In an effort to keep my professional site updated and to blog more, I'm officially blogging only from there now. Head on over now to read about my road trip to San Francisco with a couple of friends! [stephmeredith.com]


Resolutions? No thanks.

Truth be told, I'm typing this while I should be packing to fly home to Indiana tomorrow and getting ready for New Year's dinner with some Register friends. So let's make this short and sweet.

I'm not having it with a lengthy list of resolutions this year. They don't last. Next month I will have forgotten what they even were. A year is such a huge time period, too. So if you suffer from chronic procrastination as I do, those resolution will just get put off and then suddenly it's fall and so starting over the next new year just seems like a better idea.

This year, I'm taking it day by day. Inspired by this post on Medium, I'm not thinking in weeks or months or years. Just days.

I'm going to do one thing, even something small, each day. Things that I would love to be doing regularly but find hard to make routine. Whether it be blog here or on my portfolio site, read a book, catch the sunset, WHATEVER. I'm going to do it. Once a day. 

Maybe that is considered a resolution. But it's just one. And it's so simple.

Happy New Year!



tasting butternut squash. for the first time. and it is delicious.

smelling new books. (you know the smell i mean.) because i have no self control when i walk into barnes & noble. 

eagerly awaiting returning to indiana to visit family and friends in january!

listening to jake owen, and a slew of other crooning cowboys.

debating whether or not the colts actually deserved their win against the texans last night. (don't get me wrong. i love my boys in blue to death. last night was just...ridiculous.)

making an effort to cook more. and freezer meals don't count. most of this just means i need to plan ahead better, and let's just say it is a work in progress.

giggling at flashbacks to karaoke night a couple weeks ago. it was a blast and hilarious and i can't wait until we do it again.

learning to balance full time job and freelance projects on the side. it's a blessing and curse at the same time.

wondering how john green manages to write the most quotable books. "my thoughts are stars i cannot fathom into constellations."

realizing that i have actually built a life out here. i would get so caught up in the past or what was in my future that i never just stopped and took in the present. as temporary as my situation is right now, it is real and full of amazing people and memories that i want to keep close forever.

anticipating packing up what little belongings i brought with me to orange county and moving them up to long beach. i'm definitely excited, but i'm just not the biggest fan of the packing/unpacking routine.

wanting to go back to last month when we hadn't pushed our clocks back yet and there was still the tiniest sliver of daylight left when i left work. 

smiling because i have a pretty cool life right now and i shouldn't let stupid things get me down.

P.S. I totally stole this prompt from Hello Miss Chelsea.


25 by 25

It seems like so long ago that I posted a 21 by 21 list. And though I did accomplish some of those goals (sang karaoke in public, graduated on time, discovering new places - Southern California in my case), most of the list flopped. So I figure with just a little over two years left until my 25 mark, I'd take on another list.

1. Earn another stamp on my passport. Let's just say this is what inspired this list, because my always wanderlusting sister is trying to plan a Paris trip for next February. Or May. Or just sometime next year. And I say, why not?

2. Get a tattoo. Just a small ampersand on the inside of my left wrist. (It's basically the infinity sign for designers. And I just love them a lot.) But I have to work up the courage to face the pain. And pick out the perfect font, of course.

3. Call another new place "home" for a while. Indiana will always hold a special place in my heart. Born and raised there, I will always think of it fondly and miss it every day. But Southern California has treated me well, and I can't wait to see where else life takes me. Knowing me, I won't stay still for too long.

4. Pay off all debts. Credit card. Loans. I don't have much, so it's totally doable.

5. Complete a reading list. The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge may be a bit too ambitious for this time frame, but I know there are plenty of other lists with great literature out there.

6. Road trip up the Pacific Coast. Stole this one from my sister's list a few years back. But really, a nice (looong) drive up the PCH? A dream come true, I tell you.

7. Hike to the top of Saddleback. Part of this depends on whether I stay in Orange County for a while or not, but it's the major peak in the Santa Ana Mountains near where I live. But I'm definitely not in the right kind of shape to hike it now. (I hear it's about 16 miles round trip.) But someday, guys. Someday.

8. Volunteer. I miss the mission trips I used to take in high school. And it's not something I have time for now (as sad as that is to say). But I could definitely make time to volunteer at the animal shelter or something every other weekend.

9. Start building up savings. And not just an extra hundred bucks. Real savings.

10. Confront a fear. Maybe my sister is right. Maybe we should bungee jump off the Stratosphere next year...

11. Learn to drive a stick. I tried this a couple years back and got frustrated because I just couldn't pick it up quickly. But I will learn.

12. Get fit. Because health is important.

13. Apply for a job I think is out of my league. I'll never know unless I try, right? And who knows what could come of it.

14. Learn to surf. Because seriously, it sounds like so much fun. And I live on the coast.

15. Go to a movie by myself. As independent as I may be, I hate going most places alone. Or showing up to places alone. And I just really need to get over it.

16. Learn to say 'no...' I still have a tendency to make my life full of extra commitments that take up so much time and energy. I need to choose my battles and remember to leave time for me.

17. But also know when to say 'yes.' I don't like asking for help. And sometimes I feel like accepting help when offered is the same as asking. But sometimes you just have to realize the act is just out of love and generosity, and accepting it is not selfish. Just so long as you accept it with love and gratefulness.

18. See the northern lights. Alaska or Canada could be a cool trip.

19. Be an audience member at a talk show taping. I live in Southern California. I need to take advantage of it while I can. One day, Ellen. One day.

20. Become a morning person. I love being up early. I feel like I get so much more accomplished. I just have a bit of trouble waking up. It's all about forging a new routine.

21. Take a class. Cooking. Ballroom dancing. Something.

22. Visit a vineyard in Napa Valley. Beautiful landscape. Wine tastings. Northern California. (Remember when Hallie Parker's dad owned a vineyard in Napa in The Parent Trap? Yeah, that has nothing to do with this. Nothing at all.)

23. Run in a 5k. Major challenge, but I'll get there.

24. Complete a 365 challenge. Most likely of the photo-a-day variety. I figure it could help me discipline myself into blogging more.

25. Pick an instrument back up. I loved playing the piano. I should really take the time to reteach myself.

Challenge accepted.



If there is one thing I didn't expect to miss about the Midwest, it was weather. Sometimes it would just get too cool too quickly. Rain usually ended up being a pain instead of a relief. And it isn't until the sun reappears in late March that you realize just how long the gray skies of winter had been hanging around.

But now I live in sunny Southern California where the weather is usually flawless.

Well, four months in and I'm here to tell you that perfect weather gets boring. At least in my humble opinion. Which is why I was grinning like a maniac and taking multiple afternoon breaks outside today. BECAUSE IT RAINED.

Full on drizzle, you guys. Not just a few sprinkles, but actual, substantial rain. Not to mention it was accompanied by cool 50s temperatures. 

It was awesome. 

Now if only we could get some fall foliage out here, my October would be made.



Being a twenty-something fresh out of college and just a few months deep in my first postgrad position — in this case, a traineeship — I am constantly field questions like "How's the real world?" and "Is your job going well?" and "California, huh?"

I never really knew how to respond. I mean, yes. California is great, and everything at my job is going well. But I'm kind of stuck in limbo between college and career life, which isn't necessarily the greatest situation. Sure, it feels nice to be slightly carefree for just a little bit longer, but that comes at a cost. And the cost is about to come back and bite me in the ass.

While I'd been galavanting off to the desert every other weekend this summer, work had been deciding that they would soon need to disband the provided housing and pay us a monthly stipend instead. And a tight one at that. And there was me, essentially living paycheck to paycheck, paying the minimum on bills and not racking up any savings. 

Well, I finally faced reality and decided it was time to start acting more like a grownup.

With some encouragement and good advice from a roommate, I made a rough draft of a monthly budget for both the next couple of months, as well as post-provided-housing months. (Which is also when I have to start paying off a loan.)

I've come to realized that though I am not making great money by any means, I am making enough. It just means I have to be responsible with it and not blow it on iced caramel macchiatos and basically anything I come across in Target. 

So here's to new adventures in self control and frugality. And trying to be a little less college, and a little more (young) adult.