Stephanie E Martin

I am a Southern Girl, born and raised in Mississippi. You can take the girl out of Mississippi, but you can’t take the Mississippi out of the girl. Well, except the accent, I lost most of the drawl – but I still have my y’all! I relocated to Miami in 1999 and ultimately to Orlando in 2005. I knew nothing about the neighborhoods or areas of Orlando and I trusted a realtor, that remains one of my best friends, to guide me in the right direction. She insisted I would be happy in College Park, despite my demands to see hundreds of other areas! I guess she knew what I needed because I have been here ever since. I love that my I brought my son, Ryland, to my College Park home eleven years ago. He is my little blessing and my constant inspiration in life. I love to volunteer, giving back, and being involved in philanthropic endeavors fuels me. My love for adventure led me to a career with United as a flight attendant a decade ago. I am one of the blessed ones, paid to see the world. I never could have imagined the places I have seen, the people I have met, and the memories I make along the way – but there is still no place like home. When I am home, I enjoy volunteering and currently sit on the Board of Directors for College Park Mainstreet.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your family.
I am a single Mom to an 11 year old son, who has my heart.

Q: Please tell us about your current, past, or future career. What do you love most about what you do?
Once upon a time I was a buyer and product developer for retail department stores & wholesale vendors. One of the companies I worked for, many Floridians will know, was Burdines (THE Florida Store). I “spread my wings” and transitioned out of that demanding corporate career a decade ago. It was the best decision I have ever made. Now, I am a perfect example of the old adage, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life”. My office is at 36,000 feet, kissing the clouds from city to city, country to country as a flight attendant for United (I started with Continental, *sigh*). Regardless, it really IS the BEST JOB in the WORLD!

Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in our community?
Gosh, I love so many! Y’all all do such a great job serving up delicious favs. I miss K when it was on the corner of Vassar, where Graffiti Junktion sits now. Currently I have a lot of love for Cafe’ Linger. The Madame Linger, a College Park version of the croque monsieur, is like my tastebuds take a little trip to France. If you haven’t tried it, you should! Blended Bistro also has an amazing, fresh poke bowl! You’ve gotta’ try it.

Q: How long have you lived or worked in our community?
I am fortunate enough to have lived in College Park since 2005, I cannot believe it has been 15 years!

Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in our community?
Wow! This one is hard to narrow down. We are a community of amazing folks, aren’t we! But, I have a personal admiration for individuals that devote their lives to helping others. We are blessed with a neighborhood full of generous philanthropists, but for me one in particular is dedicated to her mission. Stephanie Bowman, of One Heart for Women and Children, is simply an astonishing person in our community. If you don’t know her story, I encourage you to get online and find out more. Prepare to be amazed, she’s astounding!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
During this pandemic, I have daydreamed of my toes in the beautiful sands of Hawaii. I have visited the islands many times, but I never grow tired of the connection I feel in the Aloha state.

Q: What is one of your favorite movies? TV shows?
I would not say I necessarily have a favorite, but I was born and raised in Mississippi so I do love “Steel Magnolias”, y’all. It is one of the few movies I can quote from. Ironically, “Pink is my signature color.” -Shelby [and Stephanie]

Q: What advice would you give to people?
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind” Kindness can go a long way, it costs us nothing to just show compassion for others.

Q: What is something on your bucket list?
To be billionaire?? hahaha! I know most peoples bucket lists consist of destinations, but I am lucky and get paid to do that! But, really, I honestly do wish I had the funds to be a founder of a non-profit to help others. There are quite a few causes that are near and dear to my heart that I would love to support. Oh! and on a lighter note, I dream of seeing penguins in their natural habitat. Those little flightless, waddling birds are just simply adorable

Q: What is your go to band when you cant decide what to listen to?
My music choices run the gamut. A band that I love, because it reminds me of my Mom, is The Eagles.

Q: What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community?
It’s kind of funny, but I remember College Park Video and Blockbuster in our neighborhood. It is wild to think that since I have lived here, an entire business model has become obsolete. Now we have the luxury of streaming movies with just the click of a remote control. But, I can’t forget … “Be Kind! Rewind!”

Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
Elon Musk, I find him intriguing, inspirational, and like myself – a Gen Xer. I think I would (errr, selfishly) keep it casual and host him in my home, and have my favorite dish from every College Park restaurant delivered for our grazing pleasure.

Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about our community?
I just love the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House and Culinary Garden (Edible Education Experience). We are so fortunate to have this community concept in our neighborhood.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years?
In 10 years my son will be an adult. That’s shocking to think about for sure! Who knows where my jet-set wings may take me then. I feel College Park will always be a part of what I call home, no matter where I land.

Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
Well, my family knows this one, because they were all forced to attend the countless performances and competitions I was a part of. I was in a Competitive Baton Corp. that was sponsored by Coca-Cola. Yes our costumes/uniforms were red and white like the logo, gasp! I twirled two baton, fire, hoop, cape, etc. I was rather good at it back in the day! I recently found my instructor through Facebook, it was fun to take a “twirl” down memory lane with her!

Q: What is the most beautiful place you have ever been?
This is another hard one for me to narrow down since I have been blessed to see so many places. I would have to say Capri Italy tops my list as the most beautiful [so far].

Q: Favorite month? favorite holiday? and best single day on the calendar?
My favorite holiday is Halloween!! I don’t really like scary stuff, you can leave me off the invite list to Halloween Horror Nights! For me, it’s more about the change of seasons (errr, well for other regions that have seasons). Fall and Halloween are just so cozy and have fun decorations, tailgating and football … and here in Florida we can actually do some outdoor activities sans blazing heat!

Q: What would you rate a 10 out of 10?
Let’s face it, there is little comparison to the experience of travel. If it’s close or far, travel always makes an impact and creates memories. Each time I visit a new city I realize how much I have seen and how many more places I hope to encounter.

Q: Who inspires you to be better?
This one takes two! My ultimate inspiration is my son! I constantly strive to lead by good example. Secondly, I inspire myself. I believe it is important to ignite our motivation from within.

Q: What is one or two of your favorite smells?
Who doesn’t love the smell of the holidays? There is nothing better than the delicious aroma of a roasting turkey, fresh bread baking, the rich sweetness of desserts and so much more! Yum!

Q: Finally, what 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Safety, Love, and Comfort