Life Is Tough, But So Are You

This post contains affiliate links. I received the tee to review for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

I have a problem when life sends tough stuff my way. I tend to focus on the tough stuff and not on the way through it. I wallow. I worry. I complain. Life is tough, and I don’t like it.

I’m really thankful God is growing me in this area and doesn’t allow me to stay in that place for long. Life IS tough, but so am I. I didn’t always think this way. Strong and tough were not labels I would have always claimed. That has changed over the past fifteen years because I’ve been through moments that required strength I didn’t even know I had. Rather than focus on the fear, worry, or discouragement I felt in those tough moments, I choose to focus on the toughness inside of me that carried me through and brought me out a better person on the other side.

What are those tough moments in your life that uncovered your strength?

For me, three particular times of my life come to mind. These are all very positive events in my life, but they each required (or still require) all the toughness I could pull together.

  • Childbirth
  • Motherhood
  • Running a marathon

Childbirth and running a marathon tested my body beyond what I ever imagined, but they also maxed out my mental toughness. I have so much joy associated with the memories of giving birth to our boys and crossing that marathon finish line, but I also knew that I could do just about anything if I could make it through those exhausting feats.

Motherhood is a whole different kind of tough and this is where I needed (and still need) the biggest mental adjustment. It is also where I need the strength of God inside me most. Raising children is no joke, people, but it is some of the most important work I will do. My children will make mistakes, butt heads with me, and need the same lessons taught to them many times. We’re all sinners and life together is messy. When it gets tough, I need to not feel defeated or discouraged, but rather repeat to myself: “This is tough, but so are you.”

Now I have the shirt to remind me:

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When I don’t have the toughness I need, I know God is there to strengthen me and to surround me with family and friends that will hold me up and call out that strength. We need to be those people for each other.

I know so many people going through hard things – illnesses, divorce, natural disasters, job loss, etc. I wish I could give each of you a great big hug, pray with you, then remind you that you are just as tough as those circumstances. Let’s be done with despair and defeat and worry. I’m ready to embrace my toughness with a smile.

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The new “Life Is…” t-shirt line from Cents of Style captures all of life perfectly. Life is tough, but it is also beautiful, sweet, grand, and an adventure. However you see life or WANT to see life, one of shirts will speak to you!

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The “Life Is” collection launches today with a fabulous sale! Pick your favorite shirt and use the code LIFEIS1 at checkout to get it for just $15.95 with free shipping! That is a huge steal for these gorgeous, high quality tees.

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How do you see life? How do you want to embrace this life? Grab a shirt today to claim that vision!

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The Best of Fall Fashion!

This post contains affiliate links. I received the sweater to review for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

This time of year is a struggle for me. The calendar says fall starts this week and it is my FAVORITE SEASON EVER. The temperatures this week, however, are still screaming SUMMER. I really don’t like that at all. While I hide from these 90º days, I’m going to dream of sweaters and jeans and boots until they become a reality.

Thankfully, Cents of Style is there to indulge my love for fall fashion with the most amazing pieces to wear this season. I’ve picked out a few of my favorites from their new releases, but it only scratches the surface! Let’s start with these fabulous fall fashions:

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clockwise from top left

  1. Jessa Diamond Sweater Kimono – more details AND a sweet discount later in the post!
  2. Tobin Cut Out Ankle Bootie – I love this new take on the ankle boot this year. The cut-out detail gives it so much fun flair!
  3. Diana Geometric Cutout Dangle Earrings – Fall screams gold to me. I love the warmth of it paired with browns and reds and oranges. These make a statement – and kind of look like leaves!
  4. Rylan Crochet Peasant Tunic – I adore this color and tunics are my favorite. Paired with jeans, boots, and those gold earrings…ah, fall perfection.
  5. Nisha Wool Panama Hat – Everybody needs a great fall hat. Go with a brown one like this to complement the colors of autumn!
  6. Esther Wood and Gold Cuff Bracelet – More gold jewelry, I know, but doesn’t your arm deserve to get in on the fall fun? Love this bold, but simple cuff! And the wood accents are genius!
  7. Lexia Geometric Kimono – If you live in a place with a warmer fall, this lightweight kimono might be more appropriate. I just can’t get over the fun geometric pattern and fringe!
  8. Giovanna Glass Bead Necklace – Long tassel necklaces pair perfectly with long sweaters and skinny jeans. The camel color is very in this fall, so this necklace will match every outfit!

Now back to that diamond sweater kimono…

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THIS is the reason I want the temps to cool down. I want to wrap myself up in sweaters that feel like blankets and not sweat to death!

A sweater kimono is a layering piece to take everywhere with you this fall. I’m picturing a hayrack ride or bonfire…pardon my daydreaming, but I just want to go there right now! The key to pulling off this look with a heavier piece on top is to keep the pants nice and sleek. I would opt for skinny jeans or leggings with boots to complete the fall look!

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You have to get your hands on this sweater kimono, so we’re offering you a deal! Use the code KIMONOHOME at checkout to get the Jessa Diamond Sweater Kimono for only $17.95, including free shipping!

The sweater kimono is available in four great colors (navy is sold out – bummer) that will make any fall outfit pop AND keep you nice and snug. The black is stunning, the gray makes a subtle statement, and the burgundy is bold and beautiful!

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I needed a brown sweater to round out my fall wardrobe and this one is it. I’m picturing it layered over burnt orange, plum, and, of course, lots of cream or white. So many options, and it has the cutest wood buttons on the sides to create sleeves!

Go grab your sweater kimono for just $17.95 with code KIMONOHOME before they sell out!

Which color did you choose? What are your fall fashion favorites from Cents of Style?

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The Boot & Scarf Combo Sale is Better Than Ever!

This post contains affiliate links.

This is my very favorite sale from Cents of Style every year, but I think this year is the best yet!

On this fourth anniversary of Fashion Friday, Cents of Style is celebrating by offering the boot and scarf combo with the pieces every woman needs this fall: ankle boots and a blanket scarf! When you use the code FOURYEAR, you’ll get the boots AND scarf for only $29.95 with free shipping! CRAZY GOOD DEAL!

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I wasn’t sure how I felt about ankle boots for a long time, but last year, I fell in love with them.

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Skinny jeans, wide leg jeans, even a dress pairs perfectly with ankle boots! The ankle boots in this sale come in four great colors: black, tan, taupe, and burgundy.

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After you’ve picked out your favorite ankle boot, just pick out your favorite of the six blanket scarves offered in this deal, enter the code FOURYEAR at checkout, and you’ll get everything for $29.95 shipped! I ADORE my Cents of Style blanket scarves!

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I am just dying over these fabulous combos for fall:

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I really need to pick quickly, and you should, too, because this deal always sells out FAST! You can use the code FOURYEAR to get the ankle boot/blanket scarf for only $29.95 shipped through Sunday, September 18th!

Grab your combo, then tell me what you picked in the comments!

 

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The Ethically-Made Tunic

I am an Elegantees ambassador. I received this tunic at a discounted price and receive a commission when you purchase with my discount code at no extra cost to you!

Tunics are a wardrobe staple for me. I can pair them with leggings, skinny pants, or jeans. A tunic can be dressed up or down easily with the right accessories and shoes. And tunics are oh-so-comfy!

Yes, I love tunics, but I’ve discovered one stands above the rest for an important reason: it is ethically-made and provides meaningful employment for women rescued from sex trafficking in Nepal!

Elegantees is a favorite shop of mine because of their mission AND gorgeous designs. Elegantees designs are what I would consider “basics with a flair.” Their tops and dresses can be worn so many ways. I was so excited when they asked me to share one of their latest designs which just launched today!

Ethically-Made Tunic

The Madeline is a fabulous dropped shoulder, a-line tunic. It is both comfortable and classic. The navy will transition so well into all the fall outfits I have planned, particularly with boots and skinny pants!

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One of my favorite things about the Madeline is the length. Some “tunics” these days are not quite long enough to cover my behind, but the Madeline does so quite well. I am 5’6″ and wearing an XS, so I think you’ll be quite happy with the length no matter your size!

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It may seem weird to be excited about this, but the Madeline tunic is also MACHINE WASHABLE! As a busy mom, I do not do well with “hand-wash only” items. I just can’t do it. I need pieces I can wear and wash and wear over and over again!

The Madeline tunic also comes in beech (olive green) and marsala (soft rose/pink). I am seriously considering adding both to my fall wardrobe because I LOVE THIS TUNIC.

Elegantees has so many great fall pieces in their line right now – you MUST get to shopping. I even have a discount for you – use “homewiththeboys” to get 10% off your entire order! Please let me know if you have questions about sizing, etc. I’m happy to help because I am happy, regular Elegantees customer! It’s pretty amazing to know the clothes you love to wear are also employing women who have been freed from the sex trade. When you get your first piece with this tag, you’ll know how I feel:

Elegantees Tag

Which Elegantees items will you be adding to your wardrobe?

What are your favorite ways to wear tunics?

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It’s a Sister Thing

This post contains affiliate links.

My sister and I have not lived in the same place during our adult years. Despite the miles between us, we are closer than ever. Marriage and motherhood have given my sister and I so much to bond over. She is a wonderful aunt to our boys, and her two daughters and my three boys just adore each other! We only live less than three hours apart, so I’m thankful we get to see each other in person several times a year. And phone calls are a must, when we can find a few minutes of quiet!

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Now we’re adding another bonding experience. This fall, my sister and I will do something we’ve never done before: take a sisters-only trip! The trip is about sister time and being able to chat for hours without kids interrupting us (YAY!), but it’s also about another shared interest: running!

Sisters First Half

My sister ran my first 5K with me and I had the fun privilege of running with her for her first half marathon last fall. Next up is our sisters trip to run another half marathon together! We’ll also get some fun shopping and relaxing time before and after the race and I CANNOT WAIT!

Sis, if you’re reading this, I am super thankful for you and for the way our relationship has grown better and better over the years. I have a little present for you to celebrate our trip and our friendship. (I just borrowed it for a few minutes for this photo shoot, but it’s all yours!)

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I like to wear reminders of the things that are important to me and I like to give gifts that do the same. This rose gold “Sister” necklace is both meaningful and fashionable – does it get any better?! I know it will look perfect on my gorgeous sister!

Sister Necklace

Cents of Style has so many great necklaces to celebrate the things important to us in their Tribe collection and they are just $11.99 each with free shipping when you use the code TRIBE4 at checkout! Just look at all the amazing choices in this collection:

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At this price, I think I need go order a few more for myself (since the sister one is for my sister!) and as gifts!

What Tribe necklace will you be ordering during this sale? Don’t forget to use the code TRIBE4 and order before this sale ends!

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At The Cross (and a $5 Flash Sale)

I received this cross to review from Dayspring. This post contains affiliate links.

I need you to know I am not a chalkboard artist. I love to write and I was a teacher, but writing on chalkboards was never my favorite. If someone wants to find a few extra hours a week for me and come over to give me chalkboard art lessons, I would be a willing student because I LOVE the look of chalkboards of all kinds.

You also need to know that I have a hard time letting things go. I’m not talking about forgiving people or holding grudges. I struggle with giving my worries and fears and disappointments to God and leaving them in His hands. I need to take this advice that I give to my kids about handling disappointment, but I’m still a work-in-progress myself.

When this chalkboard cross from Dayspring arrived at my doorstep, I thought about all the cute designs I could put on it if I was a better chalk artist, but God put just one simple reminder in my head:

“at the cross, at the cross, I surrender my life”

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I knew right away what He was telling me. I need to surrender those hurt, negative feelings and LEAVE them there at the cross. My sin nature leads me to try to pick them up and carry them on my own, but He wants them LEFT AT THE CROSS.

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It’s just a chalkboard cross, but in the hands of God it became so much more. The art isn’t beautiful, but to me, it is a powerful visual reminder of His promise to carry my burdens.

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The cross means different things to different people and that is the beauty of this blank chalkboard cross – you can use it as you need and as God leads to speak life, freedom, hope into your home!

I would love for each of you to have one, so I partnered with Dayspring to give you an amazing discount! From now until Monday, August 8, use the code ERIN5 to get your own small chalkboard cross for only $5!

Want to get free shipping on your order? Grab several of these $5 small chalkboard crosses to use as gifts and add some faith-inspired school supplies to put your order over $50 and shipping will be free! There is also an awesome $5 flash sale featuring 28 more items going on right now, so stock up on these great deals while you’re getting your $5 cross!

Don’t miss out on this exclusive flash sale – the $5 chalkboard cross with code ERIN5 expires Monday, August 8th!

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A “Be Brave” Update & Sale!

I received the featured product to review from Cents of Style. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links.

It’s been two months since I first wrote these words…

I feel just about everything except brave today.

I felt brave seven months ago when I decided I would train for my first marathon the following spring.

I felt brave when I filled out my registration for the Fargo Marathon and sent it in.

I felt brave as I started my marathon training plan in February with my eyes set on conquering my next running goal.

I even felt brave as I finished my 20-miler a month ago, the longest run I would do during my marathon training.

Today, the day before my first marathon, those brave feelings escape me, so I’m writing this now to remind myself of the brave moments that led me to this one.

I’m also writing this to remember that I am not brave on my own. I am brave because my God looks at me and says, “You can be brave because I am with You.”…

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I’m wearing my Be Brave shirt from Cents of Style today as we drive north to Fargo for my first marathon. It is just the encouragement I need running through my head as the time to run (a REALLY long way) draws closer. Be brave – embrace it with me (and maybe pray for an extra does of it for me?!) today!

Just a few days later, I completed my first marathon and it was incredible. You can read all about the race here, but you should know that running those 26.2 miles made me feel like I could do just about anything. Two months later and I’m still feeling that bravery. I even signed up for my second marathon!

Do you need a reminder to be brave? Or be still? Or be kind or bold or true?

Be Series tees

The whole line of “Be Series” tees from Cents of Style is on sale today only for just $15.95 each + free shipping with the code BRAVE1 at checkout!

Pick your word and grab your tee during this great sale – I know you will be inspired wearing your reminder!

Which of these words do you want to BE?

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Cleaning is Better with FREE Caldrea Products!

This post contains affiliate links.

TRUE OR FALSE: Cleaning is a necessary evil in my life.

Most of the time I would say TRUE. I’m not the best at keeping a clean home and I can’t really say I love it. However, since cleaning is a necessity (yes, with three boys, but also just cleaning up after my messy self), I have to decide whether it is going to be a burden or a blessing for my family home. Sometimes, you just need the right perspective to change chores into happy, productive work. Maybe a spoonful of sugar would help, too?

I also think having the right cleaning products – ones that work well and smell good – can make any chore better. And when those amazing products are FREE?! Well, you know it will be a good cleaning day!

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Have you joined Grove Collaborative yet? It is this amazing subscription service for all things natural and healthy for your home and family. Cleaning supplies, personal hygiene, hair care, and much more are offered in this easy to use and affordable program! I love the ease of use and the great variety of fabulous products they offer, but my favorite thing is when they offer FREE STUFF!

Pear Blossom Agave

Today, you have the chance to try out Grove Collaborative and get a gorgeous set of Caldrea products, including:

  • Free Caldrea dish soap
  • Free Caldrea countertop spray
  • Free Grove Collaborative dish brush
  • Free shipping

This set is valued at $30 and is yours free as a new Grove Collaborative customer!

Want to get your Caldrea set and see for yourself why I love Grove? Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for Grove Collaborative here and you will receive the Caldrea offer for free!
  2. Answer 4 quick questions about your home that Grove Collaborative will then use to customize your products — this takes under 30 seconds!
  3. Once you’ve answered the questions, you can finalize your basket of products to suit your household needs by adding or removing items.
  4. To receive this offer, your order needs to be a minimum of $20. Choose the combination of products and scents you love and receive in your first box. I’m a big fan of Method hand soap and I’m giving Dr. Bronner’s organic hand sanitizer spray a try this month!
  5. You made it! Click Finish & Pay and place your order. Don’t forget this special offer is only available until July 24 or while supplies last.

Bonus savings tip: Don’t forget to sign up for Grove Collaborative’s free 60 day VIP trial after you complete your first order! I love being a VIP ­­ it saves me time and makes shopping with Grove even more affordable. For 60 days, you can save too, with free gifts and shipping, price matching, exclusive sales, and personal service.

If you are already using and loving Grove, you can still get free stuff! Just click here to get a beautiful free wooden scrub brush with your next order!

This offer is only good through July 24, 2016 or while supplies last, so claim your free Caldrea gift now! Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll help you out!

Please note that Grove Collaborative currently does not ship to Canada, Hawaii, or Alaska.

Which yummy scent will you be choosing for your free gift?

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At Home in the Good Life

I received this necklace for review from Cents of Style. This post contains affiliate links.

I grew up in South Dakota. The same city and state my whole childhood. I loved “my” state.

When it came time to choose a college, however, I needed to spread my wings a little. I didn’t fly too far, just to neighboring Nebraska, where I found my place as a Husker. Lincoln was just supposed to be my college home, but it became much more.

In Lincoln, I found a personal relationship with Jesus. My faith changed and grew and made me a new person in Christ starting my freshman year of college.

In Lincoln, I met my husband. We were both in the Cornhusker Marching Band. He proposed to me in the Sunken Gardens. We got married in Lincoln and made it through some major challenges together in those first few years.

In Lincoln, we bought our first home. Just two months before our first child was born, we found a cute little place to call our own. We moved in record time with the largest moving crew of friends ever just one month before Big J made his arrival.

In Lincoln, all three of our children were born. Three handsome boys joined our family in the span of six years. Each boy was dedicated to the Lord at our church in Lincoln.

We no longer live in Lincoln, but we have found our place here in Nebraska. It truly is the Good Life. While South Dakota will always be my birth state, Nebraska is home.

When I saw the new state necklace design from Cents of Style, featuring the state name and the coordinates of that state’s capitol, I knew immediately it would be a treasure for me.

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Lincoln is the capitol of Nebraska and holds a very special place in my heart, for all the reasons listed above and more.

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I was hesitant to leave Lincoln at first, but we love our new hometown and I can’t imagine living anywhere else but Nebraska. I still love Lincoln and I can hold it and all its wonderful memories close with this beautiful double-bar necklace.

State Necklace Alone

This new state necklace design- with state name and capitol coordinates – AND the original Cents of Style state necklace are just $11.99 each with free shipping this weekend with the code NEWSTATE at checkout!

Tell me about the state that has captured your heart! Which state necklace will you order and why?

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To the Person Who Wants to Be Great “Someday”

This post was sponsored by Nature Valley as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

When I ran my first marathon in May, I was overwhelmed by the support, encouragement, and congratulations I received in the days leading up to and following the big day. Our world really can be full of kindness and joy and I felt every bit of it!

Run Happy

Amongst the congratulations, I also heard many people say, “You’re making me want to run a marathon someday!” These statements made me excited because I would love for more people to find a love for running and accomplish a huge goal like running a marathon or race of any distance. But I couldn’t ignore the “someday” part of their comments.

Here’s the deal: when we see people doing great things – writing a book, running a race, going on a grand adventure – we think these things are out of our reach at the moment. Since we can’t do them right now, we tuck these things away in our “someday” file, never sharing them with someone else. Most of the time, our “someday” dreams of greatness never happen.

How do we fix this? How do we move past “someday” and towards being great right here, right now?

First of all, I needed someone to tell me that I didn’t have to wait to pursue my dream. A marathon slowly worked its way on to my bucket list, but making it a reality seemed so far off until my husband said, “I know you can do this.” I didn’t full believe in myself, but he spoke those words and I suddenly couldn’t wait to prove him right.

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There is power in our words. You never know when your encouragement, like my husband’s, will be the catalyst to someone else doing something amazing. Be the one to encourage someone else to pursue their dreams and surround yourself with people who will do the same for you!

Secondly, my idea of “greatness” needed to change. Being great doesn’t magically happen in an instant. The reason “someday” often stays “someday” is because we don’t see the greatness in getting started on our dreams. I would have never been able to run a marathon unless I took that first step on the first day of the Couch to 5K program four years earlier. That first run/walk didn’t feel so great, but when I look back, it really was. Committing to a program, getting started, and putting in the work IS being great.

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For those who dream of running a marathon, I say, “Get out there and run!” 1 mile, 3 miles, 10 miles – every mile is another closer to your dream. The first step is just as great and important as achieving the dream and the latter wouldn’t happen without the former!

This is what I want you to know: you don’t have to wait to be great. You can be great out there today. Your great will definitely look different than someone else’s, but it is just as great. Go get it.

When you do take that first step of greatness, please tell me, because I want to cheer you on!

General Mills Nature Valley® and Facebook are partnering together to give you the opportunity to speak words of encouragement and support to that important person in your life looking to tackle a huge challenge or chase a dream. Nature Valley focuses on giving you the energy to do great things and now they want you to pass on those good vibes! It’s super easy – just visit their Facebook page to find our how to send a positive, encouraging video to your loved one! If you need some extra inspiration, check out this awesome video from Nature Valley!

You can also get involved in this movement by sharing supportive messages on social media with the hashtag #BeGreatOutThere. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see our timelines and feeds filled with words of encouragement?

Nature Valley also wants to share some of there wholesome goodness with you – just print this coupon to save on your next Nature Valley purchase! The Hubby and I have gone gluten-free lately and I was pleasantly surprised to find some yummy gluten-free options from Nature Valley. The Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Protein Bars are amazing!

Nature Valley Gluten Free

You can get connected with Nature Valley and the #BeGreatOutThere movement on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but let’s get the encouragement started right here!

Who has inspired you to #BeGreatOutThere?

Who could you encourage to #BeGreatOutThere right now?

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