Santa Barbara

…and then she proposed…

I was watching TV, annoyed that I had to sit through commercials – because what is this, the 90s? – and a credit card commercial (I think) came on. A young black couple sat in a Chinese food restaurant. She looked nervous. He opened a fortune cookie. It was cute. She proposed. I was like, well that’s badass.

So back before we were ready, I had the idea. Aside from the fact that it would make me feel like a feminist badass, I also thought it would be really nice to take it off of Anthony’s shoulders. He stresses out A LOT about giving gifts every year for birthdays or Christmas – they have to be absolutely PERFECT. I knew that this would be so much pressure on him – so why not take it on myself?

Then one day, we talked about having kids. Usually these conversations go a little like this:

Him: Do you want kids?

Me: UGH. NO. I mean, probably. But in like, 10 – no, 20 – years maybe?

Him: Ugh I know right? We’ll probably have them, but I can’t imagine having them…

Me: Let’s stop talking about this.

Him: K!

But this time, he was like “Ya, I want kids.” And I was like “Ya, me too.” Then I realized we needed to get the show on the road and told him I wanted to be married for a few years before it all goes down. And we had this moment, celebrating our 4 year anniversary in Pismo Beach, where we were like – “Holy shit. We’re gonna get engaged soon.”

This happened in March. We both thought, without telling each other, that it would probably be sometime this summer. During our conversation in Pismo I threw out the idea of me proposing to make sure he didn’t react in a random way – of course he just shrugged, and apparently told people it was a toss up over who would propose first.

Which, by the way, I just LOVE. So much more exciting, in my mind.

So a couple weeks later, I’m hanging out with my sister and some friends and talking about what I would want to do. When I thought of what Anthony would want, I immediately thought of his family. He would want them involved somehow. So I thought maybe I could have them come out and surprise him over the summer. Then I realized they were already coming out for a show of his in late April. My sister was like, “Just do it then.” I was like “Ummdkajfhweihgwirjglkwgjm;wldg huh?”

But that made the most sense. It was SO fast, but also – what are we waiting for? And I’m soooo glad I didn’t plan something farther out because it is SO hard to keep that shit a secret – I just wanted to get it over with!

So I made a plan – then called his mom, his dad and sister, and my mom. They were all thrilled and we made a plan for the parents to come to Santa Barbara the day after the show. It was a really emotional day, actually – talking to everyone about it and planning it and having it become real – no going back after that.

There were a lot of logistical issues, some I won’t bore you with, others I’ll mention because they might be helpful to someone who might be thinking of doing the same thing. But I have to say, with all of the complexities and planning and things that could of gone wrong (even though the proposal was so simple!) – I was SO damn lucky. Fate LOVED me the whole time.

So one issue was his ring. I wanted something shiny to hold up when I got down on one knee (I wanted to do the whole thang ya’ll). But I didn’t know his ring size, and I didn’t know what kind of ring he would like. I googled the first issue – and let me tell you, the internet doesn’t talk much about chicks proposing. Except this one study that said it’s a BAD IDEA AND DON’T DO IT. Anyways, people were like, “measure his finger while he’s sleeping!” or “go to a jeweler and joke around and have him try on some!” – those weren’t going to work without completely giving away the surprise.

So – I just made a call. I picked one that I thought would look beautiful on him, and picked the size of my friend’s husband’s ring. It was $20, so no big deal if it didn’t even fit on his finger.

Fast forward to the day of. I had been SO good you guys. Usually I tell people I meet in the bathroom line what’s going on in my personal life, but I had kept this a secret from all of our friends, save a couple of mine who live far away. YAY ME. I also wasn’t acting like a total crazy person, even though I was SO nervous the entire afternoon leading up to it.

I suggested that we head to the beach early to take some pictures and watch the sunset before meeting his parents for dinner. And my guy is so sweet. He was like, “Okay, I guess I’ll need to look nice then.” When I suggested that I drive instead of taking the usual Lyft (so I could make a detour to the proposal spot) he kept asking why, since parking at the restaurant/beach was so insane. I just said because, and he just let it go and let me do whatever I wanted. I love this man.

I realized we had to get gas and nervously texted my sister who was hiding at the proposal spot, camera ready. I felt like I could probably barf on my shoes. I’m getting nervous even thinking about it now! As we drove, he loudly rapped Kendrick Lamar lyrics and thought it was a great idea when I suggested (totally casually) that we stop by that lookout point he had taken me to years ago, above the beach on the cliff. Apparently that was not my smoothest moment and he started to think something was up. It didn’t help things when he asked me what we should listen to and I suggested our song. But I knew he would love that so it was worth it.

The sun was golden and perfect and Santa Barbara was looking its very best that evening. I pulled over at the lookout spot and nervously grabbed the ring out of my purse, putting it on my finger and hiding it from him as we walked to the cliff edge. I was totally shaking at this point, wanting so badly to just rip the band-aid off.

I (think I) told him that I was so glad he moved here and that we met in such a beautiful place, and that I was so happy and proud of the little life we made together. I (think I) told him that I usually get scared of big things like kids and marriage, but he makes it all seem doable, and better yet, fun. That I have a hard time trusting and being vulnerable but he makes it easy, and better yet, the most rewarding thing in the world. I wanted to spend the rest of my life having as much fun as I’ve had in the last four years. And then I knelt down and held up the ring, and said “Will you marry me?” (I think – I was so nervous I may have blacked out a little).

He was immediately on the ground with me, all reassurance and love and happiness. I was shaking and we stood up and I hugged him and just shook and sort of sobbed? But not really crying yet, just shaking and electricity and relief and vulnerability literally pulsing through me. I just held onto him and was so glad it was over.

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He said I was really cute and that this was perfect and then said “Are we the most subversive couple or WHAT?!” and we high-fived. Then I told him I didn’t even know what I just said because I was so nervous – and then proceeded to tell him everything I WANTED to say, but maybe forgot to say?
He said, “Ya, you already said that, baby.”

So yay me, I guess?

By the way, the ring fit, and he loved it.

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My sister came strolling up – “I just happened to be in the neighborhood!” – and gave him sour skittles. Then she took some pictures of us right after, and we all headed to dinner. We were early, because apparently proposing is so uncomfortable that I do it in lightning speed. And I could hardly talk to anyone for about 10 minutes as my body recovered from what apparently was quite the physical as well as emotional ordeal. Once I had champagne, and realized it was over and I could just relax, I came back to life.

My parents also came to dinner, and we had such a special night. My mom gave me her mother’s wedding band, which was so special for so many reasons – I might do a separate post explaining that – but we were all crying and the night was even more amazing than I could have imagined. Anthony’s sister FaceTimed with us and sent a gift ahead of time, and our parents bought dinner and champagne – it was the best time ever.

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We got home to our apartment and talked about the whole thing, staring at our rings. We texted friends. I said I was surprised he didn’t cry more when I proposed – I was expecting a lot more water works from him. Although, he did cry when I said I knew he would want his parents there to celebrate with us. And after a couple beers, and putting on the playlist we used to listen to when we were first dating, it happened – he started crying and it all hit him – and I was like YESSSS! I won’t be the only one with a crazy emotional roller coaster happening tonight!

It was truly the best night ever. I can’t believe how easy he makes things. How the hard things are rewarding with him. How everything seems to be exactly the way it should be – but even better. I get to be with my best friend, and laugh my ass off everyday that I’m with him. I couldn’t be luckier.

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I’m back!

FINALLY! The blog has been down for a couple of months, but after multiple support calls and breathing exercises, I finally got MM back up and running!

I missed you guys. And I want to catch up! So I thought I would just give an update of what’s going on and what I’ve been up to lately…

First off, Anthony got a job! Yay. We were pretty concerned like, a week before he got it – we were hoping we wouldn’t have to move to where there were more opportunities. But luckily, we are staying put. And after the idea of leaving was a real thing, I’ve been so into Santa Barbara – I’m falling in love with our place and our city all over again.

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I am re-watching my favorite show, Buffy. This is amazing for a few reasons – one, I haven’t rewatched the series since I was probably in high school, so I have a less black-and-white view of the whole thing, and can appreciate some of the nuances a bit more – plus catch on to the obvious metaphors a lot quicker. Second, it keeps me totally entertained while Anthony is gone at work in the evenings. And the best part – 90s and early 2000s fashion. Which is now… now fashion. This article pretty much sums up the hilarity and fascination.

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I’m getting pumped for Halloween! Here’s what I’m thinking for my costume:

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(P.S. I don’t get this double image thing… I’m not hip.)

So basically I’m going to be a 90s robber………

Still need ideas for a costume? Check out this post or my Halloween Pinterest board.

If you already have your costume picked out, what are you gonna be??? I would love to hear in the comments!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic fall season so far, and I’m so glad to be back on your phones and computers, chattin it up again! <3

Summer of Chill 2016

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I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! It seems the blogosphere is determined to cut mine short by posting about shopping for fall already… Stahp it! I have summer weather until Halloween in California, let me live in denial that it will ever be over, just a little longer!

I have had a great summer so far. Nothing crazy, no elaborate travel plans or long getaways – just a mellow summer mostly at home. But this summer is different. I needed this summer to be something special. I have decided that this summer is….

Stephanie’s Summer of Chill, 2016.

Imagine that in lights on a marquee, announced by a guy with a moustache over a loudspeaker or something. Because that’s how baller it is.

I went into this summer needing a break. Just in general. Anthony finished his PhD in March, then graduated in June when we threw a big party, and it the midst of it all he was trying to find jobs. It was pretty stressful. Really stressful, actually. The months leading up to summer were just intense.

So intense things were happening, but also I had gotten into this intense productive mode where I was doing all this shit to like, become a put-together person. It was probably a coping thing – trying to make sure I crossed all my t’s and dotted all i’s so I could feel better about what felt to me like a pretty chaotic couple of months. Here are some examples:

  • I was tracking how many drinks I had, how I ate, how much I exercised, etc. – every day, using this app
  • I was feeling guilty for not blogging enough
  • I was posting things like this, and trying to find magic ways to get my shit together around the house
  • I was posting things like this, feeling like I needed to lose weight but also resenting that idea (and trying to laugh about it while I figured it out)
  • I was feeling guilty about not working out enough
  • I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t saving enough money, and that I was spending too much

So there was a lot that I felt like I needed to improve, or tackle, or manage, or advance about myself. And I had a day where I realized how insane my brain was getting – it would go round and round, trying to find something to fix, trying to find something wrong, so I could pounce on it and fix it. It was like this Pinterest mentality of hyper vigilance I had established over my life. I finally realized what a weirdo I was being – Why, Steph?! Fucking chill. out.

That’s when I decided – we are taking a break. A BREAK. From all of it. Here are all the things I decided to get rid of for the summer:

  • Guilt, about anything
  • Self-improvement projects
  • Exercise routines that aren’t fun
  • Tracking of anything not fun or that produces guilt (see above)
  • Negative thoughts about my body

And I just, let go. I focused on doing things that were fun. We made a summer bucket list (which I am shooting to post about soon, but if not, no guilt). I did more stuff outside after work. I didn’t think about how much beer I had that week, or if I was getting enough cardio. I stopped caring how clean my house was, or how my belly looked in that top.

I don’t know, my head was just in the right place to just stop fucking caring about that shit. And it worked.

Why just the summer, you may ask? Why isn’t this just your new life?

Well, telling myself that it was just for the summer to start was a way to really let go of the guilt completely, because things like finding ways to save money are things I will need to get around to eventually, but not necessarily now. So I thought, okay – I can really just forget about it for a while, and I’ll pick it up in the fall, if I want to. But the idea was, if I could just get in the right mindset, hopefully this will be the new state of things.

And it has been an amazing, stress-free summer. It really was so great, you guys. I just lived my life. Now it’s August, and I still have so many fun things I still want to do while the weather is still warm – but I am also learning to prioritize fun things all year round. I established great healthy habits while I was in my intense phase over the winter months, that have stuck throughout the summer, but without the guilt and fastidious tracking. And some new productive habits have just naturally emerged – Anthony and I have worked on cooking at home a lot more, which is saving us money and allowing us to eat healthier. I realized I didn’t have to have the intense attitude to make improvements like that – and, more importantly, guilt doesn’t have to be a part of it.

As I mentioned, the rest of the world is getting ready for fall, and work is starting to get busy again (work has been so slow for the summer, which helped a lot with the carefree attitude) – so I can feel some of the old ways creeping back in. I’m extra tired and stressed this week, so I have less energy to go do fun stuff after I get home – but I’ll adjust. I just need to keep the spirit of chill alive through fall, too.

What has helped center me back to that mindset is asking myself this question, that I kept thinking when our friend was visiting a few weeks back…

What would I do today if I were on vacation?

I love playing tourist in my own city, and just because I worked that day doesn’t mean I can’t take dinner up to the mission and have a picnic, or grab a beer at a new restaurant in town, or walk down to thrift shop after I get home. Sometimes I save all the fun for the weekend, and do all the boring stuff after work – working out, cleaning, catching up on shows. I realized I need more balance, so I don’t get so bummed when Monday rolls around. My life can happen in between Fridays! I need to get off the couch more and treat my life like one big summer vacation, work or no work.

 

I’m into it, guys. I’ll let you know if I can keep the spirit alive as we get closer to fall! What have you done to de-stress lately and enjoy summer?

 

 

 

Twenty Seven

On Sunday I turned twenty seven. It sounds very grown up. Anthony made me dinner on Friday night and we went out drinking – Saturday we had a party at our house with a bunch of friends, a lot who I see rarely or who came in from out of town. Sunday my sister came into town for brunch, shopping, a movie, and dinner. She took this snapshot of us, which was such a perfect slice of my life right now to remember this year by:

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Photo by Two Happy Lambs Photography

Some things that I wanted to remember about my life when I turned 27:

  • I just bought a new car, for the first time ever. A 2013 Toyota Corolla named Yoncé. Anthony calls her Mrs. CARter. I feel very grown up after doing that. Automatic locks, windows, keyless entry, talking on my phone THROUGH my car – it’s all very fancy and new to me.
  • I’ve been at my job for over a year, and I’ve had a pay raise and a fun business trip this year. I love it and I’m hoping to stay for a long time. I’m so ready for a real career that I am challenged by and makes the days go by fast. I feel appreciated and fulfilled, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
  • Anthony and I have been living together for over a year now. It has flown by, and is the easiest, most enjoyable, fun thing ever. We live in a one-bedroom apartment and pay way too much rent, but we live near downtown and in walking distance from our favorite place. It has been extra hot this summer with no AC, we are doing laundry at my sister’s house every chance we get, and we really want a dog but aren’t allowed…but other than that we love our apartment to death. We do “urban hikes” through the neighborhoods in the mountains above the Santa Barbara mission on the weekends and I love the view of the mountains from our lawn. I don’t know how long we’ll stay, but it’s looking like quite a while, if we can.
  • When I turned 26, I started working out consistently for the first time ever. Now I go to the gym twice a week, and I’m trying to get it up to three. But I achieved my goal of getting to a point where I wanted to work out twice a week and making it part of my routine. I can feel the positive effects it has on my mood and how my body feels – I’m hoping to fine-tune my workout to maximize its effect and get more confident with trying new things in the gym.
  • This year I also took over the blog on my own! I love this blog, not only because I can use it as a creative outlet, but it is also a substitute for the journaling I used to do when I was younger. I am thrilled that people are reading and absolutely LOVE when people mention that they are a reader – it usually completely surprises me. Can’t wait to see where it takes me this coming year!

<3

 

 

 

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