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Watercolor Purge

This Summer required extra Weekend Therapy to unpack everything we went through the last two years. When it started, I was still feeling floored that we had shut down the year prior, let alone the ups and downs of the most recent school year.

My summer friend on 35 mm

So I took pictures, traveled a bit, walked around aimlessly, rode my bike, binged TV, obsessed over listened to true crime podcasts, hung out with the kids, talked to my counselor, and watercolored. I think it accomplished the goal of coming to terms with all of the transitions, and I felt ready to finally start to hope and plan for the year ahead…however unpredictable it might prove to be.

My own counselor is helping me realize that we often think of self-care like we can put rest in some reserve for later when our lives explode again. But alas, it’s not so easy! Self- care is an ongoing process, and in the down-time of summer I’m learning to use my energy to process the past, and develop sustainable self-care habits for the busy future.

Anywho, at the end of the day (or summer) I have a cautiously optimistic readiness for the school year and a big ol’ pile of photographic and art prints! I went the summer taking pictures of my watercolors and then gifting them to people who will find them meaningful. And after ordering some magical giclee prints, I’ve decided to motivate my self- care practice by starting to sell them!

It all started with this first illustration of a book store near my cousin’s house in Columbus. She started out our summer with her beautiful neighborhood!

More to come on this if I can ever for the life of me figure out the interwebs, but if the site looks a little different it will be a sign I’ve figured it out!

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Summer Photog

Five purchases later I have two 35mm Minoltas that actually work and I am OBSESSED! Despite weighing 10,000 lbs, I yanked those suckers all over the place with me this summer and I can’t be more happy with how my pictures are starting to turn out!

It take a second to develop (I don’t have a local lab so I’ve been using darkroom.com), but there is something really lovely to learn in taking pictures with a 35mm camera. You’re in this cool spot, with a cool shot, and looking through that viewfinder knowing that your picture may or may not turn out with these old broads. What does that mean? You are so much more involved in the picture because you also have to be present to remember the moment since there’s a good chance you might not get it back! Bless, you can take the hobby our of the, er, the counselor out of the–whatever, you know what I’m trying to say!

With practice, I can also tell that I’m improving on reading the exposure and aperture and focusing and whatnot. But guess what? No need for pressure because you have about three weeks to develop and check in on your progress. You either have to go with it or put the camera down.

This Summer was such a needed rest. I tried to really be conscious about allowing myself to process the crazy year behind and the uncertain school year ahead. The cameras were a perfect way to check my efforts and force me to slow down.

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NEW SUMMER OBSESSIONS

By the end of the school year this year I was itching for a new hobby to dig into for the summer to avoid my mid-July-I’m-not-serving-society-no-one-loves-me-I-miss-the-students-and-I-am-bored funk. As if by cosmic design, while traveling in WV to see family in Ohio, I found a super cheap 35 mm camera in an antique store and I was ready!

I have some knowledge of film cameras because 1. I’m old, and 2. I had taken some photography classes in high school when you still got to barrel your own film and develop them in the darkroom (see: #1). I cleaned up the camera, bought film, joined the photographer Facebook groups, and grabbed books for my new summer obsession. Because, it would be too rational of me to not deep dive into the shallow end of a loose plan as per usual. Low and behold, the camera didn’t work. Womp womp womp. Soo…because I had already made the financial and mind space commitment, I had to take on another new skill. EBay.

After an obnoxiously long path filled with hidden bots, broken cameras, untested vs. tested, messages, and semi-unhinged stalkerish bidding, I finally got a little Minolta rangefinder gem. Minolta has always been my fav camera and their designs (insides and outsides) have always been the sleekest to me.

She’s a beaut and I love her. Of course, I was also still hoping to have a SLR so I also got another one of those.

Now I just ride around and snap pictures of pretty things and pray to the shutter speed/aperture gods that something will turn out. and it’s lovely.

Because I can’t just do anything without thinking of the SEL side of the activity, I have also found that I’m learning more than just film settings. It’s like going back to the days of waiting through the week for a favorite TV episode or holding on making plans until someone can get home and to a phone. I can’t see what I take, I can’t tell what will come out, and I can’t get the images right away. Patience is a virtue, but far from my strong point so in that respect, my cameras are giving me a full scope of newness, resilience, and needed holding. I’m currently holding back the urge to find a grant to help me build a darkroom in my school to teach kids how to develop. Where is the end for all saints’ sake?!

FYI- these are all of the parts, tools, and two dead cameras that delivered me to this post.

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Rope Basket Weekend Therapy

So here’s the deal: when your 19-year-old kid asks you to do some plant-related business with her, you don’t ask questions. As is true for many parents, we are in a new phase of kin bliss following the tumultuous years in which I thought my teen might be a sociopath my child was claiming her independence. After years of careful grooming, my daughter is in her first new place and has embraced my love of all things houseplants.

Being that making is my therapy, it has actually be a really awesome outlet for me to have a reason to craft plant-related things for our little endeavor. While I am the middle-born-flower-child, she is the first-born-rule-follower-turned-rule-maker, making us the perfect pair for a little entrepreneurship!

You can check us out on Facebook or Instagram if you’d like, under Plant Plug 757! In the meantime, I’m crafting up new plant-related goods with rope planter covers for the last few days of my Spring Break!

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Marketing is hard.

Writing a book was time-consuming. Counseling students is tiring. But I love them both! What do I not love? Marketing my own materials! I keep trying to remind myself that the goal of writing a book was to be able to reach educators and students outside of my bubble, but we are not in the business we are in because we like the spotlight on US…we like to give it to our work babies and work fams! …so, what do I do?? Hire my daughter who knows all about social media and the art of marketing!

Are you on Facebook for networking? Follow and share my new author page for updates on Responding to Student Trauma, webinars, Free Spirit Publishing , and resources for educators!

Find me here: https://www.facebook.com/steffschoolcoun

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Diversity Lesson

As much as this year has been trying, there have no doubt been some diamonds in the rough. One of those diamonds has been my flexibility in popping in and out of virtual classes, and my reduced office drop-ins have allowed me to spend more quality time with classroom lessons! I have had so much fun with my most recent lesson related to diversity that I decided to make a Loom of it so that others could use it as well.

I wanted to find a way to connect a little extra with the kids, because I am not getting my usual hallway time with them. I felt like sharing more of my own personal experiences might be the best way to go! One of the biggest influences in my life has been my Aunt Chatsy. She was a fierce force, and advocated for herself on a daily basis because she lived with Spastic Cerebral Palsy. My buddy taught me so much about how we treat others and how we can live our lives to the fullest, and I have always wished my students could have met my Aunt Chatsy to also be inspired.

After losing Chatsy a couple of years ago, I have come to a place where sharing her message with others is very therapeutic. It has been such an amazing journey to hear my students call her Aunt Chatsy when they ask questions, and to hear their amazingly empathetic ideas on how to treat others with disabilities. In an effort to get Aunt Chatsy’s message out to even more kids, I created a lesson and Loom that you can show your classes as well! Feel free to share!

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Slowing down the process

Needed a little reminder card to slow down the phases of anger in some stressed kids today. We talked about the process and how slowing down in the moment will help to figure out when to reach out for help or a cool-down.

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My book?! My book!

Got to come home from work to this beauty!!! So exciting, and can’t wait to connect with educators that find it helpful! 😍😍😍 Thank you Free Spirit Publishing for making a dream come true!

Get yours here: https://www.freespirit.com/teaching-strategies-and-professional-development/responding-to-student-trauma-stephanie-filio#reviews

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Free SEL Lesson!

Check out my latest post with Free Spirit Publishing for a lesson you can use with your kids (or staff!) to combat trauma response and learn self-care! ❤️

Responding to Trauma in Students—and Yourself

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I wrote a book?! I WROTE A BOOK!

My. Mind. Is. Blown.

My quarantine baby is finally coming along! I have had the pleasure of working with Free Spirit Publishing, who has helped me make one of my dreams come true! Read, reach out, and let me know what you think!