Good Ol’ Plum

When I meet new people (which let’s be honest, happens on an almost daily basis here in DC), I get sooooo excited to tell them that I am from Pittsburgh. I love where I am from, and for a long time, I was pretty certain it was the only place on the planet. JK. 😉 Truly, I never saw myself moving away. It wasn’t until I went to college (20 minutes from home) and met so many friends from so many places that I started to picture myself elsewhere. Long term, I imagine myself back in Pittsburgh, but right now, I love living on my own in a different place!

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Pittsburgh is the place to be with all its sporting events (Go Steelers!), restaurants, running trails, and theaters. I love seeing shows downtown! And I loved living downtown while I was in college. But I am not a city dweller through and through. I am actually from a town called Plum. No one outside of Pittsburgh really has any idea of what that means, so sometimes I say Pittsburgh, and then if you are from the area I will tell you Monroeville, and then if you know THAT place, I will say Plum. Ha! It’s a small farm town turned suburb full of houses and schools and fields and not much else. 😉

Let’s start with my neighborhoods…I have lived in two houses in Plum and both developments have been built on old farm land. That means that there has pretty much always been a farm in my backyard. 😉 At our old house, I specifically remember hearing cows and peacocks. One summer, the goats got loose and ran down my street. We were unfortunately on vacation when this occurred. Hahaha BUT in my new neighborhood, the farm is in front of us. They have cows, but they don’t seem to be as loud as the other ones. To be fair, the people who own these two farms are two of the only people who farm in the entire town. The rest of us are just regular suburbanites living in our houses ha!

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Growing up, I spent most of my time playing in my front yard or in my Grandma’s HUGE yard. Her property turned into a very important source of income for me as I got older and was allowed to drive the lawn mower 😉 Now, at our new house, the backyard is the place to be. And we are surrounded by all our neighbors! There used to be no one in our backyard and we never played there…now houses line our backyard and our patio is the number one spot to sit!

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 Besides that, I spent a ton of time at Holiday Park Elementary School because that’s where my mom worked and where my brothers and I went to school. We also frequented the library, our church, Paradise Park, Nesbit’s Bowling Alley, and the Plum Baseball Fields. Besides knowing 101 people who played baseball or softball, everyone would also go there to walk around and hang out. And take pictures. And eat concession stand food. And text people on their pink Razr phones. Hahaha

If you can’t tell, we might have had way too much fun at Paradise Park even as high school students. 😉 Boyce Park is actually the better park because that’s where the cross country running trails are located AND you can snow tube and ski there in the winter!

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I always thought our high school was HUGE until I went to college and realized graduating with a class of 335 was not that much. 1,200 students in the same school SOUNDS like a lot, but I guess in retrospect, it’s not! A huge addition was added to the high school a few years before I got there, so maybe that’s why I thought it was so huge. Ha!

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Now, if you’re hungry, as I’m sure we were after our high school Powderpuff game, you can go to one of two grocery stores, a Chinese take-out place, delivery pizza of your choice, or you can get in your car and drive to Monroeville! The other side of Plum, which is known as Holiday Park, has a few shopping centers, fast food restaurants, nail salons, gyms, etc…but if you want Target or Starbucks or Panera or THE MALL, you must drive yourself into Monroeville. And it’s only about 7 miles, so it’s no big deal. 🙂 When I moved to DC, I was very annoyed that I had to walk everywhere because I am used to driving to ALL the places. But now my feet have adjusted and I love walking to the grocery store and lululemon and Starbucks and the library!

Plum is a great little family town. Mostly everybody knows everybody, school sporting events are a huge deal and are so fun, and we do have our yearly fun events like Community Days in the summer and Sugarplum Days in the winter. But for now, I love the city life. 🙂

What’s your hometown like?

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Four Facts Survey

Four names that people call me other than my real name:

  1. Ky
  2. Kyky
  3. Kyle
  4. Mom –> students who are in a rush tend to forget who they are speaking to. Hahaha

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Newspaper Deliver-er #notaword
  2. Writing Center Consultant
  3. Group Fitness Instructor
  4. Elementary Teacher

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  1. The Princess Diaries
  2. A Cinderella Story
  3. The Grinch (with Jim Carrey)
  4. Pitch Perfect

Four books I’d recommend:

  1. Let’s All Be Brave
  2. Defending Jacob
  3. A Trip Around the Sun
  4. The Residence

Four places I’ve lived

  1. Plum, PA
  2. Pittsburgh, PA
  3. College Park, MD
  4. Arlington, VA

Four places I’ve visited:

  1. New York City
  2. Riviera Maya
  3. Wildwood, New Jersey
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  1. Wildwood, NJ (but sunshine and warmth is also a requirement)
  2. Hanging out with my family and my dogs at my mom’s house
  3. In Rochester with my best friend Stefanie
  4. My bed under my purple blanket

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Not in Rochester…but hanging out with Stef 😉

Four things I prefer not to eat:

  1. Hamburgers & steak. I just can’t get on board with chunks of red meat.
  2. Tuna from a can…but somehow tuna from a packet is okay.
  3. Kale (it has a flavor. Don’t deny it!)
  4. Gravy

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Oatmeal (my students think this is hilarious)
  2. Chips & queso
  3. Veggie & cheese omelette
  4. Sweet potato fries

Four TV shows I watch:

  1. Scandal
  2. Grey’s Anatomy
  3. The Bachelor/ette
  4. The Biggest Loser & Extreme Weight Loss

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:

  1. Snow days;)
  2. Rock ‘N Roll DC Half Marathon
  3. Graduating from UMD with my Master’s degree
  4. Taking weekend trips (on my to-do list)!

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Four things I’m always saying:

  1. Talk to you later! I love you! (Usually as I hang up the phone with someone in my family.)
  2. K. (Example: I’m driving and someone walks right in front of my car. In the sassiest voice ever, “KAY.”)
  3. I’m hangry (Never hungry, always hangry).
  4. Sit on your bottom half (7 year olds are antsy).

Four people I tag to answer these questions:

  1. Randi
  2. Molly
  3. Lauren
  4. Sarah

Meet the Blogger [Week 1]

I’m very excited to join Sarah and Ashley for their 52 Week Blog Challenge this year! I can be a creative thinker, but to be honest, I like direction. I am most definitely a leader and someone who likes to be in charge, but I also like to know what is expected of me. Obviously, with a personal blog, you are measuring yourself against your own expectations. There really is no right or wrong thing to write about, because it is all up to you! Sometimes I love this freedom, and sometimes I want some direction. So thanks, ladies, for providing that! 🙂

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Click on over to get to know Sarah’s blog and Ashley’s blog!

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Today is all about the writer behind the blog. So, hi! Welcome to my little corner of the Internet. My name is Kylie and I’m a 24 year old teacher finding her way in the grand ol’ city of Washington, D.C. I’m a city dweller through and through, though I was born and raised in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, PA. When I started looking at colleges, I was most interested in attending somewhere in our downtown area. I didn’t give much thought to leaving my hometown, and it wasn’t until I met so many different people in college that I realized there’s a whole big world outside of my favorite city. 🙂

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My decision to attend graduate school at the University of Maryland surprised most people I know, but it was one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. It was exciting and terrifying to go to a place where I knew absolutely no one, but the best part was getting to know myself so much better, and I eventually made friends. 😉 Finding National Community Church and becoming an involved member has been such a blessing to me as I navigate this new chapter of my life. I love the pastors and I love the friends that I have made. God is really good!

My parents and my little brothers are my favorite people on the planet. I grew up one mile from everyone in my mom’s immediate family, so spending time with those people has always been really important to me. I also have a special place in my heart for my family’s two dogs, Colby and Amigo. Dogs just bring so much happiness to life!

There’s a 100% chance that you will find me doing or talking about some kind of exercise every day. Running is my soul mate workout and I love to teach Spinning and PiYo classes. I obtained my certification for both group exercise classes in college and it has been the best investment! When I’m not teaching, I’m trying a crazy workout of my own. I’ve run more than a handful of races in the past few years, and the half marathon distance is my favorite. I also received a bike for my birthday, so I’m learning to love outdoor cycling, too! Currently, I’m loving weight lifting and I’m working my way through Beachbody’s new Hammer and Chisel program. While I am a Beachbody coach, I believe that different things work for different people and I totally understand if that’s not your cup of tea. 🙂

If it was nutritiously sound to live on a diet of chips and queso, I would seriously be all in. Mexican food, black coffee, and dessert all have a special place in my heart. As does oatmeal. Which my students find hilarious. 😉 It just really is one of my favorite foods! I don’t especially love cooking, but I do really, really love grocery shopping, so I kind of have no choice in the matter. And baking dessert happens for the sole purpose of licking the bowl. #youknowyoudoittoo

So that’s about it! I hope I didn’t scare you off. 😉 Thanks for reading!

2015: A Year In Review

If you had told me last New Years Eve that THIS New Years Eve I would be on Christmas Break from my first year of teaching, I don’t know that I would have believed you. My life last year was so very different than it is now, but there have only been good changes!

I moved to College Park, MD in August of 2014 to start my Master’s in Reading. I took on three part time jobs at UMD: a research assistant in the Education Department, a writing consultant at The Writing Center, and a fitness instructor at the gym. That’s how last year began…a new semester of grad school plus my three jobs.

This is for my own memory. You will likely be tempted to skim or scroll past some stuff. Ha!

JANUARY

Right after Winter Break, I drove back to Maryland for a work trip to Boston. My research team worked with another team out of Boston College that we communicated with via Skype and phone calls. We went up to see them for 2 days in January to get LOTS of work done in person! It was also -4 the entire time we were in Boston, so thank goodness we were only there for 36 hours. 😉 This was a typical work trip in that I truly have no idea what the city of Boston looks like because I was at the airport, in a taxi to Boston College, at Boston College, at our hotel, and then all of that in reverse. This month, I also started teaching PiYo and I took myself on an adventure to Annapolis because I had never been and that’s what you do when you have few friends in a new place! I ran to the MLK Jr. monument on MLK Jr. Day and I met up with Kristen for the first time to run the National Mall!

FEBRUARY

I taught PiYo once before teaching it on a stage. At the beginning of the semester, the gym has a sort of “opening night” for its classes so everyone can see what’s available. That was a little bit out of my comfort zone! I started training for the Cherry Blossom 10-miler (you’re welcome for the selfie) and spent a lot of time on the indoor track because it snowed a LOT this month and I was a big baby! I went to running group with my church almost every Wednesday and found lots of new-to-me routes in DC. My mom and Jake came to visit for Valentine’s Day and my best friend Stef visited a few weekends later. I also worked at and attended a Fitness Expo at UMD’s gym that brought fitness instructors from up and down the east coast!

MARCH

I remember watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy this month. Ha! I was obsessed and school kept getting delayed, cancelled, or closed early because of cold weather and snow. I made it outside when I could to keep training for the 10-miler, I took lots of selfies at The Writing Center (omg long hair), and I kept teaching PiYo every Monday morning and Tuesday night! My running group did a special run for those we knew going on a mission trip to the West Bank and I spotted the National Cathedral for the first time since moving here. And of course, my baby brother turned 16 and got his permit!

APRIL

And then it was warm. This was also the month I started tossing around the idea of applying for teaching jobs. My final decision was made while I was sitting in a Jason’s Deli. My memory, I tell ya… I was home this month for Easter and drove with Jake for the first time! I also went running on my favorite loop downtown (where I ran almost every morning in college) and I have a very vivid memory of tripping over a crack in the sidewalk and falling into a big X-shape. My leggings ripped, my hands were bleeding, I was half crying and half yelling, and then when I finally stood up…I kept running. Hahaha! I went to an event at UMD called “Grad Prom”, attended my first bonfire of the year in shorts and sandals, ran to Gravelly Point where you can see planes take off from Reagan National Airport, and ran the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. It was so fun to have my friends in town for that race! I’m a Beachbody coach so I went to a Super Saturday event in Baltimore and I also went to my first Nationals baseball game!

MAY

I started and successfully completed Beachbody’s 21 Day Fix Extreme program this month. I made a last minute decision to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon when an extra bib became available and I also ran to Gravelly Point for the first time. You can see the planes from Reagan National Airport taking off and landing here! My friend Sarah and I went to the Marine Barracks Evening Parade and my mom and my aunt came to visit for the weekend. We went to Atlantic City at the end of the month for Memorial Day Weekend and I rushed back to Maryland ASAP because I had my first teaching interview! My mom wanted to know what I was wearing and my dad wanted to see a picture of the Zipcar I had rented, so that’s how I ended up with that super awkward picture on the bottom right. Ha!

JUNE

First November Project workout.
First Duquesne Alumni Event at the Nationals vs. Pirates game in DC.
First adventure to Old Town, Alexandria, VA.
First time eating an apple fritter (that was the size of my head).
First time making and eating Strawberry Salsa for a Strawberry Festival Party!
Second Kenny Chesney concert.
Second Taylor Swift concert.
Second and third teaching interviews (third time was the charm!).

I also chopped all my hair off and spent a lot of time on the computer. It sounds terrible to say that in the middle of summer, but I was taking two online summer classes and apartment hunting!

JULY

My mom, Jake, and his friend came to DC for the Fourth of July. Kristen and I started training for the Marine Corps Marathon with a team of other runners from my church. I spent even more time on my computer, took my mom to see the elementary school where I was hired, started moving to my new apartment, and spent 10 much needed days on the beach!

AUGUST

I officially moved to my new apartment in Virginia. One of my friends from college also moved to the area so we spent a lot of time exploring DC together! I ate brunch with other DC area bloggers, made my first grown up purchase of porch furniture, and ran the Lincoln Memorial steps for the first time. I went home for a week to surprise my family (a conference I was supposed to attend was cancelled last minute), we celebrated Amigo’s 2nd birthday, and then I started new teacher orientation. My classroom was looking bare and empty! Kristen and I went to a Steelers bar to watch a preseason game, I went to Baltimore to celebrate my friend Shannon’s birthday, and I finally got tagged at November Project!

SEPTEMBER

A secret November Project workout that ended at a Biergarten in DC for yoga and drinks. My first day as a real teacher. 😉 The Pope came to town, I ran a 10k with my friends, I met Amanda for dinner, and I went to a 90s bar crawl in DC. I also made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for my mentors and coworkers as a thank you for helping me during my first month of teaching!

OCTOBER

My mom and my aunt visited the first weekend of October! My classroom finally started feeling like a real room. I visited the pumpkin patch and then I got sick for the first time in my adult life…not even ashamed of that selfie. I had a fever and a sinus infection and junk in my lungs and it was horrible and I had to take care of myself. Hahaha! I participated in a Blogger Scarf Exchange, spent time with my family from Indianapolis in DC, and went to New York City to see the marathon!

NOVEMBER

70 degree days meant evening runs as often as possible. I went hiking on the Billy Goat Trail, attended a Beer and Wine Festival at Nationals Park, and generally counted down the days until Thanksgiving Break. 😉 I flew home (which is unusual) for the holiday, spent time with my cousins, and helped my mom decorate for Christmas.

DECEMBER

Where did this month go?! There was a lot of Christmas cheer this month. I ran to see the Capitol Christmas Tree and the National Christmas TreeMy friends and I went to see Zoo Lights at the National Zoo. I took myself on an adventure to the National Harbor to see all of their Christmas decorations and check out the area. I went to a Christmas party and hosted a Christmas party, which I also labeled my birthday party. 😉 #decemberbirthdayproblems My mom, my aunt, and I made Christmas cookies, I met up with my college roommate for dinner, and of course, we celebrated Christmas. Then, we made a getaway to Hershey, PA and NYC for a few days!

Looking back, I was ready for this life (teaching and such) at the beginning of 2015. I loved being in school, but I wasn’t fulfilled doing a whole bunch of jobs instead of focusing on one job. The summer brought some stress as I started applying for jobs, interviewing, and apartment hunting. I also thought it would be a fabulous idea to take two online classes, so that just added to my stress. August was a wonderful month free of responsibilities, at least until I started orientation for my job. I was SO nervous to take the night class that I have with my job but after doing it for a semester, I realize it’s not ideal but it works.

In September, I remember being SO tired. I was overwhelmed, I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing AT ALL, and I was just generally whiny to anyone who asked me about my life. In October and November, I feel like I started to hit my stride. I figured out that I will probably continue the rest of this year feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing…but having confidence to figure it out as I go is what is making me successful. I’m doing what I said I was always going to do…teach…and I’m doing kinda okay at it. I’m a perfectionist, so you will never hear me say I’m good. And let’s face it, as a first year teacher, I probably have some room to grow. 😉 I had a check up with my doctor last week and she was asking me about my life and just was amazed at how much has changed with me this year. She said she can’t wait to see what my life is like next year…and neither can I! Because I can’t even begin to imagine!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS! 🙂

The Road I Traveled

Happy Monday, friends!

Today I’m sharing all about my life over on Amanda’s blog. She started a new series in the hopes of having different people share their stories. We all make unique decisions and choices that make us who we are, so “The Road I Traveled” is a way for different people from different places to share their lives as young professionals! To read more about this series, click here.

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To read my post, click here. I am so excited that Amanda included me among the many talented and interesting people thus far! Thank you for having me!

24 Things for 24 Years

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Sometime in the 4 AM hour, I turned 24. You can see how happy cake made me at the age of 3, so I am sure you can only imagine how happy I am for birthday treats today! My friend Kristen started the celebration last night by bringing me a mini Oakmonter. Trust me, it’s the best cake in Pittsburgh.

In honor of turning 24, I give you a list of 24 things I’ve learned about myself (and life) so far in this life of mine. I like to think I’m getting older and wiser…you be the judge. 😉

1. Embrace your inner introvert. It’s who you are and damn if it doesn’t feel good to just be who you are.

2. Eat pizza and cake. Just do it. Life is too short to count every calorie.

3. Make decisions based on that one feeling you have. Not everyone will agree with you, not everyone will understand, but you will be so happy.

4. The people who are your best friends now might not always be your best friends. Quality over quantity.

5. Heartbreak doesn’t go away easily. It just doesn’t.

6. Your parents are more than just your parents. They’re real people with real feelings, too. Shocking, right?

7. Work out because you want to, not because you feel like you have to.

8. You will always take things to heart. People’s opinions matter to you. Don’t let those opinions drag you down. For every negative opinion, there is one positive one.

9. Get comfortable going places by yourself. You are your own best company at times.

10. Take pictures of everything. These are the days that make up your life. Remember them!

11. Your mom is probably right.

12. You will always love reading, writing, baking, HGTV and design magazines, and staying home. Except now that you’re a grown up, it’s acceptable to tell people these are your hobbies. 😉

13. Do things that scare you. Become a fitness instructor. Run a marathon. Ride your bike all over the land. Life is an adventure.

14. Follow the wanderlust that’s in your heart. There is no better time than now.

15. You can never tell the people you love that you love them too much or too often.

16. Ask questions. Embrace confusion. The real world is a whole lot of everyone trying to figure out what the hell they’re doing.

17. Admit when you are wrong. You will be, and it will only feel better when you own up to it.

18. Say yes to as many opportunities as possible. There is more to do than you could have ever planned yourself.

19. You do not “have” to do anything. If you are ever making a decision because you feel like you have to do/say/wear/think the “right” thing, don’t make that decision.

20. Say hello to the stranger behind you in line or riding the elevator with you. It’s nice to put a smile on someone else’s face.

21. Write thank you cards. It’s just polite, but it is also so appreciated.

22. Take a break from social media. There is so much life outside of that screen and honestly, you won’t miss those apps.

23. Make an effort to stay in touch with friends and family, even if they live right down the street from you. These are the people you are walking through life with…talk to them, spend time with them, love them, and thank them.

24. Let go and let God. My best seasons of life have come when God was at the center of it all.

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Last year I celebrated my birthday by doing a Christmas Tree run with this girl and the rest of our church friends…this year, I will probably be doing something similar. Nothing is better than a long run. 🙂

Show N Tell Tuesday: First Job

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How old were you when you had your first “real” job? I shared the story of my first job with my students the other day and they were amazed because I was practically the same age as them! In Pittsburgh, one of the big newspapers is called the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Local communities put out weekly editions of this paper with community news, and when I was younger, those local newspapers were delivered right to your doorstep every Wednesday afternoon by yours truly! Yes, that’s right, I was a newspaper delivery girl. 🙂

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What the newspaper looks like now!

My brother, Alex, and I started this job when I was 9 and he was 7. My mom was not big on paying us to do chores because she said that taking care of our house was our responsibility as part of the family, not something that we could choose to do for money! I used to find that school of thought very annoying but now that I am a teacher and I am trying to teach small people how to take care of a classroom, I find myself agreeing with my mom. I do not want to reward them for things they should be doing anyway! Ha! Anyway, a teenager in our neighborhood had been delivering the newspapers for a few years and he was ready to apply for his TRUE first real job because he had just learned to drive. Alex and I used to watch at the front door for him to toss the paper on our front porch and when we learned he was giving up the route, we somehow convinced our mom that the job should become ours! The neighborhood we lived in at the time eventually had 250 houses, but we never delivered more than 110 papers. You had to subscribe to receive this paper, so we didn’t have to go to every house. Lucky us!

Every Wednesday while we were at school, the stacks of newspapers were delivered to our front porch. When we got home from school, we split the stack and rolled the papers to put in the plastic sleeves. We might walk the nearest houses their papers, but wait for it…our lovely mother drove us all around the neighborhood to deliver the rest of the papers. Not your usual ride. 😉 Hahaha!

Alex and I were very specific about who “got” which houses. We liked to deliver the same amount of newspapers so that we could evenly split our paycheck. When we first started our route, we had to go to everyone’s house and collect their monthly payment for the paper. We had a keyring with index card shaped pages on them where we wrote the person’s name and ripped off little pieces of paper as their receipt each month! It taught us a lot of responsibility because we not only had to find time to go to each person’s house, but we had to keep track of who was home and able to pay and who we had to go back to. Then, we had to send the money to the right people!

I have a lot of great memories from this job. We loved delivering the papers in the snow. We would dress up in our snow gear and get to “play” in everyone’s front yards as we tried to get to their front porches!

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We also got really good at throwing the newspaper from a distance and actually making it land where we wanted it to haha! I also vividly remember tripping over a water meter in someone’s front yard as I was running back to the car and landing in a big X on the ground. Then, I slid in that big X on my face through the grass and over the curb. When I picked up my head, I hit it off the side of the car…because remember, my mom was driving us. Needless to say, I was glad this accident happened in the summer because I had some serious scrapes on my face! Then a few years later, there was a contest among all the newspaper delivery kids/teenagers to see who could get the most new families to sign up to receive the paper! I was in the top three for this contest and actually got my picture taken with the other winners. Don’t worry, I did a quick Google search for the picture. No such luck. 🙂

I kept this job from third grade to eleventh grade and then passed it off to my younger brothers. We started delivering just 65 papers and by the time we were done years later, we were delivering more than 100! We never had the chance to pass our route off to anyone because by the time Jake was starting to be in charge of it all by himself, the newpaper company was changing its policy to deliver papers to everyone’s home by mail. Much more cost effective or something. Ha!

Other jobs that I would consider my “first” jobs are taking care of the yard at my Grandma and Pap Pap’s house and working at the concession stand at our town’s baseball fields. I consider them first jobs because I did them before I was 16, which is the typical working age in Pennsylvania. My Grandma and Pap Pap live on several acres of land and we all grew up watching my Pap Pap spend hours cutting the grass every weekend. He loved it! Once we were older and my Pap Pap was no longer around, my cousin and I would tag team the yard on the riding lawn mowers. Our younger brothers did their share of work too once me and CJ were older and now Jake does it ALL all by himself!

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Unrelated picture of me and my cousin CJ because it’s my favorite. We definitely were not cutting the grass at this age. 🙂

My aunt would work in the yard while my Grandma worked near the porch and watched us as we cut. I used to get yelled at for driving too fast. My Grandma always used to say that she could hear me singing. I would drive around with headphones in and that lawn mower is LOUD so I didn’t think anyone could hear me. Hahaha!

And finally, my job at the concession stand…well, that job allowed me to hang out at the baseball and softball fields and see my friends without being required to play. 🙂 I was the world’s worst softball player and was known to volunteer myself to sit on the bench if we had extra players! My brother and my cousins all played baseball from the time they were kids through high school, so there were lots of games to be watched. My mom convinced me that since I was at the fields anyway, I should be the one to help sell snacks!

There was one bigger concession stand that had “real” food (think food that is grilled or baked in an oven) and two smaller concession stands that were just snacks and soft pretzels that were microwaved (yum!). I used to read when I was assigned to work at the smaller concession stands because they only served two fields each, so unless someone was ordering food or coming to visit me, there wasn’t much to do…and my phone didn’t have text messaging yet. Ha!

I worked this job until I was a junior in high school and I really worked my way up the ladder! In the last few years, I had keys to the main concession stand and I was considered one of the managers. Of course, there were always adults there to supervise, but I was in charge of driving workers to the smaller concession stands on the golf cart (my favorite part), making sure each stand was stocked with the food and snacks it needed, counting money up at the end of the night, cleaning and organizing when necessary, and of course serving customers, too. I stopped working this job when I was about to turn 18 because that meant I could finally apply for a job at the mall! American Eagle was the next stop on my job list. 🙂

Random tangent: my favorite thing about writing this post was I have no pictures to show for it. Apparently before everyone had a smart phone, we did not take pictures of our every move. You will just have to take my word for it. 🙂

What was your first job(s)?

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?!

Blogger Gone Vlogger

September 18: Record a VLOG! It can be about anything you like!

Photo on 9-17-15 at 10.57 PM

Jenna from Jenna Grace nominated me for a Liebster Award this summer, so today I am sharing my answers to her questions!

What recording my first video blog has taught me:

I really don’t care about makeup.
My hair was messy to begin with but there was one piece that was so random I had to rerecord.
I move around constantly.
My voice is weird.
I use air quotes a lot.
I am not a professional blogger or vlogger. #butweknewthatalready

Happy Friday. 🙂

Latest Obsession

September 17: Just for fun, your latest obsession. What can you not get enough of these days?

Today, I’m thinking out loud about my latest obsession. II have a few obsessions. When I like something, I really like it, and I either eat/listen/wear/do these things all the time. I don’t really ever think I get to a point of “hating” any of my obsessions, I just find things I like better along the way. 🙂 It’s a natural change!

Obsession #1

Pentatonix Radio on Pandora

Have you heard of Pentatonix? They are an American a cappella group from Arlington, Texas. I think I first heard about them from Julie’s blog! Anyways, my youngest brother was a huge fan of the first Pitch Perfect movie. It seems like everyone caught the a cappella bug after that movie! I never thought that music was anything special, though I do have to admit it was catchy. When I finally added this station to my Pandora list, it quickly became one of my favorites. Pentatonix sings covers of mostly pop songs, though they do have some original music, too! There are other a cappella artists that pop up on this station from time to time too. This is just great background music for me. I listen to certain music at certain times of day and this is one station that I listen to in the morning or afternoon when I want to feel happy. 🙂 I actually play it during my planning period at school!

Here’s one of Pentatonix’s songs if you aren’t familiar! I realize they look crazy. Listen anyway. 🙂

Obsession #2

Candy Corn

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I love candy corn. This, you must have figured out by now. It’s only in stores for what…three months of the year?! Let me have my fun! I really didn’t discover my love for candy corn until 2012. Yes, I remember the exact year. There are so many pictures floating around social media that say candy corn is disgusting and tastes like wax, but I could not disagree more. It’s the perfect sugary snack! I’m a fan of the classic flavor, but I have also previously tried S’mores and candy corn with peanuts. When I first tried S’mores, I wasn’t impressed. It still isn’t my favorite, but I did give it a chance again when I got the above care package from my Dad. It made it’s way back onto my “will eat” list. I cannot seem to find candy corn with peanuts in stores, although I know I have bought it in previous years! It is something I could so easily make myself. If you like candy corn, you must try this combination. Just put some candy corn and peanuts in a little bowl and you have the PERFECT salty/sweet snack! I think it was Jamie who mentioned how much she likes the candy corn pumpkins, and again, thanks to my Dad, now I get to see what I think about that! I think they are on par with S’mores. They are on my “will eat” list, but I would prefer regular ol’ candy corn any day. 😉

Obsession #3

Target Sandals

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I like to pretend I have Birkenstocks and they look like this. They were $24.99 at Target and the best $24.99 I ever spent. I originally bought the white pair and I loved them so much all summer that when I saw my size on clearance in August, I bought another white pair even though the first pair isn’t ruined yet. 😉 I also HAD to pick up the brown pair because DUH! If you remember, my friends and I like to do this weird thing where we send each other pictures of what shoes we are wearing that day, so that explains why I have these two pictures floating around…

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Amigo, on the other hand, isn’t such a huge fan of the sandals. Or maybe he is? He somehow finagled his tennis ball so that it ended up in my sandal…and then proceeded to try to get it out for the next 10 minutes. Don’t feel bad for him, though, because this is his favorite game! He LOVES putting a ball or toy in a tight space and trying to get it out. He must like challenges. Hahaha

Obsession #4

Colby & Amigo

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I don’t have baby fever, I have puppy fever. Every time I see someone walking their dog or running with their dog, I “ooh” and “aah” and if it’s appropriate, I ask to pet the dog. I MISS MY DOGS SO MUCH! I am actually thinking of volunteering at an animal shelter just so I can get my dog fix;) My brother turned 21 on Monday and we were on FaceTime so I could see him open my present to him. My favorite part of FaceTime is not feeling included in family events, it is screaming “COLBY!” and “AMIGO!” so loud that they hear me and then hopefully see me on the iPhone/iPad/laptop. I am the most fun to FaceTime with. Hahaha

I would also tell you that I’m obsessed with lipstick lately, but as I mentioned in my post about my bag, I never know where said lipstick is. I would look to see which one is in my bag now and share that with you, but I already know there is nothing in my bag. It’s a partial obsession;)

What are you obsessed with lately?!

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Linking up with Amanda @ Running With Spoons!