Our Hometown Glory: Stillwater, OK

Our Hometown Glory: Stillwater, OK

More than textbooks and bar crawls.

Stilly, Stillville, Still-H20.

Call it what you want, but this town holds a special place in our hearts, whether we gladly admit it or not. For some, it is their collegiate playground. For others, it is their forever home. Let’s bring the old dusty boxes out of the shed and talk about our favorite Stillwater past times, places and memories; or at least some of them.

1. Our unconditional love for Stan Clark Companies.

Eskimo Joes, Mexico Joes, Joseppi’s, Stillwater Bay and MoJo’s. Otherwise known as Stan Clark companies. What began as a small bar in the heart of Stillwater, is now a legacy within the community. Home of America's greatest cheese fries. Whether it is chips and salsa at Mexico Joes or a beer and a bowling alley at Mojo’s, you will feel right at home. RIP Joseppi's and Stillwater Bay, you are dearly missed.

2. The hidden pioneer wagon statue tradition.

An oldie but goodie. The tradition that tops any other. The hiding of the Stillwater High School pioneer wagon. Every year the seniors would hide the wagon and the upcoming seniors would have to find it before their homecoming took place. This tradition was shut down before I attended Stillwater High School, but it never fails to create conversation when brought up with numerous Stillwater alumni.

3. Chris' University Spirit

Originally known as the Balfour House, today is known as Chris’ University Spirit. Located in the thick of Stillwater and the OSU campus, carrying everything from OSU gear to Greek monogrammed items, it is a true gem. You can find me here whenever I am buying gifts for my brother, dad or grandpa.

4. Tumbleweed Dancehall and Concert Venue

Now this is a true legend in Stillwater. Growing up I always heard my parents make remarks about “how back in my day we would spend our Friday nights at the Tumbleweed”, so with no doubt, I spent my first few weekends in college at the Tumbleweed. I can promise you that most of our parents met at this little country music joint. Every year the Tumbleweed also hosts the big “Calf Fry” where the community, family, friends and mostly college students merge together and listen to live country music. It is definitely a golden keepsake of Stillwater.

5. 4th of July "Boomer Blast"

This hometown celebrates 4th of July like no other. You can find the whole community every year located at Boomer Lake, with their families, relatives, friends, beer and cameras. Or you can find a higher spot of land within the city limits and watch as the Boomer Blast show unfolds from afar.

6. Saturday's spent at Shoe Bank, Bath and Body Works and Hobby Lobby

Growing up, once every few Saturdays, my mom would take me into town and we would go roam around to our 3 favorite stores. We would smell every scent in Bath and Body Works, pick out some sporadic décor from Hobby Lobby, and spend way too much money in Shoe Bank. Side note for those who do not know what Shoe Bank is – you should. Shoe Bank carried some of the best and most wanted shoes in Oklahoma. Jana and David never failed to make you feel like family, but after 34 years of business, David and Jana Swain closed their doors. I will always remember Saturday's spent in this shopping center.

8. Kruse's Caribbean Ice

Once the weather began to get warmer, the first thought we always had was Kruse's Ice. Kruse's is a family owned, Stillwater loved, snowcone stand. You can find all of the Stillwater High alumni here every summer.

9. The treasured Wooden Nickel

The Wooden Nickel is a Stillwater, Oklahoma staple. The Wooden Nickel has had their doors open since 1976. The store carries the most trendy clothing for men and women, and literally everything else you could possibly want. They are now offering an online store, which makes my heart swoon but my wallet cry.

10. America's Greatest Homecoming

How could I leave this one off the list? I can promise you, that this is probably one of the most sacred traditions in Stillwater, and I do not see it leaving anytime soon. From the parade to the house decs, you can find the whole community and the college students at every homecoming event.

11. Washington St.

Preferably known as "The Strip" is the location of all things tequila, palm trees and dancing shoes. The Strip is a great place to create your collegiate memories. Other than the Tumbleweed, this is where the other 50% of our parents met.

12. Our obsession with Aspen Coffee

Aspen first opened their doors in 1994, and I don't see the doors ever closing. Aspen has 4 locations within city limits, and 1 located in Edmond, Oklahoma. Filled with roasted craft coffee, espresso and numerous baked goods. Besides the coffee, it is honestly the reason for the pep in this small town.

13. Coney Island

Established on The Strip in 1969, it holds the best late night food in Stillwater. I am sure that the atmosphere looks exactly the same as it did in 1969, which makes it a true keepsake in town.

14. The most obvious, Oklahoma State University

We sure do love our Alma Mater but it wouldn't be the same without the town it resides in. The university holds around 25,000 students and brings so much to our beloved town.

Thank you, Stillwater. Thank you for always being the place we can call home.

Go 'neers (and Cowboys).

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Wolfe Photography

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An Open Letter to my Little Brother

No matter how tall you tower over me, you will always be my little brother.

My life changed for the better the day you were born. When I first held you at the hospital, little did I know that I was welcoming my best friend into the world.

Ask any of my friends; I talk about you often. My greatest childhood memories are of you by my side. You taught me more than I realize, and I can only hope that I taught you something along the way.

We are so different, yet so alike. People wonder how we even came from the same parents because our personalities are so opposite.

We bond over the silliest things. I can completely be myself when I am with you because you get me in ways that no one else can. You know how to get under my skin more than anyone else, but you also know how to make me laugh more than anyone can. Thanks for keeping me laughing and guessing what you will do next.

When you were born, I not only gained an ally; I gained my best friend. You are my baby brother, my 3-legged race partner, my backseat buddy, and my shotgun rider. The list could go on and on.

I love how we can communicate without words, and laugh at what no other person thinks is funny. We have inside jokes for days. We speak a secret language as siblings that no one else can understand. Our bond runs much deeper than our last name or blood type. We share a home, a sense of humor, a million memories, and so much more.

No matter how tall you tower over me, you will always be my little brother. When you are grown and have kids of your own, I will always see you as the little boy with a pirate hat on and a BB gun in hand.

As your big sister, I will always root for you and I will forever be on your side. I may be biased, but you are the smartest and funniest person that I know. I cannot wait to see how God continues to use you.

To have a sibling is to have a lifelong friend, and I cannot think of anyone I would rather have beside you. Know that I will always be here for you.

Our relationship is special because it is ours. You are my brother and I will always cherish our bond that cannot be broken.

Because you are my brother, I know I will always have a friend. Because you are my brother, I am made better.

With more love than you could know,

Your Big Sister and Best Friend

P.S. I also know that you are probably rolling your eyes right now at my mushiness.

Cover Image Credit: Picture Perfect

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5 Ways You Can Be A Better Friend Today

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are relationships.

Rome was not built in a day, and neither are relationships. We all have amazing people in our lives that we cherish to no end. But, there are things that we all need to do better to make those relationships stronger and to make those people truly feel validated in their times of need. I myself have a hard time with each of these things, and in writing this, will hopefully be able to put my own words into action.

1. Text them first

This is a struggle that we all have with our good friends, we think thoughts like, “Am I being annoying?” “Is double texting okay?” or you’re being the stubborn friend who doesn’t want to have to be the first one to send a text. Either way, if you are truly going to make a person feel that you cherish their presence in your life, you MUST let them know. And how better to do that than a sweet little text from you? It doesn’t have to be anything more than a simple “Hey this thing reminded me of you” or “Hey I'm thinking of you,” to immediately make someone's day brighter.

2. Talk about yourself less

Friends always go to their favorite people for advice, or to vent, and if you are the chosen person in their life you need to shut up and listen! I say this because within other people’s problems we are sure to see things we have experienced in the past, and want to discuss them, but it is not always the time to do so. You have to be willing to truly hear what the other person is speaking about and make them feel validated in their problem, this is something I struggle with pretty hard. ALSO just make sure that your friend is asking for an opinion before you give one, because they may not have asked for one, and could take it in a way you didn’t intend for them to. Communication is key!

3. Actually, show up

Something that ALL friends do, is making plans and then bail on them. This can make or break a friendship if done too many times though. Sure there are legitimate excuses, don’t get me wrong, but just not feeling like it, will never be one of them. Get up, get dressed, and go see that movie, or have dinner, or just hang out. You make plans because you miss that other person, or because you need them, or because you don’t want to be alone, and when plans fall through it can be a huge letdown.

Bonus tip: Never bail on a friend for other friends, and if you do then don’t share it for the world to see because that can be the quickest route to hurt feelings and sad times.

4. Give them space when they need it

If someone you love is going through difficult times then always make sure to ask them what their needs are, and if they say they need some time apart then you have to respect that, especially if your friendship is the cause of their heartache. It is amazing what a little bit of time and space can do for a person because it gives them the time to reflect on their actions, what they are frustrated with and what they need to do to be a better friend as well. And when you reunite and talk things through, both friends will ultimately feel better about the relationship.

5. Remember small gestures matter

Little things can matter a lot to a friend, do something small for them once in a while. Recently, I woke up quite hungover from a night out on the town and my friend had coffee and a donut waiting for me, that small little move was something that legitimately melted my heard and made me remember how much a small gesture can mean to someone. Grab them their favorite candy when you hit the gas station, or cover them with a blanket if they fall asleep, do a cute photo shoot, any one of those things will remind your friend of the love you have for them.

Friendship is honestly one of the most amazing things about this life we live. You will undoubtedly come across more than just one soulmate in the short time you're given, and when keeping these things in the back of your mind, you can strengthen those bonds, making a friendship last a lifetime. Every relationship hits a bump or two, but it is what you do to make that other person know you care that will keep them around forever.

Cover Image Credit: @theswirlblog

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