A Moment from This Week

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In addition to Veronica’s wonderful Monthly Moments project, I wanted to share more about my travels and my life outside of student affairs with you. I won’t share a photo every week, but I will share snippets of my personal life and travels in Birmingham with you on a regular basis. I hope you enjoy them!

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I raided the $3 bin at my local record store a few weeks ago and came home with some true gems. We moved the record player to the office, so it’s in the middle of the house. It’s great to come home from work, put on some tunes, and jam while we wind down for the day. This old Mamas and the Papas record did the trick a few nights ago.

A Moment from This Week

STAMP (1)

In addition to Veronica’s wonderful Monthly Moments project, I wanted to share more about my travels and my life outside of student affairs with you. I won’t share a photo every week, but I will share snippets of my personal life and travels in Birmingham with you on a regular basis. I hope you enjoy them!

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Enjoying some new records, including this old CCR 45! We came into some records and nearly doubled our collection this summer, which is pretty great. Matt’s daddy painted this Bob Ross-style painting in the 80’s, and it’s a great backdrop for the record player (which has a new home in the office!). We’ve been jamming to the record player a lot more since we moved it to the center of the house.

A Moment from this Week

STAMP (1)

In addition to Veronica’s wonderful Monthly Moments project, I wanted to share more about my travels and my life outside of student affairs with you. I won’t share a photo every week, but I will share snippets of my personal life and travels in Birmingham with you on a regular basis. I hope you enjoy them!

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I took a trip to Huntsville for the fourth of july and had the opportunity to tour Straight to Ale’s brewery. STA has been working toward moving to their new facility, an old middle school in Huntsville, so it was great to sneak into the old, original brewery while they’re still there. A friend of Matt’s led the tour, so we got a really in-depth look at how STA brews their beer (and enjoyed a few samples!). We had a good time!

Gaming and Self-Care

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I enjoy playing video games. I don’t play them all the time, but every few months I’ll get deep into a game and spend nearly all of my free time working through each level. Sometimes I’ll get nostalgic and pull out the old Gameboy, and other times I’ll get caught up in a newer game on the iPhone or iPad. What I’ve started to notice, is that when I’m playing these games I feel more at ease – and I often reach for the iPad or Gameboy when I feel like my mental health is struggling or my tank is empty. I wanted to reflect a little bit on how gaming has affected me, and connect you all to a really great, fun resource: #SAGamers.

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Bullet Journal Update: Adding Quick Lists

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As I started to bullet journal this summer, I noticed a frustrating issue and I wanted to find a creative solution to address it. I wanted my bullet journal to be my personal “hub,” where I include a daily log, goals, and to-do lists in one place. But, I didn’t really have room for quick to-do lists that didn’t have relevance beyond one particular moment. Packing lists, grocery lists, and housekeeping to-dos were great examples. A packing list would take up an entire daily log’s worth of space, but I had other things that needed to be addressed on that specific day besides packing.

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I got a great idea from one of my colleagues, Andrea, when I was sitting in her office one afternoon. She had her planner open, and I noticed she had stuck post-it notes in different pages with lists and action items on them. I’ve started popping post-it notes into my journal for these quick lists. Sometimes I’ll take them out of the journal when the item is finished, and sometimes I’ll just leave them where they’re stuck. It’s been a good way to keep track of items that wouldn’t go in my daily log, and I can remove them to take a look at what tasks still need to be completed for the day.

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How do you include quick to-do lists in your bullet journal? I would love to see them!

Guest Post: Yes, And… by Tyler Kalahar

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It started just like any meeting between a supervisor and their charge. The meeting ended like an exercise during a “How to Brainstorm” workshop. Let’s take a look at the transcript:

Supervisor: Thank you for the coffee Jim. What updates do you have about the event planned for the end of the month?

Protégé: My pleasure Stacy. We’ve currently booked a room, created a budget, and decided on KFC as the food vendor.

Supervisor: That’s a great start! I hate KFC, but I ceded control to you on that choice. I trust that it will work itself out. I’ll eat potatoes. What about an agenda?

Protégé: I wanted to talk to you about that. We’ve got an outline, but the agenda is something we thought would be best to include you in the planning with since we’re hosting 150 Mimes at this conference. I had one idea to hire a face painter to touch up their makeup.

Supervisor: Yes, and I think we should find other items that would appeal to mimes like the makeup touch-ups. You can never be too black and white as a mime. Is Neil Patrick Harris available that date? Everyone loves Neil Patrick Harris!

Protégé: Yes, and (Opens lab top, Googling furiously) he is available within our price range! Should I book him?

Supervisor: Yes, and should we look at a mime clothes vendor?

Protégé: Yes, and I remember working with a client that was looking to expand into new markets. Maybe they’ll design something special for this event!

Supervisor: Jim, you’re so smart! This is why I have as part of this team. Make it all happen!


You may have noticed a few things about that transcript. The first is that, yes, mimes do enjoy KFC. The second thing is that four sentences started with the phrase “Yes, and”. This is the title of the book I wanted to share – a book that I carry around with me in my book bag to be a reminder of its tenants. Yes, And was written by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton. These two gentlemen are executives within The Second City organization. The Second City is an organization that teaches people how to master improv comedy. I can hear you groaning. This isn’t the run-of-the-mill improv group that your friend has been trying to drag you downtown to see and you believe to be terrible. The Second City is where Stephen Colbert, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Keegan Michael-Kay, and a bunch of other comedy icons cut their teeth.

Yes, And isn’t about how to be funny. Yes, And is about how to be a great leader in way I’ve never seen in another leadership book. The authors take pride that the best tenants of improv are essential for great leaders. Tenant number one: Always saying “Yes, and” to an idea. Not “Yes, and” lets burn money. More like “Yes, and” let’s burn money on something in the budget that if we hit a certain threshold of sales will raise morale and recognize hard work. Learn how to reframe, rework, and tinker. The authors state that saying nothing is worse for a creative flow than pinpointing why something doesn’t work. It’s much more productive to work towards something if your ensemble is positive and acknowledges the contributions put forth by everyone. Keep momentum moving forward and keep bringing a single brick to slowly build a colorfully decorated wall together.

I believe every leader should take the time to consider some of the ideas put forth by this book. It might be tough to incorporate all elements they ask for if you don’t work in a flattly structured office, but there are certainly bits and pieces to choose from for all leaders. Looking for new ice breakers? This book has them! Looking for ways to explain diversity to white students? This book has it! Want a quick overview on how to build a better culture in your office! It’s in there!

Let’s Yes, And together as leaders. Jim, Stacy, and I will see you on the stage.

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Tyler Kalahar is a Program Coordinator in the Center for Community Action and Research at Pace University where he works on political initiatives on campus, programs community service events, and supports social justice programming. Tyler is also a rewards club member at Alamo Drafthouse, meditates every morning, and is currently watching BoJack Horseman on Netflix.

A Moment from this Week

STAMP (1)

In addition to Veronica’s wonderful Monthly Moments project, I wanted to share more about my travels and my life outside of student affairs with you. I won’t share a photo every week, but I will share snippets of my personal life and travels in Birmingham with you on a regular basis. I hope you enjoy them!

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I’ve had the chance to spend time at  the Edge of Chaos this summer, whether it’s for a meeting or for some alone time with a good book before work. It’s such an incredible space, and it reminds me of the creativity and exciting pulse that UAB truly possesses. There’s a large mural that depicts a handful of Birmingham landmarks, and the Alabama jumped out at me right away.