Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Were You There?

That's the question I get, less often now but still more than half of the time I tell someone I am a Hokie. Yes, I went to Virginia Tech. Still do, actually. Yes, 7 years ago, my freshman year of college, the deadliest massacre in history took place on my campus. My favorite place in the world, to this day, was shaken to it's core. And now, 7 years later, with 32 lives still remembered, this is the question I get: "Were you there?"

People cannot bring themselves to elaborate. And it used to make me really angry. If you can't even say it, why do you want me to talk about it? Why should I share something so personal when you can hardly utter 3 words? What would you do if I responded saying my best friend died? Or that I watched friends and classmates lose their lives? Strangers don't get the Hokie community, but that doesn't mean I don't want to share it. So today, I want to give some positive answers to these negative questions, tell you what it means to me to be a Hokie, and finally, completely answer that question... was I there?

Did you know anyone who died in the shooting? No, I didn't know anyone personally. But I knew friends who did, and I watched what they went through. Although those lives were lost too soon, the Virginia Tech community has honored them every single day since they left us. While 32 of our friends and classmates are trying to explain to heaven what a Hokie is, I stand here sure in the fact that I wouldn't want to be anything else. 
Weren't you scared to be on campus after that? Not even for a second. If anything. I felt safer than I had before! There were so many visiting police forces helping us out, and so many extra eyes everywhere, people would have been crazy to pull anything. No, Virginia Tech was and still is the safest place i've ever been.
Do you and your friends talk about it all the time? Well, yes and no. My best friend Alex and I share a lot of similar feelings about the events and will turn to each other when something new pops up. Otherwise, no. I don't look back on my time at Virginia Tech and remember that day. I remember the relationships I forged and the wonderful experiences I had with those people. I mean, look at all the Hokies at our wedding!
Listen, if you guys have any questions, ask me. I'm happy to answer. I'll tell you this - I felt so loved and supported that day that i'm ok to talk about it. I'm happy to share my feelings, my experience - whatever. I blogged about this last year, i'll blog about it every year, I will neVer forgeT. Michelle Obama said it best at our convocation: "When you all are out there in the world and you meet someone and you tell them that you’re from Virginia Tech, and they say, “Huh, isn’t that the school where” -- I want you to interrupt them right there and say, “Yes, it is the school where we have some of the best academic programs and professors in the country." That’s what you tell them. You tell them, "Yes, it is the school where students are passionate about serving their country and supporting each other. You tell them, “Yes, it’s the school where we produce graduates who are leaders in their industries, and pillars of their communities, and who carry their Hokie pride with them every day for the rest of their lives." You say, “Yes, that is the school I attend. That is Virginia Tech.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Bridesmaid Drinking Game

This past weekend, which was an emotional roller coaster that i'm totally not ready to post about right now or maybe ever (vague, I know...) I went with one of my very best friends to try on wedding dresses, and while we were there I couldn't help but eyeball the bridesmaid dresses too... it's been a few years since i've been a bridesmaid but I remember the drill, and it felt only right to use a post (previously posted on Sarah's blog!) for a bridemaid's drinking game we can all relate to.

So, while most drinking games have a time limit - the Super Bowl, or the Bachelor, for example; this is a long term thing. There are times, as a bridesmaid, when you are gonna need some guilt free drinking. So, without further ado, I bring you:

So. When, as a bridesmaid, are we drinking?

  • Every time you hear the proposal story. Again.
  • Anytime you have to try on a bridesmaid dress, whether you liked it or not. 
  • When the engagement pictures come in. Because you KNOW you'll be helping with Save The Date's for the next month.
  • When the bride sends a picture of a dress you don't like. Get drunk if she buys the dress.
  • The bachelorette party. duh.
  • Anytime a cliche occurs 
    • "You can TOTALLY wear that dress again!"
    • "I found this on pinterest"
    • "We're crafting my centerpieces"
Disclaimer: It's totally ok for me to write this post, considering I probably put my own bridesmaids through most of this without even realizing it!

Friday, April 11, 2014

You Gotta Try These...

Listen up. I'm a vegetable skeptic. In every single aspect of life I pretty much can't understand why people eat plants. I literally only eat lettuce in a caesar salad - don't put any of that crap on my sandwiches or anywhere near my chipotle. I eat french onion soup except not the onions. Peppers, broccoli, kale? Don't bring it into my house. 

Beans go even beyond that. They literally make me gag. I almost have a panic attack at chipotle when they reach for the beans because what if some accidentally gets in my bow/?! No. Veggies and I do not get along.

BUT then about a week ago I saw an instagram photo from my favorite foodies over at Double Yolked with a picture of their black bean brownies. I commented and told them how gross I thought that sounded, to which they replied I couldn't knock it until I tried it. Well, I sure wasn't going to make them on my own! So we got together for wineries and food last weekend and they brought some brownies along. Here's my skeptical face:
To my surprise - and delight - they were delicious. So, today I want to tell you EXACTLY how I made them so you don't end up with "chocolate covered chipotle" (thanks Courtney...) and urge you to try them yourself - what do you have to lose?!

Ingredients:
1 Can plain, unseasoned black beans (I used Nature's Promise organic)
1 box of your preferred brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix)
1/2 cup water

-Open the beans, dump in a large collander and rinse really, really well. Like, 10 times if you need to until the water is totally clear. Then set them aside to dry. 
-Set up your food processor/blender/whatever you choose to use and add 1/2 cup of water and the beans. Puree until you literally have a paste. 
- Using a hand or stand mixer, combine the brownie mix and the bean puree
- Scoop into muffin tins

**side note, I used muffin tins because i've heard horror stories about beans settling in the middle of pans - I have no idea if they're true or not**

A few hints - I recommend liners in your brownies - they are a little moist at the bottom when they come out, a few hours on a cooling rack solves this easily. Also, I made 18 cupcakes, because I thought they would rise but they didn't. I could have easily fit the batter into 12 cupcakes without a problem. 

These brownies, when you make 18 of them, are 4 Points Plus for 1, and 7 Points plus for 2 (helloooo dessert) and I swear up and down they taste just like the real thing. TRY THEM before you knock them!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tough Talk

Oh look, it's Tough it Out Tuesday again. I like these days, I always have something new to share and something wonderful to be proud of. And you guys, I am. I'm really really proud of myself. I never ever thought i'd have something to share regarding my fitness journey on a WEELY BASIS. I have less than 3 weeks until I run my very first half marathon ever. And I've been pretty darn good about what I eat...
Gym selfies are ALWAYS so blurry...
So why do I feel so bad? I get up every morning, make my almond milk/chocolate protein/banana smoothie, and step on the scale. And guys that number is. not. moving. I gained a lot on vacation and it's not going away since then.

When this happens, I feel tempted to just give up. Why bother eating healthy if i'm gonna weigh this much anyway? Why bother exercising if it's going to make me retain water? It's not even warm out there's PLENTY of time to get back on track next week.

I'm my own worst enemy. I am the first to use words like "ugly, fat, chubby, bloated" and the first to grab a chocolate bar at the grocery store. The last to compliment myself. The last to give myself any credit.

But as of today, i'm changing that. I'm going to worry less about that number (except on WW weigh in days) and more about how I feel. Worry less about the distance in a workout and more about the feeling each time my foot hits the pavement. Worry less about how everyone else looks, and more about me.
Linking up with Allie and Kay, duh.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Happy Happy Happy

Late to the party, as usual, i'm going to join the bandwagon late and get on this "32 Things That Make Me Happy" bandwagon. I'm a generally positive, chipper person and I want to come up with 32 fun little happy things that put a smile on my face, whenever the heck I want to. So, without further ado...

1) My husband. Seriously he is the best. I think i'll keep him...
2) My cat. Duh. Like this was ever going to not make the list.

3) A trip to SweetFrog. It reminds me of being a kid and getting to mix all the shampoos together in the bathtub, except this is yogurt and yummy and I get to eat it when i'm done.

4) Christmas lights. I'd hang them all year long. I love them outside my window in the dark!

5) Baseball season. I watch every. single. Phillies game, even the ones I wish I hadn't.

6) Harry Potter weekends. I can think of no better excuse to lay around for a whole weekend than to watch a set of movies i've seen 62 times.

7) Girls weekends. Anytime I can dedicate 48 hours to friendship, i'm a happy camper.

8) My job. Actually, both my jobs, both the full time and the part time one. Is that weird? Don't care.

9) My mom. She's my very best friend and my favorite person to take a rainy vacation with.

10) Also my seester because i'm a lucky duck to have her.

11) And my little brother who is currently in training to be the worlds best chef and cook me all the yummy things.

12) Feeling like i'm a real part of the running world. I got a belt to wear and carry my stuff during my half marathon today! #legit

13) Getting sucked into a good book. 

14) Bubble baths

15) Trader Joe's. So happy.

16) Caesar salads

17) A new purse

18) Cleaning out an old purse and finding money and chapstick. Because I don't hoard enough of that already

19) Grad school. Not actually being in class, just being a grad student. That's an important distinction

20) Wineries 

21) Adding activity points to my WW tracker after a long run

22) Cooking, even though I don't do it nearly enough

23) Photography. I KNOW everyone is a photographer these days but I love it anyway.

24) Being barefoot

25) A new bottle of nail polish for each season

26) Checking the mail. I get ridiculously excited about this.

27) Fajitas. I just love mexican food, especially in the summer

28) That moment when you take your bra off at the end of a long day

29) Criminal Minds. mmmmmm Derek Morgan...

30) Holiday themed ANYTHING

31) A date night at the movies

32) Accessories. So much fun to put the perfect outfit together!

In other news, i'm NOT happy because iPhoto is doing some crazy update aka there are NO pictures in this post. Whatever. Just picture a big goofy grin, you'll get the idea.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

10 things...

We all have different sides. Maybe you act different with certain friends, or around your parents, or at work. Me? I know I don't share as much on my blog as a do in real life. So I thought I'd share with you 10 things you might not know about me, to open up a little!

1) when it comes to dessert, I'll choose fruity flavors over chocolate any day. It's why jellybeans and gummies are a total weakness for me!

2) I'm obsessed with learning about other people's pregnancies. You bet I'm reading every bumpdate, status, tweet, whatever. I'm totally fascinated. 

3) that being said, I'm nowhere near ready for kids of my own. My husband wants like 10 and he wants them now. 

4) I'm a little neurotic in a lot of ways. The first thing I do every time I walk in the door is find my cat, to make sure she's ok. Why she wouldn't be, I have no idea. 

5) I often feel like I am the giver in all of my relationships. What I mean is that I'm usually willing to give more - more time, more effort, more whatever. But I'm extremely uncomfortable letting someone else in that role. It can make things hard...

6) I know with 100% certainty that i'm pursuing the right career for me. So much so that it scares me sometimes!

7) I'm messy. There are almost always more clothes on my floor than hung up or in drawers. 

8) I read really unnaturally fast. I finished the 7th Harry Potter book in less than a day. Reading is also hands down my favorite thing to be doing at any given time. 

9) I hate odd numbers. It really killed me to get married in an odd month of an odd year. I also hate odd numbers in money, TV volumes, and glasses of wine. 

10) I'm superstitious, but only with good luck, not bad.  I have lucky underwear and a lucky necklace AND a lucky winery. Not kidding. 

So now that you think I'm a total weirdo (or you're nodding your head in agreement) I hope you feel like you know the girl behind the blog a little better!

An Update...

Geez, it's been a while since I blogged. I don't know how these travel bloggers do it - while I was on vacation, all I wanted in the whole world was to be unplugged. So, I did that and it. was. awesome.
So, as many of you knew, last week my mom and I hopped a plane to Florida, where we stayed just south of Sarasota and had an absolutely fantastic time. It rained every day we were there, and it was pretty windy, but it was still vacation and it was still warmer than snowy Virginia. 
While we were there, I got to meet Hallie and her husband. It was such a nice treat to have someone to tell us a little about the area and spend an evening with. They are hands down two of the nicest people i've ever met. Porter and I are already smack talking about college football, and I think i'd be perfectly happy to move into their place and never leave.
My mom and I made the best of a rainy situation. We visited lots of bars and little shops, ate at farm to table restaurants, met Elvis, and even did a gourmet olive oil tasting! Vacation with your mom is basically the best type of vacation, and I cannot wait to do it again, and again, and again.
This past weekend was ALSO my husbands birthday, which meant I hopped right in the car from the airplane and headed to Pennsylvania to celebrate. The next day we drove BACK to Virginia to have his birthday party, which was a fancy cocktail party that was so. much. fun. 
As far as my half marathon training goes, I actually did get one day of training in while I was on vacation. I felt awful because of all the junk I was eating (and drinking), but I toughed out a few miles. That brings my total for the month of march to just under 35 miles. I'm not really all that pleased, since I set a higher goal, but I still feel ready for the half marathon (in 25 days!!), and this month included two of my longest distances yet. Progress is progress, right?
I also totally fell off of the 30 day shred bandwagon. With me wrapping up my final semester of grad school, graduation and final projects right around the corner, and all the traveling i've been doing, i'm lucky to get my walks in. I don't want to be extra tired all the time. Instead i've tried to add little things, like squats while I brush my teeth and parking far away from entrances. Overall I feel really good and  think that needs to be my main focus. 
Last, but not least... can we PLEASE talk about the finale of How I Met Your Mother? I have a whole lot of really, really interesting feelings about it, and no one to talk to! SOMEONE weigh in here!