Friday, October 28, 2011

"the world is a book and those who don't travel read only a page"

It's been a while since I have posted, and since I am not able to sit down and write an official post, I thought I would leave you with a list of places at the absolute top of my To Visit List - let me warn you, there are quite a few! :)


Barcelona, Madrid - I want to visit all of the beautiful cities in Spain! And hopefully that will be happening sooner than I think! :)

barcelona beaches holiday
Beaches in Barcelona
Fat Tire Bike Tour: Barcelona - definitely on my bucket list!

London, England

I would love the opportunity to study literature in England. That's the bookworm in me coming out. Although I can't say I wouldn't stop for a picture at Platform 9  3/4. That's the Harry Potter nerd in me coming out!
Big Ben
Platform 9 3/4

P.S. I Love You. Need I say more? Plus, I have a little bit of Irish in me, and who doesn't want to see the land of the leprechauns? :)

Seattle, Washington

Although it is sometimes known as "The Rainy City," Seattle has many beautiful attractions. I guess I can attribute my desire to visit the Space Needle to my fascination with all things astronomy and space related.
Space Needle
New York

My mom and I are going to celebrate my 21st year in New York City and I absolutely cannot wait! NYC is known as the city that never sleeps and I am fully prepared to take advantage of every minute!

Central Park

Statue of Liberty

Ground Zero - how moving!

Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate
McDonald Observatory

I am taking my first astronomy class, and while it is not always the most interesting, I think this observatory in West Texas would be a beautiful sight. I have always had a fascination with the stars and space; I wanted to be an astronaut when I was little!
The University of Texas McDonald Observatory

I have never been on a cruise before, but my family has talked of possibly going on an Alaskan Cruise someday - I hear it is the best way to see Alaska!

Sitka, Alaska - The Proposal made this place famous!
Seaside, Florida

What says vacation better than relaxing on the beach with a good book? Plus, I want one of those trendy Seaside shirts!

“Everything under heaven belongs to me.” - Job 41:11
Nothing better than the beach!

There are definitely more places that I would love to visit, but these are just at the very top of my list!

Happy Halloween Weekend!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Iron Woman

Swim 1.2 miles. Bike 56 miles. Run 13.1 miles. CHECK! This is no easy feat but my roommate from last year - Melissa - whom you met here, just completed this 70.3 mile race, otherwise known as the Half Ironman. Some might call it crazy, myself included, while others might call it fun, in a sick, twisted sort of way. I would say I categorize myself in the second category as well. :)

I had a wonderful time cheering her on and watching the other racers finish. Every single person who crosses that finish line is an absolute rockstar. I know firsthand just how physically and mentally tough that race is. Yes, I completed the Austin 70.3. WHAT? Am I insane? Maybe a little bit. My friend and I decided our senior year in high school that since we would both be in Austin in the fall, and since we both enjoy working out so much, a half ironman would be right up our alley. I am STILL questioning my parents thought process on letting me enter that race! :)


It most definitely ranks right up there as one of the most difficult and demanding things I have ever put my body through, let alone my mind. There were parts of the race that I really wanted to just sit down and cry, and there were the crazy parts of me that thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing. I will say that I enjoyed it a whole lot more after I crossed that finish line and no longer had to run, bike, or swim.
Emily and I after finishing the race! :)

Emily, Seth, and I before beginning the race! Talk about nerves!
Looking back, I definitely would have altered my training plan and prepared a WHOLE lot more than I did. This brings out my competitive side and motivates me to do it again sometime. In the future. As in, when I am not in college. But I do want to do another one someday and do it for what it's worth and actually run the entire time. Maybe someday that will lead me to a full Ironman, although I am not sure that my body would like me too much after that one!

Anyway, Melissa did incredible during the race, and after the setback of breaking her foot last spring, she dominated that Ironman and showed herself that she is capable of doing such a thing as crazy as the Half Ironman. If you can do that, you can do anything! Love you Melissa, and I am so proud of you!


Her #1 fan :)



Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wedding Bliss

Every time I think I am going to have a somewhat relaxed week, it never actually is. I have come to the realization that every week is going to be extremely busy and I will get an awesome 5-week break where I can relax and enjoy all of the holiday festivities! However, I did do absolutely nothing yesterday, and it was so wonderful! The most strenuous thing I did (besides class of course) was going on a bike ride - I couldn't resist, it was SUCH a beautiful day in Austin!

Earlier this week, I talked about how my dorm was having a Bridesmaids + Crafts Night on Tuesday night. Well, it was such a success. We put up a screen in our ballroom, arranged the delicious cupcakes that we baked so that they formed a heart and SRD, munched on the delicious hors d'oeuvres that the wonderful kitchen staff made us, and crafted hair pins and headbands inspired by Pinterest. I, of course, fell asleep on the floor, but everyone else seemed to enjoy the movie! :)

One of my favorite foods ever - Hummus and Pita

Two SRD girls enjoying the girls night!

I was in charge of the popcorn machine for a while - and lucky for me, I also got to clean it!

Our 100+ cupcakes! <3 SRD!
Continuing the wedding theme, this afternoon my friend and fellow RA, Bekah, and I served wine at a wedding reception. Mary's - the administrator at SRD - son was getting married today and they were looking for two people to serve wine to the guests at the reception. Bekah and I had shifts that were in the morning and night, respectively, so we were the lucky two! It was a pretty fun way to make a few extra bucks! :)

Bekah with the UT Tower Cake!

Bekah and I with the cake!
 Workout + Dinner
Today's workout was a double whammy and it felt great! I went to bed last night with the intent that I would wake up early and run about 7 miles before getting a jump start on my homework, but when I woke up, I was not in the mood to run, and I was hungry, so I dragged myself out of bed to go down to breakfast and then start working so that I could work out later. I walked to Gregory Gym and swam my usual 72 laps. It was a beautiful day outside, and my one-piece tan line just keeps getting better and better! After the wedding, at about 6:45 or so, I decided to go for a short run to the capitol and back, which is a little over three miles. It was a very nice night, but still a tad bit warm for this time of year. I am hoping it cools down a bit, but not too much, because I don't handle the cold weather very well! I am a shorts and t-shirt kind of girl!

For dinner I decided to be adventurous and try a new place that some of my friends had raved about in the past, Miltos. It is located about a quarter of a mile from SRD, and it was absolutely delicious. I ordered the chicken gyro topped with tomatoes and lettuce. The pita bread that wrapped the chicken, lettuce, and tomatoes up was so warm and delightful; I give it two thumbs up!

Articles of possible interest:

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cupcakes and Football

Remember how yesterday I posted about how I was itching to bake? Well, last night I got to bake some delicious cupcakes with some of my fellow RA's. We went over to our program director's house around 8:00pm and had a little bit too much fun baking 100+ cupcakes and watching one of the greatest (and most quotable) movies ever produced - Mean Girls.

We were baking to prepare for our "Bridesmaids and Crafts" night tonight at SRD. Basically, we are going to girl out to the max as we watch the movie Bridesmaids, eat cupcakes, and be crafty (inspired by Pinterest of course!)

Funfetti batter

Pumpkin Tarts + our first round of Cupcakes in the oven!

Melissa and Sarah making the marble fudge batter

Stirring the Orange Spice batter.. the question is, will they be good or not?

Funfetti + Marble Fudge
Before I went over to Ali's house, I attended the Murchison Middle School 7th and 8th grade football games at Housepark. After driving around for 15 minutes searching for a parking spot, I finally got into the game! Although I didn't know any of the players, it was fun to hang out with my seventh grade girls! It brings back memories of my middle school days - we were also MMS (Memorial Middle School) and our colors were orange and white as well!
Also, who knew that middle schools had homecomings these days? There is a dance on Friday night and everything! They also had a dance team, and cheerleaders. Times sure have changed since I was in middle school!

Small (Purple) vs. Murchison (White and Orange)

NJHS Induction in 7th Grade!
Workout + Dinner
I knew that I wanted to run today because it was SUCH a beautiful day - a high of 75 degrees - but it was pretty windy, so I had a hard time finding the motivation to run outside. Plus, I got out of class at 12:30 and had to go to office hours at 4, so my timing was awkward and I ended up sitting around trying to figure out what to do but not really doing anything. So, when I got back from office hours, I decided I had time to do a 30-minute sprint workout before I worked the desk. I then did a set of 24 lunges, 60 squats, 24 lunges, 40 squats, 24 squats, and 20 squats. My legs and butt are really going to be feelin' it tomorrow morning!

I was really excited for dinner tonight, seeing as it was a new SRD menu item: beef kebabs and vegetable kebabs. I LOVE kebabs, but unfortunately, I wasn't hungry due to the large amounts of other food I ate throughout the course of the day. It was just one of those days where nothing seemed to satisfy me! I got hungry about 6:45pm, in the middle of my shift, so I asked the kitchen to put some kebabs away for me. There were only vegetable kebabs left, but I just ate them and they were DELICIOUS! I ate four, but who can feel bad about eating veggies? :)

I am going to finish up my shift at the desk and then head over to the ballroom for BRIDESMAIDS + CRAFTS NIGHT! Have a wonderful Tuesday night!

Monday, October 17, 2011

To Love One Another

Last night I attended the 7:00 service at Austin Stone Community Church, and although nearly every week has an amazing message, last night's message really hit me. Basically, it talked about how we are called to love others and have a heart that is geared towards loving others; not a heart that is self-seeking.
It made me realize two things. One, that I really want to focus on changing my heart and focus on others around me, instead of just focusing on myself. Two, the reason that I am always so stressed out about school and all of my various activities is because I am doing them for myself. So my challenge to myself (and you!) is to have a heart that is focused on OTHERS.

Lunch + Workout
After my class ended at 11:00 today, I headed over to Gregory Gym to swim some laps. I don't normally swim on Mondays, but I knew that I needed a break from running, as I have run about 12 miles in the past two days. My legs were screaming for a break! That was totally fine with me because I absolutely love swimming. It is an awesome total body workout and it gives me time to just THINK about things without getting caught up in everything else. Today my thoughts were geared towards baking (so deep and philosophical, right?) and not to wish away my time or anything, but I am so excited for Christmas break! I love how joyful everyone is, and I can't wait to be at home with my own kitchen. That is really the one major thing I miss about being at SRD - I have nowhere to bake!

Christmas time treats!
As I walked back from the pool, I found myself hoping some sort of fish would be on the menu (one of the reasons I love Mondays is because the new menu for the week comes out!) for lunch today. My craving was answered as Baked Catfish Fillet was being served today. I wasn't sure if I would like catfish or not, as I just recently discovered that I do actually enjoy some types of fish (mainly tilapia and cod). I decided to give it a go and wow, it was delicious! My taste buds are definitely expanding! This was one of the best meals I have had in a while! Paired with a side of green beans and red grapes, you just can't beat it!

I am a little obsessed with grapes if you couldn't tell! :)
Joke of the day (sent to me by my mom): Why was the mummy afraid to go on vacation?
Answer: He might unwind!

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My First Lesson

Tuesday was a big day for me. Heck, this whole week was big for me, but Tuesday was a day that I was extremely nervous for, but also a day that I was very excited for at the same time. It was the day that I was going to teach my first official lesson! In high school I was in the Ready-Set-Teach program where every other morning I got to go back to my kindergarten days and work with a class at my old elementary school. I would help them with their writing, or they would read to me, and without fail, every day when it was time for me to leave, the students would tackle me in a hug and make me feel so loved and appreciated. There is nothing quite like that childlike love!

Two kids from the kindergarten class I worked with on the 100th Day of School!
I am enrolled in a class called UTL101, which is code for UTeach Liberal Arts 101, which is the first step in the teacher certification process. We start out in an elementary school, then our next step will be going to a middle school, and then I will be in a high school the semester before I begin my student teaching. Crazy!Basically, for UTL101, I go to an elementary school classroom once a week and observe the teacher and her class for an hour. I take notes on behavior management, how she conducts lessons, the way she determines if the students are learning the material and so on. Well, as part of this class, we also have to teach THREE lessons! I had to come up with a lesson plan of my own and teach a 45-minute lesson to these students! Talk about nerves! It was great though because the students were absolutely great and they made me feel so loved. I had the students read the story "A Home for Nat," and we identified and defined the highlighted words. I also taught them about inferencing, and they made inferences about the story that we just read. They did great! They definitely made me look good!

The poster I made to introduce the lesson
The students asked me if I was going to teach them every day.. one lesson every few weeks is enough for me right now! I honestly think the reason my lesson was so successful is because I have had a great teacher to model myself after. She does a great job with the kids and I have already learned so much in five short weeks.  I had so much fun teaching my first lesson, and although I have had some doubts lately about whether or not I really want to be a teacher, this definitely reinforced my desire to be a teacher and interact with students to hopefully make a difference in their lives the way some of my teachers made a difference in mine. Two teachers that had a huge impact on my high school career:

Dave Avis - aka Mr. Teacher. He was my physics teacher for both my junior and senior years of high school

Jenny Adcock - aka Coach A, one of the best volleyball coaches there is!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Morning Person

I have never been one who can sleep in very late, but lately, and this is surprising because I am a typical sleep deprived college student, I find myself waking up earlier and earlier. I guess it is just my busy schedule that makes me want to get up and start my day early in the morning. I love it when I wake up and am able to cross things off of my to-do list before it even hits noon! I just feel as if I have wasted the day if I sleep in later than nine. Maybe I get that from my parents, who are both extremely early risers!

My Pre-K bestie and I at 6:30 in the morning before starting the MS150!
That leads me to my workout this morning. I woke up around 7:00 and found myself energized (this could be due to the fact that I fell asleep at approximately 10:00 last night!) and ready to run! I grabbed my iPod and my Asics and headed out the door to get in a nice run by Town Lake. I could not have asked for a more beautiful morning as I completed a little over seven miles in about 68-ish minutes. It felt so wonderful outside, it was a cool 65-degrees and evidently everyone else in Austin had the same idea as me, the trail at Town Lake was PACKED! I even ran (punny, get it? :) into my Wyldlife teammate Casey while running down there.

Casey and I at Crooked Creek
I came back and showered, ate my usual yogurt breakfast, and have decided to get a jump start on the mountainous pile of homework that I have this weekend. Does it ever end?! Later on I am going to reward myself, if I get a good amount of work done, and head over to the mall because I am on the hunt for a cute dress that would be appropriate to wear to a wedding to serve wine to guests. Any ideas?

I know it has been a while since my last post, but I plan on posting at least one more time, hopefully twice, today. I can't wait to tell you how teaching my first lesson went!

Question of the morning: Do you prefer to wake up early to get things done, or stay up until the wee hours of the night?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Food Fun

I know, I know, it's been a while. I know I said that I was going to become more consistent with my blogging but this week has been absolutely crazy with tests and papers and YoungLife. I feel like I haven't even had a spare moment to breathe! Unfortunately next week will be somewhat of the same, but I am hoping that I can handle it a little bit better! But here is an update of my week which included LOTS of delicious food!

Wednesday was a special day because I got to help celebrate the 20th (TWO decades!) birthday of my freshman year roomie - Melissa! She would kill me if she knew that I was writing a post about her it; she does not appreciate any mention of her birthday! That is something I just don't understand because I LOVE birthdays, so I will do the honors! Melissa is such a blessing in my life; she is so encouraging and loving, and I really miss our late-night (okay, late for us is like 11:00 at night - we were such grandmas last year in 320!) life chats! Love you Melissa!

Melissa loves cupcakes - so obviously they were a necessity!
The birthday girl on her special day!

Melissa and I on a rainy day last year!
Here begins my plethora of food pictures.. enjoy! :)

Lexi and Emily enjoying some delicious watermelon
On Wednesday SRD had a cookout on the back lawn!

SRD Cookout!

SRD Cookout!

Precious roommates Crystal and Laura enjoying the beautiful weather

Toppings for..

Make Your Own Belgian Waffles on the first Friday of the month! :)

Gotta get those greens! :)

Honey Lime Chicken + Cooked Carrots
My absolute favorite meal - Shrimp and Beef Tacos complete with Guacamole Salad!
As you can tell, I am very spoiled with the food available to me at SRD. The kitchen staff is the absolute BEST and they do not get enough recognition for all that they do for us!

Today I rewarded myself (I am not sure why I felt the need to reward myself, maybe for making it through the week in one piece?) with frozen yogurt, a trip to Central Market for cereal, honeycrisp apples, and milk, and a little pit-stop at Francesca's, one of my absolute favorite stores, where I purchased the cutest pink shirt and two pairs of earrings. At Menchies, I enjoyed a combination of two of my favorite flavors of fro-yo: Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Dipped Banana. Delicious! I could have polished off a whole other cup.

My stomach was happy after eating this yummy concoction!
Tonight I went to a fabulous dinner with two of my fellow RA's. We had dinner at The Shady Grove - one of Austin's hot spots. I enjoyed a delightful veggie burger topped with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, that was well worth the 30-minute wait we had in order to enjoy our dinner outside on this beautiful night in Austin. What a lovely evening!

And now I am currently sitting on the couch in my lounge watching game five of the Phillies - Cardinals series. It is such a nail-biter!

One more thing before I sign off.. it's 9:32 p.m. and OU still sucks! <-- more on that tomorrow!