Hash House Harriers

When I was living and working in Abuja, Nigeria, I was introduced to a fun running/walking group called the Hash House Harriers. This crazy, fun group was made up of people from all over the world. Expats and Nigerians alike. While mighty hot, we did our darndest to follow the trail and make it to the top.

Hash, A History

In 1938, in what is now called Malaysia, a group of British officers started meeting on Monday afternoons to go for a run. The idea was to cleanse their bodies of the ‘excessives’ of the previous weekend. Eating in their mess hall at the time, they decided to nickname their group the Hash House Harriers.

It wasn’t until after World War II that the group was formally established with a constitution. The objectives were recorded in 1950:

  • Promote physical fitness among our members
  • Get rid of weekend hangovers
  • Acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
  • Persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel

Hash Today


As the group evolved, so did the rules. First, a “chalk talk” circle would be formed. This lets anyone new understand what to look for as well as what the various call outs meant.

But the hare is still the most vital component. Before the group comes together for a run (usually monthly), a hare goes out and marks the new trail with shredded paper, chalk or sawdust. The hare will often set false trails that challenge the runners (and walkers) to stay alert and be vigilant. The runners out front will yell “on on” when they find a trail marking indicating that everyone is on the right path.  Or they may yell “looking” if they can’t find it. These false trails tend to be at difficult inclines or other challenges and allow for everyone to stop, get a breath and look for the trail. Once the shredd is spotted an “on on” is yelled and everyone is off running again.



In Nigeria our halfway point was always at the top of a hill with amazing vistas looking out on the vast countryside surrounding Abuja. We ran through yucca, coffee and banana plantations as well as over rocks and through thick bush. It was always a challenge and super fun. When reaching the top a truck full of water, soda and beers greeted us and everyone enjoyed a good hour of relaxing, laughing and enjoying the view.

Then “on on” would be called and off we would head down the other side and eventually back around to our starting point.


Post Run

We would be called to “circle up.”  Long standing members would sing songs, newbies would be initiated with silly songs and a dousing of various liquids. It was always good fun.

Hashing in Nigeria was very special as it took me through areas I would not have seen on my own. The countryside is so unique, the people so warm and I really treasure my experience. I will definitely look for a HASH group the next time I am abroad.

Ever take part in a HASH? I’d love to hear your story – comment below.


Pretty Litter

Pretty Litter for Cats

Are you tired of lugging heavy litter in from the store? Sick of dumping clumps of clay into your garbage? Cat litter does not have to be this awful. Thank goodness for Pretty Litter. This company has found an earth positive solution to the monthly (if not weekly) dreaded cleaning and replacing of our furry friend’s poop and pee.

Pretty Litter LogoPretty Litter is unique in that it is made out of super absorbent silica microgels infused with a “formulation of indicators to help you monitor your cat’s urine.” The only thing you have to do during the month is scoop out the hardened feces. No smell, super light, one bag lasts a whole month (with one cat) and is shipped to your door. I have been using Pretty Litter for about a year now and I just love it. The company is looking into creating a bag that is more biodegradeable which I hope comes soon. The rest of the packaging is cardboard.

This stuff is great as it changes color if your cat is having health problems. My cats had no issue adjusting to it when I introduced it to them. It doesn’t cling to their paws as much as well, so I don’t see the litter all over my house which is super nice. I have been so impressed with this product that I asked to be an affiliate of the company. This simply means that I get a bit of commission if you purchase through my link. So if you are interested – click HERE or on the image in the side bar. Enjoy – I sure do.


Compostable Cell Phone Covers!

While working to open my eyes to all the plastic in my life, I noticed that my cell phone was wrapped snuggly in a cover of teal blue plastic. Ugh. But I am thrilled to say I have an alternative that is seriously cool! Never heard of compostable cell phone cover?

Pela Case to the rescue!

Cell Phone Cover by Pela100% compostable, made from flax. Its flexible, durable, and smooth. The company works with great organizations such as Save the Waves World Wildlife Fund and Amnesty International.

Check out this great video that shows you why you need to ditch the plastic and go flaxstic!

Writing Calendar

The Blank Page

Hey there writers. Ever have a blank page crisis? Whether you are focusing on fiction or non-fiction, sometimes our minds just go blank. It happens to everyone. But getting over that rather large bump in the road is an absolute must if we want to keep the writing juices flowing.

I’ll admit, sometimes I’m exhausted from writing one piece and I just need a break from my self-imposed pressure to keep pumping out the articles, blog posts, books. But we are writers and somewhere deep down, we love to write and tell stories. So, overcoming the ‘blank’ must happen, sooner preferably, than later.

Writing Solutions

Here are a few ways I get my writing mojo reactivated:

1. I review my “Ideas” log. I have a list on my computer of ideas that have interested me in the past but I haven’t done anything with them yet. I’ll review the list to see if any are now itching to get written.

2. I’ll flip through photos of places I’ve been that I have strong feelings about. The feelings do not have to be happy ones – in fact sometimes the scary or ugly memories are the best ones for getting that idea spark.

3. Reading in the genre you are thinking your next project will fall into is a great way to get more ideas crawling up from the depths. Also, I find that reading a book that is at a different level than what I write for, helps me see story ideas. Such as reading a picture book for a middle grade idea or an adult mystery for a YA novel idea.

What if your issue du jour is not what to write but how to get started or keep going? I put together a tip sheet for how to get around writer’s block. Check it out – it’s free!

Here’s to a great day of writing effortlessly!

~ Gretchen

Toothpowder to the Rescue

The Dirt ToothpowderI am loving toothpowder as a new way to scrub my teeth. They not only feel super smooth afterwards, but the taste in my mouth is minty fresh!

Company: The Dirt is a woman-owned company that cares about ridding our morning routines from toxins and plastic. A US based company that is focused on keeping Americans employed as well as helping the earth.

Product: I tried the trial size of the “Super Mint Toothpowder” and it is great. The glass jar with metal top is filled with a greyish powder. It will keep me brushing for six weeks. Super easy to use. Simply wet your (non-plastic 🙂 brush, tap off the excess water, dip into the powder, tap again (why be wasteful) and then gently scrub away.

The large (glass jar) size will last up to six months. My current toothpaste costs about $5 every two months. The Dirt Toothpowder costs about $5 per month – so a bit more, but the upside is that it contains only natural ingredients, zero flouride, does not have soy/gluten/corn, and is woman owned. Give it try!

etee food wraps

etee Food Wraps & Bags

etee food wraps & bagsDitch the plastic!

etee creates beeswax and organic cotton and hemp wraps and bags. I have been using them since last summer and I love them. They are super easy to use, pliable, reusable, and when they wear out (after about 150 uses), you simply cut them up and put them in the compost.

Company: Family owned out of Toronto, Canada. They are big outdoor people and kept running into plastic – even while kayaking. So etee was born: everything touches everything else.

They use only organic cotton and hemp blends. The dyes used are free of heavy metals and are non-toxic. They manufacture their products with little water use and recycle a good portion of what they do use. They are certified under the Global Organic Textile Standard – so they are a socially responsible company too.

The wraps and bags come in three sizes. You work with the warmth of your hands to roll and seal them. Cleaning is easy – just take a soft sponge and run cool water over them and hang to dry. Just don’t put raw meat in them and do not put in freezer. The company is now coming out with a line of satchels as well. Give them a try – ditch the plastic!