cooldeb.com

I'm exploring coolness in life. Join me on this journey and let's (re)define cool together.

November 14, 2014
by cooldeb
4 Comments

Fighting the good fight

The introduction to my blog states:

I’m exploring coolness in life. Join me on this journey and let’s (re)define cool together.

What can I say? It’s been a good fight. And cool has most definitely been redefined. In two words? It’s about family and it’s about relationships.

David, Lyda and Chris

David, Lyda and Chris

For those of you reading this post who know our circle of colleagues dubbed ‘The UNCG Three’ in the media, I could leave it at that and you’d get it.

Many of us have joined David, Lyda and Chris on a path that began without vision or expectation, as we were called to this journey before we understood its meaning and outcomes.

The following is a CliffsNotes version of recent events…

Sept. 12 : UNCG notifies former colleagues David, Lyda and Chris they are under investigation for allegedly falsifying time sheets. Their computers are seized and all three are put on paid leave. Many of us from the University Relations department gather in utter disbelief as we try to reason and process what has occurred among us.

Sept. 24: UNCG notifies the three that they are fired.

Sept. 25: The three are served with arrest warrants. The collective summary of the charges? Obtaining “property” by false pretenses (i.e., university time) and aiding and abetting that process.

What ensues in my gut upon hearing that arrest warrants have been issued is something akin to hearing that a loved one has passed.

What? I don’t understand. I don’t think I heard you correctly. I want to be sick. What? Once the news is confirmed, I distinctly recall saying to myself that the madness would end now. The unjustified decisions accompanied by the outlandish actions that had been occurring in the department that I proudly served for 13 years would be brought to light.

What I did not realize in that exact moment was the power of that decision. The power was tripled, as it inherently connected with Andrea and Betsi, two of my previous University Relations colleagues who were thinking the same thing.

Our department story – The UNCG Three story – began to be written and shared. 

The letter that we sent on Sept. 29 to UNCG leadership shined a spotlight on our collective voices of outrage and injustice for our fellow colleagues and the actions that had been taken by Paul Mason, who had been hired six months prior to head up the department.

Our first goal? For the campus community to begin asking questions about the decisions that were being made by Mason. They were not reflective of how dedicated professionals worked together as a department nor of a collegial university. Our second goal? To ensure the charges would be dropped.

After the story broke on a local blog that evening, media coverage soon followed via the Greensboro News & Record and investigative reporter, Margaret Moffett. Both have been relentless in seeking details and reason, which have been less than forthcoming from the university.

Over the course of the next 30 days, media grew to include the Raleigh News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, The Chronicle for Higher Ed, The Rhino Times, WFDD, WUNC, WXII, WFMY and many other regional papers too numerous to mention. Social media dialogue thrived, as well as comments on the News & Record online.

Several forums were held and it became clear that faculty and staff recognized that something was amiss within the UNCG campus culture. What was going on? How were these decisions being made? And why?

Second set of CliffsNotes…

Oct. 15: A petition is signed by more than 100 faculty members and delivered to the District Attorney asking for the charges to be dropped.

Oct. 20: The Chancellor resigns. While she assures the public that her decision has nothing to do with this case, her announcement comes in the middle of the debacle, as it is often referred to in the media and within the local community.

Oct. 28: A silent vigil is held on campus. For 22 minutes, 100-plus attendees stand in silence to oppose the 22 felony charges against David, Lyda and Chris.

Supporters gather for 22 minutes of silence to protest the 22 felony charges against former UNCG employees

(Photo credit: Kevin Scalf). Supporters gather for 22 minutes of silence to protest the 22 felony charges against former UNCG employees.

 

 

 

 

 

Oct 30: All 22 felony charges are voluntarily dropped by the the District Attorney’s office.

A moment of celebration and exhalation after the DA voluntarily dropped all 22 felony charges  against The UNCG Three.

(Photo credit: Jerry Wolford, Greensboro News & Record.) A moment of celebration by David after the DA voluntarily dropped all 22 felony charges.

Nov. 2: A party to raise money for their defense fund is held. An anonymous donor gives $800 and challenges attendees to match it, which they do for a grand total of $1,856 raised. (Learn more about the defense fund that was set up or to give online, visit the FundRazr site).

The rest of the story is yet to come.

David, Lyda and Chris have filed grievances against UNCG. The grievance process is under way with labor lawyers. However, I stand by my mantra of (re)defining cool. It’s been one heck of a journey fighting the good fight. Sometimes, we are simply called to action to do the right thing and to stand by our family.

Edited by: Betsi Robinson (Thank you my friend!)

 

  

September 16, 2014
by cooldeb
3 Comments

Swiffer clean sweeps marketing competition

I love smart marketing and unpacking what makes a good brand successful.

I was invited to speak at the Bryan School of Business and Economics on this very topic, engaging marketing undergraduates and MBA students in the discussion. My topic was exploring the synergy of strategy and social media, with integration, authenticity and (timely) activity as the building blocks. To demonstrate this, I profiled Swiffer, a company successfully using these blocks to build its brand.

What sets Swiffer apart from the competition is its inclusive approach to marketing and its ability to share real life issues and provide solutions. Both of these differentiating factors are shared through authentic storytelling.

Morty, are you listening?

Kaufman family for Swiffer

Kaufman family for Swiffer

You may have seen the commercial highlighting the 90-year-young couple Morty and Lee Kaufman. Their challenge was her ability to reach high places when she cleaned.

Ding goes the doorbell.

Swiffer shows up on the Kaufman’s doorstep to save the day with a full line of cleaning products, including tools for hard to reach places.

 

Rukavina family for Swiffer

How about this commercial featuring the Rukavinas? A different family faced with the same cleaning challenges and once again, with the ring of a doorbell, Swiffer comes to the rescue.

And as a proud mum of a lab, I personally love the series Shed Happens, smartly targeting pet owners like the Slacks and our shared challenge to keep up with pet hair.

Swiffer solves authentic problems for authentic families

Through these storytelling commercials, Swiffer solves the cleaning problems of three very different families. The solutions are shared in a relatable manner and feature everyday families, inclusive of a 90-year-young couple, a bi-racial couple with a husband who has one hand and a couple who define family through pet ownership.

Each and every time, we have an audible cue of a door bell and a visibly branded Swiffer box magically appearing on the door step.

Score 10 for relatability

Saunders family for Swiffer

Saunders family for Swiffer

Are you familiar with the towel mop shuffle performed by the Saunders family? Ba-bam! This geo-based commercial targets families living in the Pacific Northwest, with Swiffer solving the problem of muddy footprints tracked through the house.

Another example includes the Linwoods, a Native American family honoring the cultural value of giving back. In Maleek’s own words, he’s “just giving back one clean floor at a time.”

 

What Swiffer has done and continues to do well is keenly carve out niche targets and use real life experiences and living environments to demonstrate the value of their product line to problem solve.

[Tweet “Swiffer delivers an integrated brand strategy and leverages social to tell authentic stories.”]

So, I now pose to each of you faithful readers what I asked of the Bryan School students: what do YOU think?

Does Swiffer succeed with inclusive marketing? With authentic messaging? Can you relate to their marketing? What other brands do you follow on social media and why?

 

  

July 17, 2014
by cooldeb
9 Comments

A life lesson in leadership

What qualities define a good leader?

The vast array of characteristics are popular fodder across Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook. It seems we are curious to glean and instill these qualities or at the very least, encourage our followers to seek them.

Recently, I had a leadership view from the top of an organization serving 20,000 students, faculty and staff. It was enlightening and challenging.

During this time, I (re)affirmed the importance of three values.

COMMUNICATION 

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”

 — James C. Humes, author and former presidential speechwriter

Across all levels, communication is one of the greatest assets we have in the workplace. It’s a gift to empower, embrace and enlighten everyone, yet we do not embrace this gift as we should.

The exchange should travel equally up and down, as well as back and forth between leadership and the team. Exchanges should be honest to ensure trust so that actions taken bring about meaningful outcomes. If communication is dishonest or fluctuates without a true centered compass (see next value), people are left confused.

[Tweet “Be direct in leadership; lead with clear direction. Leverage communication to achieve these goals.”]

Authenticity Cloud

Source: Visual Thesaurus

AUTHENTICITY 

There’s no better way to say this except – keep it real ya’ll. This includes everything from strategic planning to budget cuts. When prioritizing, ask if the DNA of the organization is front forward.

How will you know? Good question!

Look at your strategic core values and brand identity. If they are being upheld, bravo. Remain focused on what matters most to your target audience(s), which should align with the values and identity seamlessly.

HUMBLENESS

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence. And making it last in your absence.”

    —  Morgan Flatley, VP of Marketing for Gatorade

I love this leadership mindset. I credit Advertising Age for sharing Flatley’s inspiration in itsWomen to Watch 2014 issue. Flatley credits a Harvard Business School professor she heard at a women’s leadership forum. It is my new mantra and one that carries retrospective and introspective value.

How does this relate to humbleness? Another good question!

If you put others first, you can’t help but to remain humble – right? When others are empowered, including leadership creating the strategy along with the team executing the strategy, all are elevated. When we are all elevated, dedication thrives and the workplace becomes a family working toward a common goal.

I would love to know your thoughts on what makes a good leader, based on your own experiences.

Onward…

  

July 1, 2014
by cooldeb
8 Comments

A life lesson from Dr. Maya Angelou

Dr. Maya Angelou’s recent passing caused my heart to break. I was forced to reconcile the bittersweet loss of our living world with heaven’s gain. Dr. Angelou’s presence and storytelling have inspired my journey of womanhood. Among the many posts of tribute, I was moved by a column penned by Dr. Tara Green, professor and director of the African American Studies Program at UNCG. Honest and authentic, it opened my eyes to see the deep impact Dr. Angelou had on all women.

Just a few weeks ago, I experienced yet another ‘Maya Moment’ or life lesson.

Out of a job. So, off to the beach.  

Ocean Isle North Carolina

A view of the sound side in Ocean Isle

At the end of May, I learned that I had been let go from the university that I had proudly served for thirteen years. I was part of the RIF process, or reduction in force. The timing was  ironic, given that I was fresh out of a leadership role for the department.

It was – and is – all good. I have chosen an attitude of onward. (Spoiler alert. Dr. Angelou provided the inspiration for life lessons for this post; a view from the organizational top will inspire the next).

I humbly admit I still found myself feeling a bit unnerved.

My silver lining in this ‘cloud’ of news was that the following weekend, I would be on my way to the North Carolina coast. It’s an annual trip I’ve been making for close to twenty years with my besties to God’s pool. It’s restorative and has always allowed for reflection and relaxation.

So there we were. A gaggle of chicks indulging in bowls of Edy’s ice cream. As we flipped through the TV channels one night, we landed on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) airing one of the many celebration ceremonies honoring Dr. Angelou. This one was especially moving as attendees broke out in spontaneous song. It was utterly moving and beautiful, leaving a group of six chicks in silence as we scraped our ice cream bowls.

Following the ceremony, Oprah aired her Master Class with Dr. Angelou. One sentiment struck me in a new way, one in which many of you Maya fans have heard before.

Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.

Dr. Maya Angelou

Photo of Dr. Maya Angelou, online attribution to the Oprah Network

Rooted in an African-American spiritual, Dr. Angelou shared what resonates most with her: “When it looked like the sun wasn’t going to shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds.”

And then, only as Dr. Angelou can exclaim with her enthusiastic tone of – do you see the brilliance my friend, she adds, “Imagine! I’ve had so many rainbows in my clouds. I had a lot of clouds, but I had so many rainbows.”

Ah, it’s about seeking those rainbows.

Message received, Dr. Angelou, and I remain grateful as heaven celebrates your angelic presence. Thank you for limitless wisdom and a voice that I will carry forward as I journey onward.  

 

  

May 24, 2014
by cooldeb
8 Comments

Finding my way with The Lost Boys

The Lost Boys and CoolDeb

An early good times moment capture with the guys. From left, Santino, Malou, cooldeb and Yai. Yai wouldn’t share this photo with his Mum because I was not dressed in formal wear. I get that now but not at the time.

For thirteen years, I’ve been blessed to be on a journey of sisterhood with my Sudanese brothers. With these men, often referred to as The Lost Boys, I’ve redefined family and expanded my soul.  I’ve been moved, elevated – heck, shoved all over the place – when it comes to learning about identity, space and place. 

I met these young men on 9/11, fresh and wide-eyed from the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. Having no idea about their own strife as a naive volunteer, I recall them saying to my heap of a weeping self, “We know what you are experiencing today.” I also recall replying, “No, you cannot possibly know.” Naivety – check.

During our time together, I’ve taught Malou how to drive a straight drive (remember those?), which included plowing down bushes as we headed for a lake. I’ve escorted several guys to purchase a suit to repeatedly explain why purple was not the optimal color choice. We’ve talked about dating and girls, as well as politics and care of the elderly. All the while, I remained cognizant of identity, space and place. As a female in the South Sudan, the dialogue would not occur.

The Lost Boys and Cooldeb

This is one of my favorite photos and has a home on the fridge. It’s a Sudanese celebration at their old apartment complex. Malou, Mabior and Santino are to your far left.

Over the course of time, one brother earned a bachelor’s degree from UNCG and joined the service, one obtained an associate’s degree and countless others have acquired U.S. citizenship.

Upon the South Sudan’s declaration as an independent state in 2011, we plotted, planned and saved money to send men home. Some were blessed to see their parents for the first time since fleeing as young children. Some were not as fortunate, having lost their parents during one of the longest civil wars in history.    

A few months ago, I saw an episode of 60 Minutes on the ongoing assimilation of these men. The segment also provided an update to the current state of affairs. Some believe that without a united front of fighting for independence, the people of the South Sudan continue to struggle to find a shared national identity. What seems to come easiest is tribal identity, thus the division, particularly in the government.

So I take it back to the notion of space and place, as it relates to identity. I see this with the guys as they continue to assimilate yet hold true to their own cultural background, as well as their new home state trying to find its own way. If you want to know more, I encourage to read this post from Max Fisher with the Washington Post.

Yin aca leec (pronounced in-sah-leech), which is thank you in Dinka.

 

 

 

  
Boston Strong start line

April 13, 2014
by cooldeb
2 Comments

Boston Strong

After taking my traditional winter break, I started running again this week. I didn’t bother tracking distance or calculating pace, I just ran. It felt good and it hurt at the same time, yet I know it’s all part of getting back to it. Hello running legs and lungs – I welcome you both.

It’s time for the Boston Marathon

On April 21, the Boston Marathon will occur. For runners and supporters, this year’s run will hold deeper meaning and garner greater media, given the bombings of last year. No doubt it will be a packed race, with an abundance of new qualifiers and honored spots held open from last year.

Shortly after the race in 2013, Boston-based athletic apparel retailer City Sports, led a rather cool fundraising effort utilizing social and provided runners with an outlet to honor, remember, fulfill and represent.

#BostonStrong

I learned of the effort in my American Marketing Association issue of marketingnews. According to the article by Christine Birkner, the retailer wanted to sponsor a race to support the relief fund, One Fund Boston. However, their servers crashed due to the huge response. Since the details of the bombings were still forthcoming, they chose to pursue another route. 

City Sports empowered runners around the world to run on their own, wearing a bib that you could download with the hashtag #BOSTONSTRONG.

The virtual campaign garnered promotion from CNN and runners galore were posting pictures on Facebook and tweeting. Citing Birkner, the company’s Facebook page saw more than a 2% increase in “Likes” and brand mentions grew to 298%, per senior digital marketing specialist at City Sports, Ben Eld.

[Tweet “Supporting runners of the @bostonmarathon. A time to honor, remember, fulfill and represent. “]

Smart and Savvy Social

“The donation that’s been made, we think that’s great and we want to message that, but we don’t want to say, ‘Look at what we did,’ because that would be overselling our part in it. What we’ve been communicating, instead, is our partnership with our customers and that this is why we’re proud to call Boston home, ” Eld stated.

From the perspective of a marketer, the outreach and quote epitomize meaningful social engagement with customers. Both demonstrate knowing not only where to engage – but how to interact – with consumers in an earnest, honest, genuine and relevant manner. From the perspective of a runner gurl, it’s just plain cool. 

Virtual bib for runner Debbie Schallock, 2014 Boston Marathon

I invite you to join me in support for the runners of the 2014 Boston Marathon via the Boston Virtual Charity Race.

You choose the distance of 5k, 10k, half or full marathon. You choose the timing between now and April 21. You choose the terrain of trail, road, track or treadmill.

You can download your own virtual bib for your run. (Sweet, see mine to  the  left).

Let’s run (or walk!) but let’s go! In our own slice of this big world, let’s gather to  support #BOSTONSTRONG.

 

 

 

 

 

  

January 31, 2014
by cooldeb
4 Comments

Twitter tantrums

Anger and aggression in our socialsphere

Yesterday, I was interviewed by a reporter from one of our local television stations. He was seeking a spokesperson on social media and communication, with a particular focus on youth-related tantrums on Twitter.

While I spoke on behalf of communication in general, the segment also featured a spokesperson from the Guilford County School District. The district has started tweeting as an organization and is experiencing a high volume of student response using foul language and lacking communication respect.

During the interview, I recall the reporter asking me why I thought this happening. More importantly, he asked: [Tweet “Who is responsible for teaching social media etiquette?”]

It’s not just TV talking about our social tantrums

This morning, as I flipped through the pages of my Self magazine, I came across an article entitled, “Reel in your Rant”  by Annie Daly. She was addressing the need for self restraint when it comes to blowing off steam and sharing aggravation on your social media platforms. (She actually offers three bits of advice for a “detox plan.”)

Citing data from Topsy Data Services, Daly shared that hashtags #Rant and #TwitterRant were tweeted 33 percent more in 2013 than in 2012.

“Thumb thugs”

Later in the afternoon, as I enjoyed working from home on a rare snow day, my ears perked up listening to the TV magazine show, The Insider. One of the reporters was sharing her own experiences of receiving racially insulting tweets on a fairly regular basis. She actually referred to the people who sent such tweets as “thumb thugs.”

I was left utterly appalled after hearing about her experiences.

So this takes us back to the two questions raised earlier by the reporter.

Why is this happening? Who is responsible for teaching social media etiquette?

In part, I believe this is happening because we do not value, and are therefore losing, interpersonal communication skills.

There is no fear of accountability and respect isn’t even on the radar. It’s much easier to type words on a screen and hit send, tweet or post. It’s certainly much harder to look someone in the eye, especially someone you do not personally know, and spout off when you are standing face-to-face.

While I have been and remain an ardent advocate for social, it has expanded dialogue and conversations from across a table over a cup of coffee for 30 minutes to around the world with a laptop, phone or tablet in 30 seconds. We have ease; we have expanse. As a result, accountability and respect have been erased.

Photo Attribution: Courtesy of Tracie Tier Johnson. Site link: http://tsjphotography.com/blog/the-golden-rule.

Photo Attribution: Courtesy of Tracie Tier Johnson. Site link: http://tsjphotography.com/blog/the-golden-rule.

So who is responsible for teaching and ensuring we have social etiquette?

Basically, it’s on each of us as individuals and our own personal accountability.

If one by one we did this, the socialsphere would slowly evolve into a respectful domain of dialogue.

Seems to me it might just be as simple as the golden rule.

I would love to know your own thoughts and personal or professional experiences regarding social media etiquette.

  

January 5, 2014
by cooldeb
7 Comments

My three words for 2014

These are my three words for entering into 2014. I got the idea from SuzeMuse, a blogger that I follow. She got the idea from Chris Brogan, who we all know and whose been doing this exercise for a while.

It’s a fairly simple concept. You choose three words that you want to focus on for the coming year. They can reflect actions, ideas, a way of being or a way of doing. They can reflect a stream of desired consciousness for your engagement in the day-to-day. Here are mine:

INQUISITIVE.  

Meer Cat

I want to be intentional about asking more questions. That’s hard for me because, well, I’m a talker.

It’s not that I don’t want to know more about the interesting comments that are made and invite those involved in the conversation to unpack those comments.

It’s just that I get on a roll and I need to get everything out of my head before I forget what I want to say. (Do any of you experience this?!).

I am going to slow my roll. With that, I want to commit to being present in a new way when dialoguing with others. This will mean putting others in front of myself. This will mean caring more about the dialogic journey than the outcome. This will mean listening in a new way.

And the coolest part of this is that along the way, I bet I’m going to hear (i.e. learn) something new. 

Photo Credit: apdk via photopin cc

CAREFREE.

Railay Thailand

Carefree in Thailand!

I’m writing this post during my two-week vacation, a bonus of working in higher education. So naturally, I am in a carefree state right now.

And I like it.

I am relaxed, rested and happy. I have no agenda; I have no schedule.

So my test of being free of care will come once I get back to work and my daily routine of deadlines, duties and getting things done.

But I’ve been thinking – how can I approach life with a carefree attitude? How can I sustain these feelings?

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure but by choosing this word, I am going to repeat it in my head when I get stressed, charged up or driven so intently that a pull back might actually be better. I think this will broaden my thinking to see, hear and consider new perspectives.

And once again, I bet I will learn something new. I am excited to see where this will lead me.

 WATER. 

Pescadero California

Seaside in Pescadero Cali, near Santa Cruz

I’m a water baby. Simply put, whenever I’m near water, my soul is happy.

This includes swimming in those big, wide open spaces called ‘God’s swimming pools’ aka the ocean.

And rambling and ambling in rivers.

And lounging lakeside.

And creeping along the side of a creek.

And yes, even an hour of submersion in the beauty of a soaking tub.

For 2014, I want more water in my life.

I have some ideas in mind and with God’s grace, I hope to see some of those ideas come to fruition.

So now, my question to you: What are your three words for 2014? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section. And hey, if you only have one word, that works too.

Cheers and here’s to an inquisitive, carefree year filled with water.

 

 

 

 

  
Kidlew art in New York

November 25, 2013
by cooldeb
6 Comments

Sidekicks and the City

I’m fresh back from NYC and while I can’t lay claim to Carrie Bradshaw adventures, I can certainly say…I enjoyed my Sidekicks and the City.

Arrival Night – Good Eats and Drinks

We arrive on Thursday evening and after catching up with our friends over wine and appetizers, we head out to dinner. Shout out to Chez Moi for the mussels, fries, beet salad and greens. Delish and we loved the 8 track tapes!  Our arrival night delivers local faire, which does not disappoint, including a night cap of adult beverages at the recently reopened Long Island restaurant. Turns out our waitress is from NC and we engage in a conversation about living life in the south and the north.

Three cheers to our Sidekicks and the City for a great opening night.

Day One – Another Foodie Day

Eataly in New York

Persimmons and Portabellos at Eataly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The highlight of the day was our venture to the wonderlust (uh, land) called Eately. Bravo Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich. Eately is a market filled with food stuffs from fresh fish to dessert, annually averaging 5 million visitors, which is more than the Empire State Building. Our bonus includes the star spottings of Toni Collette and Michael Stipe. The food? To die for.

Day Two – A Time to Reflect

One World Trade Center in New York

Still waiting to open – One World Trade Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We make our way to One World Trade Center and the 9/11 Memorial. The last time I was on this hallowed ground was 2005 with my Mum, a friend and her mum. Then, it was filled with dirt, debris, destruction and was eerily quiet. Now, it is bustling with visitors from around the world waiting for hours to see the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

In this same complex, there are two memorial pools that run as deep and wide as the Twin Towers stood tall and proud. My video captures just a brief moment, but I think you can sense the peace and sanctity.

9/11 Memorial Pools

High Line Park in New York

Sidekicks ‘kick it’ at High Line Park

After this reflective time, we explore the historically transformed High Line, a park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side.

5Pointz in New York

The Graffiti Art Scene in 5Pointz

From the park, we begin our mission to buy vinyl and visit 5Pointz to see an outdoor art exhibit. In reality, it’s an outdoor art exhibit redefined. This area is considered to be the world’s premiere “graffiti Mecca;” artists from around the world have painted colorful pieces on the walls of a 200,000-square-foot factory building.

Art by Kidlew at 5Pointz in New York

Art by Kidlew at 5Pointz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The art has now been painted over in a wash of white. We had a privileged window. Thank you City Sidekicks. And thank you Kidlew, it was great meeting you.

Last Day – Brooklyn Style

On our last day, we stay local and take in the beauty of Brooklyn Heights, including walking the infamous Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Heights in New York

The beauty of Brooklyn Heights in fall

Brooklyn Bridge in New York

The walk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cooldeb takeaway: Grab your sidekick(s) and get to the City. [Tweet “NYC is another world and does wonders to transform your view on life and living. “]

  

October 3, 2013
by cooldeb
10 Comments

Adrift in the Outer Banks

“Travel takes more than money. It takes the most precious commodity: time. Anyone can buy a car, hand-bag, or shoes, but travel requires energy, bravery, curiosity, and a degree of adventurousness.”

So says hotelier André Balazs.

Outer Banks

Outer Banks: The village of Ocracoke

As I set out for my vacation to the Outer Banks (OBX), I read this knowing my next post would focus on my coastal adventures into God’s land. Now, I had a provocative sentiment to ruminate upon…

At this time in my life, André’s reflection is particularly poignant due to recent changes in our workplace. These changes are requiring even more time in the day and more expendable mental energy. Arriving to my vacation destination in Avon, I found myself pulled between being “plugged in” and choosing to NOT be plugged in. Simply put, I was feeling adrift in the OBX.

The commodity of time. Admittedly, it took me four days into the seven day excursion to commit to the release of time. *Sigh 1.* (Thus why Balazs says time is a commodity). Why did it take that long to own the beauty and peace and let myself go? We need to learn how to be intentional to reset minutes of connectivity to minutes of distinct disconnectivity.  In some ways, I think we need to give ourselves permission to let go and embrace the moments of restoration. Really? Sigh 2.* When you do, here’s what a seized moment looks like:

Outer Banks

Outer Banks: The restorative beauty of a sound sunset in Avon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Energy. I also admit it took mental energy to allow this restoration to occur. I believe the essence of vacations can be distilled to letting go in order to go with the flow. Normally, I’m a pretty “fluid” traveler, yet on this vacation, I was feeling adrift.  My reminder came in the form of my lab; he reminded me of the beauty when you seize the moment:

Outer Banks

Outer Banks: Bo becomes a fish

 

Outer Banks

Outer Banks: Bo says the beach is sand-tastic

 

 

 

 

 

Bravery. See time as commodity.

Curiosity. I fed my curiosity through food. I explored every seafood source I could from the neighborhood monger to the restaurant where the locals were eating. Among the favorites? Steamed local clams and oysters served with seaweed salad, curiously (read surprise!) atop a mound of kosher salt:

Outer Banks

Outer Banks: Steamed oysters and clams in Ocracoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adventure. I had an epiphany after living in NC for twelve years. Time to explore the OBX. I began in 2011 with a solamente exploration with Bo to Ocracoke. For this year’s backyard adventure, I went to Avon and was blessed to have my parents join me for the first half of the week:

Outer Banks

Outer Banks: The ‘rents rock it in Ocracoke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friends joined me for the latter part of the week, where we took in the glory and awesomeness of:

Outer Banks

Outer Banks: The infamous Hatteras Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So remember this one cool thing. [Tweet “Time is a valuable commodity. #SeizeTheMoment”]

View my OBX photo album at Cool Deb on Flickr.

 

  
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