Eat Carbs, Lean Into Discomfort and Get on that Dance Floor!

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we certainly had a whirlwind of a weekend! i had all these grand plans of blogging while i was there and capturing every moment…but it turns out that when your head hits the pillow no earlier than 12:30am every night, your blogging juices are non-existent. let’s play catch up.

we spent the past weekend at the Toastmasters International Convention in cincinnati, ohio (every time i write cincinnati i have to look it up). it was located downtown so it made me so happy to be in the midst of the hustle and bustle. they have these neat sky bridges that essentially connect all the buildings for miles.

chelsea and ryan avery sky bridge cincinnatithankfully, when we first arrived i ran into some friends and the first thing they told me about was this place called ‘tom+chee‘ and my friend jef said he had eaten a grilled cheese filled with mac n’ cheese. i stayed silent for a few seconds and told him i needed that in my life within the next 30 minutes or my life could take a very different path. thank goodness i was taken seriously as we all walked the streets of downtown (and took the sky bridge back to the hotel).

chelsea and ryan avery tom and cheese sandwichit was outrageous and i could probably only eat this once a week because it was pretty rich and the grease turned my napkin see-through. but i was happy. my other friend TK very sneakily slid her credit card to the cashier as i was pulling out my money…people are the nicest! i still need to pay that forward to someone.

chelsea and ryan avery chelsea eatinglater that night we had the opportunity to hear susan cain speak about the “power of introverts” and she was fantastic. if you haven’t seen her TEDTalk…take a few minutes (19 to be exact) and watch it because she’s amazing and so is knowing how introverts operate differently. i continuously kept nudging my husband and saying “see! that’s me!” or “nope…i am certainly married to an extrovert.”

the next morning was the 2013 World Championship of Public Speaking and i’ll tell you what was so exciting about ravery winning last year and not competing this year (he’s not allowed to compete again)…i ate breakfast that morning and slept the night before! the world champions (and their guest) get front row seats to the competition so that was pretty sweet! need to get caught up on what it’s like being married to a world champion? here ya be!

ryan and chelsea avery at wcpshere’s the view behind us of just one side of the room:

chelsea and ryan avery wcps crowdit was a great competition and i was SO excited because there were 2 women that made it into the finals this year! shurooq alBanna (3rd from the left in the below picture) was from dubai, united arab emirates and she came in 3rd place and i was almost moved to tears. she was a great speaker with a powerful lesson of cleaning your dirty lenses when thinking about people based of appearance. i thought this was really moving because i know i had some of my own preconceived notions as i watched her walk across the stage in her flowing burqa.

contestantskingi biddle (4th from the left) from rotorua, new zealand came in second with an entertaining and picturesque speech-i now need to visit new zealand! presiyan vasilev (the man on the far left), who is originally from bulgaria but represented chicago took the first place title with a speech called “changed by a tire.” he told a simple and humorous story of attempting to change a tire and finally reaching out for help-to be changed himself. it was a great competition!

i also got to sport my new favorite dress and this is saying something because i’m really a jeans, t-shirt kind and chacos kind of gal. not the best quality of photo BUT the fact that i wore these heels ALL day and then danced ALL night in them…i needed to show them off and this is the only photo of us showing them!

chelsea and ryan avery toastmastersafter the competition, we were treated to lunch by ravery’s mentor and other business partner, dr. randy harvey and his daughter jessica (she’s adorably pregnant and amazing)! we thankfully got ‘adopted’ by their family while we were in oregon so it was so excellent to spend time with them. randy is the 2004 world champion but more importantly one of the most giving, authentic and nicest people i’ve ever met.

chelsea and ryan avery with randy and jessicawe grabbed a bite to eat at the hilton hotel and when the bread basket came out, we all kind of looked at each other funny. there was an array of wheat, sourdough, rolls and pretzel croissants. we polished off that first basket and then ravery asked for more bread and then corrected himself with “actually…can we just have all pretzel things, we need more of those in our life.”

chelsea and ryan avery pretzel rollsif these ever cross your path, eat one and then eat 2 more. trust me. and don’t wipe the huge chunks of salt off like my husband did…that’s what makes it!

that night was the president’s dinner dance where they induct new members of the board to the organization of toastmasters. we started off with an average meal (no picture necessary) but then someone bought wine and instead of getting up to get wine glasses, we opted for our perfectly capable mugs to hold the delicious red beverage. hilarity and classiness at it’s best.

chelsea and ryan avery wine in a mugit was a nice dinner and great to hear about the excellent man taking over as the president, george yan. there were a ton of dessert stations outside of the main room (including a chocolate dipping area, crepe station, and S’MORE STATION). i only snapped a picture of the adorable and delicious s’mores because then my fingers were covered in chocolate and that apparently isn’t good for cameras? i got one for ravery because i’m good wife but then he came back with a plate of his own (and some for me) so i got to enjoy them both! people look at you weird when you’re licking the plate at a classy event. i simply look at them weird back for not.

chelsea and ryan avery s'mores dessertwith a belly full of mug wine and s’mores, i was more than ready to hit the dance floor. this was honestly one of the funniest dance parties i’ve been to in a while! they handed out these little rings that lit up, glow necklaces and other accessories to aid in making your dance moves even more excellent! this included little tambourines, moroccos, sailor hates and so on…

chelsea and ryan avery dance party!ravery and i were quite literally a hot mess but we had SUCH a fun time dancing with people, cracking each other up and excelling and “the wobble baby” dance. google it.

i am so glad we both like to dance because we really have a grand and ridiculous time doing so. we danced so much that my feet required band-aids and he quite literally ripped holes in his socks. haha!

chelsea and ryan avery holes in sockswe had an exhausting yet excellent time this weekend seeing friends and making new ones. it was such a different experience than last year and it’s true that you never know where you will be in a year. if you would have told me i’d be living in houston, about to travel A TON and starting a business with my husband…i would have laughed so hard i could have pulled a muscle. it’s amazing what a year of hard work, tough choices and not fighting change can bring.

the new wifestyle: many of your limits are truly set by yourself. lean into the discomfort, embrace change as best you can and get out on that dance floor!

1) are you a heels and dress kind of lady?
2) how do you feel about dancing in public?
3) what’s something significant that has changed over the past year for you?


  1. david1levy

    August 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    What a treat to meet you finally (however briefly). Thank you (and ravery) for making me feel like an old friend right away!

    So glad you found “tom+chee” also. Good, huh? I hope someone pointed you at Graeter’s ice cream, too! They’re a hometown fave that became nationally known when Oprah referred to it (on t.v.!) as her favorite ice cream!!!

    1) are you a heels and dress kind of lady?

    2) how do you feel about dancing in public?
    With the proper amount of red wine and s’mores, I can do anything. Without them, I might have to read more of Susan Cain’s book to learn what tools this introvert can use to get over my aversion to dancing freely in public. 😀

    3) what’s something significant that has changed over the past year for you?
    My own Toastmasters journey has accelerated. I won our District Humorous Speech Contest and came in second in our District Evaluation Contest, I have subsequently received some speaking invitations and done my first “long” talks. It’s a change from what I’m used to and I’m rather enjoying it! I’m one of those types who couldn’t imagine someone suggesting that others might want to listen to what I have to say for 45 minutes. It’s kind of a good feeling that some people do. 🙂 Onward and upward!

    • chelsea

      August 27, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      david! it was so very excellent to see you person and share hugs on the street-yay! i was pointed to ‘graeter’s ice cream’ but we never got out again to eat outside of the hotel. i am saddened by this and feel like i need to go back…particularly if you AND oprah say it’s the best!

      so happy to hear your own toastmasters journey has accelerated! and yes…45 minutes of speaking is a whole other beast (not that i know…i’ve just worked with someone who has to do this 🙂 ) i bet lots of people want to hear what you have to say so i’m glad you are getting the opportunity!

  2. Frederique

    August 27, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you for this nice recount. I hope I can go to the finals one day. Style wise I always value comfort over look. If I dress up, it has to be comfortable, especially the shoes. 😉 and if I dance and the shoes hurt, I will definitely remove them. To each its own priorities. (You did NOT lick the plate, did you? LOL)
    A big change in our family this year was my oldest daughter stopping gymnastics. When you have a child competing in a sport as intense and demanding as gymnastics, it affects the whole family.
    Stress related to scheduling has been lifted and my daughter has a blank slate in front of her. Now what is she going to do with all this time? This is when guidance is needed. She is still struggling with her emotions and cries sometimes that she misses gymnastics. She stopped working out in March of this year after yet another injury that prevented her to compete at the state competition and a national meet. This is when a lot of hugs are given and a lot of I-Love-yous are said. This year: Guidance and Love……. 🙂

    • chelsea

      August 27, 2013 at 9:47 pm

      that would be excellent to see you in the finals frederique- keep on working for it 🙂 i thought about removing the shoes but i am almost positive my toes would have been broken (all of them) because of the intensity of dancers out there! and fine…i didn’t pick up the whole plate and lick it…but i did sneak in a few swipes with my finger that were questionable 🙂

      i cannot even imagine how intense competitive gymnastics is and what a life change that would be for everyone involved. glad to hear there are lots love and hugs going around though! thanks for your comment!

  3. Paula Howley

    August 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    1) are you a heels and dress kind of lady?
    Heels yes! Twice! dresses, not so much. More skirts and pants.

    2) how do you feel about dancing in public?
    I think we all know the answer to that one. lol

    3) what’s something significant that has changed over the past year for you?
    Holy cow…..EVERYTHING. New business, new friends, different experiences…I could go on for half an hour.

    • chelsea

      August 28, 2013 at 9:14 am

      hahah oh paula-you make me laugh. dancing…”we all know the answer” 🙂 i have seen you rock some high heels! love all the amazing things that have changed for you over the past year! so excited to see where this next year takes you!

  4. Vivien

    August 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Looks like you and Ryan had a ton of fun there!

    1) are you a heels and dress kind of lady?
    Once in a long while if I have a fancy event to go to I like the heels and a dress. Still need help navigating heels at times however…

    2) how do you feel about dancing in public?
    I’m sure you still remember the comment I made several months ago about accidentally elbowing some poor lady in the head while I was dancing at a Christmas party. Enough said…

    3) what’s something significant that has changed over the past year for you?
    In my own small way, its a bit like Paula’s. winning my own contest in this corner of the Toastmasters’ world has helped me meet some really amazing people along the way…a lot of changes from that, including meeting a couple of world champs! (hint hint).

    • chelsea

      August 28, 2013 at 9:18 am

      we really did have a boat load of fun vivien! i know what you mean about navigating in heels…i also had to remind ravery about every 3 minutes that i cannot walk as quickly so he best slow down. and oh yes, the elbow story 🙂 so happy to hear you met some amazing people along the way of your own speech win and it was great to meet you too 🙂

  5. Donni Krier

    August 27, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Dancing after dinner was so much fun! It was really nice to see so many Toasties throw caution to the wind and cut loose! That was my first convention and it was amazing. I met so many people from other countries and had some good conversations. ravery even gave me a hug and I didn’t freak out hahaha! I also came away from it with some serious professional and personal goals. Definitely one of the best weekends of my life.

    • Donni Krier

      August 27, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      Oh and the cheesecake and fried, sugary donuts with the chocolate sauce were my fav!

      • chelsea

        August 28, 2013 at 9:18 am

        what! how did i miss the fried, sugary donuts!!!!! i need to go back.

    • chelsea

      August 28, 2013 at 9:20 am

      wasn’t it so much fun, donni! so glad you had a good time too and that you loved the convention-it’s pretty amazing! i’m glad you didn’t freak out when ravery hugged you haha! so happy this past weekend felt like one of your best-yay!

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