I’m back in the game!

Let’s see. March, April, May, June, July, August, and we’re now in September.

I feel like I’ve been time-traveling through my life lately, as so many exciting things have been happening!

See that last post I made? That was nice and mushy, right? Well that post ended up being the catalyst for a few conversations that led me to something unexpected and wonderful — I got a new job!  That’s right — as of June 4th, I now work in the Office of Greek Life in the Department of Student Life at the University of Missouri.  What, you ask, do I actually do for a living? Stuff like this: 

Bid Day, 2012! Nearly 1,700 women registered for sorority recruitment, and after a few weeks of no sleep, we celebrated bid day where welcomed our new members to the sorority community at Mizzou!

You guys.  I L-O-V-E my job.  I had no idea work could be so much fun and so rewarding.  I feel so lucky!

Needless to say, my summer was busy between starting a new job, continuing work on my M Ed, friends getting married, and trying to fit in a little fun! So here is what the rest of summer looked like:

In May, Alex & I went to the beach to celebrate the wedding of his cousin.

In June we had quite a few weddings to attend, including this one in Chicago at the University Club of Chicago (thus the fancy library background!)

And yet another wedding of some of our closest friends! (Here are the bridesmaids, getting into some trouble…)

And a little more summer fun —

Our first SEC football game… where we will not be discussing the outcome of the game, only the awesomeness of the tailgating.

Finally, Lottie would like to say “welcome back to the blog” or something like that.

I hope to begin back-tracking and filling the world in on the home improvements, including but not limited to the on-going basement updates, refreshing the guest room, and some new landscaping we’ve got going on.  So…. stay tuned!


A little Monday afternoon encouragement

Remember that time I teased a major flooring project and didn’t follow through? Me too. Alex and I are still plugging away on the floors in the basement (please don’t judge — we’re busy people!) so I promise to have a couple of big posts detailing the floor-drama next week sometime.

But for now, a little life-reflection time.

My journey as a graduate student has been one ridiculous balancing act. I take classes, I teach a class, I work as a graduate assistant in student life, I intern for a wonderful woman (more on that soon), and then I attempt to balance fun stuff and a personal life on top of it all. There are days where I feel successful at achieving this balance, and other days when I feel as though it’s all falling apart.  As the semester gets more and more stressful, it’s easy to forget about why I originally thought this was an important venture to take on.

Mornings like today, however, remind me of why I initially started this adventure.  I had a meeting with Dr. Linda Bennett, a current ACE fellow whom I’m interning for, where we discussed so many different big-picture ideas of where higher education has room to grow.  As we closed our meeting, we ended up discussing how the four guideposts of the University of Missouri (respect, responsibility, discovery, and excellence) could have so much impact if people simply applied them to their daily lives.  The force of change that could follow would be so powerful, as those four guideposts are broad and somewhat vague, yet still so encouraging.  How amazing would it be if everyone close to the University added a little more respect and a little more personal responsibility to their lives, all-the-while seeking to discover more and be more excellent in their actions?

It brought me back full circle to this time last year, when I was looking forward to beginning grad school.  So much can be done to make higher education better, more accessible, more efficient, more effective, and I will have the opportunity some day soon to have a hand in that change.  I was so excited to get the necessary education (and degree!) that would help me to improve upon the field of higher education. This morning’s meeting reinvigorated me, reminding me how excited I am to begin my next job, where I will hopefully be a part of the positive change in higher education. Regardless of how stressed I am, I have a new focus: to stay positive and excited about my future, and maybe throw a little more respect, responsibility, discovery and excellence into the mix!


So, many things in which fill in the blogosphere, but we’ll start with a little teaser. A trailer before the big picture, if you will.

That’s all for now. I promise to offer explanations and WAY more detail later this week. But I have a project due for my class this afternoon so I gotta get-cracking.

I miss you, blog and people who read my blog (Mom). I am glad there are exciting things going on that help us to re-unite!


Happy Gotcha-versary, Lottie!

Two years ago this week, I had been telling my parents I was going to get a dog. They were NOT on board with the idea. (Granted, I worked in a job where I traveled a LOT, so it was probably insane, but never mind that.)

So two years ago, my parents went on vacation for a week to Aruba. Since they were no longer available to talk sense into me, I called about a dog I found on the Columbia Second Chance website…. and ended up adopting her.

Two years ago, she ate a couple magazines, chewed up several shoes, and was an all-around mess. But a couple of years and lots-of-love later, this dog has been the most hilarious, ridiculous, wonderfully loyal creature you’d imagine.

I realize she’s a DOG and is no means human, but when your only roommate is usually a dog, you tend to bond a little. So let me love on her a little and encourage you to rescue if you want a pup of your own. They take a little work and may be afraid of EVERYTHING, but they’re totally worth it in the end. (They also give you something to point your camera at as you’re learning to use it! Win-win!)

New chair! Finally!

At last. The chair I inherited in October. It was a PERFECT place to snuggle up while I was buried in hundreds of pages of reading about Higher Education Policy and drinking peppermint tree while watching Christmas movies! It’s an awesome addition to my living room.

And if you snooped at the Christmas tree picture a few posts ago and wondered about my wonderously fuzzy tree shirt, you’re seeing it repurposed here. The skirt was actually two faux lambskin rugs, and now they are making my chair and sofa a bit more cozy.

If we’re being honest here, a) I copied this idea 100% from John & Sherry over at my favorite blog, younghouselove.com, and b) I was pretty sure I’d find the faux fur really tacky… but it’s actually really soft and wonderful to sit next to! I’m a huge fan.

You can also see my empty coat rack — I only mention this because we had a few days of 55-60 degree weather last week and it was absolutely heavenly. Missouri weather, you may punish us later for this, but for now, it’s been amazing and I thank you!

Come and knock on my door…

And now… for the big surprise…

I got a new bathroom door!! Taaa-daaaaaaa!
Anyone who has been to my house and used the bathroom off the kitchen quickly realized two things:
1.) It’s the tiniest, most claustrophobic bathroom ever. EVER.
2.) You pretty much had to be already sitting on the pot to get the door closed.

My good pal/man-friend Alex (we tend to hang out from time-to-time) suggested we look at a pocket door (not possible, since we’d have to knock the wall out) but that sparked the search for something new. The solution? A closet door, hung upside-down so the door opens INTO the bathroom and not  into the already-narrow hallway.

The problem: the hinges are on the outside. My plan is to paint this door, too, (I know, all that work last week and there is still a dang door to paint!) and hopefully paint the hinges white to match. (Spray paint? Maybe? Eh?) Oh. And no door knobs at the moment. Minor details.

The best part of all of this: when you sit down to do whatever it is you’re going to do (ya know, like read a book!), you’re not trapped by a door. You get THIS lovely view instead!

Left to do on this project:
1. Paint new bathroom door
2. Touch up some paint in both the stairs and the kitchen that have been dinged up lately (whoops).
3. Learn to focus my new camera better (whoops again).

Why does everything in my house get painted white?

I have no answer for that question. But it’s true — I’m a sucker for a can of white paint.

My good ol’ condo came with a multitude of paint issues, including red walls, pink stairwells, peach-sponge-painted dining rooms, and a mishmash of white and dark wood trim throughout the place.

After fixing the more glaringly obvious issues, it was time to take my Christmas break and tackle the trim.

Well, that’s what I started out aiming for… and while I was at it, I decided my doors needed to go ahead and get freshened up. The conversation with myself went a little like this:

“C’mon, Stef, the garage is already out-of-commission because of this project. May as well take all the doors off the hinges and paint them now while you’re in the mess!”

“Yeah, you know, you’re right, Stef. It’s not like you’ll have anyone staying with you to where you’d need a door on any bathroom…” (phone rings in the distance…)

And that’s when my roommate from freshman year of college called. She was in town! Excellent news! She’s staying at my house! Excellent news! I got to tell her there were no doors on my bathrooms or bedrooms! Still excellent news! (Turns out, after sharing a 10×10 room with someone for a year, doors aren’t really necessary.)

Okay okay enough storytelling. Here’s the before (shot with new camera! Huzzah!):

During …


There you have it, folks. I’ll have a few more photos to add tomorrow when I show you a big ol’ surprise! Get excited.