Born Colleen Marie Salo to two loving parents, Colleen grew up all over the Midwest, and even in Germany (which she knows is a WHOLE different country, and not in the Midwest), with her whacky siblings, Aaron and Hillary.
Part of a loving family that taught her to tease her siblings relentlessly (and in turn, be teased and run crying to her room for 16 years), Colleen was encoraged to explore all of her interests which included (at different stages of her life): completely unprofitable lemonade stands, New Kids on the Block, Gymnastics, the Recorder (an evil instrument), Punk Music, the Flute (a rather respectable instrument),German, ALL forms and genres of literature, Swimming, Choir, Disney (vacations and careers), and starting her own business.
Some of these she can be proud of...others (see New Kids on the Block) she would prefer to wash away from memory forever.
Colleen sustained numerous bad hair cuts throughout her childhood, but finally came to settle on a color which suited her...green. A competitive swimmer (and competitive whiner at practice), Colleen made the best friends she could ever have while swallowing chlorinated water in a freezing pool.
The lure of the great city of Chicago was enough to entice Colleen to attend the University of Illinois-Chicago for college. She swam for the school (Go Flames--please, no bad jokes about our mascot name) and after two surgeries and 9 coaches, focused her efforts on academics and her future career.
After numerous internships and semesters of school, including a multi-month stint at Walt Disney World, and an internship where she received free kittens for her efforts (the Animal Welfare League shelter in Chicago Ridge), Colleen graduated with degrees in Communication and English-Writing.
Seeking locations that were indeed warmer in "degrees" she headed down to the land of giant mice. No, not the corn fields of southern Illinois, but of Orlando, Florida. Home of Mickey Mouse!
Colleen worked for close to 3 years in the College & International Marketing department for the Walt Disney World College Program where she did everything from recruit students to participate in Disney internships, complete walk-throughs of the apartments where said students were Jello wrestling, listen to angry phone calls from said student's faculty representatives who were unhappy that the Jello used in the wrestling was cherry instead of lime, and create numerous marketing plans that both saw the light of day and also became albinos from the lack of sunlight.
Perhaps it was the sulfurous water in Florida that caused Colleen to start pining for the days when she ran that little lemonade stand in St. Peter, Wisconsin. Perhaps it was the desire to yell at herself, instead of letting someone else have the pleasure, but in June 2001, Colleen struck out with two friends and started a business: Your Mom's Dog Marketing.
So, until June of 2002, Colleen was fully absorbed in her little company, not making much room in her life for love. Besides, her mom told her that she would find people "more like her" and that she would ultimately find someone she could love "without even looking." But, hey, her mom told her those things would happen to her IN college, and those years were long gone...little did Colleen and her mom know that the best things were right around the corner!
Sometimes frog princes come along when you aren't even looking...that perfect person who knows what you're thinking and cares about what you're going through and has so much in common that it's almost scary, but enough different opinions (and isn't afraid to voice them) to make things interesting. That's what Colleen found. Who knew when she was (secretly) wishing upon a star for her own fairytale prince, that he would actually come along. That the girl who never thought she would get married, who rocked out to music with purple hair and an eyebrow ring, who scoffed at silly love movies (but cried at Hallmark commercials), would find her perfect soul mate and friend in Sebastian!