25 Things You Never Knew About Me or Never Thought to Ask

A few months ago I read a blog from someone I highly respect where he shared various things about himself—personal things—in order to more closely engage his audience. I vowed that this year I would do the same, and I started by sharing my personal story of getting healthy and now continue with this fun post. I hope you enjoy it, and please tell me something about yourself in the comments below! Here goes… 25 personal things about me you probably never knew or never thought to ask:

  1. I grew up without a TV. That’s right, no TV. When I tell people this, I always think of the Princess Bride line, “In my day, television was called books!” I spent most of my growing-up years reading everything I could get my hands on. Though I always looked forward to every two years when we borrowed a friend’s black and white TV to watch the Olympics.
  2. The first book I read was Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Old Clock. I always remembered that book and recently re-read a newer version of it (every ten years Nancy Drew books were revised and republished to fit the language of the modern day). Recently I’ve become a collector of first edition Nancy Drew books. The earliest edition I have is book 33, The Witch Tree Symbol, dated 1955. It’s fun to reread them and study the way language has changed!
  3. I know how to play six instruments: piano, flute, oboe, violin, one scale on the trumpet & kazoo. OK, so I don’t play them really well anymore (except kazoo… I rock at the kazoo!), but I grew up in a musical household and was forced to stop adding instruments to my repertoire when my mother saw me playing with a harp.
  4. I was offered two full-ride college scholarships for oboe. When I was in seventh grade (yes, you read that right), two colleges offered me scholarships. Evangel University in Missouri, for if I would play in their orchestra, and Northwestern University if I would major in oboe.
  5. I love chocolate. That’s not much of a secret, but I will add I love one particular kind of chocolate: raw chocolate. Unlike my previous first love, peanut M&Ms, this stuff tastes like Belgium chocolate without all the calories or yucky additives. I ate my last peanut M&M was on October 6, 2012 and replaced it with this amazing and good for you raw chocolate!
  6. I had five majors in college. I started out as a music education major, then art education, then computer art and animation, then glassblowing and finally as an incentive to graduate (almost) on time, a general degree in three dimensional art.
  7. I’m deathly allergic to tree nuts. Tree nut allergies run on both sides of my family. My mom’s side has severe allergies to pecans and my dad’s to all tree nuts and peanuts. Cashews will kill me, pecans will almost kill me, walnuts, pistachios, macadamias and pine nuts give me hives and make my throat swell and itch and almonds make me a little itchy. Thankfully I’m not allergic to peanuts (legume) or coconuts (vegetable).
  8. I’ve never been healthy… until this year. I’ve been chronically ill since I was six months old. Diagnosed with everything from Epstein Bar Syndrome to Chronic Fatigue and Vasodepressor Syncope, most of my childhood and high school memories involve doctors’ waiting rooms and needles. I celebrated when I hit 135 lbs on my wedding day, though I still looked anorexic. Since learning I have Celiac in early 2011, my body has finally started to heal all that’s wrong with it… and I’ve learned I can’t keep eating the same junk I used to and not gain weight.
  9. I hate salads. OK, I almost hate salads. I’m getting over my loathing of salads… slowly. I prefer to drink my veggies in a green smoothie (50-60% greens) than eat wet leaves with weird texture. However, I did eat my first arugula leaf at NAMS in February 2013. Yep, it was that big of a deal. Everyone at dinner took pictures. Really.
  10. I can write with my toes. Yep, I’ve even proven it at conferences. Give me a legal pad and a pen and my toes can write prose… with two-inch-high letters.
  11. I’m a horrible poet. Speaking of prose… Those who’ve read what I try to pass off as poetry agree. If I share any more details you’ll stop reading right now. So read on, and forget about my bad poetry.
  12. I still don’t have TV. Stations. Or cable. If it’s not on Netflix, I don’t bother watching it… or I wait for it to appear on Netflix. I find regular TV, “reality” shows and local news to be nothing but depressing.
  13. I’m a gadget freak. That’s right, I love gadgets. I consider myself a geek, and while I do think I’m pretty smart, I’m no genius IQ like my hubby. However, I’m still a geek when it comes to gadgets. Some of my faves include tablets, fun USB hubs (mine is R2D2) and kitchen gadgets like a banana slicer.
  14. I play with toys. Call it making up for lost childhood from being sick or creative right-brain activities… the truth is I just love toys! My office is full of them, and I’d rather buy hubby his own than share… most of the time. LEGOs and Mr. Potato Head are my two favorites, and I have two bins of LEGOs, seven Potato Heads (two huge Potato Head-shaped bins full of parts) and a variety of balls, Thinking Putty, games, stuffed animals and lightsabers that I regularly play with.
  15. The Wright brothers were my fifth cousins. Which might explain my fetish with airplanes. Thanks to a client my office now has Wright plane replicas on shelves and swinging from the ceiling… encouraging me to reach new heights and “write” every day. OK, now that was cheesy.
  16. Jeannie Schultz is my personal friend. Charles Schultz’s widow, Jeannie (Peanuts® characters) and I met at a speaking engagement she had at a local college. We went to see her primarily because Sparky (Charles) is one of my hubby’s heros. I struck up a conversation with two “random” women in the elevator and one happened to be Jeannie. We got to know each other afterward and bonded on our mutual love of airplanes and flight. We converse monthly, at minimum, and she’s encouraging me to get my Sport Pilot license.
  17. R2D2 is my hero. In high school I collected about 23 R2 figures and sold all but one (a plush original 1979 toy) to buy books for college. Over the past couple years I’ve been slowly rebuilding my collection. The day I met my (now) husband, he had R2D2 on his calendar in his dorm room. Coincidence that we got married? I think not.
  18. I love the beach. I grew up about 20 minutes from the beach in Tampa Bay area in Florida. Warm weather, soft sand and rolling waves are in my blood. I hope to move back there someday, or at bare minimum have a beach house of my own.
  19. I started my first business when I was six years old, selling pet rocks I made from gravel in my driveway. When the neighborhood kids began buying them, my business was shut down, but it gave me a taste of entrepreneurship that never died.
  20. I’m motivated by money… and until I went to a Get Motivated! conference, heard Tamara Lowe speak and read her book, I beat myself up thinking that was a bad thing. However, the fact is money makes the world go ‘round. You can’t feed starving kids in Africa, or your own backyard, on good intentions. A few years ago I realized my “why” for starting my business and becoming an entrepreneur is to make money—so I can make a difference by giving it away.
  21. I don’t want kids. I believe what a person wants to do with his/her own life is their business. The worst thing is people who try to convince me having kids is the only purpose for living. Having a family is great, for some people. And some women I know have been able to mix entrepreneurship and motherhood quite well. But I know it’s not for me, and I sincerely thank my friend Shannon Cherry for being the first person to ever look me in the eye and say, “Good for you, knowing what you want!” rather than condemn me for my desires. Besides, I already mentioned I don’t share my toys! ;-P
  22. I’ve created my own board game. A few close friends know what it is and have even played it. But I can’t divulge the secrets here because I’m still working on licensing it to a company that can mass produce it… I know from market research it would be a big hit! (Hint: if you know anyone in the niche board game industry, introduce me!)
  23. I believe strongly in continuous education. I spend over $20,000 on my own education each year, including traveling to workshops, seminars and private business coaching. I believe if I’m not investing in an expert who can teach me from his/her own mistakes and save me some time and frustration with my own projects and goals, I have no business being in business. And no, I won’t coach you for free. 😉
  24. I have three fish tanks. In high school I had five. I used to want to be a marine biologist, now I’ve settled on writing about them. Right now my library office has a betta tank, my outside office and hubby Creative Director’s office has a 10 gallon and our newest edition is a 55 gallon tank in the living room. Right now we have 17 fish, but we’ll be getting more as soon as the 55 tank is ready for mass stocking.
  25. I sing in a local a’ cappella group called Vocus, started by my hubby. Truth be told, I also help run the group, but that’s only because starting a vocal group with seven or eight people is more job than one already busy person can handle. We’re all professionals, and we even get paid for gigs! (There’s that motivator again… hehe) It’s become a fun outlet for the musical side of me to mesh with the entrepreneurial side.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning these 25 things about me. Now I’d love to learn something new about you! Share a tidbit in the comments below!

Leave a Comment

  • Betty
    August 9, 2014

    You and I have some things in common! I play the oboe and even got solo chair oboe in All-State Band in Florida in 1969! And that’s another thing…yes, I’m from Central Florida! Cool, huh?! And I sing, too! In fact, I made the Mormon Tabernacle Choir back in 1989. And of course, we’re both writers….. Small world!
    Betty recently posted…BYU Men Sing Nearer My God To TheeMy Profile

  • Kristen Eckstein
    August 8, 2014


    I got to play a little on Mike Stewart’s piano this week… I think I shocked the room – no one knew I can play! I do enjoy Netflix, but regular TV I can live without – I totally know what you mean there. 😉 I love internet radio – the ability to create my own Classical playlists for when I’m working on new products or writing is awesome.

    Thanks for your comment!
    Kristen Eckstein recently posted…23 Things I Learned Visiting 24 States in 25 DaysMy Profile

  • MaryJo Wagner
    August 8, 2014

    Great seeing you at NAMS if only briefly. And glad to know that you did go through Colorado on your road trip. Loved all the original Nancy Drew books but my fave was Little Women (and all the others: Little Men, Jo’s Boys, 8 Cousins, Rose in Bloom, etc.) Can’t stand TV. Never watch it. Almost never watched it as a kid. Love the radio. Classical music is my passion. Still practice the piano but not as much as I’d like.
    MaryJo Wagner recently posted…Heart-centered Entrepreneurs: Get Results Now!My Profile

  • Marge Coffing
    August 7, 2014

    Kristin -what a great post, and idea for a post..I’m glad you cycled back to it!!

    #3 & #25 – I had no idea about your musical background – wow! I play piano, used to play the clarinet in high school, and now I sing in Chorus Angelorum of Tampa Bay. I’m a second alto, and we all have strong musical training (3 are directors of church choirs) but we sing locally for the love of singing…no money involved.

    #7 – Fascinating to learn about nut differentiation – I had no clue

    And I now live in S Pasadena, enroute to St Pete Beach. So where in the Tampa Bay area did you live?

    I too just came back from NAMS 12 – I’m a Namster 9 with a bigtime recognition of sooooo much to learn!

    Thanks, for sharing, Kristen!

  • Chuck Sutherland
    August 7, 2014

    2. The first book I read was Nancy Drew.[ I read the Hardy Boys and the Nancy Drew Novels.]
    10. I can write with my toes. [That is impressive!]
    19. I started my first business when I was six years old, selling pet rocks I made from gravel in my driveway. [(My kids sold shells and rocks they found in the back yard. They sold them door-to-door to adults. Made enough money for their summer treats.]
    21. I don’t want kids. [I have 5 kinds and 8 grandkids. Plenty for both of us. Together, we make up one average-sized family]

  • Maryellen Smith
    August 7, 2014

    Thank you so much for sharing this personal and amusing information.

    I especially appreciate #21. It takes a lot of courage to admit that you don’t want kids. I knew from an early age that I didn’t want kids and want to acknowledge your courage to state that publicly. 😉
    Maryellen Smith recently posted…Focus – Part 4 of 4My Profile

  • Karen Rittenhouse
    August 7, 2014

    You asked me once what my favorite childhood book was and I said, of course, anything Nancy Drew. We bonded a little bit more….

    After reading your amazing list and the incredible flow, I’m too introverted to add my own.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Selah
    April 23, 2013

    My mom has a whole set of Nancy Drew books from her childhood that I always thought were cool. Now I think they’re even more cool. I was a Little House on the Prairie kind of girl.

  • Flutielu52
    March 8, 2013

    I knew all those!!!  😉

  • Faydra
    March 8, 2013

    I loved this! great knowing things about you.