Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Back to the Grind

My life in a nutshell right now... WHY IS IT SO COLD WHERE I LIVE D: *cries in a corner*

Hey everyone! After many a school and work cancellation, I've finally fallen into a routine in my schedule... almost. This week we've had our first Monday in a month and it's definitely thrown me off a bit! Today I showed up to a meeting that I usually have on a Wednesday thinking it was totally normal, only to find out hours later that I definitely was not supposed to show up there. Woops!

Aside from that, the last few weeks have been a bit of a grind. Wake up, go to designated work location, come home, eat, yoga, sleep. It's been really easy to lose myself in my work lately and the spring semester is already FLYING. I've still been able to manage to take some time to visit loved ones regularly, though, which is definitely a blessing.

I spent Valentine's weekend with Brett before he jetted off to warm and sunny Florida. We celebrated with a trip to on of our favorite breakfast restaurants that we hadn't been to in FOREVER (Bill's Bread & Breakfast in Putnam, CT... check them out!), and for dinner we had our traditional Brett & Riley special, some steak tips, and watched the movie Chef, which I thought was a really cute, heartwarming movie! It was a wonderfully low-key holiday and a perfect way to hide from the blizzard outside. (HUGE SURPRISE. IT WAS SNOWING.)

(Did you guys notice how hilarious Timehop was on Valentine's Day? 
I thought this was so cute I had to take a screenshot.)

Work has been a lot of fun lately and it's making me dread the end of the semester so much. Every day that goes by I feel like I'm becoming more and more connected to my students and knowing that I won't be at BSU next year is really bumming me out. These students crack me up so much and make it feel like my work isn't work... that's the dream! I can only hope that the students that I work with next are just as awesome as these bears. (I'm sure they will be, but I'm still going to miss BSU!) I should stop typing this before I start tearing up and just share this awesome item that was on the PC agenda last week...

I was dying laughing when I read this event title.... XD

This past weekend I went to visit my parents and pups in NH. It was a really relaxing weekend which is always nice and it's so fun to bond with Mom & Dad! Mom and I went to get pedicures (which is usually not the most pleasant experience for me because my feet are SO ticklish, but at least my toes look pretty for our vacation!) and the three of us went shopping. My parents were very nice to me and bought me some interview clothes for my #SAsearch (which is a bit slow at the moment but is officially underway!) as well as some vacation outfits!

Truck selfies with Kiwi!

#BusinessRiley in full effect

Since Brett has been away I've really been trying to get ahead in my school work. It's been challenging because I'm really putting way more on my plate than I actually need to and I still am working the same amount at all of my positions, but I keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it when I don't have to worry about assignments when I'm lounging in the sunshine on vacation (11 MORE DAYS). So excited! 

My favorite study buddies. :)

The next week and a half is going to be hectic what with getting homework done, scheduling blog posts, pretending to know what I'm doing when it comes to looking for a job, and still packing for our trip and attempting to have some resemblance a social life (insert Liz Lemon moment here). Not to mention I'm headed off to a professional conference this weekend which is always a whirlwind! As stressful as it is, I'm sure I'll accomplish everything I need to before jetting off to the warmth. And hey, it's nothing a coffee and a brownie batter donut can't solve, right?

*heart eyes emoji*

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Day in the Life: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I've seen these posts occasionally and I think they're so interesting! I love reading how people go about their typical day and to see how similar or different their days are from my own. I know I vlog and show you guys the things I get up to in video form, but there's something about going over each detail of a day, hour by hour, to really get to know someone, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Right now, no two days of my life are the same. I work at different places each day, have different classes, meet with different students, and I usually have to adjust my personal life accordingly. This post will chronicle what a typical Wednesday looks like for me this semester!

7:30 AM: My alarm goes off, but I don't really need to be up for a while. I usually set my alarm thirty minutes to an hour earlier than when I actually need to get out of bed because I have a SERIOUS snooze button addiction. Depending on how tired I am I can literally hit the snooze button over and over again for an hour. It's a problem.

8:10 AM: The time I actually got out of bed this past Wednesday. (I forgot to shut off my alarm, as you can see in the above photo.) I'll get up, brush my teeth, and do morning routine type things. I'm usually really dehydrated when I wake up so I tend to drink a lot of water to start the day off. I always, always, ALWAYS need water by my bed in case I feel parched in the middle of the night.

I had a few things to finish up on this particular Wednesday morning, so as I was waking up I sat in bed and accomplished those tasks. This Wednesday included finishing up and publishing a blog post! I was behind on writing blog posts this week (it's been SO BUSY) so this week's Tuesday post went out on Wednesday. (Super exciting, I know.) I also made sure I say good morning to Brett before letting the day get too far away from me! (Try not to vomit at how "cute couple"-y we are in our texts.)

Brett's currently in Florida on a recruiting trip for his job, as New England slowly enters an ice age.

9:00 AM: Time to really get moving for the day. 9 times out of 10, I make my bed before leaving my apartment. I just really love coming home to a made bed, and it makes your whole room look 10 times cleaner and organized than it may actually be. It only takes about 2 minutes, so why not put in the extra effort? It looks like I slept pretty gently the night before this particular day so it was pretty easy to get everything back to where it needs to go, but some nights I kick my blankets all over the place. Who knows.


I don't have to be in to work until 12PM on Wednesdays, so I try to take advantage of the free time I have off in the morning. I usually won't get home until 11PM or so on Wednesday nights and usually all I want to do is shut my brain off, so mornings are prime time for me to GSD! This Wednesday I kicked off my day with some yoga.

9:50 AM: Headed over to the gym! As you've read in basically every post for the last month, Massachusetts is a wintery hell wonderland right now. This is what my walk across campus to the gym currently looks like:

I usually use the gym for its cardio machines, specifically the treadmill. (Sometimes I'll lift if I have time... I know, I know, I need to be better about this.) Running outside in the winter can be really nerve-wracking, especially in the area I live in (fairly traffic-y with snow banks lining the roads taller than me - not the best combination for not getting hit by a car), so I've been running inside since Juno hit in January. Sad, but a lot easier to deal with. I like to pass the time by watching trashy shows. The latest episode of Real World was the show I watched on this day! #noshame

10:30 AM: Usually my workout cut-off time so I can get back to my apartment, shower, change, and get ready to leave for work. 

I've been rocking black pants, a comfy sweater and scarf, my winter boots and fuzzy socks pretty much every day to work. It's basically my winter uniform. When there's snow on the ground I don't tend to get too adventurous with my wardrobe... getting outside is enough effort as it is!

I usually like to be on the road by 11:15 to give myself plenty of time to arrive right at noon. I was a bit behind on Wednesday but I'm usually quick about making up for lost time! (i.e. Having Tupperware full of fruits and vegetables ready to go in my fridge to throw in my bag if I'm in a rush so I have something healthy to snack on at work. I promise the gummy bears are the only junk food item in there, and are usually used as comfort food during class!)

11:20 AM: On the road to BSU. It's been a nightmare driving everywhere lately. The snowbanks take up a solid portion of the roads and when you're trying to turn into traffic you cannot see around them. I was even hitting traffic on this day for snow clean up crews to get snow off the roads and free up some lanes. Crazy.

This is what a two-lane, two-way street looks like right now.

Can't see a thing around snow banks. You basically just have to drive into the road and hope no one blindsides you.

The clean up crew I was sitting in traffic for.

For whatever reason when I'm as busy as I am during the semester, I often go long periods of time without eating. Not because I don't want to, but because I'm literally so busy doing other things that I forget to eat. I did that this Wednesday, so I made sure to stop at my local Dunk's for a quick road bagel for brunch. Then it was highway time!

On the way into work I'll usually listen to sports talk radio (the Sports Hub, for my fellow Boston sports fans). I don't find myself really sitting down to watch games during the semester with all I have to do, but I enjoy getting updates through the morning & midday shows. They're usually pretty entertaining and make the drive go by faster!

12:10 PM: Again, a bit behind schedule but I made it to work. This Wednesday I had back-to-back meetings scheduled all afternoon, but pretty much all of them cancelled on me which gave me the opportunity to get some administrative tasks done. Much needed! As you know, I rely very heavily on my planner to help me navigate my crazy schedule and list of to-do's. (The page on the left was what I was working off of for this day!)

1:45 PM: Much needed mid-afternoon coffee time! There's actually a Dunk's in the same building I work in, which is pretty dangerous for all of us coffee addicts that work in the office. My co-advisor for PC and I have been making it a bit of a post-meeting routine the past few weeks! (Hence why I often don't drink coffee in the morning - I know I'll likely get one in the afternoon!)

4:00 PM: Due to the Monday holiday, all Monday classes were shifted to Wednesday, making it so I had a lovely 6 hours of class scheduled for this night. (4 PM to 9:40ish PM, depending how class goes.) Each of the classes in our program meet once a week for about 3 hours, and on Mondays I usually have two classes - Student Affairs Administration and Helping Skills for Student Affairs Professionals. I also have two Wednesday classes which meet on a bit of an irregular schedule (one is bi-weekly and one meets 5 or 6 times during the semester), so it may not have made a difference either way on this night!

9:50 PM: After my brain is sufficiently fried from class, I finally make it back to my car. I usually listen to Podcasts on my way back home (I don't really like the afternoon or evening shows on the Sports Hub), but on this night the Bruins were playing so I listened to the game on the way home. (P.S. This season is heartbreaking... D:)

It randomly started dumping snow while I was driving and it accumulated on the road pretty quickly. I say it every year, but this year I am truly desperate for the winter to end. My car has been a trooper but I don't know how much longer poor Dory can hold up!

10:40 PM: Finally get back to my apartment. I am trying to eat more plant based foods just to feel better and be healthier, so I snacked on fruits, veggies, and a granola bar throughout the day and evening (I didn't end up eating the gummy bears! #willpower). It really isn't filling at all, so I'm generally starving when I walk through the door but I'm usually waaaay to exhausted to cook anything extravagant. This night I made myself some brinner consisting of a blueberry bagel with butter and some scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese. Easy and delicious!

11:30 PM: After I shove food in my face, I'll crawl into bed to say goodnight to Brett over FaceTime and watch Netflix until I pass out, which is usually around 12 or 1 AM. If I have more energy I'll read or write, but after 6 hours of class, all you want to do is not think anymore!

It's a long day but it really has just become part of my life. I do recognize that I'm extremely busy and that my schedule is insane, but I'm 100% used to it at this point and don't really mind it at all. Do I wish I had more time to myself? Absolutely. But I know once grad school leaves the picture I definitely will. Only a few more months! :)

I'd love to see your Day in the Life posts! 
Leave the link in the comments if you do one or have one and I'll check it out. :)

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend! <3

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

25 Before 25: Write a Letter to Myself to be Opened in 10 Years (#18)

I've always wanted to write a letter to myself to be opened sometime in the future. I remember at the beginning 7th grade our teachers had us write letters to ourselves to be opened at the end of 8th grade. They kept them on file for us and right as we were about to become high schoolers, they gave them to us. It was so cool to see how far we had come in two academic years!

Since then, I've been wanting to write a letter to myself to be opened much further in the future, and I thought that this project would be a perfect opportunity for me to do so. However, I was a little bit nervous to do this as, being in my twenties, I'm moving every few years and I was afraid I'd lose the letter and forget about it completely. When I posted my 25 before 25 list, a reader had suggested that I use futureme.org.

FutureMe is a cool service that allows you to write an email to yourself that will show up in your inbox at a specified time. I thought this was an awesome idea to ensure that I will definitely receive that note to my inbox without worrying that it will get lost. The only thing I'm a little concerned about is it showing up in my junk mail folder. I'm tempted to leave myself a reminder in my Google Calendar 10 years from now to check!

I'm not going to share my letter here now, though I'd imagine if I'm still blogging 10 years from now that I would share it then. I basically wrote about what my life is like now, what a few of my favorite things are at this point of my life, and I then asked myself a handful of questions about the future, like where I'm working, how all of my family members are doing, and whether or not I have a dog, haha. I did ask a few more serious questions, but I'l save those for when I post the letter in 10 years. STAY TUNED! ;)

I'm very excited for this to show up 10 years from now, though I'm really hoping I'll eventually forget it exists and get totally surprised in 2025. We'll see!

*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, February 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday

I was planning on doing an unboxing video for today's post, but unfortunately the package I'm expecting has yet to arrive and I'm not entirely sure with all of the snow we've been getting when it's actually going to get here! So in lieu of that post, I thought it'd be fun to mix it up a bit. I have a random assortment of old photos that my parents have scanned on my external hard drive and I always like to go through them for a good laugh. Since today is a Thursday, I thought I'd share a few throwbacks with you! Hope you enjoy. :)

Christmas 1990 (I'd assume because I'm still extremely infant-like and not quite in the toddler realm yet)! My cousins Amanda and Colby are on the left, and my sister and I are on the right. How cute are we? (I mean Colby looks like he wants nothing to do with taking the photo, but still adorable!)

I have no idea when this was taken, but I'd assume I'm about 2 in this picture. Hugging the absolute bejesus out of that stuffed animal! AND LOOK HOW CHUBBY MY CHEEKS ARE. My parents always tell me that I always looked like a chipmunk for the longest time. They weren't kidding!

A bit older here, probably around 2.5/3 years old. My sister is KILLING IT in her zebra jacket. Looking like we're ready to go tackle a snow storm! I wish I had as much enthusiasm for snow as I did when I was little! P.S. Note the footie pajamas in the laundry basket behind my sister. Those were the days...

Probably a solid 3 years old in this picture. I vaguely remember this being at a barbeque or summer party of some kind. I loving my animal attire, especially that juice stain running down the front of my shirt. That is also probably the weirdest attempt of a smile I've ever seen myself do, hahaha. I must have been an interesting child.

I hope you enjoyed those! I was laughing so hard just noticing all of those minor details of each photo. Throwback Thursdays are so fun! Add me on Instagram (@rmfickfack) so I can see yours!

Have a safe and warm weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentine's Day on a Budget

Brett and I are both in graduate school right now and are both living exclusively off a graduate assistant's salary*. Needless to say, big date nights are few and far between as we are typically spending our money on bills, food, and gas. Special occasions like Valentine's day are unfortunately not an exception to the rule at this point in our lives, but luckily we don't mind all that much! We are just happy to be making time in our crazy schedules to be spending time together, and have actually made it a tradition to order our Brett & Riley Special** every Valentine's Day.

Just because you're rocking a tight budget like Brett and I, doesn't mean you have to forego this fun holiday as a couple all together! In the spirit of the holiday, I thought I would share a post with some ideas on how to have a special February 14th with your sweetheart without emptying your wallet!

1. Handmade Valentines

Throw it back to elementary school and make each other Valentine's Day cards! I like to do this because I love to draw and be creative, but I realize that's not everyone's cup of tea. Try writing a letter to your loved one or even just coming up with a list of things you like about them in your head and telling them that list, item by item, periodically throughout the day. It's sweet and thoughtful and something that will be one of a kind from you to them. PLUS, it's usually free! :)

2. Take Out & a DVD

This is usually Brett & I's go to Valentine's plan - getting our traditional pizza order to-go and watching a DVD of some sort. Our first year together, Brett was just introducing me to Game of Thrones and we spent the evening watching the first season on DVD, and then last year I believe we had Wreck-It Ralph from Netflix. It's always nice to get out of your own little world and watch the same thing together while enjoying something delicious!

3. Get Outside

Fun fact: most outdoor activities are free! We New Englanders are currently under several feet of snow*** so Brett and I will likely be remaining indoors this weekend, but it doesn't mean you have to! Take a walk, build a snowman, or visit a park and challenge yourself to not use any electronic devices. Make it a moment for just you and your Valentine to share!

4. Start Something Fun Together and Make it "Just Yours"

Whether it's a new show that neither of you have seen before, a 1,000 piece puzzle you've been meaning to conquer, or a book you're both interested in reading, start something for just you and your Valentine to share! One of my favorite things Brett and I have done recently is listen to the Serial podcast together. I had heard about it from my supervisor and thought we could give it a go on a recent road trip. We fell in love with it because a. it was awesome and b. it was something that we were doing together. Anything you and your Valentine do this February 14th will be special as long as you're doing it together!

I hope this post was helpful in finding the perfect
Valentine's plan without breaking the bank!
Have a lovely Valentine's Day, everyone!

*For those of you who may be unfamiliar with a GA's salary, it varies between institutions and positions, but it is usually not a whole lot higher than the minimum wage ($9/hour where we live) and assistantships usually have hourly restrictions in place of about 20-30 hours a week, though we often work much more than that (especially him!).

**Half cheese, half bacon pizza!

***Not an exaggeration.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Snowed In

It's been non-stop snowing in Massachusetts the past two weeks and we are expecting more in the very near future. Although it's pretty and has allowed me to have a few more days off before getting back to class, it's safe to say I'm over it. It's kind of a buzzkill when the snow closes your work that you get paid by the hour at. *le sigh* However, it's extreme weather conditions like this that make you thankful for all you have in your life - a warm place to sleep, people looking out for your safety, and plenty of ways to pass the long hours cooped up inside. My car isn't the greatest in the snow, but it's been seriously champing it out through every storm and getting me where I need to be, so I'm very thankful for that!

Poor little Dory.

Despite the crazy weather, life has been pretty great! The snow days have given me the opportunity to ease into a groove instead of everything starting up all at once (I finally had my first class of the semester last night), I'm making strides to keep a positive outlook on all the upcoming changes in my life, the Patriots won the freakin' Super Bowl (still in disbelief!), and each day that ticks by is another day closer to my family's trip to the Western Caribbean (exactly 30 days from today)! In addition to all of that excitement, during the snow storm last week (Winter Storm Juno, if we want to be specific), I found out that I had been selected to receive a crowd-funded Student Affairs Professional Development Award!

I had no idea that this was even a thing until I received the email that I had been nominated by my internship supervisor, Tim, and the subsequent email letting me know I had been selected by a committee of Student Affairs professionals to receive funding for a professional development opportunity of my choice! It's so cool to be recognized in this way and to be given an opportunity to continue to learn and better myself as a Student Affairs student and professional.

The founder of the award, Mallory Bower, has a few posts outlining this award on her blog (who donated to it, the idea behind it, etc.), so if you're interested in finding out more, check it out here. As part of the award, I'm going to be doing a few guest blog posts over there about my experience, so I'll be sure to let you all know when those go live! I'm very excited about this opportunity and I can't wait to take full advantage of it!

We are expecting another metric ton of snow this weekend*, so please think warm thoughts for we Northerners who may or may not be slowly turning into yetis. For now, I wanted to end this post on a positive note and share a link that made me feel good this afternoon: 20 Signs You're Doing Better Than You Think You Are.

Hope you're all doing well! :)

*I'm not 100% sure if this is an exaggeration or not...