Friday Favorites: New Apartment Edition

Perhaps my very favorite moment of this week was when this truck rolled up to my new apartment building. Never mind the fact that I was on the phone with the IT Department of my new job and using my friend’s laptop AT HER APARTMENT when the delivery man called to tell me he was here. The very best moment.

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After being away for a week and then sleeping on an air mattress on the floor for three nights while I waited for this delivery, climbing into my “own” bed on Wednesday night felt AMAZING.

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Now I just need some throw pillows. The color theme seems to be yellow here…the family room is different shades of yellow in vertical stripes and then this brighter color is in my room. I’m thinking I can do a lot “decoration wise” because I chose a white comforter. Throw pillow color suggestions, please! Send them my way! I have a gift card to Pier One from my aunt burning a hole in my pocket. 😉

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It’s also been my favorite to sit on the balcony and just enjoy being outside! Of course there have been outdoor areas in my previous two apartments, but it is SO nice to have my own outdoor space.

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And since I am just figuring out where I am, it’s been my favorite to send my friend Kristen creepy Snapchat pictures of the sliver of her building that I can see from my balcony. 🙂 The road (and therefore the city blocks) turn slightly and her building is much taller than mine, so I can see her but she can’t see me! I saw the shadows of her and her roommate jumping on their windowsill to look for me, but they didn’t see me and my lime green shirt waving at them haha! I wonder who did see me…

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My new bed has six drawers underneath it so I don’t need a dresser because I also have a very large closet. My very favorite drawer is the one filled with workout clothes. 🙂 But each of the drawers has a special place in my heart because they are all full…which means I am unpacked. Finally. It only took four days! Now I just need to decorate. My roommate moved in at the beginning of July so the rest of the apartment is looking pretty put together!

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It was not my favorite to run up this hill in the middle of my run, but the popsicles at the end made it all worth it! Free workout, new friends, running, popsicles…life doesn’t get much better.

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Photo credit: lululemon athletica Clarendon Run Club

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Free hot yoga class, free juice, and free time to hang out with my friends. Can you tell working out is like social hour for me? 😉

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My youngest brother’s favorite activity is building things. I am certain he needs to major in engineering in college. Anyways, I do not enjoy assembling furniture because I always do it wrong and it’s wobbly and #aintnobodygottimeforthat. Unfortunately, I did have to build this table on my balcony…8 nuts, 8 bolts, 8 legs, plus that little center piece. Screwdiver included. It wobbles in case you were wondering. Hahaha

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Which is why I paid Office Max an extra $60 to send someone to my apartment to build my desk. It was worth every penny. 🙂

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How cool is this?! In the common game room downstairs, there are bookshelves on two of the walls filled with books. You pick your book, sign your name on the clip board, and go on your merry way. I love that we have a little mini library! Reading is my favorite and apparently a lot of my neighbors agree. 🙂

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Speaking of which, one of my favorite blog friends, Molly, is hosting a monthly link up about books on the first Wednesday of every month! The next one will be on September 2. Thanks to my new library, I don’t have to go very far to find new books to read. Get to reading so we can all share book recommendations next month! 🙂

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And the most important moment of the week…my hair fit in my favorite messy bun with the help of only ONE bobby pin. I love my short haircut but I miss my messy bun! This made my night…but I’m easy to please. Ha!

Happy Friday, friends! Have the best weekend! 🙂

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A Week In Review: Friday Favorites

My favorite thing that happened this week was on Monday afternoon when my mom showed up in Maryland. 🙂 I knew she was coming, but it was still fun to anticipate her arrival!

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We got right down to business taking selfies and going out to lunch.

My second favorite thing that happened this week was when a friend of a friend found me on Buzzfeed. #famous

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My Instagram picture was featured in an article called “19 Kitchen Disasters That Will Actually Impress You.” Take a moment of silence and then bust out laughing, because that’s what I did. 🙂 Here’s the story: my best friend from childhood, Stef, came to DC to visit me in February. One morning, I started making oatmeal for breakfast, and then we decided to have omelettes instead. I guess I forgot that I started microwaving oatmeal, because the next morning when I went to warm up my coffee, I found my bowl of oatmeal…and it was stuck together in a perfect circle shape just like the bowl it had cooked in! It looked and felt just like a rice cake. Stef, of course, had to have photographic evidence of this epic kitchen fail. I posted it on Instagram and never thought anything of it! Until Buzzfeed found me this week. Hahaha

Speaking of food, I’ve had a lot of my favorites this week. Except that means I’m kind of sick of eating out and I haven’t even left for vacation yet. Ah!

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On Monday night, my mom and I ate at Fuego, a Mexican restaurant in Arlington right near my new apartment. We got chicken enchiladas and a chicken skillet (which is basically fajitas) to share because we both like/wanted to try these dishes. Except…too many chips and salsa and queso. Isn’t that always the way? I also enjoyed red wine sangria and my mom got a little silly with a hibiscus margarita. The name of her margarita sounds weird because I think “flower” when I hear the word hibiscus, but I tried that drink last week, and it’s actually really good!

On Tuesday night, we went to Ted’s Bulletin in Merrifield, VA. I was super excited to spot this restaurant out the window of Target because there are several locations in DC that are always PACKED because it’s such a good place to go! I have never been because I am not patient;) so it was exciting to find the restaurant a little bit out into the suburbs! My mom and I were shopping on our way back from my new elementary school and wasting time until we could go move into my new apartment, but one can only shop for so long before hunger pains strike. Enter: Ted’s Bulletin.

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The menus were set up like a newspaper which we LOVED!

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We also loved the decor and looking at this movie screen from our table. 🙂

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Of course, Ted’s is known for their breakfast, which is served all day, and yet my mom and I both ordered non-breakfast dishes. My veggie wrap with turkey was delicious, though. 😉

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Of course we had to try some desserts. My roommate was so nicely letting me move some of my belongings in before my lease even starts…we HAD to be kind and take her dessert. Isn’t that the only option!? We tried the apple poptart, the salted caramel poptart, and the layered carrot cake. But remember, it’s acceptable to buy that many desserts when 1) you plan to share and 2) you plan to taste…not eat the whole thing. Ahhhh. Dessert is my favorite.

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I’m pretty sure when my roommate said I could move some of my stuff in, she wasn’t expecting boxes from window to window and ceiling to ceiling in both my mom’s SUV and my SUV. In any case, I only have a few more boxes to move and then I just have to wait to get my furniture delivered. #win

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Can you even? Because I can’t even. I have a walk in closet at my mom’s house and I never ever thought I would have another amazing closet until I built my own house some time in the future, but guys…this closet is my favorite.

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And a view like this doesn’t hurt, either. 🙂 My Dad thinks he is so funny. I was texting him pictures while we were unpacking and when I sent this picture of the view and the pool, he said, “Oh you have a pond! How quaint! Lol”

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I was super excited to show my mom the school that I will be working at and the classroom I will be teaching in. The teacher who is moving out of this classroom is going up to fifth grade, so I will inherit some of his materials. But right now, he is still teaching summer school, so some of his furniture and shelves are still in the room and I can’t quite imagine how I want to rearrange it or what decorations I want…because believe me, I want a lot. 😉 My favorite part of ANYTHING is the whole getting ready process, because I love to plan and organize, so getting my classroom ready is kind of right up my alley. But the whole discussion started giving me anxiety because I can’t actually get in there and officially move or rearrange things yet, so I told my mom we had to leave. Hahaha

Fast forward two days, and we were checking out my mom’s new classroom. She has been teaching for 28 years, but two of the elementary schools in my town are combining into one brand new building (that is actually still under construction). Even though it’s not totally done yet, it is so nice! IMG_9513

Look how happy the woman is. And her room has boxes that need unpacked all over it. I need to calm down and follow her example haha!

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My classroom worries were forgotten when my mom, my brother’s girlfriend, and I went to get manicures and pedicures. We’re just trying to get beach ready over here! My favorite part of getting my nails done is how perfect they look. I can assure you my nails don’t look like that when I paint them myself…

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One of my favorite pictures from this week is this one of my brothers. I was downtown getting my long run in before vacation and my brothers and Taylor (Alex’s girlfriend) were busy playing tourist in their own city on Mt. Washington. They just look so happy and we can’t even see their faces. 🙂 While they took pictures of Pittsburgh from the sky, I took pictures of Pittsburgh from the ground.

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10 miles later it was time for family dinner on the patio at my mom’s house. Grilled burgers, vegetables, and a sweet potato because if there’s a food I love more than oatmeal, it’s my sweet potatoes. 🙂

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You know what’s not a good idea? Listening to a scary podcast while you walk your dogs around your neighborhood alone. I am being very dramatic because I live in the world’s quietest town, but I still jumped every time I heard a stick crack or a bird chirp while we walked! And then eventually I turned this podcast off and started listening to The Chalene Show instead because POSITIVITY HAPPINESS SOMEONE TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD! It was starting to get dark and my nerves couldn’t handle it anymore. Have you listened to Serial or Undisclosed?? What are your thoughts??

Happy Friday, friends! Have the best weekend! 🙂

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Full Circle

A year ago, my mom and I came to the University of Maryland to meet my advisor and check out the campus. I had been accepted to graduate school, but I had no idea what this place was like. I knew that I could make my decision just by seeing everything…when I visited Duquesne, I just knew I was supposed to be there. And the same thing happened when I came here.

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We came down for the weekend right before Easter. We were on Spring Break and it was perfect timing! I had a meeting scheduled with my advisor and I had to figure out where I was going to live. Of course, we also made time for some fun adventures, like going to D.C…
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…after all, it is only 8 miles away. I have such good memories from this little weekend trip. In typical tourist fashion, we drove to D.C. and just expected to find parking. We ate dinner at Good Stuff Eatery and luckily, we found a place to put our car. We were not so lucky at the National Mall…I mean, it is The National Mall. 😉

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This picture was taken in motion…check out the tour bus to the left. The area that we parked in was reserved specifically for tour busses. My mom does drive a huge SUV but I don’t think that would fool a police man. Ha! So we quickly (illegally) parked and ran to take pictures. #touristproblems

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We went to Palm Sunday service at UMD’s Memorial Chapel…

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We explored the Inner Harbor in Baltimore…

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And of course we went shopping :).

I lived in the city when I went to school at Duquesne…I moved out of my house and did the whole college thing. But I didn’t really “go away”. I definitely gained a new love for Pittsburgh while I was in school because I met friends from so many different places around town and loved living near all the entertainment that a city brings. But I figured if I was going to be in school for a few more years, why not change it up? Why not go somewhere new? I had no idea how I was going to feel leaving everyone behind, but after the first visit to Maryland, I felt excited. I figured out all of the little details on our trip and now it was time to just be excited…so much so that we spent the 4th of July here because I just HAD to show the rest of my family where I was going.

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All of a sudden, it was August, and it was time to move in.

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I would be living with a random roommate, but lucky for me, she was also starting grad school. And she turned out to be super nice. 🙂

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It was a really big deal for me to leave home for the “first” time. And it was an even bigger deal to not know a single soul in my new city…but surprisingly, that didn’t scare me.

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First day of school 🙂

There are also a lot of things about moving somewhere by yourself that you don’t think about before you go…and no one tells you about before you go…that you just kind of figure out along the way. Example: I have a lot of friends, but they aren’t here. I can text them and call them, but I didn’t have someone to immediately invite over for dinner on Friday night. I didn’t have a partner in crime to go shopping with. My family wasn’t around to go to church with me. I am super happy that I ended up living with someone for my first year away because I don’t think I realized how much time I would spend alone. I actually am the kind of person who enjoys alone time, but it is definitely a challenge to make yourself do things by yourself that you wouldn’t usually do. It stopped feeling like a challenge and started feeling refreshing. I wasn’t about to sit in my apartment all day every day…I wanted to go do things, so I went and did them. When there were events happening that I wanted to go to, I went and made friends once I got there. Deciding to move and physically moving all of your things is one thing…deciding to make your move the best thing of your life, well that takes something special.

I did a lot of running…

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…and I did a lot of organizing. The weekend that I got here, I intentionally didn’t unpack all of my things so that I would have something to do once my family left. 😉

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I went to football games with my roommate and welcome week activities with other grad students.

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I baked…

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…and I FaceTimed with my dogs. Ha!

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And slowly but surely, I started to make friends. I met friends at church, I met friends in my running group, I met friends in class and at work.

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Friends to be had everywhere…but I had to make the choice to go find them. There were MANY weekends in my first semester of school where I drove home to Pittsburgh. It was something that I wanted to do, but I also needed to do at that time. I still wanted to feel connected. There were also times when I decided to stay put for the weekend…and then I would see pictures of my friends out and about and feel so left out. That made no sense to me because I love where I live, where I go to school, and what my life is like now. No one tells you what the transition feels like…I didn’t want to live a double live driving back and forth all the time, so I had to learn that my friends will still be my friends even if we aren’t together all the time.

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No one tells you that you might find it completely normal to go to the movies, go out to dinner, or go explore a new part of town…all by yourself. And just when you start to think you’re a weirdo, your family or friends come to visit and you get to brag about your new home.

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I found “my people” slowly but surely…now if I want to go to brunch or try a new fitness class or just hang out…I know who to call. But I’m also totally comfortable doing things I want to do all by myself. No one told me I would learn to get to know myself even more. 😉

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I have learned SO. MUCH. about myself in the last year. I feel more confident, more independent, and dare to say it…happier. I DEFINITELY was not unhappy at this time last year. I was student teaching, loving life, getting ready to graduate and go on vacation with friends. But I feel older. And wiser. And more thoughtful. I am more talkative…I didn’t really have a choice in that one ;). I am more connected in my faith and I think the move made me be more connected to the people in my life, both here and in Pittsburgh. When I think about what I was doing at this time last year, I realize I could have NEVER even pictured what my life would look like right now. And I am so happy to say that I love who I am becoming. That thought that we can plan and plan and plan…and still not know what to expect…is so exciting because WHERE does that mean I will be next April at this time? And where does that mean you will be? How much have we all changed in just one year? What will we be doing? How will we feel? What will our lives be like?

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I have no idea. But I can’t wait to see.