Hello, it’s me…

It’s been almost a year since I wrote on this little space of the Internet, and as I’m sure you can imagine if you look back over the last year of your own life, nothing is the same, but everything is awesome. Life’s funny like that.

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Today I’m linking up with Mel, Shay and Sheaffer for their What’s Up Wednesday series!

I finished my first year of teaching, got a new job, graduated with my Master’s degree, started dating my boyfriend Joe, and traveled to Atlantic City, Wildwood, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Cancun, and New Orleans since we last talked. But here I’m just talking about the last month, thank goodness. 🙂

What I’m eating this week:

Have you had Trader Joe’s Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower? I’m not going to say it tastes like chicken, but that sauce is so yummy! I served it with some frozen veggies because that’s what my freezer is currently overflowing with, and it was a quick easy meal!

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I’ve also been munching on these Starburst ice cream flavored jelly beans. Flavors like strawberry, orange sherbet, red raspberry, and lemon sorbet. I earned this jar on Easter by guessing how many jelly beans were inside…I think I guessed 187 and there were 357! No one was anywhere close. I wonder how many are left now. 😉 

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What I’m reminiscing about:

I’m reminiscing about elementary school since my Mom is in her final countdown until the end of the year and I remember doing just that! They celebrate the last 26 days of school in her kindergarten class with an alphabet countdown and today is “E” day. They wear things that start with “E”, participate in “E” activities, and eat an “E” snack. One of her students is wearing an Easter dress to celebrate. 🙂 I remember on X day, my Dad was getting me dressed for school and used duct tape to put an X on my back. X isn’t the easiest day to dress for. Ha!

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I’m also reminiscing about my not-so-baby brother. He just turned 18 and he is in his final countdown until the end of the year too…because he is GRADUATING! I can’t even wait to see him walk in his ceremony.

What I’m loving:

Morning workouts, hot tea, and my One Year Bible. I got out of the routine of working out in the morning and I forgot how much I LOVE it! I feel so accomplished going to work with one thing checked off my list already, and I love feeling “free” when the work day is done.

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What I’m dreading:

What I’m working on:

What I’m excited about:

So much is on the horizon! I’ve taken on more responsibility at work and even though that makes my head spin, I’m truly excited about it. Next month, I’ll watch my friend run her first full marathon, go to Rochester, NY to visit my best friend from childhood, and head back to the beach for Memorial Day Weekend! 4 days after Memorial Day Jake will graduate from high school and then we’ll have his graduation party later in the month. I also can’t wait to go back to Wildwood, NJ for our family vacation. I’m in a beach state of mind these days!

What I’m watching/reading:

Joe and I were watching Mad Men on Netflix, and now it’s a toss up between House of Cards and Breaking Bad. We are still deciding which one will be next! I also just finished watching 13 Reasons Why. It was heartbreaking, disturbing, and moving all at the same time. I want to read that book next! I’m also still so in love with Grey’s Anatomy. Scandal has not been my favorite this season.

Current books: Paris for One & Other Stories by JoJo Moyes and The Residence by Kate Andersen Brower. I read The Residence last year, but a book club I’m in is reading the book now, and it definitely deserves to be re-read!

What I’m listening to:

I have a very random taste in music and I love throwbacks. My most recently added songs are “Kiss By A Rose” by Seal and “Moves” by Big Sean. So yeah.

What I’m wearing:

Lucky Brand jeans on repeat.

What I’m doing this weekend:

What else is new:

I was finally reunited with both of my brothers during the Easter holiday and it was the best. Lemon raspberry cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory has real fruit in it and does not disappoint. 🙂 And Old Town is just as charming as I always thought it was. If you are looking for a good brunch, my friends and I just ate at Chart House this past weekend and enjoyed unlimited trips to the salad bar and 99 cent mimosas along with our meals. Also, you can’t go wrong with the crab and asparagus omelette. 🙂

Favorite spring shoe:

I have white and gray Converse Shoreline shoes that I wear with almost every outfit, including dresses. They are comfy and so cute!

What’s new with you?

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What’s Up?! [May]

Hi, friends! How are you on this fine Wednesday? I haven’t forgotten about this little corner of the Internet, and I hope to start a more consistent posting schedule come June. Stay tuned! In the meantime…

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Let’s link up with Mel, Andrea, and Sheaffer to talk about what’s up!

What I’m eating this week:

I suppose I should be embarrassed at my lack of cooking skills, but it’s way too easy to microwave a bag of vegetables and bake two black bean burgers for dinner. Going strong on day 3 over here. Ha! Switching up the vegetables at least keeps me guessing?!

What I’m reminiscing about:

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Last year at this time I was prepping for my first teaching interview! Oh how much life changes in a year. 🙂

What I’m loving:

In no particular order, Season 1 of Fixer Upper on Netflix, Toasted Marshmallow ice cream, 22 Minute Hard Corps workouts, and 80 degree days. Praise Jesus for sunshine and warm weather so my students can run!!!

What I’m dreading:

What I’m working on:

What I’m excited about:

Finishing my first year of teaching! It is a roller coaster of every emotion possible and I’m excited to have this experience under my belt and move forward somewhat more established!

Also, grad school is almost over. I have to teach summer school during the month of July and then I will have my Master’s! I can’t believe it and at the same time, I am so ready to be done. Now everyone wants to know when I’ll go back for my doctorate. I can’t talk about that yet. Hahaha

What I’m watching/reading:

I finished Looking for Lovely by Annie Downs and I loved it! I didn’t love it as much as I loved her other book “Let’s All Be Brave”, but I love her writing because it sounds like she is talking to me. She’s very relatable if you are looking for a Christian read from the point of view of a talkative, honest, 30-something!

I’m also the annoying person who reads multiple things at one time so I’m also in the middle of “Killing Lincoln” (Bill O’Reilly) and “The One and Only” (Emily Giffin). I just started “All The Light We Cannot See” because the WW2 time period fascinates me and even though it’s a long book, the chapters are about 4-5 pages each so you can easily pick it up, add something to the story in your brain, and then set it down and do something else!

What I’m listening to:

I like these songs on their own, but the Spin teacher in me loves their remixes too. 🙂

Colors (Audien Remix) – Halsey
Renegades (Stash Konig Remix) – X Ambassadors
Spectrum (Say My Name) – Florence + the Machine & Calvin Harris

Adele’s recent album has also made a comeback in the CD player in my car and I’ve been listening to Jason Aldean because his music makes me so excited for summer!

What I’m wearing:

The bloggiest of all blog worthy outfits. 😉 I ordered Le Tote for the first time because my friend sent me a free month and I loved wearing this patterned shirt with things I already owned, like my white pants and wedges! I liked the clothes that I recieved and Le Tote’s customer service was great but I like shopping too much to commit to an every month order from them. If you are interested in a free month, though, let me know because I have a few more emails I can send! (<– not sponsored, just something everyone gets upon signing up).

Nordstrom Rack hit it OUT of the park this past weekend with sales. Their prices are discounted from regular Nordstrom prices to begin with, but then when things are on sale…I took 32 items to the dressing room. Just saying. I wasn’t trying to be all name-brandy, but that’s just kind of how it ended up. Some of my tops are random brands. Anyways, I was most excited about a Barefoot Dreams robe for $19 (retail $99), True Religion jeggings for $60 (retail $158), and this in-your-face bright fuzzy North Face for $29! Best Saturday night ever. And I recommend you go to your local Nordstrom Rack ASAP!

What I’m doing this weekend:

I might go and stay.

What I’m looking forward to next month:

Fewer rainy days! A girl can dream. And I don’t have anything huge on the calendar yet…I’m not going on vacation until August, so hopefully I’ll just do lots of fun outdoor things here in DC!

What else is new:

I auditioned to teach Spin at one of my favorite studios around here and it was WAY different than any interview I’ve ever gone through for Spin before. Needless to say, I did not get the job but I’m going to pursue other gyms in the meantime and try at that studio again the fall. 🙂

5 miles was my go-to, favorite distance in college. I ran 6 miles yesterday and it was hard, friends. I just want running to be easy again, but that’s not going to come with all of my complaining and none of the work. I want 5-6 miles to feel good by the end of summer and then I’ll start training for the Army 10-miler! I signed up with my friends this morning. I think my up and down running over the past year is the reason for all my random injuries and complaints about how hard it is, so here I am putting ClassPass on hold and getting back on the trails. Yay for summer and running 🙂

What’s new with you?

What’s Up?! [March]

Hi, friends! It’s the second day back to school post-Spring Break and everyone is feelin’ it. What’s up with you this Wednesday?

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What I’m eating this week:

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I’m soooo excited to be eating these Red Pepper Hummus wraps this week! 12g protein, 9g carbs?! I’m always one to check the label for protein (because hello, it fills me up!) and as a former calorie counter, carbs scared the hell out of me for many years. So yes, I am looking forward to my wraps for lunch every day this week. With leftover Honeybaked Ham from Easter. 🙂

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I’m trying to become a tea drinker. Coffee is better. And that trail mix is to DIE for (and also already all gone).

 

What I’m reminiscing about:

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Watching Jake play volleyball! I got to see one scrimmage and one tournament while I was home and it was so much fun. He loves to play and we love to watch! That’s the face of a boy who finally won a game. 😉 He usually plays up front (technically “middle”???) but he served at the tournament and that was awesome, too!

What I’m loving:

 

Doing Easter-y things with my family…

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Climbing cherry blossom trees…

And obsessing about every tree with flowers, cherry blossoms or not.

What I’m dreading:

This semester won’t last forever. I think I can, I think I can.

What I’m working on:

I need to get organized. This is no longer an item on my to do list…it’s a need. Which is why you’ll find me at work on a Monday when I could have worked from home, yet you’ll find makeup all over my bedroom and dishes in the sink in my kitchen. I am still making my bed every day, and I’m caught up on laundry this week, so it’s the little things…

What I’m excited about:

At the beginning of August I will officially be done with ALL of my classes. I will no longer be a student and I am SO, SO EXCITED! I am the very first person to tell you that I love school, but I’m ready to be doooooone (for now;)!

What I’m watching/reading:

I got so many new books at Half Price Books while I was home! And I also got a book in my Easter basket, which is the one I’ve started reading. “For The Love” by Jen Hatmaker. I am sooo excited about it!

And as for what I’m watching…

Fixer Upper #canibejoannagaines
Dancing With The Stars #teamantonio #gosteelers
Grey’s Anatomy #meredithsnewboyfriendishot
Scandal #jakeiscreepy

What I’m listening to:

Bang My Head – David Guetta feat. Sia & Fetty Wap –> MY JAM
No – Meghan Trainor
Drink You Away – Justin Timberlake
Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers
Ophelia – The Lumineers

What I’m wearing:
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Skinny jeans and running shoes. JK. 😉 I was going for a 30 minute walk with my dogs and didn’t feel like changing. #fashiondont

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More slouchy pants! Don’t mind my face. This was after work and I was being ridiculous ha! This style made it into my February WUW post, but as I mentioned, those pants were on their last leg, so I picked up this pair at Steinmart this weekend. I like a loud pattern, what can I say? I’m known for wearing loud leggings at running group, so I might as well wear loud pants to work, too. 🙂

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And as long as we’re talking about loud patterns…high-waisted snakeskin dress pants on clearance, you da real MVP.

 

What I’m doing this weekend:

The Cherry Blossom 10-miler is this weekend and I’m spectating! My friends and I entered the lottery as a group, but we weren’t chosen. There’s a huge bib swap, but people were selling their bibs for literally two and three times the original entry price. No way!

What I’m looking forward to next month:

Currently, I’m not all that jazzed about April except for the fact that it will be warm and sunny all month…thank the dear Lord for that whole “spring forward” thing with the clocks. I’ll go on my first field trip as a teacher, attend a baby shower, and start working with kids who are coming to the summer reading program at UMD.

What else is new:

Bonus: What is your favorite Spring Cleaning tip?

This is what you will find me doing this weekend –> Pick up garbage bag. Fill garbage bag. Repeat. But really, try it! I plan on going through everything…my desk, my closet, the bench at the end of the bed…seriously, if I haven’t looked at an “important” piece of paper in 6 months or worn something recently, it’s going in the garbage bag and getting donated or tossed. Have no mercy, friends! It’s time to freshen up our lives!

What’s Up [February]

Hi, friends! My dad was going through blog withdrawl, so I thought you might be too. 😉 What’s up with you this Wednesday?

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What I’m eating this week:

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I love Mexican food. I don’t love refried beans. I especially don’t love when they are black and touch the rest of my food. But I ran out of salsa and I wanted to dip my chip in something so refried beans it was…they weren’t THAT bad, but they aren’t my new favorite, either.

I believe I told you that I’ve been making and eating Three Minute Egg White Oatmeal every day…well, we’re still going strong. It’s filling, it’s healthy, it’s tasty…what’s not to love?! I get excited to wake up in the morning and eat my oatmeal. Ha!

I also made Anne’s Creamy Mexican Chicken Chili. I will spare you the picture, but it tastes SO good. Go to Fannetastic Food if you want to see some real food photography. 🙂 The weirdest part of this recipe is that it includes hummus, but that’s what makes it creamy and I love it!

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Only quality pictures here on this blog. I also ate macaroni and cheese from a box for dinner on Sunday night. I haven’t eaten mac and cheese for like 104 years. It used to be one of my “do not eat” foods back in the day and the carbs still freak me out but I BOUGHT IT AND ATE IT AND LOVED IT AMEN. #nonscalevictory

What I’m reminiscing about:

This whole lay-with-your-legs-up-against-the-wall thing is actually a real stretch with real health benefits, and I made Kristen be all touristy and lay with our legs up on the Washington Monument after one of our long runs this summer. I was SO looking forward to doing this stretch this past Saturday because I haven’t run long in a long time.

While I was laying there playing with my phone and celebrating 7 miles, a bunch of other tourists taking pictures laid down and started doing the same thing. I started a movement. 😉 The funniest part was not this guy just looking up, but the five people behind him laying down…and then his girlfriend or wife switched places with him, laid down, and pretended to be climbing the monument. I was dying. Hahaha

What I’m loving:

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Action shot! Go Mustangs!

What I’ve been up to:

Tried two new restaurants: El Centro (Mexican food) in Georgetown and Bluejacket (a brewery) in Navy Yard. Went to an outdoor art event called Light Yards in 60 degree February weather #praisetheLord. Running one day, lifting the next to prepare for the Rock ‘N Roll Half coming up in March. Referee-ing lots of tattle tales of second graders who are tuning into their sassy “I’m not gonna be your friend anymore” sides. Sitting in lots of traffic, because night class. 😉 Rain in DC in the car is worse than snow. People lose.their.minds. My coworker was almost late for work yesterday because traffic was so slow AND she left early!

What I’m dreading:

I want to be ahead on homework but that’s not really working out for me thus far. 😉 Thank God for workout clothes at work today. Thank God for Thursday tomorrow. And I guess thanks be to God that I have the opportunity to learn all of this stuff but I am craving some “me” time! Thursday night can’t come soon enough! #allthewine #oliviapopejunior

What I’m working on:

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Waking up and making my bed every day. Pastor Mark said if you can’t do the little things right, you can’t do the big things right. We’re 3 for 3 over here this week. 🙂

What I’m excited about:

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The Blardigan’s cousin in hoodie form. Pocket on the front, hood on the back, V-neck, angel soft material, what more could you ask for?! Oh, I know what more you could ask for. The $40 price tag. I bow down to Nordstrom Rack. I also REALLY wanted those jeans because the distressed legs are PERFECT but I think I am officially over low rise jeans and so they went back on the rack. Womp.

What I’m watching/reading:

Do fairy tales that I read to my second graders count? We’re currently reading through different versions of Little Red Riding Hood. Ha! The one version said she was taking her Grandma custard, and the next day another book said bread and wine. I read it aloud as bread and juice because REALLY LIBRARY you’re going to stock a book that says wine?! Then of course two students were going through the book later and one was like, “MISS MCGRAW IT SAYS WINE WHY DID YOU SAY JUICE!!!” while another student said, “What’s wine?” #oywiththepoodles #gilmoregirlsreference

For fun, I’m reading…

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One of the characters is from Pittsburgh. 🙂

And I’m watching The Bachelor, Grey’s Anatomy, and Scandal! Bachelor –> not surprised by who went home after hometowns. Greys –> ALL THE FEELS! I have NO idea what Shonda Rimes is doing with Meredith this season…what is possibly left for her to go through?! Scandal –> Cyrus is being sneaky as per usual and I loved Mellie and Olivia hanging out and getting drunk on the floor. Hahaha

What I’m wearing:

These slouchy pants are awesome. I explain them as blouse material on your legs. Ha! They’re a snakeskin pattern and they feel like pajamas even though they’re dress pants. I bought a similar pair from Target this fall that ripped in THREE places the very first day I wore them. I chalked it up to cheap material, but in each of the places, it had frayed right on the seam and then split.

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The above pants have held up so well over the years. I’ve had them since junior year of college, and this is a fact because the picture above is old. I wore this exact outfit to work yesterday and I noticed that the seam right down the front started to fray. At 11 AM. When I’m in the middle of my teaching day and still have to go to night class at UMD. Needless to say, I put the now crotch-less pants in the trash as soon as I got home… #RIP

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I also ran in shorts this past weekend which was the happiest of all days.

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I got a few weird looks for crazy colored running tights and two unmatching compression sleeves, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to change, run, and get back home before The Bachelor starts, right?!

What I’m doing this weekend:

Sleeping, eating, running, and reading. I am very easy to please.

What I’m looking forward to next month:

St. Patrick’s Day race.
Rock N Roll Half Marathon.
Girls’ weekend with my mom in Atlantic City.
Spring Break!
Going to Rochester, NY to see Stef!!!

What else is new:

Bonus: What is your favorite Easter tradition?

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We take our egg dying seriously around here. When my brothers and I were younger, we would each get a carton of a dozen eggs to color and decorate. Alex and Jake aren’t busting at the seams to dye eggs anymore, but it’s all about tradition and we do have so much fun. 🙂 Everyone has gotten involved over the years. Friends, significant others, neighbors, long distance relatives…whoever is in the house when my mom starts making the colors is who dyes eggs with us! And yes, we do end up peeling them and eating the hard boiled egg on the inside!

Me and my cousin, Lucy…on the left in 2008 and on the right in 2013! Now we just need to reunite for another picture because we look even MORE grown up now!

What’s Up Wednesday [January]

Welcome to 2016’s first What’s Up Wednesday link up! Shay and Mel are hosting this month and Sheaffer is writing her always hilarious Bachelor recap today. 🙂 You should definitely click on over to the link up AND read Sheaffer’s post, even if you don’t watch the show. She perfectly captures the crazy each week!

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What I’m eating this week:

I’ve mentioned before that when I like a breakfast, I really like it. That means I eat it every single day for as long as possible until I get sick of it. 😉 Right now I’m stuck on Three Minute Egg White Oatmeal, which I first read about on Julie’s blog. I swap the half cup of milk she calls for with a half cup of water, and the flavor is still just as good! This is a seriously filling breakfast as the egg whites and oatmeal grow while it cooks, but I love not feeling hungry all morning long!

I’ve also been eating a lot of flatbread pizza! I purchased the FlatOut ProteinUP wraps last week when I was stocking up for Winter Storm Jonas and while the turkey wrap I made for lunch one day was delicious, this pizza I’ve created is so good too! Taralynn inspired me to make this quick and easy dinner when you are craving pizza, but still want to keep it relatively healthy! These wraps have 12g protein, 9g carbs, and 130 calories. Topped with some pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and chicken, and baked for about 10 minutes, it is crispy and filling!

I’ve also been making a big pot of soup each week! So far, I’ve made vegetable soup, turkey chili, and chicken noodle soup. What are some of your favorite soup recipes?!

What I’m reminiscing about:

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I’m reminiscing about the days when I could wear clothes like this outside and not freeze my tail off. And reminiscing about what streets sans snow look like. 😉

What I’m loving:

I’m loving the snowy pictures of D.C. that my coworkers and friends (hey, Amanda!) are sending me! I often run downtown and take the Metro home. It’s about a 3.5 mile walk to the closet monument, which isn’t so far, but there aren’t many places to walk right now except for the middle of the street because there is so much snow. The people that I know who have been walking around D.C. and taking these pictures truly live near the heart of everything and so that’s how these pictures were possible for them! The metro reopened on Monday, but there is minimal travel available and it’s still recommended that everyone not travel unless they have to. I feel like taking pictures and playing in the snow is a need, but apparently the mayor of D.C. doesn’t feel the same way. 😉 The photo evidence will have to do for now! until tonight! I wrote this post on Monday and ventured out that evening. 🙂

What I’ve been up to:

Well, I’ve been a little stuck in my apartment due to the blizzard. And as a teacher, I’ve been enjoying my fair share of snow days! I’ve been working out each day, watching Parenthood, reading books from the library, perusing blogs, and meeting up with friends who live within walking distance for brunch (at the few open restaurants) or snowball fights! The snowball fight pictured above first began as a Facebook event, and you never really know who will show up when everyone hits “accept”. However, there were SO many people there! Children, teenagers, adults, it didn’t matter. Everyone was out enjoying the snow! And on the left, Amanda, her friend Jancey, and I were spectating the snowball fight from the top of a huge pile of snow. We did eventually make it down to the battle lines, don’t worry. 😉 I also went sledding down the Lincoln stairs on a flattened box. Because #cityproblems. The stairs aren’t completely shoveled yet so it’s like a huge hill!

What I’m dreading:

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Going back to school and reteaching my “monkeys” (aka students) all of our classroom procedures. No one ever tells you that long breaks from school actually inhibit teaching when you return! How to listen when others are talking, how to work independently, how to stand in line…you get the idea. 🙂

What I’m working on:

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I’m really working on this blog! I want to share more posts, while keeping them meaningful, and I want to connect with other bloggers. I’m also working on recommendation letters for students, homework for two classes I’m taking, and remembering to read for fun every day. 🙂

What I’m excited about:

Starting to train for the Rock N Roll DC Half Marathon! I hope all this strength training I’m doing (and will continue to do) makes a difference!

What I’m watching/reading:

I’m watching The Bachelor (as per usual) and Parenthood (on Netflix). I also started watching the new season of The Real Housewives of Potomac because I’ve never watched any of the RH shows before and I always feel like I need to start at a beginning. Plus, Potomac is nearby. My roommate tells me that this is a terrible representation of the show, ha! What is your favorite city to watch?

And of course, I’m always watching House Hunters. Regular, international, renovation, I love it all. You will always know if I was watching TV before you because when you turn the TV on, it will be tuned in to HGTV. 🙂

Next week, I’ll be sharing what I’m reading with Molly and Katie’s book club! I read Secrets of a Charmed Life in one whole evening and one whole morning, so if you’re looking for a page turner, check that one out!

What I’m listening to:

Try an audiobook! I seriously love them!

My favorite Pandora stations are Pentatonix, Kygo, and Lana Del Rey.

I’ve also been loving I Took A Pill In Ibiza (Mike Posner) and 2 Heads (Coleman Hell).

What I’m wearing:

Staples include this huge scarf, my beanie and my winter coat or Under Armour with a vest. I also got a November Project buff at the DC workout the other day so I was ridiculously excited about that and have worn it for almost every workout since. Ha!

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I’ve put on jeans and shirts and scarves and jewelry to go see friends, but as soon as I get home, it’s back to leggings and pajamas. Did you know one can get sick of leggings and pajamas? It’s true. I’ve been making myself get dressed since Monday. #thestruggleofsnowdays #uggslippersalldayeveryday

What I’m doing this weekend:

Will I be able to drive by this weekend? We are supposed to get more snow on Thursday night! A snowy run with friends would be fun, though!

What I’m looking forward to next month:

Celebrating Valentine’s Day. Yes, even though I’m single. I just love love. 🙂

What else is new:

Brunch buffets are always a good idea. That is all.

Bonus: What is your favorite Valentine’s Day treat?

Conversation hearts are just for decoration, right?! I like to color Rice Krispy treats (or really any food I eat around that time…think pancakes, milk, etc.) pink or red and I love chocolate covered strawberries!

What’s Up?! [September]

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What I’m eating this week:

My grocery list looks strikingly similar each week. Think eggs, egg whites, vegetables, cheese, fruit, turkey or chicken, sweet potatoes, Quest bars, and some other random snacks like nuts or crackers or pretzels. I have been having SUCH a hard time breaking the evening snack habit, so I am trying to change up my meals this week in an effort to feel more full come evening. White chocolate chips and Pretzel Thins was an actual snack I fed myself this week. #embarrassing

Enter: homemade chicken and vegetable soup!

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I bought Tyson’s diced chicken, Archer Farms diced sweet potatoes, three bags of frozen vegetables that included peas, carrots, corn, and green beans, and then I cut up some celery and onion. I added all of that to some chicken broth, sprinkled some pepper and other seasonings in the mix, and just let it simmer all afternoon on Sunday. I have been so looking forward to it for lunch every day this week! Of course, on Monday, the container didn’t fit in my lunchbox, so I set it right next to it on the counter. Guess what I forgot to pick up before I left? 😉

What I’m reminiscing about:

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Having time to go home for Steelers game last fall! I was in grad school full time last year and I could mostly make my own hours for my job PLUS my class on Monday wasn’t until 4:15 PM. Because of that, I had lots of time to get back to Pittsburgh for the weekend. It was nice to go to a Sunday game and not have to rush out of town! My Dad keeps asking me what game I want to go to this season and I just don’t know! The weekend of Columbus Day is a long weekend for me, but of course the Steelers aren’t home that week. Sigh. We can also reminisce about Alex’s long hair while we’re here. His hair is nice and short now. 🙂

What I’m loving: 

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This candle even though it’s not a fall scent. I have a bunch of fall scents burning in the living room, but there are other rooms in the apartment that could use a candle, am I right? I bought this on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City this summer and I have just never burned it! It has been sitting on my desk and I could smell it without ever having lit it, so I knew once I actually started burning it that it would smell AMAZING!

What I’ve been up to:

Teaching. Working out. Eating. Blogging. Sleeping.

What I’m dreading:

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September 2014 – Out for a morning run

Not seeing my precious Colby until Thanksgiving. I either have to go home for the weekend or my mom has to bring him here. Hm…

What I’m working on:

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You’ve seen this picture before, but the pictures I take during the day can’t be shared because there are students in them. I love taking pictures of them doing the right thing…whether that is focusing on the book they are reading, working on writing, or working really well with a partner. I post these pictures in our classroom and share them with parents. However, something that I am working on is being more organized. Every day starts out with some semblance of organization and then by the time me and 23 little people get through our day, the classroom is a train wreck. I was having a conversation with my students the other day about some behaviors that I would like them to work on getting better at…such as listening the first time I give a direction. 😉 But to take all of the attention off of them, I asked them what I could do to make the classroom better for them. They gave lots of suggestions that were mostly related to their own behavior, which I was happy about, but one girl said that the classroom is messier than her bedroom. The extra pieces of paper and random things that get tossed on my desk must bother her. Hahaha!

What I’m excited about:

I signed up for a Fall Scarf Exchange through Rachel and Astleigh’s blogs, so I am really excited to get my package in the mail!

What I’m watching/reading:

I’ve been watching The Voice because many people have told me I should. I also started watching Blood and Oil when it premiered on ABC this past weekend and of course, Scandal is back on TV now! I love fall TV! I’m a Grey’s Anatomy fan, but I’m a season behind, so I’m still watching on Netflix. And yes, I know the shocking scene that happened last season that I haven’t yet watched. Good ol’ social media ruined that one for me. 😉

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And I just finished reading The Chase! My aunt sent me this book a few weeks ago and I read it in two days. It’s brand new and all about making the right choices in dating as a Christian. I felt like it was more directed at teenagers in high school, but I still liked it! It was a really quick but interesting read.

What I’m listening to:

#obsessed #JeepCommercial

What I’m wearing:

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Yesterday was school picture day. It’s always such a process to decide what to wear, and then you can really only see your shoulders in the picture anyway. Ha! I wore this red swing dress from Old Navy. It’s on sale for $15 and looks way better on the model in case you were curious. 🙂 I love the sleeves and the fact that it is so flowy, but still gives you some shape and makes you look put together!

What I’m doing this weekend:

My mom and my aunt are coming to visit! We definitely want to get our nails done. I have no idea what else is on the agenda. 🙂

What I’m looking forward to next month:   

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November 2014

My mom and my brothers are still coming to visit the weekend of the Marine Corps Marathon as they originally planned because our relatives from Indianapolis are coming to DC! My Dad’s sister lives in Indianapolis and her kids are the same age as my parents. So my cousins are like my aunt and uncle and their child is like my cousin. Family dynamics are so strange haha! In any case, my cousin Nick is in middle school and he has never been to DC, so during his Fall Break, they are making the trip here! Originally, everyone was excited to be in town the same weekend as my race, but now we can all focus on family time and just seeing all the sights in town. I’m mostly serious, but also trying to look on the bright side here. #injuriessuck

What else is new:

I am home alone this week because my roommate is in Italy (lucky duck) and as I write this post, it is raining. Or it was raining. I can’t be sure because I refuse to get out of my bed. Either way, there is some dripping noise from a gutter or something and a strong gust of wind every so often that makes it sound like someone is coming in off the balcony. GOOD TIMES, FRIENDS. GOOD TIMES. #terrified #alreadychecked #everythingislocked #nooneisthere

Bonus question –> Favorite Halloween tradition:

As a kid, my favorite thing to do was get out our many boxes of Halloween costumes and spend the day dressing up in all of them with my brothers! My mom also used to have a ghost-shaped candy dish that “boo-ed” when you walked past that I LOVED! The year that we took it out of storage and found it broken was the saddest year of decorating ever. Ha!

Something else that we have always done that is still my favorite thing to do now is going to the pumpkin patch!

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Montpelier Farms

I love walking down the rows of pumpkins to find the perfect one to carve, I love the kettle corn that is ALWAYS sold, and I love the different outdoor activities they have for everyone to do!

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Last year, I visited a new-to-me pumpkin patch in Maryland. All by myself. Because sometimes when you move to a new place and you don’t know that many people, you have to do such things. 😉 I found this candy corn tree in the General Store and I wanted it so badly! It wouldn’t have fit in my living room last year, but now I SO wish I owned it!

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I also love candy apples covered in caramel and Reese’s Pieces because OF COURSE I DO!

Your turn…what’s up with you?!

What’s Up?! [August]

I love to reflect on what I’m doing and I love hearing about what is going on in other people’s lives, so this link up is one of my favorites! 🙂 Join Mel, Shay, and Sheaffer on the last Wednesday of every month to share what’s up with YOU!

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What I’m eating this week:

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“Back to school, back to school, to prove to Dad I’m not a fool…” #youknowyousangalong

I’m not QUITE back to school yet, but I am at teacher training all day long so I prepared salads and snacks for the week on Sunday night. There is spinach and broccoli slaw in each salad container, and then the night before, I add my salad toppings: chicken, turkey, cheese, nuts, etc. Whatever I am feeling! I also put dressing in a separate mini container  AND I put paper towels in all containers/bags that have vegetables in them to soak up the moisture so they stay fresh. 🙂

What I’m reminiscing about:

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I’m doing a lot of thinking about how to welcome my kiddos to second grade…but wasn’t I just a little person myself?! When did I gain all of this responsibility?!

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It’s equal parts exciting and terrifying. 🙂 P.S. Don’t mind my super short hair cut…I don’t know what 4th grade me was thinking. Hahaha

What I’m loving: 

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Sitting on my balcony and reading or blogging or just watching the sun go down. Last night, I read until I couldn’t see. 🙂

What I’ve been up to:

I’ve been learning how to wake up early, put on real clothes, and be a first year teacher.

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What I’m dreading:

On Sunday, I get to try running again. I hope it doesn’t hurt. The stationary bike is so dang boring!

What I’m working on:

Mentally organizing my classroom (I can get in on Friday!) and trying to make time to read for fun every day.

What I’m excited about:

The first day of school!

What I’m watching/reading:

I’m always a fan of anything Bachelor related and Extreme Weight Loss. The Bachelor is just mindless and entertaining, but Extreme Weight Loss is so inspiring. I love working out and eating healthy so watching other people discover their love for that makes me happy! I’m reading Bookends by Jane Green, Innocent In Las Vegas by A.R. Winters, and The First Six Weeks of School by Paula Denton & Roxanne Kriete. I’m sure you don’t want to read that one, but I’m just keepin’ it real over here. 😉

What I’m listening to:

This is on Pandora right now!

What I’m wearing:

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These fun pants from Gap (I got them last year!) and new flats from Old Navy. Old Navy is having a HUGE sale right now for back to school and I was so excited to find these flats for $12. I was also excited that they fit because I wear a size 10 or 11 in shoes…it depends on who makes them. I can get away with Old Navy flip flops but their shoes don’t typically fit me. Did my feet shrink!? We will never know…but I love these. 🙂

What I’m doing this weekend:

I have no big plans yet! There is a free workout at the new Chelsea Collective store at the mall that I want to go to and then I’ll go to church on Sunday with my friends. Other than that, I’ll relax and/or make plans as I go!

What I’m looking forward to next month:

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My Dad’s birthday is September 1 and my brother Alex turns 21 on September 14! You know how much I love to celebrate birthdays, so even though I won’t see them for their birthdays, I’m excited to celebrate long distance and send them gifts!

What else is new:

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I reclaimed my car when I took all of these boxes to my classroom two weeks ago…and then somehow, I filled my car back up again. With more things that my classroom “needs”. I can’t wait to reclaim my car AGAIN. And take pictures of my newly organized room. Stuff, be gone!

Bonus Question: What’s your favorite back-to-school tradition?

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We always take first day of school pictures! This is from 2013 so I was a senior in college, Jake was a freshman in high school, and my mom was going to her twenty-something year of kindergarten. 😉 The first day of school picture is extra fun because we always get a new outfit!

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And of course, we get new shoes. Jake was just asking my mom about his “school shoes” when I was home visiting last week. When we were younger, we always got a pair of tennis shoes, which we actually probably needed because we were growing. Now it’s just fun to get new shoes! Last year for my first year of grad school, I bought Toms wedges. 🙂

I currently have no idea what I’m wearing on the first day of school and my Old Navy flats don’t count as my new school shoes because they were an impulse purchase haha! I need to get to shopping. 🙂

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Happy Wednesday! What’s up with you!?