All posts by Sock Robot

Cool Girls!

We recently posted on social media asking for our followers to nominate someone they think is a Cool Girl. We typically feature one Cool Girl every month (see them here!), but we think if there ever was a time to showcase as many cool people as we can, it’s now. We get so much joy and hope from learning about you, the incredible humans in our lives, and want to spread that as much as we can.

Want to nominate your own Cool Girl? Fill out this form or email us at hello@sockittome.com!


Renae Saager

Renae Saager is certified health & life coach and emotional eating expert who teaches women around the world how to start living a powerful, authentic life free from food and weight obsession. Tapping into her own unique journey with disordered eating and alcoholism, Renae connects with her clients on a deeper level, supporting them through the process of rewiring their brain with her no-BS approach. Through this serious work, Renae is able to help clients challenge their mindset and begin healing, using her own sense of humor and unparalleled perspective which creates a more enjoyable and transformational experience.

Renae’s passion for helping other women burns strong. She knows the struggle of trying to conform to impossible and arbitrary societal standards, and is always inspired by the authenticity and vulnerability of the women she works with.

Renae’s advice for other girls?
Do not shrink yourself to make others comfortable.
Listen to that voice inside of you. Listen to what your gut is saying. And when you are so terrified you could cry but also so excited you could scream and doubting if you can even do it, you my friend, are on the right path! You will never be completely ready, know that. And the louder you are you (which may actually be quieter, if that is your style) the faster you find your people and your people find you.
Not everyone will like you or understand you and that is ok.
Keep being you.
Without apology.

Renae loves connecting over social media – find her here:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/renae.saager
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/renaesaager/
Website: https://renaesaager.com/
Podcast: Put Your Nuts Out There
Itunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/put-your-nuts-out-there/id1506966500
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3lH6WccTIMroDlqqREVUJT 


Danielle Vincent

Let’s take a look at the nomination we received for Danielle Vincent, founder of Outlaw Soaps: “Not only is [Danielle] a certified badass, she wrote a great how-to, self help, find your inner unicorn book. Always working on something new and exciting. She is the person you need in your life without knowing it. She makes everything better. I’m better for knowing her & feel better knowing she’s out there.”

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind having Danielle in my corner. So of course we reached out to her to learn more about how she achieved the title of Certified Badass.

At Outlaw Soaps, Danielle and her husband make soap “for adventurous people, by adventurous people.” Starting the company itself was an adventure – everyone said it was crazy to start a small soap business. Soap was “weird” or the business was “too competitive” but Danielle saw an opening. She knew firsthand the magical ability of scented soap to remind us of our favorite things in life, from the beach you visited on your honeymoon to a good glass of whiskey to a sweet-scented pine forest.
(A side note from Danielle:
Pot roast does not make a good soap smell, no matter how much you like pot roast.)

Of course, running a small business is never easy even in the best of times, something Danielle is well aware of. She considers her employees to be extended family, so every day during this pandemic brings new concerns for the people she cares about. But the Outlaw Soaps team has pulled together and is working to ship out orders quickly and with maximum levity. No doubt Danielle’s positive demeanor, drive, and grit have influenced her team! They continue to provide their ethically made products to their loyal customers, and don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Danielle’s advice for other girls?
Do your homework, set your prices, decide what your business really is, and be authentic. People don’t have to universally believe in your vision as long as you find your right customers, and you make it possible for them to find you (so, you know, search engine optimization, marketing, etc).
And pay attention to grammar and spelling.
If you want something, the secret to getting it is somewhere inside you.

You can find Outlaw soaps at their site here or on social media at:
Facebook: http://facebook.com/OutlawSoaps
Instagram: http://instagram.com/OutlawSoaps
Twitter: http://twitter.com/OutlawSoaps


Serena Zendejas

On a typical day, you can probably find Serena Zendejas rollerskating through her neighborhood or baking up a storm in the kitchen. Refusing to let this strange pandemic time get her down, Serena combined those two talents and started a delivery service of baked goods with her partner. She recognizes that the simple act of sharing treats and spreading love can go a long way.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that this philosophy carries through into her work: Serena works part-time at a residential facility for foster youth. She says, “I believe it’s my responsibility to use my privilege of education to give back to those who need it most.” No doubt the work she has done in her own life to battle self-doubt helps her be a beacon of hope and positivity for the youth she works with. “In my experience as a Hispanic woman, I have had to work hard to get at the same level as others. It’s easy to doubt yourself and tell yourself you aren’t good enough in a society that sees you that way,” says Serena. By spreading empowerment, positivity, and baked goods, Serena is helping those around her have a life map that is slightly less bumpy. It’s easier to skate that way.

Serena’s advice for other girls?
Stay true to you. I believe you should fight for what you believe in and always speak your mind.

You can find Serena on Instagram at @serenazendejas or follow her delivery service @baked.pdx!


Natalya Mortensen

Natalya Mortensen is only 13 years old and is already an inspiration to us here at Sock It to Me. After growing up in the Philippines, she moved to the US at age nine. She says remaining focused, diligent, and open to new adventures is her secret to starting over in a new country and a new school.

These qualities no doubt helped Natalya to remain upbeat and positive during the spine fusion surgery she had nine months ago. Of her surgery, Natalya says, “It was scary, but with patience and hard work, my recovery is amazing and I’m dancing again.” 

In her nomination, Natalya’s mother told us of Natalya’s resilience, positivity, and passion for life. It’s evident that Natalya won’t even let spinal surgery get in her way: she continues to dance ballet, win art contests, and act as a beam of light for her family.

Natalya’s advice for other girls?
Do your best with all honesty!

You can find Natalya on Instagram: @breemortensen

 

Kari Patterson

Name: Kari Patterson
Age: 43
Location: Corvallis, OR
Occupation: CNA2/Unit Aide, Mother of 4, Maker of the Home

Certified Nursing Assistant and mother extraordinaire Kari Patterson is out on the front-lines with doctors and nurses every day, with or without a global pandemic.

“I love knowing that at the end of the day, I have made a positive difference in somebody’s day, maybe even life. Currently speaking though, it’s terrifying, but my coworkers are my trenchmates,” she says. “There’s nobody else that I would rather go to battle with than with the amazing nighttime staff at my hospital. There’s such a spirit of teamwork between the Nurses and CNAs, and a sense of cohesion as we steel ourselves to fight this as one united front.”

Growing up in Toluca Lake, California, Kari began her fledgling professional life by helping her father’s therapy practice on the administrative end, then by becoming a secretary for Melissa Etheridge’s music management company, and even working at the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens for a time. After her father went through cancer surgeries, and Kari helped as his caregiver, he was the first to notice her natural gift, telling her outright that she should consider nursing.

“I was always so dismissive of it, preferring animals more,” she explains. “Looking back, I should’ve known when the nurses freaked out over the fact that I was fully watching them empty stuff and change bandages while I looked on calmly eating my yogurt. As always, my father knew best.”

But it was when she was working as a caregiver at an Assisted Living facility that she was inspired to officially become a CNA.

“It was my best friend, an ICU nurse, who urged me to pursue my certification, pointing out that I was already performing most of those duties already, just for way less money, under horrible working conditions, and without any benefits. It was a no-brainer,” she recalls. “I opted for this route, as I consider having a good healthcare plan absolutely crucial given my family history of Lynch Syndrome.”

Working the twelve-hour long night shift on a cardiac Progressive Care Unit, Kari’s primary role is easing her patients’ bodies and fears as they struggle with pain, illness-related confusion, uncomfortable beds, and missing their loved ones.

When she’s not taking vital signs, assisting with call lights, adjusting her patients to prevent bed sores, charting, or restocking supplies, she is interacting with patients and families alike.

“Depending on one’s ailment or injury, one might see and interact with their CNA more than their Nurse or Doctor. We assist nurses when appropriate and in keeping within our scope of practice, perform post-mortem care, and are frequently the chest compressors during codes,” she explains. “But there’s so much unseen, unchartable and immeasurable care we provide.”

These days, the current fight against the Corona Virus is posing new and difficult challenges to Kari and her coworkers. The lack of PPE is affecting all healthcare workers, so that means not only doctors and nurses are working without proper protective gear, but CNAs as well.

“CNAs can have just as much exposure to infected patients, a fact largely unrecognized by the public,” she says.

“I don’t know the actual statistics but in my personal experience, CNAs often consist of moms returning to the workforce after the hiatus of having kids, oftentimes separated or divorced and in long, expensive legal battles. As a group we are barely living paycheck to paycheck, and more often than not we’re not only full-time working parents but also students as well.”

Knowledge that, on the whole, many CNAs nationwide are struggling with family life, nursing school prerequisites, or simply making ends meet, she’s concerned that some whom lack formal advocacy organizations, short-term disability, additional paid time off, or bureaucratic authorities sympathizing with their plight makes this particular time all the more daunting. Still, Kari finds her job to be extremely satisfying as well as taxing.

“I approach my patients with the knowledge that they are somebody’s loved one, somebody somewhere cherishes them, and their care is entrusted to me,” she says.

In the future, Kari hopes to become a nurse in Labor and Delivery or Women’s Health. When she’s not at work, Kari spends her time gardening, kid wrangling, cuddling her aging dogs, and educating herself and others on Lynch Syndrome, a hereditary cancer syndrome that leaves her genetically predisposed to certain types of cancer. She hopes to draw attention to the medical community and the public to the need for genetic screening and testing, especially for women.

For her tireless work as a Certified Nursing Assistant, and for her crusade to draw attention to Lynch Syndrome and other hereditary cancer syndromes, we think Kari Patterson is one very Cool Girl! Stay safe out there, Kari, and keep fighting the good fight!

Each Cool Girl gets to select a charity Sock It to Me will donate to, so we are donating to the Good Samaritan Employee Relief Fund on Kari’s behalf!

Kari truly inspired us at Sock It To Me, and thanks to her we’ve organized a #COVIDSOCK Drive to bring smiles and thanks to the medical staff on the front lines of the current pandemic. Why donate novelty socks during this crisis? Nurses and care-givers have been tucking scrubs into their socks and posting their #covidsocks on social media, bringing attention to the morale boost that fun socks can provide in these difficult times. Kari’s incredibly heartfelt personal request for help sent to Sock It to Me inspired an immediate outreach to local medical facilities. We were able to donate over 300 pairs to Legacy, OHSU, and Providence, but discussions with Providence led to a broader donation partnership. Through a new “Donation Pack” on our website, you can contribute to the effort: starting at $15 for a donation of 6 pairs. Once the goal of 800 pairs is reached, Sock It to Me will distribute the socks to 10 Providence facilities, and potentially expand the program to more facilities due to overwhelming response!

Jackie Hirsch

Name: Jackie Ossin Hirsch
Age: 43
Location: Maitland, FL
Occupation: Serial Entrepreneur

Floridian business maven Jackie Hirsch always knew she was going to be at the helm of a company, even when she was growing up outside of Orlando.

“I always wanted to own businesses,” she says. “I actually didn’t think that was strange, or that it was strange that I didn’t know of any women who owned their own business. My first real job was Entrepreneur Jackie Hirschwhen I was 16. I worked at a tourist attraction, took pictures
and made pictures into buttons and keychains. I walked around asking people if they wanted them and made them on the spot; it was face-to-face direct sales. I’d get a lot of “no’s” and then some yeses. I used to earn $30-$50/hr for 4 hours 3 nights a week.”

Not bad for a sixteen year old!

After becoming an entrepreneurial adult and marrying her husband, Michael, Jackie decided that it was time to embark on her other lifelong dream of motherhood. But conception was a challenge. Eventually, their daughter Malena was born, but the struggles did not end with her arrival.

“We hoped to keep growing our family, but after five miscarriages, I felt like a shadow of myself. Outwardly, I led a successful life as a business owner. But grief had left me emotionally and physically depleted. Despite my circumstances, I was determined to
be the best wife and mom I could, but I needed a lift of energy to become that woman again.”

As she struggled with her fertility and the accompanying feelings of loss and defeat, she discovered matcha, an ages-old beverage made from finely-ground green tea powder.

Matcha's mood boost gave Jackie the idea to found Healing Butterfly“Matcha was a mood boost for me and then I thought, I wish there were a healthy hot chocolate matcha…pumpkin spice…ginger…,” she said. “I loved that it didn’t need brewing – I could just stir a spoonful right into water. It gave me calm, focused energy and lifted my mood. I started laughing and feeling like myself again.”

It was Jackie’s newfound love for matcha, coupled with the idea of incorporating other superfoods and flavors, that led to her founding Healing Butterfly. “There wasn’t anything like that on the market, so I decided to create it,” she says.

Between networking, sales, manufacturing, new software, technical tinkering and brainstorming, Jackie is always busy. By having a hand in multiple companies, she finds her days can vary from meetings to marketing, managing inventory with her husband, or going out into the community to find new ways to introduce her products.

Fortunately for her, Healing Butterfly provides something that is in incredibly high demand, especially these days: functional foods. Choose from Pumpkin Spice, Early Grey, or Vanilla flavored Matcha!Matcha has less caffeine than coffee, so it offers less stress to the adrenal glands. Their new turmeric golden milk blends provide a
tasty way to get antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. And their newest product, Aqua Sprout, is a plant-based protein that also has fiber, omegas, iron, and even immune-boosting, skin-saving chlorophyll. Many of their products are vegan, paleo, keto,
or Weight Watchers friendly, too.

When she’s not spending time with her husband and daughter, Jackie is indulging in yoga, reading, walking outside…or dreaming up new recipes for Healing Butterfly!

Jackie and Healing Butterfly's TV appearance!So what does this wellness warrior want to share with young girls growing up in a time where health and taking care of your body is more important than ever?

“Love yourself more, then you can love others more and just get along better in the world. If you love yourself, every bit of yourself, you’ll stop judging yourself and you’ll have more compassion for others. Also, eating well saves you time and affects your future
descendants positively for generations; junk food will affect your descendants negatively in the future. Food is that powerful. Consume it wisely.”

Sage advice from this superfood superstar! For her and Healing Butterfly’s healthy contributions to the beverage market, and her body and business savvy, we think Jackie Hirsch is one Cool Girl!

For more information on Healing Butterfly, check them out on Instagram and Facebook!

Nancy Kalish

Name: Nancy Kalish
Age: old enough to know better
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Chief Rule Breaker (aka founder & CEO of Rule Breaker Snacks)

Nancy Kalish wants to take over the world, one brownie at a time. This baker and entrepreneur created Rule Breaker Snacks as a way to express her sweet tooth and share treats that stay in line with clean eating… while still tasting delicious and like your mouth is breaking some rules.

Growing up in New York City, Nancy originally wanted to become a writer, but she spent most of playtime using the kitchen as her laboratory, whipping up a lot of her favorite snack: brownies.

“I always loved experimenting in the kitchen and my mom allowed me to be as creative as I could be. Coconut popcorn brownies, anyone?” she jokes.

As she got older, Nancy followed that initial dream and became a health journalist, working for the likes of Real Simple, O Magazine, Prevention, and others.

“But despite knowing exactly what to eat to be healthy, I have the world’s WORST sweet tooth… we’re talking dessert for breakfast,” she says. “I could never find anything at the store that lived up to my healthy aspirations and satisfied me. So I got busy in my kitchen, originally just trying to come up with something for myself and my family. I started with brownies because they’ve always been my favorite treat.”

As writing became less exciting for her and everyone in her life was telling her to sell her brownie recipe, Nancy thought she should maybe embark on selling the snacks themselves.

“I actually thought, Sounds like fun, I’ll try it. How hard could it be to start a food company? Well, I have found out exactly how hard — brutal, is more like it,” she says. “It has been a very steep learning curve. But I have to say that I still love it.”

All Rule Breaker Snacks are vegan, plant based, allergen-friendly, non-GMO, and gluten free. They are made with chickpeas sneakily masquerading as the usual naughty, nasty ingredients without any beany taste, thanks to Nancy’s relentless and perfectionist taste-testing. This means from birthday cake blondies to chocolate chunk brownies, you can pack them in your child’s lunchbox to take to school, or stand in your gym clothes eating more than one over the sink. Anything goes with Rule Breaker Snacks.

“When we first launched, we used cooked chickpeas in our recipe, which resulted in a very short shelf life,” Nancy recalls. “That made it impossible for us to sell to bigger stores or online. So I decided to step back and reformulate from scratch, which took almost a year. It was very important to me to keep chickpeas as the first ingredient. So we switched to dry roasted chickpea flour, and a whole slew of new, clean ingredients. The result is chewy and delicious brownies and blondies that stay fresh for a year without any preservatives.”

Whether it be working with designers to go over packaging, sitting down with the bookkeepers to go over accounts, representing the brand to bring the products to schools and stores, or packing up boxes of samples and supplies for trade shows, Nancy is busy and every day is different. She admits that certain aspects of being at the helm of a project she cares so deeply about can be a challenge, especially growing her business while staying true to her ideals of creating vegan, gluten-free, allergen-friendly, non-GMO treats that still taste scrumptious.

“Our ingredients are better and clean, which also makes them more expensive,” Nancy says. “It’s a constant struggle, but it’s also non-negotiable.”

When she’s not up to her eyeballs in running her business, Nancy can be found playing with her energetic goldendoodle, Oscar, or taking classical piano lessons. “I’m pretty awful, but I have a keyboard in my home office and playing is a great escape from stress,” she says.

So what advice does this Rule Breaker have for young girls out there who are looking to start something sweet?

“Don’t wait for inspiration to strike before you start something new, whether it’s creating a new recipe, writing a story, or starting a business. If you want to do something, just do it and you’ll find the inspiration — and joy — along the way.”

For creating clean, tasty tidbits and keeping true to herself and Rule Breaker Snacks, we think Nancy Kalish is one Cool Girl!

To learn more about Rule Breaker Snacks, find them on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook!

Kara Connelly

Name: Kara Connelly
Age: 40
Location: Portland, OR
Occupation: Physician—Pediatric Endocrinologist

As a child, Kara Connelly knew that she wanted to be a doctor who worked with children. Growing up in Wisconsin, Utah, Wyoming, and Nicaragua, where her father worked for UNICEF, she quickly learned that every environment is different and every patient has their own unique challenges.

 “I always knew I wanted to be a pediatrician. When I was in elementary school I became obsessed with a book called Where There Is No Doctor, a very well-known healthcare manual originally written in the 1970s that was focused on ways to meet the basic healthcare needs of people of all ages living in under-resourced communities. I was most fascinated by the pediatric chapters and realized I wanted to work with children and their caregivers,” Kara recalls.

As an undergraduate student at Tulane University, Kara worked in a research lab where she studied the effects of hormones on learning and memory. She found herself riveted by the way hormones worked within all the systems of the body.

“I had never thought about combining my love of pediatric medicine with my interest in hormones and the endocrine system until I was doing my three-year pediatric residency and completed my four-week pediatric endocrinology rotation. I knew instantly that this was the right career path for me,” Kara said.

The field of pediatric endocrinology focuses on hormone systems within the growing body, meaning that, on any given day, Kara could encounter young patients with diabetes, growth conditions, thyroid problems, adrenal disorders, or rare hormone deficiencies. Currently staff at OHSU in Portland, she works both as a physician as well as the medical director of the Doernbecher Gender Clinic.

“One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the fact that every day is a little different,” Kara explains. “My job includes a combination of face to face clinical work with patients and their families, teaching medical students and residents, teaching pediatricians and other healthcare providers in the community about pediatric endocrinology, research, and advocacy.”

As the medical director of the Doernbecher Gender Clinic, Kara is working with the OHSU Transgender Health Program, which provides a variety of services including comprehensive patient and family centered care to transgender and gender diverse youth.

When she’s not in a facility engaging in face-to-face clinical time with her patients, she is tackling administrative and academic endeavors teaching as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics.

“As doctors, we are perpetual students. We are constantly learning new information and applying it to improve the care that we can provide to patients,” she explains. “I also see myself as a constant educator in my role as a physician and teacher – whether I am giving a lecture to a large group of physicians or students, working one on one with learners, or educating a patient and family about a hormone condition. Sharing these roles of student and educator is one of my favorite parts about being a physician.”

Kara also travels to other cities to provide care at “outreach clinics” for patients who live outside of the Portland metro area and may have additional barriers to receiving pediatric endocrinology care. It’s a very full career, but Kara still finds the time to advance her studies through education, research, and advocacy…as well as being the mother of two young children. “Seeking the right amount of work-life balance will always be a work in progress,” she explains.

Beyond growing their pediatric gender clinic within the Transgender Health Program, and continuing to contribute research and information exchanges at conferences, Kara would also like to investigate further treatment outlets for her patients, extending the care of transgender youth to include the greater communities that these young people are involved in. “I want to look at care holistically, for any patient, but especially our gender diverse youth and to start thinking about how we can use our influence to impact schools, faith communities, and parent support. We are already doing this in our dedicated gender clinic, but would love to expand this statewide,” she says.

For her compassionate and expansive approach to medicine and research, as well as her incredible ability to balance all of the demands as a working – and teaching – wife and mother, we think Kara Connelly is a very Cool Girl!

For more information on organizations Kara Connelly supports, check out: