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 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


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 long as you’re not getting fancy cereal)
Frozen Veggies (I like the kind that steam in the bag in the microwave)
Beans (Beans are beans…Bushes or not)
Cake Mix
Chips/ Pretzels/Cookie Snacks

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

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?