Thursday, September 29, 2011

Brings Back Memories

The other night my friend and I were leaving SRD to head to a meeting and we were greeted with this surprising sight right outside our dorm.

It was very, very windy outside, and I was crossing my fingers for a thunderstorm (I was also carrying around my large bubble umbrella in preparation!), but we didn't get even one drop.
However, this picture reminded me of a windy day last year when I returned home to THIS lovely sight.

Yes, that is my car underneath that mess. I laughed when I first saw it, because really, what was being mad going to do to help the situation? Luckily, my dad's friend from college happens to live in Austin and knows a lot about cars, so he helped me out and took me to Twomey Auto Works. The first time I felt the tears sting my eyes was when I stepped out of the car and the mechanic told me it was going to cost around $7,000 or $8,000 to fix. And of course insurance doesn't cover "acts of God," and the city of Austin wasn't going to pay for it, even though it was their tree. I didn't know what to do - I was without my parents who usually make those types of decisions for me! In the end, we had them replace the windows and just bust out the dents. It looked great! Not perfect, but at least it was (and still is) drivable! And the most important thing, at least I wasn't inside of the car when it happened!

Workout + Lunch
Today's workout consisted of a 4.4ish mile run around downtown Austin. I planned on waking up earlier than 7:15 to run and escape some of the heat, but I was in desperate need of some sleep, but I wasn't feeling the treadmill, so I decided to brave the heat and just go for it. Well, it wasn't my easiest run, but I did run up the infamous hill located on MLK. Quite possibly my greatest feat of the week! When I got back, I was nice and sweaty due to the rising temperature outside. I literally couldn't stop sweating as I went down to the fitness room and completed this short leg workout.

60 squats --> 72 calf raises
40 squats --> 51 calf raises
20 squats --> 36 calf raises

Whew! I will feel that one in the morning! I am also considering making the trek over to the gym to swim a couple laps because it is such a beautiful (hot) day, but the chances of my getting a lane are not in my favor!

Well, SRD has done it again. This is a meal that I have never had before here at SRD but when I saw it on the weekly menu, I was pretty pumped about it. And I was not let down when it was time for me to grub.

This flank steak gyro with roasted vegetables was AWESOME. The pita bread (my favorite kind of bread!) was warm and delectable, and the meat was oh-so tender. Like I would expect anything less from SRD! Our kitchen staff is the best! I even went back for a few more pieces of meat and roasted vegetables. So delicious!

Here's a quick pick-me-up: It's almost FRIDAY! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Little Things

I found myself toying with the idea of writing a blog post about "the little things" when yesterday I got an email that brought a smile to my face as I walked back from class.  Today, that idea was confirmed as I was walking back from the gym and I saw my bootcamp instructor from last fall. I absolutely LOVED going to his bootcamp on Monday nights and the fact that he recognized and remembered me well enough to have a short conversation with me just made my day! I then get back to my dorm and see that I have mail waiting for me in my mailbox. What a great chain of events! Sometimes it is the little things in life that bring me so much joy!

My Philadelphia Phillies shirt that came in the mail today! NL East Champs!

Question of the day: Are there any "little things" that put a little pep in your step?

  • A few of my favorites are encouraging notes, the perfect frozen yogurt combination, and driving with the windows down while blaring country music on a sunny day.
Workout + Lunch

My workout today consisted of heading over to the wonderful facilities at Gregory Gym after my astronomy class to swim some laps. I took a nice long break from swimming over the summer, and I am really trying to get back into it. Not only is it an awesome total body workout, but it is very relaxing, and relaxation is definitely something I need in the midst of my jam-packed weeks!

Such a big pool, yet it is always full!
As always, everyone in Austin wants to swim laps at the exact same that I do, so I sometimes have a hard time finding myself a lane (yes, I could share, and most of the time I end up doing just that, but I have issues with sharing lanes - I like to spread out when I swim)! Today I shared a lane for the first ten or so laps but then I enjoyed a whole lane all to myself for the remainder of my little over a mile swim. The cool water is such a sweet relief from this heat wave we have been experiencing, but literally as I sit here typing, thunder is rolling over Austin. Pray for rain! We need it!

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the reasons I was so excited to start this blog was the opportunity to rave about the delicious food my dorm serves. Today for lunch I had a veggie burger, which I have just recently become obsessed with, and a side of hummus to use as a dip. I also had a side of vanilla yogurt mixed with raisins and granola. Now that is my kind of meal!

Veggie Burgers are my latest food obsession!

A Compilation of Things

Well readers, it's been quite a while since I have written a blog post for your reading pleasure, but these past few weeks have been crazy for me! I am hoping to become more regular with my blogging since I have finally (somewhat) settled back down into a routine. Since my last post, I have attended two UT football games (and they were victories - to all those who said we were going to have a rough year, McCoy to Shipley 2.0 is what I have to say about that!), met with a study abroad advisor (España, aquí vengo!), kicked off Wyldlife Club, began my elementary classroom observations, been home to celebrate my Granny's 90th birthday, survived my first tests and papers (barely!) and enjoyed some delectable Austin frozen yogurt. It sure has been a whirlwind!

First Pumpkin Fro-Yo of the Season from Menchies!

Longhorn Football is BACK, baby!
Aimee and I at the Wyldlife Kickoff - COUNTY FAIR Y'ALL!
How many days until Christmas break again? :)
Kidding, I absolutely love college and am not at all wishing my time away, but sometimes I think college would be a little bit more enjoyable if I didn't have tests and papers always in the back (more like the front!) of my mind!
Today I did a modified sprint interval workout inspired by PBFingers. I did everything as normal, but I continued running until I hit 30 minutes, at a very relaxed pace, and then I walked on an 8.0 incline for three minutes. I completed just over 3.5 miles. I followed my run with 3 sets of 24 lunges (yow - my booty will be feelin' that one in the morning!), crunches on a stability ball, and various arm exercises with 7 pound dumbbells. I completed some tricep extensions, bicep curls, lateral arm raises, and two sets of 18 overhead press exercises. I need a little something to spruce up my arm workouts - they are getting a little repetitious!

Note: This was supposed to be posted last night, however, the Internet at my dorm is probably the most unreliable thing ever, so here is an early morning post. I hope y'all have a Terrific Tuesday! :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cotton Candy Friday

I hope you are enjoying a fabulous Friday! I know that I am so relieved that it is the weekend. It's been a long week really getting back into the swing of things at school. My spanish professor mentioned that she could feel things really heating up - let's hope that doesn't mean that my stress level begins heating up as well!

Anyway, one of the reasons I started this blog is because I was inspired by the fun-loving blog of PBFingers. I absolutely LOVE her blog and read it religiously. It has such a positive, upbeat mood to it that I also hope to capture in my blog. I want to model my blog posts after hers, so here goes nothing'!

Breakfast + Workout

I rose bright and early this morning to get in a workout before my classes. I know that it is generally tougher for me to be motivated enough to get in a on Fridays, just because I am so exhausted from the week, that if I could do it before my classes, it would set the pace for the rest of the day! I did an interval workout, surprise, inspired by PBFingers. You can view it here. It has the perfect amount of walking and running, and it was enough to get me sweating. I then rounded my workout off with some ab work and jump rope!

My favorite breakfast!
You will quickly learn that when I am at school, my breakfast rarely changes. I have become addicted to the vanilla yogurt that my dorm serves, mixed with granola, walnuts, and raisins. You will also learn that I generally go back for a second bowl. It is just that good.


One of the reasons I am so thrilled about this blog is the opportunity to rave about the fabulous food my dorm (SRD - Scottish Rite Dormitory) has. It is famous for its home-made food that is brought out by some pretty cute waiters. My friends and I look forward to Monday morning when the new menu is revealed (however - since I am an RA, I now get an early preview, just one of the many RA perks!) Lunch today featured Chicken Scampi with roasted peppers and a bowl of Garden Vegetable Soup on the side. Delicious! One of my favorite meals that SRD serves.

Don't worry - that wasn't all that I ate, I also enjoyed quite a few handfuls of cinnamon covered almonds that I received in the mail today. Yes, I ordered nuts online. Online Shopping Anonymous anyone?

One of the many perks of living at SRD - a description of SRD deserves an entire post of its own - are the countless cute events that happen just because.

Today was.. COTTON CANDY FRIDAY! We have our very own cotton candy machine that was set up in the front lobby for girls to grab on their way in and out of the dorm. So much fun! While it was enjoyable (and sticky!) to make, I learned that I need to work on my cotton candy spinning skills.

Farrah - one of the sweet girls on my hall with the first cotton candy!
Meanwhile, I am enjoying a relaxing Friday afternoon watching Breakfast at Tiffany's with some friends, while attempting to study simultaneously. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Big Dipper

To blog about something that is very prevalent in my life today, SCHOOL! I am a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin - Hook 'em! I am an English UTeach major, meaning that I want to become a high school English teacher once I graduate. I used to want to teach math, then I wanted to teach at the elementary level, however, I really think that English is the right department for me. I have always loved reading, and I have recently discovered my love of writing. Plus, there are tons of other job opportunities available with an English degree, just in case teachers are still having a hard time finding jobs in a few years.

The beautiful University of Texas Tower
I am in the middle of my third week of school, but only my second full week. I may have only attended ten days worth of class thus far, but it feels like I have been in school for half a semester! These college professors don't fool around - I have already had to read one entire book, write one paper, and take two quizzes. It's a tough adjustment to go from summer back into school mode, but I feel like I am finally getting back into the swing of all things school related.

I already love my classes so far. Hopefully I still feel that way after the first test! I am taking an Introductory Spanish class three times a week, which I absolutely love. I loved Spanish in high school and considered trying to test into a higher level Spanish class, but since I haven't taken a Spanish class in a few years, I decided to start again from scratch. It can be rather intimidating speaking in a foreign language in front of dozens of students whom you don't really know, but what better way is there to really learn the language?

A class that I don't love yet, but one that I think I will as the semester progresses, is my English class. I know, I know, how can an English major not love their English class? Well, I am in a class called Banned Books and Novel Ideas, and, you guessed it, we read and analyze controversial books. We read The Awakening by Kate Chopin last week, which was a quick, interesting read, with a somewhat depressing ending. Edna Pontellier longs to run back to the freedom she felt from her childhood, and escape the confinement society imposes upon her. I am surrounded by people who have such intellect, and I think it will force me to close read and really dig deep into what the authors are trying to convey.

Kate Chopin - author of The Awakening
A class that I am absolutely thrilled about is my astronomy class. All students at the University of Texas are required to take at least two classes that fulfill the science requirement, and being someone who used to want to be an astronaut (seriously! I used to have a book on stars and I would take it outside with me as I looked through my telescope), I decided astronomy would be the perfect way to get that science requirement for a girl who is not so good at science. My professor is awesome, and that may have something to do with the fact that he has worn a space related shirt every time we have met. Doesn't get much cooler than that. I can finally (somewhat) fulfill my astronaut dreams!

The University of Texas McDonald Observatory
This brings me to my last class. We may only meet once a week for an hour, but it is one of the most important classes I will take throughout my four years. It is called UTL101, or in a language that will make sense to the rest of my readers, the first class in the secondary teaching sequence. I will be observing (and teaching THREE lessons!) a class once a week at an elementary school. I just got assigned a teacher at an elementary school and I will be going for the first time next week! I can't wait - although I don't want to teach elementary aged kids, they are still a lot of fun to work with, and in my opinion, there is no greater task than being an elementary school teacher, that is where most of the foundation is built. We have various assignments throughout the semester, one being a HUGE portfolio that we have to put together - how fun will it be to have something like that to look back on?!

Whew! That was a long post! I hope all of y'all enjoyed a relaxing Labor Day and are enjoying a short week. I know I am, how could I not, what with this beautiful Austin weather we have been enjoying lately!

Congress Bridge - Austin, Texas

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My First Post

I have been toying with the idea of starting a blog for a while now so I decided, what better way to pursue my love of writing than to just start my own blog? I am going to introduce myself by telling y'all "25 Things About Me" - remember that facebook craze? :)

Me :)
  • Ephesians 2:8-9. My faith is so very important to me. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and I strive to live my life for Him and glorify Him in all that I do. Though I fail Him thousands of times every single day, He never leaves me and He always loves me. In the words of a friend, Jesus Christ is my constant in a life that is continually changing. He has humbled me and broken me, and filled me with more joy than I ever thought possible.
  • H-town born and raised.
  • I have the most amazing family and friends ever. They mean the absolute world to me and I am so thankful for every single one of them.
  • I spent a good portion of my life on the volleyball court. I am so very thankful for the friendships I made, the life lessons and discipline I learned, and the memories I made. I wouldn’t trade a single second of those Friday night practices, road-trips with my mom, and those unforgettable moments on and off the court for anything. I miss volleyball every day and I just know that whatever I end up doing with my life, volleyball will always have a special place in it.
  • Chacos are the best.
  • YoungLife is one of the coolest organizations ever. You should definitely check it out. It has changed my life, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to lead kids here in Austin and show them the love of Christ. In the words of the fabulous Ashley Anderson, "It's the 45 for the 15. If you spend all of your time just preaching to someone they probably won't want to hear it. But, if you spend 45 minutes just loving on someone, then take those 15 minutes to tell them about the amazing God who gave you that ability to love."
Longhorns on top of the mountain at Crooked Creek -
a YoungLife camp in Colorado
  • I believe everyone should sweat once a day. There is no better feeling than a great workout!  It can come in the form of a gym, or the form of dancing, paddle boarding, or playing a pick-up game of capture the flag. Just get out there and sweat - and make sure you are having fun doing it!
  • Speaking of working out, running is my newest passion. For those of you who really know me, I used to be the least enthusiastic runner I know. Now, however, I just love it. There is no better than a feeling than a great run, whether it be outside along Town Lake, a sprint on a treadmill or along the beach. The great thing about running is that you can virtually do it anywhere. All you need is a pair of running shoes.
  • Peanut butter and bananas may be the best combination ever.
  • I am a huge bookworm. I love curling up with a good book. I have been this way since I was a little kid. I am always looking for a new book to read and I am absolutely obsessed with my kindle!
  • Team Harry.
My best friend from Pre-K, Lindsey, and I at the Harry Potter
7 Part 2 Premiere - so sad it's over!
  • As much as I love traveling and visiting new states and countries, I am not much for airplane rides. It is so cool that we have something like airplanes that allow us to travel to so many different places all over the world, but I still get slightly nervous every time I get on one.  
  • I am a Texas girl through and through. Country music, cowboy boots, Rodeo Season. Nothin’ better.
  • My biggest pet peeve is being late.
  • The key to my heart? Berripop Frozen Yogurt.
  • Baseball is my favorite sport to watch. The Philadelphia Phillies have my heart and I hope to cheer them on all the way to the World Series!
  • I love making lists. Something about crossing things off makes me feel so accomplished.
  • I L O V E to bake. It is so therapeutic and I am constantly looking for new recipes and I am addicted to baking blogs such as My Baking Addiction. I would love to open my own bakery one day – called Kelli’s Kupcakes and Kreations.
  • I love school supply shopping.
  • Seeing as I love reading so much, and have recently realized my passion for writing, I want to be a high school English teacher in the future. I would love to have the opportunity go back and teach at Stratford America, but we’ll see where God takes me!
  • I have the amazing ability to cry in almost every single movie. A Walk to Remember and Remember the Titans are probably my two favorite movies ever, but I love pretty much any and all chick flicks.
  • I am truly convinced that Austin is the coolest city ever and I am so blessed to live here. From Mt. Bonnell to South Congress to Trailer Food to Town Lake, there is always something to do. Keep Austin Weird!
One of Austin's picture hot spots with Lexi and Sarah!

  • Encouraging notes are my favorite.
  • One of my biggest fears in life is not finding the person I am meant to be with for the rest of my life.
  • Smile. You never know when it could make someone's day :)
Well, I hope y'all enjoy my blog, I know that I sure had a great time writing it!

Until next time,