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

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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!