Headbands of Hope Photoshoot

Hi!  Did you miss me?

I needed a few days off, and I think summer is a good time to do that.  Things at work have definitely picked up, especially since I’m working on finishing up the August schedule.  I’ve started to find a really good balance, and I’m not teaching as much as I was, just once or twice a week, and as needed.

A little over a year ago, when I got my job, I was a little skeptical when Matt, my boss, encouraged me to drop my Saturday class.  I didn’t understand why that would be necessary, or why it might be necessary for me to pare down, but he was right, and it sort of feels good to delegate some of my weekly classes.  And when I actually do teach, it feels more therapeutic than exhausting.

But anyhoo…

So yesterday, I had the pleasure of doing another photoshoot with Jess Ekstrom, the founder of Headbands of Hope.  Headbands of Hope is a really incredible organization that Jess started when she was in undergrad at NC State.  I’ve mentioned them on the blog before, but if you’re not familiar with the company, for every headband purchased, a headband is given to a child with cancer, and $1 is donated to cancer research.  Jess and I met while we were working at URec at State, and I guess she thinks I’m cool enough to do their shoots, so I’ve been involved with a few projects of hers.

So for the shoot, we had help from Carolyn Scott of Carolyn Scott photography, a really cool photographer here in Raleigh who has a real unique, dusky quality to all of her photos.  Here’s a little sneak peek of some of the photos.

10984254_10152809893881618_6405920082755475735_n 11061943_10152809894071618_8949467571049953388_n 11215132_10152809893866618_6433688604044872748_n 11750632_10152809894016618_1550647951309143588_nThe shoot followed a bridal theme, so Caroline, of Vestique, played our bride, and provided the rompers for us, which I absolutely loved.  They were so comfortable, and had that awesome flutter sleeve that added an element of drama to the look.  I almost thought for a second that a romper could have been fun for my girls, but they would have absolutely killed me, right?

It was a great, amazing way to kick off the rest of the week, and when I saw the pics, I was so happy they’re going to convey how bomb HoH is.

What are your plans for the weekend?



Sweat Hope 5k

I have a very very special place in my heart for the 5k.  I think a lot of times, that runners, especially those of us who have a few marathons under our belts, tend to look down on the 5k.

Why would you put a 5k sticker on your car?  What’s hard about a 5k?  You’re proud of 3 miles?

But that’s not fair is it?  Because we all started somewhere, even if we’re running ultras right now.  And a 5k is exactly where I started.  The 5k was my gateway, when I knew that I could do some amazing things.  And I love to sign up for a 5k now and then to assess exactly where I am, and to reminisce about a time when I couldn’t even imagine running 3.1.  5 kilometers is an amazing distance.  And guess what?  Just because you’ve run a few marathons doesn’t mean that there isn’t a day that picking up your legs to run 3.1 doesn’t hurt like hell.  Cause it happened to me last week.

That said, I have something cool for you guys.

HoHThis is Jessica Ekstrom, founder of Headbands of Hope, a really cool organization that has caught FIRE she she started it while she was a college student a few years ago.  For every headband/hat/buff purchased from her site, Jess donates one to a little girl being treated with cancer, and $1 is donated to cancer research.  It’s so cool, and I feel so lucky that I’ve known Jess with time to see her extraordinary business grow and grow and grow.

Seriously – here she is repping the company on the Today Show.

Here’s where you, and my love of 5ks comes in.

The Sweat Hope 5k is popping off on September 27th in Raleigh, NC, and I will be running it.  On September 27th, you’ve got a chance to run this race, meet the founder of a great org, and save on your registration!

For $5 off registration to the Sweat Hope 5k, use code overactiveblogger here, and come out to run, enjoy some amazing food from local vendors, and ring in the inaugural Sweat Hope 5k!

Headbands of Hope Photoshoot – official photos!

So I told you all about Jess, the CEO of Headbands of Hope on Saturday.

But if you forgot, here is the lowdown.  I’ve know Jess since we were like kids in college.  Insert throwback Thursday (Wednesday, sorry!) photo here:

183991_1584785505035_1111190_nThis was when we worked at NC State Department of Campus Recreation (now URec), back in like 2010.  How cute were we, right?  Anyhoo, while the rest of us were being young and wild and not knowing what we were doing in life, Jess started HOH, an organization that, for every headband purchased, donates $1 to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and donates a headband to a little girl with cancer.  Cool, right?

So with the help of Peachy Keen to style and outfit us, and Amanda English, our wonderful photographer, we embarked on a fantastic photoshoot to showcase the headbands in gorgeous, 75-degree weather in Raleigh.  Here are the actual photos (not just the bootlegs I took of us 🙂 ).

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So if you’re interested in HOH, click here to find out more, and purchase some headbands!

Love any of our clothes?  (My personal fave is that pantsuit that the model to my right is wearing!), hit Peachy Keen of Cary up here – not only do they have super unique pieces, but they also have some gorgeous jewelry, including some vintage pieces I got to see on Saturday.

If you’re interested in Amanda English photography in the Raleigh/Apex/Cary area, hit up her website/blog here, or her Facebook here – she specializes in a bunch of stuff, but if you check out her site, she’s done some really, really awesome stuff with babies, kids, and families.

If you think I’m pretty, sorry I am off the market!  Tough luck.

Just kidding!  Which one is your favorite photo?

It’s a beautiful day for a photoshoot!

So I had an amazing Saturday.  The weather was amazingly beautiful, and I was amazingly busy.  But one thing in particular, totally rocked my world.  The founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope, Jessica Ekstrom, invited me and a few other wonderful girls to participate in a photoshoot for Headbands of Hope.

So a little bit on HOH.  Jessica started HOH when she was 19 years old.  Yes, you read that correctly, Jess was 19 when she started HOH, and the premise is incredible, yet simple at the same time.  For every headband purchased through HOH, which you can view here, $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund research, and one headband is given to a girl with cancer.  The headbands are really, really, really cute, so it was a no-brainer when Jess reached out to invite us to participate in her photoshoot.

So, heads up, these photos are a sneak peek at the real deal, and the real post on our shoot will come in about a week-and-a-half or so, so I will totally fill you guys in on our awesome photographer and our awesome stylists who outfitted us for the shoot.  These are just a few shot from my vantage point!


So we actually hiked out to the location – and if you thought I was exaggerating about how beautiful the weather was, I totally wasn’t.  It was like 75 degrees, and we did the shoot in Historic Yates Mill Park in Raleigh, a few minutes away from NC State.


After we made it out to the location, we gathered around, finally all dressed and styled, while folks started arriving.


A few gorgeous shots in a field…


And even CEO Jess jumped in to take a few shots of her own with her camera.  I was able to sneak a peek at Jess’ camera to figure out what she shoots with because I’m really wanting to get a new camera for the blog soon.  Everyone is saying that this investment is definitely a good one for the blog, in order to get good, attractive shots.



My turn in the field!

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The shoot wouldn’t be any fun without laughter!

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My mom loved this one when I showed it to her.  I’m excited to see how it came out in the shoot!

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And finally, the shoot ended up with us getting to try on a ton of Jess’ cool designs.  This one is one of my favorites because it’s super duper bridal!

It was such a fun day, and I can’t wait to show you guys the photos from the shoot, and introduce you to our photog and stylist, both incredibly talented ladies!

I hope your Saturday was as busy and awesome as mine was.

What is your feeling on a nicer camera?  Worth the investment to grow your blog? 

Happy Saturday Folks!

I’m sitting in the office, writing, and looking out the window at how gorgeous it is outside.

My plans for today?

Teaching a Zumba class at the Y, a photo-shoot that I think is gonna turn out really cool, a run, and then I’ll hop in my car so I can head to my parents’ house, where I’ll be staying with the dog so I can see my lady-friend, Demi Lovato tomorrow night!

So a busy Saturday on deck.

What are your plans for this beautiful weekend?  

Guest Blogger! Jessica Ekstrom!

I like to utilize my blog in a number of ways.  1, Obviously, I’m trying to keep you guys interested so you’ll actually donate.  2, I love talking about myself.  (Just kidding!  Kinda…) 3, To show off my new nail polish! 4, To give you fellow runners, as well as aspiring runners a taste of my greatness (or to give you some important tidbits I’ve leaned along the way), 5, To uplift some folks in the community that I think are doing some great things.

Jessica Ekstrom is a cool girl that I met while I was working for NC State’s Department of Campus Recreation.  Still to this day, it’s one of my favorite jobs.  There’s nothing better than working with a bunch of like-minded, healthy individuals, which is what I like about my job now.  Anyhoo, Jess is a youngin who has totally got her head on straight, and she’s made waves all over the country with her sweet project.  Jess, everyone!


“Right before my 20th birthday in the summer of 2011, I participated in an internship at the Make-A-Wish Foundation that changed my life forever.

Everyday, I got to wake up and grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. I took day trips to visit the wish kids at their houses and bring them their favorite toys. We received hundreds of letters from wish children that said we changed their lives; little did they know, they were changing mine.

One day, I was pulling my hair back in a ponytail and thought about the hundreds of girls I encountered that lose their hair to cancer. I saw how much losing their hair had an impact on their self-esteem and confidence level.

I thought about the thousands of girls around the world losing their hair to chemotherapy. Being a young girl presents many struggles with self-esteem already and losing their hair as a result of a life-threatening illness is traumatic. Not only do they have to face the risk of losing their lives, they feel that they lose a part of their feminine identity. 
I found that the girls loved to wear headbands to still feel “girly” after hair loss instead of wigs.

Therefore I started Headbands of Hope! For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research.

Since we launched in April, I’ve had the opportunity to distribute headbands to girls in the hospitals across the nation. The best part of my job is opening the door to their room and seeing their faces light up when I bring dozens of colorful headbands to their beds to choose from.  Even though it’s fun and fulfilling to bring the girls headbands in the hospitals, I’m constantly reminded that there still isn’t a cure.

Childhood cancer takes the lives of more children in the U.S. than any other disease – in fact, more than many other childhood diseases combined.  Progress is also especially slow in curing adolescents and young adults, because federal funding for childhood cancers is a fraction compared to adult cancers.  Therefore, attention needs to be brought to childhood cancer.

Progress can’t be made without research. Research can’t be done without funding. And funding can’t be done without awareness. Headbands of Hope aims to start with awareness and end with a cure.

Ever since I was a little girl, purpose has been close to my heart. My drive and work ethic came from knowing my sweat was going to fulfill a need, someway somehow. Cheri and here project “Running for Haiti” does exactly that. Run for purpose. In Cheri’s case, she saw a need in Haiti and used her passion for running as a tool to help.

Whether you’re selling headbands or running around Raleigh, look around you for an opportunity to make the world a better place!”

If you’re looking to make a difference, and you’re stumped, the best way to come up with an idea is to look at what you love.  Do you love to sing?  Do you love to dance?  Do you love chicken?  Find a way to turn that passion into action! And non-profit organizations love volunteers.  If there’s a cause you’re particularly stoked about, jump on board with a 501c3 that could use your skill.  It could turn into a job for you later!