Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's Tradition

Sorry for the absence, everyone! School has really started picking up speed and Friday was a crazy day as I battled some extreme Austin traffic on my way to Houston to spend a weekend at home. Friday night I headed back to the old stomping grounds, aka Tully Stadium, to watch my alma mater dominate in their football game. I visited with one of my favorite former teachers, and yesterday was a rainy Saturday spent lounging at home before meeting one of my favorite former coaches for Berripop - which you all know is one of my favorites! I'd say it's been a pretty good weekend!
"forever we'll honor you"
Daniel is #17

Now, here's your typical Survey Sunday, enjoy!
P.S. HOOK 'EM! My stress level was out of control during the game last night, and all I have to say is WE'RE BACK, BABY!

1. Are you a morning or night person? Morning person, for sure. I am a grandma when it comes to bedtimes and my high school friends were forever making fun of me.
7am before going 70.3 miles
6:35am before riding my bike from Houston to Austin for the BPMS150
2. Ninjas or pirates? Pirates.

3. What was your favorite childhood television program? Boy Meets World. Duh. I also loved pretty much anything on Nickelodeon or Disney Channel - you know, Hey Arnold, Sister, Sister, Lizzie McGuire, Rocket Power? The good stuff!

4. Any food dislikes? Sushi. Well, I have never actually had it but I just can't bring myself to eat raw fish. I have only recently started eating cooked fish, after all.

5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? The ability to apparate. If you don't know what that is, I truly feel sorry for you.

6. What is usually your first though when you wake up? Usually I am pretty good about getting up when my first alarm goes off, but now that I am back in school and staying up later than I would like, my first thought is generally "ughhhh.. is it really time to get up?!"
I can guarantee that I don't look quite this excited when my alarm goes off
7. What is your favorite color? Pink. But I also love yellow and orange - such happy colors!

Yellow is so happy!
8. Do you believe in ghosts? Nah.

9. Have any bad habits? Popping literally every joint in my body is probably not the best habit to have. I think popping my knuckles is more of a nervous habit, but I pop my back, neck, knees, ankles, etc., way too much!

10. Biggest pet peeve? Tardiness.

11. Any celebrity crushes? I wouldn't say I have celebrity "crushes," more like I go through celebrity obsessions, where I obsess over someone for a while and know every last detail about them before I tire of them and move on to the newest obsession. I do find that many of my obsessions are athletes, just saying.
(Source) I read Tim Tebow's book, obsessed!

12. Clean or messy person? I'll say that I am a combination of both. When it comes to my school things, I tend to be pretty organized, but when it comes to my room - especially when things get busy and my stress starts building - it tends to get a little messy. BUT, I've tried to be better about keeping my room somewhat neat this year!
Not one of my finer moments
13. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? Oh man, this is a tough question because I absolutely love traveling and exploring new places. However, I am a Texas girl through and through and I honestly think I would choose to stay right here in the Lone Star State.

14. Name 1 thing you miss about being a kid. My carefree spirit.
That is one happy kid!
15. Name 1 thing you love about being an adult. Do I qualify as an adult?

16. Any regrets? I can't possibly have any regrets when my senior motto was NO REGRETZ. Seriously, we said this so many times that I am shocked that we never tired of it. That, and singing the "Graduation" song by Vitamin C. But in all seriousness, I truly don't have any regrets, or any major ones. Maybe I have regretted buying a blue shirt instead of a red one or something.

17. What was one of your favorite foods as a kid? Spaghetti-O's. Truth is, I would probably still eat those today if you presented me with a can of them.
18. What would be your dream job? That's a great question because I honestly don't know what my dream job is. I have always wanted to become a teacher, but part of me really wants to do something in the fitness world. I also love baking and I think owning my own bakery would be the ultimate job.

19. What would your last supper be? Hmm.. this is such a tough question because I have so many favorite meals! I think I would go with something from Hungry's because that is my all-time favorite restaurant and I don't think I have ever not liked anything I have ordered. I'd start off with some black bean soup, maybe a burger or chicken gyro for my main meal, and then I would head off in the direction of Berripop to get myself my favorite frozen yogurt for dessert. That meal alone is enough to convince me to move back to Houston after I graduate.

20. Who was the best looking teacher you ever had? I'm thinking I should keep this answer off the Internet, but I'm betting those who really know me might know who I have in mind!

21. What’s the strangest talent you have? I can touch my tongue to my nose? I don't know if I have any particularly strange talents..

22. Which shoe do you put on first? Right.
This is the best photo I could find to demonstrate my right-foot bias
23. Do you parallel park or drive around the block? Well, seeing as I never learned to parallel park, and almost five years later I still can't do it, I will drive around until I find a parking spot that does not require parallel parking, no matter how far away it is from where I want to go. That's not the best method when it comes to living in Austin, but I do what I can.

24. Do you have any strange phobias? YES. I'm terribly afraid of escalators because one of my friend's dad told me that 70 deaths a year occur from people falling through loose steps on escalators, so I now harbor this fear that I am going to fall straight through and get grinded up in the gears. Feel free to judge me.

25. Name 1 thing not many people know about you. You know, I share a whole lot with you guys, so I don't know what you guys don't know about me. Okay, here's one: when I was really little, I was extremely shy, so much so that I wouldn't talk to anyone outside of my immediate family. Funny story for a girl who is putting a whole lot of information on the Internet!
Is that a shy little smile or what?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

First Day of School

This morning started bright and early with my alarm going off at 6am so that I could head to the gym and start my day on the right note. I went in with the thought that I would run five miles, but after 4.1 miles I got a little sitch in my side and I decided to not run it out as I normally would and instead spend some time doing a little bit of ab work. I did a combination of push-ups and crunches, and I think my arms might hate me a little bit even though I really didn't do that many push-ups at all. Push-ups just never get any easier for this girl!

I headed home for a quick shower so that I would have enough time to get ready for my first day at Lake Travis Middle School. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I would be student teaching in an eighth grade Language Arts classroom, and we were finally cleared to enter the school this past Friday. I went for second and third period - 9:38 - 11:19am, and I was just blown away by this school. Now, I came from a rather affluent middle school myself, recognized nationally and home of the world's strictest dress code, and though I didn't love all aspects of it, it really did prepare me for high school - whatever that even means!
First day of eighth grade - round one
However, I was unprepared to see that the students shake their teachers' hand before walking into the classroom, and that they all have their own iPads. Come on, eighth grade? In my day, walking in to the class to see that we would be working with computers at all was an exciting day! Times are sure a changin'! Maybe I can use this to convince my parents to get me an iPad!

Anyway, the kids were so polite and my teacher is just great. She really has a handle on the kids while also joking around and having fun with them. They were all pretty excited to have me there, I hope, anyway, and I am already looking forward to going back next week. I think I am really going to learn what it means to be a teacher and though I am fully prepared for it to be tough at times, I am also expecting to learn a lot this semester.
First day of eighth grade - round two
The only thing I didn't like? The traffic I hit on my way to the school. Grown-up problems, am I right? Okay, I have one more thing that I didn't like. The darn humidity that just won't go away. Humidity and my hair just do not get along.

I think I mentioned a few months ago that once I had a phone that allowed me to take selfies, the selfies would become a lot more prominent. I do try and keep my promises!

The drive home was pretty easy, and I came home to finish off my crock pot chicken and vegetables and then enjoy a big ol' honeycrisp apple with a side of peanut butter. 
My belly was pretty darn happy as I reluctantly headed off to my Literature of Islamophobia class. The book we are reading right now is just dragging on and on, and I am about ready to move on to the next one!

Anyway, I'm off to small group - enjoy the rest of your Wednesday!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Twenty Questions

Another Sunday, another survey! Enjoy this survey, and your Sunday!

1) What is one of your favorite ways to spend a Saturday?

Oh Saturdays! The best day of the week. My idea of a perfect Saturday would be an early workout, a delicious breakfast, and a split between some me-time and time spent with family and/or friends. This might mean shopping, eating lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, doing something cool and Austin-y, reading, baking - just basically anything that makes me happy, and that doesn't involve school work. I also love being outside on sunshine-filled days, and now I think this answer is getting to be way too long!


One of my favorite spots in Austin
A favorite Austin treat
Pennybacker Bridge - another Austin favorite
I highly recommend taking a Segway tour, they are so much fun!
Chocolate chip cookies
2) List your top three favorite TV shows.
  • Boy Meets World
  • Friends 
  • The Biggest Loser
I am really not a big TV watcher, but I can sit and watch episodes of Boy Meets World and Friends all. day. long. 

3) Would you rather be in pictures or take them?
This is such a hard question because I love both. I absolutely love taking pictures, but I also love being in pictures with my friends so I can have those special memories. Pictures are truly worth a thousand words and there is nothing that I love more than looking back at old pictures from years ago and remembering why that picture was taken!

 4) Why do you blog? 
I blog because I love to write, and I have a passion for food and fitness that I love sharing with others. I blog so I can have something that allows me to go back, stalk myself, and remember thoughts that I had or things that I did. I guess it's like a journal, in a way, just a journal that everyone can see! It will be cool to go back and see how I changed over the years - with my fitness habits, foods I liked and disliked, and just overall how I live my life.

5) Share five websites you visit regularly…
  • Blogger
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Blackboard
6) If you could have lunch with one person from your Twitter list who would it be?
Oh my gosh, what a question! I mean, I know most people on my Twitter list and I could definitely have lunch with them, so I think I'd go with Julie of PBFingers. She is the one who really inspired me to start my blog, and I would just love to meet her!

7) List a few of your favorite snacks.
  • Apple and Peanut Butter
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal Bars
  • Almonds
  • Popcorn

8) Do you have a pet? If so, what kind?
Unfortunately, due to various allergies in my family, the only pet I have ever had is a fish. A fish that lived for two days. However, I seriously love dogs and I plan on owning a dog once I am out of college and living on my own! I would love to rescue one from a shelter, as I am always so tempted to bring one of those precious puppies home with me.

9) Which three material possessions would you struggle to live without?
  • My iPhone
  • My computer
  • My car
I know, it's completely materialistic and superficial of me to say that I would struggle to live without them, but it is just because I have become so dependent on them. I would love to walk and bike more places, and I would love to not be so attached to technology, but I would definitely struggle for the first bit without them!

10) What’s your favorite drink?

Water. I know, I know, it's pretty darn boring, but that's honestly all I drink! That is how it has always been for me, and I don't really see it changing all that much. I want to like coffee, mainly because I think it looks so cool to be carrying around a coffee mug, but I just flat out don't like it. We'll see if that changes in a few years when I have a big girl job!

11) Do you enjoy cooking?
I  L-O-V-E  cooking! I had never really cooked before moving into the clubhouse, I had only baked, and I wasn't sure about my cooking skills. However, I have done pretty well so far and I have found that I absolutely love experimenting and creating recipes based on other recipes I have found. It's time-consuming, but I'd say it's worth the time to create healthy and delicious recipes! Quite frankly, I'm surprised that it hasn't lost its magic yet. I am hoping that it never will - I feel as though I actually have a gift with food and I never want to lose the joy that comes along with working in the kitchen.
Pork loin
Vegetable medley
Crock pot fun
Turkey sloppy joes
12) Do you have children?
Can't say that I do! Not yet, anyway. And probably not for a long while. I'm just going to come right out and say it - I just don't find babies that cute. They all kind of look the same to me, and all they do is cry. I am really hoping that changes, though!

13) What are your favorite hobbies?
Running, rollerblading, swimming, reading, hiking, baking, traveling, biking, photography, watching sports - really anything active is a win in my book!
Blue Bell factory after the Blue Bell fun run
After running a 10K in Barcelona
Blue Bell Fun Run with my YoungLife team!
Hiking in Austin
14) Would you consider yourself shy or outgoing?
I would say I am a little bit of both. I can be very outgoing in situations in which I know people and feel comfortable, but put me in a room with a bunch of people that I don't know and I will probably be more on the shy side. It just really depends on the situation!

15) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?
Hmm, I would love to not stress out about things so much and learn to live in the moment. I spend so much time stressing and worrying about things and how much I have to get done, or what activity I have to head to next that I don't enjoy what I am doing at that moment, even though I spent so much time looking forward to it.

16) Who is your favorite actor/ actress?
  • Actress: Reese Witherspoon, Emma Watson, Jennifer Aniston, and Sandra Bullock
  • Actor: Ryan Reynolds, Channing Tatum, and Ben Affleck
I have clearly thought about this question before!

17) What’s the coolest thing you’ve done this week?
Hmm.. that's a toughie! Last weekend we had some pretty sweet roomie adventures in honor of Natalie's birthday. One of which included jumping in a fountain, rolling down a hill, and just engaging in some shenanigans. I'd say that was pretty darn cool!

I also got pushed in the pool by some of my eighth grade girls at our first Wyldlife club on Monday night. I'm not sure if I would call that cool, but it was pretty funny to see all the leaders (and kids) sopping wet, shivering, and laughing.

18) Do you live near your family or far from them?
I am in Austin and my family is in Houston - about a two and a half hour drive away from them. So, it is far enough away to where I can't go home all the time, but close enough so that when I need to escape for a weekend, I can easily do so. It's a pretty win-win, I'd say, but I do wish I got to see them a bit more than I do. I feel like I'm hardly home anymore. That's what growing up will do to ya!
The greatest family ever! We need to work on taking more family pictures! :)
19) List three of your talents.
  • I remember names and faces pretty darn well. If I meet you once, chances are I will remember you the next time I see you (though if you don't remember me, I might pretend I don't remember you!)
  • I can touch my tongue to my nose and wiggle my ears (though not at the same time!)
  • I bake a mean Brookie.
Brownie + Cookie = Brookie

20) What is your greatest attribute?
I really don't receive compliments well (it's something I'm working on), but I guess it would be my dedication and willingness to work hard. Throughout elementary, middle, and high school, I was always told by my teachers and coaches that I have a pretty incredible work ethic, so I think I'll go with that. I may not display natural talent at everything I do, but I will work hard to get good at it!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Adventures: Cooking and Biking Edition

Today is a great day. Why, you ask? Because tomorrow is FRIDAY! That thought alone gets me through my eight-hours-on-campus Thursdays. However, this morning started off on a wonderful note because I woke up to an email from my Spanish teacher in Barcelona. I emailed her last night to tell her that I missed her and hoped her semester was going well with the new students, and she absolutely made my morning with her kind words. It's the little things, my friends!

Anyway, I have a few more recipes to share with you guys - I am really getting the hang of this cooking thing! Well, at least I think I am.

Wednesday's lunch was my take on a food that I normally can't enjoy: pizza. I honestly am not sure that I can even call this a recipe, but I enjoyed it, so I want to share it with my favorite followers. First, I sliced a whole wheat English muffin and spread some Mushroom Ragu on each slice. I popped some mushroom and broccoli on each slice and threw it in an oven heated to 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. And that's it. Like I said, I am not sure this qualifies as a recipe, but it was pretty darn good and I am looking forward to experimenting with some new toppings - turkey pepperoni, zucchini, olives - next time I whip this up (which will probably be soon).

Last night I wasn't feeling much like doing homework, so I whipped up a batch of oatmeal-raisin-cookie granola, recipe via Sally's Baking Addiction. I guess I didn't read the instructions very well and didn't know that I should have added the raisins and carob chips after putting it in the oven, but it still worked out and tasted pretty darn good with some milk and bananas for breakfast this morning.

Tonight's recipe is the star of the blog: spaghetti squash. I have recently come across so many recipes based on spaghetti squash, but I myself have never really had any experience with it. I purchased a spaghetti squash yesterday, unaware of the large size, and I was ready to take a stab at it tonight. Literally. It took me three different knives to cut this thing in half, and I wasn't quite sure what I was doing, but once it was cut, I put half of it in the oven, which was pre-heated to 375 degrees, for a little over 30 minutes. I scooped out the seeds and some of the covering pieces before getting to work scraping out the "spaghetti" strands. This squash produced quite a bit of spaghetti, let me tell you!

While the squash was cooking, I took the opportunity to cook up the rest of my ground turkey to enjoy with the spaghetti squash. I topped it with some Ragu, mixed it all up, and chowed down - spaghetti squash might be my new favorite meal. However, my dad pointed out that I say that about every new meal that I make. I guess I'm just easy to please!

After dinner, I knew that I wanted to take advantage of this beautiful night, and after my failed attempt at a swim this afternoon, I wanted to get some sort of physical activity. A bike ride sounded like the perfect idea! I didn't go far, probably no more than six miles in all, but it was the most beautiful night and I stood in awe of this beautiful sky. I just still can't believe that I get to live here!