Thursday, February 26, 2009

Trying new things

I love sushi. I could eat it for every single meal, but I've learned a thing or two from Jeremy Piven. Too much raw fish is bad for you and bad press. I used to eat sushi about three times a week, but now days, I'm do most of my eating with a red-meat loving man. Unless one of my girlfriends is craving sushi, I don't get the chance to eat it very often. 

However, I can get Ty to go to a Japanese restaurant. Hibachi is the magic word — with the promise of sizzling hot steak. One night, while out to dinner with friends at Tokyo, our group ordered a variety of sushi to split, and we actually convinced Ty to give it a shot. I didn't think the Rainbow Roll would fare well with Ty. It's on the fishy tasting end of sushi. It gets its "Rainbow" name from the colorful pieces of raw yellowtail, tuna and salmon on top of each roll. I don't consider this the best way to become acquainted with sushi. The slimy stuff is something you have to work up your taste buds for. It was a quick beginning and end to Ty's sushi adventure.

Fortunately for me, Ty's house is near a local sushi place. Practically around the clock, it smells like fried rice in his backyard. It's rather fantastic, to be honest, however Ty had never been to the restaurant. The aroma of fried rice finally caused him to cave. We went to the restaurant. I ordered sushi and he ordered hibachi, and I intentionally picked something I knew he would like. 

When the rolls arrived, I said, "You should really try this. Everything is cooked. Nothing slimy." He eyed it, smelled it and, to my surprise, he tried it and liked it. 

We went back to the sushi restaurant two nights ago. I couldn't believe it, but Ty passed on hibachi for sushi. We ordered three different types of rolls and as we were eating, Ty said, "I'm addicted to the way this tastes." I'd be lying if I told you it wasn't satisfying to reply, "I told you so." 

We can discover new, satisfying things when we expand our horizons. I've introduced Ty to something he never thought he'd like, and he's done the same for me. Who knew June Carter Cash and Emmylou Harris were so good? Well, until recently, everyone but me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reagan, and I'm not talking Ronald

I woke up this morning to the sweet, clumsy footsteps of the little lady pictured above. Like most puppies, Reagan stole my heart at first sight. My roommate, Catherine, was dogsitting Reagan for her parents. 

All morning, she was bouncing around the kitchen. Which was probably a good thing because when she sat still her legs slid out from under her on the hardwood floors. She would eat a little bit of food and then run to your feet, begging for attention. I couldn't help but pick her up. She'd lick my face, and I didn't mind her puppy breath one bit. 

My dog, Baxter, will soon be four years old. But, I remember his puppy days. Even when he was teeny-tiny, he looked like an old man with his white beard and puffy eyebrows. He was sweet as can be. My stepmom had taken her dogs to be groomed, and Baxter was the last puppy left from the litter the groomer's dog delivered several weeks before. He was a little sad and lonely, so my stepmom agreed to bring him home to play with her puppies for the day. I also happened to stop by the house that day and needless to say, Bax never returned to the groomer. 

Since then, Baxter has been the perfect companion. He hogs the bed, practically sleeping on top of me. He's kennel trained, but spends most of his days looking out the front door from his spot on the back of the couch. And, around 1 p.m. each day, he gets up to bark ferociously at the mail carrier. 

While things are good now, there are certain parts of his early days that I'd rather not remember. The nightmares of house training, for example. That's why, for at least the time being, I'm perfectly content puppy-sitting rather than puppy owning and training. No matter how cute Reagan's face may be. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Catching beads and bass

We had a lot of things to do this weekend in Shreveport — Mardi Gras parades and Bassmaster events — and what fun it was. 

For the second consecutive weekend, my friends and I set up camp on East Kings Highway. The afternoon weather was dreary and cold, but once the sun peeked through the clouds, people rolled out in droves for the parade. 

The lots on East Kings are earned through a lottery. If someone gives up their lot, SPAR draws names to see who will gain the spot. We were fortunate enough to land a lot both weeks, and the lot for Gemini couldn't have been better. We were right next to a karaoke tent, which meant we were entertained for hours and we got to sing a few songs of our own.

The entire day was a blast, and I'm already looking forward to next year. 

While many people watched the Oscars on Sunday night, I found something more entertaining to watch. To my own surprise, it was the coverage of the final day of the Bassmaster. Going into the show, I couldn't think of anything less entertaining than watching someone else fish. But, it really was so interesting and the hour-long coverage moved along quickly. The top two competitors were so animated, you couldn't help but be amused. 

The coverage put Shreveport-Bossier City in a very positive light. The commentators said the Ark-La-Tex was one of the best locations so far, mostly because of the area's people. I can't promise I'll watch the Bassmaster again. But for one night, I was hooked.  

Friday, February 20, 2009

The color of my hair rainbow

While my friend LJ and I were walking the other night, she sought out my advice on hair color. The girl is almost 27 and she's never put a drop of hair dye on her scalp. A true purist. 

Extreme hair coloring can be a bit icky, but I think subtle modifications can look sophisticated, frame your face and make your features pop. At least that was my sales pitch to LJ. 

I'm not a color purist. I don't want to cut my hair, so my only way to switch things up is through my color. I've dabbled in all socially-acceptable colors from blond to red to brown to the chocolaty color on top of my head now. In doing some research, I pulled some pictures from the past few years. My hair-color changes didn't seem so obvious at the time, but when you put all the pictures together, it's quite extreme. Don't you think?

I think blond — at least that blond — was a mistake. I'm starting to think the darker the better. Who knew hair color could make you feel so sassy? I'm going to tell that to LJ, too.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


When I was in elementary school, I loved playing bingo. I even loved it more than Heads Up Seven Up. There was always someone in class who would peek under their arm and identify the person who touched their finger by looking at the person's shoes. I've always hated cheaters, and it's impossible to cheat at bingo. The card never lies.

On Shreveport Barksdale Highway, there's a huge bingo parlor that grabs my attention each time I drive passed. The sign lures me in with words like "$5,000 jackpot." And since I love bingo so much, I really can't think of a more fun way to come into some extra cash. 

As fate would have it, my friend Nancy was also fascinated by the bingo parlor. To describe Nancy, she's the gal who gets the time set, party planned and the group rounded up. So a few weeks ago, we played bingo. Needless to say, Nancy brought the dobbers. 

There were about 12 in our group, and I thought it would be such a fun way to get together and do something out of the ordinary. However, this bingo is nothing like the game I played in elementary school. There's about 20 different ways to fill up a card, and none of the descriptions make any sense. Thank goodness for the lady sitting next to me, she was a pro and willing to help. You had twelve cards to blot for each game, which required an extraordinary amount of concentration. 

If you'll notice in the picture above, no one is smiling and no one is talking. Bingo didn't turn out to be quite the social event we'd hoped for. In fact, when we left the parlor, our friend Matt put it best, "I feel like I just got done taking the ACT." 

It really was that bad, and even worse, none of us won a thing. Maybe the next time I crave a game of bingo, I'll just pay a visit to my third grade teacher. 

Monday, February 16, 2009

'The Shack'

Several weeks ago, the associate pastor at our church gave my boyfriend, Ty, a book to read called "The Shack." Warren, the pastor, had a spare copy on him and thought Ty would enjoy reading it. Everyone at Noel has been talking about this book, which peaked my curiosity. 

Ty's been reading through a C.S. Lewis book, which is mind-boggling enough on its own. While he's trying to read "The Weight of Glory," I'm typically sitting next to him reading something like "Shoe Addicts Anonymous." Every few pages, Ty will pass his book to me and ask, "What does that word mean?" I'll read the sentence, pass the book back to him and usually say, "I have no idea. I think he's making these words up as he goes." 

So, since Ty hasn't started reading "The Shack" yet, I decided I would read it to see what the buzz was all about. The first few chapters were OK, simply setting the stage for what was to come. However, I got to the meat of the story last night. I crawled in bed and decided to read a chapter before going to sleep. Before I knew it, I was crying. Not just a single tear either. We're talking full-on waterworks. I was happy to be reading alone, otherwise I would have embarrassed myself when I put the book down and wiped my eyes. 

The main character in the story suffers a great loss and is beckoned by God to face his pain, loss and suffering head-on. I've never experienced a loss like what is described in the story. But with the pain I have experienced, I've always found healing and strength through faith. 

I'm sure that's what brought on the tears. I wasn't sad to read about the bad times. I was happy to be reminded about the good times that come when you have a little faith.  

Thursday, February 12, 2009

In or Out

Last night we celebrated another successful SB Street Team party at Buffalo Wild Wings. I even got to meet someone I've been dying to meet for years now — Jacob Hester. For that reason alone, I consider the night a success. 

However, a lot of other good came out of the evening. We met some people who really love SB Magazine, and we introduced others to our publication. There's another party from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday night at Eldorado's Celebrity Lounge. We hope to see you there!

On a side note, I realized a few things about myself last night, too. Somehow, in recent months, I've evolved into a suburban housewife (minus the husband). Seriously, things are changing. 

Perhaps it's my age or possibly my desires. Twenty-seven isn't old,  but I can tell you it's not 22 either. My friends and I used to go out nearly every single week night. We could drink until the bars closed at 2 a.m. and make it to work perky the next morning. Just the thought of that nearly makes me ill these days. 

In fact, I was at Buffalo Wild Wings until around 9 last night. I left and went to Superior to eat a late dinner with friends. I was home and in bed by 10 p.m., and I had to drag myself from bed this morning. How is that possible? I was asleep before the evening news wrapped. 

My other symptoms of suburbitis include: yoga class, neighborhood walks, eating in more than out and nights at home with my boyfriend and a book. It's simple, but ultimately so much more satisfying than those late nights out. But, who knows? Maybe this weekend I can make it until midnight. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A serious case of the Mondays

Do you have those days where your head seems to be misplaced? Sure, it's right there where you left it, on your shoulders and between your ears, but for whatever reason it's not processing quite as quickly as it should. 

This sums up my Monday. 

The night before, Ty and I were hanging out at the house, and I clearly remember telling him, "You know what? I'm really looking forward to going to work tomorrow." I'd been out sick for most of Thursday and all of Friday. So by Sunday, I was ready to be up and running again. I typically avoid grand statements similar to the one I made Sunday night because they often end up being the kiss of death. As my good sense was telling me, I should have kept my mouth shut that night.

Monday morning was smooth sailing. Rain was forecast, and I actually remembered my umbrella. The last time it rained, I had to use a Christmas tree skirt to cover my head. Our morning meeting went well. I was checking off my to-do list left and right. Uber-productive.

I can't say the same for my afternoon. I needed to make turkey roll-ups (our smart snack for March) to be photographed that afternoon. I went to the grocery story to grab a bell pepper and some turkey for the recipe. I went home, put the stuff in the fridge and ate lunch. I made it all the way back to the office before I realized, "Crap. I didn't make the snack." 

So, I wheeled around my SUV and went straight back to my house. This time remembering to make the snack. I packed up the snack and re-returned to the office. By the time I'd reached SB, the sky had opened and the downpour had begun. I rolled up my slacks — not wanting to get the hem wet — and  balanced the snack, some paperwork and a bottle of water in my hands. I flung my car door open, popped open my umbrella and nudged the car door shut behind me. 

The next moments played out in slow motion. As the door swung shut, I noticed my keys were still in the driver's seat. "Noooo," I said, reaching with my elbow to stop the door. "Well, crap." It didn't work, and yes, that makes two "crap" moments within the hour.

Defeated, I trudged down the steps to the office wondering where I'd left my head that day. I wrangled a few fingers loose to pull on the door. Locked. Seriously. This door is never locked in the middle of the day. I knocked as loudly as I could with my arm, and thank God for Caroline Leone. She rushed to the door to find me — pants rolled up, legs wet and keyless. 

The story does have a happy ending. Fortunately, I know where my spare car key is kept. My roommate was home to locate it and my boyfriend was in the neighborhood and could pick it up. The debacle ended rather smoothly, but don't believe for a second that I had anything to do with it. 

Monday, 1. Stephanie, o. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

A few things you may not know

These surveys are a common occurrence on networking sites like Myspace and Facebook. This list of 25 things is the most major one I've seen lately. The goal is to list 25 things about yourself that most people may not know. I tried to be as random as possible — but 25 things is tough. 

Since this blog is intended to be a place where you guys can get to know me, I wanted to share my list. The 25 most random things (at least that I could think of and be willing to share) about me. Make your own list. It helped me to remember some things swirling around in the recesses of my mind. 
  1. I'm a pretty good cook,  but sometimes the simplest things confuse me, like baking a potato. 
  2. I'm allergic to everything: beer, wine, cheese, grass, ragweed, dogs, cats, etc. However, I rarely avoid any of those things except cats. 
  3. I can play the guitar at a very basic level — G, C, D — enough chords to write really bad country music. 
  4. I've never made a hole-in-one even though I've played golf most of my life. 
  5. I spent three months in New York City. It was the best summer, but I haven't been back since. 
  6. About five years ago, I had my tonsils removed after my doctor said I'd become a "strep carrier."
  7. I've never been on a rollercoaster and never plan to try one out. 
  8. I'll eat just about anything, but I hate ketchup. 
  9. I love to clean because it's the best time to clear my head. 
  10. I always have two things in the back of my car: golf spikes and a sinus headset for lazer-guided surgery. 
  11. For two years, I worked from 3 p.m. to midnight and cried nearly every night after I got off work. It was miserable. 
  12. Heidi Hausmann taught me how to open a bar tab. I'd never gone out to a bar in college so I had no idea. 
  13. I didn't wear a two-piece swimsuit until my sophomore year of college. I was overly modest. 
  14. I am an editor, but I don't like to edit. 
  15. I have plica band syndrome in my knees. 
  16. I consider Ty Jordan the best guy I know. 
  17. I want to write a book one day. Maybe when I have more time and more words. 
  18. I look forward to being a mom one day — dance recitals, sack lunches, homework time, etc. — sign me up!
  19. My parents are some of my best friends. 
  20. I love it when my younger brother hugs me just because he knows it makes me happy. 
  21. I think my dog understands me completely when I talk to him. 
  22. I went on a trip to the beach with all my girlfriends a few years ago. It was the best time we've had together. 
  23. I totaled my first car on a parked car in my parents' driveway. Nothing is impossible. 
  24. I was grounded for two months during my senior year of high school for not emptying my dirty clothes. 
  25. I've been to yearbook camp. Twice. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


The lights were on when we walked in the aerobics studio last night. About seven other women sat perfectly centered with their legs crossed, and I couldn't help but feel their eyes glaring at me. 

My initial discomfort was likely brought on by my own paranoia. After all, I'd hoped to sneak into the back of the room unrecognized. Instead, the instructor called LJ and I to two front-and-center spots. Unsure of what was about to happen, we glanced at each other as if to say, "what have we gotten ourselves into."

To my relief, the lights were soon flipped off, relaxing, instrumental music was turned on, and I felt my entire body relax. The class began with some stretches and deep breathing, and quickly eased its way into contorted positions unfamiliar to me. 

I felt pride in the simple fact that I could do them all, until I glanced at the college student next to me. This girl was the Yoga Grand Master Champion and, of course considering my luck, she would be the person directly beside me. I'm only 27, but looking at her I could feel how I've aged since my college years.

Some of the positions are awkward to say the least, and I found myself unable to look in the direction of my best friend. I thought, "I don't want her to see me like, so I'll pay her the same respect." 

We both left the class, our legs slightly wobbly, but not before we were invited to join the spin class that was about to begin. Maybe next time. The way I look at it — one exercise class per night is a good start. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

You can't yoga alone

Today's a big day for me. I've been counting down the clock to 5 p.m., when my yoga/pilates class begins. I've done pilates before, but there's a significant difference in exercising alone in your living room and in front of numerous pairs of eyes. I'm not excited about the other eyes, but I vowed to my best friend that we'd take this class together. 

We were supposed to start the class more than three weeks ago, but I've had stitches and was instructed not to exercise so they wouldn't pull. As soon as the stitches came out, the sinus infection came in. I'm still feeling cruddy from that. I hardly slept at all last night because I was coughing my head off — but I have no excuses. Others' eyes are holding me accountable. 

After church Sunday, my boyfriend, Ty, and I met his parents for lunch. Both of his parents are athletic. His dad coaches swimming and his mom is a marathon runner and a spin teacher. Talk about a power couple. I figured our lunch time was the perfect time to interrogate Ty's mom about the yoga/pilates class. 

I admitted to being nervous about the whole thing, and Margaret seemed slightly ticked by all the questions. By the end of our Q and A, I felt comfortable with my Tuesday/Thursday class. Sure, she told me that my booty would be up in the air a lot, but she also told me the lights would be off or dimmed.  

I may be in a room filled with other people, but I hope to maintain a smidge of privacy when I downward dogging in the back of the room. 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Caffeine-free morning

On the typical morning, I wake up and immediately make a pot of coffee. I drink my first cup while I'm getting ready for work and then pour a to-go cup to take to the office. I've been successful at giving up soda and even my favorite, regular Coke, but I won't let go of my morning joe. 

Unfortunately, this morning I was left with no choice. The coffee container was empty, which sent me into a tailspin of panic. "How could this happen," I thought. "What am I supposed to do now?" So I opted for a glass of ice water. It definitely didn't hit the spot, but short on time I rushed to the office feeling disgruntled and caffeine-free. 

I made it for about an hour before my burning eyes and overall physical drag forced me to resolve the problem. Just after 9 a.m., I grabbed my keys and drove to the nearest Circle K. They'd just made a fresh pot of cinnamon coffee and I indulged myself with a 20 ounce wake-up call. 

My eyes stopped burning and my workday found a productive rhythm. I'm not sure if coffee can do all that or if it's simply in my head. But I'm not willing to endure another morning like this one to find out. As if Mondays weren't bad enough already.