Colleen Nichols - Girl Power - Dana Chirps

One of my favorite enhancements I’ve added to this newly rebranded blog is the “Girl Power” section on the homepage. Here, I’ll periodically highlight a female that I think is doing something inspiring, remarkable, and/or being particularly badass. I believe in women lifting other women up, and this is my small way of trying to do so. 

Without further adieu, here is my first girl power post…

I actually met Colleen through her now husband/baby-daddy, Cory. Cory and I have known each other since the gloriously awkward years of middle school; in fact, he was the one who took me to the Oscars equivalent of Short Pump Middle School, The Eighth Grade Dance. It was romantic in the I-think-we-danced-one-song-together-and-avoided-eye-contact kind of way, but we had a blast. And as a very insecure (keep in mind I had been in treatment all year, and had scars/barely any hair, etc.), I was SO happy and relieved someone even asked me. But Cory has proven to be a life long friend, and all around wonderful human (with an equally as amazing family). 

Now fast forward to college. I saw through Facebook that he had been dating a girl (Colleen), was very active with his fraternity, and just thriving. I was thrilled for him! It just so happened that one of his frat brothers (who was one of my friends) asked me to be his date at a formal, and being at the stage of life where I couldn’t turn down a good (or any) party, I of course said yes. Quickly, I reached out to Colleen and befriended her on Facebook so that I’d have a gal pal to hang out with during the event. Well then my date got back together with his girlfriend (cue eye roll). Annoying for sure, but I totally understood and respected that. But let me just tell you… when Colleen and Cory got wind of it, they were both like “oh hell no, you’re coming!” and quickly set me up with one of Cory’s other fraternity brothers who I ultimately had a fantastic time with. 

But it was at this party, I finally got to meet Colleen in person. She was SO.MUCH.FUN. She's just one of those down to earth people that you can let loose and be yourself around right out the gate. It was a great night, and everyone had a good time. Though, the next morning I vaguely recall being a little rough. ;)

Blurry picture to remember a blurry night.

Blurry picture to remember a blurry night.

Fast forward a few more years. Colleen becomes engaged and then marries Cory, yay! And in the midst of it all she started her blog, The Lunchbox Diaries. Like Dana Chirps, her blog has evolved from where it started. But there were two constants - the honesty conveyed in all of her posts, and her guts to post about the tough stuff... things like mental illness, both the dark and less than glamorous parts of pregnancy (btw, she’s currently pregz with baby number two), the complete and utter bullshit of trying on a bathing suit, etc. Using her her background in psychology and mental health she often provides guidance, or at the very least, support. But make no mistake, she is not a negative person, at all. In fact, she is hil-freaking-larious. 

There is something to be said about a person who continually puts themselves out there in a manner that truly helps other people feel like they are not alone. She doesn't try to convince anyone that things are sunshine and rainbows when in reality they suck. Nowadays, with people projecting only the highlights of their lives on social media, I think it is especially important to acknowledge that sometimes things in life are hard - and that that in and of itself is totally and completely ok and normal. That doesn't mean I'm an advocate of people pissing and moaning about petty stuff on Facebook, but I do think people should know they are never alone in their battles. 

I commend Colleen for fearlessly blogging about the good, bad, ugly, and FUNNY realities of life. She has transformed her blog into a place for people, women especially, to see that it is completely wonderful to be real. 

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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.