Monthly Archives: December 2016

Strollin’ Down Memory Lane: Holiday Edition

What a perfect time of year to share childhood memories!

(Or has Biz just been looking for an excuse to request baby pics of all of us?)

carrie-holiday-memories-photosCarrie “Bright Spirit” Simmons

The holidays was, and still is, an exciting time for us as a family of five raised by a single
mom. My sister, Jenny and I shared a room and would get our own mini Christmas tree. We would read under the lights at night and exchange our own Christmas gifts on Christmas eve. Our house didn’t have a fireplace so we made one out of cardboard and put our socks there for Santa. I remember playing with all the ornaments on the tree and making up stories for each them. On Christmas day we would watch each other open gifts and be so excited about what we gave each other just as much as opening our own gifts. My favorite foods would (and still are) chex mix and magic cookie bars. My grandparents would come over later that day and we open more gifts and then all watch old time movies like Laurel and Hardy that grandpa would set up on his old film projector. Grandpa would also play piano which he would only do once a year during the holiday. He could play by ear—it was amazing.


 Falyn “Princess Power” Arakelian

Christmas when I was a kid was so magical. My grandmother was still alive, my uncle would always make my toys do inappropriate things (which I didn’t understand at the time), and my cousin would play with us for hours on end. The fire would be going, food would be cooking and the carols would be playing. One year, after we decorated the tree, my brother and I grabbed a blanket and laid on the floor. My mom shut all but the tree lights off. She popped in Johnny Mathis Christmas carols and left the room. My brother and I, with our chins in our hands, just laid there for what seemed to be hours, staring at the tree with complete content smiles, side by side, as a gentle snow fell outside the windows. It was one of the first moments I can recall recognizing the feeling of gratitude.


Joe “Look At That Grin” Heslin

I’m not much of a holidays kinda guy. Not on the naughty list or anything, just feel like I’ve “lost that elven feeeeelin’.” Heidi (my wife), on the other hand, is a huge fan and loves the music, the tree, the wrapping, the traditions, …the story of tinsel hanging out of her cat’s butt, all of it. When we had just moved to Brattleboro, Hana was only 9 months old and we were facing our first Vermont Christmas. A 9-month old isn’t terribly conducive to sprucing up the place or motivation in general and, having just moved from Japan—where Christmas is a night to go out on a date, eat KFC (not a joke) and cake—we were a little light on decorations. I could tell that Heidi was feeling worn (kid and all) and not too festive. So, I went out to Walmart (yes, I apologize for being an evil consumer) and bought a crappy little tree, some lights, and some cheap ornaments. I hid them and then woke up in the middle of the night and put them up for Heidi to wake up to. In putting them up, and subsequently seeing her face, I kind of fell in love with Christmas just a little bit.


Biz “Always Accessorizing” Hallett

I remember how the tree looked when I snuck out of my room early in the morning—after Santa came but before I insisted that my parents wake up. I would just sit in front of the tree and look at the lights glowing from within the branches, making silhouettes of our ornaments and casting shadows onto the colorfully wrapped presents below. For a moment, I didn’t even care what was in the boxes—the image was just so breathtaking. It was magic. From a marketing perspective, my Mom nailed the branding of Christmas in my home. She lived and breathed Christmas from the decorated sugar cookies to the trimmed tree to the festive music playing, it seemed, 24/7 which all culminated into that moment of magic on Christmas morning.

Telling stories is a big part of what we do so we hope you enjoyed these little tidbits. May you be inspired to reflect on your magical holiday moments in such a way that motivates you to make even more magic whenever possible!

See you in 2017!

Holidays 2016: Be Well and Be Merry


It’s December! Yep. Technically December is one of the longest months with 31 days, but every year it’s like “Wow. It’s December! (blink) Happy New Year!” Maybe the holidays have a way of accelerating time. It can feel like the high speed chase at the end of an action movie—accelerating through gatherings, gift giving, and precious moments with family and friends and then you pull the emergency break and drift into the New Year. Am I right? Whether it’s the holidays or any other reason, it’s stressful. Your brain is keeping track of so much and we all need occasional breaks in order to maintain our health and productivity.

So what a perfect time of year to share New Ground Creative’s Thoughts on How to Give your Noggin some Chill Time. Here are some ways we pause, mix it up, and chillax.

Carrie is wicked zen. She meditates and does yoga because she knows mindfulness is what’s up when it comes to keeping your cool through stressful times. You may also see her pop into a local gallery during her work day as a way of sparking inspiration. Changing up her environment also helps her recharge for the rest of the day.

Carrie and Falyn are not only co-workers, they are super good friends (I know, too stinkin’ cute). They both have a touch of Snow White in them. Carrie likes to sing or go for walks in the woods to decompress and Falyn likes to play with her animal friends. We hope that someday you get to hear the sound that Falyn makes when she sees a cat or dog. She also likes to prepare a new recipe to ensure she is nourished and from time to time a quick nap does just the trick to hit the reset button.

Falyn and Biz share a love of 90s R&B and hip-hop, they can both be found, earbuds in, be-bopping at their desks. When Biz needs to give her brain a break, she tries to connect more intentionally with her body by walking or stretching. Particularly stressful days may very well require a fierce model walk. She also relies on good old fashioned breathing to get centered. She finds that taking 3 deep breaths while smiling can turn her whole day around.

And then there’s Joe. When it comes to finding ways of handling stress and overwhelm, Joe believes that not listening to Morrissey or watching Requiem for a Dream is a super good start. Drinking alone, say, or crying yourself to sleep while mumbling “Four years? Four friggin’ years?” can also be attractive—yet unideal—ways to find that happy, stress-free place.

(I’m gonna go check in on Joe. While I’m away…) take a moment to try one of these (un)strategies and we wish you well on your holiday journey. We can’t control every little thing that will happen, but we can be aware of our response to it all. By making solid efforts to take care of ourselves we will be strong in the face of it all.

Be well and be merry, y’all!

Photo by Kelly Fletcher