Seasons of Love [Blog-tember Challenge Day 8]

Tuesday, September 8: Tell us about your favorite season. Why is it your favorite and what does it say about you?

Linking up here.

It’s hard for me to say that one season is better than another. For me, I think there is something awesome that happens during every season…whether we are talking about a season defined by weather or a season of life.

Spring is literally a breath of fresh air after the long winter. In Pittsburgh, we don’t start seeing warm days until late April or early May. This makes you so appreciative of blooming flowers, sunshine, and wearing a light jacket instead of your bulky winter coat!

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Lots of moments in my life are defined with my running shoes.

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I love the traditions that come along with holidays in the Spring, like Easter. Egg dying and uplifting songs at church are my favorite!

Moving from Spring to Summer is almost effortless in Pittsburgh. Spring doesn’t actually really exist…we go from cold to hot with little to no transition! The weather in DC is a bit more typical of four seasons, but weather aside, summer comes with such excitement. My mom is a teacher so she was always home with my brothers and I in the summer and that was so special for us.

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We always looked forward to trips to amusement parks…and hey, we still do!

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You can do simple, yet fun things like go to carnivals, visit farmer’s markets, take long walks, and pick berries.

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And of course, I could spend the entire summer in Wildwood if it was possible. One of these days that dream will be a reality for me. 🙂 The ocean is just soothing. You cannot help but feel relaxed when you are on the beach! As you make it halfway through the year, it feels good to recharge with sun, sand, family, and friends.

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Then, there is the beloved fall. Fall is the beginning of the year for me. My brain works like a school calendar, which is beneficial because I am a teacher. 🙂 August and September are the months that I am winding down from summer and setting new goals for myself for the coming year.

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Just as I was so excited in summer to do #allthethings, come Fall, I am ready to make another bucket list. I want to go to apple festivals, visit the pumpkin patch, celebrate Halloween, and bake with seasonal flavors! I am also always ready for a change in wardrobe. Shorts and tank tops are comfortable, but I could live my life in pajamas, so I love the coziness factor that comes with scarves and boots and sweaters!

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And of course, I love the weather. I mentioned that in Pittsburgh, the weather tends to skip right over Spring and go right from cold to hot. DC makes no mistake about letting you know that it is summer. #hellohumidity The crisp fall air is REAL and it makes running so much more fun. 😉

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Is there anything happier than the holiday season? Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the Thanksgiving to New Years time of year is just the happiest time of year. Everyone is a little kinder, a little happier, and a little more excited about life. I love the traditions that come along with this season, too: the music, the snowstorms, the gingerbread house making, the family visits, the present wrapping…and of course, winter holds a special place in my heart because this is when I celebrate my birthday. 🙂

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Snow is fresh and clean and just magical. I get just as excited for the 10th snowfall as I do for the first. Although come March or April, I am moving on from snow and it does not always feel the same way;)

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I think the fact that I cannot choose one season as my favorite says a lot about me. I am thoughtful in my choices, though some may call me indecisive. The verdict here is that I like transitions. I like moving from one season to the next. I appreciate the season for what it is while I have it, and then I am ready and excited for what is to come. I would call myself an ambitious person, so I think this thought of moving forward appeals to me because as they say, “the best is yet to come”.

A Birthday + A Weekend Recap

It’s September 1! Happy, happy birthday to my Dad!

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I called him yesterday and told him his present is going to be late because it’s really hard to go to the post office when you work full time. The gift has been riding around on my passenger seat for a week. I am the best daughter ever. #insertsarcasmhere Happy Birthday, Dad!! Thanks for always supporting me in everything I do and always listening to me ramble on about my life. And thank you for being a faithful blog reader! I love you!!

***

Even though my attempt at running on Friday was a fail, it felt good to come home and have nothing on the agenda. I made myself feel better by cooking Trader Joe’s Mahi Mahi burgers and watching Big Brother on DVR. 🙂

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My roommate had asked if I wanted to hang out with her and her friends, so I started making myself look presentable. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to curl my very short hair. I don’t actually have a curling iron, but luckily my mom left hers behind the last time she visited. After a few failed attempts, I asked Carlin if she had a curling iron with a smaller barrel and she introduced me to The Wand.

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Initially, I couldn’t figure the dang thing out. I also unintentionally had it on the lowest heat setting, so that may have had something to do with it. Once I got it all figured out, I was excited!

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My hair never holds a wave, so I was impressed!

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The moon was looking nice and spooky at the rooftop bar, so of course I snapped a photo. And that’s about all I did. After about 30 minutes, my friend Sarah and I called it a night and walked home. We are so fun. Hahaha

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I drink so much water during the day that I don’t sleep through the night. When I make it until 6 AM, it’s a victory! I woke up at 6:17 on Saturday morning and as I was walking back in my room, I noticed the sunrise. I love little moments like this. 🙂

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An exciting thing happened on Saturday. Jenna started a series called “Blogs I’m Loving Saturday” and I was featured on her blog! Reading her opinion of my blog made me so grateful for the connections that are made in the blogging world. She is too sweet! Jenna also mentioned a few others as well. Check out the post here!

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I went to the mall with Sarah and then Kristen and I headed to Tortoise and Hare in Crystal City to watch the Steelers vs. Bills game. It’s still preseason, but it was a painful game to watch. I’m a sore loser, what can I say?! 😉 This bar and grille was so fun because it was full of Steelers fans and had flags and posters for all the major Pittsburgh sports teams!

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I am officially a member of The Container Store’s email list. #teacherproblems I couldn’t pass up the 25% off coupon this weekend, so I went to pick up some little chairs for my classroom library. I feel like places such as Target make large plastic bags that these chairs may have (awkwardly) fit in…but no, The Container Store thought I would be just fine to walk home with these in tow. I guess I should have thought of that before I bought them haha!

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Saturday was such a fun day…shopping at the mall, lunch at California Pizza Kitchen, watching the Steelers game at Tortoise and Hare, then stopping at The Container Store on the way home…but by Saturday night, I was ready to sit down and do NOTHING. I tried to work out and spent a total of 14 minutes in the gym. Haha! I have been accumulating quite the stack of reading material so I made a chocolate shake and settled in for the night at 9 PM. 🙂 Best decision ever.

It happened again on Sunday morning…I rose at the crack of dawn. This time, it was because I fell asleep early. But still, I thought I could sleep for a few more hours! My body wasn’t having it, so I took my Bible and journal and went outside to ACTUALLY watch the sun rise on this day, instead of just snapping a photo and falling back to sleep.

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6:10 AM

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6:24 AM

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6:27 AM

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And then I went back to bed. 🙂 Reading always makes me tired when I’m supposed to be tired (like at 6:30 in the morning, perhaps?!) so I got the best of both worlds. A little bit of reading & sun rise, then a little bit of sleep.

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I did a bad thing this weekend. I didn’t open my planner AT ALL and it totally slipped my mind that I was volunteering in the nursery during the 9 AM church service. I felt so bad when I read the email a few hours later! I was being pretty lazy on Sunday morning, but ultimately I decided to throw on this dress and take a selfie before walking to church. My church is called National Community Church and there are 7 locations in the DC/Virginia area. I have been going to the same location in Capitol Hill for the last year, though I have visited other locations on occasion. The Capitol Hill location just feels like “home” now! But now that I live in Arlington, there is an NCC campus literally half a mile from my apartment, so I wanted to check it out. NCC is lovingly known as “Theatre Church” because all of our church services are held in theaters where either shows or movies usually play. My church in Capitol Hill is in the oldest theater in DC. How cool is that?! The one in Georgetown is held in the AMC Movie Theater…and the one in Arlington right by me is also held in a movie theater!

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It was weird to walk in and actually smell the popcorn haha! One thing that is so impressive to me about our church is that it takes a lot of people to make services happen every weekend since we don’t own any of the places we have service in! We all hear the same sermon; if you are at a location where the pastor is, then you see it live. The pastor obviously cannot be in 7 churches at once, so if you aren’t at the live location, you are watching via video on the screen. Hence why we are in theaters. 🙂 I like going to live services, but I don’t mind watching the live stream because every church has a band/singers and the audience (is that what we are called?) gets into the message like as if the pastor is right in front of us talking. In any case, I liked walking to church, but I missed my “people” at Capitol Hill!

The other big to-do on my list for Sunday was going to November Project tagging. November Project is a free fitness movement that started in Boston to keep people accountable to their workouts during the cold, bitter winter months. Now, it has spread to other big cities in the U.S., though I have been noticing some “pop up” workouts in smaller places like Pittsburgh and Kansas City! They are testing those cities out, I guess. 😉 November Project in DC meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, typically in a different location. They update their Facebook page a day or two before the workout to let you know where to wake up and go. Yep, you read that right…you wake up to go to a 5:30 AM or 6:30 AM workout. 🙂 I’m a bigger fan of 6:30. Hahaha

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ANYWAYS, there is not a consistent group of people who go to November Project. You might see familiar faces, but the group varies from day to day and there are usually at least 60 people there, so there are lots of faces! I have been so jealous of the people who have their shirts spray painted with the words “November Project” and the outline of the Lincoln Memorial. Every city does their shirts a little differently…NYC obviously has an apple instead of Lincoln. 😉 But they only tag (aka spray paint) every so often, so you have to pay attention to their Facebook or blog posts! This Sunday, there was tagging in the park at 4 PM so Kristen and I knew we had to go!

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Everyone just laid their shirts out like these and three of the main people in charge of the group walked around with their stencils and cans of spray paint. Bless their hearts. There were so many shirts and it was so hot!

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I had never been to this park before, but it was so pretty! It was also the best place for people watching. I mean, there was nothing else to do except mingle with other NP-ers or people watch while our shirts were being sprayed. I sat on the wall surrounding this pond? Fountain? for most of the time that we were at the park, but I saw the strangest things. Like a girl celebrating her quinceañera. She was wearing a red dress and was taking pictures like it was her wedding! She had a date and they both had girls and guys on either side of them. So interesting!

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Also, there was a guy walking on a tightrope. Just for fun. Like he literally brought this to the park and tied it to the trees. Anyways…

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Finally it was my turn to get tagged. 🙂 Every so often, they flip someone’s shirt up to clean off their stencil. When that happens, it says November Project with the monument across the chest and then it’s kind of reflected on the bottom. I looked up at one point to see Steve doing push ups on somebody’s shirt because he had just flipped it up. I was convinced that this would not happen to me. I did not want the words to be reflected like that. It would not happen. And of course because I was so adamant, it did. Hahaha

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So now my long sleeve lime green shirt says NP and has the reflection. Which is okay. I actually like it now. But in the moment I was thinking NOOOO! I fixed this situation by taking off the shirt I was wearing and sneaking it into the line. 😉 It was only six shirts away from my lime green one, so I knew he wouldn’t have to clean his stencil off there, too! Haha

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So official!

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As a first year teacher, I am convinced I need a lot of things that I probably don’t actually need. But I wanted some way to mark the books in my classroom that are mine (versus the school or student books), so I bought this stamp on Etsy.

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Tell me that is not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen! My Type A personality is so happy that all my books will be stamped. 🙂

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I also have a deep, deep love for peanut butter and jelly (to the point where I don’t buy jelly because I will eat it all way too fast), but when I tried the PB&J Quest bar in the past, it did not live up to my expectations. I decided to give it another shot this weekend and I was pleasantly surprised. However, it would have been better if I warmed it up first. Unfortunately, it was in my bag in case I got HANGRY, which I did, so there was no microwave nearby. 😉

How was your weekend?! Are you already looking forward to the next one?! Happy Tuesday!

Five Summer Favorites

Today marks the last day of my first week of work as a teacher! I guess I can’t really celebrate yet…I haven’t actually met my kiddos or started teaching…but I have learned a lot and I am adding things to an ever-growing to-do list. So little time, so much to do. 😉 (Side note: does that phrase make you think of anything specific?! I start singing the theme song to Mary Kate and Ashley’s TV show So Little Time:))

I have a long list of things that I wanted to do this summer, and unfortunately, I have yet to complete a few of those items. Even so, I had an amazing (though busy) few months! Here are five highlights in honor of the DC Trifecta’s link up today. 🙂

– ONE –

Exploring Old Town Alexandria. One Saturday after I volunteered at church, I decided that I wanted to explore that part of town. Who was around? No one but me. So me, myself, and I went to brunch and walked the pretty streets of Old Town.

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I tried a new restaurant, which helped me check something off my summer to-do list…

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…I got coffee at a shop with the cutest menu ever…

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…and I sat by the water and took in the sights of people enjoying a summer day on their boat. Of course, I also went shopping. So really, it was an absolutely perfect day. 🙂

– TWO –

I was able to travel back to Pittsburgh for a few weekends in June to see Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift with my friends. We all had so much fun!

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I haven’t seen Kenny perform since I was really young, so his concert felt like one big throwback for me because he played all of his best hits.

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Taylor Swift truly is a performer. Her concert was amazing! The radio DJs occasionally make me hate Taylor a little bit because her songs are so very overplayed, BUT I do love her. And her songs. Just not when the radio tells me to listen to them. 🙂

Of course, I also love seeing my family…but my favorite thing that I did with them was not in Pittsburgh…

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No one loves the beach more than we do. 🙂

– THREE –

I started reading the Bible! I have gone to church my entire life and I was really involved as a teenager, but I don’t feel like I have a good understanding of the Bible. I know verses and stories, obviously, but I want to know more. I could have started by doing a Bible study of a certain chapter, but I really wanted to start at the beginning!

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Starting on May 1, I tried to read my Bible for 15 minutes every day. Honestly, it’s the perfect amount of time. The early books of the Bible are filled with so many names and family trees that it can be hard to read through sometimes! Also, if the names aren’t tripping me up, sometimes I just start having so many questions and thoughts about what I am reading that I need to process. So, my phone alarm beeps after 15 minutes and I can process what I’ve read and start fresh the next day. I really cannot say that I read for 15 minutes every.single.day. I will say that I did this for the month of May and June. During these months, if I “missed” a day, I made up for it the next day by reading for 15 more minutes at a different time of the day (ex: morning AND night). But then July rolled around and I was busy with online classes and going on vacation and moving and now I am SO behind that I cannot possibly even try to start making up for it. So, I’m just starting again. Forget the days I have missed, just keep reading. 🙂

– FOUR –

On that note, I moved to Arlington, Virginia to be closer to my job. I love, love, love my new apartment. Love.

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I live in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo with a living room, a kitchen, and a balcony. I LOVE that I can go outside! I have never had that luxury before…except of course at my parents’ house. 🙂 My new roommate, Carlin, is the same age as me but works in a very different profession than teaching…she works for an IT company in the suburbs. So far, we get along great!

– FIVE –

One day, while reading blogs, I came across the lovely Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC. This led to an invitation to brunch, which of course I was excited about because who doesn’t want to eat all the food after a Saturday morning long run!? Lots of DC bloggers got together to chat about all things running, food, and blog-related. It was such a great Saturday!

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Fall is a-comin’ friends. I know it by the slowly disappearing humidity and the bags of candy corn in every store;) I have always loved this time of year. It’s more like a fresh start to me than the actual holiday of New Years! I run on school time. Summer was wonderful, but there is so much to look forward to. Set goals and get excited. Start the new year (or season) off on the right foot. 🙂

Happy Friday! Have the best weekend!

***

Bloggers, looking for a link-up? Click over to any one of these amazing blogs to join us for Friday Favorites!

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Friday Favorites: Surprise Visit Edition

Happy Friday, friends! This week was actually supposed to be my first week of work, but somehow I ended up in my favorite state…

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…good ol’ Pennsylvania. 🙂 So what brought on the sudden road trip?! Well, first of all, road trips are fun. But second of all, I was supposed to take a four day class this week about classroom management and climate, and last week I got an email that the instructor was on medical leave and would be unable to teach. I really thought nothing of the email…I was happy to have an extra week of summer! But then on Sunday night as I was falling asleep and NOT setting my alarm, I had the bright idea to show up in Pittsburgh on Monday. And by show up, I really mean show up.

As in no one knew I was coming.

As in I texted my brothers this picture of the PA sign and they said, “OMG you’re here?!”

As in I walked up behind my mom in the store she was shopping at with my aunt, and she did this…

My Dad’s first question when I sent HIM the picture of the PA sign was, “Did you tell your mother?” He knew she would freak out. I was so happy she was so surprised. And I intended to catch this whole thing on video, but once she said, “OH MY GOD!” and hugged me, I accidentally stopped recording hahaha!

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Alex was also super happy to see me. 🙂

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Jake tried to kill me with his Fast and the Furious driving habits. Just kidding. 😉 He’s actually a good driver. Now if we could just stop “changing songs” on the iPhone while behind the wheel…and to be clear, I feel bad yelling at him for that because I do the same thing. But OMG it’s scary when the sixteen year old does that!

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And I taught my Dad how to take a good selfie. Skills that everyone should know. He said every time he turns the camera around, his face looks weird. Don’t we all know that struggle?!

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And all the selfie takers of the world said Amen.

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The most important moment of the week was getting my hair “fixed”. I am the kind of person who waits until she wakes up one day and says OMG I HATE MY HAIR before I get my hair cut. Therefore, I hardly ever make appointments. Also, I know 2.5 people in DC so I don’t have a new go-to person to do my hair yet. Michelle, the stylist I went to this week, has cut and styled my hair many times in the last ten years and she is my favorite. In fact, she cut my hair when I was thirteen and changed me from long straight hair with a part down the middle to side bangs and side part. And obviously I have never strayed from that style. 😉 But then I went and got my hair cut short. Which I like (most days). I saw my mom a few weeks after I got my hair cut and asked her if she thought the layers in the back looked choppy or sloppy…because there is a difference and that difference matters. We decided it looked fine and I moved on. Lately, my hair is at that awkward in between stage. It’s not short, it’s not long, it’s just there and not doing much for me. So I went to Michelle because she is the only human I trust to put color in my hair (it’s called caramel) and I was SO afraid of what she would think of the choppy layers in the back because she is good at her job and I just knew she would have an opinion. 🙂 Let’s just leave it at this: the girl who cut my hair a month ago had lime green hair and lime green fingernails and Michelle has been cutting hair for twenty years. Now I have nicely cut short hair AND some color!

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#model #lol #not

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I ate lunch at my favorite Pittsburgh restaurant, Eat ‘N Park, and since I’m not young enough to get a free Smiley cookie with my meal anymore, this chocolate covered pretzel had to do the trick. Do you ever just NEED something sweet after a meal? That’s me all the time. 🙂

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I perused books about my new favorite age group…second graders. I am a naturally curious, inquisitive person, and when my principal offered to give me some books to look through, I had no idea what I was in for! There are just a FEW in that stack. Ha!

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Found my favorite coffee mug. Can we talk about how many ounces of caffeinated goodness would FIT in that mug?! Keurig, let’s talk about making that fit under your machine. Thank you.

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I suffered and had to eat Hunt’s ketchup with a meal last week…then I accidentally went shopping at Trader Joe’s and had to buy their version of ketchup. Let’s just identify that there is no better ketchup than Heinz ketchup and Sam’s Club now has me set for life. JK. More like set for the next three months. 🙂

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Shopped at my favorite store (aka Target) and tried on clothes that didn’t match. Does that bother you? Sometimes I honestly pick out a neutral piece that I have no intention of buying just for the purpose of trying on clothes so I can get an idea of what the outfit would look like. Not the case on this night!  I (or should I say my Dad) bought the pants because they were on sale for $11, they have pockets, and they are dressy enough to wear to work. I hope I can pull off the slouchy trouser trend! Reasons I doubt myself: my Dad asked if these were pajama pants. He is also a guy, so he doesn’t understand. And he is color blind, so did he even know what he was looking at? I hope he is reading this right now. 🙂 I danced around in this plaid top because I love the buffalo check pattern on the cuffed sleeves, but I put it back on the rack and now I’m having buyer’s remorse. Target, I will be back.

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I spent twenty minutes of my life whitening my teeth every day this week. I still have 7 more days to go. 🙂 In this picture, I have the white strips on my teeth. The strips come in trays that look like retainers and you just kind of place the tray over your teeth and push up or down so that when you pull the tray out of your mouth, the white strips stick to your teeth. My favorite aunt is a hygienist and she always has the latest and greatest products for us to try. These white strips are like Crest, but 100 times better. I also like them because they taste like mint and if I recall correctly, Crest White Strips taste disgusting. My aunt is having me take before, during, and after pictures throughout these ten days and after only one day, her coworkers in the dentist office were freaking out about how much whiter my teeth were/are. So either my teeth were really bad before, or these strips really work!

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I found my new favorite shirt at Sam’s Club. Yes, you read that right. Sam’s Club. What the what?! I also bought a slouchy Calvin Klein sweatshirt and the cutest pair of running tights for only $9. Who knew Sam’s Club had such great picks?! Not I!

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Let’s talk about moving. I seem to do it a lot, do I not? There are some clothes in my closet at my Mom’s house that I just want in my closet in DC even though I am probably not going to wear them tomorrow. I just don’t like my wardrobe to be spread out all over the map. 😉 In an effort to NOT pack 107 duffel bags or 1 large box (that I do not have room for in my car because I have too many other things), I looked to our favorite friend Pinterest to help me pack hanging items in my closet. Ain’t nobody got time to take all those clothes off the hanger just to put them back on! Enter: the garbage bag. Pick a section of clothes that will fit the width of the bag. Slide the bag up over the sides…

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Take that section off the hanging rod and set it on the floor. It pretty much stands by itself. Slide the garbage bag up over the ends of the hangers so that it is more enclosed, then wrap the ties on the garbage bag around the tops of the hangers. GENIUS. I CAN’T EVEN.

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As if I didn’t love Pinterest enough before. If my description confused you, find the original pin here. And follow all of my boards here! I’m a big fan of the “Is It Fall Yet?” board right now. 🙂

Have the best weekend! 🙂

***

Bloggers, looking for a link-up? Click over to any one of these amazing blogs to join us for Friday Favorites!

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MCM Training [Week 7]

My miles are increasing and my body is FEELING it, in more ways than one. This past week, I was set to run 12 miles during the week with a half marathon distance on the weekend. Since I have raced four half marathons in the past, I wasn’t expecting this long run to be too difficult because I thought I knew what to expect. But then, that’s one of the best things about running. You never know what to expect. 🙂

– Monday –

Scheduled rest day

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I know how to rock a rest day. And a hoodie. Hahaha! I took my car to the mechanic (for the first of three times…) and took some reading material because those appointments are never quick. After waiting for three hours and being told they would have to keep my car (rawr), my friend Kristen picked me up and brought ice cream. What a friend. 😉 It was 74 degrees last Monday and it felt COLD! It’s been 95* and humid all summer long so an unseasonably cold day was welcomed but confusing!

– Tuesday –

Scheduled 3 miles

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Last week, my first thought upon having to run 3 miles was, “Really? Only 3 miles?” And now this week as the numbers increase and I only have ONE 3 mile run, I am cursing myself for ever having such a thought. This was a GREAT run. I went in the afternoon after I picked up my car and it looked like it was going to rain so the air was a little crisper (making it easier to breathe!). I even felt fast! But there were a few times where I stopped to catch a breath because I felt like I couldn’t run slow on this day. Every time I tried to pull back, it just didn’t happen. My legs were set on running 8:50 miles. That NEVER happens!

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Good job, legs. 😉

– Wednesday –

Scheduled 6 miles

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Started off looking like a boss (LOL not) and just had a great morning run. I really love running in the morning because I return feeling full of energy and accomplishment. It seriously sets the tone for my whole day. I am so out of the habit for waking up to run in the morning which is terrible because I haven’t had any incredibly early wake up calls for work this summer! In any case, this was just a fun 6 miles.

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I love waving to other runners who are out getting their morning run in and I love passing all the people walking to work. Coffee shops are buzzing and everyone is walking with a purpose, but if you look closely, there are also people sitting on benches enjoying each others’ company, Moms walking with their kids in the stroller, and tourists who woke up really early! I ran through Arlington and Georgetown and DC and ended on the National Mall so I could hop on the metro and get a ride home. 🙂

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On Wednesday night, I went to another hot yoga class with Kristen. Down Dog Yoga in Clarendon offers a free hot yoga class every Wednesday at 6 PM. Last week, I was feeling incredibly weak during class because I had a super busy day and became one of those people I don’t understand –> the kind who forget to eat! So during yoga, I was not at my best because the heat was really getting to me. However, this week, I planned much better and I felt so strong during class! I don’t know if I felt strong because I knew a bit more of what to expect since I was in class last week or if I felt strong simply because I fueled my body correctly all day long, but it was amazing! I hit chaturanga (tricep pushups on your toes) almost every time, I did decent in crow pose, and I held a pretty good shoulder stand, too.

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Free juice at South Block after class doesn’t hurt, either. 🙂 I tried a new flavor this week, Renew, which is carrot, apple, beet, kale, lemon, and ginger. You could really taste the beet and ginger so I wasn’t sure if I was a fan at first, but I downed the whole bottle on the walk home!

– Thursday –

Scheduled 3 miles

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On this day, I hit up the gym downstairs. My hip injury will never truly heal…I will always have a small tear in that muscle. After working with a sports medicine doctor and going through physical therapy, I have re-learned what my body can do as far as running goes. However, my hip still gets irritated from time to time. After stretching in pigeon pose at yoga the night before, my hip wasn’t my biggest fan. Knowing I had 13.1 on the schedule in just a few days, I didn’t want to run 3 miles on Thursday and ruin my long run for the weekend, so I hopped on the elliptical instead. I did intervals: 30 seconds of a regular speed, 30 seconds of a fast speed. I set the machine on Level 8 and just picked up speed every 30 seconds, so it really wasn’t anything special! According to the elliptical stats, I actually did cover 3 miles in 31 minutes, but who knows if that is actually accurate. Usually gym machines are off a bit!

– Friday –

Scheduled rest day

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I ate my favorite breakfast and generally relaxed on this day as far as workouts go. Trying to keep on my promise to do more strength training, I did a quick Google search and found this total body workout from Runner’s World. It includes:

Squat and Calf Raise
Push Up + Plank Hold
Lunges (each side)
Plank (30 seconds)
Side Plank (30 seconds each)
Plank (30 seconds)
Single Leg T-Raise
Bridge
Jack Knife Crunches
Fire Hydrants (30 seconds each side)
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Each exercise = 60 seconds. At the top or bottom of every exercise, you hold for 3-5 seconds. So for example, when you do the push ups and you push up, you hold that plank position for a few seconds before pushing down again. Likewise, when you lift your leg in the T-Raise, you hold it up for 3-5 seconds before lowering it to the ground again. Since you only do each exercise for 60 seconds, it’s a quick workout, but I really felt like it was worth it to work this this circuit! Plus, you can do it anywhere since there is no equipment required. I’m actually doing this again today. 🙂 Again, find the detailed workout here.

– Saturday –

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Wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy.

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Rice cake, peanut butter, and banana for breakfast before 13.1 miles. The only rice cakes I had were caramel flavored and the only real peanut butter I had was salted caramel (leftover from my recipe last week). In hindsight, that much sweetness before my run wasn’t the best idea. Ha!

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Miles 1-5 were relatively uneventful. Kristen and I started on the Custis Trail here in Arlington and passed a million others out and about for their long run or ride. The Custis Trail is very hilly so it was a tough start to our course, but we figured it was better to get those hills in at the beginning rather than the end! We stopped at a water fountain in Georgetown to eat Gu (for me) and Shot Blocks (for her) and hydrate. Then it was off to the Capital Crescent Trail where all our dreams went to die. I kid, I kid.

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At this point, the morning had turned into day and it was starting to get hot. We hated the rocky trail so we jumped down to the paved trail. Our legs felt like lead, nature smelled funny, bikers were rude, and we just plain could not believe we had 8 miles to go. We planned to go 4 miles down this trail and then turn around and do 4 miles back, which would let us hit 13.1, but instead we started discussing different route options that would let us turn around NOW. So essentially, our minds were in the wrong place. There was shade, we were running next to a river, there were a ton of other people out waving and being supportive and generally cheerful, and there were bathrooms and water fountains along the way. I wish we could go back and slap ourselves. 😉 Miles 6 and 7 weren’t so bad, but miles 7-10 were a lot of hating everything about running. We had been running without music until this point so we both put headphones in, let ourselves walk if we needed to, and just sucked it up!

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I don’t want you to think we didn’t have fun at all…we definitely did. In between all the complaining ha! I would definitely recommend training with someone who will let you yell at them one minute and take a selfie with you the next minute. 🙂 Three happy moments:

1. Taking pictures by every location sign we passed on the way home: Maryland, DC, and VA.

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2. Running into Josh, one of the guys on our training team for the marathon!

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Josh was running 15 miles on this day and he lives in Georgetown so we were all headed to the same place. We did the last 3 miles together and it made it so much better!

3. Seeing 13.1 on Kristen’s watch.

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Both of us have run 13.1 much faster and much happier than we did this past Saturday, but it’s the challenging training runs that make you stronger and more ready to face the distance you are training for. Or at least that is my personal opinion. 🙂

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Overall, I have not felt my best this week. I eat a relatively healthy diet, but I don’t think I am eating enough. I was talking about what I eat in a normal day and it sounds exactly the same as it did before I started training for this race. That is not good because I am running more miles now and if I haven’t changed my eating habits, I’m not refueling properly. I kind of talked about this last week, but it hadn’t affected me so much yet. For most of the weekend, I craved junk food and felt nauseous unless I was eating. When I ate, I felt fine, but as soon as I was done eating, I was back to feeling nauseous. It was very strange. I had a piece of pizza on Saturday night and I had sweet potato fries on Sunday, so I have let myself have some of that junk food that I have been craving, but I don’t think I would feel so ravenous if I just eat MORE of the already good foods that I already eat. Goal one this week: eat more.

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A second goal for this week is to keep hydrating. I talk about hydrating all.the.time and I think I have gotten much worse at it…again, at the absolute wrong time to do so! Now is when I need to be drinking SO MUCH water, and I think I am just dehydrated. I drink more when I drink out of bottles with a straw, so that is my first step. Next, I bought fruit punch nuun at the running store when I stopped to buy Gu. You add one tablet to 16 ounces of water and fill your body with the electrolytes it needs without all the sugar of a typical sports drink.

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Another side effect of marathon training: exhaustion. Like sit down on the escalator to the metro exhausted. Like take two 30 minute naps and still feel like you got the crap beat out of you exhausted. It’s no joke! I had plans to go out on Saturday night with friends and I ended up staying in and watching The Longest Ride with pizza, pretzels, watermelon, and my friend Sarah. Ha! I was talking to Courtney when we met for brunch last weekend and she has trained for several marathons, so she knows her stuff. She does her long runs on Saturday mornings in the 6 AM hour which has me saying OMG NO!!! and she still makes it through her entire day on Saturday without crashing. Lesson: more food. More water. More sleep. Happier Kylie. Let’s see how it goes this week. 🙂

Wildwood 2015 [Part 2]

Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud and today I’m thinking about how much my family and I look forward to our beach vacation every summer, yet we go to the same beach and do many of the same activities. It’s just our happy place so we love being there and we LOVE telling “remember when” stories since we have so many memories there! Have any of you ever been to Wildwood, New Jersey?

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Link up with us here!

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This beach town is actually called The Wildwoods because there are three different “neighborhoods”: Wildwood Crest, Wildwood, and North Wildwood. The Boardwalk runs from the end of Wildwood Crest all the way through Wildwood and right into the beginning of North Wildwood. That’s how my family gives directions. What part of the Boardwalk is this particular place located at? 😉 For a long time, my family and I stayed right at the edge of Wildwood Crest and Wildwood. That’s how we found our favorite bike shop and became good friends with the owner! Now, we stay in North Wildwood, which is just the other end of the Boardwalk. The walk from the edge of the sand to the ocean in Wildwood Crest is LONG…like one mile of walking in the sand before you hit water. I am not joking!

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See what I mean?!

The walk in North Wildwood is MUCH shorter and we found a condo down in that area that we love, so it works for us! Or are we just lazy?! You can decide. 🙂

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Cross the dune in North Wildwood and the water is a short ways away!

Not only does my family love to vacation in Wildwood, we also love to vacation the same way. When you think of vacation, don’t you think of throwing your schedule out the window? Me too! But we have our own little beach schedule that looks something like this:

7:30 AM: Run on the beach (this is an activity that ONLY I participate in hahaha)

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9:30 AM: Ride bikes on the Boardwalk.

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11:30 AM: Make lunch at our condo and get ready for the beach.

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We dropped one bottle of hot sauce and two different gallons of milk on this vacation! This was our attempt to save the second gallon of milk. 🙂 #coffeepottotherescue

Noon – ??? Swim, boogie board, walk, and lay out at the beach.

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??? – 4 PM: Pool time at the condo. Whoever wants to stay at the beach stays at the beach…whoever wants to lay in the shade and cool off heads back to the pool!

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5:30 PM: Go out to dinner

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7 PM: Home from dinner and time for the Boardwalk. With 3 piers full of amusement park rides and games, lots of stores, and tons of places to get ice cream, we never tire of the Boardwalk!

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11 PM: Jake’s curfew. My brothers hang out on the rooftop deck and sometimes I do too…but usually I am getting ready for bed so I make my wake up call the next morning to run. 😉

There is a little bit of happiness and a sense of calm that you get from doing the same thing every day…but we DO like to mix it up on our vacations. We usually do one “different” thing every day. One of our activities this year was Raging Waters Water Park one afternoon.

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We love this waterpark. I floated in the lazy river for two hours so here are some throwback pics. 🙂

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All about the action shots! And look how little Alex and Jake are!

Instead of going out to dinner one night, we ordered pizza, Italian hoagies, and salads to go and we drove to Sunset Beach in Cape May, NJ. It’s only a short drive away!

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I promise you won’t see a more breathtaking sunset than at this particular beach! It’s a little different because it’s all rocky instead of all sandy…

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…and you can’t help but snap a million photos!

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Right around the time the sun is about to disappear below the water, Sunset Beach starts a short ceremony. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, a different veteran is honored every night by flying an American Flag and playing TAPS, the National Anthem, and God Bless America.

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We obviously need some photography tips. 🙂 #brightness

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I made Jake recreate this picture. 2012 on the left, 2015 on the right!

Then, one morning while we were biking, we rode off the Boardwalk and went on an adventure in Wildwood Crest.

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First, we stopped for breakfast at a little corner store called Rita’s Deli and Bakery. After breakfast sandwiches and my first coffee in six whole days (!!!), we went to Lakeview Docks to do some crabbing. Yep, crabbing. Instead of fishing, we were out to catch crabs. 🙂 We used to go here pretty often when we were younger, but we haven’t been back in years. It was so fun! It was also really cool to watch others fishing, riding jet skis, and kayaking around while we were on the dock.

First, this nice lady chopped up a dead fish for us for bait…

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…then we nominated Alex’s girlfriend, Taylor, to hook those nasty pieces of fish into our crab cages. No thank you!!!

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He took a picture of her while she hooked all of our bait into the cages. What a supportive guy. Hahaha

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In return, Taylor caught the first crab…

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…and I caught a whole lotta seaweed. 🙂

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The funniest moments were watching Alex throw his cage into the water. He was terrified the entire time because he thought when he threw his cage into the water, it would pull him off the dock and he hates heights! Jake ended up losing his bait but Jake’s friend caught a few crabs. I think the 3 McGraw children were the only ones who didn’t catch much! My mom tried her luck too, but she was better at being official photographer. 🙂

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Friday night was super exciting because there was a fireworks show on the Boardwalk by the Big Ferris Wheel! At the end of our vacation, we usually go to Atlantic City for the weekend, so we miss the fireworks! But this year, we went to Atlantic City first, so we got to see the display. It was like 12 minutes long and they played music during it which was so cool! Cliche songs like Katy Perry’s Firework, but still fun to listen to. 🙂

Other highlights:

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Jake finally convinced my mom that he should be allowed to get his ears pierced. Did you notice any pictures in this post where he was wearing earrings?!

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We got to see double rainbows on two different evenings even though it never stormed! I think it stormed one night while we were sleeping and it might have spit a few drops while we were at dinner one night, but it was HOT and SUNNY all day long!

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We ate our favorite sugary snacks…like Johnson’s caramel popcorn, Polish water ice, Ken and Mary’s ice cream, and Kohr Brother’s frozen custard (pictured above). Mom got vanilla and orange so it’s like a Creamsicle and I got peanut butter and chocolate! I really wanted to try caramel and coffee, but I didn’t eat ice cream enough nights. Ha!

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I found my favorite Boardwalk game…Fascination. It’s only 20 cents a game and it’s just like Bingo! You have to roll a little ball and when it drops down in one of the holes, the corresponding circle on the board lights up. You want to get five in a row…but for this particular round, we were playing “coverall” so that’s why all my lights are lit up. I was the first person to light up all my lights so I won!

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Rich! Filthy rich! Which is more than I can say for my luck at the casino in Atlantic City. 😉 The guy who owns this arcade used to have an arcade that was JUST Fascination machines. He is like an emcee the entire time you are playing, giving a play by play of the game. There was music and cotton candy and popcorn. I know what I just described sounds like a dream;) but it was so fun! His parents were so supportive of him, but since they have passed away, he can’t go back to that arcade. So he has moved some machines into another arcade that he owns and he hopes that one day in the future, he can open another arcade just for Fascination. He is kind of well known for his arcade games…so well known that he was on the TV show Hoarders! He’s a pretty cool guy…check out his story here!

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I collected treasures.

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I ate the most delicious macaroni and cheese.

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I tanned myself like it was my job (and felt completely good about it because I use sunscreen and typically only lay out for this one week of vacation).

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I offended all my Pittsburgh friends by enjoying an iced coffee from WaWa. 😉 Are you #TeamSheetz or #TeamWawa?!

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Aaaaaaand I made fun of my brothers because my drive home to DC was 3 hours and their drive home to Pittsburgh was 6.5 hours. 🙂
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Besides spending a lot of time in CVS for over the counter medications (Jake’s sore throat, Alex’s sunburn, and my tongue infection that made my tongue feel like it was burned for several days in a row), we had an AMAZING vacation! We made so many good memories and I am already counting down the days until next summer. A week just isn’t long enough…we’re talking about a month next July. 😉 #teacherperks

– Where is your favorite place to vacation?!

– Are you a beach person?

Wildwood 2015

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I just spent the last 8 days at the beach so it’s time for a little recap. 🙂

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My road trip essentials include a pillow, a book, and something to eat…

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…and of course taking Snapchats to document the ride with my brother peeking out of the background. Jake has his learner’s permit right now and will be able to get his license in September, so of course he had to get some highway driving in for practice…he really is a good driver so it wasn’t scary at all. Ha!

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We started our vacation in Atlantic City, NJ. We love to stay at Bally’s Casino and after some confusion at the check-in desk, we were upgraded to fancier rooms, which was a bonus. 🙂 My getting ready essentials…something to eat (or in this case drink) again. Do we see a theme here?! Even though Atlantic City is best known for its casinos, we stay in a casino hotel right on the Boardwalk which looks over the beach. So for those under 21, there is plenty to do: shop, eat, beach, ride bikes, etc. We started our evening by walking to dinner at Landshark Bar and Grill on the Boardwalk!

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I was already in picture snapping mode on the way there. This is Alex and his girlfriend. 🙂 My mom and I ate at this restaurant when we were in town for Memorial Day Weekend and we loved the food and the atmosphere! You can eat inside or outside and there is a beach bar with live music and outdoor games like cornhole (bean bag toss? What do you call it?) and volleyball. This particular night, we ate indoors because after hearing there was a 45 minute wait, we were shockingly able to sit down immediately. I think having a bigger party (6 people) worked to our advantage!

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When we first sat down, we were by a huge speaker and I felt like that could be a bad idea. I made my family move down three tables and thank goodness we did because that speaker provided entertainment in the form of karaoke! Think little girls singing “Fight Song” and older guys singing “Gangnam Style” and “Baby Got Back”. Hahaha!

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Of course I had to try a Landshark beer…and I was pleasantly surprised! I don’t like “heavy” beers at all and this one was light and refreshing! We all shared chips, queso, and salsa as an appetizer and then I ordered Fire Pit (barbecue & garlic) chicken and a Caesar salad.

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We didn’t hang out at the Beach Bar much, but we did snap a quick picture! And then it was time for some shopping with my youngest brother and his friend…who is also named Jake. Jake and Jake. Could that be any more confusing?! Luckily, most of Jake’s friend call their friend Jake “Ferg” which is part of his last name. So as weird as I felt about saying “Ferg” every time I had to address the boy, it worked! Haha! They were on a mission to hit the True Religion store. I shopped in the boutique next door but they browsed and browsed and browsed in True Religion so I ended up trying on some clothes there, too. I bought nothing; they both bought a pair of pants.

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I love this mall! It’s right on the Boardwalk and the second floor is so pretty. 🙂

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I went into Starbucks in the mall to get a drink, and when I looked out the windows, this is what I saw. I wish I could go to this Starbucks every day!

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After trying my luck in the casino with my mom, I hit the hay…a long day of travel and a voucher for 22 cents will do that to you. 😉

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I went running the next morning and then met up with my family for breakfast. We decided to hang at the pool and lay out on the roof for the day because Jake and my Mom had spent the more at Shore Express…yes, you can go to the doctor at the beach haha! Jake had some virus that felt like strep throat but wasn’t actually strep throat…we could tell he was so tired, but he rallied and kept up with us through it all!

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Jake mustered up enough energy to want to go to the beach, so he, his friend, Alex, and Taylor all went to jump in the waves while my mom and I watched from the roof. 🙂 The sun came out from behind the clouds and we remedied the extra heat by ordering some yummy frozen drinks! Pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris for all…or just me and my mom. Because everyone else is 20 years old or younger;)

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We had packed separate bags for Atlantic City since we were only going to be there for one night, so once the sun wore us out, we hopped in our cars and headed to Wildwood! We checked into our condo and ate dinner at one of our favorite restaurants across the street called Adam’s. The menu is the perfect mix of seafood and Italian food, so because I’m still learning to like seafood, I ordered eggplant parmesan…my favorite. 🙂 And our favorite after dinner activity…walking the Boardwalk. The Wildwood Boardwalk has tons of stores, 3 piers of amusement park rides, and lots of little shops to get dessert. 🙂

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I feel long winded, so I’ll share a few more snapshots of the beach on Thursday! Thanks for reading 🙂

MCM Training [Week 5]

Well, I’m back…

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This is a picture of my mom, my brother, and his friend as we waited in line for coffee and breakfast before our vacation. My other brother, Alex, and his girlfriend were in the car behind us. Six of us could fit in my mom’s car, but then where would we put our stuff?! Anyways, after 8 days in Atlantic City, NJ and Wildwood, NJ, my mom and I drove back to DC yesterday. I left my car at my old apartment in Maryland and I needed to pick up my car and move the last of my stuff to my new apartment in Virginia. Are you tired yet?! 😉 My new bed is getting delivered on Wednesday (hello, air mattress on the floor) and I’m not quite finished shopping for furniture yet, so that’s what my mom and I spent the day doing yesterday. BUT, between all that craziness and relaxation on vacation, I have been running. I swear I have. Because the Marine Corps Marathon is in ONLY 82 DAYS!!! My team and I are busy getting miles in during the summer heat and raising money for two charities: Give To The World and CitiHope. Both send medical supplies and support medical care in underserved populations around the world. I am so excited to run for this team and be part of the 40th Marine Corps Marathon!

– Saturday –

Usually, Saturday is a day to run a longer run…but because I knew I was leaving for vacation on this day, I ran my long run of 10 miles on Wednesday, and rearranged the rest of the days of the week a little bit. So on this morning, I ran 3 miles before hopping in the car to drive to New Jersey!

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My town is an old farm town and both neighborhoods that my family has lived in have been right next to farms. They operate on a much smaller scale now, but there’s no shortage of chickens crossing the road (literally) or cows moo-ing as the sun comes up!

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– Sunday –

I still had a 5-miler to get in for this week, but since I was at the beach, I was so excited to run these five miles! I love running the boardwalk or running out in the sand and being right along the water. 🙂

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First, I started on the Atlantic City Boardwalk and while I was running, I found a race! I couldn’t figure out what it was, because if I knew about it, I would have signed up. I gathered that it was a one mile run and there were people of all ages out there…kids, teenagers, adults, grandparents…everyone! It happened in spurts because there were people running/walking when I started my run and people running/walking when I finished. It was cool to see the different waves of this race take off! I wish I knew the name or what they were running for. 😉

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My dad was at home in Pittsburgh so he was sending me text messages wondering if I was out running yet. Hello, Dad, here I am sweating my life off and squinting like crazy because I didn’t wear sunglasses.

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I didn’t hit the sand this day because I felt like I was getting shin splints and I just wanted to be done. I wasn’t feeling adventurous. And I had to walk a good .75 miles in the middle of this 5 miles to get it done. But I started with a run, I finished with a run, and I’m counting that as good!

– Monday –

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Besides the fact that Monday is a rest day, my family LOVES to ride bikes on vacation. In fact, we wake up every morning and ride bikes before breakfast and beach time. We have been going to the same bike shop for as long as I can remember. My dad found some old pictures recently and I showed the owner of Surf Bikes…she was so amazed! She remembers us every year and we love seeing her every day while we’re away.

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Such fun throwback pictures, right?!

– Tuesday –

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 I hit the beach for 3 miles, and I found this little friend…

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…I see one of these washed up almost every year!

– Wednesday –

I made my smartest decision ever and ran five miles without water in the direct sunlight. Runners are so smart sometimes. 😉 I stopped at a restaurant on the Wildwood Boardwalk to ask for a cup of water and the worker said, “Oh, you want a bottle?” And I said, “No…I want a cup…I have no money.” Another great running decision. Leave without your wallet. Hahaha

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This picture was a result of me with my head between my knees in the shade as my Dad texted me and asked how the weather was. Um, Dad, it’s really really hot. We were lucky with the weather, though! We saw no rain all week which is perfect for vacation and laying out at the beach!

– Thursday –

Shin splints. They were real on this day. And I wanted to save my legs for my long run on Saturday, so I did this…

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Went on a 3 mile walk. I had to take photo proof with this little walker guy painted on the boards. 🙂 I walked faster than I would’ve if I was out and about with my family and I really did break a sweat! I need to stop knocking “going for a walk” so much. (Note: I hate walking. It takes forever. I prefer running or biking. Even if I am going to dinner…can we drive or bike? Why walk!? Haha!)

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So because I was walking, I appreciated the finer things in life…like under the boardwalk. 🙂

– Friday –

On Friday, I did PiYo. I am a PiYo LIVE Instructor but I haven’t taught since May because I taught at my university this past year. Oh my did I feel out of shape doing this workout! Good thing I was by myself. 😉 Then…shopping was my cardio. Every year, the convention center on the Wildwood Boardwalk has some kind of clothing warehouse sale. The past few summers, it has been Delia’s clothing, which makes sense because I don’t really know of any Delia’s stores that exist anymore. I haven’t shopped at Delia’s in years so sometimes I had to really look for something that I liked, but it’s a warehouse sale…so it’s all on clearance times ten…so you HAVE to find something. 😉 #girllogic

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This year, the sale was advertising itself as “brand name”, so I was curious. I ended up getting 2 dresses, 3 cardigans, a jean vest, a tank top, a flowy shirt, 2 sports bras, 2 workout tanks, and a pair of pants for $150. Brand names include Free People, American Eagle, C Wonder, and Fabletics. Oh my I was so excited to find Fabletics! I have never ordered from this company because I have heard mixed reviews about their clothes, but I grabbed two sports bras and a tank top for myself and one tank top for my friend, Kristen. Aren’t the patterns fun?! This is the only picture I took of my clothes because I was texting Kristen and asking her if she wanted anything ha!

– Saturday –

7 miles. I woke up an hour earlier at 7 AM to do this run because I didn’t want to get caught in the heat. By 8 or 8:30, it started to get really hot. So I figured if I was almost done at 8 or 8:30, that would be ideal. I went down my favorite path in North Wildwood…

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…took a picture of my favorite house…

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…and turned around and headed back towards our condo. I hit 5 miles at that point which is what I wanted to do because then I would only have 2 to go. At this point, I was having flashbacks to Wednesday’s run where I was begging for water, so I knew if I was going to the Boardwalk again, I needed to stop at our condo first and get water. My mom threw it over the porch railing, I stretched a little in the parking lot, and then I set out for the last two miles.

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Lots of bursts of speed. Not because I wanted to do sprints, but just because I wanted to be done faster. 😉

Things I learned this week:

1.

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My Ray-Bans are the only sunglasses that don’t slip off my face while I’m running. Lesson learned. Aviators, I’ll see you after I get my miles in.

2. Caramel popcorn and Polish Water Ice and nacho appetizers are delicious and might help fuel me through my run…but the rest of my body is CRAVING my regular routine of eating. I made sure to try to stick to normal eating habits for breakfast and lunch. Think egg whites, yogurt, Shakeology, banana with peanut butter, etc. At the beach, I snacked on carrots, cucumbers, rice cakes, and Quest bars…but the rest of the day was pretty much free reign. It’s vacation, right?! But I can’t wait to settle back into my routine of eating. I have no desire to eat out anytime soon. DON’T INVITE ME! Hahaha

3. I really really really love the water and the sunshine and this place.

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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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Link up with us:
Momfessionals
Life In Leggings
Meet @ The Barre
Running 4 Cupcakes
Fitting It All In

MCM Training [Week 3]

Training this week looked a lot like sweat. That seems to be the theme so far! The heat index was 105* yesterday, so I’ve been hiding inside as much as possible, which is not what I like to do in the summer! I probably wouldn’t melt laying by the pool, but I’m going to the beach next week so I don’t want to risk sunburn before I get there. Sitting under an umbrella at the beach is so relaxing…until you have to do it! Operation: avoid sunburn is in full effect.

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On Wednesday, we did 4 miles on an out and back trail. The air felt thick and it made my lungs feel out of shape, but I survived. I made fun of this mini water fountain when we returned…how nice is it that there’s a short little water fountain for dogs! I’m assuming it’s for dogs seeing as how it’s basically on the ground and I don’t think parents of children who crawl let their little ones drink from public water fountains. Ha!

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There is an actual science and/or specific way to run hills when you are training, but one day this week I only had to run 3 miles, so I ran one mile to this hill. When I got there, I sprinted up the hill and jogged down the hill until my GPS said 2 miles. Then I ran the last mile home. It was a challenging but fast workout! In the midst of packing, I’ve lost track of some of my belongings…like The Stick…which I could have really used this week to get rid of the beginning feelings of shin splints. My foam roller is doing its best…I don’t have time for such things!

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Friday night during marathon training looks like this. You can’t go grocery shopping on Saturday because you will have just run a long distance and you will be starving. And you can’t do much on Friday night because you know you will be getting up early to run said long distance…so that’s when you do your grocery shopping. I seriously would love to be a personal shopper who shops for people’s food. Ha!

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Nutrition has been going well…I’ve been loving chopped salads, Zoodles, and chicken wraps with salsa and broccoli.

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Plus I may or may not have eaten this entire watermelon myself within a week’s time. YUM!

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Saturday was looking like a pretty nice morning to do a long run. It was only 75 degrees when I started, but the radio DJ said the temperature was supposed to go WAY up so I’m glad I got out there when I did! What she failed to mention about the day’s weather (and I’m terrible about checking) is whether or not it was going to rain. I’m more of a “look at the sky and see what it looks like” type of weather girl, so when I saw sun, I thought good things.

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What do you know…5 miles into the run, the sky started to look like this. I was running back towards my car at the moment I took this picture, but I still had 4 miles to go. Those 4 miles consisted of lots of searching for cover/ideas about how to cover my phone should it start raining. Luckily, none of my crazy plans had to be put into action, but when I could see my car across the parking lot, Kristen texted me that it had started pouring where she was…and then as soon as ran over to my car (and ran around it a few times because my GPS said 8.8 miles and not 9 miles), it started to do this:

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Rain drops the size of golf balls! I was WAY too happy to already be in the car.

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Before I ran, I ate a banana, and after I ran, I tried this new-to-me Vega Sport performance protein. I found it at Wegmans and thought I would try a sample. I usually don’t like vanilla protein powder when I just mix it with water and shake it up on my own. Vanilla, to me, needs to be blended with milk and ice in the blender. BUT, this was surprisingly thick and flavorful with just water! It was the perfect “snack” for my drive home.

To Do List:

– Stop wearing the new socks I just bought…they are too short and give me blisters! 😦

– Invest in a belt that holds water/Gatorade and my iPhone 6+. I had a belt that held water bottles, but the pocket for your phone is too small for my phone now! The new belt that I bought doesn’t have room to hold water and I NEED that to survive the summer!

– Figure out how to make Spotify songs play offline.

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I’m running the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25, 2015. I am halfway to my fundraising goal! If you feel compelled, please help me reach that goal of $550 by donating on this website. Thank you for your support!!!