What I Wore This Week | #FROCKTOBER Week 4



Some people my find this whole FROCKTOBER thing a little silly; after all, it is a bit materialistic and about clothing and what we wear; it’s not about saving the world or doing some good for others. However, that said, I do believe how we feel about ourselves reflects on the rest of the world and people in our lives. When we feel good about ourselves, it comes from the inside; the clothing is just a mere reflection of ourselves, our personalities, and our own personal taste. When we’re happy with ourselves, that happiness helps us in all aspects of our lives.

We all have different taste in clothing–and that’s why, luckily for us all–there are all different types of styles available to us. I classify myself as a romantic, classic dresser with a dash of trendiness and Boho thrown in for fun. I like clothes that make me feel like a lady: feminine and pretty. Others may prefer more preppy, classic clothing, while others may have a full-on Boho style, among many others. We see some trends we like, we wear some trends, and we leave some trends behind because we know they don’t work for us.

We’re meant to have fun with clothes, look professional in clothes, work in clothes, go out in clothes, exercise in clothes, and hang around the house in clothes. We have clothing that suits all our different settings — and the best part is, we get to choose those pieces that work especially for each of us.

Here’s what I wore this week:

SUNDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 16 l #Sunday’s #ootd and a little over the halfway mark (thank goodness!) in this transitional fall look … #americanrag top from #macys; #anntaylorloft leggings; #charlesdavid boots; #bigbudda bag.
MONDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 17 | It’s back to the classroom in this #ootd–navy blue dress with white piping from #boden; these navy shoes have quickly become one of my favorite pairs by #vincecamuto; bag by #merona. Hope today is a good start to the week for you!
TUESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 18 | Today's #ootd on this very warm #October day featured this red and black top by #daytripclothing; black ruffle skirt by #whitehouseblackmarket; ankle strap pointed toe heels by #samandlibby; bag from #kennethcole.
TUESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 18 | Today’s #ootd on this very warm #October day featured this red and black top by #daytripclothing; black ruffle skirt by #whitehouseblackmarket; ankle strap pointed toe heels by #samandlibby; bag from #kennethcole.
WEDNESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 19 | Today's #ootd ... classics with flair from #anthropologie. #moulinettesoeurs polka dot dress with lace trim; #cidra jacket; #apt9 shoes.
WEDNESDAY | #FROCKTOBER Day 19 | Today’s #ootd … classics with flair from #anthropologie. #moulinettesoeurs polka dot dress with lace trim; #cidra jacket; #apt9 shoes.
THURSDAY | #FROCTOBER Day 20 | Ready to say hello to our alums at tonight's Affinity Reunion in this #ootd. #anntaylor red skirt; #frenchconnection top; #ninewestboots.
THURSDAY | #FROCTOBER Day 20 | Ready to say hello to our alums at tonight’s Affinity Reunion in this #ootd. #anntaylor red skirt; #frenchconnection top; #ninewestboots.
FRIDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 21 #currentmood - All in black in this #ootd. #whitehouseblackmarket pants; #laurenconrad bow top and long sweater with lace detail. Fringe booties by #sodashoes. #kennethcole bag.
FRIDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 21 #currentmood – All in black in this #ootd. #whitehouseblackmarket pants; #laurenconrad bow top and long sweater with lace detail. Fringe booties by #sodashoes. #kennethcole bag.
SATURDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 22 Spending the day with family, catching up on grading papers, and being a chauffeur to my children in this comfy #ootd. Top from #charmingcharlie; stretch leggings #verawang; cranberry boots by #francosarto. An old leopard bag for fun and shades on my head from #anntaylor.
SATURDAY | #FROCKTOBER | Day 22 Spending the day with family, catching up on grading papers, and being a chauffeur to my children in this comfy #ootd. Top from #charmingcharlie; stretch leggings #verawang; cranberry boots by #francosarto. An old leopard bag for fun and shades on my head from #anntaylor.

xx |

signatureStephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

What I Wore This Week | #FROCKTOBER Week 3

FROCKTOBER is full steam ahead this week, with lots of variations and different brands. Also, I want to talk about NEUTRALS, as some people have questions, such as, “Can I wear brown and black together?” Yes, you can. They are two neutrals. Just as you can wear grey and black, or black and tan, or even brown and grey (which can look quite elegant, actually), so can you blend neutrals. Blue is a neutral (think about your blue jeans…you wear them with anything, right?); therefore, you can mix your neutrals. Don’t be afraid to do it. It can look quite lovely.

I’m a petite person, and as such, I stay away from big patterns, large stripes, and heaviness of clothing, especially on top or around the mid-section, which will only add more weight and bulk to my already short stature. I’m quite curvy, and so I must choose the right clothes to help balance my silhouette. Darker colors on the bottom typically help this, wearing the same color on top and bottom helps you appear taller, and too much bulk will just make you look bigger than you are.

Here are the looks from the week that were posted on my Instagram. See you next Sunday.

#Frocktober | Day 9 slipped into this #ootd for Sunday — #anntaylorloft curvy jeans; #forevertwentyone top; black booties from #mossimo. This is about as big a pattern as I will wear on top. The open neckline opens me up and lengthens me. The cinched waist helps accentuate my waist and gives that hourglass shape.
#FROCKTOBER Day 10 | Today’s #ootd is all about comfort as my husband and I strolled @ladewgardens during my fall semester break — #Target leggings with #jeannepierre leather trimmed grey sweater from #macys, perfect for the 60 degree weather and sunny skies; #marcfisher black suede tall boots with gold detail.
Got someone to take our photo during out outing to Ladew Topiary Gardens on Monday during my fall break from the university. It was lovely to do nothing but stroll and enjoy the spectacular weather.
#FROCKTOBER Day 11 | Wore this #ootd to my son’s District Championship golf match today (they qualified and are heading to States!)…#Laurenconrad jeans; red sweater from #anntaylorolft; plaid jacket from #Boden; #Bandolino boots; #danabuchman bag; #Mudd hat. So proud of Matt and his team! It’s a happy Tuesday!
#FROCKTOBER Day 12 | Today’s #ootd proves you can wear two neutrals, even when those neutrals are brown and black. Black straight leg pants by #jenniferlopez; cream colored blouse from #anntaylorloft; brown vest with fur trim from #anntaylor; black boots with gold zippers by #tahari. Photo taken in one of my favorite local shops, #homesteadgardens.
#FROCKTOBER Day 13 | My daughter thought the previous pic was too dark, so we’re trying this again with better lighting…when this month is over, I’m going back to writing novels. This modeling thing is not for me…😘. Back to work after fall break in today’s #ootd on campus: #verawangprincess dress; #mossimo black lace-up shoes and metallic bag.
#FROCKTOBER Day 14 | #Friday fun in this new #ootd, a lightweight, long-sleeved denim dress by #Inc from #macys and brown suede boots with tights by #ninewest … Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful weekend. Enjoy it, everyone!
#FROCKTOBER Day 15, Part 1 | #Saturday in a suit? Yes…just for the morning for @stevensonuniversity’s Open House for prospective students. This #ootd suiting is by #AnnTaylor in brown; #ninewest cream-colored suede shoes; lace camisole by #Bordeaux; #mossimo metallic bag. Changing into something more Saturday-like now…
#FROCKTOBER Day 15, Part 2 | Running out to do some errands in this casual #ootd — #starcity red top with ruffle; #whitehouseblackmarket black sweater and super straight legged jeans; #tahari boots; #maxxnewyork red leather bag.
#FROCKTOBER Day 16 l #Sunday’s #ootd and a little over the halfway mark (thank goodness!) in this transitional fall look … #americanrag top from #macys; #anntaylorloft leggings; #charlesdavid boots; #bigbudda bag.


Just a little thing about hats…I love to wear them in the fall and winter. This one’s been around for a while, but it’s one of my favorites to throw on. I have this style in black, brown, and grey. Once again, these neutrals can go with just about anything.


xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.


FROCKTOBER Week 2 | What I Wore


In celebration of #FROCTOBER, I’m doing a quick recap of what I wore this past week. I’ve been posting daily on my Instagram feed (stephverni), and it’s been fun. It makes me think, though, because it’s a lot of pressure to post an outfit you think is good enough to feature as a Frocktober favorite. I’m a petite, regular gal, and the correct proportions of my clothing matters; it’s one of the things I learned when I became a fashion consultant. We tend to want to wear all the latest trends whether they suit us or not, but if our body type/size/shape/height doesn’t work for that trend, we have to let it go. The key to good style—and finding your own brand of personal style—is wearing what works best on your body; you must know what fits well and makes you look your best, and it’s not always easy. I’d love to wear a lot of the big, loose fitting clothes, but it will make me look like I’m wearing a tent–they will overwhelm my small stature. Therefore, think about your proportions and always keep them in mind when buying clothes, especially when you buy clothing that you want to last a while. Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter if you buy something at Nordstrom or Target or a high-end boutique, if it’s the right color and proportion, it will probably look fabulous on you. (And you will see from my collection, I buy things from everywhere…for me, it’s all about balance and proportion).

And now, on to what I wore this week, starting with what I wore on Sunday…

Day 2 | #FROCKTOBER Sunday errands and grading at the library. Topshop top from #Nordstrom; good old fashioned #Levi’s jeans; #Kanna shoes from Spain; #Maxx red leather bag.
Day 3 of #FROCKTOBER features this #ootd for Monday on campus. Plum long sleeved blouse from #anntaylor; black pocket skirt from #anntaylorloft; shoes from our own #Annapolis, #Maryland native and designer #christiansiriano for #paylessshoes in wine; #ralphlauren bag.
Today’s #FROCKTOBER #ootd … Day 4 on campus … forcing myself to step away from my mostly black wardrobe and into some color. #moulinettesoeurs purple dress and #charlieandrobin sweater from #anthropologie; #vaneli grey suede button boots.
#FROCKTOBER continues with #whatiworetoday on Day 5  on campus with this #ootd. Blue dress from #bananarepublic; brown tweed blazer from #thelimited; brown suede, stacked heel boots from #ninewest; one of my go-to, all-time favorite necklaces is not expensive but comes from #target; bag by #davidjonesbags. @lisarinna inspired hair (love her).
#FROCKTOBER is rolling along on Day 6 with this #ootd — #whatiworetoday on campus? Straight legged pants from #whitehouseblackmarket; blue blouse by #xhilaration; black, fringe peep-toe booties by #sodashoes; necklace from #charmingcharlie; bag by #michaelkors. Bring on Friday and our semester fall break which begins tomorrow afternoon. Thursday smiles, all!!
Day 7 | From earlier today before I was under the weather comes today’s boho-inspired Friday #FROCKTOBER #ootd — Wore this #laurenconrad dress with grey #boden suede boots and a hat from #maddengirl. Happy Friday!
Day 8 | Saturday feels for #frocktober in this comfy #ootd ... #laurenconradcollection top with her jeans (great fit)! Wearing my #sodashoes booties on my feet; #maddengirl hat. Ready for an evening with family. Happy rainy Saturday!
Day 8 | Saturday feels for #FROCKTOBER in this comfy #ootd … #laurenconradcollection top with her jeans (great fit)! Wearing my #sodashoes booties on my feet; #maddengirl hat. Ready for an evening with family. Happy rainy Saturday!

See you next week!

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.






An Eastern Shore Treasure: Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay



As a Marylander who sometimes enjoys a quick getaway to the Eastern Shore, I recently had the privilege of once again staying at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina. Situated on the banks of the Choptank River, the resort boasts 342 acres in Cambridge, Maryland. As this was my third visit as a guest—having gone once before with my husband and then again for a girls’ getaway weekend—I always forget just how large, well-maintained, and picturesque it is. Unlike some resorts, it does not have an air of superiority to it; instead, it welcomes guests with open arms and invites them to walk the trails, spend time along the waterfront at the beach area or two pools, get pampered at the spa, or play a round of golf or two at the well-designed course on site. The restaurants are lovely, and we enjoyed a delectable breakfast as we sat in a terrace room that overlooks the water. Quite simply, the resort offers guests the perfect opportunity to unwind and enjoy the splendor that surrounds them.

One special touch the resort offers guests: their own bag of neatly packed s’mores to roast by the outdoor fire.













xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.



Welcome to #Frocktober | What I Wore & Style Tips



frock [frok] noun


1. a gown or dress worn by a girl or woman.
2. a loose outer garment worn by peasants and workers; smock.


Today begins my version of Frocktober, whereby I will showcase what I wear for the next 31 days of October. I’m an average woman who is petite in stature and who also happens to love shopping for clothes, reading about fashion, and creating a personal style. In my former life as a fashion consultant, I helped other women try to find their style. We don’t have to be runway models to feel good about ourselves; women of all shapes and sizes are beautiful, and beauty truly comes from within and then is expressed on the outside. We are all capable of finding our own “brand” of style, and so much of it comes from what has shaped us and continues to shape us as people.

I don’t have a fat wallet or shop at the finest of stores; I primarily buy things on sale, and I even hunt down goods at consignment stores (and recently scored two Nanette Lepore pieces in mint condition for a fraction of what the original retail price was). I’ll pick up things from Anthropologie to Boden to Ann Taylor, from Nordstrom and Macy*s, and from Target and Kohl’s to name a few. What really matters when finding your own personal style is finding pieces that work for you and your body type, while taking color into consideration.
For the next month, I’ll share with you what I’ve worn during the week, where I purchased the items, and discuss tips I learned along the way as a fashion consultant. I enjoy helping others feel good about themselves and the choices they make with regard to clothing and accessories.
As I am weeks away from publishing my third novel, I thought having Steph’s Scribe take a breather from writing articles this month (well, maybe just a few!), I would focus on fashion for #Frocktober.
Let me know if you have any questions about what I post. I will do my best to answer anything you ask.
Have a wonderful weekend…now…on to our October Feature.
* * *
W H A T   I   W O R E
Wednesday, September 28 | This little black dress (LBD) is from Ann Taylor. It’s a staple in my closet. Everyone needs an LBD–that “go to” dress that can be worn dressed up or down. In this photo in front of our new building on campus, I accessorized with a black flower pin, Michael Kors watch, and Cole Hahn t-straps. Even though #Frocktober didn’t officially start until today, I started promoting the feature on Instagram on Wednesday.
Thursday, September 29 | This bright yellow skirt brightens up any rainy day! From Boden, it features big pockets on the front; the navy blue sweater top (yes, it’s navy, not black!) is from Banana Republic; boots are navy blue suede from Boden; and the funky yellow necklace is from Target. Personally, I wouldn’t wear a lot of yellow near my face. My skin tone has yellow to it, so it would make me look even more yellow (and older). However, wearing bright colors elsewhere allows me to wear jewel tones (which tend to look best against my skin) closer to my face. As we age, it’s important to keep color in mind. The pop of yellow with the necklace is just enough and doesn’t overwhelm the skin tone.
Friday, September 30 | Another rainy day gave me the blues. On Friday, I was going to be on campus all day, first teaching a three-hour class, and then attending a student event, so I decided to take the liberty of participating in Casual Friday. The blue top is from Nordstrom, the jeans are from White House Black Market (love the comfort of their jeans!), shoes are from Vince Camuto (just got them for my birthday), and the bag is from Ralph Lauren. A tip if you are on the short side like me: the same color on the top and bottom will keep a consistent line and make you appear taller (even with that little bit of white piping). Not breaking the line with color is a smart thing to do; however, it can be become boring always wearing the same color on top and bottom. We’ll talk about other strategies for that as we move through the month.
Saturday, October 1 | IT’S FINALLY #FROCKTOBER!!! Here we go, people. It’s the official start of #Frocktober, and for the next 31 days, I’ll attempt to show you what an average, suburban lady wears to work and on the weekends. Hope you enjoy… Today’s Saturday outfit is brought to you by the following: Blue/green velvet top by Dolan from Anthropologie; dark wash blue, straight legged blue jeans from White House Black Market; boots by Marc Fisher from DSW; bag purchased in St. Michaels by Spartina 449. At the time the photo was taken, there was a massive downpour, but we stayed dry underneath the short roof of these shops in Severna Park.

Have a good weekend, everyone, and thanks for stopping by Steph’s Scribe.


xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.



St. Michaels, Maryland: A Photo Essay & Setting For My New Novel


I love the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Whenever I can steal away and spend time in one of the many adorable towns across the Chesapeake Bay, I jump at the opportunity. Saturday was just such a time. Additionally, I have a vested interest in getting a good “feel” for the place as my new novel is set primarily in Oxford, Maryland, with jaunts to St. Michaels and Easton as well. I’ve done my homework—this summer, I spent time in Oxford. I made two trips there to walk around and get a feel for the place and the people. On Saturday, I took a stroll…it was just my camera and me as I attempted to capture the essence of all it offers residents and visitors. I’m sharing my photos; despite that it was a grey day in St. Michaels, the weather can’t put a damper on the splendor and the beauty of the town.


The picturesque town sits on the water; shopping, boating, inns, churches, and homes with white picket fences abound.



I happened to be visiting on Saturday when the Antique Car Show was taking place.




















This is my favorite shot from the day. This is the patio of a homeowner in St. Michaels. The sign out back is something we all should remember: Life Is A Journey, Not A Destination.

I am very excited to launch my new novel in November. Every time I go back, I know I picked the right setting for the characters…and if I close my eyes sometimes, I can imagine them walking these beautiful streets.

Procrastination Doesn’t Pay


As a college educator, I can certainly tell you with certainty that procrastination doesn’t pay. I see it every day—sometimes getting started on the task is actually more difficult for some than executing the task itself.

The truth is, people think procrastination is about managing time. However, it’s much more complex than that. People underestimate how much time a certain task will take.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-8-26-08-amAnother fallacy is that people think procrastination is just about putting off a task. It’s not. It’s also about being late to meetings, events, interviews, or parties; not paying your bills on time; or even something that can be good for you, like taking your paycheck to the bank. These are all forms of procrastination.

The very real truth is that procrastination is a lifestyle choice.

I’ve had students tell me that they wrote a paper the night before it’s due, and they are proud of its outcome. While the paper may be okay (or not), the reality is this: think how much better it could have been if more time had been spent on it. The same is true for tasks we must do at work—sometimes we need to plan for more time to attack that particular project or report. One such tip might be to use a planner and work backwards to account for the time needed to do something well. Seeing the plan on paper may help jump start what needs to get done and keep the project on track.

In the end, preparation and not being afraid to get started on something count a lot. Deciding NOT to procrastinate has the potential to propel you toward success, and it has a greater chance of making you feel wonderful about what you’ve done or produced.




Back Among My People—The People of the 1980s


Last night, some friends and I went to see a band called The Reagan Years in Annapolis. By their name, you can probably guess that they specialize in covering 1980s music to an audience who thoroughly appreciated it. As a music lover—and one who lived through and sported big hair, wore black Madonna rubber bracelets up the arm and a see through mesh top with a black bra, and can name every MTV original v-jay—I was one of those people who relished every moment of the show.

It reminded me that I need to download some stuff I don’t have: Billy Idol, the Outfield, Morris Day and the Time (used to have “Jungle Love” on vinyl), Dead or Alive (“You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round”), Ah-ha (“Take on Me”–only one of the best videos ever on MTV), and a few more Journey tunes. From the moment the band played, they were high energy, which made us all high energy: we all sang along, reminisced about the songs, and even went so far as to dance. Yup. Just like we did in the clubs in the 80s and 90s.

Music was really good then.

But what’s funny about last night was that we weren’t sitting there thinking, “Gosh, music was good in the eighties,” as if it were a revelation. We KNEW music was good then. It was damn good.


And then, all the nostalgia came rushing back when the lead singer jogged our memories. It made me remember passing notes in class (folding up the paper really small and handing it off to someone–the hell with texting–this was the way it was done!), taking typing class (only the greatest course I ever took because I’m sitting here typing this without even thinking about my fingers…they just know where to go), wearing stonewashed Jordache jeans, teasing our hair and getting perms or sporting mullets, watching all the Brat Pack movies, and the list goes on and on.

In my everyday work week, I am around students who clearly did not exist in the 1980s. I speak their language now, but last night, I was surrounded by and among only my people: the people of the 80s. In those few hours of appreciating The Reagan Years, We Walked Like an Egyptian, Got Into the Groove, and Put Another Dime in the Jukebox, Baby.

To use the words of Jeff Spicoli, it was totally gnarly.




The Friday Random Thoughts Roundup

I haven’t been blogging much lately, and I’m feeling badly about it. I’ve been incredibly busy with two kids in high school, teaching at the university, volunteering for things, and serving on committees, in addition to actually trying to fit my new mentality of health and fitness into my daily regime. I wish I could write an insightful, meaningful post right now, but all I have time for is a quick roundup of random thoughts and things I want to share with you.

So here it goes…


  1. I finally got around to watching the movie Me Before You last weekend which was based on the book by JoJo Moyes. I always say the book is better than the movie in almost every instance, and this will be no different. However, I will tell you that the movie did an excellent job of capturing the essence of the book and offered a clear understanding of the novel. I think that the cast was perfect. I loved both of the main characters who were portrayed by Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. There was good chemistry between them, and if I were the author of the book and I watched the film, I’d be pretty pleased that the director didn’t take too many liberties with my original story. Grab a tissue and watch it if you haven’t already. I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed. (And I’m saying this as someone who LOVED that book and would put it on a list of favorites).
  2. If you’re ever on a tight timetable to arrive somewhere by car, you will inevitably get  stuck behind every law-abiding citizen who prides himself on doing the actual speed limit. Yesterday, en route to a few engagements, every single time I got behind the wheel, I found myself behind the slowest drivers on the planet.
  3. I’ve been exercising regularly now since the end of May. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight and feel better. It’s amazing what a little self-discipline and determination can do for you.
  4. Yesterday, during a lecture in Feature Writing, we all decided that we were going to be word artists. If you think of writing as an art, and consider yourself someone who is crafting prose on the page, thinking about it in the same way an artist thinks about brush strokes is helpful. We should always care what goes into our writing and not be bashful about taking things out. Artists don’t leave things in that shouldn’t be there. We are word artists. I love that.artist
  5. Every time I get together with my Fabulous Friday Travel Writing Class it makes me want to go somewhere, experience it, and write about it. I love writing fiction, but can you imagine how fantabulous it would be to write about travel for a living? Um, yes, I’ll have a slice of that pie and a ticket to anywhere. (This by no means is suggesting that I don’t love my job as a professor; I consider it the best profession in the world. Travel writing might be a close second, or novel writing, or designing clothes…)
  6. As I’m combing through the novel I wrote this summer and making my final edits, I’m always amazed by two things: (1) How much I change as I edit, and (2) How what I’ve written always changes me. That’s the thing about writing: it’s often transformational. My new book should be ready by late October.
  7. I love this quote: I’VE THOUGHT ABOUT RUNNING AWAY AS AN ADULT MORE THAN I EVER DID AS A KID. Remember when summer days were spent outside and nights were spent catching fireflies? Remember thinking summer was long and exciting? Remember watching Little House on the Prairie and The Love Boat? If you do, you’re most likely from my era of childhood, when our primary responsibility was to enjoy ourselves. Nowadays, we’ve got grown up responsibilities. I hope the kids of today try to enjoy their childhoods. There’s no need to grow up so fast.



xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

Feel free to connect on Instagram @stephverni or on Twitter @stephverni.




Remembering An Icon: Princess Diana

Once again, remembering Princess Diana today.

Steph's Scribe | Stephanie Parrillo Verni

princess-diana-blue-gownThe year was 1997, the year I was to marry. My soon-to-be husband had taken a job in New England, and on the weekends I would travel by Amtrak from Baltimore to Stamford, Connecticut, where my fiancé (now husband) would pick me up at the station.

After eating dinner, we stopped at a convenience store to pick up some items for the morning. In the parking lot, the car radio gave us the news. “Princess Diana has been injured in a car crash.” At that time, we didn’t know the severity of the situation, but we went back to my husband’s place and put the television on. I felt ill, as if the accident had happened to someone I knew personally.

We didn’t turn off the television all night.

In the morning, after tossing and turning, we learned she had died.

The people of Britain were distraught. Their princess had…

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The 5:30 A.M. Wake-Up Call


I won’t lie: I’ve sort of been dreading the beginning of this fall’s school year for one primary reason:

The 5:30 a.m. wake-up call.

Well, it’s not actually a call, because I don’t live in a hotel and ask for the wake-up from the front desk. It comes in the form of my iPhone alarm, and it always awakens me from the deepest sleep.

And did I happen to mention that I’m not a morning person? At all?

Nevertheless, with two kids in high school who both catch the bus at 6:30 a.m., I decided it was finally time for us all to be on the same schedule. If they’re going to go out the door at 6:25 a.m. to meet the bus, I figured I should just leave around the same time and get to campus early. Both of my kids have after-school activities, and moms, if you’re like me, we know we have to hang our “taxicab” sign out as soon as work ends for us. We end up being the shuttle, the taxi, and the kids’ personal Uber driver. Actually, I’m the un-Uber, because all moms are uncool when you have to drive your kid and his/her friends around, especially if your kid has a driver’s permit but isn’t quite eligible to drive yet. Then you’re doubly un-Uber, and no amount of trying to be cool with the friends will help.

I have no doubt that if the Beatles wrote the song today, with a little persuasion, we Mothers-of-the-World might be able to persuade them to change the lyrics from “I’m the taxman” to “I’m the taximom.”

Mom's taxi

And the taximom gets really tired at the end of the day, especially after the 5:30 a.m. thing that should henceforth be known simply as “the un-godly hour,” especially to those of us who have #ihatemornings disease. This sickness can be cured, but only if you wake up and get your butt moving. Every day. For the rest of the year.


There’s another cure: drown yourself in good, highly-caffeinated coffee. Nothing like getting that heart pumping first thing in the morning.

Raise that coffee cup, Moms—it’s going to be a long school year.

More Caffeine

xx |

Stephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

Feel free to connect on Instagram @stephverni or on Twitter @stephverni.


5 Reasons Why Not To Compare Yourself to Others

comparison quote


The mantra in our household is pretty simple: do your best. Just do your personal best.

My husband and I believe that doing your best — your very best — is the most important thing you can do, whether that pertains to grades, sports, work, personal goals, or just being a good person in general.

People tend to become unhappy when they compare themselves to others—and, often it happens when someone else yields success, whether it was something you wanted or not. Jealously is a powerful thing, and the less we compare ourselves to others, the better off we will be. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is…you. Were you better today than you were yesterday? Did you do something kind for someone that you didn’t do before? Did you set a personal goal and achieve it?

Here are 5 reasons why Steph’s Scribe thinks you should stop comparing yourself to others immediately:

Comparison is the thief of joy. ~ Teddy Roosevelt

  1. It can make you very unhappy. Comparisons are tough. No matter what, we can be left feeling like we didn’t get the proper end of the stick. I may want to have a movie-star figure, but the truth is, I’m not a movie star. Comparing myself to someone who is on camera or film all day long as their job is probably not fair to someone who is a professor, wife, mother, and writer. While I would love someone to do my hair and makeup every day and tailor a wardrobe to fit my figure perfectly, it’s not going to happen (unless you’re not employing your fairy godmother; if that’s the case, please send her my way). No matter what you want or who you compare yourself to or with, you will end up feeling miserable.
  2. It’s just not a fair thing to do to yourself. We are all different; we have different features, different body types, different minds, and different skills and talents. Comparing yourself to someone else will only make you feel that you are not achieving, when in fact, you very well may be. Stop being unfair to yourself; look in the mirror and tell yourself how great you are today.
  3. You lose focus. If you begin comparing yourself to others, you will focus more on outcome rather than process and change and growth. You have your own goals you want to achieve. Set those for yourself and watch yourself bloom. Your goals are not your best friend’s goals, your boss’s goals, or your family’s goals.
  4. You fail to give yourself a pat on the back for your achievements. So, I’ve lost some weight this summer by sticking to a plan and exercising 5-6 days a week. I can’t compare myself to people who have great metabolisms whereby weight falls off their bodies when they make a conscious lifestyle change. My weight loss is slow and methodical, but I treated myself today to a new dress. It was my goal, not someone else’s that I hit, and I gave myself a good old pat on the back and brought home a present for my closet.
  5. It can kill your creativity. If all you do is compare yourself to others, you may very well lose your creative impulses and drive. When I began writing my second novel, Baseball Girl, and I was trying to figure out the tone and plot line of it, my mother offered advice I’ll never forget. She said, and I quote her, “Don’t forget to put some of your funny stories in there, too. Don’t lose that side of your writing; stay true to your voice.” If I compare myself to others in my field, and if I allow that comparison take hold, I might never write another word again for fear of failure. All I can do is be true to my own voice, my own writing talents, and my own storytelling. But if I think I’m going to write like Tolstoy or Dickens or Anne Tyler, I might as well just quit now. The only thing I can do is hunker down and write and let my creativity flow in my own way. That’s what I owe myself. And that is what you owe yourself, too, no matter what endeavors you pursue.

comparison quote 2

xx |

signatureStephanie Verni is the author of Baseball Girl, Beneath the Mimosa Tree, and the co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice.

Feel free to connect on Instagram @stephverni or on Twitter @stephverni.