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.

Thinking Out Loud: This April

Hi friends! Happy #thinkingoutloud Thursday! It’s been a while, but I’m still alive and well over here. I know you were worried. 😉 School and work haven’t been extra crazy, but I’m nearing “the end” of a lot of different things right now (my first year of teaching, grad school, a reading class I’m required to take for work, etc.) and in between all the normal things, I’ve just been busy trying to relax.

This means that I’ve looked up from my phone while riding in the passenger seat of a car and spotted a beautiful rainbow AND I’ve read three books for fun. YES, THREE! And yes, I highlight nonfiction books. This is a quirk that I inherited from my aunt, and it still makes me roll my eyes as I said I would never do it, but I like quotes and highlighting my favorite parts just works for me. 🙂 My aunt and I differ in that she will go back and reread her highlighted sections at a later date, where as I will actually reread the entire book.

Other random happenings since we last talked…

I spent an entire Saturday cleaning out my bedroom. I’ve only lived in the building that I’m in now for 9 months, and somehow I was able to get rid of 7 bags of clothes. There were also 3 bags of garbage and 1 bag for donation. It was a project and a half! I attempted to sell the 7 bags of decent clothes to Plato’s Closet and I walked out with $117. #win

I also went to the local market in my pajama pants because it was a quick 5 second trip to buy chips, it was 10 PM at night, and as a fairly new resident of this area, I’m convinced I know no one. I was 95% sure a guy I went to college with was in the store at the same time as me and I almost DIED. It wasn’t him, and since then I have run into at least 4 different people I know in the most random of places, so I guess this really is my home now and I should start wearing real clothes. Hahaha

It snowed, the Capitol Building’s scaffolding has FINALLY started to come down, and then it went right back up to 80 degrees. At the old, old age of 24, I’ve realized I have spring allergies and I am DYING!

I’ve decided that being able to walk to the grocery store for my weekly trip is awesome and I’ve also decided that pasta (and other carbs) are not the devil reincarnated, hence my big bowl of pasta salad for lunch one week.

Then there was the time I came to the realization that I am a very scatterbrained person and I’m not okay with it. My team tells me that after my first year of teaching, I will develop organization systems and it will all be okay. My current excuse for why my desk is allowed to be messy when my students’ desks have to be clean is I have to keep track of ALL of their papers and they only have to keep track of their own. I also survived my first field trip as a teacher (barely…I may or may not have forgotten the admission stickers) and I gave a bunch of “check ins” before the end of the quarter. Mention the word “test” and they have a holy fit. Hahaha

I’ve purchased #allthethings from TJ Maxx including these very cheap K-cups (to make every evening instead of eating a snack…I’ll let you know how this goes) and the always hilarious book box that now sits on my bedroom desk…”Stuff I’ll Never Read”. I giggle every time I look at it. Hahaha

I tried Chicken and Pancakes and attended a free SoulCycle class! I’ve made a lot of great friends at my job, and a few weeks ago, it was my mentor’s husband’s birthday. Count me in for brunch! I’ve seen Chicken and Waffles on many a brunch menu, but never dared try the dish. Tupelo Honey, where we ate, served it with pancakes, which I have to imagine is just as good! Toppings included powdered sugar, pecans, bacon, and syrup. #shouldvewornyogapants #oops Later that night, I met some of my friends at SoulCycle. A mutual friend from college was doing an event there with Zico Coconut Water, and I happily attended as I’ve never been to the 14th Street studio or tried coconut water. 🙂

We celebrated Kristen’s birthday by running and eating dinner at District Taco because every birthday requires sweat and queso (first you sweat, then you eat)!

And most recently, I spent the day exploring D.C. with Amanda. I saw The Hope Diamond (and other pretty gems!) for the first time and I found a new secret spot that feels very outdoorsy in the middle of the city.

I’m thinking that next week I might step back into the blog scene…I have a few ideas in mind, so keep an eye out. 😉 Tell me…what’s new with you?!

Friends Forever

Think about this: the weirdest thing about getting older is that I (and you too!) can officially say I have been friends with someone for 20 years. Except I don’t know that it’s that weird because we love that we can finally say 20 YEARS!!! Haha

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Fun fact: Stef’s family is from Rochester, NY. In 1996, they moved in across the street from my family in Pittsburgh. Stef and I were attached at the hip from the very first day they moved in until the very last day they lived in that house two years later…and somehow we managed to stay friends all this time.

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I think that it is SO much easier to stay in contact with friends now. Social media practically does the work for us! Our long distance friendship started with snail mail and long distance phone calls on Sunday because it only cost a penny a minute. We also convinced our moms that we should visit each other EVERY summer, and they listened to us. So every summer I would spend a week in Rochester and Stef would spend a week in Pittsburgh. Except it was more like me in Rochester for 5 days and Stef in Pittsburgh for 9 days because I used to get crazy homesick and she would get SO mad at me. Hahaha

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Then came high school and crazy busy schedules. The visits may not have happened as much as we would have liked, but we had AIM, MySpace, text messages, and Facebook. We both made it to each other’s high school graduation parties and I think that’s when we really knew we’d be stuck with each other forever. 😉 This past weekend, I finally got back up to Rochester to visit her! In the past five years while we’ve been in college and figuring out the real world, we’ve visited a bunch of times, but she has either been in Pittsburgh or DC, so it was high time that I take myself back up to NY!

Pre-road trip, I took myself on a 3 mile run to start the day. I ran into this creepy dog statue and saw some budding trees. #hallelujahitsspring

I left a little later than I would have liked because that’s how I roll, and I ran into three traffic jams on the way out of DC. #normal I always get really angry when I’m stuck in traffic because of an accident, but then I get mad at myself for being mad because really, I should be hoping everyone is okay! I justify my anger by saying I’m really only mad at the cars who drive slowly past the accident and stare at everything to see what happened. Ha!

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I took the scenic route because it was an hour shorter than my other two options, and my drive was filled with open roads, mountains, motels, and rivers. As soon as I crossed the state line into New York, it started to snow and hail. I almost turned around. Hahaha! After all, this was the start of my Spring Break! 😉

Traveling with me looks a lot like empty water bottles and random snacks on the floor. I had yogurt (because the big container was almost gone and I didn’t want to throw it out), carrots and celery with ranch, trail mix, and Shakeology. As soon as I got to Stef’s house, which was around 6 PM, we headed straight to dinner. She had just finished work, I had sworn myself off of trail mix, and we were both starving. We met up with her parents at Blu Wolf and ordered the most delicious turkey burgers! Her dad dared to be different and ordered chicken and waffles. Have you ever tried that dish? I always want to and then I end up with something tried and true!

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Later that night, I got to meet some of her friends from work. Someone had just gotten a selfie stick, and as the only person in the room who has used a selfie stick before, it was my job to teach everyone what to do. 🙂

Then of course we faceswapped because this is 2016 and how can you not do such a thing? My face does NOT look good on her head. It’s too big or something! Hahaha

After dinner in the Park Ave area of Rochester, we headed downtown to hear her friend’s band play at Dino, a barbecue restaurant. It was fun to see different parts of the city because I haven’t been there in so long and the last time I visited, she still lived with her parents in the suburbs. The band is called Teagan and the Tweeds and they are pretty well known in the area, apparently! They’ve been playing together for ten years and they played the perfect mix of original tunes and oldies but goodies that we all know. We ended our evening with our favorite twins, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. We will never grow out of their movies. 😉

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On Saturday morning, we lounged around eating breakfast and watching another MK&A movie before hitting the mall. We always shop when we are together. 🙂 I think we were at the mall for like five hours, so we definitely made a dent in our wallets! I was having no luck finding anything I liked and then I spotted these snakeskin pants. My initial thought was that they would be perfect dress pants for work, since they’re the right material and they’re high waisted (aka appropriate). Then I found this black crop top on sale and Stef told me I HAD to try it on because it would make such a cute outfit. My face should explain to you how I feel about crop tops. Hahaha

But apparently I don’t dislike crop tops enough to not purchase one, because I ended up wearing that exact outfit to meet some of Stef’s college friends that evening. We had Moscow Mules at a cocktail lounge in another part of downtown called South Wedge. Our group was definitely the youngest bunch in there by at least ten years, but one of her friends was so excited to take us to Cheshire that we had to give it a chance! It’s above a wine bar, so it’s kind of hard to find because you have to go IN the wine bar to get to the cocktail lounge. That was kind of cool because it felt like a hidden gem! My takeaways: it was SUPER dark in there and the drinks were small and expensive. #cheapskate

Our day on Sunday revolved completely around food. We had brunch plans at Trata where I had the most delicious omelette with cajun sausage, corn, pepperjack cheese, and red peppers. Fun fact about NY State: they don’t serve alcohol on Sunday until after 12 noon. We were STARVING when we woke up on this morning, so after wasting as much time as humanly possible at her house, she and I and her roommate decided we were just GOING and maybe we would eat for a long time and have time to order a mimosa. Well, we got there at 10:30, ordered our food, inhaled it, and then promptly decided we all needed a nap. No mimosas for us. 😉

We watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding and a few episodes of Friends while everyone lounged around for the afternoon…then it was off to her parents’ house in the suburbs for dinner! This was bittersweet because they just sold their house so this was the last time I would see it before they move! Stef’s brother was also at dinner which was so fun because we always reminisce about being kids…and of course her parents broke out the childhood photos as they are in the middle of packing up their house and there are pictures galore!

I left the frigid north behind and headed back to Pittsburgh for the rest of my Spring Break on Monday morning. I was greeted by two overly excited dogs who only sat still for that photo because I was holding treats in my other hand. 😉

How do you Spring Break?
Do you travel or are you a staycation-er?

Things I Spend My Money On [Week 4]

Amanda says it’s fine to think out loud, so here we go. 🙂

I always thought when I finally grew up and got a real job I would suddenly have a ton of money. To spend, to travel, to SAVE… That’s what pay days are for, right? Surely, in the past, I have felt like I didn’t have enough money because I was “just” in high school or “just” in college or “just” working a few part time jobs.

Spoiler alert: with a real job comes rent, utilities, and bills for all the other things you need every month like car insurance and a cell phone and oh, I don’t know, gas for said car and FOOD?!

I have been working in the “real” world for approximately five months now, so bear with me as I work through my naivety. 😉 I am very blessed to be able to afford all of the things I need, put some money in savings each month, and still have a little bit of fun money left over. But managing money is stressful. And because I am managing “real” money now (as opposed to the fake money I’ve made in the past???), I feel like I have to be very thoughtful about my spending. The first few months, I paid all of my bills, saved money, and didn’t track the rest of my spending. Responsible, right? There was a method to my madness. I wanted to see how I was spending my money with NO restrictions, because then I could figure out where to place restrictions on my spending.

This past month, I kind of put myself on a spending freeze. I paid all of my bills, saved money, and then didn’t really buy much. I thought about the following things:

Do I really need to make a Target run? (DUH!!!!!)
Do I really need to eat out when I’m alone when I have plenty of groceries at home? (But I don’t wannnnnna cook dinner tonight!)
Do I really need to buy a book instead of renting it from the library? (Ugh, Kindle is so instantaneous.)
Do I really need to take advantage of the FINAL DAY of sales at Loft/Old Navy/Gap, per this email’s advice? (No, no I do not. There are approximately 234893 sales at these stores every month.)

So, here’s what I’ve been spending my money on this past month. It’s a pretty accurate picture of what I spend my money on every month…except this past month, I didn’t buy any new clothes. And that is NOT normal. Ha!

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I enjoy going out for coffee with friends. I have a Keurig and I drink a cup of coffee every morning, but I will not pass up the opportunity to spend $4-6 on a fancy cup of coffee that I did NOT make. I only ever get coffee from a coffee shop when I am with other people, so that’s how I justify this expense. 6/7 days of the week, I typically make my own coffee, so I can afford to indulge this way. 🙂 This month, I visited Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse (owned by my church), Boccatto Espresso (a new-to-me place), and Starbucks (because it’s across the street from my apartment).

P.S. that latte on the left is a Caramel Vanilla Latte and it was delicious. I usually drink my coffee black with one pump of sugar free hazelnut, but that latte was worth every single calorie. Ha!

Brunch

If you are a twenty-something living in Washington, D.C., you know brunch is a big deal. People take their brunching seriously, it can be the upwards of $50 for a plate, reservations might be necessary, and you will never run out of places to go because every single place offers brunch. This is just what I have gathered in the past year since moving. Ha!

I don’t go out to brunch every weekend, but when my friends and I make plans to do so, I don’t hesitate because I know it’s not something I do all the time. Notice how I mentioned that you might spend #allthemoney on your meal. I’m not about that life, because I don’t grocery shop with the idea that I will ever be eating out, so I always have enough food at home to eat without going out. I tend to stick to $30 or less brunch spots because for the love, aren’t all waffles and omelettes and cups of coffee created equal?! Last week, I spent $21 and I did a little victory dance all the way out the door.

Fun fact:  I almost did an accidental victory dance all the way down the stairs at this restaurant, too. We were at a buffet-style brunch and all of the food was upstairs, while our seats were downstairs. Liberty Tavern has 234972 mirrors on their walls and there is a HUGE mirror across from the staircase. So as you descend, you can see yourself. The narcissist in me decided to check myself out while I was walking down the stairs with my plate and I almost ATE IT in front of every person in that restaurant. Not my finest moment. Ha!

D.C. brunch spots worth checking out that won’t break the bank:
Farmers Fishers BakersFounding FarmersCircaLiberty TavernA Town – MatchboxTed’s BulletinMolly Malone’sEastern Market

Lunch/Dinner

I have the same thing to say about lunch and dinner as I did about brunch and coffee. I usually only dine out when I am with other people. Sometimes we decide to eat out, and sometimes we decide to head home. On Tuesday, my friends and I were shopping on M Street and we were STARVING so we got on the Metro to go home and make dinner for ourselves. But then on Wednesday, after taking a Spinning class, my friend and I had a similar conversation: eat out or go home? And we decided to eat out. I’ve also dined with co-workers on teacher work days this month. So it’s just a delicate balance. I try to only eat out 1-2 times per week because honestly, that is more than enough. I enjoy it when I do and I try not to feel guilty about spending the money. The groceries I could’ve used at home will be eaten at another time, so all is well.

Workout Gear

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Is this considered shopping? I was at a November Project workout last Friday and our fearless leader had buffs for sale for $10. OF COURSE I WANT ONE!

DC buffs are yellow with those weird stick figures doing all kinds of exercises all over them. When it’s all stretched out, it looks like that picture on the left. It’s stretchy and perfect to use as a headband (as I’m modeling) or over your face when it’s freezing, like Lauren is modeling. 😉 She runs with November Project Baltimore (and lots of other groups/races) and I actually got to meet her this past summer at a brunch (ha! See! It’s a thing!) for DC bloggers.

So there you have it…things I spend my money on. Coffee, food of all varieties, and the occasional workout gear.

What about my Target runs? Well, I actually think I only went twice. I know, who am I? And I actually went, bought groceries, and window shopped the rest of the store. #selfcontrol

What about books? I got a library card and solved that problem!

And the one million and seven emails about sales at my favorite stores? I’m going to be honest, I highlight my “Promotions” tab of my Gmail account and hit delete every morning. AH! I don’t even know what I’ve been missing out on. 😉

I did have to buy three books for my last graduate class…but those were a need, not a want. Boo to the books, yay for the last class!

What do you spend your money on?

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Linking up with Sarah and Ashley!

 

The Shortest Post Ever Ever

First things first.

Today was supposed to be the day of pumpkin + my favorite breakfast on the blog.

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Fun fact: the post went live yesterday.

DERP!

If you have five minutes, like to eat breakfast, and are jumping on the pumpkin bandwagon this fall, read the recipe here. 🙂

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I’m off to read a book, not cut out the millions of things that I laminated for my classroom, and marvel at the fact that Google changed their font. Come on. I know you’re on that website enough to notice such details!

See you tomorrow for Friday Favorites!

When You’re Not So Nice To Yourself

Happy Thursday! I’ve been enjoying a few days in Pittsburgh this week and it’s been so good to be home with my favorite people. Linking up with Amanda today to think out loud. 🙂

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On Monday, I was talking about my marathon training and I shared that one of my goals for this week was to eat more because I felt kind of weak and down last week. I’m running further and training harder, so I need more calories! #science

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While that logically makes sense, I am struggling mentally with that idea. Mostly because this week, I am thrown off my “normal” eating schedule. I am in Pittsburgh visiting my family and while I love every moment that I spend with them and every meal that we eat, I am having a hard time being okay with my food choices. A few years ago, I would’ve completely restricted myself and been the person at dinner who couldn’t or simply wouldn’t eat certain foods. I am not really like that anymore, but this week is letting me see how much I still like to control what I eat for every meal and how interruptions are not welcome. I don’t restrict myself anymore, but I DO mentally beat myself up when I eat one of those foods that is “not allowed” (by my standards). While I have made great strides in eating, like not counting every single calorie I eat and paying attention to protein, fat, and carbs (you know, the good things), I still have work to do. So what’s the problem?

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I am mentally beating myself up at every meal. With every snack. And it is driving me crazy. I am labelling everything I put in my mouth as “good” or “bad” and I feel like I have been eating way more of the bad, even though that is not true at all. My youngest brother has his driver’s permit and wanted to go out for food yesterday before I dropped him off somewhere. Or he dropped himself off. I don’t know, he has his permit, so he was driving and I was the passenger. 😉 Anyways, we shared a 12-piece chicken nugget from Chic-Fil-A and I mentally had a panic attack because OMGfastfoodIcanteatthisnowImgoingtobefat. But how can I say no to spending time with my baby brother? I can’t. And I won’t.

One of my closest friends from high school is expecting a baby and we went out to lunch. Besides our awesome two and a half hour conversation, here’s what I was thinking:

Broccoli cheese soup: bad. It’s a cream-based soup. That’s terrible for you.
Pecan crusted chicken salad: bad. dried cranberries and nuts on a salad just add extra unnecessary calories. Ugh, why did I order this?
Strawberry lemonade: bad. So sugary. You should never drink your calories.

I literally found something wrong with everything I put in my mouth at lunch. Two hours later when I was getting my hair done, I found myself telling my mom how terrible my food choices had been that day. I have many things to say about this because I KNOW I sound crazy. There is probably something good and bad about everything we put in our mouths. But do we need to think and talk about it all the time? No. However, there are articles on Facebook and Pinterest and all of our favorite websites about how to get healthier, be healthier, blah blah blah. It’s thrown in our faces all the time and personally, I love reading about health…but it’s obviously getting to me. One bowl of cheesy soup will not kill me. My salad also had spinach and chicken in it. And strawberry lemonade just tastes good. Also, as an aside, NO ONE cares about what I put in my mouth yesterday except for me. When my stylist heard me telling my mom about lunch, she said, “Oh my gosh, I love strawberry lemonade!” She didn’t hear the panic in my voice about all the bad choices I made. She also didn’t look at me and judge me by how I looked when I came in. Because in my head, I gained ten pounds at lunch. OY.

So where am I going with this?

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I need to practice self-love. I hear the term self-love and I think crazy voodoo weird things and possibly also meditation, but honestly, maybe I need to meditate. Hahaha! I like to think that I am nice to other people and try to build them up…so I really need to work on doing that for myself. I hear that “one bad meal won’t make you fat just like one good meal won’t make you skinny” mantra playing in my mind…but what happens when I eat a few meals in a row that I deem “bad”? Keep moving forward. Make better choices next time. Enjoy your damn life. Another personal goal is to stop identifying food as good and bad. I really really really don’t want to do that. Do you do that? Probably not.

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My family loves me. My friends love me. My dogs love me. Now I just need to love me.

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Loves & Hates

HELLO!

I have been so “out of” blog world this week and I’m not even on vacation yet! This week brought lots of packing and moving and organizing. I’m half settled in my new apartment in Arlington…my furniture will get delivered when I get back from vacation. So for now, I’m in Pittsburgh (my hometown) trying to get my summer class work out of the way before I go to the beach with my family this weekend. Life sure is a whirlwind, but I love it!

Yesterday, Mattie tagged me in her post about ten things that she loves and hates. If you know me at all, you know I love anything resembling a survey and I love writing blog posts for all of you to read, so that’s what I’m here to share with you today! Part of the fun is tagging ten other bloggers to join in the fun and those lucky ladies are:

1. Molly @ Colors of Life
2. Katelyn @ Simply Sunflower
3. Jamie @ IDon’tEatThat
4. Amanda @ The Good Stuff
5. Morgan @ The True Life of KMK
6. Lauren @ Post Grad In Progress
7. Jenna @ Jenna Grace
8. Ashley and Annie @ Carolina Lifestyle
9. Brooke @ Mint and Mason
10. Michele @ One Step At A Time

– LOVES –

1. Flavored K Cups. These babies are how I first found my love for coffee. To me, black coffee was so extremely bitter and the flavor in flavored K Cups + almond milk made my cup of joe much more enjoyable. Now, I can drink black coffee and I can tell a good cup from a bad cup 🙂 But I still love my flavored K Cups. My most recent favorites are Folgers Hazelnut and Donut Shop Coconut Mocha. You can really taste the chocolate flavor! Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever purchased a “plain” flavor of K Cups before. *Edited to add: except for the ones I bought at Eat ‘N Park, a Pittsburgh-based restaurant. Their black coffee is good!

2. Lana Del Ray Pandora Station. I found Lana Del Ray’s music in Spotify, which you know is out of the ordinary for me, because I keep telling you I am still trying to learn how to work all of Spotify’s features haha! Anyways, I loved the sound of her voice and music, so I turned to my favorite music player –> Pandora. From there, I discovered Florence + the Machine and also rekindled my love for artists like Mumford and Sons. I am the girl who knows every word to every song that plays in the car, so it should come as no surprise that I like this seemingly “sad” genre of music. It soothes me! These artists are the kind that I can listen to in ANY kind of mood…happy, thoughtful, sad, excited, anything!

3. Breakfast foodMy love for oatmeal knows no bounds, even though egg white omelettes take a close second. Pancakes and waffles are my jam when I’m craving something sweet and if I had to survive on one snack food until the end of time, it would be Peanut Butter Cheerios. Who knew someone could be so passionate about breakfast? I just really like to eat. 😉

4. Running long distances. I know this makes no sense to most people, and believe me, mid-run, I question my sanity as well. There are times when I run and forget about the world, and there are times when it is struggle city the entire time I am out and about. Either way, completing the run covered in sweat makes me feel strong, happy, and accomplished. And I just can’t say no to that. Plus, runners make the best friends.

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high fives

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5. Reading. I used to fall asleep in my crib with a book on my lap. There is photographic evidence. 🙂 I have always loved books, and I’m especially loving them now that I’m getting into other genres! I was all about reading books about girls “just like me” or reading love stories, like Nicholas Sparks. Now, I love mysteries or drama and I also have a newfound love for nonfiction books in the self-help or personal development category. I love positive reads! In elementary school, reading was never a “cool” hobby to have…but I’m glad I stuck with it. 😉 Now, I think there are a few things that contribute to people’s lack of reading…or lack of desire to read. I think in college, it becomes harder to read for pleasure because you have a lot of work to do and sometimes reading doesn’t seem all that relaxing when you have to read for class, too. Then we have the invention of the smart phone. Oh how dumb it can make us. It’s addictive. Haha!

6. Acting silly with my brothers. Does anything else bring you back to your childhood like spending time with your siblings does? I feel like my truest self when I spend time with my brothers and we always have so much fun. They’re family…so they can’t judge me…right?! Haha

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7. True Religion Jeans. I recognize how entirely materialistic this sounds, but hear me out. Remember that good old Marilyn quote about shoes? The same can be said about me for a good pair of jeans…

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…a pair that fits me right and looks good and feels like buttah. And those would be my only pair of True Religion jeans! My youngest brother is super into name brands and I definitely did not think I needed or even wanted these jeans…until I put them on. I have officially joined in his craziness.

8. Nut butter.

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‘Nuff said.

9. Shopping for seasonal decorations. You know what makes me happy? Having my own place. I refer to it as home when I’m there, but now I’m at my mom’s house in Pittsburgh and I also feel like I’m home. Do you do that too? Ha! The #1 best thing about having my own place (even though I have a roommate) is decorating for holidays. I love browsing at decorations in every single store. HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls are my favorite. Target is always a go-to. And of course Pinterest gives you the best ideas. Holiday decorations make the holidays so much more festive! I don’t go overboard because like I said, I share a living space, but I love the idea of buying pieces I really love and can see myself using in the future…because then I can tell my kids, “I bought this when I first moved out!” <– Yes, I know, I’m weird.

10. Playing Christmas music on November 1. It’s just right. I don’t care what your opinion is on the subject. 😉 Trans Siberian Orchestra and Dean Martin are the best. I also really really really wish I could find Regis and Kathy Lee’s Christmas cassette tape so I could have it turned into a CD or audio file. I LOVED THAT CASSETTE!

Hate is a strong word, so let’s go with…

– DISLIKES –

1. Tomatoes. I love salsa. I love ketchup (which I understand is not really tomatoes). But I cannot get on board with tomatoes on my sandwich, in my salad, or in my omelette. They are slimy and slimy and not good at all. <– Can you tell I was a picky eater as a child?

2. Too many days in a row without sun! This mostly relates to winter, which is actually a season I love. The first snow makes me extremely happy, everyone is in good spirits, we get to celebrate Jesus, and oh yeah, it’s my birthday. 😉 However, winter often brings lots of cold, dark days. Even during all the holiday fun, I need a little bit of sunshine!

3. Cars who slide into your lane without signaling. DC drivers are aggressive. It’s just a fact of life. However, if you don’t signal and end up in front of me, I hate you for too many reasons to list. Besides the fact that that is really unsafe, I am not an incredibly slow driver so why do you need to get around me?! I just don’t understand. Tangent: I wish cars had bumper stickers that said “tourist” or “resident” so I would know who to actually be angry with when I’m driving around DC. Because listen, if you’re a tourist and you’re trusting Siri to give you directions, I TOTALLY GET IT when you have to cut me off. That lady pretends to know what she’s talking about, but she’ll turn on you on a dime. 😉 However, if you’re a resident, you know the lane ends here and I hate you for cutting me off. Another tangent: The guest pastor at church two weeks ago was talking about a family member who came to visit and asked why so few people signal before they merge…and he said, “Why would we tell the enemy what we’re about to do?!” It made me laugh. 🙂

4. Red meat. I’m not a vegetarian, and yes, I will eat a meatball if it comes with my pasta, but my picky childhood tendencies have carried over into adulthood and I just prefer chicken or turkey! I’m working on my taste for seafood right now. So far I like crab cakes, Mahi Mahi, tilapia, and sometimes shrimp. Progress. 😉

5. Appointments that aren’t really appointments. It’s hard enough to get in to the doctor’s office on the day you are able to go with the doctor you want to see. But then you run into the whole issue of sitting in the waiting room. And sitting. And sitting. And sitting. I spent 3.5 hours in LensCrafters three weeks ago. I’m not over it yet.

6. Waiters who don’t understand wait time. If I’m waiting for someone to arrive and they have just had a seat at our table, then no sir, we are not yet ready to order.

7. Telling people something that is going to make them angry/sad/upset. I’m a people pleaser. I want to spread cheer. If only life came without dark clouds!

8. Full price bathing suits. Dear Target, it’s the end of July. You’re rolling out the fall clothes and school supplies, and the bathing suit I want is still $40. Can we work on this? #clearanceplease

9. Dirty dishes in the sink. Especially dirty dishes in the sink filled with water. I am not a believer that soaking a dish will allow it to be cleaned more easily. No. Run water on that thing, soap it up, dry it off, and put it away immediately. I’m really not OCD, but dirty dishes just seem so…germ-y to me. I wish I could insert the emoji of the monkey with his hands over his eyes here. 🙂

10. The radio. Can we all agree that the Top 40 is just not a thing? I swear every radio station, no matter the genre, plays the same six songs over and over and over. It makes me seem like I have music ADD but really, I don’t want to hear the same song I just heard 20 minutes ago! I was complaining about this yesterday and my mom said that this only happens on long trips. You’re in the car for so long you feel like you’ve heard it all! But I have to say no…I’m that girl who complains about this on a drive to the mall. I should be a DJ. 😉

– What is one food you dislike?

– When do you start listening to Christmas music?

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Linking up with Amanda at Running With Spoons!

What’s In My Bag

What’s that commercial where they say, “What’s in YOUR wallet?” That’s what I was thinking about when I typed the title of this post. 🙂

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Link up here!

Here’s what I’ve been thinking lately…I’m one of those people who claims to be “not high maintenance”, but then I take a look at what I’m carrying in my hands or in my bag at any given moment and I have to ask myself again…how high maintenance are you? Today, you get to decide for me. 🙂

Many times when I take a quick trip to the grocery store, walk down to the pharmacy, or even go for a run, I have my phone and my ID case in my hand. This gives me a place to put my building’s key and ID, my license, my debit card, and any other small item/card I think I might need for that brief errand or workout. But other times, I’m going to be out all day, and besides having my phone and wallet, I’ll probably carry a water bottle, want a snack, need more Chapstick…so that is a time when I’ll carry my purse.

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Last summer, my roommate from college got married, and each of the bridesmaids received one of these Michael Kors purses. Talk about a good friend. 😉 Her uncle worked with Michael Kors for many years so she was always good at keeping me up to date with the latest trends haha! In any case, I like to carry this bag in the summer because it’s the right color and the right size. I love the outside pockets, too! Perfect for my keys. Then they can’t get lost in the bottom of the bag!

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Inside, I have two sides that each have small pockets and a zippered pocket down the middle. I usually put my planner and my wallet on one side, my phone and headphones in the middle, and everything else on the other side. So much organization, I know. 😉 Many times when I’m actually carrying this bag, I’m going to school or work and so I want to have my planner in there. My laptop also fits in there nicely and I keep the charging cord in the zipped center pocket as well. But if I’m going shopping…all that stuff comes right out! Laptops are getting lighter, but my new planner has some weight to it!

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So what is that “everything else” that I mentioned above? And what is it for? Well, let’s see:

Hand sanitizer: for when I open a door, pump gas, shake someone’s hand…I am a freak about hand sanitizer.
2 lipsticks and a Chapstick: for when I need a little color…and for when I need a little protection! My Chapstick has sunscreen in it. 🙂
PINK Perfume: for when I need to freshen up.
Gatorade MiO: for when plain old water is boring and I want a flavor!
Shakeology: for when I’m hungry.
Blue wallet: for my ID and other cards. I can grab it and go even if I’m carrying my purse that day!
Michael Kors wallet: for the rest of my “wallet” items that I don’t want in my ID case.
Glasses case & contact solution: for backup! I wore glasses for almost 17 years of my life and I JUST started wearing contacts last summer. I am super paranoid that my eyes will hurt or something will mess up my contact halfway through the day, so I need these items!
External hard drive: for work. 🙂
Headphones: for running or for fun.
Post-Its, pens, and planner: for organization!
Bookmark: for place marking! It’s from the school that I will work at this fall and I use it in my planner.
“One Little Yes” card: for reminders that life can get a whole lot more interesting and exciting if you just say yes. This was a sermon at my church a few months ago.  Listen to the podcasts here!

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Because I love my little blue ID case so much, when I want to carry that but I don’t want to take my whole big bag, I grab one of these two bags. Both big enough for my phone, my wallet, lipstick, and a snack (do you see a theme here? ;)) but they are also small enough not to get in my way! Everybody needs a good crossbody bag.

Survey time! High maintenance or just a regular gal?!

– What’s a must have item in your bag?

– Do you carry a purse every day?

Thinking Out Loud II

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Link up with me, Amanda, and other thinkers here. 😉

// I’m a selective morning person.

Listen, if I have nowhere to be, I absolutely love waking up in the 7 o’clock hour to drink coffee and read my Bible and watch Good Morning America. In reality, this usually also includes doing work for summer class and my job (yay for working from home), but hey, at least I’m up and at ’em! However, today I had to teach a 7:15 AM Spin class for someone who is out of town and I started dreading it at 10 PM last night when I set my alarm. NO TO WAKING UP!

// Coffee addictions are real.

So I was never a coffee person. My drink of choice at Starbucks was always hot chocolate or a frappuccino, because hello, there’s no coffee in those. But those drinks also have 29343977 calories and I’m cold approximately 98% of the time regardless of the season, so I started to jump on the coffee train by buying flavored K cups and adding almond milk. This took away that strong “coffee flavor” I was trying so hard to acquire a taste for! Then I started student teaching and oh let me tell you, it was the longest, coldest winter in Pittsburgh in a long time. I was a huge fan of hot beverages every morning to 1) wake up for work and 2) warm up! Now almost a year later, I pride myself on drinking my coffee black (even though I still buy flavored K cups) and I also pride myself on not “needing” coffee. I don’t make it at a certain time every day and if I don’t drink it at all, my day just goes on. But a few mornings this week, I have woken up and started to work on my laptop before realizing I had a headache. I took Tylenol one day and I was annoyed because I get a headache when I look at my laptop screen too long…but this was morning. So I took my contacts out, put my glasses on, took Tylenol, and got back to work on my laptop…because work doesn’t wait. 😉 But now I’m wondering if I was craving caffeine?! Thoughts on this?!

// Spotify Premium

I signed up for three free months of Spotify Premium and I have no idea what I’m doing. I think I’ve listened to Spotify like two times since doing this. I usually listen to Pandora and I just open Spotify when Pandora starts to repeat songs. But I have to take advantage of this deal! Do you listen to Spotify? Should I make playlists? What do I DOOO with this new subscription I have? Hahaha

P.S. The 90’s playlist I’m currently listening to is thebomb.com.

// I would never make it as a “real” writer.

I love to read and write and that’s part of the reason I started writing this blog. I always say “in my next life”, I will be an accomplished writer for a magazine or a novelist who lives in New York City. I don’t know why I have to live in NYC, that’s just where I picture myself. Sometimes I joke that I don’t have to wait until my next life to do this, I can do it right now! But the most important paper of my grad school career is called a Seminar Paper. It’s a literature review and I am writing about writing in elementary schools. It has to be reviewed by my professor and my advisor (who happen to be the same person) and two other professors in the department, so it’s a big deal! Here’s the situation I am currently in: it was due in April. I got an A. My professor/advisor gave it back to “edit” before sending it off to the final two professors. I revised. She mailed it back again. I am so frustrated! Now, I have worked as a writing tutor for almost four years, so I recognize and understand the importance of revision. It’s just hard when you think you’ve done your best and then your best isn’t your best yet! I have to fix simple mistakes like verb tense, but it’s 38 pages, so it’s a lot to get through. Third time’s the charm: here’s to hoping! But the frustration I have in editing this makes me think I couldn’t hack it in the “real” writing world. Ah!

// Who said being an adult is hard?

Last night, I made the wonderful decision to have a chocolate cookie salted caramel ice cream sandwich for dinner. 😉 Molly, it was even gluten free! I had to stop eating the cookie and just finished the salted caramel ice cream because the sugar high was getting too real. And my friend and I still stopped for actual dinner on the way home, so I can’t decide if it was a win or not…

// Yeah, I did that…

I may or may not have signed up for a Nordstrom card for early access to the sale because #blardigan. That is all. If you don’t read Sheaffer’s blog, get over there RIGHT NOW. She is a shopping queen, lets Pinterest talk her into new outfit combos, and also writes hilarious Bachelor recaps!

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– What are you thinking about today?

Random Thoughts From My Random Brain

I was so excited to tell Molly my “blog schedule” the other day and then I opened my laptop to type a post last night and…crickets. Sometimes it’s just like that, right? You love to write and you want to write, but you look at the screen and it’s taunting you because it KNOWS you have nothing to say. But here’s the thing…I do have things to say. It’s just that none of them are long enough or cohesive enough for an entire blog post. So instead, I’m linking up with Amanda over at Running With Spoons for her Thinking Out Loud link up and you’re going to take a peek into my crazy random thoughts today. 🙂Thinking-Out-Loud2

// I’m a creature of habit.

I like schedules. And I typically go to sleep early and wake up early because #thatshowiroll and also, I get migraines when I don’t sleep enough. There are worse things in life than HAVING to go to sleep. 😉 But yesterday, I woke up earlier than I needed to and instead of starting my day, I fell in love with the feeling of my bed and went back to sleep until I actually HAD to get ready for work. That meant at 11:15 PM last night I was just getting around to my quiet time with my Bible. Do you know what yesterday’s passage in Jesus Calling said?

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“Be willing to fight for this precious time with Me. Opposition comes in many forms; your own desire to linger in bed…”

I felt like I was being called out by God. Who says He doesn’t have a sense of humor?! 😉

// I loathe car maintenance.

I claim to be a strong independent little lady UNTIL any sort of light comes on in my car. Then I need my Daddy and my Mommy. Ha! My engine light lit up when I was sitting in traffic the other day and I still have no idea why, even after a trip to the Jeep dealership today. I started listening for weird noises or anything out of the ordinary, and I didn’t notice anything…until I heard this BOOMING, thunderous noise and I almost pulled over and called my Dad right then and there! Except I was sitting in traffic near Reagan National Airport, so yeah, that thunderous noise was a plane taking off…

Another wonderful car moment this week was when my car got towed as I parked outside of a potential apartment for 15 minutes. But that’s a story for another day. #funtimes

// I’m working hard to be a prayer warrior.

I have this idea in my head that if I am not super well spoken when I pray, it doesn’t count or God isn’t listening. Which is not true. I just need to remember that if I stutter or trip over my words, that doesn’t make my prayer any less important. I have a lot of people in my mind to pray for and I need to get those words and thoughts out there, no matter how they sound!

// My taste in books is evolving.

I used to mock my aunt for reading nonfiction books and highlighting as she read. Last year when I became a Beachbody Coach, I started reading a lot of inspirational and motivational books that fall under the genre of “personal development”. I now LOVE these kinds of books and I even love the nonfiction books about religion or cooking or exercise. I find myself struggling to make it through the fiction books I used to love, and for some reason, I don’t want to accept that I prefer another genre of book now! I need to keep my list of 52 books in mind, because I am only going to complete (and enjoy!) that task if I’m reading books I am really interested in!

// House hunting is akin to dating. 

I live very close to UMD’s campus right now and that was the perfect place for me this year because of the jobs that I held and the classes that I took. Now that I accepted a teaching job, I need to move to Virginia. Need. The traffic around here is no joke! But looking for apartments/townhouses online is so much different than seeing them in person. The layout and location looks totally different in real life. Then there are your potential roommates: what do you wear? What should you say? First impressions count and you want to put the best version of you out there! (Sidenote: most of my friends recently moved and signed new leases before I got a job. Timing was not on my side here!) And then there is the whole making-a-decision-thing. Trying to decide what is best for you and makes YOU happiest is kind of a stressful process! I was originally excited about this process and I went from zero –> stressed in two seconds. But, the pieces are starting to fall into place so now I am getting super excited again!

// Your blog doesn’t have to be perfect.

You don’t have to post every day, have ten beautiful pictures in every post, or write the most meaningful thing out there on the Internet. Your blog is your little corner of the Internet and it can look and be whatever you want it to be. You don’t want your blog to look or sound like everyone else’s…you want to be unique and YOU. Take the pressure off. This is fun! (Am I talking to myself or you?!)

Thanks to Amanda for such a perfect writing topic for today! 🙂

– Has your car ever gotten towed?

– What books are you reading right now?