My Adventures in Normal, IL, and Unexpected Inspiration


Notice the, “You’re Beautiful”, note on the building 🙂ImageImage

I had the pleasure of traveling to Normal, IL, this past week for work, and I must say, it was quite a pleasant surprise. 

If you know anything about the mid-west, a.k.a. the Bible Belt, you probably know that there are some spots in our fine cluster of states that aren’t so exciting. I expected Normal to be one of those spots.  It was actually like a mini-East Lansing, with it being a college town, home to the beautiful Illinois State University,and a small downtown with a friendly, artsy feel.

I took my phone with me on my morning run and snapped some photos of ISU’s amazing campus!


I could study here…



These banners were all over campus, and I just thought it was a great message.


Basketball stadium


One of their buildings is a castle… that’s all I’m saying


I was sure to get some strength training in after my 3 mile run/tour of Normal. The Marriott in Normal is an immaculate facility, btw.


Most of the writing on the bathroom wall was like this.. I would say 99% positive. Who doesn’t want to pee in an environment like that?!


Seriously, between this, the beautiful message, and the sweet message on the bathroom wall, I am convinced that Normal has the nicest graffiti in the world!


Once you use the term “this one goes to 11” you are automatically one of my top ten favorite people

I was in town for a social media conference, with the key note speaker being Thomas Ian Nicholas.  You might know him as the kid from “Rookie of the Year”, or that guy from the “American Pie” movies.  

I wasn’t exactly sure why he was there, but went to the concert his band played the night before he presented (AWESOME MUSIC, more on this later), and learned that he funded his whole European tour through social media.

As soon as he hit the stage the morning after the concert, you just knew he was a cool guy.  He stated, early on in his presentation, that he was going to tell us how he took his social media skills to 11.  Immediate. Stamp. of. Approval. and. Lifelong. Support.  (if you don’t get the reference, you need to Youtube, “this one goes to 11” and click on the first result.

You’re welcome.

But not only was he smart, funny, down to earth, and entertaining, he is completely passionate about what he does.  

His band doesn’t have a record label, and is completely funded by him.  Nothing is more refreshing than seeing someone live out their dream and making it work without compromising themselves.  It was such a breath of fresh air.

Upon getting home, I dug even deeper into his music and I love it! (Thomas Nicholas Band… I highly recommend).  It was just a good reminder that you can live a life that is fueled by creativity and passion.  It was actually more like a swift kick in the ass.  Instantly someone to follow. 

It was all in all an amazing two days, but it was good to be home…. except Max insists on guarding my car for a good 45 minutes whenever I arrive home from a trip as if he is going to keep me from ever leaving again.  You’ve gotta love his devotion 🙂Image




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