It’s 2015!

It’s 2015!

Happy New Year, everybody!

It is so crazy how fast this year has gone by. It feels like I was just in Phoenix, AZ watching my UCF Knights beat Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl to start 2014 and, since then, so many wonderful things have happened. This year I celebrated 3 years with my man, turned 22, became an Alpha Xi Delta alum, graduated from UCF with my Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management AND with honors, moved to St. Louis, became an advisor for the Alpha Xi Delta chapter at UMSL, moved back to Florida, and  ended this year beginning our road trip out to our new home: Denver!

As you can see, I have a lot to be thankful for this past year and I just know 2015 will bring more adventure and happiness.

I will leave you with some pictures of my NYE celebration this year and a favorite picture I stumbled upon from NYE 2011.

Happy New Year!

With Love,

Steph

IMG_7794New Year’s Eve 2011 in Times Square. Our first NYE together and we stood in the same spot with thousands of other people for 13 hours. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

Exploring my new city: St. Louis

Exploring my new city: St. Louis

After driving 17-hours straight from Orlando to St. Louis, we arrived. We settled into our temporary hotel-home and Vishal prepared for his first day of work. I began the apartment search, something I urge you all to secure BEFORE you move, and explored my new city.

I am still so impressed by everything St. Louis offers. There are so many (free) things to do and all within a 5-minute walk to 15-minute drive. I live downtown and I am literally steps from the Edward Jones Dome, where the Rams play, a few blocks from Ballpark Village (which is amazing!) and Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals play. I can walk to a multitude of restaurants and bars all around me, including my favorites: Pi Pizzeria, Rooster, Sauce on the Side, and Bridges Tap House and Wine Bar. The unbelievably expansive Forest Park is a short 10 minute drive and offers golf courses, one of the best (and free) zoos in the country, museums, boat rentals, and so much more. St. Louis is also home to Anheuser Busch, a full production factory that offers free daily tours, beer school, a chance to see their Clydesdales and  Biergarten. Truly awesome. I’ve done it all over five times already. A bit out of the city limits, but well worth the drive, is Lone Elk Park. It is a drive along trail where you find bison and elk roaming the grounds. Pack a picnic to eat by the lake and be sure to bring a camera for awesome close-up shots!

St. Louis really is an awesome place to visit and live. I’ve become a cardinals fan, took the journey to the top of the Arch, and eaten some AMAZING food. This is a place you must experience and try out some of the places I’ve pointed out if you find yourself in this wonderful city.

With love,

Steph

Pictures and info captions below! I was even able to sneak in a piece of famous, St. Louis gooey butter cake and a few shots of Simba 🙂

Moving On and Starting Over

Moving On and Starting Over

Well, I’ve been living in St. Louis for three months now! While I never thought I would end up in Missouri, I can really see why people fall in love with this city.

When Vishal announced our new destination, I was beyond nervous and had no idea what to expect. I had never visited the area before and the only background knowledge I had on STL was that it was home to the Arch. That’s it. But, with only two weeks to pack up and move out of our place, I was more worried about how I was going to fit all of our stuff into my sedan (not an easy feat), than how life would be in our new city.

After a few weeks here, an overwhelming feeling I had when on my own was how cut off from my familiar world I felt. After living in my college town for the previous four years, having friends all around me, and always having someone to call up to hang out with, I began to realize that growing up sometimes means leaving the familiar behind. It was also hard that I used to only be a three hour drive from home and was accustomed to seeing family just about every other month. It was all just very comfortable. That comfort is what made it so hard, yet so easy, to leave. It is a shocking and in-your-face type of thought, but I’ve realized how necessary this experience was for me. I was able to reevaluate myself and given the chance for a period of introspection to better understand my wants and my needs, discover what’s important in my life, and where I want my life to lead me. If there was any a time to experience something like this, the time was now. This is time before there is anything holding Vishal and I back from being truly “free” in the we-have-no-real-responsibilities way.

A few things I have discovered during this new journey:

1. You realize who the important people are in your life. I cannot tell you how much I wish I could be just a short drive away from my family and friends.

2. You get away from the drama you always had to deal with before. Sometimes, when you’re around your friends and peers and just those various groups you end up interacting with, you get pulled into or are around negative people. When you move away, you get to leave all of that negativity behind and just focus on the people who matter!

3. You can start over fresh and have the chance to reinvent yourself. You have left the people who have formulated concrete perceptions of you, so if there is something you want to change about yourself, you can without being nervous of people’s reactions. You have the chance to make a new impression on the new people you’ll meet in your new city.

4. You discover how valuable hanging out with friends you’ve known since elementary/middle/high school is. It was a strange thought I had, but there is an interesting comfort in surrounding yourself with people who have known you through various stages of your life. You realize the relationships and friendships you form with people in your adult years are in a separate league than ones from your childhood, teenage, and college years. This is not a bad thing, it’s just something about growing up that makes those older friendships even more special and meaningful.

This experience has been amazing, scary, exciting, anxiety-enducing, but overall so important and valuable. So, take the leap, jump in with two feet, and take advantage of new experiences while you have the chance. It is the best opportunity for self-discovery and I urge you all to take that next step towards a new adventure.

With Love,

Steph