Stephanie Marie Garcia is a woman who travels in many circles in the University community. As a former All-American member of the University’s track team, a current graduate student in the English department and the editor of the Hook Weddings, Stephanie Marie has kept herself busy in Charlottesville. Early this month, Stephanie launched Fête, a blog dedicated to “weddings, wonde, [and] whimsy,” which spotlights the unique wedding planning culture in Charlottesville. Recently, Iris had a chance to talk to Miss Garcia about her latest venture into the blogosphere, her dreams for Olympic steeplechase (yes, we said steeplechase) success and her other ambitious plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say:
Iris: How did you get interested in steeplechase?
SMG: I had no idea what the steeplechase was going into my first year of college. My high school track coach had run at UVA under then-coach Jason Dunn and had informed me that he had run steeplechase. I went up to him during the first week of practice and announced, “I want to run the steeplechase!” He looked me up and down, asked me if I knew what it was, shrugged, and agreed to train me.
Iris: How are you preparing for the 2012 Olympic trials?
SMG: My training this year isn’t too much different than the training I was doing at UVA for five years– the main difference is that I’m structuring my season to specifically peak in June and July, during the Olympic Trials and Olympic Games. Every other year, I’ve been racing three seasons in a row, from [September] through June. This year, I’m focusing everything on two meets. So my training is a little bit different– I’m still building up right now, instead of racing cross-country meets. But it will all pay off right when I need it to.
Iris: When did Fête launch? What are your goals for the website?Stephanie competing at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Korea.
SMG: Fête launched Wednesday, Oct 12– so we’re coming up on a month! The inspiration for the site was to combine wedding and lifestyle (think parties, fashion, interiors) inspiration into one space while showcasing the fabulous local talent we have in Charlottesville’s event and art industries. If the site can inspire even one local bride or bring new ideas to those looking for DIY, party, or interior ideas, it’s a success!
Iris: What do you most love about being the editor of the Hook Weddings?
SMG: The amazing people I get to work with! Not only is the Hook staff a fabulous group of reporters, editors, and designers, but the wedding industry in Charlottesville is FILLED with talented and passionate vendors. Every time I reach out to anyone– a photographer, a florist, a boutique– everyone is always so excited and willing to participate in a feature.
Iris: How do you balance your time?
SMG: It definitely varies from week to week, depending on an upcoming deadline, school project, or race. I have some basic timeframes for things like blogging and training and I have certain hours when I go into work. But for the most part, it’s all about keeping a detailed planner (love my Moleskin), staying on top of emails, and planning ahead!
Iris: Here at Iris, we strive to increase awareness about the perils of perfectionism. When we interview incredible women like yourself, we always ask, “Do you consider yourself a perfectionist?” Why?
SMG: I’m a perfectionist up to a certain point. When I have projects or papers, I obviously want to deliver the best product possible. But I definitely know when to take it easy, relax, and not over think things. I’ve made relaxation and recovery priorities in my life– as a runner, taking recovery days is the most important thing you can do for training and health. I know not to sweat the small stuff.
Iris: Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 and 15 years?
SMG: In five years– competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio with my fiance’s last name on my race bib and working at a fantastic event planning company or magazine. In 10 years– living with my little family in California working at a fantastic event planning company. In 15 years– heading my own event planning and design company with my husband!
Iris: What are your favorite “must-read” blogs or websites?
SMG: Design is Mine: This is one of my daily reads! I get the best design inspiration from this site.
DesignLoveFest: Bri Emery, the designer behind this blog, has the best personality and posts fabulous fashion, design, and inspiration posts every day.
Oh Happy Day: This is the site for party and wedding DIY projects!
Photos Couresty of Stephanie Marie Garcia
Top: Photo by Jen Fariello
Bottom: Photo by Paul Merca