Friday Favorites [October]

– Family in town –

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

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

– Apple picking –

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

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

– Around town –

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

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

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

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

– Day trip –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Linking up with Five on Friday and Friday Favorites

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Marine Corps Marathon 10K [Race Recap]

It’s been almost a full year since I’ve truly trained for a race, and this year has been all about running whenever and however I want to. That’s not to say I haven’t raced — I’ve completed a marathon relay and a 5K, but it feels good to have no training plan! At times this has left me a little unprepared for some of the races I signed up for this fall (cough cough Army 10 Miler that I did not run!), but I knew I could handle the Marine Corps Marathon 10K. I would still get to be apart of the amazing race day that is the MCM, but I would get to run and spectate. Two of my favorite things to do!

Race preparation started before race day, as it always does. On Friday evening, Joe and I headed to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at The National Harbor to pick up our bibs and my favorite part of racing…our new shirts. 🙂 Bib & t-shirt pick-up were super easy as long as you had your bib number handy and could settle on a shirt size. There were plenty of volunteers at these stations and there was no line at all!

As you walked from the pick-up side of the expo to the shopping side, there were many more people. The official Brooks race clothing was your first stop as you entered, and it was pretty crowded with folks trying on clothes and shoes. Then you had your rows of sponsors handing out freebies, but by this point it was 7:45 PM and hanger was striking so we took a picture and hit the road!

Saturday was a rest day which ended with a nice pasta dinner from Olive Garden. I think my favorite part was that we ordered our pasta to go and ate it on the couch. My second favorite part was hearing that the wait at the restaurant was 45 minutes and my food was already cooked up and ready to go. #winning

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Chicken alfredo, chicken scampi, salads, and breadsticks!

After waiting until the absolute last minute on Saturday night, I finally went to Harris Teeter at 9:45 PM for English muffins, peanut butter, and bananas. This is my tried and true race morning breakfast, so it had to be purchased! Then it was time for sleep since we had an early alarm.

6:15 AM wake up call & out the door by 6:45 AM. I don’t like to have a lot of extra time in the morning because then I will talk myself into sleeping much longer. 🙂 The metro wasn’t too crowded, but you could tell that everyone on board was a runner. The marathon runners got off a few stops after we got on, and the 10K runners continued riding the train until we reached the National Mall.

Mornings on the Mall are my favorite. 🙂 It was pretty chilly early on, but I had an old pullover that I was wearing and ready to toss away at the start line. Race corrals and restrooms were set up outside the National Gallery of Art and the lines were INSANE. There was a small security checkpoint before entering this area, but it didn’t take very long at all. We were shocked at the number of people waiting for restrooms and quickly made our way over to our corral. It was about 7:35 AM at this point, and the opening festivities were expected to begin about ten minutes later so it felt like perfect timing.

Joe is much faster than me, but we decided to start out together. This was our view as we warmed up and waited to begin! The race was delayed about 15 minutes due to traffic issues, but the announcers were super energetic and kept us entertained with stories and music. We cheered for two runners celebrating their 86th birthdays! Then, around 8:05 AM, it was time to run!

The 10K runners go on a very similar path as the marathon runners, so in our first mile we saw a sign that said Mile 19! I could hear everyone in the crowd making the same joke about how amazing they felt after running 19 miles when really it had been about 0.5 at this point. 🙂 I always start racing without music, so I was people watching and taking it all in. In the first mile, we did a quick turn around from the National Gallery of Art back towards the Washington Monument, and we also passed a water station early on. I skipped this one but so enjoyed seeing how encouraging the service men and women were as they handed out water and Gatorade!

We continued on toward the 14th Street Bridge, making our way into Crystal City. I was running consistent 9:10-9:20 miles, which is good for me right now, and I watched Joe’s hat for as long as I could as he sped off in front of me. 😉 Around mile 3 I put my headphones in and quickly walked my way through the second water/Gatorade station. I always walk so that I can get all of the drink in me!

Steeler Sunday and race day calls for a little “Renegade” in the headphones, so I listened and sang and kept on moving. I was really proud of myself for feeling like I pushed the whole time, but never felt the need to slow down too much or even walk. I took deep breaths through a cramp I got at mile 3.5, and kept on moving towards the Pentagon.

This is really the home stretch of the race, and you start to see the corrals that the marathon runners lined up in. As you approach Arlington Cemetery and run the last mile, there’s loud music playing and you know you’re getting close. The crowd support is also much stronger here since you’re not running down the highway anymore. Joe had already texted me that he finished, so I was focused on making it to 6.2 before 60 minutes was up. Thinking back, it was a pretty flat course except for the on or off ramps we ran up or down from the highway. But the race directors must know this because there’s a nice sharp hill right before the finish line. 🙂

I ran past the mile marker 6 and with 0.2 miles left, made a sharp right turn UP the hill towards Iwo Jima and the finish line. I was pretty annoyed by those in front of me who significantly slowed down or started walking at this point because I was trying to power to the finish, but I totally get why they did that! I just wish it had been on the side of the road instead of in the middle. 🙂

I finished in 58:34 which let me reach my goal of finishing in less than an hour! My PR for the 10K distance is 52:45, so I have some work to do to get back to that time, but I was super excited for my finish yesterday. And Joe ran some nice 7:20 minute miles after he ran ahead of me that let him finish in 51:40, which is a PR for him since it was his first 10K! It was very cool to be “medaled” by a Marine — they saluted and placed our medals around our necks. So cool!

We took all our finisher’s photos, grabbed our free food, and made our way back to the metro. The Finisher’s festival was very well organized and easy to navigate. This was a good thing since we were headed back to the race after a quick shower/breakfast to watch friends running the full marathon.

We took the metro to Arlington Cemetery, walked through a small security checkpoint, and headed down towards Route 110 in front of the cemetery to look out for friends. I was tracking all of them, and knew just when to look for them passing! Because we were watching so close to the finish, I almost wanted to warn them about that terrible hill they were about to encounter at the end, but I refrained. 😉 I love cheering for friends, but I also love cheering for people I don’t know who look like they’re running so strong right at the end or look like they just want to quit. The crowd gets so many people moving towards the end! All in all, it was a perfect day to race and spectate.

And fun fact: a race photographer took a picture of me and my sign. #ifeltaccomplished
“I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 26.2!”

A Weekend In My Life: Workin’ It Wednesday

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

– Friday –

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

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

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

– Saturday –

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

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

On the drive out, Amy had the best idea…

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

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

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

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

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

– Sunday –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Monday –

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

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

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

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

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

 

Out and About

How relaxing is this?!

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I haven’t been pressuring myself to work out every single day, so after a few days of relaxation this weekend, I knew on Sunday that I would be getting outside on my bike. My bike was a birthday gift from my parents, and while I have been able to get out for a few rides, I have a December birthday so this is really the first “season” I will be out and about on it! I planned to bike about 9.5 miles down the Mt. Vernon Trail to Old Town (and the waterfront) in Alexandria for a hopefully almost 20-mile ride.

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The ride out of Arlington wasn’t too crowded, but once I hit the trail, it was game on as I navigated around runners, other cyclists, tourists, and families walking with their kids. Since I am pretty new to the whole biking scene, I’ve realized I really don’t like the speed I gain while going downhill…and I’m easily alarmed by other people who are flying down a hill towards me. I’m easily alarmed in general, so this fear should surprise no one, but I need to get over it quickly because most other cyclists are fearless in their swerving around others!

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I didn’t quite know where I wanted to stop, but once I hit the riverfront trail, I pedaled along until I felt like taking a rest. I drank my shake, laid in the shade, and people watched as others had picnics, played games, and walked around with their families and friends. This was pretty much the last good thing that happened. Hahaha

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I wasn’t looking forward to the ride back because I was being lazy and just wanted to be done, but when you ride 9.5 miles away from home, what choice do you have but to ride back?! As I went back up the Mt. Vernon Trail, it felt like the ride was flying by, and I saw a fork in the trail that could take me in another direction. I recognized the name (Four Mile Run), so I headed that direction. I was no longer riding alongside a river, and this water was SUPER calm. There were two turtles hanging out on this branch, so that was kind of cool!

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This trail isn’t straight through the woods…eventually you run into some residential areas and then the trail picks back up again. It was at this time that I started making ALL of the wrong turns. I knew one very specific way to get home, but for some reason my adventurous self decided to go another way, and I ended up getting SO stuck in Pentagon City. There are a lot of busy roads and highways surrounding that area, and the one particular way that I knew to get back home now seemed so far away. After sitting down on the side of the road and feeling sorry for myself, contemplating calling an Uber or taking the Metro, and walking up a HUGE hill with my bike next to me, I finally hopped on and got to work. At this point, I had gone in a complete circle and wasted almost an hour, so I was very annoyed with myself. I knew that I was going to pass my mentor’s house and I was PRAYING that she and her husband weren’t sitting on the porch, but of course, they were. Ha! I pulled into their driveway, scared the heck out of their dog, and they gave me just the motivation I needed to get the last 3 miles home.

And then a rabbit ran in front of my bike.

I kid you not.

Easily startled, remember?

The rabbit and I both survived and I won’t be biking for at least 3 weeks. One week off for every hour I was gone. Hahaha

What did you do this weekend?!

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MiMM

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?!

Hour By Hour Weekend [March]

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

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

Friday

2:00 PM

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

6:00 PM

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

7:00 PM

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

9:30 PM

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

10:30 PM

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

Saturday

9:00 AM

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

10:00 AM

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

11:00 AM

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

12:00 PM

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

1:00 PM

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

2:00 PM

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

3:00 PM

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

4:00 PM

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

5:00 PM

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

6:00 PM

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

7:00 PM

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

8:30 PM

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

10:30 PM

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

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Sunday

10:00 AM

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

11:00 AM

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

12:00 PM

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

1:00 PM

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

2:00 PM

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

3:00 PM

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

4:00 PM

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

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

MIMM: This and That

Nothing like a Monday where you’re counting down the days until literally everything. The Rock N Roll Half Marathon, my mom’s visit, a quick trip to Atlantic City, visiting my best friend in Rochester, NY, Spring Break, Easter…I could go on.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for a Monday of a 5 day week by a teacher who feels like she hasn’t been in school all winter. As much as the long (read: normal length) weeks are going to hurt, we are all going to be better for it. I love a good snow day but it’s hard to get into a routine when the routine is constantly interrupted!

This weekend started off just marvelously  with my favorite Spin class at Zengo Cycle. The instructor was meh, the music was eh, but I love that studio and the atmosphere of a group exercise class so it was exactly what I needed! Then I was a terrible Whole Foods shopper because I started to make a plate of food from their salad bar and my friend suggested we walk across the street to The Cheesecake Factory instead. So I did what any good citizen would do. I pretended to look at the blueberries, ditched my half-filled takeout box, and went to The Cheesecake Factory. Oops!!!

I ordered chicken enchiladas for my meal and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go since I definitely wasn’t at a Mexican restaurant, but they were spicy and SO delicious! You could literally try a different plate every time you go to The Cheesecake Factory and never get the same thing for like 5 years, so add enchiladas to your list. 😉

My friend and I met up with one of my coworkers and his friends for drinks in DC and we went to the most fun bar ever. Everyone that I’ve talked to since knows exactly where Nellie’s is, so it must be legit. Ha! They had great drinks, fun music, and lots of people who love to dance so it was a blast. 🙂

On Saturday, Kristen and I took a day trip to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It’s about an hour drive from Arlington, but there was zero traffic and it’s a straight shot so it was an easy drive. Of course the pretty picture of the water was posted to my Snapchat and I never saved it, so you’re stuck with this instead. 😉 We shopped, bought candy, and browsed the huge Barnes and Noble. They had the newest Joanne Fluke book and I was sooo excited. My Grandma really loved reading murder mysteries and I was always a plain Jane with my books, reading stories of people exactly like me. Somehow got me into this series and we used to read them together. Now every time a new one comes out, I think of her!

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Next to the word marvelous in the dictionary is THIS PICTURE. I mean, come on. So cute. Stef is the friend that I am going to visit in NY in two weeks and her parents just sold their house. She was finding so many random things while going through some boxes of her stuff at their house this weekend and I LOVE this picture of me, her, and my brother Jake. It would be nice to recreate this picture, but Jake would definitely block my entire person if he tried to stand in front of me like this now. Hahaha

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My Sunday morning was just lovely because I fell asleep at 7 PM on Saturday night. Ha! I woke up and made myself eat dinner but then I went straight back to bed at 9. I was actually wide awake at 5:30 on Sunday morning but I was NOT about to let that hour happen on a weekend day so I dozed until the clock read an acceptable hour AKA 7:30 AM. I watched old episodes of Fixer Upper, made oatmeal and banana pancakes, and lounged until it was time to get ready for church.

My friends and I ate lunch at Eastern Market and I ordered an asparagus omelette, but I still managed to get syrup in the speaker of my phone. I was reaching across the table like the polite lady I am and I knocked somebody’s little cup of syrup over. I immediately started cleaning my phone as soon as it happened, but that stuff is SO sticky and just impossible to get off. My mother suggested rice, I’m thinking it’s a lost cause. Womp.

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I found my favorite snack at the grocery store…I’m wondering how long it’s going to last this week. 😉 I also parked next to a huge SUV that had three men in suits sitting inside of it. From the look of the car, I assumed they were Secret Service, so I peeked at their license plates while I was putting my cart away and they noticed me creeping past their car. Oops! Then when I got in my car and tried to pretend I was normal, I noticed another one of the same big black SUV’s with more men in suits sitting on the other side of the car next to me. I was sandwiched in between Secret Service! If it was one car, I would say they were shopping at the grocery store, but because there were two, I feel like they were watching for someone…only in DC.

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On the bright side of Monday, I have approximately 2394739 Hershey’s kisses left in my classroom because I numbered and hid 100 kisses for the 100th day of school on Friday. I wasn’t sure how many were in a bag, so I bought more than enough. I only hid 100 so we have lots of extra! The kids had a blast hunting for them and then they were extra quiet during our reading time at the end of the day. 😉

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Today, your challenge is to find something today that makes you as excited as Amigo is when it’s time to come inside. He really hates the cold. Hahaha