Things That Make Me Smile {Friday Favorites}

Happy Friday, friends!

This week ended up looking nothing like what I had planned on…as I write to you, I am currently sitting at my desk in my apartment in Maryland. Remember when I was going home for three beautiful weeks?! Yeah, me too. Life gets busy and hectic and straight up in the way, but I am trying not to think of it that way and instead appreciate the opportunities that God has given me and give thanks that I have the ability to travel back and forth if I so wish!

My favorite things this week seem kind of lame now that I’m looking at the pictures…but this is a peek into my little life. And it’s not lame. I like my life. So there. 😉

– ONE –

My brother’s dog is a Staffordshire Terrier, but most people call him a Pitbull. Never in my life did I think I would live with a Pitbull (or at least live with him when I go home to Pittsburgh), but he truly is the sweetest dog ever. My family has always had a Golden Retriever, and while I love our 2 year old little Colby SO much, my brother’s dog Amigo makes Colby look like an idiot most of the time. Ha! Amigo is so smart and Colby is so silly.

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Here they are…representing UMD with toys that I mailed them. 🙂

ANYWAYS! That was a tangent. Amigo and Colby love to be on top of you at all times, but they are both large dogs for different reasons: Colby just has long limbs and Amigo weighs a lot even though he is much smaller. Colby will usually fall asleep on your lap and then get up twenty minutes later to go lay on the kitchen or bathroom floor where it is cooler. Amigo, on the other hand, curls himself up in your blankets, his blankets, ALL THE BLANKETS, and never moves.

On Monday before my mom left for work, she brought Amigo and his blanket into my room while I was still asleep and I woke up to this 70 pound pillow pet on my legs.

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After writing in my journal and checking social media on my phone (it’s not as bad because I wrote in my journal first…right? Right!), I went to make coffee. And I came back to this one literally in my spot. On top of my pillows. DUDE!

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He’s like…you really think you’re laying back down here? No, no you are not.

– TWO –

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My favorite breakfast in all the land is oatmeal. Recently, I heard someone say they think oatmeal is disgusting and they really want to like it but it is the worst. My heart broke a little bit. *cue the drama* I have been traveling a lot lately, so I love that Starbucks has the option to order oatmeal or an egg white wrap. Sometimes I walk into a rest stop and I think good Lord, there is nothing of substance here. It’s just fast food! And while this oatmeal only takes 3 minutes to cook, it is certainly a better choice than dry cereal from the gas station (but Cheerios! And Cinnamon Toast Crunch! YOU ARE SO GOOD!). I love that I can make healthy choices on the road. 🙂

– THREE –

I don’t have my car with me in Maryland right now (it’s in the shop in Pittsburgh getting fixed), but luckily there is no shortage of public transportation in DC. On Wednesday alone, I took a bus, two trains, and another bus to get back to my apartment. I felt like a gypsy carrying all my bags and running through the Metro station! Haha

Yesterday, I had to go somewhere in Virginia that was not on the Metro or bus line, and because I don’t trust taxis or Ubers, I got a Zipcar. My first car was a red Ford Escape that my friend and I named Skyler…she was the best car.

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Then she got handed down to my brother and then she died a slow death last winter. Alex had many adventures with her. One time while he was delivering food for a restaurant he worked for, he couldn’t get the car alarm to turn off. So he kept driving. Only my brother. Another time, he drove home from college because it was the middle of a very cold week and the heater in the car didn’t work anymore. Ha! Now he drives a white Ford Escape and I drive a gold Jeep Patriot BUT yesterday when I got a Zipcar, IT WAS A RED FORD ESCAPE!

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There was actually a name on the windshield: Colwick. I guess that helps you identify the car in case there are two of the same vehicle parked right by each other. It was so fun to be behind the wheel of an Escape again. 🙂

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Can I just say I know nothing about cars, but I know there is a HUGE difference between a 6-cylinder engine and a 4-cylinder engine? My Escape, and the Escape I drove yesterday, both have 6-cylinder engines. My Jeep has a 4-cylinder engine and oh Lord do I have to press the gas pedal. It struggles to pick up speed and go up hills. But yesterday in little red Colwick…I WAS MOVING! #idrivefast #igotitfrommymama

– FOUR –

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I would like to take this opportunity to thank my roommate for suggesting we eat dinner outside on the pool deck last night. There was no shortage of silly college kids playing beer pong or random songs like “Gangsta’s Paradise” playing while we were out there, but it was worth the craziness to enjoy the summer weather and to see this. 🙂

– FIVE –

Hi, my name is Kylie and sometimes I hate running.

Do you like to run? I actually do. But there is very often a misconception that if you like to run or you identify yourself as a runner, you have to do it every day, all the time. That, my friends, is just not true. There are seasons of life where I love running and seasons of life where every other exercise BUT running is my jam. I ran two races recently and then I took about a month off from running…minus my favorite Wednesday night runs with my church’s small group. Those runs are my favorite. 🙂 However, those runs were starting to feel really hard because I wasn’t running regularly…and I also just missed putting on my shoes and going outside without a second thought. I no longer wanted to go running as my workout for the day because it just felt. so. hard. I felt like a beginner again. So instead of dwelling on that, I decided to take on Runner’s World current challenge: The Runner’s World Run Streak! To keep yourself motivated, or to GET motivated, the challenge is to run at least one mile per day from Memorial Day until the Fourth of July.

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I tried to do this challenge two years ago and I failed epically, mostly because I didn’t take a break between my most recent race and this challenge. I just kept going. This time, I came into the challenge refreshed. Today marks Day 5 of the #RWRunStreak and when I woke up today, my body hated me. So much that I didn’t even make the effort to put in my contacts. 😉 I haven’t run for five consecutive days in a VERY long time. So instead of throwing in the towel this early in the challenge, I did 30 minutes of yoga and then I ran a slow mile on the treadmill…increasing and decreasing my speed every so often to keep it challenging but keep my legs feeling good. I ended up logging 8 miles in 5 days which may seem like a lot or may seem like nothing at all. You can keep up with my daily progress HERE. 🙂

I’m headed back to Pittsburgh for the Kenny Chesney concert this weekend. Tell me, what are you up to? Do you like Kenny? And what’s making you smile this week?!

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Linking up with these lovely ladies. If you’re a blogger, join us in sharing your five favorite things from this week!

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Andrea, Narci, Erika

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April, Christina, Natasha, Darci

Road Trip Essentials

Finally going home for Spring Break! 🙂

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The drive from Pittsburgh to D.C. or vice versa is ridiculously easy and because it’s ridiculously easy, it’s also ridiculously boring. Or maybe I just think that because I’ve done it 107 times;) That is a slight exaggeration, but I spent a lot of weekends this fall in my car and so I’ve been staying put for longer periods of time these days. The trip is only about four hours, but the mountains of Maryland and Pennsylvania can only be so interesting before you start to lose it! Luckily, about two hours into the trip, I am able to stop in Breezewood, PA where I usually get coffee or food, fill up my gas tank, play with my phone, and then get back to driving. Traffic going home is never bad but traffic coming back is horrendous. As it usually is in this area. Once you are about 30 minutes away from my apartment you hit the bumper-to-bumper loveliness. At all hours of the day. Believe me, I have tried to arrive at many different times.

Since I drive by myself, I have to try to keep myself entertained and alert. When you’re traveling with friends, driving is obviously much more fun! At any rate, here are my road trip rituals for the drive to and from school.

1. Beverages.

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You might think I am crazy for listing drinks first…but listen, I drink a ton of water, and running out of water while I’m on the road is no fun. Most of my water bottles are 32 ounces (because I’m a freak like that) and I try to drink one water bottle during each half of the trip. This way, I know that I’m hydrated, and it makes me stop and take a break half way through the trip because I have to go to the bathroom. Reasons why I have three water bottles instead of one that I refill: the water fountain at the place that I stop tastes disgusting. I actually bought a water bottle there once because I couldn’t stand the taste of the water fountain. #watersnob Also…caffeine is necessary for all road trips, especially solo road trips. 😉

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Two completely different coffee cups…Starbucks or Dunkin??? What team are you???

2. Comfy clothes.

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I usually leave early in the morning (around 7 AM) so I can get to wherever I’m going in a decent amount of time and still have most of the day to get things done or make plans with family and friends. I’m a morning workout person, but if I’m getting up to drive, I just get dressed in my workout clothes. Then I am comfy while I drive and I am ready to workout whenever I get to my destination. 🙂

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I also do not recommend white comfy clothes. I only made this mistake once, but as you can see, it was fatal. Hahaha
I made chocolate Shakeology before I left Maryland and before I started drinking it a few hours later, I just shook the cup again to get the drink moving. When I popped the lid open, it showed me who was boss.

3. Easy breakfast/snacks

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You can’t go wrong with overnight oats when you know you are going to be running out the door! Here, the almond butter jar was basically empty, so I added almond milk, oats, and cinnamon and let it sit in the fridge overnight. When I woke up, I grabbed the whole container and a banana and had a perfect breakfast ready to take with me!

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Shakeology is also perfect for breakfast. Easy to make and it tastes good! On a regular day, I like to drink it a little thicker so it’s like ice cream;) But on the road, it’s often my breakfast! As far as snacks go, I need something that I will eat and it will be gone. No grapes or popcorn or carrot sticks or anything that there is a bunch of because I will in fact eat it all mindlessly while I drive. Granted, most people don’t have entire bags of grapes or carrot sticks on their passenger seat, but when leftover groceries travel with me, I have learned to put them far away from where I can reach them. #somuchselfcontrol

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You know my love of peanut butter and jelly knows no bounds. I love Lara Bars because they are made with a handful of ingredients (REAL FOOD!) so this flavor is a nice healthy replacement for my PB&J obsession. 🙂

4. A full gas tank.

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This should probably be a little higher up on my list but I loathe the gas station. If someone else (like my Dad or brothers) is in the car with me when I get to the gas station, you can bet your fine self I am not getting out of the car. #diva I can make it all the way home on one tank of gas, but one time I decided to leave without a full tank (hey, it was 1/2 full…) and then I didn’t get gas halfway through my trip. Stupid, stupid, stupid. My gas light came on right as I passed a sign announcing the next rest stop was closed due to construction. This was the same night my Shakeology exploded. Great times! Needless to say, I am a freak about filling up my gas tank now. I even get gas halfway just in case. Two times at the gas station in the same day. Go me.

5. New-to-me entertainment.

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If I’m in the middle of listening to a podcast, I make sure to download the latest episode before I leave (using wifi instead of data and all that responsible cell phone stuff). 😉 I also LOVE to add new music to my library or add old playlists to my library just to mix it up. I listen to my music LOUD for the beginning and the end of my trip…it’s my “yay, I’m leaving!” or “yay, I’m almost there!” celebration. But somewhere in the middle, the music starts to annoy me and I find myself hitting next after the first ten seconds of every song. That’s when my podcasts save my life. I’m toying around with the idea of listening to books on tape, but then I think of my 52 book challenge for the year and feel like audio books are cheating! I’m still deciding. For my drive today, I added some T-Pain, John Newman, and Nicki Minaj music to my playlists. Some songs are new, some songs are just new to me, and some are throwbacks.

If you’re on Spring Break this week, happy relaxing Tuesday!
And if you’re stuck in the real world, happy Tuesday to you, too…now, go get a cup of coffee.

– Team Starbucks or Team Dunkin?

– Do you listen to audio books?

– What are your must-haves on the road?