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March 16, 2017

I spent HOURS making a post about what I was packing for Disneyland, and I’m sad that I got so busy I forgot to post it. I guess instead I’ll just share with you the one outfit I was really excited about, what I’d packed for March 16, 2017.

Disney hack: buy last year’s Disney Park merch on clearance at a Disney Store Outlet. I got those mouse ears for under $10 because they were 1/2 off park price and additional 25% off that. Praise hands emoji. The button is from Parkbound Buttons, the shirt is from onceuponamickeytee and the shorts were $5 at Goodwill. I’ve been in need of a new backpack so I caved and got this one which I LOOOVE.

I was so excited to wear this really accurate shirt, and I definitely got an extra shot of magic because…

Justen proposed to me at Disneyland! This is how it went down:

We had planned on getting a Photo Pass for the day so we could get a bunch of pictures taken all over. After one of the rides, Justen insisted we get our picture taken in front of the castle. I’d been trying to keep my expectations in check because I didn’t want to ruin a perfectly wonderful Disney trip by expecting Justen to propose, because if he didn’t then I’d feel disappointed and I never wanted that. We got a picture of Justen, my mom and myself:

Then Justen said he wanted a picture of just the two of us, and he went to pull something out of his backpack. I looked away because all of the alerts went off in my mind. I turned to look at Justen and…

Justen got the best ring ever. I didn’t even know how or when he did it, because we are always together. it was magic.

Excuse my nasty FitBit cover and my janky nails. I had asked Justen the night before if he thought my chipped manicure was noticeable and if I should re-paint my nails and he said no. EYE ROLL. 😀

The thing I love the most about the ring is that IT IS A CINDERELLA RING. SERIOUSLY. If you look at the ring from the side, there is a little gold carriage. I love that detail. It’s my favorite.

Actually that’s the second most thing I love about the ring. The first most thing I love is that Justen gave it to me because he wants to build a life with me.

THEN. Justen told me he had a surprise. We knew the Halters were going to be in town and we’d made dinner reservations with them, but he told me it wasn’t just the Halters. Rob and Stacy Birks, two people who have shown me what a healthy marriage is and have loved me and watched me grow and have welcomed me into their hearts, home and family, were coming too. and their daughter, one of my best friends, Lauren. and one of my other best friends, Taylor. and Justen’s uncle Brian.

But wait. There was more.

Justen’s work had purchased the photo pass for us. I cried even more then. I just lost it all.

I kept looking at the ring all day. I’d first seen it online and we finally found it in a store a few months ago. They’d asked me if I wanted to touch it and I had said nope and walked away. It was just so pretty. and now it was on my finger because Justen bought it for me to wear forever to remember that he is my family.


Dinner was great. Some of the most important people in my life who had never met each other were suddenly and magically sitting at a table together. It was overwhelming and felt like a dream.

At the end of the evening, after we said goodbye to everyone and they all left and Justen and I were walking around Disneyland, I told him that was the thing I was most excited about: that soon, after dinner’s are over and people have left, the days will end with me and Justen.

Best day at Disneyland ever. and I once saw Kylie Jenner at Disneyland, the same day Kanye West was at Disneyland… so the bar was set high 🙂

Real talk, and props if you can read through to the end of this:

Two years ago I went to Disneyland with a boy. He met the Halters and Taylor. and then he broke up with me when we got back. He made some stabs at the friendships he’d seen. and I suddenly felt silly for loving Disneyland, and I questioned my friendships. I felt like I might be broken beyond repair, like I would never know how to trust or open up. I wrote blog posts about it to help me heal, and I struggled a lot.

From the beginning of our relationship, Justen has allowed me to be myself. He has invested in my friendships, he has jumped on my silly love of Disneyland, and he has carefully handled all of the broken pieces of my life. I have never once felt the need to hide my feelings, put on an act, or keep tender things secret. He is the best person I have ever known and I am so excited for the future with him.

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Disney Days

Last week, I took my FOURTH trip to Disneyland this year. FOUR TIMES, can you believe that?! Twice were really quick trips to surprise kids I love, and twice were with my mom & Justen. This time it was CHRISTMAS! and it was chilly. I say chilly but that's relative, because it was like 55 degrees there and we got home to a snow/ice storm. and I'm currently watching snow fall from the sky. Real snow, not magic Disney snow. 

Our ride to the hotel was crazy. The shuttle driver was nice but kind of all over the place. It was like the first ride of the trip, AND we were crammed in the back. It was a little sketch. 

We did a bunch of typical things: we dole whipped, space mountain-ed, big thunder mountain'ed and Starbucks'ed. 


Y'all know I love Starbucks, but I ESPECIALLY love Starbucks at Disneyland. My go-to drink at the parks is a Caramel iced coffee with cream. It's like a poor man's iced caramel latte.


** location bracelet: Wanderer Bracelets (use code STEPHANIEOREFICE20 for 20% off!) // FitBit Flex Cover // Jeans: Mossimo via Goodwill (similar) // Purse: Mossimo (similar) // T-shirt: Ellie & Kate (similar) // Gold cardigan: Gap (similar) // Shoes: Mossimo (similar) **

I LOOOOVED the Christmas decorations. I didn't snap tons of pictures of them, but the castle + main street at night were AMAZING. and the tree was HUGE!


We also tried some new things! I'd never been on the Peter Pan ride, which my friend Savannah thought was ridiculous. So we braved the long ride to go on it for the first time and it was totally worth it. Such a cool ride, and I cannot believe I've never been on it! Justen and I split a clam chowder bread bowl, which was so good. And since they're taking out Tower of Terror, I convinced Justen to go on it so he can say he's done it. We were seriously so nervous the whole time – we almost talked ourselves out of it, but I'm glad we didn't! We also convinced my mom to live on the edge a little bit and we rode Mickey's Fun Wheel – which was really cool!


AND – we spent almost a full day in California Adventure, which I have NEVER done…. like ever. I usually kind of aimlessly wander around that park wanting to go back to the other park, but this time we logged some hours and I have a new appreciation for DCA!


We went into the Ghiradelli store probably 5 times just for the free sample – but at the end, I bought a small bag of candy. Including a caramel pumpkin spice square, which a lady at Target had told me was terrible, but it was SO GOOD, y'all. I never realized they had boardwalk games, so one day Justen and I played each other – he won a little Mickey stuffed animal because he beat everyone me. Even though I convinced him to give me the Mickey, I was determined to beat him so we went back and right as we were about to start playing, like FOUR OTHER PEOPLE joined and I was so frustrated because I just wanted to beat Justen and win my own Mickey. Well guess what… I ACTUALLY BEAT EVERYONE, and instead of a little Mickey I got this medium sized Bullseye. Cheapest souvenier of all. A less cheap souvenier? This popcorn bucket. IDK you guys, sometimes I just really want something and I REALLY WANTED that popcorn bucket. 


** shoes: TOMS via Goodwill Bins // Jeans: Forever 21 (similar) // White shirt: Forever 21 // Sunflower cardigan: Forever 21  (similar) via Goodwill Bins **

The best part of all of this? At one point we were walking and I told Justen I remember so many trips to Disneyland I imagined I'd be there with a boy someday. and he's the best one I could ever go to Disneyland with. AND. He got an annual pass. Can't wait for more Disney days with him in 2017 (and beyond) 🙂

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Every August for the past few years, I’ll be at my friends’ house while they are packing for their family Labor Day weekend. and every August, little William has asked me if I was going to Lummi. This year I was finally able to go, and it was so much fun.

#lummi2015 //

Lummi is a pretty small Salvation Army camp in northern Washington.. ON AN ISLAND! It’s SO CUTE.

#lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 //

One of the coolest parts is that the camp is located right on the beach, so we spent decent amounts of time there, treasure hunting when the tide was low.

#lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 // #lummi2015 //

I was so grateful for the beach, the puzzles, the drives to the Islander store, sleeping in a tent, and drinking coffee with people I love so very much. It was a quiet, relaxing weekend to buffer between Nashville and returning to work.

One evening I snuck away to the beach to spend some time with the Lord, and I shared with him how wonderful it is to be so loved and so welcomed into people’s lives. I got to spend a weekend with grandparents and uncles and aunts and nieces and nephews and great-grand children.. all people I already knew and loved prior to that weekend. Family is such a gift – to those born into it and to those welcomed in.


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Latourell Falls {part 2}

In May, I organized a Girls’ Hike to Elowah Falls. Everyone LOVED it and said we should definitely do it again, so I organized another one. Unfortunately it had to wait a bit because life is busy. But then almost everyone bailed!! HOWEVER! Adriana and I decided we’d go just the two of us, and I’m SO GLAD we did… I needed the head space of being outside, and I was glad we got to spend time together. We went to Latourell Falls, one of my favorite places just because it’s so easy and quick to get to, and it has the payoff of a waterfall – you can go to upper falls or take a short stroll down to the lower falls.


Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR //

Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR //

Imagine all of the conversations these trees have heard over the years! They’ve probably heard so many juicy details, so many broken hearts, so many hopes and dreams.. it’s crazy to think about.

Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR //

Hey so I guess I’m that person who brings an iced mocha on a hike. I didn’t even really think about it.

Latourell Falls // Portland, OR //


FOR ONCE I wasn’t the one in inappropriate footwear. Adriana was a CHAMP despite her poor footwear choice.. and she’d even asked me if she should wear tennis shoes or hiking boots… and she chose neither! Haha. You do you.

Latourell Falls // Portland, OR //

Selfies with strangers, I guess.

Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR // Latourell Falls // Portland, OR //

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adventures with my birthday buddy

Last year my friend Sarah had a baby.
Not just any old baby, though.

A baby I’d been praying for… since before she was actually conceived.
and her due date was like June 19th or something… and I kept saying “sounds like May 30th to me.”
Sarah told me I could buy her a special blanket. Every time I went to the store I tried to find the perfect blanket… and finally I found it. Pink. Hearts. Elephants. Super cozy.

and then!

She was born. On May 30th. My birthday. The best birthday present EVER.

birthday buddy //

I’m hopelessly smitten with this little baby. She’s the littlest of a trio of gingers that mean the absolute world to me.

birthday buddy //

This summer, she’s 13 months old.
and I cannot. get. enough. of. her.
You guys. Imagine if I procreated and birthed a tiny human of my own. I’d be nonstop all about that thing

Just like I’m nonstop all about this girl.
Don’t believe me? Just watch…

birthday buddy //

Selfies with sleepy Hannah while her mom runs errands so that Hannah can nap. I love her even when she’s asleep.

birthday buddy //

Hannah’s first trip inside of a Starbucks. An honor to share this momentous occasion with her. Please note the blanket. She likes to bury her face in her blanket and it makes me so happy.

birthday buddy //

Hannah chowing down on some pumpkin loaf during her first trip inside of Starbucks.

birthday buddy //


birthday buddy //

One day when I got to camp, they were all playing on the playground… and this girl was a HOT MESS. Snot all over, food on her shirt, hands and feet grey from the playground rocks… and I never knew a hot mess could be so freaking adorable.

birthday buddy // birthday buddy //

Hanging out in the Pumphouse waiting for my coffee and getting the verbal assurance that when Hannah is older I can be the purchaser of her first frappuccino and then when she’s like 16, I can purchase her first cup of coffee.

birthday buddy //

Her brother went to overnight camp for the first time (which is kind of funny since they LIVE at camp) but we got to see him for a little bit during free time, and Hannah loved it.

birthday buddy //

Homegirl loves her blueberries. They make her happy. Food in general makes her happy. Seeing her happy makes me so happy. Funny how that works.

birthday buddy //

Hannah’s little face was the first thing I saw when I woke up in 2015, and I wrote about that… how this year would see so much change for her, one of those things being that she’d start WALKING. Well… it’s time. Homegirl needs to walk and I’ve spent a lot of time with her little hands wrapped around my pointer fingers, walking her around. She’s growing up, no turning back. I’m so glad I get to witness her life from up close.

My favorite little birthday present. <3



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a day in pdx.

This past weekend some of my friends who are working at camp came to Portland for the day. One of my favorite parts about having friends visit Portland is that I get to do ultra-touristy things that I reserve for… tourists. What can I say… #hipstersgonnahip

I joined them at the part where we went to Saturday Market. Actually we started in Whole Foods where I (unfortunately) did not find a boyfriend but (fortunately) did buy an apple, sun butter & coconut chips. Just in case you were wondering. I managed to spend $0 at Saturday Market.


After Saturday Market, we went to Killer Burger for food. At that point I didn’t really care about food… I just wanted more coffee. But! I discovered that one of the girls visiting is really good friends with my really good friend, Rhoda. So naturally, we had to take a picture to send to Rhoda…

a day in pdx //


Then we spent endless amounts of time in Powell’s (I bought a new L’Engle book, Penguins & Golden Calves!) before Cameron, Deaglan & I walked over to Stumptown… where Cameron spent the best $4 of his life at a photo booth where we all basically failed at taking photo booth pictures. But now the photo strip is the bookmark in my new book.

a day in pdx //

a day in pdx //

(I am 90% sure Cameron had no idea that I took this picture, but I guess that’s just what happens when you don’t pay enough attention to me #onlychildissues)

From Stumptown, we headed over to Alberta Park where we spent a lot of time laying around and talking. But only after we merry-go-rounded.


I drank every last drop of my Stumptown iced mocha as we talked. I would have been okay if my coffee and my time with my friends never ran out. But the day was coming to a close.

a day in pdx //

We initially were going to eat dinner on Alberta (some wanted Pine State Biscuits and I was all about that Grilled Cheese Grill because I’ve recently discovered that while I don’t love tomatoes.. I LOOOVE BLTs.. so weird) but that didn’t really work out so we aborted mission and skipped straight over to Salt + Straw.


I was REALLY upset that they didn’t have their coconut with salted caramel bars, so I went for the Stumptown Coffee & Burnside Bourbon and YESSSSS… it was so good.

Can I just say that I found it so amusing how my ice cream in a little cup was so neat and tidy and then Cameron sat there with ice cream dripping all over the sidewalk.

a day in pdx //

and then our day together came to an end. They drove back towards camp and I went home and wished I was going back with them.

Moral of the story: everybody come visit me.

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