Breast Cancer Awareness: Pink Lotus Foundation & Erin Condren

Sam-headshot-1-copy1 Beloved EC employee and breast cancer survivor Sam Kuhr took part in the Malibu Triathlon as a member of team TBG,  a group of survivors, family members and supporters,  lead by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Tiffany Grunwald, and included Dr. Kristi Funk of the Pink Lotus Foundation. To honor her courage & support this wonderful foundation, Erin Condren is proudly donating 50% of all proceeds of our signature lotus design sold in October. Read more of Sam’s triathlon tale and how you can show your support, too!

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So… I have just competed in the 2016 Malibu Triathlon. I was asked to be part of a relay team by my fantastic reconstructive surgeon, who has sponsored Team TBG for the past 6 years.  Each year her office has dedicating this event to the strong women that their practice has been privileged to care for – all breast cancer survivors. These survivors inspire others with their courage, perseverance, and ability to remain positive as their bodies heal. (Yes, my doctors are angels sent from heaven!)  As I cycled through the rolling hills of Malibu for 25 miles last Sunday, I had plenty of time to reflect on the past 16 months.  I couldn’t help but think about how competing in the triathlon was an analogy for my cancer diagnosis and treatment.   Let me share why.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the first couple of weeks were filled with anxiety, fear of the unknown, and apprehension.  Similarly, when I agreed to be the bike “leg” of our relay team, and was standing waiting for my swimmer to arrive and pass over the electronic chip that measured our time, I was filled with that same anxiety and fear of the unknown.  In fact, when I told my husband that I was biking in the triathlon, his response was, “really?… but you’re not a biker!” You see I’m not… in fact I didn’t even have a bike growing up as a child, but I was assigned this leg of the relay, and rather than try to switch to be a runner where I’d be most comfortable, I just decided to dig deep and figure out how to do it.

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Finally my swimmer finished the mile swim and passed over the chip.  I had my helmet on and was ready to race.  My heart was pumping and, as this was my first triathlon, I didn’t know what to expect. For some reason I was able to put all my anxiety behind me and just start pedaling through the sea of bikers and make my way to the beautiful course along the Pacific.  It was almost instinctual.  It was that same feeling I had when I finalized my treatment plan to attack my cancer. I had chosen my amazing team of doctors after rounds of questions, interviews, and research, and scheduled my double mastectomy. Both times, I didn’t know what to expect… yet I was able to just get going and instinctively move through the process.

At first, I was very hesitant to shift gears. I didn’t really want to pass people, and my stomach was swirling with the ‘what-if’s’.  What if I couldn’t finish the race?  What if I got a flat and couldn’t fix it? What if I fell and twisted my ankle? I mean how embarrassing would that be!?!  Those same feelings were racing around my head as I began preparing for my big surgery.  I had a happy smile on the outside, but inside I was apprehensive, running all of the ‘what if’ scenarios.  Are my will and living trust current?  Did I pay all of the bills?  Do the boys have enough underwear?  What if I die on the table? Do I have enough food for them to eat for a month?  Should I write letters for their wedding days in case something goes horribly wrong? What if they find something else? You wouldn’t believe the crazy stuff that popped into my head.

After the first few rolling hills, at about mile 6, I realized that this was actually not too hard. I began to settle comfortably into the ride, and I realized that I totally had this.  In fact, I began to shift gears, and suddenly it was ME saying ‘on your left’… and passing people!    Same as the first big surgery… I’m not going to lie… it was a monster… but after the first few days, and I began to settle into my new normal, I also realized that I totally had this.  My boys were fine, my friends were bringing food every day, and I was starting to heal.  Yay!

There were a couple of really big hills that caused me to shift gears a little higher and were a bit of a challenge, but again… I knew that I had this and I was cruising along the course. Before I knew it, I was at the halfway point and turning the hairpin bend to ride home. I had that same feeling after my third surgery.  I totally had this, I was recovering as quickly as I could each time, our family was in this bizarre cancer rhythm now, and I had my eye on the finish line.

The last 5 miles were challenging with lots of hills, but I realized that I was overtaking a LOT of people… even those spandex wearing, fierce looking, seasoned cyclists riding funny looking aerodynamic bikes.   My inside voice was saying, “On your left beefcake… let this Warrior Goddess through to pedal off into the sunset… watch and learn!”  And when I reached the finish line, I felt so strong, proud, and felt a huge sense of accomplishment.  Similarly when I was entering my fifth and final surgery of 2015, instead of feeling weak and frail, I felt stronger than ever.  I knew what to expect and what I needed to do to reach the finish line.  And I could almost taste it.

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My experience with Team TBG was incredible, emotional, and life-changing.  We had all been through so much physically and emotionally in the doctor’s office and on the racecourse, and the gratitude and connection we all felt was overwhelming. We shared this incredible energy and experience to raise awareness and funds for three breast cancer foundations. Our 23 teams of cancer survivors, family members, and my incredible doctors, Dr. Kristi Funk and Dr. Tiffany Grunwald all crushed it together!

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Erin Condren has always supported breast cancer awareness.  She is proud to support the Pink Lotus Foundation, and is donating 50% of the purchase price of a Pink Lotus collection item in our signature designs back to the Pink Lotus Foundation.

XOXO

Samantha Kuhr

 

Blogger Takeover: Planner Workshop with Willowcrest Lane

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Norah Pritchard of Willowcrest Lane started blogging as a way to share her life and loves, to stay connected to a community, and to always continue to learn from others. Her blog focuses on ways to make life more organized, more beautiful, and more fun!

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When I first started my blog, Willowcrest Lane, some of my very first posts were about planning. I wrote about the planners I use and why planning has brought me peace. Let me tell you about some of the crazy looks I got about that. People were like, “Out of all the things to write about, you wrote about your planner?”

But as I stood in front of a sold out crowd of 66 kick butt planner women, I thought, “I have found my people!”

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Using my paper planner is one way that I actively try to live a purposeful, balanced life, and I wanted to share that message and meet other women with similar visions.

With that thought, I decided to host a Planner Workshop to gather a community of women in Rochester, NY, the new planners and the pro-planners alike, to share what using a paper planner can do for our lives.

I shared an Instagram recap of the event here, where you can see all the fun candid photos of the day under the hashtag #willowcrestlaneplans.

We met on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the bright, airy Rochester Brainery, where my friend, Jocelyn, from Lemonjam Photography, captured what it looks like to plan, create, and inspire.

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So often, women can get a little lost in the daily grind of working and taking care of those we love, which we do so well, almost too well. It can be easy to become so busy in our roles that we forget to celebrate ourselves for the amazing women that we are.  My goals for planning the workshop were to bring a roomful of inspiring planner ladies together, spoil us all a little, and have a beautiful time celebrating the peace that comes from planning a purposeful life.

Planning an event like this was so much fun! I wanted to make sure that our time together made everyone feel appreciated, so I put some extra fun details like the name tag board, the planner inspiration board, and the paper flower backdrop together to make our time together special. Picture4 The excited buzz when the doors opened could be felt throughout the afternoon. As the planner ladies came in, my guest speakers and I welcomed them with big hugs and even bigger swag bags! We had some amazingly generous sponsors that made us all feel the planner love. I’ve been sharing about them all month on my Instagram, so everyone had an idea of how amazing they were. We couldn’t wait to get them and start planning! They were stuffed full of stickers and beautiful washi tapes from 12 different shops! Picture5 We mingled and showed off planners and our favorite supplies, and then it was time for the guest panel to talk for a few minutes about what planning means to them. My friends, Rachel, Claudia, and Katie are planner pros, and I couldn’t wait for them to share their stories and tips. We covered things like memory keeping, planning for peace of mind, and how to overcome the fear of a blank page. I am so thankful to have met each of these ladies, and share the day with them. Picture 6 Then, it was time for some serious fun with our planners. But first, pastries!  We noshed and talked, before settling down to the workshop tables to plan. Picture7 Each of the workshop tables held a farmhouse centerpiece that my husband makes in our Etsy shop. We loaded it full of sweet treats for the ladies to snack on while they planned. Next to the centerpieces was a very special surprise package from none other than Erin Condren!  

The Erin Condren team sent each table a bundle of their most fun planner accessories and some pieces from their brand new back-to-school line. Each guest got to try out the beautiful new watercolor sticker books, washi, and colored pens, as well as some of her brand new back-to-school line!

Each table oohed and aahed over the pretty supplies, and started planning right away with the stickers, washi, and pens. I chatted with the teachers at the event about how cute the new pencils, erasers, and journals were. I think I know what to get my boys’ teachers for gifts this year!

I am so thankful to the Erin Condren team for supporting this event and spoiling us all with so many of her products.

Along with all the swag bags and table accessories, the raffle tables were loaded with amazing raffle prizes. I worked for weeks with different brands to offer some fabulous raffle prizes. It was so much fun to watch my husband, Tom, and my best planner friend, Rachel, picking the winners.  

The door prize, the highly coveted Erin Condren luxe LifePlanner™, was the last drawing. The room got quiet with anticipation, and I could feel the thrill when I pulled the ticket. The room erupted into cheers and clapping when the winner was called! How lucky!

I am thankful to be surrounded by such inspirational, motivated ladies. I plan for many reasons: to be more productive, a way for myself and my family to stay organized and find balance, as a creative outlet, and now as a way to connect with my community in this journey to living the best life we can. I can’t wait to plan the next one!

Looking for more about planning and events? Follow Erin Condren on Facebook for more info on workshops & conferences!

FriDIY: Little Tikes Car for My Niece

Being an Auntie is one of my proudest roles and of course, I am occasionally guilty of going overboard on gifts for my nieces and nephews. Twelve years ago, when my twin nieces were born I bought TWO Little Tikes cars and decked them out with DAISIES! The gifts were such a hit, so when my brother and his wife were surprised with a baby girl named ROSE, (after two boys) I knew exactly what to do for her first birthday….make a “Rose Royce!”

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I bought fake roses at Michael’s and used a hot glue gun to stick them on the roof of the car. I believe everything is better when personalized, so I used a paint marker (also from Michael’s) to write her name in fancy lettering and added polka dot details to the side door.
slack-imgs.comI found a mini license plate at Toys R Us with peel and stick numbers that called out her birthday on the back. (sorry, forgot to get a photo of that!)
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The gift was once again a huge hit and we couldn’t get Rose to leave her car for the rest of the party! The best thing about this gift is that she didn’t grow out of it for a couple years. Two years later Rose was still taking her “Rose Royce” for a ride around the neighborhood and at the ball park during her brother’s baseball games!

Want to see more DIY projects, product sneak peeks and exciting news around the EC office? Follow us on Instagram!

Erin Condren & DonorsChoose.org

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We’re honored to announce that we will be partnering with DonorsChoose.org during this year’s Back to School season.  For every Teacher’s Lesson Planner sold now through August 31st, we will be donating $1 to projects of YOUR choosing.  At the beginning of September, we will open up a nomination period in which we will ask you, our customers, to nominate projects on the DonorsChoose.org platform that you think are deserving of being funded.  The Erin Condren staff will then select projects from those nominations and other projects near and dear to our hearts to fund using the money raised.  

We selected DonorsChoose.org based off of feedback we heard from our customer base and because we love that they make it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need.  Ultimately, they are helping move us closer to a nation where students in every community have the tools and experiences they need for a great education.

Stay tuned to our blog and social channels for more information on how to nominate projects in September.  We’re so excited to hear from you, and make a difference in classrooms across the country!


$1 of the purchase price from the sale of each Teacher’s Lesson Planner sold in the continental United States will be contributed to DonorsChoose.org. This contribution is not tax deductible by purchasers. The promotion shall last until 8/31/2016, and will have a guaranteed minimum contribution amount of $25,000.

Take Your Dog to Work Day!

We’re all wags and wiggles over here… it’s National Take Your Dog to Work Day!

If you’re anything like us, your love for your canine companions extends beyond the four walls of your home. Our dogs were invited for a day at the office to celebrate this special occasion, which got us thinking: how could we customize some of our favorite EC items to honor our furry friends?

‘Bark Book’ Notebooks, Journals & Notepads

Personalizing a LifePlanner™, TakeNote™ journal, notebook, or notepad with your pup’s name and photo is a great way to keep them close to your heart, even when you’re far from home! They are also a great way to keep track of your puppy’s growth month-to-month, as well as milestones (puppy’s first day at the beach!) and everything in between. Your ‘bark book’ can also be used to keep vital information, such as a feeding and walking schedule when you’re away.  

‘Bone Appetit’ Acrylic Box

There is no better way to show your love for man’s best friend than with a delicious treat! We personalized an acrylic box with a dog-inspired saying that is both fun and functional for your home. It’s especially exciting to think outside of the box and personalize it with a quippy quote to make it your own! After all, everyone wants to be the person their dog thinks they are 😉 Best of all, because the box is entirely acrylic, cleaning is a breeze- just wipe and go!

‘Flying Fido’ Dog Carrier Luggage Tag

When traveling with your pets, the term “precious cargo” doesn’t do it justice! Ensure your fur babies arrive safely (and in style, of course) with luggage tags that hold all of their vital information. We customized ours using the create your own design on the GO! ID tags and simply uploaded our favorite photo for a truly unique tag. There’s always something exciting going on around the EC office! For a sneak peak inside our colorful world, follow us on Instagram.