Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Most Memorable Moments of 2014

I seriously can't believe that we're going to be saying goodbye to 2014 tomorrow night. It seems like we were just ringing in 2014 a few weeks ago. Where did the time go?! Today Brett and I are venturing down to New Jersey to spend New Year's with my good friends Jeff and Noble. We haven't seen them since August 2013, so we thought it was definitely time for a visit, and what better time to visit loved ones than the holidays! But, before we pack up the car and go, I thought I'd reflect on this past year.

Last December I wrapped up the year by reflecting on what I considered to be the most memorable moments of 2013. This year, I'm going to bid adieu to 2014 in the same fashion!

As I explained last year, the moments I'm reflecting upon aren't necessarily things that I'll look back on and smile, but they are definitely things that I will remember in the years to come. Here are the things I'm definitely going to remember, month by month, about 2014!

Brett starts his new job/Getting back into vlogging
Related posts: Blogging vs. Vlogging

Also picked up my new glasses the day Brett started his new job!

The beginning of the year came with a new job for Brett, and because it was relatively far away from where we lived, meant he had to move out of my apartment. This definitely caused a bit of adapting in our relationship, and it was pretty hard at first, but we have certainly grown much more because of it. Nearly a year later, I'm about to end my time of needing to stay in south eastern Massachusetts, and we will be looking into moving back in together as soon as possible!

I also allowed myself to get back into my vlogging hobby at the beginning of 2014. Vlogging is something that can be hard to do, as it's really putting yourself out there. It's one thing to sit and type behind the protection of a keyboard, but when you're vlogging you're putting you face to your opinions which can be pretty scary. However, I've really been enjoying myself this year, and Brett has even warmed up to having the camera around!

Valentine's Day with Brett/NACA Nationals
Related posts: Boyfriend/Girlfriend Tag!

Conference Starter Kit: Name badge, guide book, coffee.

Brett and I had a wonderful Valentine's Day together, consisting of pizza, Cadbury Cream Eggs, and movies. Our favorite date night is one where we get to be lazy, as we don't get to do that too often in our daily lives.

I also had the chance to attend the NACA National Convention in Boston with a handful of students for a few days. That was my very first national convention, and while it had thousands of people in attendance, it actually wasn't that bad! (I'm not a huge fan of crowds for those who weren't aware.) I think it was the perfect introduction to national conventions, as I would be attending another one the very next month!

Flying to Indianapolis for ACPA National Convention
Related posts: Reinvent: ACPA National Convention 2014

#Selfie with Indy!

At the end of March, Janine, Brittany, and I all flew to the great state of Indiana to attend the ACPA National Convention! I had never been to Indy before, so it was really cool to explore a new city as well as experience my first conference that encompasses the whole field of student affairs instead of just one functional area like NACA. We had a blast and I hope to attend another ACPA soon!

BSU Springfest
Related posts: Personal Life Black Hole

After our final Springfest event!

Basically the entire spring semester is dedicated to prepping for BSU's campus wide event known as Springfest. It's one of the biggest events PC puts on throughout the year, and in April, it all came together and went off without a hitch! It was so cool to see the event that everyone had been talking about all year, and really made me feel like a part of the BSU culture. I'm excited to see it all happen again this upcoming spring!

Completing my first year of graduate school/Turning 24/Adopting Cosmo/Quadcopter fun
Related posts: 50% | Twenty-Four | Don Draper, Quadcopters, and Bonfires

Midnight birthday cake surprise!

With May came the end of my first full year of graduate school! My birthday tends to line up with the end of the school year in higher ed. land, so it's always a great way to celebrate the end of the year as well. We had lots of friends over for a birthday party, playing Heads Up and other fun games, and ending with a surprise birthday cake from Brett when the clock struck midnight on May 11th!

Brett and I also ventured up to New Hampshire for Memorial Day weekend, a much needed escape from real life before the craziness of Orientation began in June. We watched Mad Men, ate more birthday cake, and flew my dad's Quadcopter, which inevitably wound up with us (me) roofing it. We also brought our new fish buddy Cosmo along for the ride, one of many throughout the summer!

BSU Orientation
Related posts: 'Twas the Night before Orientation... | I Survived Orientation 2014!

End-of-sessions banquet!

My whole life was Orientation at BSU during the month of June, and while it might usually stink having to work the entire first month of summer, I LOVED working for this Orientation program! I had a wonderful time with the Professional Staff and made some deeper connections with them, bonded with students that I wouldn't typically work with in my daily role as a GA in OSIL, and laughed so much each and every day, despite how tired I was. (Being exhausted would alo explain why I was laughing so much...) Going through this program reminded me why I loved Orientation so much as an OL, and gives me another option professionally when I'm searching for jobs this spring. I'm extremely jealous of the grad interns that get to be a part of this program for years to come!

Bringing Danny to NH/Brett's Spider Bite/Cape Cod
Related posts: Weekends in July | Lobster. Traffic. Must be the Cape.

Uncle/nephew bonding!

I had about 3 weeks in July that I was actually off from work, so Brett and I did a lot of travelling! We took his nephew, Danny, up to my parents' house, which was a blast for everyone! We took him tubing, to the town fair, and we even cooked some s'mores! We also got to go up to Ossipee to Brett's family camp site, and hung out on the lake there as well. The only downside of this weekend is when Brett got a large spider bite on his leg. It actually caused Brett to get pretty sick and we eventually took him to the Doctor to get it checked out. He got put on antibiotics and it all cleared up, but it was scary for a second!

We also were invited out to a friend's Cape house for a few days in July as well. It was so much fun just relaxing, eating tons of delicious meals, and hitting the beach. We're definitely going to make an effort to get out there again next summer!

Creativity in Counseling/Family trip to Maine/Watching football practices
Related posts: Hectic August

Fireside chats with the fam.

On August 1st I finished up my summer course, Creativity in Counseling. Though it was just an elective, I really feel like I got the most out of this class in comparison to every other counseling course I've taken so far in my program. The professor who taught this class did so in such an impactful way that I still remember exact words that she used when explaining counseling technique, and I really believe I will remember it in the years to come.I'm really happy I took the leap and signed up for this course!

My sister also came home to NH that weekend, which meant a family trip to Maine! We went up to my Aunt and Uncle's camp site on Cold Stream Lake and spent the weekend tubing, chatting by the fire, and playing with the 9 dogs that were in attendance.

With August came the beginning of football camp for Brett, so when I visited him this month I spent a lot of time in the bleachers watching him coach his players. I don't think I ever have truly seen him in his professional element like that, so it was really awesome to see him do what he's best at!

Starting at Clark/Getting wisdom teeth removed
Related posts: And just like that... | See ya later, Wisdom Teeth! | Recovery Struggles...

Arriving to Clark on my first day!

The beginning of the fall semester kicked off with the beginning of my graduate internship at Clark University! It's always a bit difficult to adapt to a new environment at first, but the people in the office have been so supportive and helpful that the transition was quite easy. I never thought I'd be working at three very different institutions at once, but it's been a very cool experience!

I also FINALLY got my wisdom teeth removed in September. It was an interesting recovery process for me. It seemed like I was totally fine the few days after the surgery, but as the week progressed, I was in more and more pain, to the point where one night we were seriously considering going to the emergency room. Thankfully, that didn't have to happen, but it was scary. Props to Brett and my parents for being there for me during the worst pain I've experienced... hopefully that never happens again!

Finishing my second marathon/Reverse Trick-or-Treat/NACA Regionals
Related posts: New Hampshire Marathon FINISHER! | Happy Halloween #BestHoliday | Mixing It Up: NACA Northeast 2014

With the Bears at the closing dinner at NACA Northeast!

In October I completed the New Hampshire Marathon - my second full marathon! My parents were there to cheer me on at the finish line which was awesome, and so nice of them because I do not run that distance very fast whatsoever. I'm definitely looking forward to my next marathon, whenever that may be!

Some of the ResLife staff did this awesome program known as Reverse Trick-or-Treat, where we knocked on the doors of our residents and gave THEM candy. It's something that I've always wanted to do and I was so happy we were able to do it as a staff. Such a fun way to celebrate my favorite holiday of the year!

October also brought the NACA Northeast Regional Conference. It was great to have the opportunity to attend this conference again, as last year I didn't really know what to expect our how to make the best out of what was offered to me. This year I presented an educational session, participated on an awards committee, all while supervising our delegation of 11 students. I also felt much closer to my students this year than I did last year (last year I was still getting to know everyone!) so that made for tons more fun with them!


Deep Fried Everything/Silly String 5K
Related posts: The Non-Work Side of my Life | A Snowy Thanksgiving

Pups getting to play on Thanksgiving!

In November I put on my favorite program that I've ever done - DEEP FRIED EVERYTHING. I did this program in early 2013 as well and it was a big hit, so I decided to do it again. My residents loved it and I had such a fun time with my CAs that helped me out with it. Awesome staff and resident bonding night! I will definitely be doing this again... multiple times!

This year I was able to participate in the 5K that my family "hosts" at my Grammy's house on Thanksgiving - the Silly String 5K! It was fun to see my whole family participating in something that I really enjoy, including my youngest cousin who often gets left out of things because he's a few years younger than everyone else! I also got to run with Kiwi, and make a new friend, which is always a bonus!

Two-year anniversary/Christmas
Related posts: Two Years! | Merry Christmas!

Brett's anniversary gift to me!

As usual, December has been the perfect end to a great year! Brett and I celebrated two years together, I finished up my third semester of graduate school, and I got to spend the Christmas holiday with both my family, Brett's family, and even Brett - something we had yet to do in the three Christmases we've been together! This month has been full of smiles and time with the people I care about, and I'm really looking forward to sending the year off with Brett and two of my really great friends!

2014 has been another wonderful year in the books. 2015 is going to bring a lot of new, exciting, and sometimes scary changes to my life, but I can't wait to see where I'm going to be this time next year!

Happy New Year, everyone!
Share some of your favorite moments of the year
or link me to your 2014 wrap-up post in the comments below!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Year 2: Fall 2014 Goals Update

A few months ago I posted my personal goals for the Fall 2014 semester. Now that the semester is officially over, it's time to take a look back and see how I did!

1. Set a daily deadline for self-care | I think I did relatively well in this department. I almost always made sure I was at least in bed by midnight during the week, and although that didn't leave a whole lot of time for hobbies (when you're getting home at 10:30pm you basically just eat dinner and go to sleep), it prevented me from getting sick and feeling too burnt out. If anything, getting to bed early was definitely my one form of self-care that I consistently practiced throughout the semester.

2. Exercise at least 3x per week | Though I didn't consistently exercise three times a week, I did try to at least get out on the road and run twice a week. There was rarely a week that I didn't get at least two runs in, which I'm pretty happy about. It didn't really matter to me how far I went, as long I was getting out and burning some energy!

3. Stick to my blogging schedule | Toward the end of the semester this got a little more difficult to achieve, and I would often postpone a scheduled blog post by a day or two. However, I think the longest I went without posting at least something was about a week, and I feel like I really made an effort to make time for this hobby. It's nice to consistently chronicle what I'm going through and experiencing, and making sure I'm giving myself the chance to indulge in something I enjoy.

4. Read for pleasure at least once a day | This was a big giant FAIL. The first two weeks of the semester I would say I stuck to this goal, but after that I just became so fried and all I wanted to do when I got home was shut my brain off by watching reruns of my favorite shows on Netflix. This has consistently been a struggle for me throughout my time in grad school, and I'm predicting it's going to stay that way until I graduate, unfortunately.

5. Keep my GPA up | You can put a big check mark next to this goal! I received an A in Career Counseling, an A in Advanced Applied Counseling, and an A- in Foundations of Higher Education, keeping my 3.9 GPA right where it is. I was very nervous that this would be the semester that it dropped because of how much I had going on, but I managed to pull off some awesome grades despite it all. I'm very proud of myself!

6. Don't wish time away | Not going to lie, towards the end of the semester I could NOT wait to have a break. I was in desperate need for a chance to recharge. However, I thoroughly enjoyed all of the projects I was working on this semester at my 3 institutions, which made it a lot easier to stay in the moment and enjoy what I was doing. It's sad to think that I only have a semester left at Bridgewater and Clark (and possibly Dean, depending on how everything works out in the #SAsearch), so I'm definitely going to cherish what little time I have left as an #SAgrad!

7. Smile through the stress | As crazy as this semester was, it was an absolute blast. I think I smiled and laughed way more than I was stressed out, which only reaffirms my choice to get into Student Affairs. The staff and students at all 3 institutions are so fun to work with and make all the times I'm running around like a crazy person SO worth it!

I'm really proud of how well I stuck to the majority of these goals this semester. I can't believe only 16 more weeks stand between me and my Master's degree... it puts a knot in my stomach to even think of it! I'll definitely be setting goals for the Spring 2015 semester, so stay tuned for those in just a few weeks!

How did you do on your goals for the fall?

Friday, December 26, 2014

25 Before 25: Take Another Art Class (#5)

Sunday evening I took my mom out to Muse, a paint bar in Manchester, NH, for her birthday! This is something we've both been wanting to do for a long time now, so I figured it would make an awesome birthday present and a fun bonding experience for us. We went to the "Whimsy Tree" class, which was surprisingly full for a Sunday night. Our instructor was great and made it extremely easy to get the right look of the painting! We had a great time and we are definitely planning on going on many more of these paint nights!

I'll be posting a vlog on my YouTube channel tomorrow with some footage from Sunday (make sure to subscribe!), but for now here are some photos from our experience:

Work-in-progress #1 (L: mine, R: Mom's)

Took a break for a glass-bottle Coke (the best kind!)

Work-in-progress #2

Work-in-progress #3

Finished products!

*I'm attempting to reach 25 goals before I reach the age of 25! Want to see the whole list? Check it out here!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

(The 2014 Awkward Christmas Card. It's become a bit of a tradition...)

Happy Holidays, everyone! Hope your day is wonderful!
love, FivEleveNinety

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Fall Favorites 2014!

Can you believe it's already winter? If I'm being honest. winter is not my thing. I'm a summer fan through and through, and how I ended up living in New England my entire life I'm not quite sure, but with as many fun things that I have planned for this season I'm sure the cold weather won't be as terrible! Anywho, with the beginning of one season comes a list of my favorite things from the past season. Without further adieu, here are my favorite things from Fall 2014!

Activity | OSIL Question of the Day

At my old desk at BSU, I had a white board that I asked "Questions of the Day" for anyone who would pass by with the aim to start some fun non-work conversations to break up the day a bit. I started these in the spring, but they really took off this semester! We had students who would come to my desk specifically see what the new question was, we had "guest questions" that other OSIL staff members would ask on weeks that I couldn't come up with one myself, and we had a lot of fun conversations throughout the semester! Even with my loss of a white board when the office moved desks around a bit, I have continued this fun activity on large sticky note paper. It's become a really fun OSIL tradition and I hope someone takes it over when I graduate in the spring!

App | Trivia Crack

I literally downloaded this the day before the official start of winter, but I have been pretty addicted. I'm going to blame my BSU students for this one. They could not stop talking about it during finals week, and luckily I had the willpower to refrain from downloading it until I was done for the semester because I'm constantly on it now! If you love trivia, regardless of your skill level, I definitely recommend giving it a try!

Apparel | Bolder Bands

My mom came upon these awesome headbands and bought us a few. I wore them all season long and made me excited to show them off while I was out running! Bolder Bands offers dozens of designs, and you can wear them in a variety of ways. Very helpful for gals like me with a ton of hair! They're a bit pricey ($15 is pretty steep for a headband), but I definitely recommend investing in a couple if you want to add some hair-flair to your work out wardrobe!

Book | The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

This is actually the only book that I've picked up for fun this season. I mentioned in my Dear Santa post a few days ago that reading for pleasure while in grad school has been a struggle for me. I started this book at the end of August and still have yet to complete it. It's definitely not because it's not a good book - I'm actually loving it! But it's hard to find the time and motivation to read when your brain i basically mush by the end of the day. I'm shooting to finish this over winter break!

Food & Drink | Hot Apple Cider

Hot apple cider has been my favorite fall beverage for quite a while, but this year I discovered that Elizabeth's, a local bagel shop, sells hot apple cider in the fall and it is DELICIOUS. For a while it even replaced my morning coffee on my commute into work, and that's saying a lot! I would drink hot apple cider year round if it was readily available to me, but there's just something so perfect about a mug of this deliciousness in the fall.

Home & Office | Yoobi Journal

I discovered this line of products while I was shopping at Target and fell in love with the concept. For every certain amount of products that are purchased, Yoobi will donate school supplies to a classroom in need. Being a sucker for stationary, I had to grab myself a journal to support the cause, and it doesn't hurt that this is a very well-made product in addition to helping kids and teachers in need!

Movie | Ivory Tower

One of my professors showed this documentary in a class this semester and I loved it. It shone a whole new light on the business of higher education, and echoed a lot of my thoughts on how American teenagers have an immense pressure to dig themselves into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt just to get a Bachelor's degree without fully understanding the meaning behind it (something I did myself). If you're interested in what goes on behind the scenes of some decision making in higher education, I strongly recommend this film!

Song | "Selfless" by New Found Glory

My favorite band, New Found Glory, came out with a new album this fall, so of course one of their songs is my favorite of the season! NFG has been around since 1997 (almost a solid 20 years) and they're still making quality music that reflects where they're at in they're own lives, and I really respect that. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go to their show when they were touring for this album, but I'm hoping they come back to New England soon so I can see them play again - it's been far too long!

TV Show | Lockup Charleston, SC: Extended Stay

Obviously this was my favorite show of the season! Lockup on MSNBC has been airing episodes that feature my sister's place of work every Saturday for the past couple weeks, and it's so interesting to see where she works, because I doubt I'll ever see it in person. The season runs for 6 episodes (2 more to go!) and though I've only gotten one glimpse of the back of her head in the first episode, there's a good chance she'll be featured on the show a lot more before it wraps!

Memory | Midnight Anniversary Gift

Despite the fact that we were at a holiday party surrounded by a dozen people, at midnight on our two year anniversary, Brett sat me down and gave me this beautiful necklace. True to our relationship, people noticed this very personal moment and started making jokes, but that just added to how great this memory is. In our relationship,things have tended to happen with others around, so all we could do was laugh! This was such a sweet and hilarious moment, and one that I'll always smile upon. 

What were your favorite things about this fall?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

25 Before 25: Attend a Friend's Special Event (#7)

On Sunday I attended my friend Kay's baby shower! Kay and I grew up together, played soccer and softball together, and were often in the same classes throughout school. I haven't gotten the chance to see her much since I moved to MA, so when she sent me an invitation to her baby shower I knew I had to make the effort to be there. 

I was expecting to show up and know maybe one or two people, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a ton of friends and familiar faces from my childhood, including my 5th grade teacher! It was so amazing to see everyone, and it was so awesome to see Kay before she begins her journey as a mother. I should really make an effort to attend more of my friend's big events, regardless of how busy I am, because I would have really hated to miss this!

Congratulations, Kay!

*I'm attempting to reach 25 goals before I reach the age of 25! Want to see the whole list? Check it out here!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I'm officially 75% of the way to completing graduate school.

This semester went surprisingly well, despite how crazy my schedule was. There were a lot of times where I just didn't know how I was getting through it, but I was somehow, and I feel like I still had time for myself (albeit a small amount of time) while still giving 100% to all of my commitments. I'm very thankful to have gotten through this semester, as I was extremely intimidated by how demanding my schedule was. 

Next semester will be generally the same schedule-wise, with a nice additional full-time commitment of a job search (aka, the #SAsearch), which in all honesty, makes me want to puke. >_> BUT before that, I'll have a couple weeks off to relax, which is something that hasn't happened since July 2013. (During both last winter and summer breaks I still had work and reading to do for class!) Not really sure what I'm going to do with all of that free time (what exactly is relaxing?) bur I'm sure I'll find something to fill the time! More blog posts & vlogs, perhaps...? ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Two Years!

Brett and I went on our first date two years ago today! The time I've spent with him has flown right by and I've been so lucky to have him by my side during some of the most challenging endeavors of my life thus far. We have grown so much as a couple this year. We've faced challenges, we've learned from mistakes, and we've made plans for the future, and it's so much fun to imagine us loving and laughing together in the years to come!

I appreciate that I have someone who listens to my rants on issues and someone that I can have meaning conversations with.
I appreciate that he encourages me when I'm down and leans on me when he's not feeling his best.
I appreciate that I have someone I can be weird around and someone that laughs at my stupid sense of humor.
I appreciate that he entertains my crazy ideas (the other night we spent about an hour talking about the kinds of dogs we'll one day have!) and pushes me to go after what I want to accomplish in life.
I appreciate that I just have someone to sit with in the quiet and just be perfectly content just being together.

It's been a wonderful journey so far and a lot of big things are going to start happening for us in the near future. Thanks so much for being a part of my life, Brett - I love you! :) <3

Friday, December 12, 2014

Dear Santa...

I always think that "Dear Santa" posts are the most adorable things. It's really cool to take a peak into what is on someone's wish lists because it can really say a lot of what type of person they are and where their priorities lie at the time. I thought I'd jump aboard the bandwagon and share what's on my wish list this year!

1. Books

Reading for pleasure is a bit of a rarity in grad school, and when I have free time my brain is usually so fried that opening a book for fun just sounds like work. I love reading, so this is a huge bummer! This winter break, though, I won't have any reading obligations (unlike last year), and would love to stock up on some of the books I've been missing out on! The top three I have on my to-read list are all autobiographies by some of my favorite entertainers: Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris, and Grace's Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown Up by Grace Helbig!

2. Boat Shoes

I've had my same pair of boat shoes since about February of 2009. That's coming up on a solid 6 years of the same pair, and I still wear them on the regular. That's pretty solid in my opinion, but they are starting to be in pretty rough shape. I would love to have a new pair of boat shoes to enjoy for the next 6 years! (Shown above: Sperry Authentic Original in Sahara Leather)

3. Happie Scrappie Subscription

I stepped up my planner game for 2015 and invested in my first Filofax. The pages of the Filofax can be pretty plain, so there is a large community out there on Facebook and Instagram revolving around decorating and personalizing your daily planning system, which I tend to drool over. I want to try my hand at making my planner more of my own, and while I use my planner more for function than style, would love to start decorating my pages as well. Happie Scrappie is a company run by a woman from Malaysia/Singapore that puts together monthly planner kits just for this reason, and the things that go in these kits make my face turn into the heart-eyes Emoji. They're so freaking cute! I would love to get a subscription to her personal size planner kit for 2015, priced at about $20 a month, including shipping (which is much less than if I were to go and buy all of the things that she includes on my own)! I'M IN LOVE!

4. GoPro Hero

Getting myself a GoPro is on my 25 Before 25 list, and having one of these in my possession before heading down to the Western Caribbean with my family would be so clutch! We're planning a lot of fun excursions while we are on our cruise, and getting to record them without worrying my camera will be totally demolish would be so awesome! Though there are much fancier GoPros on the market, I think the Hero would work perfectly for what I would need it for.

5. Gift Cards

I don't usually ask for gift cards, but because job searching and interviewing is looking at me in the face at this point, my wardrobe is in dire need of a update! Getting gift cards to some of  the essential shops I visit would be perfect in looking and feeling put together during this nerve wracking time. I definitely need something beyond a basic tee and colored khakis to wear to work everyday! (Shown above: Macy's, Gap, Victoria's Secret, Sephora)

What are you asking Santa for this year?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Snowy Thanksgiving

Hello friends and family! I've been extra busy with school work the past few weeks (#finals -_-) so I've fallen off my blogging game a bit. I am so close to the end of the semester, though! Today I finished coursework for 2 of 3 classes, and I only have two assignments to complete and two more classes to go to before I can officially be on winter break! I CAN'T WAIT! Anyway, here's what I've been up to while I've been drowning in homework.

I went up north for Thanksgiving and New Hampshire got hit with a nice holiday snowstorm. Of course, the power went out in the whole state (the news said about 200,000 homes lost power!) and we were without power for a solid 3 days. Luckily, we went to my grandmother's house in Maine, where they had  power, for the holiday. Though we were without power, the snow made for some pretty beautiful scenery the next morning!

We packed the car full of food, people, and puppies and drove to Maine on Thanksgiving Day! It was so good to see everyone (even though I was doing homework the entire time), eat some good food, and just catch up with everything that's been going on with the rest of my family that I don't get to see all that often. I also got to participate in a new family Turkey Day Tradition - the Silly String 5K! It's a fun run my family came up with last year. This year my parents made bibs for everyone, including Kiwi and Mikey! Such a fun way to kick of Thanksgiving (and not feel as guilty for stuffing your face)!

A little bit last minute, Mom, Grammy and I all decided to head out to the mall at 12:00AM for Black Friday! We somehow managed to avoid the crowds and waiting outside, and scored some pretty sweet deals at Macy's! I got a much needed new bed set (which I'm in love with... so comfy!) and the fact that I went out on Black Friday to get bedding made my childhood cry a little bit, haha. But it was fun to go and take part in a fun event with them!

Last week, I submitted my application for graduation! I don't finish my course work until May, but you have to let the college know that you're about to finish far in advance so they can include you in all of the graduation planning, prepare your diploma, etc. It's so surreal that all of this craziness will be coming to an end in 5 months!

I also finally got my Filofax in the mail! After a lot of consideration and research, I made the choice to make the switch from an Erin Condren Life Planner to a Filofax, and I'm loving it! I got the personal size Cover Story in Floral Burst, which I thought was the perfect starter Filofax. (I'm almost positive I'll graduate to the A5 next, and I've only had it for a week!) I can't wait to start using it on a daily basis! I'm definitely going to be doing a comparison and set-up post so you all can see how I'm going to use it!

PC had their Secret Snowflake gift exchange last night, and my student got me an adorable mason jar cookie mix! He also got me a Tina Belcher shirt (which I am PUMPED about) but it hadn't come in the mail yet, but I'm sure I'll post it to Instagram as soon as I get it! :) I made a arm knit infinity scarf for the student I had, and she said she really liked it! Very encouraging to continue to give craft gifts in the future.

Winter break is so close I can taste it, meaning I'll be posting more regularly, so look forward to that!
I hope all is well with everyone!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Stumbling Through 26.2: Part 3 - Staying Motivated

For me, the most challenging part of training for a marathon was staying motivated. Training for a race of this distance is a serious commitment and takes up a lot of your schedule. As a person in their twenties, it can be hard to turn down a fun night out with friends in favor of a training run the next day, it can be hard to carve out time in your hectic schedule for 3 hours of running when you're trying to establish yourself professionally, and it can be hard to drag yourself out of be at 5AM to run 18 miles when you have a 12 hour day of work in front of you. So how do you keep yourself motivated when you're training for this bear of a physical challenge? Here are some things I've done to keep myself honest when it comes to training:

1. Find a running buddy or someone to keep you accountable.

There's no better motivation than the fear of letting someone down. It's hard to stay on track when the only person you're standing in the way of is yourself. If you have someone else who is counting on you to meet your goals, you'll be much more likely to reach them! I enjoy scheduling my runs as the same day as one of my friends who runs, so that we can keep each other accountable, either in person or via text. If I know someone is going to be waking up before the sun rises because I asked them to come running with me, I know I'll be much more likely to get up and run because I don't want to interrupt their sleep for no reason. If I tell someone that I'm going to run 12 miles and ask them to check in with me at the end of the day to ask if I did it, I'm not going to want to embarrass myself and say "no". Doing things like this puts the right kind of pressure on you to follow through!

2. Follow fitness and running blogs/Twitter accounts/Instagram accounts, or join a running group on Facebook.

If I'm having one of those days where I'm feeling badly about my progress and want to give up, I'll hop on my phone and look up inspirational fitness quotes, look at photos of the running community on Instagram (it's huge!), or read a few blog posts of individuals who have reached their fitness goals after overcoming obstacles significantly larger than my own. It gets me so hyped up to lace up my sneakers and hit the road every time I do this! Being part of a running group also allows you to have conversations that revolve around running, and to connect with other individuals who may be going through similar training struggles as you! Check out the hashtag #runchat on Twitter and Instagram to get you started!

3. Figure out another form of fitness you enjoy. 

Let's face it - distance running is not the most exciting form of exercise in the world. It involves a lot of mental focus and discipline. Sometimes, I know I want to workout but I just do NOT want to go on another run. I try to incorporate a different form of exercise into my routine when I start feeling this way, like lifting, playing pick up basketball, etc. It gives me a chance to stay active while giving me a break from running, and usually allows me to miss my regular running routine a bit.

4. Research things you can listen to while you run. 

Of course, having a solid playlist of your favorite tunes is a great thing to have on standby during your long runs, but when you're pouring hours into your training, even the music you love the most can get old. Research podcasts on topics your interested in (they're basically TV shows without the visuals!) or audiobooks to keep your mind occupied while you run!

5. Establish a rewards system. 

This is one of the greatest motivators! My rewards usually involve food (burning upwards of 1,500 calories at one time = eating whatever you want for dinner), but you can really put anything into place. Maybe you want to purchase yourself a new electronic device once you hit 100 total miles. Maybe you want to reward yourself with victory drinks with friends once you cross the finish line of a race. Whatever you need to keep you on track with your training is always helpful as a motivator!

6. Sign up for fun, shorter distance races.

This will remind you of how fun racing can be, and it will give you the opportunity to visualize what marathon race day will be like. Try testing out arriving to the race site at a time that works for you (some people like to arrive super early, others prefer closer to gun time), your fueling technique, and what attire you feel comfortable racing in. It can also be fun to do a race that is completely outside of your training plan, like an obstacle or novelty race, just to get you excited for the day of the big race!

7. Keep your eye on the prize! 

If you're really feeling lost and unmotivated, remember why you set the goal of running a marathon in the first place. When you started your training, you were probably SO excited of the prospect of being able to run 26.2 miles. Remember what that felt like, and what exactly gave you that feeling. For me, it was watching one of my favorite YouTubers drop over 100 pounds and run a marathon - something he didn't think he'd even be able to do. When I felt like I was losing motivation, I watched the video of his first marathon, and it put me right back to that initial excitement of running my first marathon, and gets me ready to go for my next training run. Try getting into that mindset and visualize what it will feel like to finally accomplish your goal after the days, weeks, and months of painful, time consuming training. I'm sure you'll find the motivation all over again!

What are some things that keep you motivated?
(In running or anything else in life?)

More of Stumbling Through 26.2: Picking a Plan | The Gear

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Wolf Hollow Half Marathon

Last weekend I ran the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon! This was a race I found randomly through Running in the USA when I was searching for a half to sign up for, and I invited a few people to join me (as I do with every race I register for). Surprisingly, 5 people decided to sign up and join so we had a pretty solid crew of people all running the same day - both of my parents, Louie and his girlfriend, and my student Cassie, who was running her first half! My parents and Louie and his girlfriend signed up for the 2-person relay, while Cassie and I both signed up for the full race.

The race was located in Nashua, NH and the course itself was beautiful! The majority of the course went through Mines Fall Park, and with a New Hampshire autumn in full swing, it made for a beautiful backdrop during the run. The course for the full race was two loops, which I thought I wasn't going to enjoy (the idea of having the same scenery during a long run is always hard for me to imagine I'd like) but it was actually really nice to know where I was on the course the second time around and imagine how much of the race I had left.

It was a super gorgeous day (unseasonably warm for late-November in NH!) and we all crossed the finish line and got awesome medals (definitely my favorite one so far this year!). We celebrated afterward with a lunch at Shorty's. Overall it was a great day, and a wonderful way to close out my long-distance race schedule for the year! (Now it's time to look into races for 2015... yikes!)


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful in 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! 

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday, and for those of you who do not celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you're having a great day! This year, I'm heading up to Maine with my parents and pups to spend time with my extended family on my mom's side. It's great to be able to have time in my schedule this year to travel and spend time with them, because it's one of the only times of the year where I get to see them all at one time! As I mentioned last year, I always try to take a second to reflect what I'm thankful for. I'd like to just *ditto* everything from last year (I will always be thankful for friends, family, health, and jobs!) and also add a few things that are unique to this year in particular.

I'm on track to graduate with my Master's degree in May. At this point last year, the thought of graduation seemed pretty non-existent (I mean, even in the spring I still wasn't sure if graduating on time was in the cards for me). Now that my third semester is winding down and the assignments that I need to complete can be done pretty easily, it looks more and more that I'll be crossing the stage in the spring! It's a relief to be a bit more at ease about graduating on time as it was causing a lot of anxiety throughout my first year!

I've been able to balance everything in my life successfully this semester. Again, something I was very anxious about leading up to this fall! But I think I've done a really great job of taking care of all of my responsibilities, making sure my relationships are in a great spot, and also making sure I'm not losing my mind in the process. Taking things a day at a time and keeping a positive attitude has been extremely helpful, and I'm hoping it continues to get me through the rest of the academic year (even through the job/apartment search and an additional class during the spring semester!).

I've been given so many awesome professional opportunities this year and as a grad student, that's awesome. I was invited to present at a national convention and regional conference, I was offered a really cool graduate internship for the 2014-2015 year, I was offered a summer internship that allowed me to gain so much great hands-on experience with an orientation program, and I've been encouraged to do or apply to as many awesome things as I can get my hands on. It's really amazing to work with people who see professional potential in me in the field that I want to go into, and has really given me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and dream big!

What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Non-Work Side of my Life*

I went back to check when the last time I gave you all a non-work related* life update and it's been over a month (woops), so I'd say I'm due for one! So what has happened in my life over the past 5 weeks? (I had to go through the photos on my phone to remember exactly...)

*Some of these are still work related, but my whole life is work at the moment, soooo what can ya do!

1. Rob and I went to see The Cruicible at Dean which was amazing. I love that show but had never seen it performed live, and I find the topic of the Salem Witch Trials to be so interesting, so needless to say I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The acting was incredbile as well. (Seriously, the student who played John Proctor was amazing.) It's so cool to say that I get to work with these students when I'm such a big fan of theirs! 

2. I tried the Sugar Cookie latte from Dunkin' Donuts. It was sub-par. #disappointing

3. Brett had his 26th birthday! We celebrated that evening with a few of his colleagues by going out to our favorite local Chinese restaurant, drinking some Mai Tais, and just taking some time from our hectic schedules to just relax. It was seriously just what we needed with all that we have going on, and he really enjoyed himself which is the most important part!

4. My student Cassie and I have been training for the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon! It's Cassie's first half and I'm very excited I get to run it with her and see her fall in love with this distance (trust me, Cass - you're going to get addicted). We ran the race itself yesterday, and I'll fill you in on how the day went later this week!

5. I worked my first major event at Clark - Jay Pharoah! He was hilarious and a very nice person as well. I got the chance to meet him after the show and take a photo with him, which was awesome! Other Student Activities people, if you're looking for a performer, I would totally recommend hiring Jay. He was great!

6. My family made the official decision that we will be jetting off on a family vacation for spring break! We haven't taken a trip as a family (just the four of us) since just before my sister graduated from high school in February 2006. So, with me about to graduate with my M.Ed. and to start really being a big kid, Mom & Dad thought we were due for another get away! We will be cruising from NOLA to Mexico, Belize, and Hounduras in mid-March (conveniently vacationing during both my dad's and sister's birthdays!) and I am pumped to go explore more of the world with them!

7. My CAs Mary and Jenna and I hosted my favorite program to host ever - DEEP FRIED EVERYTHING. This is a cooking/experiemental program that I tried out two years ago and was a huge hit, and so I decided to bring it back this year and it was just as successful! People loved trying out everything deep fried, learning how to make deep fried things (it's surprisingly very easy!), and just having the chance to hang out and bond!

8. Nichols had their last football game. It was a rough season, but I didn't see these guys give up one time through all of their losses. They always battled til the last whistle, which takes so much heart. If Nichols continues to play like that, they will eventually start winning more and more games in the years to come, and I hope I am there to watch it happen!

9. Rob and I went to see Urinetown at Dean on Friday (you know it's been a long time since my last life update when I can fit both of Dean's productions for the fall into one post). It was wonderful and hilarious and as usual, the Dean cast KILLED IT. I had never heard of Urinetown before the theater department announced that they would be doing the show, but I loved it and encourage everyone to go see it if they have the chance!

What have you been up to lately?