Do You Even Yoga?

by Luke Thomas


Once the domain of Eastern culture enthusiasts and 60s flower children, yoga has become one of the most popular forms of exercise in the United States. It can lower blood pressure, perfect posture, and relieve aches and pain. That’s good news for us at Strong, because June 16 marks the inauguration of SAM’s monthly yoga course. We already got a taste during Employee Appreciation, but thanks to the generosity of John Paul, yoga is back and here to stay.

While your grandparents likely didn’t grow up doing yoga, its novelty in the US doesn’t yogamean there’s anything new about this New Age practice. Yoga was developed in Northern India more than 5,000 years ago, and scholars believe that it incorporates practices dating back to the Stone Age. In the 1970s, The Beatles member George Harrison helped popularize yoga in the West by infusing it into many of his songs. Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find a city without a yoga center. Lucky for us at Strong, it’s quite literally at our doorstep.

As the countdown to Y-Day continues, here are some tips to help you get the most from your session:

  • Think less about the pose, and more about the moment. Yoga is a great form of relaxation, so you don’t want to return to your desk feeling more stressed than when you started. If you’re a beginner, especially, don’t worry about executing the pose perfectly. Your neighbors are there not for comparison, but to remind you that you all have the same goal – 45 minutes of total zen-out.
  • Breathe through it. Your breath is your best friend. By focusing on something that’s usually second-nature, you keep your mind still and begin to notice new subtitles and sensations in your body. This gives you a fuller experience, is great for quieting those racing thoughts, and lets you really feel the pose.
  • It’s the inside that counts. While stretching out stiffness feels amazing, it’s only half the benefit. The real magic of yoga comes from the inside. Calming down and focusing exclusively on your own mind and body lets you tap into deeper parts of yourself. Resist the urge to think about your inbox or admire your neighbor’s cute workout shoes. Take advantage of the time to focus only on you.
  • Don’t fall asleep at the end. By the end of the class, you’ll be pretty chill. But when the instructor asks you to lie down and close your eyes, it’s not nap time yet. This pose is called Shavasana, and its purpose is to help you relax with attention. By remaining alert and still at the same time, you’ll be free to rest your body and mind as one. Try doing Shavasana before bedtime to promote deep, quality sleep. Then, you won’t feel guilty about drifting off after.

Keep an eye out for the sign-up sheet to make sure you get a spot in one of the two classes.

Until then, namaste.



Memorial Day 2017

by Luke Thomas


You know what Memorial Day means – crank up your barbecue and turn off your weekday alarm, because a long weekend calls for celebration from the SAM fam. From trips near and far, to a hometown demo-day, our employees celebrated the hard-won freedom that many have given everything to protect.

Print Buyer and Media Assistant Hayley Winkler took advantage of the sunny skies and travelled to Grayton, Florida to spend a long weekend with college friends. The best part, she said, was enjoying the simplicity of no agenda – just a beautiful beach and a bevy of besties.hayley

“With all of us living in different cities, we only get to see each other for weddings and the like,” Winkler said. “For once, our only plans were what time we were getting on the beach and whether the Corona was cold!”

That’s not to say the trip was without surprises. Winkler got to meet Jack Del Rio, head coach of the Oakland Raiders.

Display Marketing Coordinator Kyle McDonald also crossed the ‘Bama borders over the weekend. He and his wife travelled to Knoxville, Tennessee to visit his sister and hike House Mountain. The more than 2,000-foot high mountain is known for its gargantuan sandstone boulders and its spectacular view from the two peaks. Several mountains and plateaus, including the Great Smoky Mountains, are visible from its summit on a clear day.

Closer to home, Assistant Art Director Holly Jones and her newly-adopted pup spent their first Memorial Day together. Her new companion, Lady Edith Jones (or just Edy), joined Jones for two lake parties on Logan Martin Lake. The two took lots of boat rides, ate BBQ chicken, and made some new doggy friends.edy sleep

“I fell hard for her the moment I saw her sunbathing in a little wagon at the Mutt Strut, a local 5k for Hand in Paw,” Jones recalled. “I adopted her one week later.”

Jones describes Edy as usually very calm, with an affinity for sunbathing, squirrel chasing, and sleeping in the dirty clothes basket. Her favorite activity is going for car rides.

“She usually just sits in the passenger seat and stares at me,” Jones laughed. “I can’t believe a family gave her up, but I’m so glad they did because I got her. She’s an absolute doll.”

(You can follow Edy on Instagram by clicking here.)

Senior Media Buyer Casey Quattlebaum had a weekend of adventure without having to go far at all. She and her husband used the time off to start demolition on their kitchen remodel.

casey kitchen
Casey’s kitchen mid-demo

“Our house is old, which is what originally attracted us,” Quattlebaum said. “I love the charming arched doorways, hardwood floors, and 100-year-old trees. But the kitchen had to go. Character is one thing, 60s mauve checkerboard tile and an iceless refrigerator, not so much.”

For the next few weeks, the Quattlebaums will be hard-pressed to find a dust-free corner of the kitchen, but they’re sure the finished product will be worth the wait.

All around Strong, employees stayed busy celebrating with loved ones and finding new thrills. Comment below and let us know how you spent your Memorial Day weekend!

Fresh in the Front

Compiled by Kelsey Stamps and Rebekah Cook

With fresh faces popping up regularly, it can be hard to keep track of everyone new at Strong Automotive Merchandising. Luckily, the Account Team put together a Q&A to help the agency get to know their newest team members a little better.



I recently graduated from UAB in December of 2016. I was born and raised in Birmingham – Vestavia Hills specifically. I have a large, Italian family and they’re everything to me. We love to eat, drink and talk at a high volume. I’m also a sports Strong Portraits 05242017junkie, and I would choose a football or basketball game over a concert ten times out of ten (However, I’m also a concert junkie). Dabo Swinney is my second cousin, and consequently I’m a huge Clemson football fan. My father has spent his entire career working in advertising, and I’m looking forward to doing the same, even though I used to intentionally pursue different interests to avoid “following in his footsteps.” I’m extremely social, and I believe you can never have too many friends. I am really looking forward to getting to know all of my new, fellow Strong employees!

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

-I think if I was going to be a new addition to the crayon box, I would be “Not So Manly Pink.” I’m picturing a very bright, very flamboyant, almost ugly pink. Pink has always been my favorite color, and I’ve caught quite a bit of grief for it over the years. So this would be me owning my favorite color, and rejecting any false masculinity that is often associated with men who wear pink.

What’s your favorite ’90s jam?

It’s hard to pick one, because 90s hip-hop is my favorite genre ever. If I had to choose my #1 favorite song, I would go with “Politics As Usual” by Jay-Z. Before he was known as “Beyoncé’s Rapper Husband”…

What were you like in high school?

-In high school, I was very much into video games, skateboarding, overpriced food and dramatic relationships. I got pretty good at skateboarding there for a minute. I had a very interesting selection of clothes and shoes in my closet. Some of my friends were very artistically-gifted, some were class clowns (like myself) and some were on the football team. I sort of hopped around and found a few friends from each “walk of life,” which is very entertaining to do at Vestavia Hills High School. I’m very thankful that I didn’t peak in high school.

A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

-The penguin walks in, and with a very thick British accent he says, “I’m looking for a Mr. Chandler, a Mr. Peyton Chandler to be precise.” I gesture to him that I am in fact Peyton Chandler. He nods and says, “Ah yes. This way please.” He walks out, and I follow him. That’s it.



I’m Heather. Here are a few of my favorite things: traveling, trying new foods, and ridingStrong Portraits 05242017 roller coasters. Growing up all over the country and being fortunate enough to have traveled (some) of the world, my parents have always inspired me to be fearless and experience all that life has to offer. I have been described as spontaneous, full of life and willing to try anything once (unless it is illegal, then count me out). This is my very first job and I am very #thankful and #blessed to be here!

Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

-Hunter – the chase is the best part

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

-A pale, light blue – think white with the slightest tint of baby blue. Since it is almost white, it goes with everything and brightens things up. However, the slight tint of blue makes it unique and eye catching.

What was the last gift you gave someone?

-I gave my Mom a video wishing her Happy Birthday that I made in the studio during Employee Appreciation Month

What’s the last thing you watched on TV and why did you choose to watch it?

-Netflix – Chef’s Table. That show is a perfect combination of my two passions – food and travel.



I am from Hamilton, AL (small town in Northwest Alabama). I went to U of A Strong Portraits 05242017and graduated with a Public Relations & Communications Degree in 2013. A few random things about myself to spice this up: I am wildly competitive, I have met Dr. Phil (not for personal reasons) and Kirk Herbstreit, and I watched Jurassic Park every day for a year when I was five.

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

-Lavender, just real chill but a crowd favorite

What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

-Honestly, sometimes I blackout when I am driving, and I’ll end up at home and wonder how the heck I got there; because I do not remember turning or stopping at red lights. I am an excellent driver though.

What’s your favorite ’90s jam?


What was the last gift you gave someone?

-I actually gave my boyfriend glasses that help correct colorblindness. Go watch the videos online, they will make you cry.