Saturday, August 31, 2013

it's back.

I woke up with a pit in my stomach, which can only mean one thing.

The excitement, the sleepless nights, the unpredictability, inability to eat, the caring too much over boys, the highs and the lows.    

photo (21)

I'm afraid I might be in an abusive relationship with college football - Georgia football, specifically.  

The first game of the season is always nerveracking because there are so many expectations and even more unknowns, but even more so for me, since my Dawgs play Clemson and South Carolina in the first two weeks. 

Moral victories and bragging rights against my home state teams are on the line.

Seriously, college football Gods?  What are you doing to me?  

8pm cannot come soon enough.  Go Dawgs! 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

losing the sweatpants.

We all make choices in life.

Like, when to eat a Wendy's Spicy Chicken Value Meal and when to drink spinach smoothies (I've done both this week).


When to cheer for South Carolina Gamecocks (tonight) and when to root against them (next Saturday-Go Dawgs).
When to stop being the best version of ourselves in a relationship and when to literally (and figuratively) start wearing sweatpants.

Unfortunately, for my night-owl, live music-loving significant other, I made that decision to "start wearing sweatpants" far earlier than he would've liked.  In fact, I've been making the choice to be lame for several months now.

I'm not sure when, or how, this happened, because I swore it never would.

I knew it would be easy to fall into the comfortableness of a relationship; I knew we'd probably end up going out less and staying in more.  I mean, we're not in our twenties anymore.  But I didn't plan on completely abandoning so many of the elements of my single-self personality - specifically, the fun-loving, up for anything ones that made him attracted to me in the first place.  

I made a choice Saturday night to step back into my "cool girlfriend" shoes - and accompany Jacob to a concert that started . . .wait for it . . . AFTER. MIDNIGHT.

As in, on Sunday morning. 

Admittedly, I had to dig deep.  I worked on Saturday, so I would have been happy to come home, curl up on the couch and watch an SNL rerun while drifting off to sleep.

But for the sake of relationship happiness, I chose to put aside my natural tendency to decline his invitation, or worse, accept his invitation and then complain about it later.  Instead, I put a smile on my face, brought a positive attitude and we went to see Lettuce at Terminal West. 


Lettuce, a highly entertaining funk band from Boston, put on a fabulous show and the venue is one of my favorites in Atlanta, but I confess, I was more excited about proving to myself and to the world that I'm still a vibrant, relatively young woman who can stay out late and go to concerts of bands I've never heard of. 

The next day, Jacob thanked me for accompanying him to the show - he actually sent me an email telling me how much he appreciated it - which I found to be both endearing and profoundly sad.  If my willingness to humor him and stay out late happens so infrequently that it warrants a thank you note, I think I'm doing this girlfriend thing wrong.

What's that phrase - "Love means never having to say you're sorry?"  Ok, first of all, that's a lie.  Love means you HAVE to say you're sorry when you're wrong.  Saying "I'm sorry," early and often is good relationship behavior.

I think love means making good choices that make your partner happy.  Love means never having to say "thank you for postponing putting on sweatpants to come to a concert with me."

Check out this party animal!


(Note: After proclaiming my hatred of "selfies," I didn't want you to think I'd fallen ill and actually taken one of myself.  I purposely cropped the other people in this picture out to ensure that we'll still be friends later.)

Friday, August 23, 2013

finding your rhythm.

First and foremost - thank you for all of your thoughtful comments on my last post.  I should've known that writing about mean comments/no comments would illicit a response, and you truly outdid yourselves with all of your sweet remarks. I promise I'll try to cool it with the random questions if you'll promise to comment more.

This week, I've been in clean out mode - cleaning out my email, and cleaning up my blog, deleting old entries I started and never finished, when I stumbled upon a post about Marissa Mayer, who last year left Google to become the CEO of Yahoo. So many thoughts I felt then have resurfaced in light of her recent (and now strangely controversial) appearance in Vogue, that I thought I'd finish it.

Marissa Mayer's decision to leave Google (who does that?) to take over a long-struggling Yahoo would've been newsworthy enough to make headlines, but when news of her job change broke, the conversation about Mayer quickly shifted away from business models and projections. Soon it seemed all anyone wanted to talk about was her age, her gender and the fact that she was pregnant with her first child.

The conversation disappointed me, not to mention, bored me to tears; are we still underestimating each other based on age, gender and impending motherhood? I thought we'd moved on and had accepted that there are young, intelligent, even pregnant women capable of running Fortune 500 companies.

Apparently not, since it seems every operational decision Mayer makes at Yahoo makes its way into the headlines, from the company's beefed up maternity policy to her nixing employees' right to work from home.

This week, Yahoo topped Google in total web traffic, which is certainly newsworthy, and presumably a big win for Mayer's leadership.  Only it was her feature in Vogue that anyone seemed to want to talk about.  And here we go with the decades-long (read: unoriginal, tired, BORING) debate over whether women can be both powerful and fashionable.

Should a CEO be posing in a fashion magazine?  Won't that undermine her position as a business woman?  



Maybe my vantage point gives me a different perspective, because in both my professional and personal life, I am surrounded by gorgeous, intelligent, and yes, stylish women.  I don't want to speak for anyone, but I'm almost positive that if Vogue came a callin' anyone of us, we wouldn't hesitate to enthusiastically say YES, without wondering if there was a deeper meaning or if our intentions in doing so might be misconstrued as something else. 

I mean, it's a photo shoot. For Vogue.  Can't it just be that?

I almost did a back flip in my house when I read TIME writer Anna Holmes say so eloquently exactly how I feel -

" . . . the debates . . . make me yearn for a time when female competence in one area is not undermined by enthusiasm for another, in which women in positions of power are so commonplace that we do not feel compelled to divine motive or find symbolism in every remark they make, corporate policy they enact or fashion spread they pose for."

What's funny is that these elements of Mayer's personality that many find to be at odds (A computer nerd who likes Oscar de la Renta? Whaaaat?) are the very ones that I think make her so very interesting - she's a Stanford graduate, the first female engineer hired at Google, a board member at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the New York City Ballet.  When she got married, she threw an extravagant wedding that included a musical performance by the Killers.  She plays Candy Crush on her iPhone and, surprise, surprise, she loves fashion.

I’m equal parts inspired by her, intimidated by her and convinced that despite her off the charts intelligence and success that she and I could actually hang out and be friends.  

The more I've read about Mayer, the more I think I have finally found a person who is living, breathing proof that women can indeed have it all. Only Mayer herself wouldn't say that's the case.

In fact, a couple of years ago, in remarks she made at the Campaign for the American Conversation, Mayer said, "You can't have everything you want, but you can have everything that matters to you."

At that same event, my Twitter pal (and newly appointed Director of Digital Innovation at TIME) Callie Schweitzer had the opportunity to ask her, “What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?”

Shockingly - Mayer didn't say, "Once you become a CEO, abandon your personal interests and only do business executive-appropriate things," nor did she say, "Stay away from Vogue fashion shoots for it might undermine your authority."

Her response: "Find your rhythm.”

Find what matters to you and make time for it.

That, of course, involves identifying what matters to you, which for me has been the most challenging part of the equation.  But as someone always seeking balance in my life and who often feels that there aren't enough hours in the day to do all of the things that I want/need to do, Mayer's advice makes so much sense to me and brings calm to a subject that usually gives me much anxiety.

Mayer has always loved fashion - so when Vogue actually did come calling her - and in staying with her own rhythm, of course she agreed to do it.  Must we assume she did so at the expense of running her own company, or to the detriment her own image?


With all of the conversation out there about what this picture and article mean or don't mean, it's almost comical that we'll probably never hear what Mayer herself thinks about the controversy.  

Why?  Because what everyone else thinks likely doesn't matter to her.   

No, you cannot have it all - including the approval of every journalist and blogger about every decision that you make.  But the things that you really care about?  Well, those are yours for the taking.

So if it's cupcakes, or Irish goodbyes, or computer coding - and in Mayer's case, it's all of those things - find your rhythm.

"You can't have everything you want, but you can have everything that matters to you."

So find what matters, and go get it. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

be careful what you wish for.

***I couldn't bring myself to post something without pictures, so be aware these pictures have nothing to do with the subject matter.***

The other night on the phone my mom made a comment about the last blog that I wrote.

"I liked the blog about Jacob's best week ever," she said kindly. 

Then she laughed.  "But, what's with no one commenting?  You asked a question and nothing! No comments!" 

I laughed back at her, trying to hide my mild disappointment over the fact that regardless of blogging for almost four years now, I have yet to sustain a consistent following of "commenters."

While posing philosophical and somewhat personal questions is totally in line with my sometimes random personality, I never really wanted to do that on my blog - it all felt a little forced.  But it was the only way I could think of to get the engagement I so desire.  I hoped to lure readers in with pretty pictures, engage them with a question at the end and voila!, I'd turn this blog into more than just an outlet for me, but a place where conversation might flow like red wine.  

But that hasn't happened either, evident time and time again:

"If a fire was about to burn your house down, what would you take with you?"


"What are YOU up to this weekend?"


"Tell me what your best week ever would look like?"

More silence.

Then there's my "real job" where as an occasional writer for, there is never a shortage of comments on any story, most of which address the specific news story.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the site's page editors approached me after hearing about my "reputation" as a professional wedding guest and asked if I'd write about cost-saving techniques for anyone attending a wedding this summer.   

The story was fun to write, and a lighthearted, easy read; let me be clear, I'm not winning any Pulitzer Prizes or breaking any journalism barriers with the piece, but I was proud of it.  It resonated with readers, too, and gained a lot of web traffic for

With web traffic inevitably comes comments - a reality that is both exciting and terrifying.  One on hand, "Yah! Finally the engagement I was seeking?!"  On the other hand, "This story is so innocuous, what could anyone possibly have to say about saving money when attending a wedding?"

As it turns out, people had plenty to say.

Some of the comments were certainly flattering and downright hilarious:

Stephanie Gallman, will you marry me? 

Her personality shines through her writing.

You strike me as a person that actually might use the phrase "YOLO" and mean it (my personal favorite, though I'm not sure it was a compliment).

Most of the comments, though, were unexpectedly hateful.  

SHE is a fool is she had to attend 74 weddings. I don't even have 74 FB friends. stop trying to be center of attention.

I find women who brag about how many weddings they attend nauseating. Its the mid-life equivalent of the grade school popularity content. Yes, we are all duly impressed by how many friends you have. Good job.

In every picture she looks like a POS.

Ms. Gallman needs to 1) Get a life, 2) Get a less expensive hobby, 3) Grow up, since using her wedding attendance experience as proxy living is unhealthy.

How do crappy, meaningless articles like this get written?? 

There are more.  Many more.

As if wanting to prove that all of these awful words about me were true, I read every. single. one.  I even pathetically responded to some of them.  A stupid rookie writer move, really, especially because of what I already know:

I know that anyone incensed this much by any article, much less this one, speaks far more about them than it does me. 

I know better than to read any of the comments, much less all of them; the comment section is always where the Internet trolls prey, hiding behind cartoon avatars and fake names, bullying people for no reason.

I know that my family and friends (the people who love me) are what's most important - and to get caught up in anything else is vain and a colossal waste of time and energy.

But as I learned all too well -- when people attack you on a personal level - it doesn't really matter what you know.  It just hurts.


I guess I should be more careful what I wish for. I'd never beg for a blog comment again if it meant I didn't have to read someone who doesn't know me call me a "POS, attention seeker who needs to get a life."

When did everyone become so cavalier to attack each other online?  Why not just think mean, hateful things about me to yourself or bad-mouth me to your friends behind my back?  Can't we go back to that? 

Some of my favorite bloggers, Glennon, Kelle, and Ashley have addressed some of the criticism/meanness/bullying they've faced as writers.  Though they've written far more graciously than I probably ever could, their feelings seem to be consistent with mine and all seem to share a confusion over why anyone would waste their time writing hateful things about others.

I'm all about constructive criticism, and I understand that as a writer, the only message I can control is the one I'm sending - how it's interpreted once it hits the screen is completely out of my hands - and it's scary.

I'm happy to have conversations where we all agree to disagree, I'm comfortable being wrong and being called out about it, and I hope that perhaps one day my writing will inspire such discussion, but being mean just for the sake of being mean, well, in the words of my favorite Internet sensation Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that."

Be kind, Stay strong, Choose love, my friends.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

best week ever.

A few weeks ago, Jacob and I took a mini-vacation to Barnsley Gardens, a golf resort on the grounds of a historic former plantation about an hour north of Atlanta.  


This mini-vacation was my attempt to get out of town for Jacob's birthday and see new things while still being financially responsible.

Only nothing about Barnsley Gardens is cheap.  So while I may have saved money not flying anywhere, I paid $5 for a disposable razor after I forgot mine, so I guess it all evens out. 

The place is gorgeous, though and definitely worth it.  The staff is super friendly and accommodating, the property is gorgeous (lush and green, thanks to all of the rain), and there is so much to do.  It's hard to believe it's only an hour from Atlanta - we felt very far away and very relaxed.

So relaxed, in fact, that we tried to extend our vacation an extra night, but they were completely booked.  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

Our trip to Barnsley Gardens was wedged in between two nights of Phish in Alpharetta and the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Gold Cup at the Georgia Dome.

It was an action-packed, exhausting five days of live music, golf, soccer - many of Jacob's most favorite things.

In fact, I affectionately started referring to the week as “Jacob’s Best Week Ever.”  Lucky for me, a lot of his favorite things are my favorite things.  

Add in a trip to the beach, the spa, a Georgia Bulldogs win, and the Lumineers singing "This Must Be the Place," (LISTEN TO THIS SONG) and that would've been my "Best Week Ever" too.   

I'm not sure if I'm high-maintenance, or if a lot of things make me happy. 

I'm curious - tell me - what would your best week ever look like?