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. 😉

September Blog Challenge [Late To The Party]

Today is a wonderful day in the life of me. 😉 I woke up and went for a run, there is no where that I absolutely have to be, I’m lounging around making spur of the moment plans, and it’s a 3 day weekend. What could be better!?
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I was really excited to sort of come up with a “schedule” for my blog this summer. I have had this blog since 2012 and I could never keep up with it until January of this year! I always struggled with what to write about and I feared posting after NOT posting for so long. I don’t know how I got over either of those things, but now writing on this blog is one of my favorite things to do. Since starting my new job, I feel like I haven’t found a great balance in writing this blog and reading/commenting on other blogs. I want to step up my commenting game because I love reading and connecting with those writers!
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As I was catching up with blogs today, I was reading one of my favorites and I saw that she is participating in a September challenge. I absolutely LOVE this idea, so I am jumping on the bandwagon even though it’s been happening for a few days already. You should join in, too!
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Here are the prompts if you are interested or curious about what will be coming in the next few weeks. 🙂 Read more about this challenge over on Bailey Jean’s blog!
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The Blog-tember Daily Prompts:

Tuesday, Sept. 1: Introduce yourself however you like! Pics, vlog, collage, your choice 🙂
Wednesday, Sept. 2: Describe your ideal day. Where would you go and what would you do?
Thursday, Sept. 3: Create a collage or inspiration/mood board that describes your blog.
Friday, Sept. 4: What are you passionate about?
Saturday, Sept. 5: Put your iTunes/music player on shuffle and share the first 10 songs that play.
Sunday, Sept. 6: Share your style. What fashion trends do you love, frequent, or avoid?
Monday, Sept. 7: Tell us about your blog name. Where did it come from?
Tuesday, Sept. 8: Tell us about your favorite season. Why is it your favorite and what does it say about you?
Wednesday, Sept. 9: Write a letter to sixteen-year-old you. Any advice or funny stories?
Thursday, Sept. 10: 10 items off your bucket list. If you haven’t made one, now’s a good time to start!
Friday, Sept. 11: It’s a Friday night and you decide to stay in. What do you do?
Saturday, Sept. 12: What are you up to currently? I have examples here and here.
Sunday, Sept. 13: Create a collage or inspiration/mood board for this season in your life.
Monday, Sept. 14: The 5 books that have impacted your life the most.
Tuesday, Sept. 15: What’s in your bag? Pick up your purse and peruse its contents, then share with us!
Wednesday, Sept. 16: The real you vs. the online you. Are they the same or different?
Thursday, Sept. 17: Just for fun, your latest obsession. What can you not get enough of these days?
Friday, Sept. 18: Record a VLOG! It can be about anything you’d like!
Saturday, Sept. 19: Tell us about one of the best days of your life.
Sunday, Sept. 20: It’s guilty pleasure time! Shows, books, songs, foods, whatever it may be.
Monday, Sept. 21: A favorite quote/expression and how it has impacted you.
Tuesday, Sept. 22: Get creative! Sketch, paint, dance, play music, whatever then give us a glimpse.
Wednesday, Sept. 23: Grab a guest post. Recruit a friend or fellow blogger to share on your space for the day.
Thursday, Sept. 24: Shout out five of your favorite bloggers. Who are your regular reads?
Friday, Sept. 25: Three songs you are connecting with right now.
Saturday, Sept. 26: What’s on your to-reading list, and what have you recently read? 
Sunday, Sept. 27: What’s on your wish list? Be sure to include links so we can shop too 😉
Monday, Sept. 28: A day in the life. Take us through it with you.
Tuesday, Sept. 29: Write your own list of 10 blog topics to inspire us next month.
Wednesday, Sept. 30: A farewell coffee date. Take some time to breath, sip a warm drink, and share with your new blogging buddies. If you’d like a prompt: how did the Blog-tember Challenge go for you? Any surprises? What was your favorite prompt, or what would you like to see included next time?

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I’m going to start with a quick introduction since I’m late to the party!

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I’m Kylie and I love Jesus, my little brothers (Alex and Jake), running, coffee, food (eating and baking), and my dogs.

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My family has an almost three year old Golden Retriever named Colby. He has quite the personality and since he is the baby of the family, he can be a bit spoiled. 😉 He is so lovable and playful and he LOVES sitting as close to you as humanly possible. No personal space with Colby!

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My brother, Alex, has a Staffordshire Pitbull Terrier named Amigo. He just turned two and he is the smartest dog ever! We really think that he would talk to us if he could. 😉 He literally turns his head sideways to listen to us when we are talking and he LOVES tennis balls, as seen above.

A few other things about me: I’m happiest at the beach. I love to read. I live in right outside of DC and I am about to start my first year of teaching in a second grade classroom! I’m also finishing grad school at UMD and attempting to have a social life while I do so;) so I feel like this blog gives me time to relax and be creative. 🙂

NOW for Saturday’s post!

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Saturday, Sept. 5: Put your iTunes/music player on shuffle and share the first 10 songs that play.

This is going to be fun. I have a very random taste in music. When I say “I like it all”, I am being totally serious. Let’s see what shuffle comes up with!

Insomnia – Audien feat. Parson James

I’m not a huge fan of EDM (even though I said I love everything), but I love songs that sing a little bit and then break down a little bit. Is that the right terminology for what happens in this song?! Haha! I have never heard of these artists before but the singer’s voice is very familiar to me. I can’t figure out who it reminds me of!

Sorry 4 The Wait – Lil Wayne

This song is a very bad representation of me *insert monkey with hands over his eyes emoji* Sometimes, I am just in the mood to listen to rap…but I can’t remember the last time I listened to this song and as it played this morning, I couldn’t help but notice how often I heard swear words! I’m ashamed of my younger self haha!

The Girl’s A Straight Up Hustler – All Time Low

This band reminds me of freshman and sophomore year of high school. My friends and I loved listening to bands that “no one” else listened to. I may have even rocked some shirts from Hot Topic (the only store that sold shirts with these artists on them) and that is about as far away from my fashion sense as we can get! I don’t claim to be a fashionista, but I’m definitely more preppy. One of my best friends in high school loved this song and I don’t remember it being one of my favorites, but I have the whole album in iTunes, so thanks for the memories, shuffle. 🙂

I’ll Be There – Mac Miller feat. Phonte

I’m from Pittsburgh, so of course I have some “hometown” artists in my music library like Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller;) These songs are always agreed upon in the car with my brothers. They like rap music that I can’t even begin to understand or decipher, but we can all agree on and appreciate some Mac Miller or Wiz. And to be honest, I really like both of those artists myself! They are a little less vulgar than the Lil Wayne song mentioned above. 🙂

Every Other Time – LFO

Omg. I had a CD called “Totally Hits 2001” and that’s how this song ended up in my library. VIVID memories of singing this song and rearranging the furniture in my room when I was 10 or 11 years old. I associate songs with the weirdest memories!

1994 – Jason Aldean

During the summers of 2013 and 2014, I bought the Country Megaticket in Pittsburgh. This meant I had lawn seats to see 8 different country concerts all summer long. It was so much fun! The summer of 2014, Jason Aldean actually played at PNC Park instead of the outdoor amphitheater where the other concerts were. Our seats were way up in the heavens because we had cheap tickets from the Megaticket, but this concert was way too much fun. It was me, my cousin CJ, and two of my best friends. We ate tailgated, met up with a bunch of different groups of friends who were also having tailgates, got rained on during the concert, and went out for pizza after the concert. It was the best! Julianne and I still joke about who the heck”Joe Diffie” is. We have obviously Google-ed him, but that’s the name Jason Aldean mentions in this song several times and we find it so funny!

Let Her Go – Passenger

Courtesy of the chill station on Pandora I reserve for the hours of 8-10 PM before I go to bed. 🙂

Just Can’t Get Enough – Black Eyed Peas

Just fun. 🙂

Knee Deep – Zac Brown Band

This reminds me of summer and my mom! She loves this song!

Feel So Close Remix – Calvin Harris feat. Benny Benassi

I’m a certified Spinning instructor so I like popular songs that are a little bit longer than radio edits because they work better during transitions and such in class! “Feel So Close” was my JAM in college!

Music, Food, and 4th of July: Summer Favorites

Good morning! Happy Friday to you 🙂

Today, my favorite thing is this…

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…new episodes of Orange Is The New Black in my Netflix library. 🙂 This show definitely isn’t for everyone, but after reading the book, I was so intrigued that I had to start watching! It’s based on the true story of Piper Kerman’s fifteen months in prison which I think is part of the reason why I find it so fascinating…it’s “real”! But then, you have to imagine they changed it to make it more entertaining for TV. Anyways, I finished the first two seasons pretty quickly in the fall and I had NO idea there weren’t more episodes! So when Season 2 ended on a huge cliffhanger, I jumped off the couch to click “Play Next Episode” and almost cried when that didn’t exist. Ha!

– TWO – 

Of course, I also discovered some new favorite songs this week, too. Perfect for teaching my first Spinning class in ten months! I can hardly believe it has been that long. When I moved to Maryland last August, I obviously had to give up my instructing job in Pittsburgh, but I didn’t want to pick up a new one here until I really got into the swing of things with my schedule. Plus, I had no idea where I was moving to (I had visited but wasn’t so familiar with the area) and I wanted to figure out where the “cool” gyms were. 😉 Now for the summer session at UMD, I am teaching one Spinning class on Tuesday nights. I loved being back on the bike at the front of the room again!

I like this song for a hard hill climb…

…and this one for a cooldown. Or so I thought. When it started playing, I actually changed it. I did listen to it on repeat when I was running, though. 🙂

– THREE –

My favorite kind of lunch or dinner requires little preparation and lots of ingredients that go well together because I am usually starving when I cook. Enter: chicken sausage & asparagus pizza flatbread.

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I cut one Flat-out flatbread in half and toasted it while I cooked two Trader Joe’s Spicy Chicken Sausages in the frying pan. Some asparagus was steaming in the microwave at this point, too. I said I like “little preparation”, but that still means doing a few things at the same time! I chopped the asparagus while I waited for the chicken sausage to finish cooking and then I chopped that too. On the toasted flatbread, I put some tomato basil sauce, chopped chicken sausage and asparagus, and a little bit of mozzarella. Then I microwaved it just long enough for the cheese to melt and BAM. Healthy pizza. My favorite.

– FOUR –

Is there anything better than working out with other people who also LOVE to work out? My favorite class to take in Pittsburgh is called Kam Jamz and it’s taught by my favorite coach and instructor, Kam Niskach. She’s a beast! I have been going to Kam’s classes for almost two years and now she has started teaching other formats like Insanity, PiYo, P90x, and Cize, too. She started her instructor career teaching Zumba and then her class evolved to more of a hip hop class and now it’s some Zumba, some hip hop, and some crazy hard moves like burpees and tuck jumps. It’s a good time. 🙂

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Can you spot me?!

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We were celebrating two regular class go-ers birthdays…Scott and Janine. Kam asked for song requests via Facebook and that’s how our workout for that night was decided. How fun is that?! That’s how this group of people is…always up for a party and so welcoming. You know the hashtag that floats around social media that says “#fitfam”? These people truly are my Fit Fam and I wish I could work out with them more often!

– FIVE –

Can you even believe we are getting to the halfway point of June?! My half birthday was on Wednesday so I was really thinking about how fast time goes! 24 sounds so far away and so old. 😉 But in the spirit of summer and holidays, my apartment got a little patriotic this week.

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And…this door. Sigh. I loathe it but apparently water heaters are a necessary addition to your living space. Haha!

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Hopefully your eyes are drawn to the banner and not the vent. 😉

So, there has to be something that you are loving…even if you loved it last week, too. Tell me about your favorites this week!

Linking up with these lovely ladies! 🙂

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1989 Tour

It’s been a pretty exciting start to summer in my neck of the woods…I went to Atlantic City to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend and I’ve done a lot of traveling back to Pittsburgh, but for good reason. There’s always a good reason because my family and college friends live there, but most recently, the good reasons were for two concerts at Heinz Field. 🙂

I love going to concerts at Heinz Field because our stadium doesn’t have a roof so you are “outside” which is perfect for summer and it’s shaped like a horseshoe so it is completely open on one end. This is where the scoreboard is during Steelers games and where the stage usually goes for big concerts! Last weekend, I saw Kenny Chesney perform along with Chase Rice, Brantley Gilbert, and Eric Church. I heard most of Brantley Gilbert’s set and all of Eric Church’s songs, but I was most excited for Kenny! I have seen him once before, but I was probably ten years old when I attended that concert so I thought it was about time to go again! Kenny has such stage presence and really gets into his songs! It was so fun to hear his “classics” along with all my new favorites!

BUT, the big event was this past weekend when my friend Julianne and I went to see Taylor Swift. I saw Taylor perform when she was in Pittsburgh for her Speak Now tour almost four years ago (!!!) but I fell out of love with her when her Red album came out. I don’t know why! However, 1989 is an AMAZING album and I love all of the songs. I know an album is special when I like all of the songs because that never happens. 🙂 My friend, on the other hand, is a DIE HARD TSwift fan. Her parents got her two tickets for Christmas and I was lucky enough to go with her!

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I’m on the left and Julianne is on the right. We were really digging the black romper look. 😉

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After the longest Uber ride of our lives, which included stories of crazy passengers from our driver and lots of me stalking Taylor’s tour busses, we finally arrived at Heinz Field! For some reason, we thought it would be a great decision to eat dinner near the stadium. The four restaurants in a little cluster over there had a range of wait times from 90 minutes to four hours. I am not kidding. Who would even put their name on that list?! So we quickly remedied this problem by walking over to Rivers Casino where there were no little girls with their Moms and we sat right down to dinner! Ha!

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The most exciting part of this concert for me was that we had tickets on the floor. Julianne has sat close to the stage before…I have not. I’m of the mindset that as long as I’m in the stadium/arena/ampitheatre and can see and hear the musician, that’s good enough for me. But this was so super cool and I will definitely splurge for a concert in the future now that I know what it feels like to be so close!

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Almost every picture we took had other people in the background also taking pictures together. That was funny to look at as I uploaded my photos to my computer. 🙂

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Shawn Mendes and Vance Joy (above) opened for Taylor and they were both SO GOOD! I really enjoyed listening to Shawn even though I didn’t recognize any of his songs. That is rare for me. If I don’t know the song at a concert, I get slightly annoyed. I like to sing along. 🙂 And I knew a few Vance Joy songs, but I came home and added some more of his songs to my library. He was so good!!!

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Then our girl came out singing Welcome to New York. Because of course. Every SINGLE person around me was singing along to every song and was so into the performance, which made it so much fun! The coolest part of this concert was that every person in the stadium got a light up bracelet that changed colors and flashed in sync with the songs!

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Here is what my baby iPhone captured…all those little lights are bracelets on people’s wrists!

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And here is a picture the local radio station posted on Facebook. HOW COOL IS THAT!?

P.S. Another cool moment –> At one point, a ton of security guards showed up in the aisle next to us…and Taylor’s mom walked past! I didn’t snap a picture because I was too flustered. But the two girls next to me ran out into the aisle to hug her and I was surprised they felt confident enough to do that ha! Maybe since I was so close I will just tell everyone I hugged Taylor Swift’s mom. 😉 On a complete side note, I don’t have children…but what in the world does Taylor’s mom think when she sees her daughter’s name in lights and watches her perform?! I can’t even imagine how amazing that is!

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The stage did some pretty cool things like rise up, spin around…and then at one point Taylor walked to the opposite end of the stage (which was raised in the air at this time) and started playing on a keyboard! Everyone was so surprised because you couldn’t tell it was on that platform! I loved that she sang and played two songs with just a keyboard and then just a guitar. It really showed how talented she is!

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This is not the best quality…but about halfway through the concert, she said that she wanted to do something special for us fans in Pittsburgh because she is from Pennsylvania, too! All of a sudden, Little Big Town walked out onto the stage and they all started singing their song “Pontoon” together! It was like a throwback to Taylor’s beginning days when she was still considered country 🙂 I heard a few weeks ago when she was in Michigan, Imagine Dragons performed Radioactive with her. I’m excited to see who else pops up on the rest of her tour!

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Of course, the show ended with fireworks and the song Shake It Off. I cannot say enough good things about this concert! Taylor was such a different performer than Kenny…I really felt like I was watching a show when I was watching her…and she also had a completely different stage presence. Maybe Kenny has been singing for so long that it is different for him, but Taylor was so thankful and appreciative that she was singing in a sold out stadium and we were all singing along with her. She just seemed really humble and relatable! During a few of her costume changes, short interviews with fans she has met and with her friends were played and that was really cool too because you got a peek into her life! Also, her costume changes were amazing. Shiny, sparkly dresses, black leather…and oh the crop tops. Girl can rock a crop top and high waisted short like no one else!

I love going to concerts…but I think the last time I was this impressed was when I saw Blake Shelton in 2013. What concerts have you been to recently? And was it your favorite one EVER?! Do tell!

What’s Up?!

My love of surveys will never die. And I love checking in with all my favorite blog friends to see what they’re up to! Join the link up on Mel or Shay’s blogs and share your rambles!

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What I’m eating this week:

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Warm weather has me craving ALL THE FRESH THINGS! I have been eating a ton of huge salads with grilled chicken. My favorite summer dish. 🙂

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I’m a big fan of food with ingredients that I can pronounce…these “That’s It” bars that I found at Chop’t (hey! A salad place! What do you know;) are made up of just apples and mangoes. Dried fruit in a perfect little serving size! If you give me a bag of dried fruit, I will go to town. If you give me a bar, I will only eat one. Therefore, these bars are a double threat for me because they are only two ingredients (that I can pronounce) and it’s already in a perfect serving size for me!

What I’m reminiscing about:

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I was a camp counselor at the YMCA for the past two summers and while those days felt so very long while I was in them, I really will miss becoming such good friends with other counselors and hanging out with the little people every day!

What I’m loving: 

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Not over how cool and portable and easy and fun my travel blender is. I LOVE IT! $14.99 well spent, my friends.

What I’ve been up to:

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Traveling. Which means lots of entertainment is needed on the way to my destination! I love the Pentatonix station on Pandora and The Chalene Show on the iPhone’s podcast app! Chalene’s podcast is also available on the Android version of the podcast app, but I don’t know what that’s called. 🙂 Probably just podcast. Ha! She is so positive and she talks about health, fitness, living a healthy life, making good decisions, work, your free time…she covers it all. Love her!

What I’m dreading:

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And on the note of traveling…I’m dreading going back and forth from DC to Pittsburgh. I have plans in both places during these first few weeks of summer and I am excited about it all, so I guess I need to just be thankful I have the means to travel and leave it at that!

What I’m working on:

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Closing my silly laptop. I am applying for jobs right now and I feel like I am a SLAVE to certain websites and my email account. I just want to tune into LIFE instead of my computer!!!

What I’m excited about:

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So, this show definitely isn’t for everyone. It can be crass at times but I love it. This fall, I saw the Orange Is The New Black book at Target and because I had heard people talking about the show and didn’t understand their obsession, I decided to read the book. I am a book –> movie/TV fanatic so I had to read first haha! When I started watching the show on Netflix, I had no concept of how long it was or how many episodes there were. When the last episode of Season 2 ended (and by the way, it ends on a huge cliffhanger), I jumped off my couch to hit PLAY NEXT EPISODE and I was so upset when I realized there were not, in fact, more episodes to be watched. Needless to say, I am super excited for Season 3 to start on June 12!

What I’m watching/reading:

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I did some serious damage at my favorite store in Pittsburgh…Half Price Books. Does your town have one of those stores??? There are multiple locations in Pittsburgh and ZERO in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area. It’s so sad! Ha! All of these books were $4 or less each, so I was pretty happy with my finds. 🙂 I decided to start reading Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie first. Blake is the creator of TOMS shoes and for some reason, I am so intrigued by his story and advice for making a difference! I have been loving personal development/self help/nonfiction books lately so this is right up my alley. I also brought Seating Arrangements along for my travels this week because it seems like a lighthearted read! I really want to read Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places because I loved Gone Girl, but I’m convinced it’s too scary! Someone talk me into it or share your review, please! 🙂

What I’m listening to:

When I find a song I love, I LOVE IT. I downloaded this song yesterday and I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to it 25 times already. At least.

And this is pretty good too…

And Blake Shelton. Because he’s Blake Shelton. I have eclectic taste in music, as you can tell. I’m on the road again as you read this. I needed lots of new tunes!

What I’m wearing:

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These shoes. The end.

Actually, not the end. I said I wouldn’t jump on the Birkenstock train BUT I’M HERE AND I’M SO HAPPY!

What I’m doing this weekend:

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Summertime + Kenny Chesney + my friends = the perfect Saturday. Kenny is playing at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh with Eric Church, Chase Rice, and Brantley Gilbert. He’s come to Pittsburgh SO many summers in a row and I haven’t been to one of his concerts since I was probably ten years old! I can’t wait. 🙂 This is a throwback with some of the same girls I’ll be hanging out with this weekend to Tim McGraw last summer!

What I’m looking forward to next month WEEK:

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I’m changing this one up;) Next Saturday I’m going back to Heinz Field to see Taylor Swift. AH! I saw her when she was in town for her Speak Now tour in 2011 but I fell out of love with her when her Red album came out. I LOVE the 1989 album and one of my friends got tickets for Christmas and I’m the lucky girl she invited to go with her! We have tickets on the field. I’m not one to spend a ton of money on my concert tickets…I always feel like I’m there and that’s enough for me but I’m about to be so close to Taylor Swift and that is SO COOL!

What else is new:

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Even though it is officially summer, I am taking two online classes that start in early June. I was so burned out at the end of the spring semester because I was working on the most important paper of my grad school career, BUT I know that nothing worth having comes easy so I guess it comes with the territory. I am going to enjoy this TRULY free time from grad school while I can, but I’m also excited to get started with these next two classes!

Bonus question…What is your favorite thing to grill/BBQ?

   

One of my favorite ways to eat pineapple is with a packet of Jello powder sprinkled on top…extra flavor! But grilled pineapple is so fresh and good, it is a close second.

 

 I’m not a huge fan of red meat unless it’s served with an Italian dish. You won’t ever see me eating a steak or a burger! But I do love turkey burgers and this brand is my new favorite. They have a ton of protein and flavor!! 

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So, tell me: what have you been up to?!

And if you’re a blogger, here’s your list of questions! Have fun!

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Road Trip Essentials

Finally going home for Spring Break! 🙂

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

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

1. Beverages.

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

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

2. Comfy clothes.

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

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

3. Easy breakfast/snacks

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

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

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

4. A full gas tank.

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

5. New-to-me entertainment.

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

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

– Team Starbucks or Team Dunkin?

– Do you listen to audio books?

– What are your must-haves on the road?