For the past two weeks I have been doing a lot of evening walks. I love walking around as the nights get cooler and the sun sets a little earlier, because it is truly a beautiful time of day. I live in an area where I can go on a walk and hit different scenery everyday, because there are so many great routes. Walking has also made me appreciate how wonderful Richmond is. I know many of you who read this are from Richmond or currently live here, but many of you may have never even visited Virginia before. Virginia is GORGEOUS. From the mountains to the beaches to the country to the Metropolis that is Northern Virginia and D.C., you can experience just about anything in this state. Four distinct seasons, beautiful wildlife and foliage, wineries, and such a rich history from the battlefields to Jamestown, it is a one of a kind state.
On my walks I always appreciate the beauty of the city even more. Growing up I didn't do too much in the city because we lived in the county to the south of the city, but the city of Richmond is very unique. There is the historic shockoe slip, the canal walk along the city, Carytown shopping, and the great Boulevard that runs through the fan (best neighborhood) and VCU. There are great races such as the Richmond Marathon (voted "friendliest" marathon) and the Monument 10k, as well as many social leagues and a great bar scene. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Historical Society, Byrd Park and the Science Museum give people of all ages great entertainment. We also have two huge outdoor malls and a wonderful old discounted movie theater. Concerts in the summer and fall keep music lovers happy and dogs love the outdoor events that welcome them. Affordable housing, great options for schools and active neighborhood organizations. What more do you need?
Virginia Museum of Fine Art's courtyard
View of the city on the James near Brown's Island
The Boulevard in the Fan
The Canal Walk
Byrd Park Fountain
Come visit if you have never been, and if you live here, take time to appreciate it:)
It's time for the annual 'Books I Read This Summer' list! I am going to try to do this every season because I am always reading, but for now here are the books I read this summer with stars next to the ones I recommend (and, yes, I read 8 books by the same author...she was perfect for summer!):
1. Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling*
2. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
3. Are you There Vodka? It's Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
4. Blinders by Malcolm Gladwell
5. Swapping Lives by Jane Green*
6. Sliding into Home by Kendra Wilkenson* (I really enjoyed this book)
7. The Right Address by Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman
8. Second Chances by Jane Green*
9. The End of Overeating by David Kessler
10. Bookends by Jane Green*
11. Promises to Keep by Jane Green
12. Mr. Maybe by Jane Green*
13. Babyville by Jane Green
14. Women and Money by Suze Orman*
15. Jemima J by Jane Green
16. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall
17. Lethal by Sandra Brown*
Message me in the comments section if you need any information or have any books you recommend!
This summer has been a season of growth and self-awareness for me. It was a very different summer than last year when I had no job and traveled most of the time. This year I coached swim team and babysat and was much more social. I also spent it in my new condo and further established myself as an adult!
I learned a lot about myself through my jobs and social interactions. I worked with younger kids coaching, and I babysat, which made me realize that younger kids are actually quite fun (albeit not totally able to understand sarcasm) and babies aren't that scary. Someday I may even have some of my own! And perhaps a level change is in the near future in terms of my job (middle or elementary)?
I also really enjoyed the schedule of my summer- swim team coaching until July 24th everyday from 9-11 am (workout before) with the rest of the day to myself- and then almost half of the summer left for traveling. Since coaching ended, I have been to Virginia Beach, the Outer Banks, Texas and soon I will go to DC. It has been a great balance of work, travel and relaxation. I am thankful I have a job where I can get a break in the summer and do something different. Even though I do get bored at times when I don't have much going on, I am getting better at keeping myself busy. Next year I may try a head coaching job somewhere to take up more time and earn more pay.
I also have made strides in myself. I started off this summer feeling very down about everything (cue depressing post in early July), but I have made changes and put in elements to bring my mood up and better myself. I have a new outlook on dating, relationships and what I want out of my life. I can thank my friends and boys I have dated this summer for that- it was not all pain and no gain:).
My life isn't perfect and there are still many things I want to work on and change, but I feel very confident after this summer in where I am headed. Everything was worth it. I was learning, growing, discovering and having fun (almost) the whole time! Hopefully this will continue as I get back to work for my 3rd year!
On Tuesday evening I got back from a 6 day trip to Texas to visit my brother and sister-in-law. It was my first time visiting them without my parents. I decided to book this trip back in June because I originally was going to visit in September for the TCU vs. Virginia football game in Fort Worth. However, being the travelers they are, my brother and sister-in-law got invited to a wedding in Scotland that same weekend and decided to go. Therefore, I decided to change my travel plans and still go, but see more of Texas than I normally do.
I actually really enjoy traveling by myself. Granted, it helps when I have a direct flight and all the flights are on time, but I find it relaxing and a good time to think. The flight from Richmond to DFW is 2 1/2 hours, so it's not too long and just enough time to get in the groove of the flight. On the way over I listened to music and thought the whole time, while on the way back I almost read an entire book! I even ran into a former student at my high school in the DFW airport on my way back- small world!
While in Texas, we went to a Ranger's game, drove to Austin and saw the State Capitol and UT (very cool University) and ate dinner/walked around the downtown. Then we drove to San Antonio and stayed on the Riverwalk for 2 nights, site seeing the whole city (even including an adventurous bike ride in 100 degree heat for 3 hours). We went to the Natural Bridge Caverns on the way back and in Fort Worth visited TCU, downtown, had a drunken evening of margarita's and Trivial Pursuit (which Brian and Abbie paid for later), and even toured the Cowboy's new stadium (very cool)! It was a very nice trip. My brother is also into running, so we started each day with a bro/sis workout. If that doesn't put a smile on my parent's faces, I don't know what will.