Hope Wissel

How It All Started: Bullying – The Visible vs the Invisible

I know it is Tuesday and we usually do a Tastefully Tuesday BUT this is a milestone for me.  I swear it has been longer BUT the internet doesn’t lie, right?  LOL.  So, 9 years ago today I took the first step towards blogging.  For those who don’t know the story………it was a challenge issued by the AMAZING Vanessa Coppes to step out of my comfort zone.  Well, I did it!  It was the start to a daily  blog posting for many years.  Since MS, I have cut back to about once a week but I’m excited to be writing again.

My heart breaks that this still goes on today.  Bullies come in all shapes & sizes; young & old.  If you know someone who is making you uncomfortable in your surroundings (home, work or neighborhood)… guess what you are being BULLIED!  No one deserves to live like this…. With the advancement of social media, the bullying techniques have changed; sadly it now is more prevalent than ever before.

This is MY first every blog post… yes there are grammar mistakes, yes there are some typos.  I didn’t change anything about it because it was from the heart ❤ and I wanted to share my heart with you………

I just wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means that you may have taught your child coping skills to help deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

As a single mom for 14 years who worked full-time trying to provide all of the things that I had when I was growing up and more for my daughter, Belinda. Isn’t that every parent’s wish – to give their child more?  I moved to a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area that had a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and it was affordable.  My daughter was involved in a lot of activities outside of school – first competitive gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheering. This was my way of making sure Belinda stayed away from the “wrong crowd”. She went to public school until she was a Sophomore in HS when she asked to be changed to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and went to school. Her reasons made sense so we juggled the budget and Belinda graduated from Pilgrim Academy – smiling, happy, ready for college & still living in the trailer park. Belinda traveled 13 hours to go college – Western Carolina University. I was heart-broken that she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

Here is when the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker that loves working with troubled kids. As she was preparing her applications for grad school for her Masters in Macro-Social Work, she had to write some essays as to why she felt she would belonged in this field. Since I am a grant-writer, she asked me to review her essays (like she usually did) to check grammar, etc. This is when I found out the “horror” of my daughter’s school years….

Belinda recounts many tales of verbal abuse from school mates because we lived in a trailer park that as the years passed became like the “projects” of the Township. She only invited her closest friends back to our house for sleep overs, parties, etc. I never really thought about it since I was working, juggling her activities and making sure that her homework was done. The truth was very few parents wanted their children to come over because of where we lived – not necessarily our home but the neighborhood. Belinda talks about how people used to call her “trailer trash”. The outside sports activities along with my example of what a strong woman could do is what she attributes to her success. Some called her a “snob” because she was involved in outside sports.  Then when she became active in church, more verbal abuse came.  Some of her friends from the trailer park fell into the lives that people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t do any of that. 

Many believe that if I was clueless about the verbal abuse, I would be clueless about everything else…My daughter and I had and still have an amazing relationship. When I asked her why she never told me, her response “I didn’t want to hurt you because I knew you were doing the best you could. The material things didn’t matter because you were always there for me”. My daughter has amazing attributes – self confidence, speaks her mind (sometimes without tack) and is forever looking to help the underserved youth in her community.  She tells me on a regular basis how she hopes to accomplish all that I have both professionally and personally. 

I wanted to share this to let people know that bullying isn’t always visible, it can happen to any child. As I travel back to our old hometown, I look around and ask my husband – was I that “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure that Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent & confident woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place”.

Thank you for taking the time to read this….share this with someone who may need to know they are not alone….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

50 ways to #LUVmyLUT

From the grocery store to the beach and back, everyone has their own favorite uses for our famous Large Utility Tote. And with so many colors and prints to choose from, you can never have too many!

Just when you thought the Large Utility Tote couldn’t get any better…. along comes the  the Large Utility Tote Ltd.  Post your most creative, practical or just plain wacky uses for the LUT using the #LUVmyLUT hashtag – check it out!

  • Storage made portable!
  • Bestseller since its debut in 2009
  • Sturdy wire support to hold its shape
  • Reinforced stitching on handles and seams
  • Collapsible for easy storage
  • Approx. 11.75″H x 21.5″L x 10″D

Large Utility Tote Ltd. is everything you love about our classic LUT, plus:
  • Elevated fabrics
  • Contrasting handles with faux-leather trim

Here are just a few of our favorite uses!

1. Roller derby gear
2. Pet toys
3. Car emergency kit
4. Vacuum parts
5. Snowballs
6. Hurricane/tornado prep bag
7. Plastic eggs for an Easter egg hunt
8. Board games and puzzles
9. Road trip essentials
10. Pool floats & goggles
11. Firewood
12. Triathlon transition bag
13. Reusable gift bag
14. Girl Scout cookie delivery
15. Separate kitchen items for food allergies
16. Ski pants, boots & goggles
17. Library books
18. Water balloons
19. Gift-wrapping station
20. Grocery shopping
21. Carry farm implements and feed
22. Transport veggie plants

23. Transport Christmas presents
24. Newspapers for recycling
25. Drone-flying equipment
26. Dry ingredient sensory bin
27. Playdate-in-a-bag
28. Food drive collection
29. Search-and-rescue gear
30. Kids’ school projects & artwork
31. Take baking ingredients to Grandma’s
32. Pet carrier (Wait…what?)
33. Teacher tote for recess duty
33. Video games & controllers
34. Fire/police vehicle bag
35. Paper cutter & cartridges

37. Youth sports team snacks
38. Dirty clothes hamper
39. Yard sale shopping
40. Pumpkin patch
41. Hands-free laundry basket
42. Daycare bag
43. Paintball gear
44. Hanging closet storage
45. Moving into a college dorm
46. Dress-up costumes
47. Tailgating kit
48. Horse grooming supplies
49. Girls on the Run practice gear
50. Leggings!

 

Don’t have a large utility tote, be sure to grab this AWESOME special – friends don’t let friends shop alone!Already have a large utility tote, why not try this bundle:

The perfect addition to your large utility tote.  The Double Chill Thermal Set.  The Double Chill Thermal Set includes one large thermal insert and one small thermal insert. Both inserts have a special Leak Lock lining, zip closure, and side handles for individual transport.. Slip both thermal inserts into the Large Utility Tote to keep food and drink cool for picnics, camping, tailgating or any other outdoor gathering.

The Pocket a Tote will keep all your loose items together and secure in the Pocket-A-Tote. This clear plastic zip bag attaches to our Large Utility Tote and Deluxe Utility Tote so you never lose the important little things. Made from clear PVC material, the Pocket-A-Tote snaps into the grommets of our totes so you can separate and transport smaller items for picnics, beach trips, camping, play dates, tailgating, sports practice and games, holiday decorating, kids’ stuff and more

When you need to keep things separated for traveling, business or home, the Zipper Pouch is a must-have essential. Made of laminated canvas and featuring a zipper closure, the Zipper Pouch is a great option for transporting beauty products, jewelry, accessories, first aid, baby items, art supplies, medications and more when you’re away for the weekend or longer. Keep it in your beach bag for lotions and sprays, in your car for manuals and service papers or in your desk drawer for cords and chargers.

The Top-A-Tote fabric lid is designed to fit securely on our Large Utility Tote in order to keep contents secure and dry. Inside contents can be viewed through the clear PVC window on top. Slots on the ends allow for the handle straps to slide through. The Top-A-Tote also makes it possible to stack Large Utility Totes for easier transport and storage. Available in four colors to match easily with our Large Utility Tote spring fashion prints

How do you use your Large Utility Tote? Share on social using #LUVmyLUT!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

May is Pay It Forward Month

May is Pay It Forward Month!  It is a month long campaign to encourage good deeds. #makeadifference

I love being part of company whose focus is on giving back every day. From Girls on the Run and Girl Talk to World Vision.  Thirty-One Gives supports organizations who share our mission to empower girls, women and families. Gives has been honored to donate $100 million in products and cash to nonprofit organizations like these since 2012.

Since our Consultants, Customers and Home Office staff are so generous through their work with Thirty-One Gives, it’s no surprise many have made giving back a family value.

Here are some tips for getting your own family into the giving spirit.

Pick out dog and cat toys to donate to an animal shelter

If you have very young children, it can be a challenge to find ways for them to become involved with community service.  Give your littlest ones a chance to give back by letting them choose a few dog and cat toys to donate to your local animal shelter. Bring your children along to shop, then drop off the donation – they might even get to see the animals enjoy their new toys!

Help with a local beach, park or trail cleanup

Picking up trash at a park, beach or trail is an easy way to give kids something active and concrete to accomplish. When they’ve finished, they’ll be able to actually see the difference they’ve made!  This can be especially motivating for older children who might need a little encouragement to put down the tech and perform some service – plus, it’s a great way to enjoy nature and get some fresh air together!

Make handmade cards for residents at a nursing home or patients in a hospital

Kids can get creative and brighten someone’s day by making handmade cards to deliver to a nursing home or hospital.  Deliver them together and, maybe even stay and visit with the patients or residents. Doing this can show your child the power of small gestures, and how easy it can be to make someone’s day a little better.

Go through their own toys

If you’re on a decluttering kick, involve your children, too! Have them comb through their toys and books to find ones they’d like pass on to other kids who need them. To make the process easier, give them a container they can easily fill, like a Mini Storage Bin or Deluxe Utility Tote. That way, they won’t stop at just one or two items!

Pack care baskets for a local hospital or shelter

Get a group of families together to pack care baskets for patients at a hospital or people staying at a homeless or women’s shelter. Make sure you coordinate with the organization you’re donating to first – you want to be sure to fill your baskets with things the recipients really need.

Thirty-One Gives sponsors the making of Hope Kits for women fleeing violence, abuse, poverty or disaster around the world. So far, our Consultants have assembled 32,000 Hope Kits containing toiletries and other essentials which are distributed through the World Vision charity.

 

Here are some more random acts of kindness…

  • Leave pennies head face up: Most people feel lucky finding a penny with the head face up. For one dollar you can make 100 people feel awesome.
  • Compliment someone:  It seems so basic yet for some reason we seldom do it. Make someone’s day by giving them a compliment.
  • Give up a preferred seat to someone in need: Whether it is on a bus, or just waiting for your take out food, this simple gesture could make their day.
  • Write a positive review for a restaurant you like: Share with the world your favorite places instead of complaining about the ones you hate.
  • Leave someone a huge tip: Give a tip to the guy who pumps your gas when you pay cash or leave a 31% tip for meal instead of the standard 15 – 20%.
  • Offer to take a photo for tourists: Tourist season is ramping up at the Jersey Shore, why not offer to take a picture for a group of tourists so everyone can be in the picture.  

What random acts of kindness will you do this month to “pay it forward”? Share it with us so you can be part of the Give on social media, and be sure to us #givebackwithme!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!