What Sam Heughan Caused 400+ Women To Do

…and it’s not what you’re thinking. (Although, you’re probably right with wherever your train of thought was going.)

January of this year, Sam Heughan (Outlander actor) issued a fitness challenge – My Peak Challenge. I’d been trying to find motivation to make a change, get moving, lose weight, and get healthy. I figured if a Scottish hottie couldn’t get me motivated then there was something wrong with me. Case in point….

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Ummm….what was I saying?

I signed up for My Peak Challenge but found myself not sure how to proceed. I needed more…I just wasn’t sure of what. On Twitter (yay social media!), @MyPeakChallenge mentioned a Facebook group called ThePeakPosse who were helping each other with their challenges. I looked it up, asked to join, and got so much more than I bargained for – in a great-life-changing-these-women-are-AMAZING- way.

ThePeakPosse is the handiwork of Ms. Bonnie Terbush, aka Queen B, aka Bonnie, aka Thou Glorious Goddess of All (I may have made the last one up but it still applies.) Inspired by Sam’s (…oh yes, we’re on a first name basis now…) My Peak Challenge, Bonnie created an email group where several individuals could communicate and motivate. After the first 24 hours, she knew there was NO WAY email was going to cut it – too much interest. Being the organizational genius she is, she created a Facebook group that exploded with interest. As of today, there are 432 freaking awesome women. We talk, motivate, laugh, cry, blush (…what happens in ThePeakPosse, stays in ThePeakPosse…), support, debate, and strengthen each other.
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 FYI: We call that color “Heughan Blue”😘.

Our Queen B had a vision that went above and beyond fitness and motivation. She foresaw us being a force to be reckoned with. What happens when you get a group of focused, determined women? Pure awesomeness. Sam’s charity was the perfect place to start.

Sam’s My Peak Challenge ran from January to March. During that time, ThePeakPosse worked together not only on our separate challenges but also to help raise money for Sam’s charity – Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. The purpose of the challenge was to inspire good health and strength all while raising money for LLR. According to Sam’s Twitter page, MPC raised over $100,000 for the charity. ThePeakPosse’s contribution? $25,588.5. Holy crap, right? Just wait…there’s more.

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Once MPC was over, ThePeakPosse’s fearless leader, Ms. Bonnie, decided it was time to do something for the lovely Caitriona Balfe’s (Outlander actress) charity – World Child Cancer. Were ThePeakPosse on board? Faster than you could say “Sassenach”! So, from April through May, we gave it our all. What did the efforts of our tremendous group of women bring? Oh, only $17,402.58. You need a minute to appreciate our awesomeness? Go ahead. I’ll wait….cue Jeopardy music… You okay now?wcc

Following the end of the campaign for WCC, we held to the whole “rolling stone gathers no moss” theory – no idleness here. The decision was made to focus on Graham McTavish’s (Outlander actor – are you seeing a pattern here?) charity – Action for Children. You can bet your sweet corn-grinder we are all on board with that idea. So, from July to the end of August, we are doing what we can to raise funds for Action for Children. What are we doing and how can you help? Well aren’t you so sweet. I’m glad you asked.

  1. You can make a donation at www.justgiving.com/ThePeakPosseActionForChildren  SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: The donations on this site are being generously matched by Macquarie, the employer of Heather Lee Ying (ThePeakPosse lassie). In order for the match to occur, please include the following statement within your donation: “IN SUPPORT OF THE FUND RAISING EFFORTS, THEPEAKPOSSE/HEATHER L.Y Macquarie has matched our donations for other charities. They are beyond amazing!
  2. Enter to win the basket at www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7c3e22083/  Seriously, the basket contains MIND-BLOWING-AMAZING GIFTS. Everything has been donated by the actors, Mr. Ron Moore and Outlander fans, including members of ThePeakPosse.
  3. We have a Zazzle store (which will stay open indefinitely) with very awesome items (t-shirts and flip-flops and key chains, oh my!): www.zazzle.com/thepeakpossegear
  4. Bonnie created an awesome Action for Children shirt/tank. The best part? It has Graham McTavish’s signature. (Printed – he can’t sign every shirt…that would be so amazing though!!!) You can find it here: www.zazzle.com/action_for_children_graham_mctavish_shirt-235856622228502729
  5. We also have an embroidered hat campaign through Booster featuring ThePeakPosse’s official logo. If you want a hat, you’d better hurry. The hat campaign closes August 7: www.booster.com/thepeakpossehat

All proceeds from Zazzle and Booster go to Action for Children.

Phew! That was a lot of info. We are hoping for a repeat of our prior successes. We would love for you to help out. It’s for an awesome program. They provide wonderful support for children. (Yes, that was a moment of shameless emotional blackmail. Did it work? Maybe a look at what’s in the basket will help…)

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So yes, it all started with Sam’s fitness brainchild but ThePeakPosse has become so much more. I asked Bonnie why she did what she did. Her own words explain better than my paraphrasing ever could:

“I wanted to go beyond Sam’s charity because the show [Outlander] is extraordinary and, in a way, this is my way of giving back to the them. I mean, what can I give them that they don’t already have? I know it sounds a bit corny but if it wasn’t for Diana’s books and the series, I wouldn’t have met so many extraordinary women who have brought me so much love, laughter, support and opportunities to my life. It’s also phenomenal to interact with people from the organization and see first hand where the money is going, how it’s helping the various organizations.”

ThePeakPosse girls feel the same about you, Bonnie. All I can add is that ThePeakPosse has given me so much more than I had planned. It has helped me with my health and not just physically. It has reminded me that one of our purposes in life is to help others along the way. Even though we were inspired by Outlander and spurred into action by a hot Scot, sisterhood and charity are our foundation.

To my sisters, my circle of women, thank you for allowing it.

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For more information (and all those important links):

Facebook page: Outlander – The Peak Posse Charity Fundraiser

To donate: www.justgiving.com/ThePeakPosseActionForChildren

To enter to win the basket: www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7c3e22083/

Zazzle store: www.zazzle.com/thepeakpossegear

Graham McTavish/Action for Children tee: www.zazzle.com/action_for_children_graham_mctavish_shirt-235856622228502729

Booster campaign (Ending 8/7/15): www.booster.com/thepeakpossehat

https://www.actionforchildren.org.uk

http://www.worldchildcancer.org

https://leukaemialymphomaresearch.org.uk

Sam Heughan Photo Credit: Getty Images

Love and Relationships: Looney Tunes Style

My little sister and I watched A LOT of cartoons when we were kids. We have discovered our behavior and vernacular have been greatly influenced by those hours zoned out on TV. The other day at work it occurred to me that The Looney Tunes taught me quite a bit about love and relationships. Go ahead and laugh. I’m totally serious. I wrote a piece addressing that influence and posted it to my BuzzFeed account. You can get to it here: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rph36/love-and-relationships-looney-tunes-style-1lgfr

IMG_0584You really should check it out. I mean, it’s The Looney Tunes. Who doesn’t love The Looney Tunes? If the answer bubbling on your lips is that you DON’T, you might want to keep that tidbit to yourself. We Looney Tunes lovers tend to be a bit impulsive. Something about anvils, dynamite, and falling off cliffs come to mind…

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Mirror, You Can Kiss My (Looking Gl)ass

The mirror and I have a Hate Relationship. Yes, I said it correctly. There is no Love between us. I have perfected the art of looking in the mirror without truly seeing myself. I can do my hair and avoid looking at my face and body. I can put on makeup and focus on sections of my face at a time. I can check my outfit without taking in the whole view. The mirror is a necessary evil and the camera is its malicious cousin. I don’t think I know one person (…it’s not just women…) who actually enjoys mirror time. Well, maybe Caitriona Balfe. Have you seen her?! I mean if I was her, I would take my time to appreciate my exquisite gorgeousness. Long legs, flawless skin, beautiful mouth…things just got weird, didn’t they. Sorry. Anyhow….

Mirrors can be scary but looking is imperative. No one wants to walk around with a bat in the cave (booger in your nose for those of you who don’t speak immature-13-year-old) or leftovers in his/her teeth (I’m all about not wasting food but broccoli stores better in styrofoam than it does stuck to the side of your incisors). I do have moments when I can look and think my kangaroo pouch (what I lovingly call the stomach four pregnancies gifted me) doesn’t look too ginormous. For the most part, I leave the house thinking I’m doing okay only to come home, glance in the mirror, and notice a zit or the fact that I have half-deflated hair. Any of that sound familiar?

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This past week I was part of a wake-up call conversation. Someone posed the question, “Have you ever looked in the mirror and been truly ashamed at what you saw?” The fact that the question was asked wasn’t what made me pause. The fact that I silently answered “Yes” to myself did. That really made me think. Has there ever been a time I’ve looked in the mirror and have actually liked what I’ve seen? I honesty could only think of two occasions. That is a BAD thing. I have two teenage girls. How am I supposed to prevent their self-assessments from being grossly distorted when I can’t do that for myself?

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After I reflected (I swear, pun not intended) on that startling conversation, Through The Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll came to mind. I know what you’re thinking – BOOK NERD ALERT! Stay with me. I’m about to make a point…at least I’m going to try to. The beginning of the story has Alice pondering on the reflections in the looking glass. She eventually goes through the looking glass to discover things are very different – opposite – of what they “should” be. I looked up the word “looking glass”. (You’re not snoring are you? Seriously, hang in there…) A looking glass is defined as a mirror; however, (and more importantly) it is defined as “being or involving the opposite of what is normal or expected.” Thank you very much, Google dictionary. We don’t need mirrors; we need looking glasses.

Unfortunately, when we look at our reflections, we bring expectations, hopes, definitions, and standards with us. What’s even worse is that 98% (…probably closer 100%) of the time those expectations, definitions, and standards come from some outside source AND ARE TOTALLY UNREALISTIC. My husband tells me on a daily basis (sometimes numerous times within a day) how beautiful I am and how sexy I am (..kids, if you’re reading this, you can stop the eye-rolling and gagging noises…). After 16 years, I don’t know if I’ve ever truly believed him. That seriously is ridiculous, right? What about you? What do you do when someone compliments you? That’s what I thought. Time to get a looking glass.

Fashion magazines tell us skinny (dangerously so) is normal. Ads tell us perfect, firm boobs busting out of our tops is normal. Society tells us long, tan legs and perfectly, round butt cheeks peeking out of our shorts is normal. Well guess what? I’m not skinny. My boobs haven’t been perfect, like ever and they sure as heck aren’t firm anymore (another token from four pregnancies). I have NEVER had long legs (hard to accomplish at 5’2″). I definitely have never been tan…sunburned, but never tan. If I wore short enough shorts, my butt cheeks would be peeking out – not because of the length of the shorts but because of gravity. So, according to most fashion and Hollywood standards, I’m a pale, saggy, gravity-victimized, Hobbit-like freak. For those of you who know me, is that how you see me? We need to see ourselves for the awesome creatures we are. Please, pull out the looking glass.

We need to go from seeing ourselves like this:
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To seeing the truth like this: funny-cat-look-mirror-540x600

It’s not going to happen overnight. Self-depreciating humor is my forte. I can belittle and make fun of myself like nobody’s business. Seriously, if I could make a career of it, I would be a bagizziolionare (That’s a word, right?). We need to stop seeing the horrible ugliness and inadequacies that we have grown to expect. Take your mirror and stomp it in to a million little shards (metaphorically speaking – I REALLY hope you saw the metaphorical part before moving on…). It’s time to use the looking glass. It’s time to see what is opposite of what is “normal” or expected. Now, if you are one of the fortunate few who actually like (or at least not really mind) what you see in the mirror, keep it up. You rock!! You have perfected the art of using a looking glass properly. Use your powers for good and try to pass those skills to another. For everyone else, when you are confronted with your reflection and those nasty, negative, self-judegments start to flow, I want you to repeat after me, “Mirror, you can kiss my (looking gl)ass.” (I cleaned it up for the kids…feel free to alter to your needs.) From here on out, your only problem should be:

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That’s right, you sexy beast. YOU. ARE. BEAUTIFUL.

Outlander Life Lessons From Season One

Now that season one is over, I thought it was a good time to reflect on some important Outlander Life Lessons. Instead of putting the full post here, I submitted it to BuzzFeed’s website. If you are in need of a few laughs, head on over that way: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rph36/outlander-life-lessons-from-season-one-1lgfr

WARNING: Post contains a few profanities. Do not read if such things offend you.

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The Ladmo Bag: Proof That It’s Never Too Late

Did someone say Ladmo Bag?! OMG!!! Pick me! Pick me!

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Don’t know what a Ladmo Bag is? Lemme ‘splain.  Growing up, I lived in Arizona. I lived in the “olden times” (as my kids like to put it) when TV had maybe 10 channels. For my sister and I, there really was only one channel that mattered. Well, really it was just one show that mattered: The Wallace and Ladmo Show. It was a local television show filmed in Phoenix, Arizona. Basically, it was a sketch show for kids with cartoons shown within the time slot. That was great and everything, but the real reason to watch the Wallace and Ladmo show? Waiting to find out who was picked for the pinnacle of childhood – The Ladmo Bag.

The coveted Ladmo Bag was full of candy, soda, and other prizes. Along with it came the prestige of being the glorious, chosen one. You didn’t have to be in the audience to win. You could send in a postcard with your name and address. My sister and I probably sent 100s if not 1000s of postcards wishing for a win. At the end of each show, we would sit. And wait. And sweat. And pray. It was anxiety and anticipation like no other. Will they call my name? Will today FINALLY be my day?

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We knew that if our names were ever chosen, we would wear the mantle of the chosen one with pride and dignity…right after we rubbed it in everyone’s faces. We dreamed of that moment. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. The Ladmo Bag goes to……it was always some other kid who wasn’t me or my sister. Every. Single. Time. We tried to be strong and not show our disappointment but….COME ON! We were good kids. We sorta cleaned our rooms. The dishes were washed most of the time. When we fought with each other, we hardly ever drew blood. Why not us?

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Alas…for all of the postcards written, postage paid, and episodes watched, we never won. Then the show ended. No more chances to get a Ladmo Bag. We were crushed. How could it be over? How could we have NEVER gotten a Ladmo bag? The quest for the coveted Ladmo Bag was done. How were we supposed to go on living knowing there would never be another chance?!

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As things usually are in childhood, we cried for a few days, got yelled at for our whining, and eventually moved on. Well, we moved on the best we could. I don’t think anyone ever got over wanting a Ladmo Bag. Seriously, I still get this little pain in my chest when I think about it. Makes it hard to breathe. What? Shut up! I’m telling you a Ladmo Bag was a big deal.

Fast forward 25+ years (please do not feel the need to do any math to guesstimate how old I may be). The desire for the Ladmo Bag? Still alive and kicking. My sister reminisced, complained, whined, and whatever-else-enough that my awesome brother-in-law decided she needed a Ladmo Bag for her birthday. (Seriously…how awesome is that?!) He researched the legendary Ladmo Bag and recreated it to a T. He gave it to her. She loved it. It was awesome. I still don’t have one. *HINT, HINT*

Anyway, the whole getting a Ladmo Bag 25+ years later got me thinking all philosophical and stuff. If something as epic as a Ladmo Bag could happen decades later (…again…no need for math here…), what else could still be possible? Successful career? Finally being able to perfect the Roger Rabbit (…it’s dance move people…keep up!…)? Being an astronaut for NASA? On second thought, scratch the NASA one. Four kids totally ruined my stomach. I can’t even go on the Ferris Wheel without the urge to hurl now. Of course, NASA might be more feasible than perfecting the Roger Rabbit. Seriously…I look like a turkey walking backwards when I try to do it (…and that’s on a good day…).

Anyhow, I feel like there comes a point in our lives when we look around, shrug our shoulders, and say, “Oh, well. Too late now.” Why do we do that? Don’t worry it’s not just you. I totally do it to…but I’m working on it. I feel like I’ve woken up, looked around, and realized I can do better than this. There is so much we are capable if we would stop talking ourselves out of it. I mean, I totally could still get a Ladmo Bag, right? Right?! (…please say yes, please say yes…)

So, I want you stop what you’re doing and think about something you really want to do. (…don’t stop right this second…I mean, it’s only polite to at least finish reading my post…) Figure your something out. What’s your Ladmo Bag? I’m working on mine. There are going to be moments when you get discouraged. You’re going to start to question yourself. I don’t want to hear any of this, “Well, it’s too late” or “That ship has sailed”. It’s all about you now. What you want. What you dream. It can happen. It is not too late. Who’s got the power?

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Darn straight…now go get that Ladmo Bag.

The mystical powers of…blankets?

I had a rough weekend. There was stress, scary television (one word – Wentworth), and allergies…possibly a cold…basically there were a lot of Kleenexes used. I made it through the only way a strong, intelligent woman can – snuggled in a blanket. Not just any blanket though. It had to be my Grandma Una blanket.

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Best blanket ever known to humankind…and it’s mine, all mine! (Unless the hubs steals it – greedy sucker…)

I’m sure you are thinking, “What, pray tell, is a Grandma Una blanket?” I’m so glad you asked. I have a fabulous grandmother who makes blankets that have been consecrated by the Great Patron of Glorious Blankets. Go ahead. Laugh but it’s true. Her blankets are MAGIC. Why are you still laughing? I’m totally serious. She pieces together blankets with scraps from her other magnificent creations, ties the quilt together, hems the edges, and BAM! Behold the Glorious Grandma Una Blanket. I’m telling you, her blankets have mystical, magic, healing, super powers. Seriously, I have proof.

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For all my Outlander friends, you know what a stressful, scary, painful event last Saturday’s episode was. I didn’t want to watch it alone. However, I really didn’t want anyone nearby to see me cry. I needed a buffer between Black Jack and me. (…pssst….he’s scary…) What’s a girl to do?! Enter Grandma Una Blanket. I was protected and shielded from the likes of the reprehensible Captain Black Jack Randall. When I saw the hammer and nail came out? No way. Nuh uh….not gonna watch that. Blanket to the rescue! I made it through by peeking over the edge of my wonderful blanket. When the tears started to fall and my nose started to run? I grabbed Kleenex because, ew…gross, don’t be wiping snot on my blanket! That is NOT how you treat a Glorious Grandma Una Blanket. I have NEVER…well…there was that one time…but I was SIX!!!!

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I didn’t feel well for most of Saturday and by Sunday morning there was no way I was voluntarily leaving my bed. I helped get the kiddos ready for church but wanted to go back to bed with the real comforter in my life – my Grandma Una blanket. (…comforter…blanket…there’s a joke in there…I’ll let you play with it…) It’s not enough to have a super, fantastic blanket during times of yucky, achy, snottiness. When you are sick, there are steps that need to be taken in order for your blanket to work:

  1. Make your bed. Yes, I’m serious. In order for the blanket to work, it cannot be tangled and diluted by other blankets.
  2. Grab the blanket and wrap yourself up burrito style (…if you don’t know what I’m referring to, you’ve lived a sad, sad life…)
  3. Plop yourself on top of your nicely made bed – yep on top of the covers.
    1. Because you are burritoed in your blanket, the plopping can take a bit of finesse. Put all your weight on the outside foot, bend that knee slightly, then push up with a bounce while targeting your body in the direction of your bed. If you don’t get it on the first try – and you haven’t hurt yourself by falling on the floor – try again. You’ll be an expert in no time (at plopping on the bed not hurting yourself – I’m an expert on the hurting yourself…not fun…).
  4. Burrow in and let the blanket work its magic.

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I hear you doubters out there – hatin’ on a girl ‘cuz she’s got it figured out. Everyone has that one blanket in the house – the go-to snuggle-upper. There is no age limit on needing a blankie. I’m…er….uh…between 20-40 and still need mine from time to time. It’s okay if you don’t believe me. Just wait. One day, you’re going to need some solace or something to soothe your aching, ailing body and what is the first thing you reach for? That’s right. It’s okay. Just let it happen. I’ll save my “I told you so” for later.

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SIDE NOTE: I’m not trying to cheat on my blanket or anything but if someone was looking to get me something special, this is it! Behold, the Wonder Woman Comfy Throw – DC Comics Fleece Blanket with Sleeves! Thank you Amazon for truly carrying EVERYTHING.

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Wentworth, Survivors, and Train Rides

In about T-minus an hour and 15ish minutes, I will be able to watch the next episode of Outlander on Dish On Demand. Normally, I’m super excited. Who doesn’t get charged up to see Jamie and Claire (…so much gorgeousness, so little time…)? As loyal followers, we know that Wentworth is coming and Black Jack is back. Now, if you haven’t read the book(s), I will do my best to be spoiler free.

I know that I will watch Wentworth, but I am truly frightened. I HAVE read the books. At one point, I had to put the book down and walk away – the tears in my eyes made it hard for me to see (…damn allergies…). At first, I was very frustrated with Diana (…can I call you Diana?). Why did she put these poor characters through so much heartache? Oh, and SPOILER ALERT, she keeps doing it throughout the books! I actually had to take a break between books. My heart couldn’t take it any more, but I inevitably found myself back in Diana’s world. Her writing is fantastic and, truthfully, wherever Jamie is I want to be.

I digress…I’ve avoided a lot of social media for the past week knowing there would be complaints, speculations, tacky comments, and more. I’ve had a great inner debate as to whether I would be watching the Wentworth episode. Why would I want to put myself through it? Why did Diana feel it necessary to put us all through it? I think I may have figured a thing or two out.

Wentworth is not about victims. I can already hear you yelling, “Say what?!”. Stick with me here. After much thinking, I’ve started seeing Diana’s writing in a different light. Her story lines are not about victims, hopelessness, and/or defeat. She writes with a realistic flare (yes, I realize we are talking about a time-travel story). She does not avoid something to make us more comfortable. She does not choose her characters’ paths to make reading easier for us. She’s a no-nonsense writer. Let’s be honest. Reality really does bite sometimes. Life has kicked me in the teeth more times than I care to count and I’m pretty sure it’s not done with me yet. However, I’m still here and kicking back. I am stronger and smarter (for the most part) because of what I have been through. Giving in sometimes seems to be the best option, but you never know what can happen if you don’t keep going. There is an amazing quote by Han Nolan:

“There’s always light after the dark. You have to go through the dark place to get to it, but it’s there, waiting for you. It’s like riding on a train through a dark tunnel. If you get so scared you jump off in the middle of the ride, then you’re there, in the tunnel, stuck in the dark. You have to ride the train all the way to the end of the ride.” (Dancing on the Edge)

I say again, Wentworth is not about victims but survivors. There are some rough roads ahead for our characters but within the darkness there is light, within the pain there is healing. Even though they are fictional characters, I need to see that even those who think they are broken are able to be mended. I don’t want to use the word “whole”. Once we are broken, we are never quite the same, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. We are about to see a very broken man and my heart hurts with anticipation, but I will watch. I stayed by Jamie’s and Claire’s side through the books, I can’t abandon them now.

Watch. Don’t watch. It’s up to you, but do you really want to get off the train in the middle of the ride? I didn’t think so.

See you on the other side.