02/14/17

What matters most

Have you ever felt invisible?

Like people were looking right through you- eyes piercing past you to the other side as if though something better, more interesting, more important was there beyond you.

And I’m not just referencing people we pass by on the sidewalk, or those we sit by on the bus or see at the grocery store as we’re stocking our carts. I’m also talking about people you come in contact with every single day. Your co-workers, acquaintances, friends, and yes, even family members.

Do you ever feel as though you don’t exist? 

While the fact that the person in the grocery store who stared past you as they headed to the produce aisle may not have a long lasting affect on you, that co-worker, whom you see everyday, who enters the office and walks past you without muttering a “good morning” to you might sting a bit- or might go unnoticed because the behavior has been accepted as the norm.  

Do they know your name?
Do they care to?
Do you matter to them?
Would they notice if you were absent that day?

What I really want to ask you though, is, how often are you on the giving end of this scenario? How often do you walk by your co-worker without muttering a “good morning” as you walk by their desk?

Do you know your co-workers name?
Do you care to?
Do they matter to you?
Would you notice if they were absent that day?

How often do you go through the routines of the morning ignoring the human spirit and instead go straight to life’s hamster wheel? Are the first words that you speak to your child each morning “Get up! And hurry up we’re going to be late!” or the first phrase you say to your spouse as you wake up next to them in bed is “Don’t forget to pay that bill today!” 

Do they feel invisible? Do they matter? Do they know they matter? 

I have early memories of invisibility. I was a shy child, at times hardly able to carry conversations with family members or at school. At four years old I attended a prekindergarten at a small neighborhood day care. I was in a class of around 15 other children my age, yet I didn’t have a single friend. My grandmother would make me a lunch every single day and pack it into my prized metal Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox filled with treats she thought would make me happy. Every single day I’d eat alone, in total silence, on a small bench away from the rest of the group, facing a wall in the lunch area of the school. 

I’m not sure if anyone knew my name. I felt completely invisible during what should have been a time to laugh and play and trade lunchbox treasures. My daycare teachers accepted my shyness and never tried to engage me or try any strategies to include in me the group. I was just shy Stephanie, and that was it. 

Even at the young age of 4 I felt invisible. I felt as though I didn’t matter. And if I were absent, I’m not sure anyone in my class would notice. And the memory of that experience has stuck with me all this time. 

How many people (kids AND adults) feel like this on a daily basis? How many people feel this way because of you? 

We all want to feel as though we are important to someone. That we matter. That someone can SEE us. That we are valued. That we are important. That we would be missed if we were absent. 

I encourage you to think deeply about your daily interactions with people. Whether it’s at the market and the mall, or at school or at home. What can you do to spread encouragement and hope to another person? What can you do to help someone feel as though they are visible? What can you do you to inspire others to do the same?

If we each made a conscious effort to reignite that human connection, to ensure that those that we come in contact on a daily basis feel important and valued, we can make a positive shift in our culture and strengthen our relationships with others around us. You never know when something you notice (and point out!) will change a person’s day for the better. 

Extend a handshake, share a greeting, ask someone how their day was, reach out, offer help, pass along a genuine compliment. 

It’s not about being the perfect parent or spouse, co-worker or teacher, family member or friend.
It’s about being present and noticing the souls around us.  

Here is a great place to start.

And if you are interested in diving deeper into this work, I encourage you to explore Angela Maiers’s website even further!

 

12/31/16

Bring Comfort Home this holiday with Scotties #Giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided with product and a gift card in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. 

Back in early December we loaded up my SUV and drove north for a weekend in the Appalachian mountains of north Georgia. Three of our travel mates had been fighting colds, so I made sure to pack a few boxes of Scotties tissues for the trip. Scotties have always been my go-to product for quick and soothing relief from allergies and colds and I knew my friends would also love these “soft as a kitten” products! 

And boy was I glad I packed these little boxes of comfort, because once we arrived at our mountain cabin, the coughing and sneezing began full force!

Luckily Scotties has unveiled some gorgeous new designs for winter, which made runny noses a bit more bearable…. 😉 Plus they fit in perfectly with our vacation scenery! If we had to be sick, at least we had festive tissues boxes and views like this to comfort us!

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porchKeeping a supply of Scotties tissues to take with you on trips is the perfect way to bring a bit of comfort with you, especially when traveling with a cold. With boxes of every size (including travel packs!) you can always be prepared. It’s the perfect combination of affordable softness and strength that can provide comfort to you and your whole family.

Scotties has everyday comfort that you need, but also the strength and softness for when symptoms are at their worst. Scotties 2-ply tissues keeps it simple without compromising softness or quality and for comfort seekers, 3-ply tissues offer an added layer of softness. This product is perfect for sensitive skin, allergy sufferers, and definitely for cold and flu season.

I especially love the 3-ply aloe tissues as they are the perfect solution for those overworked Rudolph noses. <3logo

Would you like to win your own sampling of the new Scotties boxes? Enter the Scotties Bring Comfort Home Sweepstakesfrom now until December 31 for a chance to win!

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Want to win a $25 gift card to purchase even MORE Scotties tissues (or anything you heart desires?). Leave me a comment below telling me how you bring comfort to your home and you’ll be entered to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! I’ll draw a random name on January 1, 2017. Good luck! 

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12/1/16

The Wine Shoppe in Blairsville, GA

A few months ago a group of my nearest and dearest got together and planned a week long trip up in the North Georgia mountains. Back in 2004 my mom and I were looking for a place to go camping during our winter school break. I can vividly remember sitting at the kitchen counter at my parent’s house scanning a map of the southeastern United States looking for a place that would be a) A day’s worth of driving distance and b) A change of scenery from our regular beachy Florida views.  Continue reading

11/2/16

Happy Birthday Mom!

When I think about my mother, what I remember most was her love of celebrating.

She would celebrate anything and everything. 
Life itself was a celebration.

Birthdays, promotions, anniversaries, daylight savings time. She’d find ANY reason to cook a meal, bake a cake and have people over. It’s just who she was. 10511352_10152651390667474_3098322061653697010_nWhat I remember most about all of those get togethers was how they made us feel. My mother always made sure everyone was well fed and having a good time. And if it was your birthday, you were sure to feel special.  Continue reading

10/20/16

Winn Dixie Hyde Park- A foodie’s dream! (And a Giftcard GIVEAWAY!)

Disclosure: As part of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I have partnered with Winn-Dixie to help promote the Re-Grand Opening of the Hyde Park location in exchange for a gift card. All opinions are my own.

I’m a self-proclaimed grocery store fangirl.

There is nothing quite as satisfying as moseying around a market, coffee cup in hand, taking in the sights, sounds and scents of a good store. 

It makes my heart go pitter-patter.  Continue reading

09/30/16

Career changes

After a teaching career of 13 years, 3 of which I worked as an coach supporting teachers in a high needs school, I left. 

It wasn’t an easy decision. I come from a family of educators and my inner circle of friends is filled with amazing teachers, administrators and support staff who are some of the most dedicated people I know. Kids are their business, and it shows through their passion and commitment to the field.  Continue reading

09/25/16

Review: Yo! Sushi

Disclosure: This is a sponsored blog post as part of a blogger collaboration with YO! Sushi. I have been compensated in the form of product for this post and my honest thoughts on YO! Sushi. All opinions are my own. 

Last Thursday Carlos, from Carlos Eats, invited a handful of bloggers to attend an event with YO! Sushi at the International Plaza and Bay Street called Ramen Mania. Liz, from No Ordinary Liz and I jumped at the opportunity to try a new-to-us place, and boy are we glad we did!  During the event we were invited to try new menu additions including ramen bowls, limited-edition poke bowls, and new sushi rolls and other menu bites. In addition to the tasting opportunities, we were also able to meet the staff and chefs who are behind the tasty and creative offerings at YO! Sushi.  Continue reading

08/16/16

My first Mammogram at 37

Disclaimer: This post covers sensitive medical and wellness related topics involving breast cancer and preventative procedures. If you feel uncomfortable discussing or reading about these topics, please skip this post. I won’t be offended because I know you’ll be back! Additionally, I am NOT a medical professional. I am simply a patient giving my opinion on how to be proactive with women’s health issues. Please consult your own physician before attempting any medical procedure or self-diagnosing. 

Posts like this never get easier. It’s just the nature of the subject. But it’s important for me to continue to write about my experiences in dealing with my own health after losing my mother to stage 4 triple negative carcinoma (the worst case scenario as far as breast cancers go) four years ago. And because some of you may be facing these same high-risk circumstances, my hope is that I can bring you comfort, knowledge and the confidence to take control of your situation with proactive, preventative measures in order to live a calm, happy and healthy life.  Continue reading

07/4/16

Sweet, sour and spicy quick pickles

Happy Fourth of July!

Need a last minute summer snack to whip up for a party or picnic? Try these SUPER simple sweet, sour and spicy quick pickles! 
ddc6df9b-fb92-4edddddddb5-b142-50632b0c4c52These pickles are SO flavorful, with just the right balance of sweet and sour- with a little kick at the end from some spice. They can be ready is as little as 2 hours and will last 2-3 weeks in an air-tight container in the fridge. You can use whatever type of cucumber you like- English, mini-pickling, etc. OR try using onions, sweet peppers or even carrots! The pickling possibilities are endless!
Continue reading