To the Reno Tahoe Odyssey Teams

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This morning the first runners took off to start a 178-mile relay race around Lake Tahoe, through Genoa and Virginia City and back to Reno. The Reno Tahoe Odyssey is unlike any other race and is far from a competition for most. Around 260 teams gather to support each other and have a great time as they run a beautiful historic and scenic course. Each runner averages three legs of the race and survives on little to no sleep. Thousands of people come together for one event with little competition and a ton of camaraderie.

To the runners:

Cheers to you! You said “Yes” to this crazy idea! Maybe you ran last year and maybe this is your 13th year running, and you came back and said “Yes” again. Committing to your team, training for your miles and preparing for the unexpected, this race is no easy feat. This is a true physical and mental challenge. The people who come back year after year and the ones who spontaneously agree to participate, these are all of the people who make this event so much fun. It is hard to commit to the unknown and it is also hard to commit to repeating something you know was extremely challenging that you have done before.

It is far from glamorous as you spend 26+ hours in a van with people running and sweating, and trying their best to sleep through adrenaline. You might be sleeping in a hotel at the lake, in the Walmart parking lot, or in your van. Here’s to you for stepping out of your comfort zones to be willing to push your limits and grow through discomfort.

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Recognize your supporters. Every runner gets to do this kind of race that lasts two whole days because of someone else. Someone who supports what they are doing. They support the adventure and the challenge. Maybe they are watching your kids while you run, making meals for your team, or even just the one saying, “yeah, go for it!” when you presented this wild idea. These people are the balance that allows you to develop yourself and become resilient.

Once you finish the race you will be completely wiped out, but you and your team will be united and proud because you all did it. You will be stronger, more resilient, and more likely to do an adventurous challenge again. Nothing feels better than running to the finish line of your leg with your team cheering you on. Runners, get out there and cheer everyone on, push yourself, and have an amazing time! I will be running leg 12 so I hope to see you all at the finish line! Good luck to all of the teams!

Visual Branding and Entrepreneurship: The Stanton Brothers

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How do you tell a real story about your business that lets you connect with your customers and community in a timeless way? I had the opportunity to talk with Nick and Chris Stanton, creators of Stanton Brothers, about how they got started building their dream and how they are helping others visualize and create theirs.

Getting Started:

Chris and Nick have been making movies since they were 9 and 12 years old and have always been cinematic thinkers. When they found an opportunity to start their own company, they both left salaried jobs to pursue their passions and start their business in their hometown of Reno, Nevada. They use techniques, tools and devices of cinema, story and drama to help entrepreneurs, businesses and artists tell the stories behind the brand. “We want to know what their story is; why they do what they do, and how we can best capture that and tap into the heart and soul to tell the story behind the brand.”

Family Business and Branding Values:

One major benefit to working with a sibling is that they never had to sit down and establish their values because they know each other so well. Nick found himself drawn to directing and editing. As the Writer, Director and Editor, he brings the story-telling and big picture, concept-to-screen aspects to the production.  Chris, the Director of Photography, comes from the music video scene in Nashville and has an eye for imagery. He is strongly focused on using his tech knowledge to express that imagery on screen. “We share a brain aesthetically and artistically, but we work differently. 99% of the time we are on the same page and we balance each other out.” They started their business on February 1st, 2017, and if you follow them on social media, you can get a glimpse of some of their inspiring and powerfully creative work.

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Nick Stanton  Image Source

Craft Filmmaking:

“We want to link with the right people. We are not looking for clean and traditional, we want real stories and characters. Emphasizing people is timeless because business trends change, and who you are will weather the storm regardless of externalities. If we do a video on a business, and they go under, the video should be just as useful for the owner in their next endeavor.

We want to bring honesty and authenticity to how people market themselves; this is what we want to do, what we hope others will do, because that is what resonates with our generation. We use real messages to appeal to people rather than constructed commercials. We aren’t trying to have mass appeal; our brand is craft film making because each project is a custom tailored creation.”

Who is an ideal client for them?

Anyone with a story. They look for other small business owners who have a lot of challenges and a lot of passion for what they are doing. They favor businesses who are doing a lot for Reno and the community, and try to connect with people who want to expand their brand and will benefit from telling a cinematic story. “We are not in a sales field because we don’t want to convince people that this is what they need. We want them to see us and get a visual feel for what we do and say, ‘I want that’.”

The Reno Community:

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Chris Stanton  Image Source

To the Stanton Brothers, Reno is home. Both brothers were raised here and went to college at the University of Nevada, Reno. After living separately in Nashville and San Francisco, they found a happy medium back in Reno.  “In big cities you sometimes compromise your ability to access nature, scenery and inspiring places. We lean on our visual surroundings and it would be crazy to give up that resource that Reno provides.” They found that living away made them realize how connected they were in their hometown. “Reno is a city in progress. To be a part of the opportunity as a local is a very cool and advantageous place to be.”

What’s in the future for the Stanton Brothers?

They recently started a project with Cliqvue, an on demand digital platform for short film projects, for their first series titled, “Undiscovered”. Their project will encompass a behind the scenes look at elaborate, high-concept fashion shoots, and dramatic theatrics with scenes throughout Nevada and California. Everything will be sourced by local artists and businesses. “It is sort of a love letter to creatives. Why do we create are when we aren’t getting paid or when no one else is watching? We are investing ourselves into this passion project.”

“We want meaningful work. We can feel when it is right, and if were working on a project, we’re not letting it out of our sight until it is perfect.”

How do you tell your brand story? Follow the Stanton Brothers to keep up with their latest projects and to help you create an innovative visual platform for your business.

Stanton Brothers: Facebook | Instagram | YouTube |Contact






Coaching for “Girls on the Run, Sierras”

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A few years ago a friend asked me if I wanted to volunteer to be a coach for Girls on the Run Sierras, the Nevada/California branch of Girls on the Run International.  I just had my son and I was beginning to go back to school for my MBA, and I felt like my plate was full, but I decided to give it a shot anyway and make the time. My dad volunteered to coach all of mine and my siblings’ sports teams growing up, and I thought it would be fun to be on that side of the sport.

Girls on the Run is a non-profit organization that inspires girls to be happy, healthy and confident through an experienced-based curriculum that integrates running. The program is for girls 3rd-5th grade, and 6th-8th grade, and focuses on building girls up in a team environment so that they can learn to support each other, embrace their differences, and recognize their own limitless potential. Through lessons and practice, girls learn to understand their own values at a young age, and gain confidence to make decisions for themselves that are in line with those values. They learn gratitude, compassion, and build resilience through running. At the end of the season the girls all run a 5k so they can see what all of their hard work had led them to accomplish.

“We believe that every girl can embrace who she is, can define who she wants to be, can rise to any challenge, can change the world.”

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When I started as a coach, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be a good fit because it was hard to connect with the girls as a new coach in the first few lessons, and I wondered what experience I had that would actually make a difference for them. Over time we built up a relationship as I learned more about each individual girl. I learned about their dreams, their home life, things that happen at school, and concerns they had about friends and relationships. As I got more and more into coaching, I was so engaged because I felt like I was actually making a difference. I didn’t have any life-changing wisdom for them, but just being there was what mattered. Having a coach who comes to practice everyday and shows them that they are important to the team, and is there for them when they need to talk; that is what they needed.

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This organization is so inspiring as they work every season to teach girls self-reliance, strength, and values. Everything they do revolves around the idea that they can do whatever they put their minds to and are willing to work for, and that girls should build each other up rather than tear each other down. Having girls experience this kind of support system before they hit middle school leads them to have confidence and a growth mindset, which can give them a major advantage in the brutal middle school years.

I learned so much about myself from volunteering and really expanded my circles of concern and awareness.  I learned that I can make time for whatever it is that I care about, and that I shouldn’t be limited to caring about the things that only effect me or are visible to me. Although I remember how tough it was in those years as a girl, helping young girls going through the same struggles just wasn’t on my radar. Doing something that I normally wouldn’t do led me to have this life-changing experience that I will always value. Those girls are always on my mind, and when I see them continuing to succeed with the principles they learned through Girls on the Run, I know they are going to go on to do great things.

Consider how you can help someone or an organization in your community. Even if you are not sure how to help, sometimes just being there for support or giving your time can make a big difference to someone in need. Like the values behind this organization? You can donate to Girls on the Run Sierras HERE, which supports the program and sponsors girls who don’t have the financial resources to join the program. Girls on the Run always need running buddies to volunteer to run with the girls and support them on their 5k.  If you live in Reno, head down to a Reno Aces game on May 14th, where a portion of the proceeds from every ticket benefits Girls on the Run, Sierras.

Branding a Healthy Lifestyle in Reno: RAWBRY

Getting healthy is something everyone has on their mind at some point, if not all the time, and now businesses are popping up everywhere that help make a healthy lifestyle more convenient, more attainable, and more desirable. Some businesses are getting it right when it comes to their branding and customer relations aspect of healthy living by creating a culture where you are not a one-time shopper, but become a part of their lifestyle and community. This creates a whole experience for customers and allows them to be part of a group that values a healthy lifestyle.

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I had the chance to talk with Brianna Bullentini, who is the founder of RAWBRY and a Reno native.  Located in the Basement in Reno, RAWBRY (Raw + Robbery = RAWBRY) is a cold-pressed juice bar aimed at helping you “steal” back your health and change your lifestyle. When you visit their bar, you will see a variety of juices, shots, smoothies and waters all crafted with a remedy, a reason, and a clever name.   Their business values are inspiring and their successful branding strategy along with the experience they create for their customers is what sets them apart from your typical juice bar.

Getting Started:

Brianna was working as a designer for a firm in New York looking at juice bars trying to find their niche. She kept noticing holes in the market as most of the businesses were aimed at the “green and granola” lifestyle, but leaving out a whole group of demographics by doing so. She wanted people who are looking for a healthy lifestyle, but also those who like to have a beer sometimes. She left the security of her job in New York, started looking for investors for her business, and found herself back in Reno. “I was living in Vegas for a while and constantly coming home to Reno. I was seeing a pulse, a contagious energy of entrepreneurship happening.”

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After having many doors being slammed on her idea, she revamped her business plan. Rather than having a traditional business plan for RAWBRY, she created a “business deck” which was an imagery based guide to what her business was going to look and feel like. Instead of “here’s my plan” it became, “here is the packet of this dream”. She presented it to over 100 people with access to capital and ended up teaming up with two separate investors, and found the designer for the old post office in downtown Reno, which was being transformed into the Basement.

Branding and social media:

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What is particularly impressive about her business journey was her ability to create a loyal community around the lifestyle and feel of her business before she even sold one juice. She started by recruiting brand ambassadors who could represent her product and clothing around town. They were people who were not invested in the company and gave their unbiased feedback.  She owes much of her branding success to social media. “Branding is your presence. It put an emphasis on your look, narrative and your personality. You have to have an ethos that is different than the next guy and own it. Own your niche; your product doesn’t have to be something for everyone.”

Values and culture:

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RAWBRY is about having a no fear attitude. Just as a robber would be fearless, focused and live for the thrill and adrenaline, whether that thrill is the weekend or a business venture. Health comes first in their values and making it convenient is important to their success. Want to take the first steps on a journey to a healthier lifestyle? If you want to jump right in, you can choose a 3 or 5-day cleanse. Or you can start with some of their starter juices like “WuTang” that is not as “green” as some of the other juices and has a cushier flavor. “Replace a meal with a juice and experiment with eliminations in your diet. It is not about depriving yourself of anything, but about providing yourself with an abundance of nutrients rather than depleting them.” RAWBRY also has a cleansing coaching option if you need support and information.

Reno Renovation:

Brianna is involved in city planning for Reno and hopes that RAWBRY is a brand that can be identified as a kick-starter for other local businesses. The feel of the business and the space was hard to find in Reno before RAWBRY, and she hopes that it can be an ignitor of Reno becoming a whole new place. Future plans for RAWBRY include expanding locations and representing Reno in a positive light.

Owning a Business:

Entrepreneurship is something many people dream of. After the success of RAWBRY and other ventures, Brianna says, “Don’t be scared. Go in blind…don’t look left or right, and don’t worry about what the next guy is doing. There are going to be naysayers, but just go with your gut!” She also advises not to hold yourself back because you don’t have all of the answers yourself. Look to other people who are experts in the areas that you are not, and partner with people who can fill those gaps. “You have to be able to put up with the bad days. It’s all firefighting; at first you get frustrated at all of the fires, but eventually, you know the fires are going to be there, so don’t let it throw you off. Put them out and carry on.”

“You build up a resilience and train yourself that it is not all a walk in the park, but bad days are a part of growth.”

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RAWBRY has found a way to make getting healthy trendy, fun, and convenient. Their customers are a loyal group who identify with the values and support the culture of the brand that Brianna has created. Head to the Basement to check out RAWBRY and other fun and unique new businesses in town. Their website warns that RAWBRY is an addiction, and their products really do speak for themselves.

See Brianna’s Tedx talk HERE!

Visionary: Drink & Dream Workshops in the Biggest Little City

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Midtown Reno is a continually evolving neighborhood which, guided by many like-minded entrepreneurs, has become a center for one of a kind businesses that have made it a trendy and vibrant part of Reno. At the heart of it all is Junkee Clothing Exchange, a midtown staple that is getting ready to celebrate their 9th anniversary of doing business. I had the opportunity to chat with Jessica Schneider, owner of Junkee, about their new business, Visionary, described as a “drink and dream workshop”, along with the value it provides to Midtown Reno, and the Reno community as a whole.

Visionary is aimed at helping people understand and realize their goals, while giving them a way to hold themselves accountable for them every day. Having a visual aid of what you want your future to consist of can add clarity to your desires, and ensures that your chosen images are firmly lodged in the subconscious. Visionary is one of the few self-improvement businesses in Reno and is the only vision board business in the United States.

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Visionary founders, Jessica Shneider and Hillary Schieve Photo Source

What made Jessica want to start this business?

In 2005 Jessica started teaching vision board classes at Nothing To It, a culinary center in Reno. When Junkee opened up, her focus was on Midtown. How could she help clean up the neighborhood that had such a bad reputation?  She was taking over the building where Junkee was located, so she decided to make it a more family friendly area, and an ice cream shop would be the perfect fit.  After pitching the idea to others without gauging interest, she decided to do it herself, and Simple Ice Cream Sandwiches was born. In October 2016, she teamed up with mayor, Hillary Schieve, to create her third business, the Visionary, a place where people could come and design their life goals in a real and tangible way.

What is a vision board?

A vision board is something you create as a visible and consistent reminder of your goals. You can visit their website HERE for more information and for a Q & A on the process. Jessica says, “For me, it really reminds me of what I want most. I put my vision boards right where I can see them every day. And, when I look at it every day, my visions come true. It’s not magic, or religious, it a daily reminder of your dreams.” When you walk into her office at Junkee, the wall across from her desk is a wall-size vision board to serve as a reminder of what she values and wants to accomplish.

“Where energy flows, the mind goes”


What is a class like?

Visionary Reno

All of the tools needed for creating a vision board are provided in a class. Classes usually last around two hours and there is a stocked bar of beer and wine available. Every class also has a speaker. Sometimes it is Jessica or Hillary, and other times they have guest speakers to guide subjects such as recovering from failure, parenting, sexuality, and entrepreneurship. This is an excellent exercise for team building because it allows you to see people beyond their everyday persona, and gives you a glimpse of what their hopes and dreams look like. “People start to share what they have created and then they all start to open up to each other.” The reason why a vision board can work is because the board is a reflection of the thoughts we hold around something we desire to come into fruition in our lives.

Everyone has a goal, many are focused on better relationships, dream vacations and living a healthier lifestyle. Jessica hopes to change Reno one vision board at a time while also encouraging a culture change in businesses. Everyone should make one because it draws you away from negativity and gives you something to strive for every day. She sets an example at her businesses by creating a culture of engagement and friendship.

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Junkee team building trip to Disneyland

Her advice for entrepreneurs: “It is hard work! It is not what you think, it takes 3-5 years to build a business and once you have built it, that doesn’t mean that you are going to make money right away. Every business has a story, and moments where you think, ‘What am I doing?’ You need to be a leader instead of a boss and invest in your people.” Jessica’s vision board describes her taking her whole staff to Disneyland, which she was able to do recently with her team at Junkee.

Curious about Visionary? Grab some ice cream at Simple Ice Cream Sandwiches, get inspired with a great find at Junkee, and sign up for a class at Visionary TODAY!  This could be the push you need to recognize and hold yourself accountable for your own dreams. You might find out that you benefit from it more than you expected to, and you will be supporting local business in our amazing town! Have you taken a class like this before? Share your own experiences in the comments!

5 Ways to Explore Your Hometown: Reno Redevelopment

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I grew up and live in Reno, Nevada and to most people who have lived here, it is one of the friendliest and supportive communities to live. Somehow everyone is connected by two degrees of separation and when you meet someone new, it doesn’t take long to find out how you are connected in the community. Reno has been a constantly evolving city and offers a completely different feel than it did even a few years ago, especially in the downtown and Midtown areas. A $1.2 billion downtown reinvestment plan along with the development of Tesla’s giant gigafactory are just a few of the changes that are sure to host and inspire an array of new people and businesses to come to the area.

Reno has become a prime example of how reinvestment and change can bring new opportunities for the city, surrounding areas, and for the people and families who live here. New businesses and services have popped up all around town providing opportunities to discover self-investment opportunities in fitness and wellness, outdoor adventure, social interaction, community involvement, intellectual and career development, and creative exploration.


A substantial part of investing in yourself comes from seeking out new experiences, and what better place to start than in your hometown? (Especially when businesses give discounts to locals!) Whether it is signing up for a class or trying out a new running trail, stepping out of your normal routine can open doors that may lead you to find new interests and passions that you didn’t know you had. I find that even when I take my kids to a new playground or on a new trail around town, I am much more comfortable seeking out other new places to check out and experiences we can enjoy. In future posts I plan to highlight several local attractions, experiences and businesses in the Reno/Tahoe area in hopes of helping people in our city and others in their own towns to find ways to develop themselves through experiences close to home.

Here are 4 ways to explore your own hometown to discover how it can help your personal growth journey.

1. Visit local attractions

Reno and Tahoe are incredibly good about the amount of events that go on in the area, and many of them are free. Going to new places in town, especially with a friend, helps you to become more comfortable with areas you may not be familiar with. The more you can conquer around town, the more comfortable you will be to seek out and enjoy all that it has to offer. Cheer on your hometown team, find the best lake or river to spend the day, and take advantage of seasonal activities such as farmer’s markets, pumpkin patches and snowshoeing.

Great Reno Balloon Races
Great Reno Balloon Races

2. Check off your city bucket list

Try out some of the places that you have always wanted to but never got around to. I’ve lived in Reno almost my whole life, and the more I explore this city, the more amazed I am at the businesses and people that I find. Make a list of new things to do whenever you go out and try not to go to the same places or restaurants twice until you have made it through your list. Free community events such as concerts, movie nights, sports events, and arts are a great way to experience the culture of your town on a budget. Find a local charity that you are interested in and go to one of their fundraising events. This is a great way to step out of your comfort zone if you want to develop yourself in social situations.  You might be surprised at who you meet and the role they play in your community.


Ferrari Farms Pumpkin Patch

3. Take a class

Whether you’re interested in painting, sports or computer programing, take advantage of the classes that your community might offer. Reno has some great options for learning new hobbies like cooking, gardening, and art classes. Community colleges and universities usually offer a variety of vocational courses that are also great ways to explore an interest you may have. Even Home Depot and Lowes offer DIY classes for adults and kids. You might find something you are passionate about.

4. Join a group

Since some of these recommendations are likely to lead you to meet new people and probably ones with similar interests as you, try and join a group that meets every week or month. Ask around at classes or search Facebook for local groups that might spark your interest. Running groups, mom’s groups, outdoor adventure groups, you name it, people want to find others that like what they like. It is nice to have a place to belong to, and sharing experiences with others is a great way to feel good about your journey.

 5. Go on a date night

It is almost always easier to try new things if you have a partner or a friend join you. Arrange some time with your significant other or a friend to do new things that you wouldn’t normally do on your own, like going on a new hike or taking a class. If you decide to do it again, you might feel more comfortable on your own knowing what to expect, and if it is a good place to bring kids or pets next time.

I hope some of these tips encourage you to go out and see the people, places and businesses that make your home town great! What is your favorite experience around Reno and Tahoe that has helped you grow? Share in the comments I will make sure to go experience it too!

Building Self-Reliance Through Experience

Few things feel more amazing than accomplishing something on our own that we didn’t think was possible. Have you ever known someone who is really handy and can fix or figure out anything? Or maybe they are the kind of person that can travel on their own to unknown places almost fearlessly? Many of us would describe ourselves as self-reliant and open to learning new things, but in reality, self-reliance is diminishing.  We live in a time where we have such a vast amount of resources available that sometimes it may be easier or more convenient for someone else to do things for us. Life skills build on experiences that we have and people that we meet, while putting us in a position to better serve and help others who we care about.

How do we build self-reliance? It happens through investing in our own skills and abilities. It comes from asking questions and seeking out answers in new experiences. Comfort and stability drives us to maintain our lifestyles through day after day routines and habits. When a daily routine turns into monthly and yearly routines, it makes it harder and harder for us to step out of our comfort zones and try something new. The less that we make a conscious effort to make a change and continuously improve ourselves, we lose the confidence in our capacity to do something else; something better.

Through my own experiences of becoming a mom, a wife, a student and a professional, I have learned the powerful effects of breaking the habits that were holding me back from success. I used to be someone who made plans all the time. I would agree to any crazy idea that was thrown out there, and then when it came time to actually make it happen, I backed out. I loved the idea of going on adventurous trips and dreaming about what my life was going to be like in the future once I had accomplished something big, but I could never put it into action. I felt like I just didn’t have time, but later I realized that I was uncomfortable and afraid, and holding myself back. Growth can come from facing anxiety, discomfort and even pain, but overcoming those feelings once you have accomplished that new task is one of the best feelings in the world. The more new and uncomfortable experiences you have, you will gain the confidence to trust in your intuition and your own skills to shape your path for your future.

I hope to use my own experiences and new experiments along the way to help people find their paths and create new habits that lead to resilience, wellness, self-respect and confidence. Follow along with me as we explore baby steps to life changers in the world of self-improvement. Ask yourself, what if you could do more? We all have the capability to obtain what we need, especially happiness.