Monday, September 30, 2013


I honestly can't believe that I am sitting here on the last day of September writing this blog post. Where has the time gone? September has been a wonderful month, full of new experiences (and restaurants), but I am so excited for October. I think October is my favorite month weather-wise, and the fact that I have a trip to San Francisco on the horizon makes it that much more exciting. There are only 18 days to takeoff, and though my training was hindered a bit due to being plagued by an unforeseen sickness this weekend, I came back as strong as ever with an awesome six-mile run through Mueller Park this morning after my 9am class. I was hoping to get in nine miles this weekend, but I was not about to push myself and make myself feel even worse. Hopefully I can squeeze nine miles into this weekend, but we'll see! Maybe I have a little too much confidence going into this race, but I am also planning on really trying to enjoy the atmosphere (and scenery) of this race, as opposed to going for a new PR.

But let's back up a little bit. Last night I signed off by saying I was making my first Whole Foods trip of the semester to meet a friend for dinner. That friend was Hanna, who I was an RA with at SRD two years ago, and she had never before been to the wonder that is Whole Foods until I took her one time during our sophomore year. Since then, we always hit up Whole Foods for our dinner dates, and last night was no exception. I never know what I am going to get upon walking into Whole Foods, as everything always looks and smells so good, but last night I went with one of my go-to's: the salmon and vegetable meal. I had grilled salmon, broccoli, and asparagus, and I ate every last bite while Hanna and I sat on the roof, filling one another in on our crazy semesters. It was the perfect weather, and so great to catch up with her.

After dinner at Whole Foods, I made the quickest stop by Dylan's house before splitting up to go to YoungLife team meetings, and he introduced me to one of my new favorite apples: the Sweetango. I saw this apple at the grocery store on Friday, and it caught my eye because it resembled a honeycrisp apple, which if you have been reading this blog with any kind of consistency, you have probably picked up on the fact that I love honeycrisp apples, and I think their higher price is more than worth it. Upon further inspection, I read that this apple is a cross between the honeycrisp and zestar apple, but I was still pretty hesitant to try it because the last time an apple made the claim that it was similar to honeycrisp, it let me down. Apple trust issues.

Anyway, Dylan convinced me to try the sweetango apple last night, and I was immediately impressed. It was both juicy and tart, which is just what I like about honeycrisp apples. It prompted me to make a quick trip by Central Market to pick up a couple of my own for the week, and I had one today, with peanut butter, of course, and it did not disappoint. I am always on the lookout for the perfect apple, and the sweetango has officially made my list.

And I wish I could say that I was productive once I returned to my house, but I wasted a little bit of time, knowing that I had plenty of time on Monday to be productive, due to the fact that I had the day off from going to Westwood. As much as I love being in the classroom, it has been so nice having a little bit of extra time to go for a longer run, work on homework, do my laundry, and prepare dinner for the week. And, write this blog post!

Now, I must return to the homework scene, as I have a paper due Friday, and my first test of the semester tomorrow. Since I have YoungLife club tonight, that cuts out a few hours, but it's certainly more fun than studying! Have a great Monday, and I'll see you guys in October!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

First Lesson

I hit a milestone on Friday, y'all. I taught my first (and my second) lesson in the high school classroom. I would like to say that I didn't mess the students up too badly, but I guess they would have to be the ones to tell you that.

Because I know that all of you are just dying to hear about this exciting and engaging lesson, I'll walk you through every step of it. So, this week I was with Ms. Drown's "on-level" classes, which if you are not familiar with that terminology, it is just the regular grade-level English class. They are currently in the middle of reading John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, as I think I mentioned in a previous post. They were supposed to be on chapters five and six by Friday, but I was forced to be flexible because upon entering the classroom on Wednesday, I was told that they would only be on chapter four. Unfortunately, because we are required to turn in our lesson plans 48 hours prior to teaching, I had already planned my lesson over chapter five, but I am quickly learning that teaching is a profession that requires flexibility. I won't lie and say that I wasn't a little frustrated, mainly because I had a mountain of other work to complete this past week, but I'll call it a learning experience. And now I definitely know the book well!

I wanted to do something somewhat interactive with this class - something that would engage them enough so that they weren't sitting at their desks working on study guide questions individually, but that wasn't so interactive that I would have a hard time keeping them on task.

Well, it turns out that I did have a hard time keeping them on task, but more on that later. I settled on a Jeopardy! style game with questions that ranged from being very surface-level, things you could find in the text, to the deeper "level three" style questions that made you think a little bit more about the novel and how it relates to society as a whole. I grew up watching Jeopardy! after school because Granny absolutely loved the show, so though I wasn't sure if these students had ever been exposed to the game show before, I thought it would be a fun activity to do in order to check for understanding of the chapter. I came up with three categories - In the Text, Thinking Deeper, and Thematic Concepts and Symbols - and had five questions in each category.

I am not going to lie and say that I was a bit stressed about time before the class even began. For one, the classes were a bit shorter than usual due to being on pep rally schedule, and I did not plan for the fact that my teacher wanted to spend around 20 minutes working on a short story peer editing activity. I also planned on having them listen to all of chapter four in class, which was around 40 minutes, and have enough time to play the Jeopardy! game. I felt like we were rushing through a lot of it, and we certainly didn't finish listening to all of chapter four, but we got through enough that almost all of the questions were answerable, and we had plenty of time leftover to play and really get into the game. 

The students really seemed to enjoy the game, and they really surprised me with how much they knew about the book. It seemed that listening to the book bored them, and I know if I were in their position I would have more than zoned out and started thinking about other things. But they seemed to understand the text on a literal level, and a deeper, analytical level, which was very encouraging for me to see and hear. It was hard for me to keep control of the entire class sometimes, but that will always be something that I need to work on. I don't have a very intimidating presence, and add that to the fact that I could probably pass for a sophomore in high school, and it's going to get a little bit crazy sometimes. My teacher even admitted to having a hard time controlling them at times, so I felt a little better about that! 

Overall, I loved being up at the front of the class, because I felt like I actually connected with the students on a new level. I love observing, but I didn't feel like I could actually joke around and laugh with the students until I was up there leading them in an activity. And while I thought the lessons went pretty well, and my teacher really seemed to like the Jeopardy! game, there is always room for improvement. The main point of improvement for me this time was how to make sure the entire class was actively participating, and not just sitting back and letting other students in their group do all of the discussing.

Page one of a very detailed lesson plan
It feels really good to have these two lessons under my belt, and I am looking forward to the remaining seven. I know I have a long way to go, but experiencing how well these went makes me feel a lot better about all that I have left!

I was met with this beautiful sight at the conclusion of my drive back over to UT
The rest of my weekend was spent lounging around my house and laying in bed, as I have been feeling pretty under the weather since Friday morning. I am finally starting to feel more like myself, and I think the fact that I got 8.5 and 9.5 hours of sleep on Friday and Saturday night, respectively, has something to do with it! After I sign off, I am going to have dinner at Whole Foods with a friend - my first Whole Foods trip of the semester. Have a great Sunday evening!

P.S. For those of you who are interested - I had to create a teacher webpage for my class at UT. Check it out here! I would be lying if I said I wasn't really proud of it, because I am usually pretty bad with technology, and I built this webpage all by myself!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tradition Thursday

Today I'm thankful to have had a few hours of downtime and relaxation in the midst of a week that has been go-go-go since Sunday at 3:00pm. I went from campaigners with my freshman girls, to speeding to a 5:00pm church service, to team meeting in a fort. On Monday I went from class to Westwood to club. On Tuesday I have a full day of class and senior small group at our house. Wednesday is back to Westwood, and I feel like every spare moment this week has been spent writing papers, crafting lesson plans, and trying to squeeze in a quick workout. I have hardly had enough time to breathe, so I can forget about accomplishing any of the "extra" items on my to-do list, ie, hand-washing some of my shirts. I hardly even have time to send my parents a quick text to update them on my life, and the way they find out about the things that I am doing is if I find myself in the car with 15 minutes to spare for a quick phone call, or by reading this blog. I knew this semester was going to be crazy, but I'm really living it. I've stayed up past midnight three nights in a row, and that is extremely uncharacteristic of me.

So, with all of that being said, I was more than ready for my Thursday night tradition, in that either Dylan or I pick out a new restaurant to go to dinner. It was Dylan's turn to pick a restaurant this week, and we went to a restaurant that is located very near where we live - Contigo. As it turns out, he has been there before, but he really liked it, and it was obviously new to me, so it fit the criteria.

The first thing I noticed was how cool the atmosphere was. It reminded me of a ranch, which makes sense because that's what it is modeled after. Contigo offers mainly outdoor seating, which was perfect on a beautiful night like tonight, and all of the tables and chairs looked like they came straight out of Pinterest. The fact that lights were strung throughout the eating area helped add to that effect. It was a very welcoming environment, and I had heard of the restaurant before, but had obviously never ventured over there despite it being about a 7-minute drive away.

We ordered the olives as an appetizer, and though we both ate quite a few of them, we agreed that they had a funny taste to them. I think it was the orange, and the fact that they were extremely salty, but since we are both olive lovers, we figured they would be a fun thing to try.

For the main dish, I went with the rabbit and dumplings, which is definitely out of the ordinary for me, and Dylan opted for the daily fresh sausage. I actually really loved the rabbit, and I know my dad would be extremely proud to hear that I ventured out and tried something new without him having to lie to me about what I am eating. I have a really hard time trying new things, and I think Dylan was even a bit surprised at my adventurous decision. We both really enjoyed our meals, though I am a bit sad that I didn't get to try the hamburger. Next time!

We just couldn't leave without some dessert, so we split the watermelon, lime, and mint sorbet, because Dylan is a good sport about my lactose intolerance. It sounds like an interesting flavor combination, but I really liked it, and Dylan claims to have liked it too, so I'd say the night was a success. I certainly can't complain, as my food was good, the atmosphere was fun, and I had a pretty great date.

Now I'm at home reviewing my lesson plan before I teach it tomorrow. Cross your fingers that it goes well - I'll be back with a full report, I'm sure!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Manic Monday

This will be a quick update because I have quite a bit to accomplish before our second YoungLife club tonight, but I couldn't let the day pass without commenting on this absolutely beautiful fall weather, and sharing a new treadmill workout with you guys.

Yesterday was the official first day of fall, and Texas really got the memo. We have had temperatures in the 60's in the morning, warming up to temperatures in the 90's by mid-afternoon. The sun is shining, and the days are absolutely perfect. This is probably my favorite weather of all time, so I am going to soak up as much of it as I can before it leaves us. Yesterday I went for a walk around Town Lake and I really think it was the perfect afternoon.

My only complaint in regards to this weather is the fact that it will probably put a damper on my morning swims, but I can replace those with some humid-free runs, so I really don't have much to complain about on that front. The temperatures and lack of humidity will make my long run this Saturday so much more enjoyable, so let's keep our fingers crossed that this wonderful weather holds up until then!


Today, and every Monday, is probably going to be the craziest day of my week. I have class from 9-10am, I'm scheduled to be at Westwood from 1:04-4:10pm, meaning I leave around noon to give myself enough time to get there, eat a quick lunch, get checked in at the front office, and get to my classroom before the start of the passing period at 12:59pm. After I leave Westwood, I will stay in the area because we have club out this way, so it would be silly for me to battle traffic going back toward UT campus, only to head this way again a couple of hours later. So, that has me leaving my house at noon, and not getting back until around 9:30pm.

Pink pants, because every Monday needs to look a little brighter
With a schedule like that, it can be hard to find the time to squeeze in a workout, but for now, I'm going to continue my Friday pattern and get in a quick workout after class, but before I need to leave for Westwood. Today's workout came in the form of a 4-mile treadmill workout, inspired by this workout from Iowa Girl Eats. I altered the speeds a bit, and completed 4.15 miles in 34 minutes. It was quick and effective, and you really can't ask for much more than that.

After my time at the gym, I made a quick pitstop at the post office to mail a birthday card, and then I headed home to the Clubhouse to shower and get ready for the rest of my day. I probably packed enough food to set a new world record, but it's better to be safe than sorry, right?


I once again ate lunch in my car while sitting in the Westwood parking lot, and this one looked a lot like my lunch on Friday, except this one featured pork instead of chicken. Otherwise, it is the exact same vegetable and pineapple dish. It is honestly so delicious, so I see this becoming a regular meal in my diet. Plus, I can make multiple servings of it at once, and that fact right there is going to become my best tool this semester.

I also had a small serving of hummus and carrots before observing two sophomore English classes. I am teaching my first lesson(s) on Friday, and I am very excited. And speaking of, I definitely need to get to work on that lesson plan before heading over to Anderson for Parking Lot Club. Have a great Monday!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Challenge Nation Urban Adventure Race

Happy Saturday, everyone! It is an absolutely picture perfect day here in Austin, Texas, which almost makes me feel bad about not attending the UT game tonight. Almost, but not quite bad enough to guilt me into going to the game. But hook 'em, right?

Anyway, I believe we left off with my cousin's art show in downtown Austin. I made my way over to Congress Avenue and found parking easily (and surprisingly), before meeting up with my uncle, my cousin, and his friend. You will have to excuse me if any of my terminology i wrong, as I know next to nothing about art, especially contemporary art. Anyway, we went inside The Contemporary Austin, which is quite the swanky art gallery. My cousin led us upstairs so we could see the piece he had been working on, alongside a woman named Marianne Vitale, for the past few months. It is a sculpture, very similar to her 2012 piece, "Burned Bridge," 

but this one is a "large-scale sculptural structure of two intersecting bridges." Though I was a bit unimpressed with the actual piece of art upon first seeing it, I quickly became more impressed upon looking through the photo album of the making of the sculpture. There was a lot of burning and welding involved, and it was really cool to see all that went into the creation of the sculpture. Like I said, I am the farthest thing from knowing anything about art, but it was cool to see so many people react in such a positive way to it. And, of course, it was great to see my cousin, tattoos and all.

My art show debut
After the opening, I made an appearance at my friend Alex's 22nd birthday celebration. I didn't stay very long, mainly because I was feeling exhausted from all the events of the day, but I got to catch up with two of my good high school friends, as well as chat with a girl who is currently in her student teaching semester at Westwood (what I will be doing next semester), and it was so reassuring to talk to someone who literally knows exactly what I am going through, and telling me that I will survive this year, and that I will even have fun doing it.

Sam, me, Alex
Sarah and I stayed up late talking, so when I woke up this morning, I was not especially feeling like crossing a run off of my list, but I knew I would feel so much more productive if I got it done early in the day. The temperature and weather were so perfect this morning, but because I didn't want to run through the mud from last night's downpour, so I settled with six miles on the treadmill, promising myself that next week is the week I will run nine miles. Hold me to it!

Challenge Nation Urban Adventure Race

And now I have some exciting news to report. Megan from Challenge Nation reached out to me about promoting an urban adventure race that is coming to Austin next month. Though I will not be able to participate due to the fact that I will be exploring San Francisco, I thought it sounded like an awesome race, so I was more than happy to promote it.

The Challenge is an "Amazing Race" style team competition that has you running all over the city using your brain to solve tricky clues, exploring and discovering new parts of Austin, and getting a little bit of exercise along the way. This race requires a blend of speed and smarts in order to have a shot at winning any of the cash prizes. But don't worry, even if you don't win the race, you will be met with fun food and drink specials at the finish line, and there is even a costume contest. I am all about dressing up in fun and ridiculous costumes, so that alone would entice me to sign up!

Though I don't watch the Amazing Race, I have friends that do, and I think it would be really cool to participate in the actual Amazing Race. So, for all of you who have dreams of being on a reality television show, this race is great practice for it. Sign up here before September 25th to receive earlybird registration prices!

And now I'm off to get started on that essay that I have been putting off. Have a great Saturday!

Friday, September 20, 2013

In And Out + A Restaurant Review

I am fully understanding the meaning of the phrase "TGIF" right now. I have had one crazy week, and though this is only the beginning of a crazy two months, I am more than happy to be sitting on the floor of my room typing this blog post. It's been a day, but before I go into details, let's start with a review of the restaurant Dylan and I went to last night.

Benji's Cantina

First of all, Dylan, in an attempt to turn me into a better decision maker, made me choose the restaurant that we would go to for dinner. Fun fact: I learned just yesterday that teachers make approximately 1,000 decisions/day, and though some might be very insignificant decisions, I still need some serious work on my decision making skills. Second, we decided that if we are going to make these Thursday night dinner our "thing," we are going to try out new-to-us restaurants that are nicer than your average restaurant. In my mind, the criteria is a restaurant that invites clothing dressier than my usual Nike shorts and t-shirt. I know this will make my mom breath a sigh of relief knowing that all of those Anthro purchases are actually being worn.

Anyway, the moral of that very long story is that I decided to surprise us with a trip to Benji's Cantina on West Sixth Street. It is a relatively new restaurant, opening just this past May, and it has received some stellar reviews on Yelp. Dylan and I both tend to lean towards Mexican food whenever we're deciding on a restaurant, so I figured this would be a safe bet. They accept reservations, and because I didn't want us to have to wait, I went ahead and made reservations for two for 7:00pm. We timed it pretty perfectly and walked in at right about 7:00pm, when we were seated at a booth and presented with menus immediately.

This picture doesn't capture the coolness (word?) of these leather menus
We started with some made-at-the-table guacamole before ordering our main dish. We had each decided on a plate of our own, but once we were told that they are famous for their fajitas, we knew it would have been a crime to pass them up. We went with half beef, half chicken; corn tortillas for me, and flour for Dylan. We wanted to make sure we were getting the widest variety possible, obviously.

The fajitas made quite the appearance when they were brought to our table, so I obviously had to snap a picture. Once the picture taking was out of the way, we got to work on our fajitas. The chicken and beef were both so tender and juicy and delicious, and I am so glad we went with the fajitas. I loaded my tortilla with guacamole, fajita meat, grilled vegetables, pico, and salsa, and my stomach was just so incredibly happy. Dylan and I made sure there was nothing left on the table before calling it a very successful night.

I worked on a little bit of homework once we got home, going to sleep just before midnight, and waking up early to get started on my mountainous pile of reading I have to do this weekend. I ate my usual scrambled egg white breakfast just before leaving on my bike for my 9:00am class.

I mention my bike because Austin is currently experiencing some very unusual rain. I woke up in the middle of the night to a steady rain, and though it was sprinkling when I left for class, it was a very light sprinkle, and I didn't think much of it. I even brought my swim gear with me in an attempt to be optimistic about the weather. Well, the rain picked up substantially, and I was pretty wet by the time I got back home. I still wanted to squeeze in a quick, and I mean quick, workout before I went to Westwood, because my uncle and cousin are in town for my cousin's art show, and I wanted to be able to see them if at all possible. More on that in a bit.

I completed probably the quickest workout in the history of my exercise life, but I think they are going to become more commonplace this semester. And I didn't know how long it would take me to get ready to go to the school, so I wanted to have more time than feel like I was rushing around. I immediately hopped on the treadmill upon my arrival at the gym, completing my 20-minute treadmill workout. That workout has you running fast, covering 2.5 miles in just 20 minutes, but quick workouts have been proven to be very effective, so let's hope it's doing something! I walked for a little over three minutes to cool down, and then I headed over to the free weight section of the gym for a very quick arm (and squat) workout that looked like this:

I haven't given my arms a good workout in probably over a week or two, so though this isn't a very involved workout at all, my arms were still feeling pretty worn out. That's what half marathon training will do to you!

After my workout, I headed home, jumped in the shower, and got ready for my second day at Westwood. Because of the rain, I left a few minutes before noon, but I still managed to get there with more than enough time. I simply opened up one of my books and started reading, taking a lunch break at about 12:25pm. Before leaving the Clubhouse, I heated up some of my chicken and pineapple vegetable dish, stuck it in a Tupperware container, and rushed out the door. So, I enjoyed that - which is really one of my best recipes, I have to say - along with a couple of lil' cuties.

I observed my three hours of sophomore English classes, and I discussed with my teacher that I will be teaching my first lesson either on Wednesday or Friday of next week. This is her on-level English II class, and they are just starting John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, so I will be making a trip to the bookstore to purchase that so that I can read it and prepare for my lesson this weekend. It is all happening so quickly, but I'm hoping to come up with some good hands-on activities that will keep the class engaged.

And after battling a torrential downpour on the way home, I will again be heading out to attend my cousin's art show in downtown Austin. My cousin is 27 years old, and he has spent the past seven or eight years traveling all over Europe modeling for some big name companies like Marc Jacobs and Burberry. My Granny was so proud of him, purchasing every single magazine that featured even one of his ads, and I haven't seen him in about five years, so I am excited to see him and my uncle tonight at the show. Art shows aren't really my thing, but I guess it's always a good time to try something new!

And that concludes one hectic Friday. I have a feeling that I am going to sleep like a rock tonight. Have a great evening!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

First Day at Westwood

Let's just pretend that I was proactive and got this posted yesterday, because not only do I have my exciting first day at Westwood to share with you guys, but I also have the usual workout and food-related posts as well. I know, finally some degree of normalcy around here. I don't think I realized just how crazy this semester is going to be until yesterday when I realized that every day of the week (except for Thursdays) there is something besides class on my agenda. I just need to take a deep breath and realize that I will indeed survive it, and worrying about it is not going to aid my productivity in any way.

With that being said, let's move on to the first day of school. So, Tuesday night I was a bit anxious because we still had not received clearance for our background checks with Round Rock Independent School District. However, I fully intended to visit my school on Wednesday afternoon, so I went to bed praying that we would somehow be cleared within the next 12 hours. I kept my phone close to me all morning, and around 8:15am I received an email saying we had gotten the all clear, and that we were good to begin our internships. 

I went to my 9:00am class feeling like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, because, if you know me at all, you know that I hate looking at a long-term calendar, seeing all that I will have to do throughout that time, and not being able to start any of it. Plus, it's hard hearing that other people had begun their observations, knowing that I hadn't had the opportunity go to yet. After class I biked home and started getting ready to go to the school for the first time, and I also stumbled upon this sweet note and first day present on my bed. Sarah is the best!

Going back to my high school ways, I had picked out my outfit the night before, as well as gathered all of my papers and supplies together - I was clearly hopeful about being cleared before I needed to leave! I finished getting ready relatively quickly, and it was nowhere near time to leave, so I sat down and tried to work on a short essay assignment. My head was clearly not with me, so I didn't get too much of it done before deciding that it was an acceptable time to leave. You have probably gathered that I am a very timely person, so I did not want to even come close to being late, especially since I didn't know exactly where I would park, nor did I know how the check-in procedure worked.

I ended up leaving my house around 11:50am (but not before making one of my roommates take a "first day of school" picture for the blog), and made it over to Westwood in surprisingly excellent time. I hit absolutely no traffic, so I sat in my car eating the lunch I had packed, waiting until I thought it was acceptable to go inside the school.

I checked in at the office, got directions to my cooperating teacher's room - this school is HUGE, by the way - and I was finally able to introduce myself to my teacher. My first impressions of both her and her classroom were great. Her classroom is warm, welcoming, and motivational, and I think my teacher and I are going to get along really well. She is young, knowledgeable, and as this is both her first time teaching sophomore English and having a student intern, it's going to be a learning experience for the both of us. She seems to be very open in regards to having me there in her classroom, which is a very good feeling. I will be with two Pre-AP/IB classes, and two on-level classes, and I'm really excited about both of them. Westwood is on the block schedule, meaning I will have Pre-AP classes one week, and the on-level classes the most. Her Pre-AP class is currently reading William Golding's Lord of The Flies, and her on-level class is currently reading John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Though I have read both of those novels previously, it has been quite some time, and I will admit that I didn't really care for either novel the first time, so it might be worth my while to re-read them (in all of my spare time).

To begin with, I will be going to the school on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons, though that will probably be reduced to just Mondays and Wednesdays. I feel as though it's better to get as many hours up front as possible, than to be stressed and scrambling at the end of the semester.

After I left school, I went home and changed into Nike shorts and a tanktop and drove over to Mt. Bonnell for a little incline training. I am leaving for San Francisco four weeks from today, and the San Francisco hills still have me a little bit nervous. I think I accomplished what I went to do, because my calves are certainly feeling it today. I ran up and (walked) down the 100-something steps ten times before returning to the Clubhouse so Sarah and I could drive over to Town Lake for our first Wednesday Walk of the year.

If you have to do incline training, this isn't a bad view to have while doing it
The rest of the evening was dedicated to the ever-present homework and reading assignments, but I managed to get to bed early enough so that waking up early before class to swim didn't make me want to crawl right back into bed. I swam a mile and a half before returning to the Clubhouse, sending out a few emails, and eating a delicious and filling breakfast of scrambled egg whites with spinach, a side of sliced strawberries, as well as an unpictured plumcot.

That breakfast was followed by a full day of class, which will be followed by some serious reading and another Thursday night new restaurant adventure with Dylan. Not a bad Thursday!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pineapple Chicken and Vegetable Dish

Happy Sunday! Again, I hesitate to call it a "happy" Sunday, after another embarrassing performance on the football field last night, but at least we still have our academics, right? I was hoping my senior season would be one to remember, and though it might be one to remember, I have a feeling that it's not going to be for the right reasons. You win some, you lose some (or a lot).

Moving on, I have a new recipe to share with you guys. It came to me yesterday, as I had four chicken breasts just waiting to be made into something delicious, as well as some less-than-stellar pineapple rings. I absolutely love the pork and pineapple combination, in fact, I had it at Kerbey Lane on Friday in the form of Tacos al Pastor, so I decided to give the chicken and pineapple combination a shot. This easy dish will hopefully last me through the week, as it should provide me with at least three, if not four, meals. About 15 minutes of work, 30 minutes in the oven, and you have dinner for (almost) a full work week. Not too bad!

  • 4 thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped squash
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1/2 pineapple (sliced into rings)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Lemon pepper
1. Preheat over to 450 degrees fahrenheit
2. Line a 9x13 baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray
2. Wash and cut chicken breast into slices

3. Chop zucchini, squash, and broccoli, and place into a bowl

4. Cover vegetables with olive oil, and spray with pepper, if desired
5. Line pan with vegetables
6. Chop up half an onion and spread into pan

7. Spread chicken breast slices evenly on top of the vegetables and spray with pepper, if desired
8. Place pineapple rings on top of the chicken
9. Cook for 25-30 minutes

And that's all there is to this healthy, delicious, and simple recipe. This is the week things really start picking up in terms of school and YoungLife, so I know I will be very grateful to have this meal ready to heat up and eat.

Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Houston Pride

If there's one thing you've learned from my blog, well, I hope you learn many things from my blog, but you have probably gathered that I have a lot of pride for my birthplace - Houston. I love a lot about Houston, and when asked, I am proud to say that I am from "Houston Houston." In fact, one of my (former) Young Life teammates told me one of the things he most appreciated about me is how much pride I have for Houston. I am quick to tell people about all of my favorite restaurants, how much I love the Houston rodeo, how the Texans are going to go to the Super Bowl this year, and how, no matter what time of the day it is, I get stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic two exits away from home.

When I saw this BuzzFeed article titled, "30 Telltale Signs You're From Houston," I couldn't help but identify with almost every single item on this list. I have spent a majority of my life in traffic. And it continually frustrates me.


I don't know what will be done with the eighth wonder of the world, but I sincerely hope it is there to stay.

I spent the night at NASA one time, and yes, it was for a Girl Scout field trip.

My little brother tweeted that he was "Screwston" bound yesterday morning, and when the Rockets landed Dwight Howard, there was plenty of mention of "Clutch City."

The humidity in Houston truly does top the charts.

And I do believe that Houston is the place to be. It's the number one city for economic growth and young adults, and the restaurants and shopping are both top notch. Plus, it really is better than Dallas.


I have to brag on myself a little bit because today I finally managed to make some strides with my Nike Women's Half Marathon training plan. Not that I'm really following a plan, but in my head, I told myself that I needed to run at least seven miles this weekend. This whole week I've been telling myself that said run was going to happen on Saturday morning, but just last night I thought about pushing it back to Sunday. Tomorrow is always the best day to run, right? Well, I knew I would feel better if I got it done today, so I drove on down to Town Lake to scope out the seven-mile loop that I still didn't find. I simply ran out 3.86 miles to I-35, and then I turned around and went back the way I came for a total of 7.72 miles in approximately 1:08.

If you're going to do a long run, this isn't a bad view to have while doing it
It felt pretty good outside in terms of temperature and humidity, but by the end of my run, I was soaked from head to toe. I'm still a little worried about the hills of San Francisco, but I now feel much more confident in the fact that I will actually be able to run the entire distance without walking. This run just made my excitement level skyrocket, and we are now only 33 days away from departure. I can't wait!


Before my run, I ate three cuties, because I didn't think running that far on an empty stomach would be my brightest idea, and it turned out to be great pre-run fuel. I normally stick to a banana and peanut butter breakfast before a long run or race, but the only banana I had left was looking a little too soft for my liking.

After I returned home from my run, I took a very refreshing shower, and then I got to work preparing a good breakfast of scrambled egg whites and spinach. It's definitely not anything out of the ordinary, but it tasted so good after a tiring run. I also finished off the remains of my banana-oatmeal-peanut butter muffin concoction, that is, the ingredients thrown together before they are put in the oven. A little hot and cold on this Saturday morning.

And now I'm off to the SAC on campus to do some serious reading. I believe I mentioned that I am in a history of advertising class, and though I am only taking it pass/fail, I don't want to be in jeopardy of failing it simply because I chose not to do the reading. I have quite the to-do list for this weekend, so hopefully I'll report back with everything being checked off!