Saturday, June 27, 2015

Family Bonding, Famous Sisters, and Fleeing from Tornadoes: My Non-Working June Life

If you've read this blog at all in the past 6 weeks, you know that my entire life has been taken over by my position with Orientation at Bridgewater State University (it's just the nature of the orientation beast!) since mid-May. Yesterday, we concluded out 6th and final session and with the Orientation Leader banquet this afternoon, we are pretty much done with the program! There are a few things that I have to wrap up but soon I will be leaving BSU for good and moving to the next chapter of my SA journey! :) I'll be dedicating my next blog post completely to my experience with Orientation, but for now, here's a bit of what my life outside of work has been like!

Before our first session, way back at the beginning of the month, Brett and I went out with my new friend Kacie (who was another intern for the Orientation program) and her boyfriend, Matt! They're two awesome people and we had fun having a few drinks and chatting with them through the night (even though Kacie and I were basically falling asleep after a long week of prep for the first session)! In the morning, Brett and I stopped by our favorite ice cream spot in the area, Hanson Farm, and visited the new calf named Peach Blossom (she was born the day before my birthday!). It was the perfect way to relax before the craziness of sessions.

The weekend after the first session (June 13-14) was family time to the extreme. Saturday Brett and I spent time with his neice and nephew. We had so much fun playing with them (building blanket forts, playing video games, soccer, and Littlest Pet Shop!) and it was beautiful out so it was perfect! It's crazy to see how much little Sophia has grown up since the last time we saw her!

Sunday we traveled up to NH because my mom was racing in her very first triathlon! This has been something that she has been wanting to do forever and has been training so hard for, so I definitely wanted to go up and support her on one of my days off! The race was at a really cool YMCA camp in Merrimack and it was set up in a way where we could see her in all three legs! I also made her a sign to cheer her on. It was so cool to see her accomplish a goal that she had set for herself and worked so hard for. She's awesome! :)

There was a tepee at the camp, so we obviously had to take a picture.


Brett was awesome (duh) all through this month supporting my exhausted self, and his family was also being so supportive through my busy schedule. When I came home after session 3 (June 15-16), his mom brought home these AMAZING Italian cookies from the store and it was such an amazing treat to have after a long two days. YUM.

I'm sure you've all heard of the terrible shootings down in Charleston, and you've probably seen the image of the shooter below plastered all over the news. The crazy thing about this image is that my sister is the officer on the right (the suspect is being held at the jail she works at). Her face is now all over the news as a part of one of the most used images of this case. It's so weird to see her standing right next to the man that brought so much pain to so many people, but seeing this image is definitely a reminder of one of the biggest reasons she got into the field that she works in - to help prevent things like this from continuing to happen.

Last weekend was on the low-key end, which was something I certainly appreciated. I kicked up my feet and spent some time with Brett & friends on Friday night to unwind. Saturday I made the trip out to my new hometown to sign the lease for my new apartment and opened up a P.O. Box, so I can officially become a resident and start the next chapter of my life! Very exciting. :) When I returned to Brett's house we baked cookies and started reading the first book in the A Song of Ice & Fire series, because apparently we can't live too long without Game of Thrones in our lives in some capacity. 

Sunday was Father's Day and we had originally planned on driving back up to NH for Ribfest and to see my dad run a race, but he actually ended up being sick and since it was pouring out he didn't want to push his immune system any further. Though it was sad we didn't end up getting to see him on Father's Day, it was good to not have to drive anywhere and to spend a rainy morning in bed finally finishing the last episode of MadMen as well as polishing off the newest season of Orange is the New Black. Hooray for lazy Sundays!

On the second day of session 5 (June 23) we were greeted with a Tornado Warning in Massachusetts, which is always terrifying because we do not get tornadoes in this area and if we were to ever actually see a tornado we probably wouldn't know what to do and would likely get sucked up into the sky. Kacie, Katelyn (another girl who works in our office), and I decided to take shelter at our local bar and figured the best way to go out is with a $4 margarita in our hands (I mean, c'mon...). The storm was right on top of Bridgewater and though we were graced with a huge downpour, thunder and lightening, and the satellites getting knocked out, we did not see an actual tornado. It was pretty exciting though!

Wednesday I headed up to Mount Holyoke to meet with HR and finalize some fun paperwork items and spend some more time with my new colleagues! They took me out to a sushi lunch (YUM)  and showed me more of the Hogwarts-like campus that will be my new home away from home. They are such a kind and down to earth crew of people and I am very excited to start working there in a little over a week (so crazy)! Check out how happy I am to have my official MHC ID! :) 

And, as I mentioned, this past Thursday & Friday was our 6th and final session of orientation. I was getting a bit nostalgic as Kacie and I cruised around campus in the golf cart. It's really sad that these are my final days being part of the BSU community, but I'm happy that I've had so many amazing opportunities here. This institution has done amazing things for me and I will always remember BSU as being one of the most important stepping stones in my career. Ugh, just thinking of it now I'm getting all sappy! It's so bittersweet to be leaving, but I'm definitely looking forward to where my career will take me next!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Few of my Favorite Links {#12}

It's been a while since I've done a favorite links post! I kind of forgot that these have been a staple on my blog for quite some time, but now that I've pretty much caught everyone up on all of my life's happenings on this space, I finally have some time to chat about the things that I've been loving online lately! Hope you guys enjoy these as much as I do! :)

A First Look A LEGO's Official WALL-E Set

How. Freaking. Adorable. WALL-E is one of the most underrated Pixar movies to date and the fact that LEGO, one of my favorite toy companies, decided to create a WALL-E set makes me so, so excited! How cute would this look on a bookshelf? This was instantly put this on my wishlist!

12 Tricks to Appear Smart in Emails

This post (originally found on is a hilarious infographic on how to wow your colleagues on your email game. Email is a huge, cumbersome part of all of our lives, so poking fun at the etiquette of passing notes electronically is always fun. Check out this post to pick up some new tricks to really impress your coworkers the next time you're in the office! ;)

Blues Cover of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Theme

I love when artists take well-known songs and interpret them into different genres, so when I saw this pop up on my Feedly, I knew I was going to be heart-eyes Emoji over this! This is a blues interpretation of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme (coincidentally, one of my favorite TV shows of all time) and it is excellent. I highly encourage you to take a listen, whether you're a fan of the show or a fan of blues music in general!
Today I F*cked Up, and It Was Glorious Enough To Post Online

I read this post while I was in bed one lazy Saturday morning and I was cry-laughing the entire time. It also helped that I was reading these stories out loud who was also cry-laughing, but I never wanted this post to end. It's based on a sub-Reddit (I'm not a Reddit-er so I hope I'm using the lingo correctly) called "Today I F*cked Up" and it pulls some of the best stories that the author could find at the time of posting. If you need a quick pick me up for the rest of your week, take a look at this post, and maybe even click onto Reddit itself and read through a few. Amazing.

Under Construction: A LEGO Block Wedding Cake

(Clearly, I love LEGOs.) This is an incredible wedding cake that depicts mini-figs constructing the cake out of LEGO blocks and rolling out the white icing. Not saying that this will 100% be my future wedding cake, but this might 100% be my future wedding cake...
5 Things Successful Runners Never Do

This article is a quick reminder that yes, running is hard, but it's supposed to be. I sometimes let myself slack on my running when the going gets tough. I compare myself to other people, get discouraged by my bad runs, and probably over-exaggerate when I'm feeling just a little bit uncomfortable during my runs. It's important to remember to embrace the suck and realize that when you hit a rough patch, it only means you're about to improve! (Only runners will get that, hah!)

College is not a commodity. Stop treating it like one.

I read this while I was on duty a few weeks ago and it really resonated with me. There are many people who attend college now because it's the norm in our society, and many of those attendees enter their collegiate career with the attitude of "I'm paying thousands of dollars for this, so I deserve (fill in the blank)". I see this attitude every day I am at work, I remember hearing it come out of my friends' mouths when I was an undergrad myself, and I'm sure I even uttered it a few times myself. Those that are in college need to realize that college isn't there to make you feel comfortable. It's supposed to challenge you and frustrate you, because that's when you're going to grow. The Washington Post does a great job of putting this idea into words, so give it a read!

What are some links you're loving lately?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Spring Favorites 2015!

This weekend marks the first day of summer! HOORAYYY! Summer is my favorite season - sunshine, ice cream stands, fireworks, flip flops, and all the BBQ food you could ever dream of. Love. It. Brett and I have a lot of fun things planned for this summer, including moving into my new apartment, taking a trip down the Cape with some friends, and spending as much time together before football takes over his life once again in August. I'm SO EXCITED!

I 100% skipped out on doing my favorites for the winter, but I really wanted to get back on the favorites ~trend~ for the spring! Let's hop right into it.

Activity | Playing Pokémon Alpha Saphire

Brett bought me Alpha Sapphire as a graduation gift and of course the day after I graduated I needed to hop right into it! I was super duper into the game for a long while but sessions with Orientation has since interrupted my streak of playing for hours upon hours. I'm 6 badges in right now (All you PokéFans will know what that means) and I can't wait to have a bit more time to finally beat the game. It's so much fun (as Pokémon always is) and I love that I have a reason to spend some time on my 3DS again! :)

App | Dreamdays 365

This app is one of the millions of countdown apps out there, but I love the way this one looks and operates. There is a very minimalist feel to this app, which I love, and I looked at it almost every day as graduation drew nearer and nearer. If you're counting down to something exciting and are looking for a nice looking and functional countdown app, I would recommend this one!

Apparel | Bridgewater State University Alumni Tee

I mean, of course! Not only do I love this shirt because I get to brag about the fact that I actually graduated from grad school, but my organization, PC, gave it to me as a parting gift. I'll always think of them whenever I wear this shirt. Double special! :)

Book | Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This was the only book I read in the spring, but this book was great. Memoirs are my favorite genre of literature, especially if it involves travel and adventure! This book made me want to go hiking so badly every time I picked it up to continue reading. I have always thought long-distance hiking would be such a cool adventure, and this book made me fall even more in love with the idea. This book would be perfect for anyone who feels like they are in a bit of a crossroads in their life, or anyone who is craving a bit of adventure.

Food & Drink | Espresso Bacon @ The Fix in Worcester, MA

Tim and Joanne took me out to this restaurant on my last day of my internship at Clark, and as soon as I saw "Espresso Bacon" on the menu I KNEW I had to order it. Oh my goodness. So delicious. I'm pretty sure I blogged about this in one of my life updates in May. But still. Oh my goodness. *drool* I can't wait to go back there to get some more (with an ADULT milkshake, because they have those there #heaven)!

Home & Office | Filofax A5 Saffiano in Pear

Obviously. I love this thing. I knew I would love the A5 size! I felt so cramped in the Personal size, but now I feel like I can really plan comfortably and utilize my Filofax to its full capability. Right now my schedule has been extremely repetitive (Orientation is basically 3 weeks of déjà vu), but once I move and start my new job I'll be relying on it a bit more. I can't wait to show you all the inside soon! :)

Movie | Pitch Perfect 2

I was a bit nervous about how good this would actually be (I'm not typically a fan of sequels) but I was laughing so hard throughout this whole movie. It's a lot of the same thing as the first movie, and it's a very "cutesy" story line like the first movie, but it is entertaining as hell. (One recommendation: leave your politically correct hat at the door if you really want to enjoy this movie, because most of the jokes are SUPER inappropriate. They really do attack every identity in this film!)

Song | "Lean On" by Major Lazer & DJ Snake

When I first heard this song, I'm pretty sure I plaid it on repeat for 48 straight hours. The beat is so catchy and cool, I absolutely love it. GREAT jam to fall in love with right before summer kicks off!

TV Show | Game of Thrones Season 5

DUH. Holy crap. This season was INSANE. Game of Thrones never fails to impress me. The story line is incredible, the actors are amazing, the cinematography is stunning, and the plot twists KILL YOU ON THE INSIDE. I'm not going to put any spoilers in here, but THAT SEASON FINALE. JEEEEEEEEEEEEZ. The best part about this season is that it ends at the same place the latest book ends, so now NO ONE really knows what's going to happen next except for the creators. Brett and I are really considering starting to read the books together to tide us over until the next season releases, because who knows when that will be? If you haven't started watching this show, YOU NEED TO START WATCHING THIS SHOW. /endtiradeaboutGoT

Memory | Birthday/End of Classes/New Job/Graduation Week

Also another obvious one. This was one of the greatest weeks of my life and I feel so lucky to be fortunate enough to experience it. I turned 25 and ended my grad school classes on the same day, the next day I accepted my position with Mount Holyoke, and the day after that I graduated and spent the entire rest of the week celebrating with the people I love the most. What more can you really ask for as a twenty-something? Who knows if I'll be lucky enough to have a week like that again, but I will always look back on that week of one of the best of my life! :)

What were some of your favorite things this spring?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

25 Before 25: Wrapping Up

So it's official. I'm 25 and my time frame to complete my 25 Before 25 list is OVER. I by no means completed all of the items on my list (grad school had the tendency to get in the way of pretty much everything in my life!), but I had a great time doing the things that I did cross off! This list really motivated me to try new things, forced me to step outside of my comfort zone, and reminded me to make time to enjoy life when things were hectic. I feel like with every item I checked off my list a grew a bit more as a person which makes me very happy. I highly recommend trying out a challenge such as this, and I hope to attempt another in the near future!

Here's my final list:

1. Get my boating license (I've lived on a lake for virtually my entire life, and I somehow still haven't gotten my license.)
2. Conquer a Spartan Race (Louie has been trying to get me to do one with him. I think now is the time!)
3. Visit a new city (I need to travel!) Completed 3/30/2014
4. Play in a lacrosse game again (I miss my sport.) Completed 3/1/2014
5. Take another art class (There are so many out there - it will be great to brush [ha] up on my skills!) Completed 12/23/15
6. Volunteer (I always make the excuse of not having enough time. I need to stop doing that and give back!) Completed 4/6/2014
7. Attend a friend's special event (birthday party, graduation, wedding, etc.) (Same as the above goal. I want to support my friends more and be there for their special moments in life!) Completed 12/21/2014
8. Finish 25 books-for-pleasure (I have a goal to read 10 this year, so that will be helpful!)
9. Go on another road trip somewhere (Even if it's just a trip to the state's only Sonic) Completed 7/20/2014
10. Have coffee or drinks with a previous mentor (This is currently in the works... just need to somehow find a common time!) Completed 3/28/2014
11. Hit triple digits for my YouTube subscribers (This may happen sooner rather than later - I'm currently at 90!) Completed 3/1/2014
12. Purchase myself a GoPro (Possible birthday present to myself?) Completed 12/25/14
13. Accomplish a multi-distance race series (Looking into the Twin Lobster or Triple Threat this year, or the Fool's Duel next spring.) Completed 8/3/2014
14. Climb another mountain (It's been a while since I've been hiking. I miss it.)
15. Purge my closet, donate things to charity, & buy some more "grown up" clothes (I feel like I need a closet re-vamp, and there are some things I just don't wear anymore!)
16. Finish a painting (Not including any paintings I might create during #5.) Completed 11/17/2014
17. Go to King Richard's Faire (This looks like it would be so silly and fun!)
18. Write a letter to myself to be opened in 10 years (Hopefully I don't lose it between the time I write it and the time I intend to open it! I would...) Completed 2/18/15
19. Visit a farmer's market (There's one right down the street from me during the summer. I have no excuse.)
20. Read 3 books from The World Library 100 that I haven't read before (I've read a few for past English & Literature classes. These can count toward my 25 books for #8!)
21. Watch 5 films from AFI's Top 100 that I haven't seen before (Seen a handful of these throughout my life. Want to see more!)
22. Be able to lay my hands flat on the floor when I try to touch my toes (Seriously, I am so inflexible. I need to make regular stretching a thing.)
23. Do three pull-ups without assistance (Upper-body strength is also something that I want to work on.)
24. Go to a shooting range (Seriously always wanted to do this!) Completed 12/24/14
25. Graduate with my Master's degree (This may actually happen a couple days after my 25th birthday, but my coursework should be done by then!) Completed 5/13/15 (Coursework completed 5/11/15 - on my 25th birthday!)

14/25 goals completed

Have you ever attempted a goal challenge like this?
How did it go?
Let me know in the comments! 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Taking on Marathon #3

It's summer which means it's time for me to get my running butt back in gear and train for my THIRD marathon - the Maine Marathon! The race is October 4th (which will be exactly a year after I completed the New Hampshire Marathon!) so I've got a few months to train. I'm hoping to be really good about going out on each of my scheduled training runs this time around (though I've already needed to miss two short runs because Orientation training is cray... #12hourdaysforever) and I'm welcoming #SundayRunday (the day I tackle my long training runs) with open arms!

I'm also pumped that my good friend and former student Cassie will be joining me in October to run the 26.2 miles with me for her first ever marathon! I'm strangely excited for the many miles that stand between me and marathon #3. It'll be awesome to have some actual free time to concentrate on training without the stress of grad school looming over me and I'm hoping this will be my best marathon yet! :)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

"La Hache": Costa Maya & Last Day at Sea (Vacation 2015 - Part 6)

The final two days of our trip were spent in Costa Maya, Mexico and at sea. First stop was Costa Maya, which I was very excited about because that was the day we were going to see the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins! There were many opportunities throughout this trip to go see the ruins in the various locations we stopped at, but because this port had "Maya" right in the name, we thought it would be the best location to see them. The port itself was pretty cool. It was decorated in Mayan fashion, and there were performers all decked out in tribal clothing. One was even dressed up as an owl!

Our excursion took us about an hour away from the port to see the ruins, but our tour guide, Daniel (aka "Jaguar") was awesome and taught us all about Mayan culture and history on the way there. He was actually Mayan himself which was really interesting to discover, as I figured that the Maya were an ancient culture that did not exist today. It turns out there are still many people in Central America who speak the Mayan language and incorporate much of the Mayan culture into their daily lives!

It was SO COOL to see the Mayan ruins in person! It's always so interesting to see landmarks in person that you've only seen in books, and this was no exception. We only had about an hour at Chacchoben before the second part of our excursion, but it was really cool to learn more about the Mayans and the way they lived in ancient times.

(My camera died after this photo, so the rest of the Costa Maya photos are c/o my parents' camera!)

"We touched it!"

(Don't let my outfit fool you - it was HOT that day! I got fried on our excursion in Roatán and

was just trying to hide my poor sunburned arms from the sun.) 

Our next stop was at a private beach club which was the perfect conclusion to the day! We had chairs to lounge on, an open bar, and an all you can eat buffet for lunch packed with Mexican and Mayan foods. Mexican food is my favorite so I was basically a walking heart-eyes Emoji the whole time. Of course, I had to grab a margarita and about 40 pounds of guacamole. Ah. May. Zing. 

1. Check out dat sunburn. 2. Check out dat PLATE. 
That is the face of one happy gal. #takemeback

Chillin' at the beach was the *perfect* ending to a long week of adventuring. Our tour guide Daniel taught us a phrase - "la hache" (unsure if it's the correct spelling...) - which basically means "one more for the road", and he encouraged us all to fully embrace the meaning of it. When we were called back to the bus to head back to the ship, we all grabbed a drink called a Costa Maya (obviously) and hopped on the bus as soon as the clouds opened up and it started pouring. Great timing! Costa Maya was wonderful, and I would love to return!

The next day was our last day on the ship and our last day of our trip before travelling home. It was also Lindsey's birthday! We kicked off the day by participating in a virtual 5K (actually 3.14 miles because the date was 3/14 - Pi Day!) called the Wild Rumpus Run that Mom had signed us all up for. We decided to don our family vacation tees that Dad designed (and everyone was super jealous of) and completed our run on the lower deck. (We even ran into someone who saw our shirts and told us that he knew someone in Maine with our last name!)

I spent most of the day just relaxing and reading my book. (I wanted to really savor the time off before hopping back into the madness that is March-May in Student Affairs) I did make some time to go to a towel folding demonstration that they had on ship, though (I mean I really could not get enough of the towel animals that were left in our cabins, so why not?). The day was a true ~vacation~ and really allowed us all to squeeze every last drop out of our trip.

That night we celebrated Lindsey's birthday with dinner at the French restaurant on board which was AWESOME. (I had escargot! YAS.) We all had yummy desserts and gave Lindsey gifts to celebrate the big 2-7!

This trip was so much fun, and I'm so happy my parents decided to bring my sister and I along for the experience! I can't wait for my next opportunity to travel with my family in the future. We always have so much fun! :) Be sure to watch my last vacation vlog below, and check out the other posts from this series as well!

Previous Vacation 2015 Posts: New Orleans | At Sea | Cozumel | Belize City | Roatán