Career, Friendship, Goals, interview, Life, Motherhood, Real life, Stephanie, Tips

(Video) Speaking Of Interview: Mystic & Chris DuRant, Creators of “Bonus Mom, Bonus Mom: Where Are You?” Book

Check out this week’s Speaking Of interview. I talked to Mystic and Chris DuRant who just released their first children’s book: “Bonus Mom, Bonus Mom: Where Are You?”

It’s a positive book about the relationship between a child and her bonus mom (their name for a stepmom), and Mystic’s relationship with Chris’ daughter inspired him to write it. Chris is a former Marine who has many creative outlets, and was excited to write and work on this book with Mystic (who edited it).

Check out their interview to hear about the book, the self-publishing process, their family dynamic, and how writing helps fulfill Chris.

Topical Time Codes on YouTube Page

Here’s the link to purchase their book: https://www.amazon.com/Bonus-Mom-Wher…

You can follow Chris on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ssgtdu

To read Chris’ blog, check it out here: https://dadsdoitbetter.com/

Humor, Life, Mom Life, Mommyhood, Motherhood, Real life, Stephanie, weekly update

(Video) Speaking Of Interview Preview, Bank Error, Berenstain Bears

Check out today’s Speaking Of video! This week my Speaking Of Interview is with Mystic and Chris DuRant, who recently wrote a book called Bonus Mom, Bonus Mom. I talked to them about the idea, the process, and working together.

In the weekly update I talk about a frustrating bank error and how I’m growing to love the Berenstain Bears more and more!

Career, Dawn, Friendship, Goals, Life, Mom Life, Mommyhood, Motherhood, Real life, Stephanie

Goals Check In – Just Over 1 Quarter Left in 2020!

Holy cow, I wrote my original “goals” post on January 22nd. It’s pretty amazing how much the world has changed since then. How could we have known that less than 2 months later, “coronavirus” would be something we’d see plastered all over the news and be at the forefront of our minds?

Even though the world certainly changed, I thought it would still be good to do something “normal” and check in on the goals I set in late January.

So, here’s where things stand (original text in black, 7.31.2020 update in purple):

  • I work for the same company I did in the south, which is pretty awesome because it means no commuting in the snow. Well, as mentioned in a previous post, I was laid off, but on the bright side, still no commuting in the snow! 🙂 Also, even brighter, I am now working on my Speaking Of show and I’m excited to see that grow.
  • I still need to lose weight (insert face palm emoji here…). I’m working on that with Caleigh. (GOAL:) Get in shape. For real. Once and for all. I don’t want to look at another damn picture and say “wouldn’t it be lovely if I ____.” I want to look at a picture and say “yes, that paid off. I’m so glad that I no longer use the whale emoji in texts to my friends when talking about heading to the pool or beach.” Well, Caleigh has done absolutely amazing with this. I am doing okay! I have lost about 15 pounds since Jan. 23rd, so that’s good – especially since we’ve been out of the gym since mid-March when covid closures started happening.
  • I still need to get this blog going (insert emoji of a clock here – what the heck have we been waiting for???) – I’m working on that with Dawn. I’m really proud of this one! I have been doing weekly posts on here, weekly short videos, AND weekly interviews, which is my favorite part!
  • I haven’t gotten to have Thanksgiving dinner or go to the mall with Bret Michaels (insert heart emoji here…) – honestly, that’s such a dream of mine, haha! I’ve met him a few times and he is the nicest human alive. I’m not even sure how he’s a real person. I have to get to hang with him at the mall for an afternoon at least once in my life! Well, shucks. This still hasn’t happened. I must figure out how to make this happen! I did get his book, which is lovely. I also just saw you can have him do a digital greeting. ❤
  • I still need to figure out how to make my dream of having a talk show come true – I’m trying to find the solution to that too. That one takes a lot of work. Or maybe I’m overthinking it. (GOAL:) FIGURE OUT HOW TO LIVE MY PASSION. Seriously. Guys, I know this must sound stupid on some level. She wants to talk for a living. I know that sounds nuts, but seriously, it’s what I want to do, it’s what people have done, and I need that to be me so that we’re not having this same conversation again in Jan. 2021. I want to be living my passion so that my family and friends are proud of me and think of me as someone who actually lives their dreams, not just fantasizes. Hooray! Okay, I’m MOST proud of this. I have been doing weekly interviews. I can’t even believe how amazing this has turned out. I started doing videos with Dawn shortly before I was laid off, and then started doing my interviews right after the lay off. I’ve done about 8-9 interviews in as many weeks and have more scheduled. I’m seriously so excited about this. This will be my career. It may take time, but it will be, and that is FABULOUS!
  • Figure out how to get the sassies (what I call it when my daughter is sassy) and periodic tantrums to go away and have the sweet smile return all the time. I know a smile 100% of the time is nuts too, she’s a kid, not a robot, but dang, I miss seeing that ever-present smile. She is still SO happy, but she’s also sassy sometimes. The other day on the phone with a customer service person, he asked if I had any other questions. I said yes, do you have any tips about toddler temper tantrums? He got a kick out of that, but sadly he had no tips to share. I continue to work on this! Things are improving (most days!). We tell her to make decisions by using her brain and her heart, and treat people nicely like Daniel Tiger, but it’s still a work in progress!! Being out of a normal routine and out of situations where she’s playing with other kids regularly has definitely up-ended things, but we’re taking it day by day!

Okay, looking over that, I’m actually doing pretty well. Who knew this “writing down your goals” thing was so helpful, haha! I’m hoping for continued progress when I post the next goals update at the end of the year!

Humor, Mom Life, Mommyhood, Motherhood, Preemie life, Real life, weekly update

(Video) Speaking Of Today – Interview Preview & Post-Preemie/Pre-Pandemic Sanitation Habits

Here’s the weekly interview preview and weekly update.

For this week’s interview, I’ll be talking to Kristin Poppa-Rosel about her quest for a kidney. Her dad is in need of a transplant and she’s working like crazy to find a living donor to help.

In the weekly update, I talk about some of the random post-preemie/pre-pandemic sanitation habits I developed after my daughter got out of the NICU! Who knew having a preemie would be a great training ground!?!


Career, Goals, interview, Life, Mom Life, Motherhood, Real life, Stephanie, work life balance

(Video) Speaking Of Interview – Jessica Brewer, COO AmplifiedAg, Former Benefitfocus Executive (Part 2 of 2)

Check out part 2 of the Speaking Of interview with Jessica Brewer, COO of AmplifiedAg and former Benefitfocus executive.

In part 2, Jessica talks about being a mom, shares more about AmplifiedAg, her biggest career challenges, talks about maintaining balance, previews her new venture, and more!

Jessica Brewer Interview – Topical Timecodes on YouTube Channel

Career, Goals, Life, Mom Life, Mommyhood, Motherhood, Real life, Stephanie, work life balance

Where Does the Time Go – Is It Possible to Do It All?

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Is it me, or does time just seem to slip by, and there never seems to be time to get it all done?

Everyday, there’s a long list of things to complete: work, dinner, exercise, and of course taking care of your children, pets, etc. – taking care of kids and pets are a given, so they don’t need to go onto any kind of to-do list. But, taking care of them certainly does require time.

How do you get it all done? How does anyone? So many days it feels like hopping from one thing to the next, and before you know it, the King of Queens, or Golden Girls, or whatever show is on and you’re drifting off to sleep (btw, it’s always King of Queens in our house).

I’d like to think that most days, I’m pretty good at fitting everything in, but I often think that I should be doing something else, or something more. I definitely have mom guilt when my daughter knocks on my office door to see if I’m done for the day. And then when I am, we usually have to do something other than play – walk the dog, make dinner, etc.

It’s weird to think how things are still so busy, even in the days of mostly staying at home because of the ongoing pandemic. Still, somehow they are. Because things are *somewhat* normal, we’re now back on the schedule for kids’ classes, pet events, and the periodic small social event (seeing a close friend), and it seems more busy.

There doesn’t seem to be an answer for this. Just trying to be “present” in whatever part of the day it is seems to be the best we can do. It’s hard to let that guilt go, or that nagging feeling that you still have a few items left on the checklist that haven’t been completed.

I know that everyday is a new chance for me to learn how to avoid the guilt and the drive to get more done… but man, it’s hard to do! I think I’m getting a little better at it, but it’s definitely a process.

It’s also hard when there are so many things to be excited about – a new playset my daughter wants to use, or a new opportunity for Speaking Of (woot woot!), and training to do with the dog (that is really fun – especially because our dog seems so excited when she gets it right!).

I guess I just have to forget the idea of perfect balance. Some days, I’m in the office more. Some days, I am hanging out with my daughter for a while and we order dinner instead of make it (I’m working on this too, haha, you may have read my other post about dinner). It’s all okay.

Career, Friendship, Goals, interview, Life, Mom Life, Motherhood, Stephanie, Tips, work life balance

(Video) Speaking Of Interview – Jessica Brewer, COO AmplifiedAd, Former Benefitfocus Executive (Part 1 of 2)

Check out part 1 of the Speaking Of interview with Jessica Brewer, COO of AmplifiedAg and former Benefitfocus executive! This is my first 2-part interview. It was really hard to cut this one down from a nearly 1.5 hour chat to 25 minutes!

I talked with Jessica about her passion for STEM, her career path, the challenges of being a woman executive, defining career moments, and more!

In part 2, you’ll hear more about Jessica’s journey, career, and motherhood.

Here’s part 1 (interview topical timecodes on YouTube):

Career, Friendship, Goals, interview, Life, Mommyhood, Motherhood, Real life, Stephanie, Tips

(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.

Humor, Mom Life, Motherhood, Real life, Stephanie, weekly update

(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:

Goals, Law of Attraction, Life, Mom Life, Motherhood, Preemie life, Real life

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!

Career, Friendship, Goals, Humor, interview, Life, Mom Life, Motherhood, Preemie life, Real life, Stephanie, Tips

(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. 🙂

Career, Goals, Life, Mommyhood, Motherhood, Real life, Stephanie

Was I a Good Mom Today?

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

That’s what I ask myself every evening. Thankfully most of the time my answer to myself is yes. I can always say “yes, I’m meeting my daughter’s needs”. I’m speaking more of the “quality” time. Mom guilt is a daily struggle.

My daughter is very attached to me and wants to play 24/7, but life is often in the way. Whether you’re a stay at home mom or a working mom, or a work from home mom, or a hybrid of those, you probably experience the same thing. There are always so many things to do, and it never seems like there’s enough time to play.

I’m not sure what the perfect balance looks like to me, but I know that it’s not what I feel like I’m doing most days. There’s always something to do, and it doesn’t seem like there’s much that can be eliminated. Walking the dog, doing cardio (only 30 minutes at home, so it’s not like that’s taking much time away from playing with my daughter), making dinner, cleaning up after dinner, showering, grocery shopping, paying bills, the list goes on. I guess the key would be to do better streamlining the things that can be more efficient – perhaps meal planning, etc.).

Or, maybe there is enough time and I have an unrealistic ideal of how much I should be playing with my daughter? Maybe I’m just not “present” enough when I’m with her. Ugh. The struggle is constant. I feel guilt when I’m doing something other than being with her, and I feel guilty when I am with her but am not playing because I have to do something like make dinner.

The daily struggle is what leads to the nightly question of whether I was a good mom that day.

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay 

I was recently laid off, so I should have more time to spend, but am using about 4-5 hours a day to work on things like this – writing this blog, shooting the Speaking Of videos that I recently started, doing my weekly videos with Dawn, editing all of those videos, looking for regular jobs, etc. Those are all valid, but I feel guilty because I’m doing something other than playing with her. It’s still less than the time in a standard workday, but the guilt is just the same.

I suppose the key is to make the most of the time that I do have, and *try* not to get mad at myself for doing the best I can. It’s totally valid to exercise, and to walk the dog, and to make dinner (or at least pick it up…), and to work. It’s tough to let go of guilt, but I’m working on it.