What’s Up Wednesday: October

Long time, no blog! Today I felt inspired to share what’s been going on lately. A friend I made through blogging shared an article in our group text recently about why lifestyle blogs matter.  So here I am. 🙂

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Linking up with Sheaffer and Shay!

What I’m eating this week:

Butternut squash in my breakfast shakes. Don’t unfriend me. 😂 My friend Shannon told me you can’t taste it, it makes your shake creamier, and it’s just a hidden serving of veggies. I definitely couldn’t taste it in my breakfast shake over the weekend with vanilla powder and berries, but I added it to my chocolate shake this morning and it just tasted…like there was something in there besides chocolate. So beware! I like this Vega One Organic shake, and I buy the packets so I can get several flavors. I drink it more for the vitamins and probiotics than the fact that it’s a protein drink, but it makes my mornings easy!

Now, onto more important dishes like this baked mac and cheese. Whatever popped up on Pinterest when I searched “crock pot” and “Velveeta” was my winner! We added some shredded chicken and broccoli and have leftovers for days. 🙂

The Trader Joe’s sample cart gets me every time. This weekend, they were serving their “Just Sauce Turkey Bolognese”, and it was amazing. I served mine over zoodles & spaghetti with cheese-filled garlic breadsticks. YUM.

The rest of the week looks like leftovers, grilled cheese and this Trader Joe’s harvest soup, and probably some chicken quesadillas because the quesadilla maker is our favorite kitchen appliance.

What I’m reminiscing about:

Last year at this time, there were so many fun things happening. We went to our favorite pumpkin patch, I bought a new car (a Ford Escape), and Zeke went to the dog park for the first time!

Then I traveled to present at a conference in Denver for work. This trip was memorable for three reasons: I had never been to Colorado, I had never presented at a conference, and I left Zeke for the very first time since he came home!

My friend Melanie was also in Denver at the conference, and Joe flew out for the weekend after my presentation, so it was a great trip. We loved it there so much that we started talking about going back while we were still there. Ha!

As evidenced by my new car picture and my poster presentation picture, apparently I was really in the mood to throw my hands in the air. 😂

What I’m loving:

I moved to a new office space at work and I have a window which is delightful. I got a salt lamp for my desk at work and I love the pinkish glow it gives off all day. Zeke’s dog daycare has cameras so I can watch him play all day long. Stef sent me the most comfy blanket as a housewarming gift! The orange/red leaves on trees are so beautiful and I’m having fun exploring new walking/running trails near my new house.

Zeke is also loving the trails, leaves (because they make noise!), and the blanket. 🙂

What I’ve been up to:

October was a fun month!

The first highlight actually happened at the end of September but it was basically October at that point so it counts. 😉 I traveled to upstate New York for a friend’s wedding, and got to see one of my very best friends for the first time in more than a year! Other highlights included having Zeke come to the office one day, hosting my Dad for the weekend (we did lots of home projects), meeting new friends for book club, and traveling to Texas for the first time! We stayed in Dallas but I also took a road trip to Waco. I will definitely write a whole post about that trip because I have lots of pictures!

I also finished Beachbody’s Morning Meltdown 100 program, which is crazy to me because 100 days is a long time! I started back in July, and managed to be consistent with the workouts through buying a house, taking vacations, traveling to weddings, and adding a long commute to work to my life. Feeling very accomplished. And ready for my next challenge! My friends are talking about spring half marathons so we will see. 🙂

What I’m dreading:

I ordered two new shirts from SheIn and I don’t like either of them. Womp, womp. So I either have to figure out if I want to deal with mailing them back, or if I’m just going to lose out on my $22…

What I’m working on:

Going to bed earlier! Because my commute is much longer now, I want to do absolutely nothing at the end of the day except cook dinner and walk Zeke. That means morning workouts and that means I need to go to sleep earlier!

What I’m excited about:

#mood

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What I’m watching/reading:

I am OBSESSED with the TV show Younger. I am only on Season 3 but it is a major favorite. More current shows I’m watching are A Million Little Things and Grey’s Anatomy (always Grey’s Anatomy). And the new season of Jack Ryan comes out on Amazon Prime on November 1. Yay!

I just finished reading What Happens In Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand. I liked this book a lot better than the first in the trilogy because I was expecting the cliffhanger this time. When I read Winter In Paradise last fall, I didn’t realize I was in for a trilogy, so the ending really threw me, and then I was even more thrown when I realized I had to wait a year to find out what happened next! Now to wait one more year for Book 3. 😉

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Amazon also reeled me in with a promo about ebooks. Spend $30 on ebooks, get $20 ebook credit AKA BOOKS FO FREE! Joe nicely reminded me my books weren’t really free, but I was still excited. I bought four books, and I already started Know My Name by Chanel Miller. It is so well-written so far and I can’t wait to read more. Inside Out by Demi Moore just sounded interesting, The Only Plane In the Sky by Garrett M. Graff is supposed to be a remarkable book about 9/11, and I’m pretty sure my new book club is reading American Royals by Katharine McGee next!

What I’m listening to:

I like to listen to songs on repeat, so here are two I can’t stop listening to:

What I’m wearing:

Universal Thread is the best line at Target! I love their jeans and I have these booties in three colors because that is totally necessary. *sarcasm*

What I’m doing this weekend:

Hopefully reading and lounging a lot, with a little bit of walking trails in between. 🙂

What I’m looking forward to next month:

Decorating for the holidays!

 

Thinking Out Loud

Happy Thursday! My favorite day of the week. Close enough to the weekend to start relaxing, but still putting in work at the office. And great shows on TV! 🙂

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The first thing I’m thinking about today are the delicious donuts I picked up on Tuesday morning after my doctor’s appointment. I have heard five star reviews about Duck Donuts, and I couldn’t help but make a pit stop on the way home. The donuts are served warm, and you get to choose your coating, topping, and drizzle. I was feeling much too indecisive, so I ordered a half dozen assortment and was pleasantly surprised with my order! I wolfed down the coconut donut in about six bites…serving a donut warm definitely makes it that much more delicious!

 

There are about five more weeks until the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, and training is going great! This will be Joe’s longest race so far, and my official entry back into the running world because I have been busy doing whatever workouts I want. 🙂 It is humbling to be building up to longer distances and realizing how much different it feels to start from scratch. I am actually following a training plan for the first time in forever, and doing exactly what it tells me!

 

Sometimes it’s glove weather, sometimes it’s shorts and tank top weather. The sun is starting to stay out a little bit longer every night and that is just the best.

I have been doing a lot of reading this year and I love every minute of it! My small group started reading “Uncommon” by Carey Scott and I really like it so far. Each chapter focuses on something different, like uncommon faith, uncommon courage, uncommon forgiveness, etc. The author also relates these traits to different women in the Bible, and I like that focus because on my own, I have been reading a lot of the Old Testament, and thinking more about the Patriarchs discussed there. I’ve loved our conversations about this book so far.

 

Another highlight of Tuesday night small group is our unofficial mascot! Sarah has the cutest Mini Labradoodle puppy named Riggs that joins us each week. He has gotten so big since the Spring, and no longer likes to just lounge on our laps! Now it’s all about playing with toys and seeing what everyone in the room is up to. Sometimes she can convince him to cuddle with her, though. 🙂

I follow Ashley Spivey on Instagram, who I know from her appearance on Brad’s season of The Bachelor. This was years ago at this point, and she is now married and living her best life in New York City. 🙂 Anyways, she always posts about her favorite books, and that would bring a lot of interaction to her page as people discussed what she had read in the comments. A few months ago, she created a Facebook group for whoever was interested to talk about and share books, and I’ve added so much to my “To Read” list since then!

Each month, a poll goes up in the group about what the book of the month will be. I didn’t read the January books, but as people started talking about meeting up with each other in their own towns, I got on board. In February, we read The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. Fun fact about the author of The Immortalists: she is coming to D.C. on March 9 for a book event!

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Several of us in the D.C. area connected on Facebook and planned a book club meeting for ourselves last night at The Coupe in Columbia Heights. Only in 2018 do you meet friends on the internet and go meet up with them without giving it a second thought. 😉 Everyone was so much fun and we really did get into deep discussions of the books! Plus, we shared other things we have been reading, and all caught up on recent Bachelor drama. I’m super excited to continue meeting up with these gals each month.

And finally, my favorite memes from the Internet this week.

 

The water one is SO true, I cannot even begin to explain. And that puppy is just so cute and relatable and I want him to come live with me. The end.

Friday Favorites

Oh Friday, you are finally here. It was 70* in D.C. yesterday and we’re approaching a 3 day weekend, so I could just end my list of favorites for the week right here, but it’s going to snow tomorrow so I need to remind myself of all the other fun things that have been going on. 🙂

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First on the list: watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony with friends. We had quite the spread of food, and no shortage of conversation! There were probably 20 of us, and while I tried to read the captions, we all ended up just talking about what we were seeing and catching up about other random things. 🙂 I have loved turning on the TV all week and seeing the stories of how athletes got to where they are!

 

Second favorite, although it is very lazy…watching the live stream of church from the couch. I loved this so much! Does it sound better if I say this last weekend we got more rain in 3 days than we have all fall/winter combined and I just didn’t want to go outside? Maybe. Also, only in D.C. would you listen to a sermon called “State of the Church”. 🙂

Can I also just say there are WAY too many things I enjoy watching on TV right now? This is a serious first world problem, but right now my favorites include The Olympics, The Bachelor, Celebrity Big Brother, The Amazing Race, and Bachelor Winter Games. How do I have time to do anything else, you ask? I never watch these shows live and fast forward through all of the commercials. #favorite

Tuesday was a fun day because I had lunch scheduled with two of my coworkers. I always bring my lunch, and I quite enjoying eating by myself. It’s my time to reset during the day! But it was nice to get out of the office, off campus, and eat with coworkers/friends at Paul Bakery. We had quiche and tea. Perfect Galentine’s Day lunch!

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My small group meets on Tuesday evenings, and this week we hosted a baby shower for one of the girls in our group. She is due next month with a sweet boy named Riker. 🙂 We all brought snacks to share and books for the baby. I gifted Guess How Much I Love You…who remembers that book? Plus, how creative is Shannon with her Hungry Caterpillar fruit board?!

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Valentine’s Day was a nice middle of the week event, too. 🙂 I had fun comparing a selfie Joe and I took right when we started dating to a more recent photo. We look so different!

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We planned to go to dinner and a movie, but ended up seeing our movie on Saturday afternoon (because it was raining…again) and just doing dinner on Wednesday. It was nice not to be out as late on a work night. 🙂 We ate at Paolo’s Ristorante and the red velvet cake stole the show. We exchanged small gifts, and I received the most beautiful roses!

 

It was a FULL week, and somehow, I am still keeping up with my training for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and the Pittsburgh Half. I haven’t legitimately followed a training plan for a race in a few years, so it is a humbling experience to be “starting over”, so to speak.

Yay for Friday and long weekends!

What’s Up Wednesday [January]

Hello, hello! Joining Shay, Mel, and Sheaffer for What’s Up Wednesday today. Here’s what’s been happening.

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What I’m eating this week:

Last Sunday, I stood in the kitchen cooking meals for the week. It worked out so well! But this week, I refused to meal plan and it’s all about the simple stuff. Like this Mexican Chicken Cauliflower Rice skillet and random omelettes and grilled cheese sandwiches. I also have one Blue Apron meal left in the fridge, so maybe that will motivate me to cook. 🙂

What I’m reminiscing about:

Brunch with friends at Birch and Barley! I have five girlfriends who all became friends through our local Lululemon Run Club. Some of us know each other from college, and others we met here. Now we run just as much but we don’t make it to run group very often. It’s always so fun to hang out with them. 🙂

We had bottomless coffee, yummy brunch food, and great conversation. Plus it was about 60 degrees on this Saturday so we walked around Logan Circle afterwards going in and out of shops, finally stopping for some tea.

What I’m loving:

Holiday candy, specifically Sour Patch Hearts, and finding $20 on my run. Payment for running in 20 degrees and lots of wind, I think!

What I’ve been up to:

Celebrating birthdays in the office, incorporating lots of lifting and strength work into my workouts, and enjoying the outside as much as possible. This may mean going for a walk at lunch (which cold weather makes difficult) or just opening the windows on a warmer than usual day. Fresh air makes me so happy!

What I’m dreading:

Finally figuring out what happens on This Is Us. My friends and I have so many theories but I know it will be a tearjerker!

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What I’m working on:

Making sure I read a little bit of something for fun every day, reading/watching professional development about project management, and growing my nails out. #eyeroll I want to get a manicure but I don’t enjoy the nail file when my nails are broken and short, so I’m trying to be patient while they grow!

What I’m excited about:

There’s still a little bit of daylight when I leave work at 5 PM! We are slowly and surely starting to move towards longer days. Woooo!

What I’m watching/reading:

“New” shows that I’m currently watching are This Is Us, Ellen’s Game of Games, The Amazing Race, and Grey’s Anatomy. But I am also in the middle of watching all the seasons of Suits of Amazon Prime and I loooove that show!

And of course I’m reading a few different things at the same time. At some point each day I read my One Year Bible. I like to always have a book with me so the paperback in my bag is The Breakdown by B.A. Paris and my Kindle has Crazy Rich Asians on it. I’m hoping to make it through that one before it’s due back at the library! And on Audible, I’m listening to Single State of Mind by Andi Dorfman.

What I’m listening to:

What I’m wearing:

Winter coats, scarves, gloves, but shockingly not boots. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve broken out my books this winter. I don’t know why I’m not in the mood to wear them! I have a pair of new Sperry boots that I’m loving, though.

What I’m doing this weekend:

I have no plans and that’s my favorite. 🙂

What I’m looking forward to next month:

A beach weekend with my mom in Atlantic City and Joe’s brother is coming to D.C. for the first time!

What else is new:

I really want a puppy so I either need recommendations about where to find a Golden Retriever in Virginia orrrr I need you to talk me out of the madness!

Bonus Question:  What’s your favorite soup recipe?

I LOVE some creamy chicken chili. This is a crockpot recipe, and also my favorite thing to take to a gathering. I got such great compliments on this soup at both a Friendsgiving and a small group event. It’s great to eat on it’s own or as a little dip with tortilla chips. You must try this 🙂

Friday Favorites [October]

– Family in town –

My mom and her best friend came to visit at the beginning of the month. Her friend was attending a workshop in the area, so she joined my mom and I at night for some fun weekend activities. 🙂

Since her workshop was out near the airport, we hung out in Reston one evening and had drinks at Barcelona. I had a wine flight and actually ended up ordering a glass of one of my 4 choices after a few sips! We also went to National Harbor to shop at the outlets and gamble at the MGM Casino.

– Apple picking –

I organized a social event for my small group and we drove a bit north to visit Homestead Farm. I’ve visited several different pumpkin patches in the DC Metro area and I loved this farm for its simplicity, and the fact that there was no admission fee! There was a farmer’s market, an apple orchard, a pumpkin patch, and a few areas with animals.

We were very excited to go apple picking because most of us never had before. We quickly realized we do not know what constitutes a “good” apple, so I picked half a dozen and hoped for the best. Update: I just ate the last one yesterday and they were delicious! We also walked through the rows of pumpkins, but most of us settled on the more interesting looking pumpkins…the ones that are colorful and bumpy or the Cinderella pumpkins. 🙂

– Around town –

I saw shows at two different venues this month. Joe listens to the ESPN Fantasy Focus Football podcast on a very regular basis, and while I play fantasy football and occasionally listen, I can’t pretend to know the podcast hosts as well as he does! Matthew Berry, Field Yates, and Stephania Bell brought their podcast to town one Tuesday night for a live show, and it was so fun!

The show was at DC Improv, which is a small venue, and we were seated much like you are at tables in a restaurant. For a very inexpensive price, we were served dinner, and got to talk to the podcast hosts before and after the show. They have great chemistry and are hilarious, so even if your football knowledge is lacking, you probably still would have had a good time. 😉

This past Tuesday, the Museum of the Bible, which opens to the public on November 12, held an event in its theater. Someone at church had a connection, so a few girls from my small group and I were given tickets and went to check it out! For the second year, Kirk Cameron held a live event that was recorded and played in movie theaters around the nation.

Revive Us 2 was focused on “issues that divide us” and we heard from guest speakers like Alex and Stephen Kendrick and Dr. Ben Carson. My favorite part was the worship band with lead singer Zach Williams! He just released an album and we sang some of those new songs. I added Chain Breaker and Old Church Choir to my Spotify playlist as soon as I got home. 🙂

– Day trip –

Then, there was the Saturday that started with brunch and continued on with a visit to a new-to-me pumpkin patch and a winery. While I was at brunch, I saw one of my friends post a Snapchat story of a corn maze, and I was excited because this was not part of the farm I previously visited, and Joe and I had planned to go get pumpkins on this day anyway!

After a quick Google search, we were off to Great Country Farm in Bluemont, VA. It’s 53 miles from Arlington, so it was a commitment, but Bluemont Vineyard and Dirt Road Brewery were right across the way, so there was plenty to do once we were out there!

While we made our way through the corn maze, we kept hearing the loudest banging noises…there was just an area right nearby where you could shoot apples out of cannons at targets! Besides the corn maze, we walked through where some of the animals were hanging out (although we missed the pig race by 10 minutes), took a hayride out to the pumpkin patch, and grabbed some kettle corn for the road.

We dragged our two 18 lb pumpkins to the car and drove right across the road to Bluemont Vineyard. And when I say drive across the road, I literally mean we pulled out of one driveway and went straight into another! It was quite the trek up the driveway, and then quite the trek from our car to the building…it was really directly uphill. But the views were awesome and we had fun trying to figure out what skyline we could see off in the distance. 🙂

There was indoor and outdoor seating, live music, and pizza that smelled delicious! We both ordered a wine flight to try some different red and white wines, and ended up realizing we are true city people because the bugs were out of control and on our nerves. Ha! Bugs aside, I will definitely return to this winery.

That’s October in a nutshell! Up next on the agenda is carving pumpkins and keeping myself from pressing play on the Christmas music because I’m just over here like…

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Linking up with Five on Friday and Friday Favorites

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

A Weekend In My Life: Workin’ It Wednesday

One of my favorite posts on this blog to look back on is one of the most recent (even though that was more than a year ago!) because it tells all about a day in my life. I love rereading that post because it takes me back to that time in my life. I have yet to do another day in the life post, but I should because no two days are ever the same and I have a new job now! That post is in the making…but for now, I’ll share a recent weekend in my life and link up with Erika and Shay. Fair warning: I extended my weekend into Monday because I had family in town, and also ate out for almost every meal which is very atypical!

– Friday –

My Fridays begin at 5 PM, and I usually like to have dinner plans. Waking up early for work makes it hard for me to want to be out super late! Plus I like enjoying the morning on Saturday. On this particular Friday, Joe and I were talking about going for a run on a new-to-him trail. He just moved to D.C. so pretty much everywhere we run is new to him! At the last minute, I had a change of heart and told him we should run to Shake Shack…because what’s better than running and dinner all in one?! From Arlington, you can run across the Key Bridge and through Georgetown down a nice little path before you have to hit the streets again.

By mile 3.5, I think Joe regretted his decision to run to dinner. But we made it and the fries and lemonade were SO worth it. Joe had the Chick’N Shack, and I had the ‘Shroom Burger…the cashier made sure to tell me it was a vegetarian burger. I knew that, but I guess some people who order get confused by the name! After dinner, we walked half a mile to Farragut Square. All summer, different outdoor areas host free movies on Friday and Saturday evenings. The only flaw in our plan to run to dinner was that we didn’t bring blankets or anything to sit on at the park!

I can never say no to Melissa McCarthy, so our film for the evening was a good one — Ghostbusters! I have already seen this in theaters, but it was so fun to be outside surrounded by a bunch of other people just enjoying summer. It was also fun to see people walking through the park who were unaware of what was going on…one guy on the phone said, “Hold on…I’m walking in front of a movie screen right now!” Another guy biked past with three boxes of pizza on the back of his bike! Ha! After about an hour, our legs were itchy from sweating while running and sitting with all the bugs in the grass, so we ducked over to a park bench and it was perfect! Once the movie was over, we took the Metro back to Arlington and called it a night.

– Saturday –

Saturday morning was for lounging around. I probably should have been running, but I ran a lot of miles last week, so I figure it worked out just fine. By lunch time, I was ready to get moving for the day, so Joe and I ate at Silver Diner. This is not your average diner — they are all about fresh, locally sourced food. They have delicious breakfast, but I was feeling the chopped Cobb salad on this day…I love the tangy ranch dressing, avocado, and the fact that it is chopped…duh. 🙂

My friend Sarah invited me to go to Stone Tower Winery with some friends, so I went on over to her house to get ready to go. Most wineries are about 45 minutes to an hour from Arlington, so we all piled in her friend Amy’s car and headed out. Side note: Amy drives my dream car. A white, four door Jeep Wrangler with a hard top. #bestillmyheart

On the drive out, Amy had the best idea…

Stop and eat some Chic-Fil-A. I can never say no to their chicken nuggets or their lemonade! Are you sensing a theme here? Lemonade is where it’s at all summer long for me. We also got these perfect cow hats to be put to use on Tuesday, which was Chic-Fil-A day. Who wouldn’t dress up like a cow to get a free entree?! Although I do have to be honest, on Tuesday I was cooking buffalo chicken dip to take to small group. Whoops!

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Stone Tower was absolutely beautiful. I have heard great things about the views at this winery, and I was seriously impressed! You pull up a long, windy drive to get to the property, and first enter a large barn where the wine tastings take place. There’s an outdoor area for families and dogs nearby, and then across the way is their event space, and another outdoor space for those 21 and above. We first did a wine tasting — for the flavors, yes, but also so we could spend more time in that barn!

The worker talking with us was so knowledgeable, and spoke about some of her other favorite wines and let us try those as well. The tasting menu includes 3 whites and 3 reds…I liked the very first white, Wild Boar Sauvignon Blanc, and the very last red, Estate Wind Swept Hill. And then I ordered a glass of rosé to enjoy outside, because of course I did.

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We had the best time sitting on the outdoor couches and talking about everything under the sun. A perfect girls’ day!

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After we made the drive home, I took a nap and ate a late dinner at Rockland’s BBQ since it’s about ten steps from my apartment. I don’t usually eat out during the week, nor do I usually eat every meal out on the weekend, so you’re looking at a very unusual time for sure. 🙂 The best item on the menu (in my opinion) at this restaurant is Rockland’s Pearl. It’s a bowl of mac and cheese, baked beans, chopped pork, and Rockland’s barbecue sauce. I’m sure the description doesn’t do it justice, so you should try it if you’re ever in the area!

– Sunday –

This day started bright and early at church. I love my church and it will be one of the places I miss most if I ever move away from D.C. I have always served in children’s ministry, so I’ve been praying about working somewhere else in the church.

On this day,  I was shadowing those who work on the hospitality team. They serve coffee and donuts, welcome people in, pass out the weekly bulletin, take the offering, and just generally give everyone a happy face to find if they need something during service. I helped pass out programs, give directions, and take the offering. The 10:30 AM service is very low maintenance because you don’t have to set up or clean up since there are services before and after, so once I shadowed for a bit, I headed into church to hear the message for the week.

Since I entered a bit late, I sat by myself, and that was just fine since I was catching up on what was going on. 🙂 To be honest, I felt like I missed the most important parts at the beginning, so I listened to the podcast of the entire service again on Tuesday!

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After church, Joe and I headed to a nearby cafe to sit outside and wait for my mom and my aunt to arrive in town! I called my little brother, who had just gotten his college schedule via email, and Joe looked up stocks or some other very interesting thing like that. 😉

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Somehow, the GPS directed my mom and Aunt Sheila to the middle of nowhere Maryland instead of Capitol Hill. They found us eventually and we had lunch at Ted’s Bulletin! I love their homemade pop-tarts and just the general feel of the restaurant. It’s very old fashioned and there is always a black and white television show playing on nearby projectors. After lunch, we were ready to walk around and headed over to Eastern Market. During the summer, they have even more vendors than they do during the winter! We spent some time looking at local art and jewelry made by the most creative people.

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I had to show them Capitol Hill Books, which is a used bookstore in an old row house that has absolutely everything. The owner has non-fiction downstairs, fiction upstairs, and other genre titles on shelves…but beyond that, you have to do some serious searching! I love the prices here because they are always at least 50% off. His prices are written right inside the cover, so they’re easy to find! I found a hardback copy of Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult for $12! And I also picked up Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (for $7!), because I have heard great things about both the book and the movie.

The heat was really getting to us by this point, so we headed back home! My Aunt Sheila is visiting my family in Pittsburgh and has never been to my place in D.C., so it was fun to show her around my favorite parts of town. We lounged on the balcony for a few hours, then grilled burgers and corn on the cob for dinner at Joe’s apartment. I have grills at my apartment, but they look like they belong on a campsite so I’m not a big fan. 😉 We fell asleep early because I had to work for part of the day on Monday.

– Monday –

I took a half day so that I could spend time with my mom and aunt before they left town. It was a quick trip for them, but Pittsburgh is only about 3.5 hours away. They had plans to visit Lakeshore Learning because my mom is a kindergarten teacher who absolutely loves her job so shopping for school stuff midsummer is her favorite task. 🙂 I rode the metro to work and then started my walk across the bridge…

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…and ran into a whole group of tourists at 7:xx AM. WHY were they up this early and where were they going?! I can promise there are no interesting sights right on the edge of the Key Bridge. Ha!

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Monday was a busy morning with two video calls, catching up on emails, and starting other tasks for the week. The most exciting thing to happen: my iPad and wireless headphones came in! I used some professional development funds to purchase these items, and I also signed up for an online class that starts in August, so I am excited to use my iPad for this. I have the 10.5 inch iPad Pro and it honestly feels thinner than my iPhone 7! The headphones are i.am+ Buttons by Apple and I LOVE them because they came with approximately 293480 ear buds to size them to your ear and they don’t fall out. Ear buds with those rubber pieces on the end will never stay in my ear, so I am happy!

At lunch time, I left for the day and walked my mom and aunt around Georgetown’s campus (I work here if you are a new reader!). We visited the school store and bought lots of things we don’t need. 🙂 Then we ate lunch on M Street at Clyde’s. A little salad/sandwich/soup lunch followed by cupcakes at Georgetown Cupcake, because you just have to. I honestly never tried a cupcake here until I started working at the university even though I come to this part of town all the time! I enjoy their competitor Baked and Wired more…the cupcakes are bigger. 😉

Then it was a quick drive around town to see some last nights, including what’s down at National Harbor. I love their waterfront and we quickly sought shade because it was so hot on this day! We took turns posing with their many statues, got iced tea at Starbucks, and walked along the water before finding a candy shop and calling it a day. They left around 5 PM and my weekend was officially over!

 

A Birthday & A Serious Question

Happy Tuesday! I have two topics to discuss with you on this fine day.

– Jake’s Birthday –

I love both of my brother’s birthdays almost more than I love my own. It’s so fun to celebrate people! 17 words that describe this awesome kid:

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And 17 of the cutest pictures ever (because Jake was the cutest baby ever):

 

– Race Shirts –

In the running world, there’s a bit of an ongoing controversy. Do you wear your race shirt TO the race, or are you the kind of person who can only wear the shirt post-race? I fall into the latter category, and I have very specific reasons why!

  1. I don’t like to wear anything new on race day. I want to wear the clothes that I know fit and feel the best. This new random race shirt hasn’t had time to pass my tests yet!
    2. I spend a lot of time selecting my race outfit! Beyond feeling good while I run, putting together a race day outfit is kind of like a reward for all of my hard work.
    3. Everyone knows where we are and what race we’re running. If I wore my race shirt, I would feel like a running billboard. Plus, I might blend in with other people who decided to wear THEIR shirts! Have you ever spectated a race? It’s quite the parade and you need to wear something obvious so that you stand out to those looking out for you!
    4. If you run in your hometown, you will most likely lounge around the day after the race. If you’ve traveled to your race, you’ll most likely be traveling home. In either situation, you will want to wear something comfy and casual, and a new race shirt fits the bill. Plus, it’s a subtle way to humble brag. 😉

So which side are you on? Race in your race shirt, or save it? Share your thoughts with us here!

Hour By Hour Weekend [March]

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

This was the perfect weekend for Astleigh over at Hill Collection to bring back her Hour by Hour linkup. I knew it would be out of the ordinary and fun to document! Originally, my mom was going to come to town and spectate the Rock ‘N Roll DC race. I was planning to run the half marathon and then we were going to head out of town for the night to go to a concert. There are a long list of reasons why I didn’t run this weekend, but I still went to the expo with my friends and had a ball. 🙂

Friday

2:00 PM

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My second graders are working on huge posters for Science Week this week at school. On Thursday, they partnered up, chose a topic, and started sketching their ideas. On Friday, they were to start working on their tri-fold boards. Thank the dear Lord my mom arrived on this day to volunteer in my classroom! I almost lost my mind with the number of markers and pencils and upset children in the room haha!

6:00 PM

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We decided to head out of town a day early to go to Atlantic City, New Jersey. The sunset views that you see while driving are never as pretty in photo form! Can you spot the Washington Monument? #pinksky

7:00 PM

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Who needs dinner when you have trail mix? Especially dried pineapple. #crack

9:30 PM

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Taking pictures as if I’ve never been here before! (Spoiler: I have…every Memorial Day Weekend for many, many summers!)

10:30 PM

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You’re wrong if you say there’s anything better than a hotel bed. Just wrong. 🙂

Saturday

9:00 AM

Room service for breakfast. 🙂 I, of course, was most excited about my baby bottle of Heinz ketchup. There is no other ketchup worth eating. I had an egg white omelette with peppers, onions, and cheese! We also wanted to try the oatmeal and fruit. The oatmeal was thick, filling, and delicious.

10:00 AM

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I made the world’s worst cup of coffee ever to help get me through “wanding” my hair. I love the look but my hair is thick, so my arm is still adjusting to being held up that long haha!

11:00 AM

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Out and about in the casino! We like to stay at Bally’s, which is right on the boardwalk. Any vacation is made better when the ocean is right in eye’s view. 🙂

12:00 PM

The new Britney Spears slot machines are SO fun! I only play penny machines and I start by putting a small amount into the machine because I honestly would rather buy something with my money than gamble with it, BUT this game was worth it! I loved hearing it sing to me. Occasionally, the song “3” would start playing and then you would win 3 times whatever amount popped up on the screen. It also sang “You Drive Me Crazy” when you won free games and one of the extra bonuses was picking little potion jars, so of course it would sing “Toxic”. 🙂

1:00 PM

We headed out to the Boardwalk to walk around and noticed that EVERYONE was dressed in green. I knew that the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade was this past weekend, but I made no connection to the fact that most everyone would be celebrating since the holiday is on Thursday this week! In Atlantic City, everyone was outside waiting for the 1 o’clock parade. My mom and I found a great spot to watch from the side and I took a picture with a random monkey. Then we noticed the skywalk from Caesar’s Shops to Caesar’s Casino and figured that view might be more fun. 🙂 It was definitely soundproof way up there though!

2:00 PM

Ditched the Boardwalk for the Tanger Outlets and stopped in for a quick lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s. I’m always a fan of a salad bar. Their tortilla soup was definitely not what I was expecting, but it was spicy and delicious! We also shared their crab cakes and I have no idea what that bright orange sauce it, but it paired well with the dish.

3:00 PM

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Give me all the brightly colored pants! And all the sales. I got two sweaters and the navy floral pants on the right for $48. 🙂

4:00 PM

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Back to Bally’s! We made a quick stop at Rite Aid because I have a head cold that won’t go away, but I was ready to try my luck with the puppies. They were cute, but it wasn’t a winning machine!

5:00 PM

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One of my favorite past times is forcing a pack of Shakeology to fit into a water bottle. #saidnooneever We can call this one a win, because I only spilled a bit of powder ONCE and the rest made it into the bottle. Then I read my book and relaxed on my comfy hotel bed. 🙂

6:00 PM

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We took a taxi to the Borgata Casino and asked a random guy to take our picture because we kept taking selfies that looked identical! Instead of saying, “Sure, I’ll take your picture!”, he said, “You know that every time I do this I take like 7 pictures. Ready, here we go…” The best of his 7 came out like this. Ha!

7:00 PM

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Omg garlic butter sauce. Omg cheesy breadstick. Omg burned tongue.

8:30 PM

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In our seats at The Music Box Theater. This picture is deceiving, but I was trying to cut off the blonde girl’s head in front of me, and that part was successful. 🙂 Anyways, this place only seats 900 people so we were actually quite close to the stage and not hanging off the ceiling. My mom and my aunt love Donny Osmond and while I can’t say I share their adoration, I’ve seen him in concert two or three times now and he does put on a great show!

10:30 PM

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Donny performed his encore song, Crazy Horses! He was SO interactive with the audience the entire time. There were many people called up to stage and others who were given random backstage passes. We, of course, stuck around after the show to try to get ourselves some backstage passes, but no luck! Then my mother almost got us killed when we were getting on the Jitney (one of Atlantic City’s busses) because she cut off a huge group of people who had been waiting for the bus longer than us. In the end, we all got on the bus, but the one lady was MAD and of course my mom talked to her and told her to calm down. The other woman yelled back. I played with my phone. Hahaha

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Sunday

10:00 AM

Oops! Time change made us sleep late. Breakfast at The Corner Cafe!

11:00 AM

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Back to Britney for one last chance at luck! She wasn’t having it so I played Wheel of Fortune, a Gremlins game, the Ellen Degeneres game, and then this Quick Hit game. Ellen ran me down to $9 so this really was a last ditch attempt and I won $80 so I was quite pleased with myself. 🙂

12:00 PM

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On the road back to DC. I look back at this picture with anger because it was after the Delaware Memorial Bridge that we ran into a whole ton of traffic that we never quite recovered from. A little fog and rain will make people drive like idiots, I tell ya. 😉

1:00 PM

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Hangry and trying to remain a pleasant co-pilot by eating a tostada salad from Baja Fresh!

2:00 PM

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Ignoring the upcoming tollbooths and being a terrible copilot by taking random pictures out the car window. Ha! Sorry, mom. She eventually found the $4 she needed. 😉

3:00 PM

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Quite the beautiful day for a drive, yes???

4:00 PM

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Home, goodbyes exchanged, workout clothes on, Beachbody OnDemand fired up. I decided to preview the new 22 Minute Hard Corps because hello, 22 minutes. I should know by now these trainers don’t mess around, but I really wasn’t expecting to need a shower after this workout. Hahaha

The rest of my evening consisted of three loads of laundry, watching Fixer Upper and Grey’s Anatomy, figuring out how to eat healthy this week without making a trip to the grocery store (lol), and writing this blog post. 🙂

On My Bookshelf [March]

Well, I just joined the Arlington County Public Library, and then a month later (aka this weekend), I paid my first late fee. 😉 Last Sunday, I remembered that my books were due and I dropped them off while I was out doing errands. But, while I was collecting them from around my room, I left one behind because I honestly thought it was mine! It was the one I liked best anyways, so no surprise that I tried to keep it, right?!

Me Before You
Jojo Moyes

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I read this book in a day, so I’ll let you be the judge of whether or not I liked it. Ha! I truly had no interest in reading this book until I saw that it was becoming a movie. But in its defense, I also didn’t really know the storyline, and once I did, I knew it was one that I would like.

This story starts with the main character, Lou, losing her job. She works at a cafe in a small town in England and she loves it! The owner of the cafe suddenly needs to leave town, and so he does…leaving Lou with no job. Now in her twenties, she never went to college and never really thought about what kind of job she would like to have. The career center in her town places her in the most random of jobs until finally she becomes a caretaker for a former London businessman, Will. He was paralyzed in an accident and is not interested in embracing his new life in a wheelchair. He’s sarcastic and mean, but Lou gives back a little of the sass that he gives and they end up becoming friends. She wants to badly for him to see the bright side of life again, and her job as his caretaker suddenly becomes so much more than just a job. I really loved how this story unfolded because even though you think you might be able to guess the ending, it really ends in a completely “un-Hollywood” way and so I am interested to see how it plays out on film. I am listening to the sequel, After You, on audiobook right now, and again, I have no idea what the storyline is, so I will keep you posted. 🙂

Then Came You
Jennifer Weiner

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I remember buying a sample of this book on my Kindle and being highly annoyed when the first chapter and a half ended. I wanted to know what happened! I finally bought it at a book sale at the library this summer for the low, low price of $1. 🙂

This story weaves together the lives of Annie, India, Bettina, and Jules. These four women are brought together through motherhood, in one way or another. Egg donor, adoptive mom, surrogate mom, mother as stated in a will…there is a little bit of everything in this book. Each of the main characters has a chapter and it is not confusing at all to switch from point of view to point of view because the chapter that follows goes along with the one that precedes it. Jules is an Ivy League college senior when she decides to donate her eggs to earn money to help her family. Annie is a stay at home mom who never thought about anything else besides being a mom when she decides to become a surrogate to help support her family and regain her sense of purpose. India has climbed the social ladder all the way to the very top, marrying a very rich New York City businessman who she actually decides she loves. When they decide to have a baby together, Bettina (rich businessman’s daughter), starts to look into India’s past because she is convinced this woman is not as she seems. Even though these four lives could not be more different, there is a big sense of friendship and community woven throughout this book!

If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities
Mark Batterson

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This is my pastor’s latest book and I am working my way through it chapter by chapter. There is a part inside of everyone that wonders, “What if….” but usually, that voice is quieted by our thoughts of the past and wondering what we could have done better. If only I said this/did this/looked like that/read this book/took that job etc. etc. etc. I am excited to read more about how “what if…” possibilities can define my life because to me, that represents forward thinking, and we all know we’re moving towards the future anyway, so you might as well think that way. 😉

What have you been reading?

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