Friday, May 9, 2014

Wanna hear a story?

Once upon a time, I started a blog.
I quickly learned that there was this whole other world out there: The Blog World.
Through my daily posts, my journeys, and my stories, I soon met others out there like me.
Others who had their own stories and journeys to share.
Some of those "others" kept popping up in my comments section, because they were obsessed with me - I'm KIDDING!! haha.
And soon those comments turned into back and forth emails, and I began to develop some true friendships.

Fast forward a few years, and I was moving to San Francisco.
And guess what?
One of my not-so-new-anymore blog friends just so happened to LIVE in San Francisco!
Shortly after my arrival to this new city, jobless and slightly depressed from ending my world travels, this friend, whom I had never actually met, invited me to lunch. 
If you know how social I am, then you can imagine the loneliness I felt being in a new city, so let's just say I was pretty ecstatic for this meet-up.
Ecstatic and......dare I say, nervous?

I remember standing on the sidewalk near the Señor Sisig food truck we agreed to meet at wondering if I'd be able to recognize this "Internet Friend" in real life. How embarrassing if I didn't! But it's always weird seeing only photographs of someone to then seeing them talk and move right in front of you.
Almost like seeing a celebrity in person? 
You put someone in this mental category of how you know them and then when you see them somewhere else that's foreign to you, it can be weird, no? 
Okay, mild tangent, back to the story.
Fortunately, I DID recognize her. 
And we hugged hello, because....hello, we were friends! Just, you know, friends who had never met before.

And, well, the rest is history. 

She is now my real-life friend - and I'm happy to say, a year later, I no longer have to explain, "Well, we were 'blog friends' and we met online, but then we met in person....." to only be stared at awkwardly by a non-blogger who just didn't get it.

Okay, okay, you're probably wanting to know WHO this friend is, yes?

Well, ahem, may I please introduce Stephanie Toscano (née Court). 
Some of you may know her from her previous blog name: Big Mario Life.
But she has since grown into: Twentieth Street.

I decided a little Q&A with Miss Stephanie would be a great way for you all to get to know her a little better. 

Even if you ONLY read the first question, you'll easily see why I love her so much. She's got BALLS, man. Big ones.


M: So you quit your job as a lawyer to become a full time lifestyle and wedding photographer, which is simply amazing to me. Does any part of you miss the "lawyer world"?

S: Nope.  Is that too blunt?  I've realized recently that I went to law school in the first place for the wrong reasons.  I was doing what I thought I was "supposed" to do rather than listening to my gut and following what truly felt right for me.  That's not to say law school and the lawyer world was bad all around.  I loved the intellectual challenge of the profession, the theoretical discussions about law and politics, and the amazingly brilliant people I've met along the way (including my husband).  But you know how they say about romance that when you meet "the one" you just know?  I feel the same way about professions.  When you find the right career fit for you, you just know.  And when it's not the right fit, you definitely know that, too.  Being a lawyer was just not the right fit for me. 

M: At what point did you realize you didn't want to practice law anymore?

S: As a lawyer, people usually come to you for help when they're at a low point in their lives.  That's part of what drew me to the profession in the first place - the potential to help others when they most need it.  But I realized that no matter how great of a job you do for them, you are always associated with that low point in their lives and, because of the nature of our legal system, the results are rarely what they'd hoped for.  On the other hand, as a wedding photographer, people come to you to document and remember one of the most exciting and joyful times in their lives.  I have the amazing honor of creating their first family heirlooms with their wedding photos and albums.  The work I do for my clients isn't just for them to enjoy - it's for their families, their future children, and most likely their future grandchildren.  When I realized I could still help people but in a way that was positive and full of love, a way that was completely different from how I could help them as a lawyer but much more personally rewarding, that's when I realized I didn't want to practice law anymore.

M: You got hitched last September (congrats, again)! Any major changes to the relationship since then?

S: In the day-to-day, not so much.  We lived together for almost two years before getting married so we were pretty settled into a nice little routine already.  (The Husband actually enjoys household chores.  Best roommate ever.)  But I definitely think there have been some big picture changes.  The whole "till death do us part" no-escape clause is a pretty awesome safety net.  I wrote a little bit more about it recently so I'll just give you that link. :)  (

M: What's your favorite thing to do when you're not working?

S: I have lots of favorites, depending on the day.  Traveling, exploring a new part of town, devouring books and coffee, hanging out with friends, catching a movie with the Husband, and most recently, hanging out with the pups at the shelter where I volunteer.  Or just sitting around and watching hours of TV.  That's fun, too.

M: Describe your perfect day.

S: My perfect day would be one with absolutely nothing on the agenda.  A wide open, anything-is-possible schedule.  The Husband and I would pick a random destination along the coast while sipping our morning coffee, then head out for a mini road trip to explore our newly-found spot.  We'd have lunch in a totally unknown but oh-so-adorable restaurant and order whatever our server recommended because they always know the best things to eat.  Then we'd spend the afternoon seeing what the area has to offer - local shops, scenic views, laid-back hiking, who knows - while documenting it all on good ol' 35mm film.  Basically, my perfect day would be filled with lots simple adventures and fun little discoveries.

M: What's your most favorite place in the world to visit?

S: New York City.  I love traveling and every place I've visited so far could easily make the list of favorites, but NYC is one of those places that will always have my heart.  My best friend from childhood used to live there so I was able to visit a few times a year and feel like a real New Yorker until she moved to Korea.  Lucky for me, she's moving back to NYC this fall so I can finally resume my annual trips!

M: If there is one thing you want my readers to know about you, what is it?

S: I saved this question until the very end to answer it last because I had no idea what to say.  I still don't.

M: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

S: On a beach in a beautiful location (Thailand? New Zealand? Greece? Who knows!) with the Husband, my camera, and some booze.  And maybe a local snack or two.  I'm sure I'll have some kids, a few more pets, and a successful business waiting for me back at home but if I'm daydreaming about where I'll be 5 years from now, I'm going to daydream about where I'll be vacationing 5 years from now!

And because this picture makes me laugh, I shall end with this:

Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie! I'll see you Monday at 2pm. (no really, I will.)

Connect with Stephanie here! Blog / Facebook / Instagram / Photography


Interested in doing a Q&A with me? Sponsor info here!

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  1. I love this story, and I have to say, I'm very jealous. I have on Blog friend who I really believe is so interesting and fun, we have so much in common and I know she and I would totally hit it off and be great friends if only we'd initiate a meet up... Did I not mention that she lives in a city I frequently visit? Like as in, once a month? When I`ve mentioned the idea of meeting up she's always sounded very excited about it... But following through seems to be the hard part.This post inspired me to make it happen... New friends are wonderful! Happy for you!

  2. Love this! And you. :) See you Monday!

  3. Stephanie is the greatest! I just adore her :)

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