Love & Dating

26

My birthday was on Saturday and it was so great. Anthony came home from Europe and we just didn’t leave the apartment all weekend. After 3 weeks of not seeing each other, that was all I wanted for my birthday. But he also wrote me the sweetest thing as a gift, and I had to share. I just love his writing and of course it made me cry. Hopefully this isn’t an over-share and you guys enjoy it like I did! :)

~

You know me. You know I have a hard time keeping my mind quiet and my body still. I thought you should know that you are my silence and my stillness. You’re my peace and quiet, my meditation.

My blue tranquility and the calming sound of rain on the window on a Sunday morning.

That crisp, pure, middle-of-nowhere, arctic air filling my lungs, reinvigorating and reminding me of life’s brilliance.

Transcendent music I can’t ignore, and that I listen to with my whole being, eyes closed, floating.

Of course, you are so much more, too. But lately I’m thinking a lot of the in between. It’s really in between all of the belly laughter, wild nights, and sunny afternoons when I actually understand how much you do for me. How you put me at ease. That you’re my home.

Like that beautiful, clear night after we left Mary and Scott’s house. We were driving home along the coast and the moon was massive, sitting on the glowing pavement ahead of us, always a few feet from the hood of the car, just out of reach. The water was billions of infinitely long gold ribbons rippling independently and then converging to brush against the papier-mâché cliffs. We were on stage in a magic realism play, the scene about the timelessness and elevating wonder of love.

And those nights, early on, when all we could do was lay in bed for hours and stare, learning every detail in each others’ face — every freckle, every silver streak in colorful eyes, those slight dimples, subtle curvature of lips. We’d take turns running our hands down the side of the face,

 

then falling onto the neck,

over the shoulder,

and down the arm

only to stop at the hand,

interlock fingers,

 

and squeeze.

 

It’s really cliché. It’s something teenage couples do after school when their parents aren’t home, not couples in their mid-twenties who met online. And we knew that, we laughed about it, but we just couldn’t not do it. We couldn’t help ourselves, so we didn’t.

And, of course, the day we stayed in bed until 6pm staring out of my big window at the long sky, flirting and joking but, in between, just laying in unmoving silence in each others’ arms. It was new for me — silent silence and still stillness — because those things had always meant laying awake in frustration or the loud, resonating guilt of avoiding deadlines. But there, with you, everything stopped and hushed and there was nothing else but that sky and the weight of your head on my chest. It was the meaningful quietness following the final pitches of a ballad, suspended. The moment after your breath is taken away by something beautiful. A quiet moonlit drive along the California coast.

Your love gives me something I’ve always struggled to give myself: rest. Real, rejuvenating rest. It gives me space to breathe and sit and not mind breathing and sitting. It adds time to deadlines. It makes pints a little bigger and 8 AM a little later. It makes days in bed last forever.

~

It was a great birthday present, to say the least.

2014_03_08-143122_bw

More beautiful photos at Two Happy Lambs

While Anthony was away we had a misunderstanding and it was really hard to work through something and communicate effectively when he was across the world and in a really inconvenient time zone. I am just so glad that we work things out the way we do, and that we experienced that together, because it made us stronger.

Anthony is a big reason why I am so happy to be where I am at 26. But I also have a great job that I enjoy and feel challenged by, which is the biggest victory of this year. Anthony and I also moved in together a few months ago, which has been so fun. I love that I finally have my own place that I can decorate and make a home. I also feel like I am settling into Santa Barbara more and establishing roots. I’m making more of an effort to make friends and that feels really good.

If I looked at my life right now at age 12, 18, 22… I think I would be really happy with what I saw. That’s a great feeling.

 

What do you think your young self would think of your life right now? What was the most special birthday gift you’ve ever received?

 

 

Attempting to Be a Master Partner

blog Anthony and I have moved into our new place and are trying to get settled. It’s been a huge transition, especially for him.

I’ve moved around so much over the past few years and have lived with a random variety of people. He has lived with his best friends for about 3 years, in the same area.

To him this is an end of an era. They all get along so unbelievably well and it was always so easy to find someone to hang out with. They have about 345,894 inside jokes and just love each other to death.

photo (3)
Standing with their respective flags and killing me with those poses….

 

So moving isn’t easy to begin with, and now we’ve got the emotionally draining part added in.

Now that we have the keys and all of our stuff in the place, I realized that we have two different approaches to the settling in process:

Anthony = let’s get everything done now. Let’s do all of the projects we have on our list, lets unpack everything, and just be done so we can move on and not worry about it anymore.

Me = things are functional now and we can live normally. But I want to take my time and slowly chip away at projects so I can relax and think about how I want things to be organized. If boxes are lying around still, so what? The moving in process could take a while.

We are both exhausted from moving in and cleaning the old place, so I was desperate to get back to coming home from work and getting other things done. Like, ahem, Monday Memoirs…. or watching an entire season of Orange is the New Black in one sitting. But he was telling me that he couldn’t get back to normal life until he felt like the house was the way it supposed to be – everything in its place, no boxes lying around – just completely settled in. It was totally stressing him out to have things feel chaotic.

I was about to say, look, I can’t deal with this- the house is just going to have to wait for a while. I’m tired after work and I want to focus on other stuff. But when I mentioned it to my oh-so-wise older sister, she reminded me that this is a tough time for Anthony. It’s a big transition. And by the way, when I am super hormonal I’m pretty sure I ask him to bear with me when I’m dealing with shit. Like, “What?? So I’m crying over my In n’ Out and I have no idea why. Just go get me a beer and tell me I’m pretty and let me get snot and mascara all over your shirt.”

Is it too much to ask for me to just suck it up and get on board? This seems to be what he needs right now. Just a big push to get everything in the house really looking finished. Ya, it takes a lot of work, especially since I want to go to an hour and a half yoga class and work on the blog after working full time. But guess what: He’s the priority. I’m not gonna let myself go insane or completely throw out any idea of self-care, but I can work hard to make him happy.

So Mary suggested I make a schedule to make sure we are on the same page and he feels supported. This is how this works. We’re in the big(ger) leagues now. As the affidavit for domestic partner benefits said, we are “fully committed and plan to live with each other indefinitely” (how random is that – that I just have to sign a paper saying that and he gets my work benefits? Never mind, I won’t ask questions – I’m just grateful). Anyway, it’s serious so that means I need to seriously step up during times like this.

Mary also sent me this article which is a great read. It talks about research done on successful and unsuccessful couples and why they failed or flourished. They call the successful couples “masters” and the others “disasters”. Haha. Great if you are in a relationship and want to get some perspective; it makes you really think of your relationship in terms of the long run and how to keep things happy and successful for years to come.

Here’s to trying to be a “master” partner, whether you are still looking for one or already have yours. <3

xo Stephanie

 

 

Monday Memoirs

What do you/did you like about being single? Talk about a time when you were glad you were single.

9720_672291999345_4718354_n

That photo was taken circa 2009, when I was single and going to college at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.

As I have said before, I am definitely a relationship person. I am much happier when I am monogamous than otherwise. But when I was single I tried to make the most of it. I would go out with my girlfriends and flirt and would try and go on dates and get out there to have some fun.

I was single for about 3 years after I broke up with my first boyfriend. I needed that time to get to know myself as a single adult; I had been with him from when I was 17 to about 20 so I hadn’t been single in college yet. I am so glad that I took my time and took advantage of being on my own to give my confidence a boost. I am very independent so it makes me feel more confident if I feel like I can make it on my own. I am a firm believer in the “I don’t need to be with you, I want to be with you” mindset.

In grad school I definitely got lonely and was ready for a serious relationship. I wasn’t meeting anyone new that I was even a little interested in and that was very frustrating. But having my confident, brilliant, feminist, and fellow single friends around helped a lot. Being single was not always sunshine and beer and dancing, though – it could get really lonely and frustrating, especially since Emily and my sister were both settled down. I really wanted what they had.

After another relationship ended, I had a hard time recovering and remembering how to be my fun and fearless single self, like I was in undergrad. But my sister always reminded me that I had my whole life to find my partner – the time was now to make memories that I will look back on again and again as a source of confidence and remembering who I was on my own. I saw her married with kids and thought, you’re right – this might be the last time I’m single, so I better take advantage of it.

I got on OkCupid and got comfortable (or as comfortable as one can possibly get) going on dates. It was really fun and I felt great knowing that I could jump back on the horse whenever I needed to after all this practice. It made each break up easier, knowing that I had been happy being single before I met them, and that going out there and meeting new people wasn’t that hard.

But my favorite thing about being single was the “epic factor”. I could wake up every day and think, I could meet them today. The person I will be with for the rest of my life. Or, that crazy night out I had could be one of the last awesome single stories I have before I meet my partner. I don’t know, it just made things feel so exciting. Things were undecided. Anything could happen.

I remember talking to Emily all the time about who My Person was going to be. We would joke about how they could be a circus performer or a rich business owner or a hand model. What new fun things would they introduce me to? How would my life change? Being on the brink of that was so exciting.

NEXT WEEK’S PROMPT

What role does art play in your life? What types of art were you exposed to as a child? How do you fit creativity into your life today?

 

My New Obsession: {Dinner: A Love Story}

You guys, I am absolutely head over heels for one of the library books I picked up a few days ago. I love it so much that I might go so far as to say it has changed my life…no joke.  Dinner Cover
Dinner: A Love Story won me over as soon as I started reading. It’s a personal account of how the author, Jenny Rosenstrach, got into the habit of making dinner every night with her husband, and along the way she shares their favorite tried-and-true recipes. Now, you all know I love to cook; it’s one of my absolute favorite things to do. However, I definitely don’t cook every night for Kirby and I (and I’m not expected to, either) but because I’m currently not working, I figure it’s a fun and enjoyable way of making Kirby happy as well as showing my love for him. When Kirby gets home and a meal is on the table, it’s like I just bought him a brand new car and I’m sitting there with a new golden retriever puppy and fish tacos in hand (his favorite things)… I mean seriously, it makes him THAT happy. But I don’t do it all the time because life gets in the way and I wasn’t prioritizing it. Sure, there are nights when I would cook us some awesome fancy meal because the creative bug struck me and I just felt like being in the kitchen. But consistently? That hasn’t been happening. One thing we’ve talked about is how we feel our happiest, most relaxed and in-tune with each other when we’re sitting down for a home cooked meal together; it just feels right. Jenny talks about how when they were getting dinner on the table each night (and of course there were exceptions) everything seemed to fall into place. When we’re eating home-cooked meals together consistently we feel the same way. We spend time talking about our days face-to-face, we have leftovers for lunch the next day, and we’re nourishing our bodies with good food. It’s all good stuff :)

So it’s one thing to like the sentiments an author writes, but my question was: Does she back it up with amazing recipes?

Oh yes, yes she does.

I made her Salmon Salad, and it instantaneously became a hit in our little family. It was so good, fresh, and bursting with flavor, that I keep thinking about when I can make it again. Seriously you guys, make this. You won’t regret it. It’ll be love at first bite.  DSC02685 DSC02686

“Dinner: A Love Story,” by Jenny Rosenstrach

Ingredients
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon or lime
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • For the salmon:
  • 1 salmon fillet (about 1 pound)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 potatoes (yukon gold, red or blue if you can find them), peeled and quartered
  • 2 ears corn
  • Handful of thin green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 5 to 6 scallions (white and light green parts), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the vinaigrette:In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, sugar, lemon juice and oil and set aside.

To make the salmon:Sprinkle the salmon with salt and pepper. Roast in a foil-lined baking dish for 15 minutes. (If you prefer to grill the fish, brush with a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of honey and cook over medium-hot coals, 4 to 5 minutes on each side.)

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until a knife slices through them with no resistance, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the potatoes to a large serving bowl. Add the corn to the same pot of water. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove to a cutting board, allow to cool, slice off the kernels and add to the serving bowl. Add beans to the same pot of water and cook for 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the serving bowl. Add the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions and cilantro to the bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette and serve.

Serving Size: 4

Total time: 35 minutes.

DSC02688 DSC02694 What are your thoughts on sitting down for dinner each night with your loved one(s)? Is it a priority in your life or do you show your love and reconnect in other ways? 

I hope you guys have an amazing weekend! We’re going to be taking advantage of this amazing weather we’re having in San Diego :)

And I’ll leave you with a quote from the book, Dinner: A Love Story:

I was starting to shape a theory about dinner. I found that if I was eating well, there was a good chance I was living well, too. I found that when I prioritized dinner, a lot of things seemed to fall into place: We worked more effectively to get out of [work] on time, we dedicated time and place to unload whatever was annoying us about work and everything else, and we spent less money by cooking our own food, which meant we never felt guilty about treating ourselves to dinner out on the weekend. And perhaps most important, the simple act of carving out the ritual- a delicious homemade ritual- gave everyday purpose and meaning, no matter what else was going on in our lives.”

 

1 2 3 4 5 6

%d bloggers like this: