Check out the latest Speaking Of interview, where I talk to Gervase Kolmos. Gervase is a certified mindset coach for moms. For 7 years she’s been helping moms navigate the waters of “motherhood AND,” not “motherhood OR” through her companies Shiny Happy Human and The Champagne Society.
Check out this week’s Speaking Of interview with Briana Nicastro, Community Activist.
Briana’s dedication to her community, specifically through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry and Dorchester Paws is truly inspiring. Watch the interview to hear when her passion started, how it positively impacts her life, and how you can get involved too.
Briana also shares fun details about her husband Max’s business – Skatedogtor. Max is a former pro hockey player who now takes shelter dogs on “skates,” where he rollerblades with the dogs and records the sessions to help show the dogs’ personalities to help them get adopted!
Enjoy the interview!
Seriously, what’s for dinner? That’s the question EVERY night in my house. Both my husband and I ask it of one another every. single. night. We never have a plan. So, no, my kitchen doesn’t have fabulous meals in it like in the pic above.
We instead have too many days when we’re visiting places like the one below. We end up ordering takeout (#quarantine!) from places that are open late because we can’t even reach a consensus on what to eat until nothing else is open.
People who cook are amazing to me, and those who cook *nightly* or *plan ahead* are mystical creatures to me (they’re probably also the same people who can fold a fitted sheet…). I hear that these people exist, some people even share stories of how they’re doing it, or how it’s less expensive than eating out… but it still just seems impossible to me.
I’m not sure why meal planning or cooking is so hard. In practical terms it’s not, you buy ingredients, you follow a recipe, you eat. But, for some reason, that’s now how it works in my world.
I’ve been dying for fish tacos. I thought, hey, I’m not at a corporate job, I have time to make some good fish tacos. I sent a friend who recently posted some pics of delicious homemade tacos a message on FB and asked for the recipe. She shared, and it sounded lovely, simple, and delicious. I figured I could make the tacos happen that night (although I should’ve known that it’s like watching the hair stylist do your hair at the salon – it always looks like it’s repeatable, but you get home, try it, and look like a mutant).
I drove to the store, bought the ingredients, and checked out. Somehow I ended up spending $52. But, I had enough to make tacos for 4 people, so I persisted. I got home, started to make the food, and it turned out pretty okay. My tacos didn’t look as delicious as my friend’s. My husband always jokes that it’s because I don’t cook with the most important ingredient: love.
He’s totally right. I cook with wonder, not love, in my heart and try to figure out how the heck people are so good at this and I just can’t get it right! Not too long ago, I burned something on the stove (I don’t even remember what because it’s rather frequent). My daughter asked what the smell was, and I was like, the scent of mommy attempting to cook.
It doesn’t seem to be for me. As much as I like the idea of it, it doesn’t like the idea of me.
Still, those tales I hear of others meal planning and cooking mystify me, and I want in. I want to spend less than $52 on fish tacos at home. I want to know what we’re going to have for dinner before 8pm each night (and eek then be limited by what’s open since every place has shortened hours due to the quarantine).
How does one, who dislikes cooking, and doesn’t eat mammals, but enjoys having dinner, figure out how to affordably make a meal that doesn’t suck? I’d love some tips, because it really does seem like it’s impossible! I have a few things I make and they’re good, but I don’t want to make those things every single week!
Now, off to ponder what in the world we’ll have for dinner tonight!
Hi all, check out today’s Speaking Of video where I share the interview preview for the week, talk about how I learned that pterodactyl’s aren’t a type of Dino (mind blown!), and share a few funny memories of my dad!
Stay tuned for the weekly interview later this week.
Hi all, check out the latest Speaking Of interview. This week I talked to Laurie Barrett, an aspiring writer. We chatted about everything from why she enjoyed the quarantine to her writing process and mom-life.
Check it out and enjoy!
I seriously love and believe in the law of attraction. If you’re not familiar with it, basically it means that whatever you focus on, you will bring about. If you focus on positive things, positive things will happen, and if you focus on negative things, negative things will happen – your attention/focus/beliefs manifest tangibly into your life in one way or another. You can use it for goals, health, career, physical things, etc.
When I focus on things, I can see those things manifest – good or bad. An example of the negative and the positive are in the story of my pregnancy and my daughter’s NICU stay.
I fully believe the law of attraction is why my daughter was born right before 28 weeks. I had 28 weeks so firmly in my head as my goal, that I “willed” that into existence. I didn’t realize I did it, but let me tell you that I focused so hard on getting to 28 weeks that not much else entered my mind at that point.
After a miscarriage at 10 weeks earlier the same year, I remember thinking, ok, I have to get to 12 weeks, that’s when it’s “safe.” Then I remember talking to my doctor about the next milestone – ie when the baby could live outside of me and survive. She said 24 weeks. I said, okay, I have to get to 24 weeks. She said “No! At 24 weeks the odds of survival are 50/50.” I said okay, when does survivability go up. She said “28 weeks, but Stephanie, you need to get to 40 weeks! You don’t want your baby to be that early!”
But, in my head, I didn’t process anything after I heard her say 28 weeks. 28 weeks was my goal. I needed to get to the point in the pregnancy that I was past the point of miscarriage (in theory, that is – obviously you’re never past that point, which is terrifying) – that if something came up, she could be delivered and live. I needed to know that my baby could live.
I fully believe that because all I did was focus on making it to 28 weeks, that’s why she was born at 27/6 weeks. She ended up needing to be delivered because I had severe preeclampsia/borderline HELLP.
I also believe that the law of attraction is why she survived in the NICU. She developed a severe lung condition (P.I.E.) that only 25% of preemies get (and imagine that only 10% of babies are born premature – and that 10% includes all babies under 37 weeks. The number born at her gestation is much lower). She wasn’t doing well. The one doctor told me she didn’t know if she (my daughter) would be going home. She didn’t know if she’d live. She was very sick. The day the doctor said that was the last time I heard any of those words.
At home that night, I developed a mantra that I started to say to my daughter every single time I walked away from her bedside for the rest of her stay – no matter if I was leaving for the evening or just going to the bathroom. I said “Kennedy is strong. Kennedy will be happy, healthy, and home soon.” I also walked into rounds the next day and said, “Okay, new rules. We no longer say the words sick, bad day, struggling, etc. We now say things like ‘she had a busy day. There was a lot going on.'” I wanted to know where things really stood, but also wanted them framed in a more positive or neutral way.
For example, for a 28 weeker to leave the hospital without a blood transfusion is pretty rare. So to me, if she needed a blood transfusion on a particular day wasn’t “bad,” it was actually normal – as in to be expected. And I’ll tell you what, my daughter noticed and reacted positively to our new positive energy. No one was allowed to call her “sick,” or anything else negative, and she thrived.
My point is that I believe that what you focus on is what you manifest, both the positive and negative things. As with anything, I can’t explain why terrible things happen sometimes – there are truly things that I believe can’t be explained by science, religion, or a combination of the two. But overall, I really believe that you can control your destiny.
In lighter applications of the law of attraction, sometimes you bring things into your life by simply “loving” them and believing you’ll have them. Last week I was looking at playsets for my daughter. She is absolutely in love with them and comments every time she sees one.
Around Christmas, we asked two of three sets of grandparents around Christmas if they’d help pitch in for one as an Easter present (but the yard wasn’t ready at that point, so it was on hold).
We didn’t ask the one set of grandparents, I’m not even sure why. But anyway, last week I was researching them, working to find the best one for our needs and yard, and reviewed a few options with my husband. I also asked him if he’d ask his dad and I said I’d ask my mom if they still wanted to pitch in.
The next day he got home from work and said, “You’re never going to believe this. My mom (who is divorced from his dad) called me and said she woke up in the middle of the night last night thinking about swing sets for Kennedy. She said she wants to buy her one.” I couldn’t believe it. As I mentioned, we didn’t ask her at any point, so that randomly just happened. She woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it. How crazy is that???? That is the law of attraction at work!
I also happened to dream some numbers the other night, but didn’t play them, and 3/4 of the numbers hit straight the next day. Ugh! I have no idea how to harness that, but it’s pretty awesome when that happens!
Whether you fully believe in the law of attraction or not, it never hurts to be positive, and focus on the things that you want. It may just work out, and it certainly won’t hurt!
Hi all, happy Friday! Check out the latest Speaking Of Interview!
I talk with Laquanda Steed about everything from being a native Charlestonian (!!!), to the finding work-life balance as a working mom, to her blooming writing career, and advice to those pursuing their passions.
I love this interview so much that I had a hard time shortening it to even 26 minutes! If you enjoy it too, please like, subscribe, and share. 🙂
That’s what I ask myself every evening. Thankfully most of the time my answer to myself is yes. I can always say “yes, I’m meeting my daughter’s needs”. I’m speaking more of the “quality” time. Mom guilt is a daily struggle.
My daughter is very attached to me and wants to play 24/7, but life is often in the way. Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, or a work from home mom, or a hybrid of those, you probably experience the same thing. There are always so many things to do, and it never seems like there’s enough time to play.
I’m not sure what the perfect balance looks like to me, but I know that it’s not what I feel like I’m doing most days. There’s always something to do, and it doesn’t seem like there’s much that can be eliminated. Walking the dog, doing cardio (only 30 minutes at home, so it’s not like that’s taking much time away from playing with my daughter), making dinner, cleaning up after dinner, showering, grocery shopping, paying bills, the list goes on. I guess the key would be to do better streamlining the things that can be more efficient – perhaps meal planning, etc.).
Or, maybe there is enough time and I have an unrealistic ideal of how much I should be playing with my daughter? Maybe I’m just not “present” enough when I’m with her. Ugh. The struggle is constant. I feel guilt when I’m doing something other than being with her, and I feel guilty when I am with her but am not playing because I have to do something like make dinner.
The daily struggle is what leads to the nightly question of whether I was a good mom that day.
I was recently laid off, so I should have more time to spend, but am using about 4-5 hours a day to work on things like this – writing this blog, shooting the Speaking Of videos that I recently started, doing my weekly videos with Dawn, editing all of those videos, looking for regular jobs, etc. Those are all valid, but I feel guilty because I’m doing something other than playing with her. It’s still less than the time in a standard workday, but the guilt is just the same.
I suppose the key is to make the most of the time that I do have, and *try* not to get mad at myself for doing the best I can. It’s totally valid to exercise, and to walk the dog, and to make dinner (or at least pick it up…), and to work. It’s tough to let go of guilt, but I’m working on it.
Happy Thursday! Check out the latest Speaking Of video – and FIRST Speaking Of interview! I’m so excited to share this first interview with you. I spoke to best-selling author Christopher Connors about his most recent book, Emotional Intelligence for the Modern Leader.
Enjoy, and please subscribe and share. 🙂
Happy Thursday! Check out this video about the week. I’ve learned that I really miss having a pool, and really hate calling unemployment! Eek!
But, I got to do my first Speaking Of interview with author (and friend) Christopher Connors. So exciting to get to start doing the interviews.
Enjoy the video!
I “lost” my job in a mass layoff due to COVID-19 a few weeks ago. Isn’t “lost” an interesting word? I know where my job is – it’s at my old company, but as per the official definition below from dictionary.com, I “no longer possess or retain” the job, so I suppose it is “lost.”
It’s super weird, and yet, kind of exciting. That probably sounds weird, right? I mean, I spent all of my 30s (so far) there. I was there for 8.5 years, and I appreciate everything that I was able to do, the skills I learned, and the people I met.
While working at my last job, I had the opportunity to do some really cool stuff like building a team to manage corporate culture, and managing all philanthropy for the company. I created those roles, and that’s awesome. In a tech company, there are few roles like the one I created and filled, and I was lucky enough to do that.
There are certainly some bittersweet things about being “gone.” Although I have been working remotely from a different state for some time, the end is now official. I said bye to so many people before I moved – and even to the buildings on the campus – and didn’t know it would be goodbye forever. I thought I’d be back a few times a year for certain things. Now, if I go back, I’ll get a visitor badge. How bizarre.
I remember my interview – which was actually rather entertaining because there was a mixup. I was told by recruiting that it was an in-person interview and my manager (who is now my friend, Nina) was told it was a phone interview. So, there I was, sitting in the lobby, while the receptionist tried to track down my future manager but couldn’t find her because she was in a room trying to call me for the phone interview. Thank goodness I felt compelled to check my phone and saw missed calls and a voicemail from her asking if I still wanted to interview. Then she walked down the stairs and the receptionist was like, that’s her! She flagged my future manager down, and then I had a very informal interview.
During the interview, I met the team. One of them asked about my husband, and I said he worked at a home improvement store. The guy said, oh, so he wears a vest? I jokingly said, “Yes, he wears a vest. Nothing else. That’s his whole uniform. No pants, it’s weird.” My future coworker laughed and my manager seemed impressed because she said he was “a tough egg to crack.”
In total irony, I wasn’t offered the official job until another phone interview with a man I called “the culture detector,” who made sure that potential associates were a culture fit for the company. I never in a million years would’ve imagined that I would’ve ended up creating and building a culture team at that company. It was such a unique position that I held pre-IPO, though the IPO, after the IPO, and through a major leadership change. It’s not often that people get to see culture through that lens. I’m so thankful that I did.
Through my role, I met so many associates. I got to work with them, learn about their stories, help them with their goals, contribute to their passions through matching donations and organizing volunteer events. How lucky, right? I also managed associate perks, so I really was the “shiny/happy” part of the company, a role I was privileged to hold.
I remember my first day on the job and being so nervous, and also being so excited! My first week featured on-site massages, a software release party, free lunch, and working in a building with free slushy machines.
I remember meeting the man who would become one of my best friends, Jody. I remember the first time he asked me to lunch – he wrote a note, like an old-school, on paper, note – drew a picture of his signature dog with the words “I’m hungry.” I still have that somewhere. I had no idea that he – who started 1 month after me and was laid off on the same day as me in the mass layoff – would be become one of my best friends. He has one of the most varied life stories of anyone I’ve ever encountered, and I can’t believe how lucky I am to have had 8 years of lunches to learn about them.
I remember meeting (my now close friend), Jaclyn, who started at a folding table as a contractor. She was at a folding table because we were growing so fast that there weren’t enough desks during the busy season. Her desk was right by the bathroom, and even that couldn’t dampen what I’d eventually coin as her “Spirit Sparkles.” She put her Spirit Sparkles to good use on the culture team, and continued to brighten the company as she progressed in her career. She, too, was impacted by the layoff, but I know that she’s off to do something amazing.
I remember meeting Lisa, who was interviewing for the receptionist position. I had no idea why I was asked to interview her, and had no idea that I’d end up being good friends with her and she’d become part of my work and friend group (She’s also an A+ jam maker. Seriously – no one makes better strawberry jam). She’s organized, upbeat, fun, and gives good advice. She moved on shortly before the pandemic, so my whole crew is gone!
I remember emailing the CEO/Founder of the company when I had my daughter. His family donated millions to build the new children’s hospital (that now bears his name) shortly before my daughter was born, and thanks to the role I worked in, I was able to meet the team at the hospital. I had no idea that when I toured the NICU while I was pregnant that my daughter would soon become a patient due to her early birth. The CEO emailed back right away with encouragement and his cell phone number.
Now, that is all over. I won’t ever be on a lunch break with my friends (shout out to Jody, Jaclyn, Lisa, and Nina). I won’t be able to organize another family event there.
But, that’s okay.
I was there for 8.5 years. I was comfortable there. The role was awesome, but it was something I did for years. I never expected that I’d be one of several hundred laid off due to a pandemic. It actually seems weird to be part of history in that way. But, I really feel like it was the best thing.
I got the call, and I wasn’t even upset… or even surprised. I mean, as I said, my job was at a tech company, so my role of culture and philanthropy (while important) didn’t contribute directly to the product. It’s not like I was in engineering or sales or account management. I worked in associate happiness, so by default my job required spending money, and when we got news that layoffs were happening, I assumed I would be on that list.
Is being laid off a positive? Not in the moment, right? You have to figure out money, and all the other things. It also creates a surprising amount of things on your to-do list (outplacement services, unemployment, transferring benefits, retirement accounts, updating your resume, job searching, etc.). BUT, I really feel like this was a tremendous opportunity. How lucky to be pushed out of the nest????
What would I be doing in 5 years if this didn’t happen? Probably working there in the same role. Where will I be in 5 years from now? I have no idea, and that’s really pretty awesome and exhilarating!!!
Is it a coincidence that Dawn and I started working on this blog and the videos a few months ago – before the pandemic happened? I don’t think so. I think it was meant to be.
Would I have ever fully “bet” on myself and left that comfortable corporate job? Probably not. But, how I choose to move forward is now a decision I have to make and can really think about. I love it.
I want to look back at the day I was laid off as the turning point in my life. I want to be proud of what I chose to do and how I took action to achieve my goals. I want to be able to say that I’m living my dream.
So to summarize this layoff, I say:
Thank you so, so, so, much for my time at the company. I grew so much there. I lived so much life during the time I was there. I started as an almost-30 year old who was newly married, and over time I bought a house, got a puppy, my husband got a second degree, he entered a new career field, I had a miscarriage, a high-risk pregnancy, a daughter with a 3-month Nicu-stay, lost my dad, and faced a serious health issue in my family (all is fine now). That’s SO much life. On the job, I was able to grow my career and learn so much, and really become an expert at what I did. I’m a different person now. How could all of that *not* change you?
I appreciate all of the opportunities, the friends I made, the beautiful campus I worked on, and the flexibility I was granted during my daughter’s time in the NICU.
And also, thank you for the layoff. Thank you for putting me on that list, and forcing me to grow once again. I grew a lot at the company, and I will grow again now, because I have to. I may never have taken this step, but I’m so thankful to be here now, at this crossroad, figuring out what’s next. KNOWING, something else great is next. It’s time for a new adventure.
I really love the pic of that tiger. I’m not sure what it is about tigers that I love so much. I guess they’re just so beautiful, and fierce. That said, I would definitely run from one in the wild. Hell, I’d run from one in a controlled setting.
But, I think there’s something else about tigers that mesmerizes me. Maybe it’s inspiration, actually. I Googled tigers and it said they’re a sign of strength, courage, and dignity. Who wouldn’t want to be described that way? Something about looking at a stunning tiger pic is inpiring. So is listening to Eye of the Tiger, but doesn’t that make us all feel like we can rule the world????
I also love humor, so I got this tiger pillow on Wayfair. Who could resist a tiger in a tossle cap? Not me.
Anyway, aside from tigers, there are other things that are sure-fire ways to make me feel like I can conquer anything. Listening to the Rudy soundtrack always does the trick. When I was a reporter, I would be like, listen, if Rudy could make the Notre Dame football team, I can make this deadline! It always worked.
Speaking of Rudy himself, I had the pleasure of hearing him speak in person a year or so ago. Talk about inspiring. That man really has a drive like you wouldn’t believe. Basically everything in his life required the level of effort that he put into making the Notre Dame team. It was quite impressive. I wasn’t sure what to expect on the way to see him speak, but he definitely surpassed whatever I was imagining. That was cool.
Those are just a few of the things that inspire me. As mentioned many times, humor is another motivator for me, so watching or hearing something funny always makes me feel pretty amazing.
But, with many readily-available sources of inspiration, what is it that holds one back? How do you harness those bursts of energy and inspiration and run with them? I’m trying to work on that. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I’m doing what I can. I’m at least trying to make a daily effort to take action.
My favorite primary care provider (have I written about her, gosh I love her!) referred me to a Ted Talk by Mel Robbins and then a book by her as well. It’s called the 5 SEcond rule, and it really is great. It’s pretty basic – it’s hard to motivate yourself, so just count backwards and act when you get to 1. It resets your brain ands helps give you a chance to make a better decision or to actually act. I’ve found myself doing it fairly often. It sounds simple (because it is), but it does work.
So, with all of that inspiration, you may wonder how I’m doing with the goals I mentioned in my first post this year? Well, here’s the rundown:
- Get in shape. For real. Once and for all.
- I’m down about 3 – 3.5 pounds. I guess that’s alright. It’s not ideal, but at least things are going in the right direction.
- FIGURE OUT HOW TO LIVE MY PASSION.
- I’m pretty happy about this one. It may seem small, but actually writing this blog is a big deal and a big step. It’s actually taking action. Dawn and I are doing pretty well at being consistent and we’re getting better as we go along. Plus, as mentioned, in 2 weeks, we’re going to post a video! I’m really excited about that. Will it be perfect. No. Will it be funny. I sure hope so. Will it be “us,” definitely. Hopefully we’ll be able to build a following.
- Figure out how to get the sassies (what I call it when my daughter is sassy) and periodic tantrums to go away.
- This is still a work in progress. We had a few good weeks. Then this week has been “real” again. Honestly, I’m not sure how to improve the situation. Ugh! I guess consistency and setting limits. It’s frustrating.
I’m off to listen to Eye of the Tiger and do some brainstorming about the goals above. 🙂