Love Yourself

“Abs are made in the kitchen.”

“Don’t eat carbs after 4 PM.”

“Eliminate the toxins.”

“Eat your biggest meal in the morning.”

“Don’t eat any big meals — eat six smaller meals throughout the day.”

The Internet is inundated with quotes, images, articles, and even blogs telling you how to live your best, healthiest life. I am thankful for all of these resources, and yet I simultaneously find myself feeling overwhelmed by them. How do we even know what is best for our bodies? What is really healthy? And as a complete side note, what are we trying to achieve? I think the biggest question relates to your goals. What ARE you trying to achieve?

For a long time, I was obsessed with what I put in my mouth. I counted every single calorie that I consumed and I completely messed up my metabolism and menstrual cycle (sorry, guys) in the process. The “standard” 1,200 calorie diet does not and did not work for me and my body (though, depending on your height and weight, it might for you, and that is perfectly fine).

So what was I trying to achieve? Well, at first, it was to be skinny. Not healthy, not toned, just skinny. And I’m not going to lie to you when I say I loved being skinny. I loved having a thigh gap. I loved that my jeggings were too big. But I also KNEW deep down in my skinny soul that that lifestyle was not sustainable and healthy. I was hurting my body by treating it this way.

Since that time, I’ve become a more serious runner, I’ve added another group fitness certification to my resume, I’ve dabbled in Beachbody coaching…you could say I’ve tried it all. I just want that one magic “a-ha!” moment to come when I realize that THIS one way of eating and working out is the one perfect way. I don’t know if that moment will ever truly come, but in trying different nutrition plans and workouts, I find myself becoming both excited and exhausted. I love trying new things, yet I’m tired of trying to keep up with all the new and different things. I just want to live without constantly thinking about my workouts and my food. There are so many more things that are more worthy of my time!

With this in mind, here are three things I’m giving up in 2016.

Eliminating certain food groups from my diet.
I really don’t like the word diet, because as Chalene Johnson says, “You shouldn’t go ON a diet, you should HAVE a diet.” I much prefer her way of thinking. Either way, I don’t want anything to be off limits. This is not an excuse to eat anything that I want…I know what is unhealthy for me. I never crave fast food or highly processed foods because I don’t eat them. I want real food. But, as far as eliminating food groups that are good for me, like carbs, or good in moderation, like sugar…I’m not doing that. It creates an idea that food is “good” and “bad” and I’ve been there, done that. That way of thinking takes me back to my old ways and I’m not going there.

Feeling guilty for eating certain foods.
There just literally is no reason to do this. I am not overweight, I am not unhealthy, and even if I was, I don’t need to mentally beat myself up every time I eat something that isn’t “healthy”. So I had tortilla chips and salsa while I was watching “The Bachelor”. Worse things have happened. This guilt, in a way, stems from the phrase “clean eating”. To me, it sounds like I can never ever eat anything that isn’t considered healthy or on my list of “good” foods, and if I do, then I need to work it off or make it up in some way. I’m sure not everyone feels this way, but I really want to remove that negativity from my mindset, and having certain foods that are “good” or “bad” doesn’t work well for me.

Looking in the mirror and hating my reflection.
No diet or specific workout routine is going to make me love my body. I have to CHOOSE to love my body. I can’t promise you I won’t make a face at myself when I look in the mirror, but I want to practice positive thinking. I talked a little bit about this when I wrote my goals for the year. This is important to me.

There is a time and a place for a strict diet and workout routine. If you are working towards a healthier lifestyle, I am so proud of you. If you are training for a race or a competition, keep at it. I’ve trained for races where diet and exercise need to be fairly perfect so that I can perform well. But, in living my day to day life, I don’t want a whole bunch of rules and restrictions, whether they are part of a plan or just made up in my head, to control my choices and my thoughts about myself. I want to look back on my life and remember the experiences I had with my friends and family, the good food I enjoyed, the activities I loved doing…not all of the time I spent thinking about how to have the perfect diet, perfect workout routine, or perfect body.

I just want to be happy.

Who’s with me?

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What’s In A Name? [Blog-tember Challenge Day 7]

Monday, September 7: Tell us about your blog name. Where did it come from?

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Welcome to my self-titled blog, Kylie McGraw. This blog is all about me, so I guess it makes sense that I would have such a headline at the top. Even so, I wish it was a little more creative. I never know what to say when people ask how long I have been blogging because the answer varies greatly. The website was created in July of 2012. That was the summer I worked as a student aide in one of the Education office’s at my college. I had just started reading running blogs and I thought, hey! I can do that too! Then, it started again in April 2013. This time, I told my best friend that I would be writing and that she had to read because she would be the only one who would care. Ha! January 2014 was going to be my time. Finally, I would actually be a blogger! And then finally, in January 2015, I jumped back in the saddle for good. There was so much back and forth in my commitment to blogging because I always felt like if I didn’t post often enough, it was “too late” to post again. Obviously, I had a lot of self-doubt, which is just crazy! This is my space on the Internet and I can do what I want –> said in the nicest voice possible. 🙂

You may see why I never committed to a name for my blog due to my kind of crazy history. However, in the past few weeks, I have been brainstorming different ideas for the title. I struggle only because I don’t want to end up labelling myself as something that doesn’t seem true to me. I love to run, but if my blog title has something to do with running, then I feel pressured to only write about that one topic. Do you see what I mean? Brainstorming is going well over here;)

I can tell you a little bit about my tagline, though!

“A good laugh and a long run are the two best cures for anything.”

This represents me because I really do love to run and I also believe that whatever you are doing in life, you should enjoy. Smile a little, laugh a lot, and do the things that fill YOU up. Your idea of happiness might not look like someone else’s, and it really might not even look like what you originally thought, but it should be important, meaningful, and worthy to you.

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So tell me…what’s the story behind YOUR name?

Bookworm Wednesday [September]

I’m excited to talk about books with Molly and Katie today! I have always loved to read. In elementary school, I remember that it wasn’t “cool” to say that you liked to read…but I always identified myself as a reader and I still do today! I think it would be so cool to be a librarian some day. Another post for another day. 😉

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If you’re a blogger, share your favorite reads and link up here!

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This book really surprised me. I love Jodi Picoult and I have read almost all (if not all) of her books, but this one was a little bit different and I loved it! Her stories usually involve a family drama with lawyers and a courtroom. However, Leaving Time was about a mother and a daughter and the bond that is formed in that relationship. The mom is a researcher and studies elephant grief, so there is a lot of interesting stories about elephants in this book. It sounds strange and possibly boring when I say it like that, but Jodi Picoult really wove those more detailed pieces of information into the story so you wanted to know more about elephants! The mom disappears after a tragedy and years later, her teenage daughter refuses to believe her mom left her behind with her grandma, so she sets off to look for her. Each chapter changes point of view by character, which I loved, and I was so surprised by how this story turned out! It’s a page-turner for sure!

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I read Gone Girl like everyone else in the world, mostly because I am a huge fan of books that become movies. Because I love going to the movies, but the books are always better, so I have to read the book before I see said movie. 😉 I have been refusing to read Dark Places and Sharp Objects, Flynn’s other two popular books, because reading the back cover at Target freaked me out, so I thought there was no way I could make it through the whole book! This book is about a mother and her four kids and the story picks up after the tragedy has occurred, so you don’t have to read through all the gory details. However, they do slowly come to light throughout the book, and like I mentioned above, as I read, I found I wanted to know these things! The point of view changes by character a lot as well, and I really had no idea what to expect as I read. I’m either really bad at predicting, or I chose two really mysterious books to read this summer haha!

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I’m one who likes to read multiple books at the same time. Maybe if I stuck to one at a time, I would finish reading more quickly, but that’s just not my style. I’m reading this book on the Kindle app on my iPad right now, but I found the book on Book Bub. It’s a site with free and low-price books. I usually stick to the free books, because why not?! But this means that I usually am not reading titles that are super popular. In any case, I have loved the stories I’ve read from Book Bub so far! Innocent in Las Vegas is the first in a series of books about a woman named Tiffany Black. She works in a casino in Las Vegas and the case that she is trying to solve in this book is her very first! A wealthy casino owner was killed and the wife is being blamed, but claims she is innocent, so she hires Tiffany to look into the case. Tiffany is kind of flighty, but she’s a very likable character. I think mysteries might be my new favorite genre!

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I’m also reading Bookends, which I found in the library in my apartment. The main character seems to be Cat, but the story follows her and two of her friends (and one’s wife) from college. Later in life, they all run into another friend, Portia, who apparently has become successful by writing a TV show…with characters that are loosely based on her college friends. They are all about to reconnect with each other, so I’m curious to see where this goes, because flashbacks to college make Portia seem very dramatic!

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My taste in books probably didn’t seem that “all over the place” until you saw this one. I just picked it up in a clearance bin at a craft store and I’m excited to flash back to high school and get into this book! 🙂

What are you reading lately? And where is your favorite place to find books? I’m all about the half price book stores and free ebooks 🙂

Jersey Girl

Good morning!

I’m writing this post from my lovely iPhone so who knows what it looks like on your computer. 🙂 Two exciting pieces of news: first, I’m DONE with summer classes! I submitted my final this morning. Second, I’m officially on vacation!

  
I arrived at the Jersey Shore on Saturday morning for a quick trip to Atlantic City. Then, yesterday afternoon, we made our way to Wildwood. I have been to Wildwood every summer since I was six months old! It’s my very favorite place. I’ll be relaxing here all week long…with maybe a post or two thrown in there if I find wifi. 😉 You can keep up with me on Instagram here and I’ll talk to you all soon. Have a great week!
   

A –> Z Survey

I’m trying to build a bit of a blog schedule for myself, so today you should be reading about my weekend. But…this weekend consisted of running, packing, revising my thesis, and getting ahead on work for summer class so I can be done. I wore pajamas or running clothes for 95% of the weekend (I did put on a dress to go to church;) and it was wonderful. But that’s not very exciting, so I’m doing one of my favorite things and taking a survey 🙂 Happy Tuesday!

A – Age: 
23.
But you would never know it because I operate on the sleep schedule of an old person;) I like to fall asleep between 10-11 PM and wake up by 7 AM! Don’t worry, I still stay up late some evenings. Some nights just call for that!

B – Biggest Fear:
I know this is gross…but I really really really hate, get anxious about, straight up FEAR other people throwing up around me. Part of the fear is hearing someone cough/choke and part of the fear is that I will get sick. This is something I used to struggle with in a big way (like I didn’t want to go to school in second grade ha!) but as a future teacher and hopeful parent one day…I kind of have to figure out how to deal!

C – Current Time:
11:20 AM on Monday…hello scheduled blog post;)

D – Drink You Had Last:
Mocha Coconut flavored coffee. I love KCups that are so flavorful I don’t have to add any cream or sugar. 🙂

E – Easiest Person To Talk To:
My mom and my friend Kristen. My mom just lets me talk, and my friend Kristen usually reacts to situations similarly, so when I’m freaking out, she can talk me off the ledge because she knows how I feel!

F – Favorite Song:
Right now, thanks to Spotify, I love…
Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh) – Rich Homie Quan
A Little More – MGK & Victoria Monet
Save Me – Listenbee & Naz Tokio

G – Grossest Memory:
I still have biggest fear on the brain…and that fear came from five people getting sick next to me throughout my second grade year. Yuck!

H – Hometown:
Pittsburgh, PA

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Black and gold forever 🙂

I – In Love With:
Oatmeal for breakfast. Oatmeal for breakfast always.

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J – Jealous Of:
The people who bought these shoes in Cognac while they were still available. I have these shoes in white and I love, love, love them. For only $25, I figured I would buy the other color to wear this fall. NOPE! If you see these shoes go back in stock at Target, call me. 🙂

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K – Kindest Person You Know:
My mom will drop what she’s doing for just about anyone 🙂

L – Longest Relationship:
My grandparents were married for 49.5 years before my Pap Pap passed away suddenly. Their relationship is my example in more ways than one!

M – Middle Name:
Elizabeth!

N – Number of Siblings:
Two little brothers 🙂

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Alex, on the left, is 20 and Jake, on the right, is 16!

O – One Wish:
To run healthy through this marathon training cycle!

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last:
I’m not speaking but I’m listening to Beachbody’s National Wake Up Call!

Q – Question You’re Always Asked:
“Why aren’t you eating that?” or if it’s my brothers asking, “Are you going to eat something healthy again?” Ha!

R – Reason To Smile:
Warm coffee, sunshine, and a day to do whatever your heart desires.

S – Song You Last Sang:
I do not even like the song “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd and that’s what I kept singing over and over and over while I was falling asleep last night. Ah!

T – Time You Woke Up:
7:06 AM. I love construction right behind my building! But honestly my alarm was set for 7:30 anyway just in case I didn’t wake up before then. Ha!

U – Underwear Color:
Red. They say “Best Ever” on the front. Thank you, Victoria’s Secret. TMI. Hahaha

V – Vacation Destination:
Going to my favorite place – Wildwood, NJ – this weekend!

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But I would looove to travel abroad. To anywhere. I’m not picky. I just want to SEE all the amazing places there are to see!

W – Worst Habit:
Luckily, I don’t bite my nails anymore. But if my nail breaks, I will probably end up biting it because it’s already short anyway. And I pick my cuticles. WHY!

X – X-Rays You’ve Had:
Just your regular x-rays at the dentist/orthodontist and one on my hip last year when I got hurt from running!

Y – Your Favorite Food:
If I could eat chips and queso and still be healthy and relatively thin, I so would. Why isn’t that a thing?

Z – Zodiac Sign:
Sagittarius!

***
Joining these ladies for Tuesday Talk!

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A Weekend Adventure

This past weekend was the perfect amount of busy. Does that make sense?! I had plans but I also had plenty of time to relax. Part of that feeling probably comes from the fact that I finished all of my summer class work for the week on Friday, so the weekend really was all mine. 😉

However, among all my weekend adventures, my favorite adventure is one I went on all by myself. If you haven’t heard (because I feel like I mention it all the time), I moved to Maryland last August for grad school. I live 7 miles from Washington D.C. and I love going out and about because I still feel like I’m new to this area and there is so much to do! But at first, this “I want to go out and about” feeling was kind of intimidating, because I don’t know if you know this, but when you move to a city where you know absolutely no one, you have no friends. And you have to talk to people and go make friends. And that’s hard. Ha! It’s reality saying: welcome to the real world, you’re not in college surrounded by thousands of people just like you anymore. 😉 But it’s been a great experience so far and GUESS WHAT, I HAVE MADE FRIENDS!

Moving on –> I still went on an adventure by myself on Saturday because sometimes that just sounds like a good idea. After I volunteered at church, I drove to Alexandria, Virginia, which was about a 9 mile drive from where I was in D.C. Not too bad! (P.S. I have a Metro card, but I am a very big fan of driving. Even amongst the traffic. It’s just who I am. Hahaha)

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I was in kind of the town center so it was bustling with residents and tourists alike. My first impression: it looks very historic (and it is) but it feels modern and it is VERY walkable. My hometown requires me to drive mostly everywhere, which is probably why I like driving so much, but I loved that I was able to park my car and walk wherever I wanted to go. You could also hop on The King Street Trolley for FREE (I love free things) to go from place to place or get to the metro. I really feel like I could go back and spend another whole day in Old Town and do all completely new things!

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I started with what I know…which is shopping. There are popular store names that we all know…Banana Republic, H&M, Lululemon…and then there are antique shops and small businesses like Mint Condition, The Hour, and The Christmas Attic. All were equally fun to go into because sometimes it’s nice to know what to expect, and sometimes it’s nice to be surprised!

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This just made me happy.

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And this made me laugh. 🙂

When I started to get hungry, I just kept walking and finally I found myself at Vermilion. I wanted an omelette and it didn’t seem like any restaurants or cafes I was passing would be able to meet my request! Apparently I had tunnel vision because I noticed so many cute cafes on the way back to my car that I would have LOVED to eat at! However, Vermilion was very nice. I sat by the window which I loved because then I could people watch and I ordered the Farmer’s Vegetable Omelette so I was a happy girl. They serve “modern American cooking” and I learned, as I was sitting at my table on Google, that it was one of Washington’s Top 100 Restaurants in 2013, so I was glad to know I picked a good place. 😉

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This is my very favorite breakfast of all breakfasts. I didn’t know what to expect of the omelette because there wasn’t a description, but it was filled with fresh zucchini and some kind of cheese that I didn’t recognize, but certainly liked!

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I had a choice of pork: sausage or bacon. I like neither. This is the photo I sent my youngest brother who could eat bacon for all three meals and be the happiest person alive. I ate a bite in his honor. 🙂

Then I headed out for some more exploring…I went in a handmade jewelry store, a bookstore, a designer consignment shop, and then I got lost in Gap. And I only ended up buying one item! Ha! I also bought my brothers Levi sunglasses. I went into Alexandria Cupcake and SOMEHOW refrained from purchasing the peanut butter and jelly cupcake. Who wants to go back with me and share?!

I found a coffee shop called Misha’s

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…and it was the coolest. One room had a large table with a bunch of customers sitting around talking, then of course there were a few smaller tables, and the rest of the shop looked like the inside of someone’s kitchen. It was a very home-y feel with vintage refrigerators and cool paintings on the walls!

About five blocks south of the shops is the waterfront. Near the waterfront are more restaurants, stores, and a park, so I moved my car from a busy street to a neighborhood street…

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…and headed for the water.

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There’s a three mile path in this part of town, so I walked a little bit, sat on a bench for a little bit, and then went to the busier part of the waterfront. King Street really seemed like it had a lot going on and I would love to “start” there the next time I visit the town! There was an equally long line at Ben and Jerry’s and Pop’s Ice Cream, but I’m thinking the local shop might be the spot to go to first. Whoever volunteered to eat cupcakes with me should also prepare to eat ice cream. 🙂

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I was hanging out on a bench watching boats come in and out and watching a clown blow up balloons. Doesn’t that sound nice and relaxing? It was 95* and there was no wind so I needed some air conditioning. I went into the building behind me…which turned out to be the Torpedo Factory Art Center. The places I stumbled upon in this town were so random but that’s why I loved it! I would probably never say “let’s go to an art museum” but this place was different. It’s full of working artist studios so you can talk to the artists, see them working, and sometimes even have the opportunity to create something yourself!

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I loved the peacefulness of the rooms with art hanging on the walls…I loved the paper mache animals in the hallway…

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I loved the art studios with jewelry…

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…and I loved the little features that you might not otherwise notice like this little exhibit inside a stair! I was walking past a staircase and saw this:

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Little figurines that you certainly wouldn’t notice when you were walking UP the steps!

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Back to the park because I didn’t want to leave just yet…

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…and gazing at beautiful townhomes that I probably definitely cannot afford.

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I didn’t notice until AFTER I got home that my heels kind of felt like they had blisters, but that must be a sign of a day well spent, right? Adventuring by yourself can seem weird but doing whatever I wanted all day was pretty great and now I have a big list of things to see and do when I take my friends and family back to Old Town!

So tell me…do you like doing things by yourself? Try it!!!

Friday Favorites: Easter Break Edition

Happy Good Friday 🙂

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I love Easter! It reminds me of spring and warmer weather and just overall happy…but most importantly, it reminds me of the sacrifices that Jesus made for me and you.

And now for your regularly scheduled programming…

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I’m linking up with three of my favorite bloggers to share my Friday Favorites! There is a lot of good even in the craziest of weeks.

– ONE – 

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Since my injury last year, I have become the kind of runner that simply cannot run every day. In fact, the training plan that I’m following right now only has me running 3 days a week, but of course I am strength training and cross training on the other days of the week to keep my fitness up. I usually run right after I teach PiYo on Monday mornings, but on this particular Monday, I had 5 miles on the schedule and 5 miles after I taught a class didn’t sound very fun! I wanted breakfast and a shower. I didn’t have class on Monday night so I hoped I could motivate myself to get out the door later in the day…and it took twelve hours, but I finally made it out for my run.

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Faster than the speed of light;)

– TWO –

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A good parking spot will always make my day…but primo parking spaces are even better when you’re short on time. On Tuesday morning, I had to observe at a local elementary school and I forgot some of my materials in my office. I drove through campus on my way to the school, grabbed my bag, and made it right on time! But the lesson ended at 10:03 and I had to be back on campus and at my desk in The Writing Center by 10:30. I knew I would be cutting it close but I was praying that the parking garage near my office would have an open spot! Luckily before I even made it to the garage I was able to do a quick U-turn and parallel park;)

– THREE –

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Everyone loves mail. It’s just fun. And I love sending holiday themed cards to my friends. They’re a lucky bunch. 😉

– FOUR –

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Let us all take a moment and appreciate the decadent flavors of chocolate eggs I bought at the store the other night. Holiday candy, I really do love you. Happy Easter to me, from me.

– FIVE –

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My baby brother is driving! AH! I was informed that I am super annoying and also a backseat driver. But I am not as annoying as Dad…so I’ll take that victory. 😉 He is surprisingly calm and really good behind the wheel! You can feel safe knowing he’s on the road. Ha!

– SIX –

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Working on my thesis is not really my favorite activity, but it’s made a little better when my dogs are around to hang out with me. 🙂 #May7thWhereAreYou

– SEVEN –

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I brought running shoes and snakeskin patterned flats home for the long weekend…aka I had nothing to wear with my favorite leggings yesterday. The other shoes in my closet are not seasonally appropriate so I broke out these sparkly American Eagle shoes from 2011. I ended up loving this outfit and feeling super cool. Hahaha

– EIGHT –

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Me and one of my favorite friends, Julianne, went out for drinks last night at Hofbräuhaus. On Thursday nights, they have awesome drink specials that bring all the college kids out…there’s lots of people, lots of singing, and lots of standing on benches at your table. It was so fun. 🙂

Have the happiest holiday weekend!!!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” –John 3:16-17

Friday Favorites: Spring Break Edition

Happy First Day of Spring! And Happy FriYAY! But I have been cheering all week because I’m on spring break. 🙂

Today I’m linking up with some of my favorite bloggers — Andrea, Narci, and Erika — to share my Friday Favorites!

My thoughts on the weather in March can be summed up in one photo:IMG_7131

Hahahaha!
Apparently I go through these emotions every year because this image popped up on my Timehop…

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This is essentially a great description of the seasons in Pittsburgh. And the reason why I have an upper respiratory infection right now. Such fun! I do not know why I continue to be surprised about the randomness of the weather. I have only lived in Pittsburgh for 23 years. 🙂 But it was sooo hard to leave 70 degrees in Maryland! And I know, I know, it’s colder in Maryland now because it’s supposed to snow…again…

You people in the South. Just appreciate your lives. 🙂

First on the list this week…I LOVE MAIL! And my dad sent me something last week for St. Patrick’s Day…even though St. Patrick’s Day was this week. Haha
I had to be prepared, apparently! The post office worker obviously thought I needed an ENTIRE roll of tape…

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I love mail. It’s my favorite. That’s why blogging is so fun. It’s like having electronic pen pals. 🙂

One of my favorite meals to go out for is brunch. There is (usually) WAY TOO MUCH food but there’s so many different choices and I like trying a little bit of everything, especially when I eat brunch and it’s served buffet style. On Sunday, I went to Farmers Fishers and Bakers in Georgetown with a few friends and it. was. so. good.

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Here is an idea of plate #1 😉 Besides the three food bars, your waiter brings a tray of biscuits and cinnamon rolls to your table. There are also traveling trays that make their way around the restaurant with different foods on them. The choices were pizza, sushi, fried shrimp, and some kind of egg…ah! It was on a biscuit and it was called…something that I forget. But one of the girls I was with ate it and it was good. Hahaha

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And here is an idea of what I ate for dessert 🙂 I was so full after this meal that I didn’t eat until 8:30 PM. And that is not an easy feat for me on a normal day! Brunch always wins. Always.

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I was feeling the need to be out and about on Sunday. It was ridiculously nice outside (if not a little windy and chilly) but I knew that in order to run on Monday, I needed to take it easy still…so, I went for a walk. Let’s all take a moment. I do not walk anywhere ever (except to class). I find the concept of walking ridiculous. Why would you walk somewhere when you could either run or drive?! The horror.

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You walk because you can’t run and you need to still see beautiful sights like this. 🙂 It was actually surprisingly relaxing! I didn’t get the dreaded “is this over yet” itch that I sometimes get when I do something that I don’t usually enjoy…I saw lots of families walking with their dogs…I listened to a podcast…and then I froze my tail off. Though the picture looks beautiful (and is beautiful), as soon as you round the bend to the other side of that lake…LOOK OUT. ALL THE WIND. SO LOUD. SO WINDY. SO COLDDD!!! Somehow I survived.

It’s always my favorite to do some relaxing. And I have been loving Grey’s Anatomy lately. So watch Grey’s Anatomy I did.

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Can we talk about my favorite purchase ever?!

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These Sperry’s spoke to me a month ago and I didn’t buy them. I returned to this store recently to buy a birthday present for my brother and I had to see if they still had my size…because that would be fate. They are SO comfy, they fit perfectly, and I have gotten so many compliments! I love them!

On the fashion front…

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…another favorite is wearing outfits that call for lots of wrist candy! My Michael Kors watch is just pretty, my Alex and Ani bracelets remind me of my friends, and my gold heart bracelet reminds me of my lovely friend Molly. Read her blog here! She is the sweetest. 🙂

THE HAPPIEST OF ALL MOMENTS:

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I love living in a world where it costs less than $30 to fill up my baby Jeep. The end.

I think it is safe to say that one of my aunt’s favorite things to do is get her hair done. I swear she is always getting her hair colored or styled a different way. I, on the other hand, am one of those people who waits until she hates her hair to make a hair appointment. It’s not the best method. Hahaha

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My hair was ridiculously long and so I told the hair stylist to do whatever she wanted. I like to look put together hair and makeup wise, but I honestly listen to everything my hair stylist and the ladies at Ulta tell me. Clothes are more my thing! So when she said she was going to do some chopping, I said do your thing. 4 inches!!! I feel so much lighter now!

My mother was very excited that I came home for Spring Break 🙂

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Love that lady.

Some other random favorites include watching my brother play volleyball…

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…seeing the skyline of my favorite city in all the land…

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…spending quality time with my pups…

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What’s mine is yours. Or something.

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Torturing Colby in the carline while we wait for Jake.

  …drinking out of this coffee mug…

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…making a perfect omelette…

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…and eating peanut butter chocolate popcorn. Oh my word.

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The best thing that’s happening today is that my shiny gold iPhone 6 Plus will be delivered! I’m trying to ignore the fact that it is snowing heavily outside my window right now. 😉 Have a good weekend!!

Something New: Podcasts

So, I discussed my love affair with music last Friday. But recently, I have also started listening to podcasts. I need to be in the right setting while I listen to a podcast, though. They are great in the car but I’m 50/50 with them in the gym. Sometimes I can focus, and sometimes there are ton of people in the gym and it’s really loud and I just can’t pay attention to the “extra” noise in my ears. So I go back to music. But hey. Whatever works! If you haven’t listened to a podcast before, all iPhones come with the purple podcast app:

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Then you just search whatever you are interested in! You can also play around with podcasts on iTunes. 🙂 Some of my favorites:

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Two that you MUST listen to are Serial and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.

Let’s start with Serial. Oh my goodness if you have not listened to this, you need to. I kept seeing people post on social media about this podcast during the holidays, so one day when I was walking my dogs, I downloaded the first episode. It’s a true story about a guy who was arrested and sent to jail for the murder of his high school girlfriend…but some people think he was wrongly accused. Like a good book you just can’t put down. So. Addicting. Although, two things:

1. Listening to this while walking my dogs alone was slightly terrifying. Every time the wind blew, I jumped a mile!

2. It happened in Baltimore which is only 30 miles away from where I go to school. It felt too close for comfort at times!!!

NPR has a ton of podcasts, but that one is called Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! It’s the first podcast I ever downloaded, actually. It sounds like a radio show with people calling in and they answer trivia questions. Kinda fun. 🙂

 (N) is the National Community Church podcast. My church has 7 locations and at least 4 services I could attend each weekend, but as hard as it is to admit, sometimes life gets in the way and I don’t make it. If I’m traveling or someone is in town (or sleeping in…shhh!), the podcast is a great alternative to going to the service! I try to listen to it right away on Monday morning. We are in the middle of a series called Elements right now, so we are talking about Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. Each week is a different word and I don’t want to miss any of them!

The other ones are a random assortment of things that interest me, mostly related to health and fitness. If you have ever heard of the Insanity workout, you have to listen to the Define Your Life podcast. Shaun T created Insanity and his podcast just talks about life but he is so. darn. amazing. I say that because I actually believe it, but also because he always emphasizes the word amazing. That’s pretty much how he feels about life. 🙂

I want another podcast to suck me in like Serial did! Any recommendations??

What I’ve Been Eating Wednesday II

Last week, I talked food. Making healthy choices and all of those things. I shared my recent eats…and I’m sharing some more again today! I am by no means a food photographer or a gourmet chef, but even putting the simplest ingredients together can make me feel pretty accomplished…and when you are eating healthy foods, sometimes your food just looks pretty. And then it’s worthy of a picture, in my opinion. 😉

Breakfast:

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Oats with cinnamon and almond butter…and grapes. Because I was out of bananas. But I love heart love peanut butter and jelly so HEY IT WORKS! That was an easy throw together two minute breakfast.

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Then I got out the best Christmas present: the handy dandy food processor. Scary stuff. Hahaha
2 eggs + a banana + cinnamon…pour it in a pan…make some pancakes.

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The minis were cute in theory. But I didn’t let them cook long enough before flipping so you only get to see the pretty one!

Lunch:

Is there anything better than a plate overflowing with food? No, no there is not. I have started to measure salad ingredients because if I don’t, I don’t make the salad big enough. And then I am starving an hour later. If only I judged portion sizes like that all the time;) Anyways, these two salads are two cups of veggies. Usually one cup of spinach and one cup of a mix of other stuff…always with some protein. Chicken + turkey here!

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Dinner:

Can I tell you about the easiest recipe in life? Frozen chicken breasts, a packet of taco seasoning, and a jar of salsa in the crockpot for five hours. So happy I saw this recipe on Mel’s blog last week! It was DELISH and the leftovers are even better!

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Crockpot chicken leftovers are in there somewhere under my broccoli!

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Then I got crazy with the food processor again. Here you see me baking…

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…cauliflower crust pizza!

I have dabbled in the fine art of cauliflower crust pizza before…

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And the recipe is super easy! Something to do with an egg, cheese, spices, and grated cauliflower in a bowl. But it’s definitely not thick like real pizza crust and so this time around I tried something different. First things first…all I had to do was break the head of cauliflower apart and put small pieces in the food processor. Way easier than grating it! Or at least I think so. 😉 Recipe here.

Final product:

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Dessert:

My go to snacks are nuts, apples, or grapes. I’m not even kidding. I’ll throw some chocolate chips in my peanut butter with my apple. But I’m not a cookies and cake kind of person unless I’m at a bakery. That’s where the good stuff is! So I’ve been blending my Shakeology with water and ice and then freezing it for 30-45 minutes. I’m not going to say it tastes like ice cream, but it’s a nice frozen treat while I watch TV. 🙂

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That’s it!

Did I wow you with my photography? 😉

What have you been cooking this week?