Tuesday, January 29, 2013

3 Years!

To all my dear readers, it is the 3 year anniversary of when I revamped this blog! Its true conception was the spring of 2008 while I was at UVA (albeit as a joke with my roommates), but it was neglected for a while before I took it upon myself to make blogging a bigger part of my life in January of 2010. Since then I have made friends in the blogging community, reconnected with old friends, and hit over 10,000 pageviews. So a BIG THANK YOU is in order to all my friends, family and readers I do not know for your encouragement, feedback and comments to this blog! I have really enjoyed opening up a window into my life (and all my random thoughts) for you all!

Please continue (or start) to message me or comment on posts- I love reading your comments, and I love to know who is reading:) If you have any topics you want me to post about, I am always open for suggestions!

Here's to 3 more years!



(My original room posting set-up)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Welcome to Virginia


This is the crazy weather we have been dealing with! Probably why everyone is sick. Can we say, "indecisive?"

Friday, January 25, 2013

Unbroken



I just finished a great book that I have to share with you. It is called "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption," and it is by the author of "Seabiscuit" Laura Hillenbrand.

A quick summary: It follows the life of Louis Zamperini, a collegiate record holder in the mile and Olympian, who served in World War Two and became a POW in Japan. It sounds educational, and it is, but it is so much more. It is about the human spirit and what people can put up with to survive and how a person's outlook and attitude make SUCH a HUGE difference. Coming from the counseling perspective, this is such an important lesson for people to learn. Life is not fair nor easy, but it is our attitude and outlook that can make or break us. It also brings to mind what it would take for us as Americans/people to torture and hurt people from other cultures. When would we become brainwashed enough to hurt so easily? Are we in some ways already doing it? Could we survive with others doing it to us in a day and age where we live in such comfort and luxury? Are we losing part of ourselves that we need for survival? How would we treat life after such a horrific experience?

If you only read one book this year, this should be it.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why You're Single

You’re single because you’re single. It’s not because you texted too much or too little or waited 33 minutes to respond because he took 23. It’s not because you met up with your ex that night at 5 a.m. that no one knows about, or because you kissed another boy after a date with a loser.

You’re not single because you spit food on that date or tripped coming out the the movie theatre. You’re not single because you hurt your first boyfriend really badly when you were 15 or because you have yet, to this day, to apologize. It’s not because you were secretly jealous when your friend got a boyfriend or that a guy you dated for two months now has a really cute girlfriend and looks really happy. And you’re happy for him. But still ill that he found someone before you.

You’re not single because you slept with your ex boyfriend. You’re not single because half the world found out when you didn’t even want to remember it yourself. You’re not single because you think the guy your friend wants to hook you up with is ugly or not tall enough. It’s not because you’re not willing to put up with someone who doesn’t brush their teeth on a regular basis.

You’re not single because your standards are too high. Good for you for having standards. It’s not because you didn’t like that really, really good guy who wanted to take you on a date and you just weren’t feeling it. And it’s not because you like to wear pajama pants as soon as you get home and wash all the makeup off your face. You’re not single because you didn’t learn enough from the past or would rather chill on a Friday night with your blanket and a cold beer than shower, get ready, and go out. You’re not single because something is wrong with you.

You are single because you are single. It’s really as simple as that. You haven’t made the connection with another heart yet. You can get dolled up, dress cute, cut your hair, dye your hair, tweeze your eyebrows, put on lipstick and you may still. be. single. You can go out to a bar hoping to meet the love of your life and not find a damn one in the place attractive. And it’s going to remain that way until it’s time for you to find one. Stop hoping for it. Start living the life that you do have instead of wishing for things that you don’t have. There will come a time you’ll meet a boy and you’ll have to give up some of this single freedom you currently have. Start being more thankful. Start doing that now. 


I thought this was a very nice article to dedicate to all my amazing single friends (and to myself) who are great just the way they are!

Thanks to Thought Catalog for this.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Rachael/Robyn Ray?

I've come to accept something about myself that I have felt quilty about lately...

I just don't like to cook.


I feel like it has become very trendy and/or necessary for people my age to get into cooking. They look up recipes on pinterest, experiment with food, cook with a loved one and enjoy the deliciousness of their own creation. Well, I pin recipes but never make them, never experiment with food b/c I don't like buying exesive amounts of food that could go bad (single people problems), don't have anyone to cook with (again...single people problems), and rarely taste the different between a microwaved versus homemade meal (palate problems). Therefore, I have come to grips with the fact that cooking is not my forte. I don't enjoy it. It stresses me out. That blender I got to make smoothies? Ya, that's been used ONCE along with the once-a-month used waffle maker and toaster (I never have butter to make toast). I don't like thinking about what to make, having to go to the store every day for specific things, feeling pressured to use the food that I bought before it goes bad, or worrying about having enough time to make something. I can't cook when I am hungry (I eat everything while I am making it), and I get hungry so suddenly that I need something quick and easy. I like to make and eat dinner in about 15-20 minutes. Cleanup included. And now that my saute pans seem to burn easily due to some left over residue, cooking is even faster! Thank you freezers and frozen veggies!


So I am going to let myself off the hook. I am not meant to be a cooker at this point in my life. And that's ok. I am good at other things:) So this "cooking" trend is one I will just have to pass up!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Highlights

On a totally different note from my previous post, I want to tell you why the past two days have been great!

1. While babysitting my favorite girls yesterday, they proceeded to sing "Down at the Boardwalk" (she is learning it in guitar class) in chipmunk voices. It was probably the best and most hysterical rendition of the song I have ever heard. Good skills, those ladies.

2. While also babysitting, I met a mom in the church, where one of the girls was in choir practice, who proceeded to tell me her dating stories (and I told her mine) and it put a lot of things in perspective. It was a very refreshing talk!

3. It stopped raining long enough yesterday for me to get in a fabulous 3.5 mile run. So refreshing after 4 days of rain (continuing today into snow)!

4. My friend sent me this amazing video at work:



5. I am part of a "Secret Buddy" program at work where we give each other treats, and I got this in my mailbox. I finally tried it today...OMG BEST DARK CHOCOLATE EVER.


And the forecasted snow tonight resulting in a delay or snow day tomorrow would really top this week off! Do your snow dance:)

**Not a great event today was having to spend over $700 on my car for new break pads/rotors and an ignition switch to pass state inspection, but, on a positive note, I did not cry or freak out. I will just be super lame for the next few weeks. This is why we save money...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Change of Pace

New Year...new life? I have been thinking a lot lately about my life and how at 26 years I sometimes feel stuck and scared that this is what the rest of my life will look like...working the same job, living in the same city, doing the same things day in and day out that I do now. While nothing I do or don't do is out of the ordinary, I am not quite sure it is exactly what I want. I feel old and young at the same time, chained and free, optimistic and pessimistic, happy and sad...I can't quite put a finger on what it is that I want, but I know that something has to change, whether it comes from within or without. I set myself a timeline last year of 30. Thirty would be the age that I make big life changes that I am not quite ready to make yet. But the more and more I think of that age, the more I also think I should do something unexpected sooner. Take a path not crossed, make a change without abandon...DO something I have never done without having to plan every minute of it.

I want to highlight an entry from my friend's blog that really brought this need for change to my attention-

I’m 26 years old, the same age as my mother when she had me. At 26, mom was basking in the joy of starting a family. I can’t help but wonder what if someone had told her, in this precious moment, “You have twenty years. Just twenty years until the beginning of the end of your life.” Just something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately.

momandme1986

In my very first post, I wrote: “Cancer changes you, changes your life, changes everything.” I knew that; I’d lived that. I never could have imagined though how utterly transformative this journey would be. I haven’t even hit the halfway mark yet.

Someone once referred to Still Easier Than Chemo as my passion project, a perfectly beautiful descriptor at the time — until it became so much more. I’m surrendering myself to this mission. Why not dedicate my life to fighting the disease that robbed my mother of hers? Why not dedicate my life to running in honor of those who cannot?

Twenty years. What if I only had twenty years?

I’m making my move. I hope you find the courage and strength to make yours. Life is too short not to.

This post struck a huge chord in me. This friend of mine lost her mother to cancer and now she is making it her mission in life (something she would not have thought about years ago) to raise money and fight the disease in honor of her mother. It is more than a passion project- it has changed her life. It is not something she planned or wanted, yet it will make her live her life with more meaning and direction than she ever knew how to before. It was unplanned, unexpected but now, is so right.

I obviously don't want something bad to happen before I find a passion project, or my life's passion, but what needs to happen for me to make a life change that would bring me to a place where I don't look ahead 10 or 20 years and think, "eh"? Where I truly bask in the glory and beauty of the everyday and not the doldrums of a life and world without deep meaning and excitement? Would it be a job or a new city or a new outlook? Would it be all of that? When I see the age '26' written on things, I am reminded that I am still so young, so why do I so often feel like I am settled? I recognize that I have so much of a life to live...what will it take to feel like I am living it right? Does anyone else feel this way or understand what I am going through?

How do I go about a true change of pace?


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Training Post #2

Wow, not much else must be going on in my life if the only thing I have to post about is my half-marathon training. But, alas, the beginning of January is never really too terribly exciting. Work has not been stellar since winter break, and my evenings have consisted of ticket sales, babysitting, meals/drinks with friends, football or sitting on my couch watching some kind of thrilling show. So there ya have it (though I did go to a fun bowling birthday party last night)!

Anyways, my training went very well this week. Due to my longer runs I am decreasing the amount of days I work out from 5-6 to 4-5, so I am actually working out less days but for more total time each week. I ran on Tuesday for 4.25 miles and on Thursday for 3.6 miles plus some walking change after I completed my goal. I actually slightly pulled my groin sprinting at the end of my Thursday run and it hurt quite a bit on Friday but was ok for my long run on Saturday. Saturday turned out to be a dreary, foggy run, but instead of planning my route, I just went where I felt like in the moment, which made it a fun run because I took roads/trails I don't always run. I ended up doing 8.5 miles in 1:25.25, so my pace was about the same as last week, but I did not have to walk at all. I also actually think I went further than 8.5 due to having to cross and re-cross streets and some trail parts, but that is harder to track on a map website than a GPS watch. I hope to do 9 next weekend with my friend, Jessica, who has an iPod mileage tracker, so I will have a more exact mileage.

And I LOVE my new running gear. I decided to include a picture of my favorite Reebok pants and shirt! My shirt is pink, but it has the sleeves you can wrap around your thumb when it's cold, and the pants are also my new favorite lounging pants, too!


I also look this cool and happy when I run...


Hopefully I will have inspiration for a non-running related post this week, but enjoy the Golden Globes in the mean time! I know I will:)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Training Post #1

Since my main new year's resolution/item to cross off my bucket list is my first half marathon, I thought it would be good to chronicle my training journey. The Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach is March 17th, so I have 10 weeks to train before the big day! I am not participating in any training group, but I will do some of my longer runs with my friend Jessica, who is also doing the race with me. My plan is to do my long runs on Saturday's and two 3-5 mile runs during the week with cross-training the other 1-2 days.

Today was my first long run after the new year. I ran Tuesday and Thursday this week, for 3 and 4 miles respectively, so I had not done a longer run since before Christmas, though I did keep up with my running for shorter distances during the holidays. My route today was 7.7 miles and was through (for those of you familiar with Richmond) Windsor Farms, an upper class neighborhood, Carytown, Byrd Park, and the fan. I felt pretty good during the run (I think my new running gear swag is contributing to my good runs this week!) but did have to walk for 2 minutes after mile 4 due to muscle soreness in my achilles (seems to be a routine place of discomfort for me). However, I completed the 7.7 mile run in 1:17.53, which I am very pleased with. I do not have any lingering soreness, despite some blisters (I need to remember to put band aids on before I leave) and feel good about an hour after finishing. I am planning on going 8-8.5 miles next weekend!

Kudos to all my running friends who are also training for various races this winter! And if you have any training tips, please let me know.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What I Did Over the Holidays

 Baked and decorated sugar cookies with my bro and his gf...

I



Took naps with the cat...
 

Went to the Chihuly Exhibit at VMFA on Christmas Eve...
 
.




Enjoyed the Christmas spirit with the cats...





Got hard cider from Nate with the potential to kill...
 

Witnessed the giving of a Tom Selleck poster from my dad to my mom (aka best gift of the year)...
 

Drove to Ohio in the snow...
 


Visited with my grandmom in Springfield... 
 
 (Gma and Gdad circa 1940's)

 (Three generations)

Saw more snow in Worthington...


Visited my moms parent's grave...




Saw my old house...
 

Hung out with cousins and their kids (including cute David here!)...
 

Drove back through the mountains to Virginia...
 

.... and celebrated New Years with friends!
 


Have a great start to the year getting back into the swing of things!