Goal Setting: Mid-Year Check In

Can you believe that we are already halfway through 2015? It seems like just yesterday, I was mailing out our Christmas cards. For our card design this past year, we decided to try something a little different and include our 2014 Highlights and 2015 Wishes on the reverse side. (Click here to see the front side of our cards!) Now that we are mid-way through 2015, I thought I'd give you guys an update how we are doing with the goals we shared back in December! 

2014 Holiday Cards Highlights & Wishes - Stevie Storck Design Co.

1. Becoming Homeowners

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know we accomplished this goal in April when we purchased our very first house! We've now been here for just over two months and we absolutely love it. I've shared a few pictures in our "We're Buying a House!" post and via Instagram, but I am working on creating a more thorough "before" home tour to share with you guys. Stay tuned! 

2. Adopting a Pet

We crossed this off our list this past Sunday when we brought this sweet girl home. Her name is Chloe and she is a two year old boxer. She was rescued from a high kill shelter by PA Caring for K-9's. We are so happy to have her here with us! Those of you who follow me on Instagram can look forward to MANY more photos of our little lady. I'm obsessed! 

3. Hosting more game nights

We've hosted a quite few impromptu game nights so far this year, but I want to start planning ahead more so we can invite more people! We also want to have a housewarming party sometime next month, so I need to get myself into planning mode! 

4. Visiting Ella in California

We did this too!!  Last month, Anthony and I traveled to California with a group of our closest friends to celebrate my best friend/college roommate, Ella's graduation from the American Film Institute! We spent an amazing week in beautiful southern California, stayed at an awesome Airbnb, cooked delicious dinners, went hiking above Griffith Observatory, visited the Getty Museum and took day trips to Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Santa Barbara. It was a fantastic trip and we hope to go back again soon! 

5. Celebrating our second year of marriage

We are looking forward to celebrating our second anniversary in October. We'll be traveling to North Carolina twice in the next two months (for my best friend's wedding festivities!), so when October rolls around we will probably want to do something more low-key. Last year for our anniversary, we spent a weekend in West Chester, PA and met up with our photographer, Savannah Smith to have some photos taken. That's the nice thing about having an October anniversary-- its the perfect time to have pictures taken and have them in time to make Christmas cards! We are already planning a "Second Anniversary/Our First Home" photo shoot with Savannah. I think this is going to be a yearly tradition for our little family! 

6. Having more fun times with family and friends

So far we've been lucky to spend a lot of quality time with our family and friends so far this year. Some of my favorite memories so far were simple times, like the first day we were in our new house when my Gram came over and just chatted with me in the kitchen while I was scrubbing cabinets and a couple weeks later when my friends, Jamie, Morgan and I just hung around talking while I was doing random things like measuring for curtain hardware. We had a great time hosting both a Mother's Day and Father's Day lunch this year. Our house is in the perfect central location for our families, plus we have enough parking space for 15+ cars, so we're quickly becoming the party destination! 


I have to admit, I was a little hesitant at first to share our big goals, like buying a house and taking a Californian vacation. What if we couldn't pull them off? At the time we were writing these goals, we weren't sure if they were even realistic for us, so sharing our dreams made me feel a little vulnerable. 

But you know, after taking the plunge and sharing these goals with our family and friends (and all of you, of course!), I am so glad that we did. When we attended Christmas parties last year, everyone was telling us how much they loved our card and asked us questions about the different goals we had set our sights on. It was so awesome to feel their support and encouragement. Sharing our goals publicly became a form of accountability for us. It's much easier to postpone or give up on a dream that you haven't told anyone about. When things got difficult, we had the motivation we needed to keep pushing through.

Plus, I'm a big believer in the idea that you only get what you have the courage to ask for in life. By putting it out there in the universe that these things were what we wanted, I like to think that we had the universe working on our side to make it all happen. 

What goals do you want to accomplish before the end of 2015? Do you usually write your goals in a notebook, share them with your partner or share them with the world? 

Q&A

Happy Thursday everyone! I've compiled a list of questions that I am asked a lot through my blog, my Etsy shop and in my daily life. Hopefully you'll learn a little something about me!

Q: Is Stevie your real name? 

No, Stevie isn't short for Stephanie and no, my Dad's name isn't Steven. But my Dad is a big Fleetwood Mac fan and that's why he named me Stevie, after the lead singer Stevie Nicks. As a kid, it did bother me that I could never find my name in those racks of pre-personalized keychains they sell at the beach and that I literally went an entire year being called Steven by my elderly health teacher who just got more confused every time I tried to correct him. But now, I really like having a unique name and I'm glad my parents didn't play it safe and just name me Stephanie.

Q: You've said you are addicted downloading new fonts, do you have a favorite?

I can sit for hours browsing and downloading new fonts. Since I mostly use free fonts, some of these turn out to be winners and some of them don't. My favorite free fonts are always changing, but Canter, Janda Stylish Script and Walkway  are all good ones. My favorite font that I've purchased right now is Asterism by Great Lakes Lettering.

Q: Did you go to school for design?

Yes, I spent one year at La Roche College in the Interior Design program before transferring and completing my Bachelor of Interior Architecture degree at Chatham University. A lot of people ask the difference between interior design, interior architecture and decorating. I wrote a post about this called "Why Interior Design is more than Decorating".

Q: What are your hobbies other than design?

My biggest hobby going through school was music. I was a tuba player with the Marching, Concert and Symphonic bands but my real passion was singing Alto in Concert Choir. I love music so much that I almost went to school for Music Education instead of design. While I know I made the right decision for me, I still get sad sometimes and wish that I had Hermione Granger's time turner so I could have two careers! In the last couple of years, I've also picked up the Mandolin and find a lot of enjoyment playing and singing with Anthony (who plays bass and guitar).

Since I've graduated college, I've picked up a few more hobbies. Recently, I've been reading a lot more -- in May of 2014, I read 6 books! I've also gotten really into meal planning and trying new recipes lately, which you might have noticed if you follow me on Pinterest. I have 3 different cooking boards, "Recipes to Try", "This Week's Menu" and "Tried and True Recipes".  I'm also currently taking a Ceramics class! Yeah, I have a lot of hobbies...

Q: What is your favorite color?

My favorite color is white. Which, according to some gossip magazine, is also Kate Middleton's favorite color! I have the biggest girl crush on Kate Middleton. I made all of my friends sleep in the lounge of our dorm room so we could wake up at 4:00am to watch the Royal Wedding. I think I was the only one who watched the entire thing without drifting back to sleep.

Q: You say you're from Central PA, does that mean you are Amish?

This is a very common assumption. There's a phrase out there that Pennsylvania is Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in the middle, and my story only reinforces that idea. No, I am not Amish but I grew up about as close to Amish as an "English" (what the Amish call us) person can be. I grew up on a dairy farm in a rural community outside of Delta, PA. There are probably another half dozen farms within 2 miles of my parents house and most of them are owned and operated by Amish families. Many people think of the Amish as a secluded community that doesn't interact with modern society, but at least in the small towns around where I am from, the Amish and English communities are very connected.

Q: When and why did you start blogging?

I started blogging in the summer of 2011 when Anthony and I were preparing to move into our first apartment together. I originally just wanted to keep a record of the DIY projects I was doing for our first home together. As our lives have changed, my blog has changed as well. I write about everything from newlywed life and new recipes I am trying to home decor tips and craft projects I am working on.

Q: How did you get started with Etsy and grow your stationery business?

I started my Etsy shop, Young Tradition Studio in February of 2013 at the suggestion of my older sister. You can read more on my Etsy shop's About Page. Growing it has been more of a experiment than an exact science, and I have a lot that I still want to change and improve. For me, the key to running a successful Etsy business is consistency and customer service. I've been able to create a "signature style" in my offerings on Etsy, so even if I am not offering a specific item that a customer is looking for, I will often have people request a custom design from me just because they like the other items in my shop. Customer service is also very important.  I do my best to respond to customers the same day that they contact me and I also shy away from generic responses. For me it is easy to be personable with my customers because they are contacting me for help with an exciting life event, like a marriage, baby shower or birthday party. As someone who LOVES weddings and babies, I get genuinely excited for all of my customers and feel so flattered that they have chosen me to help them celebrate their milestones.

Q: How did you meet your husband?

Anthony and I met in 2003, on the first day of seventh grade. We had all of the same classes, including homeroom together. It wasn't until our sophomore year of high school that our friendship turned into something more, but we've never looked back since then. <3

Q: What was it like to grow up on a farm?

Growing up on a farm and being a member or 4-H was all I knew as a kid. It wasn't until more recently that I realized just how unique of a childhood I had compared to the majority of people my age. To us, summer meant hay season and 4-H shows, not relaxing at the beach. In fact, my family didn't take a week-long trip to the beach until after we sold the dairy cows in 2004 - we just couldn't be away from the farm for that long. I missed a week of school each fall for the local fair, spending days taking care of our animals and preparing for the show and night sleeping on cots in the barn. We had a lot of fun back then. I remember one night at the Solanco Fair, we waited until my friend Kyle was asleep on his cot, before carrying him (cot and all) outside to a grassy spot in between barns and leaving him there. I remember playing cards in the stalls with Carlyn, using my lounging cow's belly as an impromptu card table. I remember being sweaty and covered in cow hair when we were grooming our cows for the show and how annoyed my cows got when I tried to clean their ears with baby oil. It was an awesome childhood. My Dad is still farming, growing crops and raising a small herd of beef cattle, but sometimes I still miss having the dairy cows around. Farming will always be a huge part of my life and even though Anthony and I aren't planning to become farmers, I hope that we can share some of these same experiences with our future children down the road.

Q: What's your favorite interior design style?

I always say that I am a schizophrenic when it comes to design styles -- I have so many different design personalities! I'm definitely eclectic, but I would define my current style as Rustic Traditional with accents of Midcentury Modern.

Q: Do you offer interior design services?

I am currently offering Digital Design Services and Color Consulting through this website, but I plan on expanding my services soon! (Update: I now offer Interior Design and Decorating services through StevieStorck.com!

Q: Best book you've read recently?

I recently read two books by Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl and Attachments and thought both were FANTASTIC! She has another book, Eleanor & Park that is on my reading list and a new book called Landline that is coming out this summer. I get most of my reading inspiration from Janssen at Everyday Reading and through my friends on GoodReads.com.

Q: Favorite movie?

Walk the Line. I want to be June Carter AND Reese Witherspoon. Amazing movie.


Have more questions for me? Leave your question as a comment and I will respond!



 

What's in A Name?

Today marks seven months since I went from Stevie Greek to Stevie Storck. Around that time, I also  switched from "Stevie Greek Design" to "Young Tradition Studio". The reasoning behind these name changes are easy enough to guess, but I've never explained why I made these decisions. And believe me, it was a process.

About a year ago now, I started to seriously consider what I was going to do about changing my name(s).  I was not completely sold on changing my last name at first. Ever since Anthony and I started dating in high school, we had friends, family and even teachers pointing out to me that if Anthony and I ever got married, my name would become an alliteration. "Haha! You'll be St-evie St-orck! That's hilarious!" was something I heard at least on a weekly basis during our senior year of high school.

I seriously considered keeping my maiden name until I realized that my only reason for doing that would be my own vanity. If Anthony's last name had been something like Williams or Richardson, I would have taken his name without any hesitation. I have always loved the idea of a husband and wife sharing a last name because to me it represents a transition from simple couple-hood to the start of a true family unit. It was when I realized this that I realized that taking Anthony's last name was the right choice for me. I admit, I still have days where I wish I had a more appropriate married monogram (it's sSa, I'll give you a second to spell that backwards in your mind...), but for the most part I am getting used to my new moniker.

When it came to thinking of a new name for my Etsy shop, I thought long and hard about what my mission was and what type of image I wanted to project. Since I became an Etsy seller in February of 2013, my best selling item has easily been my Gender Reveal Party kits. Five years ago, gender reveal parties weren't even a "thing" but now so many expectant parents are choosing to share and celebrate this moment with their friends and family in person. Similarly, I'd never heard of a co-ed baby shower until a few years ago, when I started seeing co-ed shower invitations and party themes all over Pinterest. I love that today's generation of parents are changing the rules when it comes to celebrating their pregnancies and starting fun, new traditions with their families.

Anthony and I may not be parents yet, but we've always enjoyed talking about the traditions we want to share and create for our future children. We are both nostalgia lovers. We're probably some of the only 23 year olds who would spend our birthday getaway weekend browsing antique shops, visiting a railroad museum and taking a guided tour of a historic monastery. I am obsessed with historic architecture and dream about raising our future children turn-of-the-century farm house that we restored ourselves and furnished with a beautiful mix of antique, contemporary and modern furniture.

When it came to my shop name, I knew I wanted to portray the concept that something that is traditional can still be unconventional and innovative. That is how I arrived at the name Young Tradition Studio.

My mission as a designer is to create beautiful and unique surroundings that inspire my customers as they live their daily lives,  celebrate milestones  and create new traditions and memories with family and friends. My unexpected venture into stationery design has, so far, been an absolute delight because I've had  opportunities to fulfill this mission thanks to my wonderful customers.

Will I always create stationery and sell on Etsy? Maybe. Will I ever work under a different name than Young Tradition Studio? I'm not sure.  One thing I do know is that I will continue to design for the rest of my life. Because it's more than my passion, it's in my nature.

2013.

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My first thought of 2013, is that it chewed me up and spit me out in a way that is perfectly exemplified by the fact that I spent the week of Christmas sick and wearing an eye patch...

Just in case you wanted proof. This was the best picture we could manage on Christmas Day. I look like I'm crying...

People always say when you look back, you only remember the good things and the bad seems to melt away. For some reason, I've felt the opposite this year. The hard times and rough patches have really stuck with me in spite of the fact that I have plenty to be grateful for. I've been trying to be more conscious of this and I recently started using a new app called "Gratitude Journal".

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Basically, at the end of every day, the app will show you a reminder asking, "What are you grateful for today"? It's a really simple concept, and something I probably should have been doing already, but having that little reminder has been really helpful in taking a pause and reflecting at the end of the day.  I already feel like I go to bed with a better perspective and sunnier outlook on life.

In the spirit of writing down what I am grateful for an in honor of the new year, I've decided to write down 10 things that I am grateful for in 2013 (in semi-chronological order).

Here we go:

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1. February 2013: I started my Etsy shop at the suggestion of my older sister, Stormi. 10 months later, I have found so much enjoyment Young Tradition Studio as a creative outlet and I can't believe I didn't start it sooner!

2. April-May 2013: I made my first Trans-Atlantic trip, traveling with a group of Chatham students Sisters to Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. This trip really did change my life, in that intangible way that everyone says how traveling abroad does. I am in love with every city we explored and I can't wait to travel more with Anthony in the future. My favorite souvenir from this trip? The amazing friendship I made with my roommate, Amanda! Somewhere between the planes, bus stations, museums, educational speakers, shops and a few "near-death" experiences, I found a true soul-sister who I know I will be able to call a friend for life.

3. May 2013: After 2 colleges, 4 years and countless hours in the studio, I graduated with my Bachelors Degree in Interior Architecture! I couldn't have done it without my incredible Chatham sisters, 6 of whom traveled across the state (and country!) for my wedding, two of which were bridesmaids!

4. June 2013: It took leaving Pittsburgh to realize how much I had grown to love my "second hometown". Pittsburgh will always have a hold of my heart in a way that I can't explain. It's where Anthony and I first lived together, where we got engaged, where we grew into the people we are today. Its been six months and I still miss it/think about moving back all the time. I think it was Winnie the Pooh who said, "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard".

5. Also, June 2013: We welcomed my second niece into the world! I can't imagine life without my Glory-girl now, even if she is going through an intense attachment phase and cries if she's not in my sister/her mother's arms after 10 seconds. I will gladly face that fire, someday you will love me back Glory!

6. June December It's a process: In June, I accepted my first job after college. It ultimately didn't work out, like many first jobs out of college, but I am looking forward to starting my new job on Friday! So I am very grateful that this year, I found not one, but TWO jobs in my field! Not everyone is so lucky!

7. Summer 2013: In the months that followed college graduation, something along the line of a diaspora happened among the ranks of my friend-group. Now I have one in California, one in Missouri, one in North Carolina and a whole bunch still in Pittsburgh, where I was the one who did the leaving. It's been easy to feel sad about having my closest friends spread all over the country, but I am grateful for the fact that I have such wonderful friendships that have survived being long-distance.

8. October 2013: After seven years together, Anthony and I finally said "I do". Our day was perfect and we wish we could do it all over again! It meant so much to us to have our families and friends there celebrating with us as we took this step in our lives together.

9. Also, October 2013: I was so lucky to be able to travel so much in 2013! For our honeymoon we cruised from Baltimore to Cape Canaveral, to Freeport and Nassau in the Bahamas. It was a fantastic week and we talk about it (and wish we could go back) just about everyday!

10. Also also, October 2013: We are lucky that we have a place to call home together. While it may not be ideal, or our dream home, it is a step towards our goals that I know we will look upon fondly in the future.

11. November 2013: We spent the most incredible long weekend with my best friend Lindsay's family over Thanksgiving. Neither of us had ever been to North Carolina, and we fell in love with the beautiful ocean views and charming small towns. Most of all we are grateful for how the Brennemans made us feel like a part of the family. They are such a fun and active bunch!

12. This one doesn't really have a chronology, but I am thankful for the opportunity to rediscover our hometowns. We may be missing Pittsburgh, but we are planning on doing a lot of activities and exploration to prove to ourselves that York, PA isn't too shabby either! I'm looking forward to feeling like we are a part of a community again and putting down roots together.

13. December 2013: I am very grateful for the down-time I've been able to spend with Anthony over the holidays. Being able to slow down and enjoy each others company has done wonders for me and I am so thankful for all of the love and support that Anthony shows me everyday.

3 Ways I Have Changed Since Marriage

Teaser: They are all good ;)

I am a married woman.

I have been a married woman for exactly 3.5 weeks, and I am LOVING it.

Now, I could use this whole blog post to tell you about how wonderful life is now that I can call Anthony my husband, and how excited we are about our future together, but instead I'm going to show you a few pictures from our wedding (because, obviously, you're curious!) and then get to telling you the things no one really talks about. I'm going to tell you about life now that the wedding is over and how I feel like this last year has changed me.

But first, the pictures!

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Ok, that's enough! Head over to our Photographer's website if you'd like to see more!

Now to the point of this blog. Now that our wedding is over, I feel like I've gotten a lot of time to reflect, not only on this HUGE commitment that Anthony and I have happily made to each other, but also on this crazy year and a half of planning leading up to our wedding. I may have only been married for 3.5 weeks, but I can think of at least 3 ways I have changed so far.

1. I am much better with communicating what I want and being confident in my decision making skills.

My mother-in-law is actually the one who commented first on this change in me. I guess that after having THOUSANDS of decisions to make regarding the wedding, many of them piling up at the last minute, I've gotten to the point where I can quickly prioritize what is really important and what's not and make decisions accordingly. I have to say, it is much easier to be this way than to be how I was at the beginning of the wedding planning process, obsessing over every little detail. (Anyone remember how I designed LITERALLY 50 different wedding invitations before choosing one?)

2. I have accepted the fact that all the planning in the world doesn't offer any guarantees.

Our wedding almost didn't happen the way we planned it. The day before the wedding, York was flooded, with no end to the rain in sight. Miraculously, it didn't rain a single drop on our wedding day, and we got to have our tent reception at the family farm, just the way I'd always dreamed. It seems like everyone has a story like that about their wedding, how it almost crashed and burned, but everything turned out fine! The thing is, I think this has more to do with the attitude of the storyteller than the actual events that happened. It could have rained on my wedding day, but to me, it still would have been perfect. I've taken this lesson in flexibility and tried to applied it to the rest of my life. Now believe me, I am the world's biggest planner. I plan everything, down to exactly where I want to live when I'm 65 (in a 19th century farmhouse) and what I want my "retirement career" to be (wedding planning, of course!). But aside from our wonderful wedding, the rest of 2013 hasn't really gone as planned. We've had a lot of really great times this year, but we've also faced more challenges this year than either of us ever have before. And that's normal. Actually, it's beyond normal, this is what life is all about. It's nice to have an idea of what I'd like to do next year, five years from now, twenty years from now, etc. but I've found that being flexible and having a sense of humor is the only way I'm going to make it through life in one piece.

3. I am coming to understand the fact that there will always be a "next thing".

There is always going to a "next thing" that I'm going want to strive for, and while it's good to have goals, I need to train myself to relax and truly enjoy the time that I am living in now. If number 2 has taught me anything, it's that just because I accomplish one thing, that in no way means that all of my problems are solved. I have to find that elusive balance between "Life is short" and "We have all the time in the world". It's hard to fight because it's how we are programmed. Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage. Work Hard, Buy a House. While all babies and houses are hopefully in mine and Anthony's (near-ish) future, we need to take the time to really enjoy the stage that we are at and not put any extra pressure or unrealistic expectations on ourselves to live our lives by any certain timeline.

We definitely have goals for our first year of marriage, and we are already working hard towards them, but after 22 years of obsessing, planning and living in the future rather than the present, I am excited at the prospect of taking life as it comes this year. Slowing down, and taking the time to enjoy the small moments with my new husband.