What’d I Miss?!

Happy Sunday, friends! A full four month hiatus- after a three month hiatus- and I’m back. Really, truly back. (Famous last words…) Holy cow, 2017 has been quite the year! Let me catch you up to speed- let’s back up to March.

March 2017

March was a big month! I turned 30 (eek!), spent my birthday at the Wizarding World, and finished up work on “In the Heights” at Davenport North. My next post will be all about my birthday trip, so let me just say- it was an AWESOME month! ITH was one of the best shows I’ve ever worked on, and a truly life-changing experience.

 

April/May 2017

I had some vacation blues after getting back from Florida- which was cured when I took a long weekend trip to Cincinnati to see Danielle and Brad! It was a pretty lazy weekend, which was exactly what I needed. Oh, and there was cake, so that was a plus!

When I got back from my trip…I did a big thing. I gave my notice at the Family Museum. Yes- you read that correctly. After almost ten years, I decided to leave. There were many reasons for my leaving, but the biggest and most important was that I was ready to pursue my passion full time. I was finally brave enough to do it.

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet…I gave notice without having anything lined up. That was/is the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I really can’t explain it, other than I had the sense that everything was going to be ok. And it was.

During my last week with the Museum, I interviewed for and was offered the position of Theatre Coordinator at Davenport Junior Theatre, which is where I’ve spent the last four months. I’ve finally found my perfect fit of a job. Every day, I’m excited to go to work, love what I do, and feel like I’m not only making a huge difference, but am appreciated for doing so. I could gush for hours about all the things I like about my job, but instead, I’ll just say I’m happy. Super, crazy, stupid happy.

Yes, things aren’t always sunshine and roses. I’ve taken a bit of a pay cut, which was hard. Some weeks are tighter than others, but I still have my house, can still pay my bills, and still have money for my biggest indulgence, coffee! While I’m by no means an expert,  I thought I’d share three apps that have really helped, because, let’s face it: everyone likes saving money!

1- Ibotta- here’s how it works: click on the link and get yourself the app. Once you have, you can access and redeem rebates on your groceries, online shopping, and more! I will check out the rebates, match them up with my grocery list, and then redeem them when I get home. All you have to do is snap a picture of your receipt and scan the item’s barcode. EASY! Once you hit $20 (which honestly doesn’t take long), you can send the money to your PayPal or redeem for gift cards. Bam. Also, if you sign up via my referral link, you’ll get $10 after you redeem your first rebate, and I get $5! https://ibotta.com/r/wxeauvg

2-Receipt Hog- download the app, snap a picture of every receipt you accumulate, and let the points roll in! I will say, this one takes a little longer to accumulate, but for how little work it is, I honestly don’t mind.

3- Cartwheel- if you shop at Target as often as I do, you need this. Just trust me.

Summer 2017

So, other than a new job, how did I spend my summer? Well, I kicked it off by watching my ITH cast perform at the Des Moines Civic Center, followed by choreographing my first show at Quad City Music Guild. West Side Story was my most challenging choreography to date, and one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. I had a mini vacation weekend with my family in Chicago, where I got to see Aladdin, and went back two weeks later to see Hamilton with my North kids. Oh, and I snuck in a garage sale, lots of kitty snuggles, and so much friendship time. All in all, a great summer!

So, there you have. The shortest possible recap of the last six months. Life is good and I am loving the path I’m on. What’s to come? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to find out. Here’s to new adventures, more list adventures, and a happy future.

Until next time,

xoxoxo

 

Advertisements

22. Go to a new restaurant every 3 months: Blue Iguana

Three posts in a week?! Yes, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’ve not gone crazy. I am sick though. Adult sick days are the absolute worst. I’m laying on the couch, trying to drink tea and take it easy, when I notice how much the floor needs vacuuming. And I need to dust. And the ceiling fan is dirty. And before I know it, I’m ten seconds from deep cleaning the entire house. But, I remind myself I’m sick and need to rest, and settle in for a season and a half of “How I Met Your Mother” instead. This has been happening about every hour, for the entire day. Resting is hard.

So, this post is actually from August…oops. It did get mentioned in my Milltown Coffee post, but today, you get to hear about the whole experience. I’ve been wanting to visit Blue Iguana for a really long time. As you know, I love Mexican food a whole lot, and I also love LeClaire, where Blue Iguana is located, so it was a win-win situation. I was also due for a date with Travis and Kristin (Bryan’s brother and sister-in-law, and my good friends) so I met up with them and Bryan and Seth at the end of August for dinner and blog fun.

We had a short wait outside when we arrived, which was fine, because I got to officially meet Finn, Travis and Kristin’s baby. After several minutes of cooing and gushing over his cuteness, we were seated inside. The waitress gave us our menus, and I immediately started to gorge on chips and salsa. I’m not kidding; I could eat chips and salsa daily for the rest of my life, and never get tired of it. In between fistfuls of chips, I perused the menu and asked for everyone’s opinions on what I should order. After shooting down Travis’s suggestion to order the lengua (HELL NO), I settled on the flautas.

Our food arrived and it was BEAUTIFUL. Since it was 5 months ago, I can’t remember exactly what everyone ordered, but three of us got the flautas. The other two? No idea, but here it is:

The food was outstanding! My only complaint was that there wasn’t more…

img_1092

Seriously. I could have eaten those flautas for days. When we finished up, Bryan ordered both of us horchata to go. (Mexican rice milk, in case you didn’t know what it was.)

img_1093

That was fantastic too! Considering we went for dinner and my bill was around $15, I thought it was pretty affordable. I will definitely be going back to Blue Iguana. It was absolutely delicious, the service was great, and the company was even better.

Until next time,

xoxo

 

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,

xoxo

The 18 Month Countdown: Life and List Updates!

Happy Labor Day, everyone! I hope you’re all having a nice day! I am VERY much enjoying my long weekend. I spent time with my family, cleaned my house, painted three canvases for my office at work, fixed the drain stopper in my sink, and have been experimenting with some new recipes. Today, I’m going to do some crafts, make some scones for the week, watch lots of “Parks and Rec,” and hopefully go for a walk, since it’s the first day in over a week that it’s not stupid hot. I can’t wait. Yay!

IMG_6010

Artwork…by me! I’ve never painted a canvas before, but obviously, I’m pretty damn good at it.

So, this month marks the year and a half countdown to my 30th birthday. Yes, I’m counting down. Partially because I am planning a “Wizarding World” 30th birthday extravaganza that’s going to be the best birthday on the planet…and partially because I need to get crackin’ on my list. Like, yesterday. So, before I show this list who’s boss, I thought I’d do a quick recap of what I’ve been working on, and what’s still left to do. And also, how life is going. I think I’ll start with that.

Life

If I think back to a year ago and where I was, what I was doing, and what I was worried about, compared to where I am now…it’s like I’m living a completely different life. I remember asking one of my friends if she ever felt like she was living in a rut, where nothing ever changed and things weren’t moving forward. She said she’d never felt that way, and that’s when I knew I needed to make some changes for myself. My biggest change? Actively trying to put myself and my happiness first. I say “trying” because, if you know me and know me well, you know that I generally put everyone else’s needs in front of my own. But I’m working on that.

IMG_5948

Happy things

Goals

So, I think I’ve mentioned a few times that I set some goals for myself for 2015. Nothing earth shattering, but things I really did need to work on. I based them off of my life wheel that I had made with my friend and life coach extraordinaire, Aubree: one goal for each section of the wheel. Most of the goals have evolved over the course of the last 8 months, but I truly think I’m heading in the right direction on all of them. I’m working on my physical, mental, and emotional health. I’m working on the relationships in my life and giving them priority. I’m working to minimize my debt, one step at a time. I’m taking care of myself in a whole new way now. I’m happy. Really, truly, genuinely happy.

IMG_5877

Taking care of myself= impromptu family vacations

Work

I’ve officially been in my new position for 3 months, and am finally, FINALLY getting the hang of it. Granted, I still ask a million questions a day, still feel like an idiot most of the time, and am still exhausted when I leave at 5:00, but I am really enjoying what I’m doing. A job where I get to build relationships, and encourage people to be their best, and teach people how to be successful while playing and having fun? Amazing. For a long time, I didn’t feel like myself at work, and now I do. That, and not being in constant physical pain are probably the best gifts I could have asked for in this transition. All the dancers and preschoolers come back tomorrow, so I know it’s probably going to be a hard week, or few weeks, for me. But, I’m so excited that I’ll still get to see them and be a part of their lives. I love the way the preschoolers’ faces light up when they see me, and how the dance girls have stopped in off and on this summer to check in with me and how I’M doing. Another great gift. 🙂

Me and Other Stuff

Being a homeowner is hard. Seriously. And being a single homeowner in a 100+ year old house is harder. But I love all the learning opportunities that come with it. Yesterday, with the help of YouTube, I fixed the drain stopper in my bathroom sink. By myself. A few weeks before that, I assembled a new TV cabinet. I’m making landscaping plans for my yard for next spring. I’m picking out new paint colors to freshen up my house. I’m doing all that I can to make this house my home.

IMG_5933

Just bought this amazing chair for my house! Woot!

I’m exercising again! I’ve been walking A LOT! I’ve been spending lots of time with Stella and Charlee, drinking lots of coffee, and enjoying having my nights to myself for the first time since…elementary school? Although…that’s not going to last for too long. I’m really excited to announce that I’m going to be directing a show this fall/winter! I will be directing “Charlotte’s Web” at Davenport North. I just cast the show this past Tuesday, and rehearsals will be 3 nights a week, starting in late October, with the show going up in December. I am so excited that I finally have the time to do something I’ve been wanting to do for years. Yay for putting myself first!

IMG_5771

Look at all that happiness! (Also, look at the crazy huge contacts I’m wearing. Eep!)

The List

Ok, so at last count, I have 6 out of 30 things done, but I also have been doing 5 things that are ongoing. Long story short, I need to get moving! Here are a few quick updates on things you haven’t heard about…and some that you have.

#3, 23, 32- (Learn how to pack for a 2 week trip in a carry-on, go on a mission trip to another country, and go to Australia)

No, I don’t have anything on my calendar yet, but I am working on these in the sense that I am working to have more money for them. One of my 2015 goals was/is to pay off my student loans completely. Now, with any goal, some unexpected things have come up (buying an interview suit, purchasing a new wardrobe for work) so I think it’s more likely that my loan will be paid off by my 29th birthday, but it’s still significant progress compared to the last few years. Also, I have 18 months left of car payments, so I’m hoping to pay that off faster once my loans are gone. And then…VACATION MONEY!

#8- Figure out your 30 minute jump start routine

This one has actually been unintentional. For a bit last year, I was timing my routine. That was fine, but I wasn’t really making progress. Apparently, getting up at 6:40 every morning was what I needed, because I have been shaving time off of my morning routine daily. (Starbucks has been a good motivator.) I am guessing I’m down to a 35 minute routine, so I need to start timing again. I’m hoping to knock this one out by the end of the month.

#10- Grow a plant you can feed off of for a year

It’s been three years in the making, but the DeLacy Garden Extreme will be coming to my yard in Spring 2016. I’m waiting for the weather to get cooler so I can rip out all the weeds/plants/weeds growing in the plot, till the soil, and then start a plan of what I want to grow. I am unbelievably excited!

#15- Do something that scares you physically

I had the best plan, and it’s already been foiled. See, I’m afraid of heights, so I thought that would be a good fear to tackle. A few years ago, my boss participated in a Special Olympics fundraiser where she rappelled down the side of the Hotel Blackhawk in downtown Davenport. I decided that was what I wanted to do, and my boss, Kim, agreed to do it with me…except, they’re not holding it in Davenport this year. It’s being held in Des Moines…next week. In the middle of the work week…sigh. Oh well. I guess I’m heading back to the drawing board on this one.

#17- Figure out your karaoke song

I’m still trying to figure out how to get out of this one…

#20- Meditate once a week, for 6 months

I’m almost at the 4 month mark, and I cannot tell you the difference this has made! I fall asleep faster, I’m more relaxed afterwards, and it’s been an interesting way to track my mindset and feelings. I fully plan to keep this going after my 6 month mark.

#34- Foster a dog

When I saw this on the list, I told Ria, “I won’t foster a dog…I’m going to adopt one.” That is still my plan, hopefully next summer. I was planning on this summer, but S and C have been a little naughty since…April…and I figured bringing a new family member into that wasn’t the best idea.

So, that’s where I’m at. Lots to do, and the clock is running! But, with the decision to put myself first, I also made the decision to make this list and my blog a priority. I love blogging, and sharing my story with you, and I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes with crossing things off my list. My goal is to get back to blogging once a week. I’ll need you all to hold me accountable on that, but also, to keep encouraging me to work hard on all of these things! I know I can do it…it’s just nice to know I have support too.

Well, I think it’s time to go for that walk. I hope you all have a wonderful day. You WILL be hearing from me soon!

Until next time,

xoxo