Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Andrew's Optimism

Today Andrew (unknowingly) taught me a lesson that I don't want to forget. A good life lesson here or there deserves a blog post in my opinion! I feel awkward writing a "serious" post since most of my writing is either always sarcastic or always hilarious. (I crack myself up sometimes...)

I arrived home from work today and Andrew walked out to meet me in the garage and help me with my bags (as he does every night. A gem, he is.) We sat in the kitchen to wind down. He wouldn't tell you, but for the past few weeks he's been completely consumed and busy and overwhelmed with school, and I know he's stressed because he's been picking at his stray eyebrow hairs a lot lately (a funny quirk of his that I love.) We sat in the kitchen and caught up on the happenings of the day as we normally do. The ups and downs. Embarrassing things. Motivating things. Things we thought were weird. The usual. 

I could tell Andrew was feeling burned out, I could just see it in his face, his furrowed brow, and his demeanor. I asked him how he was really feeling because he rarely, if ever, complains about things he has going on. He took a deep breath and then proceeded to tell me about his day. I braced myself for his complaints and his frustrations, and prepped myself inwardly for things I could say to sympathize and agree with all his thought barf he was about to upchuck...(how's that for an analogy?)

I'll never forget what he said, during this stressful, busy, monotonous time in his life right now. It went something like this:

"You know, today I got to a point where I started to feel overwhelmed. I walked out of our office (at our house where he studies) and stood by the front door of our house. Then I took a step back and imagined myself at the age of 20. On my mission, no idea where my life would end up, who I would marry, what I would become. I imagined myself walking through the front door of our house, looking in our office and seeing all my law school books, and seeing that I'd go to BYU for law school. 

I imagined myself looking around our house, and being overwhelmed that this was my house and what we've done to make it our own. 

I imagined myself walking over to the fireplace, enticed by a wedding picture, wondering 'who did I marry' and seeing Stephanie Sampson and not believing it. I could have never dreamt my life would turn out as it has."

Andrew doesn't know this but this conversation tonight in our little house nearly brought me to tears. How I wish I could have his optimism in times when I am overwhelmed or going through life trials. What I would give to be able to always keep things in perspective and see the big picture, especially when I'm in a rut.

Tonight I looked at Andrew with full love and admiration, and knew that no matter what he does, he will be successful. Success can have a lot of different meanings depending on who you ask. In my opinion success means happiness, contentment with life, and genuine, long-lasting relationships with people. 

It's a cool feeling to be able to look across the room at the person you're married to and after almost 4 years of being together, be completely blown away by the profound things they say. I look up to Andrew and the person he is. He makes me better and he makes me appreciate life. He drives me crazy and I drive him crazy, and not always in good ways. We fight and we get really mad at each other on occasion. Life isn't always the rainbows and butterflies we so often portray in small, incomplete glimpses of Instagram posts and Facebook updates. But we get over our issues and we grow in our love, and more importantly, our friendship and respect for each other.

From Andrew I've learned life is what you make out of it. The decisions you make and the attitude you have, in times of good or bad, is what will define who you are. 

Thanks for the lesson babe. You'll make a great coach one day. ;)


Monday, April 14, 2014

Changes, Changes

Attention, attention.

...drumroll please....

...I got a new job! 

Random, I know. To be honest, I wasn't actively looking for jobs. I've really enjoyed CLEARLINK and some of the great people I've been able to work with. I've grown and stretched myself in ways I didn't know were possible! The company was great, the culture and perks were fantastic (minus the 6 pounds I gained in Costco orders #yikes) so why get a new job, you ask? 

2 reasons:

1. I saw this poster (posted in the CLEARLINK office ironically):

I'm not trying to be all sappy or anything, but this really struck a chord with me both personally and professionally. I had this weird quarter-life crisis/evaluation experience (I'm such a deep thinker these days, I know...sarcasm...) but I took a step back. I realized that I while I was comfortable, I wasn't (professionally) really doing what I wanted, what I studied in college, and what interested me most within marketing. From my first job out of college up until now I've been able to weed out the things that don't interest me and realize more of where I want to end up. Just as I was probably napping and eating chocolate chips in deep contemplation about my career - out of nowhere came this opportunity at Qualtrics, a position on their Events Marketing team. I had my first day today and am so excited for this opportunity, it really seems surreal. It feels liberating to really be doing something that I am very interested in and excited about. An opportunity to be actively involved on a team, to contribute to the bottom line of a company and see the direct impact of the job I'm doing in terms of ROI gets my geeky blood flowing.

While I know this is somewhat of a career change for me, I am also happy for past jobs I've had and the broader marketing knowledge I've now acquired. I've been able to dip my fingers in multiple marketing channels for some time and am now excited to be more focused on an area that appeals to me. I really do enjoy so many aspects of marketing but this is just a great fit for me and my skill-set right now.

I'm sure this job will most likely be stressful, and far from perfect, but I can't wait! I'll be able to travel (a few times a month) and interact with our clients and meet new people and see new places. I am stoked for the opportunities that lie ahead.

2. Second reason - the drive is 22 minutes from my house. Yes, I timed it this morning (I could squeal!) For some that may be long, but for me (driving 55-65 minutes the last 5 months) that is insanely short. 

Sidenote: have you been on i-15 in Utah County lately? That freeway is a beauty...

Again, I've had such great experiences at CLEARLINK, making it all the more difficult to step out of my comfort zone - but I can't wait for what lies ahead!


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Springity Spring!

It's Spring! It's Spring! Oh, how I love this time of year. The blossoms start coming out and the weather gets warmer and the sun start shining. It gets me all sorts of giddy. This time of year is one of my favorites for a few reasons:

  1. It's our anniversary! (2 years on April 12th...what, what! PS - I should probably get my name legally changed...#yikes)
  2. College bball memories - this was the time that the season started wrapping up, and while I loved playing, this time of year always meant FREEDOM! I will never ever take a free weekend for granted again for as long as I live.
  3. I love being outside. Really, truly, I believe that sunshine is an essential part of happiness in this life (at least in mine).I love going for a good run in the pretty weather or just sitting on the porch reading a good book. Sunshine is just my favorite and I can't get enough of it.
  4. FLOWERS. Flowers start blooming and I think fresh flowers are one of God's greatest creations. Especially the blossoms - they'll always have a special place in my heart...sigh...
In case you didn't notice, of Spring, I am a fan. We've had a busy few weeks but Spring has been good to us so far. 

March was my birthday month! (Yes, my birthday gets a whole month of celebration and self-indulgence) I had such a great birthday this year. (I'm a QUARTER OF A CENTURY....WOAH.). My friends went all out this year and kidnapped me from my house in the middle of the night and took me to Denny's, per our old middle/high school tradition. It was seriously awesome. Andrew went all out and took me shopping, to lunch, and surprised me with these fabulous rocking chairs that I still drool over. 
 (really, how adorable are they???)
I've already enjoyed them and can't wait until Summer, I have many books to read on these chairs and I have ongoing visions of us sitting on them, drinking lemonade and watching the sun go down when we are eighty. I'm a dreamer, sue me. 

We also had a fun day of shopping and eating, and enjoyed fun dinners with both sides of the family.
(^^How hillarious/creepy is this picture? Andrew's mom happened to be taking a picture with her camera so that explains the creepy lighting. Josh holding the knife and my expression couldn't be more perfect. Awkward/funny things like this probably make me way more happy than they should at my age...oh well...^^)
(^^Dinner at Goodwood with my family. Aren't my grandma's shades dope? She's 91 and still looks pretty bad-a$$ if you ask me.^^)
(^^Yummy pizza at Pier 49 complete with a day of shopping and browsing Gardner Village. He knows me so well...^^)

Let's see...what else. Oh yes, we had 3 weddings in 2 days. As well as 2 wedding dinners. It was very busy and very fun. One of my lifelong friends Courtney Thomas (now Adams) was married and it was such a fun day! She was beautiful and the the day was perfect. I was honored to be one of her bridesmaids and was so so happy for her and Austin.

If you read the news you probably heard about Lexi Hansen (one of my best friend's little sisters) She was a BYU student who was hit by a longboard on campus a few weeks ago. If you have followed her story at all or her Pray for Lexi Facebook page you know how miraculous her story and recovery truly are. Andrew and I have been so touched by her story and the miracles that have taken place. We've talked about it a lot over the last few weeks and it's really changed our outlook on life and strengthened our faith and relationship. When I found out some of my friends were doing a Benefit Concert for Lexi I was so excited to be able to be a part of it. We were in charge of the raffles and it was so amazing how it all came together. I was way impressed with the generosity of all these businesses who donated so much, and how all our friends came together to help out our few friends who headed the whole thing up. I really have the greatest friends.
 (^^Andrew, my friend Lexe, and her husband working the raffle table^^)
(^^My bestie Court and me getting everything ready for the concert. Gotta love a good selfie.^^)

 There was also some amazing talent that sang at the concert. Including Nathan Osmond, Allred, and Lexi Walker, who recently gained fame in her cover of Frozen's 'Let it Go'. She is SO talented! It was a great night and I was happy to be a part of it.

A few other minor announcements:
  • We are Sunbeam teachers. Again. We are contemplating Catholicism trying to stay positive.
  • Waffle Luv is amazing. If you haven't been there, go. It is the best waffle ever. The 1,000 something calories in 4 bites are totally worth it.
  • Andrew tore it up in his annual alumni-tournament at Murray. Career high 27 points in the season opener. I was like a proud parent! (He'll kill me for posting this but I don't care I like to brag on his behalf every so-often.) 
  •  We have the coolest neighbors. The Allen's live right behind us and we are in love with them and their cute little boys. We go back and forth through the backyard and have loved getting to know them and are so grateful they are our neighbors! 
Like I said, Spring has been good to us. Life has been good to us, really. I can't complain. I am so blessed!  

Lastly, a shout out to my cool husband. (Sometimes I'm hesitant to post this stuff but this is my blog and my journal so I decided I don't care if I'm cheesy sometimes.) 

I snapped this picture last week of us winding down after long days at school and work. We sat down on the floor and talked for a really long time. About our days. About our future. About school and life and things that are funny and things that bug us. Things we think are weird and things we have to look forward to in the upcoming days and weeks and years. This picture means a lot to me because I know how lucky I am to have someone who is not only a husband, but a friend. To have both in my life under my own roof is something I try my best not to take for granted. Our life and marriage is far from perfect, and we have our share of ups and downs, but at the end of the day there's no one else I'd rather have on my team doing this whole life thing with. It's pretty fun.

End ramble. 
^^snapped this pic on Andrew's parents' street. Go Spring!^^

Thanks for stopping by! 


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mudroom Makeover (in 5 minutes!)

The other day I did something I never do...

I attempted a craft.

I have a few rules with crafts:
  1. i only copy other people's ideas. i'm not brave (or creative) enough to take on something new, let's be honest.
  2. i only do crafts that take less than 30 minutes (i get frustrated and give up. fast.)
  3. i only do crafts that cost less than $10 (if it's more, i'd rather just buy whatever i'm making...duh!)
It all started a few days ago. I have been wanting to pimp out our mud room for a while (this bench was at the top of my must-have list when we built our house and i love love love it) 

Overall, this project was a success and I'm super happy with the turnout. 

Mudroom Bench Pad - Materials Needed:
  • Foam pads (Walmart)
  • Fabric to fit
  • Sewing machine (yeah right!) hot glue
  • an iron
 (seriously, that's all you need)

All I did was the following:
(basically wrap it like a present)
...and voila!
Like I said I'm really happy with how this turned out. You can see I've added a picture and some pillows (notice how none of my stuff matches? I love mixed colors, prints, and fabrics, I think they make spaces look so fun!)to the bench to make it a little warmer (I received that picture with the awesome quote from one of my best friends when my dad passed away, it means so much to me!)This week I'm planning on getting some ikea storage boxes to finish it up. Success! 

I'm having such a blast with our home - it's so fun to add finishing touches and it's slowly coming along. We recently just painted some furniture in our bedroom and are in the process of decorating that as well. After that will be the office! We've sold our desk and are getting to work. I've got some mighty fine ideas to make both of these rooms pretty dope. More pictures coming soon! 


Sunday, February 2, 2014


I hope to have a litle girl...

For this. reason. only. 


Miss Kate, we love you!


{PS - what 18 month baby let's you give her french braids? incredible.}

Thursday, January 30, 2014

January...we survived!

It is no surprise to people who know me that I am usually not a fan of January. It is always cold, the holidays are over, the snow starts to get brown and ugly, and there is no paid holiday in sight for a while (how's that for negative?) 

However this January has been different. This month I've really done some reflecting on my life, what I'm doing, who I was last year, and improvements I'd like to make. I've decided to make a few changes in my life, and what has historically been a gloomy January for me has actually been pretty nice this year! 

In all honesty I've made a sincere attempt to focus on my fitness, health, and meditation (I feel so hippie-ish saying that but it's true). I've also focused on my spirituality and personal relationship with God. I've focused on my marriage, and putting my husband first. I've tried to focus on positives at work and in other daily situations. I'm trying to "unplug" more and actually went to the library to get back into reading! I read somewhere that asking yourself each day, "Did I like myself today? Was I my best?" can change your life. I am learning that daily self evaluations, stretching and meditation, can do wonders for stress, anxiety, and overall happiness.

I've realized it's exhausting to try and be perfect, and I am far from it. Some days I don't work out. Lots of days I still eat like an 8 year old child. Some days I have pity parties, and some days I'm just a grump. Looking back at last year I've learned that change doesn't come overnight, and the false thinking that it does gets me overwhelmed and I quickly give up on improving myself before I even start! Making gradual changes to my habits each day is slowly getting me back on track and focused on the person I want to become. In this month I've felt happier, more relaxed and more confident. I am truly, sincerely happy, and so grateful for all of the wonderful blessings I have in my life.

Nothing too crazy or exciting happened to us in January, but Andrew and I have really had a fun time getting back into the routine of work, school, and the simple joys that come along with the daily grind. We are currently watching The Office on Netflix and have enjoyed laughing our heads off every night. Jim and Pam are the best. Michael and Holly are great too. 

A few highlights from this month...

^^Pushing the couches together for weekend movie marathons^^
^^We've been diggin' Utah basketball this year. ^^

I am eating fruits and vegetables. This is huge! I've learned that if you put spinach in your smoothies you can't even taste it! It's fabulous. Try it, it will change your world.

We've really had bad luck with cars this month (it's part of my January curse). Both of our cars have had to be fixed and we are so over it it's not even funny. My hood latch broke, and after a few sketchy trips on the freeway with it flapping up and down we decided to take it to the mechanic and get it repaired. Andrew's car decided to be annoying as well and completely break down last week. We had it towed and found out the entire battery needed to be replaced (it's a 2010, seriously?). Super awesome. Naturally ice cream was in order. Only Andrew can take a sucky situation and turn it into something enjoyable. :) 
^^Sub-Zero is the bomb. Go there, it will change your world.^^
My second favorite boy in this world is my nephew Owen. He is seriously the most hilarious, sweet, curious little man. I can't get enough of him. Face-timing with him is always a good time and I love seeing him growing up and developing his awesome little personality. Serious stud in the making right there.

We finally caved and took our Christmas decorations down. After some of our neighbors stopped by to drop of some cookies (I think it was like the 16th of January or something...) I decided we needed to get it together. We ended up taking everything down and our house felt so empty! We put up our Christmas decorations right when we moved in so I didn't realize until now that once we took everything down we had nothing to replace it with. I'm not very good with this cutesy tutesy stuff but I ended up gathering some odds and ends from random places around the house to decorate our mantle. There are still things I want to change but we're getting there. We are loving our house more and more everyday and can't wait for this Spring to start working in the yard!
Lastly, we had a fun night babysitting this week. We got to hang out with Aaden and Kate while Ashlee and Sy had church obligations and it was a blast. We love being aunts and uncles and can't believe how much we love our nephews and niece! We had a good time making a sweet fort with Aaden and watching Emperor's New Groove while Kate slept! (sidenote: can you believe that movie is FOURTEEN years old? Yikes, I'm old) 

I also was able to go up to my sister's house and spend the night last night since Andrew and Danny were both busy boys. We had a fun time hanging out and I just love watching her be a mama! 

January has been fun and 2014 is already proving itself to be a great year. I can't wait for some of the adventures that lie ahead of us! 


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Another Year!

Holy smokes, another year gone. I can't believe 2013 is already behind us! If I had to put 2013 into one word I would call it the year of "change". Looking at my below list, almost all of these are changes for the good and I know we have truly been blessed. We've had a blast taking on the crazy "changes" life has thrown us, and I couldn't be happier that I have someone as fun, optimistic, and straight up nice as my husband to go through life with. I can't wait to see what 2014 brings our way. 

Looking back at our "changes" this year, there have been a few...

Andrew's Changes:
-graduated BYU, worked full time for a law office
-got accepted to BYU Law School
-changed from a full-time job to a full-time law student (rough stuff but he is a crazy person and really likes school. opposites attract much?)
-changed hair (from the spike to rocking the combover. seriously. dreamboat, he is.
-changed phones (this was a huge milestone getting him to upgrade)
-changed callings at church (went from self-proclaimed ward "basketball player" to 10-11 year old primary teacher, where he was loved by his class)

Steph's Changes:
-changed jobs (SEO.com to CLEARLINK)
-started brushing my hair and stopped biting my nails (if you know me you know both of these are huge)
-hair color (don't ask, it was bad and it was my fault)
-church callings (from Relief Society to Sunbeam teacher)
-workout schedule...(whoops)

Changes for Both of Us:
-Moved from Orem to my mom's
-Budgeted and saved
-House/lot hunted a "lot" (get it?) and built a home
-adjusted to the loss of my dad (super boo)
-Stopped caring about the Jazz (just for a season, they break my heart)
-Moved from my mom's to our crib (we miss her but we love our house. bittersweet.)
-got skiis (best day of my life)
-Got used to commuting
-became a 3rd time aunt and uncle to Mister Owen (we are smitten)
-Canceled Cable! 
-started being grownups and paying bills(it feels weird)

Overall, solid year. This year we thought it would be fun to throw a New Year's party with Andrew's family and it ended up being a success! We had around 20 something people and enjoyed a fun night of food, games, and fun. Andrew and I both love having company and entertaining (I like decorating and he likes cooking so it works out) We had lots of food (thanks to Andrew's mom for helping us out and bringing some yummy treats) Andrew made some bomb shishkabobs and hamburger sliders, and I baked a few goodies as well. I am convinced good food (and lots of it) makes a good party. Here are a few pictures from our fun night.
^^Getting ready. We served cream soda to match the "gold" theme. Yum!^^
^Andrew's shish kabobs were bomb. I made these fun drinks with lots of glitter^
 We set up a photo booth area in our breakfast room (I copied this from a party I went to last year...I do that a lot...) It ended up being a huge hit and we all had a lot of fun taking fun pictures with some of the little props.If there's one thing I learned from this party it was that glitter is the most fun thing. Ever. 
^^We took lots of pictures. These are just a few^^
After we eating and pictures came the games. We played some minute to win it games and things got intense. I know people sometimes don't like party games but I don't care. I love them. We went boys against girls and kept score and everything (I'm not competitive at all...) It was so funny and awesome because everyone participated and we all laughed really hard on some of the challenges. It was a lot of fun. 
^^Jasmine rocked the ping pong bounce^^

Overall it was a fun, crazy night. So glad everyone could make it! Happy New Year!