Hodge Podge Podcast and Blog is about ALL types of things! Join children’s book author, creative writer, blogger and podcaster, Alison Paul Klakowicz, on her journey to inspire! By way of guest interviews, travel, food, books, all things North Carolina, life as a military spouse and more!
I’ve been witnessing (and caught up in) a pandemic within a pandemic, and what I’m calling Coronavirus & Mom Guilt— an effort that started out with the best of heart, but is escalating out of control.
Mom’s are frantically trying to figure out a new normal on the coattails of school closures due to the Coronavirus— and coming up with ways to keep their children engaged in educational ways.
Moms are uploading websites and google documents with wholesome and academic stimuli to keep their kid’s minds busy, their routines on schedule and trying wholeheartedly to support one another.
I will admit a few days ago— shoot this morning— I was completely on board to provide live streaming story time events, worksheets, etc. to help anyone out there looking for something to do in the boredom of being home bound with kiddos. I’m still willing to do so.
BUT I want to set the record straight by saying that I DO NOT WANT TO STRESS YOU OUT! You do not have to do anything right this minute except keep yourself and your family safe and at home.
I’m already seeing where this is taking a toll on many moms who are not ready to jump in feet first and take the educational reigns. These are the same women who are still trying to process the overload of information coming out minute by minute about a worldwide crisis.
They are trying desperately to keep it together and not show their children the fear, and anxiety slowly creeping in. They are just trying to take it one baby step at a time— and are not signing up for a Spartan race without training for it.
Ladies, we are stressing one another the flip out.
Take deep breaths.
We are all very different in how we process our feelings and emotions. Not all of us are helicopter parents or Tiger moms. We don’t enjoy micromanaging or overly scheduled homes. Some of us need a little time to relax. Ponder. Prepare for the days, weeks or months of what is to come.
It is COMPLETELY fine if you feel more comfortable with having a level of control in creating an orderly household and productive home. I’m surely not shaming you super women out there. I commend you. And I will be happy to provide instructional materials from my children’s book and other educational tools I’ve created.
But personally, I’m going to take some time off from routine and the busyness of our norms. And I want you to know it is completely okay if you do the same!
Wash your hands.
Try not to stress.
Whatever is cathartic.
But make sure to tell your kids you love them daily.
Help make them as comfortable as possible.
It’s stressful on their little hearts and minds too.
Spouse-ly was founded by Monica Fullerton— a determined Air Force military spouse, who wanted to make a difference in the military community that would benefit all military spouses, service members and veterans all over the U.S. 🇺🇸
Along her military journey she met many talented individuals who own and operate small businesses or have a passion to start one.
After researching social media groups where people asked for certain products or services, it was at that moment she realized how great the need was to create a company that provides a large platform for people to support Mil/Vet spouse & service member owned businesses all over the United States.
That’s when Spouse-ly was born, a one-stop marketplace shop to buy & support Military/Veteran owned businesses. On Spouse-ly you can find both products & services, creating a true one-stop shop.
Spouse-ly is unique in that it provides an option to search for local products and services.
The company’s mission is to continue to provide ongoing resources, training, support, and marketing to help everyone grow to their fullest potential whether they are buying or selling on Spouse-ly.
When you shop on Spouse-ly you are truly supporting talented individuals through a company designed to be inclusive and supportive of the military community.
SHOP & SUPPORT MILITARY/VETERAN SPOUSE & SERVICE MEMBER OWNED BUSINESSES ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES.
Recently, I had the honor of speaking with Shane McCarthy, Chief Marketing Officer of Sandboxx an amazing veteran-owned platform that supports almost 2 million service members throughout their military journey. The organization assists recruits, active military, military families and their supporters to stay engaged and informed.
Shane, a charismatic and intuitive Irish born and bred young professional, has led a full array of enterprise marketing and business operation teams, building foundations that enable companies to scale for growth.
A few years back when Sandboxx was in its start-up beginnings, Shane was eager to join the ranks of the company’s industrious Marine Corps veteran founders and has embraced the organization’s culture and mission.
Over the past 5 years, Sandboxx has hired 50 team members, half of whom are veterans and military spouses. Due to the nature of military life, most of the Sandboxx military spouse team work remotely which is an extremely important current trend in assisting spouses with maintaining successful employment when considering the obstacles they face from PCS to deployments and beyond.
Shane is passionate about this endeavor as well as spreading the message of the important services Sandboxx provides its consumers. He even provided tips to employers on hiring practices involving military spouses as well as advice for spouses seeking remote employment.
Shane and I discussed Sandboxx’s core supports ranging from communications through the company’s global letters distribution service, content creation to keep families informed as well as technology features such as the organization’s free cell phone app, and additional support provided to service members and military families from basic training onwards.
Alison Paul Klakowicz is a children’s book author, freelance writer, blogger and podcaster. She is a military spouse who lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina with her husband and son. She is a storyteller who loves to feature people and places that inspire and empower others.
Kelsy Timas is guiding the military community to wellness— one soldier, one military spouse, one veteran at a time. Civilians are welcome to join the journey as well.
With 20 years experience in the health and wellness field, she has developed an entirely holistic establishment dedicated to healing individuals from the inside out.
I recently received the opportunity to visit Guiding Wellness Institute in Fayetteville, North Carolina to talk with Kelsy about her mission and passion which pours from every inch of her business.
The center offers services ranging from yoga, therapeutic massage, facial treatments, acupuncture, holistic life coaching, wellness and nutrition consultations onto educational courses to include yoga teacher trainings.
In addition, Guiding Wellness Institute provides Warriors At Ease programs which support health and healing of service members, veterans, military spouses and their families through yoga and meditation. The program was first developed in 2006 in partnership with Department of Defense-funded research at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Through the programs success, a teacher training curriculum was developed to meet the growing demand of specially-trained instructors to share the benefits of WAE to the military community. WAE has grown to a network of 750 plus teachers worldwide who serve warriors and their families in the United States and abroad.
One of the most unique features offered at the institute are FREE (yes, you read that right… FREE) yoga classes provided weekly on Wednesday (6:30-7:30pm),Thursday (6:30-7:30pm) and Friday (9:15a-10:30am) for all active & retired military to include military spouses and their family members.
Scroll further to read about my personal experience at Guiding Wellness Institute.
Spa Wellness Experience
During my visit to Guiding Wellness Institute, I had the privilege of trying out some of the wonderful services it offers.
Upon entrance of the building I was instantly put at ease, felt welcome and secure as if somewhat familial. There is a great focus on creating a place where people instantly feel at home which I can wholeheartedly attest to.
I was first given a tour of the facility by Guiding Wellness Center Holistic Health Coach, Brittany Moore whose passion is true wellness starting with what an individual feeds their mind and bodies.
Brittany pointed out that healthy refreshments are offered to guests in the beautiful kitchen and bar space that overlooks the serene outdoor garden. Nutrition classes are offered in this space as well, she said.
Next we toured the vast and tidy fitness area where a myriad of holistic wellness fitness classes are offered Monday through Friday as well as special events held on weekends.
Last we toured the center’s massage and floatation therapy rooms that provide guests a perfect spa atmosphere.
My Personal Spa Experience
My first service was a traditional full-body massage provided by Coral Esparza, Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist. Coral provides great care in her work coupled with clinical knowledge and a solid background in massage therapy.
I suffer from aches and pains associated with sciatica- and most recently tendinitis in my right arm. Coral knew exactly where to focus deep tissue massage to my aching muscles and joints to provide relief. She was professional and kind as well as careful to make my experience holistically balanced, extremely pleasant and relaxing.
I highly recommend her for massage for anyone struggling with chronic pain issues.
Following the massage, it was suggested I try Floatation Therapy which is becoming a popular antidote in holistic wellness. I had not yet experienced floatation therapy and was extremely excited to try out this treatment.
If you are not familiar with floatation therapy, it is a healing treatment using sensory deprivation to heal your physical body, mental and emotional health as well as enhance spiritual growth.
The institute dons a custom-designed float suite which contains a luxury shower, along with a tranquil, large tub much like an oversized bath filled with soothing warm water filled with a thousand pounds of salt. You enter through a beautiful private dressing area that allows for spacious privacy.
Brittany set my mind at ease with the process of my float by explaining in detail the steps I would take to make my experience purposeful and successful. I was a bit nervous in not knowing what exactly to expect so her instruction and care was much appreciated. However, I grew up on the coast so my soul longs for salt water and I embraced the chance to reconnect with my beginnings while allowing my body and mind to succumb to this new experience.
Once Brittany ensured I was ready to begin my float, she left me in the suite where I changed into my bathing suit (which is required by law for the float bath). I rinsed off in the shower beforehand as you would do in any public pool area. I then entered the bath where I stepped into the most luxurious warm water. I allowed myself a moment to become familiar with my surroundings then placed the small floatation pillow provided to me behind my head and allowed my body to submerge in the water.
Effortlessly, my body floated to a natural state atop the water. The weightless feeling was utterly wonderful and I felt instant relief. For people like myself who have a difficult time of letting go of the need to be in control, this experience might be an adjustment. But for me it was a welcomed change of pace.
As I eased into my new state of body and mind, relaxing music played for a few moments. But as Brittany forewarned previously, the music began to fade as did the lighting and the bath became dark as is recommended to receive the full sensory deprivation therapy experience.
There is a button along the wall where guests can lightly touch to turn a dim light on if they need to do so. I will admit I chose at one point to turn the light back on to put myself at bit more at ease with my surroundings, but I then relaxed, closed my eyes and focused on the beauty of the moment.
I will definitely try floatation therapy again as I reaped the benefits and felt utterly relaxed and renewed following my visit.
I hope everyone has the opportunity to try this therapy treatment at some point whether for chronic pain, mental and emotional health or just to have a break from your hectic life schedule and routine.
Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, freelance writer, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.
Every kid knows that mommies are the greatest. They feed us and take care of us and love us with all their hearts. But did you know they are also so cool! One little boy sure does. His mommy drives a big
— Read on www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1525530186/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
2019 brought me the opportunity to interview some extremely inspirational, intelligent and talented women who came into my life either professionally or personally.
It was such an honor to highlight their stories, and messages of hope. The world is filled with unique individuals that we can all learn from— I certainly benefited from each of the stories these women shared with me.
If you are looking for #inspiration in the #newyear look no further!
Here are the Top 6 Inspirational Interviews on #HodgePodgePodcast:
1. Katlin McFadden, Women’s Business Coach and Artist-
Alison Paul Klakowicz is an Eastern North Carolina native, children’s book author, blogger, podcaster and creative writer. She is a military spouse who resides in Fayetteville, NC with her husband, Adam, and son, Mak.