The One with the Year of Steph

Happy Sunday! I hope your weekend was spectacular. Mine is just getting started! I’ll admit, I was pretty skeptical about my schedule change to Tuesday-Saturday back in September. But, I am actually loving my Saturdays! The staff is a different mix than during the week so that’s a lot of fun! I get a lot done, I get to see a ton of my volunteers, and I get to spend some time in the exhibits. It’s all good. I spent my Sunday in Iowa City with Mal and my dad. My mom is in Florida for a week, visiting my grandpa, so Mal and I called up my dad to see if he wanted to meet us for lunch. After some delish chicken pot pie and cheese curds at Cheddar’s, we walked the mall for about an hour. It was a lot of fun, and great to have time with them both!

So, if you checked out my 2015 Recap, I mentioned that 2016 is the “Year of Steph.” Since you’ll be hearing a lot about it, I figured I’d better explain what it is. 🙂 The Year of Steph is this:

*The year I *finally* consider my own happiness before that of others. It’s something I struggle with. Given the option, I tend to choose what I know will make others happy, even if that means making myself unhappy.

*The year I choose bravery

*The year I focus on how to make myself stronger- mentally, physically, and emotionally

*The year I pick adventures over my couch…although adventures on the couch are definitely welcome! (Hi, How to Get Away with Murder!)

*The year I learn

*The year I love

*The year I appreciate life for exactly what it is

*The year I tackle the 12 (yes, 12!) goals I’ve set for myself (A huge thank you to the lovely friends/family/framily that are holding me accountable!)

*The year I live positively

*The year I kick my list’s butt!

So that’s it…that’s the Year of Steph in a nutshell. I’m 3 weeks in and it’s going so well! I’m so excited about the possibilities this year has to offer. How is your 2016 going? What are your plans? Are you making it the Year of You? Let me know below…I’d love to hear about it!

That’s it for now…I’m off to a night of TV reruns, possibly some reading, and a very early bedtime…potentially within the next 45 minutes. Good night all!

Until  next time,



4. Pamper Day the 5th and 12. What is the “melt your heart” Steph meal? Figure it out. Cook it for someone special.

Happy weekend and happy first official post of 2016! (I don’t count my recap, since that was about 2015. If you missed it, check it out here.) My 2016 has started off swimmingly- I hope yours has too! My only complaint is this stupid cold weather…which I should be used to, after 28 years of living in Iowa. Today we had a windchill of -21, so I’ve been holed up in my house for the entire day. It’s actually been pretty great- laundry and dishes done, grocery list written, I got a 30 minute workout in while watching “27 Dresses”…excellent day. Excellent.

So, I had originally been scheduled for Pamper Day in November, when I was right in the middle of “Charlotte’s Web.” Basically, there was nothing in the world that I would have found relaxing, even if JGL had shown up at my front door with a bottle of wine. (Wait…strike that. That would have been the best.) Anyway, Pamper Day was moved back to December aka the least relaxing month of all time, so by default, I pushed it to January. Thankfully, I already had pretty exciting plans for January- Ria was here! So, on January 3rd I drove to Indiana to my friend Aubree’s for a 2 1/2 day stay. I knew it would be fun. I knew I’d have a great time. I had no idea how relaxed I would feel after. It was the perfect pampering. 🙂

We didn’t do anything big. It was just 2 1/2 awesome days of talking, laughing, eating good food, watching good TV and movies, snuggling Aubree’s little girl, Ana, hugging each other, and just loving on each other as much as we could. It was the best. I love my friends.

So, in addition to checking off my Pamper Day, I also crossed off #12: “What is the “melt your heart” Steph meal? Figure it out. Cook it for someone special.” To be honest, I had no idea what the hell this meant when I saw it on my list. Actually, I had no idea what it meant up until 2 weeks ago. When I got to Aubree’s, she asked me if I’d be willing to cook dinner one night. I always get nervous when I’m cooking for people for the first time, so I was a little hesitant…especially when everyone started talking about how excited they were, which only increased once I said out loud that I was nervous- then everyone was REALLY excited and decided to let me know every chance they got. Anyway, upon Aubree’s request for something buffalo chicken, I decided to make Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Mac and Cheese. And guess what? It turned out great! But that wasn’t the best part. The best part was being in the kitchen, surrounded by four people I love dearly. Laughing, talking, stuffing our faces with cheese while we cooked. I can’t count the number of times I said how happy I was over those 2 1/2 days, but being in that kitchen, getting to cook for my friends, was one of the highlights. Once I was home, I started skimming my list, to see what I still needed to complete in the next 14 1/2 months, and my eyes landed on #12. That’s when I decided: the “melt your heart” part wasn’t about the food for me…it was about the happiness it brought. My someone specials- Ria, Dave, Aubree, and Christopher, if you happen to be reading this: thank you for letting me cook for you, love you, and be a part of your lives. I’m sure lucky to have you in mine. Now, in true Steph fashion, I didn’t take any pictures of the food, or that night. But, here’s a picture of the five of us with a moose!


I now have 9 things officially crossed off my list, not including the 5-6 I’ve been working on, but can’t be crossed off yet (Pamper Day, screaming, etc.) That leaves me with 15 things I need to complete before March 19, 2017. Eek. That’s a lot. Here’s to 14 months of adventures!

Until next time,


The One with the 2015 Recap

Happy 2016, friends! I hope you all had an awesome New Year’s! Before I jump in to the crazy awesome year that 2016 is shaping up to be and cross more things off my list, I wanted to recap my five highlights from 2015. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. My Last Recital and Send-Off

I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my time as a dance teacher.

2.  Starting my new job!

Although I miss my dancers, I really like the work I’m doing, I love my volunteers and staff, the hours are AWESOME, and check out my great view! Also, this job is challenging me in more ways than I can count, which I think is a great thing.

3. Family trips!

4. Celebrating my 28th birthday!

5. Getting to direct my first show, and choreograph one of my favorite shows I’ve ever worked on!


And, just because I can…my sixth and final highlight of 2015…two of my best friends got engaged! EEEEEEE!!! Congrats Bryan and Seth!


So…what’s in store for 2016? Well, I’ve dubbed it “The Year of Steph.” My focus this year is truly going to be on myself. Self-care and happiness are at the top of my list, as are 12 goals I’ve set for myself, and, of course, THE LIST. I am so excited to share with you all as I go, and to continue to grow and learn about myself. I think 2016 is going to be super, and I can’t wait to be right. 🙂

Until next time,