May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Why is it harder to talk about mental illness than it is about say, breast cancer or heart disease? There’s a lot of stigma surrounding the issue of mental illness, shame, embarrassment and even fear experienced by people dealing with mental illness when it comes to discussing it with others, regardless of why. And, pun intended, I think part of the problem is that many sufferers feel that it’s “all in their head”. Which it is, to an extent. But that doesn’t make it any less of a disease, nor is it in any way a person’s fault or shortcoming. And making this case, amongst other things, is the purpose of Mental Health Awareness Month, which occurs in May of every year.

You can take part in this month in so many ways. There are tons of angles to work from, and in most cases, solutions that benefit those with mental illness will benefit everyone else too. Review your workplace to assess whether the overall environment can be improved in some way to increase comfort for all employees. Is your workplace sympathetic to individuals with mental illness as well as physical limitations? If not, how can you change that? Speaking to supervisors about these issues can open a dialogue on behalf of those who might benefit most from the discussion but who are too afraid to bring it green awareness ribbonup.

Obviously there’s a whole wide world out there and it’s not as easy to control as a workplace environment. But paying attention to bullying and learning tips and tricks to diffuse a hostile situation are good regardless of whether you’re directly involved or not. Also knowing the signs of someone suffering with mental illness in an unhealthy way and doing what you can to get them help can genuinely save lives. And obviously keeping yourself in check to make sure you’re contributing to an overall environment of mutual respect and compassion is important.

Another great way to demonstrate you’re a mental health advocate is through symbols like wearing a green awareness ribbon lapel pin. This is the official color adopted by Mental Health American, and it alerts those in your workplace and community that you are an advocate and that you can be counted on to listen, to speak, and to care for those who cannot always speak up for themselves. By showing this solidarity and understanding through the use of a green awareness ribbon, you’re already creating a safer space wherever you go for those around you.


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Have you Thanked A Teacher Today?

It’s one of the most common security questions when you’ve forgotten your password and need to prove you’re you. Right up there with “Who was your first pet?” is “Name your favorite teacher”. This is chosen because all of us have at least one educator in our lives who’s presence has changed us for the better in some way, and their influence has stuck with us, no matter how many years have passed since we were students. Mine was Mr. Krueger, my 10th grade English teacher. He was the first to take a second look at me and my writing and make me think my thoughts were worth putting onto paper. His beliefs clearly had an impact on me.

What my long intro is getting at is that Teacher Appreciation Week is fast approaching. It falls on the first week of May, and I can’t think of a better time to thank all teachers, especially your favorite! With the end of the school year looming, trying to reign in the waves of excitement for summer break requires a skill set that proves teachers are certainly made of stronger stuff than most of us. So what to get these super-human brain-builders? Let’s just say an apple might not cut it.

The national PTA website suggests something more personal and heartfelt. Things likestarfish pin letters to a favorite teacher, and perhaps a small token like a lapel pin (I suggest our Starfish pin, it has a great back story) to go with it. Also, recognizing your teacher on social media is a cool way to share your gratitude with the whole class. The official Instagram tag for teacher appreciation is #thankateacher and the National PTA hopes that hashtag spikes the first week of May. Even if it’s been more years than you can count on your two hands since you’ve been in your favorite teacher’s classroom, it’s never too late to thank them. Whether you #thankateacher on social media with a throwback picture, or a starfish pin and sincere, handwritten words, these guys are the sculptors of our future, and their hard work makes all the difference in the world.

#thankateacher Thank you Mr. Krueger. Beware the Ides of March.

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In Memoriam with Memorial Pins

I had a really bittersweet but genuinely wonderful opportunity recently. I was contacted by someone who helped put together the public memorial for actors Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. He wanted to create a limited run of memorial pins to sell at the public memorial to honor these two amazing women, and also raise funds for a a charity close to both: The Thalians. I was conversely  thrilled to get to be a part of something like this, and also sobered by the loss of these two incredible performers, activists and philanthropists.

The pin itself is a beautiful piece of artwork created by a gentleman named Ricky LaChance and features Ms. Reynolds and Ms. Fisher from behind, wearing a raincoat andmemorial pins white robes respectively, depicting the characters they are best known for: Kathy Selden from Singin’ in the Rain and Princess Leia from Star Wars. It’s sweet and poignant and I was so proud to get to use it on a pin that would be sold to raise money for such a long-standing and important charity.

The Thalians, for those who aren’t familiar with them, are a charity founded in the 1950’s by movie stars of the time who wanted to change the world behind the screen as well as on it. They decided to dedicate the charity to helping children and adults with mental illness, and also to honor other actors and performers for their philanthropic work. Both Reynolds and Fisher have been honored by the Thalians for their charitable works.

After the memorial pins project had wrapped up and the pins were shipped out to the event, which was held on the 25th of March, I was, as I usually am, immediately distracted with a dozen other projects. But over that weekend I started to see images from the memorial on every news outlet you can think of, amongst them were pictures of Dan Aykroyd, Carrie Fisher’s one time fiancee, wearing the pin I helped realize, while speaking at the event. It was such a cool thrill, I must admit.

Even cooler is that people can still purchase these pins on the Thalians website. The money all goes towards the charity and getting one of these pins is both a unique piece of memorabilia as well as a beautiful tribute to two women who changed the face of the entertainment industries in their own undeniable bold ways.

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Pin Sets Are the Jewelry Equivalent to Squad Goals

Most of us-even me, a self-professed crazy cat lady-has a squad, crew, gang, or posse. And we all fit together despite our differences. Someone can always be counted on to instigate the shenanigans, and inversely, someone else will bail everyone out when things go south. There’s the creative one, the handy one, the one you can call at 2am with love troubles. Every individual is unique, but together you’re an unstoppable force. And when you’re together, even if you don’t realize it, you’re celebrating the combination of your differences and similarities. And we here at PinMart get that. So to celebrate the power of the group, we’ve released a bunch of amazing pin sets this week.

These collections come on a cool, stylized card, displaying the whole collection, whether pin setsit’s old-school gaming, a hipster starter set, or the best of late-night Asian cuisine. Each set celebrates the quirky, the hungry, the mythical or the zen, and then some. And from what I hear, there are tons more in the works, so these 12 different sets are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg!

One cool way to use these pin sets is to take advantage of the current trend in lapel pins which to wear multiple pins on your jacket, sweater, backpack, you name it. Some people keep their entire pin collection on a beloved messenger bag, while others carefully choose a select few pins to wear every day. These sets are ideal for creating a trendy collection for your lapel, adding color and visual interest to your favorite old denim jacket or chunky sweater. And with our sets pre-chosen, there’s no need to worry about whether they’ll go together: we’ve taken the guess-work out.

And if you’re like me, you’re looking at all of these pins sets and considering which of your friends would wear each one. Who would get the to-go latte, and who would get the pin setsdoughnut from the sweet tooth set? Who’s the head and who’s the heart if you’re divvying up the anatomy pin set? Much like the best friend necklaces of my youth, these pin sets can be given out to your best friends, so that you all look cool on your own, but together, you’re a perfect set.

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A Match Made in Marketing

I’m sure I’m not the first one to ponder this, but it’s awfully uncanny that Valentine’s Day falls in the same month as American Heart Month. Well played, people who determine our American holiday schedule, well played. Because remembering to shower our loved ones with hearts and flowers should also remind us to take care of them and ensure many Valentine’s Days to come. And while a visit to the doctor isn’t perhaps the most romantic way to spend your morning or afternoon, making sure you’re in good shape so that you’re around for your loved ones is in a way a VERY romantic gesture.

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What are your core values?

I wanted to share a really cool recognition program that PinMart initiated recently. It’s called the Core Values Program and it centers around our company’s code of ethics. Our mission statement, broken down into categories that help us work with each other, with our customers, and take pride in ourselves. And to help promote these values, as well as reward those who demonstrate them, we’ve set up our Core Values Program. Once a quarter the whole company shows up bright and early, enjoys a catered breakfast, and then dives into the highlights of the last quarter, and the goals for the next. It’s a good way to see where we’ve gone and where we’re going.

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The Rule to Wearing Lapel Pins? There Aren’t Any.

As the year ends and everyone gears up for their New Year’s Eve parties, I keep seeing these articles online with “expert” opinions on how to dress up the right way if you’re going to a fancy NYE party. Some of them make sense (don’t wear a dress longer than you are in your heels) and some of them seem completely arbitrary (lapel pins should be worn parallel to the edge of the lapel… ??) but one thing all of these different guides seem to have in common is their assurance that they have the definitive answers.

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One less thing on my bucket list

Everything from my waist down was in agony. And for the past three hours the sun had been shining down on me unforgivingly. So much for the rain that was forecast. As I reached the finish line I could see hundreds of recent finishers swarmed on either side, medalstheir medals winking in the sunshine. And, disregarding the pain in my feet as much as I could, I pushed myself into a sprint to cross the last marker measuring my first marathon. Because I really wanted to get one of those medals. And when I bowed down to let the race official place the medal around my neck I beamed, admiring the weight and the shine of the piece. “Wow, I wonder if PinMart could make something like this,” was almost my first thought. Go figure.

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The Safety Pin Movement Has Come to America

I’ve taken some time to digest things. Yes, this is of course a nod to Thanksgiving dinner, which was delicious and did require some serious napping afterwards to aid digestion. But I’m also referring to the recent election the USA is still reacting from. Regardless of your political leanings, a majority of Americans (77% according to a gallup poll out last week) agree that our nation is more divided than it has been in decades. And that perception affects all of us, regardless of who we are, where we live, or what we believe in. It’s never been more important to come together now as a nation to somehow bridge this divide. And one way Americans are trying to combat discrimination is through the safety pin movement.

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I Voted! Did You?

It’s hard enough getting up in the mornings now that the weather is cooling and the sun inches further and further away. But this morning I made sure I was up well before the sun, and out the door before the moon had set. Why you ask? Because I was on a mission to obtain an “I voted” sticker. And one hour later I can report that I was successful, and that it feels astoundingly GOOD, and EMPOWERING to have that flimsy little decal on my lapel.

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