4 steps to overcoming fear

I have a fabulous person in my life that I am lucky enough to call family. My cousin Chris did something amazing a few weeks ago. She overcame fear. I wanted to share her story with you in hopes that you will be inspired to do the things that you want to do- regardless of the fear you may feel.

Steph invited me to guest blog and I’m excited to share with you about how I overcame a fear and took a huge leap in my life…literally.  

Have you heard it said that if you want to do something big that you should tell someone so they will hold you accountable? Some say the ego will be “forced” to make the goal happen.  Well, this isn’t always true for everyone. I’ve struggled with buying into that philosophy over the years and actually have no problem wimping out or giving up on my goals and taking a hit on my pride. At times, it’s been more comforting just to know that I’ve set a goal for myself and I gently find supportive ways to nurture myself towards my goal, which is what I’m sharing with you today.

The trouble I’ve found with sharing a goal or desire with others is that they may not be comfortable and can project their own fears and/or insecurities onto you. I’ve had to learn that even my closest friends and family have been known to feel uncomfortable with certain goals and they just aren’t able to be a support. And these are my dearest, closest friends. It’s just the way it is. Some things we choose to do can make others uncomfortable because of how they might feel if you succeed or even fail.

This is the mindset that I understand and have experienced in my life.

Which is why I didn’t tell my best friends, my husband, my children, my sisters, or my father that I was going skydiving.

I did discuss it with my brother whom invited me, his wife, and ironically, his ex-wife and my close friend, because each of them had jumped before and two of them would be accompanying me. I also wanted someone to have final instructions to share with my family members and friends in the event that I did not make it.

So my first step to overcoming my fears was to limit who I talked to about the event.

Second, I got quiet. I didn’t talk a lot about it and I quieted my mind chatter. Granted this is a very fun and exciting thing to be doing…with a high risk factor. I mean we are jumping out of an airplane, hoping we are strapped properly together, hoping the person who packed the chute was paying close attention and that the chute actually opens or that the backup chute works. Then there were thoughts of an article I read last year that spoke of a woman going on a skydive (checking off her bucket list) and how her tandem master ended up paralyzed from saving her life, attempting to enter my mind. For these reasons, it was important that I get intensely quiet.

Prior to my jump I distanced myself from the crowd. I became a keen observer watching the dynamics of the group of people, taking in their playful, excited, professional yet laid back energy. I took time to jot a few notes down to loved ones. I thought of my family, my husband, my children. In all this I realized I have my legal things in order and found this very reassuring.

Lastly, I followed the teachings of a wise teacher I once had the privilege of working with, “follow simple directions”.  I listened to the simple directions and did exactly as I was told. My tandem master, Mike, was professional, yet really supportive in keeping the mood light.  

I need to insert a note here pertaining to my support system. I felt that the people with me were very supportive and caring. Anita, a woman I’d never met, offered me her neck scarf since it was expected to be very cold in the clouds. My brother checked the chute that we picked and tossed in a brotherly, “this is my sister, take good care of her.” This did not go unnoticed and played a role in my state of being.

As we loaded into the plane I checked in with my body. I felt good. The takeoff was smooth, the ride up was smooth, and before I knew it, it was time to open the door. Jenn went first and then I was up. I followed the simple directions and we were out. I felt the sensation of falling for a few seconds before the drogue chute was thrown out. This slowed us down and then we were “flying” for several seconds before the main chute was pulled. We floated down gently and all seemed to be going well. I checked in with my fellow divers and their chutes had all opened. Jake landed first, before me then Jenn. Once we landed I was ecstatic and relieved! My smile covered my face and I felt wonderful after accomplishing a seemingly scary thing. As intense as I had been, the excitement at the end was quadrupled.

Afterwards, I had family members tell me that I was an adrenaline junkie and shouldn’t have done that since I have children at home. Others commented on how scary it looked. This is a big part of why I didn’t tell anyone because of their projected fears as I mentioned before.

There were those who were also stoked and me gave big shout outs! In the end I handled it exactly as I would have wanted, if not, better. No drama, just the thrill of an adventure!


The next time you are faced with an intense goal or adventure I hope these tips will be as helpful to you as they were for me.:
1) Pay attention to who you tell.
2) Get quiet.
3) Follow simple directions.
4) Kick ass and have fun!

I’ve enjoyed sharing my experience with you and wish you many fabulous adventures!
Chris :)


Margaritafest 2015 (and ticket giveaway!)

Margaritafest is BACK! 

We attended last year and the year before as part of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, and we’ve been lucky enough to be invited to attend again this year! I’ll be Tweeting and Instagramming all day, so make sure to follow @Orangespoken to keep up with all the fun!


This year some updates have been made to make this fest even better than in years past! 

  1. More shade & seating
  2. Cashless RFID wristbands: Allows for significantly faster lines at margarita bars and at entrance
  3. Double frozen trailer
  4. Extreme margarita zone: Where you can challenge your tastebuds and get extreme and crazy flavored margaritas
  5. Improved VIP experience: Bigger area, more seating, more cooling systems, more bartenders, prime viewing area, and more! 

An amazing line up of margaritas, ice cold beer, food trucks and live bands will fill the afternoon and evening with a fabulous time. 

What’s even better is that Smashmouth is the headlining band this year! I know you know Smashmouth.

“Hey now, you’re an all-star!” Where are my 90’s peeps at?!? 😉


Tampa Bay Margarita Festival 
Saturday, May 23rd, 2015
Curtis Hixon Park – Downtown Tampa

Featured Margaritas include:
-Prickly Pear-aRita
-Mango Rita <<< My personal favorite!
-Frozen Mango Rita
-Frozen Strawberry Rita
-Kiwi Strawberry 901
-Blood Orange 901 Margarita
-Raspberry Camarena Margarita
-Watermelon Camarena Margarita
-Jalapeno Pineapple Margarita 
-Apple Cinnamon Margarita
-Blue Moon Margarita
-Double Hibiscus Margarita
-Dirty Napoleon
-Sour Patch Margarita
-Bacon-a-Rita <<< Um yes please!!!
-Strawberry Sriracha Margarita
and many, many more.



I’m giving away a pair of tickets on Instagram and Facebook so if you’re not following me, please do!

Instagram @Orangespoken.com
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/orangespokenblog
See you on Saturday! -Steph



Mother’s day moments

This weekend marked the fourth Mother’s Day weekend without my mom.

And like in the three years which have passed, I tried to make this a memorable weekend of reflection, kindness, positivity. 

Saturday was the 4th annual Jogging for Judy even at the Miles for Moffitt 5k race. It was a beautiful day to remember my mom and others who have lost their lives or who are currently fighting against cancer. As a team we raised over $600 for Moffitt Cancer Center and enjoyed the morning out at USF. Family, friends, and even some Orangetheory buddies came out to support #TeamJudy







10999691_10153365653682474_831868731891619871_nOn Sunday we woke up bright and early to make a special delivery to the mothers currently residing at the Ronald McDonald House in Tampa! 


Many families stay at the RMH while their child receives critical care at nearby hospitals. Making their mother’s day a little less stressful, and a LOT more special by providing them with a small token of love is definitely something in the spirit of #TeamJudy.

We’ve been organizing this project since early April, collecting donations to help us put these baskets together. Last week a group of us gathered together to build the baskets in preparation for Mother’s Day. 


10660323_10153353078432474_6256280029574748075_nEarly Mother’s day morning, Brian and I got up, loaded up the car and delivered the baskets to RMH. While we were there, a mother was sitting in the dining room with her two young children. One of the RMH volunteers whispered to the son to take one of the baskets and give it to his mom. He looked SO excited and ran towards his mom with the basket. It was a very sweet moment that I’ll never forget! <3

After our special delivery we met up with Brian’s brother and mother and treated her to a fresh bouquet of lavendar, tulips and bacon< In the form of breakfast at Cracker Barrel! 😉 Before we headed home we made a stop at the local farmer’s market and now I’m enjoying the rest of this Sunday watching the Rays, playing with the chickens and enjoying a breezy and sunny day in Florida. 

Mother’s day will always be a bittersweet day for me. And although I wish I could spend it with my mother, I’m able to remember her in so many meaningful ways. So much good has come from her passing. I know that sounds like a terrible statement to make, but we have truly found a way to spin this loss into something positive. Since forming #TeamJudy, we have been able to give back thousands of dollars benefiting organizations fighting against cancer, create an awareness of the importance of self-checks and prevention, and give back to those in need. My mom was such a giving person, and to be able to continue her positive energy is something I will continue to do for as long as I can. 


Thank you again to all of you who support our team. Your generosity means the world to me!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers in my life. Wishing you a fabulous day with the ones you love. 

Love, Steph :)


My mom and I in 1980.


My mom and I in 1981.



7 Ways to Boost your Athletic Confidence

I’ve had my share of negative thoughts when it comes to doing any kind of physical activity; especially when it comes to working out around others who may faster, more experienced or in “better” physical shape than I. Deciding to take the step and start an exercise routine is a choice you should make based on what’s right for your body, what’s going to improve your health and what’s going to make you feel good about yourself.  However there’s something that many who want to begin running, going to a gym, swimming or any other type of exercise often lack: CONFIDENCE. Continue reading


So you wanna do more than a 5k?

A few months back I wrote a post called “So you wanna do a 5k?”

I’ve had so many people ask me about how I started doing races and share their insecurities about starting their own running journeys with me. I always respond the same way: “Insecurities that may be floating around in your head should never come in between you and your goals!” Like I’ve stressed before, don’t wait until the “perfect” moment because that perfect moment is NOW! Continue reading


Grief becomes joy

Three years passed by in a blink.

And in these three years I have learned more about myself than in the 32 years prior. 

When I first lost my mom, it was difficult to look into the future and envision a normal life. I was 31 going on 32, and could not believe that my time with my mom was over; just like that. 

For weeks and months my nights would be filled with thoughts of sorrow. How she would never get to see all the milestones my brother and I still needed to reach, and how my future children would go without knowing their maternal grandmother. My mind was littered with worry, and sadness and until I learned to cope with it all, it would turn out to be one of the hardest times of my life.  Continue reading


The 10th Annual Taste of South Tampa is this weekend!

A scrumptious event is about to hit Tampa in a few weeks! On Sunday, April 12th, the 10th annual Taste of South Tampa is coming to Steinbrenner Field! The Taste of South Tampa is the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s signature annual event, presented by Older, Lundy & Alvarez Law. This food-filled event will run from 1-4pm. Local restaurants will be offering samples of their best dishes for guests to taste! Beer, wine, spirits and sodas will be offered as well to wash it all down.  

The tickets are all inclusive and include: Unlimited food and beverage samples, live entertainment, access to activities in Kids Zone (sponsored by Florida Hospital Centra Care) with complimentary face painting, games, give-aways from exhibitors, opportunities to win prizes by participating in the canned food drive and voting for the “Best of South Tampa” awards. This is going to be such a fun event that you won’t want to miss out! 

In addition, all event attendees will also receive a ticket to the Tampa Yankees game that evening! General admission tickets are currently $45 online, and will go up to $50 on the day of the event. 

Want to become a VIP? Purchase VIP Tickets for $75 and get: access special indoor & air conditioned space, a swag bag, additional food options, upgraded beverage selection, massage envy spa massages, entertainment and an event souvenir glass! 


The best news? A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Metropolitan Ministries, an organization that I had experience working with last fall, and know how amazing they truly are. Interested in helping even more? Pack a few non-perishable items to bring with you to the Taste of South Tampa to help stock their pantry, and be eligible to prizes from the featured restaurants!

Here is a list of some of the restaurants guests will be able to sample at Taste of South Tampa! 

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
Beef O’Brady’s
Bud Light
Cabot Creamery
Carmel Kitchen & Wine Bar
Cater ME Fit
Catrinas South Tampa
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants
Eats American Grill
Fox Jazz Club
Goose Island
Grafitti Junktion
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
Hugos Spanish Restaurant
Inside the Box Café
Kahwa Coffee
Little Greek Westshore
Louis Pappas
Papa’s Pilar Rum
Perk’s Donut Bar
Players Sports Bar
Press Box Sports Emporium
PRP Wine International
Rollin’ Oats
Sam’s Club
Shells Seafood
Sonny’s BBQ
The Blind Goat Food & Drink Co.
The Florida CANE Distillery
Twisted Sun Rum
Yard of Ale Soho
VIP – Brio
VIP – Casketastic
VIP – Chouinards Cuisine
VIP – DoubleTree Cookies
VIP – Kona Grill
VIP – Schakolad Chocolate Factory
VIP – Seasons 52
VIP – Stella Artois

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SouthTampaTaste 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SouthTampaTaste #STCOCTaste
Purchase Taste of South Tampa Tickets Here. 

Hope to see you there!

Disclosure: I have partnered with the South Tampa Chamber of Commerce to promote and participate in Taste of South Tampa. I was provided with tickets. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own.

It’s time to get rad! #ColorMeRad5k

I was given entries to the upcoming Color Me Rad 5k in Tampa, FL as part of my work with The Tampa Bay Bloggers in exchange promoting, participating and reviewing the race here at Orangespoken.

It’s BACK!

That colorful, messy and FUN 5k event- COLOR ME RAD!

The Tampa Bay Bloggers will be there representing our group and helping to spread the word before race day. 

This year, for the 2015 Tour, we’ll be running through eight color stations where RAD volunteers will cover us from head to toe in pink, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

There’s also something new this year: COLOR GEL!!! And this year they are promising the color bombs are packing twice the punch!! Double the color stations guarantees that color bombs will be raining down on you from 5K start to finish. 

You can sign up HERE and use the code TBB40 to save 40% off your registration!

imageHope to see you there!




How to make friends (and not get hashtagged #Targetstalker)

Have you seen this yet? Ball Pit Turns Strangers Into Friends
No? Go ahead and click on it. It’s only a few minutes and sooo worth the watch. I’ll wait.

……….. *this is me waiting*………….

Back? Great! What did you think? Amazing huh? Don’t you think we need more ball pits in the world? Continue reading