A Few of My Favorite Veterans

By | lifestyle

In honor of Veterans Day, this blog is dedicated to some very special men and women. I wanted to share these dynamic people with you, so I asked them to answer two questions:

1) How has being in the military benefited you and/or what may the general population not know about your service?

2) What are you most proud of in your military career

Here’s what they had to say-

1) The greatest benefit to serving in the military to me is meeting people from walks of life that you’d never encounter otherwise. The leaders, mentors and even amazing troops who serve under you help shape your character. And character lasts even when the day comes to hang the uniform up.

 2) One my proudest moments was getting to meet Chuck Yeager while I was deployed to Afghanistan. Shaking hands with living history was a memory I’ll get to share with my grandkids. I’ve even got a picture!

Seth R.

 

1) One of the many ways that the military has had a positive impact on my life it has made me self sufficient and gave me money for college #nostudentloans!!

2) The thing that I’m most proud of in my career is the time that I spent as a Recruiter. There is no greater feeling than knowing that you have shown someone a path to change their life for the better.

Jay W.

 

1) Joining the military was the best decision I’ve ever made in life. It has allowed me the pleasure of traveling to different countries all over the world that many dream of seeing. I’ve met people with multi-ethnic backgrounds & had a chance to experience their culture.

What the general population does not know about the military is that the multi-services where put into place to keep and maintain a strong presence for the United States and preserve the freedom of our country. No one wants war anywhere however; there are evil dictators that want to rule the world. You don’t have to look far to see the chaos; just look at the current turmoil occurring in Venezuela, Brazil, & the iron fist ruling in Cuba.

2) What are you most proud of military wise: I’m proud that I was given & still have the opportunity to serve and defend our great nation. I thank my Dad (who served in WWII) and my two older brothers who service in the U.S. Marines & Air Force, as I was able to follow in their footsteps.

Lenny M.

 

1) Without a doubt the military (USAF) made me a better man.  Over the last 32 years, I have had the privilege of working for and with true professionals who were dedicated to country and service.   I learned to never pass up the opportunity to lead when able, and follow when required.   Most importantly I learned that it is those young airman and NCOs working for you that make the mission happen. I would also like the public to know that the Air National Guard is just not an organization of “Weekend Warriors”.  There is a fulltime contingency that works every day training for the next mission.  Additionally, the Guard is no longer viewed as being in a supporting role.  The Air Guard is very much a force multiplying agency who meets the same demands as the active duty.  When the national calls, we answer.

2) I am most proud of the time I spent with exceptional Airman while deployed to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.  During these deployments, everyone came together to make the mission a success regardless of the situation or task.   We spend so much time training for the mission, that when the time arrived to execute, we did it without fail and never lost sight of the end goal.  Which simply was to win the fight.

Will W.

 

1) I love being a part of the Air Force/military. I come from quite a small family, so being in the Air National Guard has truly become much more than simply a career choice, it’s become family. It’s a place where I feel challenged mentally and physically and I thrive on seeking how I can impact the greater good.  Most importantly, I love serving the airmen on the ground in harms way.  I love my job, my mission, and those I’m surrounded by. Those who share these values and passion are more than my coworkers, they’re family. As an Air National Guard member, I am part of something bigger than I ever could be otherwise, helping in ways I never thought imaginable.

2) One of my biggest accomplishments just occurred recently. It was the perfect blend of mentorship, self-reflection and my personal drive to help next-generation Airmen aspire to succeed. I was asked to speak to OH ANG junior enlisted airmen about my experiences and lessons learned along the way. Fortunate to have an hour of their time, I spoke to ~20 airmen about the aspirations and expectations they had of their future careers, helped explain key pieces of the military like inclusive teamwork, and discussed roles in their respective workplaces. Ultimately, I tried to convey how important it is to find a great mentor and return the favor for airmen junior in rank.

Also, I was recently chosen to represent Airmen of the Air National Guard on different panels in the year 2016. It was an incredible experience where I got to work with military liaisons to state senators, enlisted field advisory

Councils and Air Force Association Guard Council. I was able to voice my thoughts/ideas on how to help policy makers better understand issues facing airmen, such as deployments or matters concerning orders, among others.  It was an incredible opportunity that is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

Jen M.

 

1) The military has given me the opportunity to meet individuals from all over the world. I would never have had the chance to see other cultures,  engage in in-depth conversations and live in a world so different than what I grew up in.  Given the chance, I would do it all over again!

2) I am most proud of 2 things…

* I am proud that I made my parents proud. There is no better feeling than to know my parents smile ear to ear when they see me in uniform. All the hard work my parents put into raising me has made me into a professional Airman. * I am also proud to be currently working at the ANG Readiness Center (ANG Headquarters). After 20 years, I am now in the position to directly help every ANG Airman. The decisions I make help shape an Airman’s career.  I couldn’t be more humbled and priveledged to be in this position.

Yvette P.

 

1) Travel with the military gave me the opportunity to see the world and how fortunate we are to live in the USA. The lasting friendships that I made.

2) Most proud of the years of service to my country.

Randy L.

 

My Father – Pete passed in 2008, so I’m going to try and channel him….

I think he would have been most proud of (a) the junior enlisted and NCO troops he had the privilege to work with and command. He knew it was because of their efforts that missions were truly accomplished (b) the work he did in the Army’s Chemical Corps to help protect our Service Members in the event of chemical warfare attacks (c) how my Mother, having come from a tiny Florida pan-handle town, quickly adjusted to the up-rooting military lifestyle. It was that or be miserable. Wherever we lived, she made it home.

To all Veterans – thank you for your service!

Portland Maine: A Fun, Fall Getaway

By | capsule wardrobes, food, travel

Will and I had a blast visiting Portland Maine last week.  We decided this would be our fall getaway after my sis Val and brother-in-law Ken, raved about the small city. We flew roundtrip via Southwest, who offers  extremely affordable, non-stop flights, and then we Uber’ed around town as needed (another great suggestion by Val and Ken).  If you love good food, the ocean, beautiful fall foliage and beer, you may want to add Portland to your bucket list.

Our getaway  was for 3 nights and 4 days, so I wanted pack fairly lightly.  I knew ahead of time it was going to be rainy for the first 2 days  and that we’d be doing a ton of walking.  So here’s what I took:

*4 Tunic dresses
*2  Sweaters
*1 Black fleece vest
*1 T-Shirt
*1 pair jogger pants
*1 pair black leggings
*1 pair boyfriend jeans
*1 Black, hooded jacket
*Sneakers, Vans, Tan Sorel Combat Boots
*1 Scarf

Because we did a variety of activities (mostly eating – lol), I wore everything at least once with the exception of the Vans.  I also would have been fine with only 1 sweater and 3 dresses, but using packing cubes allowed me to get everything, including my toiletries, into my carry-on bag. Poor Will, one of the wheels of his carry-on broke off as he was transferring it to the BWI shuttle bus.  Since rolling was now dragging, we looked at a new carry-on bag in an airport shop, needless to say we did not make that $675.00 purchase.  P-L-E-A-S-E .

Day 1

I wore one of the tunic dresses, black leggings and Sorel boots for the plane ride and our first day in Portland.  I was extremely comfortable and the boots were great for walking. Portland is rumored to have more restaurants per capita than any other U.S. city, with the exception of San Francisco, so we were excited about the options!  Will and I make it a mission to find great, affordable food that’s off the beaten path.  At Val and Ken’s suggestion, we ate lunch at The HoneyPaw.  The lobster toast was to die for and Will loved his fried chicken sandwich.  Later that evening while walking around town, we discovered a cool bar called Mash Tun and decided to eat dinner there.  The pulled pork tacos were yummy and we washed them down with a nice, cold Blanche De Bruxelles (Belgian White).

Day 2

We woke up to more rain, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. I wore my black joggers, t-shirt, light jacket, black vest and sneakers for the active day ahead of us.  Having comfortable shoes is a must, I’ve learned too many hard lessons from not having them.  So we headed out on a morning walk …and in search of a great breakfast.  Mission accomplished. We found Baristas and Bites about a block from our hotel.  My ” Cage-Free Egg Sandwich” with white cheddar, tomato and arugula on a homemade English Muffin was pretty much perfection.  I was in breakfast heaven.  We walked around town and down to the wharf for several hours before we were back at Baristas and Bites for a soup and salad lunch. Once again – ahhhmazing.  Many thanks to Tom, Hope and Taylor for making the Wright’s feel special! Next it was time to take our 1st Uber ride to Allagash Brewing Company for a brewery tour.  Founder Rob Tod has an amazing story and a great lesson in stick-to-it-ness for micro biz owners.  The tour was incredibly interesting thanks to our tour guides Hanna and Ryan.  And there was no shortage of generous beer sampling.  It was such fun.

We had read great things on Yelp and Tripadvisor about a restaurant called Evo, which happened to be adjacent to our hotel.  We stopped in to check out the menu and one of the chef’s brought us each a piece of warm pita bread seasoned with salt and olive oil. He had also wrapped it in foil for us so we could eat it on the go. I wanted to cry it was so good. After that kind gesture, there was no doubt we were going to eat dinner there. We had small plates of Muhammara, chicken and chick pea fries. The chick pea fries had to be one of my top 10 dishes  – EVER!  Many thanks to our awesome server Michelle and Mr. Chef whose name I won’t even attempt, but you know who you are! LOL

Yep, we were stuffed to the gills, but somehow made room for Gelato Fiasco.  Will and I agree, it was some of the best gelato we’ve ever had.  We were exhausted, stuffed and happy.

>Day 3

The rain had finally stopped and we were off to walk along a beautiful paved trail by the bay.  But first we needed sustenance – ha! Val and Ken had told us, and apparently everyone else in Portland, about Standard Baking Company. The hot coffee and pastries hit the spot on our brisk morning walk. Next we took a Casco Bay Lines – 2 hour Diamond Pass boat ride around the bay area. Casco Bay was gorgeous. It’s made up of small islands, many with residences and all with beautiful foliage.  We had picked up wraps from Baristas and Bites and had lunch on the boat. Once we returned to shore, we explored several historical areas and ended up logging 19,000 steps  or approx. 7+ miles.  I had dressed for warmth in jeans, sneakers and layers.  Too tired to make a major dinner decision, we changed and ate at Evo again. I could eat there every night.  It was that good.

Day 4

Before heading to the airport, we grabbed a Bucks coffee and watched the sunrise over the bay.  Again I wore a comfy tunic dress, sweater, leggings and my Sorel’s for the trip home.  We grabbed breakfast burrito for the road at Baristas and Bites and said goodbye to our new friends there! The trip home was super easy, capping off a wonderful getaway.

Portland was our second trip to Maine, we vacationed in Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park in the fall of 2014. One thing is for sure, Will and I are falling in love with this beautiful state.

Find Your Authentic Magic Playdate

By | lifestyle, playdates

Recently Life Coach Stacey Andon and I joined forces for our Find Your Authentic Magic Playdate.  The goal of an Andon/Wright Playdate is to create an enlightening and bonding experience like no other. New friend Karen Kukurin attended the September playdate and was a tremendous addition. She brought warmth, strength, humor and smarts to a dynamic group of ladies. Karen was kind enough to write about her experience…. and this is what she had to say:

It was a cool autumn morning as I set off Saturday to attend what was called a play date for women. Life Coach Stacey Andon and Fashion Stylist Wendy Wright had teamed up to create a transformational workshop on finding one’s authentic self. Ten woman, some coming from as far away as Annapolis and having various backgrounds from working for an international non-profit, to an organic farmer, to a stay-at-home mom, gathered in Stacey’s comfortable home, which was delightfully decorated for fall. Sipping on pumpkin spice coffee and cinnamon tea, we set off to reconnect with our innate selves, which often get lost in the chaos of life and the influence of others.. Stacey, who is a certified Martha Beck life coach and who has extensive experience in learning and development programs, took us through several self awareness exercises to unearth clues to what really is our true identity. At first it wasn’t easy, but as we discussed various answers, layers of beliefs were peeled away and our internal compasses, which we are all born with, were revealed. Wright, whose before and after makeovers appear in Harford’s Heart Magazine and who studied with Carla Mathis, a pioneer in design as a therapeutic tool, explained how clothing can enhance and anchor our authenticity. “Often there is a disconnect when we dress or decorate for others or according to the latest fads, “ she said. Capping off the morning we took a walk in a nearby woods and were instructed to take photos of trees and plants that we were attracted to. Afterwards, as we shared photos many of us were surprised they represented our authentic style! It was a marvelous, informative time and wonderfully relaxing. It is also the first step to finding your passion. If you’d like to attend one of Stacey and Wendy’s events, I suggest you contact them to get on their mailing list. Definitely a self-care exercise. stacey@staceyandon.com or wendy@thewrightfit.net
Karen Kukurin

Stay tuned for more info on January’s “Start 2018 Soul-Full” playdate!

The Law of Attractive

By | lifestyle
I can’t help myself, when I see a woman with a beautiful peaches-n-cream complexion, but wearing zero makeup, I instinctively envision her wearing a warm-pink lip-gloss that would make her complexion pop.  If I see a man in a dress shirt that’s way too baggy, I want to show him how a more tailored shirt could make him look 20 lbs. trimmer.  I imagine how attractive they could look, but more importantly, how fabulous they could feel, with a simple tweak. I want them to experience Image Consultant Cheryl Obermiller’s The Law of Attractive, as explained in the book Inspired Style. To quote Cheryl, “there is a powerful connection between your body, your mind, your spirit and the way you look and feel.  The image you project to the world and the way others see you all have to do with the way you perceive yourself and the body image you hold.”

Speaking of simple tweaks, take a look at the pictures. Is your eye drawn to the regular cup of coffee or the beautiful latte? Notice how a simple application of eye-liner makes my left eye pop, while my right eye fades into oblivion. And how about the bird feeder? Aren’t you automatically drawn to the 2 tiered version (birdies are attracted to attractive things too)? These are all examples of simple tweaks that can make a huge difference. It circles back to Cheryl’s: “the image you project to the world and the way others see you all have to do with the way you perceive yourself and the body image you hold.”

If you’ve never given yourself permission to feel attractive, why not? You’ll still be you. And there’s a good chance it could make a positive difference in every aspect of your life, even when things aren’t going your way. For example: a couple of months ago, I had a bad day with lots of crying. I looked and felt like total doggie doodoo. I decided to put on a little makeup before Will got home and I immediately felt better.  And how about those times when you run out of the house feeling totally disheveled, praying you won’t run into anyone you know (but of course you do)? What tweak could you make in 2 minutes that would make a world of difference in how you feel about yourself? Maybe it’s wrapping a beautiful scarf around your neck or maybe it’s wearing that warm-pink lipstick. Whatever it is, feel attractive for no-one but you, though others will take notice!

Are You Showing Up as the Real You?

By | workshops and classes

Several years ago, when I made a style presentation to an accounting firm, I wore a business suit because a) I thought it was appropriate/respectful and b) I thought I should mimic what people in the firm were wearing.  But the business suit absolutely did not represent the true me, and here’s why: it wasn’t authentic, my style by nature is much less structured.  I only wore the suit once – for that presentation. I did however mix and match the blazer and skirt with other separates to create new looks. This helped fuel my desire to be creative and unique, two important components of what I now call my style intention.

As I became more confident in my personal style, I started wearing dresses and un-suits (burnt orange top, black skirt, black cardigan) for presentations, but I still wondered if I should present in more “official” corporate attire. I consulted my friend and Life Coach Stacey Andon (pink sweater).  Stacey validated what I instinctively knew, but hadn’t been ready to grasp: authenticity always wins. My sister Val made a great point too – she said, “Of course you’ve got to be respectful of your audience, but by also being authentic, you’re more interesting.”  Sold!

Professional Skin Care Therapist Jen Coakley (red tank and boot cut jeans) of Jenskin Studios is drawn to bohemian styles. Her hubby Pat is also a big fan of Jen’s boho look, though his feelings wouldn’t be hurt if she were to just say NO to mullet-shirts (thank you Jen Snyder 😉) and long shirts with jeans. Let’s just say Pat wants Jen’s backside to make more of a showing. So….. Jen and I came up with a look that’s true to her, while also making Pat a happy camper.  She’s so dang cute! You’re welcome Pat.

Do you feel your current wardrobe truly represents your authentic self?  Do you have pieces you wear just to fit in or because you think you’re supposed to wear them? What if you could get rid of the should’s and supposed-to’s in favor of being you all the time?  Please join Life Coach Stacey Andon and Personal Stylist Wendy Wright on Saturday, September 30th, as we invite you to DISCOVER YOUR AUTHENTIC MAGIC.