MIMM: Pittsburgh Edition

What’s marvelous in my Monday? Well, after several much appreciated snow days, we are headed back to school today with a two hour delay. I was able to go home to Pittsburgh for a long weekend and so many wonderful things happened!

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First and most important, my dogs never left my side. We napped together, studied together, walked together, and worked out together. Except Amigo wasn’t really feeling the workout on this particular day. He was more concerned with his favorite toy, the penguin. Colby, on the other hand, was all about the resistance band. In retrospect, it looks exactly like his leash, so it’s no wonder he wouldn’t leave me alone. Hahaha!

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Cuddle buddies for life. #hesnotafanofmornings

I spent most of Friday with my aunt getting pampered all day long. We chatted, relaxed, and just had the best day. In between all the fun stuff, I was able to get some school work done for my night class that starts this week, so I also felt accomplished! My mom joined us for manicures and pedicures to end the night.

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On Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early to go see this guy play in a volleyball tournament. My youngest brother’s team is playing other local teams in tournaments during their preseason, so even though the winner and loser didn’t really matter, of course we were all paying attention to the score! They played a lot of teams that have been playing together since middle school, and that gives them a bit of an advantage because Jake’s team has only played together in high school. They did win two games, though! And Jake is the one serving the ball in the above picture. 🙂

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My Dad and I headed to our favorite restaurant for brunch. Eat ‘N Park is a Pittsburgh classic, and I love eating there every time I go home. There isn’t a bad thing on the menu and their smiley face cookies are always delicious for dessert! We ordered breakfast food (our favorite) and then my Dad humored me and let me take him shoe shopping. Of course all at the same time, my running shoes, rain boots, and black boots bit the dust and so I need to replace each of those pairs of shoes. I was on a mission! I found my favorite pair of running shoes on sale for $90. That’s quite the markdown from $160! My mom and I shopped a bit before meeting up with my brothers for dinner. Then I took a nap and headed out for a night with some friends from college!

I had quite the clothes catastrophe because I literally threw yoga pants in a duffel bag and jumped in my car when I heard we would be off school for the rest of the week, so getting dressed to go hang out with real people was a bit of a challenge haha! Props to my mom for letting me borrow her shirt and not killing me for throwing clothes all over her bedroom and the family room. #shesthebest We met at a place on Pittsburgh’s North Shore called McFadden’s and the DJ played the best music. Julie and Felicia (the two pictured above) arrived early enough to snag a table and it was nice to have a “home base” once it got crowded. Just a place to sit and talk! We had the best time. And then I realized half way home I forgot my debit card… #oops

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Randi and I went to breakfast in Oakmont on Sunday morning at a place called What’s Cookin’ At Casey’s. I had only ever been once before for dinner, so I was excited to try their breakfast menu! We had the best time talking about life and eating all the food. Two older women sitting in the booth behind us told us we needed to stay all day because “we can just tell you are having so much fun!” Ha! Randi and I went to the same elementary school and even took gymnastics together for a short time but as we got older, we had different friends since we were in different grades! We reconnected through blog land, and it is so fun to have a friend who knows exactly what you are talking about when you talk about high school!

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I spotted this pay phone outside the restaurant as I walked in and I thought it was so random! Do people even use pay phones anymore?! Photo credit goes to my Dad 🙂 He lives in Oakmont and took this picture when he was walking around town one day. Apparently it strikes everyone as odd! Ha! He claims that it works and he will be calling me from it today. So I shall be waiting for a call from an unknown number. Any guesses on how many quarters he will need to use?!

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60 degrees in January, windows down, sunroof open, loud music…no explanation needed. #perfection

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When I was writing my year in review post, I came across pictures from the run pictured above and remembered that was the first time my friend Kristen and I met up to run in DC. When I told her, she decided we HAD to go running on this day because it is like our one year friend-aversary ha! Well, that day was yesterday, and we were busy driving back to DC from Pittsburgh, so how were we supposed to fit a run in?

Um…we stopped driving every hour and ran one mile. Hahaha! This was at the rest stop in Somerset, PA and we had to take pictures at this exact spot because the well-known huge windmills are in the background. No one really noticed us running here…we just did a loop of the perimeter of the parking lot and hit a mile in 8:27.

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Then we got in the car and ate a donut, because we deserved it, right?! Ha! I’m one of those annoying people who takes two bites of a sweet treat and puts it back in the box. Salty treats are my weakness! These donuts are from Peace, Love, and Little Donuts, which is a small shop in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. They really are little donuts, in case you were curious 🙂 Bite size, if you will! Flavors included vanilla, honey, apple pie, s’mores, cinnamon sugar, and mocha.

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An hour later, we were at our halfway point and stopped at our usual place to put gas in the car and get a salad at Subway. But while we were there, we had to get our mile in…so we ran around the perimeter of THAT parking lot. This one wasn’t quite as fun because we had to lap it 6 times;) I am pretty sure the big group of students we saw coming home from a ski trip thought we were weird. I didn’t ask them questions about their clothing, so they shouldn’t ask me questions about my running. 😉 #logic

Purple skies led us to our third stop at the Hagerstown outlets. Now THIS was a fun mile! It was our slowest yet at just over 9 minutes, but we got to “window shop”, we heard music playing through the outdoor speakers, and there were so many sidewalks/directions to run in! Do I sound crazy? I am aware this sounds really crazy and you are reading this wondering WHY I think this was fun. But I promise it was. And at this point of the drive, I am usually pretty unpleasant because I just want to be home…but we kept having a run to look forward to and that kept our spirits up!

We did not run a mile upon our arrival in DC, because important things like unpacking and grocery shopping and watching Grease Live needed to take place. 🙂 It literally made my whole Sunday to add a little bit of running to our drive and that is how I know I am a crazy runner person because no one else I know would do this. Haha! I cannot take credit for the idea because I saw someone I follow on Instagram (I can’t remember the name!!!) do this during a road trip a few weeks ago, but I’m very glad we stole the idea yesterday!

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Things that aren’t marvelous? Forgetting to bring back some of my mom’s delicious biscotti. WAH! #thelittlethings

What’s marvelous in your Monday today? Share something below! 🙂

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Life Lately

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#bitter #butistillloveAdele

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

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

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

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

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

So that’s life lately. How are you?!

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My Favorite Weekend

Hello there. 🙂

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I love weekends, but I especially love weekends when my family and friends come to spend time in my new town! Originally, my family was planning a trip to DC to see me run the Marine Corps Marathon, but life had other plans, and instead of prepping for the race and running, I simply got to hang out with everyone which was definitely just as wonderful. 🙂 My mom and my brothers arrived in town on Thursday night so they could have a longer day on Friday! I woke up and went to work because I am a great hostess, but they were able to meet up with my aunt and my cousins for brunch and some sightseeing, so they had a good day without me!

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I invited my mom to be a guest reader in my classroom so she could see it now that it is all put together and meet my students! I have been the guest reader and helper in her classroom many times over the years, so it was fun to have her come into my space to do the same thing! Alex and Jake surprised me by coming to say hi, too! They took a quick tour of the school, scared my students because they are both 6’5″, and then went to Target while my mom and I did teacher stuff. 🙂

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I left work and headed straight into DC with them. We checked into our hotel and immediately turned around to go meet our other relatives for dinner at a family style Italian restaurant called Carmine’s. My friends and I tried to eat at this restaurant a few months ago, but as we arrived, so did a tour bus. Guess who got to sit down first that night?! On this night, we had a reservation, and everyone got to enjoy lots and lots and LOTS of Italian food! The waiter will tell you that each dish serves three people, but I would safely say that each dish serves 4 people! We ordered the Carmine’s salad, eggplant parmesan, and shrimp with pasta in garlic and oil to share. My aunt and cousins ordered salad, steak, and chicken marsala. Needless to say, the eight of us had tons of leftovers…none of which we took with us! It was such a nice, cool night out that of course we had to sightsee a bit. Carmine’s is located in the Chinatown neighborhood of DC and my youngest cousin really wanted to go to the Spy Museum, which was nearby. It was closed on Friday night, but we peeked in anyways and made plans to go back later during the weekend! Alex and I moved my mom’s car closer to the National Mall while the rest of our family walked over, so we got to the Washington Monument first. One of my favorite ways to see the monuments is to lay on the ground and look up. 🙂 I know it’s weird, but it’s a fun perspective!

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Once we all caught up to each other, we took a family photo. 🙂 My mom was behind the camera on this one, but she was in attendance! My dad’s sister is the one in the pink jacket. She raised her family in Indianapolis, so that is where her kids and their kids live now. We have visited them many times over the years and it is always fun to get together, no matter what we do!

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On Saturday, we woke up and I made myself a delicious hotel breakfast! Jake and I were determined to get a made-to-order omelette. Alex and my mom were having none of the line, so they just got scrambled eggs instead. An omelette always wins in my book! Of course, I had a pancake on the side because I love something sweet with every meal. 🙂

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It was kind of chilly on Saturday but it wasn’t raining, so we decided to do one of my favorite things EVER! We rented bikes and rode around the city. My family and I love to ride bikes when we are at home or on vacation. It’s just a fun way to move around, plus it’s easier and faster than walking. 😉 We went to Big Wheel Bikes in Georgetown and were given four of the most random bikes ever! My mom had a cruiser, I had a road bike, and Alex and Jake had cross bikes…whatever that means!

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I took them along the river in Georgetown until we hit the National Mall. Then, we crossed the 14th Street Bridge to get to the Mt. Vernon Trail. I was determined to get us to Gravelly Point Park, which is the closest you can get to Reagan National Airport. I LOVE watching the planes land and take off. It is the coolest spot ever!

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We rode all the way back to Georgetown on the Mt. Vernon Trail, which is my one of my favorite places to run. It was perfect to bike on because it is made for runners and bikers! On the other side of the river, we kept running into the road and needing to cross at somewhat inconvenient times. It was nice to ride with no interruptions from other cars! We rode mostly a flat circle, except for the final climb to the Key Bridge…then we really had to use our legs to pedal up the hill. 😉 That was at the end of the ride, so no one could get too mad at me. Ha!

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I made them take this picture because the cobblestone street in Georgetown was just too picturesque. Can you tell they loved this?

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We headed to Pentagon City after our bike ride to get lunch and do a little shopping. I have had my eye on a $130 pair of fringe booties from Nordstrom, but while I was at Nordstrom Rack, I found these beauties…for the low, low price of $138! I was very sad. Rack is supposed to help me out, not make me feel worse! Ha! Lucky for me, I found a $39 blardigan. If you read Sheaffer’s blog, then you know what a great find this was! 🙂 I may have put it on my body as soon as I left the store and kept it on for the next 24 hours. Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t…

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I’m wearing it here! Seeeee the beauty of the $39 blardigan!

Our hotel had a free happy hour for guests, so I went to have wine and snacks with my mom and this guy decided to tag along…he’s 21 and big stuff now. 😉 Cheers to happy hour!

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Once again, we met up with our family for dinner. We ate at Old Glory in Georgetown, which seemed to be known for it’s barbecue style food! I ordered a chicken wedge salad, so don’t ask me how the barbecue was, because I have no idea. The cornbread muffins and corn butter were delicious, though!

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We walked M Street after dinner and I finally stopped in Dean & Deluca. There were so many different kinds of food available in that store! Different varieties of candy, baking supplies, hot foods, cold foods…they seemed to have it all. I had to try their coffee. It did not disappoint!

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We bought the most typical thing you could buy in that store: two huge cookies! For all the variety we saw, it came down to the classics when we had to make a choice. Chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin? What is your favorite? I LOVE oatmeal raisin. 🙂

Other highlights from the weekend include:

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–> Alex stuffing his bed full of pillows to scare the maid when she came to clean our room!

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–> Jake trying to make me help him with 11th grade Pre-Calc/Trig. I think he forgot that I was recently hired to teach second grade…

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–> A present from my Dad. He makes fun of my selfies, so now I make them even weirder than they need to be! He sent me pumpkin butter. What a nice guy. 🙂 It is delicious and so sweet!

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–> This fountain. It kind of looks like a black staircase in this picture! I slept on the fold out couch this weekend because I am a good person (ha!) and I could hear the water falling from our room. So soothing!

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–> And a really good workout on Sunday morning. I have not been doing anything too serious in the workout department recently. Whatever I feel like, I do. I wanted to run on Sunday, but the two treadmills that worked were taken so I hopped on the elliptical for 20 minutes and then lifted for another 20 minutes. It ended up being a really hard workout and I was happy about it!

How have you been lately?!

Life Lately

A big Happy Birthday shoutout to my Aunt Elaine!

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

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

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Happy Birthday, Aunt Laine! We love you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What have you been up to lately?!

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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6:21 AM

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6:24 AM

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6:27 AM

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6:37 AM

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!

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was full of fun plans, which was perfect for the weekend before I started new teacher training. My weekend started on Friday morning in my Mom’s kitchen with her impressive number of K-Cups. So many flavors. So much yum. My favorite was Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla. 🙂 With a little splash of vanilla almond milk, it was even more perfect!IMG_0558

Then, I started my drive back to DC in my new favorite shirt. The drive to and from Pittsburgh is essentially a straight shot which makes it kind of boring, especially when you are driving alone as I do most of the time. I was entertained on this trip by 90s and 00s rap music and the podcast Undisclosed. 🙂

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My Dad bought me a bunch of supplies for my classroom and he threw this bag of candy corn in the box. I opened the bag on Friday afternoon and it was gone on Monday night. I don’t know whether I love or hate my Dad for this purchase haha! I didn’t develop an addiction to candy corn until my 21st year of life. I don’t know why I love it so much! My favorite Spanish teacher in high school just posted a picture on Facebook about how candy corn tastes like wax…how sad that she thinks that. 😉

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On Friday night, I drove up to Baltimore to celebrate my friend Shannon’s birthday with her and some of her other friends! Shannon and I met at church in DC but lots of her friends that came out with us are her coworkers at Anthropologie. I lovingly became known as “the friend from DC” because everyone kept asking if I worked at Anthro. Just for the discount, I wish!!! Haha

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On the drive up, I got stuck in some bumper to bumper traffic, but I caught views like this…

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…and the sunset only got better. 🙂

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We met Shannon’s friends at Max’s Taphouse in Fells Point. There were 112 beers on the menu and Shannon raved about the strawberry flavor! I love fruity drinks, and I have loved pineapple beer when I’ve tasted it in the past, but of course they didn’t have it at this place. I tried a raspberry wheat beer and another called “Son of a Peach”. They were both so sweet I had to sip water in between sips of beer. Next time, I’ll stick to something I know!

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Shannon just got back from a two week mission trip in Zambia with our church so it was great to spend her birthday with her!

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She got me a bracelet that kind of reminds me of a Vera Bradley pattern, but obviously much fancier because it’s from Africa! 🙂

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I slept at Shannon’s house on Friday night because even though we weren’t out very late, the drive back to DC was seeming very long and dark. 🙂 On Saturday morning, I woke up and headed back home. While I was getting ready to go down to the gym to work out, I got this text…

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…at least I know one person reads my blog on the daily. 🙂

Meanwhile, my mom was sending me pictures of my dogs, who are her babies. The proof is seen in these photos. She let them go “swimming” in our hot tub. Lucky dogs!

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On Saturday afternoon, I felt like Bob the Builder. I spent the afternoon hanging pictures on the walls in my room. My pictures aren’t so great because I was just snapping photos as I went so I could text my parents, so I’ll have to take better ones to share with you! You know, ones where the pillows aren’t tipped over and the toolbox isn’t wide open on my bed. Ha!

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Shannon was coming to DC on Saturday night to go to dinner with me, Sarah, and two of Sarah’s friends. I was texting Randi 74 different outfit choices because I consider her my most fashionable friend;) From 5:45 to 7:10, I was honestly picking out clothes, getting dressed, looking in the mirror, and then ripping those same clothes back off. I need to do a serious closet clean-out so that I only have my favorite pieces to choose from. Then the getting dressed process will seem much easier! Side note: I did not wear this outfit. 🙂

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We ate dinner at Paolo’s in Georgetown and I ordered eggplant parmesan. It was TINY, which I should have expected because it was an appetizer, but the waitress claimed I would be full. Obviously she has never met me. Luckily, Sarah shared her pizza!

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We went back to Sarah’s apartment to hang out before we went to another local place for drinks. Sarah went to college on a full scholarship for playing the harp and she has a beautiful harp in her living room! We forced her to play for us. 🙂 I was so impressed! It sounds like “piano music” but it’s obviously much different. I played the piano and violin when I was younger, but it was just for a few years, so it was really cool to see someone so talented play their instrument!

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We went to a place called Whitlow’s and it had a rooftop bar, which was so fun on a warm summer night! We asked Tim and Alex to take a picture of us and while they DID take about five pictures of us in a row, they also snuck in a selfie of themselves. 😉

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Sunday morning, Sarah and Shannon picked me up and we headed to church. First we made a stop at District Doughnut for coffee and/or doughnuts and then we headed to the service. I was so excited to go to church this week because our lead pastor was on sabbatical this summer. He hasn’t taken a vacation in the 19 years since he started National Community Church! So this summer, he took three months off with his family and friends. NCC has seven locations and there is a different campus pastor at each one, so we do occasionally hear another pastor speak, but it was different not to hear from Pastor Mark for three whole months! He told us stories of his time off and talked about taking action in your life. I love hearing him speak! You can listen to the sermon here or search ‘National Community Church’ in the Podcast app on your phone. 🙂

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My family has season tickets to the Steelers, so on Sunday, my Dad and my brothers went to the Steelers vs. Packers game in Pittsburgh. Heinz Field used to be shaped like a U, and recently they added seats in the open end of the end zone. It looks so different now!

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In my Steelers shirt, I was disappointed to find I didn’t get the channel that the game was on. #outofstateproblems Lucky for me and my shirt, a fellow Steelers fan worked at Target and gave me $10 off my transaction because he knew I was a fan, too. As if I didn’t love Target already!

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One more weekend find to share with you: these chocolate crunchy chickpeas. They remind me of granola and are so good with yogurt! A random Marshall’s find. Yum!

Happy Tuesday!

Hour By Hour Weekend [August]

Did you have a good weekend? Oh, you did? Me too! 🙂

Brace yourselves, friends. The picture overload is coming! I’m linking up with Astleigh over at Hill Collection to share my weekend with you hour by hour. If you’re a blogger, link up with us! If you forgot to take a picture every hour, that’s okay. Even Astleigh said so! 🙂 This post is meant to help you remember the little details of your days. I wrote a post like this last month and it is so crazy to think how much I have done and how much has changed since then!

– Saturday – 

7:10 AM

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I slept in my running clothes because I had my alarm set to wake up and run 12 miles. My belt was packed with my ID, my metro card, and my debit card (just in case). My mini water bottles were filled with Powerade and waiting for me in the fridge. My headband and bobby pins were right on my nightstand and I was armed with a brand new playlist on my iPod! All of this to ensure I would actually get out the door at 7 AM. One major runner fail: forgetting to buy fuel. For me, this means Gu. I always always always eat Gu when I doing a long run. Yesterday, I had no choice but to take a Snickerdoodle Larabar with me. It did the trick!

8:10 AM

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My mom knew I was out and about…and I stopped to snap a picture of Arlington in the distance!

9:10 AM

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Haunted water fountain on the National Mall?!?! How is it just on all by itself?!

10:10 AM

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My “oh no, it’s been an hour. Time to take a picture!” picture. I didn’t even clean the sink off for you. 😉 I finished my run right near a metro stop, rode the train home, and started getting ready for brunch.

11:10 AM

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Drinking a “Matchbox Mimosa” at brunch with other DC fitness bloggers! Let’s rewind for a second: on Friday, I was reading blogs and I found a really fun one called Eat Pray Run DC. Courtney, the lovely lady behind the blog, mentioned two of her friends in her post, Mar and Cynthia, so of course I clicked over to their blogs, too! I was reading and leaving comments and just having fun reading new blogs. However, the three of them were hosting brunch for DC bloggers on Saturday morning and once they figured out that I was in the area, they invited me to come! I was so excited. 🙂 Some ladies had met before, others knew each other just from social media, and still others had never met! It was great to network and talk about all things running and blogging. Most of us are training for races in the fall, so it was fun to talk about our training and hear about other locations that people are traveling to for races!

12:10 PM

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Time for a veggie frittata. I make the same kind of eggs/omelettes/frittatas all the time so I loved the flavor of pesto and goat cheese in this dish!

1:10 PM

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Photo credit: @eatprayrundc Instagram

Saying our goodbyes and taking lots of pictures in the process! These ladies were so generous. They raffled off gift certificates for Zengo Cycle, Pure Barre, and South Block Juice Company. The raffle also included compression socks from Bright Life Go, running shorts, and a SOS Rehydrate drink pack. Each of the winners were so excited! Then, everyone that attended was gifted a flavor infuser water bottle and a coupon for one of the new salads at Bowl’d, which was such a thoughtful gesture! I feel like I made so many new friends yesterday! If you’re looking for some fitness inspiration, click on over to one (or all!) of these blogs!

Mar @ Mar On The Run
Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC
Cynthia @ You Signed Up For What
Courtenay @ Got 2 Run 4 Me
Chaitali @ Running and Enjoying
Alexis @ Flecks of Flex
Lauren @ Breathe Deeply and Smile
Bri @ Bretagey
Colleen @ Live Free and Run
Diatta @ Femme Fitale Fit Club
Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes
Sharita @ Get Fit Like That

2:10 PM

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Baking and that’s all you get to know for today. 😉 Recipe to come Wednesday!

3:10 PM

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Lost outside of my friend Lindsey’s new apartment! She is one of my best friends from Pittsburgh. We met in college and lucky for me she just moved to Virginia, so I had to check out her new place. 🙂

4:10 PM

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Laying poolside. Because I really need more sun. #not #startingtopeel #yuck

5:10 PM

Still laying at the pool…we did dare to dip IN the pool at one point, but the water was cold so I said no to that! I spared you the selfie because it is not cute. Hahaha

6:10 PM

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Lindsey was cooking turkey tacos and I was HANGRY. She gave me fruit to shut me up. 🙂

7:10 PM

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Taking pictures of Tyko because dinner isn’t done yet…

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HAPPINESS! I know this looks nicely portioned and all, but I’m not really a normal serving size kind of gal. I ate my weight in tortilla chips. Just saying.

8:10 PM

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One block from my bed! Ha! Lindsey and her roommate were going to an outdoor concert near their apartment in Reston and I said I would go, too. While Lindsey took a shower, I fell asleep on her bed. So instead of concert going, I decided to call it a night. It was a busy day!

9:10 PM

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My happy place. I’m comfy, I have a snack, I have entertainment…what else do I need?!

10:10 PM

Good night, moon. 🙂

– Sunday –

7:30 AM

I had been tossing and turning since 6:45, so it was just time to say good morning! While my Keurig did it’s thang, I did this:

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Good morning, clean dishes. Then I 409’ed my kitchen and bathroom counters and swept the floors. Because every Sunday morning should start off with a major cleaning spree, right?! Ha!

8:30 AM

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It was cloudy when I first came outside, so I kind of got to see the sun rise, which was cool! The weather on this morning was beautiful. 74 degrees and 60% humidity. I even felt a breeze. It made me think FALL! And it made me think of running because it’s just so much easier when the air is crisp like that!

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9:30 AM

I made my bed…and here are the pillows I chose!

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 See Friday’s comments for throw pillow color suggestions that I did not listen to. 🙂 I really wanted to do navy, but Pier I didn’t have that big fluffy pillow in navy. It was at a store 30 miles away and they couldn’t order it but I could go pick it up BLAH BLAH BLAH –> Moral of the story: I chose a different color scheme. I destroyed Pier I’s pillow wall creating different pillow arrangements ha! I created a reddish option, a navy option, a baby blue option, and then this tan/teal option. Ultimately, I loved that fluffy tan pillow and I loved the beading on the teal and tan pillow. I already had the two yellow pillows (they’re from Target) and I was going to put them in storage, but my arrangement was looking a little sad and my walls are yellow anyway, so I think it brightens it up a little!

10:30 AM

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Lindsey came to DC and we had plans to eat brunch at Ted’s Bulletin. While we waited for our table, we walked around Capitol Hill and stopped in District Doughnut. Because everyone needs a little sugar before breakfast. Haha!

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This is a Fluffernutter doughnut and it’s just as amazing as it sounds. So sweet and the icing was delicious! I told you before I like getting dessert so I can just take a bite…I love friends who will indulge with me. 🙂 I also NEED to try the Snickerdoodle doughnut!

11:30 AM

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A much more balanced meal! This is the Garden Omelette with egg whites and more coffee. Oh, I had so much coffee on this Sunday.

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An episode of The Three Stooges was playing in the restaurant. 🙂

12:30 PM

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We did lots of walking on this day! After brunch, we walked over to Eastern Market. It’s an indoor and outdoor food and arts market! I haven’t been there since the early spring and there are SO many more vendors there now that it is summer. I liked looking at the antique pieces (because I knew my Dad would like them) and the pieces of art…I do not feel like I am artistically gifted, so I love seeing other work, whether it’s hand drawn or through photography. Lindsey and I also LOVED these brightly colored woven bags. The woman said they are handmade in Madagascar!

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We found a bookstore that was quite possibly the most narrow, yet filled bookstore I have ever been in. You absolutely cannot go in there and find something at first glance ha! The sections were labeled by genre and the books were in alphabetical order by author, obviously, but there was still SO much to see! As you can see, some books didn’t even make it to the shelf…they line the stairs. And the man who runs the store was sitting in a literal CLOSET right inside the front door because the open space on the first floor was obviously full of books. Such a unique place!

1:30 PM

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I just love to ride bikes. 🙂

2:30 PM

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We’ve walked and biked and walked and walked…and now we are hanging out with Lincoln.

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And I am napping.

3:30 PM

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We’ve left Lincoln, stood in the world’s longest line for a bottle of water, hiked up a huge hill to the metro, and made it back to my apartment. I love riding the escalator out of the metro station because when you look up…you just see up and up and up. 🙂

4:30 PM

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I am shopping for a night stand at Tuesday Morning. Because I like to torture myself and NOT buy my furniture all at one time. But really, I do like shopping, so it’s fine…

5:30 PM

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Criteria for night stand: fun color and has a drawer. Marshall’s, we have a winner! To those who are interested in me and my throw pillows, this display convinced me to keep my teal pillows and add the yellow that you saw in the above picture. I arranged it like that all pretty in the morning…and then by the time I went out on this particular shopping trip, I packed up the pillows in my car because I was returning those things! No way was I going to have teal pillows. I always choose the color teal. Well, Marshall’s and your cute night stand, you have convinced me. 🙂

6:30 PM

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Both pictures are time stamped as 6:30. The nightstand can be explained as “Look Mom and Dad, I finally made a decision…” and the selfie cannot be explained at all. Saved Snapchat, perhaps?

7:30 PM

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Dinner and a book on the patio. I don’t know why I call it a patio, because it is really a balcony, but go with it. P.S. I’m reading Bossypants by Tina Fey and I want to quit. It’s not as LOL funny as Mindy Kalig’s and Chelsea Handler’s books. Have any of you read Bossypants? Should I keep reading?

8:30 PM

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Big Brother AND the first Steelers preseason football game were both on TV. Good thing they were only one channel away from each other so I could flip back and forth! AND I FORGOT that Bachelor In Paradise was on so I missed the first hour. Who would like to recap that first hour for me? Thank you. 🙂

9:30 PM

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Snack and coloring book. I got my mom a coloring book for her birthday because she had been talking about it and while I was at the bookstore, I decided I wanted one for myself. 🙂

10:30 PM

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I started writing this blog post, but I thought I would give you a look at how much progress I made coloring…I am a perfectionist so apparently I color slowly. Plus popcorn and reality TV…I must not have been in the zone!

Now that you know EVERYTHING about me…how was your weekend?!

Hour By Hour Weekend [July]

There are a lot of fun connections to be made in blog land and I love “getting to know” the people behind the blogs that I read! Astleigh, who writes over at Hill Collection, wrote a post a few weeks ago called Hour by Hour and she decided to start a link-up just for that! So without further ado, I present my weekend recap for you…pretty much by the hour, but there may have been a few times that I plain ol’ forgot! Either way, it’s a weekend in lots of pictures that I might not have otherwise taken…and honestly, looking back, it made me realize the little moments that I loved each day!

Bless your heart if you make it all the way to the bottom of this post. 😉

FRIDAY

10:00 AM

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After reading my Bible, sending some work emails, and doing yoga, my weekend began. 😉 But first, I had to tackle this mountain of clean laundry. The last three loads of laundry that I have taken out of the dryer have been shoved into the laundry basket in my bathroom, and then I promptly put the lid on the basket so I don’t have to see the unfolded clothes. Ha! If I left the pile on my bed or the floor, I would fold it in that instant. Hiding it in the laundry basket got me out of folding for awhile, but with vacation and a move coming up, today was the day to get organized!

11:00

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Still organizing…and I came across the books that were gifted to me by my mom last weekend as congratulations for my new teaching job! So I spent some time drinking coffee and reading two of my old favorites (Corduroy and The Giving Tree) and one new favorite (The Crayons)!

12:00

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Cooked an spinach and cheese egg white omelette and some cinnamon oatmeal. Read some blogs and packed my pool bag for the afternoon!

2:00

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Drinking a shake and getting some sun. My happy place. 🙂

3:00

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Gazing at the Washington Monument and planes taking off from Reagan National Airport from my pool lounge chair…

4:00 (ish)

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I parked in a spot right outside of Kristen’s building and paid the meter for the maximum time of two hours. I pay through an app on my phone which is so much more convenient than having extra coins everywhere I go! Usually, if I am staying somewhere longer than two hours, I watch this clock until it runs out and then hurry up and retype my information. I’m pretty sure that’s against the rules, but hey, it works! Of course, on this day, it would not let me re-enter my information because it KNEW I was trying to stay longer than two hours. How dare it make me get up and move my car to another space. Life is hard.

5:00

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Got enough sun so we went inside. Definition of a true friend: the one who lets you lounge on their couch and eat their Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter ice cream. I can’t wait to move 4 blocks away from this gal. 😉

6:00

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If you are planning on moving to DC, consider traffic a normal part of every day.

7:00

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Time to eat dinner in front of the TV because my roommate is on vacation and I live alone this week so no one can judge me. 😉 I watched What Not To Wear with a side of chicken, yellow pepper, and sweet potato nachos with salsa and shredded cheese.

9:00

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Yes, I am comfortably reading in bed on Friday night at 9 PM. #turndownforwhat

SATURDAY

6:30 AM

Alarm rings. I hit snooze.

7:30

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Text Kristen. We exchange details about the rainy weather and discuss whether or not we should still go for our long run. I sent her this photo and said she had 18 miles (the distance from my apartment to her apartment) to get out of her warm comfy bed and get ready to run. 🙂

8:30

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1.2 miles into our run and this girl is having blister/Band-Aid issues. Sidenote: my iPhone was in a Ziploc because it was still sprinkling rain, hence the blurry photo. Safety first. 😉

9:30

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Spotted: off-the-beaten-path statues. Also: selfies because there is only 1.5 miles left in this 8 mile run!

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Before we got on the Metro, we took a little stretch break at The Washington Monument. This felt AMAZING post-run. A runner ran past us and said, “Hey! Good idea!” A family of four looked at us and said, “Hey! Great photo op!” We are so inspirational. Ha!

10:30

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Guarded my car (and expired parking meter) while Kristen ran upstairs to her apartment to get my car key! #avoidalltheparkingtickets

11:30

Took a shower and got ready for brunch and the mall. 🙂

12:30

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Ordered a new-to-me drink at Starbucks and wandered around the mall looking for our restaurant. Tall skinny iced mocha = exactly like chocolate milk but with coffee. YUM!

1:30

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Kristen and I ate brunch at Founding Farmers. It’s a buffet style restaurant that serves “fresh American farm food” and I have been to (and loved!) their sister restaurant, Farmers Fishers Bakers, so I knew I was in for a delicious meal! I tried a piece of French toast, a blueberry pancake, a egg and sausage scramble, spinach salad, and focaccia bread with cheese spread. I l.o.v.e. their cheese spread. 😉

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Dessert time! At this restaurant, as well as at Farmers Fishers Bakers, there is a dessert bar in addition to the traveling plates that come right to your table. When someone walks past with a tray of samples, you just can’t say no! Some of the traveling plates on this day were fried shrimp and sushi. This was a creme-filled donut and a fluffer-nutter bite! Let it be known that before my 8 mile run I ate a banana and so this brunch was covering breakfast, lunch, and post-long run hunger. Ha!

2:30

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Shopping at the mall. Just your regular Tesla store. No big deal. I sent this picture to my little brother…he loves all things cars. These cars sell for easily $100,000 each so it definitely seemed like a random store to have in the mall haha!

3:30

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Sending pictures of desks to my Dad. In three weeks, I’m moving from a furnished apartment to an unfurnished apartment. I have furniture in storage in Pittsburgh from the apartment I lived in during the last two years of college, but I don’t want to sleep in a twin bed anymore (can you blame me?!) and my desk was shaky and not put together very well so I need a new one. My Dad has so kindly offered to buy me a desk and I decided to send him a picture of one that I thought was PERFECT!

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For $1099. Hahaha! He answered my text by saying “Sarcasm, right?!” and then immediately called me. Of course I was just messing with him, but it is a really nice desk. 😉

4:30

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At the candy store because that sounds like a hearty dinner, right? I got lots of sour gummies and some treats as “extras” for my Dad and brother’s birthday gifts. The store was called Lolli and Pops and it was really fun! The workers were dressed as old-fashioned candy makers, hats and all, and there were so many different brands of chocolate and candy from countries all over the world!

5:30

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I discovered the Health app on my iPhone actually DOES something…like tell me how many steps I have taken in a day! So fun! This was obviously not an ordinary day because I ran 8 miles and then walked all over the mall, but it was still a cool feature to find!

6:30

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I went to Arlington Nutrition Corner to buy chocolate PB2 and peanut butter PB2 and on the walk back to Kristen’s apartment, Buzz Bakery caught our eye because it’s right downstairs, so we tried a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcake and an Apple Fritter. Because you know, we didn’t have enough junk food today or anything. In reality, we like to just taste everything that we eat…not actually eat the entire serving. So that makes it okay. 😉 Kristen didn’t like the cupcake because the cookie on top was an oatmeal raisin cookie and she hates raisins! I tasted the icing but it wasn’t anything great. The Apple Fritter was warmed in the oven before it was given to us so it was SOOO good!

7:30

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A repeat of Friday’s picture because I literally laid in the same spot on Kristen’s couch and played with my phone…

8:30

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Kristen’s roommate came home and we decided to eat dinner on the their rooftop deck. We walked to Sweet Leaf and got gigantic salads because HELLO VEGETABLES! There were so many people hanging out with friends on the roof this night…it was loud but fun and relaxing because look at this view. 🙂

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Home in bed after a long but fun day! I finished the book I was reading on Friday night…but I purchased it at Half Price Books so that means someone else owned it before I did. And they left their to-do list on this page!

SUNDAY

7:30 AM

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Reading my Bible and writing some of the verses from Jesus Calling in my journal. I always write ones that stand out to me, even if they are long, and then write little notes next to them about why it was so meaningful to me that day. This picture is the verses, not my notes.

8:30

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Walking down the street feeling thankful for where I live and the church home that I have found here. 🙂

9:30

I served in the nursery this morning with three others and we watch babies that are about 6 months to 18 months old. It depends on the week! On this day, there were four adults and four babies so it was pretty perfect! No pictures because 1) I was preoccupied and 2) I don’t know if it’s allowed ha!

10:30

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…or a few minutes before! The second service starts at 10:30 and this was the countdown on the screen to let everyone know how much time they had left to mingle, get coffee, and find a seat!

11:30

Snuck out of church after the last prayer but before the last song so that I could get to a lunch meeting on time! I felt so bad!

12:30

Ate lunch at Earl’s Sandwiches with my future roommate and the owners of our apartment…aka her parents. 🙂 We talked lease agreement terms and just got to know one another! I like that we are renting from someone we (or she) know(s). Obviously I just met them, but it’s nice to know they will be around if anything goes wrong! They are super nice. Also, my Southwestern Breakfast Burrito was delicious.

1:30

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Furniture shopping only sounds fun if you don’t HAVE to do it.

2:30

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My friend Shannon baked blueberry quinoa muffins and gave me one at church! I saved it until I needed a pick-me-up. That time was now. 🙂

3:30

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Grocery shopping to take my furniture shopping blues away. Ha! I love grocery shopping. It soothes my soul. I am not even being dramatic! I was at a Trader Joe’s that I don’t usually shop at and they didn’t have egg whites. I was shocked and kind of annoyed because now I have to make another stop. Oh, well. Anyways, Kelly talked about this dip last week and I knew I had to pick it up! It is just as good as she proclaimed it to be! Funny story: I was picking out a bottle of wine when I noticed the one Trader Joe’s employee giving out samples of different bottles of wine so of course I walked over and got in line. Even with wine in my cart, he carded me before he gave me a sample. #babyfaceforever

4:30

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Got my life in order because this four week summer class is rocking my world. I NEED A BREAK! Molly, I need one of your “stop wishing for one day” pep talks. Thank you 🙂

5:30

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That moment when you’re not really hungry but you don’t want to do what you actually have to do so you put it off by saying “it’s dinner time”. No? You don’t do that? Only me?

I was really excited to try this Eggplant & Zucchini mix from Trader Joe’s! I cooked turkey meatballs and these vegetables, added some sauce and cheese, and called it eggplant parm. I even have leftovers. Best dinner ever.

6:30

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Online shopped for desks because I swear they do not exist in furniture stores. For real. I dare you to go to a furniture store and find me a good desk. One that actually has space for me to put things…one that isn’t just a flat table calling itself a desk. Now opinion time: can I pull this desk off? Will it get too cluttered? Thoughts? Are you even still reading this? Ha! #longestpostever

7:30

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The definition of summer class: reading on my iPad, taking notes on my laptop, drinking sparkling water and pretending it’s an adult beverage. 😉 I like ICE sparkling water and this one is Fresca. Do you have any favorites?!

8:30

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Did a happy dance and uploaded some assignments for my class!

9:30

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Funniest pictures of my dog ever. In my head, this is what he’s saying –> “But MOOOOOM I don’t WANNA wear the pink lei necklace!”

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Amigo was just embarrassed.

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“Don’t look at me.”

10:30

Had an actual heart attack because I accidentally closed this tab and I thought the whole blog post disappeared. Have no fear, it’s still here. Lucky you. 😉

11:30

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Goodnight, world.
(I am not at home with my dogs…I just make my mom send pictures of them to me constantly. Ha!)

How was your weekend?!

A Weekend Adventure

This past weekend was the perfect amount of busy. Does that make sense?! I had plans but I also had plenty of time to relax. Part of that feeling probably comes from the fact that I finished all of my summer class work for the week on Friday, so the weekend really was all mine. 😉

However, among all my weekend adventures, my favorite adventure is one I went on all by myself. If you haven’t heard (because I feel like I mention it all the time), I moved to Maryland last August for grad school. I live 7 miles from Washington D.C. and I love going out and about because I still feel like I’m new to this area and there is so much to do! But at first, this “I want to go out and about” feeling was kind of intimidating, because I don’t know if you know this, but when you move to a city where you know absolutely no one, you have no friends. And you have to talk to people and go make friends. And that’s hard. Ha! It’s reality saying: welcome to the real world, you’re not in college surrounded by thousands of people just like you anymore. 😉 But it’s been a great experience so far and GUESS WHAT, I HAVE MADE FRIENDS!

Moving on –> I still went on an adventure by myself on Saturday because sometimes that just sounds like a good idea. After I volunteered at church, I drove to Alexandria, Virginia, which was about a 9 mile drive from where I was in D.C. Not too bad! (P.S. I have a Metro card, but I am a very big fan of driving. Even amongst the traffic. It’s just who I am. Hahaha)

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I was in kind of the town center so it was bustling with residents and tourists alike. My first impression: it looks very historic (and it is) but it feels modern and it is VERY walkable. My hometown requires me to drive mostly everywhere, which is probably why I like driving so much, but I loved that I was able to park my car and walk wherever I wanted to go. You could also hop on The King Street Trolley for FREE (I love free things) to go from place to place or get to the metro. I really feel like I could go back and spend another whole day in Old Town and do all completely new things!

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I started with what I know…which is shopping. There are popular store names that we all know…Banana Republic, H&M, Lululemon…and then there are antique shops and small businesses like Mint Condition, The Hour, and The Christmas Attic. All were equally fun to go into because sometimes it’s nice to know what to expect, and sometimes it’s nice to be surprised!

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This just made me happy.

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And this made me laugh. 🙂

When I started to get hungry, I just kept walking and finally I found myself at Vermilion. I wanted an omelette and it didn’t seem like any restaurants or cafes I was passing would be able to meet my request! Apparently I had tunnel vision because I noticed so many cute cafes on the way back to my car that I would have LOVED to eat at! However, Vermilion was very nice. I sat by the window which I loved because then I could people watch and I ordered the Farmer’s Vegetable Omelette so I was a happy girl. They serve “modern American cooking” and I learned, as I was sitting at my table on Google, that it was one of Washington’s Top 100 Restaurants in 2013, so I was glad to know I picked a good place. 😉

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This is my very favorite breakfast of all breakfasts. I didn’t know what to expect of the omelette because there wasn’t a description, but it was filled with fresh zucchini and some kind of cheese that I didn’t recognize, but certainly liked!

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I had a choice of pork: sausage or bacon. I like neither. This is the photo I sent my youngest brother who could eat bacon for all three meals and be the happiest person alive. I ate a bite in his honor. 🙂

Then I headed out for some more exploring…I went in a handmade jewelry store, a bookstore, a designer consignment shop, and then I got lost in Gap. And I only ended up buying one item! Ha! I also bought my brothers Levi sunglasses. I went into Alexandria Cupcake and SOMEHOW refrained from purchasing the peanut butter and jelly cupcake. Who wants to go back with me and share?!

I found a coffee shop called Misha’s

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…and it was the coolest. One room had a large table with a bunch of customers sitting around talking, then of course there were a few smaller tables, and the rest of the shop looked like the inside of someone’s kitchen. It was a very home-y feel with vintage refrigerators and cool paintings on the walls!

About five blocks south of the shops is the waterfront. Near the waterfront are more restaurants, stores, and a park, so I moved my car from a busy street to a neighborhood street…

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…and headed for the water.

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There’s a three mile path in this part of town, so I walked a little bit, sat on a bench for a little bit, and then went to the busier part of the waterfront. King Street really seemed like it had a lot going on and I would love to “start” there the next time I visit the town! There was an equally long line at Ben and Jerry’s and Pop’s Ice Cream, but I’m thinking the local shop might be the spot to go to first. Whoever volunteered to eat cupcakes with me should also prepare to eat ice cream. 🙂

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I was hanging out on a bench watching boats come in and out and watching a clown blow up balloons. Doesn’t that sound nice and relaxing? It was 95* and there was no wind so I needed some air conditioning. I went into the building behind me…which turned out to be the Torpedo Factory Art Center. The places I stumbled upon in this town were so random but that’s why I loved it! I would probably never say “let’s go to an art museum” but this place was different. It’s full of working artist studios so you can talk to the artists, see them working, and sometimes even have the opportunity to create something yourself!

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I loved the peacefulness of the rooms with art hanging on the walls…I loved the paper mache animals in the hallway…

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I loved the art studios with jewelry…

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…and I loved the little features that you might not otherwise notice like this little exhibit inside a stair! I was walking past a staircase and saw this:

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Little figurines that you certainly wouldn’t notice when you were walking UP the steps!

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Back to the park because I didn’t want to leave just yet…

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…and gazing at beautiful townhomes that I probably definitely cannot afford.

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I didn’t notice until AFTER I got home that my heels kind of felt like they had blisters, but that must be a sign of a day well spent, right? Adventuring by yourself can seem weird but doing whatever I wanted all day was pretty great and now I have a big list of things to see and do when I take my friends and family back to Old Town!

So tell me…do you like doing things by yourself? Try it!!!

Balance

In one word, my weekend could be described as relaxing. Friday after work, I stayed at school to work on some projects because I am feeling totally overwhelmed by end of the semester projects.

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Last semester, everything seemed to be planned out better…now I feel like everything is all crammed into the last month of school! I am a big fan of getting all my work done during the week so that I can relax on the weekend. That is my idea of keeping the balance! But I spent most of Sunday doing work. Such is life.

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I went for a run to clear my head before my roommate made dinner and it felt like the longest run of my life. Ha! Some days are like that. I was also cranky because it was really hot. I think I forget what the sun feels like;) It was just so humid! I stopped halfway through and felt kind of lame so I found a set of stairs and did step ups, push ups, squats, and tricep dips. And then I found the UMD President’s house. I may or may not have taken a photo. You can decide. 😉

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This is my face when I wonder why I like running. Hahaha

I was on a mission to find new sandals this weekend mostly because a lot of my summer shoes are in Pittsburgh and partly because I just like to shop. 😉 I was so surprised that the sandals were picked over in almost EVERY store I went into! And I went into 5! But I also have a really big foot so my shoe shopping process is a little different. First, I have to see if they have my size, then I am allowed to look and see if the shoe is cute. Ha! Finally, I ended up at Marshall’s and while perusing the clearance rack (which was in no sort of order #annoying), I found a pair of sandals that I actually wanted in my size AND on sale!

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I had a lot of fun getting dressed this weekend. I love the change in seasons because it feels like you have a whole new wardrobe! When fall comes, I love pulling out my scarves and boots, but now I am just as excited about warm weather clothes. Although I feel like I don’t remember how to dress for warm weather. I am either too hot or too cold!

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On Saturday night, I went to a bonfire at my friend Dani’s house. She lives with a bunch of roommates and they all invited friends over for a cookout! I love food on the grill and hanging out with friends. 🙂 She is leaving DC soon so it was a fun final get together with her!

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We had burgers, grilled pineapple, way too many chips, cookies, and lots of fun drinks! It felt so good to sit outside and just hang out. I love the feeling of walking outdoors and not being hit in the face with a blast of cold air!

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I had fun getting dressed again yesterday before church;) Now you can kinda see my new sandals! They are cognac and black and snakeskin and I LOVE THEM! I am also loving the series that we are talking about at church right now called “One Little Yes”…the thing that has been on my mind most is that you can’t finish what you don’t start…and God can’t finish what you don’t start either! So just say YES!

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My friends and I always want to go to brunch after church and we are always reminded that the wait at all the nearby restaurants/cafes is an hour or more. Instead, we walked over to Eastern Market, which is an arts and food market that sells a lot of great items! But they also make breakfast and lunch. 🙂 I got chocolate chip pancakes and scrambled eggs…you know I had a good breakfast because after I left, I went to put my hair up and I felt syrup in my hair. So there’s that.

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I was SO JAZZED (yes I said jazzed) for the Lilly Pulitzer release at Target yesterday and I was browsing online when I woke up. Some of the items were in store only and some of the items were online only, so I just figured I would go into the store later that day. According to social media, it was a little like Black Friday madness with lines out the door and people waiting all night…when I got to Target at 1 PM, this sign was the only evidence of Lilly ever existing in the store! Target’s CEO released a statement saying when items are sold out they are gone…so now everything is on eBay. OH WELL!

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To make up for my lack of Lilly…the above was purchased. It’s coconut pineapple flavor and I was so excited about it! Liked it, but didn’t love it. Notice the past tense. Ate it all already. 🙂

Happy Monday!