Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 5 of '11

Since I did this post last year, I will continue the tradition again with the top 5 events in my life in 2011. Not as exciting this year but they are....

5. Summer Vacation: 5 separate trips in 8 weeks was pretty amazing and 3 of those were to a beach, so no complaints there. I do love the work schedule of school.

4. Singing: After a 3 1/2 year hiatus, I began singing again on a regular basis in a self-formed a cappella group. January will be our one year anniversary and it has been a wonderful experience with new friends and reconnecting with old ones in Treble in RVA City!

3. Engagements! Ok, so not one event, but so many of my close friends got engaged this year and I am PUMPED for their weddings and awesome soon-to-be-husbands! They made some GREAT choices:)

2. Running: I made great strides in my running this year in terms of weekly mileage and speed and am gearing up for a half marathon in 2012 (though WHEN I do that is still TBD).

1. Moving to the fan: It's been amazing living in the historic city of Richmond, and I am so happy I made the decision to move out of the suburbs and experience the urban life of walking to restaurants, shops and other friends' places!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Heel the Love

No one wants to admit this it, but watching an animal die (in TV or movies...and sometimes in real life) is TOTALLY sadder than a person dying. There I said it. I may be going to hell. I was flipping through channels yesterday and "Marley and Me" was on. And it was the very end. Let's just say that for 30 minutes I was balling uncontrollably. Luckily, no one was home so I did not have to hid my tears. I let it all out for that damn dog.

So what is it about animals? I always attributed it to them being so "innocent" and "not deserving" of death or bad treatment because they are such pure, good creatures! But who am I kidding? My childhood dog, Ginger, ran away and peed in the house all the time. She was a sweatheart, but she would go home with anyone. No loyalty at all. Yet all I could think of while watching the movie yesterday was our poor puppy Ginger and how perfect and loving she was; how she sang to "Jingle Bells," was a great napping buddy, how we had our secret "kissing spot" between her eyes and how she loved to be scratched on her tummy. I was blinded by love.



And then cats. My goodness- you love them up, feed them and treat them well, and then they scratch you, get attitudes, pee and poop in the house, throw-up hairballs, tear up toilet paper, drink out of the toilet and then get diseases that cost you more time and money (hello, diabetes!). Gosh, they're like kids! But yet, we love them and cherish them and never wish them any harm (well to be honest, when many of my kitties were kittens I wished them great harm when they clawed all over my legs and tore up the furniture).





But don't get me started on watching an animal die. It is worse than a person. I'm not saying it's right, but it is true. Furry and cuddliness win out.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Know Yourself

I frequently go to www.psychology.com to see what new articles are coming out and what relates to me or my job. There is a thing called "The Happiness Project" that is chronicled on the website. The other day there was great video posted about how 'knowing yourself' is the first and most important step to happiness. I thought it was simple yet thought-provoking and just had to share it here:



Do you know yourself? Are you ok with recognizing things you don't like to do or aren't and being ok with it? I am still in the process of working on that, but I think it does make a huge difference as I come to terms with who I am, and I fully believe you have to know and love yourself before you can love someone else unconditionally.  There are so many things that I want to do on my own first before I feel I can be my full self and, in turn, be someone for someone else.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stop!


People need to *stop* bringing me Christmas treats and taking me out to dinner
or I will end up like this cat!

Though, there is something to be said about looking this adorable:)!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tacky Sweater Tuesday


I love my coworkers...

...and students- "Ms. Walsh, NICE sweater. You look so spirited!"



Happy Holidays from MBK!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Spirit

 

As I get older, I simply love the holidays for all the events that go on throughout the season and not just the events of Christmas day (i.e. the presents, which were #1 when I was younger). The mood is cheerful, I get to spend time shopping (which I love), Starbucks has awesome drink specials, holiday music is playing every where (I love me some Mariah Carey "All I Want for Christmas"), parties are thrown each weekend by friends or family, and everyone seems more social. My work is even organizing a 'Tacky Sweater Day" amongst the younger teachers (I am a lead pioneer of this event as it is growing from three of us doing to last year to almost twenty this year), and we also have special faculty lunches and gift exchanges. Yesterday I had a work holiday party (picture above) and my parent's had their own party, this afternoon I went on a holiday house tour in the fan with my mom to see all the neat houses and their decorations, tomorrow night my roomies and I are having a holiday "roomie" dinner and this weekend I am officially on winter break (2 weeks off!) so my coworkers and I are celebrating Friday night. I even sent out my first year of Christmas cards, and I have loved the response I have gotten from friends who have received theirs (no picture this year, but next year I might make a newsletter or one with a photo. Though handwritten cards are less frequent and more appreciated I think). It is just a fun time of year with great friends, family and, of course, food! I think I appreciate it more each year as I get older and am able to partake in all the festivities and enjoy the aspect of giving, even more than receiving (well, almost as much)!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Little Things

I think life is made up of the little things. Not the job promotion or the house you bought (though they can help), but the time your friend sent you a card or when you had a nice night in watching a movie with a good friend or spent a lazy afternoon reading at a coffee shop. Little things are what make us happy or get us down. I can have an overall awful day, but something so small can make it better. Or my day can be going fine and a little annoyance will ruin it.

It is also is the little things we tend to forget. I was looking through emails yesterday and came across old emails I sent my last semester of college (when our email system was switched to gmail so they were saved). It was really fun to look back and read what I had sent and received. My dad and I emailed each other daily all while I was in college- just about what we had done and how our day was. Now it is a nice diary of what my life was like. I had forgotten what I sent friends or what my job and school were like, and these emails gave me a chance to relive those moments.

I also had forgotten (or failed to think about) what the routine of my days were like in college- whether it was class, work, the library, my marathon of TV show viewing my 4th year when I took less classes, or time with friends. And thinking about all those little things makes me smile.  I live similarly now as I did in college- I still enjoy work, working out, reading at coffee shops and watching TV, but seeing those emails and remembering what college was like- with best friends living across the hall and events going on constantly- makes me really appreciate life.

And all the little things that make it worth it. I just need to sometimes be reminded not to let the little things get to me when I can’t control them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Store vs. Generic

Since the past 6 months for me have been about trying to save as much money as possible to have a 20% down payment when I buy my first place and enough money left over so I am not poor, I have been cutting costs every way I can. I used to go out to eat 2-3 times a week with friends, now I go at most once a week, and often not even that. I see less movies (and go to more discount theaters), carpool more to work, walk to stores more, go to less happy hours and have not bought any clothes /shoes for myself since LAST SPRING (Crazy right? It also helps that I live in an apartment with little closet space, so I don’t have room for many new apparel items anyways. I also am learning to actually wear my clothes more than once a month…which is a good thing). Another area I have cut down in is groceries (I think the vegetarianism has helped here as well because my main staples are rice, beans and veggies), because I have begun buying more store brand items rather than brand name.

It is ironic that this has happened, because when I was younger I remember HATING to get Richfood products (Ukrops’ store brand). As always, this is always a tricky field to navigate because some store brand stuff is GREAT or at least comparable, while others…not so much. It also depends where you shop- store brand at Kroger is different than store brand at Giant or Target. I like the rule of thumb that dry foods are good to buy store brand, while most canned, dairy, meats or frozen food is more of a gamble.

Here are my favorite store brand items (from Giant):
Granola Bars
Cereal (half the cost and just as good...as long as you’re not getting fancy cereal)
Oatmeal
Frozen Veggies (I like the kind that steam in the bag in the microwave)
Bread
Beans (Beans are beans…Bushes or not)
Carrots
Cake Mix
Rice/Pasta
Chips/ Pretzels/Cookie Snacks

Best to buy brand name:
Soup
Bagged Lettuce
Yogurt
Ice Cream
Frozen Dinners
Almond Milk
Cookies

I would say that 75% of my food is store brand, while the other 25% is either fruits or veggies which are not either or food I purposefully buy brand names for. What are your opinions of store vs. generic food? Any things I should try or avoid?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Odds and Ends

As November is coming to a close, I am amazed at how fast this month has gone by! It seems it just began. I hope December is quick as well- I enjoy when time goes by fast because that typically means I am busy, happy, or at least forget the bad stuff that has happened because it’s gone so fast:).
 
Here are some odds and ends to update you on:
 
  1. Coffee. It’s official. I like coffee. I began drinking iced coffee with soy milk and Truvia all-natural sweetener last spring and that was my gateway drink to hot coffee. I still do not need to drink it to wake up, but I do enjoy a cup every few days or so. I hope I don’t become dependent on it though! But my Starbucks trips are more frequent- just last night I read, did some holiday cards and enjoyed the ambianceJ. It was a perfect Monday night.
  2. Vegetarianism. It seems my vegetarianism is still a hot topic of conversation, and not all my friends know about it yet even though it has been 5 months. It has been going very well, and I still do not miss meat at all. The only roadblock I have is when going to people’s houses or going out to eat- even when I try to be vegetarian, it turns out something has chicken stalk or there are only meat options. So I have occasionally had shrimp, but that has only been about 3 times. As far as the Veganism, I do not buy anything with ANY animal products in it, but I do not eat 100% vegan due to eating out/at other people’s houses. I would still say 75% of the time I am. I also rocked Thanksgiving this year by enjoying all the delicious sides and no turkey. Didn’t miss it! AND I have not had so much as a cold in 5 months, so whether that is from not consuming many animal products or not, I don’t know…but I think it is related. I also need less sleep than before...correlations maybe?
  3. Revenge. No not on you- it is my new favorite show! It’s on at 10 PM on Wednesday’s, but you can be like me and watch it on hulu on Thursdays. It’s awesome and fun. Do it.
  4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This book is awesome and I highly recommend it. It is about the cells used to cure diseases and the woman who they came from. It’s scientific but not overly so and has a great story. Read it!
  5. The Holiday’s. This is my first year sending out masses of handwritten cards. It’s more work than I thought, but more personal than a Holiday Newsletter (which I did create and might use next year- don’t worry it is funny). I hope people enjoy my hard work and huge handwriting! I also have holiday music on a loop in my office everyday to get me into the spirit these 3 weeks before winter break!


Caught red handed reading, drinking wine, and waiting for my sweet potatoes to boil on Thanksgiving! Also, the first year I stayed in my sweats the whole day- loved it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful

I am mostly thankful in life for the small things, like....

....waking up refreshed, a good run, a schedule, my TV shows, carpooling to work with my coworker/neighbor, my office, being able to save money, eating at new restaurants, seasons, good hair days, reading at Starbucks, when my kitties are playful, traveling, college football, clear skies, sunsets, the smell of fall or spring, a good laugh, a deep read, a motivational speaker, pandora playing the right song for my mood, old appliances that still work, dark chocolate at work, health (whatever that means) and love.

Happy Thanksgiving. May you give your thanks to all the small things that make up this big life.


And GO HOOS (beat the Hokies)!!!
Check out that awesome UVA turkey- smart kid:)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meaningfulness

I think that everyone, in some way, is always searching or working towards giving their life meaning. Is a meaningful life one where you start a family? Have a successful job? Are physically fit? Make a difference in volunteering? Work with the less fortunate? Set goals and reach them? Are able to support and take care of yourself?

A meaningful life differs at every stage. When you're a child you rarely think about the meaning of it all, but most often it's about school and friends and having fun. For adults, meaningful existence fluctuates and differs from one person to another and from one part of life to another. Right now, I am measuring my success and meaning by my ability to live independently, my success in my job, and being healthy. Obviously, if I had a family or was still in school, my reference of meaning would probably be different.

But I think most people would agree that taking care of yourself is one of the main indicators of a successful life. Sitting on your couch all day, not being able to work and pay bills, and rarely interacting with people is not what most people would call a life. Yet, I think we rarely stop and think, what if that was all we could do? What, then, would be our meaning?

Part of my job is attending Child Study, IEP or Triennial meetings for students receiving special education services. My school has a fairly large MO/MIMD (Moderate or Mild Mental Disabilities) population, so I attend those meetings as well. This morning I was in a meeting about a student who cannot speak, walk, or use manly of her muscles freely- she communicates by using a technological device that has key words and phrases she has been taught to cue up when appropriate. Her life is confined to a chair with limited communication. I sat there and couldn't help but think that life and success is so much more than what meets the eye or what we normally think.

This student is a pleasant to be around. She smiles, is very social, has friends and delights everyone she meets. But by our standards of success and meaningfulness, she will never really have a life of either. She will always be in need of a caretaker, will never be able to live independently or "normally," will never have a job, and will constantly be functioning at a level years and even decades below her age. She will exist and breath and live, but yet her lifestyle will be what some consider not as worthy.

So what is a meaningful life then? Many would argue that she does not have one, but I see it differently. I see her as a reason that we all need to reevaluate about why we're here and what it means to live. It is not always based on tangential things. It is about relationships and happiness and what runs deeper inside ourselves. This student is happier that most people I know, yet is seen as less of a person by some people. Maybe happiness is what is most important regardless of any other life factors. So on days when I am stressing about work or money or my lifestyle or my looks or how far I ran that day, maybe I need to be reminded that meaningfulness is about so much more.

I think many people do.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Richmond Race Day

 
This morning was a big day for Richmond. Three races went on simultaneously- The HCA 8k, McDonalds Half-Marathon and the Suntrust Richmond Marathon. All three races started within an hour of one another and at the same starting line with even a few areas of overlap on the courses. It was a cold, but beautiful fall day. I participated in the 8k, which started at 7 am (a bit early for my tastes on a Saturday morning), and I completed the race with a personal record of 43 minutes and 50 seconds. My mile pace was about 8 minutes and 53 seconds, which is about what I averaged during the 10k I ran last spring. Seems I have a pretty set pace in my running!

This was the first race I have ever run completely by myself. I had friends doing it, but I was running solo without friends or family nearby or riding with me. I enjoyed it, but what I really enjoyed was watching the marathoners after I finished. I was able to go back to the starting line to watch the marathoners start after I finished my race, and my apartment is near the course, so I was able to shower and rest and go back out near mile 19 to cheer on the runners. It was VERY fun, and I even made some friends from the spectators. I also saw 6 friends along the route.

What amazed me about the marathoners was their attitude. Even at mile 19, they were smiling, cracking jokes, thanking spectators and policemen, and chatting with their running neighbors. They were having fun (or at least looked like it) and enjoying their accomplishments thus far. It was a really great and motivational thing to see. I still think people are crazy to run a marathon (training alone takes up so much time and it kills your body), but it did inspire me even more with my running. I may be inspired enough to do the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in March.

But just maybe:).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Magazine Monday (Kinda)

My magazine Monday today is not 100% legit since I am not answering a magazine’s questions per say, but instead I am pretending I am a television critic for Entertainment Weekly and am giving you my current TV obsessions (new and old). Isn’t this fun?
In order of night, here are my favorite shows of the 2011-2012 season:
 
1. Once Upon a Time (Sunday’s, ABC, 8 PM): This show is from the creator/writers of LOST, so obviously you know it’s going to be complicated and different than your average show. It is hard to explain, but I will say is it about Fairytale World and Our World (Storybrook, Maine) and how the characters/worlds collide. It goes back and forth between both so you see how these characters were connected and what happened to get them where they are now. Lots of good shout outs and hidden symbols to famous fairy tales. 

2. Glee (Tuesday’s, FOX, 8 PM): Glee has never been as good as it was the 1st season, but I still feel like I need to give it a fair shot. It is still a bit wishy-washy, but I have enjoyed some episodes and musical numbers. Rachel Berry does drive me crazy now, though. 

3. New Girl (Tuesday’s, FOX, 9 PM):  Love me some Zooey Deschanel. She is just adorable, and I think this show is fun and doesn’t take itself very seriously, which makes it more enjoyable to watch. The dynamic of one girl and three guys is always fun too- the last episode was about her walking into her roommate’s room to find him naked and how she can’t say what part she saw unless in a funny accent or singing (you have to watch a clip of it to appreciate it).

  
4. Parenthood (Tuesday’s, NBC, 10 PM): I always have to watch this show on demand because I can never stay up late enough to watch it all, but I enjoy how it is a very realistic portrayal of family life and the trials. It is dramatic, but it’s a nice change of pace from other  dramas (it’s story lines are not as out there as some other family dramas, so I like that aspect of it). And HELLO Lauren Graham. Love her (Yay, Gilmore Girls)!

5. Happy Endings (Wednesday’s, ABC 9:30 PM): I got into this show at the end of last season and I LOVE IT. It is a contemporary Friends with great characters that are laugh out loud funny. I want to be friends with all of them. Sometimes I like to pretend my life is as cool and hysterical as theirs, but I ultimately fail, so that’s why I have to watch it every week! 

6. American Horror Story (Wednesday’s, FX, 10 PM). OMG. This show is CREEPY and I LOVE it. It’s the craziest thing I have ever seen on TV. A husband, wife and their daughter have moved into a haunted house and cannot sell it, so they are stuck living with ghosts and other-worldy creatures. You don’t know what’s real and what’s not, nor what is going on. It’s absolutely fabulous. I cannot watch it by myself at night- it’s that crazy/creepy. 

7. Bones (Thursday’s, FOX, 9 PM): Obviously, this show has been my favorite show for the past 3 years, and I still absolutely love it. Now that the leads are together (Booth and Bones all the way!), a whole new batch of goodness is brought to the table! Because let’s be honest, we don’t really watch Bones for the crimes- we watch it for the characters and there is some juicy development this year! Definitely impressive for a show in it’s 7th season- I love it just as much as the 1st. Moonlighting curse be damned! 



8. Friday Night Lights (My DVD): I am currently in the process of watching season 3 on DVD. I enjoy the show, but I do find some of the story lines a bit over the top. However, I do like the realism of it (things aren’t made ”pretty” like they are for many shows) and since I work in a high school, it is very relevant.


And that’s my list! I also casually watch Up All Night and Modern Family. What are your currents TV favs?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I'm Not in College Anymore

My roommates and I had our second party at our apartment last night. We are all so rarely home on weekends together that whenever we are, we try to plan a get together. This one was a celebration of birthday's, new jobs and job milestones. We never have any idea how many people will come, so it was a surprise for all of us when A LOT of people came last night (like, we didn't have enough beverages and not a drop is left). And I got really excited. Let's just say that in my excitement I was given a great reminder that I am not in college anymore.



But what a fun night!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Inspiration?

Different things inspire different people. I was walking home after a movie at the Byrd Theater in Carytown last night and I felt inspired. There was nothing out of the ordinary of my day yesterday, but my mood was upbeat and life was good. I had a spring in my step and all the normal annoyances just rolled off my shoulder. During the final credits of the movie (and during the movie) I just felt inspiration. To do what? I don't know. I just felt it.

This got me thinking about how important inspiration is in people's life. Whether it's your job, a hobby, a good book, a good movie, a quote, nature or music, feeling inspired is what I think keeps us moving. If we never felt it, what would keep moving through life with optimism, hope, dedication and happiness? Ispiration is key.

So my question to you is: What keeps you inspired? I get inspired mostly by music, a beautiful day and a good story (whether in a book or a movie or a show). And when I am inspired, it is just enough to keep me moving towards the next event with a little extra umph (or at least in a randomly insightful, good mood).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Crazy Dream

A crazy dream I had this week-

I was living with the Kardashians. We were all going on a trip to Europe (I am best buds with Rob, btw). It was more like a massive ship than an airplane, but whatever. George Clooney was our captain. About 30 minutes into the flight we take a massive turn…then we are proceeding to land on a ROAD that in 100 feet goes into a tunnel under water (like I-95 near Norfolk before the tunnel). We do not make it down fast enough so Captain Clooney has to shift us upward suddenly (this happened to my gma once). Then we proceed to land in the water, but again, apparently a water landing is not sufficient (or something goes wrong in the planned water landing…(where’s Captain Sulley when you need him)…) and we shift upwards again. My part of the plane falls off (cue LOST reference), and I land in the water. The rest of the plane lands on a poll above the Washington Monument?!

I then find myself in a recouping house where the survivors are. All my principals and assistant principals are there (and some random friends…hey at least some reality is in this). I can’t call home because I do not have the “code” that goes onto my phone number. I also can’t type correctly because the numbers are not in a correct order. My parents are also not looking for me (somehow even though I can't get in touch with them I see that they are not worried). More survivors keep coming. There is news about the crash on TV but for some reason we can’t connect with anyone in the outside world (how we got to this house is beyond me…and I am totally dry). I can’t find my house where my parent's are because even though we crashed in Washington, I am now in my old neighborhood, Colonial Hills, in Worthington, Ohio. BUT I can’t find anyone I know because people I knew have moved and I don’t know any numbers nor any new addresses. Then I proceed to go to a concert with my friend since I can’t find my parents (again, real life reference, friends were at a concert this weekend). Only some of the Kardashians made it, and I don’t think Kim or her new (former) hubby Kris were included, though baby Mason was ok and is so presh.

Whew! Talk about a pop culture dream, ‘eh? Also, I dreamt this Sunday night and Kim K filed for divorce the next day...psychic? Maybe.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Magazine Monday's

One last thing (from People mangazine)...with Robyn Walsh:


Last Thing I Saw on TV:
House Hunters! Best. Show. Ever. (Especially for people thinking about buying a home)

Last Time I Cooked:
Last night- rice with Temphe and veggies in marinara sauce. I have dinner for the whole week!

Last Movie I Saw:
Scream 3 (and all the Screams in a weekend marathon Saturday).

Last Person I Kissed:
My kitty Romo as I was leaving my parent's house last night! Cat lady, you say?

Last Song I Belted:
"Someone Like You" by Adele. LOVE that song!


Wasn't that fun?

And with that...goodbye October!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloweekend!

Happy Halloweekend!



I actually am not a huge fan of Halloween (too much pressure to dress up), as I would rather just go to parties in my normal attire, but I did have a great time last night on "adult" Halloween. I dressed up as a Glee cheerleader and once I got over how tight my skirt was and how freakin' cold it was in Richmond, I really enjoyed the festivities. I hope all of you had a great weekend celebrating (or not). Tomorrow, since I live in an apartment building where no children will be trick-or-treating, I will be on Hanover Street in the fan watching all the kiddos (they close down the street on Halloween every year) and trying not to be too creepy by taking pictures of the cute ones (a tradition I began while watching trick-or-treating on the lawn at UVA).


Though it did get too cold this weekend, I love fall:)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Trenches

I try to keep clear of too many gender-segregating posts, but I have to break that tradition here. Why? Because I have an absolutely fabulous coat I just have to share with you. When my mom and I went to NYC last April, everyone was wearing trench coats, so of course, I left with determination to purchase one myself. My mom and I corresponded over online stores until we found a perfect one and I got it for my birthday. Since I got it in the summer, I wasn't able to wear it. But season's are a-changin'! I have gotten to wear this gem for the last few weeks and I LOVE it. It makes me want to go to outdoor events just so I can wear it (hello to fairs, outdoor malls, and city walks!). When I do wear it, I do not want to take it off (one day at work I left it on for almost 2 hours). It is so flattering for my frame (small on top and in the waste, but (what I like to call) "runners" hips and thighs), and looks good with anything. Ladies, go get one.



Now I just need to go back to NYC so I can walk around all day in it:)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Running is my Religion




I am going to go out and say it- all you people who think you "can't" run or "don't like it" are full of crap. Yes, that's right. I said it. And I can because I used to be one of you. If I had to run for exercise when I was younger it had to be because I was chasing a soccer ball or running from something. I *hated* running. I wasn't fast and it made me tired. Oh, how times have changed.

I love it now.

I have talked numerous times about how I enjoy running now, but it is evolving into something more than just a tolerable way to exercise. I look forward to it now; I yearn to run, I don't like going to the gym anymore, I want to be outside, I want to zone out with my ipod and a road in front of me. It is my new religion.

It has taken a long time to get year. Four years, to be exact. I began running in college because everyone at UVA did, and then the only way I could get myself to run was as training for something. So I trained for a few races. I didn't like it, but did it because I had a goal. Then I signed up for more races and got better. Then I didn't need races to make myself run. Now I barely go to the gym because I run 3-4 days a week.

Running gives me time to think. I sort things out in my head. I get perspective on life. I set goals for myself. I listen to great music and take in gorgeous views. When I am done running I have more than euphoria, I have peace and serenity and clarity. Life makes more sense after I run.

That is not to say that I love it everyday. Some days are harder than others, and I still HATE running in extreme weather (any temp above 75 or below 35), but when the weather is perfect and I feel good, running is the closest thing to a religious experience than church ever was. And I think that's ok- spirituality can manifest itself in different forms in different people. When some people go to church on Sunday, I run, and that's more than a lot of "religious" people do.

So I call all of you out who think you can't run. You just need time- it took me years- but now the physical AND mental benefits are better than anything I have ever experienced. So stop complaining and commit yourself to running.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Magazine Monday's

I follow a few other blogs, and an idea I like is that many of them have a post theme for a certain day of the week. A big theme is "Must Have Monday's" or "Wacky Wednesday's..." well in keeping with the idea of a theme, I am creating one that goes along those lines but with a twist. I am beginning "Magazine Monday's." What does this entail, you ask? Well, I am an avid magazine/celebrity follower and whenever I read something or hear an interview, I always think, "how would I answer those questions?" Well, look no further because I have found an answer! Each Monday, I will channel my inner celebrity and take a set of questions from a magazine I have read that week and answer them for myself! Sounds fun, right?

Ready. Set. GO!

This week's edition is from the November Glamour. Scarlett Johansson gives us avid readers her 5 Beauty Magic Tricks. So here are some beauty secrets from an average gal:

1. Always use foundation. I have used Loreal Ideal Balance since I can remember- it evens out my skin tone and is easy to apply. I always wear it, even if just around the house. Imperfections- gone! (Just make sure it actually matches your skin tone...I have 3 different shades for different times of the year).

2. Tired? Add some blush! I LOVE blush. It makes you look perky and gives you great color. To me, blush is more important than eyeliner or eye shadow in your facial radiance. Bobby brown makes great blush, but any drugstore brand works wonders too as along as you have the right color.

3. HYDRATE. Water is your skin's best friend. If you have trouble drinking it all day, try to add a flavoring powder. Crystal Light To-Go in Strawberry is one of my favorites (and it even has caffeine).

4. Moisturize with SPF. My morning Oil of Olay lotion is SPF 15, and I use it without fail, every day. I also moisturize at night. I find that even when I get breakouts, lotion works just as well, if not better, than applying benzoyl peroxide to zits.

5. Oily hair? Try baby powder! I do not wash my hair every day because it is thick and dry. However, it still can get oily (especially if I am on day 3), so I will put baby powder on my hands and run my hands through my roots and then comb out my hair- instant fix and you're good for another day!

Ladies, any good tips you'd like to share?

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lazy Weekend

You know your life has changed when you go to bed before 11 pm on Friday and Saturday night and not only are totally ok with it, but wish you could do it more often. That is the type of weekend I have had. My parents were visiting my brother and sister-in-law in Texas, and since my cat, Milo, has feline diabetes, someone has to be home to give him shots around 7 am and 7 pm each day. So my weekend was pretty much dictated by my cat. Cat lady status rules.



All kidding aside, it was a pretty great weekend, because I did nothing. I worked at my school's football game Friday night and saw a movie with a friend last light ("50/50"- go see it, very good) and besides one trip to the grocery store and another to Starbucks, I barely left the couch. I saw 8 episodes of "Friday Night Lights," watched "Scream 4" on demand, baked cookies, read, painted my nails, and slept. I *did* have two great runs Saturday and Sunday morning (5 miles and 4 miles respectively), so I wasn't lazy allll weekend. But I was pretty close.

After the excitement of last weekend, this weekend was definitely needed. I could do it many more weekends, but life is pretty busy until Thanksgiving! So I will enjoy my next lazy weekend when it comes. And I do realize that this type of weekend is a sign that I am getting older. Late twenties- you should be interesting...

Happy last week of October!

**Also- did you notice that I posted almost every day last week?! I was trying to do a post a day for a week, but I didn't post yesterday:( It's not like I was doing anything to keep myself from posting...I just couldn't think of anything to say! I will have to try a week-post-a-thon again soon!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Funny Quote of the Day

So, as you may (or may not) know, I work in a high school. I was chatting with two football players today about their game tonight (we are undefeated), and they brought up that a nearby church provides them with an early dinner on game days. When I asked what kind of food they serve- "That's so nice of the church! What kind of food do you get? Do you get to carbo load with pasta and bread?"- my student goes...

"Holy food."

Welcome to the many amusing lines of high schoolers:) But something good sure is in that food, because as of 20 minutes ago, we are now 7-0 and #2 in the region! Go Monarchs!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

You may not know...

...that I wash/blow dry my hair at night and sleep with it in a ponytail...

...that I never got lower than a B on any report card from 3rd grade (when we started getting grades) through graduate school...

...that I journal every night before I go to bed (not blogging)...

...that I pack the same thing for lunch everyday that my mom did for me in elementary school (a sandwich, pretzles/chips and something sweet)...

...that I have gone to the gym/worked out regularly since I was 15...

...that it is a game for me to see how many miles I can go on every tank of gas...

...that I count how many hours of sleep I will get every night when I go to bed...

...that my first memory is yelling "mommy, mommy, mommy" down a slide at Wyandot Lake...

...that I don't like beer and will never drink it (wine, please!)...

...that I watch my favorite shows on DVD on a loop multiple times a year...

...that I have been to 17 weddings (with many more coming in the next year!)...

...that I sometimes pretend to play/talk on my cell phone when I am waiting for someone in public...

...that I talk to myself in the car all the time...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Marrying Kind

This year at my school I have taken on a mini-second job selling tickets or merchandise at the sporting events- football, basketball, volleyball and soccer. It’s been fun to see my students at athletic events, catch up with faculty and parents, watch all the different sports, and get some extra money (I get paid very well for the hours/what I do). The job is awesome- I usually read while I sit at a table selling or taking tickets, or I use my waiting table skills to convince people to buy awesome school gear (QUEEN of merchandise is my 2nd name).

Anyways, the point to all this is that I read a lot during the time I sell tickets. My reading has slowed down greatly since the summer, but I have read The Great Gatsby (LOVED it) and am currently reading Julie & Julia. In Julie & Julia, a book about a young woman’s quest to cook all of Julia Child’s recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her hectic life during that time, the narrator  talks about many aspects of being a woman in the 21st century. One topic she focused on in the chapter I read last night was marriage and children. Her brother commented to her that her friend must not be “the marrying kind,” since she is 30ish and not married, and it set her off. She herself is married, but she took offense that he said women are “born a certain way” to not be married. To her, any woman can be married or not married; it just depends on who she meets and what is going on in her life. She also questions motherhood often and what it must have been like for Julia Child to 1). Not get married until her 30’s and 2). to not have children during an age (1950’s/60’s) when that is what women were supposed to do.

I have often wondered how my life would be different had I been a 25 year old in the 1950’s/60’s. I would probably be married, with kids and without the level of education I received. Would I have been ok with my life like that with the same personality I have now? I don’t know. It would certainly be true to say that I probably wouldn’t have been expecting to go to college and knew that marriage and family was my life path, but being the high-achiever that I am, would I have approached that aspect of my life in the same way I now approach school and work? Or would I have been the crusader who fought for women’s rights and dared to break the mold? Who knows. Our personality is so much nature AND nurture that born in a different era, many parts of my nature would have been different. But would it have changed the fundamentals of who I am?

Julia Child definitely broke the mold, career and family wise, which is what the narrator was alluding to in her annoyance of her brother’s statement. Anyone can get married and have children and, honestly, anyone can’t. Children and marriage aren’t the premium deciding factors of a successful life. Life gets in the way of our plans or changes our paths- some who always want children or marriage won’t have either and others who never wanted that will. So maybe we shouldn’t rush to label others or even ourselves. I have often said that “I am not the marrying kind,” but maybe that is the wrong statement for me to use. I should remain open to anything life throws at me and know that I will be ok where ever my journey takes me, because I have a lot of love to give to the right person.

I am just very thankful that I live in the time I do where I have that choice and where society won’t shun me into a corner (for the most part) either way. Thanks, Julie/Julia.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Have you ever googled Tuesday?

So there used to be a radio commercial about how there is nothing to look forward to on a Tuesday. It is apparently the least exciting day of the week and this commercial (I think) had to do with why we all should go to Applebees for a Tuesday deal. I could also be remembering this incorrectly as I realized this summer how awful I am at recalling commercials. Nevertheless, it was advertising something exciting about Tuesdays in regards to food or entertainment and this somehow led me to google the word "Tuesday" and these are some of the images that came up...

 
Love this one- how can a baby not make you smile?


Some sort of food ad?


Reverting to a little childhood cartoon humor.



Love me some 4 year old TV schedules! Nice to remember what we watched (or didn't). 



Hey, it's not Monday, right?

Monday, October 17, 2011

October Sky

Continuing with positivity on a Monday, here are some things I love about October:

1. Walking at dusk in the fan with the cool breeze, smell of fire, and leaves changing.
2. Opening windows
3. Less time at the gym, more time outside
4. Blankets on the couch
5. Sweatshirts at football games
6. Pumpkins and apples
7. Getting dark before 8 pm
8. Busting out the jackets and jeans
9. Homecomings
10. It's not September (worst month of work)!



Anyone else have some favorites?

“Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile.”

-William Cullen Bryant



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rejuvenation

Sometimes you just need a weekend with your girls. I'm sure this was said on "Sex and the City," but I'm claiming it now.

It seems every year I come back from Homecomings Weekend at UVA rejuvenated and feeling good about life. College was such an amazing time for me- I met so many great friends and got to fall in love with the wonderful town of Charlottesville. Somehow, though, it seems I often forget about college and it seems like another lifetime ago. I still talk with my friends and we go on trips, but the "bubble" of college is something that I feel out of touch of. Last night as my friends and I were dancing at a Young Alumni (YAR) event with local Cville food favorites, booze and good music, I couldn't help but thinking how much living I was doing in that moment. I don't do that enough. I was living so much in college and meeting people and being social and exploring and discovering a new part of me. I miss that.

'Hoo knows if it was the weather, the great game (Upset over #12 Georgia Tech!) or my great friends (probably all three), but everything just clicked for me. I felt like I was in my element and it all seemed to make sense. That feeling of 'making sense' is something I don't feel enough of anymore. But my friends and their significant others are all amazing people (I also have a renewed faith in guys after spending time with my friend's SO's- they are all so awesome (as they should be to be with my friends!)). I feel like that really is what it is all about- friends and the family we make. No matter what happens in my life, my friends are my family. They all bring out a different part of me, but we all bring out the happiness in one another. And that is truly what it is all about. Not money or schedules or looks or your job, but how you feel and who is a part of you.



My friends are all a part of me. I love them, wish I could see them more (workin' on it!) and hope I meet many more in the future. The only way to meet new friends, though, is to put yourself out there and not hide away. Living isn't done hiding away- if I had done that I would never have met the amazing people I met in college. I also hope I don't forget what a great part of my life UVA was- it wasn't perfect, but it was mine and it led me to great people.

So here's to my rejuvenation of life. It won't always be easy, but it's worth it. I know that and hope this feeling will stay with me. Gotta storm through!





Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Bad Moment

I just need to vent.
Sometimes it is just hard. You have nothing to complain about, nothing going awfully wrong, nothing stands out as some “awful moment,” yet nothing seems right. You feel lost, you are confused and for once it doesn’t have anything to do with anyone but yourself. 
Or maybe it’s just me.
I have been feeling “off” for the last few weeks. Nothing happened to trigger my feeling this way, it just sort of happened. And one of the things I am finding while I mope around and feel sad and lost is that everyone has been here, but it seems no one wants to talk about it.
Well, I do!
I want to talk about how I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing with my life or what I want to do or where I should go or why I can’t even enjoy the freakin’ gorgeous weather of fall or the company of great friends. I want to know why when I have so much good in my life it is easier to feel down and sad and sorry for myself than to be, not just content, but happy. I want to know when I lost the ability to live in the moment. When living by a schedule became more important than what life has to offer.
Can anyone relate?
I started this blog to connect with my friends and family about my random thoughts (if anyone even reads it) but also to my generation of twenty-something’s. So please, if anyone has advice for me, a twenty-five year old with what on paper should be a stress free, perfect life (reliable job that she enjoys, good finances, great friends) that is just bringing her down, please let me know. I don’t want to be one of those people who spend half their life waiting for it to start and then the other half wishing they could go back and live it.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Changin'

 
It seems to me that the more we change...


...and grow...


...the more we stay the same...


...and keep on staying...


... I guess part of who we are is innate from birth.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Weathering Moods

As I get older, I am realizing how my mood greatly depends on the weather. I can be doing the same thing one day versus another, but my enjoyment of it and my mood will vary greatly depending on the weather. Whether it's too hot, too cold, or rainy, any of those extremes are not good for my soul!

For instance, today I went on my usual Saturday morning run, but it was actually pretty chilly (i.e. 55 degrees) instead of hot and humid like the end of September has been. It was just amazing. Then throughout my day I have been on a high from my awesome run and the fact that I can wear jeans, boots and a cute jacket. I love breaking out the fall clothes! The air conditioning is off, the windows are open, people are grilling so you can smell fire, leaves are beginning to change, I can curl up with a blanket on my couch watching football and the sun is (semi) out. If this doesn't equal happiness, I don't know what does.

I noticed this summer that I am not a huge fan of summer anymore. I love hot weather for a few weeks, but from June until the end of September Richmond is a scorchin' city. It gets to me when I can't go outside without sweating, when the air is on all the time and the humidity is rising. It's uncomfortable (unless you're at a beach, then I will take all that hotness with joy) and exhausting. While summer used to be my absolute favorite month, now I do not really enjoy it as much. Sure I love the pool and my summer dresses and not working (well, I actually would like to work- but that's another post), but I enjoy the Spring and Fall so much more. I am turning into my dad in that I just can't handle the long days of heat anymore!

I think seasons are the best part about living in Virginia. We get four distinct seasons and all have their different feel. We also do not usually get too much rain (though we have lately- hence part of the inspiration for this post) nor too much snow (I could use more snow, though). I love the feel and smells and memories that each season conjures. Sure, I do not love any extremes of temperature, but I do love the different things you can do with each season. I also, much unlike many other people, enjoy the days getting shorter. Granted, I do not like it when it gets dark at 5 pm, but I also do not like it in the summer when it's late until almost 9 pm. Early evening (4-7) is my least favorite time of day (I have read this is very common actually- seems to be when people feel loneliest), so I don't mind when it is shortened and night comes a little sooner. Though I do miss my evening walks when it gets dark earlier.

I do not have seasonal depression by any means, but as I get older I am recognizing that I do get in "funks" that often have a lot to do with the weather. It is so silly, but weather really does create history and not just from dramatic storms and disasters, but in how you live your day. From football to cookouts to pool parties to evening walks, the perfect temperature (or lack thereof) can make or break  an event.

 

So welcome October- my mood and spirit have fallen for you:)! Just don't rain too much.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Food Bloggin'

Sometimes I pretend that I would be an awesome food blogger.

Then I make an amazing dinner and eat it and wanna talk about it but realize I didn't take a picture of it. Probably not the best way to amp up my food blogging reputation.

However, I do need to talk about one of my favorite vegan dinners that I actually created (!). True, there is no picture, but it is so easy to make this delicious, healthy meal!

All you need is Trader Joe's Veggie Fried Rice (or any brand of fried rice with no egg), Temphe chopped up (an Indonesian all-natural soybean product), and diced mushrooms, onions and red and green peppers. Cook the rice separately, and saute the temphe and veggies in balsamic vinegar. Mix everything together and you're set! I came across this recipe because I was eating all the fried rice in one sitting and wanted to add something to it so I wouldn't eat it all at once. By putting all the veggies and temphe in the rice, it makes enough for 2 dinners and adds more flavor/nutrients. I also usually have a side spinach salad with strawberries and berry vinaigrette dressing. It is very healthy, all-natural, and vegan. I will try to remember to post pictures at some point.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Property Virgin

Another milestone of my life was reached today- I went on my first house hunting showcase! I am pretty positive that I will buy a place between now and next June, and I have been looking online and around the fan all summer at condos. I have been eying the trends, the prices, and the types of places going on (and off) the market. It has been fun to look and plan (you know I love planning)!

I looked at four places today. It was definitely nice to actually be visiting the places as opposed to just looking at pictures online, and it makes a huge difference- places I thought I loved I realized I didn't and places I hadn't given much thought to I realized I really liked. I felt like I was in an episode of house hunters! I don't have many deal breakers in buying a place like some of those people (besides bugs or holes in things), though. I know where I want to live, and to me, location is more important than what the place is actually like. I do have a wish list though: a porch, washer/dryer in unit, close to 1000 sq/ft, two bedrooms, and at least 5 rooms. I don't need granite counter tops, wood floors and a fresh coat of paint (many of those things, with the right price, I can do myself later). The perfect place is really never perfect, so I am not so set in my ways as to not budge on some things (porch...tear).

What I am finding while thinking about where I want to live, though, is that people can ultimately live any place and they mostly live the same. You go to work, eat, sleep, socialize and hang out. Does it really matter where that is or what it looks like? Yes and no. I know I could never live in a dump (by choice) just for the heck of it, but I know that my home is what I make of it and it's all about perspective. You can make yourself happy if you choose to be. It all goes back to that 'wanting what you have' thing. So I am taking the approach of condo hunting casually and not as a life and death situation. If I find a great deal or a place that I really want, I should take it. If I don't, I know I will be ok where I am or holding off for a while.

After all, sometimes looking and thinking about something is the most fun part.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My New Claim to Fame

That's right, folks. I'm famous.

I am the doughnut eating champ from the MBK faculty tailgate. I ate 11 doughnuts (yup, try not to throw up thinking about it) in 3 minutes. An average of 3.7 doughnuts per minute. Yum.

I only competed against females, but the male champ ate 14 in 5 minutes, which was an average of only 2.8 doughnuts per minute.

So I even beat the dudes. It was not too awful, actually, and besides crashing about 4 hours later with an awful headache, I felt ok afterwards. I was even told I should drop my doughnut eating champ facts as a way to pick up guys. We'll see. That might be a 2nd date conversation.

If you want to see the guys and gals in action, check it out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Ago Today

I was fifteen, a sophomore in high school. I was in my chorus class for 3rd period when the band teacher came into the room and told my teacher that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I had never been to New York and didn't even really know what the building was. We were all confused, and many of my classmates got nervous because they had family or friends in NYC. The bell rang and I went to my next class (Mrs. McGrath's Perspectives course) and we told her what we had heard. We had access to a TV and watched it all unfold. I stood by the TV to give it better reception. We saw (live) both towers collapse. There was confusion and sadness. I remember most how sad I was for something and people I never knew. It was as if everyone knew that with those Towers collapsing, life as we knew it would never be the same.

I have now been to New York City 5 or 6 times. I have seen where the Towers stood and walked where the devastation occurred. I have watched the videos of that day near Ground Zero and know how scary and awful it was. Most of my adult life has been post- 9/11. Terrorism, airport security and a different New York have been most of all I have ever known. In 5 years half of my life will be post-9/11. It is getting harder to remember what it was even like before, though I still hold on to the little that I do.

But what I take most of that day is how people came together; sitting in front of the TV in shock and knowing that life would be different; that our world was changing and as safe as we felt or thought we were, we really will never be 100% safe again; that there would be a before and after 9/11. And a distinct difference.

However, as time has gone by, life feels just the same that it did. I used to get choked up whenever I thought about 9/11. Now it doesn't hit me as hard. But I always remember it when flying or going to NYC or driving by the Pentagon. It will never be forgotten, but the pain is less and life is more like it was before. Maybe that's not good, maybe the feeling I used to get while thinking about that day should never go away. But life is about moving on and I will always remember 9/11/01 as a day of sadness and shock, but also as a day that America really came together. I only wish it didn't take tragedies like that to unite our nation as one.

Ten years later it feels different, but is never forgotten. I will never forget.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

No Power, Day 5

...Just sayin'.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene

Irene, you suck. So in my 28th hour without power, there are a few things I would like to say.

 Many thanks to-
 For my 3 visits today and endless supply of coffee and customer service...

 For opening and allowing me to work out AND catch up on TV...


 For providing me with endless fun while out of power...

 For existing (remember when you couldn't take your computers and get internet out of your house?!)...

  Friends for allowing me showers and laundry at their houses...

And I DO NOT thank-

 For falling on my driveway and neighbor's cars, houses and power lines...

For CONSTANTLY BEEPING IN MY ROOM AT A HIGH PITCHED NOISE when the power is out...I mean I can't stay at my apartment because of you....

no explanation...damn you!!!



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I survived the QUAKE of 2011

It was a crazy day, but I live 30 miles from the epicenter of the 5.9 quake and found the amount of coverage pretty ridiculous. This facebook post and following comments pretty much explain it all. (Thanks, Elyse)!



 Earthquake devastation.
[They were in a neat pile prior to the quake]

Your prayers and continued support are appreciated as I work through this disaster.

Comments:
  • I am so sorry for your loss. 
  • Thanks everyone. I'm just trying to put the pieces back together... 
  • Elyse, if you need anything at all just give me a call. You'll get through this 
  • OH THE HUMANITY....
  •  FEMA announced they are on the way... I just hope you have the will power to make it another 3-6 weeks until they arrive. :-)
  • I am laughing out loud. At work. Embarassing. But, my paperclips and such are in a drawer so my desk is neat. 
  • You must rebuild. 
  • fill out your aid papers 
  • lol ;)
  • watch for LOOTERS! 
  • arm yourself elyse 
  • Did one of those paperclips hit you? Let me know if you need help with the workmans comp claim. :) 
  • Guys, I have an update... we will be holding a benefit concert for the displaced paper clips featuring U2, Ke$ha, and REO Speedwagon. Please send your donations to the "Hope4DeskDi$a$ter" fund. No amount is too small, guys. A mere $2.75 will purchase a NEW box of clips. - Thank You 
  • Everything happens for a reason Elyse - Jesus will get you through. 
  • will a memorial be erected? 
  • i hope that's not confidential client information on your computer screen. 
  • I was thinking about you and Matthew I hope you guys are ok!! 
  • LOL!!!! 
  • Lol. Clearly we are not fine... LOOK AT THIS DESTRUCTION!!!! 
  • bahahahahahahahah love it
  •  LMAO 

I thought all that was hysterical. It's not like the news OVERREACTS or anything!

      In all fairness, it was a very weird feeling and very odd for Virginia. But everything is fine. The only destruction to my house was a wall picture was slanted and one of my roomies pictures fell off the wall. But I did learn how to react in a quake (hey, knowledge is power)! *hint: it is NOT best to run into a hallway and duck. Use the doorways*. Important information for us uninformed Virginians!

      Now the west coasters can take back their earthquakes...we'll just stick to hurricanes.

      Saturday, August 20, 2011

      Books I read this summer

      Ahhhh summer breaks of endless vacations, relaxation, pool/beach time and reading. But that is all over for me as I am back to work on Monday. Here is a list of all the books I read this summer (not all chic lit, thank you). I starred the ones I recommend. If you want to know more about them, just send me a message in the comments section!

      1. The Hunger Games series (read in June as school was ending)*
      2. Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot
      3. Night Road by Kristin Hannah*
      4. True Colors by Kristin Hannah
      5. Summer Sisters by Kristin Hannah
      6. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah
      7. Bossypants by Tina Fey*
      8. Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Bardnouin*
      9. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell*
      10. Commencement by Courtney Sullivan*
      11. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan*
      12. Eating Animals by Johnathan Foer*
      13. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
      14. If Only by Geri Halliwel (autobiography)*
      15. Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr
      16. Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews
      17. Bubbles Unbound by Sarah Strohmeyer
      18. Envy by Sandra Brown*
      19. Chill Factor by Sandra Brown*
      20. Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger* (chick lit, but a fun one)
      21. Play Dirty by Sandra Brown*