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Totally Together

Conversations with Coke Recap

June 20, 2011 by  

This is a compensated post. Coca-Cola paid for my travel, lodging, and activities in Atlanta, and BlogHer is paying me to write this post.

I am back, safe and sound from Atlanta from the Coca-Cola event. I feel fresh and renewed, and it doesn’t really have anything to do with the insane amount of Coke Zero I had on this trip.

For the record? I really like Coke Zero. I was too cheap to buy and test it out myself, but since Coke flows freely and readily within the mothership, I had the opportunity to taste test approximately every 3.5 seconds. I am not a Diet Coke fan, but like Coke Zero.
A lot.

I got an awful lot of rather um, interesting comments and questions about this trip. I was ready for these questions, but the tone and the (perceived) anger from some of them kind of threw me for a loop.

To the point that I kind of wanted to hide in a corner and suck my thumb and twirl my hair.

And that’s not okay.

I will never ever ever try to get you (or you, or you) to buy something you do not want to. I would never try to make you feel bad for your choices or for what you choose to feed or serve your family.

Please don’t do that to me.

I’m not an all-or-nothing kind of girl. I like all-natural, organic food, but I also like Cheese in a Can. I try my hardest to get us to all sit down to eat dinner together at the table, but sometimes the best thing is to spread out a blanket and watch TV while shoveling it in.

And I’m okay with it.

I’m supposed to write what I learned these past few days at Coca-Cola’s headquarters. I should probably write that the nutritionist and scientist told us that your body metabolizes high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and cane sugar the exact same way. I should refer you to their website: to read the studies and form your own decisions.

I should tell you that McDonald’s sponsored our lunch (McDonald’s is the largest distributor of Coke products) and that the Asian Salad is quite tasty, the dressing is Newman’s Own (NOT GLUTEN FREE) and only has 90 calories (the dressing, not sure what the whole salad has, but that  info is readily available online) and that the new smoothies taste fantastic and my kids really like them for an afterschool snack.

One of the biggest and hugest highlights of the trip was listening to representatives of Coke’s Women in Leadership program. They spoke about the importance of listening to women and understanding their background. That women everywhere struggle with balance and feelings of guilt and worries of not “being perfect.”

The powerful quote of the day was their leadership motto: Lift as You Climb.

I learned that women need to be nicer to each other.

A LOT nicer.

And we need to learn how to support and nurture each other and stop making snap judgments.

Because at the end of the day, everyone is just doing the very best they can within their own circumstances and situation. And you should love and cherish that person—even if their choices are somewhat different than your own.

And these women? I couldn’t have been happier with this amazing, powerful, confident grouping. I feel honored beyond words to have met and spent time with them.

Women truly CAN change the world. I know it. But first, we’ve got to stop pushing each other down and start holding hands and supporting.

Lift As You Climb.

I am thrilled to introduce (starting at the top right and working down the stairs):
the guy is Phil, he was our Coke tour guide and archivist. super nice guy.

Creating Motherhood, Calliope

Doobleh-Vay, Amy Turn Sharp

Sweetnicks, Cate O’Malley




Joy Unexpected, Yvonne

The Meanest Mom, Jana

Home 2 3 Duncan Boys, Lakeitha Duncan

Three Kid Circus, Jenny Lauck

Bongga Mom

Kirida, Mona

Take the time to meet these women and read their stories. We can learn so much from each other.

I’m in the midst of a new site redesign (nothing will change, but it will all be different. don’t freak out.) and would like to start an everyone-is-included blog/website roll. If you have a site that you’d like included and you’re a REAL person and not some spam monster, please email me at (I’m the contact!) with the subject line: blogroll and I’ll get you on the list. This roll will constantly be updated—it’s time we reach out and support one another.

Thank you for your love and support, and have a wonderful day.

Post a comment · 13 Comments »


13 Responses to “Conversations with Coke Recap”

  1. Sue Lewis on June 20th, 2011 1:55 pm

    Thanks for the report Stephanie, and I can’t wait to check out some of those blogs. I for one appreciate all kinds of honest personal recommendations and trust myself enough to decide whether something is for me or not. I can’t believe there are people that would attack you personally, that’s just nuts.
    Please keep up the good work,

    • Stephanie on June 20th, 2011 5:15 pm

      maybe attack isn’t the right word. I get the concern, I really do. I hate it that at the end of the day everything boils down to money and politics, I really do. But that is the world we live in. and I can’t seem to get adam on board for moving to the middle of nowhere, putting up a bubble, and living off the grid.
      but I try!

  2. Headless Mom on June 20th, 2011 9:51 pm

    It’s not ok that some were questioning your motives. You are completely upfront about things and I can’t believe someone would try to call you out.

  3. Kim (Cook It Allergy Free) on June 21st, 2011 9:18 am

    Hello, my friend. This was a beautiful post. I absolutely love that quote. Lift as you climb. You have done an amazing job of staying true to yourself. I am proud of you for the way you responded to those comments and to the way you have kept honest to yourself for what you believe and for what is right your family. Big hugs to you.

  4. Amanda on June 21st, 2011 11:42 am

    You’re awesome and totally deserve a paid vacation…even if it is just to visit Coke!

  5. Calliope on June 21st, 2011 1:14 pm

    Perfect post. Seriously.
    And I love the new look – this line cracks me up “nothing will change, but it will all be different.” haaaa!!

  6. Alison St. Sure on June 21st, 2011 1:18 pm

    I for one totally appreciate your honesty!! I try my hardest to keep my kids’ food healthy, but social pressure is really difficult to deal with. So sometimes they just gotta have that disgusting popsicle that turns their mouths an incredible shade of green because that’s what the other kids are having. In my perfect world (in my bubble), there is no such thing as those popsicles, but that just isn’t reality!

    I think as a blogger, as long as we are true to ourselves, and honest with our readers, then people can choose to follow, believe, respect, and read us as they wish.

  7. Amanda @Wandering on June 21st, 2011 7:09 pm

    You go, girl! (Is it okay to say that in 2011?) Anyhoo – I love your blogs regardless of if you write about Coke, Pepsi, good ol’ tap water, etc. :)

  8. Bianca on June 22nd, 2011 1:12 am

    i like the message coke are trying to spread, but it still feels too calculated for my liking. i can see a marketing team sitting there strategising this whole thing to ‘win’ us over, make us feel at ease and maybe, just maybe we’ll buy their products because of their fake empathy for our situations.

    attacking you isn’t right. women should be nicer to each other, we’re on the same team for crying out loud. and why shouldn’t you have a paid for holiday? but Coke pretending to be the good guys, is not right with me.

    • Stephanie on June 22nd, 2011 7:09 am

      Bianca, I completely hear you. It was most definitely a marketing thing. Some of the stuff didn’t sit right, and I told coke that. I don’t think soda should be marketed to children, ever. the sugar vs aspartame vs HFCS = the same in your body makes me feel uncomfortable, I understand that they have studies to back that up— over 200 evidently, but I’m still quite wary.

      Coke is trying to improve their image, no doubt about it. Are we being used? probably. But I do think that my (and yours, and most of my readers) eyes are wide open.
      Coke owns Minute Maid and over 2000 small beverage companies around the world. they would like to be known (I’m thinking) as America’s Beverage Company.

  9. Casey on June 22nd, 2011 9:28 am

    I’m an environmental educator who recently started my own business of repurposing workshops and environmental classes. I can certainly relate to the balance you’re trying to reach with offering your huge (and mostly appreciative) audience of awesome women and men information on healthy crock-pot eating while also trying to earn a living. Sponsored trips by companies who may or may not be on our lists of responsible food producers still offer incredible opportunities to learn – I applaud and encourage you to continue! (My message of REDUCE and REUSE sometimes has to be tweaked in the name of convenience, but I always try to encourage my clients to do their best – if we have goals, try to stick with them as often as possible, and allow for times, for instance, when using one-time-use plastic water bottles is just down right easier for our families, then we’re still winning in the overall picture! Keep up your GREAT (and very entertaining!) work! You’re simply awesome!

  10. Carol on June 29th, 2011 12:06 am

    Stephanie, I’m a huge crockpotting fan, and I am so sorry people have attacked you. I haven’t read any of that so don’t really know what’s going on. But I’m apologizing for them anyway.

    I remain a huge fan, though the Doc at Coke is spewing hogwash – aspertame is NOT metabolized the same as sugar! My sister was poisoned to death by aspertame, and my friend has seizures with aspertame. Pilots are not allowed to ingest aspertame 48 hours before a flight because of the seizure risk. The FDA has a list of 92 symptoms of aspertame poisoning, including weight gain, increased appetite, and DEATH. The approval process was sooooooo bad, that a whole new set of regulatory laws, called GLPs, Good Laboratory Practices, was invented by the FDA that all mfg companies have to now follow, directly as a result of the shenanigans that went on with aspertame.

    99% of independent studies found problems with aspertame. Yes there ARE alot of studies giving thumbs up to aspertame; those studies are NOT independently funded.

    I’ve done the research and am sure in my own mind about aspertame, neotame, sucralose, etc.

    Others that choose to ingest it, well it’s a free country. They either simply don’t know, don’t want to know, or, don’t care.

    I’m glad you had a great time on your trip and I love your work and websites. Compensated posts & trips are fine by me. I’ll continue to support you. Thanks for all you do.

  11. Christy on July 2nd, 2011 10:32 am

    Hi, Stephanie. I love, LOVE your crockpot recipe site and always enjoy reading your blogs. And I just want to say good for you that you are sponsored by BlogHer and Coke!

    I’m happy that you are being compensated for your time and I appreciate your candor when you write sponsored posts. And if those few sponsored posts enable you to keep writing and posting all the fun and useful info you do, then more power to you!

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful 4th of July weekend!

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