Friends Forever

Think about this: the weirdest thing about getting older is that I (and you too!) can officially say I have been friends with someone for 20 years. Except I don’t know that it’s that weird because we love that we can finally say 20 YEARS!!! Haha

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Fun fact: Stef’s family is from Rochester, NY. In 1996, they moved in across the street from my family in Pittsburgh. Stef and I were attached at the hip from the very first day they moved in until the very last day they lived in that house two years later…and somehow we managed to stay friends all this time.

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I think that it is SO much easier to stay in contact with friends now. Social media practically does the work for us! Our long distance friendship started with snail mail and long distance phone calls on Sunday because it only cost a penny a minute. We also convinced our moms that we should visit each other EVERY summer, and they listened to us. So every summer I would spend a week in Rochester and Stef would spend a week in Pittsburgh. Except it was more like me in Rochester for 5 days and Stef in Pittsburgh for 9 days because I used to get crazy homesick and she would get SO mad at me. Hahaha

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Then came high school and crazy busy schedules. The visits may not have happened as much as we would have liked, but we had AIM, MySpace, text messages, and Facebook. We both made it to each other’s high school graduation parties and I think that’s when we really knew we’d be stuck with each other forever. 😉 This past weekend, I finally got back up to Rochester to visit her! In the past five years while we’ve been in college and figuring out the real world, we’ve visited a bunch of times, but she has either been in Pittsburgh or DC, so it was high time that I take myself back up to NY!

Pre-road trip, I took myself on a 3 mile run to start the day. I ran into this creepy dog statue and saw some budding trees. #hallelujahitsspring

I left a little later than I would have liked because that’s how I roll, and I ran into three traffic jams on the way out of DC. #normal I always get really angry when I’m stuck in traffic because of an accident, but then I get mad at myself for being mad because really, I should be hoping everyone is okay! I justify my anger by saying I’m really only mad at the cars who drive slowly past the accident and stare at everything to see what happened. Ha!

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I took the scenic route because it was an hour shorter than my other two options, and my drive was filled with open roads, mountains, motels, and rivers. As soon as I crossed the state line into New York, it started to snow and hail. I almost turned around. Hahaha! After all, this was the start of my Spring Break! 😉

Traveling with me looks a lot like empty water bottles and random snacks on the floor. I had yogurt (because the big container was almost gone and I didn’t want to throw it out), carrots and celery with ranch, trail mix, and Shakeology. As soon as I got to Stef’s house, which was around 6 PM, we headed straight to dinner. She had just finished work, I had sworn myself off of trail mix, and we were both starving. We met up with her parents at Blu Wolf and ordered the most delicious turkey burgers! Her dad dared to be different and ordered chicken and waffles. Have you ever tried that dish? I always want to and then I end up with something tried and true!

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Later that night, I got to meet some of her friends from work. Someone had just gotten a selfie stick, and as the only person in the room who has used a selfie stick before, it was my job to teach everyone what to do. 🙂

Then of course we faceswapped because this is 2016 and how can you not do such a thing? My face does NOT look good on her head. It’s too big or something! Hahaha

After dinner in the Park Ave area of Rochester, we headed downtown to hear her friend’s band play at Dino, a barbecue restaurant. It was fun to see different parts of the city because I haven’t been there in so long and the last time I visited, she still lived with her parents in the suburbs. The band is called Teagan and the Tweeds and they are pretty well known in the area, apparently! They’ve been playing together for ten years and they played the perfect mix of original tunes and oldies but goodies that we all know. We ended our evening with our favorite twins, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. We will never grow out of their movies. 😉

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On Saturday morning, we lounged around eating breakfast and watching another MK&A movie before hitting the mall. We always shop when we are together. 🙂 I think we were at the mall for like five hours, so we definitely made a dent in our wallets! I was having no luck finding anything I liked and then I spotted these snakeskin pants. My initial thought was that they would be perfect dress pants for work, since they’re the right material and they’re high waisted (aka appropriate). Then I found this black crop top on sale and Stef told me I HAD to try it on because it would make such a cute outfit. My face should explain to you how I feel about crop tops. Hahaha

But apparently I don’t dislike crop tops enough to not purchase one, because I ended up wearing that exact outfit to meet some of Stef’s college friends that evening. We had Moscow Mules at a cocktail lounge in another part of downtown called South Wedge. Our group was definitely the youngest bunch in there by at least ten years, but one of her friends was so excited to take us to Cheshire that we had to give it a chance! It’s above a wine bar, so it’s kind of hard to find because you have to go IN the wine bar to get to the cocktail lounge. That was kind of cool because it felt like a hidden gem! My takeaways: it was SUPER dark in there and the drinks were small and expensive. #cheapskate

Our day on Sunday revolved completely around food. We had brunch plans at Trata where I had the most delicious omelette with cajun sausage, corn, pepperjack cheese, and red peppers. Fun fact about NY State: they don’t serve alcohol on Sunday until after 12 noon. We were STARVING when we woke up on this morning, so after wasting as much time as humanly possible at her house, she and I and her roommate decided we were just GOING and maybe we would eat for a long time and have time to order a mimosa. Well, we got there at 10:30, ordered our food, inhaled it, and then promptly decided we all needed a nap. No mimosas for us. 😉

We watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding and a few episodes of Friends while everyone lounged around for the afternoon…then it was off to her parents’ house in the suburbs for dinner! This was bittersweet because they just sold their house so this was the last time I would see it before they move! Stef’s brother was also at dinner which was so fun because we always reminisce about being kids…and of course her parents broke out the childhood photos as they are in the middle of packing up their house and there are pictures galore!

I left the frigid north behind and headed back to Pittsburgh for the rest of my Spring Break on Monday morning. I was greeted by two overly excited dogs who only sat still for that photo because I was holding treats in my other hand. 😉

How do you Spring Break?
Do you travel or are you a staycation-er?

Friday Favorites: Spring Is HERE!

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday!

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Linking up with some of my favorites…Andrea, Erika, and Narci. Blog your favorites from this week and join us! 🙂

– ONE –
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MY FRIENDS ARE COMING THIS WEEKEND!
We are racing the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler on Sunday in Washington, D.C.! Last year, the race was the first weekend of April and the trees weren’t at “peak bloom” yet. Since the first weekend of April this year was Easter, they obviously moved the race but also hoped the trees would be looking pretty for the weekend. Apparently there are live cameras and the National Park Service is keeping a close watch. Serious business! Pretty pictures here.

– TWO –

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Flashback to my drive home to Maryland on Monday. I cannot wait for the weather to be consistently warm because the cold weather sends me to the gas station constantly to put air in my tire. Yes, tire. Not all four. Just one. I took my brother to the gas station with me when I was home so he had to do my least favorite chore. At least I have a car to drive. That is a favorite. 🙂

– THREE –

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The little things are the big things. This leather ottoman has changed my life. I searched high and low for one that would match the furniture in my family room and then I spotted a brown leather one right at home in our game room. Thanks for sharing, Mom. 🙂 And yes, I’m an outfit repeater. But I promise the leggings were washed;)

– FOUR –

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Studying outside. Need I say more? It was a tad windy, but so worth it!

– FIVE –

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I know I pay a great deal of money to be in graduate school, but there is nothing sweeter than an email canceling the rest of your day. 😉 Apparently, a tower in Northern Maryland got messed up and it knocked out the power in ALL of Southern Maryland and DC. I wonder if President Obama got the day off, too?

– SIX –

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In 2013, Johna and I signed up for The City Spree. It’s a scavenger hunt type race. You get a map with a bunch of different colored checkpoints on it and each checkpoint is worth a different amount of points. If you get there first, you get the most points. As more people go to those checkpoints, the total points you can get at that specific place decrease. Basically you want to run the fastest to the most obscure locations so you can get the most points! And you have about 2 hours to do so. There is no course for the race…it’s just you, your map, and whoever you decide to run with! It is labeled a 5K or a 10K, but when we ran in 2013, we did about 8 miles. Last year, we went to sign up again and we realized we were famous! Ha! They used a picture of us running on their website.

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The checkpoints are always a little hidden, so we do crazy things like take the stairs two at a time and climb through fences to find them;) The other night, one of my co-workers from the YMCA sent me a screenshot of an email she received from LivingSocial about the race this year. We are famous again!

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I don’t know why I think it’s so fun that they keep featuring our photo. It’s just so cool! Running is such a fun sport for me and I really love Brooks’ slogan “Run Happy”. I think this picture is the definition of Run Happy. 🙂

“April showers bring May flowers” is in full force but it is supposed to be sunny and 70 this weekend. I can’t wait! Happy weekend to YOU!

Post Spring Break Happiness

Today I woke up and the sky looked like this:

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You can’t be mad about Monday morning when it’s this pretty. 🙂

I’ve been thinking about my Spring Break and realizing that although it didn’t really go as planned, it was still a great week. I didn’t travel to an exotic location with friends, I just went home to spend time with my family and friends and it was so fun. I did get sick and that kept me down a few nights…but maybe rest is just what I needed! I was still able to see two of my best friends, have lunch with my Aunt, spend time with my parents and brothers, and celebrate my brother’s birthday. When I picture what my planner looks like in the next couple of weeks, the number of assignments and projects I have due almost makes me feel like I need to schedule my day by the hour. But I don’t feel overwhelmed…I feel refreshed. Ready to take on the many, many tasks with my name on them. And I think I have Spring Break to thank for that!

It wasn’t only getting sick that made Spring Break not so spring-like…it actually SNOWED on the official first day of Spring!

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My workouts weren’t as intense because I was trying to listen to the doctor (eight to ten days of rest? Is she kidding?) but I did manage to make it outside to walk the dogs a few times and run on Saturday. Colby is a good little walker…Amigo pulls forward the entire time like he has never been on a leash before. I keep hoping that with more practice, he will stop being the leader of the walk. It hasn’t happened yet. 😉

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It’s like you can see their personality in the pictures…Colby is content to just be (he was laying on my lap) and Amigo loves to play and move and run at all times!

I spent a good part of Friday night at Jake’s volleyball tournament…

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He’s got hops.

…and we spent lots of time celebrating his 16th birthday. 🙂

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My people.

My mom let one of his friends eat a piece of cake before we sang Happy Birthday! I was appalled. He wouldn’t let us sing when we went to Dave and Buster’s with his friends, so we made the singing happen at brunch the next day. You can see how happy he is about that. 😉

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But now it’s Monday…I’m back at school…and it’s back to reality! Instead of looking ahead at all of my responsibilities and feeling overwhelmed…I’m going to look back on my Spring Break…and then move forward feeling refreshed. I think I was stuck in a winter funk before I went home. I was obviously still going to work, doing my schoolwork, and working out, but I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired to do any of those things. I actually couldn’t wait to get home and “relax” most days. The biggest thing that I wanted to focus on this year was being more present in my every day life. Really involving myself in what I am doing…engaging in conversations…and appreciating the moments. But no one can do that 100% of the time and I think it’s pretty normal to feel like you’re a little disconnected from your own life sometimes. You don’t need an entire week off to bring yourself “back to life” (or maybe you do;)) but you should do something that will help you break your routine.

Last week, I would have felt overwhelmed by everything that I have to do for school…this week I am excited to take on the challenges.

Last week, I would have felt like it wasn’t fair that I “have” to work out (seriously, this is a thought I had), this week I am thankful that my body is able to work out.

Last week, I would have watched Netflix in my free time…this week I realize that my free time is SMALL and should not be given to mindless TV. Example: last night, I taught myself new PiYo choreography and read a book.

I’m still in grad school so I get to have fun weeks like Spring Break. But if you’re in the real world and ten days off isn’t a gift that your job gives you (they really should. Let’s petition!)…change it up. You have a daily routine (we all do), so just do one little thing differently. Your perspective WILL change.

My perspective is refreshed.

Happy Monday!

Friday, Friday, Gotta Get Down On Friday

Hands in the air like you just don’t care! It’s Friday and there are nine whole days until I have school responsibilities again! The freedom begins at noon today. I can’t wait! I am going home and it’s going to be a glorious week of relaxing with my family and my dogs.

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As usual, I’m linking up with some of my favorite bloggers for Friday Favorites. 🙂 Check out Andrea, Narci, and Erika‘s blogs! They’re such fun ladies.

This week was interesting. It felt hard because we had two snow days at the end of last week so after a four day weekend, it was hard to get back into the swing of things. I can’t believe we were buried under 8 inches of snow just seven days ago because it has been sixty degrees every day this week! No complaints but the end of winter sure brings some craziness. Then there was the countdown until more days off…and there were midterms.

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I would love to say that most of last weekend looked like this…but I’m honestly really bad at studying. I love school and I love learning but as an Education major, in both undergrad and grad school, I’ve had to do more project-making and paper-writing than I have actual studying. Sitting down to study for Statistics was not my favorite activity but I actually think I did well!

And I rewarded myself for studying with a little Target time. I deserved it.

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And I deserved these. SPRING!

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During church, I like to take notes. I write down random ideas and verses that are meaningful…I like stuff like that and so that’s what I do during church. It’s just my thing. But last weekend, I was so distracted during the service. I was hungry, which is a terrible reason for being distracted, but I was looking back at my notes earlier this week and I have no idea what I was writing. Hahaha

Anyways, as I was walking back to my car after church, I walked past a sandwich shop that looked like they had dessert. I figured I would grab a muffin or biscotti or something to hold me over until I got home. When I walked in, I smelled bread. And I forgot about dessert. So I purchased this pesto asiago bread and never looked back. I never eat bread (I just prefer other things) but this was one of my favorite impulse purchases;)

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And then my roommate made us chicken sandwiches with peppers and onions and the wonderful bread. What a girl.

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The way mail gets delivered around here makes no sense but I finally got my packages in the mail yesterday and I was so excited. Getting mail of any kind is my favorite. Seriously, you can have my address and I’ll be waiting downstairs for your letter. 🙂 I ordered peanut butter and syrup from Amazon because I only spend my money in the wisest of ways.

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Speaking of priorities…running has been way up there lately. You know that I love to run, but I’m training right now, so I really have to love it;) I wrote about my struggle of a run the other day and then I was looking back at the pictures I took while I was running and I realized…running really is my favorite and so is this campus.

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Because this campus is so big, even if I take the bus, I still have to walk outside at some point. So when it rains, umbrellas are necessary. Everyone keeps saying they prefer rain to snow, but why do they say that? I know snow means cold but rain just bugs me. It is wet and cold and annoying in my humble opinion. 🙂 I had a brief moment of panic this week when I went to get my umbrella because it was missing. I had to use my back up umbrella! (The horror!) The back up umbrella gives into the wind and will occasionally flip inside out while in use. Not helpful when it’s raining. The missing umbrella does its job perfectly which is why it’s my favorite. Not in my apartment, not in my cubicle at The Writing Center, not in my research office, not in the staff lounge at the gym…

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But it was at my desk in The Writing Center’s other location at the library:) #win

Luckily by Wednesday night, the rain had disappeared and the sun was shining! On Wednesdays, I meet up with a group of people from my church to run and eat and chat about all the good things in life. We pick a different route and eat at a different restaurant/someone’s house each week so it’s always fun because it’s always changing! The people that I run with are my favorite people ever. I am so lucky that I found a church that I love with people like these!

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And Capitol Hill is beautiful.

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Two of my favorite stores are honestly TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. I feel like I always find something! My latest find were these coconut macaroons. They are 100 calories and so, so tasty!

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I had one with apple cinnamon tea after dinner on Thursday. 🙂

And finally…a confession. Sometimes I am so cranky that I actually annoy myself. Do you ever feel like that? No? Maybe that’s just me. I just know that even though I am feeling stressed or upset, there is another part of my brain telling me to stop being crazy. But sometimes the crazy cannot be stopped. Hahaha
SO, on my way to class, I stopped and got coffee. Because coffee is more appropriate in class than wine. And wine felt like it was needed yesterday. I have no idea why I couldn’t snap out of my funk!

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Tall black coffee with one shot of sugar free vanilla and one Splenda. My favorite. And it cheered me right up;)

I love where I live. The sky!!! God is good.

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Happiest of Fridays to YOU and I hope your weekend is fabulous!