Monday, April 30, 2012

Last Week

The last week of class is FINALLY here. I am still struggling to understand why we are the only school in Texas that is still having to go to class, but I guess that is why we are the best! Kidding, but not really. Anyway, the final week of class has finally arrived and let me tell you, I am so relieved. I now have less then two weeks until everything school-related for this semester is completely done. I still have quite a bit to do, but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am almost finished with an essay that is due Wednesday, and I have made some serious progress on my major ten-page research paper that is due next week. My to-do list is slowly getting shorter, and it will feel so good to finally have everything checked off!


Along with the final week of classes comes the final week of bootcamp. It has been an experience, that's for sure! Monday workouts are definitely my favorite but when I stepped outside today, I experienced even worse humidity than I did yesterday. Look out Texas, here comes summer! We did nine laps around SRD again, complete with bear crawls, lunges, side lunges, and squats. Today was really tough for me, maybe because of the 10K I ran yesterday, maybe because of the humidity, or maybe because of the rancid smell we are forced to endure every time we walk in or out of SRD. Last week they put new mulch on the front lawn and I'm not kidding when I say it is like we are living on a farm. It was not what I wanted to smell while putting myself through a rather intense workout, but hey, I still got a good workout out of it! I rounded out the morning with a little bit of ab work before showering, eating breakfast, and taking a nap before class. Nothing like a 9:00am nap, right?
I remember mulch smelling bad on the playground back in elementary school!
Continuing with the theme of "lasts," tonight was the final Wyldlife club of the semester. I have mentioned before on the blog that I am a Wyldlife leader in Northwest Austin. Wyldlife is just like YoungLife, but for middle schoolers. This semester has been seriously awesome and we are so blessed to have so many kids who come to play, have fun, and hear about Jesus. Tonight was our "Graduation Club" for the eighth graders as they get ready to move onto high school and YoungLife, and my seventh grade girls are now officially the big (wo)men on campus! Tonight's club was crazy (as usual), and featured this slightly uncomfortable, but still insanely awesome, game.

Wondering what's going on in this picture? We picked a boy and a girl from each grade to come up to the stage to participate in a game called "Motherbird." The boys from each grade sat in a chair with a cup of open Yoplait Yogurt in their mouths. The girls stood behind the boy in their grade and proceeded to lick the yogurt from the cup. See what we did there? The eighth grade team ended up winning the game, but it was probably one of our best games of the entire semester. There is nothing quite like making middle schoolers feel awkward!

To leave you with a beautiful vision of Austin, here is the sunset I saw as I was leaving club tonight.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Three Weeks

I am sure you all have gathered that for the next few weeks, my blog will feature a countdown to Spain. As each day goes by, my time in the States gets shorter and shorter. That really hasn't had much time to sink in, as I still have two pretty intense weeks of school to finish before I even begin thinking about my upcoming trip to a foreign country. It blows my mind though, that in three short weeks, my parents will be dropping me off at the airport and we will be saying our goodbyes. That will definitely be hard, but I will have my computer with me at all times during the actual traveling process, so I will be able to send them a quick email when I get to Germany as well as when I get to my final destination: Barcelona. I won't have a phone until I actually get to Barcelona, which will be so weird for me, as I often have my phone attached to my hip at all times. This will be good for me; it will force me to use maps and ask for help, to use my street smarts, qualities in which my generation really seems to be lacking.
The last time I left the country - ten years ago! Fun fact: my cousin, who is pictured there with me, will also be studying abroad this summer! She will be in Germany while I am in Spain.
Bun Run

This morning started out bright and early - we are talking 6am early - and I really haven't stopped moving since! A couple of weeks ago I signed up for the Schlotzsky's 30th Annual Bun Run, taking place near downtown Austin. This year was actually the first year the 10K was offered, so I decided to sign up for it and give it a go. I completely forgot that I had signed up for it until Friday so my training was basically nonexistent. Since I have been participating in bootcamp, I haven't been running quite as often as I used to, so I decided that this was truly going to be a race for fun, and that I would run it as slowly as necessary.

Well, last night I was extremely tired and I went to bed at 9:00pm. Yes, you read that right - 9:00pm. It seriously felt so great and when my 6:00am alarm went off this morning, I was ready to GO! I think I just really needed some good rest - these past few weeks have been very "go, go, go," and an early night was just what the doctor ordered.

Not soon after my return to SRD, I showered, scarfed down a quick (second) breakfast, and headed out the door to volunteer at the HOPE Farmer's Market from 10am-noon. It is a farmer's market that happens every Sunday, and it is really cool - I will definitely be making trips back to just shop and taste all of the delicious food. The first hour I was there consisted of helping different vendors set up their tables, as well as pick up trash around the area. The second hour was a lot of fun as I got to be in the actual shop where the HOPE t-shirts and posters are sold, and I also got to make the chalk signs that get put outside, informing people of this cool event. I totally caved and bought myself a couple of mason jars, as well as this minty 80's style prom dress. I figured for $10, I would more than get my money's worth of wear out of it!

Mason Jar
If you are ever in Austin on a Sunday afternoon, I definitely encourage you to check this place out. Located in East Austin, it is very close to the University of Texas campus.

Now I am off to do some (more) work, to hopefully make my next two weeks a little bit less stressful on the school front. Happy Sunday! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Austin Bucket List

My trip to Spain has been mentioned so many times on this blog - I am sure that you are getting sick of it! - that I have completely neglected the other half of my summer plans. One day after returning from Europe, I will be moving back to Austin for summer school and work. I am fortunate enough to have a job working the desk at SRD while simultaneously getting some important classes out of the way. It will be weird to be away from home the entire summer, but I have comprised an Austin Bucket List - things I hope to do and see this summer while I am here:

Kelli's Austin Bucket List
  • Have a picnic at Zilker Park
  • Swim across Barton Springs
  • Go to Hamilton Pool
  • Watch the sunrise at Mt. Bonnell
Friends at Mt. Bonnell
  • Get a rockin' tan
  • Camp at Enchanted Rock
  • Read at least four (non-school) books
  • Make at least three Pinterest crafts
  • Hike Gorman Falls
  • Find cool Austin wall art
  • Discover new hiking trails
  • Take a tour of the Capitol
  • Go to a baseball game at Dell Diamond

Austin has so many things to offer, and I can't wait to cross these things off of my list! Please feel free to offer any suggestions, as I am always looking for new Austin-y things to do!


Friday. Bootcamp. Fridays are consistently my least favorite day of bootcamp. We have been doing a combination of yoga and pilates, with a very little bit of cardio thrown into the mix. I have never really been a fan of yoga and pilates, despite really trying to be, because I know how many benefits it has. I have just always been a cardio girl through and through, although I am really trying to work on adding strength training to the mix! My body and my mind were just tired this morning, so I had a really hard time getting myself into the workout. I am hoping to perk myself up with a nap by the pool later this afternoon! Gotta get a head start on that tan!

On another unrelated note, yesterday I applied to be an official blogger for IES (the program that I am going with to Barcelona) this summer while I am abroad. Basically, I would just have to blog once before I leave, three times while I am over there, and once while I get back. Obviously I plan on keeping this blog as well, so I don't see any of those requirements to be a problem, but I just thought it would be another something fun to do while I am over there. I have been reading the IES blogs like crazy and they have definitely helped calm some of my nerves and have made me even more excited to leave in just 23 short days. I would hope that my blog would have the same effect for people getting ready to embark on this adventure! Either way, if I get it, I get it, if I don't, I'll still be keeping up with this blog so that all of my lovely readers can stay informed of everything that is going on with me in Spain!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spartan Pride

I feel as though I blog about my high school a lot. Strangely enough, I am okay with that, because like I have said before, my high school is special. We are Stratford America - a community unlike one I have ever seen or heard of before. You may have come to that conclusion after watching the lip dub that I mentioned a couple months back.
Photo courtesy of Stratford's principal: Christopher Juntti
Tonight, as you may or may not know, is the first night of the 2012 NFL Draft. A quarterback from my high school who went to play college ball at Stanford University was just picked first in the draft. FIRST. Fans in Indiana have the honor of cheering him on for the next few years. He was Stratford America's hero, shocking us with some crazy plays, such as his shoeless touchdown, which can be viewed here. I have had so much fun cheering him on these past few years, and I can't wait to see what he does in Indiana. Andrew is not only a phenomenal quarterback, but he is an all-around great guy. He is one of those people whom you want to hate, but you just can't. He is smart, funny, athletic, and has a great family to boot. I would know - his little sister is one of my best friends. She also attends Stanford, but instead of football, she is one rockstar volleyball player. You looked beautiful on TV, Mary Ellen - I miss you!

I sure hope she comes to town when the Texans play the Colts!

My fav!

Congratulations, Indianapolis, y'all picked a winner, both on and off the field. And a huge congrats to one of the best families I know, I could not be more happy for you guys! I could not think of a more deserving person and I guess it's time to order myself an Indianapolis Colts t-shirt!

Lunch + Workout

As you may know, I had an astronomy exam today, and since I was up late last night, I was in no mood to wake up early and workout. Plus, I desperately needed every minute of studying that I could get! Luckily, my 12:30 class was canceled, so once I finished my test, I was done until Monday. I came back to enjoy a delicious lunch that featured a combination of shredded chicken, beef taco meat, and black beans. It was seriously delicious and it definitely hit the spot after practically running across campus to sign up for a class. After relaxing and actually working on a bit of homework, I hit the treadmill for a 45-minute treadmill workout that looked a little something like this. It left me nice and sweaty, although I can't be sure that some of that can't be attributed to the temperature in the workout room!

I am ready for an early night tonight, here's to getting some work done and hitting the hay before 10:00pm! Enjoy your evening!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Registration Blues

University of Texas registration. May the odds be ever in your favor. That line may have elicited a chuckle, but sadly enough, it is absolutely true. I have never, and I probably will never, understand the University of Texas registration process. No matter your registration time, at least one of the classes you want or need will already be waitlisted or closed. I put quite a bit of time into planning out my perfect schedule, reading reviews about different professors, and trying to avoid 8am classes at all costs. It's not that I mind waking up early, because I really don't, but since I will be living a lot further away from campus next year, I would really prefer to have later classes. So far, so good!
This is me trying to figure out how I'm going to finish everything in just four years!
I registered yesterday morning and although I got most of the classes that I wanted, I am still relying on the ever-faithful add-drop period to perfect my schedule for the fall semester. Next semester will definitely be tough, but I have a wide range of different types of classes to (hopefully) prevent me from getting bored or run down with the same monotonous types of assignments.

Workout + Lunch

Wednesday morning means kickboxing, and today's class sure was a good one! We mixed it up a lot of from last week - adding in a bit more cardio as well as changing up some of the core moves. I love the cardio and weight training combination. I tend to get bored if I am just doing one or the other, so combining the two makes for a great workout! The hour passed quickly and I never got bored. I rounded out my workout with 20-minutes on the elliptical while studying some astronomy. It was a great way to start my day!

After two hours of class, I was ready for some lunch! Lunch today was one of my fav's - veggie burgers! Today SRD changed them up a little bit and served them in the form of sliders. There is just something about miniature things that make them so much better! I had a hearty helping of sauteed mushrooms and red grapes on the side - it was all so delicious and SRD even surprised us by having an ice-cream bar that will be out for residents to take advantage of all day. Have I ever mentioned how great my dorm is? Now that I have some food in my stomach, I am off to study my life away for my astronomy exam tomorrow.

Later gators!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Full Heart

What a weekend. A beautiful, joyful, Austin-y weekend that has been jam-packed with new experiences and wonderful people. Three seniors from my high school (who are coming here next year!) came in for the weekend to get a feel for their future home. They arrived in Austin around 6:00pm on Friday and we never stopped moving. After a quick tour of SRD, we braved the traffic so we could eat at hopdoddy on South Congress - an Austin favorite. I had actually never been there before so it was my first time to eat there as well. The line was long but we all agreed that it was SO worth it. It just made our burgers taste all the better. I opted for, as did Becca, the Janis Joplin veggie burger, piled high with toppings like lettuce, tomato, avocado, sprouts, and pickles. It was wonderful and definitely left me very satisfied.

After dinner, we ventured down South Congress a bit and we just had to make a stop at Big Top Candy Shop, a place you might remember from when Gayle and I went there a couple months ago. We looked around and of course, couldn't walk out without some candy!

Having fun at the Big Top Candy Shop!
I also had to take them to the famous "i love you so much" wall so that they could get a picture - such an Austin thing to do!

Naturally, we had to have dessert, and lucky for me, they are also big fro-yo lovers and were hoping to try some of Austin's fro-yo, so we headed to Yogurt Planet before going back to SRD to watch old Mary Kate & Ashley movies. Yes, we really did that. Hoppin' Friday night for us!
Mint Chocolate Chip topped with blueberries, strawberries, and banana slices
Saturday morning came bright and early as we took a little long tour of the UT campus. I wanted to show them around so that they will have some idea of what to expect when they arrive in the fall. We walked all over - from the business school to west campus to the Co-op and Tyler's on the drag. I think we literally walked for two and a half hours - we were pooped and ready for lunch!
We caught a glimpse of the lucky albino squirrel - let's hope it works for my test this week!
Hannah, Becca, and Katie in front of the tower!

We met a friend at Food Heads, an outdoor sandwich shop, which I have been meaning to go to for FOREVER, so I was really glad for the excuse to get to go on such a beautiful day. There were so many delicious-sounding sandwiches, but in the end I opted for the chicken sandwich with avocado, pickles, lettuce, and tomato. I will definitely be going back many, many more times to try everything on the menu, as it basically right across the street from my house next year. SCORE!

After a quick change of clothes, we headed about 15 minutes down the road to a rowing dock on Town Lake to rent some paddleboards. It was the absolute perfect day for it, and we had the best time SUPing (Stand Up Paddleboard) and tanning in the middle of the lake. It was so relaxing and we all agreed that we could do that everyday and never get tired of it!
Photo courtesy of Katie Grooms
We were hungry yet again, so I took them to one of my favorite food trailers in Austin. Austin is famous for its wide array of food trailers, and I don't think I have ever been to one that wasn't selling something delicious. We wanted something refreshing and cool on this hot and sunny day, so we opted for Bananarchy - a trailer that specializes in frozen bananas dipped in chocolate, peanut butter, or white chocolate, topped with any nuts, cookies, granola, etc. They absolutely hit the spot and we were ready for a little bit of downtime before heading out yet again for more Austin adventures.

Around 7:00, we headed to Whole Foods (my favorite!) to pick up some dinner to enjoy as we watched the sunset from Pennybacker Bridge off of Loop 360. We got there just in time for the sunset - and to witness a wedding! We felt a little bit creepy intruding on and watching the wedding, but it was so cute, we just couldn't take our eyes away!

Pennybacker Bridge 

No filter, Austin is just that beautiful!

We had planned on meeting up with another friend once he got off work, but we wanted some dessert to wash down our dinner, so at about 10:00, we got in the car and drove to Tiff's Treats for a couple tiffwiches and a brownie sundae. Tiff's Treats are famous in Austin, and a location just opened in Houston last week. The cookies are fresh-out-of-the-oven and oh so warm and delicious. The tiffwich is a scoop of Blue Bell ice cream sandwiched between two cookies of your choice, and the brownie sundae is a warm, gooey chocolate chip brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top - both are such winners!

We ended up meeting a couple friends at Magnolia Cafe around 11:30 before hitting the hay at 1:00 in the morning. It was a jam-packed day that was full of cool Austin-y things. I took them to church at Austin Stone this morning before they left, and it was so awesome. They are excited to get to experience that every Sunday next year!

All in all, it was probably one of the busiest, most fun weekends that I have had in a while. We got to try a little bit of everything and the fun never seemed to stop! It was so sad to say goodbye to them, but I hope they left with more excitement than ever to live in this awesome city!

Sorry for this novel of a post, but it was a novel of a weekend! Enjoy this beautiful Sunday!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Wild Goose Chase

Happy Friday! Congrats on making it through yet another week! If you are a student, you are that much closer to summer vacation, if you are an adult with a real job, you may still have to work during the summer but you can look forward to cookouts, hours spent at the pool, and holidays. There is something about spring and summer that puts me in a happy mood - maybe it is the pretty colors popping up in stores!


This morning concluded week two of SRD Bootcamp. I can't say that I was a huge fan of what we did this morning, but it was tough and very challenging. One thing is for sure, it has made me realize just how much I neglect strength training. We did a pilates/yoga combination today that focused on using quite a bit of leg strength - my legs were shakin'! I followed it up with a short 20-min running/walking workout on the treadmill before calling it a morning. After a shower and a delicious breakfast, I spent a bit of time reading on the hammocks, but dark clouds were looming overhead and it was a bit humid, so I relocated myself in SRD's lobby.
Scrambled egg whites 
With a side of blackberries!
A little after 10:00, I set off on what I thought would be a quick errand. Remember those shorts that I talked about last night? Well, it turns out that I was given the wrong size, so I called the store and they informed me that they didn't have the size I needed, but a location in the Arboretum had three pairs in my size. Easy enough, that's just a 15-minute drive following North Mopac. Well, I get there and it turns out that this store is an Ann Taylor, not an Ann Taylor LOFT, but they pointed me in the direction of the Domain, about seven minutes down the road. Well, I finally get there and have no luck, but they called Barton Creek and said that the Barton Creek store had three pairs in the size that I needed. WHAT?! Isn't that where I started? I was not too happy, seeing as I was in the complete opposite direction from where I apparently needed to be, and that was the store that I called in th first place. But I sucked it up and made the drive across town - apparently I really like these shorts! Well, I'm sure that you won't be surprised to hear that I was facing another miscommunication issue, and that they in fact, did not have the shorts in the size that I needed. However, they did offer to order them for me and have them sent directly to SRD. Finally! For all the trouble I went through, I also had them order me a pair of pink ones. I felt as though I needed some kind of reward for driving all over town at the expense of a pair of white shorts!

Whew! Sorry for that long, complicated story! Now I am off to do some reading, have campaigners with my middle school girls, and then entertain a few girls from my high school for the weekend! I hope the rain holds off so that they can leave with a great impression of this wonderful city!

One Month

Thirty Days. Thirty days and I will be boarding my plane to Spain. Well, technically I will be boarding a plane to Frankfurt, but the next plane will take me to Spain! The excitement I have for this trip is seriously out of control. I am going to be living in a foreign county, with one of my closest friends, for six weeks. Yes, I am somewhat nervous about it, but I know this will be the adventure of a lifetime and that I will grow in more ways than I ever thought possible.

Next stop: SPAIN!
I honestly don't really know what to expect (or what to pack!), but strangely enough, that excites me. I want to learn, I want to grow, I want to try new things (and food), and I want to be able to look back and tell people that I had the time of my life. (Who else remembers that popular Green Day song?)

"No Regrets" - that was the mantra of every member of Stratford High School's class of 2010, and while I am obviously going to be very aware of my surroundings, and conscious of the fact that I am in a brand new-to-me place, I am going to embrace the adventure and take advantage of everything that I possibly can. YOLO, am I right? Kidding, but in all seriousness, when am I ever again going to have the opportunity to be in Europe for six weeks? I plan to blog pretty regularly while I am in Spain, mostly so that I will forever have a record of this adventure, but also so that I can make all my readers jealous. Again, kidding - I am just full of jokes today! I know that I won't have time to Skype everyone with whom I want to keep in contact, and this is my way of sharing all that will be happening in my life. I hope that y'all will do the same! One month and I will be on my way to experiencing some serious jet lag, and more importantly, some serious fun! I can't wait!
"No regrets" - that's the motto!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

27 Essays

Have you ever seen the movie 27 Dresses? Well, take out the word dresses and replace it with the word essays and you have a glimpse of what my semester has been like. One of the girls on my hall commented on how I always seem to be writing essays, so I decided to count up just how many essays I will have written once this semester ends. My semester comes to a close on May 11th, and I will have written 27 essays. It is no wonder that I seem to have misplaced my motivation - I think I have hit some sort of paper-writing limit. Luckily, I only have five more papers to go. They are long ones, but I think I can push through to the end. I've made it this far - what is five more papers anyway?

Breakfast + Workout + Dinner

I went to bed last night with the intent that I was going to wake up early and swim before I crammed in some last-minute studying for my (last!) astronomy quiz. My body had other ideas when my alarm went off - I snoozed it and told myself that I would swim after all of my classes today, knowing that I would be able to get some good sun at that time too. I definitely needed that extra bit of sleep, and I was able to get ready for my day and study for my quiz without feeling extremely rushed. I enjoyed a delicious, protein-filled breakfast this morning that really hit the spot. I hope to have it more often!
Peanut butter + banana + cinnamon on an English muffin, with a side of scrambled eggs
After class, I headed to Gregory to swim and luckily managed to snag a lane all to myself. The weather was absolutely perfect today and it made me want to stay outside all day long! After I completed 72 laps in the pool, I sat by the pool with my final novel of the semester. It has started off a little bit weird so far, but I have heard that it is a page-turner, so I just need to get farther into it!
Picture perfect day!
Believe it or not, I have had a very productive Thursday, which is quite unusual for me. While working the desk, I managed to almost complete my history essay that is due on Sunday afternoon, which I almost never finish until Sunday morning. After a quick and delicious dinner, I tackled traffic on the way to Barton Creek Mall. Why did I go shopping? Because I can. I had a very busy week and just felt like giving myself a break - plus, I was on the hunt for some new shorts and my trip was quite successful!

Zucchini Medley + Meat Sauce - YUMMM!
Off to clean up my room in preparation for my weekend guests! Enjoy your evening and remember to smile - tomorrow is Friday! :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sophomore Slump

There is no denying it. I have truly hit the dreaded sophomore slump. Think this is a made-up term? Urban Dictionary it. I actually think I hit said slump a long time ago, but today was definitely when I hit rock bottom. I had a research paper due at noon today in my anthropology discussion; what time did I finish it? 11:20am. This left me forty minutes to print the paper, gather my materials for class, and walk to the Student Activities Center where my class is held - about a twelve-minute walk away. I made it with time to spare, but I cut it a little too close! Let's not even mention the fact that I had to skip my 11:00 class in order to get this paper finished. I am sure my parents are just thrilled with that little piece of information.

Lately, I have found myself unmotivated when it comes to school - procrastinating with my assignments, blowing things off, and just having trouble finding the motivation to even care. Don't get me wrong, I love school, but I think I have just spread myself a little bit too thin this semester with everything else I have going on and I am just tired. Thankfully, I only have a little over three weeks until I can burn put away all of my school stuff from this semester and set my sights on SPAIN. Until then, I really need to step up my game in the school department. Although I have been working hard, I have just not been quite as diligent in regards to getting stuff done, and getting it done to the very best of my ability.

Papers and books EVERYWHERE!

Today was my second experience with kickboxing - I actually wrote a post that gave my thoughts after my first kickboxing experience, but it never got posted because I was in the midst of an extremely busy week. I really enjoyed my first kickboxing experience, as it got my heart rate up and worked so many different muscles, but today's experience was slightly less enjoyable. It may have been the essay cloud hanging over my head that prevented me from really getting into it, but I just didn't feel as though I got that great of a workout. Sure, a lot of the moves were challenging, but I feel as though I was just going through the motions instead of concentrating on completing the movements correctly. We'll see how those muscles feel in the morning, as I have definitely woken up feeling sore every morning following a bootcamp workout.
I hope to publish this post and catch some rays and read, as Austin is currently experiencing some absolutely beautiful weather - the sun is shining and the temperature is in the 70's. That is definitely not something we Texans are used to in the middle of April, but you won't find us complaining!