Day In The Life

So many things have changed since I last wrote a “Day In The Life” post, including where I go to work each day, so it’s time to catch up with what’s happening on a normal Thursday. 🙂

Thursday, October 12

7:15 AM

My alarm goes off and I go to the kitchen to make my coffee and breakfast, which is almost always Shakeology. I also throw my lunch together at this time if I haven’t done that already, and then I go get myself ready. I find it easier to do breakfast/lunch things first because I’m not making any decisions…I’m doing the same thing every day. When it comes to makeup and getting dressed, that’s a whole other story. 😉

 

8:00 AM

Grab my umbrella from the car and walk over to the metro. I live approximately 25 steps from the metro stop, so there’s really no reason for me not to ride it every day, but I still love my car on some days.

8:20 AM

Get off the metro 3 stops away and start my walk to work. There’s a metro stop before Georgetown and after Georgetown, so I get off before and have a nice 1 mile walk across the Key Bridge each day. I don’t really walk around at my job unless I’m making tea or going to a meeting so these extra 2 miles of walking to and from work are probably good for me. 🙂

8:45 AM

Arrive at my office and start getting settled for the day. I work as an Online Course Coordinator, so I work on the design and development of online courses. On this particular day, I have someone who is working with us to design a course come in with two interviewees to record lectures for her class. That means up first today, I am reviewing her questions and printing them out for her. Then I start working on a document about tools used in online courses for a meeting I have later in the morning.

9:30 AM

I meet everyone who will be recording in our media studio and get them set up with the videographer. Then, I get on a virtual call to check in with a graduate assistant. After that, I am back to the media studio to listen in on the recordings and do a little work in the background!

11:00 AM

I meet with someone who is designing an online class to go over new content that she has developed for her course, then I get pulled into a bunch of random errands. Get someone set up in a meeting space in our main office, answer a question about how a web-based polling tool works in a PowerPoint, make a note to add a final assessment to another course I’m working on, make a cup of hot tea, and after passing the same student 3 times, give her directions about how to leave the building. 😉

1:00 PM 

Finally time for lunch! I read for a bit while I eat and then I log onto another virtual call. My day is always a random mix of talking to actual people and meeting with them online! And sometimes while I wait for others to log on, I will take a Snapchat selfie. #whynot

2:45 PM

I’m getting restless and have yet to be outside all day! I am working on updating final details in a course that launches in a few weeks, so there are lots of little details to pay attention to like adding specific dates, updating the syllabus, and adding video transcripts when they are sent back from captioning. I decide to take a walk to Saxby’s coffee shop, which is a greedy two blocks from my office.

Saxby’s is all decorated for fall, and that’s about as much fall as DC has seen so far! It’s still pretty humid each day, although it was a bit gray and rainy on this day, and the leaves that are falling are hardly even colored! Also, fun fact: the famous Exorcist steps are the staircase that lines one side of my office building. I have never seen this movie, but do you see that group of people wayyy at the bottom of the steps? They were tourists taking pictures. 🙂

3:00 PM

My friend recommends a new podcast that is a musical! It’s perfect background music while I work on updating videos that got “lost” somehow in cyberspace. The podcast’s story is easy to follow along with too. It’s about a couple who is trying to get their relationship back on the right track using 36 questions that supposedly make people fall in love. I haven’t listened to the end yet!

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5:15 PM

Time to go home! It’s raining mist, which is just enough water that I worry about my laptop in my bag, so I open the umbrella I found in my car that I realize belongs to Joe and is rusty…and blows inside out when the wind gets too strong. #fail

I’m still amused that I walk across the state line to and from work each day. 🙂 I get right on the train when I get to the metro station, which is my favorite way to ride. No standing around on the platform!

5:45 PM

Get home and immediately change into running clothes. If you leave real clothes on for more than five minutes after arriving home, I suggest you adopt the quick change to comfy clothes. I feel slight motivation to fold my laundry, so I do before the feeling goes away and catch up with my roommate about our days.

Then I decide to go meet Joe at the metro. He gets off at the stop after my house, so I decide to run down. It would have been a good idea to take his broken umbrella back to him because it was still misty raining, but I forgot, so we got wet!

6:30 PM

Arrive at Joe’s apartment and eat his candy. I have eaten more Sour Patch Kids since I started dating him than I have in my life, but I can’t say no to watermelon! Then we decide to work out before dinner, so I finish my run on the treadmill in his gym because now it’s raining and officially dark outside.

7:15 PM

Make dinner! I’m pretty sure Joe didn’t know you could eat spaghetti squash before he started cooking with me, but I make him try all sorts of new foods. We had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner with Trader Joe’s Autumnal Harvest creamy sauce. It has butternut squash and pumpkin in it and it is perfectly sweet and delicious. We also watched some playoff baseball and contemplated a Scrabble rematch. Joe was still mad about his loss the night before. 😉 We settled on the new episode of Grey’s Anatomy instead. I loooove TGIT!

10:00 PM

Back home at my house and ready for bed! I would like to say I go to bed at 10 or 10:30, but in reality I go to sleep around 11 PM each night. I like to read and relax before sleep! I bring both of my current books to bed with me because I never know what I will feel like reading…maybe one or a little bit of both.

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Then it’s lights out!

No two days at work look the same, and no two evenings after work look the same. Each week I meet up with my small group on Tuesday evenings, sometimes I want to run outside, and sometimes I just want to stay home and do nothing! But no matter what happens during the day, I am so thankful for my job and the little every day moments.

Linking up with Seven Graces + The Daily Dime

Currently [October 2017]

Currently reading:

If You Only Knew by Jamie Ivey
I’m on the launch team for this title! The book comes out in January and I am so excited to share more about it. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy, but I am reading it on my Kindle right now and I love hearing Jamie’s story of fully embracing her relationship with the Lord. It’s also fun to “hear” her voice…since I listen to her podcast every week, reading her book feels like talking to her! 🙂

The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
I read A Hundred Summers last fall and it was my favorite book of the year. I haven’t really loved another Williams’ book until this one! I’m savoring the last few chapters.

Currently indulging in:

Scarf weather! Two 60* days in a row this week. I’ll be wearing all the fall clothes until the humidity comes back!

Currently working on:

I just finished an online class on the platform edX and I feel accomplished! It was about Instructional Design, which largely relates to my job, and I loved learning and sharing with my coworkers. Plus, I had to create an online portfolio, so that was fun. 🙂

Currently craving:

An apple fritter. I went to a pumpkin & apple farm yesterday and refrained from purchasing the apple fritter mix in their market. Then, this morning, my mom sent me a picture of an apple fritter she was eating…and now I’m wondering if I can refrain from walking to Saxby’s for my favorite donut.

Currently eating:

Vanilla Shakeology with cookie butter, banana, cinnamon, and ice. This is actually shake #2 of the morning because I poured cumin instead of cinnamon into the first one. #monday

Currently feeling:

Happy! And ready to take on the tasks of the week. Although I wouldn’t mind staying in bed and having another weekend day.

Currently thankful for:

The girls in my small group and our adventure to Homestead Farm yesterday!

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Currently dreaming about:

A fall or winter weekend trip to New York City. I’ve gone each year for the last few years and I’m already dreaming about Central Park and the Radio City Rockettes. 🙂

Currently obsessed with:

Tazo Sweet Cinnamon Spice hot tea!

Currently listening to: 

Milky Chance. I like a lot of calm, indie music playing in my headphones unless I’m working out!

Currently drinking:

Hazelnut coffee with a scoop of collagen peptides. Maybe this will make my eyelashes grow nice and long. 😉

Currently excited for:

Tomorrow, Joe and I are going to D.C. Improv after work to see ESPN’s Fantasy Focus Football podcast live. We plan to wear Steelers jerseys and get boo-ed by everyone who doesn’t know what’s good for them. Ha!

This coming weekend is the Marine Corps Marathon & 10K. I’m excited to race the 10K and then chase my crazy friends around the marathon course!

Currently praying for:

My friend Alicia, who just started an after school reading program at her school and is in need of picture books and chapter books. I’m praying that God provides for her and her students!

Currently wondering:

The less serious: how much longer I will go without getting my nails done.
More serious, holiday related: how to carve my pumpkin next weekend. 🙂

hello...mondayhellomonday

Day In The Life

I LOVE day in the life posts. They are my very favorite to read on my favorite blogs, so I guess you could say I’m kind of nosey. It’s also the reason I like survey posts because they ask random questions and you get to find out random tidbits about someone. I always forget to take pictures of my own day, but I want to remember the days of my first year of teaching…so here is a random Wednesday in the life of me!

April 20, 2016

It’s 6:50 AM and I’m up for the day. I usually hit Snooze, so I was proud of myself. 😉

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As soon as I stepped into the bathroom to put my contacts in, my roommate came flying back into the apartment because her car wouldn’t start…so off I went to the garage to get my car and my jumper cables.

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Her car has been having issues and the battery was actually dying while we were trying to jump it (the headlights kept dimming until they were totally off), so she called AAA and I came back upstairs to put my makeup on and get ready.

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Wednesdays at my school are “Workout Wednesday”. Our principal’s philosophy is if we are already in our workout clothes, we will be more likely to go to the gym after the school day ends. The guidance counselor gets the kids involved by doing some kind of workout with them on the morning announcements each week and I enjoy wearing yoga pants. 😉

It’s actually very hard to get dressed on this day because I don’t want to look like a hot mess! The sweatshirt and running shoes weren’t doing it for me, so I changed into a wrap and flats and suddenly got 5 compliments from coworkers who liked my outfit and wanted to know why I wasn’t in workout clothes. Hahaha

I throw my lunch together while I make coffee and then I’m out the door. I used to leave by 7:30 AM, now I’m usually walking into the kitchen at that time. #oops

Listen to my current jams (Let It Be Known and On My Way) and love my life as I notice the other side of the highway. 😉 I have a reverse commute so I am leaving DC when everyone else is driving in for work. I never sit in traffic (at least on the way to work) unless it’s Friday afternoon.

I do sit in traffic when I pass the Catholic school down the street from my school because it’s their drop off time, but I’m always in my classroom between 8 and 8:15 AM.

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Turn on my laptop, check emails, and then make sure everything is copied for the day.

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My coworker gave me the idea to do my Morning Message and attendance check-in on the Smart Board. My students have to come in, move their character, put their belongings away, read the message, and do the morning work assigned at the bottom. It keeps them busy in the ten minutes that exist between arrival and the bell signaling the beginning of the day. And my classroom is not always that dark…I just leave the lights off for as long as possible in the morning. It keeps me calm. Hahaha

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The bell rings at 9:10 and we get started. We have Morning Meeting on the carpet, then I teach a whole group reading lesson, and then I teach small groups in reading while the rest of the students go to different stations around the room. On this particular Wednesday, we had Morning Meeting and then we headed off to the cafeteria to see the 4th graders Wax Museum. They were all dressed as a different famous American and on each of their posters, there was a circle that said “Press Here”. Only then did that 4th grader turn around and start talking to you. The rest of the time, they were a statue! It was so cool.

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When we came back, I had rearranged our schedule a bit and the students had some silent reading time. I also graded a few personal narratives. Then I combined my reading and writing lesson and we worked on writing poems! Some of them love it, some of them hate it. But that’s usually how it goes with poetry!

The definition of #teacherproblems. Outside for recess duty and my morning cup of coffee is still half full! I teach math for an hour when we go back inside. While we begin class together doing a “Number Talk”, the rest of the time the students are at stations and I teach small groups the same lesson in a few different ways. They learn so much better this way because they are more focused and I can tell if they actually get the concept.

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Then we eat lunch, and on this day, I ate in my classroom with a student. Our school gives “Cardinal Cash” for good behavior and in my classroom, you must earn 10 pieces before you choose a reward. Most of them ask to bring in an electronic device or a toy of some sort, but this girl wanted to eat with me. 🙂 Because we eat lunch so late, this is my first true “break” of the day, so I only offer the option to eat lunch with me once a week/when I’m in a good mood. Hahaha

When I pick them up from lunch, we come back to the classroom for a short block of time. Some students go to another classroom for support or enrichment in certain subjects, while the other students in the classroom are reading, writing, or playing a math game. I teach a small group of students from another second grade class and right now we are doing double digit addition and subtraction with regrouping.

Next, I have an hour of planning time. My students head off to specials (think library, gym, etc.) and I listen to music, grade and organize papers, and basically get a whole bunch of things done! Once a week, I plan with my team during this hour, and once a month, we meet to discuss other relevant topics, but most days this hour is mine to plan as I please. On this day, I was eating Hershey’s kisses and listening to music on YouTube –>  Work From Home = weird but catchy.

I usually run around and talk to my coworkers during this time (because hello, adult conversation) and then I get ready for my students’ return. They have 10 minutes of quiet time as part of our school’s Responsive Classroom approach and then we start our science and social studies block. Right now, we are learning about the migration of Monarch butterflies, so on this day we talked about where monarchs are in their migration (approaching Texas, if you’re curious;), watched a BrainPOP Jr. video about animal classification and then they did a cut/paste/sort activity in their science journals.

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My students have community supplies, which means no one keeps any school supplies in their desks except for folders, notebooks, and a box of crayons. Instead, there are several caddies on the top of each table (because there are 8 kids at a table). Inside, there are the appropriate number of pencils, erasers, scissors, and glue. Except there are NOT. EVER. ENOUGH. SUPPLIES. I swear every time we cut and glue, someone is complaining that they don’t have scissors and I am constantly opening new packs of glue sticks. On this Wednesday, I was OVER IT. I made sure all 23 students had scissors and glue and then when science was over, I made two classroom helpers go around and collect every pair of scissors and every stick of glue. They were so offended that I was taking the supplies, but HONESTLY WHERE DO THEY GO?! I’m getting angry talking about this again a week later lol. Hopefully this new system works. 😉

At 3:45, dismissal begins. A student brought me a cupcake during this time because it was their birthday. I licked the icing off and threw the rest of the cupcake away because I’m five years old. Then one of my coworkers had to go and ALSO have a birthday so I had a gluten free, dairy free brownie that was actually so good! Wegmans for the win.

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I’m usually starving when school is over (because I usually don’t have dessert during dismissal hahaha) so I drink my Shakeology when I get in the car at 4:15. Usually I am on my way to somewhere…I had two night classes this semester, and if I’m not doing that, I’m usually going to the gym…so this is a good time to drink my shake because it holds me over until dinner, which usually doesn’t happen until 7:30 or 8. #oops

On this day, I actually got to come home after work, and I arrived to a package from my mom! Some snacks, some teacher supplies, some books…just a few goodies. 🙂

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I was meeting Kristen to run at 6:00, so I decided to be a productive human and fold the pile of laundry next to my bed…conveniently placed on the side that I don’t sleep on so I didn’t have to see it. Ha!

The high school near us was having a track meet, so we went to a nearby trail that we knew had quite a decent flat, straight stretch to do sprints. We ran one mile to the trail and did 8 400m sprints with a 200m jog in between. This workout was actually SO hard. It was taking me about 1 minute, 50 seconds to 2 minutes to run the 400m and I could get like 1:10 into it before I hit a wall. Every. Single. Time. I wanted to do the workout, but my lungs hated me…so I worked on my mental and physical game big time with this run!

Kristen made me lay down on the trail after we were done, and we caught some other gems on her camera while we were walking around being silly. 🙂 We laughed at the thought of running one mile back home, so we walked. #imtrainingfornothing #idowhatiwant

Dinner and comfy clothes. Although I guess I can’t complain since I wore comfy clothes to school, but you can’t exactly rock a towel on your head and Ugg slippers in public…

FAVORITE TIME OF NIGHT. Bed and book reading or blog reading. Here, chai tea and signing up for Le Tote. I like to shop, so I don’t know if I’ll actually keep ordering from this service, but my friend Audrey sent me a free month, so I had to try it!

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Trying to cut out the night time snack, but #hangry. Don’t knock it ’til you try it, friends. My coworker got me hooked!

Then I’m out between 10:30 and 11.

A day in the life of me. 🙂

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Four Facts Survey

Four names that people call me other than my real name:

  1. Ky
  2. Kyky
  3. Kyle
  4. Mom –> students who are in a rush tend to forget who they are speaking to. Hahaha

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Newspaper Deliver-er #notaword
  2. Writing Center Consultant
  3. Group Fitness Instructor
  4. Elementary Teacher

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  1. The Princess Diaries
  2. A Cinderella Story
  3. The Grinch (with Jim Carrey)
  4. Pitch Perfect

Four books I’d recommend:

  1. Let’s All Be Brave
  2. Defending Jacob
  3. A Trip Around the Sun
  4. The Residence

Four places I’ve lived

  1. Plum, PA
  2. Pittsburgh, PA
  3. College Park, MD
  4. Arlington, VA

Four places I’ve visited:

  1. New York City
  2. Riviera Maya
  3. Wildwood, New Jersey
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  1. Wildwood, NJ (but sunshine and warmth is also a requirement)
  2. Hanging out with my family and my dogs at my mom’s house
  3. In Rochester with my best friend Stefanie
  4. My bed under my purple blanket

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Not in Rochester…but hanging out with Stef 😉

Four things I prefer not to eat:

  1. Hamburgers & steak. I just can’t get on board with chunks of red meat.
  2. Tuna from a can…but somehow tuna from a packet is okay.
  3. Kale (it has a flavor. Don’t deny it!)
  4. Gravy

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Oatmeal (my students think this is hilarious)
  2. Chips & queso
  3. Veggie & cheese omelette
  4. Sweet potato fries

Four TV shows I watch:

  1. Scandal
  2. Grey’s Anatomy
  3. The Bachelor/ette
  4. The Biggest Loser & Extreme Weight Loss

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:

  1. Snow days;)
  2. Rock ‘N Roll DC Half Marathon
  3. Graduating from UMD with my Master’s degree
  4. Taking weekend trips (on my to-do list)!

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Four things I’m always saying:

  1. Talk to you later! I love you! (Usually as I hang up the phone with someone in my family.)
  2. K. (Example: I’m driving and someone walks right in front of my car. In the sassiest voice ever, “KAY.”)
  3. I’m hangry (Never hungry, always hangry).
  4. Sit on your bottom half (7 year olds are antsy).

Four people I tag to answer these questions:

  1. Randi
  2. Molly
  3. Lauren
  4. Sarah

2015: A Year In Review

If you had told me last New Years Eve that THIS New Years Eve I would be on Christmas Break from my first year of teaching, I don’t know that I would have believed you. My life last year was so very different than it is now, but there have only been good changes!

I moved to College Park, MD in August of 2014 to start my Master’s in Reading. I took on three part time jobs at UMD: a research assistant in the Education Department, a writing consultant at The Writing Center, and a fitness instructor at the gym. That’s how last year began…a new semester of grad school plus my three jobs.

This is for my own memory. You will likely be tempted to skim or scroll past some stuff. Ha!

JANUARY

Right after Winter Break, I drove back to Maryland for a work trip to Boston. My research team worked with another team out of Boston College that we communicated with via Skype and phone calls. We went up to see them for 2 days in January to get LOTS of work done in person! It was also -4 the entire time we were in Boston, so thank goodness we were only there for 36 hours. 😉 This was a typical work trip in that I truly have no idea what the city of Boston looks like because I was at the airport, in a taxi to Boston College, at Boston College, at our hotel, and then all of that in reverse. This month, I also started teaching PiYo and I took myself on an adventure to Annapolis because I had never been and that’s what you do when you have few friends in a new place! I ran to the MLK Jr. monument on MLK Jr. Day and I met up with Kristen for the first time to run the National Mall!

FEBRUARY

I taught PiYo once before teaching it on a stage. At the beginning of the semester, the gym has a sort of “opening night” for its classes so everyone can see what’s available. That was a little bit out of my comfort zone! I started training for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler (you’re welcome for the selfie) and spent a lot of time on the indoor track because it snowed a LOT this month and I was a big baby! I went to running group with my church almost every Wednesday and found lots of new-to-me routes in DC. My mom and Jake came to visit for Valentine’s Day and my best friend Stef visited a few weekends later. I also worked at and attended a Fitness Expo at UMD’s gym that brought fitness instructors from up and down the east coast!

MARCH

I remember watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy this month. Ha! I was obsessed and school kept getting delayed, cancelled, or closed early because of cold weather and snow. I made it outside when I could to keep training for the 10-miler, I took lots of selfies at The Writing Center (omg long hair), and I kept teaching PiYo every Monday morning and Tuesday night! My running group did a special run for those we knew going on a mission trip to the West Bank and I spotted the National Cathedral for the first time since moving here. And of course, my baby brother turned 16 and got his permit!

APRIL

And then it was warm. This was also the month I started tossing around the idea of applying for teaching jobs. My final decision was made while I was sitting in a Jason’s Deli. My memory, I tell ya… I was home this month for Easter and drove with Jake for the first time! I also went running on my favorite loop downtown (where I ran almost every morning in college) and I have a very vivid memory of tripping over a crack in the sidewalk and falling into a big X-shape. My leggings ripped, my hands were bleeding, I was half crying and half yelling, and then when I finally stood up…I kept running. Hahaha! I went to an event at UMD called “Grad Prom”, attended my first bonfire of the year in shorts and sandals, ran to Gravelly Point where you can see planes take off from Reagan National Airport, and ran the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. It was so fun to have my friends in town for that race! I’m a Beachbody coach so I went to a Super Saturday event in Baltimore and I also went to my first Nationals baseball game!

MAY

I started and successfully completed Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix Extreme program this month. I made a last minute decision to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon when an extra bib became available and I also ran to Gravelly Point for the first time. You can see the planes from Reagan National Airport taking off and landing here! My friend Sarah and I went to the Marine Barracks Evening Parade and my mom and my aunt came to visit for the weekend. We went to Atlantic City at the end of the month for Memorial Day Weekend and I rushed back to Maryland ASAP because I had my first teaching interview! My mom wanted to know what I was wearing and my dad wanted to see a picture of the Zipcar I had rented, so that’s how I ended up with that super awkward picture on the bottom right. Ha!

JUNE

First November Project workout.
First Duquesne Alumni Event at the Nationals vs. Pirates game in DC.
First adventure to Old Town, Alexandria, VA.
First time eating an apple fritter (that was the size of my head).
First time making and eating Strawberry Salsa for a Strawberry Festival Party!
Second Kenny Chesney concert.
Second Taylor Swift concert.
Second and third teaching interviews (third time was the charm!).

I also chopped all my hair off and spent a lot of time on the computer. It sounds terrible to say that in the middle of summer, but I was taking two online summer classes and apartment hunting!

JULY

My mom, Jake, and his friend came to DC for the Fourth of July. Kristen and I started training for the Marine Corps Marathon with a team of other runners from my church. I spent even more time on my computer, took my mom to see the elementary school where I was hired, started moving to my new apartment, and spent 10 much needed days on the beach!

AUGUST

I officially moved to my new apartment in Virginia. One of my friends from college also moved to the area so we spent a lot of time exploring DC together! I ate brunch with other DC area bloggers, made my first grown up purchase of porch furniture, and ran the Lincoln Memorial steps for the first time. I went home for a week to surprise my family (a conference I was supposed to attend was cancelled last minute), we celebrated Amigo’s 2nd birthday, and then I started new teacher orientation. My classroom was looking bare and empty! Kristen and I went to a Steelers bar to watch a preseason game, I went to Baltimore to celebrate my friend Shannon’s birthday, and I finally got tagged at November Project!

SEPTEMBER

A secret November Project workout that ended at a Biergarten in DC for yoga and drinks. My first day as a real teacher. 😉 The Pope came to town, I ran a 10k with my friends, I met Amanda for dinner, and I went to a 90s bar crawl in DC. I also made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for my mentors and coworkers as a thank you for helping me during my first month of teaching!

OCTOBER

My mom and my aunt visited the first weekend of October! My classroom finally started feeling like a real room. I visited the pumpkin patch and then I got sick for the first time in my adult life…not even ashamed of that selfie. I had a fever and a sinus infection and junk in my lungs and it was horrible and I had to take care of myself. Hahaha! I participated in a Blogger Scarf Exchange, spent time with my family from Indianapolis in DC, and went to New York City to see the marathon!

NOVEMBER

70 degree days meant evening runs as often as possible. I went hiking on the Billy Goat Trail, attended a Beer and Wine Festival at Nationals Park, and generally counted down the days until Thanksgiving Break. 😉 I flew home (which is unusual) for the holiday, spent time with my cousins, and helped my mom decorate for Christmas.

DECEMBER

Where did this month go?! There was a lot of Christmas cheer this month. I ran to see the Capitol Christmas Tree and the National Christmas TreeMy friends and I went to see Zoo Lights at the National Zoo. I took myself on an adventure to the National Harbor to see all of their Christmas decorations and check out the area. I went to a Christmas party and hosted a Christmas party, which I also labeled my birthday party. 😉 #decemberbirthdayproblems My mom, my aunt, and I made Christmas cookies, I met up with my college roommate for dinner, and of course, we celebrated Christmas. Then, we made a getaway to Hershey, PA and NYC for a few days!

Looking back, I was ready for this life (teaching and such) at the beginning of 2015. I loved being in school, but I wasn’t fulfilled doing a whole bunch of jobs instead of focusing on one job. The summer brought some stress as I started applying for jobs, interviewing, and apartment hunting. I also thought it would be a fabulous idea to take two online classes, so that just added to my stress. August was a wonderful month free of responsibilities, at least until I started orientation for my job. I was SO nervous to take the night class that I have with my job but after doing it for a semester, I realize it’s not ideal but it works.

In September, I remember being SO tired. I was overwhelmed, I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing AT ALL, and I was just generally whiny to anyone who asked me about my life. In October and November, I feel like I started to hit my stride. I figured out that I will probably continue the rest of this year feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing…but having confidence to figure it out as I go is what is making me successful. I’m doing what I said I was always going to do…teach…and I’m doing kinda okay at it. I’m a perfectionist, so you will never hear me say I’m good. And let’s face it, as a first year teacher, I probably have some room to grow. 😉 I had a check up with my doctor last week and she was asking me about my life and just was amazed at how much has changed with me this year. She said she can’t wait to see what my life is like next year…and neither can I! Because I can’t even begin to imagine!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! 🙂

24 Things for 24 Years

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Sometime in the 4 AM hour, I turned 24. You can see how happy cake made me at the age of 3, so I am sure you can only imagine how happy I am for birthday treats today! My friend Kristen started the celebration last night by bringing me a mini Oakmonter. Trust me, it’s the best cake in Pittsburgh.

In honor of turning 24, I give you a list of 24 things I’ve learned about myself (and life) so far in this life of mine. I like to think I’m getting older and wiser…you be the judge. 😉

1. Embrace your inner introvert. It’s who you are and damn if it doesn’t feel good to just be who you are.

2. Eat pizza and cake. Just do it. Life is too short to count every calorie.

3. Make decisions based on that one feeling you have. Not everyone will agree with you, not everyone will understand, but you will be so happy.

4. The people who are your best friends now might not always be your best friends. Quality over quantity.

5. Heartbreak doesn’t go away easily. It just doesn’t.

6. Your parents are more than just your parents. They’re real people with real feelings, too. Shocking, right?

7. Work out because you want to, not because you feel like you have to.

8. You will always take things to heart. People’s opinions matter to you. Don’t let those opinions drag you down. For every negative opinion, there is one positive one.

9. Get comfortable going places by yourself. You are your own best company at times.

10. Take pictures of everything. These are the days that make up your life. Remember them!

11. Your mom is probably right.

12. You will always love reading, writing, baking, HGTV and design magazines, and staying home. Except now that you’re a grown up, it’s acceptable to tell people these are your hobbies. 😉

13. Do things that scare you. Become a fitness instructor. Run a marathon. Ride your bike all over the land. Life is an adventure.

14. Follow the wanderlust that’s in your heart. There is no better time than now.

15. You can never tell the people you love that you love them too much or too often.

16. Ask questions. Embrace confusion. The real world is a whole lot of everyone trying to figure out what the hell they’re doing.

17. Admit when you are wrong. You will be, and it will only feel better when you own up to it.

18. Say yes to as many opportunities as possible. There is more to do than you could have ever planned yourself.

19. You do not “have” to do anything. If you are ever making a decision because you feel like you have to do/say/wear/think the “right” thing, don’t make that decision.

20. Say hello to the stranger behind you in line or riding the elevator with you. It’s nice to put a smile on someone else’s face.

21. Write thank you cards. It’s just polite, but it is also so appreciated.

22. Take a break from social media. There is so much life outside of that screen and honestly, you won’t miss those apps.

23. Make an effort to stay in touch with friends and family, even if they live right down the street from you. These are the people you are walking through life with…talk to them, spend time with them, love them, and thank them.

24. Let go and let God. My best seasons of life have come when God was at the center of it all.

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Last year I celebrated my birthday by doing a Christmas Tree run with this girl and the rest of our church friends…this year, I will probably be doing something similar. Nothing is better than a long run. 🙂

October Goals

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I recognize that today is, in fact, October 8…so not nearly the start of the month, but still a time I would consider the beginning. 🙂 There are so many things that I have been thinking about getting better at lately, and what better way to hold myself accountable than to share those goals with you?!

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Go to sleep between 10 and 10:30 PM every night.

I know for some of you that may seem early, but there is absolutely no reason for me to be up any later. Often, I am online or using my phone and I am not doing anything of importance. Unless I am getting something done for work or school or I’m lost in a book…lights off!

Dedicate a few hours each weekend to blog.

My posting schedule is pretty consistent. I like something to go live in the 6 o’clock hour each day. However, I have found myself writing posts until almost midnight some nights because I relax and workout when I get home from work and then by the time I sit down with my computer and really think about what I am going to write, the time just gets away from me. Also, there are so many original posts that I want to share, but when I find myself short on time, I write a post and join a link-up instead. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE link-ups! That is how I have “met” so many people in blogland! But I am hoping with a set time to write posts each week, I can then be more intentional about what I write.

Complete assignments for grad school ahead of time.

Looking at my syllabus, we are given SO much notice on assignments and we are given plenty of time to work on them. In fact, in a few weeks, we don’t even have class one night so that we can dedicate those few hours to working on a paper we are writing. I need to be on top of the projects so they don’t all hit me in the face at the end of the semester! On the same note, I would like to print the articles I need to read several days before I need them. There is nothing like printing articles a few hours before class to make you feel frazzled!

Figure out food.

I know that this goal probably means nothing to you at first glance, but hear me out. I eat a relatively healthy diet, but I have found myself craving sugar and eating snacks at night when I’m not hungry way too often lately. I have also tried a variety of different eating methods: intermittent fasting, eating several small meals all day long, eating every 2 hours within a certain window of time, eating whenever I want, etc. This summer, I started intermittent fasting and it worked great for me. Chalene Johnson has a great podcast all about the topic that you can listen to here. I won’t go into all the details, but basically you fast for a certain number of hours each day and eat for a certain number of hours each day. We all fast every day anyways, because we all go to sleep for some number of hours each night. With intermittent fasting, you just add hours to either end of your sleep window as part of your fast. In a fasted state, your body burns fat. Once you start eating, your insulin levels go up, which makes burning fat harder. Science aside (and also, I don’t know everything), intermittent fasting works if you have time to make it work, in my opinion. I could try to adjust my window, but right now it is just not working for me. I am not getting enough nutrients because by the time I get home from work, I am starving and I eat half my kitchen. So this month, I want to readjust my eating patterns. It feels hard to give up intermittent fasting, and because it feels hard to do that, it’s another reason I want to do it. I struggled with “not eating” before and I don’t want to go back to disordered thinking about food.

Read three books.

I love reading blogs way too much. I need to read more books this month. 🙂

Write things down.

All the things. Assignments. Appointments. GRADES. I swear to God, my brain is on information overload. Even when I get some kind of information in an email, I need to write it down. Seeing it on the computer is not the same as remembering it and writing it down. I need to write things down and refer to them when necessary! And because I am writing things down…I need to look at them more than 5 minutes before I need to do/remember said thing. I have been a spinning top this past month and I need a little routine in my life!

Choose one day a week to get up earlier.

Yesterday, my roommate dropped her keys when she was leaving for work and the clanging of the keys woke me up. When I looked at my phone (my clock is across the room and I can’t see without my glasses), I say that it was 7:03. Oy! Apparently I forgot to set my alarm. In any case, I have woken up early as opposed to sleeping in several times this school year. I don’t rush to get ready when I wake up at my “normal” time, but the extra time to lounge when I get up early is wonderful! I will be able to do more of that since I’m going to bed earlier. 😉 And hopefully one day turns into most days!

Drink more tea.

All of the tea in my kitchen is Celestial Seasonings and caffeine free. I went on a tea kick last fall where I bought a different flavor nearly every time I was at Target, and I still have so much left! I just prefer coffee in the mornings. Lucky for me, I DID buy caffeine free, so that means I can drink it in the afternoon and evening without feeling bad. And it will be good for my throat (still sick over here). And I love warm beverages!

Make this recipe.

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Bolded and italicized because OMG this screenshot has been on my desktop for months. Nikki at My Life In Macros posted a picture of these “Zoats” on her Instagram and I thought the recipe sounded so good! They are called Zoats because it is oatmeal with zucchini in it. It’s like when you hear that you should put spinach in your smoothie because you can’t taste it…same idea. Get your veggies in your oatmeal without even tasting them. I WILL make this recipe in October!

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That’s it! Here’s to October!

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Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Tag! I’m It!

Happy Thursday! I am currently at the Jeep dealership getting my car fixed for the second time this week. Car maintenance is so fun #saidnooneever. But what IS fun is getting tagged in blog surveys! Time for some thinking out loud. 🙂

These questions were sent to me by one of my blogging besties, Molly, from Colors of Life. I’m changing the rules a little bit…choose one of these questions/statements and answer it in your comment so I can learn a little bit more about you!

Tell me something most people don’t know about you.

I get the hiccups every night before I go to bed. I have a sixth sense that allows me to escape any and every room approximately ten seconds before someone throws up (Lord help me when I start teaching). I take epilepsy medication even though I don’t have epilepsy. I get migraines that make me pass out. The neurologist likes to call them seizures. I like to call them passing out because that is actually what happens. No movement, eyes shut = pass out. I really really really hate the word seizure. The triggers are too much time on the computer and not enough sleep, but I can fix this problem by taking medicine and getting eight hours of sleep. If I have to do two things in life that make me “normal”, taking a pill and getting enough sleep are fine by me.

Who is one blogger you have to read everyday? (Let’s figure out who we’re missing out on!)

I read WAY too many blogs…it’s starting to get hard to keep up. 😉 I have been reading Hungry Runner Girl and Peanut Butter Fingers for years, and I just recently found and love to read Morgan’s blog –> The True Life of KMK!

What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?

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I loved Blake Shelton’s concert in Pittsburgh in 2013! My friend Johna and I bought the Country Megaticket that summer, so we had lawn seats at an outdoor amphitheater to see a ton of country artists all summer, from Tim McGraw to Toby Keith to Rascal Flatts. Tim was a great concert but Blake was the best because it was the first concert where he was the headliner. Before, he had always opened for someone else, and now he had people opening for him, and it was HIS show! He was so humbled by it all and he just told great stories while he was up there! Plus I love his music and I went to this concert with Johna, my mom, and my youngest brother. We had a ball. 🙂

How many kids do you want?

I have two brothers and I think I like the number 3! Or maybe 4 because both of my parents are from families with four siblings (they are both the babies of the family!) and with four, there is technically no middle child. 😉 I was just thinking today how weird it would be if all of my children were girls. Not that I don’t know what to do with girls…I love little kids in general so I could certainly hang with a little princess…but with two brothers and lots of male cousins, I definitely want to have a boy!

What/who inspired you to start your blog?

A girl I went to high school with inspired me, actually! Allie would always share her posts to Facebook and I would click over and just read about her life. I wanted to do something like that, but I never really seriously thought about it. Once I started reading running/healthy living blogs in college, then I wanted to take the leap. I definitely didn’t think I could “keep up” with the bigger blogs that I loved to read, but I was still reading Allie’s blog and she seemed “normal” like me so I thought if she can do it, so can I! It’s funny when people ask me when I started blogging because technically I started in May of 2012. And then I started in May of 2013. And then I started in January of 2014. And then I started in January of 2015 and kept going! In the past, days and weeks would go by without a post and then I would feel like I “wasn’t allowed” to pick back up again! Which is just plain crazy because it’s my blog so I can do whatever I want. 😉 Planning a semi-consistent posting schedule has made it so much easier.

Sidenote: My blog is going under construction soon and I need your creative help! If you have an idea for my blog name (besides Kylie McGraw), please send me an email. 🙂

What are you most proud of?

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I’m most proud of moving to a new place all by myself (like I literally knew zero people) and making a new life. I LOVE my family and I LOVE Pittsburgh, but I have never been away because I went to college downtown. When I graduated from college (which is also a proud accomplishment), I went straight into grad school, so I figured if I was going to do that, I would go somewhere different. I have done so many things in the last year that have changed me in all the best ways and most of them wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t taken a leap of faith and moved. Washington, D.C. is the perfect distance from home because it’s far enough to feel like you’re in a totally different place but close enough that I can go home essentially whenever I want. The plan was to do grad school here and then go home…and then I got a teaching job. So now the plan is when I get married and have kids, I will move back to Pittsburgh. But who really knows! 🙂

What’s your favorite holiday?

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We really like Christmas around here. And I’m not talking just me, I mean my whole family. 🙂

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We make gingerbread houses…and the icing that holds the house together is thebomb.com. I’ll have to get my mom to share the recipe!!!

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We have two trees…one upstairs in the family room and one downstairs in the game room. Both are artificial (though we have had real trees before too) and the tree in the family room is 8 feet tall and sits on a rotating base. Yep, that’s right…we have to decorate every side of that tree because it spins. 🙂 The tree downstairs is just for fun and has a lot of homemade ornaments on it! I love having a December birthday because my birthday presents are under the tree. 🙂

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We bake some of the same recipes every year…and then we always try something new. Candy cane cookies are one of our traditions, but reindeer Nutter Butter cookies with M&M eyes and pretzel antlers were Pinterest’s idea. 🙂

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We all hide in our rooms and act like little elves on Christmas Eve Eve to get all of our wrapping done! Even Colby knows he’s supposed to be in on the madness!

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And we wear really fashionable clothing, like vests and turtlenecks. Hahaha

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We spend Christmas Eve at my uncle’s (my mom’s brother) house and our parents make us take a picture in order of height with our hand on the person’s shoulder in front of us. This worked really well when we were younger because we were in order by height AND age! I have no idea what happened this year because our heights and ages are all over the place and I looked awkwardly short so my cousin CJ picked me up. Hahaha

If you had to give me one piece of advice what would it be?

It sounds selfish…but the only person that you really need to make happy is yourself. Society and social media and sometimes even our own friends lead us to believe that we should be or need to be doing certain things, and that just isn’t true. You have to live with yourself your whole life, so you better be doing things that make your own self happy!

Also, no one in the real world knows what they’re doing. You know how you think once you finally have that degree or that job you’ve always dreamed of, THEN you will finally have your life figured out? Those things don’t hurt…but adults are honestly like little children in grown up bodies running around trying to make it look like they have their lives together. 🙂

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If you could live off of one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

Chips and salsa. Which is what I ate while I laid in my bed and wrote this post. #glamorous

Link to your favorite blog post that you’ve written.

This post is very important to me. In college, I hopped on the crazy calorie counting train. I was the person that sat at the dinner table Google-ing the online menu, because usually that menu would give you a calorie count of each dish. I self-identified as orthorexic because I was absolutely obsessed with only eating the healthiest foods. And it also didn’t help that I worked out a lot and burned off almost everything I ate. I weigh almost 15 pounds more now than I did when I was at my lightest, and though every BMI chart would tell you my lightest weight was considered “healthy”, it certainly wasn’t. I had no muscle, I lost my period, I was always tired, and I craved sugar all the time. I still struggle some days but I am much more balanced now!

Hour By Hour Weekend [August]

Did you have a good weekend? Oh, you did? Me too! 🙂

Brace yourselves, friends. The picture overload is coming! I’m linking up with Astleigh over at Hill Collection to share my weekend with you hour by hour. If you’re a blogger, link up with us! If you forgot to take a picture every hour, that’s okay. Even Astleigh said so! 🙂 This post is meant to help you remember the little details of your days. I wrote a post like this last month and it is so crazy to think how much I have done and how much has changed since then!

– Saturday – 

7:10 AM

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I slept in my running clothes because I had my alarm set to wake up and run 12 miles. My belt was packed with my ID, my metro card, and my debit card (just in case). My mini water bottles were filled with Powerade and waiting for me in the fridge. My headband and bobby pins were right on my nightstand and I was armed with a brand new playlist on my iPod! All of this to ensure I would actually get out the door at 7 AM. One major runner fail: forgetting to buy fuel. For me, this means Gu. I always always always eat Gu when I doing a long run. Yesterday, I had no choice but to take a Snickerdoodle Larabar with me. It did the trick!

8:10 AM

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My mom knew I was out and about…and I stopped to snap a picture of Arlington in the distance!

9:10 AM

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Haunted water fountain on the National Mall?!?! How is it just on all by itself?!

10:10 AM

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My “oh no, it’s been an hour. Time to take a picture!” picture. I didn’t even clean the sink off for you. 😉 I finished my run right near a metro stop, rode the train home, and started getting ready for brunch.

11:10 AM

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Drinking a “Matchbox Mimosa” at brunch with other DC fitness bloggers! Let’s rewind for a second: on Friday, I was reading blogs and I found a really fun one called Eat Pray Run DC. Courtney, the lovely lady behind the blog, mentioned two of her friends in her post, Mar and Cynthia, so of course I clicked over to their blogs, too! I was reading and leaving comments and just having fun reading new blogs. However, the three of them were hosting brunch for DC bloggers on Saturday morning and once they figured out that I was in the area, they invited me to come! I was so excited. 🙂 Some ladies had met before, others knew each other just from social media, and still others had never met! It was great to network and talk about all things running and blogging. Most of us are training for races in the fall, so it was fun to talk about our training and hear about other locations that people are traveling to for races!

12:10 PM

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Time for a veggie frittata. I make the same kind of eggs/omelettes/frittatas all the time so I loved the flavor of pesto and goat cheese in this dish!

1:10 PM

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Photo credit: @eatprayrundc Instagram

Saying our goodbyes and taking lots of pictures in the process! These ladies were so generous. They raffled off gift certificates for Zengo Cycle, Pure Barre, and South Block Juice Company. The raffle also included compression socks from Bright Life Go, running shorts, and a SOS Rehydrate drink pack. Each of the winners were so excited! Then, everyone that attended was gifted a flavor infuser water bottle and a coupon for one of the new salads at Bowl’d, which was such a thoughtful gesture! I feel like I made so many new friends yesterday! If you’re looking for some fitness inspiration, click on over to one (or all!) of these blogs!

Mar @ Mar On The Run
Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC
Cynthia @ You Signed Up For What
Courtenay @ Got 2 Run 4 Me
Chaitali @ Running and Enjoying
Alexis @ Flecks of Flex
Lauren @ Breathe Deeply and Smile
Bri @ Bretagey
Colleen @ Live Free and Run
Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club
Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes
Sharita @ Get Fit Like That

2:10 PM

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Baking and that’s all you get to know for today. 😉 Recipe to come Wednesday!

3:10 PM

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Lost outside of my friend Lindsey’s new apartment! She is one of my best friends from Pittsburgh. We met in college and lucky for me she just moved to Virginia, so I had to check out her new place. 🙂

4:10 PM

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Laying poolside. Because I really need more sun. #not #startingtopeel #yuck

5:10 PM

Still laying at the pool…we did dare to dip IN the pool at one point, but the water was cold so I said no to that! I spared you the selfie because it is not cute. Hahaha

6:10 PM

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Lindsey was cooking turkey tacos and I was HANGRY. She gave me fruit to shut me up. 🙂

7:10 PM

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Taking pictures of Tyko because dinner isn’t done yet…

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HAPPINESS! I know this looks nicely portioned and all, but I’m not really a normal serving size kind of gal. I ate my weight in tortilla chips. Just saying.

8:10 PM

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One block from my bed! Ha! Lindsey and her roommate were going to an outdoor concert near their apartment in Reston and I said I would go, too. While Lindsey took a shower, I fell asleep on her bed. So instead of concert going, I decided to call it a night. It was a busy day!

9:10 PM

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My happy place. I’m comfy, I have a snack, I have entertainment…what else do I need?!

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Good night, moon. 🙂

– Sunday –

7:30 AM

I had been tossing and turning since 6:45, so it was just time to say good morning! While my Keurig did it’s thang, I did this:

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Good morning, clean dishes. Then I 409’ed my kitchen and bathroom counters and swept the floors. Because every Sunday morning should start off with a major cleaning spree, right?! Ha!

8:30 AM

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It was cloudy when I first came outside, so I kind of got to see the sun rise, which was cool! The weather on this morning was beautiful. 74 degrees and 60% humidity. I even felt a breeze. It made me think FALL! And it made me think of running because it’s just so much easier when the air is crisp like that!

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9:30 AM

I made my bed…and here are the pillows I chose!

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 See Friday’s comments for throw pillow color suggestions that I did not listen to. 🙂 I really wanted to do navy, but Pier I didn’t have that big fluffy pillow in navy. It was at a store 30 miles away and they couldn’t order it but I could go pick it up BLAH BLAH BLAH –> Moral of the story: I chose a different color scheme. I destroyed Pier I’s pillow wall creating different pillow arrangements ha! I created a reddish option, a navy option, a baby blue option, and then this tan/teal option. Ultimately, I loved that fluffy tan pillow and I loved the beading on the teal and tan pillow. I already had the two yellow pillows (they’re from Target) and I was going to put them in storage, but my arrangement was looking a little sad and my walls are yellow anyway, so I think it brightens it up a little!

10:30 AM

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Lindsey came to DC and we had plans to eat brunch at Ted’s Bulletin. While we waited for our table, we walked around Capitol Hill and stopped in District Doughnut. Because everyone needs a little sugar before breakfast. Haha!

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This is a Fluffernutter doughnut and it’s just as amazing as it sounds. So sweet and the icing was delicious! I told you before I like getting dessert so I can just take a bite…I love friends who will indulge with me. 🙂 I also NEED to try the Snickerdoodle doughnut!

11:30 AM

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A much more balanced meal! This is the Garden Omelette with egg whites and more coffee. Oh, I had so much coffee on this Sunday.

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An episode of The Three Stooges was playing in the restaurant. 🙂

12:30 PM

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We did lots of walking on this day! After brunch, we walked over to Eastern Market. It’s an indoor and outdoor food and arts market! I haven’t been there since the early spring and there are SO many more vendors there now that it is summer. I liked looking at the antique pieces (because I knew my Dad would like them) and the pieces of art…I do not feel like I am artistically gifted, so I love seeing other work, whether it’s hand drawn or through photography. Lindsey and I also LOVED these brightly colored woven bags. The woman said they are handmade in Madagascar!

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We found a bookstore that was quite possibly the most narrow, yet filled bookstore I have ever been in. You absolutely cannot go in there and find something at first glance ha! The sections were labeled by genre and the books were in alphabetical order by author, obviously, but there was still SO much to see! As you can see, some books didn’t even make it to the shelf…they line the stairs. And the man who runs the store was sitting in a literal CLOSET right inside the front door because the open space on the first floor was obviously full of books. Such a unique place!

1:30 PM

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I just love to ride bikes. 🙂

2:30 PM

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We’ve walked and biked and walked and walked…and now we are hanging out with Lincoln.

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And I am napping.

3:30 PM

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We’ve left Lincoln, stood in the world’s longest line for a bottle of water, hiked up a huge hill to the metro, and made it back to my apartment. I love riding the escalator out of the metro station because when you look up…you just see up and up and up. 🙂

4:30 PM

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I am shopping for a night stand at Tuesday Morning. Because I like to torture myself and NOT buy my furniture all at one time. But really, I do like shopping, so it’s fine…

5:30 PM

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Criteria for night stand: fun color and has a drawer. Marshall’s, we have a winner! To those who are interested in me and my throw pillows, this display convinced me to keep my teal pillows and add the yellow that you saw in the above picture. I arranged it like that all pretty in the morning…and then by the time I went out on this particular shopping trip, I packed up the pillows in my car because I was returning those things! No way was I going to have teal pillows. I always choose the color teal. Well, Marshall’s and your cute night stand, you have convinced me. 🙂

6:30 PM

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Both pictures are time stamped as 6:30. The nightstand can be explained as “Look Mom and Dad, I finally made a decision…” and the selfie cannot be explained at all. Saved Snapchat, perhaps?

7:30 PM

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Dinner and a book on the patio. I don’t know why I call it a patio, because it is really a balcony, but go with it. P.S. I’m reading Bossypants by Tina Fey and I want to quit. It’s not as LOL funny as Mindy Kalig’s and Chelsea Handler’s books. Have any of you read Bossypants? Should I keep reading?

8:30 PM

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Big Brother AND the first Steelers preseason football game were both on TV. Good thing they were only one channel away from each other so I could flip back and forth! AND I FORGOT that Bachelor In Paradise was on so I missed the first hour. Who would like to recap that first hour for me? Thank you. 🙂

9:30 PM

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Snack and coloring book. I got my mom a coloring book for her birthday because she had been talking about it and while I was at the bookstore, I decided I wanted one for myself. 🙂

10:30 PM

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I started writing this blog post, but I thought I would give you a look at how much progress I made coloring…I am a perfectionist so apparently I color slowly. Plus popcorn and reality TV…I must not have been in the zone!

Now that you know EVERYTHING about me…how was your weekend?!

What I Ate (Or Didn’t Eat) Wednesday

I think about food constantly. I am definitely not one of those people who “forgets” to eat. I had a conversation with my coworker last week about how I don’t understand those people. I eat lunch and think about what’s for dinner. It’s just how I roll. 😉 But there was a time in life where I didn’t just think about food…I obsessed over it. And that led to some very unhealthy habits. How are we even supposed to know what to do anyway? Paleo, vegan, “clean eating”, counting your macros, the Zone diet…IT’S ALL SO CONFUSING! I listen to Chalene Johnson’s podcast “The Chalene Show” and she said something powerful recently: you don’t want to go ON a diet, you want to HAVE a diet. Something healthy that you can continue to do for the rest of your life. That makes so much sense. But of course I am just now coming to this conclusion and it took me awhile to get here. A few years ago, I fell into the calorie counting trap.

When I was in high school, I danced and ran cross country. During my junior year, I also started going to the gym for fun. But I never worked out because I felt like I had to. Being active was just something I did. The same goes for food: I honestly can’t even tell you what I ate back then because I know I didn’t like a lot of pretty normal food…think scrambled eggs or lasagna with red meat…my picky childhood habits still existed. Ha! In any case, food was food to me. I ate what I craved and I ate when I was hungry. And now that I think about it, my high school lunches usually consisted of the salad bar, a side of fries, and a chocolate chip cookie. I’m dying. Hahaha

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June 2010

Anyways, like I said, I just didn’t give much thought to what I ate or how I worked out…or how I looked. That all changed when I went to college. The four years I spent at Duquesne were four of the best years of my life, but I became SO hard on myself. Freshman year, I was a statistic. The usual girl who gains the freshman fifteen. Except it was like the freshman eleven, so I was kind of proud of myself. Ha! I had just continued living my life the same way…eating what I wanted, working out how I wanted…but I threw some other things in the mix too. Like snacks in the library when you’re studying. And alcohol. And snacks with your friends when you’re watching a movie. 😉 Plus, I just wasn’t moving as much. I was still dancing, but I wasn’t running anymore, and going to the gym was like social hour for me. In any case, I felt bloated and gross by the time I went home for the summer and I knew I was going to do something to change my ways.

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April 2011

It started off REALLY well. I LOVED indoor cycling classes at my gym and I started just being more conscious of what I was eating. If I knew I was going to indulge later, I would try to eat healthier earlier in the day. It was very balanced throughout the summer and all the way through my sophomore year. I even became a certified Spinning instructor! And I really did feel a change! But that was the extent of my thoughts about food and exercise. Point for me.

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April 2012

Then, I discovered the app My Fitness Pal and that little app rocked my world. Suddenly I was counting the calories in EVERYTHING. I certainly wasn’t eating less, but I really cared how many calories were in whatever I was eating. I worked an office job that summer so it was pretty easy to control what I was eating because I could only eat what I packed in my lunch box. If you aren’t familiar with My Fitness Pal, you can enter a bunch of statistics about yourself and it calculates what how many calories IT thinks you should be eating. It’s not very accurate (because everyone is totally different) and it doesn’t take into account what is in food…protein, carbs, fat, sugar…it just counts calories. So that’s what I did. And I became a maniac.

All of these crazy thoughts were just in my head. I fell into the trap of thinking 1200 calories per day was the way. I am not saying this is the wrong number for everyone, it was just the wrong number for me. Using My Fitness Pal to track my calories, I remember getting excited when it told me how much weight I would lose if I kept up these eating habits. And I remember how I excited I was when it said I didn’t reach my calorie goal. So wrong. But at this time, I really thought losing weight and getting to that number I had in my head would make me so happy.

I didn’t want to be the weird person who didn’t eat certain things so I would order them or eat them, even if it was just a few bites. I did get to the point where I didn’t want to eat at restaurants because that food didn’t come with a label that told me how many calories it was. I was the girl at the table Google-ing the restaurant’s nutrition facts while I looked over the menu. I also was the grocery store’s number one fan of everything low-carb, low-fat, low-calorie. I am sure my mother loved grocery shopping with me. But I wouldn’t let myself believe that I was doing anything wrong because I still ate “bad” foods sometimes…even though eating that food made me seriously panic on the inside.

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Exhibit A… 🙂

 I didn’t even let myself believe something was wrong when I was at the hairdresser and I got so dizzy sitting still that they called an ambulance. I was dehydrated…but I was probably also hungry. Other weird things started to happen to me too…and I knew they weren’t supposed to happen. Like I started missing my period. I was tired more than usual. And I craved sugar all. the. time. I remember telling my boyfriend at the time that I was worried that I was doing something wrong, but that I just wanted to be healthier. And because I was losing weight, I felt like that meant I was getting healthier. He told me to delete My Fitness Pal but of course I couldn’t do that. Besides, the only comments I ever heard about the way I looked at this time were, “Wow! Have you lost weight? You look so good!” So even though I was questioning what I was doing, I kept right on going. I was losing weight in all the right places (which I had identified as my stomach and hips) and even though I was getting closer to that number in my head, I had no intention of stopping. I was so proud that I looked so good!

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August 2012

When I got back to school in the fall for my junior year, I rediscovered my love of running. My friends and I had moved off campus and into an apartment and I loved waking up in the morning and running around the city. It was so pretty and such a refreshing way to start the day! But because I was still a maniac at this time, I also loved that running was one of the few exercises that burned the most calories. So if there was a day when I didn’t get to run, that was very very bad.

Finally, I started to hear some negative comments, and because deep inside I knew I was doing it wrong too, these comments really resonated with me. One friend told me he had never seen me eat a piece of pizza and he knew that I would never eat something like that. Just so you know, he usually ate lunch with me and I usually ate salad. And a cookie. Because #allthesugarcravings, remember? Another friend (behind my back) mentioned to one of our mutual friends that she noticed I had lost weight…and I looked too skinny. Those two things really stuck with me because I didn’t want to be that girl. I also didn’t want to be the kind of person who ate at The Cheesecake Factory and then came home to run (even though I already worked out that day). And yes, that did happen.

I kept running (because I love heart love running for more than the number of calories it burns) but I decided to back off calorie counting. Because I had started to doubt myself in this whole journey, I had discovered the term “orthorexia“, which is defined as an unhealthy obsession with eating “healthy” or “right” foods and I kind of thought that fit the bill for me. I wanted to be in control of my food, I wanted to eat only fruits and vegetables and chicken, and I judged other people HARD for their food choices. But when I finally decided to make a change, even though I felt like I identified with orthorexia, I didn’t seek professional help. I felt like because I could recognize this in myself that I didn’t need to get serious help. And that ended up working for me. Instead, I told my mom, my best friend, and my boyfriend at the time what I was thinking…and I told them to watch me. Because I was going to be watching myself. No extra workouts. Giving up the long list of restrictions. And DELETING My Fitness Pal.

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January 2013

I will not lie to you…it was very, very hard. I counted calories for so long that I could still count them even without using the app. I still judged other people for their food choices. I worked out extra hard on days I knew there would be “bad” food choices. And I couldn’t bring myself to reintroduce certain foods to my diet without feeling guilty…but you can’t expect instant change overnight. Also, my family got a puppy, so I had a new obsession. 🙂

I still don’t actually like how I think about food and exercise, but I’m getting better. Ask my friends and family…I probably talk about food and exercise TOO much…but I am just trying to find balance now. I was very unbalanced for so long. I want to be in a place where food is just food and I don’t label it as “good”, “bad”, “healthy”, or “unhealthy”. I really want to know when my mentality shifted so much. Why did I used to be the kind of girl who didn’t think about food or exercise and still loved life? How did I became the kind of girl who judged herself SO MUCH? We all say that we are our own worst critic and I really believe that is so true. But I also believe that we need to work on loving ourselves because we only get one body. Even though I lost weight in this process, I really was not in any way living a healthy life. I was eating the most random assortment of food and working out for way too long. It’s hard for me to be at the weight I am now because it is almost 15 pounds heavier than I was at my lightest…but I honestly don’t believe that my body is made to be at that low weight. I am 5’9!!! Maybe with the right nutrition and exercise, I would get back there. I don’t know. I don’t care. I do know what I don’t want to weigh (don’t we all know that number? ;)) but anything under that certain number in my head is okay with me. Why? Why am I suddenly okay with weighing any number?

Because I’m really happy. Because I have forgiven myself. Because I eat healthy (actually truly healthy…not Kylie is crazy healthy) foods. Because I work out 6 days a week and that is MY choice. Because my clothes fit. And I can buy more if they stop fitting. 😉 Because my friends and family will love me anyway. And because I deserve to eat a cupcake when I want to and not feel bad about it.

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