Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Monday

Just one of those days.

And thanks to "Colbert Report" for introducing me to this:


At least now I feel a little bit better about myself.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Average Day

Apparently it is becoming a big thing for magazines to show us what celebrities do on an average day. I actually really enjoy learning about other people's schedules (it's one of my quirks that I love to know when people usually go to bed/wake up and how they fill their day...no idea why...probably because it reiterates that  everyone is doing nothing).

So since I am so interesting, here is an average spring weekday for me:

6:25 AM: Wake up
6:50 AM: Leave for work (I often carpool with a coworker)
7:10 AM: Arrive and begin the day!
11:30 AM: Lunch w/ coworkers
2:25 PM: Close up shop and head to the gym
4:00 PM: Come back to school to sell tickets at the soccer and baseball games
7:30 PM: Leave for home
8:00 PM: Watch TV while packing my lunch and getting everything ready for next day
10:00 PM: Bed
*If I don't have a game then I get home around 3 and usually go for a run and either have chorus rehearsal or hang around my place and run errands.

You're super amazed and interested in my exciting life aren't you? What is your average day like? Sound off in the comments!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Healthy (Cheap!) Pizza

I have been awful about posting some of my new recipes on here, so I am trying to get back on the bandwagon. One of my favorite vegetarian meals is pizza and, thanks to my friend Nicole who introduced me to Trader Joe's, I have a cheap, easy, healthy recipe that I love to make! 

You need:

Trader Joe's Whole Wheat Pizza Dough ($1.29)


Trader Joe's Pizza Sauce (ah-maz-ing) ($2.29)


Assorted veggies of your liking- I like the washed and pre-cut selection at Kroger ($2.50-3.00)
Your favorite cheese ($2.00)


Simply spread out the dough and top the pizza with sauce, veggies, and cheese and bake at 425 degree for 25 minutes and you are good to go!  And all for a total of $8-$9! It is a delicious, healthy meal that will last 3 dinners if you are eating solo (I pair my pizza with a side salad) and it freezes well if you want to save leftovers. Luckily, I am always in the mood for pizza so I don't mind eating it multiple nights in a row:).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dress for the Weather


This is my school counseling team (yes, I know we're young). We took this picture to submit to our local NBC station's "Dress for the Weather" picture which they post everyday during the morning news (usually with kids but we figured we could try). Hey, you gotta get enjoyment out of your job in many different ways!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Overachievers

So on a whim last week I requested this book from the library titled, “The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids.” OMG. This book describes my experience practically to a T in high school. I wish I could have read it back then, because so many things I was feeling/thinking felt so isolating. I felt like I was the only one.

I recommend that everyone who is a parent, educator, student, teacher, brother, sister, aunt, uncle…aka EVERYONE… READ THIS BOOK. No, it does not describe every high school student and the overachieving experience isn’t everyone’s, but it highlights a lot about what high school is like in regards to classes, standardized testing (the evil of No Child Left Behind), teachers, grading, cheating, college admissions, college rankings (a joke), medications, drinking/drugs, sex, eating disorders, and peer pressure.

I remember the exact day of high school when I realized I was different from the “average” student. It was the day we got ranked at the end of my freshman year. I was in the top 10 of my class. Until then, I HAD NO IDEA people didn’t treat school the way I did (I also had the mindset that it was my job, so I was supposed to do well!). Well, this book goes into how that moment changed me as it does many students, though many feel the pressures to achieve begin in elementary school, and how parents/society are a large part to blame.  Outside pressure didn’t change me until high school when I was “tracked”, but I was always a perfectionist, so I put the pressure on myself. No matter the source, pressure exists, and we are not doing enough to combat the misconceptions about high school and education. Are we preparing students realistically for the real world? What are we teaching them by saying they should go to college? How does grade inflation affect learning? How is technology affecting student’s ability to learn in the classroom?

Go to the library now.

Some notable quotes/facts:

“Overachievers across the country told me that they felt all of the effort they had expended to present themselves as attractive applicants- grades, test scores, extracurriculars- would be a waste if they weren’t admitted to highly ranked universities…because only that success would mean that they were ‘good enough’ and ‘achieved something.’”

College Board rankings are based on arbitrary factors that are made so that certain schools will always be ranked higher. School personnel rank other schools. Schools falsify statistics to push themselves to the top or get by on their name alone that was from an era where prestige was assessed differently. College Board is also about making money.

“Some overachievers look down on peers who don’t aim for top-tier schools. They think a prestigious degree will translate into a higher salary, a better job, an easier life and a high social status…but merely going to college is a larger factor than the school a student attends.”

“SAT scores increase by 30 points for every $10,000 their parent’s make a year and level of parent education alone explains more than 50 % of differenced in students’ scores.”

The SAT was changed in 2005 to make it more “teachable” to and to allow for the University of California’s 76,000 applicants (largest pool) to still require the test as they felt it was not a good measure for college admissions and were abandoning their applicants need to take it. Now the writing section has been added which widens the gap between minorities even more because the writing section is so different in how it grades than other writing tests that it needs to be taught to (they playfully graded famous authors on their rubric…Shakespear got a 2 out f 6 and Hemingway a 3).

“She was scared she would never find a job, that she wasn’t happy and would always be unhappy, that she would wake up one morning and realize she had wasted her youth…that she wasn’t having fun. She traveled from one worry to the next in a constant whirlwind of second-guessing and apprehension, worrying about kid things and adult things, caught in the middle stressing about the future and the past.”

"Even those who are doing extraordinarily well, the 'happy warriors' of today's ultra-competitive landscape are in danger of emerging a bit less human as they try to keep up with societies unrealistic expectations."

I leave you to think about this: Thousands of twentysomethings (myself included) feel so lost after leaving the school setting. We don't know what we want to and don't know who we are because we have constantly been told or shown what we should do and what is expected. The stark difference of this generation and the previous ones is an 'extended adolescence.' We can't make decisions, have no direction, are afraid of failure, are depressed and don't even know how to have fun that is not 'scheduled.' We constantly think: Am I doing this right? Life isn't so black and white, but in the world of education and achievements, right is the only way.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lucky


It is easy to complain about things that have gone wrong or wishing you had something else or that something was different. Complaining is the easy part. It is harder to want nothing- to want what you have and realize how lucky each of us is in our own way. I was reminded of this the other day and have been especially reminded this week as I have had time to catch up with so many friends during my spring break.



I am lucky. I am lucky to be able to support myself; to have parents that are alive and well; to have an (almost) 92 year old grandmother; to have known my grandfather for 20 years and my other grandmother for 25; to have been to college; to have never been seriously sick or had a health issue; to have never lost a friend or family member at too young of an age; to have been to 18 weddings (with 6 coming up in the next 6 months) and only 2 funerals; to be able to travel and see the world and other cultures; to buy things I want and don't necessarily need; to have so many amazing friends; to be able to give back to my community; to know love; to know that even if I lost everything I owned right now, that I would be able to pull myself together and would be ok; to feel safe and secure.




I am lucky. Sometimes it isn't the easy feeling to have, but I think the secret to a life of happiness is realizing luck and good fortune more and that black cat crossing your path less...


...especially on this Friday the 13th.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Condo Pics!

Here I am one week later and am pretty much done decorating my new condo! I am still waiting on two dining table chairs to be delivered, which will also determine if I get a bigger rug underneath, but other than that, everything is set up!

 Bedroom
 Love plantation shutters (and my great view)!
 Wall of closets- one for work and one for play! Don't need a dresser with these bad boys!
 Again, love my shutters:)
 Doorway and bathroom
 Master bath with storage cabinet built in
 Sit down shower (I am still working on my shaving technique) and an amazing shower head
 Hallway with built in shelves to show off my loves (and Romo walking out of the shot)
 Kitchen! I guess I should learn to cook better...
 Washer/dryer closet with great storage off the kitchen
 Half bath (I'm pretty obsessed with it)
 Sink & mirror
 Great view for when you're on the toilet...:)
 Dining- waiting on chairs and a potential new rug?
 Living room
 View when you walk in
 Dining on left and front door on right (closet in middle)
 View from further back
What I see when I walk out the door:)

Come visit!!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

20's

I complain a lot about being a twenty something. This whole decade to me has been a big ball of uncertainty and the unknown. Well, I hate not knowing what is coming- it gives me anxiety and leaves me confused. I yearn for yet fear certain things, so I am always thinking I want what I don't have. I know that is not the way to live. But I came across a great article the other day that highlights what I should remember and take from this time in my life:

This is what I say to all those twentysomething naysayers: I want to remember the fear, I want to remember the promise, I want to remember the nights I wanted to curl up in a ball, I want to remember the people I’m not supposed to remember, I want to remember not knowing myself, I want to remember the moment I started to feel safe and like this life I’m leading is really mine. I’m going to be scared, I’m going to bruise my knees and not know how they got there, I’m going to try to fruitlessly forge a connection with someone who won’t ever get it, I’m going to lose the person that means the most to me and find my way back to them. I’m going to be a twentysomething because that’s what I am and all I know how to be.  And you should too. You should love every single moment of this hot mess of a decade. Chances are you’ll miss it before you even get to say “I’m 30.”

If only my head and my heart would follow suit!

 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Homeowner!


                                                                Front door of my building!

When I wrote my previous post about the home buying experience being a roller coaster, I really had no idea what I was talking about. The past few weeks have been nothing short of awful. I was in an awful mood and an emotional wreck. I never cry (it’s weird…only movies usually get to me) and I cried daily, and not just tears, but sobbing breakdowns. My original loan company told me that they could not do the loan after all, even with all the extra paperwork/documents they requested and received, and that they didn’t even know if I could get a loan period. Then the next mortgage company they contacted said they could probably give me a loan but their interest rate and closing costs were higher, which I couldn't afford. I also kept being told that I would know 100% the next day if the loan(s) would happen…and then the next…and then the next…and next next next next. I basically told my realtor that I wanted out. Safe to say I lost my mind- I even put a deposit on an apartment in desperation.

But it did work out. I heard on Friday that the loan was *officially* approved and I closed yesterday (getting that cashiers check for the down payment was an interesting experience…who knows if I will ever have that much money in my savings account again- definitely took a picture)! I am officially a homeowner! I have been slowly moving in the past two days and will continue to do so for the rest of the week. But I am taking a day off tomorrow to have furniture delivered/internet and TV set up!

Inside pictures to come- I gotta decorate first. But email me if you want my new address- it’s super pretty!
                                                             My building containing 8 units


                                                            The pool for my summers off:)



                                            The view from my bedroom window- not too shabby!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Running Richmond



It's my annual post about the amazingness that is the Monument Ave 10k! It is my favorite race of the year, is one of the greatest events in Richmond (hence the 41,000 runners) and is the reason that I have become a runner. It was the race two years ago that inspired me to start my running journey! This year's race was no less of an amazing experience, and it was the first time that I lived on the route! My roommate and I walked out our door to the starting line, and I was able to watch the later waves after I had finished from the corner of my street. I knew this was the only year I would be able to experience living so close, so I really took it all in an enjoyed it. I did not break my record from last year, but I had to walk out a cramp for about .4 miles, so I actually had a faster mile pace when you don't account when I had to walk. Unfortunately, I tend to get plagued with this type of cramp every once in a while when I run and I have yet to figure out how to prevent it, but walking it out makes it go away, so at least there is a solution. My time with that walking period was only 1 min and 49 seconds slower than last year, and I had so much fun and felt really good (muscle and endurance wise), so it was still a success. The chilly, drizzly weather also made it very comfortable.

Next up- Purcelville 5k with Nate on April 21st (around a winery where the last mile is straight uphill) and the Carytown 10k May 6th!