Hey, I'm Steph!
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I've never been able to play it small.
When I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a teacher; a helper of some kind; a leader. I would rush home from school every day to set up an elaborate "classroom" for my enthusiastic little sister, Sara. Our imaginations would run wild for hours, writing stories and songs, building inventions, creating imaginary worlds... And somewhere in there, the imagining became acting.
Acting LIT ME UP. I abandoned the idea of teaching and spent 10 years performing locally, even going to college for my BFA in Theatre Performance. I got a charge out of being in front of a live audience and I wanted to add value to people’s lives through entertainment and inspiration. Or so I thought, anyway... On stage I was thriving, but off stage I was finding that acting lacked a personal connection and level of service I was seeking.
Back to teaching I went. I finished my Masters in Early Childhood/Childhood Education and spent almost another decade in Education. And I promise you with my whole heart: I loved teaching. I loved my students, the relationship building, and the atmosphere of continual learning. This time, though, it wasn't the right audience. In a room with 10-year-olds, talking about fractions and rocks and short story plots - that wasn't going to be the right fit for me long-term. I really had my heart set on leadership of some kind and thought maybe I'd be a principal or something… Do you know that feeling of being unsettled and not sure what you're looking for?
Along the way, I became addicted to "trying" and to the idea of self improvement. I tried food trends and workout programs, had 100 hobbies, and even completed a triathlon sprint. (Ok, I almost drowned, but that's a story for a different day.) All I knew was that I wanted to be "healthy" and feel good about myself. There was an extensive history of heart disease and cancer in my family, among other diseases, and I guess I was always looking for a way for me to “beat the odds.” I told you, I'm not one to settle for small.
During the Summer of 2017 I transitioned to a vegan diet. And by "transitioned" I mean I watched What the Health on Netflix and completely turned my life on its head. From there, I started to really dial in on a whole food, plant based diet. The impact it made was almost instantaneous. I felt how this way of eating transformed my own well-being, as well as the health of my other family members who jumped on board. Obviously I wanted to learn more! I decided to study with AFPA (American Fitness Professionals Association) and completed a certification program in Holistic Nutrition.
About the same time (Summer 2019) I found myself looking for an apartment, and also keeping an eye out for a small office I might be able to coach out of... SO I BOUGHT A BUILDING. (Weird leap there, I know, but it was in my life, too. Go big or go home, right??) I purchased a mixed-use century building in the small Village of Alden (outside Buffalo, NY) where I grew up, and my amazing family and I have been turning it over, one section at a time, into a wellness center & boutique, Wellness in the Village!
I'd like to end here with something like, "See, dreams come true!" But it all honesty, this wasn't exactly my dream...
It's even better. What I dreamed was that I'd be teaching, leading, and inspiring others. I dreamed that I'd be healthy, confident, and happy. I just couldn't picture how that could come together, and I'm grateful I stayed open to the creative process my life has been.
Now I have to pinch myself that I'm NOT dreaming.
Instead, I'm creating a life that I love, every single day.
That's how I know you are capable of doing that, too.
Learn more about AFPA & how learning more about holistic nutrition, health, & fitness might be a good fit for you.