Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting back into the groove

And here I am changing it all up. 

So I have decided that I should purge my mind some more on here since really I have been taking photos every day to continue my project 365 into another year. 

I have recently ventured into a Gluten Free diet (loosely) and lost 14 pounds over the last 4 weeks. I have been tracking my success on www.myfitnesspal.com and my August Goal was reached last week so this week will be a good time to jump start on my September one! 

I have gone through a lot in the past year (as seen in the last post) and it is time to organize myself, starting with my social media. 

I know it seems silly because a blog is a blog and a Twitter is a Twitter but I changed all my cover photos/backgrounds to match because well that is branding and it will keep me more on track. Plus I am on a huge gray and yellow kick to bare with me ;) 

Oh and Twitter? @StephanieTypes I ramble. It is awesome. 

My current state is 'The Girl Whose Hair is on Fire" & I love my job. 

That is all for now, must get to work. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Project 365 (367) In Review - Our First Year Married

I know I neglect this blog terribly and I always say I am going to update more but it most likely will not be the case. What you can count on are some updates here and there that have a ton of sentimental value or importance since blogging has always been something that I do. The other day, my Husband and I reached our 1 year wedding anniversary. Something I did every day for the past year was take a photo, upload it onto Facebook and write about what we did for the day. Now, I am a self proclaimed Social Media junkie. For some reason I know these sites inside and out and while some people turned their noses up at my Project 365 (which was really project 367) I got a lot of love from the people whose newsfeeds I have been crashing for the past year. Now that year one is over I decided to recap about our first year of marriage. 

It all started with this:

We’re married. My cousin JP took this photo during our last dance (Billy Joel’s Two Thousand Years) and it made me so happy. Me singing to Steev, we are both disheveled from a night of intense dancing and all around love from our family. Honestly our wedding was talked about so highly from our family and friends it made me feel so good because that is all I wanted. An event where everyone comes together and shares a common interest in being there for a young couple getting married. It was wonderful, and beautiful and we left The Westbury Manor buzzing. One thing that didn’t happen on our wedding day is I didn’t use the bathroom all night. I went before the ceremony but not during the night at the 500 Shirley Temples I consumed caught up with me as we loaded into the vintage Bentley which was our getaway car. I honestly almost peed myself. Holding onto the sides of the car we told to driver to find anything open so that the bride could relieve herself (classy). Barefoot in a Wedding Dress I ran into a diner and everyone inside clapped for the bride who just yelled ‘BATHROOM’. Somehow I managed to pee by myself and the hostess made me catwalk after the episode and I came back outside laughing with Steev. My biggest advice to brides: Pee before you hit the road. 

After the wedding day buzz, we boarded a plane and flew to Paris. 

We’ll always have Paris and the fact that it was all a year ago makes my heart hurt. This was the most beautiful, serene place and I absolutely adored every moment that we spent there. I miss it everyday. The food, the people, the art, the culture - it all meant so much and 2 weeks was not enough. The Ritz treated us like royalty and gave us a night I will never forget. I cried walking into the Ritz overwhelmed that our Honeymoon was over and at the beauty of the place and when we left because I just did not want to leave. Paris was magic. 

We landed home tired but excited to share Paris with our families. We loaded into my parent’s van with my Brother & Mother and a sentence into the first story the phone rang. 20min back in the states, our 14thth day married and we got the most heartbreaking news - Nanny, Steev’s beloved maternal grandmother was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. Immediately all the air was sucked out of our universe as we deflated into nothing. We couldn’t even remember where we were or that two weeks ago we got married, all I knew is that I never saw that look on Steev’s face and as a new wife, I wasn’t prepared for it. I almost stopped Photo of the Day all together but Steev told me to keep going. Years aren’t always about the good things after all. At first we thought we would have Nanny for a while longer - but Cancer is fast, furious and unforgiving and in 4 short months she was gone. In these 4 months sometimes weeks went by where I had to Google image some photos - it was hard to document days where a lot of it was just sitting at the table, staring at each other while we tried to figure it all out. Steev and I have been together 9 years total and we never went through anything like this. Within these 4 months:

-We made our Honeymoon scrapbooks 
-Bought a 1963 Mercury Comet 
-We went to Salem for Halloween
-We saw the Foo Fighters at MSG 
-Steev turned 25

this all served as good distraction. The week Nanny left us I did stop taking photos and filled the week with her. She was one of the most beautiful women you will ever see. 

It was heart wrenching - and honestly I felt so helpless. I had experienced death before, I have a grieving routine (I violently cry and scream while in the car so I can get through wherever I am going to without breaking down and some other things). Steev and his family hadn’t. I know in order to get through it you have to go through it but I just wanted to take it all away. It killed me to see my new family in such pain and it breaks my heart over and over. I knew Nanny since I was 14 - in that time I spent a lot of moments with her that I consider special for myself. Steev saw her practically every day of his 25 years. I couldn’t grasp why or how and still it blows my mind that she isn’t with us anymore. The day after she passed we went to MSG to see the Rangers because Steev got tickets for his birthday. We almost didn’t go. But we knew how upset Nanny would be if we did not (Nanny loved The Rangers). The Rangers won 6-1. I cried the whole game. The victory at least blanketed our loss, we were going to be ok, even if a part of us was missing. It is hard to really go into any more detail because of how hard it was and how much we still miss her and how we are still grieving - it doesn’t get better, it just gets different. 

After that, came Christmas. 

Still heavy with loss, we celebrated Christmas. My first Christmas as a Wife, I cooked a ton of holiday ham, homemade scalloped potatoes and white asparagus and I had a great time doing it. Apparently it was a hit and I am excited to do it again this year. It was really great under the circumstances and everyone being together made things feel a little more normal. We were going to be ok. This was Christmas Eve, Christmas Day we spent with The Ryan/Dowling Clan which was equally as calming and special. We lucked out as a couple, his family grew up with Christmas Eve, we grew up with Christmas Day, we never have to split time which is nice. 

Something that came out overall great this year: tons of Cousin Bonding. TONS! My family is very big, and we have an abundance of cousins. Cousins are like built in best friends and a great part about it now is we are all around the same age and some of the youngins are growing up and we had a ton of opportunity to all be together this year which was incredible. Steev comes from a smaller family - but my cousins called him a cousin from the day we were engaged and it was really fun to spend time with all of them this year. Here is a photo from our city trip in December:

New Year’s Eve is always my favorite and was tame this year. We went to Tracey’s to hang with the cousins and then back next door (by the way, ‘next door’ means my in-laws house) to watch the ball drop. We hoped 2012 would bring us some peace. 

But it did not. 2012 started with Steev being sick, going to the doctors and having an endoscopy. While he turned out to be ok, the stress of having a sick Husband was something I did not expect. Living with Steev before getting married alleviated the ‘transition’ stress that the first year of marriage typically brings. Our first year brought big life stresses that did not really strain our bond, it just strained us as people. I did not feel like a wife until the doctor called me into the room as he was waking up. That walk was heavy and I was suddenly aware that I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and shaking because my Husband was just under and now I watch him wake up and it was so scary even if it was so minor. 

Steev waking up was one of the funniest moments of my life. 

“I play for the New York Rangers” 
he said 
“I scored a hat trick but we lost, 6-3, my goals were the only goals on the map. They said I could keep playing. They said I was good! You were there!” 

I laughed. The nurse laughed too. When the doctor came in to tell me what was wrong Steev asked him if he was concussed and if he was well enough to play the next game - and then thanked him for stitching up his lip (from where the puck hit him). The doctor played along, and when they sat Steev up he was upset because he was comfortable and then asked to bring the anesthesia home because it served him well as far as sleep went. When we got home Steev had no recollection of this conversation. 

After a big sigh of relief that he was ok - my health started to give me issues. Blood tests and hospital visits (from hell) I am still undergoing tests to figure out what is wrong with me. At least I haven’t had a great deal of issues recently (knock on wood) but it has been a hellish year when it comes to our health. 

Also, big changes: my jobs. People always make fun of my for my life decisions like having 8,000 different interests, hobbies and jobs but I pity people who are too afraid to just follow their instincts and just go for whatever comes their way. We are in a recession, life is short, why not just go with the flow?  We launched Create New Occasions, Addictions was sold then went under, I served 2 weeks as a telemarketer (which obviously is not a good fit) and now I am the Director of Marketing over at Sivana Salon in St. James and I couldn’t be happier. And oh yes, I also am a Stella & Dot Stylist. The one downfall to this was at Addictions I was making a decent wage and when it got sold my pay was cut by more than half. This lead to our personal finances to dwindle. At least now we are able to start building again. 

It was also an interesting year for cars. We obtained the badass Comet, but my Jeep, my wonderful awesome Jeep died, Steev’s Caliber became too stressful to upkeep so we wound up with 2 lemons that we pray will get us from point A to B everyday.

We also traveled this year. Paris, Salem, Philly, Chicago and Rhode Island. I was so happy that we got to get out and go places this year. The Winter Classic was one of the BEST first year married memories. With Nicole (and sick Steev) we went to Philly to watch the Rangers Winter Classic LIVE and what a game! I had no voice, Steev was shot and poor Nicole dealt with her sick friends during her vacation. It was amazing though and something I will NEVER forget. 

Another cool part of this year: Thursday BBQs and friends. We made some new friends which makes me happy. Big Steve’s family and us became closer which is great because they are great people and Steev & I started to get into the habit of having people over. This is something we will upkeep because we like to entertain a lot. We work a lot, and we don’t have a ton of money to show for it, so burgers and dogs with some good friends over makes for fun that we can truly enjoy. 

I also had my first Italian Easter over at Rose & Pats and it was delicious! I love that family too, and hope that this year brings more visits with them as well. 

Annie played a big role in Photo of the Day because well we love her. She is the best dog ever and when I would forget to take a photo she was always a good model. Plus she truly is a big part of our day to day lives. 

Some other noteworthy things: 

-We painted most of the apartment and started to slowly redecorate (again, the money thing) 
-We did a Photo Shoot with LoveMorePhoto which was amazing
-Mallory joined the Air Force and seeing her off made us so proud 
-Tino left for school in Georgia 
-My cousin Krystal became a Doctor 
-My cousins Alyssa & Evan graduated high school
-Their graduation party was a killer time 
-Sam Pape, my roomie had a baby girl of her own
-Steev went to AC with Big Steve & Tim 
-The photo wall 
-Meeting Andy Cohen with Liz and getting a horrible photo
-We eat a lot of Chinese Food
-The Tattoo Convention 
-Mark & Anne got Married and are expecting!
-Uncle Lou turned 50 and he got a Butt Cake 
-Demetri Martin Live 
-Home & Home Knicks & Rangers at MSG 

Steev also became obsessed with Craigslist and acquired the tools to fix up our backyard. He built a deck which came out amazing but he didn’t stop there. With the help of my Father, Ranger Bob, my cousin Dave, My Poppop, Big Steve & Phil the Patio was born and it is really amazing. It has been so great to have this in our backyard and we are so happy with it. The apartment as a whole started becoming more adult, and more like a home. 

This was also a good year for tattoos. Dan Lavery our tattoo artist opened his own shop in Smithtown and we were so excited for him. Liberty Tattoo Company is a clean and awesome up to date studio and it was extremely exciting to get work done there. Surprisingly due to lack of funds Big Steve & my cousin Alyssa beat us to getting work done there. Alyssa though was a first timer and a trooper and got this gorgeous Sunflower piece and I love it!

Steev eventually got to get something done and Dan drew up a remake of one of our Lovemore Photos and it is my new favorite piece on Steev’s arm!

Once I hit some of my personal goals I will be getting more ink, for now, I am just saving the money until then. 

Overall the first year of marriage treated us well I would say. We learned a lot, and while life was not fair or kind or forgiving - we were with each other, and that is all that mattered. There were things that we thought would happen this year: house, baby, more stability. But those things slipped away from us and while there is no rush, we are focused on obtaining the life and the family we want. 

Over our Anniversary dinner at The Grande we discussed all of this - and set some goals for our 2nd year married:

-Get healthy, this will be a year for nutrition and fitness and you can hold us to that
-Stay organized, between money and our apartment we want to stay as organized as possible 
-Go on more dates, even if it is just driving around, just spend more time doing little things
-Entertain more, have more people over more often 
-Buy a reliable car, currently our 1963 Comet is the most reliable car we have
-Go visit family, a Florida & Upstate trip this year may just have to happen 
-Cook more, we got married and stopped cooking. 
-Actually take more photos every day - we didn't get many group shots or pictures of people together. Too much slipped away. 

Hopefully we will make good on all of those things. 

We also went over a few things we learned: 

-When you break your vows and go to bed angry, you have a weeklong headache 
-Not having money sucks
-No matter what we still experience new things together, we still are there for each other and at the end of the day we come out stronger than ever and instead of fighting through hard times, we remind ourselves that it is only darkest before the dawn
-We have the best families on earth. As screwed up as things can get we have two sets of parents that love us and are there for us no matter what and we are very lucky we also enjoy their company and we won't take that for granted 

When I asked Steev how he felt about Project 365 being over he responded ‘Keep it going’. I was shocked. He is the first person to complain about photo of the day since he hates photos and I make him take ‘stupid ones’ (his words). He then told me that once he was looking through a shoebox of photos I had with my scrapbook stuff and he found some random photos of him shoveling snow, and some of flowers, and some candids of our families at random times. I take about 200 photos at each event and then make prints of all of them, put them in albums, ect. Sometimes random shots make a box. My Husband said it made him so happy to see these random photos because he started to remember some random things that he wouldn’t have thought of. He liked having photo of the day and wants to keep going. While this surprised me it made me happy. This is exactly why I did Photo of the Day. The year wasn’t all good, not in the least. But seeing what we did, who we were with, put it all in perspective. Life doesn’t ever stop for anyone so you have to keep going - and having photos from every day truly shows your endurance to whatever and also captures some fun times. I have always been an insanely sentimental person. Small things really matter to me and I always am thinking about others. I like to do silly things like scrapbook and journal because that is who I am. I am nostalgic and playful and I am sick of apologizing for it so photo of the day is here to stay :) some things really would have gone unnoticed otherwise. We really got to see who was a part of our year in big and small ways and through it all - it came down to us being there for each other. Hopefully some things change, like us having internet access on a daily basis and our bank account growing. And hopefully others stay the same like Annie’s devotion to us and Sundays with our families. I have posted this quote before but I want to end this post with it because it matters. My best friend gave it to me in a frame once because she thought of me when she read it - and she hit the nail on the head: 

So onto next year, who knows what will happen next :)