Reliving the Glory Days

Photo by Marcin Kempa on Unsplash

The other day, my husband and I were going to Home Depot to get a sprinkler (how late-30s-life is that???), and along the way, we unintentionally took a drive through our past.

It just happened. We opened Maps and found the fastest route to the Home Depot we were going to – it was one out of the way because the closest ones didn’t have the sprinkler. The route happened to take us past some interesting places.

First, we went through this TINY town where my husband spent a lot of his time growing up. He would spend the day at his grandparents’ house, playing and doing whatever little boys do. His grandparents ran a successful lumber company, and it was right next to the house. My husband happened to be willed the house, with a provision that he’d live in it for a few years. But, we moved to Las Vegas, and his grandfather died 4 days later. His grandfather mentioned to the executor that he was going to change the will since we were moving, but that didn’t happen due to the circumstances.

Well, a year or so later, we happened to be in town, and the house literally blew up while we were home! The police contacted us, but thankfully the house blew up while we were at a family party for my cousin who was home from overseas with the military (the reason we were home was for the party). I’m not sure if they ever figured out what happened or not, but my husband was so sad that the house was destroyed because he spent so much of his time there while he was young.

So, we drove by the house – or rather lot – on our trip to Home Depot. The house now has a trailer on it, but the barns his grandfather built are still there, and that made him happy.

We continued on our journey, and happened upon a cemetery. I said, hey, I think this is where my dad is buried! So, we stopped there too. My daughter has been asking to see “Pap Pap Steve’s rock,” so we got out and hunted it down. Of course the cemetery site didn’t show his location (I should probably call about that!), but I happened to have a picture of where it was from the day of the burial. It was definitely strange seeing my dad’s grave. That seemed pretty final. I’m not particularly emotional, so I wasn’t sad, it was just strange.

I’m super at peace with my dad’s death because there’s literally not one single regret that I have, there was nothing unsaid, etc. I loved him, and he loved me, we both knew that, we talked once a week, there was nothing unfinished. I’m really thankful for that! I hate that my daughter won’t know him, but she definitely sees pictures and hears stories.

So, we got back in the car after that 2nd unexpected stop, and were on the way to Home Depot. We got the sprinkler (hooray!). It was close to the mall I used to frequent. A lot. I decided to skip the route Maps suggested on the way home and try to recall the backroads I used to be able to drive in my sleep. I miraculously remembered it nearly perfectly. I did turn before one building instead of after that building, but we got right back on track.

My husband said, just look at what Maps says.

I said Maps!?!? I don’t need Maps, I drove this way a thousand times without any map!

He said, wow, you’re right, HOW did you get there? You use Maps for everything now (even locally, for traffic purposes!).

I was like listen, I was 16. I put 18,000 miles on my car that year (seriously). You don’t get to be 16 and drive 18k miles without knowing the way. When you’re 16 (at least in those days), you can practically SMELL your way to the mall like a bloodhound!!

Man, that mall has sooooo many memories. From encountering some really bizarre people, to my car (a different car) breaking down while we skipped the SAT prep course. That’s literally the only act of rebellion I ever had. I’m pretty boring!

My then-acquaintance/classmate, Dawn and I were both there, not because we were friends yet, but because we both hated that SAT-prep course and both loved the mall, hahaha! The car broke down, we both had to pee, and we had to wait about 1.5 hours til someone could get to us (I feel like it was when they’d be leaving work downtown or something, so it took a while). We bonded, and she’s now one of my best friends (and part of this blog and videos!). 🙂

What started out as a basic trip to get a sprinkler ended up being a pretty fun micro-adventure (boy, covid has really warped our sense of adventure, haha!).

(Video) Speaking Of Interview: Gervase Kolmos, Mindset Coach for Moms

Check out the latest Speaking Of interview, where I talk to Gervase Kolmos. Gervase is a certified mindset coach for moms. For 7 years she’s been helping moms navigate the waters of “motherhood AND,” not “motherhood OR” through her companies Shiny Happy Human and The Champagne Society.

(Video) Speaking Of – Interview Preview and Silly Facebook Names

Check out this week’s interview preview and hear my observations about silly Facebook names. Sometimes those names crack me up! I talk about one I saw years ago: Fresh Teeth. What happens if that person gets broccoli in their teeth at lunch? Awkward!

Enjoy the video:

(Video) Speaking Of Interview with Briana Nicastro, Community Activist

Check out this week’s Speaking Of interview with Briana Nicastro, Community Activist.

Briana’s dedication to her community, specifically through Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry and Dorchester Paws is truly inspiring. Watch the interview to hear when her passion started, how it positively impacts her life, and how you can get involved too.

Briana also shares fun details about her husband Max’s business – Skatedogtor. Max is a former pro hockey player who now takes shelter dogs on “skates,” where he rollerblades with the dogs and records the sessions to help show the dogs’ personalities to help them get adopted!

Enjoy the interview!

Seriously, What’s for Dinner???

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

Seriously, what’s for dinner? That’s the question EVERY night in my house. Both my husband and I ask it of one another every. single. night. We never have a plan. So, no, my kitchen doesn’t have fabulous meals in it like in the pic above.

We instead have too many days when we’re visiting places like the one below. We end up ordering takeout (#quarantine!) from places that are open late because we can’t even reach a consensus on what to eat until nothing else is open.

Photo by Ash Goldsbrough on Unsplash

People who cook are amazing to me, and those who cook *nightly* or *plan ahead* are mystical creatures to me (they’re probably also the same people who can fold a fitted sheet…). I hear that these people exist, some people even share stories of how they’re doing it, or how it’s less expensive than eating out… but it still just seems impossible to me.

I’m not sure why meal planning or cooking is so hard. In practical terms it’s not, you buy ingredients, you follow a recipe, you eat. But, for some reason, that’s now how it works in my world.

I’ve been dying for fish tacos. I thought, hey, I’m not at a corporate job, I have time to make some good fish tacos. I sent a friend who recently posted some pics of delicious homemade tacos a message on FB and asked for the recipe. She shared, and it sounded lovely, simple, and delicious. I figured I could make the tacos happen that night (although I should’ve known that it’s like watching the hair stylist do your hair at the salon – it always looks like it’s repeatable, but you get home, try it, and look like a mutant).

I drove to the store, bought the ingredients, and checked out. Somehow I ended up spending $52. But, I had enough to make tacos for 4 people, so I persisted. I got home, started to make the food, and it turned out pretty okay. My tacos didn’t look as delicious as my friend’s. My husband always jokes that it’s because I don’t cook with the most important ingredient: love.

He’s totally right. I cook with wonder, not love, in my heart and try to figure out how the heck people are so good at this and I just can’t get it right! Not too long ago, I burned something on the stove (I don’t even remember what because it’s rather frequent). My daughter asked what the smell was, and I was like, the scent of mommy attempting to cook.

It doesn’t seem to be for me. As much as I like the idea of it, it doesn’t like the idea of me.

Still, those tales I hear of others meal planning and cooking mystify me, and I want in. I want to spend less than $52 on fish tacos at home. I want to know what we’re going to have for dinner before 8pm each night (and eek then be limited by what’s open since every place has shortened hours due to the quarantine).

How does one, who dislikes cooking, and doesn’t eat mammals, but enjoys having dinner, figure out how to affordably make a meal that doesn’t suck? I’d love some tips, because it really does seem like it’s impossible! I have a few things I make and they’re good, but I don’t want to make those things every single week!

Now, off to ponder what in the world we’ll have for dinner tonight!

Speaking Of – Interview Preview, Pterodactyls Aren’t Dinos, Memories of Dad

Hi all, check out today’s Speaking Of video where I share the interview preview for the week, talk about how I learned that pterodactyl’s aren’t a type of Dino (mind blown!), and share a few funny memories of my dad!

Stay tuned for the weekly interview later this week.

(Video) Speaking Of Interview with Laurie Barrett: Aspiring Writer, Creative Soul, Mom

Hi all, check out the latest Speaking Of interview. This week I talked to Laurie Barrett, an aspiring writer. We chatted about everything from why she enjoyed the quarantine to her writing process and mom-life.

Check it out and enjoy!

The Law of Attraction Blows My Mind!

I seriously love and believe in the law of attraction. If you’re not familiar with it, basically it means that whatever you focus on, you will bring about. If you focus on positive things, positive things will happen, and if you focus on negative things, negative things will happen – your attention/focus/beliefs manifest tangibly into your life in one way or another. You can use it for goals, health, career, physical things, etc.

My favorite books about the Law of Attraction are by Rhonda Byrne: The Secret and The Power.

When I focus on things, I can see those things manifest – good or bad. An example of the negative and the positive are in the story of my pregnancy and my daughter’s NICU stay.

I fully believe the law of attraction is why my daughter was born right before 28 weeks. I had 28 weeks so firmly in my head as my goal, that I “willed” that into existence. I didn’t realize I did it, but let me tell you that I focused so hard on getting to 28 weeks that not much else entered my mind at that point.

After a miscarriage at 10 weeks earlier the same year, I remember thinking, ok, I have to get to 12 weeks, that’s when it’s “safe.” Then I remember talking to my doctor about the next milestone – ie when the baby could live outside of me and survive. She said 24 weeks. I said, okay, I have to get to 24 weeks. She said “No! At 24 weeks the odds of survival are 50/50.” I said okay, when does survivability go up. She said “28 weeks, but Stephanie, you need to get to 40 weeks! You don’t want your baby to be that early!”

But, in my head, I didn’t process anything after I heard her say 28 weeks. 28 weeks was my goal. I needed to get to the point in the pregnancy that I was past the point of miscarriage (in theory, that is – obviously you’re never past that point, which is terrifying) – that if something came up, she could be delivered and live. I needed to know that my baby could live.

I fully believe that because all I did was focus on making it to 28 weeks, that’s why she was born at 27/6 weeks. She ended up needing to be delivered because I had severe preeclampsia/borderline HELLP.

I also believe that the law of attraction is why she survived in the NICU. She developed a severe lung condition (P.I.E.) that only 25% of preemies get (and imagine that only 10% of babies are born premature – and that 10% includes all babies under 37 weeks. The number born at her gestation is much lower). She wasn’t doing well. The one doctor told me she didn’t know if she (my daughter) would be going home. She didn’t know if she’d live. She was very sick. The day the doctor said that was the last time I heard any of those words.

At home that night, I developed a mantra that I started to say to my daughter every single time I walked away from her bedside for the rest of her stay – no matter if I was leaving for the evening or just going to the bathroom. I said “Kennedy is strong. Kennedy will be happy, healthy, and home soon.” I also walked into rounds the next day and said, “Okay, new rules. We no longer say the words sick, bad day, struggling, etc. We now say things like ‘she had a busy day. There was a lot going on.'” I wanted to know where things really stood, but also wanted them framed in a more positive or neutral way.

For example, for a 28 weeker to leave the hospital without a blood transfusion is pretty rare. So to me, if she needed a blood transfusion on a particular day wasn’t “bad,” it was actually normal – as in to be expected. And I’ll tell you what, my daughter noticed and reacted positively to our new positive energy. No one was allowed to call her “sick,” or anything else negative, and she thrived.

My point is that I believe that what you focus on is what you manifest, both the positive and negative things. As with anything, I can’t explain why terrible things happen sometimes – there are truly things that I believe can’t be explained by science, religion, or a combination of the two. But overall, I really believe that you can control your destiny.

In lighter applications of the law of attraction, sometimes you bring things into your life by simply “loving” them and believing you’ll have them. Last week I was looking at playsets for my daughter. She is absolutely in love with them and comments every time she sees one.

Around Christmas, we asked two of three sets of grandparents around Christmas if they’d help pitch in for one as an Easter present (but the yard wasn’t ready at that point, so it was on hold).

We didn’t ask the one set of grandparents, I’m not even sure why. But anyway, last week I was researching them, working to find the best one for our needs and yard, and reviewed a few options with my husband. I also asked him if he’d ask his dad and I said I’d ask my mom if they still wanted to pitch in.

The next day he got home from work and said, “You’re never going to believe this. My mom (who is divorced from his dad) called me and said she woke up in the middle of the night last night thinking about swing sets for Kennedy. She said she wants to buy her one.” I couldn’t believe it. As I mentioned, we didn’t ask her at any point, so that randomly just happened. She woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it. How crazy is that???? That is the law of attraction at work!

This is the one we ordered! Hooray!

I also happened to dream some numbers the other night, but didn’t play them, and 3/4 of the numbers hit straight the next day. Ugh! I have no idea how to harness that, but it’s pretty awesome when that happens!

Whether you fully believe in the law of attraction or not, it never hurts to be positive, and focus on the things that you want. It may just work out, and it certainly won’t hurt!

(Video) Speaking Of – Weekly Update: Interview Preview & Puppy Misbehavior

Check out the latest Speaking Of video. In this week’s update I preview who I’ll be talking with during my weekly interview, and talk about my puppy’s latest shenanigans. At 9 months, she’s definitely going through a rebellious stage!!!

Check back at the end of the week for the weekly Speaking Of interview.

(Video) Speaking Of Interview – Laquanda Steed: Native Charlestonian, Working Mom, Blooming Writer

Hi all, happy Friday! Check out the latest Speaking Of Interview!

I talk with Laquanda Steed about everything from being a native Charlestonian (!!!), to the finding work-life balance as a working mom, to her blooming writing career, and advice to those pursuing their passions.


I love this interview so much that I had a hard time shortening it to even 26 minutes! If you enjoy it too, please like, subscribe, and share. 🙂

(Video) Speaking Of Weekly Update – Interview Preview and Exciting Purchases

Hi guys, check out the latest Speaking Of video. In my weekly update, I share info about the interview I’ll be posting on Thursday, and talk about some exciting purchases I made this week!!!

Enjoy, and please like/subscribe/share!

(Video) Speaking Of – Living in the Quarantine Feels Kind of Like Being a Rich Kid!

Check out today’s video – talking about how living during the quarantine feels like of how I’d imagine it feels to be a rich kid! Everything is so convenient and coming to you – from curbside groceries to curbside pick up and family porch pictures! 2020 has definitely been an interesting year so far!

Enjoy the video!