to see, but this photo is a mama duck with some very tiny baby wood ducks.

You can also rent paddle boats, kayaks, and power boats. Rates can be found by visiting the Great Parks website. (You can see them behind me in this selfie.)

So the next time you are looking for a nice time out with nature, look no further than your State Parks for relaxation.

Kpl πŸ™‚

Staying and keeping focused

So I will admit … I got off the blogging bandwagon for a few weeks. Everyone gets in a funk, right? First I got a cold, then my husband got back to back episodes of gout. So needless to say between that and the rainy weather, I wasn’t working out the way I normally do. When I don’t work out I get out of my routine, I feel sluggish and depressed, and my rhythm gets off.
routine, better, habits,  exercise, goals, task list, peachy, keen, lifr
When we are children we are provided with a structured routine — breakfast, go to school, sports, church — but when we are adults you need to create your own structure. If you are a stay at home parent, work from home or are self employed, that structure is even harder!  

Here are some tips about how to get and stay in a routine

(1) Exercise in the morning. You may need to get up an hour earlier but giving yourself that opportunity to stretch both your mind and body after a good night’s sleep will jump-start you for the day. Plus releasing all of those endorphins will put you into a great mood!

(2) Go to bed the same time every night and remove technology from your bedroom. A bedroom was meant for sleeping, not watching TV. A lot of people (myself included!) use their cell phone as an alarm clock, but the temptation is there to pick it up and Facebook, play games and read blogs (like this!) during the night when you can’t sleep.

(3) Eat breakfast after you work out. Your body will continue to burn off the calories longer during the day if you do this. Instead of eating, drink a glass of lemon water when you first wake up and drink water throughout your workout.

(4) Set a list of goals for the next day the night before. Before I close up shop for the night, I create a list of everything I need to do for the day while it is fresh in my mind. This will keep you focused on what you need to accomplish the next day and during the week.

(5) Take mental breaks throughout the day. Every 45 to 90 minutes, try to take a 15-20 minute break to recharge your thoughts and refocus your energies. Complete a task before taking a break to help you feel a sense of accomplishment.

I’ll stay focused (on blogging better this month) if you do! πŸ™‚ kpl

Solicitors? Don’t recognize that number? How to make them stop.

Every day I get phone calls from numbers I don’t recognize to both my business line and my cell phone. Who are these annoying people and how did they get my number? In most cases, they purchased a list from another third party which you (unknowingly) gave permission to share your information with other third party vendors.

 no  soliciting no telemarketers do not call list 
The national do not call registry can help with telemarketing calls to your home phone number and cell phone number. If you are listed on the do not call registry and the company calls your personal home line or cell phone, they can be looking at a fine of tens of thousands of dollars per incident. 

Do not solicit list — don’t just ‘take me off the list.’ If you answer the call and it is one of these telemarketers, ask them to place you on the ‘do not solicit’ list. A common mistake is asking them to ‘take you off’ the list — it will not solve the problem. You are taken off that person’s list but not the dozens of others. If that company calls you after 31 days of registering on the do not call list you can complain to the website above — just keep a log of the company, time and date of the call, and the phone number.

Telemarketers calling your business. If you are being solicited on a business phone line, the rules are trickier. There isn’t a ‘do not call’ list for businesses, which makes it harder to field these calls. Here are some tips to dealing with telemarketers soliciting your business:
(1) Google the phone number. Enter the phone number and you will learn immediately who is calling you. One of my personal favorites is, which allows its users to report about calls they receive from exact numbers, who called, and what they were asking.

(2) Block the number. Depending on your company’s phone system, you may be able to block any incoming calls from a specific number. iPhone users can easily block a number by clicking on the circled ‘i’ when you click on the number to get additional information. Virtual PBX systems like also give you an option to block the number.

(3) Don’t Press “1” to be added to a ‘do not call list’ by a machine voice. Often times you will get a robo call, which is a computer calling your number. This robo is verifying that your number is valid. By answering the phone you are doing just that. Clicking ‘1’ does the same thing. I learned this the hard way — I have unsubscribed more times than I can count from one particular merchant yet I still get the same robo call.

(4) Pick up lines When a telemarketer is fishing for leads, they will ask open ended questions like ‘who is in charge of advertising,’ ‘may I speak to the owner,’ or ‘may I speak to the person respnsible for accounting.’ These are clear signs of intent to sell you something!

(5) Politicians are exempt. The do not call list does not apply to those seeking public office during election campaigns.

Door to Door and In-Person solicitors

If you are dealing with door to door solicitors that come to your home or place of business, your city or township can help you. 

(1) Ask to see their permit. In most cities, a permit is required and issued by the city to vendors wishing to solicit door to door. (This doesn’t apply to girl scouts, politicians, snow shovelers or grass cutters, but it does to people selling windows, roofs, and other home repairs.) 

(2) Nine times out of ten they will not have a permit. I have heard the excuse of ‘my boss has it,’ ‘I have it in my car that is parked down the street,’ or ‘my partner has it.’ If they can’t show you the permit, you can call your local city building and they will cite the solicitor if he doesn’t have a permit.

(3) Post ‘no soliciting’ on your door. This sign may or may not detract someone from coming to your door or trying to sell you advertising at your place of business. However, you can easily point to the words posted on your door and politely ask them to leave. 

(4) City may have a do not solicit list of its own. Some cities will allow you to register for their own ‘do not solicit’ list for in-person solicitors. This goes back to the rule that door to door solicitors need that permit from the City.

(5) Be smart. Let’s face it, we live in a scary world. If you see a stranger at the door, you don’t need to answer. Make any scheduled appointments show their badges, work clothes with logo, etc before you invite them into your home.

Good luck! Remember it is always best to be polite, so be polite when you tell solicitors to back off and leave you alone!

Kpl πŸ™‚

Time Out … For Adults

When a child misbehaves, or needs to change and shift their behavior, the adult in charge puts them into a time out for one minute for each year. After the time is up, the adult tells the child why they were put into time out and asks for an apology. Once received, the adult allows the child to continue on with their day.

Why, as adults, do we not use this practice on ourselves? Did we suddenly become so perfect? Of course not! As a child, our parent or guardian kept us accountable for bad behavior. Today, we are the accountable adult that keeps our behavior in check.

How can you, an adult, use the techniques of a time out to improve your bad behavior?

 (1) Recognize when you are not being productive or when you are engaging in bad behavior. This can mean anything — bad behavior can include eating bad foods, yelling at someone, surfing the internet at work, or not being productive at the office.

(2) Write down your bad behavior on a piece of paper, ideally in a ‘time out’ journal. By writing down your bad behavior, you’ll be able to remind yourself later of why you put yourself in a self imposed time out. By putting it into a journal, you can elaborate later about how you got to that mental place to begin with, and see if you have a consistent pattern of putting yourself into a time out for the same thing. It will help you identify if a patterned ‘time out’ is a habit you need to change.

(3) Take your time out. As an adult, though, you don’t have to stand in a corner. Ideally, go for a walk, sit on a park bench, or take a bath for one minute for each year of your age. You can also opt to go for a jog or a power walk if your schedule allows. During your time out, you are not allowed to watch TV — that part hasn’t changed! πŸ™‚ If time constraint is an issue, your time out should be a minimum of 15 minutes. The most important thing is that you find a change of scenery.

(4) Read your note from step 2. After your time out, read the note about why you put yourself there in the first place. Reflect now, with a clearer head, what you feel you were doing wrong or what your changed perspective is. Write down your thoughts below the quote.

(5) Apologize to yourself and do a five second ‘self hug.’ Reward yourself for recognizing your ‘bad behavior’ with a self hug. Embrace yourself and close your eyes for five seconds. Then, put your journal away and move on with your day!

You will feel refreshed, have an altered shift of personal energy, and be empowered to conquer the rest of your day. Enjoy!! Kpl πŸ™‚

We learned life’s best lessons as a child…

…but somehow, as adults, we forget the simple lessons that life has taught us.  This image spoke to me today. Each and every one of us has our own inner power. Whether you’re an athlete, business owner, or trying to take control of your lifestyle, the simple fact is YOU have the power to be great. Everyone has the power to do great things. The willingness to “just do it” is what separates the people who wish they could and those who actually are doing it.

What is holding you back? Are you holding yourself back? Are other people and negative influences around you holding you back? Why aren’t you doing something you want to do?  “Where there is a will there is a way. Great accomplishments can happen with hard work, personal drive, a goal and a dream.” Kpl πŸ™‚ 

#peachykeenlife #healthylife #businesslife

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