August 30, 2017


A couple months ago I let the wine lead me and finally took the plunge. I ordered a 23 and Me DNA kit. I've been patiently waiting for the results and they came back recently. 

After looking at all the percentages I felt.... off. It didn't make anything more clear or answer any questions but suddenly 32 years of utter speculation had gone out the window. I had cold hard "likelihoods" staring back at me. 

There was only one thing that surprised me. I expected to have a higher percentage of Native American heritage. I've always been under the impression that my maternal grandmother was predominantly Native American, but now I wonder. I'm hoping I can convince my mom to do this so I can see where she falls and therefore find out more about me. 

To dive a little deeper, the European breaks down like this:

Sub-Saharan African  51.0%
West African  42.6%   (Bantu, Cameroonian, Ghanian, Ivorian, Liberian, Luhya, Mandenka, Nigerian, Sierra Leonean, Yoruba)
East African  2.6%  (Eritrean, Ethiopian, Maasai, Somali)
Central & South African  2.0%  (Biaka Pygmies, Mbuti Pygmies, San)
Broadly Sub-Saharan African  3.8%
European  46.4%
Northwestern European 31.1%  (Irish, United Kingdom)
British & Irish  9.2%
Scandinavian  3.1%  (Danish, Norwegian, Swedish)
Broadly Northwestern European  18.9%
Southern European  7.3% 
Broadly Southern European  7.3%
Broadly European  7.9%
East Asian & Native American  1.2%
Southeast Asian  0.8%    (Burmese, Cambodian, Indonesian, Lao, Malaysian, Filipino, Thai, Vietnamese)
Native American  < 0.1%   
East Asian  < 0.1%
Broadly East Asian  < 0.1%
Broadly East Asian & Native American  0.3%
Unassigned  1.4%
There is a wide range of human diversity out there and sometimes our algorithm is unable to assign a region of DNA to a specific population. As we collect more data and update our algorithm, we expect that the amount of unassigned ancestry seen by customers will decrease.

I took it a step further and also ordered the health reports. These would give me insight into things like lactose intolerance, genetic weight, asparagus odor detection, sweet taste, carrier status traits and wellness, among other things.

I'm not going to go into too much detail here but here are some of the things that came up that I found interesting:

The one about curly hair made me laugh because I'm about as curly as they come. The one about genetic weight is fun because it actually makes sense. It stated the average {based on my height, age, gender} was 158. Add 5% to that and it put me at my ideal goal weight. 

The 23 and Me process is incredibly easy and straightforward. I expected 6-8 weeks for turnaround but I think it was closer to 4-5, which was nice. You get the kit in the mail, and although I would recommend reading the instructions, you simply spit into the test tube, mix in the stabilizer (for shipping) and send it back. Once your results are in you'll receive an email that breaks down their findings and all the reports you asked for (genetic or genetic and health).

At the end of the day, I know who I am. I know what I believe in, what I stand for. I know what lights me up, makes me cry, and sends me into a rage. 

I know what matters to me, and percentages on a piece of paper aren't it.

August 14, 2017

Things I'd like to say

Every once in a while I'm forced to hold my tongue. Not because I'm afraid of the repercussions of what I want to say, but because I try to be polite and not come off as a complete bitch. That being said sometimes, you just need to go off-the-cuff. 

Here are a few things that, if I'm being really real, you might hear me say.

+ STOP MAKING EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU! Contrary to your beliefs, it's not always about you.

+ Do you honestly complain about absolutely everything? Try being grateful for once.

+ No, I really don't want to hear a "funny" story because I doubt you'll "make me laugh".

+ Are you really this fucking stupid?

+ Yes, that outfit does make you look fat.

+ No, I don't want to hang out and yes my couch is more important than you.

+ Excuse me? Can I punch you in the face now?

But sometimes.....

August 11, 2017

Things I've Stopped Caring About

A few weeks ago I decided to play catch up on my blog reading. I've been such a bad blogger lately - both reading and writing. 

This idea was stolen borrowed straight from Lindsay from Bourbon, Lipstick, and Stilettos and I thank her kindly for it!

Resting Bitch Face. I am done caring about whether my face looks angry, pissed off, upset, or generally anything other than as if the sun shines out of my ass. This is my face - take it or leave it. 

Planning. This may come as a huge shock to some because I love all things organization and stationary. What I mean to say is I'm done with the keeping up with the Jones' mentality that is pretty planning. I just want my planner to be functional. If it's also pretty on some days, so be it. Also, I think I've found "Planner Peace" and I'm not about to mess that up. 

Social Media. This probably isn't a real shock to anyone that knows me IRL because I'm not good about keeping my accounts "present". I post on IG and Snapchat probably once a day; Twitter a few times a week, but if I don't post my entire weekend or concert or other life happenings, trust me when I say it's not because I "forgot".

My weight. This doesn't mean I intend to "let myself go" or that I'm not actively trying to lose weight. What it means is that I don't care what the number on the scale says. Sure I'd like it to be 20 less than what it says now, and yes, I am taking the steps to make that happen, but overall, I do not care. If I'm comfortable, happy, and healthy and the number only goes down by 10, then so be it. Healthy isn't defined by a number.

Fashion. I'm not really sure how to put this into words but quite some time ago I stopped caring about fashion and trends. I almost never buy clothes for myself because I know what I like and what I will wear. Those off-the-shoulder shirts that have been so popular this season? Meh. I have no interest in whether I'm seen as "fashionable" or "stylish". I wear what I want!

What have you stopped caring about?

August 10, 2017

Three on Thursday

I bought this on a whim several months ago after I used up all of my MAC brow pencil. It is by far the best $10 I've ever spent on makeup. The color {I use espresso} blends in seamlessly and I absolutely adore the brush because it puts every single hair perfectly in place. 

I was scrolling through Facebook last week and for once, an ad caught my attention. If you know me in real life you know that I have a fondness for serial killers, murder mysteries, and anything macabre. Once I saw what this was I knew I needed to order it. If you're interest, use my link to sign up, and we both win! I'll be doing a more thorough post on this one I've received a few boxes. 

I bought this last weekend while picking up a birthday gift for a friend. I'm not going to lie, I was sold on the scent alone. The description starts off "if you're a sucker for the strong, scrubby, stimulating type..." which is 100% me. I need my face scrubs to feel like they're working. It claims to wake up your skin by deep cleansing and buffing to leave glowing skin. I've only been using it for the past few days but I really like it. I may have just jumped on the Lush bandwagon. 

That's all I'm sharing this week. What about you - is there something I should know about and try?

August 08, 2017

Show Us Your Books

I knew it would take some time, and the time right one, but it's finally happened. 


I can't tell you how disheartening it's been having no desire to read but I'm happy to say I was able to pick up, and finish, a book in July. 

Way back in.... 2015{?} I read Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen and I absolutely loved the book and her writing style. I soon read another book by her and purchased anotherFast forward to 2017 and I finally picked it up to read.

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

This book focuses on 18-year old Emaline, the summer before college, and her seemingly perfect beach life. After some events unfold and she starts to question whether life as she knows it is good enough, she begins to realize that perhaps she's destined for the moon... and more. 

I personally enjoyed this. As I said before I really like Dessen's writing style and although she's a YA writer, the plots of her books pull me in and don't feel like fluff.

My rec: read it if you're into YA and need a quick read

At Wave's End by Patricia Perry Donovan

I this was an author I'd always read after reading her first book Deliver Her. That loyalty has been cemented with At Wave's End. The author contacted me offering an ARC. Of course I accepted.

This story focuses on NYC chef Faith Sterling and her mother, Connie. Faith has continuously had to "babysit" her mother and save her from herself thanks to Connie's love of contests and bad relationships.

When Connie finally wins the grand prize of The Mermaid's Purse, a run-down bed & breakfast at the Jersey shore, Faith tries to talk her mother out of the agreement.

After she returns to Brooklyn, a devastating hurricane is on its way and Faith returns to Wave's End to check on her mother. After the storm wipes out much of the town, Faith and Connie do what they can to help those in need. In doing so, they ease the suffering of the inn's boarders, but old and new secrets are uncovered which threaten both the mother-daughter relationship, and the future of the inn itself.

My rec: read it. It went by quickly and was very enjoyable. 

Currently Reading: A Beautiful Poison 

*      *      *

There were books I attempted to read....

I Almost Forgot About You by Terry McMillan
This book was just bad. I couldn't get out of the first chapter. I was bored after the first 5 or so pages and I put it down never to pick it up again.

Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil
I'm not ready to give up on this one just yet but it's soooo slow.

Life According to Steph

August 04, 2017

Attempts for August

I've always been the girl that sets goals. Whether I reach them or not is another story, but I've always appreciated the art of making an intention and attempting to follow through with it. It's the effort that matters. Perfection isn't real anyway. 

Last month I set myself four simple goals. I wanted to start taking care of myself more {something we should all be doing anyway} and I felt these goals were a nice way to do that.

1| Working out
I didn't hit the gym every Saturday as I intended, but I did go 5 times. And that's five times more than I went in June. 

2| Read a book
I can't tell you how proud I was to have finished not one, but two books in July. I've slowly started reading again {because book burnout is real... and sad} and it's like coming home after a long trip.

3| Build the savings
Forever a work in progress. I know this was a 50/50 ordeal last month but come August 1 there was money in both of my savings accounts. #smallsteps

4| Create a bedtime routine
I started strongly with this and let it fall by the wayside, as I suspected I would. I'm going to keep at it though. I want to be the attractive 50 year old someday. Not the one who looks like she went through the wringer. 

For August, I'm sort of piggy-backing on the things I mentioned in my what's new with me post. 

1| Continue working out
This is really important to me right now. Working out and weight loss have always been a roller-coaster of a relationship with me, but right now, we're strapped in and ready to roll. I've come to realize it's harder to stay in {any} shape in my 30s and although I have accepted that I will most likely never have visible abs {a) I'm not willing to work as hard as necessary for them, and b) I honestly don't care}, I do care that I am healthy enough to go through life mostly problem/injury free. 

2| Keep quiet time
As I said before, journaling and meditation is a must-have thing for me. I know I won't do it every day, or even every other day sometimes, but what's important is that I stay mindful of it and that more often than not, it's happening daily. 

3| Pay/Save Mode
I took a hard look at my debts the other day and initially, they annoyed me. I reframed and decided that these debts are no longer serving me and it's time for them to go. I consolidated a few and am now in major pay/save mode. I want to get at least $600 into my savings by the end of the year.

4| Downsize practically
I mentioned how I'm sort of in a purge all the things mood. I'm not really sure where it's coming from but I feel surrounded by things I don't actually need. I want to go through all the nooks and crannies this month and be honest about what I use, need, and want in my space. If it's not bringing me joy or serving a true purpose (a basket that holds supplies, etc.) then I plan to donate or rehome it.

*      *      *

What about you - do you have any goals for the month?

August 03, 2017

Has Anyone Seen July?

I came here Monday night thinking I needed to get something started for Wednesday's post. Then, as I was scrolling through images for something, I realized that I'd be able to participate in this link up! #win. 

If I'm being completely honest, I have no idea what's new with me. This entire summer year has felt like a whirlwind and I can't believe we're in August already. I also feel like I've been making that statement since March.

Since I have no idea when I last gave you a real life update, other than my keeping up with life post, I figure I'm just going to brain dump on you. #notsorry

July was jam-packed. Like, just keep doing all the things because if you stop you might die, kind of busy. There was the 4th, the wine festival, a trip to Baltimore, beach days, and general life to be lived. 

In the background it's been more internal. 

+ I've started meditating and regularly journaling again. 

This is something that's essential to my well being. I go through phases where I drift away but I always come back to it, and when I do, it's so fulfilling. 

+ I'm continuing to downsize my possessions - clothes, books, everything. 

I feel like I'm just in this mood where I'm simultaneously sick of all the stuff and yet I want new stuff. Does that even make sense? I'm downsizing where I can, finding alternatives, and trying not to buy everything on my wish lists. 

+ I consolidated a few credit cards and closed the accounts.

I'm determined to get them paid off so I can put all my money towards travel. Let's put it this way, if I paid off even half my credit cards, I'd be taking trips at least three times a year. 

+ I've got my butt back to the gym a few times. 

I've finally got my head back in the fitness game. Rather than taking on my typical all-or-nothing approach, I'm coming it at it slow and steady and it's been a much more natural progression. Unfortunately, I pulled muscles in my lower back last weekend so I've been riding the elderly train this week but it started feeling better Tuesday night so I'm planning on hitting the gym again Saturday. 

+ I started setting up my planner for 2018 and am completely in love with it. 

There's this mystical state of being in the planner world called "Planner Peace". Basically, it means you find the perfect planner for you, and it's decorated exactly the way you want and is.... peace. Since entering the Plannerverse last year I have tried/used 5 different planners. The one I'll be using for 2018 will make 6 but it is the perfect size, is entirely customizable, and I absolutely love the way it's turning out. I think Planner Peace is in my future. 

And that's pretty much what's been occupying my time lately. How about you - what have you been up to lately?

July Happenings

"And you ask yourself, well, how did I get here?"

bonus points if you're now singing the song to yourself

How is it August?! I can't even pretend to comprehend where this year has gone. I realize I kind of say this every month but it's amazing to me that this year is flying by. July was a great month though. Here's what went down. 

The first day of the month kicked off the festivities with the annual 4th of July BBQ at my mom's best friend's house. We basically, eat, drink, and laugh all day. 

Happy 4th!; "shots" with Little Miss; Pizza, I love you.

On the day of we finished cleaning the garage and did a bunch of other house projects.

I also got a new tattoo while I was home. I'll share when it's finished in a few weeks. Can't stop, won't stop. 

The following weekend I met with my nutritionist and got my hair trimmed. 

Mid-month I went to Watkins Glen, NY for the annual Finger Lakes Wine Festival. It's 2.5 days of wine tasting and camping and it was a blast!

Campsite drinks; a casket cooler; jackassery; all the wine we bought

That same weekend Game of Thrones came back and although it was only the first episode I know the season is going to be awesome.

I took an overnight trip to Baltimore to eat all things crab because crab.

Crab cake; my first oysters {see the video on Insta}; ginormous pretzel and Lexington Market

crab quesadilla; crabby burger; shrimp omelet; soft shell crab sammy; clams and crab dip; cream of crab soup

Edgar Allan Poe memorial; Edgar Allan Poe original grave site; fun facts

My trip to Baltimore was excellent. I'll need to go back and spend more time in the city. There's more crab to be eaten! Also, for whatever reason, I had no idea Poe was so young when he died.

After a packed month I spent the last week and a half relaxing and keeping my calendar free. I treated myself to Despicable Me 3, which was cute, and Girls Trip, which is beyond hysterical. 

I have to say, this summer has been very eventful... and I don't see it stopping any time soon!