A European Adventure

As I type these words, I am headed to the airport for my first international travel experience. I probably should be making sure I don’t forget anything, but I am way too excited and had to write a blog post before I leave.

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I have never been outside of the continent of North America before. I am from Michigan so my only real travel experience was growing up when I would get to go to Canada on school field trips or for study programs. This is a whole new world for me, and I AM SO EXCITED!!!

I am headed to Cork, Ireland with We Are Beautiful. We Are Beautiful is a nonprofit that focuses on messages of identity, self esteem and value for women. We communicate this message through a print magazine, online blog, events and a educational curriculum. We are going to Ireland to put on a women’s conference and to do women’s ministry and outreach. Eeeek! I am so excited, not only to be traveling abroad but also to be going for something I am so passionate about, encouraging and loving on women.

Twenty Something Advice (For Anybody):

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” Hellen Keller

I am excited to serve. I am excited to work. I am excited to get to make a difference in someone else’s life. It is an absolute honor. I am also excited for the adventure, the challenge of something new. I am always looking for new heights to reach, new goals to set, new places to see and new things to do. Aren’t we all though? There’s such a big world out there and I just more than anything want to experience it!

I encourage you to do the same. Seek adventure. You know those childhood dreams you had once upon a time? Pursue them. It’s never to late. Live until your very last drop. Live a life that matters. Live a life of fun and adventure. Live a life full of laughter. Live a life with eyes that are full of childlike wonder and awe. Keep putting one foot of the other and make the most of each day. Never settle. Never stop chasing after your dreams. Instead, use those dreams to help other people.

I will be keeping you all posted of all my European adventures! Until next time 🙂

-Stephkt

Get your latte off my late summer.

The Art in Life

latesummer2Somehow, everyone the Internet over started thinking that September constitutes fall. Personally, I blame Starbucks and that infernal Pumpkin Spice Latte. They roll it out September 1st, when most of us are still to sweaty to even consider wrapping our clammy hands around it, and all the sudden everyone is trying to convince us it is time for leave jumping and butternut squash soup. Pinterest is starting to hemorrhage with pictures of chunky scarves and piles of knobby pumpkins and golden leaves. Fall is here, the Internet screams, paying little attention to the reality that most of us are living.

And that reality? It’s sweaty and hot and not the slightest bit in the mood for a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

I don’t know about you, but last week was just about the hottest of the summer, gracing the mid-nineties daily. I blew my breakers multiple times running…

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Never Stop Celebrating

I had the wonderful privilege of turning 24 this past Wednesday and man do I feel old! The sentiments of feeling old probably have more to do with my personality than my actual age. I am an old soul. I think I was going on 35 when I was just 13.

Birthdays are a great thing. I look at them as an opportunity to reflect, a time to look back at the last year of ups and downs and the years before and assess how I have changed. 23 was certainly a year of growth for me. A mixture of laughter, tears, loss, love, stepping outside my comfort zone, trying at new things and sometimes failing, it was a year for the books. It was definitely a year worth remembering.

A friend of mine turned 24 a few months before me, and when I wished her a happy birthday, I asked her what her plans were to celebrate her day. I was quite disappointed to find that she didn’t have anything planned. My thought was, “It’s your day! You gotta celebrate you.” Now celebrating does not have to entail the typical night on the town, drinking and dancing. Celebrating can look like whatever you want, whether it’s going to the spa, treating yourself to a nice meal, time well spent with people you care about or sleeping in late.

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):

“Run, leap and celebrate for you are alive today!” Bryant McGill

The opportunities to celebrate are endless, but my friend didn’t find it necessary to celebrate. I believe her words were, “It’s just another birthday.” Stop there. Just another birthday? There’s no such thing. Yea, 24 may not be as much of a milestone as 18, 21 or even 50, but it’s a big deal. This your life were are talking about! If you don’t celebrate you, who will?

I don’t know about you but I never what to have the “just another birthday” mindset. I don’t want to cringe at the calendar when I realize I am another year older. I am 24 today and it is quite fabulous! I am so happy to be alive because I understand that not everyone made it to where I am today. I am so happy for the stumbling blocks, the mistakes and the lessons learned. I am so grateful for the people who have walked in my life. Even though some only came around for a season, they came to teach me something and I know I am better for it.

I am so grateful to see 24. As a twenty something, I think this is probably the best mentality to have, gratitude. Don’t waste time despising the fact that you are getting older. Embrace it. Embrace every season for what it brings. Don’t waste time wishing you were younger because you will miss out on your NOW.

Got to celebrate my birthday with several birthday dinners with family and friends this year, lots of cards and presents and a road trip with my best friend packed with ziplining, wine tasting and New Orleans cuisine. It was the best birthday yet!

-Stephkt

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Be a Wildflower

So the month of August was really, really rough. A few friends and myself decided to take the no makeup challenge for the month of August, the ENTIRE month. I never realized how much I enjoy wearing makeup until I couldn’t wear it!

It was a very taxing month. Funny thing, the first week of September came and I had the flu. So I didn’t even wear makeup the first week I was actually free to. Jokes on me!

Well since I am a super retrospective person, who always looks for the lesson in things, I took some time to stop and think about my no makeup experience. Am I really so dependent upon makeup? Is my confidence linked to my outward appearance? Can I speak while looking people in the eye and walk with my head held high even when I don’t have any paint on my face? Is beauty really an outward thing?

Twenty Something Advice (for Anybody):

“Authenticity is….about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” Brene Brown

I am not going to lie. There were a number of days that I wanted to quit on the no makeup challenge for a plethora of reasons, i.e. dinner dates with friends, job interviews, getting dressed up for really just about anything. I am proud to say I did not quit. (All bets were off if I ran into an ex-boyfriend though. The makeup was going on!)

This challenge was an eye opening experience to examine beauty and my own confidence. It was also a lesson about authenticity. As twenty somethings, we all are trying to achieve something. We want to look professional, adult and successful. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it’s also okay to not be adult sometimes. It’s okay to take down the facade and just be genuine you.

The no makeup challenge opened my eyes to a world of genuineness and authenticity. Not wearing makeup was hard, yes, but it was also freeing. It was my way of saying, “Hey, world! This is me. Take or leave it. Like it or hate it. This is me.” Maybe just by being my authentic self, I can inspire the people around me to do the same. We all need and crave authenticity in our lives. I encourage you today, to get rid of whatever facades you hid behind as an upcoming, twenty something, and to just be genuine (imperfect, flawed, bright eyed and amazing) you!

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-Stephkt