Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Recap

On weekends where I have no absolutely nothing planned I take full advantage of being as lazy as I want. Work has been really busy the past few weeks and the best way I decompress  is just relaxing at home. I don't really feel like I need to be out doing this and that every weekend. I'm just a homebody at heart!

On Friday it was just Sarah and I at home and our big plans included watching the new Hart of Dixie. After it was over at 9 Sarah asked if I wanted to watch a movie and I told her that I was already planning on going to bed. I get really sleepy between 9-10 and I'd much rather be in my bed instead of forcing myself to stay awake. 

On Saturday I was up early to head to my mom's house to watch my dogs for the rest of the weekend. My mom and step-dad wanted to go on a mini weekend getaway and they don't have to ask me twice to spend time with my dogs. They live on 5 acres and at the end of cul-de-sac so their house is really cozy. I spent my time watching a lot of Hallmark movies, reading, playing with the dogs outside and drinking wine. They had left me bottle of something they just opened the night before so I followed their instructions to drink it while it was still good.

I skipped out on my long run this weekend because my IT band isn't being nice right now. I know it's better to take some rest than run on it and make it worse. I did yoga and lots of stretches for it so I'm hoping today I can do 3 miles with no pain.

The only thing missing this wonderful weekend was Peter, like all weekends. It was nice to have the alone time but after 6 months of doing this long distance thing, I'd much rather him be here now. But we're about halfway through and I just have to remember he'll be home soon enough!
my cup of coffee Sunday morning!
To help that time pass as well, I've decided to do a 25 before 25 list after my post on Friday. I'm cheating a little bit because I'm including things that have already happened but they were still things that I wanted to get done. I'll be sharing my list on Wednesday!

Friday, January 23, 2015

270 Days...

...until I turn 25. I know age is just a number but for some reason 25 seems like a big age. I've lived for quarter of a century already, I can rent a car with no problem, I'm only 5 years away from 30. I really don't mind getting older (says the 24 year old) because I always feel lucky that I got to live another year. However I'm feeling like I need to be doing something big before I turn 25. I don't have a 25 before 25 list and I've only got 8 months left at this point…for some reason I thought starting at the beginning of this year instead of right after my birthday would make more sense. I've had a few ideas…

+  Do 1 thing every month that is new and/or scares me. I'm a creature of habit and I don't mind lazy weekends on the couch. But life is also for living which sometimes mean getting out of your comfort zone. I haven't come up with a list though of new things though.

+ Do 25 things before my birthday. Not sure what those things should be though…books? races? volunteer hours?

+ Run a marathon. I could say I did 1.2 more for good luck :P

+ Do 25 acts of kindness. Either leading up to my birthday or on my birthday. I've seen this idea on pinterest.

+ Just being honest here but I did think about going to 25 new wineries. There's plenty around me but that mayyy get expensive.

+ Peter and I have talked about going to Europe when he comes back home and before he hopefully starts a new job so if that worked out that would be a better big thing since I've never gone before!

Feel free to send any ideas my way. I have one week in January left so hopefully I decide something soon…if I choose to do anything.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Shocking" Dislikes

First, yesterday was my BFF Julie's birthday!! Our birthdays are exactly 3 months apart - the 20th is a good day to be born. I hope your students were extra good for you and I can't wait to take you out to celebrate tomorrow night! 

The other day I was watching "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs" episode of Friends. It's revealed that Chandler isn't actually allergic to dogs like he said but just afraid of them because you can't tell what they're thinking. The conversation precedes like this:

Chandler: Okay, I hate dogs.
All: What?
Phoebe: Are you crazy?
Ross: Are you out of your mind?
Phoebe: Why?
Chandler: They are needy, they are jumpy, and you can't tell what they are thinking, and that scares me a little bit.

It got me thinking about what things I don't really like that a lot of other people like...

+ Icing. It's way too sweet for my liking and I prefer a plain cake. 

+ Seafood. The smell, the creepily smooth texture. No thank you. Though I don't mind salmon at certain times. 

+ Scary/suspenseful movies/tv shows. I get scared pretty easily and don't enjoy my heart beating out of my chest so I stay away from this genre. Give me the cheesy romances and comedies alll day.

+ Swimming in the ocean. One word: sharks. I blame Jaws for scaring me for life. I'll get up to my waist, always have to be touching the bottom and can last for about 20 minutes. When I'm at the beach, you can find me in a chair, under the umbrella, with a good book.

+ Fancy chocolates. Lindor truffles, Ghiradelli, Toblerone…pass. Give me regular Hershey kisses or Hershey bar and I'm good.

+ High heels. Sure they are feminine and can definitely make any outfit look cuter but oh the pain. My feet should not be in that position. I'm waiting for the day when they make them as comfy as slippers.

+ Spicy foods. I have zero tolerance for spicy things. Pepperjack cheese is about the spiciest thing I can eat.

Any one else not like one of these things? What are some your popular dislikes?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Road Trip Picks

Yesterday I filled up my car for $27! I'm loving these low gas prices right now. It makes me wish I could be taking advantage of them and going on some road trips.  My family used to drive to my dad's house in Georgia every summer to visit him so I've been on plenty of 12+ road trips. These days 5-6 hours one way is my max. Here's a few places I'm wishing I could be going…

+ Blacksburg
My college hometown. I haven't visited since March 2014 - almost a whole year :(. I'd really like to go visit this spring because after fall, it's my favorite season there! The mountains, the fields, the pretty buildings and the memories! I want to visit the gardens, walk around campus, run on the Huckleberry and eat at Gillies and The Cellar. I need to make this happen - it'll be good for my soul. 
view along the Huckleberry!

+ Philadelphia
I visited it once before with my mom because she grew up outside of it. Now my BFF Kelly is living there and I want to see her cute apartment and cute kitten and explore the city. Also it's the home of my favorite football team! Julie and I have talked about driving up there so hopefully we will make it happen!

+ Pittsburg
Peter went here last year with his friend for a concert and really enjoyed it. He said it was cool city and he'd like to go back to explore it some more. He went during the fall so hopefully we could go this fall once he's home again!

+ Charlottesville
It's only about an hour from my mom's house and it is filled with wineries. I think there's probably about 10 every 2 miles. It would make for a fun day trip!

+ Williamsburg
Though I've lived in Virginia for 20 years somehow I've never been here. Peter's family goes every year and always raves about it. I'm hoping this could be another weekend trip once Peter gets home!

Where would you road trip to right now? What's the max hours you'd drive one way?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Starting 2015 With A Vlog

Last Friday I got this text from Erin "YOU HAVEN'T EVEN BLOGGED IN 2015." You got to love when people miss your ramblings :)

I decided that this was a great opportunity to do my first vlog! I've meaning to do one for a while now and this way you'll get a glimpse into how I talk too fast, use my hands a lot while talking and say "like and um"a lot…just to prepare you in case we ever get to hang out!

First a first notes about the video…
- I thought this would be like 3 minutes and it's 8:49, whoops.
- It sounds like I have a cold but it's really just allergies. I need to make an appointment for an Ear Nose and Throat doctor...
- I make weird facial expressions sometimes.
- I meant to say that the co-worker who is having the house built is moving to our neighborhood.
- Apparently I can't describe two families having a two year old on the first try.
- I realized I said "that's really about it" twice and then continued talking. I was trying to get everything in in one shot!
- I meant Peter didn't have any really good friends in Chicago. I promise he has friends :)
- I sound like publicist for my niece…I just love showing off her cuteness! The rest of my family members are doing well too!

Now without further adieu…

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What Went On In 2014

I know I won't be the only way saying that 2014 seemed to fly by. I can't believe it's New Years Eve today! 

Sometimes day by day it felt like I was just waking up, going to work, coming home, going running, eating dinner, relaxing, going to bed and doing the same exact thing the next day. But looking back on my posts and photos for this year, so much happened! Some things changed and others stayed the same. I'm still working at my same job, still living with Sarah and Ryan and still loving running. I'm looking forward to 2015 and all that it will bring but first a recap of the past 12 months!

I was a month into training for my first marathon and tried to enjoy some pretty snowy, cold runs. I shared some things about myself that you may learn if we got to hang out and Julie asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding! 

I dropped from the marathon to the half marathon due to a bothersome ankle, sent one of my BFFs Kayla a sunshine box, and shared how I started running.

I finally got to be real life friends with Kayla and Erin when I went to visit Cincinnati for the weekend! I had a blast spending time with them and exploring their city (Part 1 and Part 2 of the blate)! I'm coming back in 2015 so let's start planning it guys :). At the end of the month, I ran my 3rd half marathon and it was the first one I ran all by myself. The weather couldn't have been worse but I was really proud of myself for getting through it and still having fun. Though I prefer running with friends, it was nice to know I could do it on my own too!
Selfie in Jungle Jim's parking lot!
Peter and I celebrated his 23rd birthday which fell on Easter weekend. He practically got a whole case of different wines and we're still enjoying drinking them all. I ran my 4th half marathon with three of my best friends and had such a fun little weekend getaway with them!

My brother and sister-in-law first got married at a courthouse but in May they renewed their vows in front of family and friends on the beach. It was a quick weekend away and actually ended up being the only time I went to the beach all summer. My sister-in-law was 6-7 months pregnant and looked gorgeous. My nephew walked her down the aisle and it was cutest thing! It was surreal to think my older brother was finally married and the next wedding would be my twin or I.

I wrote about what it's like to live with your boyfriend's sister and husband, re: awesome for me! Peter accepted an internship in Chicago for the next year and I wasn't quite sure what was ahead but I was very excited for him and this new experience.  I attended my first Bachelorette party for Julie which was so much fun and only one foot was hurt during the night (mine). The last weekend in June I went with Sarah to visit her friend in Colorado. What a pretty state! We had delicious food, drove up mountains and overall had a great girls weekend.

I wrote this post about my thoughts of when people say they're not a real runner (aka everyone who runs, no matter how fast or far, is a runner!). Peter and I went to a biergarten haus in DC to watch Germany win the World Cup. The last weekend we had a small going-away BBQ for Peter and it was bittersweet!

Julie got married and was the first of my friends. It was a wonderful wedding weekend and I was so happy to be able to part of it! It's crazy to think they've been married for almost 5 months now. I attended my sister-in-law's baby shower and tried to imagine what my niece was going to be like. At the end of the month one of my best friends Kelly celebrated her 23rd birthday and started Optometry school. I still can't wait to visit her in Philly!

Labor Day weekend I finally got to visit Peter in Chicago. It was great to see him after our first month apart and I enjoyed exploring the city with him. It went by too fast but we filled our time with really fun things! I wrote this post about staying positive and focusing on happy things. Then on the 26th, my niece was born!! Those first few pictures I got made me cry. I couldn't believe she was here and I was so glad to hear she was healthy. Being aunt is one of the best things!

I finally got to see my niece in person the first weekend of October and celebrated my nephew's 8th birthday. It was actually the first time I held a newborn baby. She was as cute as can be and it was really fun to see my brother be a dad. I wrote this post about moving back to my hometown after college. I celebrated my 24th birthday and recapped what I did at 23 which now I realize is a mini yearly recap since my birthday is in October :P.

This month started a bit rocky between my grandma falling and breaking her neck and a friend's mom getting really sick but I tried to focus on the good. I finished my Invisalign treatment after 13 months of having it. Peter came home from the first time since he left for Thanksgiving and we had a great week together. I signed up for my 6th half marathon and can't wait to be there with Julie, Erin S., Erin M., Tracy, Alyssa and Kristen!

I ran my 5th half marathon and it was one of the best races because of all the surprises it brought. I placed wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery honoring our veterans. I got to celebrate Christmas with my family and then Peter's family. Peter was home for 2 weeks and we had a lot of fun together celebrating the holidays and just spending time together.

Thanks for continuing to read the ramblings that are most of my blog posts. I've said this before but my favorite thing about blogging is the friendships I've formed through it! I hope you all have a safe and happy NYE!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas #2

Whoof Monday. After a nice week off from work, filled with spending time with Peter, plenty of couch time and Christmas, it's a tough one. Luckily I just have to work today and tomorrow and then I'm off again for New Years Eve and Day! 

My recaps for Christmas Eve and Christmas will be pretty short because there was a lot of relaxation and family time with Peter's family. My mom and step-dad drove back up to Vermont with my grandma last Monday and spent Christmas with her and my mom's sister's family. 

I'll start with Christmas Eve. Peter's grandma was in town from Cape Cod so we had a full house this year with me, Sarah + Ryan, Peter, Mom + Dad and his little sister Chrissy. Growing up, it was just my brothers, me and my mom so it was fun to have that big family atmosphere during the holidays. We spent most of the day watching TV and relaxing. In the afternoon, Peter, Sarah, Chrissy and I made gingerbread houses. We ate dinner around 6pm and since they are italian they have fish on Christmas Eve. I'm not a big seafood fan and Ryan is allergic to a lot of it so he made us steaks instead. 

Before dinner, Peter and I were opening the chosen wine for the night and this picture just happened… :)
"Oh look an open bottle of wine!"
Disclosure: I didn't actually drink it from the bottle :P
Every year we go on a Christmas Eve walk to see the lights in the neighborhood after dinner. It was in the 40s and weirdly warm for December. They also watch A Christmas Carol each year on Christmas Eve and I promptly fell asleep on the couch about halfway in, also becoming an annual tradition. Sarah, Ryan and I went back to our house to sleep and had plans to be back at 6:30am for Christmas morning. Yes we're all above the age of 15….

With 8 people, it was like a sea of Christmas presents when we walked into their living room. We spent about an hour and a half opening presents because we each would open a few and then watch others open theirs. I got Peter a Chelsea jacket, soccer pants, a Chelsea soccer ball and a Chelsea beanie. Chelsea is a soccer team in the English Premier League and his favorite obviously. Peter never really asks for anything for Christmas but had just mentioned he was really into soccer right now now that he could actually watch the games on the weekends again. Luckily everything fit him, always something I worry about when I buy him clothes, and he loved it all - phew another Christmas success! I also don't ask Peter for anything specific for Christmas and it's always fun to see what he picks out. This year he got me a cardigan in my favorite color (mint), a very pretty blue Calvin Klein dress and a beautiful JCrew tan coat. His family got me some running clothes, right in time for my training starting up today! 

We spent the rest of the day all playing with our new gifts, relaxing, watching movies and then eating Christmas dinner. Traditionally they have ravolli and then roast, potatoes and broccoli. Peter's dad is a great cook and I hope Peter has been watching him over the years so he can make all these delicious meals too! :P Overall it was a wonderful Christmas and I'm lucky to be able to spend it with Peter and his awesome family. Of course I missed my own but a little FaceTime with everyone helped! 

Christmas legos and reading!

On a side and adorable note, the day after Christmas my niece turned 3 months old! I don't know where the time has gone but she just gets cuter by the minute. I know I'll miss her baby days but I look forward to her being a toddler and talking!
I mean just look at her little smile!!!!
Wearing her baby jeggings she got from Aunt Becky for Christmas!
I hope everyone else had a wonderful holiday with their families and loved ones. I'm excited to read the recaps because I'm not ready to let go of Christmas just yet. We'll be taking down the decorations after New Years!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas #1

As I mentioned in my last post, my family celebrated Christmas together on Saturday night. Peter's flight was on time so we spent an hour at his sister's holiday party and then drove out to my mom's house. My twin, my brother and sister-in-law, niece and nephew and grandma (mom's mom) were all there. My mom's best friend and her family were also there. I love celebrating with family and friends who feel like family!

It was a low-key night where we just got to enjoy being together. We watched the Redskins-Eagles game then had a delicious dinner. Not before my mom accidentally placed a pyrex cutting board on our hot stove and it exploded. Luckily no one got hit by anything! We fought over passed around my niece who was just a doll. No crying, just a happy baby! As you can imagine my grandma was especially obsessed with her and wanted to hold her every 5 minutes. 

wiggle worm :) 
Peter even held her for a while though it didn't surprise me because his little sister is 8 years younger than him so he's had more baby experience than me. He will make a great Uncle once Sarah and Ryan have kids!

We opened up presents and my nephew had fun handing them out to everyone. He only paused when he found one of his and opened it right away. I got some running attire, a calendar of puppies, pictures to frame and a bottle of wine! We hung out for a few more hours and it was just so nice to have everyone together. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that it was just my mom, brothers and I celebrating Christmas together but it's been great to see how our family has grown over the years. I feel very blessed with such a wonderful family!

I'll be back next week to recap Christmas #2 and more of Peter and I's adventures together while he is home :)

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Plans

I guess one good thing about this long distance relationship thing is when he comes home or I visit, I feel like we make it a point to do all the fun things! Though I would enjoy even just sitting on the couch with Peter these days, it's nice to plan fun activities to look forward to! Back in October, I was already listing our Thanksgiving plans so I thought I would do a Christmas list too! He will be home Saturday afternoon and I can't wait!

+ Christmas x2.
I'm doing Christmas with my entire family on Saturday night. It's easy to hang out with his family because 1. I live with his sister and BIL and 2. we live within 10 minutes of his parents house, where Peter and his little sister live. My family however is all spread out - my mom and step-dad are an hour away from me, my twin lives 45 minutes away in the opposite direction, my older brother is in Chicago and my SIL + niece + nephew are 5 hours away. We coordinated our schedules so we could do Christmas together - who cares if it's a few days early. I'll take two christmases any day! If Peter's plane doesn't get delayed, he'll be coming with me too! 

+ Wine.
Simple and self-explanatory if you've been reading my blog for at least 2 posts. We've been saving a few bottles just for Christmas and I can't wait. I've missed my wine nights with my favorite guy.

+ A Christmas Lights Walk. 
Big warm jackets, hats, gloves, scarves and glittery Christmas lights around you. Sounds cozy to me!

+ Our Restaurants
Going to our favorite places to eat and getting the same things we always do. Sometimes I love a good routine :)

+ Christmas Cookies
Peter's dad makes the best Christmas cookies ever. Three different kinds and about 3 dozen of each. I could eat them all myself! But I suppose since it's the season of giving, I can make sure that his family and friends get some too :P

+ Christmas Morning
I don't think Christmas morning will ever feel less magical, no matter how old I get. It's not the pending presents either. It's the family time, the laughter, the kindness, the well-wishes from friends. I have many things to be thankful for and being able to celebrate a holiday with the ones you love, near and far, is a gift and an amazing thing in life.

What are you looking forward to this holiday season?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Honoring Our Veterans

Over the weekend, I spent Saturday morning at Arlington National Cemetery. Growing up outside of DC, sometimes I think I take for granted the amount of historic landmarks that are near me. Each one of them represents or reminds us of an important time in American history. I don't go into DC often but it's always fun to play tourist in my own city when I do. 

I was at Arlington National Cemetery for Wreaths Across America Day. I encourage you to read more about it here. Basically, one man who owns a wreath company in Maine had a surplus of wreaths during the holiday season in 1992. He decided to send the wreaths to Arlington to be placed at one of the older sections that doesn't get many visitors. This went on quietly for years until 2005 when a photo of the wreaths on the stones made its way around the internet. Support and donations started to pour in from people who wanted to help. In 2007, the non-profit organization Wreaths Across America established itself and each year it continues to grow. The wreaths get placed at cemeteries all over the country but their big event is at Arlington. Truckers donate their truck and time to drive down the thousands of wreaths from Maine to Virginia. What started as a simple idea from a wreath maker in Maine has grown into a national event that truly honors our nation's heroes. 

My division at work has coordinated volunteers for the past few years and I did attend last year. I had a great time and was happy to participate again this year. Though this time, I got to coordinate the volunteers. It was pretty simple - send out an email, put all their names and the number of people they were coming with on a spreadsheet and answer any questions they had. But it was also more than that. A lot of people had stories and reasons for wanting to attend - fathers, mothers, grandfathers, brothers, husband, wives, friends - were buried there. My email then got forwarded to my entire company that was in the Washington Metro area and more volunteers started to email me. A few days before the event, we had 165 volunteers signed up!

On the day of the event, I went with Peter's mom and little sister. They actually both did it with me last year as well. Because of the number of volunteers, traffic on the roads started quick and the metro got extremely crowded. I was about 10 minutes late showing up to the meeting place. I had a giant flag with our company name so people could find me. I only knew a handful of people coming so it was fun to meet more co-workers. We have people all over the place and it's rare that we have an event like this to be together at. 

They have an opening ceremony and it's one of the best parts of the morning. You listen to the board members of Arlington National Cemetery talk about the event, the members of Wreaths Across America and the wreath maker from Maine. This year was the 150th anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery and they made it their goal to get enough wreaths donated for each eligible stone (wreaths do not get placed at Jewish stones). In the previous years, a few tens of thousands of stones would not get covered simply because they didn't have enough wreaths donated. That is a father, mother, son, daughter, friend who's stone doesn't get the remembrance. But this year, they all got one - about 280,000! When one of the Wreaths Across America head members told the crowd they met their goal, I don't think the cheering could have been louder. You would have thought everyone there had just heard they won the lottery. The speaker was actually very emotional when he said it. To think about all the hard work that went into this event and they were able to meet their goal, who wouldn't be emotional! 

The first lady from Maine was there and my favorite part of her speech was when she said "This event right here, this is what is going right in America right now." And to think I got to be a part of that! It really didn't stink in until that moment what my choice to attend had really meant. 

After the ceremony, you walk to one of the trucks to get wreaths. They ask you go to an empty stone, read it and take the time to remember and honor that veteran. It's a very humbling experience. 

If you are ever in DC around the second week of December I highly encourage you to participate!