Do Good;Feel Good

•December 29, 2012 • 1 Comment

As I was struggling to get into the Christmas spirit and frankly disappointed in humanity as of late with all of the tragedy that has occurred over the last year(s) I was reminded by a woman that good people, kind people, do still exist in our world. She came into BWW with her son the other day, just an ordinary woman, having an ordinary lunch, nothing special at all when she approached me at the front cashier stand—I was training a new server who was waiting on them under my name and at first I was worried something was wrong with their meal. Boy was I surprised when she came to ask me if it would be possible to combine her check with another tables check so she could pay for their meal. I told her I would be happy to help and it’s something I’ve seen before (a pay-it-forward moment) and when she pointed to the table with four military persons at it, I smiled and assured her I would combined the checks. But then she said, “Do you see any other military men/women in here? Oh yes, him, and that table over there, and I think I see one in the bar area. Can you put them all on my check please? I want to buy their meals to thank them for Christmas.”

I was taken back. This woman, this simply dressed, ordinary woman, wanted to pick up the tabs of not just one table, but five tables, 14 military men and women, in my restaurant. I wanted to hug her and cry. All I could manage to come out with was a “yes, yes absolutely, you are so amazing…” And she just smiled and said, “It’s the least I can do…”

The bill ended up being $157,00 and she paid it graciously and went as far as tipping the other three servers on the individual tables and myself $20 each and handed my trainee $10 for her service. She walked around to all of the tables and individually thanked each and every one of them, wished them a Merry Christmas, and didn’t mention a thing about the bill she just paid.

When one of the tables asked for the check I informed them it had been taken care of and when they inquired about who had paid for them I told them she had already been by their table. They were as astounded as I was, touched by her generosity. It was truly a magical moment and one that really put things in perspective.

This woman inspires me…and I can’t wait until I can do something that amazing. However it got me thinking of things I can do now…little things that have a big impact on others/the world.

Here is a list of 10 Do Good-Feel Good charitable things that you can get involved in today:

1: Compassion International—sponsoring a child in a 3rd world country. Yes, there are other organizations available, but this was the one that I found was truly a beneficial non-profit doing real good in the lives of the children they help. It is $40/month and 100% of it goes to the child you are sponsoring. You can write letters back and forth, receive updates on their health, schooling, family and such, and send extra presents for holidays and birthdays i.e. Toys, shoes, clothes, books ect.
I have been sponsoring my little man since my senior year of high school and it has been amazing. I hope to go to Haiti and meet him in person some day. Click the link below to check it out!
Sponsor A Child

2: TOMS—love shoes like I do? This is an amazing company that does a one-for-one operation. For every pair of shoes they sell they donate a pair to a child around the world who doesn’t have any shoes. They are comfortable and affordable and just an honest to goodness good thing. I personally can’t get enough of them…I’m up to 5 pairs and I want more! They have also recently added glasses to their program—for every pair they sell they give a pair to a child in need of glasses to see. Check them out here TOMS

3: Pet Adoption— as you read in my last post my little bro [C] adopted a kitten for me for Christmas… and she is the best, sweetest thing ever. I can’t imagine my life without her now, and to think that she was abandoned and helpless in a shelter breaks my heart. [C] went home to Iowa and actually checked out the shelter in his town and rescued a dog, Radar, for his girlfriend [Sam] for Christmas. I got to meet him while I was back for the holidays and he is so adorable and loving. He is a little over 2-years old and was found abandoned and abused by his previous owners. He was in pretty bad shape but luckily he is doing fine now. They have welcomed him in and he is the newest member of the [Styron wolf pack]…including Vince, Moe, Duke ([C] and [Sam]’s other dog) and now Radar.
Rescuing an animal is so wonderful and the gift that keeps on giving. So next time your on the market for a pet, check out your local shelters first…because I guarantee you’ll find a little nugget who wants/needs you love and will give it right back.

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Radar and Moe at Christmas- he fit right in :)

4: Donating to Goodwill—a fairly simple and quick act of kindness. Not only are you getting rid of those things you don’t need and cleansing your home of excess, you are giving to an organization that makes it possible for people to shop within their means.

5: Pay-it-forward acts such as buying the food/coffee/groceries/gas for person behind you in line. You never know when you can make someone’s day by simply buying his or her Starbucks.

6: Leave an extra large tip for your server—now I know you’re thinking I’m just suggesting this because I serve, but I’m not…. At least I’m not saying it for me. It is just one of those things that can change a person’s life and they will remember and pay-it-forward. And trust me, it’ll come back to you when you need it as well.

7: Shop Local—this may not seem like a “charitable” act but trust me it’s important. Not only can you find some of the best things in local shops/restaurants/farmers markets/ect. but you are simultaneously simulating the economy in your town/city. We all know the economy can use all the help it can get right now, and that is especially true for small businesses. So stay local and help out your hometown people.
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8: Volunteer—ANYWHERE. Local food bank, hospital, schools, Salvation Army, churches and the list goes on and on. Even if it’s only for a few hours these places thrive off of volunteer work. Every little bit helps and I promise you once you find the place you enjoy, you will go back time and time again. The few hours won’t feel like enough.
                                          Do good-feel good. 

9: Mentor/Tutor— If you have a gift with kids and/or have a really big brain full of knowledge I believe you need to use it. There are some great programs like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club and many, many after-school programs at your local schools and churches. Not only can they learn from you but also I know you will learn from them. Plus, staying involved with young people keeps your spirit young as well—and who doesn’t love a good game of kickball?

10: Be Kind—It’s a simple request sure, but on those days you just really want to kick and scream at everyone remember this mantra… “Kill ‘em with Kindness”. It has gotten me through some very long days/nights with people and I felt better when it was all said and done. Not even just being kind to those you don’t feel like being nice to, but to everyone in general. Smile at a stranger as you pass them on the sidewalk, say please/thank you to everyone, treat everyone with respect and don’t judge others—you never know what their day/week/month or year has been like. Kindness doesn’t need to be a grand gesture or a thought out plan… random acts of kindness are some of the most precious little moments in ones life.
Gandalf: Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that   is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? That’s because I am afraid and it gives me courage.”
>> as soon as I heard this quote during The Hobbit it struck a cord with me.

*I know this is an extremely long post but I felt I needed to share it. If we all do one good deed a day I believe 2013 can change the world for the better. We definitely need to do something to balance out the evils of 2012.

Don’t forget to count your blessings, hug your loved ones, and always leave with “I love you”.

XOXO,
[CAS]

A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words

•December 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Here are some of my latest photos :) Little insights into my life.

Image<–Hometeam BBQ.West Ashely. Our favorite bar and the best BBQ Chips and Queso–>

Image1st 3D Movie

Image<Best local pizza place–Paisano’s
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–> Found my *Heaven* Monster Music and Movies where they sell vinyl :) Happy Christmas to me.

 

ImageMy latest Craigslist purchase! ::Before:: (after to come)

ImageChristmas present from [T], [A] and the boys <3

ImageWine Bottle Sock :) Thanks [A]

ImageImageImage
Christmas with my two favorite little boys [Grayson] & [Levi] <3

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Quick trip back to Iowa for Christmas— My Momma always has the best decorations.
It may be cold but I’m so blessed to be with family.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone!!XO,
[CAS]

Meet My Family

•December 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Meet My Family

Moving halfway across the country has been the best thing ever. And though I miss my family like crazy, I’ve begun to create a different definition of the word. Granted, having [T], [A] and the boys down the road means I do have some true family near-by, which is a major blessing, however, within our house there is a cozy new dynamic of family developing.

First, [S], my roommate, who I mentioned in my last post… also made the move from Iowa.  She is a nurse on the quest for her first amazing job helping people (she’s a way better person than me/she can do needles, blood, and all of that other gross stuff…and she likes kids.)Image<– isn’t she beautiful??
We met through work at BWW while in Iowa and quickly entertained the idea of moving-though I wasn’t sure it was going to happen, I’m so glad we are together again!  She is the :happy: :light: :optimist: to my :cold: :dark: :realist: outlook—a ying & yang if you will.
There is never a dull moment and we work perfectly as roommates. I am more of a solitary person so I was a little worried about living with a girl again, but it has truly been the best thing for me (and her, at least I like to think so…) We’ve already had some crazy adventures and I’m beyond excited to see what the future has in store for us.  Exploring our new city together, meeting new people-men– and growing as women are our main goals over the next few months-year(s).
[S] and I have also done a lot to the house we rent, with plans for much, much more—painting, furniture, decorations and all that fun stuff. (Updates to come) Making this house a home is definitely a major step in our new life. I’m not very crafty, as much as I wish I was, but thanks to Pintrest we have a list of DIY projects and we are enlisting all the help we can get. I’ve seen postings of friends doing “Pintrests nights” and we are thinking of adopting the idea with a few girls from work…. Only we will include wine, lots and lots of wine.
Image+Image=happiness

*Wine Photo found on Google images*

The second and newest addition to our family is [Roxanne]. Image

She is the product of “Operation Save Vince” as my little brother [Collin] likes to call it. While he was in town for Thanksgiving he and his girlfriend [Sam] went to the pet shelter (Petfinders) on [JI] and adopted her for me for Christmas. You see, Moe, my puppy, is currently still residing in Iowa with my parents and [Collin]’s dog Vince. Vince, or grandpa, as he is so lovingly called, is getting up there in age (hence the oh-so-obvious nickname). When [C] heard that I was planning on bringing Moe back to Charleston with me at Christmas he began to worry about Vince’s well being. He was afraid it would break his heart and he would die of loneliness if I took his best bud away. Moe too would have been devastated for a while I’m sure, but he is a young vibrate puppy and would have recovered after a few weeks. With all of this in mind, he and [Sam] found a temporary solution…[Roxanne], a companion for me, and a hold on bringing Moe to Charleston. We all agree at it is best for Vince to go on his own and then Moe can move to the south-until then it’s better to keep the duo together. Though I miss Moe dearly, [Roxanne] is fantastic. I was never a cat person (and don’t intend on getting anymore) but she is the best kitten. She is surprisingly dependent on me and even waits by the door when she hears me come home, like a dog. However, the waking up at 5am is something I could definitely live without, I wouldn’t give up a single moment with her.  So, thank you [C] and [Sam] for completing our family… :)Image<–precious

So, from our family to yours, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. May your life be as full as joy as ours.

XOXO,
[CAS]

New Beginnings

•December 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

 New Beginnings

 Hey friends—I want to start off by apologizing for neglecting my blog. Life got the best of me and I will tell you about most of it {eventually}, but bottom line is: I’m sorry and I’m back.

A lot has changed in my life since I last posted… the biggest being I packed up all of my things {sold some of it} and moved 19.5 hours to Charleston, SC from my “hometown” Waterloo, IA.  You don’t realize how much crap you have accumulated until you’re forced to pack it and haul it across the county…and let me tell you—I have a lot of crap. I mean… I have 17+ boxes of books alone. Ridiculous I know.

Image<< just a portion of the boxes!

The hassle/cost/time/energy of moving has been completely worth it! You may be asking “Why Charleston Courtney?” and I will tell you.. I have 3 very good reasons.

  1. My oldest brother [Taylor], his wife [Andrea] and my fantastic nephews [Grayson and Levi] live here
    .Image{Gray and Levi… how freaking cute is this?!}
  2. Graduate School- Image
  3. I now live 7 minutes from the beach… beach>>Iowa  [times 100]
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Honestly I’ve been talking about moving out of IA for as long as I can remember and ever since HS when [Taylor] moved here Charleston has been my goal destination. I got to the point that it was now (July) or never –so here I am. Living the dream.

I am renting a house on James Island {JI} with three bedrooms/two baths and it is perfect.  I have a fabulous roommate [Steph] who also took the plunge and moved from IA after finishing her nursing degree/working at a summer camp. We have one of the best landlords ever… he is cool with any changes we want to make to the house and doesn’t charge a pet deposit! WHAT?!

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::sidenote—before/middle/after pictures  of the house to come::

We live: a mile away from [Taylor] & co
:7 miles from the beach
:7 miles from downtown Charleston/CofC

Our sacrifice is our drive to work takes us about 30mins [BWW]. But something has to give…

Sooo, what is next?

For me [and Steph] —a lot of new adventures.

For the blog— I want to continue to share my insights, goals, projects, and my adventures. I want to keep a record of how life is changing and how I’m changing right along with it. I want to share  {life} lessons and inspire you to be bold. I hope you join me. :)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Disclaimer:::

Caution: This is a new ride and it may have unexpected twist, turns, highs, lows, and a few bumps along the way… but I can assure you it will be entertaining no matter what.

Recovery Discovery #2: Being a Pen-Pal

•August 31, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Remember when you were in Elementary and you’re teacher assigned you a friend to be a pen-pal with across the country, or possibly the world?? And, remember how much fun you had and how excited you were every time you got a letter back? Well, I decided to rekindle my love for being a pen-pal. I wrote letters, not e-mails, letters, to friends and family and it was so fantastic! I even got excited every day when the mail came, hoping I would get a letter back (the days I did were the BEST!)

This is such a cheap and rewarding way to pass any extra time you may have—everybody loves low-budget entertainment!

Get in touch with a long-lost friend, send a love letter to that special someone or write someone you may see all the time a little note. I promise you, it will make your day and theirs!

You don’t need fancy stationary (though they are fun), and stamps will probably be the cheapest item you buy the next time you’re at the grocery store.
Dig out you dusty address book, that has been put away due to the take-over of technology, put pen to paper and fall back in love with letters.

Here’s a great place to get some ideas if you do want that cute stationary

Also, if you wanna be pen-pals e-mail me your address and check your mailbox soon  courtney.ann.styron@gmail.com

Happy Writing!

Recovery Discoveries: I’m Back!

•August 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

So I started this blog way back when and just kind-of abandoned it…oops… and as I was driving home from a quick weekend trip I decided I needed to give this another shot, and commit (I warn you, I may be horrible at this.)

This summer I’ve had a lot of time to do a whole lot of nothing—which to some sounds fantastic, but honestly it has been torture! You see, in May I had to have a fairly serious surgery (semi-unexpectedly) and have been in recovery mode since… a longer road than I anticipated. But, thankfully I’m finally back up and around and able to stay awake for longer than 4 hours at a time! With one more surgery pending, I was not able to do the school thing and am still out of the work world, but God-willing I will slowly make my way back in October (please cross your fingers for this!)

Anyways, all that was leading up to this—I was able to do a lot of web surfing, on-line window shopping (no working=no spending money :/ ), music hunting, reading, and TV/movie watching. So, as I was driving I thought I should share some of these “Recovery Discoveries”.

Here it goes:
R.D. #1- “Felicity”

For those of you who are like me and thoroughly enjoy watching TV series by way of DVD vs. actual TV time, this is a great one to get hooked on (warning: this show is EXTREMELY addicting). I must give the credit to my older brother Stuart on this one, since he sent it to me thinking I’d enjoy it. Well Stu—I LOVED it! I flew through the 4 seasons series.

This particular TV drama was aired from 1998-2002 (notice the wardrobe and hair-styles… oh yessss love it!) Based on a girl (Felicity) coming into her own.  Centered on college, there is enough elements to keep the plot moving and to maintain an addiction; you just HAVE to see what could possibly happen next.

I honestly think most people can relate to this show in one way or another. And, who can resist drama?

All 4 seasons are available on Netflix if you have an account, or want to sign-up for the free trial. Also, check out Target online to purchase the seasons (they are on sale!) Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Credit Where Credit is Due…

•August 28, 2010 • 1 Comment

So I realized this morning that I forgot something VERY important on my first post. I need to give credit to the fantastic photographer who took the picture that is being displayed as my “header”– Mr. Ward Woods. He was gracious enough to let me borrow this stunning photo he took while visiting his lady friend, Miss Kikki in Norway this summer. Here are a few more of his shots:

A better look at my "header" Photo by:Ward Woods

Photo By: Ward Woods

Love the colors! Photo by:Ward Woods

Ward and Kikki in Norway– adorable :)

Thanks again Ward!