September Traffic & Income Report

This is my very first traffic and income report, and I'm super excited to share how the blog has done through the month of September!

Since this is the first full month that I have been blogging seriously and actually tracking analytics, it's difficult to compare these statistics to other months and draw some sort of conclusion about growth and progress.

August Traffic

In August, the blog had 1,182 page views. That means that 1,182 times, a computer user somewhere navigated to my blog. However, only 548 of those times were unique visits, which means that about half of my page views were from repeat visitors (likely my newsletter subscribers and loyal readers, friends and family). My August statistics also show a "bounce rate" of 81.36%, which means that 81.36% of the time that someone navigated to my page, they navigated away without clicking on anything. I've read several places that a bounce rate above 80% hurts your Google rankings, so I wanted to try and get this down in September.

September Traffic

In September, the blog had 1,021 page views. This is down slightly from August, though I'm not super-concerned about that as it's my first full month actually tracking these analytics (and I'm trying to focus on quality engagement with my readers over quantity of visits). It's also likely due to the fact that this post went viral over Twitter, and drew in several hundred more views to that post one day than it would normally have received.

I ran my first giveaway in September (it ends Friday, hurry over and check it out here!), which I think affected my stats in a couple of interesting ways. First, it looks like I actually had more repeat visitors in September (my unique visitors count is only 327, or about 1/3 of my page views, where in August it was about half). That's likely due to the fact that my giveaway allows for daily entries, and there are several people coming back every day to get more entries into the giveaway. The last notable thing for September is that my bounce rate is down to 67.71%, which is awesome! I'm so psyched I was able to draw it down from 81.36%, and I consider that a huge win for the month.

September Income

In September, the blog did not actually draw direct, cash income, which is completely fine with me. It was not one of my goals to start drawing cash flow this month. I did receive around $150 in free product from the sponsors of the giveaway, which in itself is pretty awesome because I love their products and use them regularly when I climb.

In October, I hope to run a second giveaway and begin truly "monetizing" the blog. In blogger-speak, "monetizing" means creating ways through which your blog can generate income. One way is through receiving free product to review and give away, which I did for September and plan to continue to do. I also became an Amazon affiliate and set up my affiliate store (you can find it in the right sidebar!), so if folks purchase through my links, I will be able to receive a commission from Amazon (which is pretty sweet). In September, I also took the following steps to start generating income through the blog:
  • Joined TapInfluence and Sverve, two blogging networks designed to help bloggers get freelance work
  • Started the application process with Mode Media, an ad and freelance network for online creatives
  • Began writing an ebook series that I plan to sell on the blog
  • Created a media kit to provide to potential sponsors, partners and advertisers

Thanks everyone for all your support this month, I'll be back with another traffic and income report in a month to keep everyone updated on how we're growing and changing!

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Career Changes and Fear of the Unknown

Two and a half years ago, I tried climbing.

I had just graduated from grad school, I was working at a nonprofit doing research in the international automobile industry (I know, random), and struggling to find work "in my field" (US foreign policy).

The n00biest picture that exists of me on the internet.
Note the rainbow feet and sneakers.
I loved climbing. Many of you know the story, as I've written about it here a few times - I went from weekly open climb sessions to four-to-five days a week of bouldering. After about a year and a half of that, I knew something was off.

I felt fulfilled when I climbed. I felt belonging and "fit" within the climbing community, and every day, all day at work, I looked forward to climbing.

I changed jobs, and worked at another nonprofit, this time in the propane industry. I needed more money and better benefits, so I took this job even though it was even further outside "my field". I felt I needed to rise and grow, professionally. I felt the need to do the regular "adult" thing and continue on a trajectory to higher-paying, higher-powered jobs, regardless off whether I was dispassionate about them.

Something was off.

I wasn't happy. I mean, I was happy, but I didn't feel fulfilled. I didn't wake up every day feeling excited about what I was doing for a living. I didn't feel bummed on Sundays because I wasn't working that day - instead, I was elated on Fridays because I got two days off of work, and bummed on Sundays because I knew I had to go back to work the next day. You know, the typical American nine-to-fiver mentality. That was me.

In May of 2014, I went to the Red River Gorge, and it all clicked for me. I knew I wanted to make a career in the climbing community, and spend my life developing athletes and drawing people to the sport that changed my life. But, I was scared. We lived in DC, and we didn't have the opportunity for me to make such a huge career change and still be able to pay our bills. I was stuck.

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Kinney
Then, we found out we were moving. And I decided to entertain the idea that maybe we would be okay if I decided to take the plunge. I still interviewed for other full-time, administrative office positions, because I knew I would get them, be good at them, and because I knew they would be stable jobs with salaries and health benefits. But I felt extremely conflicted with every interview. I knew I didn't want these jobs, I just knew they were the jobs I should be looking for. It wasn't what I really wanted to do with my life.

I knew if I made this change, it would be scary, and totally unknown. For all of my adult life, I have worked full-time. Every moment I wasn't in school or studying abroad, I have held a traditional, full-time job. Bank teller, assistant retail manager, program coordinator, researcher, administrative assistant. On and on.  I knew that by changing my career to focus on climbing, I would be taking a huge pay cut, and would have to make sacrifices to make it work.

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Kinney
In some ways, my choice to take the job I have with Hoosier Heights has been a scary change for us, but I am so glad I made this change (and that my husband supports me). I'm bummed on Sundays because I'm not working, and I wake up on Mondays excited to get to work. I have time to work on the blog so that we can make this opportunity work for me. We may have to adjust our expectations and make sacrifices along the way, but I've really never been happier. Five years ago, I never would have imagined I'd have a job I felt so passionately about, where I'd be so happy to go every day, where I'd be training kids that I love, where my skills are valued and where I never feel stressed. It's all been so worth it.
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Working Hard for Friendships and When Working Hard Becomes Too Hard

I would like to start this post by saying that I am a people pleaser by nature. I am absurdly friendly to (almost) everyone I meet, I want everyone to be happy, I am outgoing, I like to make people laugh, I go out of my way to be there for people I love, I am open, I speak truthfully, I am loyal, and I am willing to work hard for friendships with people that want to work hard for their friendship with me.

I'm not a doormat, though, and I have a breaking point like everyone else. Growing up has been pretty weird, and while most days I still feel like a kid, I have gone through several stages in my life and have gained and lost friends along the way. 99% of those friendships that have been lost have simply been lost because we grew apart - our values changed, we moved, and one of us just was not diligent about keeping in touch. And that's okay. That is a natural part of life, and of growing older.

You learn a lot about the value of your time, your emotions, and your friendship as you grow up.

Sometimes it's me, sometimes it's them. Sometimes, it's because I have a fundamental disagreement with their lifestyle, and I don't feel I'm capable of being the type of friend that they need. And, sometimes, it's because I need or want specific things in my friendships that that person is not willing or able to offer. Maybe they value things that I find a complete waste of time and energy, or maybe they want a friend that will acquiesce to their every statement and desire, and never call them out on their mistakes or faults. That's just not a friend that I'm able to be, and that's okay.

I think sometimes I am too open and honest to place myself in the best position to make and maintain friendships. I don't let people get away with hurting me, or others, or themselves, and I don't stand idly by while other people live a lie. I can't be friends with people that use my friendship to peddle their products, and I can't be friends with people who - knowingly or unknowingly - treat me like a black sheep in a friend group.

I've become a lot more relaxed in how I approach my friendships. I used to try so hard to "fit in" to whatever group was most convenient to me - in high school, it was with the "scene" kids that spent all their time at "shows" of unknown, relatively terrible bands and tried to look as alternative as possible. In college, it was with sorority girls with whom I had very little in common - socially and financially. In grad school, it was with the hustle in general - high-powered people with suits and lattes working their lives away. And for what? I didn't truthfully, in my soul, want that life, and it wasn't fulfilling to me. So, many of those relationships and friendships fell away as time drew on. And that's okay.

If I don't have anything in common with a person, and I don't feel a connection with them on some deeper level, I don't place pressure on myself to become or stay close to them. I want open, real, trusting relationships with my friends, people to whom I can tell everything that is on my mind, without fear of judgment, reprisal or competition. Not every person can provide that to me, and that's okay.

It's so crazy the things you learn about yourself and how much self-reflection you're able to do as you get older. So many people place pressure on themselves to maintain friendships that are just naturally falling by the wayside, but I have found it to be true that, as those friendships fade, allowing them to fade is the right thing to do. I truly believe God (or Yahweh, or Allah, or the Universe, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, choose your flavor) places people in our lives when we need them most, or when they need us - and that the opposite is true. When your life's path winds away from that person's, sometimes that friendship fades away. Maybe you'll be friends again in the future, and maybe you won't - and either way, that's okay.

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Marital Finances - Why We Chose To Combine Our Bank Accounts

When you get married, there are a ton of decisions you have to make, some more difficult than others. For most couples, one of the more difficult decisions is how to handle finances once you're married. Not all couples are willing to talk about this, since there does tend to be some judgment that flies between couples - "Oh, you didn't combine everything? Well, Johnny and I are actually committed to being one in every way, so we combined everything." "You combined everything? Oh, I just couldn't imagine giving up my independence that way."

Que eye roll.

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to managing marital finances. Many couples - like one of my girlfriends - choose to keep everything separate, because certain bills come out of each of their accounts, it has worked for them for years, and it would be a huge hassle for them to combine anything. What would be the point for them? They've been doing it their way for years and it has worked flawlessly, and hasn't caused any arguments. Until some point when it does cause issues (if it ever does), what is the point in them combining their finances?

For Seth and I, combining our finances made sense. When we got engaged, we had a pretty huge income disparity, and Seth did not have many auto-withdrawals or auto-deposits associated with his account. It was so much simpler for us to just combine everything so we weren't tempted to count here-and-there, who's spending what, and is that fair. For us it was easier, and created more harmony, to place all our deposits into one account and do all our expenses out of that same account.

Seth also felt really strongly that married couples should simply have combined accounts, on principle. I didn't have a hard-and-fast opinion (as you can see from the above), so because he felt so strongly about it, we chose to combine. We did choose to keep a credit card for each of us though, primarily because if we wanted to buy a gift for the other person, we didn't want them to accidentally find out what it was when they went to look in the checking account's online banking. ;)

Did you and your spouse combine your finances when you got married? Did you keep them separate? Or, did you keep them separate at first and then combine them later?
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Five Love Languages

If you're in a relationship of any kind (whether that be dating, married, or otherwise), I highly recommend you read The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman. This book is so awesome for helping couples learn how to communicate with one another (and really, helps you discover for yourself your communication style and preferences). It's also useful for people not in romantic relationships, but simply relationships with other people - you end up learning a lot about yourself by reading this book, and if your children or others take the quiz, as well, it can help communication in those relationships, too!

As a quick disclaimer: before you read the rest of this post, I recommend you go ahead and take the Love Languages Quiz. I sort of felt like reading the book before taking the quiz - really, even knowing the Love Languages themselves, could taint the outcome of the quiz results. So, go take the quiz first, and then get the book and read up on the various Love Languages and what yours says about you.

Moving on!

Here are the Five Love Languages:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Receiving Gifts
Quality Time
Physical Touch

So. Seth and I read this book a few years ago and took the quiz, and it turns out my Love Language is Acts of Service. This means that I feel most loved when my spouse does things for me, or us, or our home. For example, I feel more loved and supported when dinner or laundry has been done, than I do when I receive a gift from him. My next-most-important Love Language was Words of Affirmation. For people whose Love Language is Words of Affirmation, positive, affirming speech is very important, and negative speech affects them more significantly than those whose Love Language is not Words of Affirmation. For some people whose Love Language is Words of Affirmation, it can also mean that compliments are important - this is not the case for me.

Seth's Love Language is Words of Affirmation, and in a very close second, Quality Time. For people whose Love Language is Quality Time, spending time with your spouse - even if that just means hanging out and watching a movie at home - is most important. Poor Seth, right now we are working practically opposite schedules and barely see each other except on the weekends!

For us, this changed a lot, actually. It was so helpful for me to know that Seth takes being spoken to positively very seriously, that negative speech (or in my case, nagging!) affect him exponentially worse than someone whose Love Language is not Words of Affirmation. It has really changed the way I approach communicating with him, and has definitely made our marriage more harmonious (in my opinion). The same goes for Seth - by knowing that my Love Language is Acts of Service, he knows that taking care of business and not letting important things that need done fall by the wayside makes me feel more supported and loved. I've noticed a change in the way he supports me as a spouse, and it has made me so much happier and relaxed in our marriage.

I've loaned this book to a few of my friends already, and I highly recommend it - especially if you are in a relationship, or married.
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The Climber Shop Product Review & HUGE Climbing Package Giveaway!

I received complimentary products for this review. All opinions are my own.

Those of you that know me know that I am a coffee FIEND. Coffee is my favorite food group. Okay, coffee isn't a food group, but…I love coffee. Like, a lot. As I mentioned in this review, I had a climbing-hold coffee mug pinned for over a year before I started this blog. It's basically a marriage of my two favorite things…coffee, and climbing. I wanted one so bad.

When I began this giveaway, I reached out to the shop where my pin was from (the review linked above is a review of one of their products), and he told me there was another shop making the climbing-hold coffee mugs that he recommended. So, I reached out to Nathan at the Climber Shop on Etsy, and was not disappointed.

These mugs are seriously so beautiful! They are sturdily made, sleek, clean and such a great conversation starter (especially for climbers).

There are some special care instructions that come with the cup, and you can't treat these cups like 'normal' coffee mugs. I'm not saying this is a negative about the cup - it doesn't bother me at all - but it is definitely something to keep in mind. The mugs are not dishwasher or microwave safe, and there is a disclaimer that you should not actually use the climbing hold to support the weight of the mug. I mean, you can….but at your own risk.

Overall, I highly recommend this shop to my readers. Nathan is fantastic to work with, and his products are high-quality and beautiful. These are the perfect gift for any climber.

Visit the Climber Shop on Etsy here and check out all the awesome stuff they have to offer! Nathan also just created a new website, located here! Be sure to check it out!


Today through October 2nd, I am hosting a giveaway of not only this ^ mug from the Climber Shop, but also products from Giddy, Friction Labs, and the Etsy stores Crimp Chimps and CrimpMe.  The total prize package value is over $180! Click the link below to enter - you can come back every day and do additional, daily entries to increase your odds of winning!

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CrimpMe Product Review & HUGE Climbing Prize Package Giveaway!

What climber doesn't love a little whimsy?

There are so many Etsy stores out there selling cute, unique and offbeat climbing products, or climbing-related products, that you can totally have a whole treasure-trove of fun, handmade belongings that scream, "I'm a climber!"

Literally a year ago, I repinned a pin on Pinterest of a climbing mug with a climbing hold attached to it as a handle. I seriously thought it was the cutest, cheekiest thing, and I had to have one. That pin was from the shop CrimpMe on Etsy.

Though the shop is no longer selling their line of mugs, I knew when I started this giveaway that I had to reach out and try and partner with this shop I'd been longing to buy from for so long. (He is, however, selling the climbing holds themselves if you are interested in DIY'ing your own mug.) James, the owner of the shop, generously offered to provide one of his shot glasses to give away to my readers.

This thing is so cute! (Sorry James, I mean…cough…manly!) It looks whimsically perfect, like the climbing hold (a foot jib) was meant to be on shot glasses all along. Totally chuckle-inducing conversation starter for a climber that loves a little something silly.

You can visit CrimpMe's Etsy shop here, and check out all the awesome stuff they have for sale!


Today through October 2nd, I am hosting a giveaway of not only this ^ shot glass from CrimpMe, but also products from Giddy, Friction Labs, and the Etsy stores Crimp Chimps, and the Climber Shop.  The total prize package value is over $180! Click the link below to enter - you can come back every day and do additional, daily entries to increase your odds of winning!

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Crimp Chimps Product Review & HUGE Climbing Prize Package Giveaway!

Like many climbers, my climbing story began in open climb. I had a Living Social, which got me a basic class and a few open climb sessions. A friend heard I was trying open climb, and convinced me to boulder. From that point on, my life was essentially changed.

That friend effectively taught me to climb. I went to the gym with him several days a week, and he coached me through learning to boulder, to getting my first harness and pair of shoes, through V1 and V2. Finally, when I was just starting to break into V3, he hatched a plan.

He bought me a Crimp Chimps chalk bag as a reward for sending my first V3. He kept it in his climbing pack, and the day I did my first V3, he presented it to me with my first block of chalk (how sweet, right?!) People at the gym quickly came to know me as the girl with the Tweety Bird chalk bag.

I literally carried her (yes, her, my chalk bag is a girl) everywhere with me and climbed with her 4-5 days a week for over a year (with the exception of outdoor trips). She has held up absolutely perfectly. She's the perfect size for my hand (which, granted, is pretty small). She has become quite befouled after carrying her for so long, so I'm about to attempt my first empty-and-hand-wash routine with her soon. The stitching and construction feels super high-quality and sturdy, and the Etsy shop has awesome reviews, so she's obviously doing something right!

Crimp Chimps offers so many chalk bags, every climber can find the perfect one for them. They currently have 60 items in stock in their Etsy store. The shop also does custom orders - the shop owner will help customers pick out a stuffed animal to send to their shop, where they will convert it into a chalk bag. So, if you saw a stuffed animal you wish you could get as a chalk bag, or are worried about the depth of some of the smaller stuffed animals on their page, you can choose one for yourself and get it made into a bag for you! Seriously, how awesome is that?!

Visit Crimp Chimps and check out all the awesome stuff they have to offer!



Today through October 2nd, I am hosting a giveaway of not only an adorable grey fox tail chalk bag from Crimp Chimps (pictured above), but also products from Giddy, Friction Labs, and the Etsy stores CrimpMe and The Climber Shop.  The total prize package value is over $180! Click the link below to enter - you can come back every day and do additional, daily entries to increase your odds of winning!

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Friction Labs Product Review & HUGE Climbing Prize Package Giveaway!

I received complimentary products for this review. All opinions are my own.

When I climb, I tend to use the cheapest, most basic chalk for sale at my gym. I've never really tried any other types of chalk, simply because the type I started with was readily available, and worked fine for my purposes. I figured if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I had always wanted to try Friction Labs chalk, but it wasn't being sold at the gyms where I climbed. I was super-psyched when I got to partner with Friction Labs, because I had been hearing about how awesome their chalks are from my climbing partners.

Friction Labs makes three types of chalk: Bam Bam, Gorilla Grip and Unicorn Dust. Bam Bam is "super chunky", and allows the climber to break up large chunks of chalk into the consistency they want. Unicorn Dust is "super fine", or pre-ground so the climber doesn't have to break up any pieces. Gorilla Grip is somewhere in between - "chunky", or partially ground for climbers that like some "chunk" to their chalk, but not a lot.

Of these three, my personal favorite is the Unicorn Dust. Though I do occasionally like breaking up my own chalk, I felt the Unicorn Dust felt particularly drying, sticky, and soft on my skin (though, unlike some other brands, the drying effect wasn't uncomfortable at all).

It was also noticeable for me how much longer Friction Labs chalk stayed on my skin when compared with other brands. It just wasn't necessary to chalk up between attempts, like it  sometimes is with other brands. You end up using less chalk with  Friction Labs, overall, because it doesn't slip and slide off your hands  during attempts.

Their chalk (particularly the Unicorn Dust), actually feels sticky. You can tell that the chalk is adhering better to your skin and staying on longer, and is making a noticeable difference in your climbing  (especially on bad holds).

The one big road block for climbers I know to using Friction Labs chalk regularly is that this chalk is significantly more expensive than other chalks on the market. It is hard to argue against using the more mainstream brands (like Black Diamond) when Friction Labs 10-ounce bags cost $25, and comparable-size Black Diamond bags cost $10.

However, many climbers may not be aware that Friction Labs offers a monthly chalk subscription service, delivered right to your door. The subscription creates a lower cost-per-ounce than one-time ordering, and can be paused at any time. Because we're being truthful, I will say: Friction Labs chalk, even with the membership, still comes out to be more expensive than buying a mainstream chalk brand.

You, as a climber, will have to decide if it is worth the cost (I personally say it absolutely is worth the cost, especially in high-stakes situations like comps or that rare outdoor trip to a highly-sought-after climbing destination). Friction Labs and I are offering you a couple of great ways to try their chalk at a lower-than-normal cost.

First, Friction Labs has kindly offered two different discounts for my readers (and you won't be able to find these discounts any where else, so get on it)!

For those of you that aren't sure which type you would like to try, they are offering a sample pack of three one-ounce bags (one of each type of chalk), and four stickers - the Friction Labs beaker logo, as well as the Bam Bam, Gorilla Grip and Unicorn Dust logos (and we all know how much climbers love their stickers)!

You can find that offer (available for the specially-discounted rate of $10) by clicking right here.

Think you know what type you want? Friction Labs is offering a discount for my readers on one ten-ounce bag of the chalk of your choice (plus four stickers!). Normally, a 10-ounce bag of Friction Labs chalk will cost you $25, but my readers can get a bag for the discounted rate of $19!

You can find that offer by clicking right here.

 Visit Friction Labs and check out all the awesome stuff they have to offer!



Today through October 2nd, I am hosting a giveaway of not only five-ounce bags of each of these types of chalk from Friction Labs, but also products from Giddy, and the Etsy stores Crimp Chimps, CrimpMe, and The Climber Shop.  The total prize package value is over $180! Click the link below to enter - you can come back every day and do additional, daily entries to increase your odds of winning!

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Giddy Product Review & HUGE Climbing Prize Package Giveaway!

I received complimentary products for this review. All opinions are my own.

When I first started bouldering, I had a major issue with my skin. The skin on my hands was delicate, I was climbing at an extremely high rate for a beginner (around five days a week) and my hands just would not develop callouses quickly enough to make bouldering comfortable for me. I almost had to quit bouldering.

I quickly found a skincare solution that helped condition my callouses, kept my skin smooth and helped developed strong, flat callouses I could climb on without pain. For two years, I used a pumice stone and followed it with one of the few wax-based climbing balms on the market.  I kept having friends tell me to try Giddy's hand balm, saying it was so much better than the brand I was using, but I was totally afraid to switch.

Until about a month ago, when I partnered with Giddy and received their products for this review.

First, I would like to say that Giddy's customer service is awesome. The guys are super down-to-earth climbers that love and believe in their products, and are quick to respond and friendly. I have loved working with them and highly recommend them if you're looking for skin care and/or apparel products (their website can be found here).

Hand Balm & All-Natural Healing Salve

I have been using Giddy's hand salve for about a month. It varies from its biggest competitor in that it is not oily or greasy, at all. It is a very dry product, much more indicative of a pure wax rather than a wax mixed with oils. Some people really, really hate the oiliness of Giddy's competitor, so if that is something that drives you nuts, this is the product for you.

The balm comes in several different scents (cooling mint, cedar mint, lavender, and sweet orange), which is pretty awesome. My personal favorite so far is the orange, but I would be willing to bet that the cooling mint feels pretty amazing after a hard day of outdoor climbing when your skin is totally wrecked (I plan to test this theory later this month)! It is made of almost entirely organic ingredients, and is an all-natural product.

Overall, I LOVE this product. It works awesome on my torn-up, gym-bouldering skin, and it smells amazing. I plan to keep using it for the foreseeable future in place of the salve that I use now.

 Joint & Tendon Balm

An interesting departure from its competitor, Giddy also makes a Joint & Tendon Balm (again, an all-natural, almost entirely organic product). It is a salve that is made specifically for massaging into tender areas where climbers are experiencing pain, stiffness or tenderness from joint or tendon issues.

It smells great and has a cooling sensation on the skin. I suffer from some swelling and stiffness in the joints of my fingers (though thankfully, no actual tendon injuries yet, knock on wood) and this stuff feels great on those days when I have tried super-hard and my joints have paid the price. It's made with several organic oils that create a cooling sensation and help calm the joint (like an ice pack would), including menthol, peppermint and eucalyptus. This product is unique in the industry (from what I can see), and I highly recommend climbers give it a try if they are looking for something for agitated joints or tendons.

All-Natural Lip Balm

Okay, guys. I am seriously in love with Giddy's lip balm (again, an all-natural, almost entirely organic product). I am a lifelong user of mainstream lip balm brands, but I have been converted. Giddy's lip balm comes in several scents (like the Hand Balm does), including spearmint, peppermint, sweet orange, and lavender. It feels so awesome going on, and lasts FOR. EH. VER. It's a smooth waxy consistency, and not slippery or slimy at all. It feels like it is really healing and protecting your lips, rather than just going on and sitting on like many of the mainstream lip balm brands do (and did I mention, it smells awesome?? I again love the orange).

Bottom line, I would recommend all of Giddy's products to my climbing partners. Particularly if you are using one of Giddy's competitors in the hand salve market and are not 100% satisfied with it (or, if you are having issues with flappers or peeling skin), I strongly recommend you give their hand balm a try.

Go check out their website and social media pages, and all the awesome stuff they have to offer!



Today through October 2nd, I am hosting a giveaway of not only Giddy's spectacular products, but also products from Friction Labs, and the Etsy stores Crimp Chimps, CrimpMe, and The Climber Shop.  The total prize package value is over $180! Click the link below to enter - you can come back every day and do additional, daily entries to increase your odds of winning!

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My Myers-Briggs personality type

My Myers-Briggs personality type has always fascinated me. What I love about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) versus other "personality" or "aptitude" tests is that it is extremely comprehensive and specific. It doesn't attempt to fit people into four or five neat little boxes, but instead yields one of 16 different personality types for each person that takes the test. Those personality types lend themselves well to certain aptitudes, skills and careers, and it is hilariously obvious to me that what I am doing now is exactly what is recommended for someone with my personality type.

The different personality types one can receive from taking the test are as follows:

Extraversion vs. Introversion

Sensing vs. Intuition

Thinking vs. Feeling

Judging vs. Perceiving

My MBT has changed in a couple of subtle ways over the last 18 years (since the first time I took the test). When I was younger (especially until I was about 21) I was just slightly over the line into Thinking, and Judging. However, for the last eight years or so, I have been a consistent ENFP (that is, Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceptive). I think the older I get, the stronger the F and P types get for me. According to the Myers & Briggs Foundation (the creators of the test), ENFP's are: "warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. See life as full of possibilities. Make connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently  proceed based on the patterns they see. Want a lot of affirmation from others, and readily give appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency".

There are a multitude of websites that attempt to describe each MBT in various ways. One website, The Personality Page, describes ENFP's as: "warm, enthusiastic people, typically bright and full of potential. They live in the world of possibilities, and can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types. They love life, seeing it as a special gift, and strive to make the most out of it. ENFPs have an unusually broad range of skills and talents.  They are good at most things that interest them. Project-oriented, they may go through several different careers in their lifetime. To onlookers, the ENFP may seem directionless and without purpose, but ENFPs are actually quite consistent, in that they have a strong sense of values which they live with throughout their lives. Everything they do must be in line with their values. An ENFP needs to feel that they are living their lives as their true Self, walking in step with what they believe is right. They see meaning in everything, and are on a continuous quest to adapt their lives and values to achieve inner peace. The ENFP is usually an intense individual, with highly evolved values."

GUYS. This is literally my life! Does this or does this not sound like a coach?! "They…can become very passionate and excited about things. Their enthusiasm lends them the ability to inspire and motivate others, more so than we see in other types." Right in the feels, man, right in the feels.

Unfortunately, taking the full, official, sanctioned MBTI costs money ($50) (I've taken the full, official test twice, both times in school). However, there are a variety of websites that offer mini versions of the test (I recommend you take more than one to confirm your results), including here , and here.

What is your MBTI? Did you take it in the past and again recently, like I did? Did your type change over time? Do you think your type suits your personality and career choice well?

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Stuffed Peppers & Israeli Couscous

As many of you know, my husband is the cook in our house. He loves to cook, and he is damn good at it…so I figure, let him be.

JUST kidding. I hate cooking, and I'm not that great at it. That's one of the great things about marriage, right? We each have our strengths and we complement each other perfectly.

We try to eat really healthy in our house. Whenever we cook at home, we try to cook consciously, keeping added sugars, fats, oils and empty carbs to a minimum. One of my favorite dishes of Seth's is Stuffed Peppers with Israeli Couscous. It is super-delicious, and high in antioxidants and lean protein. Better yet: It's made in the crock pot.

Stuffed Peppers

1 lb ground turkey or ground beef
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
1 dash cinnamon
1 dash cumin
Salt and Pepper to Taste
4 Red bell peppers, cored and seeded
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes, undrained
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup pasta sauce/tomato sauce

Brown turkey/beef in skillet, adding garlic after about 1 minute; drain fat.  Add parsley, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper; stir to combine.  Cook 2-3 minutes.  Remove top of red bell peppers.  Spoon in meat mixture, fill about half full.  Add a layer of fire-roasted tomatoes; then fill remaining space with meat.  Repeat for each pepper.  Place in slow cooker.  Top each pepper with a couple tomatoes and a drizzle of pasta sauce.  Add remaining tomatoes and juice into bottom of cooker.  Add remaining sauce and broth to bottom of cooker.  Cook on high 3 ½ hours.  Serve with Israeli Couscous.

Israeli Couscous

2 cups uncooked Israeli pearl couscous
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pinch cinnamon
1 cup golden raisins
2 Tbsps water
Handful chopped almonds
Handful chopped parsley

Cook couscous according to label.  Saute onion and cinnamon in oil until golden, ~5 minutes.  Add water and raisins, cook 2 minutes.  Toss onion and raisin mixture with couscous, almonds, and parsley.

It is seriously soooo delicious! The addition of the raisins is my favorite part, I think. It gives it that little bit of sweetness, and mixed with the acid of the tomatoes and savory of the ground turkey, it is the perfect healthy dish (and it makes enough for leftover to take to work for lunch)!

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Living intentionally and maintaining our values in Indiana

Moving from DC to Indiana is a huge cultural change. For any of my readers that aren't from either of those places, I cannot stress enough how huge a cultural change this is for us.

One thing that made me really nervous about moving from DC back to Indiana is the fact that we don't really live like "typical" Hoosiers (I'm speaking broadly here, I realize there are some Hoosiers with similar values to us). I was really concerned that, when we moved, we would have a tough time maintaining our lifestyle and our value system because of the cultural differences between DC and Indiana.

1. Eating healthy

In DC (recently dubbed America's fittest city in the American Fitness Index), eating healthy is a way of life. It takes little to no effort to eat a diet low in fats, empty carbs, and sugars, because places that serve those things are simply not as readily available as they are in the Midwest. You'll have a much tougher time finding a McDonald's, Burger King or Taco Bell than you will in Indiana. In DC, there are a multitude of healthy eateries and groceries stores on every corner - Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, salad shops, and vegan restaurants abound. Hoosier food culture is just very different, and is one centered more closely around steak and potatoes topped with ice cream. One of our biggest concerns moving back would be that, while we are surrounded by people tempted to eat quick, on-the-go and unhealthy foods, we would have to intentionally maintain our desire to fuel our bodies with healthy food (and thus, eat in for nearly every meal).

2. Exercising

People in Indiana don't exercise at all, especially when compared with the rate of exercise in DC. Part of that is the issue of city planning - you have to drive literally everywhere in Indiana, whereas in DC you can walk nearly everywhere. Exercise is built into the culture in DC - people ride their bikes or walk miles to work rather than drive, or they walk, then take public transit, then walk some more. Sports (like rock climbing, hello) are much more prevalent on the east coast, and people are more into spending their leisure time being active (hiking, biking, paddle boarding, etc.) We knew when we moved that we would have to be intentional about maintaining a high level of fitness focus in our lives, so that it didn't fall by the wayside in a culture that doesn't emphasize or value it nearly as much.

3. Being green

People in DC are all about their recycling. Possibly because they don't want to end up like NYC with stinky garbage lining their streets every night, residents pride themselves on having more recycling going out on trash day than they do garbage. More people in DC have embraced the idea of alternative sources of energy - such as using solar power in their homes. I recently read an article about a girl that had decreased her waste so much that she was able to fit two years worth of garbage into one 16-ounce mason jar. That's a little extreme for us, but I would love for us to get to a point where we are only creating that amount of waste every week. We like being green, even if folks in Indiana think we're a couple of tree-hugging hippies.

4. Caring about issues

Obviously, DC is hyper-focused on politics. Conversations you have with friends and colleagues during leisure time often naturally center around big-picture issues and current events. Indiana just isn't that way. The pace of life here is slower, people are more laid back, and they tend to not be as engaged in serious political or current event discussions (or even think that they matter). We really want to stay engaged with significant issues, and stay focused on education and learning as we grow and plan to start our own family.

This post is in no way meant to dog Indiana. We moved back here for a reason. We wanted a slower pace of life, less focus on competition, less overcrowding, a lower cost of living, and to be closer to our parents. We just knew, when we made the decision, that we would have to be very intentional with the way we lived our life in order to maintain many of the values we picked up in DC. These are all aspects of the East Coast lifestyle we hope to carry with us here in the Midwest.
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