August 27, 2010

The Cupcake's Big Adventure:
My First Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race!

About a year ago I completed in my first 5K and it was a lot of fun. Since then I haven't fallen in love with running but I have fallen in love with the motivation and excitement that comes with training for a race; It gives you direction and a goal. This year the goal was bigger and better! With my fellow team mates Lynn and Mary we registered as Team Cupcake Mafia for the Merrell Oyster Urban Adventure Race!

Prior to the actual race my team trained on their own, did a little reconnaissance and planning, and a lot of fundraising! We managed to raise $2600 for the local chapter of The Make a Wish Foundation. We were recognized as one of two top teams in fundraising and Lynn was recognized as one of two top individual fundraisers. Special thanks to all our donors!

Once race day arrived the fundraising efforts came in quite handy as we earned two course clues. I am not going to divulge the race details since there are still races happening all over the country but I will say the first clue was vital in me spending less time on a bus with a bag over my head.

Through out the course of the day I realized how important it is to pick a good team during your race. Luckily, Not only did I have a good team I had an AMAZING team. It is important to not only work with people you like but that have the same goals as you and are in similar physical shape (though I think my team mates exceeded me here). You don't want to be with someone who doesn't care if you finish the race if finishing is your main goal or to be pushed by someone who considers anything less than 1st place a failure if you're just happy to be there.

Out of 11 teams finishing our Women's Full Course Division we took fourth place. Not too shabby for our first year and for a course that veteran racers have considered their toughest yet. We had a lot of laughs, a lot of energy and awesome shirts! We covered about 34 miles throughout out Denver on foot, bike and using public transportation. We saw some amazing parts of Denver, visited areas that were off our beaten paths, and competed in challenges where we excelled and some that were out of our comfort zone.

I am so thankful for a great day with Lynn and Mary as well as our great transitions team (Phil, Joe, and Monica). I learned a lot about myself both in training and through the actual race and I am so delighted my team is ready to go back for more next year!!!!

August 20, 2010

A Little Bit Goes A Long Way
How King Sooper's Got My Business Back

I think if you're going to blog about a bad experience you have to blog about the good ones as well. About a month ago I wrote about a bad experience with King Soopers, more commonly known as Kroger in other parts of the country.

To sum it up I went in to the store the next day after being short-changed. I asked for the manager and got the Head Cashier and she didn't care. She made no effort to make this experience better, in a nutshell she just shrugged and told me she didn't care.

I had one fellow blogger, Jordan, comment
"So wait, you're complaining about a business that's following standard procedures over money? It's your own fault for not having checked over your receipt and the cash given back to you.

Any business is going to tell you this and to play the victim here is absolutely ridiculous. I'd shrug over you too if I were "C."

Next time you should learn to check your items/receipt before you leave the store."

The reality is yes, I should have checked my money at the time but it really wasn't about the $10, it was about the way it was handled. Having been in retail management I have never read a policy and procedure manual that says "Tell the customer they're flat out wrong, shrug and walk away". I sent my information to King Soopers and got a call back from the store manager. She assured me that contrary to what Jordan indicated in her comment, this was not their policy or standard procedure and the Head Cashier was completely out of line in her actions.

I talked with the store manager for awhile and she let me know that particular employee was no longer at this location and then she did the simplest thing. She asked
Tali, What can I do to get your business back?
It was seriously that simple. I let her know taking the time to let me know the employee was in the wrong and not representing the organization appropriately meant a lot to me. That asking for me to give them another try felt personal and good.

So I will try again, and now I feel like I have someone I can go to directly with my questions or concerns. It feels like a community grocery store again, not just some big box where I deposit my money, take my goods, and go.

August 16, 2010

I Am No Longer An OR Summer Market Virgin

I was very fortunate to be able to go and play at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market this year. Held every summer and winter in Salt Lake City the market is a gathering of outdoor brands, representatives, suppliers, and retailers. A unique opportunity to see the up and coming products, hold meetings face-to-face, and the most magical part, to be around thousands of like-minded people focused on outdoor recreation some merely by career but for many it's a dream job and a lifestyle. There are a ton of reports about OR and the newest latest and greatest gear to be launched soon. However as an OR Virgin I will break this down into three areas of observation.

The Show
As an event planner I have to say this show is amazing!!! Coordinating a city wide trade-show is no small feat. There are so many details, contractual elements, and space requirements it will make your head spin. The OR group did an amazing job, not only designing a great trade show and various parties but seminar content was valuable and the Open Air Demo at Jordanelle State Park was fabulous! Usually you see one or two weak areas in an event of this size, but there were no weak spots to be found.

The People
Going to OR Summer Market was like going to summer camp. I knew I would see a few familiar faces that I have met in person before like Darren Bush of Rutabaga (my adopted brother) and Brad Werntz of Pemba Serves. I also met a lot of friends from Twitter for the first time in person, thanks to Sara Lingafelter's efforts to organize a great Tweetup.

One of the amazing things about the Outdoorsy folks on Twitter is that many of them have mastered the art of authenticity and transparency when it comes to Social Media. By being themselves online you get a true sense for who they are. So our night at the Tweetup was more like catching up with old friends rather than the awkwardness that comes with most first time meetings. Thank you to all that made the Tweetup an amazing night and for making my first OR an incredible experience.

In addition to the Tweetup, I was also blessed to me @JodiM! Also a friend found in the Twitterverse but our connection began through Yoga. I was able to spend two great nights with Jodi going out to dinner, to a yoga class, and I got to help paint her living room. This is what it's like when you meet Twitter folk. Truly amazing.

The WT????
There are three things that blew my mind.

  1. The scantily-clad Trade show models: Yes, I have seen this before but for some reason I didn't expect to catch a full view of semi-nakedness at OR. I remember staring as I walked past the Reef booth because there model was bent over with little more than a thong on and that was a whole lot of booty in my face. Then of course I felt pervy for staring. At another booth, I can't name because I can't remember who it was, models were walking around in lingerie. Does it make for more sales? I don't know? Is it a bad thing? I can't say. I just didn't expect to see it.

  2. I was asked to leave a booth. It was a very spacious booth with plenty of room but they were only interested in having meetings and without knowing who I was or why I was there didn't make any effort to set a meeting with me. I appreciate their dedication to their purpose, to sell, but it definitely wasn't the most tactful approach. There were a lot brands out there who handled their desire for a "meetings only" environment in a more polite and professional manner.

  3. THE DOGS!!!! There were so many dogs and puppies at the trade show I couldn't believe it! All of them were sweet and lovable and ready to be pet. I think every trade show should have dogs.

So that's my experience in a nutshell. Special thanks to Darren for getting me acclimated and being an awesome big brother.

August 10, 2010

Supporting the Girls Without Spending a Fortune: Three Great Sports Bras under $30

I wear sports bras all the time. Seriously, about six days a week. So I need to have quite a few on hand unless I want to be doing laundry constantly or be the gross girl who wears a sweaty sports bra over and over again. However, just like regular bras, sports bras can be pricey. The good thing is you don't have to spend a fortune for quality.

You may have heard of Champion Athletic Wear from their C9 line featured at Target or from their performance apparel and sponsorship of the Expedition Hanesbrand team and their summit of Mt. Everest.

I have been a Champion fan for a long time because they're priced affordability while providing the features I need namely support, wicking, and of course fun colors. Check out my three favorites.

The Basic
C9 by Champion Seamless Racerback Bra- $16.99

This is a great bra for every day wear. I commute by bike, run, and do yoga in this bra and it works for everything. Each season it's available in new fun colors or the basics. It provides my C-cup girls with good support without mashing them. It's nice to maintain a girlish figure while still getting the support I need. This bra is available at Target and while available online in black and white you can find more festive colors in the store.

A Little Something Extra
Champion Shape T-Back Sports Bra - $29.99

If there is sexy in the world of sports bras this would be it. The bra is a little lower cut so be prepared to show a little cleavage. It also features molded cups that add more shaping to it. This is the bra I choose when I am hitting yoga or the gym in the morning and then out to lunch in the afternoon. I don't feel like I am wearing a sports bra with this one.

The All-in-One
Champion Seamless Empire Long Top With Built In Sports Bra - $19.99

First a little disclaimer this bra top lists at $36 however I have always found it about $29.99 and it's currently available at the Champion Website for $19.99. I love this top for the simplicity and empire waist design. It is fitted enough that you don't feel like you're wearing a tent but lets you breathe. Great for those days when skin-tight doesn't feel like an option.

Next time your out shopping for athletic apparel keep Champion in mind. In addition the the bras shown above and other athletic apparel a new line of cold weather training gear will be available in September for both men and women that was inspired by Expedition Hanesbrands. Some of these very pieces were actually worn on the summit of Mt. Everest. The new line includes base layers, hard shell and soft shell pieces. They will be available in select stores: Sports Authority, Modells and on so keep an eye out.