Category Archives: Lists

Where Have I Been?

I’m doing well on all of my New Year’s Resolutions, surprisingly, except for one: writing here once a week. Additionally, a few friends have recently asked me why I don’t write here as often. I used to be obsessed with this blog and it led to a lot of amazing things in my life, so I gave this question a lot of thought and here’s what I’ve come up with.

(I want to be clear that this isn’t a criticism of anyone else who still writes all the time. These are just my own experiences and feelings. If I read your blog, it means you’re doing something right (or I’m hate-reading you, in which case PLEASE CONTINUE). Again, my own reasons.)

It’s Been (Almost) 10 Years

After a decade of shameless oversharing, you tend to cover everything. Favorite travels? Bad break-ups? Ambien Adventures? Check, check and check. If there’s a great story to be told, I’ve told it–probably more than once. I could think of something new to share with you every day, but that’s for micro-blogging. The guts, they have been spilled.

Happiness is Boring

By boring, I don’t mean bad at all. I love my life right now. I’m lucky as hell. But I’m not going on dates. I’m not breaking up with people. I’m not stirring up shit. I don’t hate my job. I don’t have a hit tracker anymore, but I’m willing to bet that any stalkers or ex-boyfriends that used to read this are long gone. My friends and I play with babies more than we party. I’m not going to bars that often–and when I do, it’s with old friends and consists of nothing but inside jokes.

Aside from my constant workout goals and/or weight struggles (which no one cares about), I’m simply content. I’ve hate-read enough Christian mommy blogs to know that reading about someone’s happiness and gratitude is at best boring and at worst insufferable and annoying. But on the same note…

Negativity is Contagious

Things bother me. People piss me off. Life is unfair. Check out this idiot. I could write about this stuff all day, every day, but all that does is pass the negativity on to you. Some people can write this stuff and be funny, and some people can read that stuff and not be affected, but I don’t want to contribute to it unless I feel my complaint is worthwhile. (Example: I’ve been contemplating writing about the crazy religion I was raised in and how it’s gotten even crazier, which is much more valid than writing about how I got cut off in traffic.)

I recently held someone’s hand while they died and watched them use all of their strength for each breath–literally holding on for dear life–and it made me realize how important those breaths are. Every second of my life matters. Every second of your life matters, too, including the ones you spend interacting with me. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to use them wisely. Focusing on negativity and spreading negativity is a waste of life, at least to me.

I Am Wrong About Everything 

If there’s one thing Facebook and comment sections have taught me, it’s that people will bitch about anything. But if they’ve taught me anything else, it’s that there is always another side to the story. If I’m angry about something and bitch about it, there’s a 90% chance that I simply don’t see the big picture. So when things bother me, these days I go looking for the other side. In most cases, it just takes a little empathy. (There are some clear black and white issues, like of course we should have marriage equality, but mostly it’s a little gray.) Even this entry, even with my disclaimer, it will piss off somebody and they will need to tell me why they write all of the time. It’s just inevitable. I certainly have an opinion about everything, but I rarely pick a side anymore.

Parroting

This is more of a Facebook complaint, but it has happened on blogs and Twitter, too. Memes are one thing. And writing is fluid; you pick up little phrases and you use them, and then you drop them when you get sick of it. But sometimes I will want to use a cute phrase because it makes me laugh, and within a day another friend will use it, too. I get that I don’t own the English language, but when I throw something like that into a sentence and it makes me laugh, I’m proud of myself. When other people do it right after I do, it depresses me. It’s not plagiarism and it’s not something you can generally complain about, so it just festers in me. Yuck. I know I do it, too, but I’ve also caught myself and deleted it. Nowadays, I collect the nuggets and save them for something bigger, rather than spending them on a throwaway joke that other people claim as their own.

I Write For A Living

Copywriting and ghostwriting. And now: school, too. I think about words all day, when I get home the last thing I want to do is write. Also: I have a career that I value now, and there’s no such thing as anonymity on the internet anymore. Someday a client is going to find the entry where I list all of the things I have missed about all of my ex-boyfriends. I just have to accept that, since I like that entry too much to delete it. But it makes me very hesitant to put any more of that stuff out there. And I sure as shit won’t link to this blog on Facebook anymore, since all of my co-workers are my Facebook friends.

I’m Married

For all the railing I used to do about independence and co-dependancy , I have to admit that it’s different now. I share 100% of my life with another person. We have our own interests and do our own thing, but he’s always present and we have no real secrets. So the more I share about me, the more I have to share about him. Justin is pretty amazing in that he doesn’t read this blog at all (on our first date, he said he never would because he wanted to learn about me through actual interactions), and he seems okay with all the stuff I put out there on other networks. He has never drawn a line regarding his privacy or what I can and can’t share. But one just naturally appeared for me.

When I blogged about dating or break-ups, it was really about how I was feeling, what I was learning, etc. But now that I’m married, it feels like these are our feelings, our fights, our struggles, our happy moments and our victories. It feels intrusive to share some of those things with you because they are not simply mine to share. The feminist in me is totally gagging over this paragraph, but that’s how it is. (P.S. I have friends in long-term relationships who either can’t or don’t want to get married–I’m sure they have reached this point, too. Marriage was just the defining point for me.)

—-

I think that’s it. Instagram and Twitter and Tumblr (all @SecretlyStephie) are a better fit these days. But I do miss this blog, and I really am trying to figure out how to keep this in my life. Either way, thanks for sticking around.

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Icelandic Fun Facts

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  1. Iceland was formed due to volcanic activity in the rift between the North American and European continents. (We actually stood on 2 continents at the same time; more about that later.) It is still volcanically and geologically active – in fact, the planet’s newest island just recently appeared in Iceland. Lava fields are everywhere and it looks like the moon.
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  2. Until the Norse moved to Iceland, the only creature on the entire island besides birds was the Arctic Fox. Pretty sure Iceland is Justin’s favorite country because there are no snakes.
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  3. As of right now, there are 320,000 people in Iceland (and 4 times as many sheep). 2/3 of the country lives in Reykjavík and the 2 neighboring cities. The majority of the rest live in a large city in the north. No one lives in the middle. 90% of the towns you see on an Icelandic map are composed of 3-5 homes. One town we passed was just, like, a broken down barn. I cannot stress this enough: it is so empty. People have an entire mountain range and waterfalls in their backyards with no neighbors in sight.
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  4. Because the inhabitants of Iceland only go back about 7 generations, everyone in the country is related somehow. The government recently introduced an iPhone app with the entire country’s genealogy. Meet a cute girl at a bar? Bump phones and make sure you’re not cousins before you make a move.
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  5. There are no last names in Iceland, at least not family names like ours. (The few that exist are Danes.) Everyone’s last name ends with either –dottir or –son, meaning “daughter of” or “son of”. Bjork’s last name is Guðmundsdóttir, meaning, “daughter of Guðmundur.” For this reason, the phone book is alphabetized by first names.
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  6. They are one of the most environmentally efficient countries in the world – 13th, I believe. Our hotel rooms required us to put a key in the wall in order for us to have power. Most cars run on hydrogen. Everyone recycles. No litter, no pollution. (And yet, TONS of graffiti.) The head of the Icelanic Electricians’ union? Guðmundur of “Guðmundsdóttir.”
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  7. Some cars run on garbage! Our driver to and from from the airport had one of these cars. The government rewards you by giving you free parking for an hour and a half anywhere you want. These cars have a tiny clock on the dashboard to time the free parking.
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  8. Icelandic continental breakfast: a huge spread of swiss cheese, salami, salmon, hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and cucumber – all sliced so that you can put them on pieces of toast. Usually bacon, eggs, sausage, hash browns, yogurt and cereal were in the mix. If you really lucked out, heart-shaped waffles. One hotel had shot glasses of fish oil. (P.S. Popular dinner dishes include whale and puffin! We stuck to lamb and lobster. SO much lamb and lobster.)
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  9. The sun is out for the majority of the summer. In the north, it never sets at all during the month of June. The darkest I ever saw Iceland in May was a glowing dusk. We drank in Reykjavík until 1 in the morning and the sun was still up.
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  10. Much like St. Louis, the famous saying in Iceland is, “If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.”

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Lately I Love – Vol. 2

I’ll write about the Jersey Boys, The Spot, and the marriage my boyfriend performed in a little bit. But, my stats have been blowing up so I felt a little obligated to post something:

Gray Nail Polish

Usually when I see a seasonal trend, I’m either impartial to it (like ruffles) or I immediately accept that it will never look good on me and need to pass (skinny jeans). But when I saw gray nail polish, I knew I had to have it. Essie Power Clutch looks dark at first, but I adjusted quickly and I think it’s gorgeous. Plus, from the steering wheel of my car to my water bottle at the Y, it matches everything I touch and you know how much that excites me. It used to match my favorite gray city flats, but I ripped them yesterday and am still kind of hurting (RIP).

TOMS (maybe)

When I was whining about my first world problems like tearing my favorite shoes, I threw out a joke about TOMS … and then realized TOMS are kind of awesome? They come in the colors I want, are affordable and philanthropic, and the reviews are 99% positive. Plus, they will be 6,000 times more durable than my City Flats. So I caved and bought a gray pair. I’m a little afraid they’ll look like socks on me, but we’ll see.

Anthropologie Sweaters

Despite my cyst-induced poorness, I took my seasonal trip to Anthropologie and bought some sweaters that I absolutely adore. As Ginger says: clothes from Anthropologie aren’t just garments, they are an investment. I would go one step further and say that they’re an investment in confidence, because every single time I wear something from Anthropologie, I get at least 5 compliments. I shopped from the sale rack like a poor lady so I could buy three, so I can’t show you pictures. But trust me, they’re super cute.

The Cardinals

World Series, baby! Justin and I have been walking down to the stadium just to hang around outside during the games. If you’ve ever seen the seamless design of Busch Stadium, you know why. We took Frank down there during a game and he was pretty blown away. Sometimes we even luck out–two weeks ago, we were handed tickets during the 8th inning of game 4, round 1, and we got to watch the Cards win from the bleachers! Justin and I are walking down early to join the party for Game One of the World Series tonight. It’s going to be insane. Oh, and my b-fry Peter picked up a bouncer job at Mike Shannon’s, so we get to stop and hang out with him on our walks.

Baked Brie

The wedding favor for Brent and Sarah’s wedding (which I’ll write about once Ann posts our Photómaton pictures) was homemade jam, and I managed to snag a few jars of her apricot Riesling. This week the weather finally turned chilly, and while this is usually grilled cheese and tomato soup weather, the jam inspired me to make some baked brie. Most people wrap it in dough, but I just do straight-up brie coated with jam. There’s nothing like taking a chilly walk to Culinaria to choose from a million different brie varieties and then coming home to a toasty loft to work on my night cheese. Amazing.

Running

You might remember that I tried to run 100 miles in 3 weeks. Well, work got a little insane and I needed to clean and prep for my guests, so I ran short on time and decided to not kill myself over a dumb goal that I set for myself. But still: I got to 90! Not bad for a first try, right? Now that life has slowed down a bit, I’m going to try again. I started yesterday and plan to be a little smarter about my pacing. 7 down, 93 to go!

On Beauty

I’ve been meaning to read White Teeth for about a million years, and I was thisclose to borrowing it from Sarah, but she told me she practically started a religion about On Beauty and wanted me to read it first. I still have 50 or so pages left, but it’s fantastic and I highly recommend it.

REVENGE

I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THIS SHOW. It’s everything Ringer was supposed to be (though, there’s hope for Ringer now that Logan from Veronica Mars just showed up). I love this show so much, I don’t even care that the dog is like 200 years old. Is it the class war vengeance? The clothes? Scary Madeline Stowe? The reincarnation of Steff from Pretty in Pink? Whatever; it’s all good. I don’t think the name of the show is officially in caps, but that’s the way all the fans say it in their head. REVENGE. I LOVE YOU.

This Thing

Read it. Or don’t. Generation X don’t care. Generation X don’t give a shit.

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Lately I Love

Lynne Stone

About once a year, I’m reminded of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, and I remember how much I wanted to be Helen Hunt’s character from that movie. A workman onesie with a scarf and a Davy Crockett hat? Lynne is more than a fashion inspiration; she’s a role model.

Tortoiseshell Watch

AAAGGGHHH! You guys! I’ve always loved tortoiseshell and have been dying for a tortoiseshell watch ever since I knew they existed. However, most tortoiseshell watches include either a gold face or fake diamonds all over it. Ew! Well, I finally found my dream watch, a tortoiseshell boyfriend Fossil with a black and silver face.

I’m on Fashion Cloud 9 over here. Most importantly, it matches my Abe Lincoln vs. Bigfoot t-shirt.

Veronica Mars

Justin suggested watching a few episodes of this to cheer me up the night before my biopsy-thingies (what is the word for when they chop you up and take pieces of you to run biopsies?). AAAAND now he’s hooked. We’re three discs in and I’m a happy lady.

(via starsweptnight)

Harry Potter Mania

There are a billion Harry Potter fans on Tumblr, and they’ve been filling up my dash with HP gems like this:

I can’t get enough of it. I will be seeing the last movie this weekend with Jen. She and I have seen five of the films together in the theater! (The other two were seen with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.)

Did you know I was at the world premiere of the very first Harry Potter film in London in 2001? Those pictures are mostly fuzzy and awful, but scanned and coming soon.

Grown-Up Neville Longbottom

HAY NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM:

Friday Night Lights Appreciation

The internet is also FNL-crazy, thanks to the end of the series. And my girl Tami Taylor, aka Connie Britton, has been nominated for an Emmy along with her TV husband! Isn’t that awesome, y’all?

Google+

That’s right, I’m plus’n. I’m having tons of fun with my 18 friends, thankyouverymuch. It reminds me of the very early days of MySpace where it was me, the Jersey Boys and half of LA. There were about 30 people from St. Louis on MySpace in the beginning, all strangers to me at the time, and I’m still friends with most of them.

Long Hair

I’ve been growing out my hair for my cousin’s wedding, and I’m having so much fun with it. It’s especially nice to wear it up at my new job, where I have to walk outdoors through a wind tunnel to get to meetings. Wind and heat will destroy my hair in 3 seconds flat. Speaking of, I’m enjoying the freedom of venturing outside in 102˙ weather and managing to look … well, not cute, but no worse than everyone else.

Who knows? I may grow it as long as it was in London! (I will part it from the side this time, I promise. And throw in some mousse. Middle Part. Never Forget.)

Terrible Movie Mondays

Justin is now working Monday nights, which means I go to the Redbox and get awfully-awesome teen movies that I would totally eat up on cable, if I had cable.

Guilder Nostalgia

I was trying to explain to someone how wonderfully fun Europe was pre-Euro. He was on the fence til I googled the Guilder. Look!

The watermark for this one was a bumblebee. I would be so good at saving money in a world with the Guilder–I would want to keep them all on my wall!

(Image from here–click for an awesome watermark picture!)

Charlie

Always.

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It’s Oh So Quiet

Yeah, I’m not in a writing mood, at least not here. I will be eventually, but here’s the deal:

1. I LOVE my new job and I actually want to do well at it. This means I can no longer blog during work about how much I hate work.

2. More freelance work and collaborations are on my plate, eating the little free time I have. (I don’t get paid much for the jobs, but Mike always gives me a bottle of wine.)

3. My benefits are about to kick in, which means I have to deal with 401Ks and health insurance and bleeeuuugghhh   p=(0_O)* 

4. I’m trying SO hard to get to the Y, you guys! I work on my fitness for an hour a day! I ordered my bridesmaid dress in a size too small, so I HAVE TO OR IT WON’T ZIP UP.

5. I’m still used to working early in the day, but my partner and boss stay late, so I usually end up working at least 9 hours. And I like it?

6. Choreschoreschoreschoreschorescho

7. The ongoing saga of Justin’s puppet film.

8. A social tsunami of weddings, Double Quinceañeras, art shows, happy hours, concerts, showers, parties, Soulard Market, triathlons, NAPA and more happy hours.

9. Watching Fringe while eating parmesan popcorn is still the highlight of every evening and I won’t sacrifice a second of it.

10. Three of my friends are now engaged to people they’ve been dating for a year or less (one friend? Three months). I am also now the last friend standing out of my high school crew to be without a spouse or a baby (an 00ps-i-knocked-up-a-sorority-girl baby, but still). I’m in the best relationship of my life, have a career I couldn’t have reached otherwise, and am clearly in no hurry to lose any more of my free time to wedding planning or babies. But I feel like if I start exploring the fact that I’ve hit “old maid” status this early into my thirties, I will have a Cathyesque breakdown.

11. This whole May 21 Rapture thing. Okay. Y’all. Family Radio is a creepy sect with a billboard budget. Can we please not call them Christians? And can you guys remember for 2 seconds that I grew up in a church where people speak in Tongues  and fall over and believe in this stuff? And that I somehow turned into a nice person who loves gay people and Jesus and canvas grocery bags and education and F bombs and helping orphans all at the same time?

Even though most churches gross me out these days, many Christians are just like me, people who are just trying to be good people and don’t talk about their faith or their politics or how perfect they’re trying to be. You don’t notice these Christians because they’re doing exactly what they should be doing. You only notice the crazies, and then you lump everyone who ever jammed to DC Talk (andmayormaynothaveaDCTalkcassetteinhercar) into that crazy train and then I scroll down my feeds and I see you mocking my past and it hurts my feelings and this is why I can’t even you guys.

P.S. That was me blowing my brains out, courtesy of Glark.

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Champs and … Well, Champs

I’ve been moving some of my past entries over* and it made me a little nostalgic for my Champs and Chumps lists.

I don’t have any Chumps right now that I can think of (or any that I should write about, at least), so let’s keep this positive and go ALL CHAMPS. Ready?

CHAMPS

Cabin in the Woods: Joss Whedon has a movie coming out? Co-written and directed by Drew Goddard? With tons of Buffyverse actors, including my favorite, Tom Lenk?** How did I miss this news? Needless to say, I’m pumped, especially since I just finished the latest (smut-filled)(hilarious) Buffy comic book.



Insanity Workouts: I’m on Month 2, Day 9, which is the longest I’ve gone without life interrupting. I feel great and I love that I’m on a good roll. I still need to take a lot of 5-second rests, but it amazes me that I’m able to do this.



This Bag: I sent my Style Guru Ginger on a mission for a cute computer bag, and while the adorable one she found was too expensive, it inspired me to “go yellow” and I found this:

TV Time: Justin has relaunched his rooftop TV club, this time at The Moolah! (Well, the Mini-Moolah in the lobby to be exact.) It’s always fun and the themes are hilarious. Please come – Tuesday nights at 8!

$$$: Justin and I are now planning on making the move official after Christmas. This way I don’t have to leave my mom alone during the Christmas season. This ALSO means 2 more months of extra $$, which is great because HUGE expenses seem to be hitting all at once (like this morning, when my car didn’t start – CHUMP CARD)

Halloween: TONS of HUGE parties to look forward to. I’m recycling last year’s costume because I love it, and y’all will freak over Justin’s. It’s going to be a good weekend.

Freedom: The Internet has talked enough about this book, but I wanted to throw it out there that I’m enjoying it a lot. And since the only time I can read is before bed and I fall asleep after 20 pages, I’m dragging out this pleasure for as long as possible. Thanks, Franzen.

Road Trip: I’m going to Indiana with Justin for Thanksgiving. I’m so excited to see where he grew up and meet his extended family! We’re visiting both parents, which means I get to see the whole state (and maybe drop by Michigan to hug an old friend or two). Because of my dad’s surgeries and my work’s VERY limited vacation policy, I haven’t had time to leave town since 2007. That’s right, aside from Illinois, I have not left the state in 3 years. Isn’t that horrifying? Never again.

This Guy: Wait about 30 seconds, and then this guy launches into my exact philosophy for life. I cannot emphasize enough how much my life changed when this outlook suddenly clicked in me:

*Yes, I know there will be a WordPress export file someday. However:

a. I don’t trust Blog-City.
b. I’m impatient and anxious; I just feel better doing it now.
c. I have plenty of spelling errors and inappropriate content that needs to be fixed or deleted.
d. Some (many) entries are stupid and don’t need to be moved.
e. I like having control over these things. Much like I’m doing with my childhood basement right now, if this place is going down then I’m gutting it myself.
f. I’m sure I would have to go back through all the entries to fix some sort of error anyway. (See point a.)

Maybe by the time I’m sick of this, a tested and awesome export file will be available and I can move the rest with one click. But until then, I’m having fun reliving 05 – 06!

**I am pretty sure, via Facebook, that my friend Conor knows Tom Lenk. However, he always has people asking, “You know so-and-so? I LOVE so-and-so!!” I’m trying to avoid being that person. We’ll see how long that lasts.

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Five By Five

Last night:

  • Awesome BBQ at Nick’s, with all-star food and a portobello-swiss burger
  • Seeing a rarely-tipsy Justin tipsy, thanks to free beers in a luxury Busch Statium box
  • Having my own parking spot downtown!
  • A fun walk with my boyfriend, before meeting with friends at Jen’s building
  • A view of the Arch underneath the trees!
  • 5 couples… including, for once, me
  • The last single event for Niki and Dustin.
  • Being jealous of the kids who got to watch fireworks while sitting on a firetruck ladder! No fair!
  • Arriving just in time to hear the B-52s play “Love Shack” AND “Rock Lobster”
  • Amazingly off-beat dancing from some underage drunk white girls
  • Snuggling for the ages
  • Fireworks:

This Morning:

  • Sleeping in
  • Cheesy eggs made by a hot bearded man
  • Skipping down the (rarely) empty street to Gelateria
  • Getting respectfully hollered at by two old black men
  • Fresh giant cinnamon roll
  • Breakfast in COUCH BOAT
  • Buffy Season 3 marathon
  • “Justin, meet Faith. Faith, Justin.”
  • Talking ’bout the future. Lots
  • Nose kisses from Chauncy, with minimal resulting hives

Moral of the story: if you’re having one of the shittiest days of your life, it’s highly possible that in exactly a year, you could have a near-perfect 24 hours. So try to think of it as a good sign.

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