Sunday, January 31, 2010


I turned 27 on Saturday!

This birthday was awesome! Last year was not as good as this years celebrations. On my 26th birthday my hand was still recovering from being broken a few weeks prior, which made very depressed. Then shortly after my birthday I had an age crisis. I kept thinking about all the things I hadn't done yet and how close I was to 30, which also made me depressed. But at the time I had no idea that what I was going through wasn't so bad. I am totally past all that now and am so much stronger because of it. Funny how life does that. You are having a tough time, but don't realize how okay you really are until after the fact. I look back and laugh.

Anyway, this was a wonderful birthday. I celebrated the entire month. I swear all month I was just on a cloud. Work has been good and its my birthday, hooray! Anytime we went out to eat we announced it was my birthday, I probably gained so much weight this month. I very much appreciate everyone's phone calls, cards, and Facebook comments. They made me so happy. I feel so blessed to have such wonderful thoughtful people in my life. Thank you for thinking of me.

What we did to celebrate the weekend of my birth.... Lars took me to lunch at Gandolfo's. I am so glad we found one in CA and it is about 10 minutes from work. The owner reminded me of an older Ray Romano, a sweet guy with a distinct voice. I was wearing a red shirt and he broke out into "Lady in Red." Which made me think of my brother, Richard, whose birthday was Wednesday. Then my dear coworkers brought in treats and gave me a darling gift bag. I also made a peach cobbler to share. Then we went out to eat with Dave Byrd, Lars brother in law who was in town for work. We went to the cheesecake factory, yum!

I dared Dave to eat a 3 inch pile of whipped cream from the dessert plate.

After dinner we went on a little excursion to get donuts. Not just any donut, a Winchell's donut. On the way there we were stopped in a road block for a DUI check point. It was our first one ever. Kind of exciting. Thankfully Winchell's is open 24 hours. We got donuts because every time Dave comes to visit we have to get the most delicious donuts in town. It is tradition. Then we went home and stayed up late talking and playing video games.

The boys with the donut box.

Seriously good donuts.

Saturday we were up at 6 am to see Dave off to the airport. :( Come back soon Dave and bring your family. Then we went back to sleep for a few hours and got up ran errands, did some shopping (We now own the Glee soundtracks Yippe!). Entertained a few surprise visitors. Then we went to Lucille's Smokehouse for lunch. We have had a lot of Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese food lately so I wanted good old American BBQ food. It was very tasty. Then in the evening we fought LA night life and drove up to Hollywood for a play that Lars surprised me with. He is such a swell guy. (I will blog later about the happenings from the play.) Then we drove home and hung and stuff.

It was an amazing weekend and an awesome month over all. Part of me is sad to see my month end because it has been such a blast. But I am so ready to face life and rock it! Stephanie is older and wiser world so look out. Bring it age 27, lets see what I got in me to give life. (I bet its gonna be a lot of awesomeness and smiles)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Favorite Things

My favorite part of weekends...
is that I get to hang out with this fellow all weekend long
He is such a goof ball and a super friend and I am loving it all the time.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Food, Glorious Food!

I love food. I feel like most of the time my life revolves around it. When we went to Utah we had a list of places we wanted to eat that we don't have in California. We went to some of them, but didn't make it to all of them. But I am glad we didn't because we ended up making and getting a lot of home cooked meals. People say there is no place like home. True for the soul and my stomach. I think I am a good cook, but there are somethings that I try to make that my Mom and Grandma make and it is not the same. Below are some samples of great food you can only get in Utah because my Mom lives there or because only these places exist in Utah.

My Mom made this carrot cake and I frosted it. I don't even like carrot cake, but this was good and her frosting is amazing. It is light and tasty, but not too sweet, unlike store brand frosting's that are either heavy or too sweet and nasty. My Mom has been making cakes since before I was born and is very talented at baking and decorating. I know other cake people that are so good and decorating but their cakes taste like sponge. Not my Mom she is the full package.

My Mom, sister, and I made a huge Italian dinner for some friends and family. We made lasagna, salad, french break, and feta thin crust pizza. It was all made with love so it tasted good.

Then there is party food which is both homemade (best cheese ball ever, chocolate fondue with all the right fixings)
and put together by some yummy party food bakers, Free Wheeler Pizza. I seriously wish Food Network would do a special on Free Wheeler pizza, it is so good. The dough is amazing. It is always crisp and full of flavor. Their chicken Alfredo is our favorite. Their garlic rolls are just to die for. Seriously they are so full of olive oil and garlic they will clog you up, but they are good.

Gandolfo's. Love, love, love their breakfast. It is filling and inexpensive. Their breakfast sandwiches have a perfect amount of cheese, meat, egg, butter, and bread: all for $3. And their lunch sandwiches and sides are very good and fresh. I really missed this place but am happy to report there is one about 30 minutes from our home and 10 minutes from work. Trips are currently being planned to eat their soon.
(Eastport-Pastrami Breakfast Sandwich, my fav)

Going to Utah in the cold you don't expect to get ice cream. But who could pass up one from JCW's. I also recommend the brownie fudge shake from Millie's in SLC (2100 S & 10th), but they are family owned and close for two weeks in December, so I missed them ;(
Mint Oreo
Juicy Burgers and some good fry sauce

But one of the best places of all is.....The Judge Cafe in downtown SLC. Everything I have every had from this cafe has been amazing, from their breakfast to lunch (only open until 3 pm). I always recommend this place to anyone flying in from Cali and everyone that has taken this recommendation has not been sorry. Royal is the owner, he is super nice and the food is the best.

Fresh and seasoned fries with 3 special sauces
My absolute fav is their chicken enchiladas served with a fresh Mexican salad and homemade chips and salsa.
No matter what you decide to eat the best thing to end the meal with is their moist, chocolaty, ooey gooey good, infamous Judge Brownie. When I worked in SLC I would have at least 2 on average a week, they are so very good. They taste good and make you happy. I actually bought a few of them to bring home and savor and unfortunately I let 1/4 of one go bad because I took to long to savor, but they are still good even after a few days. If I had only one thing I could eat before I had to die it would be this brownie. Strange you think, wait until you have one.

Utah has good food. California also has good food, but that is for another blog.

Utah Trip Conclusion

I know this post is a month old, but once we got back to Cali our normal life started up again what with work and church stuff. I am just now taking the pics off the camera. We had so much fun while we were in Utah, despite how cold the weather was. We enjoyed time with lots of family and good friends. (Sorry if we didn't get to see you, maybe next trip :)). We even managed to get some relaxing time in between all the running around. And we both got colds that we brought back to Cali with us to share with our friends here. Hooray for not being selfish with germs. All in all it was a great trip, some things from this trip I will remember the most are;

1) Singing around the piano and Brandon and Melissa's. Melissa played all our Hymn and Christmas requests while Lori and I sang. In fact, everything we did at Brandon and Melissa's house was awesome. I never want to forget a minute of it. It was fun, we were relaxed and happy and were well...ourselves which is the best feeling the world.

2) Seeing all my dear friends at HRO. I seriously spent 3-4 hours in the office just walking around and talking to everyone and catching up.

3) Hugging Rachel and Andrea, then laughing, and dancing with their kids. (Also eating Dave's amazing grilled hamburgers, your are the best cook Dave, seriously).

4) Seeing each and everyone of my siblings. We are all grown up now and have our own families. I am not conveniently located in Utah to attend all the family functions, which are usually a monthly event. So any chance I get to be with them and see their kids is appreciated. I really longed for some family time this trip and I enjoyed just being with them. I really needed to just be with my family. We didn't go crazy and do anything super special. We were just together and did what Stark kids do, crack jokes, eat, play games, and laugh. It left me feeling great!

5) Running into friends I haven't seen in years at Walmart. Amy Bethers, you are so wonderful and it was good to see you and give you a hug. You are an awesome lady that makes me smile so keep on a rocking girl!

6) Starting a puzzle with my mother in law. This is something we have started doing when we are with Lars' parents. I so enjoy talking while we try and create a masterpiece our of millions of tiny pieces.

7) Seeing some of my sweet cousins, they are amazing women.

8) Lars and his old mission companion swapping mission stories.

9) Making snow angels

10) Shopping at the DI with The Gagon's. Roy you are so cool, please marry someone in my family so we can be related for real! You make me smile and laugh dude.

11) Having some of our friends over for lasagna and just laughing at any and everything. We knew it was our last night hanging out together so we made the most of it and came up with a belly game and just laughed and laughed. Miss you guys so much.

12) Best of all, the last full day I was there my Mom, sister and I just hung out. We mostly just cooked lots of things in the kitchen, but we were together, talking, sharing, and loving.

13) Tons of more wonderful things took place while in Utah, too many to write about, but they are all in my mind and heart.

It was good to get home to the warm weather, but I won't forget the warmth I had in my heart during this trip. I am so grateful for my family and friends and being able to be with them. I get so much strength from being with them which I greatly needed. Thank you and I will see you again soon. Love you!

Happy New Year!

New Years Eve we went to our friends house, Brandon and Melissa. There we had a blast eating lots of food, playing rock band, playing many other games (one being truth or dare), and chatting up a storm. We had so much fun we didn't leave until 4 a.m. That is the latest I have ever stayed up on New Years Eve, but we are young so when we are older we will look back on that night and chuckle and reminisce. Thanks guys for a fun night that I think we will be smiling about for years to come. You guys are the best. Thanks for letting us invade your house while we were in town. ;)