How Life Changes when you get Engaged

Our Special Projects Senior Analyst, Jamie, Talks about being Engaged

People always say things like “you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone” and unfortunately for me, that cliché has come true for my free time. As any full-time employee would probably agree, evenings and weekend time is precious. This is when you can leave behind the piles of work and overflowing email inbox to take advantage of “me time.” Whether you hit the gym, meet up with friends, or sink into that permanent indentation on your couch, these are the valuable moments you have to do whatever you want.

Last summer, my fantastic boyfriend of 4+ years proposed to me on the beach of the Exuma Island in the Bahamas. It was a whirlwind few weeks of sheer excitement, happy tears, and girly screaming. Shortly thereafter when the clouds of giddiness cleared, I realized I was not only committing to a future with my fiancé, but I was also signing up for a second job. Adios free time.

I am not one of those girls that had every last detail of their wedding day planned out by the age of 12, so I had to start from scratch. Instead of leaving work with the evening’s dinner plans in mind, now all I can think about is an expanding guest list and table linen colors. Nightly TV time and Facebook stalking has been replaced by hours of Google searches for favor bags and invitation card stocks. There are so many little tasks involved in planning the big day, so bringing in a wedding planner was a must. Luckily for me, my mom doesn’t charge much!

At the end of the day, I know it is all worth it and I cannot wait to see all of our hard work come together. As long as I get to marry my best friend (and every single thing goes off without a hitch…just kidding), then I will be a happy bride. My advice to the Bridezillas out there: start early, take it one day at a time, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.


Project Open Hand, A Giving Experience

 As interns at RaceTrac, we decided to participate in a volunteer event at Project Open Hand, a charity that provides meals to persons with disabilities.  Arriving early on a Saturday morning, none of us knew what to expect out of this experience.  We were quickly shuffled into a meeting room where we had to sign liability waivers, and were shown a video on the charity.  Having an idea of what we were now getting into, it was time to suit up!  Project Open Hand really goes above and beyond when it comes to food safety.  I know what you’re thinking, hairnet right?  WRONG!  They decked me out in full food safety garb, that’s right, beard net, apron, and arm hair sleeves. I seriously looked like a hazmat operator/Santa Clause. 

After suiting up, we went into the kitchen where it was time to commence working.  To be honest it was actually a very efficient operation.  I was impressed with how many people lend their time to this organization that is dedicated to helping other people.  They were appreciative of the help that everyone was able to offer and they were dedicated to their cause.  Project open Hand delivers 4,000 meals a day in the Atlanta Area and being a part of this process gave me a greater appreciation for what they actually do.  Project Open Hand is responsible for helping many people in the area and they do it all out of their willingness to help others.  This was a great experience for me and opened my eyes to all the good that Project Open Hand does in the community.  I want to take the time to thank RaceTrac for organizing this event and allowing me to be a part of it. 

-Rachel Beauchamp, RaceTrac Intern

What I did on Summer Vacation

Our Talent Manager, Steve, gives us his thoughts from his summer vacation

Who’s Holding Your Ladder?

I had the opportunity to take a vacation the last week of June this year and I spent it with my family at the beach in South Carolina.  I enjoy that vacation every year, but this year it was particularly nice, and for a couple reasons.

1. Wow, I REALLY needed a vacation this year.  Everyone knows what it feels like to be stressed, tired, etc.  That’s why we are afforded vacation time to recharge our batteries when they are on empty and I certainly took advantage of the opportunity to fully recharge my battery.

2. I read Who’s Holding Your Ladder? by Samuel Chand and found it to be one of the most impactful leadership books I have read.

So what was so great about this book?  I mean, a leadership book, we have all read them, but what was so great about this book.  Who’s Holding Your Ladder? is a leadership book that focuses on picking a strong support team.   Mr. Chand describes this as a leader’s most difficult decision.

Do you focus on your team and teammates?  Or do you set limitations based on your own personal abilities?

To use a great example from Mr. Chand, I ask you, who out there has ever climbed Stone Mountain right here in Atlanta, GA?  Did you climb it alone?  There is a good chance many of you did.  Could you climb it alone?  Of course you could as it is nothing more than a casual stroll up a slight incline. 

Now, who out there has ever climbed Mt. Everest?  For those that have indeed climbed Mt. Everest, did you climb it alone?  Not a chance.  It takes a team, a very strong and skilled team to summit Mt. Everest.

So, now on to your question.  Steve, why would I go through selecting and training with a team to climb Mt. Everest when I can climb Stone Mountain on my own?  Great question, and I answer it like this.  Whether it is climbing a mountain, the corporate ladder, or achievements in your personal life you are absolutely limited to how high you can go if you choose to climb alone.  Strong and effective teams allow you to reach heights you could never reach solo. 

So, to quote Mr. Chand, “Who’s holding your ladder?”

With Introspective Thoughts,,

Talent Manager, Steve Isbill

My Top Four Atlanta Activities

For the first few weeks of summer, my life became super repetitive. During the week, I would follow my morning ritual, go to work, hit the gym and then have dinner. By the time I had finished eating, the day would be over, and I’d soon have to get up and do it all over again. My weekends were spent catching up on sleep and being completely lazy. I fell into the very rhythmic trap I swore I would avoid. But then I remembered that I lived in the heart of Atlanta and that opportunities for entertainment were endless.

Here’s a breakdown of my top four things to do in Atlanta over the summer:

4.       Watch a movie at Flicks on Fifth.
This event is absolutely free and open to the public. Every Wednesday during the summer, weather permitting, the Georgia Tech Student Center puts on a movie on the 5th Street bridge when the sun sets. Guests are welcome to bring blankets, chairs and snacks to the event. Watch a movie on the big screen and go to a Flicks on Fifth showing.

3.       Picnic at Piedmont
        Summer fun should include a ton of sunshine, and what better way to soak up some sun than with a picnic in the park. Of course if you do decide to picnic, be sure the bring the following essential items:

  • Red and white checkered blanket
  • Big wooden picnic basket
  • Sunscreen
  • RaceTrac taquitos
  • Friends

2.       Go to an improv show

        If you need a laugh, attend a Dad’s Garage improv show! They are so hilarious and, from my experience, aren’t afraid to pull you onstage and make you part of the show. During the summer, they typically perform Thursdays – Saturdays. Be sure to buy your tickets early though since all the cheap ones run out fast.

1.       Attend a concert

        This one is pretty self explanatory because honestly, who doesn’t love music? I heard Ke$ha is playing at the Arena at Gwinnett Center on July 30th. If you’re not into Ke$ha’s musical stylings (how could you not be?) there are always plenty more concerts to go around.

Have a wonderful summer!

The Special Projects Intern, Reem

A Sweet Southern Summer

Jessica, a Human Resources Intern gives her thoughts about her first summer in Atlanta:

The sweltering heat, walking outside, and then right back in, the palmetto bugs are just a few things I was not ready for this summer in Georgia. Although I’ve been going to school in Athens, Georgia for three years now, I never could have braced myself for my first southern summer.

Born and raised in northern Ohio, the summer’s heat tip toed around the low 80’s. As a kid, I believed that anything above 60 degrees was warm.  Boy, was I in for a surprise. In the south, the relentless heat does not let up until past 9 pm and even then the humidity transforms the outdoors into a sauna.

Although the heat can become too much, at times, I certainly would never trade a summer in Ohio for the exciting adventures that are available in Atlanta. It’s the place to be in the summer.  From Brave’s games, pool days, cookouts, and concerts, I have loved every minute of it!

I think I’ll choose to stick out a little bit of sweat, the big hair the humidity brings, and the harsh sunburns that the sweet southern sun brings.

An Ohio Girl at Heart,

The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness; Part 6, The End

Ladies and Gentlemen the guide to “The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness” has come to an end. From food frenzies to rocking out in the car, each tip will surely provide a creative and unique way to burn off some of those calories.  Perhaps now the winter weight once gained from adding extra marshmallows to my hot chocolate will soon shed off by completing the suggested pool floaties exercises. In addition, I am sure to obtain some fun and friendship bonding with my weekly recreational kickball games. If I happen to be packing in some extra calories from my late night candy binges, I can always utilize one of the many free gym trial passes offered around the RaceTrac  Store Support Center. The options to have fun, lose weight and be beach family photo glam are endless! It’s simple, of course, the answer is the perfect equation of food, fun, free, friends and floaties.

Summer Kisses,
The Brand Management Intern,

The Perfect Formula for Summer Fitness; Part 5, Floaties

As I lay by the pool, the image of my six-year old self flashes back to me. There, in the 3-foot high pool, my legs kicked and my arms flustered as I struggled to keep from sinking. The only things keeping me afloat were my Little Mermaid arm floaties and my Flounder and Sebastian themed pool toys that obviously coordinated ever so well with my matching bathing suit. As my swim instructor yelled and whistled, “Kick Harder,” I was determined to rip those arm floaties off and deflate them for good.

Now, as I lay poolside, I remember my vow to never again return to those arm floaties and pool toys that it took so long to let go of. While I am no mermaid, I can certainly swim a few laps and float on top of the water, however; I’d be much more active if I did return to those pool toys. Water is one of the best fitness tools. The resistance strengthens muscles and increases cardio intensity. In addition, water can support weight make exercising easier on joints.

It’s time to put down the latest People magazine and grab a pool toy, like a swim noodle and begin some great pool exercises. One exercise, entitled “Noodle Up,” requires a pool noodle be held, with both hands, horizontally above one’s head. As one stand’s in chest-high pool water, he or she should lean back as far as possible, allowing the noodle to touch the surface of the water without bending one’s arms. Once the noodle hits the surface, the noodle should return to the horizontal position. By repeating this exercise 10-15 times on each side, then rotating sides, one can obtain a great water exercise, all with pool toys from the past!

At the age of six, I may have vowed to never return to floaties and pool toys; however, I have also vowed this summer to exercise poolside, while soaking up the sun, so something has got to give! Besides, even treading water for a minute can burn almost 11 calories, which certainly sounds like I can add sprinkles, hot fudge, and oh wait, an extra scoop of ice cream to tonight’s sundae.

Summer Kisses,
The Brand Management Intern, Ariel