Tag Archives: family

Are you a priority or an option?

I find it so fascinating how life sends us little reminders from time to time. You know, like when you’re having a bad day and then the sky opens up and the sun shines down on you and you have that “aha” moment? I had one of those yesterday, and it came in the form of this quote:

“Never make someone a priority when they only make you an option.”

I’ve always been the nurturing, motherly type in relationships–not just romantic ones, but friendships also. I love doing things for other people to make them feel good, because seeing other people happy makes me happy. I always put others first, but I learned the hard way that making someone a priority didn’t always mean they would reciprocate.

Now, seeing this quote, I realize how much I have grown. I wouldn’t change a thing about the past and any pain I’ve felt, because without it I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now. And where I am now is a great place, ladies and gents. I am surrounded by SO many people who make me a priority, not an option, each and every day. I wanted to use this post to thank all of those incredible people in my life who always make me number one.

You are my rock, and I am the woman I am today because I had such an amazing role model growing up. You are the strongest, kindest, and most beautiful person I know, and you’re also an amazing best friend. Thank you for always being there for me, through the good and the bad!

I am so thankful that we’ve been able to build our relationship so strong throughout the past couple of years. I love spending time with you and I am so happy that you’ve finally found happiness again with such a great wife. You inspire me everyday and I admire your courage. Thanks for always putting me first.

You are the best sister I could have ever asked for. You are an amazing best friend and there’s nothing better than sharing things with a sister. You’ve become such a fantastic young woman and I can’t WAIT to see you continue to grow. Thanks for being so supportive of me, twin.

Words can’t express what you and our relationship mean to me. You’ve taught me so much about life and love, and you always put others before yourself. You have completely changed my life and made me GLOW with happiness. Thank you for making me the luckiest girl in the world everyday.

Candace and Kara-
Even 1,000 miles away you two are the best friends in the world. We may not get to talk everyday, but I know in my heart there is nothing that could ever tear us three apart. You two know me inside and out and there are things I’ve shared with you that I’d never share with most people. Thanks for being the most wonderful girlfriends a girl could have, I miss and love you both so much!

I urge you to surround yourself with people who make you a priority in life, instead of an option. Rid yourself of people who don’t make you feel good about yourself and instead seek out the ones who bring out the best in you.

Who are you thankful for?

If you visit 1 Florida beach, let it be this one!

I went a little MIA for a few days because John and I were busy soaking up the sun in beautiful Anna Maria Island, FL (Bradenton Beach, specifically) with my family. This island is becoming a quick favorite of mine and anytime we consider going to the beach, it’s always my first pick. I haven’t shared too many photos on here, so I figured I’d make today’s post picture heavy!

This place is wonderful for so many reasons. For starters, it’s located in the Gulf of Mexico, meaning there are spectacular sunsets to be viewed each and every night. Even on the cloudy nights, the sunsets are always breathtaking. Any other beach I’ve been to I’ve always had to drag myself out of bed at 6am to get sunrise shots, but in Anna Maria I can lounge around and end the day watching the sun set over the ocean.

There are super cool/rustic piers all along Bradenton Beach. They make great photos and since you aren’t allowed to walk on them there’s never people walking around ruining the shot :).

John and I by one of the piers

The condo my mom and stepdad rented for the week was not only beachfront, but it was also steps away from a TIKI BAR. It really doesn’t get much better than that in  my opinion.

Caribbean margarita/Mango margarita
John under the tiki hut
Malibu bucket (um, yum!)

Usually we don’t find many shells at the beach, but a storm must have blown in a whole lotta shells (along with that seaweed, but it didn’t smell so no bother!). We were finding amazing shells left and right. The picture above shows some of the great shells we found during our stay.

Tuesday, we ventured inland towards the Sarasota area to visit Myakka River State Park. If you’re ever in the Siesta Key/Sarasota/Tampa area, this park is absolutely worth the drive. We spent a few hours there and took an airboat tour and then strolled over to the canopy walk. It’s super scenic and as the park calls it, this place is the real Florida.

One of the many alligators we saw during our airboat tour
Canopy walk
Palm trees – viewed from the tower above the canopy walk
John and I at the top of the canopy walk tower

Anna Maria is full of great shops and restaurants. It’s everything I love in a beach: clear water, white sand, and not too touristy! It has a quaint small town feel and is the perfect destination for a beach vacation, even if it’s just a day trip. John and I had an amazing time and as usual it was great to see my family. I’m super thankful to be able to see them so often, even if I live 1,000 miles away!

Where have you vacationed this summer? Do you have a favorite beach?

A proper introduction

This blog has only been around a little over a month, but already I’ve met so many awesome fellow bloggers! I figured now would be the perfect time to let you all in on a little about myself. Although I usually hate writing/speaking about myself (remember the first day of school with those annoying get to know you games?) I’m willing to make an exception for today. 🙂

First things first, my name is Stephanie. I’m a twenty-something (23 to be exact) living in Orlando, FL blogging about my personal adventures and general things I encounter as a twenty-something. After staring at fashion blogs day after day I thought hey, I can do this! My strong points have always been in the Arts and English (reading, writing, spelling) so this blog has been an enjoyable way for me to tap back into my skills as a writer.

I’ve wanted to become everything from a marine biologist to a fashion designer, but since I hate science (probably have to like that to be a marine biologist) and I can’t sew (thus destroying my fashion designing dreams), I’m currently working in Marketing.

While marketing is my day job, my true passion in life is Photography. I love the challenge of creating pictures that convey emotion and capture all of life’s special moments. I graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Photography, and look forward to the day where I can make my living off of creating images. While I focus mainly on Weddings and Portraiture, I enjoy taking photos of day-to-day life also. You can view my full portfolio here.

Photo from my dad’s recent wedding

Bouquet photo from a wedding last summer

Now, onto that guy I’m always talking about in my blog posts. That would be John. I’m positive he’s the most amazing/handsome man in the entire world, but I know, every girl says that about her boyfriend. He’s the kindest, sweetest person I know and I can honestly say that being with him has made me a better person.

John and I during a hot air balloon ride this past June

John and I met 2 years ago at my best friend’s wedding (cute, right?) and spent only that night together. We exchanged numbers and kept in touch the whole summer, but it wasn’t until he spent a week in Pittsburgh (my former residence) that we really connected and got serious. We dated long distance for just over a year before I finally packed up and moved in with him to our current home in sunny, Orlando, FL. Moving was without a doubt the best decision I ever made, and I love finally getting to spend everyday with him.

Aside from John, I have the most INCREDIBLE family in the world. I’m proud to say my mom and sister are the best girlfriends I could ever ask for, and I’ve also got a got a great relationship with my dad. My family lives in O-H-I-O, which is where I was born and spent the majority of my life, but I am lucky to see them often. I’m pretty sure this is because I live in Florida…who wouldn’t want to come visit?

I am obsessed with shoes. I blame this obsession on not drinking until I was in fact 21, because I developed a need for cute shoes to wear to the bar. Now I hardly ever go to the bar, yet I feel an immense need for a new pair of shoes when attending any sort of social function. There was a time in my life where I chose new shoes over groceries…it’s that bad.

I hope that gives you a little information on me and if you want to know anything else, don’t hesitate to ask! I’d love to hear things we have in common also.

Finally, I must mention the various ways in which I would love to connect with all of you. I just created a Facebook page for twenty-something, so click here to visit and like my page. I also recently joined Pinterest and have been wasting hours of my life pinning everything, so if that interests you click here to follow me!

It’s never too late for love

I’d like to start out this post by saying WOW, I have never been on so many vacations in one summer in my entire life! For the past 2 months John and I have been “beach hopping” from vacation to vacation every 2 weeks.  This is one crazy summer, but I am definitely not complaining! Friday we headed back to the Outer Banks (remember my post here about ingredients for a great vacation?) for a very special ceremony.

In high school, my parents announced they would be getting a divorce. Although I was old enough and mature enough to understand the reasons and comprehend it was for the best for both of them, it was still hard to take in. Parents are our role models for so many things when we are growing up, love especially. Your parents are supposed to have that invincible, untouchable relationship that binds them together through good times and bad, so I’m sure that a lot of you can relate when I stress how difficult it is to see that relationship fail.

Over time, my sister and I overcame the divorce and were able to see clearly that it was for the best for everyone. My mom re-married, and my dad slowly begun dating again. Although I didn’t notice it at the time, I look back now and realize how amazing it was to see the growth both of my parents made. In a weird way, it was almost like I was the parent, watching my own parents start their lives up again, grow up, and date (still encountering some of the classic dating problems we face as twenty-somethings!) The major growth was in my dad, and although it’s not something I have ever written about or even spoke about much in the past, I was so proud of him (and still am) for giving love another shot. He kept putting himself out there, meeting new people, and when things didn’t work out he still kept trying.

Recently, my dad met Robin, and when I met her I instantly knew she was different. I had a feeling in my gut that this was the one…they were so obviously in love with each other after such a short time together and it was clear that this was meant to be. It was of no surprise to anyone when my dad proposed a few months ago, and she of course accepted. They chose to get married on the beach in Kitty Hawk, NC this past weekend and the ceremony was absolutely beautiful.

Standing there watching my dad get married to such an amazing woman, I realized we all have a lot to learn from people like my dad and Robin. Both of them had failed relationships, but they kept putting themselves out there, even at an older age, and thus found each other. How easily do we feel like giving up after a relationship that leaves us feeling scarred and hurt? How much time to we waste dwelling on a failed relationship? How afraid do we allow ourselves to become after someone has hurt us? I think we are all guilty of these feelings. We allow ourselves to be consumed by our emotions and allow ourselves to think that there simply isn’t anyone out there for us, but that’s not the truth. There will always be someone; we just have to open up our hearts to let that person in. It is never too late for love. Thank you Dad, and thank you Robin, for showing me this.

Ingredients for a great vacation

If there’s one thing every twenty-something needs, it’s time away from the office. Just this past week, John and I spent 5 days in Duck, NC with his family. Not only was it the ideal way to relax and recharge, but it also gave me the opportunity to get to know his family better since they all live in Pennsylvania.

While hanging poolside/beachside, I got to thinking about all of the elements that make a beach vacation so great (apart from the obvious not having to work for a few days). Here’s what I came up with:

Quality time with family that you might not get otherwise…While you may still see your parents often, it’s unlikely that you get to spend much time with your cousins/aunts/uncles/grandparents outside of holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Vacation gives you that bonus time to hang out and have fun as a family.

…And extra time with someone you love. For this particular vacation, it was spending extra time with John that was so important to me. It gave us the chance to focus on our time together and have fun as a couple.

Having an excuse to eat whatever you want.
Is it just me, or do sweets and the beach go hand in hand? While on vacation, I’ll go ahead and eat ice cream everyday if I want. Additionally, I will eat pie for breakfast, lunch and probably dinner (and don’t forget about a midnight snack). The best part is that nobody can say anything about it because they will also be partaking in this delightful aspect of vacation.

Making “tough” decisions. Ex) Margarita, Corona or both? Life is rough.

Enjoying what nature has to offer. The sights and sounds of the beach are pretty unbeatable. Crashing waves, star-filled skies, beautiful sunrises/sunsets and warm, buttery sand are all some of my favorite things about the beach.

All the fun things to do. Do I even have to list them out?? Mini golf (duh), eating (double duh), shopping, water sports….you get the picture.

Curling up with a good book. Books are a staple of any vacation; I don’t think this one needs any further explanation!

All in all, our 5 days in Duck were incredible. I loved getting to know John’s family better and we had gorgeous weather. The town itself was also incredibly quaint with tons of cute shops and restaurants. I definitely recommend it if you want to go somewhere quiet and non-touristy that still has a ton of activities available if you get tired of sitting on the beach (which is incredibly unlikely, but still). 🙂

Where are you vacationing this summer?