28. Once a year, go to an open space and scream as loud as you can- the last scream

I have a confession: this is actually the second (and hopefully final) draft of this post. The first draft was started very, very late on Saturday night when I couldn’t sleep. I wrote and wrote until I couldn’t write anymore, saved the draft, and went to sleep. When I got up on Sunday morning, I opened the post, read it, and thought, “STEPH HOLY CRAP YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE.” So, I deleted the draft.

But then, a funny thing happened, as they so often do in my life. I woke up this morning to a different post. One written by the creator of my list, Ria. Man, I love that girl. Somehow, she just gets me and says what I need to hear, even when she doesn’t know it’s what I need to hear. The post was about trust. Trust in the people we love, being afraid to trust, being able to trust ourselves…and damn, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

See, I’ve been struggling with something that I’ve only recently been ok talking about, and even then, I’ve not ever shared the core of the problem. But today, I will. Because today, somehow, from the other side of the world, Ria shared about trust and her struggles, and I knew it was time for me to tackle mine.

In true Steph fashion, I’m going to shift gears for a second, but don’t worry- everything will come full circle. Today’s topic is being single, and boy oh boy, do people have a LOT of opinions on that. If you’re single, nod your heads with me. If you’re not, perhaps you remember a time when this was true, and if you don’t, allow me to elaborate. As a 29 year old single woman, I am presented with many opinions on my singleness. Most of the time, these opinions aren’t asked for. In fact, 99% of the time, they aren’t asked for. And yet, they are still flung my way at full force. I guess it’s been that way since I started dating. I’d have a boyfriend, and the general opinion was that I should be single. “You can’t be happy with someone else, until you’re happy being alone.” I heard that more than a couple times. Or, I’d go through a break-up and hear, “Oh, I knew he was bad for you from the start.” Oh really? Why the hell wasn’t I clued in on this? But the real opinions started a few years ago. I had been single for a few years, had just bought my own home, and was for the first time in years, completely ok with being single. In fact, I was a little excited about it. But apparently, that isn’t supposed to be the norm. I was asked WHY I was single more times than I could count. Why I didn’t have kids turned into why don’t I like kids (keep in my mind where I work…) When shopping for a water heater, I was asked why my husband sent me to do a man’s job. I was told to stop being so picky. Told to be more picky. Told that I hadn’t “been through enough of the crappy guys” to have met my future husband. Once, I was told that I should probably freeze my eggs, since “who knows when I’d actually find someone.” I have two things to say about this: first, please don’t ever say these things to people. Ever. Even if you think you’re being helpful, or loving, you’re not. Hearing these things hurts, no matter how used to them I’ve gotten. So please think before you speak. Second, despite these things, I still enjoy being single. Well, except for one thing…the whole reason I’m writing this post. The whole reason I deleted it the first time. 

I am one of very, very few singles left in my friend circle. My friends who are in couples/engaged/married, God bless them- they are such amazing, lovely people and do everything in their power to make sure I don’t feel like a third wheel. And most of the time, I don’t. But occasionally, a little voice creeps in to my head and reminds me that friendships can change, and that’s where my trust issues come in. See, happy as I may be being single, I am so afraid that that factor may change my friendships. Because I don’t understand being in a marriage. I don’t know what it’s like to argue with my husband. I don’t have any children. I’m not in the same “phase of life.” And because of those things, I am constantly worried that I’ll be phased out. That I won’t be the “go to” friend anymore. That I won’t be included in things because I’m not a couple. That I just won’t understand. I’m ok being single. I’m not ok missing out because of it. I may not be married, but I know how to listen. 

I needed salsa today for lunch, so I drove across town to my favorite spot, got my salsa, and decided to take the highway back home. On the way, I wrestled with this post- do I write it or not? Yes or no? Then I decided to deal with it the only logical way possible- I decided to scream it out. I rolled back my windows while going 70mph on I-80, and screamed. I screamed for all the singles who hold their heads high when they’re met with constant unwanted feedback. I screamed for my friends, that I love so much. I screamed out my worries of this post being seen as passive-aggressive, or hating married people, or being a one-woman pity party. I screamed about my feelings of inadequacy because my friends are wives or husbands and me? I’m Steph. I screamed and screamed and screamed until I laughed. I started laughing. “Steph,” I told myself, “your friends love you. You are supported. No one is going to think that you’re being a jerk.” So, I decided to trust. I drove home, made lunch, drove over to Nissan for an oil change, and am typing this post on my phone in the waiting room. Am I still scared this post might not be well-received? Absolutely. But this post isn’t about other people. This blog isn’t about other people. It’s about me. It’s my one spot where I can be completely selfish and scream my feelings out, and that’s what I intend to do. That’s what I did today. I completed the final scream on my list, and I admitted some big things today. And you know what? It made me feel brave. Here’s to being brave today, and everyday.

Until next time,



5. On April 19th, every year- go outside and count the stars! (The 3rd and final round!)

Happy Monday- again! I can’t believe it, but I’m in the final stretch of Mondays being a part of my weekend. Starting in June, I’m back to a Monday-Friday work week for the summer. I am insanely excited! While I’ve actually come to like having Mondays off (no lines at Target!), I’m really looking forward to a normal weekend again. I can’t wait. 🙂

This past weekend was a big step for me- I actually did something spontaneous! Well, spontaneous for me, anyway. Mal and I decided to take a trip to Des Moines to see “The Book of Mormon.” Now, generally if I’m planning out a day trip, I do so several weeks in advance- it keeps me organized, gives me time to save a little money if needed, and it keeps me from being stressed out. Anyway, Mal and I made plans about three weeks ago, which is a big deal for us, and the trip went off without a hitch. Despite being hit with some kind of stomach bug Saturday morning, I slept all day and drove to Mal’s Saturday night. We drove to Des Moines yesterday morning for the show- it was AWESOME! I had such a fun time! We had a quick dinner down the street at SpaghettiWorks, then headed home. It was a relaxing day, and such a good way to start the weekend.

The same week we made our trip plans was also April 19th, my third and final star gazing event. If you’ve been around long enough to read about my past two star-gazing endeavors, you know that there have been lots of clouds, a little rain, and very few stars. Since this was my very last one, I was hoping for some kind of cosmic miracle, but the forecast leading up to the big day wasn’t looking good. Even so, I made plans with Bryan and Seth for dinner, ice cream, and stars.

After making tortilla pizzas and making a pit stop at Whitey’s, we drove to what I’ve deemed as mine and Ria’s “spot.” It’s a small park overlooking the Mississippi, and it’s one of my favorite places in the QC. Ria and I used to go there all the time to sit and talk, or drink coffee, or eat Panchero’s. I’ve even FaceTimed her from that spot. Anyway, the guys and I picked a bench, settled in, and looked up. No stars. Again. Thankfully, the clouds started to shift, and three sets of eyes are better than one, so in no time at all, we did discover a couple stars. Either that, or the fact that I was not dressed for the 50 degree weather while eating ice cream, made me hallucinate stars. Who knows? Side note- it’s really, really hard to get pictures of stars!

Anyway, our final count for the evening was 7 stars. Not too bad at all! I had a ton of fun, and it was a great experience to include other people in my star gazing, since I’ve done it by myself the other two times. I’m really excited to have crossed another item off my list- this officially puts me at 11 things done, and 4 things that I’ve started, but not yet finished. And, of course 15 things that I have less than 11 months to complete- eek!!! What list item would you like to see me tackle next? See the complete list here! Ok, well I’d better go shower and be a productive human being now.

Until next time,



22. Go to a new restaurant every 3 months: Taste of Belgium

Happy Monday, friends! I have a gift for you to chase away the Monday blues…TWO BLOG POSTS IN ONE DAY! Yes, you read that right! I’ve been working my butt off on my list, and have lots of fun things to share, so, why not?!  I’m also currently trapped at my house while my car gets a recalled part replaced, so I have all the time in the world! Now, this post is actually a bit of a bonus. I’ve kept on track with my “new restaurant going” but I was in Ohio two weeks ago for a wedding  and I couldn’t not write about that, especially since it was my first time in Cincinnati! Get ready to “ooh and aww” over this adorable brunch spot, and drool all over the food…I definitely did.

So, two weeks ago, my amazing friend, Danielle, got married to one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, Brad. Danielle and I met about five years ago through Ria, and after bonding in Bahrain and probably setting a record with our marathon FaceTime sessions, the rest is history. 🙂 I was incredibly excited for the wedding and the trip itself; I was supposed to visit them two years ago, but ended up with the stomach flu, so it was that much better being able to spend time with them during such a special weekend. The wedding was beautiful, Danielle was GORGEOUS, and every single detail was perfect. I never wanted to leave. (Also, I was only going to share 3-4 pictures, but I couldn’t decide…so here you go.)


Now, Danielle and I have had a little bit of bad luck when it comes to restaurants. A few Christmases ago, we met up in Chicago for a weekend. We ate at this great Mexican place that makes the guacamole fresh at your table. It was DELICIOUS and so much fun, until the restaurant filled up with smoke and we were all rushed out of the building. If you can believe this, the SAME THING happened in Ohio. I arrived on a Thursday afternoon. We drove to town, got pedicures, and met her parents for dinner at the restaurant next to the hotel. I was not three bites into my chicken pot pie when the manager ran in, and told us we all needed to evacuate the building because the roof was on fire! The next day, I was still mourning the loss of my pot pie, when Danielle suggested brunch at a place called “Taste of Belgium.” Danielle had mentioned it to me on the phone the week earlier, and I was excited to try it. Although I’m *still* not a huge breakfast fan, I was ready to try something new.

I am not kidding when I say this is probably the cutest place I’ve ever eaten. Seriously.

I was OBSESSED with the wall art, which changed every few seconds via a projection system. I actually made everyone sit and wait for the waffle pictures to pop up again so I could take a picture. Anyway, there was a little bit of a wait, so I had plenty of time to scan the menu. Everything sounded good, but Danielle and Brad told me I had to try the chicken and waffles, which is definitely not something I would normally order, so that’s what I went with. I also had my eye on the Beer Cheese, which came with homemade soft pretzels, so when Brad asked if anyone wanted to share, I was happy to volunteer as tribute. While we waited for the food, I took a bunch of photos, and enjoyed the open air- there is a garage-style door on one side of the restaurant, which was open while we ate. Although it was lightly raining, the cool breeze was a nice addition to a great brunch. Our pretzels and beer cheese arrived, and I’ll be honest…I was so hungry and so excited that I forgot to take pictures. I’ll just say this: it was the best beer cheese/pretzel combo I’ve ever had in my life. The cheese had a hint of raspberry- genius! The appetizer was gone in less than 5 minutes. A few minutes later, our food arrived…


Please just take a second, and stare at this plate. Yes. It was as good as it looks. Actually, it was better than it looked, if that was even possible. The hot and sweet combo of the syrup and hot sauce was perfect. The salad was a nice addition, and brought the whole meal together. I gave it a valiant effort, but I wasn’t able to eat the whole thing. (I was pretty sad about it.) If you’re ever in Cincy, I HIGHLY recommend this place.. I’d go back in a heartbeat. The atmosphere was great, the food was insane, and even though they were busy, the wait staff was very attentive. 5 stars for Taste of Belgium, and 5 stars to everyone that watched me tear into this meal as though I hadn’t eaten in a week.


Honestly, I could gush about that place, and the trip itself, for another 1,000 words, but I’ll keep that to myself. 🙂 I hope you all enjoy your Monday, and get ready for round two soon…

Until next time,