On this day last year , I was back at my campus apartment at Northwestern following a weekend trip to Arizona to visit my family and take some snapshots for my photojournalism class. There were six weeks left to go in my college career and many new and unforeseen decisions and choices in my future.
The year before that – in 2008 – I was blogging threetimes a day . These posts were short but sweet and still mean a great deal to me because they were how I introduced myself to all of you – by giving you a peek at my daily life and being shocked when you actually came back to read more My biggest decisions during that time involved which story, reporter and producer would fit into my Monday and Wednesday newscasts for the Northwestern News Network. Being news director was an incredibly stressful job – especially for college! – but I wouldn’t have had it any other way because it prepared me for what it can sometimes take for us to achieve our dreams.
And so, on this same day in 2010, I reflect on the past week and where I’ve been – living my dream and loving deeply my family, my friends, my business and my work.
I spent my weekend with Mama, Papa and Baby Bender (makes them sound like the story of the Three Bears when I give them those nicknames!) up in Milwaukee, celebrating life.
Not just any life, but that of my newest baby cousin , who was baptized over the weekend. My little brother is the absolute sweetest thing around little kids. He will make a great Uncle Eric someday – but don’t worry, I’m certainly not getting ahead of myself here, readers!!
It was a beautiful restaurant overlooking Lake Nagawicka with many great options on the menu. I don’t have them all pictured due to low lighting, but we did start with an amazing Oysters Rockefeller and seafood chowder, both of which had intense, rich flavors that left you wanting more.
For dinner, I had a veggie-filled pesto pasta. It was a great treat – thanks, Dad!
It was fantastic to see my family and although their visits are always too short, I’m going to be seeing them in just a couple of weeks for my birthday and Mother’s Day, which just so happen to fall on the same day this year
Fun facts: I was born on the Saturday before Mother’s Day in 1987. Just in time for my mom to celebrate that year – and my brother was born a couple days before Father’s Day six years later!
This leads me to my next love – my friends, my business and my work. Jill is my business partner but she is also one of my very best friends. We were fortunate enough to travel to Michigan on Monday and Tuesday for our first official business trip by plane.
Our destination was Flatout Flatbread headquarters, where we spent two days immersed in video and recipe shoots for the company’s new Flatout Fresh blog that we launched about a week ago.
I don’t mean to sound like an advertisement for the brand here. I think (and hope) that you readers know me well enough by now to know that I strive to be authentic and real with you.
So I have to tell you that as Jenn – and not as Jenn representing Flatout – I absolutely LOVE this company and what it stands for. There were several times throughout our trip that Jill and I looked at each other in disbelief and said, “are we really so lucky?” We feel so fortunate to be promoting a product that both of us not only enjoy eating, but truly stand behind knowing that it does so much good through community service, dedication to great tasting ingredients and commitment to health.
These are just a few snapshots of the videos we made. We also did several video interviews with the owner of the company, who is incredibly passionate (and very good on camera).
To give you some perspective, Jill and I are used to working with big brands – brands that lack that true personality, who stand behind a corporate wall and legality.
I’m not bashing these brands by any means – they’ve worked hard to achieve their mega status. But it’s nice to work for and on behalf of a nationally-recognized company whose owner is both as hardworking and business savvy as she is personable and relatable. Stacey Marsh is a mother of two amazing young girls. Her and her husband Mike built Flatout from the ground up and remain an integral part of its success. The entrepreneurial spirit that they both continue to embody is truly inspiring.
I will never be afraid to tell you all how much I love this company. Don’t get me wrong – Eating Bender is not about to become all Flatout, all the time. But this blog is meant to serve as a place where I share pieces of my life with you and right now, this company is a very big piece of that life puzzle.
I can’t help but gush
Especially when, after two days of intense shooting, we realized our client possesses more energy and spunk than both Jill and I combined. Her constant enthusiasm kept us on our “A” games and inspired us to give our all the entire time. Of course, we would strive to do that anyway – but having a client who is right there with you throughout the experience makes it that much more wonderful and achievable.
When we left Michigan yesterday evening, many hugs were shared. Now I can’t speak for all companies, but I just don’t think that kind of appreciation happens as often as it should. Our client has inspired us not just in the work they do and the product they create, but also in the way they uphold their respect for others at all times. It’s something that Jill and I strive to consider in our own day-to-day business – and to be able to see that from our clients truly warms our hearts. And no, I’m not being too sappy here!
I really just had to share this with you because it’s been on my mind all week I hope you enjoyed this little story and peek into my crazy, wouldn’t-have-it-any-other-way life.
Much more to come this week – as I mentioned to you a couple of posts back, I hope to start up a bit of food journaling in May to get myself back on track and share more recipes with you again. Can’t wait!
EDITED TO ADD: Today is National Walk @ Lunch Day ! Do you walk during your lunch hour? I try to take regular breaks throughout the day to keep moving!