Wine-Induced Ramblings on “The One”

I’ve always been a firm believer in “The One.”  That someone is out there in the world who will be your perfect match; will be the person God intended for you; the person who you’re meant to spend the rest of your days with.  It may not be easy to find them, and it may take going through some very wrong people to get to them, but they’re out there.  I’ve seen it. 

I’ve seen it in the faces of my parents, my sister, my uncle, my best friend.  I’ve seen high school sweethearts finally say “I do” after years of long-distance, I’ve seen friendships finally turn into long-lasting love, I’ve seen a man go through heart-breaking hell, to finally find and marry the woman he’d been searching for, for many years.  I’ve seen it.

But, I’m starting to fear that maybe it doesn’t happen for everyone.  How many people out there end up with someone who isn’t The One.  How many people settle for second best, and may never know it?  For as firm a believer as I am in God’s Plan, what if His plan means that The One and you aren’t meant to be together in this life?

What if you think you may have seen it, may have felt it, but for reasons out of your control, you can’t reach out and grab it?  Do you know what I’m talking about?  Have you ever met someone who took your breath away, within minutes of meeting?  Who seemed to meet all the qualifications your heart had been holding out for?  Someone who you find yourself missing, even though you barely know him?  Someone who, when you’re having a lovely conversation with a blind date, abruptly throws himself into the forefront of your mind, and makes you suddenly wish you were getting to know him better, instead of the “just okay” guy you’re having drinks with?

What happens if you meet The One, but never get a chance at it?  Does that make him NOT the one?  I’m not sure.  What if you never get the chance to find out?  I know I’m not making much sense – two large glasses of Sangria and a Pumpkin Blizzard sugar-high can do that to a blogger – but my head is spinning with Should I’s and What If’s and the worry that I may never meet The One, or that I already have but didn’t know it for sure.  That The One may have waltzed in and out of my life just as quickly as I was flipped head over heels. It makes you feel completely insane, completely, and utterly get-me-a-straight-jacket irrational. It may even make you feel pathetic. 

But what if, while you’re sitting alone on the couch on a Friday night, eating more ice cream calories than you care to think about, you’re missing out on the greatest opportunity you’ve ever been presented?  While you’re holding onto the thought that “everything happens for a reason,” and “whatever is meant to be, will be”  something inside of you is SCREAMING to do something about it.  To avoid the What Ifs, and makes the Should I’s seem so much more appealing.  But in the end, your fear overcomes the courageous voice inside of you, and turns the screaming into soft murmurs.

How many people have missed their chance with The One, because the murmurs never found their voice, because the fates had other plans, because eventually you give up on the Should I’s and What If’s and find second best, even if you don’t know that’s really what he is?

What if, for this hopeless romantic trying so hard to hold onto her beliefs, it turns out there really is no such thing as The One?

What if…

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Memes

I hope you know I was singing this title to the tune of “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.”

meme
[ meem ]
  1. cultural characteristic passed down generations: any characteristic of a culture, e.g. its language, that can be transmitted from one generation to the next in a way analogous to the transmission of genetic information

Oh, Memes.  In this age of technology and social media, memes have become hilarious and truthful tidbits of mankind as we know it.  They are a fabulous internet fad that brings joy, laughter, and a feeling of community to all who read them. I can no longer imagine a world where we don’t have these sassy photo captions to express ourselves.  I can no longer imagine a world where I don’t laugh my butt off on Pinterest and Facebook, and anywhere else they catch my eye.

And speaking of catching my eye, here are some of my favorites – 10 Actually:

And the greatest one I’ve ever seen…

Oh, Memes – Thank you, from an entire generation who is enjoying your spunkaliciousness as it litters our social media pages.  And thank you, THANK YOU for giving us hours upon hours of photos with Ryan Gosling telling Hey Girl everything she’s ever wanted to hear.

What are your favorite memes?  Please share! I need more!!

XO -Stephanie

Fall Fad: 5 Favorite Owl Finds!

I’m not sure how or when, but I’ve become OBSESSED with owls.  It probably has something to do with their enormous popularity right now.  Yes, if you haven’t noticed, a huge fad this fall is Owls.  The best part about the fad, is that they’re CUTE owls with big awesome eyes, and sweet demeanors.  They’re everywhere – from necklaces, to soap dispensers.  I’ve got a small collection gathering in my kitchen decor, and keep finding more items I’m in love with. In no particular order, here are my 5 Favorite Owl Finds:

1) Yellow & Gray Owl Pillow with Chevron Stripes

Owl Pillow by whimsysweetwhimsy

Hello ADORABLE!  This cutie-pie is 12″x11″ and filled with poly-fil 100% premium polyester fiberfill.  It’s the only one of its kind, sold by whimsysweetwhimsy, but lucky for us, it has brothers and sisters of equal cuteness!  I can just picture it perched on my couch, brining sweet fall colors to my living room.  LOVE IT!

2). Cooking Owl Day Apron

Cooking Owl Day Apron from ModCloth

You know I’m already addicted to ModCloth, and now I have even more of a reason!  With this sweet apron, spending time in the kitchen will be a hoot! Get it? HOOT! Cheers for puns! Ah, I kill myself… Anyway I love the pattern, and the chocolate and robin-egg blue hues together. The touch of lime green makes this to-die-for.  I can just imagine this hanging in my kitchen… Someone please disable my PayPal account!

3) Owl Soap Sleeve

Owl Soap Sleeve from Bath & Body Works

Now this I actually have already.  I never paid much attention to the Soap Sleeves from Bath & Body Works – usually I was too distracted by the awesome 6 for $20.00 deals – but this one caught my eye, naturally.  I stock up on these soaps to last me the whole year, and this sleeve is the perfect accessory.  It’s currently perched on my kitchen sink, and fits easily over my fall-scented foaming soaps.  It’s a great and inexpensive way to bring this trend into your home.

4) Liz Claiborne Owl Ring

Liz Claiborne Owl Ring from JcPenney

This owl ring by Liz Claiborne for JcPenney is a fantastic fall accessory!  I love the cute eyes and purple and pink stones.  It also has a stretchy band, so it’ll fit any finger on your hands.  It’s definitely a statement piece, and would pair perfectly with everything – from an LBD to a white tee and jeans. The best part? It’s only $10.00!

5) Owl Coaster Set

Owl Letterpress Coasters from LuckyBeePress

Nobody likes water rings, so these cute coasters are here to save the day! They are hand-printed on heavy weight coaster stock by LuckyBeePress.  Each coaster measures 3 1/2″ in diameter, and they’re really inexpensive.  The Etsy description says they’re great for a hostess gift, and I couldn’t agree more!

Have you found any trendy owl items that you’re obsessed with?  Tell me in the comments below!

XO- Stephanie

To Stop and Smell the…Pumpkins!

I feel like I’m always losing time.  I could swear I was just pulling out my flip-flops from their winter hiding place and planning all the awesome things I was going to do in the sunny summer months.  Now, I’m scouring my sweater shelves for something to keep me warm as the crisp fall air is blowing in, and thinking of all the things I didn’t make time to do.

I need to start living in the moment more, stop thinking about what happens next, and stop wishing I had more time to do things, and just start DOING them.  Fall is my FAVORITE season, but it’s also a quick one.  I’ve learned that if you don’t take time to enjoy it, all the leaves will be gone, and we’ll be decking the halls with Christmas lights before you blink an eye!

So, this year, I’ve made a To-Do list of things I always love to do, things I wish I’d made time for last year, and things I’ve never done before:

I’m going to hang it on my refrigerator as a reminder to “stop and smell the roses (or pumpkins!).”  This Fall, I’m going to make time to enjoy the season with family, friends, and lil’ ol’ me.

Want to do it with me?  Print out the to-do list or create your own!  What’s your favorite Fall-thing to do?

XO – Stephanie

2 Women, A Garage, and a Mattress… in parts.

Upon moving into our new mountain home, a friend’s house, we learned that the previous tenant had left her bed. After much deliberation and short game of musical mattresses, we managed to solve the dilemma. The last hurdle was to get the not-utilized-at-the-moment-mattress into the garage. We decided the loft was cleaner than the ground floor. then realized, we have to go up….
Problem 1: we wrapped the mattress in plastic
Problem 2: we didn’t wait for our other roommate
The result: hilarious.
My roommates 1983 premium quality mattress, lovingly named “The Taco” now folds completely in half, something like the above… but without the cage to contain it. Picture two women running at each other, QUEEN mattress in hand and then
trying to shoulder push it through the door and up the lawn. Insert face-plants 1 & 2.

Yep… just a little left. got it!
what is stuck on? what’s it stuck on! (Heeeave) WHAT.IS.IT.STUCK.ON?!!!
Inline image 2

My face is stuck… my FACE is now STUCK. I can no longer breathe! Why won’t it move?!! HEEEAVE. HEEAVE. WHERE IS IT STUCK?!
But when you’re on barely-railed, unfinished, garage loft stairs….
Inline image 2

not a lot to grab onto up here…
The Mattress did make its way to the top after approximately 3 face plants, (1 of them while running), a shoe loss, a roll in garage dirt and a multiple near death experiences.
Although we came SO CLOSE to it ending a little something like this I, in fact, DID NOT come flying down at my roommate.
Loves,
Margaux

I’m “Mad about Mashed!”

Hey Twenty-Somethings! What happens when one foodie of a blogger gets invited to a Mashtini taste-testing event and takes her equally food-loving sister?  A whole lot of MMMMs, and YUMMMs, and very, very happy bellies!  A few weeks ago, Sister and I were honored to attend the VIP Mad About Mashed event held by Bob Evans… and they made a Mashaholic out of me!

Sister and I at the Bob Evan’s Mad About Mashed Event! Photo courtesy of Bob Martin from Cwenar Photography

The event was held to celebrate Bob Evans Food Products having the #1 best selling refrigerated mashed potatoes in America.   I have to admit, until that night I’d never tasted these renowned spuds, but I can now attest that they are DELICIOUS – especially the way Executive Chef Dave Eisel prepares them in the new Bob Evans Mad About Mashtini Recipe Collection.  The collection isn’t debuting until August 19th – National Potato Day –  but lucky for you I’m here with the whole scoop – of ‘tatoes!

Mad About Mashed Mashtini Bar – Photo courtesy of Bob Martin from Cwenar Photography

Sis and I divided and conquered the mashtini bars, where we piled high our martini glasses full of fluffy, buttery, starchy goodness, and a whole lot of genius toppings.  We tried all six kinds, and every time we got to a new flavor, we thought we found a new favorite. The truth is – they were all SO good, and so perfectly different, we simply couldn’t choose the winner!

Here’s a breakdown of the awesomeness:

American Regional/Club Mashtini

This is classic Americano here, with toppings mirroring a Club Salad – diced ham and turkey, shredded Swiss and American cheese, and crumbled bacon.  There were also toppings like pulled pork, ranch dressing, broccoli florets and cheddar cheese sauce.  So, so, SO good!

Mad About Mashed Toppings – Photo courtesy of Bob Martin from Cwenar Photography

Mediterranean Mashtini

This may have been Sister’s favorite – It had so many of her favorite pasta and salad toppings.  I thought her eyeballs were gonna pop out when she saw them!  She piled her spuds high with balsamic roasted portabella, parmesan crisps, grilled marinated chicken, basil pesto sauce, prosciutto and an italian mix of stewed peppers, onions and tomatoes called Pepperonata.  This dish takes you right to the heart of Italy friends, and boy is it worth the trip!

Taco Mashtini

This may sound a little weird at first, but I promise you it’s really good!   Bob Evans Zesty Hot Roll or Original Roll Sausage, sour cream, green onions, diced tomatoes, pico de gallo, crushed tortilla chips, and pickled jalapenos, give the mashed pots a fantastic Southwestern kick.  Bobby Flay would be in heaven here.  It’s a taco PLUS Grandma-Style spuds – how could you go wrong?!

Taco Mashtini from Bob Evans Mad About Mashed event. Photo courtesy of Bob Martin from Cwenar Photography

Carbonara Mashtini

Bob puts a new spin on an old Italian classic with this recipe.  Crispy prosciutto pieces, warm peas, crispy fried shallots, and skewered grape tomatoes top potatoes flavored with Boursin cheese.  Boursin is a soft creamy cheese, similar to cream cheese, so you can imagine the extra richness it provides.   Delizioso!

Wildfire Mashtini

This was the last one we tasted, and it may just be my favorite.  This baby has an important not-so-secret ingredient – Bob Evans Wildfire BBQ Sauce. The sauce has the perfect blend of smoky-sweet flavors, and I’ve never had anything quite like it. Seriously, it’s SO good!  The potatoes sit in a bed of this liquid heaven and are topped with scallions and breaded popcorn chicken, that’s also been smothered in the sauce.  All I have left to say is YUM!

Wildfire Mashtini – Mad About Mashed – Photo courtesy of Bob Martin from Cwenar Photography

Sweet Swirl Mashtini

This last recipe is for the sweet-tooth in all of us.  Bob Evans not only carries regular mashed potatoes, but they also have Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  Now, this combination may seem odd when you read it, but you’re just going to have to believe me when I say it’s MOUTH WATERING!  The potatoes are topped mini marshmallows, crumbled bacon, honey roasted pecans, and warm maple syrup.  Kids, it’s like Autumn you can eat.  This is a great side to serve for holidays, and if you like Sweet Potatoes, you’re sure to love these!

Mad About Mashed – Sweet Swirl Mashtini – Photo courtesy of Bob Martin from Cwenar Photography

I really can’t say enough good things about these recipes, and the Bob Evans products I tasted.  And just so you know, this is not an advertisement.  I was invited to the event as a blogger, to share my honest opinion, and honestly, you just need to try these tasty ‘tatoes!  Maybe you can throw a VIP Mashtini Tasting party of your own!  According to Chef David’s demonstration I watched intently, they’re really easy to assemble.  Not only that, but your guests’ taste-buds will be happy, and they’ll be really impressed with your trendy menu.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the official release of these recipes, and in the meantime, get yourself some refrigerated mashed potatoes.  You may become a Mashaholic too!

With that, I leave you with some more pics from the awesome event and send BIG THANKS, from Sis and me, to Bob Evans and Brunner for inviting The Twenty Something Blog! 🙂

Chef David Eisel showing us how to make the magic at Mad About Mashed. Photo courtesy of Bob Martin from Cwenar Photography

I got to meet the genius chef! Mad About Mashed – Photo courtesy of Bob Martin from Cwenar Photography

Yum moment photo op! Stuffing our faces with the Wildfire Mashtini. If you can’t tell by my silly smile, I was in Foodie Heaven! – Photo courtesy of Bob Martin from Cwenar Photography

* * *

Which recipe sounds the best to you?  Have you ever had a Mashtini of any kind?  Share your thoughts in a comment below!

XO – Stephanie

Addicted to ModCloth

It may come as no surprise, that I’m a bit of a Shopaholic.  Not full-on, mountains-of-credit-card-debt, going-into-withdrawls-if-I-don’t-get-to-the-mall Shopaholic, but I truly believe in Retail Therapy and that if a girl falls head over heels in love with clothes or other pretty things, she should just get them.

Over the last six months, I’ve discovered a new obsession with online shopping.  It’s like Christmas when the packages arrive, and the suspense of when you’ll get them is, well, addicting.  The love affair between the internet and my PayPal account truly took off when I re-discovered ModCloth.  I had heard about this site a few years back, but only recently have I come-to-know its total fabtasticness. (Coin that ish).

ModCloth is a lovely mix of independently designed pieces and one-of-a-kind vintage finds all perfectly packaged on a groovy and easy-to-use website.  The business was started by a couple Carnegie Mellon University students, when founder Susan Gregg Koger, and her boyfriend (now husband) Eric Koger started selling the vintage and thrift shop garments she had been collecting.  Since then, ModCloth has grown into a company that services nearly 4.5 million shoppers a month – including this girl!

I love their pieces, because you just can’t find things like theirs at the mall.  Everything is beautifully crafted, fashion-forward, and come with the CUTEST names.

So far, I’m the proud owner of:

Beneath the Veranda

Latest Love in Evergreen

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Latest Love in Evergreen – ModCloth

Cham-brainy Blazer

Cham-Brainy Blazer – ModCloth

and Scoop of Sorbet Dress in Blue

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Scoop of Sorbet Dress in Blue

(Hmm. I just noticed my recent affinity for a cool color palette. )  ModCloth carries women’s clothing and accessories – from underwear to fun-to-wear, and have a lot of Indie-inspired household items, gifts, and more.  I’m currently pining away for this awesome cutting board…

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Mix up the Menu Cutting Board – ModCloth

this whimsical make-up bag…

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Note-Worthy Makeup Bag – ModCloth

and this beautiful dish rack.

Washing & Hoping & Dreaming Dish Rack – ModCloth

Can you see now why I’m so in love!? And the best part… there are new things added EVERY SINGLE DAY.  So not only am I hooked because I love the products, but it’s now part of my daily routine to hit up ModCloth.com and check out the newbies.  If that’s not a sign of a fantastic and genius company, I don’t know what is!

Have you purchased anything from ModCloth?  What’s your favorite online shopping site?

XO- Stephanie

Couch Surfing

So, here’s the thing: somewhere along the way into our 20s, we started either wanting to or needing to settle in. To take a place and make it our own, throw down some new roots…. Because I find typical protocol to be for the birds, I have spent the better part of the last 4 years splitting my time between a handful of states and tropical locals.  

In the words of a friend whose floor I spent a solid few weeks on last summer, when I told her I was pretty sure I already had at least one Masters degree in couch surfing, she replied, “at this point, its safe to say you have a PhD.” Seeing as she rendered me an expert, and I currently partake of the practice – living in a spare bedroom, on a futon, battling an 8th grader for morning shower privileges – here is the top couch surfing etiquette techniques I’ve nabbed along the way:

Don’t be afraid to ask.

  • No, seriously. I know I know,  you don’t want to have to rely (mooch) on other people and all that, but think about it, when someone asks to crash at your pad, aren’t you generally willing and able? Well that works vice versa. Case and Point:  my snowboard bum  friends (even the employed ones do no lose that title) totally use my mountain house as a winter vacation home. Its like sharing. Sharing is Caring. More importantly, I am more than jazzed to let them stay.

(But the NEXT person who cranks the heat to 80, in January, and then sleeps 3 deep + the dog in my flannel-clad bed is camping in the yard!)

 

 Make Food/ Buy Groceries

  • In order to be an accommodating house guest, make some food. A. Everybody eats and B. it brings together all the people you are staying with. They will appreciate the forced communal time later, even if they don’t know yet. If you are going to be staying for an extended period of time, then you sure as shit better buy groceries… you mooch someone’s space, not their snacks.

 Be Gracious, Courteous, Accommodating.

  • Its really that simple. We have manners for a reason, use them.

Always bring gifts 

  • Its like an upfront “thank you”. Thanks for letting me nap the night away on the big leather couch in the middle of your work week, here’s a case of craft, artisan if you will, beer.
  • I really enjoy this futon you have provided me, please accept this overpriced maple candy and syrup beautifully encased in glass.
  • While I was baking over the past month I’ve been over there on that mattress on the floor, I realized your hand mixer was broken, so here, I got you a new one.
  • I also find it best to leave these little treats on the counter/kitchen table—maybe it is my general distain for feelings but I think its nice to leave it as a little something extra, in lieu of handing it off before you leave

Boom! Adventuretime.

Loves,

M

Personal Email Inbox… Or Time Capsule?

Do me a favor.  Go to your personal email inbox, find the last page, and take a look at where your life was 6 months ago, one year ago, two years ago… I spent some time today cleaning out the “inbox” and “sent” folders of my personal email account, simply because I realized I had 43 pages of emails, and that’s just unnecessary.  Luckily, I got through most of them quickly, only stopping to re-read those with subject lines that caught my eye.  What I learned?  I’ve come a great, long way in the last three years.

I can’t believe I just announced to the world that I’ve been hoarding emails since 2009, but I’m an honest person, so there you have it.  2009. I was fresh out of college, painstakingly searching for a real job, missing my best friends, nursing a broken heart, living back at home, and trying to figure out where in the world I was going next.  One look at that last page, and I couldn’t help but silently congratulate myself for coming so far. And I shook a metaphorical head at the old Stephanie, and wished I could go back to her and tell her that in 3 years, all those fears; the shaky knees at job interviews, the tears cried from missing friends, the nights wishing He’d call; would be distant, almost embarrassing, memories. That she’d get through it, victoriously.

A lot has changed in the last three years, and these old email folders made me realize just how far I’ve come.  Just how successful I’ve been.  I’ve found a great job, gotten over the stupid boy, survived other heart breaks and some scary changes. I still miss my college friends, my best friends, my Best Friend, but that all-consuming heart ache has faded.  I send S.O.S. emails to Best Friend about different topics, similar, but still different.  I have new junk mail with new interests.  I get Alumni emails, and wedding planning inquiries, instead of updates from professors or homework assignments from my planner certification course.

The better lesson I learned?  Though a lot has changed in the last three years, a lot of my life is still very much the same.  Instead of catching up after class with my roommates, I get email updates from Law School and Government Intelligence Offices.  My mother still sends funny, informational, or motivational messages.  I still stress about dating.  I still shop too much. I still write songs, and sing whenever possible.  I’m still very, very blessed.

Most of all, I still worry about things that won’t matter in 3 years.

My email time capsule was a much-needed reminder to “Let Go and Let God;” to keep moving, growing and learning.  It was a much-needed reminder that our Twenties are crazy, scary, and FUN.  It was a much-needed reminder that in 3 years, I’ll be an even better version of Stephanie, because I’m determined to be so. Because I got through challenges before, and I can do it again. That Time is always ticking away, and it’s important to start living every second, of every day, of this crazy, wonderful life.

What did you find in your emails?  How far have you come?

Just think how far we’ll be three years from now…

XO, Stephanie