Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Survey

In an effort to make good on my 10-blog posts-a month promise, I am posting this quick Thanksgiving survey for your food coma reading pleasure. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Mine was low-key, delicious, and refreshing, and I am happy to say that I am currently on the couch cheering on my Horns. So, without further ado:

1. Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?
We don't really have any big Thanksgiving traditions. My mom and I traditionally hold down the downstairs when we are watching the Thanksgiving Texas game, but other than that, there's nothing that we've done every Thanksgiving from the very beginning.

A Sooner and a Longhorn
2. List at least three dishes that are on your family’s table every year.
Turkey, of course, mashed potatoes, and my mom's green bean casserole.

3. Do you prefer pumpkin pie or pecan pie?
This answer is going to disappoint a lot of people, but I am actually not a huge pie fan. I never really have been, unless it was cold chocolate cream pie. I don't know what it is, but pie never seemed to be cold enough for me, and the texture kind of freaked me out. So now that you all probably consider me to be un-American, I would probably prefer pecan to pumpkin.

4. Will you watch football on Thanksgiving Day?
I am watching the Texas vs. Texas Tech football game as we speak. And while we're here, let's just all take a moment to reflect on and be thankful for that beautiful football game that happened exactly two years ago.

5. Do you plan to exercise Thursday?
This year was my third year participating in the TXU Turkey Trot 10K, benefitting Sheltering Arms Senior Services, and I will go ahead and say that this was the coldest year yet. Though I thought about complaining about how cold it was outside, how tired I was, and how much traffic I was stuck in, I decided to be thankful for the fact that I have two healthy and strong legs that allow me to run 6.2 miles.

I had to laugh when I googled "TXU Turkey Trot 2013" and this image from 2012 came up!
The race was a lot of fun, and I finished right around 50 minutes, and I saw some really fun turkey/pilgrim/Indian costumes as well. One of these years I am going to dress up!

6. Do you prefer ham or turkey?
Turkey, for sure. 

7. Will you shop on Black Friday?
Heck. No. For one, I do not like that stores are open on Thanksgiving Day, and two, while it's not that I mind the fact that people go shopping the day after Thanksgiving (because let's be honest, there are some great deals out there), but it makes me so sad to read about the fights, injuries, and even deaths that occur on Black Friday, one day after we have just given thanks for all that we have.

8. Do you take a nap on Thanksgiving?
I did take a little cat nap today while I was supposed to be studying for my PPR exam, but I don't normally take a nap on Thanksgiving, which is surprising, because turkey is definitely the food of which I eat the most.

9. Share one dish that probably won’t be on anyone else’s table.
My mom's green bean casserole. Though I can't eat it, it always seems to be a hit.

10. What are you thankful for today?
For a list of what I am thankful for, see this post.

I hope to check in with you guys again tomorrow!


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your day is full of food, family, friends, football, and just a whole lot of fun. I don't think I have stopped smiling since I got home to Houston, and I have been overcome with the realization that I truly have so much to be thankful for. The rest of this post will likely consist of pictures you have already seen, and an extensive list of what it is that I am especially thankful for, so don't say I didn't warn you!

I am thankful for family, and the constant love and support they provide me (and the fact they always welcome me - and my laundry - home with welcome arms).

I am thankful for friends, both old and new, who never fail to make me laugh.

I am thankful for those seven great roommates of mine, and our little house that is full of joy, laughter, and encouragement.

I am thankful for YoungLife - my small group, my team (Anderson and Murchison), and my precious freshman girls. It has been such an incredible three years doing life with them, and I am thankful for the ways I have seen them grow and learn to love people so well.

I am thankful for six months of fun, laughter, and discovering new restaurants with this wonderful guy.

I am thankful for the opportunity to travel, and all of the beautiful places I have gotten to see and experience.

The breathtaking San Francisco
My store in San Francisco
La Sagrada Familia
2012 Olympic Stadium
London Eye 
Eiffel Tower
I am thankful for my school, my city, and what has truly been the best four years of my life. I am thankful for parents who pay for my education, and even for the times when I am stressed to the max, because that (most likely) means that I am learning something.

Despite the stress, I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a student intern/teacher
I am thankful for my health, and two legs that allow me to do something that I love so much.

Nike Women's Half Marathon 2013

I am thankful for the city of Houston, and all of the wonderful memories it has provided me over the years. I appreciate it more and more every time I come home.

I am thankful for good books, sunrises and sunsets, dairy-free chocolate, frozen yogurt, 

warm blankets, pillow talk, warm fires, sunshine, seat belts, encouraging notes, candid pictures, real conversation, laughter, honeycrisp apples, the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking in the oven, and most of all, Jesus' death on the cross, and the truth that His mercies are new each morning. I am sure there are a lot of things that I left out, and I know that I have infinitely many things to be thankful for. And before I forget, I am thankful for all of you who read this little blog. You make writing it so much fun!

And on that note, I'm off to celebrate Turkey Day with the very best family I could ask for. And P.S. - HOOK 'EM! :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Home Sweet Home

As I was driving back to Austin exactly three months ago to begin my senior year of college, I knew in my heart that this semester was going to be a busy one. I had heard from previous 640 students that you can pretty much say goodbye to any sense of a social life, and that there will be mental breakdowns in your future. Though I can attest to the fact that mental breakdowns during this internship are a very real thing, I finally finished my 45 hours of observation and the teaching of nine lessons on Monday afternoon, and it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Though I (mostly) enjoyed it, it required a huge chunk of time each week, and it will be nice to have that little bit of extra free time this last week of class. I still have quite the to-do list, but I have made some serious progress on some of the items on this list, so hopefully I won't have to work too hard this break.

Anyway, I am currently writing this blog post from the comfort of my very own bed at my house in Houston. I got home right around 10:00pm last night, thanks to Dylan and his brother letting me crash their ride home. I proceeded to make myself right at home on the couch, watching some TV and hanging out with my mom until my brother got home from a friend's house. I hadn't seen him in almost three and a half months, so it was nice to see him for .5 seconds before he was off to see the next friend on his list.

I went to sleep a little after midnight, and had a very hard time making myself get out of bed this morning because I was so warm and snuggly, but I knew I needed to get up and get my day started. I went downstairs and made my usual egg white and spinach breakfast, eating it alongside a couple of cuties and a handful of grapes.

I think one of the best feelings in the world has to be coming home to a fridge stocked full of all your favorites, just as mine was. A huge shout out to my parents for taking my grocery list seriously!

After breakfast, I did a little bit of baking, ran a couple of errands with my mom, and then braved the chilly weather for a familiar 5.5 mile run through my neighborhood. The weather in Houston is absolutely beautiful today, which is a nice reprieve from the nasty weather I've been dealing with in Austin for the past week. 

I started out feeling pretty chilly, but I quickly warmed up, and my run turned out to be a great one. It was a good warm-up for the TXU Turkey Trot happening tomorrow morning. It's my third year to participate, and though I know the comfort of my bed will seem much more appealing than running 6.2 miles through the Galleria area in 37 degree weather, I am still very excited to get my run on before eating all of the delicious Thanksgiving food my family will cook up.

After my run I made a quick grocery store run (of course), and picked up my favorite grilled chicken salad from La Madeleine to eat for a late lunch.

You might be shocked that I didn't choose to eat at Hungry's for my first meal back, but fear not, it's only a matter of time before I enjoy a meal from my all-time favorite restaurant. I wasn't super hungry, and I was in the area, so this salad did the trick!

Now I'm wasting time on Pinterest studying a little bit for my PPR certification exam that's happening in less than two weeks (eek!), before getting ready to meet Dylan, his brother, and his dad for dinner before the Rocket's game tonight. 

I hope your Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a great one, and that you are thinking of all that you are thankful for this year!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

45-Minute Treadmill Workout

We are almost at the end of another school week, and though I hope to do a more thorough recap tomorrow, I can't go to bed until I share this 5-mile treadmill workout that I did today in between teaching a lesson at Westwood, and a renewing of mine and Dylan's Thursday tradition.

I knew I wanted to run, but I didn't want to do the same old treadmill workout that is quickly becoming my go-to. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but it's good to switch things up every now and then. This treadmill workout has some faster speeds coupled with some slower speeds, and all I have to say is that my sprinting could use some work. I was more than ready for that minute of sprinting to be up, but I did leave feeling like I got in a great workout. And I have a new one to share with you guys. It's a win-win!

I hope you all have had a wonderful week, and if you're in Texas, stay warm as the cold front comes in tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Refreshing Weekend

I am just not sure how it is already the middle of November. In fact, it is nearer to the end of November than it is to the beginning. There is only one week until I get to go home for Thanksgiving break, and after that, there is only one more week of class. Time really does fly!

Anyway, this past weekend my parents came up to Austin so that we could all go to the football game together. They went to Norman so that they could watch a game with Daniel, so I guess they felt like coming to Austin would be the fair thing to do. I thought it was going to be a really exciting game, but it turned out to be Mack Brown's worst career loss at home. We just couldn't get into a rhythm, and we couldn't seem to stop their quarterback from running the ball, so we were handed our first Big 12 loss of the season. So though the game wasn't very exciting, it was still a very fun day.

My parents got to my house around 11:30am, and we spent some time hanging around my house before heading out north to the Arboretum area to get lunch at a new-to-me restaurant, Z'Tejas. The very first Z'Tejas location was born right here in Austin, Texas, on our historic 6th Street, and there are now 11 locations open for business in the Western United States. It is a classified as a "southwestern grill," and it has a little bit of Tex-Mex, soup and salads, sandwiches, burgers, steak and seafood - so it really has a wide range of food from which to choose. We ordered some of the tableside guacamole, freshly made at your table, as the name implies, and I give it two thumbs up. I wasn't sure about some of the ingredients, but I couldn't stop eating it!
For my main dish, I went for the Grilled Salmon and vegetables, and I ate nearly every last bite, despite being extremely full. The salmon was grilled to perfection, and the vegetables were sauteed in a way that I just can't seem to do myself!

My mom, after much back and forth, opted for the Avocado Turkey Burger, and a side of sweet potato fries (I helped her out with those), and my dad went for the Green Chili Barbacoa Enchiladas. Dylan joined us for lunch and the game, and he went for the Sante Fe Smoked Chicken Enchilada.

All of our plates were pretty near clean by the end of the meal, and we all agreed that it was a great meal filled with great company. After lunch, we headed back in the direction of campus, and made it to the game right on time. I should probably be ashamed to admit that this was my first football game to attend this season, and it was also my last home game as a student, as I probably won't be making the trip back to Austin for our Thanksgiving Day game. I'm bummed that it wasn't a better game, but the weather was great, and I am thankful for that time spent with my parents.

We left the game before it was over, and after getting stuck in quite a traffic jam leaving the stadium, I was back at my house, ready for a little bit of relaxation time. I was sad to send my parents back to Houston, but it was a little easier knowing that I would see them again in just a week.

Sunday was another busy one full of homework and YoungLife, but Dylan and I did take time to go to dinner together before our all-area meeting. We went to Mandola's Italian Market in the triangle, and though my grilled chicken salad was tasty, my strawberry gelato stole the show.

I think I even shocked Dylan a little bit when I ate a large chocolate chunk out of his mint chocolate chip gelato. I figured a little bit of dairy wouldn't hurt me, and those large chocolate chunks are my favorite!

And now it's back to the craziness of another week, but hopefully I will be better about updating y'all this round! Have a great Tuesday!