Out and About

How relaxing is this?!

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I haven’t been pressuring myself to work out every single day, so after a few days of relaxation this weekend, I knew on Sunday that I would be getting outside on my bike. My bike was a birthday gift from my parents, and while I have been able to get out for a few rides, I have a December birthday so this is really the first “season” I will be out and about on it! I planned to bike about 9.5 miles down the Mt. Vernon Trail to Old Town (and the waterfront) in Alexandria for a hopefully almost 20-mile ride.

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The ride out of Arlington wasn’t too crowded, but once I hit the trail, it was game on as I navigated around runners, other cyclists, tourists, and families walking with their kids. Since I am pretty new to the whole biking scene, I’ve realized I really don’t like the speed I gain while going downhill…and I’m easily alarmed by other people who are flying down a hill towards me. I’m easily alarmed in general, so this fear should surprise no one, but I need to get over it quickly because most other cyclists are fearless in their swerving around others!

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I didn’t quite know where I wanted to stop, but once I hit the riverfront trail, I pedaled along until I felt like taking a rest. I drank my shake, laid in the shade, and people watched as others had picnics, played games, and walked around with their families and friends. This was pretty much the last good thing that happened. Hahaha

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I wasn’t looking forward to the ride back because I was being lazy and just wanted to be done, but when you ride 9.5 miles away from home, what choice do you have but to ride back?! As I went back up the Mt. Vernon Trail, it felt like the ride was flying by, and I saw a fork in the trail that could take me in another direction. I recognized the name (Four Mile Run), so I headed that direction. I was no longer riding alongside a river, and this water was SUPER calm. There were two turtles hanging out on this branch, so that was kind of cool!

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This trail isn’t straight through the woods…eventually you run into some residential areas and then the trail picks back up again. It was at this time that I started making ALL of the wrong turns. I knew one very specific way to get home, but for some reason my adventurous self decided to go another way, and I ended up getting SO stuck in Pentagon City. There are a lot of busy roads and highways surrounding that area, and the one particular way that I knew to get back home now seemed so far away. After sitting down on the side of the road and feeling sorry for myself, contemplating calling an Uber or taking the Metro, and walking up a HUGE hill with my bike next to me, I finally hopped on and got to work. At this point, I had gone in a complete circle and wasted almost an hour, so I was very annoyed with myself. I knew that I was going to pass my mentor’s house and I was PRAYING that she and her husband weren’t sitting on the porch, but of course, they were. Ha! I pulled into their driveway, scared the heck out of their dog, and they gave me just the motivation I needed to get the last 3 miles home.

And then a rabbit ran in front of my bike.

I kid you not.

Easily startled, remember?

The rabbit and I both survived and I won’t be biking for at least 3 weeks. One week off for every hour I was gone. Hahaha

What did you do this weekend?!

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MiMM

Hour By Hour Weekend [March]

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

This was the perfect weekend for Astleigh over at Hill Collection to bring back her Hour by Hour linkup. I knew it would be out of the ordinary and fun to document! Originally, my mom was going to come to town and spectate the Rock ‘N Roll DC race. I was planning to run the half marathon and then we were going to head out of town for the night to go to a concert. There are a long list of reasons why I didn’t run this weekend, but I still went to the expo with my friends and had a ball. 🙂

Friday

2:00 PM

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My second graders are working on huge posters for Science Week this week at school. On Thursday, they partnered up, chose a topic, and started sketching their ideas. On Friday, they were to start working on their tri-fold boards. Thank the dear Lord my mom arrived on this day to volunteer in my classroom! I almost lost my mind with the number of markers and pencils and upset children in the room haha!

6:00 PM

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We decided to head out of town a day early to go to Atlantic City, New Jersey. The sunset views that you see while driving are never as pretty in photo form! Can you spot the Washington Monument? #pinksky

7:00 PM

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Who needs dinner when you have trail mix? Especially dried pineapple. #crack

9:30 PM

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Taking pictures as if I’ve never been here before! (Spoiler: I have…every Memorial Day Weekend for many, many summers!)

10:30 PM

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You’re wrong if you say there’s anything better than a hotel bed. Just wrong. 🙂

Saturday

9:00 AM

Room service for breakfast. 🙂 I, of course, was most excited about my baby bottle of Heinz ketchup. There is no other ketchup worth eating. I had an egg white omelette with peppers, onions, and cheese! We also wanted to try the oatmeal and fruit. The oatmeal was thick, filling, and delicious.

10:00 AM

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I made the world’s worst cup of coffee ever to help get me through “wanding” my hair. I love the look but my hair is thick, so my arm is still adjusting to being held up that long haha!

11:00 AM

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Out and about in the casino! We like to stay at Bally’s, which is right on the boardwalk. Any vacation is made better when the ocean is right in eye’s view. 🙂

12:00 PM

The new Britney Spears slot machines are SO fun! I only play penny machines and I start by putting a small amount into the machine because I honestly would rather buy something with my money than gamble with it, BUT this game was worth it! I loved hearing it sing to me. Occasionally, the song “3” would start playing and then you would win 3 times whatever amount popped up on the screen. It also sang “You Drive Me Crazy” when you won free games and one of the extra bonuses was picking little potion jars, so of course it would sing “Toxic”. 🙂

1:00 PM

We headed out to the Boardwalk to walk around and noticed that EVERYONE was dressed in green. I knew that the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade was this past weekend, but I made no connection to the fact that most everyone would be celebrating since the holiday is on Thursday this week! In Atlantic City, everyone was outside waiting for the 1 o’clock parade. My mom and I found a great spot to watch from the side and I took a picture with a random monkey. Then we noticed the skywalk from Caesar’s Shops to Caesar’s Casino and figured that view might be more fun. 🙂 It was definitely soundproof way up there though!

2:00 PM

Ditched the Boardwalk for the Tanger Outlets and stopped in for a quick lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s. I’m always a fan of a salad bar. Their tortilla soup was definitely not what I was expecting, but it was spicy and delicious! We also shared their crab cakes and I have no idea what that bright orange sauce it, but it paired well with the dish.

3:00 PM

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Give me all the brightly colored pants! And all the sales. I got two sweaters and the navy floral pants on the right for $48. 🙂

4:00 PM

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Back to Bally’s! We made a quick stop at Rite Aid because I have a head cold that won’t go away, but I was ready to try my luck with the puppies. They were cute, but it wasn’t a winning machine!

5:00 PM

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One of my favorite past times is forcing a pack of Shakeology to fit into a water bottle. #saidnooneever We can call this one a win, because I only spilled a bit of powder ONCE and the rest made it into the bottle. Then I read my book and relaxed on my comfy hotel bed. 🙂

6:00 PM

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We took a taxi to the Borgata Casino and asked a random guy to take our picture because we kept taking selfies that looked identical! Instead of saying, “Sure, I’ll take your picture!”, he said, “You know that every time I do this I take like 7 pictures. Ready, here we go…” The best of his 7 came out like this. Ha!

7:00 PM

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Omg garlic butter sauce. Omg cheesy breadstick. Omg burned tongue.

8:30 PM

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In our seats at The Music Box Theater. This picture is deceiving, but I was trying to cut off the blonde girl’s head in front of me, and that part was successful. 🙂 Anyways, this place only seats 900 people so we were actually quite close to the stage and not hanging off the ceiling. My mom and my aunt love Donny Osmond and while I can’t say I share their adoration, I’ve seen him in concert two or three times now and he does put on a great show!

10:30 PM

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Donny performed his encore song, Crazy Horses! He was SO interactive with the audience the entire time. There were many people called up to stage and others who were given random backstage passes. We, of course, stuck around after the show to try to get ourselves some backstage passes, but no luck! Then my mother almost got us killed when we were getting on the Jitney (one of Atlantic City’s busses) because she cut off a huge group of people who had been waiting for the bus longer than us. In the end, we all got on the bus, but the one lady was MAD and of course my mom talked to her and told her to calm down. The other woman yelled back. I played with my phone. Hahaha

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Sunday

10:00 AM

Oops! Time change made us sleep late. Breakfast at The Corner Cafe!

11:00 AM

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Back to Britney for one last chance at luck! She wasn’t having it so I played Wheel of Fortune, a Gremlins game, the Ellen Degeneres game, and then this Quick Hit game. Ellen ran me down to $9 so this really was a last ditch attempt and I won $80 so I was quite pleased with myself. 🙂

12:00 PM

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On the road back to DC. I look back at this picture with anger because it was after the Delaware Memorial Bridge that we ran into a whole ton of traffic that we never quite recovered from. A little fog and rain will make people drive like idiots, I tell ya. 😉

1:00 PM

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Hangry and trying to remain a pleasant co-pilot by eating a tostada salad from Baja Fresh!

2:00 PM

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Ignoring the upcoming tollbooths and being a terrible copilot by taking random pictures out the car window. Ha! Sorry, mom. She eventually found the $4 she needed. 😉

3:00 PM

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Quite the beautiful day for a drive, yes???

4:00 PM

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Home, goodbyes exchanged, workout clothes on, Beachbody OnDemand fired up. I decided to preview the new 22 Minute Hard Corps because hello, 22 minutes. I should know by now these trainers don’t mess around, but I really wasn’t expecting to need a shower after this workout. Hahaha

The rest of my evening consisted of three loads of laundry, watching Fixer Upper and Grey’s Anatomy, figuring out how to eat healthy this week without making a trip to the grocery store (lol), and writing this blog post. 🙂

MIMM: This and That

Nothing like a Monday where you’re counting down the days until literally everything. The Rock N Roll Half Marathon, my mom’s visit, a quick trip to Atlantic City, visiting my best friend in Rochester, NY, Spring Break, Easter…I could go on.

On the other hand, there is something to be said for a Monday of a 5 day week by a teacher who feels like she hasn’t been in school all winter. As much as the long (read: normal length) weeks are going to hurt, we are all going to be better for it. I love a good snow day but it’s hard to get into a routine when the routine is constantly interrupted!

This weekend started off just marvelously  with my favorite Spin class at Zengo Cycle. The instructor was meh, the music was eh, but I love that studio and the atmosphere of a group exercise class so it was exactly what I needed! Then I was a terrible Whole Foods shopper because I started to make a plate of food from their salad bar and my friend suggested we walk across the street to The Cheesecake Factory instead. So I did what any good citizen would do. I pretended to look at the blueberries, ditched my half-filled takeout box, and went to The Cheesecake Factory. Oops!!!

I ordered chicken enchiladas for my meal and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go since I definitely wasn’t at a Mexican restaurant, but they were spicy and SO delicious! You could literally try a different plate every time you go to The Cheesecake Factory and never get the same thing for like 5 years, so add enchiladas to your list. 😉

My friend and I met up with one of my coworkers and his friends for drinks in DC and we went to the most fun bar ever. Everyone that I’ve talked to since knows exactly where Nellie’s is, so it must be legit. Ha! They had great drinks, fun music, and lots of people who love to dance so it was a blast. 🙂

On Saturday, Kristen and I took a day trip to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. It’s about an hour drive from Arlington, but there was zero traffic and it’s a straight shot so it was an easy drive. Of course the pretty picture of the water was posted to my Snapchat and I never saved it, so you’re stuck with this instead. 😉 We shopped, bought candy, and browsed the huge Barnes and Noble. They had the newest Joanne Fluke book and I was sooo excited. My Grandma really loved reading murder mysteries and I was always a plain Jane with my books, reading stories of people exactly like me. Somehow got me into this series and we used to read them together. Now every time a new one comes out, I think of her!

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Next to the word marvelous in the dictionary is THIS PICTURE. I mean, come on. So cute. Stef is the friend that I am going to visit in NY in two weeks and her parents just sold their house. She was finding so many random things while going through some boxes of her stuff at their house this weekend and I LOVE this picture of me, her, and my brother Jake. It would be nice to recreate this picture, but Jake would definitely block my entire person if he tried to stand in front of me like this now. Hahaha

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My Sunday morning was just lovely because I fell asleep at 7 PM on Saturday night. Ha! I woke up and made myself eat dinner but then I went straight back to bed at 9. I was actually wide awake at 5:30 on Sunday morning but I was NOT about to let that hour happen on a weekend day so I dozed until the clock read an acceptable hour AKA 7:30 AM. I watched old episodes of Fixer Upper, made oatmeal and banana pancakes, and lounged until it was time to get ready for church.

My friends and I ate lunch at Eastern Market and I ordered an asparagus omelette, but I still managed to get syrup in the speaker of my phone. I was reaching across the table like the polite lady I am and I knocked somebody’s little cup of syrup over. I immediately started cleaning my phone as soon as it happened, but that stuff is SO sticky and just impossible to get off. My mother suggested rice, I’m thinking it’s a lost cause. Womp.

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I found my favorite snack at the grocery store…I’m wondering how long it’s going to last this week. 😉 I also parked next to a huge SUV that had three men in suits sitting inside of it. From the look of the car, I assumed they were Secret Service, so I peeked at their license plates while I was putting my cart away and they noticed me creeping past their car. Oops! Then when I got in my car and tried to pretend I was normal, I noticed another one of the same big black SUV’s with more men in suits sitting on the other side of the car next to me. I was sandwiched in between Secret Service! If it was one car, I would say they were shopping at the grocery store, but because there were two, I feel like they were watching for someone…only in DC.

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On the bright side of Monday, I have approximately 2394739 Hershey’s kisses left in my classroom because I numbered and hid 100 kisses for the 100th day of school on Friday. I wasn’t sure how many were in a bag, so I bought more than enough. I only hid 100 so we have lots of extra! The kids had a blast hunting for them and then they were extra quiet during our reading time at the end of the day. 😉

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Today, your challenge is to find something today that makes you as excited as Amigo is when it’s time to come inside. He really hates the cold. Hahaha

MIMM: Art Edition

It’s still the weekend if I’m not at work, right? Thanks to MLK Jr. Day, I’m spending my Monday doing marvelous things at my leisure. And tomorrow I’m headed back to work for a teacher work day, so this week is off to a great start. 🙂

Linking up with Katie for MIMM.

My Friday evening began with a reunion with friends in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of DC! A friend from my small group was back in town for a quick visit, so we all gathered together to eat, drink, and catch up with her! I was most excited to be served a Moscow Mule in a Moscow Mule mug. Just so you know, The Cheesecake Factory will serve you your Moscow Mule in a regular glass and you will be disappointed. 😉 This drink and the company did not disappoint!

I was up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to take my car to the shop to be repaired. My youngest brother kiiiiiind of cracked the driver’s side mirror backing out of the garage, so I’ve been driving around with clear tape holding it together. #superclassy While it was broken, I noticed I had to lean down a bit to see in the mirror and I always had to check my blind spot, but it didn’t seem too difficult to use. Now that it is repaired, I feel like it is such a luxury to see what is around me! Ha!

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I didn’t even mind waking up super early because I wore the new crazy Nike pants that the same wreckless brother bought me for Christmas AND I got to hang out at Starbucks and read while it was being repaired! I am reading “The Residence” by Kate Andersen Brower right now and it is SO good! It is all about The White House, which I obviously find fascinating since it is right down the street. 🙂

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Kristen and I decided to do start checking things off our DC to-do list on Saturday and so we visited Renwick Gallery right near The White House. There are currently nine fairly new exhibits in the gallery and we didn’t realize quite how long the line would be…it went from the street corner all the way BACK to the front of The White House which is about 0.3 miles! That is really not far to walk at all, but when you are waiting in a line, it certainly seems lengthy! Thank goodness for the Starbucks coffees in our hands. 🙂

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The current exhibit is called “Wonder” and it features nine contemporary artists’ work. This means that we weren’t exactly looking at paintings…we were really seeing creative pieces!

The above piece is made from pieces (or as I like to call them, sticks) of Alaskan bush. The artist literally had himself dropped out of a plane and collected what he found when he landed. Other people’s professions (such as an artist) fascinate me!

Next, we walked towards a piece made from tons of strands of colorful thread. Doesn’t it look light the color comes from a light?! It’s really pieces of thread!

My favorite! Mountains of snow! Because DC has seen none yet this season. 😉 Really, this piece was made from a bunch of index cards. Crazy, right?!

Walking into this room, I immediately smelled leather. Then Kristen commented that it smelled like an auto body shop. Well, she was correct, because this piece was made from tires!

We headed upstairs and saw the most beautiful chandelier. It is made up of 320 diamond-like pieces and the colors fade and get brighter as you stand there and watch. It is all run by repeating patterns of LED lights. This isn’t part of Renwick Gallery, it is one of the pieces being featured with the Wonder exhibit!

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While we waited to see the last few pieces upstairs, we waited in line in a huge “salon” room with this colored net on the ceiling. It also changed colors! The green and blue hues were my favorite.

Upstairs, everyone was waiting to see this first piece that looks like a tree turned on its side and hollowed out. It’s made of 500,000 pieces of reclaimed cedar. It’s an imitation of a real tree in the Cascade Mountains. YEAH. Are you amazed?! I was!

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Green marbles to imitate the tides of the Chesapeake Bay and a pink room decorated with geometric designs…made of insects.

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With these odd drawers in the center, also full of bugs. Ah!

We went back to the Grand Salon before leaving to see the colored net.

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 I was amazed at its beauty, but I was also amazed at its simplicity. Net, hanging from all different angles on the ceiling, with a variety of lights fading in and out on it. And that’s art. And I thought it was cool. The real question is: did the artist think her idea was going to be a success or did someone have to TELL her it was going to be cool? It’s just so simple!

Sunday included serving in the nursery at church, attending church, drinking the most delicious Roasted Almond Tea from Capital Teas, a workout, and Steeler game watching. You can have your win, Broncos, the Patriots are going to kill you next week. 😉 Sidenote: while I was watching the game at a restaurant in Georgetown, I saw a wedding proposal out the window! There is an ice skating rink on the Georgetown Waterfront and after the Zamboni cleared the ice, a guy set up a bunch of red lights in a heart shape and his fiancee-to-be walked out on the ice (in high heels, I might add!) to hear his proposal. It was so sweet!

How was your weekend?! Are you still weekending today?! Happy Monday!

Marvelous Happenings

Before I get on to the marvelous things that happened this weekend, can I share a revelation?

Like most people, the first Monday of the year, I started a new workout and nutrition plan. Did you? Well, even if you didn’t, here’s my two cents. I am a generally healthy eater and avid exerciser to begin with, so I was more seeking structure than a magic pill for weight loss, because I don’t need that. And now that I’m a week into this very structured plan, I’m irritated.

There’s a very fine line between following a plan exactly TO the plan, which is what I’ve been doing, and living your life. I do believe there is a time and a place for strict guidelines, but I need to learn to be okay with doing something “off plan”.

I went to a Steelers bar to watch the playoff game and I ordered chicken nachos. There are worse things. I went to a pop up workout in D.C. instead of waking up and doing my scheduled lifting. There are worse things. I’m in the midst of figuring out how to make this plan fit MY life instead of fitting myself into its mold, because it’s not lasting to be on a strict nutrition and workout plan. I like cookies and chocolate and chicken nachos, thank you very much. Plus I LOVE working out with people, and it’s not the end of the world to do a different workout and skip the one that is planned. Because it is also not normal to workout twice daily. Maybe for fun, but that’s a personal choice. 😉 And now I’m done rambling.

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Marvelous is…

Outdoor recess in January where I’m NOT freezing my tail off. Not so marvelous is a slight mist that is almost like rain, but not really…

Making new recipes! I’ve had Quinoa and Black Bean SaladTurkey Chili, and Crockpot Salsa Chicken lately.

Returning a bunch of random items at different stores and getting your money back for all of them! #winning

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This image because it’s so true of me! Exhibit A:

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Parenthood on Netflix, cinnamon apple tea, and a big fuzzy blanket.

Marvelous is also a bar full of Steelers fan and a WIN in the playoffs! (Now deserving this win, that’s a whole other story…did we deserve this particular win? Yes, because the Bengals are classless. Are we going to make it past next week’s game against the Broncos? Here’s to hoping…)

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A free pop-up workout at Union Market! We did a dynamic warm up length wise across that room that included sprints, suicides, burpees, bear crawls, and more. Then we did HIIT exercises and ended the workout with a free juice from South Block Juice Co.! Chris and Alex Perrin, who led the workout, are local fitness instructors. The music was great, everyone had so much energy, and there was actually some competition in the room among friends! Though they did wear a headset so that we could all hear them, it was difficult to hear Alex at times which was frustrating, but it was kind of like The Wave…half the room figured out what to do and the rest of us followed suit. 🙂

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61 degrees in January. WHERE IS THE SNOW?! #teacherproblems

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Coffee at Ebenezer’s, my church’s coffeehouse.

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Driving to random convenience stores to play the Powerball. The more random, the more chances of winning, right?! #logic

And the highlight…getting a library card. I had to show approximately 234783 forms of ID because I don’t have a Virginia license yet, but I was so excited just to hang out in the building! Libraries make me happy. 🙂 And I got another audiobook! From Michael Strahan to Ivanka Trump. I borrowed some book suggestions from Allie’s post and I can’t wait to start reading!

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MIMM

#MIMM

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