10 Things I Learned at my Junior Prom

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been forever since I last posted… but I am back baby and I am going to write this post as if no time has gone by!


As you may know, this month and this past month are prime times for high school proms.  Ours happened to be one of the latest ones in our area and it all went down last night.  Our SCA rented the ballroom out at a Marriott near the airport and it was really nice.  But what made last night really special was what I learned during the course of my first big, legit, school evening.

1. Getting there on the early side will be awkward.  Hence, why so many people showed up like an hour past when it started… But even if you get there early, embrace it! Check in with people and say hi, not to mention that it’s the prime time to request a song because the band/DJ hired for the event will be getting settled and there won’t be mountains of song requests ahead of you. When I saw that people were just sitting around at tables and not really doing anything, I grabbed one of my friends and we made a fool of ourselves on the dance floor. After people had their laughs, they joined us and we walked off feeling accomplished. Don’t be afraid to dance (outrageously) alone. (;

2. Wearing heels greater than 5″ will be rough.  I know, because I did it. They were, great, but man… PAIN.  I’m short and I love embracing heels (being 4 feet 11.5 inches I can wear whatever height I want) but know your limits, lol.  Halfway through the night those shoes were outta there.  Kudos to the people I saw wearing cute short heels, chunky heels, and gorgeous dazzly flats.  I admire you. And your comfort level.

3. Every girl is a princess and every guy is a prince. In a classy environment, everyone looks stunning. I was scrolling through the aftermath of instagram and twitter and facebook and DAMN everyone looks good.  I dunno if there are those people who are like “I must be the most stunning at prahhhm” (verbatim) but just a bit of advice to those overachievers– that’s hard to do. When everyone’s suited up and dressed up, putting their best glossy toes forward, everyone shines.  And I just wanna say I was surrounded by beautiful people the whole night.  It was fabulous.

4. Someone will spill a drink (or something) on someone else’s dress. I would know because I was that someone.  For those of you with that bit of clumsy gene in you… Be careful, and be gracious lol.  It wasn’t my fault per se, I was standing in a perfectly fine punchline zone, when someone opened a door behind me and pushed me forward, thrusting half a cup of bright red punch on a friend’s baby blue prom dress.  Needless to say I whirled around to face her and apologized profusely, offering to go help her clean it.  To my surprise she said no, it was fine– she was smiling like it didn’t even bother her that much.  She just adjusted her ruffles, we laughed, and the night went on.  But it coulda been worse… It coulda been a bitchfight or something, haha.  So just be careful. And don’t drink red beverages.

5. There will be some people coming to the dance under the influence. Even though the principle has warned and explicitly told them not to.  Needless to say, be wary and be safe.  No one likes it when people are high or drunk in the middle of the dance floor. Keep it classy, y’all.

6. Teenagers are actually capable of putting their phone down for four hours. Believe it or not! I recall looking around the dance floor and not seeing one phone in the air or in people’s hands.  I felt REALLY out of place when I was taking pictures with some people because I had mine out.  It makes me happy that we can abandon those little bricks of technology for a while for some good, old fashioned socialization and dancing. Yay my generation! You’ve come a long way, I’m so proud *sniff, sniff*.

7. There will most likely be some low-key drama. Sadly, I don’t think a prom goes by where there isn’t some. So if you see someone sitting alone or kinda sad, smile.  And walk up to them. Ask them to dance.  It’s a special night and you want them to feel happy and special. Doing this helps to take their mind of of things so they can just have fun.  I did this, and I made a friend. I also like to think I made their night just a little bit better with my ridiculous dancing….

8. There will most likely be some extremely low necklines. Were their mothers aware? Lol. I understand that for some, the dress if their dreams is super low cut and a little lacking at the bust, which is… Fine. Expressing yourself is great, but please do your best to have the girls stay where they belong. Plus, you’ll be more comfortable dancing and you won’t have to adjust yourself so much.

9. It is okay to just do you. Who cares what the “norm” is for prom? For a little bit, J and I were being strongly pushed towards being in a group.  For me and my experiences, groups have always been… Not the most fun (though there was one exception my freshman year for homecoming). Just know that whatever your prom plans are, be it out with a group or just with your date, just concentrate on what will make you happiest for that night. J and I ended up staying at his house, cooking scallops, broccoli, and pasta together, watching Netflix and just casually hanging out before we went to the actual dance. As for dress? Do what you feel best in.  Wanna rock a high-low dress? Go for it.  Wanna rock those 5″ heels? Have at it. It’s your night, make it special!
10. Prom is what you make of it. So make it fun! It’s not guaranteed that everything will go to plan. Dinner reservations could be rocky, you may spill something on yourself at dinner, you could forget to give him/her flowers.. It’s not the end of the world. Just enjoy the night.

Here’s to wishing you a happy prom and more to come (:

Love always,
Steph xoxo



I’ve been out of it for a while, haven’t I?

Let’s see if I can get all that is on my mind out in a paragraph… That might be easy to read, right? Though I must warn you… this isn’t the happiest post, so… Just a heads up.

March… Was a big month for me.  Once upon a time I was going to blog about my going to New York with my choir.  I have loads of pictures.  It was a good time.  Here’s two just because. These were taken in Central Park by my best friend. Artsy, no?


Pretty sure it was my first trip to the city… First time in Times Square, first time seeing a Broadway show (I saw Phantom of the Opera– since then I’ve been addicted) and just first time being in a city so… huge. And powerful. It was exhilarating.  I was there for 3 days. I came back the night before my 18th birthday. (Yeah, guess who’s legal now… Better watch out (; ) That day my family left to go to the beach while I opted to stay home and get homework done and work two jobs, It worked out nicely. Until I found out that my grandfather, who has lived through all of his heart mishaps, had fallen against a door frame because he had gotten up without his walker.  My family 4 hours away, I had to deliver the news via phone that he was in the hospital.  What I didn’t know was that later, my mom would talk to my grandmother and find out that, while my grandfather was there, they would do a general check up of him, and find a tumor inside him the size of a softball.  After going it to take out a sample and see what it was and whether or not it was harmful, they found four more.  All of them were cancerous.
Since then, my life as of lately has been made blurry by stress, homework, my mom’s constant trips to MD to see my grandfather, the looming shadow of my school’s production, work, helping my dad run the house, and whatever seems to be crashing down at the moment. Oh, and my sleep schedule is sporadic beyond belief, and my eating habits are even worse.
As of now I can’t sleep.  My mind wanders back to a visit to my grandfather, after he was told by the doctors that since he was so frail there was nothing they could do for him, seeing as chemo therapy would just about do him in.  My mom said she wanted us to see him while he still looked like himself. Luckily, when we visited, he was having a good day.  He knew who we were and he could talk to us basically intelligibly, though his speech was slurred.  He looked so thin, so weak. Holding a glass of water for him, I could tell, was a struggle.
He doesn’t know what the doctors know.  Mostly because my grandmother didn’t want to have to put him through the pain of telling him repeatedly about his condition, given his foggy memory state at times.  It almost killed me when, we went to visit and he said “I may make it, I may not. It’s a toss up.” We looked at each other because we knew better. He’s in at-home hospice currently.
But that’s how he is.  A sly, witty, stubborn curmudgeon. Always has been, always will be.
I can only imagine what my mom must be going through.  Losing my dad is the last thing I can think of… it all just feels so surreal.
My dad went to drop off my mom at my grandmother’s today.  He hasn’t returned, and he just called a while ago saying he wasn’t going to make it back tonight and that he’d be staying the night there.
One thing about me you may or may not know… I’m very good at reading people.  Their faces, their voices. My dad sounded devastated over the phone.  I’m bracing myself for the worst.
And I just hope to the heavens above that I can make it through this week.
I know that’s more than my original paragraph… too much to capture and to shove into a single block of text, I guess. But there it is. It’s hard to think that so much has changed in just one month. It’s shifted, that’s for sure. And I’m still trying to find a way to adjust.


Someone I know recently has been asked to do a T.E.D. talk about happiness, and their life as of now.
And it got me thinking… What is happiness?
I don’t think I’ve been truly happy for a long time. But the thing is, what is being truly happy? And what is getting in the way?
I personally think it has many definitions. And I’ve been zoning in and out of those elements… Perhaps if I could find a balance between all of them, it would be good.
Is it being carefree? Is it doing the things you love? Is it not worrying what other people think about you and embracing who you are? I have to believe it is.
Stress builds. Hecticness speeds up. The ominous Cloud of Judgment descends over us, and we’re constantly worried about what people think. We get lost chasing what we think is important and we get stuck in the boxes society tries to shove us in. And happiness leaves us.
But you know what? I want to find it. I would like to find it again and not let go of it. Life is too short to be unhappy.
Just a day ago I spend practically all of my time after I got home from school with my computer, tired after a long day, searching for a way to de-stress.  I turned to blogging, reading other blogs, and attempting to fix my own (I got sad temporarily because I realized I don’t know how to code at all and really wanna make my own templates..but hey! Another thing to put on my “to-learn” list) and you know what? I was completely absorbed, entranced in trying to figure things out and lace things together… And I enjoyed it.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.
A couple days earlier, I got home and started my homework only to interrupt it with a music break–I simply had my music on shuffle, singing loudly and obnoxiously to every song that came on–from show-tunes to Gaga to the Beatles to John Mayer… after a while I returned to my studies.  But it felt great.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.
A week or so ago my mom asked me to make a birthday card for a relative, seeing as she knows they love handmade cards.  So I dug out my art supplies, blew the dust off my sketchpad and went to work.  I spent an hour or so, bent over my work with music floating in the air around me.  It was heaven. My hands were free to create whatever magic they desired on the paper, something they hadn’t been able to do in a long time. When I was finished, I had a wonderful sense of accomplishment on my shoulders.  It felt amazing. And I enjoyed it.
This past week I was not able to see J much at all, outside brief moments in school.  My schedule was packed, as was his.  He ended up coming to where I worked for a few hours on the weekend.  We had only been talking for about 5 minutes, but it was honestly some of the best 5 minutes I’ve had in a long time.  We were just so happy to finally see each other, and I felt at peace.  I enjoyed every second of it.
Sometimes, we are held back from doing what we love, be it by barriers of time or places or people or stress.. And sometimes we are just told “NO”, and to stay focused and be serious and get the job done, only to take a brief rest and get back in the same vicious cycle. Happiness, I think, is being able to overcome that.  You know, somewhere deep down, what, what and who makes you happy, and you should by all means be able to go out and grab that, no matter the odds or walls put up against you.
So you know what? Sometimes, the stress isn’t worth it.  Some say that the meaning of life, or reason to living is to happily lead a life of significance.  How can you do that when the happiness is missing?
So I challenge you to think about it–  Where is your happy place? How do you define happiness?
And I challenge you to do.
Take a break.  Cuddle with a sketchpad.  Turn up the music.  Take a long bath.  Read an engrossing novel.  Sit outside and watch the sun set.  Fall asleep in the arms of someone you love.  Bake cookies.  Eat chocolate (you won’t get too fat, I promise (; ) Have a funny face contest with someone and throw makeup, judgement and care of appearance out the window. Join a yoga class.  Learn to program.  Build a Lego tower.  Go for a run.  And just do you.  Even if it’s only for 10 minutes…. I’m learning more now than ever that if you spend too much time disconnected from yourself… you’ll have trouble connecting with others.  So take the time.
You’ve got all the time in the world to be happy.




I apologize for my lack of presence lately.  A lot has happened, and I just may make a “Life as of Lately” post later, but for now… I just need to get some things off my chest.

**Warning: if you’re not up to reading a somewhat depressing, lengthy post, I’d forgo this one if I were you**

This weekend was kind of hell.

It started off Saturday, busy day… Had to go places and do things– I had a fundraiser with my choir.  The BBQ scheduled to happen afterwards got cancelled due to rain.  I spent the rest of my free hours with J and then went to work.  I neglected my homework.  At the time, it was what I wanted.  In hindsight, a very bad idea.

Sunday was the final blow.  I didn’t know it was possible for so many bad things to happen in one day.  It was like a normal Sunday… I did normal things.  I tried to do a normal morning run/bike ride.  Before leaving, however, as I let my dogs out for their normal morning bathroom break, I noticed Tasha (my white cock-a-poo) was just sleeping in her pen and wouldn’t get up.  The past few weeks, she has grown increasingly weaker.  She had stopped eating and drinking– as much as we tried to get her to, she refused.  And she has been sick.  We combatted it for a while with prescription food and special medicine.  It held for a while. She was not suffering.  We did know, however, that the situation with her livers was inevitable, and we couldn’t diet/medicate forever.  She was older, too…  Truth is, she didn’t have much time left, and we didn’t know how much.  We had talked about caring for her, and what to do if maybe we ever needed to put her down (as much as I hate the thought of that… I wouldn’t want her to suffer… but then again, I wouldn’t want to help her die, either).  Not knowing what else to do, I prayed.

That morning, as she lay there, breathing really heavily, I tried to make her comfortable and I talked to her and I pet her and I tried to console myself. We were leaving for church soon– we were going to be late.  I had to tear myself away from her side, praying that she’d be okay until we got back.

So we go to church.  In theory, I had already known the sad fact about our seminarian– she was leaving to go to another parish.  She honestly was one of the only reasons I have enjoyed coming to church recently.  She was so knowledgeable and down to earth– one of the nicest people you could ever meet.  When she officially made her announcement at the altar(ish), I broke down.  A lot of people did.  And what made it sadder?  She was delivering her news right after we had received word that a member of our parish had died just minutes earlier.  I didn’t know the woman personally, but so many people gasped when they heard– she must have been really well liked.  She was young and had two little boys… She was apparently “a hard fighter”, so I’m led to believe she was taken by her disease. The whole congregation wept.

I prayed.

Before the service had started, I was walking in to find a seat with my family. Suddenly, one of the clergy members rushes by me, with a tissue to her face, openly sobbing.  I wondered, what’s wrong? Why is she crying? Upon sitting down in the pew, I hear the news being delivered to the congregation.  The gasps literally fill the air, and I’m still puzzled and shocked and sad all at once.   It was so much to take in.  The songs in the service were slow and solemn.  It fit with what everyone was feeling.  Afterwards, almost no one stayed for coffee hour.  They had “depressed” us away.  There was, however, one woman there.  She was watching a butterfly garden net thingy that someone had brought in as a little nature observation thing for the kids.  Inside were monarch butterflies and chrysalises.

“Look!” she told my little sister, who was hypnotized by the butterflies flying around in the little box of netting.
“One’s emerging from its cacoon!” Boo and I watched as a monarch butterfly, having completed its transformation, found its way out of its sheer, pearly, protective shell.  Slowly the wings unfolded as the nutrients flowed to its wings.  I was witnessing a miracle of life.

And that’s when I knew.  I think I knew that moment.  It was a sign.  I prayed.

After church ended, we headed home.  I had to get out of nice clothes and into clothes for work.  I kissed Tasha goodbye.

Five long hours passed. Work was slow. Time was scarce.  I couldn’t concentrate.  I was tired from my early morning run.  When I finally got home later, my older brother stops us at the door.  He tells us not to go in the laundry room (at least, not the little ones) because it had come.  Tasha had breathed her last breath.
My heartstrings were tugged in every direction imaginable.  I felt deeply saddened at her passing, angered at my neglect to stay with her and care for her, guilty because I hadn’t bathed her when Mom had told me to, and numb.  I must have sat there for a half an hour, looking at her and petting her cold, dense body.

We don’t really know how we’re going to take it until it happens… But I think I’m one of those people who needs closure.  I need to acknowledge things as they happen. And for me, that was petting my little dog and reminiscing about the first time I had ever seen her at the rescue foundation set up at a Petco. And I’m just going to say now that discussing mortality with a 6 year old is probably one of the most saddening, interesting, and eye-opening things you can ever do.

She looked peaceful–she could have been asleep in her favorite position.

I did not sleep well last night.  I cried for Tasha. I cried for Margaret. I cried for that poor woman who left a husband and two boys.  I cried for life’s injustices. I cried until I couldn’t anymore.

Sometimes, life isn’t fair.  That’s what life is, anyways? But I know the only way to move on is to look for a silver lining, no matter how dull.  Tasha is no longer suffering.  She, like my mom said, “is probably running around like the bullet she used to be up in doggy heaven”.  Margaret is moving up in her pastoral position.  It’s a big step for her.  Mrs. Kelly is no longer held hostage in a world of sickness; she is being granted admission through those pearly gates as we speak, her body free and beautiful running through the clouds and smiling down on her husband and children.

And me?

I’m doing okay. And I will be okay.  In surrounding myself with the people I love and what is truly important, I will find peace.

We will find peace.

Rest in peace, my little angel ❤ xoxo I love you so much, and I’ll miss you.