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  1. Count Your Blessings

    January 31, 2014 by Stephanie Stanislao

    As I begrudgingly made my way to the grocery store, on my dinner break earlier this week, I couldn’t help but feel negative. It was frigid. I was tired. I was hungry. I was lots of other “debbie-downerish” things too (grumpy, starving, sick–the list of negativity went on and on).  After filling my cart to the very brim I headed toward the check-out to pay, swiped my card and took my receipt.

    For those wondering, this is pretty much what my cart looked like…except much more organized (this shopper’s organizational skills are a hot mess!).

    On my drive back to my apartment, in downtown Fargo, I called my dad and spoke to him about my day (most of what was said was far from positive, as that was the theme for day). I soon approached my apartment only to find that there was not a parking spot in the front of my building, which meant I had to carry my many heavy bags much farther than I would have liked, as well as make not one, but TWO, trips up to my apartment.

    I unloaded my groceries, ate a quick dinner and prepared to make my way back to work. But, before I left I collected myself and reflected on this oh-so-terrible day.

    For each of the many negative thoughts I had throughout the day, I thought about all of the ways that I was fortunate.

    For instance, I may have been cold, but I reminded myself that I have warm clothing to wear and a heated home to sleep in. I might have been hungry, but I was able to buy food–food that I actually liked to eat. I might have also felt sick, but overall I am in very good health and much better off than many other individuals. And making more than one trip to carry in my groceries may have seemed like an incredible inconvenience, but with two good legs to walk on, it wasn’t so bad after all.

    I am fortunate. I am blessed. That was the conclusion I came to.

    It can be easy to become wrapped up in a bad mood. And, that’s not to say that there is anything wrong with feeling upset, mad or irritated. After all we’re only human and it’s normal to have a bad day. However, that does not mean that we should take all of the good things in our lives for granted.

    Not only have been blessed with all the things that I need, but I have also been blessed with family (a loving and supportive one too).

     

    So, instead of focusing on the downs and disappointments, look to the aspects of your life in which you are fortunate  and show gratitude. In learning to appreciate what you have and in counting your blessings, it will make those tough days that much easier.

     

     

     


  2. College: Beyond the Lecture

    January 24, 2014 by Stephanie Stanislao

    I did it. I am a college graduate.

    It has been over a month since I crossed the stage at the Bison Sports Arena, collected my diploma holder and took countless pictures wearing my hideous graduation attire (You have to be super smart to graduate, but, boy, does that mortar board make a person look stupid!). In the past few days, I have had a great deal of time to reflect. I learned a lot in college.

    Through new experiences, both good and bad, I can say that my four and a half years spent on NDSU’s campus have taught me more than how to write a 30-pages research paper or how to study for an exam. My time as a college student was much more than the homework I turned in, more than the classes I attended.

    I learned that:

    Being self-sufficient is important.

    Heartache is not permanent, but it does leave an awful lot of scars.

    Homesickness doesn’t disappear with age (at least it hasn’t for me).

    Laundry doesn’t wash itself, and that having a roll of quarters on-hand, at all times, is an absolute must.

    Sometimes sleep is more important than socializing.

    Setting goals is not enough…you have to follow through with said goals.

    Any life lesson can pretty much be seen through the eyes of Kevin Arnold (Thank goodness for “The Wonder Years”).

    It’s okay to be 23, unmarried (unattached, for that matter) and still figuring things out.

    Not everyone is  like me–and that’s okay.

    About 90 percent of what my parents taught me, while I was growing up, is true (although, you can be sure, I would have never believed it at age 18).

    It’s important not to accept everything (or everyone for that matter) at face-value.

    The “freshman 15″ seems to turn into the “mid-twenties 30.”

    College isn’t really like animal house (which, in my opinion, is a shame, I was hoping for some Belushi moments during my college career. Oh well).

    Pizza can be eaten any time of day–breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack…if it’s available, do what any red-blooded American college student would do–EAT THE PIZZA.

    Having a signature dance move is almost as important as eating breakfast…ALMOST (it is the most important meal of the day, you know).

    In addition to a signature dance move, one must also have a go-to karaoke song (“Friend’s in Low Places,” anyone?)

    Couponing isn’t just for your grandma anymore… so clip those coupons girlfrannn (saving money is so awesome).

    “Lol” should never be used… EVER. You can go ahead and add “totes,” “adorbs” and other abbreviated words to that. If you can’t say the whole word, then  you probably shouldn’t speak (tough love, I know).

    A proper handshake should always be used.

    Exercise is beneficial for the body, mind and soul. This does not always mean running countless miles or doing sit-ups til you can’t breath.  A simple walk sometimes will do.

    Water is good. For many reasons. Too many to list in fact. So, just remember, WATER IS GOOD.

    Practicing the art of “leftover-creativity” is one of the most useful tools one will ever learn. Being wasteful is hard on your pocketbook and down-right stupid. Instead of throwing away last night’s dinner get fancy with that leftover mac ‘n cheese.

    Having a sense of humor and being able to laugh at yourself is key.

    Most importantly, embracing who you are–the good, the bad and the funny is the only way to be 100 percent truly happy.

    So, like I said, college wasn’t just receiving an education in the classroom. No, for me it was much, much more. It was a time to grow, mature and learn who I was.  I still have a lot to learn, but I have to admit, I’ve gotten a great start.


  3. Living with optimism

    May 22, 2013 by Stephanie Stanislao

    It can be hard to keep an optimistic-outlook in life.

    “I work everyday.”

    “I don’t make enough money.”

    “I spilled coffee all over my new top, and it’s ruined.”

    “I don’t like the way I look.”

    “This weather is awful.”

    Complaining about the little things, is a whole lot easier (most of the time), than looking at life positively.

    And, I, unfortunately, have done my fair share of complaining.

    Tonight, however, I was gladly reminded of just how important it is to live life with a good attitude and a smile on your face.

    This reminder is all thanks to Zach Sobiech, a Minnesota teenager who passed away, after a fight with a rare form of cancer, on May 20, 2013.

    Zach’s story was so touching (I strongly encourage you to watch the video that I linked under Zach’s name. It is worth 22 minutes of your life… I promise).

    The way that he accepted his fate courageously, not to mention doing so with a smile on his face, brought tears to my eyes.

    Zach reminded me to put things into perspective… to look at what is really important in life.

    Faith, family, friends.

    Doing what you enjoy.

    Living life without negativity.

    This special young man reminded me of how important it is not to take a second, minute, hour for granted, even if my time is not as limited on this Earth as his was.

    He reminded me of just how important it is to take every opportunity to breathe in everything around me… to enjoy the little and big things in life.

    He reminded me of why it is so important to tell each and every one of my family members “I love you.”

    I think if everyone walked around with Zach’s outlook on life, this world would be a much better place.

    “It’s really simple actually. It’s just trying to make people happy. Maybe you have to learn it with time. Maybe you have to learn it the hard way, but as long as you learn it, you’re going to make the world a better place.”– Zach Sobiech

    Thoughts and prayers to the Sobiech family, during this difficult time. Thank you for sharing your son/brother’s story.

     

     

     


  4. The “life list”

    April 30, 2013 by Stephanie Stanislao

    “Have you found joy in your life? Has your life brought joy to others?”– Carter Chambers,The Bucket List  (2007)

    I pondered tonight over many questions similar to these, and decided to refer to my own “bucket list,” (which I actually call my “life list) and looked to see if I’ve made any progress in successfully checking any of the items off.

    Over the past few years, I have been continually adding goals and aspirations to my “life list,” but I often forget that I need to be doing more with this list than simply adding more hopes and dreams to it.

    No, I need to start conquering the list little by little.

    Obviously, I’m only 22-years-old, which is far from 6-feet-under, but life goes by much faster than we realize.

    I don’t want to wake up at the ripe old age of 107 (I’m pretty sure this is how old  I’ll be before I croak. And, if anyone would like to dispute this issue, I suggest you take it up with my awesome gene pool) someday and wonder, “what if?”

    I understand that this is, for lack of a better phrase, “easier said than done.” Yet, having a poor outlook is not going to help anyone travel the world, do missionary work or achieve whatever huge, life-changing goal they might have. It’s as simple as that.

    I’ve decided to share my “life list” with you all to perhaps remind you of your own aspirations or goals, inspire you to do something about your own bucket list, or simply to give you a good laugh at some of my ridiculous life-long dreams (Just forewarning you, but my list touches upon some of the most heartfelt, sappy, odd and unique goals around).

    So here you have it, Steph’s “life list” (In no particular order):

    (“X” denotes that I have completed this item, so clearly I have a LONG way to go)

    X- Graduate  from college (working on this one as we speak. Can’t wait to check this off in 7 months!)

    - Get hitched to some poor soul.

    - Travel.

    -Throw a surprise party.

    -Breed some beautiful babies (like I said, “awesome gene pool”).

    -Send my parents on a trip (It’s the least I could do for all of the gray hairs).

    - Touch somebody’s heart (Figuratively speaking that is, I don’t “do” blood).

    -Go to a game at Wrigley (Preferably the game would be against the White sox or the Cards. but just being there would be good enough for me).

    -Get a dog and name him or her Wrigley.

    - Meet somebody famous.

    -Own a lake cabin.

    -Visit NYC.

    -Make somebody’s whole day ( I enjoy making people happy).

    -Cook Thanksgiving dinner…Turkey and all (believe it or not, this is one of my greatest fears… I just find it unnatural to stick my hand inside a turkey).

    -Go horseback riding (I did this as a girl scout once, when I was 9-years-old, but I don’t remember it. So I’m going to do it again).

    -Coach t-ball.

    -Go the Kentucky Derby (This includes wearing a big floppy hat and drinking mint juleps).

    -Meet Honey Boo Boo (She’s so “fabulous”)

    -Visit the Vatican.

    -Take a ride in a gondola.

    -Ice skate in central park.

    -Be a contestant on a game show (I’m shooting for “Price is Right” on this one. Showcase showdown, anybody?).

    X-Get a New Years kiss.

    -Learn how to play  pinochle (My mom’s whole family plays this, but I have yet to learn).

    -Go skinny dipping.

    -Fly a plane.

    -Visit Ellis Island.

    -Write a fluffy teen novel (I feel like I have enough awkward wisdom from my adolescence to carry this one out with flying colors).

    -Go water skiing.

    -Write a soldier a letter.

    -Sing karaoke alone (I’ve done karaoke countless times, just never by myself).

    -Throw a dinner party.

    -Perform a stand up act, at an open mic night.

    X-Eat a banana split.

    -Make somebody smile without trying.

    -Make a snowman (I grew up in MT and live in ND, you would think I would have gotten around to this, but no, I’ve been deprived–plus I just really hate snow).

    -Watch a movie at a drive-in theater.

    -Two step at a real honky-tonk.

    X-Vote in a presidential election.

    -Visit the the Cathedral of St. Paul.

    -Volunteer at a soup kitchen.

    -Make pizza from scratch (My little brother learned this trait from my Grandad Stanislao, but I never picked up on it).

    -Go to a Broadway play.

    -Attend the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade.

    -Get asked to guest host on a radio show (I have the face for it).

    -Drive a convertible.

    -Visit every country…at Epcot (I visited Epcot at age 8, but I don’t believe we made it to every country).

    -Milk a cow ( I don’t think you realize how traumatic this will be…cows are HUGE and they kick!).

    -Visit the American History Museum in D.C. (I’ve been to all of the Smithsonian museums but this one, because it was closed when my family was visiting back in 2007).

    -Learn how to crochet.

    -Take my kids to Disney world.

    Well, there you have it folks, my “life list” thus far. Hope that this has inspired you to get after your own list, or at least provided a little entertainment.

    XOXO,

    Steph

    Dressing up in honor of Honey Boo Boo on Halloween… I only hope that one day I can cross that one off my “life list.” You better redneckonize!


  5. The Spectrum: My home away from home

    April 23, 2013 by Stephanie Stanislao

    Although I live 750 miles away from my home in Montana, over the past four years I have developed a second home here in Fargo.

    What might that home be? The NDSU Spectrum, of course.

    It dawned on me the other day that The Spectrum has been the only consistent thing throughout my college career.

    Friends have come and gone. Jobs have come and gone. Organizations have been started and finished. But, The Spectrum has always been with me.

    I cannot begin to imagine what my college career would have been without working for NDSU’s bi-weekly publication, as well as if I had never met my  Spectrum co-workers during my time at NDSU.

    The Spectrum has meant more to me than just gaining experience or earning a paycheck (although those are both incredible benefits to working here), but rather working for The Spectrum has allowed me to find my niche here in Fargo.

    This is where I belong–where I was meant to be these last four years.

    Some of my most valued friendships have been developed from working here,  and although many of the friends I have made at The Spectrum have since moved on to bigger and better things (which is what I hope to do in 6 months), I have been able to keep in touch with them.

    Words cannot express how grateful I am, to have been given the opportunity to work at The Spectrum. It has meant so much to me.

    It has been a place where I can go and escape on my “homesick” days–a place that I feels like home.

    In about 6 months, I will be leaving this place, and just like 4 years ago when I moved away from Bozeman, this will prove to be a difficult endeavor.


  6. The Senior Slide

    April 21, 2013 by Stephanie Stanislao

    Morale is at an all time low. Stress is at an all time high. And all I want to do is run far far away.

    It’s nearing that time of year again… the end of the semester.

    DUN- DUN- DUNNNN!!

    I’ll be honest, this is the eighth (can’t believe it’s been that many) semester that I have endured, and as much as I would like to consider myself a seasoned vet of stressful dead/final week endeavors… I cannot.

    Actually, this might be the worst one yet.

    I have slipped into what I would like to call a “senioritis state of comatose.” And, never in my life have I ever wanted to be done with school, papers, tests, papers, projects, papers MORE (I mentioned ‘papers’ in there multiple times for a reason).

    I’m burnt out. I’m tired. I’m ready to move on.

    Unfortunately I will not be doing so until December 20th, 2013 (Lord willing–fingers crossed), so for now I guess I’m just going to have to suck it up and get through the next 2 weeks.

    “School is over”

     


  7. “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but we’re on TV, so marry me? Maybe?”

    April 18, 2013 by Stephanie Stanislao

    I sat down on my couch last night to relax after a long day of school and work, and turned on the TV.  I was multi-tasking with one hand on the remote, while the other was scrolling through the twitter feed on my phone.

    I wasn’t even really paying attention to the television, until I heard the familiar voice of Giuliana Rancic from the E! network. I looked up, and saw that it was a show I had never seen before. However, the content and idea behind the episode I stumbled upon was some how familiar to me.

    The show that I happened to come across is called, “Ready for Love.” Immediately I determined that it was essentially a mix between the popular television competition “The Voice” and the “age-old” dating series “The Bachelor.” And, although I absolutely despise “The Bachelor,” I could not seem to look away. It was like a bad accident (But, really. No joke. It was.).

    As I watched all of the cheesiness, the craziness, the stupidity, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Do people actually believe in this?” I mean honestly, are there really people out there that believe that they are going to find “the one” on national television, while 1000′s of strangers watch their “relationship” unfold? And, if so, do they really think that the feelings they are experiencing are valid?

    I don’t know about you, but if I were in that situation, I probably wouldn’t be so cool with my “TV boyfriend” dating 20 other females, while telling me he’s “falling for me.”

    Get real.

    As much as people would like to think that relational development and love can be constructed, I’m going to go ahead and be the bearer of bad news here, IT JUST CAN’T. Relational development and love just can’t be constructed.

    Obviously chemistry is important in the equation of love. But love is certainly not a science, and definitely cannot be manipulated like that of a 7th grade science fair project.

    People have been falling in love, and finding that “special someone” for centuries without the helping hand of television networks like ABC and NBC. And guess what? PEOPLE WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO.

    My grandparents did. My parents did. My sister did. Countless of my friends have. And I hopefully will (Hahaha okay who am I kidding? It’s me ;) I’m on the “crazy NOT-cat lady” track–I hate cats– as I type this).

    All I’m saying is that true loving relationships cannot be fostered on the set of television network, with a crew of 15 cameramen following your every move, while your jealous competition is spying from 10 yards away.

    I’m not usually a fan of memes, but this is basically every contestant on the bachelor, so it seemed fitting.

     


  8. Come on mother nature…It’s April.

    April 13, 2013 by Stephanie Stanislao

    If you really truly know me, then you know that I HATE the “S” word.

    I’m not talking profanities here, although the “S” word I speak of might as well be one.

    No, I’m talking about snow (I literally cringed, whilst writing that).

    Typically, I handle that cold, white, wet stuff pretty well throughout the winter months. Over the years, I’ve come to expect it’s arrival, but I’ve also grown accustom to it melting when spring begins to roll around.

    Unfortunately mother nature did not get the memo this year, and we, as well as much of the Midwest, have been experiencing an extra long winter season.

    I also feel that Phil, our groundhog friend, is to blame for proclaiming that spring was on it’s way back in February. However, seeing as he is just a groundhog, I suppose I’ll let it slide… but just this once.

    I’ve tried to remain patient and optimistic, but trudging through the snow in the middle of April is probably the last thing I want to be doing this time of year.

    I realize that this is Fargo, North Dakota and I have chosen to live here, but this is getting ridiculous.

    I think everyone, at least everyone in the area who has been affected by this “lovely” weather, has heard enough complaints about the “S” word this week, so with that said– rant over.

     


  9. “Powered-off”

    April 7, 2013 by Stephanie Stanislao

    If there is one thing, that is currently in my possession, in which I would probably have a melt-down if said item were suddenly to become broken or lost, it would be my cell phone.

    Not only is this one thing the that I use to keep up with the lives of  friends, browse through Facebook posts, Instagram photos and or post tweets, but it is the “life-line” to my family so many miles away…or at least that used to be it’s main purpose.

    I’ve notice, now more than ever, that I am constantly attached to my phone. Using it to look up information for a work-related article, calling my dad to tell him about the exam I just finished and explaining how much school is beginning to wear on me, sending text messages to my friends about weekend plans, or simply just checking one of my three email accounts.

    But today I made a bold and strange decision, for me at least. I powered off my phone.

    Honestly, I can’t remember the last time, besides my plane ride back to Fargo on December 29th, 2012, that I have turned off my cell phone. And it dawned on me just how sad that really is. I have become so dependent on this one thing, that I can’t even turn it off for a few minutes each day.

    I think this dependency spawns from my need and want to be in communication with my family, who is very important to me. However, over time, I think that my phone has become a crutch… something to use when I’m bored, lonely or when I’m both bored and lonely.

    Strangely enough, today, I just wanted to turn it off. I didn’t want to take calls. I didn’t want to send text messages. I just wanted to be alone. By myself. No distractions. Just me.

    I thought it would be a challenge, but it wasn’t it. I felt almost relieved to have time away from something that has become a part of my daily life.

    It was almost like I was taking a much needed break away from a friend, who I have been spending too much time with.

    I think I need to start doing this more often. I also think I need to remember why my phone was so important to me in the first place… to keep in touch with my family.

    If I can take anything away from this experience, it would be that’s okay to “power-off” sometimes, and just be.


  10. Time flies when you’re having fun… in college.

    April 6, 2013 by Stephanie Stanislao

    I pressed the enter key on my laptop, and suddenly everything became real.

    I had just registered for my final semester of college.

    I always thought that this would a most joyous occasion. A time to be celebrated. A time time of relief. But the minute I clicked that submit button, I could not feel anything, but lost.

    I mean, I knew that I wasn’t going to be a college student forever (trust me, I don’t think my parents would appreciate it, if I was on the “Van Wilder” plan), but I didn’t think my time spent at NDSU would go by so quickly.

    My time as an undergrad has flown by– much faster than I could have ever imagined. It doesn’t seem possible that my first day of college was more than three years ago.

    I couldn’t resist… typical dorm room pic of my friend Kelly and I. My guess is that we were both on Facebook chat, and listening to “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas… Oh the memories!

    Over the course of the week, I have been reminded of many memories from day one to the present. The good times, the bad times, the ones I wished I remembered more clearly… It all came back to me.

    For instance, I’ll never forget that 17-hour day my friend Jenn and I spent working on our three-story model houses, for one of our interior design classes freshman year. Or the time that I ran on to the field at the Fargodome, with the rest of the cheer team, for the first Bison Football game in 2009. And of course all of the late nights spent with good friends, that turned into early mornings.

    This photo, which was taken the fall of 2009, captured Jenn and I’s caffeinated night of “house building” in the freshman and sophomore design studio.

    I’ll never forget those times, and many of the lessons that I’ve learned from them.

    During my time at NDSU I’ve learned a lot… much more than just academics, but rather important life lessons. I’ve learned the importance of a good  solid friendship, and how the quality of friends is much more important than the quantity of friends. I’ve learned that the area interior design is not one of my strong points. I’ve learned that it’s okay to act like a complete dork (And, if you know me, then you know I’ve taken that one to heart). I’ve learned that you should ALWAYS drink a LARGE glass of water after a night “out on the town (trust me on this one).” I’ve learned that you should take every opportunity to have fun, but to always remember the main reason you are at school—SCHOOL (duh).

    “Girls Night” This is a nice group shot of my friends and I, before an evening out. This makes me laugh, because it was edited using “picnik,” which has been long forgotten about.

    Honestly, thinking about having to find a REAL job, pay back student loans and leaving some of my best memories behind is VERY troublesome. But, I know that, if I have learned anything at NDSU, it is that I can handle just about anything that comes my way. My soon to be alma-mater has prepared me well.

    It may be also difficult to cope with the fact that those fun and carefree college days are about to be far behind me…  Some friends have left long ago, some are about ready to do the same, and others remain near. But, over time, I’ve realized that it’s all part of becoming an adult, and moving on to the next chapter of life.

    It might be scary. It might be downright sad. But, it’s time to move on.

    For now, I’m just going to enjoy the last bit of late nights, homework and times with friends while I can.