Class of 2014

Class of 2014

I feel blessed to be in a group of colleagues who received an award tonight for major contributions to the field of student affairs and to ACPA (American College Personnel Association-College Student Educators International.) An organization I’ve been part of for almost 30 years – since that first 1985 conference in grad school and the long memorable/forgettable road trip from Bloomington IN to Boston, MA. I did not know at the time it would be the start along a path to what would become my professional home.

This is a lifetime achievement award therefore decades of work was being acknowledged in this capstone manner. Our “2014 Class of Diamond Honorees” represents researchers, practitioners, writers, authors, team members, confidants, mentors, learners, teachers, colleagues and friends. Truly an honor and a privilege to be part of this group.

Listening to the accolades for the Diamond Honorees going up to the stage before me –  highlights of their work, their impact on Student Affairs, their contributions to ACPA and their impressive list of degrees, publications and  credentials – reinforced how thrilled I was to be in this Class, this association and this field.

It would have been easy to worry about their lists of successes and to compare myself to them. That’s not what this night is about – no winner, no rank order, no “best.” Only about contribution. I believe I am a contribution. It can be hard to say that (to myself or out loud) and maintain humility. Yet, I am so grateful to have been told over the years in person, in an email and in hand-written letters, that who I am matters, what I say makes a difference and what I do is noticed. I hope my colleagues have had the same affirmations.

I am always awkward when receiving compliments, so it was a little uncomfortable to be in front of this large audience – hundreds – Diamond Honorees from the past 15 years and their colleagues ands friends. Listening to the praise being given to me in their presence made me want to look down, look away, look out – and get out! I stayed.

Afterwards, I had to work hard to respond to the gratitude with “thank you.” Period. Change my default setting to a simple Thank You. No explaining, qualifying or rationalizing the recognition. I know my contribution is multiplied by the teams who support me, enhanced by who I get to work with and built by the opportunities placed in my way. AND tonight it was OK to say  Thank You and receive the joy and pride from friends.

Belief in ourselves and our contributions does not need an award. Nor do we what we do in order to get a formal honor. I think the best part is the belief in knowing we will have the chance to pay this forward.

I believe.

Thank you.

Have a Nothing New Day! ~ Kristin





Made this again – I give it 5 stars!

Wanted to use up last summer’s frozen shredded zucc in ziploc bags in the freezer yay! I used coconut oil and honey instead of canola and sugar….it turned out alright – not as sweet as last time but tasty nonetheless.  Then freeze the small loaves – perfect to keep or give away…

Check out the recipe on Leigh Anne Wilkes’ blog Your Home Based Mom – “A mom, wife, and blogger who uses her vision, creativity, and time management skills to inspire women to create the life they want while discovering the pretty and delicious in life.”

Still working hard to be gluten-free – actually to limit my bread intake – it is hard but I think it’s making a difference…more energy, fewer hot flashes and less bloating – sorry if I have over-shared!

Freezer is getting empty – a sign of Spring 🙂 Only a bit of last summer’s pesto and green beans, a few small bags of blueberries and some baba ghanoush way in the back.

What’s in your freezer? Time to clean out?

Have a safe, restful, productive Nothing New weekend! ~Kristin




As I was finishing errands yesterday, including a coffee drop off to the gals at my favorite consignment store, Anything Goes – I took a moment in my parked car to prep a few books to ship – 2 to a friend in Los Angeles and a box to my hotel for an upcoming conference.

Deep in thought and trying to write meaningful notes in the books, I heard a sound in the back of my car – like the hatch was being opened or maybe someone bumped me. Well, it was the hatch being opened – by someone other than me!

It took me a moment to get what was happening – then I met Judy. She has the same car as I do – which we were about to figure out. As she was walking toward what she thought was her car, she clicked her remote to open her (my) hatch. Arrived to her (my) car and reached down to the handle to pop open the back. As she opened the hatch – she stood looking into the car at me. I could see her in my rear view mirror and her cartoon thought cloud was visible – “Hey, why is there someone in my car? This is a not what I expected and could be a problem.”

To get things rolling, I said, “Hello?!” which pulled Judy out of her thought cloud and into a cute conversation with me. She was mortified. “Oh my – I have the same car! I am so embarrassed! I hope my friend didn’t see me! Why did MY remote work for open YOUR car? I am so sorry!”

Of course, this was confusing…so many light blue Honda CRV’s out there and so many distractions. Easy to do…I was careful to stay in the Judgment Free Zone. Plus, my car was already open so it just SEEMED like her remote worked for my car.

I assured her I have done a thousand variations of the “What Just Happened Here Game ” and that what just happened here would stay between the two of us. Judy was laughing now (kind of – still in a bit of shock) and said, “OK bye now” then tried to get away from me ASAP. “Maybe I’ll see you in Wegman’s hahaha,” I said cheerily.  Judy’s Thought Cloud, “Yup sure I hope NOT bye now.”

Sometimes the funny stuff is right in front of us – and an oops leads to a reminder of how lucky we are to have that moment, that reminder of human vulnerability and the luxury of having a nice car that works.

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin Continue reading


Frozen Lake St. Clair - Detroit

Frozen Lake St. Clair – Detroit

Weather is still a hot (cold – haha) topic here in The ROC (and in the whole Northeast, East Coast, Mid Atlantic, and Midwest). Even though we are exhausted by this perpetual Polar Vortex/Arctic Action/Deep Drifting Winter, people continue to be positive, kind and hopeful. Amazing, given the record-breaking temps and longevity of these cold days – over and over – every morning in the teens and waking up to a fresh white coat of snow on the ground.

Chatter at the checkout, in the parking lot, at the post office – the Weather continues to provide an easy ice-breaker (hee hee, get it?) – more so than usual. It feels like there is more compassion for folks who are out in the cold more than others – postal carriers, Helping Grocery Hands, bus riders. I have gotten into the habit of asking how you have fared – were you OK through all this? Thus launching quick shared concerns ranging from paying the heat bill and our homeless neighbors, to wearing boots, and being ready to shed the clothing layers.

“At least, it’s sunny!” “I saw a robin (cardinal, bluejay, chickadee) today…” “The snowdrops are up in my yard – me too!” “The snow IS melting, I can tell.” “The squirrels seem to be doing OK.” “Maybe it will be warmer tomorrow.”

I raked some leaves this past week – as a wishful Spring-Like activity to remind myself that it WILL come. If I rake it, it will come. I never finished up the Fall Tidy so I am doing a small section at a time to get a jump on Spring when she finally gets here. I loaded up one wet, heavy, dirty, brown pile of leaves onto a sheet from a 10 x 10 area in the back and dragged it out to the street for pick up. Almost pulled a muscle. Sad.

I did not wear socks one day last week as a beacon for the next season – please, oh please come soon. It was not noticed nor taken under advisement to push Spring into being. Maybe tomorrow.

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin



The Soup Lives On

The Soup Lives On

Kind Out. Kind In…Give Love. Get Love. What you throw out there, comes back to you – in lovely ways. Blueberry Soup to Mary. Kindness Back to Kristin – just when she needs if. Today is better – thank you Mary!

Check out my Friend Mary Bartolotta’s blog! AND her wonderful soap at The Mooseberry Soap Company….!An-Act-of-Kindness-Becomes-More-Than-a-Bowl-of-Soup/c1o8c/6E9F0582-5EC9-4261-BE60-0B77DC3C8B48


An Act of Kindness Becomes More Than a Bowl of Soup

March 23, 2014

Today, a friend and loyal Mooseberrian? dropped off some blueberry soup for me. I wasn’t at the cafe at the time but my sister let her in. It was put in the refrigerator. Tomorrow, I get to try it. Said friend and I briefly discussed said soup a few weeks ago. It was a casual and brief conversation. She mentioned that she would drop some by for me to try. Whatever. Sure. Whenever. Lots of people say that.

So today, when I found out there was some blueberry soup waiting for me, it gave me pause…made me smile. The soup came with a few texts like ‘Are you there? I have soup. Never mind. Sister put in frig.’ Then an email ‘Here is the recipe…and here are some blogs to go along with it.’  Wow, the soup came with a recipe…and blogs!

The soup suddenly morphed into more than a few mashed berries in a bowl and some became friend to friend communication,  taking the time for someone else, openness – one heart to another….and time for me to blog…this blog….and say thank you.

Can’t wait to try the soup tomorrow.


 another version below (not hers)


Have a Nothing New Blueberry Soup Day! ~Kristin



Kind Florida Trumpet Flower

Kind Florida Trumpet Flower

This past week I was given some fairly undeserved kindness and I promised to pay it forward…lucky me, the opportunity presented itself within 24 hours. Huh.

On my way home from a nice lunch meeting with a potential new client on Friday afternoon, I could see a car in the middle of the road up ahead on an ale in the lane – looked like an accident but once I got closer, I realized it was stalled out. The 10 (TEN) cars in front of me pulled around the car and then kept on driving down the road. I did the same – pulled around and was going to call 911 to alert them to the situation. Typically, I do not stop – call me paranoid – even though it was broad daylight in a safe area.

When I maneuvered around the car, I could see the woman by herself in the car stepping out and then trying to push her car to the side of the road – still – no one else was stopping. Both the front and rear bumpers were smashed…s0 instead of driving on I pulled over. Got out, went back to her car and asked if she was OK…she was OK and turns out the smashed bits were from prior accidents – she said the car is old and on its last wheels and it just decided to stop on this day, at this moment, in the middle of this road. Bummer.

She got in and I pushed – wearing my special, pointy, high, dressy, business lunch, car-pushing boots – and together Merrill and I got her car out of the traffic and to the side of the road. She took a selfie of us, we exchanged a laugh and well-wishing goodbye – said she had someone to call for help.

Sadly, at least a dozen more cars just drove on by or watched us as they were stopped at the light during this 5 minutes or so of Samaritan Drama. Amazing. Not even a “Hey, do you need more help?” or “You can do it!” – wowee.

I am happy I had the chance to help, and I know that this single “pay it forward” is not enough. I need to remind myself to be kind and pleasant, give soft answers and thoughtful responses, and have open first-thoughts to keep replacing the negative, “it snowed again today” downer attitude.  Dear Lord, let me be a happy, kind, pink Florida trumpet flower today….Amen.

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin


Snowdrops in Snow

Snowdrops with Snowflakes

In a fit of irresponsible cabin fever AND with permission from the Snowdrops, I removed the winter plastic from my windows.

As I peeled off the protection set in place last December, I felt some coolness creeping in around the edges of the 100 year old windows. I know this will maintain my already outrageous heating bill. I know it would have been wiser to leave the plastic on. I know this is not over yet….but….the flowers and the sun the 5 minutes of raking last Fall’s leaves in the “it is still light out at 7pm – yay” reality made me do it.

Spring WILL come – as promised…

Have a Nothing New – No Plastic on the Windows – Day and Weekend! ~ Kristin




I had to make some difficult phone calls today and was blessed on one of said calls with a customer service expert, Mrs. Cheatham. Kind, knowledgable, sympathetic. Right when I needed it and right when I am sure I least deserved it.

Earlier in the day, I allowed some stress to get in the way and I spoke unkindly to my cell phone service provider (under my breath – it slipped out and I am 99% sure she heard me – drats.) She was using all of my trigger words – “they”, “not our policy”, “I can’t promise you anything”, “out of my hands”, and “that is all I can do.” Each word/phrase ramped me up in an exponential way until I blurted out my unkindness. Not an illegal word, not a “bad” word…unkind nonetheless. About something that she could not change about herself.

So when Mrs. C was nice to me…I remembered my earlier interaction and I lost it…emotions of a long day, more snow, and The Menopause all swirled together in a hot mess. As we were working it all out and she was letting me have my “moment” she said, “You know what this is? THIS IS LIFE. Just something that happened. It’s no big deal. I’ve been in your shoes. This doesn’t matter in the big picture. Let it go”. And just like that I was better.

I will probably never talk to Mrs. C again or meet her in person so I promised I would pay it forward in some way soon. She talks to people all day long for a living yet still had the energy and the skills to talk with me like a friend. I want to be her. That one. The one who helps others, not a “they” or a “policy.” Sigh. When will I learn? Hopefully tomorrow!

This. Is. Life.

Who showed you a kindness today?

Have a Nothing New Day! ~ Kristin




Going on Good Day Rochester in the morning – fun! 8:20am – I will be talking with Jennifer, Norma, and Adam about natural beauty/body products – good times.

During my Nothing New Year, I took 2 months to detox my house and myself….got rid of overlapping, toxic and unnecessary products in my kitchen, bathroom, travel bag, cosmetic case, cupboards and cabinets. Traded most of them out for truly natural products and ingredients. Oatmeal, sugar, grapeseed oil, distilled water, essential oils, coconut oil, honey, lemon, salt, vinegar, baking soda and organic soaps replaced window, sink, tub, tile, wall, floor, laundry, dish, and stain cleaners…most of them bright blue, unnerving yellow, scary orange, and “ineverseethatcolorgreeninnature” green.

I researched makeup, hair products, skin care and soaps – found my favorites – and continue to cut back on store-bought stuff.  Supporting small businesses, using local or available ingredients AND using products that are better for me is a triple winner.

In the process,  Mary Bartolotta of The Mooseberry Soap Company and Amy “Organica Jane” Stewart were sage guides – which ingredients to avoid and which ones to seek out. The learning curve flattened quite a bit but I am still learning!

Lucky me, I have recently joined a very cool group – Sustainable Women – around 25 humans in all – with the collective knowledge of a university! Headed up by Rachel Stuckey, most meetings seem to have 10-15 women and the topics so far have been Gardening (raised beds, dirt and seeds) and Body Care (the power of baking soda and how to make your own shampoo!)…Next up is natural house care products.  Yes please.

Resources abound to navigate the seas of too many (unhealthy) options in the healthy & beauty aisle – the Good Guide App for smart phones helps you decide on the spot to choose products with the lowest negative impact on people, the environment, animals and your pocketbook. On this hip website, – Genevieve offers a wonderful grid of product types and rates them Bad, Better, Good or Best. There are some surprises in there to be sure…

More to follow with recipes – sugar scrub, oatmeal mask, and lavender mist…oh my.

Have a Nothing New Day! ~Kristin