Seasons of Love [Blog-tember Challenge Day 8]

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

Linking up here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! This week has been both long and short. Long because I am counting down the days until NEXT Friday when I can drive home for Spring Break. Short because we didn’t have school Thursday or Friday. 🙂 I do enjoy living in a place where everyone is afraid of snow. Though in their defense, we got 7 inches of snow! Baltimore and DC both got 9 inches so it’s been a big mess everywhere. I finally ventured out to go to the grocery store today but it’s been a nice few days of relaxing and catching up on work before midterms next week!

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Linking up with Andrea, Erika, and Narci to share some of my favorite things! Blog one of your favorites and join us 🙂

March means spring, right? In our dreams! I’m pretty sure most of the country is still covered in white. I can’t be too upset when the view of The National Mall is this pretty, though. One of my favorite places looking beautiful before the latest storm hit!

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The local news station was sharing a bunch of images posted by viewers and when I clicked on someone’s Instagram, I found this image from earlier in the week. This picture was taken from a plane that was about to land and I just think it is so majestic. Yes, I said majestic. Go with it.

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My view is not quite as spectacular. When it’s not so foggy and white out, I actually have a really pretty view of UMD’s campus! But for the past few days, it has looked like this. The sun knew we needed a little happiness so it’s actually shining today! Next week it is supposed to be in the fifties. I tell you, weather is crazy. I have noticed that people love to talk about the weather and either get excited or complain depending on the forecast, but what’s going to happen is going to happen regardless of if I check the weather so typically I don’t discuss these matters. 😉 Although, that is how I get myself into situations like the one I found myself in last Sunday: pulling my hoodie tight around my face as I “ice skated” home from the gym because there was freezing rain and ice. #yougetwhatyouget

One of my favorite ways to get inspired in the kitchen is to play around on Pinterest. Earlier this week, I mentioned that I felt like I kept making the same thing over and over and over. SO, last night when the fridge was looking barren and it was my turn to cook for my roommate and I, I made these Italian chicken sausage and feta cheese stuffed peppers.

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I was very proud. I sort of followed one recipe and I sort of followed another…so does that make me a real chef? Because I basically made this up on my own?! 😉

The first recipe [here] called for goat cheese. I very often half listen to recipes and add or omit whatever ingredients I do or do not have. Hahaha #creativeflair But lucky for me, while I was contemplating whether or not I could substitute goat cheese for feta cheese (which is what I had on hand), I found this recipe [here]. They turned out SO good! The only time consuming part was cleaning out the peppers. I am also not known for my patience, so it took some skill to cut the peppers without cutting myself. Fun story: last week I used the handle of a knife as a spoon. Which means I was holding the blade. Because you see, I only needed to stir something for a second, so no big deal, right?

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Can I blame the blonde hair?

It’s no secret that I love to work out, so it should come as no surprise that my favorite Friday activity for the last few weeks has been checking out new studios around the Maryland/DC/Virginia area. My friend Kristen and I tried our luck at [solidcore], which is a strength workout completely done on one machine called a megaformer. To say it was difficult would be an understatement. I have never felt more uncoordinated and the guy next to me was just whipping out the lunges and crunches like it was no big deal! So after that interesting experience, the following week we went to Soul Cycle, which is known for being a really popular cycling studio in NYC. There are two around here now, one in Maryland and one in DC, and I was really excited to go because I am certified to teach cycling classes, so I really love taking other people’s classes! I get new ideas and I get re-inspired. Plus sometimes it’s nice to not be in charge of your workout and have someone else tell you what to do! The guy who taught our class was literally INSANE! Crazy energetic, great music, just all around motivating and fun. So we are sticking with what we know and going back to Soul Cycle tonight. Yay for Friday fun!

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While we’re on the topic of things that make me feel good (like working out), something that makes me feel GREAT is when my jeans fit exactly how I want them to. Which is what happened this morning (or should I say afternoon) when I finally got dressed. A favorite moment for sure. I even found myself out and about today thinking, I hate pulling my jeans up. Why didn’t I wear a belt? But this is no reason to complain so I quickly told myself to shut up. 🙂

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HA! Ecard, I win.

I have been playing around with the idea of “flexible dieting”. Basically it means that I am paying attention to how much protein, fat, and carbs I eat. I have a calorie goal for the whole day, but honestly I haven’t met it yet. I am not used to eating this much! I spent a lot of time in college counting calories and eating tiny portions so this idea of “more food, more weight lost” is still very strange to me. But the jeans fit so I’LL TAKE IT!

Finally.

Finally.

The good stuff.

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So I understand that your eyes are probably drawn to “no sugar added”. BUT PEOPLE. This is my new favorite ice cream. First of all, I do not believe in sugar free desserts. That’s just wrong. You are eating dessert, so enjoy the sugar! When I see things like sugar free brownies or sugar free fudge, my brain just wants to know why. I understand that some people actually need to pay attention to their sugar intake, I’m just saying, if you’re trying to watch what you eat and you decided to indulge in dessert, just go all the way. Just do it. Be Nike. Eat all the damn sugar! 🙂

ANYWAYS, the reason I am over the moon about this ice cream is because it’s not completely free of sugar. It’s sweetened with Splenda and it is so so tasty. I don’t eat a ton of ice cream (I’m a salty person) so my ice cream taste buds might be different than yours, but I really liked this!  So my suggestion to you is to go to your local grocery store and buy the happiness.

Happy weekend everyone 🙂

– Is it still a winter wonderland in your area?!

– What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Friday Favorites

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 Linking up with Andrea, Erika, and Narci for Friday Favorites!

This makes me laugh…

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Teaching PiYo is a definite favorite of mine! A few weeks ago, I taught at an event called “Get Pumped, Get Sculpted, Get Shaking”, which showcased some of the new routines and classes offered at the gym this semester. There were almost 60 people in the room and I had to teach on that little stage! I swear up close it looked like a ping pong table. I didn’t fall off, luckily;)

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                        Photo credit UMD CRS 2015

One of my favorite views this week…

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What is better than sunshine at 7 AM in the middle of winter? #thelittlethings

On Wednesday, I got my favorite email of all time…I HAD MAIL!

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Just slightly obsessed with peanut butter and jelly. And I don’t care who knows it. Thanks Mom:)

Later that night, I met up with my favorite group of people and we ran the National Mall aka the best running spot in D.C. in my opinion. It’s always so pretty and always makes me feel so lucky to live here!

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#somuchreflection #runnerproblems #ihatemyglasses

I LOVE THESE PEOPLE but the only thing I see when I look at this picture is my glasses. I do not like them but I was too lazy to put contacts in yesterday. That is quite ironic because I wore glasses from the age of 7 until approximately July of last summer. I have had contacts for less than a year and I already think I look so strange without them! You can hardly see me because of all my pretty friends, so it’s okay;)

After our run (which was actually pretty fast even though we had such a large group!), we ate dinner at Qdoba and talked about our word of the week: patience. And I got a parking ticket for $100. Thank you District of Columbia. That part was not so fun, but between running with my friends and talking to my best friend from home on the phone for two hours (no, your eyes did not deceive you), Wednesday was pretty darn good!

On the note of patience…this verse came up in my quiet time this week and I just love it. I am working my way through Jesus Calling and some verses stick with me more than others! This one is one that I thought about for a few days so it’s definitely a favorite. I am not so good at memorizing Bible verses but this is a good one!

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I am constantly writing, highlighting, or pinning quotes. I love how they seem to explain everything perfectly sometimes! So, thanks to Pinterest, I found this gem. I was reminded there is a difference between being patient and being passive!

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Read the blog post here!

Thursday started off on the most amazing note ever…snow delay!

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Read: no morning responsibilities. Aka: sleep in, eat breakfast in bed, and love. my. life. Our delay started as “university opening at 11 AM” and changed to “university opening at 12:30 PM”. I say if it’s afternoon we should just skip the whole day;)

My favorite day of the week is not Friday or Saturday or Sunday. It’s Thursday. In middle school, my friends and I declared it “Feel Good Thursday” and we even had a theme song.

We were silly teenage girls;)

Anyway, years later, I still have a love affair with Thursday. Which is odd because my schedule is usually still packed full and BUSY! But there is just something happy and exciting about knowing that the weekend is right around the corner. I liken it to the anticipation and cheerfulness that everyone feels right before Christmas Eve. Seriously. Such a little detail, but it will always be the best day of the week. 🙂

In food news…because don’t I always have food news…my roommate decided to be adventurous and cook eggplant parmesan. My favorite foods all in the same dish. Vegetables, cheese, sauce…the very best dinner.

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This weekend, I will be spending all of my time at the gym for the Southeast Collegiate Fitness Expo. That’s a mouthful;) I have to go because the University of Maryland is hosting the expo and since I’m a fitness instructor, I have to help represent our school well. 🙂 But I actually can’t wait to go to all the seminars! Healthy living, nutrition, fitness…it’s going to be so fun! #gymnerd

Happy Friday, friends!

What are you doing this weekend?!