The Stepmom Letters: Less Than a Week!



Dear Jess,

You're almost home!  In less than a week now you will back here with us and, girlfriend, I cannot even begin to express my excitement!

Daddy and I went on a super fun vacation this past week (we've been calling it our Second Honeymoon because we're corny like that...I know, I know, what lame old people, as you would say!) and that has been a nice break from the real world, but lady, I am over the moon about seeing you next week.

I hope you've had some fun times this summer - the fact that Daphne was there I'm sure brought lots of new fun and adventure to your annual trip - but I'm going to say, selfish or not, that I've been waiting for you to come home every day since you left.  Talking on the phone, Skyping, all of that is just not the same.  Walking by your room and seeing it empty has made me heartsick for the past five weeks.

But now?  Well, now I'm just getting excited again!  Before I even know it you'll be back here and your laughter will fill the house and you will sass me like there's no tomorrow and it will be amazing.

It will also be awkward and difficult and strange - the transition back home always has been and probably always will be for all of us - but that's okay. We will work it out. We always do.

And the most important thing is that you will be home.  At our new place.  In the wonderful room you and GK decorated together.  And you'll finally get to see your friends!  Oh my goodness gracious I know you've so missed your friends - probably more than you've missed us because you're 12, let's be real here, I know your priorities.  You already have a whole 4-day-weekend on the calendar to hang out with them and I'm sure they've missed you, too.  And your cousins and aunts & uncles and Grandma & Papa and GK & Yeti and baby Aiden (who I swear has grown SIX INCHES since you saw him last - it's total craziness!).

Suffice it to say, we're all psyched to see you. We can't freakin' wait!  So just get here already!

Love you more than you could possibly know, kiddo. And see you SOON!



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Words I Try to Live By

As a classic perfectionist, sometimes I struggle to finish things, even - perhaps especially - things of high importance to me.  The amount of "imperfect" drafts for this blog alone is absurd, never mind all of the incomplete projects, unsent text messages, and creative opportunities I've turned down for fear of not being able to complete them "just so."

Now, there is certainly something to be said for putting care and thought into your life and work, and I am 100% on board with doing so (hah! clearly!) but sometimes it gets in the way of actually getting things done and that, my friends, is problematic.

You may have heard the phrase "perfect is the enemy of good."  This is true, absolutely, but for me it goes even further.  For me it helps to have it worded like this:

Perfect is the enemy of done.

Something can be good. Heck, something can be GREAT and I still won't pull the metaphorical trigger on it because it's just not exactly, precisely perfect.  It's not good enough.  Sometimes not getting something to a place I'd consider as-close-to-perfect-as-humanly-possible means it's never even seen or tried or sent.  It means that something that might be helpful or true or useful to the world gets held back because my brain can't make every single syllable exactly right.  And that isn't good.

I don't want to shock any of you here, but I'm not perfect.  And I don't know a single person who is. So why in the world I've decided that it's my responsibility to try to be is anybody's guess.

But you know what?  I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this.

Sometimes we all need to quit our obsessing and quit our worrying and quit our searching for perfection and just get things done.

And if you see me struggling to get something exactly right?  Feel free to remind me.  Feel free to tell me: "Grady - Perfect is the enemy of done."  I will gladly do the same for you.


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Friendship for Grown-ups

OKAY.  True Confession Time over here...

I have recently learned that I have NO CLUE how to make friends as an adult.

And you might say: "But Grady, haven't you been an adult for ten years? What could you possibly mean?  You have friends!"

And to that I would say: "Why yes, yes I have. And yes, yes I do. BUT MAKING A NEW FRIEND FROM SCRATCH AS AN ADULT IS A TRIP, YOU GUYS!"

Alright, let me explain further and with less capitalization...

So very recently I met someone and I immediately had this feeling that I just HAD to know her.  She captivated me in her conversations, both with me and others, and I instantly found her hilarious and brilliant. So, naturally, I felt compelled to try to get to know her better. Maybe even (gasp!) eventually become friends.  But since I'm super clueless on this whole thing, my initial methods were awkward, repeated text message questions akin to a very strange job interview, and a lot of internet "research" aka reading every post she's ever written in a blog she had in 2008.  So far so good, right?

(Sidenote: I have never considered the fact that someone could, theoretically, even find, nevermind READ all of my old blogs/facebook posts/etc. but it's 100% possible, just a forewarning. Check your content, ya'll!)

Although I have learned some wonderful and hilarious and phenomenal facts about my new friend, (and she knows I read it! I'm not THAT creepy!) when I'm just reading her work I am not engaging in a back-and-forth, which makes it more akin to stalking than building a friendship, so that's not really ideal.

It turns out that I literally don't know how to make friends on purpose. I know how to HAVE friends, and I know how to make friends out of my immediate circumstances, but I don't know how to make friends with intention. 

Leave it to nerdy old me to do research on this subject - I actually ordered this book (affiliate link) after listening to THIS podcast, which rather appropriately appeared in my podcast inbox as I was beginning to navigate this crazy friendship-making thing. I can't speak to the book at all, as it hasn't arrived yet (Come to, Prime! You can do it!) but the podcast was killer. I listened to it twice.  If you have a spare 45 minutes, I would definitely recommend you check it out.

Something I learned from listening is that the three main things needed in a successful friendship are: Positivity, Consistency, and Vulnerability.  And that's why friendships, ultimately, take work to create and build and maintain, because those aspects need to all be there.  You can't force them - you can work on them and cultivate them, of course, but you can't simply force it. And I love that!  It also made me feel WAY less crazy that when it came down to it, I really had no clue how to make friends or why it seemed so much easier as a kid or in college (or, as it turns out, in my theatre work as well) - well duh, ya'll. Back then we had our consistency built right in!  One of the three was automatically taken care of!

But here is the other really cool thing I've learned from this adventure: Getting to know someone new, although it might feel somewhat like being in the dating world again (the nervous waiting-for-a-text-back thing still applies in friendship, turns out!) is also REALLY FUN!  So many possibilities and so much to learn about someone else!  And when you find that you "click" with someone and you're not afraid to go for it and hang out with them!? It's just glorious!

Honestly knowing that I'm not alone in my cluelessness has really helped me feel more excited and less nervous about trying to put myself out there and make a friend!

And for the record, I would consider this person my friend now (yippee!) and I'm really excited to continue learning about her and getting to know her and asking her random questions over text message (because that bit comes with the territory with me, regardless of the stage of the friendship).

SO GET OUT THERE YA'LL!!!  Ask someone to coffee!  Text message them random curiosities!  Read their blogs from 2008! (Well, maybe don't do that one... your call.)  The point is --- pretty much everyone finds friendship-making difficult as an adult, but that means that the person you wanna get to know might also feel as awkward and shy and excited and unsure as you are!

Go make some friends, you guys!  Turns out it's actually kinda fun!

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Gradybird Grades: Stitch Fix! (A July 2016 Stitch Fix Review)

Hello my friends!

So I've used Stitch Fix before and loved it, but haven't made a blog post about it in a few years (eek!) so I wanted to revisit on here.  (To check out my old posts - and see my much shorter hair - click here or here!)

If you've never heard of Stitch Fix before, here's the scoop:

Basically, it's a personal styling service where you fill out a questionnaire about your style preferences (Do you hate certain colors/patterns?  Do you prefer classic styles vs edgy styles?  Are you a mom?  etc.etc.) and then pay a $20 "styling fee" to the company.  Easy Peasy.  Then all you do is schedule when you'd like to receive your BOX OF FIVE AWESOME PIECES OF CLOTHING OR ACCESSORIES!  And they come right to your house!!!  And you decide if you like them/they suit you and your life/closet/etc.  If you don't like something, you mail it back (after three days, so you have time to decide!) in the provided and already paid for mailing envelope.  Check out online - if you buy something, the $20 styling fee is credit towards your purchase - and provide feedback on all items, whether you liked them or not.


Eek!  I just love how everything comes packaged, too!  So cute!

So what I'll do here is present each item's name, price, and a few photos of myself in the item. (Also, shoutout to my husband for being the BEST Instagram Husband EVER and taking photos for me for this post!)  Then I'll let you know if I decided to pass or purchase!  Please let me know if you have any questions!


  • Gilli, Haven Textured Knit Dress, $64.00



I actually liked this dress a fair amount, BUT I already own two other black & white polka dotted, a line dresses, so I had to pass on this one. Super cute, super comfortable but my stylist was almost TOO good in picking my style and chose something I essentially already owned!


Verdict: PASS


  • Pixley, Florence Dress, $68.00




This dress just... wasn't for me. The pattern with the different bottom just seemed a little strange, and then the slightly oddly placed elastic waistband wasn't doing me any favors and was uncomfortable to boot. Not for me.

Verdict: PASS


  • Collective Concepts, Katelynn Dress, $78.00
  • Street Level, Juno Small Folded Clutch, $38.00







This dress was pretty cute - it has an uneven hemline that was interesting and it was a comfy fabric, but it was just...nothing special? I liked it fine, but it certainly wasn't a standout piece, and I own SO MANY dresses already, so I didn't really want to add something to my closet that wasn't going to be unique.  And this clutch?  It was okay, not really my style or color, and for some reason (although it doesn't really read like this in the photos) it almost had a kinda dirty look to the fabric that I just really didn't like.

Verdict: PASS



  • Collective Concepts, Rema Maxi Dress, $88.00






Alright ya'll, I LOVE THIS DRESS.  I'm not usually a maxi dress person and honestly, I don't think they are the most flattering shape on me by any stretch of the imagination BUT I DON'T CARE BECAUSE I FELL IN LOVE WITH THIS DRESS.  The colors and pattern are absolutely gorgeous and this thing is so incredibly comfortable I can't get over it.  I'm notoriously cheap (let's maybe say "thrifty" to sound nicer? haha) and I splurged on this dress anyway!  I've worn it several times already and I just adore it.

Verdict: PURCHASED


So at the end of the day, I only purchased one item, but I love it!  I'm very happy with my Fix this month and am definitely going to use Stitch Fix again!

Interested in checking it out for yourself?  Wonderful!  Just to be 100% clear, I am not affiliated with or in any way sponsored by Stitch Fix, I just think it's a really fun company and I enjoy reviewing my Fixes!  However - full disclosure, as always - if you use the links in this post rather than Googling to find the website, I will earn credit towards future Fixes.  

Thanks so much for reading!  Happy Fix-ing! :) 

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Today

Today was my best friend's bridal shower and today was also two of my friends' wedding day.

Suffice it to say, there was a lot of laughter and a lot of (happy) tears.

So beyond filled with joy to see my friends' lives so filled with love and happiness.

I had another post scheduled for tonight but it can wait for another time.

Becky - I love you more than you can know.  I'm so glad to know you and I hope your party was exactly as you hoped it would be. I truly, truly, truly thank God for your presence in my life.

Sam & Paul - What an absolute pleasure it was to attend your wedding. Your love is beautiful and your ability to be 100% yourselves around each other is so special. Hold on to that, okay? It's a joy to witness. Love to you both.

Love to you all.

My heart is so full.  Tell your friends and family you love them tonight, you guys. <3 It's a beautiful thing.
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