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!
Pam Fries, an award-winning artist and illustrator, has published a lovely children’s picture booktitled Something’s Eating the Garden.
The gorgeously illustrated book features an amazing garden adventure with a child and Papa. Papa discovers that something is eating his garden and the child tries to solve the mystery by guessing who the creature culprit could be.
The sweet (and curious) child imagines different animals— like an elephant, giraffe, pig or even a crocodile— nibbling on the garden plants.
But to no avail none are the guilty party!
With each turn of the page, the reader is greeted by whimsical, bright and beautiful, full-page illustrations.
It is a delight to the senses and will help create a curiosity of the outdoors, animal life and vegetables for every young child! A wonderful educational tool, for sure.
The Washington State author Pam Fries, published the book soon after the passing of her husband who the character “Papa” was based around. They were together for 40 years, and the book gave her purpose and a place to remember the legacy of her husband.
She has 5 beautiful grandchildren, a dog and many chickens!
Pam enjoys speaking to schools and Women’s groups, creating breath taking art— and working in the garden.
I recently spent a couple of hours volunteering with this amazing organization and was overcome by the respect and attentiveness given to each individual who walked through the door.
Seth’s Wish started in 2014 when Seth Wofford (Lindsey and Noah Wofford’s son), then age 9, met a man named Steve who lived behind his school whom the family visited for months, and carried on countless conversations. Seth made a wish to be able to help Steve and others like him.
Seth’s Wish earned a 501(c)3 status in October 2015 and its founders along with managing director Stacy Graybill along with volunteers have been working hard to carry out their vision.
Unfortunatly, Steve— the inspiration behind the agency— passed away in 2017, but the organization continues to serve others in honor of him, and the impact he had on Seth’s heart.
The organization strives to create an inclusive community for individuals facing homelessness, poverty and food insecurity by providing basic needs such as delicious hot meals, hygiene needs, clothing and so much more in order to help these individuals thrive.
During my time volunteering, I spent some time talking with folks who frequent Seth’s Wish. The overall mindset was that they would be lost without this safe haven.
Lindsey Wofford, founder, and Stacy Graybill, managing director, spoke with me recently on Hodge Podge Podcast about their mission to help feed and care for those struggling in our community.
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.
Networking is crucial in developing a successful business. Whether you own a marketing firm, restaurant, boutique, bookstore, IT business— you must embracenetworking as a main vein to grow your business.
Social Media is a fabulous way to connect and network with individualsworldwide or simply in your very own community: i.e. to simply introduce yourself to the world, find new customers and/or partners, advertise new services or sales, develop peer groups… what have you.
Doors 🚪 open throughonlineexposure.
BUT, you cannot rely 100% on social media and online interactions to developyourself as a professionalentrepreneur.
Sometimes you have to actually bathe, brush your hair and teeth, put on clean clothes and a smile, and leave the comfort of your ergonomic home office desk chair (or couch) to mingle and talk to with real live human beings in the flesh.
You need to establish real life relationships to grow.
I recently experienced a perfect example of this very thing I am preaching at a business workshop put on by the Women’s Business Center at CEED, a local economic empowerment agency, located in Downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina.
To find out more about my experience and passionate plea to encourage you to get out of your “comfort zone” and on your way to building your biz like a boss, listen 👂 to my recent podcast here:
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.