Tuesday, November 20, 2012


My sweet best friend gave us a romantic getaway to Flagstaff as an engagement gift.
Actually-funny story. A few months ago Shannon sent me a text telling me "Saturday night you're both going with me to see Killswitch!" So Nick and I head over to her house to go see the show only to find out when she said "you're both" she had actually sent that text to me and another girl. My phone doesn't indicate when a text gets sent to multiple people :( So Nick gracefully bowed out and came to pick my drunk ass up later that night. Shannon felt really bad. Honestly, he didn't want to go because this was the same week that Guild Wars 2 and Borderlands 2 came out so he was happy to go home and game. At any rate an "I owe you one" was exchanged and it worked out nicely because we got engaged right before the Shannon found a Groupon for a Flagstaff getaway.
We headed up to Flagstaff Friday night after we got off work. We stayed at the Radisson, it was a pretty nice place. The Groupon included a few free drinks at the bar so after we brought our things in we headed down to the bar for a glass of wine. The bartender was a cool guy, we spent most of the night chatting with him and he recommended the next day that we go to Snowbowl and ride the ski lift up the mountain so we could see the trees changing color. A great suggestion. So we ended the night relaxing in the hot tub and the next morning headed out to explore. Breakfast was at a local place called Brandy's a restaurant that had been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. The food was great but the coffee was even better! Definitely our go to breakfast spot anytime we're in Flagstaff now! After breakfast we headed up to Snowbowl. The drive was so pretty, all the trees were turning yellow and red. There was patches of snow everywhere. The ski lift took us up on a 45 min scenic ride. Here's a view from the bottom:
At the top, you could get off and walk around a bit. The whole area is actually covered in snow in the winter and people go skiing up there. Its really interesting to see it all with no snow on the ground. We plan to go back soon and try the skiing (or sliding down the mountain on our butts!). Here's a view from the top:
After snowbowl we found a great little wine bar downtown that not only had a huge wine menu but also a giant board game selection so we sat around playing board games and drinking wine before heading back home. All in all it was a great trip! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

What is your hope built upon?

Rainn Wilson has a pretty neat website called Soul Pancake, one of my new favorite websites. Its designed to open conversations about things as simple as whats your favorite this or that to your innermost feelings about life in general. I love when websites first start out because the part of the internet that goes there are the thinkers, the people that know where to find these things and like to spend time talking with other people like them before the rest of the world finds out and we end up with the likes that post on places like Yahoo Answers. So that's where Soul Pancake is right now and hopefully it can stay cool for a very long time.

Anyway, so someone posed the question "What is your hope built upon" and it made me think back to a time where I had no hope. A time in my life where I literally said to myself every single day "is this all there is?". I was in a terrible relationship, I didn't like my career and I was working three jobs only to never really make ends meet and my relationship with my family had deteriorated so badly because I hardly spoke to anyone. My "friends" were just people that I knew but I really didn't have anything invested in anyone, I really didn't know how to do that.

It wasn't until I made some real friends that I was able to take stock of what was going on and reassess my life. I moved out of survival mode and focused on relationships, not only making new ones but building old ones and cutting out bad ones. So with that I have to say that my hope is built upon friendship. Never underestimate the power of a good friend. When your life seems to be going nowhere, if you've got a network of people that truly love you to fall back on or just confide in then you're going to be just fine. Relationships give my life more meaning and hope that not matter what things will always be OK.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The proposal

I started my new job on Oct 14th. But that isn't the only exciting thing that happened that day. I got home and Nick met me in the garage as I pulled in, he was all dressed up and freshly shaved (aka looking super fine) and asked if I'd go on a date with him to celebrate my new job. We went out for sushi and had a great time. On the way home he stopped off at the big park in Anthem and said he wanted to go for a walk. I didn't want to go because we had been working out all week and my legs were killing me but he insisted. So we walk to this cute little bridge with waterfall behind it and we're hugging and just being in love.

Nick gets down on his knee and begins to tell me how much he loves me. I thought he was joking for a minute because he keeps telling me he's going to mess with me about proposing like Jim did with Pam on the office. But then he pulls a little box out of his pocket and asked me to marry him! YES! Of course!

And so, I will soon be Mrs. whateverwedecide. Nick has decided he wants to start our own legacy with our family. So we're going to choose a last name and use that when we get married.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Rocky Point

Last month Nick gave his friend Zach a call just to check up and say hi and whatnot. Zach says he's headed to visit his girlfriend in Rocky Point, Mexico this weekend and invited us to come along! It just so happened that we were on vacation but had decided to stay home with all the house purchasing stuff going on. What a great getaway!

I didn't realize that Rocky Point is really only like 4 hours south of Phoenix so the drive out wasn't too bad. It was raining a lot though and when we got into Mexico the roads were so bad most cars couldn't get through. Zach had a huge (like I needed a running start to jump into this thing) truck so we made it through.

So his girlfriend lives down there and we were going to be staying at her house for the weekend. She actually lived on a little "estate" with her house, the guest house/garage and her parents house. The A/C in her house was out so we stayed in her parents house. The place was AMAZING. I'm going to avoid posting a bunch of photos of their home on the internet but here's the view from the kitchen overlooking the ocean.

The whole weekend was so relaxing. We did a lot of swimming, drinking, eating and lazing around. It was absolutely perfect. Lucky for us Zach and his girlfriend are wine lovers like we are and he brought a bunch of wine from Caduceus with. I think my mouth was purple all weekend lol. 
This photo was taken first thing in the morning, the tide rolls in through the day and all that rock behind us eventually gets covered in water. So we took a morning stroll down to the water and as we were standing there the water kept getting deeper and deeper, it was pretty neat.

Monday, October 08, 2012

All of the things.

Pretty exciting last couple of months! After a rollercoaster of a closing process, we actually did buy the house I posted about before. Its everything I thought it would be. We have so much more room, an amazing yard and we live in the most beautiful community. I couldn't be happier. I love taking this next step on our lives together. This weekend we spent time working on the yard and doing odd things around the house like putting together dressers and hanging up the TV.
Its an awesome feeling, but the thing that makes it best is doing it with Nick. Never in my life have I felt so right-in-step with another person. It was always me following them or them following me all while struggling to find a happy medium. With him, there isn't a question, we are simply on the same page or we work together to make things happen.

Another super exciting development is that I got a new job. I hadn't been happy at my previous job for some time. Not so much the job but that the job wasn't going anywhere, I felt like I had no room to grow and nobody supporting me if I did want to move up. Its a bad feeling and it was making things really hard for me. So I started applying to a few banks that I thought would be a good fit for me. I loved banking but I never thought I'd find a company I believed in and actually liked working for as I did with BB&T. Well, I found a couple of credit unions and one bank and just kept applying at them and a few other various places to see what was out there. I got a call from my new employer telling me that the job I applied for was really meant to be filled internally as it was an operations role and they wanted someone who knew their bank policies first hand. However, they liked my resume and asked if I'd be interested in working in a branch again. Of course I would! My interview was for an assistant position but when I got there they said they had a manager spot open and I interviewed for that. I start October 15th.

As you might imagine the last couple months have been pretty crazy. Hopefully, once I fall back into some semblance of a routine I'll be able to blog a little more! But today I am going to spend outside. Its finally down to the 80s here in sunny Arizona and my beautiful backyard has gotten overgrown so I'll be pruning and trimming to my hearts content all afternoon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mystery Uncovered!

A while back I posted about my dad telling me that the swings at the park were "doggie swings" because they had 4 holes. My sister Michelle uncovered their real purpose and melted my heart when she sent me this photo of her twins Tanner and Olivia yesterday.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A House!

This last week or two has been crazy! Tuesday the 31st we decided to meet a Realtor and look at houses. Literally the first house we saw was THE one. We're in the house looking around and an AZ monsoon hits!  So we got trapped in the house for an extra 30 mins or so, then the roads were so flooded we couldn't leave Anthem or go look at any other houses. We decided to have some dinner and see if it let up, it finally did and we were able to see 2 more homes but they just didn't even compare. 

So we slept on it and discussed the options and finally decided to put in an offer. At first the sellers said flat out no. We were asking for nearly 10k under the asking price and the current price had already been marked down about 30k. Its a great home. We have a great lender/Realtor team and together they worked out a deal for us. 

At this point, we've had our home inspection and the inspector said "this is the nicest home I've done in three weeks". He said it was a great first home and we will have very little to fix before we move in. There's 4 tiles loose on the roof and the outlets in the kitchen are GFS protected in places they shouldn't be. Everything else is cosmetic like chips on the patio and scratches in the tile. 

We are very excited. The only things we absolutely have to purchase are a washer/dryer and a fridge. There's a fridge in the garage but its small and doesn't match the kitchen. We got a great deal from a local appliance store since we'll be buying everything from there. 

The last hurdle is the appraisal. What we need is an appraisal to come back saying the house is worth what we're paying for it and we're done. The house is ours. FINGERS CROSSED. If that goes through we could move in as early as the 20th. In literally 20 days we decided to buy a house, found one and bought it. Like I said, its been a crazy couple of weeks. 

If this house doesn't work out, its not a big deal. There's a lot of homes out there and since we're already through the loan underwriting and stuff, if we have to put in another offer it'll go even faster. Truth be told, I secretly hope this is the one. I can see us living there. 

One step closer to the amazing future of Nick and Stephanie. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I once visited a crematorium where they gave discounts to burn victims.

So, awesome news! Nick and I have been looking for a new apartment because our lease is up. We are doing great with our budget and decided to treat ourselves to this beautiful apartment complex in North Phoenix. This place is amazing. Not just the apartment, but the views, the amenities, everything! We went in there based on the price on the website but we were told that the price online was based on a 6 month lease and included $83 off a month based on this $500 program they were doing. Our rate was higher because we wanted a 12 month lease and the $500 had to be stretched over 12 months instead of 6. We were a little miffed but had talked ourselves into the place so whatever, we signed anyway.

 Nick decides to call the corporate office and verify the website prices and lo and behold they tell us that the prices are based on 12 months and do not include the $500 bonus! So he calls the apartment manager back who tells him "thats incorrect, we post the prices that way as a marketing scheme to get people to call". Little did they know we had both calls recorded. So he contacted the regional manager and told her about the little "trick" and asked for our money back and to be let out of our lease. At first she said no but Nick politely reminded her that this is false advertising and could be considered bait and switch since their website clearly stated "Prices based on 12 month lease" and had the "sign now and recieve a $500 bonus!" but never mentioned it was already included in the price. They did.

 The silver lining to not getting our dream apartment is this: WE DECIDED TO BUY A HOUSE! I am over the moon excited. We've been looking at homes online and in the town we want to buy all week and tonight we're meeting with the Realtor! So for now, I think we're going to sign a 6 month lease and stay in our current place while we shop for our first home together!

 Lastly, I teased Nick that I would blog about this.
 I was watching Nick play Fallout 3 the other day and his Wadsworth told him this joke "I once visited a crematorium where they gave discounts to burn victims.".
Me: *giggle*
Nick: *Stoneface*
 Me: Don't you think that was funny?
 Nick: No, it was kinda dumb.
 Me: A crematorium is where they cremate people...
Nick: Oh...well its pretty funny then.
Me: ...
Nick: I thought a crematorium was a place where the sell salves and lotions.

 Now every time I want to buy lotion I'm going to tell him I'm on the way to the crematorium :P

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chicago (better late than never!)

Its a bird, its a plane! Its SUPER STEPHANIE! Just kidding. That was me at the Mythbusters Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Just part of the amazing vacation Nick and I took back home to visit the family. PS my family loves Nick as much as I do. Mom calls him her son, Dad said I could marry him and my sisters have their kids calling him Uncle Nick (though as soon as they can talk they shall call him Uncle PoopyPants MUAHAHA). Who wouldn't love this silly bearded fuzzy man peach??
Anyway the whole trip was a blast. We flew in on a Saturday and spent the first two nights downtown at the Wheeler Mansion. We decided to make our own pizza tour but got full after the first two stops! Spent an entire day at the Museum of Science and Industry and our final day in the city walking around Millennium Park and visiting the Bean
After that we headed down to Kankakee to visit my family. Our first couple of nights were spent at my sister Michelle's house so we could spend some time with her sweet baby twins Tanner and Olivia.
Then we headed out to my grandpa's farm and saw his bunnies and horses. Short visit with Brian and Cody and the last night was at my dads house so I could see my cool little brother Jake. I got him a new board game called Tiki Mountain and he made me a home made chia pet!
Of course its grown since then... All in all it was a great trip!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


I am excited to say that I have finally completed C25K! This is an app for your phone that helps you run for a full 30 minutes at the end of 9 weeks. I have been working on completing this program for longer than 9 weeks though. It all started in 2010 when I decided to start running. I would fall on and off that wagon for various reasons, mostly my lack of initiative and inability to truly push myself.

When I met Nick I told him about the program and he agreed to run it with me. We had a rocky start where we would both find excuses to not run and when 2012 hit we agreed to become serious about it. We were at week 4 at that point. A couple weeks into January I sprained my knee on a trampoline and we had to take a couple of weeks off for me to heal. After that it was on. We committed to three times a week no excuses. We stopped other hobbies just to make sure we could make time to run and I am pleased to say that on March 3, 2012 we completed Week 9, Day three with a full 30 minute run!

Running is no longer a struggle for me. It feels good and even when I don't feel like running after I get started I remember how much I love it.

In an effort to not give up we have just started the follow up program B210K.

In just 6 short weeks we should be running a full 60 minutes!

My personal goal is to be able to run in a Mud Run by the end of summer. They look like so much fun and I want to be in great shape so we can run, hike, climb and do all kinds of fun outdoors stuff without worrying about being too out of shape for it.

*Note, thought I am running for 30 minutes now my pace isn't fast enough to actually go 5K but the more we run the faster our pace gets. So if you're looking to do this program too, don't get discouraged. Get the time down and the distance/pace will come with it!


One of our new favorite board games is Pandemic. Its a 4 player game where you all work together to cure 4 viruses spreading across the world. Each player draws a role and not all roles are used, makes each game a little bit different! You travel the globe healing the diseases before the spread too fast and try to minimize outbreaks as you search for the cure. Its pretty challenging, there are several different ways to play to make the game more or less challenging.

Well, as it turns out, Pandemic has an expansion! I just got it and can't wait to play it. There's a new virus strain out there, a new way for the disease to mutate, new and improved roles and a bio terrorist role so one of your team is actually working against you! OMG!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

First Vacation of the Year!

We decided to pack up the pups and take advantage of having a three day weekend! After over a year of living in Arizona I finally made it up to the Grand Canyon. It was awesome!
We left early Saturday morning and headed up to our hotel just outside the South Rim. The more north we got, the colder it was! Then we started seeing SNOW! I never in a million years thought I'd be excited to see snow. It was probably because it still wasn't all that cold outside and so you could actually go out and enjoy it.
We arrived at the hotel and got the dogs all comfy and headed out to Flagstaff.

Flagstaff was fun, lots of little shops and places to see. We had dinner at the Weatherford Hotel. This place was cool, it was a hotel that has been around since Flagstaff was founded, they have 11 rooms, 3 bars and a restaurant. We decided to stay there next time we go to town, the waiter recommended room 42. I think that was a sign this place is going to totally rock.
We stopped at a couple of neat little shops, my favorite was a bath store called Fizz. I got some of those stones you heat up and massage with and some shower steamers. Then we found an awesome candle store, you could actually dip your own candles. Very cool, I got some floating rose candles to float around in my bath.
Before we left we stopped at a coffee house/bar where the waiter was either a total asshole or we were stupid. He asked what we wanted and Nick asked what kind of coffee they had, all he said was "double espresso" so I said ok I would like one with cream, he says "ok double espresso" I'm like, "yes, with cream" then Nick says "I'll have a coffee" and the waiter goes "ok two double espresso". According to the menu they had much more than double espresso so I am not exactly sure what happened there but we had our espresso and went on our way. Totally reminded me of the Coffee Snobs

Sunday morning we woke up extra early and headed to the canyon to see the sunrise. Unfortunately they were having a snowstorm and it was too cold/snowy/cloudy to see anything. So we drove around to the watch points seeing what we could see and learning how to properly layer in freezing temps. We went back to the hotel for awhile and went back to the canyon later after it cleared up.

Lucky for us, Monday was clear and sunny! We got to spend all day on the rim, letting the dogs play in the snow and taking in the sights. All in all it was a great vacation. Here's the album of photos:
Grand Canyon 2012

Friday, January 06, 2012

Christmas/Birthday time of year

If you know me you know I love unwrapping gifts almost more than actually getting a gift! I knew Nick would use that for my Christmas gift, but I had no idea just how far he'd take it. I thought I'd get something that needed batteries and get individually wrapped batteries or something like that. I never expected to wake up and get to unwrap my apartment!!

Aside from that I got an upgrade to my graphics card, some Aperture Science glasses, caffeinated root beer and the best possible thing to drink said root beer from...A replica of the Top Gun Stein from Battlestar Galactica!!! OH and I think he got sick of me taking all his dollars to try and win a DOMO from the crane game at the grocery store, because he got me a lil Domo too :)

I got him the outfit Dexter wears to kill people (he looks incredibly hot in it), a book of photos of us from 2011, a gift card to buy some climbing gear at REI and some tools for his cool new toolbox so he can be manly and fix things.

My birthday is Sunday and in the spirit of never being a real grown up this year my birthday party is going to be at a place called Xtreme Air jump park! My family went in together and bought me a Kindle for my birthday. I opened it by accident the other day thinking it was the Furminator I bought for Ginger and Enzo. Needless to say I was STOKED to find it.