Let’s Talk [January]

Andrea and Erika always plan such fun link-ups for us bloggers, and today we are starting the first of many “Let’s Talk” posts. On this Monday, it’s all about resolutions, goals, and what I’m looking forward to in 2016. 🙂 Link up with us here!

For the year of 2015, I chose one word to focus on and I wrote a list of eight resolutions, which I prefer to call goals because it makes them seem more do-able. I wanted to be more present in 2015 (my one word) and my resolutions (or goals) were related to all aspects of my life. Looking back, I only truly accomplished one of my resolutions from 2015. I wanted it to be a “yes” year and I needed it to be a “yes” year because I was brand new to my school, my city, my church, and so on. I can say with almost complete certainty that every time an opportunity to hang out with friends or try something new was presented to me, I accepted the offer. I even ventured out on my own a few times because I wanted to try new things and I didn’t care if I had to do them alone! I found community, made so many new friends, got more involved with my church, and accepted my first full-time teaching position in 2015, all because I decided I was going to say yes. So it was a good year. 🙂

I can hardly believe the first month of 2016 has already passed us by, but here we are. And I still don’t have a concrete list of things to accomplish this year. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have goals. I’m a list maker and a task do-er. I enjoy a challenge and I need to feel like I am constantly working towards something. But the list in my head feels more abstract this year, probably because there are many little things that I want to change as part of my daily routine that I think will improve my life overall. #woah #thatwasdeep

Here’s what I’ll be up to in 2016:

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  1. Read. Every day. There is zero reason not to do this, and absolutely every reason TO do it. It’s calming and I’m learning at the same time. I’ve become a huge fan of audio books, specifically of the personal development or motivational kind. Listening to those on the way to and from work really sets a great tone for the day! And reading before bed is just a good idea. I can actually tell when I get tired, as opposed to staring at my laptop and having the light of the screen make me think I’m not tired at all. 😉
  2. Pray. Every morning when I wake up. It’s idealistic of me to say that I will wake up every morning and have time to read my devotional and Bible before work. I could make it happen, but more often than not, I simply do not make the time. It’s terrible yet true. However, I DO have time to wake up and pray every day. How often do you wake up and immediately start thinking of the 2343329 things you have to do that day? I have started waking up, turning off my alarm, and immediately starting to pray. It works for me and I like to turn my thoughts to God as I start the day.
  3. Disconnect. Not from people, but from social media. If you’ve ever texted me, you may realize that I am terrible at responding. I often read the message, respond in my head, and then totally forget to type a real response. This drives my Dad absolutely crazy as most of our communication takes place over text (we have totally opposite schedules). BUT, I have also noticed that I turn to social media every time I feel like I have down time. Realistically, I typically only check social media on my lunch break and at night when I’m not as busy, but still, I am clicking on every app every time I pick up my phone, and that’s too much. I love the connections that can be made via social media but it is so easy to get sucked into a comparison trap. I, for one, like my mindset much better when I’m only checking into social media once a day. Though I do find myself thinking, “Wow! Look what I missed!”, I also feel calmer about everything that’s happening in my real life when I tune out social media.
  4. Think. This could mean a lot of things, but I really want to continue thinking positively in the areas of fitness and nutrition. I love teaching fitness classes and I love running, but it is so easy to pressure yourself to workout as hard as someone else. The same goes for what you are eating. Again, social media can be as helpful as it is detrimental. It is not helpful (for me) to compare what I eat and how I work out to someone else. Comparing makes me feel bad about my choices, and I don’t make enough bad choices to spend all of my time feeling bad about myself. I am unintentionally moving towards the mindset of not really being affected by what workout I do or what I ate that day, and as scary as it is to me to “not care” in a way, I also love it. And I want more. So I want to focus on thinking more positively about the choices I make so that I gain more confidence in this area.
  5. Run. Running is my workout of choice. My body, on the other hand, doesn’t always agree with me. Ha! I have spent the first month of this year solely focusing on strength training with a few random runs thrown in there and I really hope to see some positive changes in my running due to this extra strength I am building! I want to sign up and run at least one new-to-me race this year. No time goals over here, just smart, injury-free training and racing.
  6. Involve. I want to build the relationships in my life, with both family and friends. When someone wants to make plans, I want to be available instead of being “too busy”. I want to throw myself into my job and be more involved at my school. I want to step up at church and be more involved in the nursery. I want to be in the moment more. As I mentioned, I am a planner and a do-er, and it is all too easy for me to just “sort of” involve myself in my current life and spend far too much time day dreaming of what’s to come. 😉

As far as what I’m looking forward to? Well, I honestly don’t have that many concrete plans in 2016 yet. The highlight will certainly be graduating with my Master’s degree in Reading Education, but other than that, I want to seek as many new adventures as possible.

Bring it on, 2016!

October Goals

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I recognize that today is, in fact, October 8…so not nearly the start of the month, but still a time I would consider the beginning. 🙂 There are so many things that I have been thinking about getting better at lately, and what better way to hold myself accountable than to share those goals with you?!

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Go to sleep between 10 and 10:30 PM every night.

I know for some of you that may seem early, but there is absolutely no reason for me to be up any later. Often, I am online or using my phone and I am not doing anything of importance. Unless I am getting something done for work or school or I’m lost in a book…lights off!

Dedicate a few hours each weekend to blog.

My posting schedule is pretty consistent. I like something to go live in the 6 o’clock hour each day. However, I have found myself writing posts until almost midnight some nights because I relax and workout when I get home from work and then by the time I sit down with my computer and really think about what I am going to write, the time just gets away from me. Also, there are so many original posts that I want to share, but when I find myself short on time, I write a post and join a link-up instead. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE link-ups! That is how I have “met” so many people in blogland! But I am hoping with a set time to write posts each week, I can then be more intentional about what I write.

Complete assignments for grad school ahead of time.

Looking at my syllabus, we are given SO much notice on assignments and we are given plenty of time to work on them. In fact, in a few weeks, we don’t even have class one night so that we can dedicate those few hours to working on a paper we are writing. I need to be on top of the projects so they don’t all hit me in the face at the end of the semester! On the same note, I would like to print the articles I need to read several days before I need them. There is nothing like printing articles a few hours before class to make you feel frazzled!

Figure out food.

I know that this goal probably means nothing to you at first glance, but hear me out. I eat a relatively healthy diet, but I have found myself craving sugar and eating snacks at night when I’m not hungry way too often lately. I have also tried a variety of different eating methods: intermittent fasting, eating several small meals all day long, eating every 2 hours within a certain window of time, eating whenever I want, etc. This summer, I started intermittent fasting and it worked great for me. Chalene Johnson has a great podcast all about the topic that you can listen to here. I won’t go into all the details, but basically you fast for a certain number of hours each day and eat for a certain number of hours each day. We all fast every day anyways, because we all go to sleep for some number of hours each night. With intermittent fasting, you just add hours to either end of your sleep window as part of your fast. In a fasted state, your body burns fat. Once you start eating, your insulin levels go up, which makes burning fat harder. Science aside (and also, I don’t know everything), intermittent fasting works if you have time to make it work, in my opinion. I could try to adjust my window, but right now it is just not working for me. I am not getting enough nutrients because by the time I get home from work, I am starving and I eat half my kitchen. So this month, I want to readjust my eating patterns. It feels hard to give up intermittent fasting, and because it feels hard to do that, it’s another reason I want to do it. I struggled with “not eating” before and I don’t want to go back to disordered thinking about food.

Read three books.

I love reading blogs way too much. I need to read more books this month. 🙂

Write things down.

All the things. Assignments. Appointments. GRADES. I swear to God, my brain is on information overload. Even when I get some kind of information in an email, I need to write it down. Seeing it on the computer is not the same as remembering it and writing it down. I need to write things down and refer to them when necessary! And because I am writing things down…I need to look at them more than 5 minutes before I need to do/remember said thing. I have been a spinning top this past month and I need a little routine in my life!

Choose one day a week to get up earlier.

Yesterday, my roommate dropped her keys when she was leaving for work and the clanging of the keys woke me up. When I looked at my phone (my clock is across the room and I can’t see without my glasses), I say that it was 7:03. Oy! Apparently I forgot to set my alarm. In any case, I have woken up early as opposed to sleeping in several times this school year. I don’t rush to get ready when I wake up at my “normal” time, but the extra time to lounge when I get up early is wonderful! I will be able to do more of that since I’m going to bed earlier. 😉 And hopefully one day turns into most days!

Drink more tea.

All of the tea in my kitchen is Celestial Seasonings and caffeine free. I went on a tea kick last fall where I bought a different flavor nearly every time I was at Target, and I still have so much left! I just prefer coffee in the mornings. Lucky for me, I DID buy caffeine free, so that means I can drink it in the afternoon and evening without feeling bad. And it will be good for my throat (still sick over here). And I love warm beverages!

Make this recipe.

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Bolded and italicized because OMG this screenshot has been on my desktop for months. Nikki at My Life In Macros posted a picture of these “Zoats” on her Instagram and I thought the recipe sounded so good! They are called Zoats because it is oatmeal with zucchini in it. It’s like when you hear that you should put spinach in your smoothie because you can’t taste it…same idea. Get your veggies in your oatmeal without even tasting them. I WILL make this recipe in October!

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That’s it! Here’s to October!

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Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Summer 2015

Let’s face it…whether you’re still a student or you’re out in the real world, the arrival of summer is pretty sweet. There’s so much fun and anticipation surrounding a new season, at least for me. I love to make plans and enjoy seasonal activities! This summer, I have plans to travel to Nashville, Tennessee and Wildwood, New Jersey. Other than that, I will be working and taking summer classes. But, I have to have a little fun each day…so I made a summer bucket list! If there ever comes a time where I wake up and think, I have nothing to do today, I’ll refer back to this blog post. 😉

– See the Pirates play in either D.C. or Baltimore
Pirates v. Nationals in D.C. 6/20/15

– Go to Lululemon’s running group in Georgetown
Lululemon running group in Clarendon: 6/22/15

– Take a yoga class outside

– Read the Bible

– Invite friends over for dinner

– Swim in my pool

– Try five new restaurants
1. Vermilion: Alexandria, Virginia 6/13/15
2. Pinkberry: Arlington, Virginia 6/22/15
3. J. Paul’s: Georgetown, Washington, DC 7/4/15
4. Snap: Georgetown, Washington, DC 7/8/15
5. Founding Farmers: Tysons Corner, VA 7/12/15
6. Buzz Bakery: Arlington, VA 7/12/15
7. Sweet Leaf: Arlington, VA 7/12/15
8. Earl’s Sandwiches: Arlington, VA 7/13/15

– Go to Second Saturday Serve with church
6/13/15

– Get out of the city and go hiking

– Rent and ride bikes in D.C.
4th of July Weekend

– Run on three new-to-me trails
1. Northwest Branch Trail: Hyattsville, MD 6/24/15
2. Custis Trail: Arlington to George Mason Memorial Bridge to DC 7/12/15

– Go to a November Project workout
1. Rhode Island Ave: 6/26/15
2. Capitol Building: 6/29/15

– Make plans with each of my brothers

– Visit Stefanie in Rochester

– Take a day trip to the beach

– Go to a drive-in movie

– Start volunteering in children’s ministry
Day 1: 6/14/15

– Mail two cards to two friends or family members each month
June: Sarah & Julie

– Go to the Farmer’s Market

– Visit Chelsea in Philadelphia

– Go to the National Zoo

I just moved to the DC area last August, so there are lots of things on this list that are there just because I still feel like I am “new” to the city! Tell me…what are your summer plans?!

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Bookworm

  My very favorite show in middle school was Gilmore Girls. I started watching part way through the series, but of course I went out and bought the first few seasons on DVD because duh. This was before the days of Netflix. Now I have the entire series of DVDs and I rewatch them all the time! Rory Gilmore and I relate on so many levels, but the biggest one is that of books. I feel like she read different genres than I tend to read, but we’re both always in the middle of several books and we both always have a book on us at all times. 🙂

I was on Pinterest recently and I saw this list:

All 339 Books Referenced In Gilmore Girls

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to start crossing books off that list. 😉

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One of my goals for 2015 is to read 52 books. I am getting anxious because I think of June as the halfway point of the year (because it is) and I only have 13 books on my “already read” list for the year! Check out my list in the One Year, Many Pages tab of this blog. 🙂 I don’t want to be cliche and say, “Well, now that it’s summer, I’m going to have so much more time…”, but that is partially true. And the other part is I just need to get off my laptop. SO MANY BLOGS TO READ AND PICTURES TO PIN!

The month isn’t over yet, so I’m hoping to finish 3 books. Here’s what I’ve read this May…

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All over blog world (since I told you I have been a blog reading machine lately;)), everyone is raving about Liane Moriarty’s books! I really liked this book…I read it by the pool the weekend after I turned in my biggest paper of the semester. Pure relaxation! I loved her writing style and her characters…you learn a lot about a bunch of different characters who are all connected in some way as the book progresses. The only complaint I had was that it seemed like every female character was divorced, widowed, or in an unhappy relationship! I suppose I should have expected SOME animosity somewhere since the title infers that a man is keeping a secret, but still. I have rose-colored glasses on about love. Couldn’t ONE of the couples have been happy?! Haha take a read and let me know what you think. 🙂

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Since I moved to the DC area last summer, I have been attending National Community Church. Our pastor, Mark Batterson, has written several books and he gave a copy of his newest book to us at service a few weeks ago! I was so excited to read this book because it’s all about making the life YOU have more exciting. It’s saying yes to adventure, whatever that may be for you, and sharing your experiences with others. Life is meant to be lived and loved with other people by your side. Pastor Mark’s mentor, Dick Foth, coauthored this book and it was the first book he has ever written! He has given the sermon at church a few times since I started attending and he is such a good storyteller that I knew his writing would be just as amazing. This book is SO relatable, no matter how old you are, and I love how they use life experiences and Scripture to make ideas more meaningful. The chapters are split into two parts: “Dick’s Story” and “Mark’s Story”, so you could easily read a few pages, set it down, and pick it up to read later. READ IT!

Sidenote: it used to make me cringe when I would see my aunt reading a book and highlighting it like crazy. I like a well-read, worn book…but if it’s highlighted or has notes in it, I don’t want it! I want to make my own connections as I read…I don’t want to be swayed by someone else’s. And look what I did to A Trip Around the Sun…

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So no, you cannot borrow my copy. Sorry. 🙂

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Book #3 is a work in progress. We have a store in Pittsburgh called Half-Price Books which I LOVE because you can sell your already read books to them or buy books that others have already read at discounted prices. And they always have the newest titles, too! There is no Half-Price Books in Maryland, so one weekend a few months ago when my mom was out shopping, she stopped at this book store to get a few books for me that she thought I might like. I am not far enough into this book yet to give you a full review…but that little red sticker on the front likens this book to The Help, which I loved! So I will keep you updated. 🙂

I’m headed home to Pittsburgh for a few weeks and I’m headed to THE BEACH this weekend so I hope to get lots of reading in soon! As I was writing this post, I saw this link that my friend posted on my Facebook wall…

21 Books From The Last 5 Years That Every Woman Should Read

…NOW I’m overwhelmed! Rory Gilmore’s list plus Huffington Post’s list have me set up for awhile!

And if you are a Gilmore Girls fan and love to read too, you will appreciate this picture. Reason #473 why Dean is basically my dream guy. 🙂

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Linking up with Narci for Carpool Book Club!

Almost April

I think it’s been a long hard winter for most people in the country and we are ready for SPRING! But I still can’t help myself from taking a minute and proclaiming that I cannot believe it is almost April! I do this with most occasions…birthdays, holidays, new months of the year…that feeling that I cannot believe how quickly the time passes.

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 In honor of the last day of March…and being 1/4 of the way through this new year…I thought I would look back and see how intentional I have been with my New Years Resolutions. 🙂

For the last few years, I have semi-consistently posted on this blog. I was always around in January to write about my one word for the year, which you can read about here. The one word concept is based on the idea that every January, we make lengthy lists of resolutions that end up overwhelming us and falling to the side. Instead, if you narrow your focus onto one word, and then go and DO all those other things that you want to do with that word in mind, maybe just maybe you will succeed!

For the year of 2015, I decided I wanted to be more present in my every day life.

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I wanted to focus on the little moments and truly appreciate what is happening to me in my life! I can’t be all sunshine and roses all the time, but I can try…because I am very blessed. I wanted to have more conversations and really connect with people in this phone-crazed world. And with my recent break from social media, you know that I had to reel myself in here. I was panicking as I used social media because as I was scrolling, I likely had other more important things to do. Oh my. I feel much happier after my break. I am much more balanced here now. AND I HAVE BEEN DOING THE WHOLE “BE PRESENT” THING! YAY!

Even though I chose to be present…I also made a list. I like lists. Do you like lists? These are not resolutions…they are goals. Resolutions, to me, are simply good ideas. Goals are things that WILL be done!

1. Read 52 books.

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I am keeping track of titles on the “One Year, Many Pages” tab of this blog. Looking at the number of books on this list, I feel like I need to get a move on…but I feel like I have been reading much more than usual and that makes me happy. So gold star for me. 😉

2.  Make time for what I will call “morning message”.  

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I attend church regularly and I hang out with my small group on Wednesday evenings after we run, but I wanted to grow in my faith and I knew that the only way to do that was by spending time with God. Every morning when I wake up, I make coffee and then read my daily devotional, Jesus Calling. I write down little notes in my journal, I read a few verses in the Bible, and I pray. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes, sometimes it takes 20 minutes…either way, it’s a great way to start my day. It is one of my favorite daily routines, but I can’t give myself a gold star here because there are some days that I wake up and simply do not have my quiet time. This usually happens when I go home and I guess it is just because I am not in my usual environment? But I really want to work on this. I am not the kind of person to wake up five minutes before the alarm. Today, I had to be somewhere at 9:30 AM and I intentionally woke up at 7 AM so that I could enjoy my morning. I have time so I need to use my time. 🙂

3.  Find a Spinning and PiYo “home”.

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I have been teaching Spin classes since 2011 and I recently became a PiYo LIVE instructor in December. Luckily, I was able to find a position as a PiYo Instructor at UMD’s gym!

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This is a picture from our kick-off event at the beginning of the semester. 🙂 I teach Monday morning and Tuesday night and it is so fun! I have yet to find a Spin “home” (UMD didn’t need any new Spin instructors) but I don’t feel like my schedule this semester would really allow me to leave campus to teach Spin, so if I can’t teach here, that will have to be put on the back burner for now.

4.  Gain confidence in my abilities as a health coach.

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“Nutrition and fitness are my passion and I want to share that with as many people as possible!  I am guilty of comparison, but I need to focus on what I bring to the table and not worry about how my journey differs from someone else’s.” That quote is what I said about this in my original post…the same rings true. No leaps and bounds here. Turtle speed.

5.  Grow my savings.

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Recent college graduate in grad school IS TRYING HARD TO SAVE while still having fun. I’m trying. 😉

6.  Run a 1:45 marathon.  

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Well, friends. I just so happened to text two of my best friends who also love to run last night about this particular topic. I am feeling slow as molasses lately. My time is nowhere near where I want it to be but that is part of running. I will get faster again. I am running a 10-miler in two weeks and I do not think I will beat my previous time (which was approximately 1:33) but I will keep you posted. I am also not currently signed up for a half marathon so I can’t say too much more about this yet.

7.  Walk my dogs as often as possible when I am home in Pittsburgh.

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I haven’t been home much since the holidays but here are a few anecdotes that prove I have been walking the dogs:

1. Phone Drama
I leashed them up and at the end of the driveway I told them to stop because I was messing with MapMyRun (which also tracks walking). My new iPhone is the 6Plus and I apparently need two hands to use it on occasion. Amigo typically acts like he has never been on a leash before (when will this go away?) so he was being impatient and pulled on my arm. This caused me to drop MY ONE DAY OLD PHONE. Luckily, I have a fancy screen protector and the phone was fine. Amen.

2. King Colby
 Colby is a spoiled brat and thinks that he should always be in charge of whatever activity we may be doing. For approximately 15 minutes, he walks with his head turned around as he tries to bite his leash off. I am not joking.

3. Amigo’s Indian Name –> Flying Birds, Chasing Dog
Amigo likes to chase things and he is really super fast. I have never seen him catch anything except Colby hahaha. He also apparently has great hearing (I mean, he is a dog) because he heard a flock of geese (who weren’t making noise) fly over us as we walked and I swear to God he tried to jump into the sky. You cannot chase flying geese. Sorry man.

 8.  Make 2015 a yes year.

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When someone wants to make plans, I have said yes. When a friend wants to travel, I have said yes (except my friends are going to Las Vegas without me this weekend WAH!!!). When I have a new opportunity at work or school, I have said yes. This goal wasn’t written with the intention of overwhelming me…I just wanted to do new things and push myself out of my comfort zone. There are a lot of good things in the works. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂