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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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

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

From Miss to Ma’am

It seems like since the day I turned 25, everyone around me was alerted that I’m in my mid-twenties.  Like the universe was sent a collective post card that read “Attention All – Stephanie is no longer a young girl. Do not act like she is.” Or something.  I don’t get carded hardly at all, the preschool Mom’s at my workplace say things like “Tell the nice lady goodbye,” and teenagers at the mall look at me like I’m well, in my twenties.  All of this is okay, really.  It’s totally inconvenient to fish out my ID when I just want a Blue Moon.  “Nice lady” is really cute when the person is 5. Teenagers should look at me like I’m in my Twenties.  I’m badass. Envy me and my awesomely, independent adulthood.  However, I’ve had a few more reminders of my age over the last few weeks that I do not like.. particularly, and apparently, I’ve gone from Miss to Ma’am.

On Friday evening, upon ordering some carboliciousness from Panera, the high-school girl behind the counter told me to “have a nice night ma’am” after I thanked her for my meal.  Ma’am?!  Shock came over me as I made my way to the nearest two-seater.  I shook my stunned head as I sipped on my unsweetened tea, trying to collect myself.

Ma’am?!

Ma’am?

Ma’am.

Up until that moment, I felt like Ma’am was reserved for women in their 40s, or the old bitties playing bridge at the local country club.   I didn’t think I looked like a Ma’am – I didn’t feel like a ma’am. I mean, dressed up in my business clothes – sure, I could grasp the concept, but Friday night, I was not dressed like a Ma’am. I had my long (NOT GRAY) hair pulled back into a pony tail, and was decked out in my finest zip-up hoodie and sweat pants with chipped nail polish and no jewelry.  I felt like I appeared to be a college student.  Apparently not.

As I collected myself at the table, I realized, this young, innocent girl was right.  I’m no longer a Miss.  I am not a teenage girl buying slogan-clad t-shirts and day-dreaming about Prom and Justin Bieber.  I no longer shop in the Misses section on a regular basis.  I am no longer a Miss.

In fact, I’m pretty sure all my mail should be address Ms. at this point, right?  I’m 25 and unwed. I think that makes me a Ms.  But it’s not like you go around saying “Have a nice night Ms,” so technically Panera Girl was right to refer to me as Ma’am.  But really, couldn’t there be something better?

I appreciate the fact that she didn’t call me Hun, Dear or Sweety.  I hate nothing more than a young person calling an “elder” by pet names.  Calling any stranger by a pet name is only okay if you are a blue-haired lady serving breakfast, or a super hot guy serving beer, and at that point, I prefer to be called something like Hot Stuff or Sexy, thank you very much. (P.S., I can’t remember a time that has actually happened, ever. Damn.)

Maybe we should come up with something else to call Twenty Something women. Something in between Miss and Ma’am, that doesn’t make us consider purchasing anti-aging creams at our still very young age.  Something that reflects our badassness. Something like “Have a nice night Awesome.”  or  “Thank you very much Magnific.”  or “That’ll be $5.95 at the first window Fairest One of All.”  Fairest One of All, that’d be cool.  That would make me feel like a young, hip Twenty Something with the whole world at her doorstep.

Ma’am groups us in with our Mothers – our Grandmothers.  While they are superbly wonderful women we would be lucky to emulate, I really don’t wanna be socially grouped in with them.. yet.  I’m still way too young for that!

I guess I’d better get used to this new “title.”  I’m not getting any younger, it’s true.  It’s just hard to wrap my head around the time that has passed.  I still feel like the 16-year-old Miss.  But alas, in the eyes of this world, I’ve officially gone from Miss to Ma’am.

XO – Stephanie

Just a Local

Local. Such a loaded word. When you’re away everyone wants to be one, and yet it can be such a derogatory term for a place’s natives.  Having just used my local status to boast “intimate knowledge” for a research position, I decided it was time to tackle the term. By the time I was done spending a couple months on an island in the South Pacific, it was a given assumption that I lived there. Now, I like to chalk this up to my islandy tan, but really I think I was asked for directions daily, because I was alone and look like a friendly white girl to the tourists.

So, while the weather is warming up and you’re starting to think about getting out, adventuring this beautiful planet this summer, here are 5 tips to helping you fit in local-style. (I’m really starting to like the list of 5 theme.)

1. Get serious with the sunscreen… honestly.

I know the goal is, “let’s get as tan as inhumanly possible in the next six days and everyone will think we spend our lives perpetually exiting the beach” … nothing screams Ima tourist like the toasted crisp of a, “I clearly don’t live here… no, don’t touch me, it hurts” sunburn. So, shed some sun love to the sunscreen.

2. Keep Calm and Carry On

Listen, when vacationing… or going anywhere new for that matter, the best bet is to relax. You went away to run from daily stress didn’t you?

Trust me, we’ve all been in colorful, sticky situations—I sprinted the entirety of Ronald Regan Airport last Thanksgiving in high-heel boots, the result of wearing the largest items I had to pack in my attempt at sticking it to the airline industry and only taking a carry-on fo’ freeee. I arrived at the gate roughly 6 seconds before they closed the door, to a cohort of Flight Attendants gesturing like Umpires, yelling, “Safe” as I was breathlessly collapsing on that gross blue airport carpet trying to explain that there was a slower, old couple stuck on the escalator, still coming in hot behind me…

Just swing with it. Inevitably something is going wrong. It just is. Period… Accept that and move on. It’s most likely out of your control, so keep it together and plot your next move.

3. Enjoy the local cuisine

You didn’t go somewhere exotic, or not, to eat the same thing you live off-of at home. I know there is some comfort in things that are familiar but life is for exploring…

4.  Normal attire, please

I don’t know what it is about traveling that people bring out their quirkiest apparel. Maybe it’s just that vacation days consist of a whole slew of unknowns so one’s adventuring outfit must accommodate for every conceivable excursion be it shopping followed immediately by climbing Mount Everest.

Mix that with copious amounts of walking and the result is hideous and interesting compilations of mismatched pieces that have become a Halloween icon of mockery. Keep is simple and classy like these:

Dresses. Rompers. Stripes… and well anything comfy and normal.  Stripes are my favorite.

5. The too many photo faceoff

While trying to come up with a #5, I ended up square in the middle of a conversation about whether taking too many photos makes you look like a tool but is ultimately worth it in the end

So, are the pictures worth a thousand words and really capturing a moment that you’ll want to treasure? Or, is your incessant shutter snapping simply an effort to prove your level of awesomeness. If your first thought after taking said photo is wait until the facebook comments roll in on this bad boy then, you might be taking photos for everyone else.

On the flipside, I never take enough photos.  I always count on that one friend who takes too many pictures and makes you feel a little embarrassed to be with in public.  Those moments, the constant capturing of this is what I actually did my trip mixed with the touristiest moments seem to make the BEST photos. I am convinced!

So, for this one: Own it! Take too many pictures and make a total ass of yourself, just be able to back it up when the cute bartender says, “oh yea, I saw you out there with that statue…” Totally worth it in the end!

**this piece counts for when at home too- we take our daily lives for granted and wait for special moments to takes photos. That’s bull: the world is beautiful, and life is for living so once in a while remember to capture a glimpse of it that you can hold onto.

Do you have any tips for being “Just A Local” on your next vaca? Please tell me in the comments below.
Til Next Time,

Margaux

Scroogentines – A Heart-Felt Rant on Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day you Beautiful, Wonderful Readers of Mine!!  I hope you are giving love and feeling loved today!  Just so you know, I love you for reading the silly things I have to say, and would send you all a lovely box of chocolates if I could!

There are so many people in my life, some of my most favorite people actually, who are all sorts of sour about this holiday.  It’s the commercialism about it all and the “I love him every day” mantra that has made these people what I like to call Scroogentines. (Copyright that ish).  A Scroogentine is a person who thoroughly dislikes this “made up” holiday because it’s a silly waste of time and resources, and they prefer to pretend like it doesn’t exist.

Well, maybe I’m just a hopeless romantic, but Scroogentines make me sad and frustrated.  I know everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and opinions, but I’m sorry, I just don’t understand this one!  I also know I touched on this last week, but since this is my blog, a place where I’m to express my thoughts and feelings on things that affect us as Twenty-Somethings and people, here’s what I have to say:

“Valentine’s Day is commercialized and people spend money on things they probably don’t need.”  UM YEAH?! SO WHAT?!  How many times do you spend money on useless things YOU don’t need for YOURSELF that do nothing to make someone else feel good? Huh? Yeah, let that simmer.  I know I do it… I’ve got lengthy Wal-Mart receipts to prove it!

I agree that Valentine’s Day has become this über expensive mess of commercialism.  I agree that it is completely unnecessary to shell out loads of money for jewelry, designer bags,  and whatever it may be that sends millions of men to the mall each year, under tons of pressure, to get the right gift.  But this is no reason to become a Scroogentine!  Who says we have to spend a lot of money on things to show we care?  A little token of affection can go a long way, and THAT’S what Valentine’s Day should be about! Remember how fun it was to stuff little paper hearts into decorated cardboard shoeboxes when we were kids?  We, as a nation, made this a crazy shopping day by adhering to this “rule” that the best way to show affection is through expensive merchandise; that “Every Kiss Begins With Kay.”

However, we also have the power to Just Say No!  You remember that mantra, right?   Let us remember, there is no actual rule saying that you MUST shower your loved one with presents off Kim K’s wedding registry.  And ladies, STOP EXPECTING THEM!  No, your man should not forget about you on Valentine’s Day, but do you really need him to buy you an “open heart” necklace to know he loves you?  If so, girlfriend, you have bigger problems!

So what if Valentine’s Day is commercialized? So what if it’s frivolous?  How much money did you spend on a costume for Halloween – a holiday that doesn’t have much meaning at all? At least people are spending money on things to express their love for one another, right?

That brings me to my next point:  Why would you want to be a Scroogentine, on the one holiday each year that is dedicated to the most beautiful gift anyone can ever give or receive? I’m talking about LOVE here, folks. SO WHAT if it’s frivolous? SO WHAT if it’s silly? SO WHAT if you share your love every day? Instead of looking at it in the negative, think of it this way – you have been given a free pass to bask in the glow of being in love.  You’ve been given a free pass to smile like a kid in a candy store, wear red pants, give out and eat candies.  You’ve been given a free pass to remember that life is supposed to be fun – that we are SUPPOSED TO CELEBRATE THE GOOD THINGS! Carpe Diem kids, you only get one life! Why spend an entire day fighting against a tide that’s all about the love?  Seems like a waste of a perfectly lovely day, don’t you think?

Besides, let’s be real, don’t you sometimes forget to count your blessings?  I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always remember how lucky I am to have all the love I do – How BLESSED I am.  In the hustle and bustle of every day life, with the deadlines, the cranky clients, the broken toilet seats (yes I have one), the horror stories on the nightly news, the electric bills, the snow clouds, the heart breaks, the frustrations of This and That, we all need a reminder, like Valentine’s Day, to stop and cherish the people we have who love us and who we are lucky enough to love.

We all need to “stop and smell the roses,” because life and love are precious.  Valentine’s Day gives us that opportunity… all you have to do is take it.

SO WHAT if you act on  your love every day?  You can’t over-express how much you love someone. You can’t say “I love you” too many times – you just can’t – it’s impossible.   It’s the one phrase that never gets old, that never sounds silly, that never loses it’s meaning. But, it IS the one phrase you may regret not saying enough; the one thing you’ll long to hear and wish you could say when you can’t anymore, the one you may forget to say when you should.  I think Valentine’s Day should be celebrated by all, simply because it might make the world a better place if the Scroogentines just get on board the Love-train!  It might make the world a better place if we take February 14th’s reminder that LOVE IS OUT THERE.  It exists in many ways, big and small, it brings people together, it heals wounds, it creates life, it makes the world go round!

So Scroogentine’s, just STOP IT!  Put away your rolling eyes, snarky remarks and grumpy faces, and just embrace today for all that it is, or all that it can be.  It’s not gonna hurt you, but watch out! – It might just make you smile.

Okay, END RANT.

XO, Stephanie