The Case for Teaching: Inspiring Students AND Inspired by Students

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.44.31 PM
One of my students wrote this piece about my blog for our campus newspaper. So cute.

It’s Sunday morning, and I’m sitting on my porch writing this post and looking at this glorious day sipping my cup of coffee from my Yeti (which keeps it INCREDIBLY hot, let me just say). In a little while, my daughter and I will head to my parents’ house and sit by their pool and spend time with my brother and his family who are visiting. My son and husband will go play golf–a ritual they’ve tried to do on one day of the weekend. I love that they do this, as my son has one year left of high school before he enters college. I love my summers; they afford me a lot of writing, reading, and family time. That’s for sure. And, they allow me time to plan for the upcoming academic year.

In less than a month, I’ll be back on campus at Stevenson University teaching classes for my 17th year there (my 24th year of teaching overall). I started teaching when a neighbor of mine, who worked at the community college, asked me if I could teach an adjunct course in public speaking. As I had a minor in speech communication and a master’s degree, I told her I could, and a year and a half later (yes, it took that long!), I taught my first course at night.

I fell in love with teaching right then and there.

I was incredibly lucky, as I already had a full-time job I loved working for the Baltimore Orioles. Now, I had a part-time job I loved, too.

When I was hired by Villa Julie in 2000, and then became a full-time faculty member in 2008 when the college changed its name to Stevenson University, I was ecstatic. Somewhere in the back of my head even as a college student myself, I knew I wanted to teach. My mother taught middle school English for 30 years, her uncle was a teacher, my uncle is a professor, two of my aunts were teachers…so you get the picture. Sometimes, honestly, a profession may just be in your blood. And sometimes a profession feels more like a passion.

I probably don’t say it enough, especially to my students, but I love working with them. And to my former students, I loved working with you all, too. I enjoy watching them grow from quiet and unsure freshmen to confident and self-assured young people ready to take on the work force. Some of their transformations are downright amazing, while others of them confidently continue on their trajectory to success. I am so proud of what they have become and what they continue to do out in the world today.

Being in the classroom with students is one of my favorite things. In my writing courses, I especially love when we have meaningful discussions and I get to hear from them about their lives or how a particular piece of writing affected them. In my advertising class, I get to see them make a final pitch—trust me when I tell you, some of those pitches would knock your socks off! In my public relations class last year, the students actually made me so proud when they executed their press conferences that I got a little choked up and teary. And this year, I’m teaching a whole new course, whereby we will function as a full-service agency. It’s going to be exciting.

6ca5f79981e5188802f5326d344c5361--inspire-me-inspire-quotes

As a university professor, no two days are the same, and I don’t have to sit behind a desk all day long. I am there to inspire the students, but the truth is, half the time, they end up inspiring me. They make me want to be a better teacher each and every day.

Honestly, if you open your ears and listen to what your students have to say, it can be quite powerful. They have stories to tell and experiences to share, and they are always eager to understand what I have to impart, even when sometimes they may not fully understand the method to my madness. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time.

But it’s always worth it.

Yes, school starts in less than a month.

I can’t wait to see what this academic year brings.

 

Stephanie

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

Do You Write to Sell or Do You Write to Tell Good Stories?

Yesterday, when I was texting with a dear friend of mine who has been quite influential in my life and career, I shared with him that I was taking a break from writing for a bit. Which, as you know, if you’ve followed along thus far in my tales of woe, really means that I became burned out doing book promotion as opposed to book writing. Anyway, he asked me this question at end of our text thread:

Do you write to sell or do you write to tell good stories?

I looked at what he had written for a long time, pensively, unsure as to how I would answer that question, because it’s a good one to ask. It made me pause and reconsider everything. It’s tricky because there are many components to it, but let me do my best to answer, and then, if there are any other writers out there reading this, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. I think all writers should be forced once in a while to examine why they write…why they slave away doing what they do. Therefore, I decided to enumerate my top four reasons for my own sake, with a caveat about the whole writing life exercise in one #5 summation.

FullSizeRender-21

#1- I write to tell good stories. I have been writing stories since I can remember, telling stories for longer, and wanting to publish a book since the age of 13. I love the whole aspect of storytelling, of a tightly woven narrative, and of the clarity needed to tell a well-constructed story. I write to tell good stories, for sure, and it is at the crux of why I write.

#2- I write to show my students that I actually practice what I preach. If you have me or have had me as a teacher at Stevenson University, I hope you can verify that I am passionate about writing–about being able to articulate your thoughts on paper. It’s a skill that is imperative today. Being a clear writer means you have clarity of thought; you are a critical thinker who knows how to communicate. This skill takes you places in business for sure. A recent survey that polled top executives in large companies proved that the two skills employers want to see in candidates are the ability to write and the ability to speak and present in public. My job is to help both facets, with an emphasis on writing. Being able to show my students four books I have written serves as an example that I do, in fact, practice what I preach.

#3- I write as a creative outlet. I think of myself as a creative person even though I can’t draw or paint. My creativity comes in the forms of words and storytelling (and even blogging)! If I don’t have this outlet, something feels off in my life. It has become and will continue to be an outlet for the fostering and release of creativity.

#4- I write to make people happy. Being able to communicate here on the blog to an audience or through my novels seems to make people happy and that, in turn, makes me happy. Last night at a book club where members had read my novel, Inn Significant, the ladies told me I had a gift for storytelling (and they also liked the happy ending). Again–why not bring some happiness into the world? There’s plenty for us to be sad or angry about already, so a bit of joy in the form of a novel is a good thing.

Now, here’s the caveat:

#5- Writers need readers. And it’s not so much about selling as it is just having readership. We write to share stories and to be read. We write to connect with people. But in order for that to happen, we actually need some readers. And it was the constant time spent soliciting readers that was beginning to kill my spirit.

But when I look at this all now, a couple of weeks after my little meltdown, I may need to rethink my writing, strategy, and approach.

I’m being quite frank and candid about my writing philosophy. To those other independent authors and those with small presses—Why Do You Write?

Stephanie

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

A Cup of Candor’s Dose of Inspiration – From Princess Diana & the HBO Special

Diana
My commemorative book about Princess Diana.

*

Two nights ago, I couldn’t sleep. I don’t watch a lot of television, but that night, I watched a movie with my kids, then got caught up in another, and then, finally, landed on HBO and watched Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, the documentary about Princess Diana as told by her two sons, William and Harry.

To be clear about my affinity for this woman I must tell you a couple of things. First, I had my hair cut like her iconic hair for my own wedding. Second, she was only a few years older than I am, and she was our contemporary role model in almost every way. And third, her sense of style, candor, kindness, and humor were always appealing to me. Sadly, she lived a fairy tale that became a complete nightmare, and her death was shocking and came way too early in her life. Her life ended in a dark, Shakespearean tragedy, and the world mourned her loss—and I believe it still does. I’m still mad at the media for chasing her through that tunnel, but that’s a post for another time. Today, it’s about the inspiration Diana has left us with, even today.

What was nice about watching the documentary by her sons is that we got to hear their memories of their mother. I loved when Harry recounted her laugh—and called it infectious—and then we see her on a water ride at an amusement park going down a hill with Harry and William and see her laughing. It reminds us all that what we do with our kids and how we act will always be something they remember about us when we are no longer here.

article-2151562-00BA67EF00000190-303_634x370

William talked about how, at the age of 12, Diana took him to a homeless shelter, and that that one push to go there and talk and listen to people instilled a kindness in him that he continues today by visiting often. He spoke of her ability to reach out and touch people, whether it was those in the shelter, those with AIDS, or those with an ailment or disability, Diana knew how to make people feel loved.

One of her greatest quotes is this one:

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” – Princess Diana

I believe this is so true. It is something that I have done and try to live by in my life, and I am sure it inspires you, too. Sometimes we just help people because it’s the right thing to do—and we shouldn’t expect anything in return.

Her other fantastic quote that I wholeheartedly agree with is this one:

“When you are happy you can forgive a great deal.” – Princess Diana

220934-In-A-World-Full-Of-Kardashians-Be-Diana_1I believe this is so true, also. Sometimes you just have to rise above it, forgive, and move on, and I know this is not always easy. These words encourage me to find that place in me where forgiveness is possible. And being happy is a great place to start.

Overall, the HBO special reminds us of the power of a person. When they say someone can change the world, it’s true. Hearing the memories of Diana by her sons and people who knew her reminded me of the impact she had on people’s lives, even though her life ended much too early. Nevertheless, she continues to inspire me, along with countless others, and probably always will.

 

Stephanie

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

What I Didn’t Have in College

It’s time for the first Cup of Candor, so grab your coffee or tea, and let’s chat.

When I decided to embark on this new format for Steph’s Scribe and change the theme of the blog to A Cup of Candor, it came with an open invitation to my readers to offer suggestions of things they would like to see. One of my former students, a blogger herself at The Faithful Elephant, suggested I do a piece on “notes to my younger self.” I could open a can of worms with that one, believe me, as I’ve experienced some very hard and emotionally draining and heartbreaking life lessons along the way, but today we’ll begin with a much lighter, but still serious, topic.

Today’s topic is this: What I didn’t have in college.

And that thing is this: I didn’t have a mentor.

Looking back on my years at Towson University, both as an undergraduate and graduate student, I wish I had built a relationship with someone I could call a mentor. I never did that. Not a teacher as a mentor. I had work mentors, but not an educator, not someone I could talk to about matters of teaching.

10931087_10152987082953954_7123384009533949075_n
With one of my mentors from the world of baseball, Dr. Charles Steinberg, at Fenway Park.

Had I built a solid foundation with someone in education I could look up to, things may have been very different. I was working 80+ hours a week at the Baltimore Orioles during the time I studied in the master’s program in Professional Writing. I took one course a semester, as my full-time job was incredibly demanding. It wasn’t until the very last class in the program–a creative short fiction class–when I met Dr. George Friedman that I realized writing was going to be in my life, but it was my last class. George remained an inspiration and supporter, but I wish I’d had more time with him at the university. Simultaneously, I had the notion to be a teacher, but I never talked to anyone about that. Ever. It had always lurked in the back of my mind as a great career for having a family, raising kids, and doing some of my own writing.

But I never pursued it. Not then. I never talked to anyone about the possibility of earning a Ph.D.; I didn’t really talk to anyone about it at all.

I continued working at the Orioles and stayed for 13 years. After the completion of my Master’s degree, I was hired by a local community college to teach. When I retired myself from baseball and had fallen in love with teaching, I taught for a total of nine years until I was hired by Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University) as an adjunct professor. Even then, with two little ones, I never pursued a Ph.D. My life had moved along, and it wasn’t the right time to go for that.

When I became a full time professor at Stevenson, I ended up going back to school to earn an MFA in Creative Writing, considered a terminal degree, similar to but not as intensive, as a Ph.D. My kids were small and I couldn’t imagine investing four or five years of my life in a Ph.D. program at that stage of my life, so I opted (and gladly so) to pursue the MFA, which was a great decision for me considering my life, occupation, and family. I loved the program immensely and gained so much from it.

So here’s the note to my younger self: Get a mentor at an earlier age and ask a lot of questions. Talk about your job options and opportunities. Think through not just the here and now of your life, but also what is or could be in your future. Looking back on it now, I might have gone a different route and pursued a Ph.D. earlier in my life—before marriage and kids—had I had the encouragement from a mentor.

13241198_10206989207268603_7884283446082954259_n
With Shane, who said we were his PR mentors (student in front) and Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus. We pride ourselves on our mentoring of students.
16684361_10154923036768954_6148182938672105490_n
Some of my students today from 47 House, the Integrated Marketing Communication club on campus.

Everyone should have a mentor, both in business and in life. We look for guidance from people all the time. We want to have relationships with folks so that we can learn from their experiences and so that we can use that knowledge to inform our own decisions.

Now, all these years later, the shoe is on the other foot. I remember what it felt like to not have a mentor, and so now I believe it is both my responsibility and my passion to be a mentor to young people who are now currently in my old shoes. I know what it feels like to need someone’s support and guidance, and now I am there for my students. My door is always open, and if I can provide some insight, I will.

There is something to be said for being older and wiser, although I much prefer the idea of being wiser without the older part.

Hope you found today’s chat useful, and if you know someone who could use a good mentor, please feel free to pass along my message.

Stephanie

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

The Truth About Burnout, Steps to Rejuvenation, and A Cup of Candor

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 11.07.11 AMI know this post is coming sooner than you or I expected it to come, so let me explain.

Earlier this week, I experienced something unfamiliar. It came out of nowhere and yet came from everywhere. I imagined myself in the image of an old wind-up toy that had hit a wall; I was marching along, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was swimming in “noise,” as we communication folks like to call it. It was filling up my head and causing me not to think clearly.

Some people might call it burnout.

Burn•out (noun) /ˈbərnˌout/  def. physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. “high levels of professionalism that may result in burnout”

It was an emotional reaction that, quite frankly, had my friend Elizabeth puzzled when we talked on Tuesday.

“What happened?” she asked. “What happened after our lovely visit to Oxford?”

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 1.19.54 PMShe had sweetly volunteered to come with me and my daughter to the Plein Air event in Oxford where I was signing my latest book, Inn Significant, at the bookstore, Mystery Loves Company. I had been excited to go for weeks as my novel happens to be set in that sweet, picturesque and welcoming town.

“Nothing happened because of Oxford,” I told her. “It just happened after Oxford. I woke up in the morning the next day and didn’t know if I could write one more post about the book. I was becoming exhausted by the idea of book promotion.”

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 1.26.04 PM

When I told her more about it, she completely understood. So let me try to articulate it here. Forgive me if I don’t do it perfectly, but here are my thoughts on last Monday’s meltdown.

If you are not an independent author or an author with a small press, you may not understand fully the trials and tribulations of book promotion, but I know that these folks will get it — completely — so here’s the way it goes. Every morning you wake up with the thought, “How can I sell some books today?” For the last six years, that has been my relentless task, in addition to being a full-time professor, wife, mother, writer, blogger, and member of society who also likes to spend time with family and friends. That one, singular thought became an obsession for me, and here’s why: we care about our work, the stories we are producing as authors, but what good are they if no one reads them? The only way to ensure that doesn’t happen is to chip away at book promotion little by little, day after day. We write press releases. We enter book contests. We attend book talks, festivals, and signings. We are omnipresent on social media. We take photographs and come up with tidbits about our books to share on social media sites. We check our blog stats and our Amazon and Barnes & Noble pages to see how many books we have sold daily. We follow other people who are doing the same and see if we can learn from them. We see where we need to improve. We examine peak points on social media and try to post at those times that yield the biggest results. Then, we wake up each day and start over. And over. And over.

We drink a helluva lot of coffee.

And then we hit a wall.

Just like that.

Boom.

And the worst part is, I LOVE creativity. I love it so much, you guys. I love to talk about it, research it, read books about it, and just be creative through my writing and blogging and teaching, and yet, guess what was being zapped?

My friggin’ creativity.

Sucked away like Potter’s Dementors.

And so I had a knee-jerk reaction.

Stop writing. Stop blogging. Stop book promotion.

The problem came two days later when I realized that I didn’t want to stop blogging or writing, I just needed a sabbatical from book promotion.

I also realized that I needed to change my blog. It has been on my mind for a couple of years to rebrand it a bit, while still keeping the Steph’s Scribe flavor. As anyone in business knows, things can’t always stay the same, and change is good.  I’m one of the top Entertainment bloggers on Paperblog, and I have over 10,000 blog followers, so the last thing I wanted to do was start over.

ACupofCandor

So you can see I’ve compromised. It’s got a new title, with Steph’s Scribe as a subtitle so I don’t lose my followers; it has topics that I would like to cover regularly; and my goal is for it to have a little more spirit and candor.

Not everything in life is roses and caviar, and I believe I didn’t always allow myself to be as candid as I would like. So, we’ve got a new approach and a new focus.

And now to you, my dear readers: I would love to hear from you about what you would like to see in the new revamping of the blog. I need some input. Creativity takes brainstorming and often can’t be done alone, so if you have some ideas for me, I am open and in need of them.

To those of you who wrote to me, people like Danielle, Jack F. and Jack G., Deborah, Elizabeth, Whitney, Heather, Linda, Leeanne, Chip, Laurie, and so many others, your words made me examine this much more quickly than I thought was possible. So thank you. Thank you so very much.

And while the “noise” may not be completely cleared and sent to Mars, it’s getting better. And while I cannot fully stop book promotion if I want my books to be read, I can still take a breather from it and perhaps manage the chaos in a different way. And while I may not be ready to write another novel, at some point, I will probably do it again.

And if I love blogging, well then, damn it, I’m just going to keep on blogging.

Was this candid enough for you? If so, I look forward to a cup of candor each week with you as we progress.

Love to you all.  Have a wonderful weekend…

Stephanie

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

Steph’s Scribe’s Sabbatical

fc9902ae03338d7ea7f25276188c0f0e***

Yesterday, I posted that I might need to quit writing. After examining that statement more closely, getting a good night’s sleep, and reading aloud what I had written, I realized how incredibly sad that sounded to me. Additionally, during the day, I received texts and messages and comments on the blog from friends and supporters who might have been a little worried about my rather depressing state of mind. In a moment of exhaustion and confusion, I wrote something that may not have been entirely true, so let me clarify.

I will probably never quit writing. How could I?

I’ve been doing it since I was 13, and it’s always been a passion of mine.

But sometimes that passion can get the better of you, especially when you work really hard and the results aren’t exactly what you were hoping for.

That said, and not one to let a little disappointment guide my fate, what I do need to do is take a little time away from it all…from the books, from the promotion (especially), and from life as an independent author and the everyday obsession that it has become.

I need to reevaluate. Just like they do in business or politics or any meaningful endeavor. I need to see what’s working and what’s not.

To be completely honest, it’s not really about the blog so much; I actually thoroughly enjoy blogging. But I was getting tired of blogging about book promotion, as it is rarely rewarding. The life of an independent author takes some real grit—and I’ve had that grit for the last 6 years—but now I have to reexamine my author status and figure out my next move…the next step…the next journey in my writing career.

So, at the encouragement of some very dear and well-meaning people, I am going to take a sabbatical to figure this thing out. Today is July 18; my birthday is August 16. Therefore, I’ve decided that my birthday gift to myself is to take some time away, decompress a bit, spend some time with my kids and family, and take some long walks where clarity usually comes into play.

8d5359c5111be5fc47ce1f611796e3a0--unknown-quotes-aging

When it’s your life’s dream to tell stories, write fiction, and be an author, it’s not something that you can let go of easily. So maybe I don’t have to; maybe I just need to stay patient and trust the journey. Refocus. Embrace creativity in a different way.

Thanks to those of you who have read my books, read my blog, attended book talks and book signings, and offered advice and support for these last six years. Your support means a great deal to me, and I probably don’t express that enough.

So thank you.

I don’t want to let you down any more than I want to let myself down.

Everyone needs a break now and then. I just need mine now.

You will hear from me again.

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

 

Road Trip & Book Signing in Oxford, MD

image1-20

***

As P.T. Barnum used to say, “Let’s get this show on the road.”

This Sunday, July 16, I’ll be doing that thing I love to do–driving over the Bay Bridge to reach the “other side.” The Eastern Shore of Maryland is beckoning me to come for a visit, and I cannot wait.

I’ll be joining in the fun and festivities of Plein Air Paint Day in Oxford, Maryland, and will be signing my books at Mystery Loves Company on S. Morris Street from 1-3 p.m. Owner Kathy Harig has invited me to be a part of the event, and I enthusiastically accepted. Being able to spend the day in Oxford where my latest novel is set is just what the doctor ordered. And, as an added bonus, it will afford me time to do additional research for the sequel to Inn Significant. I love chatting with those who live in the town. There’s always a need to investigate a place and hear stories from the best sources. As a writer, the more stories you hear, the more material you gain.

11350512_10152903501985998_3243154636832893559_nOxMorris6

The charm of the Eastern Shore has hypnotized me. As someone who commutes 40-minutes to work and sits on the Baltimore Beltway in more traffic than I wish to recall, taking a trip across the bridge means total decompression. As my character Milly states from my novel when she crosses the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, “As the Bay Bridge meets the land on the Eastern Shore, it’s as if you landed in a different world. Immediately, I felt the slower pace of life.” Milly and I think alike.

Screen Shot 2017-07-13 at 8.47.25 AM

That feeling is real. Ask anyone who has the privilege of spending time on the Eastern Shore. It’s the best place to unwind and relax.

If you’re in the area and are looking for a day away and to feel the slower pace of life, I encourage you to come visit Oxford on Sunday. Have lunch at a local establishment. Picnic in the park. Take a Ferry ride to St. Michaels. Bring your bikes and ride the open road. Get an ice cream cone at The Scottish Highland Creamery. Pick crabs on the water. See the Sandaway Inn, the place that inspired the entire setting of Inn Significant.

I think you’ll see why I decided to set my novel in this sweet, friendly, and vibrant little town. And I hope you fall in love with it, too, as I have.

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

Wednesday Wardrobe – Date Night

What to wear on date night?

Well, it depends where you’re going. There are so many different things to do on your night out, and your outfit should reflect what you might do and what makes you feel pretty and comfortable. Today’s Wednesday Wardrobe features different scenarios for different date nights.

An Early Evening Strolling the Town

I love early evening, but since the sun stays out for a while in the summers, a hat and sunglasses may be needed. This little lightweight dress is from Xhilaration. Shoes by Indigo. It’s light and breezy and keeps me cool in the summer heat. It also doesn’t wrinkle. Bonus!

IMG_1311

Summer Concert

On a cooler summer evening, you might want to throw on some jeans and a cute top for a night listening to music. Jeans and top from White House Black Market. Cranberry booties from Sonoma.

FullSizeRender-20

Dinner Under the Stars

Get ready for that great night having dinner under the stars. For a romantic night out, you may want to opt for a pretty black dress–this one’s by Robbie Bee from Nordstrom–and some black heels–these from Adrienne Vittadini.

IMG_1309

Double Date

Meeting friends for a double date for cocktails? This Society Amuse dress is fluttery and feminine. Got it in a boutique in Charleston on vacation.

IMG_0401

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

Why I Will Never Break Up With Coffee

image2-15***

Let’s face it: Starbucks just might be one of the smartest businesses on the planet. It totally understood what was happening in the working world when it blossomed into something spectacular and omnipresent. People were working longer, harder, and were busier than ever before, especially in corporate America, and it knew exactly what we needed, how to seduce us, sustain us, and how to give us extraordinary pleasure.

And I’m not talking about sex.

You may agree with me or disagree with me, but the truth is, coffee rarely disappoints and provides endless satisfaction.

When I go to bed at night, I often coax myself into grappling with the next day’s affairs by reminding myself that my day will begin with coffee; it will always be there. Savory and extraordinary, every cup. I’m also in love with my Keurig, as it provides me with my best cups of coffee. I am delighted every day to drink my cup of coffee, and even more satisfied because of my new Yeti that keeps my coffee hot the entire 35-minute drive to work.

It’s the little things, people.

According to Caffeine Informer, there are 19 solid reasons why coffee is good for you, and when I reviewed the list, I picked my top favorites as to why coffee doesn’t have to worry about our relationship. It wards off depression, fights Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and Type 2 Diabetes. For those of you who drink too much (and I’m not talking about coffee here), it also can help protect against cirrhosis of the liver. If you’re not convinced yet of its benefits, a typical serving of coffee contains more antioxidants than grape juice, blueberries, raspberries, and oranges. Want to read more about it? Visit Caffeine Informer by clicking here.

image1-19

While relationships can let you down, coffee rarely does. It does its job on most days. When I’m feeling a little sluggish in the morning and have to teach a class, my cup of coffee comes with me and helps perk me up. I am not alone in the endeavor during morning classes, as many of my students walk through the door with cups in their hands, either from Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or our student cafeteria.

None of us is breaking up with our coffee.

So there you have it. While there are plenty of bad habits we can get addicted to in our lives, I won’t buy the fact that coffee is bad for us, as some may suggest, like a bad boyfriend.

And while, honestly, Starbucks isn’t typically my cup of tea (ah, yes, tea! Can we chat about that sometime soon, too?), I prefer the taste of Dunkin’s coffee or Panera’s coffee. I like to think we’re a team, coffee and I: it is created, I buy it, and it makes me happy.

Consumer heaven.

As I said in yesterday’s post, life moves pretty quickly, and we should indulge in certain things that bring us joy.

Coffee and I will be intimate for life.

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Melancholy

Vacation***

I’m typically not one to dwell in malaise and melancholy, but this morning, I’m feeling a little bit of it.

It’s July 10, and vacation is over for our family. We had a great time, enjoyed spectacular weather, got to visit Charleston then spend time on the beach in Hilton Head. We ate at fantastic restaurants, the boys played golf, the girls rode bikes and relaxed on the beach, we hit a jazz club, played putt putt, and ate way too much ice cream.

I really shouldn’t be complaining.

But my son turned 17 yesterday, and now I feel like all I’m doing is counting down the days until he leaves for college and holding on to the days we have left.

Stupid, really.

I should be happy that we’re all good and happy and enjoying some time off this summer, but there’s that melancholy feeling that creeps in now and again which leaves me feeling just a little bit uneasy. Like life is passing me by. Like life moves really, really fast, and if I don’t stop and take it all in, I have the capacity to miss it.

I mean, really miss it.

Sometimes I feel as if I’ve missed things. I work a lot. I spent two years getting an MFA degree while working full time and missed some quality time with my kids when they were little. I spend time on side projects, like writing books and getting involved in the community. I try to see my friends every now and again amid the crazy, hectic schedules we all seem to keep.

So what happens? You wake up and realize another week has passed you by.

I don’t mean to be depressing, especially on a Monday morning, but really, the time is now. Breathe in. Enjoy life.

Take those vacations and go out with your friends. Spend quality time with your families. Before you know it, you’re middle-aged and thinking about retirement, not the beginning of your career.

Honestly, one of the reasons I love teaching at the college level is because the students keep me young. I’m forced to hear about their interests and their activities. I may be older, but I can still related to most of their predicaments and successes.

We all like to feel young.

I’m sorry for this jagged little post. It’s not as coherent as I would like, but it represents my chaotic thoughts this morning.

They’re messy.

And maybe that’s just how life is meant to be.

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to enjoy every second of it.

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

 

Wednesday Wardrobe – Accessorize with Guest Blogger Heather Connors

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 11.26.12 PM
Heather Tilles Connors and me at Oriole Park at Camden Yards where our friendship blossomed and flourished…and continues to do so.

***

I’m on vacation, and as such, I decided to make a call to the bullpen to one of my favorite people, Heather Tilles Connors, to fill in while I’m away for Wednesday Wardrobe. I used the baseball pun because Heather and I met working for the Baltimore Orioles and have remained friends for more than 20 years. Plus, Heather has great style, and she knows how to accessorize well as a Senior Stylist for Stella & Dot. I hope you enjoy this week’s guest blogger — she’s got some good ideas about layering jewelry, too. And visit her site if you’re interested in ordering something.

Enjoy!

***

When it comes to shopping, I am always on the lookout for accessories that give me that ‘WOW’ factor; maybe it’s a piece that draws me in for conversation or simply gives me a little more bounce in my step. Whatever the reason for accessorizing any outfit, Stella & Dot has all the right essentials in one place! Our boutique style couture shopping experience includes irresistible jewelry, scarves, sunglasses, cross-body bags, handbags, totes and clutches…and we can’t forget our premier Covet line of high end diamonds in 14K gold/white gold and genuine supple grain leather accessories.

Where fashion meets versatility on-the-go, Stella & Dot takes you from day to night, workplace to play, and can be combined or worn different ways for unlimited style options—something for every taste. And if my own personal style fix was not enough, Stella & Dot is well adored and featured by many news outlets, top fashion magazines and spotted on many celebrities.

With over half of the line under $50, isn’t it time to treat yourself for the summer www.stelladot.com/heatherconnors. For more style inspiration follow me @heathersdstyle or HeatherSDStyle.

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 11.06.25 PMHeather Connors is a Senior Stylist with Stella & Dot and a Director of Marketing with a Master’s Degree in Graphic Design. She has known Stephanie for over 20 years; first as cruisers and then as colleagues with the Baltimore Orioles in the Publications and Public Relations Departments.

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 11.04.51 PM

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 11.08.30 PM
Golden Girl meets Stella #chevronwrap #dalilahpendant #illusivehoopearrings
Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 11.08.18 PM
Layering my favorites and style #blackarcpendant #doublehornpendant

 

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the 4th of July with Ben Franklin’s Wit & Wisdom

TheAmericanFlag***

Ben Franklin.

One of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Polymath. Author. Printer. Political theorist. Politician. Freemason, Postmaster. Inventor. Civic leader. Believer in education.

franklin.jpg

For all those occupations and skills, I think he might be one of my favorite characters from all of history. And he seemed to be a real character–replete with great quotes, a sense of humor, infinite wisdom, inventiveness, a literary sense, and a ton of common sense that we can all still learn from today.

Franklin was a printer, and our family can relate. My father’s father owned The Paterson Press, and printed newspapers for the town of Paterson in New Jersey. My grandfather was, therefore, a writer and a printer, and understood matters of news and storytelling, much like Franklin himself.

As we celebrate the Independence of our nation this 4th of July, I thought I’d share my absolute favorite quotes from Ben Franklin, as he is a reminder to live life to the fullest and achieve much while we are here on this planet. His list of accomplishments is surely impressive. His quotes, equally impressive.

Below are some of my favorites.

Have a great 4th of July, all!

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.

Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.

To succeed, jump as quickly at opportunities as you do at conclusions.

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.

He that is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else.

If you would be loved, love, and be lovable.

The U.S. Constitution does not guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.

Where there’s marriage without love, there will be love without marriage.

Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.