Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Spring Break Countdown: TEN DAYS!
The only things standing between me and a week of no class, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (tonight is opening night!), lounging, baking, tanning, and quality time with family and friends? Three papers, two midterms, twelve and a half hours of work, the Wyldlife Half-Niter, and (hopefully) a slew of good workouts. These next two weeks will certainly be busy! Hopefully I can manage to squeeze in a little bit of fun as well!

Spring Break, come back to me!
My small group in Florida - Spring Break 2011
Can't wait to see Brad perform for the third year in a row!

My workout today happened bright and early with a 6:45am wake-up call. I ate a little breakfast before biking over to Gregory Gym to swim and I was surprised to see that there were multiple lanes available. Usually the pool is hoppin' at 7:15am, but maybe it was the dreary, foggy weather that prompted some people to stay all wrapped up in their blankets.

Before I got ready to bike back to SRD to shower before beginning my long day of class, I checked my email and received a wonderful surprise. My 12:30 class was canceled! My first canceled class of the year! I am not glad that my professor is sick, but it gives me a little extra time in a very jam-packed day! Here's to hoping that I am productive during the time when I would normally be sitting in class.

Now for the most exciting news relating to the title of my post today..

I AM OFFICIALLY STUDYING ABROAD IN SPAIN THIS SUMMER!!!!! My spot in the program is confirmed and my flight is BOOKED! My flight departs on May 20th out of Houston and flies directly to Germany before I change planes for the short flight to Barcelona. I am seriously so excited and nothing could wipe the smile off of my face yesterday. My main concern? How I am going to fit six weeks worth of clothes and shoes into one suitcase. Spring Break will be dedicated to a whole lot of list making! I can't wait to be able to blog about all my adventures in Europe - I will be there in less than THREE short months!

Sarah and Kelli..
.. from Disney to SPAIN! We are such jet-setters! :)
I have to end this post with a huge thank you to the BEST parents in the world for allowing (and paying for) me to take this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. I am so excited for this opportunity and it was all made possible because they love me enough to let me live, travel (and study), in a foreign country for six weeks! I love y'all so much!

P.S. The UT Tower turned 75 yesterday. Hook'em forever!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

State Champs

I may not be a student at Stratford High School anymore, but I am still very proud to be a Spartan and to have had attended the best high school there is. I may be a little biased but there's just something special about that school on Fern Drive. 

Lindsay, Emily and I on Western Day!
Olivia, Lindsay, Mary Ellen and I on Nerd Day!
Volleyball memories
This morning, after volunteering with MarathonKids Final Mile from six to eight in the morning (seriously, WHO wakes up that early on a Saturday?), I made my way over to the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center to watch my high school participate in the Texas Swimming State Finals. Not to brag, but the boys WON state and one of the seniors set a new state record in the 100 breaststroke. Like I said, we rock. I enjoyed catching up with one of my favorite teachers from high school, Mr. Avis, my physics teacher my junior and senior years. He is such a cool teacher and I am so glad that we have kept in touch - he is such a great teacher and person and I hope to impact my future students the way he impacted me. Thanks for being such a rockstar teacher, Dave Ave!

He even came to our prom - the things teachers do for us students!
After spending the greater part of the morning at the swim meet, I battled the traffic on Guadalupe to get back to SRD and buckle down and work on some homework. I have three essays due in the next four days and I am not quite where I want to be with them. I finished my history essay, finished reading the book My Antonia (loved it!), and am currently watching a film for my childhood in adolescence English class. It has been a (somewhat) productive day in terms of school work!

Workout + Dinner

It was too beautiful of a day to not take advantage of this beautiful weather and go for a run! Especially since my back is finally feeling better. I grabbed my iPod Shuffle and started out on a four-ish mile run. It was TOUGH. Apparently taking over two weeks off from running lowers your endurance. I am hoping to slowly rack on the miles again, as I am signed up to run a 10K in two weeks!

We got there just as the Sun was setting
Dinner tonight was at one of my favorite places in Austin - Hula Hut. Yes, I went there last Saturday too. It is just too good to pass up! Hanna and I went on an "RA date" there and we arrived just as the sun was setting on the lake. Austin is so beautiful and I definitely understand why people don't want to leave Austin after they graduate. For dinner, I enjoyed a delicious veggie burger while Hanna had the pork tacos - my second choice on the menu. She said they tasted wonderful, I know what I am ordering the next time I go there! 

Veggie Burger 
Pork tacos
We walked over to Mozart's to get some coffee (well, Hanna got coffee, I am still trying to muster up the courage to start drinking coffee!) before  driving back to SRD where I have been surprisingly productive. It is only a matter of time before I turn on Boy Meets World! I only have one disc left, the horror!

Good night!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Windy Friday

Holy windy Friday! After going to sleep at about 10:20 last night, I had no trouble getting up at 6:45 to eat a quick breakfast before biking to Gregory to swim a little over a mile. I knew that it was going to be a good day because I had a lane all to myself for my entire swim. That never happens! After getting dressed, I hopped on my bike to tackle the bike back to SRD. I always contemplate just walking back because the path back to SRD is just slightly uphill and that is especially killer after swimming 72 laps! Anyway, it was SO cold and windy this morning that I almost fell off of my bike. What happened to the temperature in the high 80s yesterday? Only in Texas!

I headed down to the fitness center to tackle an arm workout that looked like this:

Three sets of 15-20 reps of each exercise
  • Bent over row
  • Bicep curls
  • Pushups
  • Tricep pull downs
  • Lateral raises
  • Chest press
  • Frontal raises
  • Cross body curls
  • Bicep curls with a bar
  • Tricep dips
*Those exercises in the same color means all the sets were completed back-to-back

I did the bicep curls at weights heavier than I am used to and it was TOUGH! My arms hated me, and my hamstrings still hate me from my other various leg workouts, but that's okay because they need to be whipped back into shape! I was blasting music from my phone since I was alone in the workout room and at the end of my workout, this song came on:

That was enough to power me through the end of my workout when my arms were feeling especially fatigued, and I couldn't help but think about my high school and the awesome Lip Dup that they recently performed. It shows so much school spirit and I am so proud to be a Stratford Alumni! Spartan Pride forever! It was even featured on the channel 2 news in Houston and if you haven't watched it, I suggest you click here. You'll be jealous that you didn't go to high school there!


Lunch today was superb, as usual! I am really going to miss the amazing already-cooked-for-me meals next year. I had a salad with grilled chicken, black olives, and balsamic vinagiearette dressing. I also went back for seconds on the grilled chicken and had some asparagus on the side. DELISH! What a great way to kick off the weekend!

I am off to try and tackle some homework before chaperoning the Murchison Middle School dance tonight. Remember those incredible awkward years? I am so glad to have been there, done that, and be looking in with those years in my memory. It should be a great time and I am so excited to see my seventh grade girls all dressed up!

Happy Go Texan Day! The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo season is almost upon us and I could not be more excited to spend my Spring Break at the rodeo! It is most definitely one of my favorite seasons. What could be better than country music and cowboy boots?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

HIIT Me Baby One More Time

What an absolutely beautiful Thursday afternoon in Austin! It was all I could do to not skip my 12:30 class after I finished my astronomy exam. I sat outside on one of the benches surrounding the six pack and just soaked in the gorgeous weather. One thing worries me about the high temperatures though. If temperatures are in the 80's in February, what is it going to be like this summer? I am a Texas girl through and through but the heat definitely gets to me sometimes!
I love my school! Photocred: Hannah Fierce

I was feeling a little down after my astronomy exam, so after my English class ended at 2, I walked myself over to Red Mango for some frozen yogurt. I definitely didn't deserve it for performing well on my exam, and it wasn't as though it was even that hard, I just didn't study as thoroughly as I probably should have. Luckily, we have a replacement exam option at the end of the semester, so I considered this exam my "trial run" for all of the other tests of the semester! I decided I should stop complaining about the four essays that I have due in the span of six days - I much prefer papers to studying for tests! Frozen yogurt was the perfect treat on this warm day and it really hit the spot. It can always make a day better!

My cup included a combination of dark chocolate, raspberry, pomegranite, and a little bit of pumpkin spice topped with granola, bananas, blackberries, and blueberries! It was so refreshing!
Workout + Dinner

I usually work out in the morning before class, but since I had a test I decided to forgo my morning workout in favor of some last-minute studying. Fat lot of good that did me! After my fro-yo had digested, I headed down to the fitness center to try out a new workout: Lean Legs and HIIT Shredmill Workout that I got here. It looked like this:

20 squats
30 lunges
40 toe touches (talk about a good hamstring stretch!)
50 second wall sit
40 toe touches
30 lunges
20 squats


3 minute brisk walk
3 minute jog
60 sec sprint
60 sec jog
60 sec sprint

20 pushups

Repeat treadmill portion --> 20 pushups (you are supposed to do jumping squats but those are SERIOUSLY killer) --> treadmill portion --> 20 sit-ups --> treadmill portion --> 30 second plank --> 5 minute walking cool down

I did the brisk walk at a pace of 4.5mph, the 3 minute jog at 6.5mph, the sprints at 9.0mph and the jog in between sprints at 6.0. I am not sure if that was too slow but the sprints really got me! I have never been a big fan of sprinting, even in elementary and middle school I did the longer distances - the 400 meter run was my specialty! I am just so happy that my back is feeling better and it felt so good to put myself through a tough workout!

Back in my middle school track days - I was one happy runner!
Dinner today was one of the better meals of the week and I loved every bite! I am making an effort to eat more fruits and veggies since my healthy eating has really suffered this week - I was starving last night around 10:30 and basically ate a full course meal. Negative life choice. I got back on track with dinner tonight that featured honey dijon chicken and whole green beans. I definitely went back for seconds on the green beans!

After I finish working the desk I have an eyebrow appointment and then I plan on relaxing with my three papers due next week Boy Meets World.

Smile - it's almost Friday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

First Run Back

I'll be the first to say that when my alarm goes off a little bit before seven, I am not always eager to jump out of bed and workout, especially after going to bed at almost midnight the night before. However, I knew that with the busy day I had ahead of me, if I didn't work out before class, it wouldn't get done. I also know that my workouts may or may not happen on Wednesday and Thursday due to various tests and papers, so I decided to just suck it up and get out of bed to go for a run.

It's that time of the semester - so much to do!
Yes, I decided that my back felt well enough to go for my first run in over TWO weeks. First of all, let me stop and say that my legs and butt were SO SORE from my leg workout yesterday, which made getting out of bed even tougher. I do love the feeling of being sore though because it often indicates a good workout.

The Color Run: the cause of my two week running hiatus
I got dressed in shorts and a long-sleeve t-shirt, which was totally unnecessary because it got hot once I got going, and set out on one of my favorite runs - to the capitol and back. My back felt great at first, but once I got about a mile, it started to bother me a little bit. Although, I am not sure if that should be attributed to my back pain, or to the soreness that resulted from yesterday's workout. I am hoping pretty sure it is the latter.

I was definitely moving a little bit slower than usual, but that is okay because it felt great to be able to run again! I was so jealous when I saw all the Austin Marathon runners as I was driving to church on Sunday morning, and I am a little worried that I came back too soon, but I am also hoping that running will somehow make it better? We will see. I hobbled from class to class but I really think that is because of the 100 squats that I did yesterday. Yes, you can call me crazy!

After my run, I headed down to the fitness center to do a mini arm-ab workout. It wasn't much but it did manage to make my arms feel fatigued.

Tricep Pull Downs
45 lbs
Tricep Dips
Ball Crunches
Side Ball Crunches
Frontal Raises
14 lbs
Lateral Raises
14 lbs
*Exercises in the same color means the sets were completed back-to-back

After a shower and my yogurt breakfast, I headed out the door for four and a half hours of class + office hours. I really do enjoy my classes, but back-to-back-to-back classes was probably not my best decision in terms of energy level. When I finally finish class for the day, I am already pretty tired but I often still have quite a bit of work to do. Today, however, I received this little pick-me-up in the mail:

My mom always knows how to put a smile on my face!

Happy Fat Tuesday! Are any of you giving anything up for Lent this year?

Monday, February 20, 2012

My Legs are Shakin'

Happy Monday morning! Here's to a productive week for all of us! I know that I have quite a bit to get done in the way of school work this week, so I am hoping that waking up early and getting my workout done will help to start my week off on the right note.  I have quite a bit of reading, paper writing and studying to do this week, and I did not get quite as much done over the weekend as I had hoped. Luckily I only have one class today from 11-12 and the rest of my day is completely free, other than working the desk from 2-4 this afternoon.

Workout + Breakfast

I woke up ravenous this morning and I knew that a good workout wouldn't happen if I was so hungry, so I ate a small yogurt breakfast before biking over to Gregory Gym to swim a little over a mile. The pool seems to be so popular these days, I am always having to share a lane and you know how I feel about sharing lanes! I feel like I always have to share a lane with someone who really ripples the water and leaves me swallowing a huge gulp of pool water every time I go to breathe!

Everyone needs a Monday morning laugh - my friend Erin and I in our summer league swim team days!
After I dried off and bundled up, I biked back to SRD and headed down to the fitness center where I completed the following leg workout:

18 lb bar
One-legged leg press
75 lbs
15 each leg
20 lbs
15 each leg
Kick-back machine
87 lbs
15 each leg
20 lbs
Wall Sit
Body weight
60 seconds
Calf Raises
Body weight
*The exercises in blue means all the sets were completed back-to-back

It was TOUGH! Those wall sits especially left my legs shaking and I am pretty positive that I will be feeling that workout tomorrow morning!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The BEST Day

Saturday was a cold, rainy day in Austin but it was one of the best days I have had all year. My best friend who goes to Texas A&M University drove up to Austin for the day to spend the day with me. I loved the excuse she provided to visit some of my favorite Austin hotspots, and of course, I loved the company she provided. It was so wonderful sitting down to dinner in the middle of the semester with her. We have such a special friendship and it meant the world to me that she took time out of her weekend to come to the land of the longhorns and hang out with me!

Gayle and I on New Year's Eve!
After a morning filled with reading and a trip to Gregory Gym, I was ready for her to get here! We started out with a late lunch at Galaxy Cafe, where we decided that since it was so late we would just order kids grilled chicken with a side. Her side included the sweet potato fries and I enjoyed the seasonal veggies. We both agreed that it hit the spot and we were ready to explore South Congress, one of the most famous streets in Austin.

The table numbers at Galaxy Cafe

We drove around for a while trying to find parking, one of two complains that I have about the city of Austin, and sat in the car waiting for the rain to die down. We just talked and talked and caught up on our lives in our respective cities and I realized how much I miss her and not getting to see her every single day like I did in middle school and high school!

Our first stop was Big Top Candy Shop, an old timey candy store that sells candy was popular when I was a kid (that sounds weird to say) as well as candy that my mom remembers from when SHE was a kid! Now that's old! :)

Chocolate Covered Bacon - EW!
We had fun looking around and making some samples, before we invested in some Big League Chew and Nerds Ropes for our brothers, some Swedish Fish for me, and some Gummy Worms and chocolate for Gayle. We also both bought a pack of old gum that lost flavor after about 30 seconds, but hey, the package was cool!

We then headed the other way down South Congress to take a picture by the famous "I love you so much" mural. It was a very popular place to be yesterday but we managed to get a couple of cute pictures!

I really wanted to take Gayle to one of my absolute favorite spots in Austin - Mt. Bonnell. I was bummed that it was so rainy and overcast, but it was still an incredible view. We also saw someone who was preparing to propose to his girlfriend. Note to my future boyfriend - the top of a mountain is a GREAT place to propose! :)

Setting up for the proposal
So cute!
We were hungry again after all that walking and "hiking," so I took her to one of my favorite restaurants on the lake - Hula Hut. We both had a really hard time deciding what to order because everything looked so wonderful but I eventually decided on a veggie burger and she went with the chicken quesadillas. We both agreed that it was such a wonderful day, despite the weather, and I was sad to see her leave to go back to College Station. I guess it's my turn to make a trip to Aggieland!

Friday, February 17, 2012


I knew my blogging streak was too good to be true. Based on my track record from last semester, we all knew that when the going got tough (with school), the blog was neglected. This past week was a little busy for me in terms of school, as are the next three weeks until Spring Break, but I am taking a little Friday break to update my blog, catch up on pinning, and watch some Boy Meets World. It is a dreary, drizzly day, which means it is the perfect day for all three of those activities!

Does the number of alarms I had to set emphasize how tiring my week was?
Valentine's Day

How did y'all spend your day of love? I spent my Valentine's night on a hot date with Mark Twain, but that didn't stop me from participating in the spirit of the day! I wore my Valentine's themed socks (love the Peanuts gang!), my red Phillies shirt, and enjoyed the plethora of sweets that SRD provided for us. SRD really makes the effort to make the holidays special for all of us - it makes me feel like I am at home! Thumbs up for SRD!

Chocolate covered strawberries from Amy's!

Well, the Austin half is in two days and I have officially decided that I am not participating. My back is at about 90% - it barely even hurts anymore - but I haven't run in almost two weeks and it does still hurt every now and then. I figured that probably wasn't the best combination when it came to running thirteen miles, so I decided to forgo it this time around. Oddly enough, I am not too upset about it, I think my body definitely needed a break!

Since I have been unable to run, I have been swimming quite a bit, and really enjoying the beautiful sunshine that we were blessed with this week! Texas really is the best state! Where else can you lay out in the middle of February? I have also been spending a lot of time focusing on weight training, which is a new thing for me because sometimes when I start running a lot, I neglect weight training, and it really is so important!

Nothing like soaking up some rays in February!
Now for the most exciting news..

I received two emails today regarding this coming summer and I could not be more excited! I was OFFICIALLY OFFICIALLY accepted into the IES Barcelona Language and Area Studies Program for the first half of Summer 2012. I have three weeks to confirm my pace in the program, plus quite a few forms to fill out and orientations to attend. It's hard to believe that in three short months I will be preparing to live in a different country for six weeks! iEstoy muy emocionada!