Thinking Out Loud: This April

Hi friends! Happy #thinkingoutloud Thursday! It’s been a while, but I’m still alive and well over here. I know you were worried. 😉 School and work haven’t been extra crazy, but I’m nearing “the end” of a lot of different things right now (my first year of teaching, grad school, a reading class I’m required to take for work, etc.) and in between all the normal things, I’ve just been busy trying to relax.

This means that I’ve looked up from my phone while riding in the passenger seat of a car and spotted a beautiful rainbow AND I’ve read three books for fun. YES, THREE! And yes, I highlight nonfiction books. This is a quirk that I inherited from my aunt, and it still makes me roll my eyes as I said I would never do it, but I like quotes and highlighting my favorite parts just works for me. 🙂 My aunt and I differ in that she will go back and reread her highlighted sections at a later date, where as I will actually reread the entire book.

Other random happenings since we last talked…

I spent an entire Saturday cleaning out my bedroom. I’ve only lived in the building that I’m in now for 9 months, and somehow I was able to get rid of 7 bags of clothes. There were also 3 bags of garbage and 1 bag for donation. It was a project and a half! I attempted to sell the 7 bags of decent clothes to Plato’s Closet and I walked out with $117. #win

I also went to the local market in my pajama pants because it was a quick 5 second trip to buy chips, it was 10 PM at night, and as a fairly new resident of this area, I’m convinced I know no one. I was 95% sure a guy I went to college with was in the store at the same time as me and I almost DIED. It wasn’t him, and since then I have run into at least 4 different people I know in the most random of places, so I guess this really is my home now and I should start wearing real clothes. Hahaha

It snowed, the Capitol Building’s scaffolding has FINALLY started to come down, and then it went right back up to 80 degrees. At the old, old age of 24, I’ve realized I have spring allergies and I am DYING!

I’ve decided that being able to walk to the grocery store for my weekly trip is awesome and I’ve also decided that pasta (and other carbs) are not the devil reincarnated, hence my big bowl of pasta salad for lunch one week.

Then there was the time I came to the realization that I am a very scatterbrained person and I’m not okay with it. My team tells me that after my first year of teaching, I will develop organization systems and it will all be okay. My current excuse for why my desk is allowed to be messy when my students’ desks have to be clean is I have to keep track of ALL of their papers and they only have to keep track of their own. I also survived my first field trip as a teacher (barely…I may or may not have forgotten the admission stickers) and I gave a bunch of “check ins” before the end of the quarter. Mention the word “test” and they have a holy fit. Hahaha

I’ve purchased #allthethings from TJ Maxx including these very cheap K-cups (to make every evening instead of eating a snack…I’ll let you know how this goes) and the always hilarious book box that now sits on my bedroom desk…”Stuff I’ll Never Read”. I giggle every time I look at it. Hahaha

I tried Chicken and Pancakes and attended a free SoulCycle class! I’ve made a lot of great friends at my job, and a few weeks ago, it was my mentor’s husband’s birthday. Count me in for brunch! I’ve seen Chicken and Waffles on many a brunch menu, but never dared try the dish. Tupelo Honey, where we ate, served it with pancakes, which I have to imagine is just as good! Toppings included powdered sugar, pecans, bacon, and syrup. #shouldvewornyogapants #oops Later that night, I met some of my friends at SoulCycle. A mutual friend from college was doing an event there with Zico Coconut Water, and I happily attended as I’ve never been to the 14th Street studio or tried coconut water. 🙂

We celebrated Kristen’s birthday by running and eating dinner at District Taco because every birthday requires sweat and queso (first you sweat, then you eat)!

And most recently, I spent the day exploring D.C. with Amanda. I saw The Hope Diamond (and other pretty gems!) for the first time and I found a new secret spot that feels very outdoorsy in the middle of the city.

I’m thinking that next week I might step back into the blog scene…I have a few ideas in mind, so keep an eye out. 😉 Tell me…what’s new with you?!

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!

My Life’s Mixtape

I probably had way too much fun writing this post. You probably aren’t half as interested in the reasons behind these songs as I am. But, I love this prompt! Andrea over at Momfessionals has everyone talking about what songs would make up the mixtape to their lives. What would your songs be?! I wouldn’t call myself a super musically inclined person, but I always have some kind of music playing and certain songs give me chills and throw me back to certain times in life.

As a kid, Raffi was official car listening music! I’m talking in my car seat and I know I could hear Raffi playing in the car. Baby Beluga, anyone?

Of course at this time I also remember some of my parents music, too. Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen are all my Dad. And I swear I can feel the breeze of the convertible top down when I hear the song Last Dance With Mary Jane. 🙂 I remember my mom’s country music playing too, like Chattahoochee by Alan Jackson and Who’s Bed Have Your Boots Been Under by Shania Twain. In retrospect, neither of those two country songs are lyrically appropriate, but I had no idea what I was singing. Ha!

Wee Sing in Sillyville was one of my FAVORITE movies. This was partly because sing-a-long videos are awesome and partly because this movie included a sister and a brother and their basset hound, which was just like my family at the time. 😉

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The two siblings are magically transported into a coloring book where they meet up with Sillywhim and she takes them through the “pages”. This family was my favorite. I used to make my brother set up my baby dolls on all of these chairs so that it looked like this cast of characters sitting on their front porch. Bitty Booty Baby and Risseldy Rosseldy have a special place in my heart. 🙂

The first cassette tape I owned (after Raffi) was The Spice Girls. Wannabe was, and still is, a classic. I remember going to my best friend’s house when I was 5 and listening to the tape the very first day she got it. I was Baby Spice, she was Posh Spice, and three of our other friends were the Ginger, Scary, and Sporty.

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We had choreographed dances for EVERY song. Except for number 9 on the back of the tape which we always fast forwarded through because we weren’t allowed to listen to it. It’s the song Naked, and we legitimately thought it was pronounced “Knacked” until we were like 10 years old. Hahaha

Later in elementary school, it was all about NSYNC, The Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, and Christina Aguilera. Coming in close are LFO, BBMak, and OTown. I love that Britney and Christina broke through the boy band madness of this time. 🙂 I Want It That Way was such a hit that even my mom would sing along in the car! Britney really was my girl, though. I danced to her song Lucky in my school’s talent show and for my 100th day of school project, I made a poster with 100 pictures of her face. #notweirdatall

I had some growing pains in sixth grade. If I show you my class memory book, it says that my favorite band is The Beatles and my favorite song is My Band by D12. Yes, my teacher really let those two choices go to the printer. Ha! I guess I really thought I needed to pick an actual band and not a singer…so we can thank my Dad for introducing me to a legit band. 😉 My Band is SO inappropriate so let it be known that I was listening to the clean version as a 12 year old. #butstill #sowrong

7th grade brought my first MP3 player and a love for LimeWire. I don’t know if anyone explained to me that I was actually stealing music. #oops My MP3 player held 70 songs or a certain number of minutes of music, so if you had longer songs, it held even less. The good old days. 🙂 SOS by Rhianna was my JAM and I would always play it at the same time on the bus every day because it would end just as soon as we pulled into the parking lot at school. Seriously, that is my memory when I hear this song! In 8th grade, I babysat for a younger elementary student for a few hours after school and I would RUSH into their house when I got off the bus because Goodies by Ciara was making its way to #1 on the VH1 music charts. Hahaha

High school was a random mix of Christian rock, alternative music, and the wonderful mix of rap and pop. 🙂 I loved DC Talk’s song Jesus Freak and anything and everything Relient K and All Time Low. Let It Rock by Kevin Rudolf was my official “I know how to drive” song. I used to play that song at top volume when I would drive my brother to soccer practice and myself to dance class. I just felt so cool. 😉 Jake will still sing along to that song with me because I’m pretty sure I burned it into his brain ha!

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I got ready for my first real date to the song 4 Minutes by Madonna and Justin Timberlake. Like, it might have been playing when he texted me to tell me that he had just arrived at my house. The vivid memories are real!

Lady Gaga broke onto the scene during my junior year of high school and my friends and I loved her. We still do! Poker Face = sitting in traffic on the way to the doctor on the other side of Pittsburgh. Born This Way = playing on my computer when I purchased ridiculously expensive tickets to Lady Gaga’s concert for me and my best friend. LoveGame = driving with my prom date to take pictures at our friend’s house. Telephone = MY JAM! You can still find me dancing around to Telephone to this day. Her music videos are always beyond weird but I remember it was a big deal when they were released and we would all be dying to watch them!

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 I used to listen to I’m Goin’ In by Lil Wayne (SUCH bad lyrics) and My Life Be Like by Grits on the bus to cross country meets. Everyone has their “pump me up” playlist, right?! I actually used My Life Be Like for a project in college where we had to analyze song lyrics in theology class. That one isn’t so bad. 😉 Britney Spears made her comeback and 3 was the most fun song to listen to when my friends and I were driving around!

College. Oh my. I seem very narrow minded in my music choices, and rap seems to be what wins. BUT! I started teaching Spinning during college so I listened to all kinds of music. One thing I can say about this time in life is I learned to like entire albums of music as opposed to the one single that everyone else knew. Know what I mean?

Freshman year was all about Eminem’s new album, Recovery. I know every lyric to every song to this day! I also know every lyric to the freestyle he released right before this CD while I was still in high school…I would drive out of the high school parking lot with Despicable blasting at top volume!

Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa were rising to fame and as a native Pittsburgher, I felt it was my duty to support them…? Really, my brother liked them and when we started sharing a car, we had to find an artist we could both listen to without wanting to kill each other. And in the end, I liked those two artists too. 🙂 I can also see, hear, practically feel move-in day, orientation week, and almost every freshman year memory thereafter when I hear the song I Like It by Enrique Iglesias. It’s such a fun song for me!

After I memorized Eminem’s album freshman year, I memorized Drake’s Take Care album sophomore year. I also played the song Strange Clouds on EVERY drive from my parents’ house back to Duquesne. But I only pressed play on this song right before the tunnels so it would be blasting loud as ever when the city skyline came into view. 🙂 My boyfriend in college loved Chris Daughtry and we went to his concert in Pittsburgh, so I have a lot of memories listening to this guy too.

Junior year I discovered Lana del Rey…her voice is kind of soothing. And Summertime Sadness made it to the radio, so it MUST be a good song! I was definitely into soothing music this year for a variety of reasons, but it led me to Michael Buble, and no one can be mad about adding him to their life’s mixtape. It’s A Beautiful Day reminds me of walking across campus…and his Christmas CD is also to die for.

Senior year of college…Wake Me Up by Avicii (because it’s multipurpose…run to it, dance to it, jam in the car to it) and Pop That by French Montana (because every bar we went to played this song). Oh the songs that take you back. 🙂

Grad school = first move away from home = many drives back home as I adjusted. Enter these entire albums…every song, every lyric. Perfect for long drives because for me, the songs fit every mood. Happy, sad, at peace, excited, lonely, you name it, it works!

Swimming and No Light are two of my favorites!

My mixtape these days cannot yet be defined. I’m loving Adele, some EDM music, and some classical music. I’ll have to let you know in a few years what sticks. 😉

Awkward and Awesome [3.4.16]

-Awkward-

-Snow expected today, 70 degrees by Monday. Oh.
-When your students are murmuring all morning long and you can’t figure out what is going on. Just one boy showing the rest of the class his armpit hair. Casual.
-When the professor passes out resources to use with students and then asks you to cut words out of the first page. Um, no. I’m sorry. I need to save this forever and ever. What if I want it one day? I can’t copy cut out pieces! Excuse me while I write this word list in my notebook instead of cutting it out. #teacherproblems
-My roommate told me last Sunday that her mom would be coming over this Sunday. As a cue that I should clean my bedroom and bathroom. Is the fact that she told me a week early a sign that I’m messy? Organized chaos. I really don’t like a lot of “stuff” so I don’t even know how my room gets to looking like this. Oh, yes I do. Dressing myself looks like a tornado each and every morning. Don’t tell me to pick out my outfit the night before because I will change my mind.
-Going to the school nurse and making her take your temperature because you think you are dying. In case you were actually concerned, I’m fine and apparently can’t handle two cups of coffee per day. Hahaha
-The speed at which I can eat my way through a bag of dried pineapple. #sorrynotsorry
-Exposing myself to 23894732 germs on the Metro escalator. Of course our long run ended near the stop with the world’s longest escalator ride. Our legs just couldn’t handle it. 😉

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-Awesome-

-A random Tuesday with no school because of the Virginia Primaries.
-It’s the 100th day of school. FINALLY!
-The “Rockland Pearl”. I went to a new-to-me barbecue restaurant on Wednesday night with my running group and that was the name of the meal I ordered. A bowl filled with macaroni and cheese, barbecue baked beans, and barbecue chicken (because I don’t care for pulled pork). It was all layered and delicious and amazing. I claim to dislike BBQ sauce and baked beans so the fact that I liked this is amazing and I must go back ASAP.
-Someone found a penny and “paid” me for being the best teacher ever. He had been in trouble 20 minutes prior. #iseewhatyouredoing
-FaceTime-ing with my mom and watching the dogs freak out when I ask if they want to go for a walk or go for a ride in the car. She was less amused than me. 😉
-When Colby and Migo hold hands. #bestfriendsforever

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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!

Awkward and Awesome [2.18.16]

Awkward

-Picking at a bump on your chin that is actually a zit, looking at your finger, and noticing blood. WHY does this happen at age 24?!

-Walking into FOUR restaurants that each had a 2+ hour wait for brunch. I mean, it was Valentine’s Day in DC. But it was crazy! We found a random gem and were seated right away…on the outdoor heated patio. It initially felt warm but it was definitely a keep your jacket on kind of situation. Thank God for coffee!

-Forgetting my sunglasses were on top of my head after running around getting ready before student arrival. Apparently my hair and sunglasses were all tangled. It was true, I saw my reflection in the glass of the door. What was awkward was me saying, “Good morning!” And a student saying, “Someone woke up with bedhead…” SO POLITE! Hahaha

-When the person sitting behind you in night class is saying, “Oh yeah!”, “Uh huh…”, “That’s great!”, “Ooooh!” to every.single.thing the professor says. #stopthat

-Running out of junk food (which in my kitchen, means chocolate chips, tortilla chips, trail mix, and pretzels) and having to eat this…

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I mean strawberries and greek yogurt are both delicious and I eat yogurt every day, so I don’t know why this snack was such a stretch for me… #iwantemptycarbs

-Thinking that you are sooo strong now because you have been lifting a lot and then trying Lauren’s workout and almost dying. My strength is awesome, my cardio is shot! Go read Post Grad In Progress’ Workout Wednesday post and prepare to sprint, lift weights, and sweat a whole lot. 🙂 Killer workout here!

-Printing an assignment due by day’s end at 10 PM. That was my first mistake. My second…the toner on my printer was all jacked up. The third…I then had to scan its grayish quality to my instructor. It printed in the most grayscale tone I have ever seen. #oops #youcanstillreadit #iswear

-Having enough time to read an entire book in one day. #allthesnowdays I saw the preview for this movie in theaters this past weekend, and I knew I had to read the book after that! I have seen this title on so many “must read” lists in the past year, but it never really struck me until I saw the movie preview. It was SO good (obviously) and I can’t wait to see how the movie compares. They never do, but book & movie comparisons are my favorite. 🙂

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Awesome

-President’s Day off followed by a snow day. I love a good 4 day weekend! And I love being at grad school on time for class two weeks in a row. YAY!

-Running into Giant to pick up a prescription and finding COOKIE BUTTER! The gem of all gems! It was like a moment from Gossip Girl. I was walking through the produce section and then “SPOTTED: Cookie Butter!” I first found this at Trader Joe’s and they tend to sell certain things that you can’t find anywhere else. It might be dangerous that I don’t have to make a special trip there anymore…

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-When the student in your class who certainly could benefit from meditation is found sitting on his desk Indian style with his eyes shut…meditating. I literally asked him what he was doing and he said, “I’m meditating, Miss McGraw!” It was dismissal, they were supposed to stand next to their desks when they were ready to pack up, he was oddly quiet…could I really be mad he was sitting on his desk?! Ha!

-Pictures of my family…Jake and my mom went to an early dinner at Noodles & Co. the other night and he was being crazy! Most likely she said, “Hey, I’m texting Kylie. Smile!” And he did this. Hahaha

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The weirdest part about not living in the same town (or state) as my family is we can’t meet up for random dinners out or shopping trips. My evil plan is to get Jake to go to college in DC…then my mom will retire down here…then Alex and my Dad will have no choice but to follow. Muahaha

-Valentine’s Day mail! From my mom, my aunt, and my college roommate. My mom sent me a random box with assorted items, so I opened one each day all week leading up to Valentine’s Day. Here are some of the goodies she sent my way!

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In true sappy older sister fashion, my favorite “gifts” were the two notes from my brothers. 😉 They are hanging on my ribbon board now!

-A free workout at Union Market on Valentine’s Day with my friends! It was a HIIT-style workout that included free juice and Kombucha at the end. What could be better?!

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-Awesome is a raising awareness for childhood cancer. Awesome is also running a 140 mile relay through central PA in the cold temps that winter brings! Caroline (above, in the center) went to Penn State and if you know anything about that university, you know how dedicated their students are to THON each year. She participated and danced in the marathon when she was in college, and now this year, she is running with The Hope Express! This means that with a team, she is running 140 miles through central PA as a tribute to the Four Diamonds kids. While I unfortunately know many people who have suffered with cancer, I don’t have any relatives that have had childhood cancer. I cannot even imagine what those families go through and I am so proud of Caroline for raising awareness for such a great cause!

-Casually seeing such sights on your evening commute & 4 mile run…

I am very thankful for where I live. And I am very thankful for making it back to my Wednesday night running group! It is a small group through my church and these people and this group were so important to me when I first moved here. They were my first friends…they were awesome. I missed every single run in the fall and I am NOT letting that happen this year! It was so great to come back to a group of people so happy to see me. 🙂

What is awkward and awesome in your life this week?!

 

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!

Life Lately

The most accurate way to sum up the past few days would be comfy clothes, Christmas shopping, and a dog on my lap. The perfect Christmas Break, am I right?

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Let’s rewind to last week…because I kind of fell off the face of the Earth on Wednesday. Teaching last week was HARD, friends. The month of December is a little crazy because the students have Christmas and Santa and Elf on the Shelf on the brain at all times, but we tried to keep calm and carry on for as long as possible. My favorite part of last week was running to see the National Christmas Tree at The White House.

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I did this a few weeks ago with two friends, but it was much needed last week. I came home from work on Wednesday and took a 20 minute nap. That NEVER happens. I don’t believe in naps (hence the reason I only slept for 20 minutes…I set an alarm) but I was just so burned out that I didn’t feel like going anywhere or doing anything. My friends were meeting at lululemon near my apartment at 6:15 to go run and I decided promptly at 6:09 that I would put my shoes on and go meet them. Ha!

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We ran the 4 miles from lululemon to the National Mall and then made our way to the White House. All around the big tree are little trees for each of the 50 states and U.S. territories. Here we are by the Virginia tree, because technically that’s where we live. 🙂

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Doesn’t the tree look so bright?! There is actually a real pine tree under all those lights. The way they decorated it kind of just makes it look like a huge LED tree, but that is not the case. Some people were really unhappy with the decorations this year because you can’t tell it’s a real tree. Anyway, I like this view because you can see the columns of The White House right next to it. As I sit in my room in Pittsburgh and type this post, I don’t take for granted for a second that I get to live where I live. These huge, national monuments are just things I get to see on an every day run. That is amazing to me.

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Now…with the Washington Monument to the right of the tree. All the angles. All the pictures. 😉

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Those of us from Pennsylvania (and one honorary PA person who went to Penn State) took a picture by our state tree, too! We went to District Taco after our adventure for dinner (and queso) and it was so nice to just sit and talk and be social. I’m so glad I decided to get off the couch. Ha! While we were eating, we were discussing the necessity of going to the Adele concert in October. Yes, like 10 months from now. There was a four ticket maximum on orders so we had to split up when we purchased tickets. Well, three of us got tickets and three of us did not. Guess which group I was in?

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#bitter #butistillloveAdele

At work (or school…I never know how to refer to it), it was Spirit Week…you know, to keep everyone’s spirits up before break. 🙂 We had Crazy Hair/Hat Day, Twin Day, Rockstar Day, Cardinal Day (our school shirts/colors), and Pajama Day. Here are a few highlights:

I was twins with my mentor on Tuesday. She’s on the second grade team so we spend a lot of time working together! We have the same plaid shirt and black Toms, so that was the inspiration for our outfit. She suggested we wear jeans and our hair in a ponytail…I took her suggestions seriously and wore a nice ol’ messy bun to work. Which I was very happy with until I remembered I had a meeting with a parent and some other teachers at 9 AM. Ha! On Thursday, my team decided we were skipping school colors day and wearing Christmas sweaters because our classes were having their holiday parties that day. Nick took his Christmas sweater to another level and came in his elf costume! The kids thought it was hilarious. And on Friday, for the beloved PJ day, we wore matching pajamas because we love a good theme.

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The 6th grader who took a picture on my phone cut off the best part of our PJs…the plaid pants! So comfy and they have POCKETS! We had an early dismissal on Friday so I drove back to Pittsburgh as soon as I left work.

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My mom and I drove down to The Strip District on Saturday to do some Christmas shopping. If the name is throwing you off, the Strip is full of funky little cafes and restaurants as well as shops!

One of the best places to stop at while you are down there is Peace, Love, and Little Donuts. They really do make little donuts AND they make the most decadent flavors you can think of. For example, strawberry cheesecake, smores, Samoa (like the Girl Scout cookie!), salted caramel, maple bacon, chocolate chip cookie dough…I could go on. Of course we picked up a dozen because who doesn’t need more sweets a few days before Christmas?! So delicious.

So that’s life lately. How are you?!

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Life Lately

A big Happy Birthday shoutout to my Aunt Elaine!

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Aunt Laine is my mom’s sister and she and my mom are very close. Aunt Laine has spent lots of time with my family, starting way back when I was born and she could talk me into wearing outfits like this. 😉 She gave me my love of running: when I was younger, she was always going jogging at the park or track and only sometimes was I allowed to join her. After all, a kid’s attention span isn’t much when you are talking about running a few miles!

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Her and my mom and I have always loved shopping and lots of Saturdays when I was younger, the three of us plus my Grandma would get in the car to set off on a day-long adventure to all our favorite stores. Sometimes, these trips just included trips to the grocery store and such, but we always had, and still do have, a good time!

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Happy Birthday, Aunt Laine! We love you!

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Falling off the Blog Challenge bandwagon. Have you noticed?! Recently, I have been spending my days in a space that looks like this…

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…and even though I’m a first year teacher, my principal likes to remind me (and every other teacher that I work with) that we need to have a LIFE outside the four walls of our classroom and school. It’s a good reminder that I think sometimes gets forgotten among teachers! The days feel long but they go by SO fast and the to-do list is ever-growing. As you check off one item, you add another. It’s just the nature of the job! Besides sleeping…and taking naps…and going to school…I have been doing some pretty fun things, too. 🙂

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Does this look like a good celebratory “first week of school” dinner?! On the first Friday of the school year, we had a school wide assembly. The principal spoke, new teachers were introduced, students recited the school song, and then the greatest thing ever happened…the song “Shake Your Tail Feather” started playing and a big red cardinal (our mascot) came running into the gym. The kids went crazy. Then we had 45 minutes to teach before the day was over. Needless to say, not much got accomplished. 😉 BUT, after school, I got to meet a new friend for dinner! Amanda, who blogs over at The Good Stuff, met up with me for dinner here in DC at Citizen Burger. We have chatted via email in the past few weeks and finally found a day where both of us were free. We had such a good time and such good conversation! We both tried a seasonal beer (and please don’t ask me the name, because at this point I have no idea) and ordered delicious burgers, of course! Sweet potato fries are my favorite so I was in heaven. 🙂

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We also made our way to another nearby restaurant for a drink and then we ended the evening over wine and coffee at Northside Social, a coffehouse, cafe, and wine bar here in Arlington. I had never been, so I was excited to try it out! We both joked that before meeting up for dinner, we both felt like we were going on a blind date. Ha! Even though we “know” each other via the Internet, it was different to actually meet in real life. Luckily, it all worked out just fine and we can now consider each other “real” friends, too. 🙂

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I woke up recently to discover this event taking place on Facebook. Apparently, I told Facebook I would be attending said event. HAHAHA!

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On Saturdays, I do this. Couch + workout clothes + blanket + laptop = relaxation.

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Something not relaxing, but still super fun, was an event I went to recently with November Project. November Project meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in different places around DC to run and workout together at 5:30 AM and 6:30 AM. About once a “season”, they have an out of the ordinary event. This time around, it was called PRAC and it took place on a Sunday afternoon at 3:17 PM. And no, that’s not a typo. I really signed up for an event that started at 3:17 PM. That’s just how November Project rolls. 🙂

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We were given a latitude and longitude on a Google Map as a starting point…and that led us right near the Washington Monument. Directions for the day: expect to run a 5K (3.1 mile), bring a yoga mat, and bring your ID. Hm.

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We ended up running the 5K from the Washington Monument to this beer garden in another neighborhood in DC. Have you ever tried to run 3.1 miles with a yoga mat strapped to your back?! I don’t recommend trying it anytime soon. Hahaha! Look at how many of us there are. Imagine that MOB of people running through the streets of DC with yoga mats attached to them. There were MANY people who stopped to take a picture or video of us. I like to imagine that I ended up on someone’s Snapchat story. 😉 When we arrived at Wunder Garten, the beer garden, there was a yoga instructor from a nearby studio there to instruct an outdoor class for us.

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Afterwards, we all enjoyed an adult beverage (hence the necessary ID) and there was even a food truck there! It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

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Fun fact: my blogging bestie, Molly, sent me a Starbucks gift card. I have told her time and time again that I have never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte! I think she expected me to try that very drink with her gift card, but now I’m going to be honest and share that I ordered a skinny Cinnamon Dolce latte. Sorry, girl! 🙂 My friend Kristen and I needed caffeine and something warm to take with us to the Nation’s Tri downtown. I am not a triathlete, and after watching different parts of this race, I really don’t know that I could ever do it! My Starbucks picture is from the top of the steps behind the Lincoln Memorial where Kristen and I could see the race participants doing their cycling. Some seemed to be pedaling so quickly while others seemed to be taking their time. I am sure they weren’t taking their time, but you have to imagine that in a triathlon, there are probably some parts you are better at than others! For me, I would kill the cycling and running and literally have to drag myself through the swimming. Also, I still hold my nose when I swim, so there’s that. Hahaha

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We also spotted some of the runner’s near the Washington Monument! We stood near the “trade off” point for awhile where some racers were getting out of the Potomac River and hopping on their bike and others were putting their bike back and starting their run. When I race, I just run…so imagining doing ALL of those things before I would actually be done is crazy to me! I have such respect for them…especially in the moments where their hair is still dripping wet from the swim and they are hopping on their bike!

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Another thing I did recently was go to an outdoor festival on H Street. There were so many vendors, food trucks, and PEOPLE! We went around 5:30 PM and it was absolutely packed. I loved looking at the artwork that the vendors were selling because most of it had to do with the skyline or outline of monuments in DC. Then, there was this random side street that was all decked out in sidewalk chalk!

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All that walking at the festival required me to take up three seats on the Metro. I NEED SPACE!!! But honestly, after the festival, we started walking to a certain place to get dinner, and it took so long to walk there that we ended up getting on CityBikes and riding the rest of the way there. It really was a trek. The Metro is so convenient until you are in a neighborhood in DC where the Metro doesn’t exist. Hahaha

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One night, I went for a run on a path that I have only ever run on with my running group. I left about 30 minutes later than I wanted to and when I got on the trail that weaves through neighborhoods, it got a little dark. There are no streetlights on that stretch of path and though there were many people out biking and walking dogs, it was kind of eerie not to be able to see anyone until they were literally right next to you! I returned unscathed and with 5 miles under my belt, but next time, I will probably either leave earlier or go with a friend. 🙂

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Speaking of Amanda (the blog friend I told you about earlier), she told me that the local library was having a huge book sale. I planned on stopping by after my run this past weekend. That run was so bad that I completely gave up and just decided to book shop instead ha! The sale was in the garage of the library and everything was 50 cents. It was amazing.

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The aisles were organized by book genre and everyone was carrying around armfuls of books!

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There were even some older pieces of literature being sold for a much higher price. I thought that was so cool!

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For $34, I walked away with all of this PLUS a workout DVD!

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My family is lucky enough to have season tickets to the Steelers games, and I can tell you that I never miss home more than I do when the game is on and my family is at the game without me! They just added more seating to Heinz Field, and with that, a few new restaurants, like Burgatory. Jake ordered some ridiculous triple fudge brownie milkshake madness! Meanwhile, Kristen and I were streaming the game via her parent’s television on her TV here in DC!

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My contribution to Steeler game watching: Funfetti donut bites. Let that sink in. FUNFETTI!!! When I was leaving church on Sunday, I happened to glance at District Doughnut’s menu as I was walking past and I saw these on the menu. I had a really bad headache on Sunday that I am blaming on caffeine so I gave myself the excuse to go in the store by saying that I would buy a coffee…and then I also happened to get these donut bites. 😉 Sidenote: I don’t know why I had a headache on Sunday, but if it was from lack of caffeine, I am going to be so mad. I pride myself on not “needing” coffee!

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Kristen’s contribution to Steeler game watching: ordering sweet potato fries from a local restaurant on the Postmates app. Postmates is a courier service, so you order what you want, and a short time later, it is delivered to your home. It’s like ordering pizza, except you can get whatever food you want from whatever place you want (within reason and distance, obviously). I was under the impression that you could only order food…so for example, if you want Chipotle, Shake Shack, McDonalds…really, anything, order it and a Postmate courier will deliver it to you as soon as they pick it up from that place. However, when I was scrolling through the app on Sunday, I saw you can order things from Walgreens and even Lululemon. Ha! I guess it depends on what is in your area. We certainly have a Lulu very close by, but I would never think to order anything from them! In other news, all the Postmates were apparently busy and so we had to walk to get our sweet potato fries at half time. Sigh. Life is so hard. #insertsarcasm

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Sometimes, I come home and I look like this. #myfacesaysitall

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Other times, I try to be a fashion blogger and take pictures of outfits that I am certain are so cute. But this outfit is really cute, in my opinion. And it was very comfy. 🙂

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I think I thought these clouds were cool.
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Whole Foods salad bar is everything. And if you’ve never had their mac and cheese (seen top left), go get it for your next meal NOW.
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I made pancakes and I was proud of myself.

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And because I’m all about food, I present to you my snack drawer at work. The best drawer in the whole desk.

What have you been up to lately?!

Monday Musings

Monday, September 21: A favorite quote/expression and how it has impacted you.

Well, friends, I guess I failed. 😉 I did not blog on Saturday or Sunday, but the break was much appreciated! I had a relaxing yet productive weekend and it felt good to take a few days off from posting. Even though I didn’t write the past two days, I do feel like I have learned a lot from participating in this challenge. I have learned that I DO enjoy writing on the weekends and I AM able to break out of my “schedule” for posting and write about some other topics. I’ve written some similar posts to what I might do on my own, and then I have written some posts that are totally out of my comfort zone, like my vlog on Friday! Thank you for all of your sweet comments on that one, by the way. They are much appreciated!

I struggle to identify “favorites” or “bests” in my own life. I can tell you foods that I am currently obsessed with, TV shows that I am currently all into, movies that I have always enjoyed…but when someone asks me what the best or my most favorite thing is, I really struggle to come up with an answer. That is probably why today, when I read the prompt that suggested I had to choose one meaningful quote, I immediately panicked. I suppose that some people do have certain quotes or Bible verses memorized that they call upon in times of happiness or sadness, but that has just not been something that I have ever done. That is not to say that I do not enjoy quotes and their meaning…I certainly do! My “Penny For Your Thoughts” and “Put A Smile On Your Face” Pinterest boards are two of my favorites. 🙂 Back in the days of Xanga, I would read pages and pages of different quotes and sentiments and keep a document on my computer with a running list of all my favorites! But like I said, there is not one that sticks out to me that I always remember in a certain situation. With that in mind, here are a few of the quotes that have been most meaningful to me lately.

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I am a dreamer. I am a do-er. And because I define myself as both of those things, that means I am always thinking of the next big thing. The next assignment, the next event, the next big accomplishment. What am I working towards? I chose this phrase as one of the things that I wanted to focus on in 2015 because I have so many blessings in my life that I feel like it is easy for me to take those things for granted. Looking ahead is obviously beneficial in helping you set goals and stay motivated in whatever you are doing, but looking ahead can also create a sense of anxiety because you don’t know exactly what is going to happen AND you are not fully appreciating what is happening now because you are wishing or waiting for that next thing. I wonder if I was finally exactly where I wanted to be if THEN I would stop looking forward…I hope so. But I’m not sure. Which is why I need to work on being present and in the moment!

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Here is another expression that has been on my mind lately. How do you balance what you need to do with what you want to do? And can what you want to do ultimately end up being your career?

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This just resonates with me. I’m a talker. I am not someone who keeps their feelings to themselves, no matter what is going on. There might be one person who is better for me to talk to than another depending on the circumstance, but I am always talking to someone about how I feel. Aren’t my friends and family so lucky?! But honestly, because I am such a talker, I should turn that talk into action and give it to God. I can wish for and do many, many things, but He is the one who will guide me where I am supposed to ultimately be, so my worries (and dreams) need to be given right to Him.

Are you good with favorites? Or do you usually pick a few, like me?!