Thursday, July 30, 2015

August Book Club Selection: Modern Romance

Remember when I had a little book club on this blog back in 2013? Well now that I have actual time to read, I thought it'd be great to bring it back! Each month I'll post the book that I'm planning on reading for the month, and if you'd like to join and read along with me you can let me know in the comments! I'm also going to get back to posting book reviews of both the book club selections and any other books I happen to finish. Reading for pleasure what completely sacrificed during grad school, but I'm really starting to get back into it which I am thrilled about!

Anywho, August's book club selection will be a book by one of my favorite comedians - Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari! Ever since this title released this summer I was dying to devour it, and a thoroughly intend to do just that. I wouldn't be surprised if I tear through this in a couple days like I did with both Amy Poehler and Tina Fey's books.
At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated? 
Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”  
But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate. 
For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before. 
In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world. 

I can not wait to read this book and laugh the whole way through. Ansari's standup is always so hilarious (in my humble opinion) so I can't imagine that his writing style would be any different, especially on the topic of dating - which he covers quite often in his comedy. Clearly, I'm going into this book with extremely high hopes, so I really hope it can deliver!

Let me know if you're going to read along, and if you have any suggestions for future book club selections, please leave them in the comments! I would love to hear what you'd like to read!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Organize My Life: Planner Update! A5 Filofax Saffiano in Pear

I've been promising this post over and over again and now it's finally here - an introduction to my A5 Filofax Saffiano in Pear! I was eyeing this beauty for a couple months in the spring, but I felt badly buying a new Filofax when I had just purchased one in the fall. In May, however, when I clicked onto the US Filofax site, I saw that it was sold out. Because Filofax retires its models, I knew I had to make the purchase before it was gone from every store out there. I found my Saffiano on Amazon and snagged it right away. (Plus, it was May, and I could justify the purchase as a birthday/graduation gift to myself! :P) I almost immediate moved into the Saffiano because I had been dying for an A5 ever since I realized how small a Personal size really is. I've been loving the upgrade ever since!

With the end of graduate school and the start of my new job, I feel like I've already developed a pretty good system for how I like to organize my Saffiano. Click "read more" for closeups and details of this awesome planner, and for a walkthrough video!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Few of my Favorite Links {#13}

I am coming across some internet gold lately. I feel like I say that every time I write a favorite links post but this week is particularly true. Looking at all of these links and videos makes me so happy (and hungry), so if you're looking for a good laugh and maybe an idea or two for a snack definitely check out my favorite links of the moment! :) And don't forget to let me know in the comments what some of your favorite links are lately!

Drunk Workout Routine

Rachel Ballinger is the hilarious younger sister of Colleen Ballinger, aka Miranda Sings, and all of her videos make me cry-laugh. This one that was just uploaded this week was no different. This is a perfect representation of how I feel doing any kind of lifting or non-endurance form of exercise. I knew I had to share it with my fitness guru boyfriend for a good laugh as soon as I watched it! My favorite part is definitely when she keeps speaking to her boyfriend off-camera - SO GOOD.

This Guy Took Engagement Photos With A Burrito

Is there a truer love than the love that you share with a burrito? I mean for me it's right up there with Brett & my family so..... This photoshoot is absolutely perfect and I know it describes to a T how most of us feel about burritos. This man is a genius.

Tym Bussanich's Blog

DO NOT CLICK ON THIS LINK IF YOU ARE HUNGRY. It will quickly make you ravenous. All of the creations that this blogger puts on his site are incredible, and he updates every single day. I want to try all of them. Maybe one rainy day I actually will... #vlogideas. The snack showed above is called "Grilled Cheese Dunkers". Like, what. GENIUS.  But seriously - everything on this site looks amazing and so simple to make, which could be extremely dangerous. I'm into it.

Hip Hop Goes Broadway

You guys. I can't stop watching this video. These broadway versions of popular hip hop and R&B songs are so damn catchy and I constantly find them stuck in my head (fair warning - these will likely get stuck in your head too). Not to mention these guys are extremely talented and the bloopers at the end are hilarious! I know that they've done a Pop Goes Broadway video in the past and I really hope they make more videos like these in the future!

Canberra Cafe's Insane Milkshakes

Because apparently the theme of today's favorite links post is "Riley is starving", I had to include these amazing -- AH-MAY-ZING -- looking milkshakes. Like where do you even-- How do you even-- Where can I find these things???? Unfortunately the answer to that question is Australia, which for me is the literal opposite side of the Earth. *heartbreak* These milkshakes are called "The Freakshow" (appropriately named, IMO) and I want one TWENTY. Honestly, if one of these could be waiting for me at the finish line of the Maine Marathon that would be wonderful.

Rise of the Puppy Swarms

This video is literally all I want in life. My life won't be complete until I get love-attacked by a giant swarm of adorable puppies. (I mean, whose life would be?) Make sure you watch this video if you need an extra dose of cuteness in your life.

Puppies swarming their owners. Cute AND funny.
Posted by HuffPost UK Lifestyle on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Beach Weekends

These last two weekends Brett and I have been soaking up summer like it's our job! I was sick with a migraine on the 4th, so I think we felt a sense of obligation to make up for it these last two weeks. Each weekend has been gorgeously sunny and 80+ degrees so we've taken advantage and made sure that we made time to be out on the water and laying in the sun as much as possible. Needless to say, my summer-loving soul has been very happy.

It started last weekend when we ventured north to visit my parents & pups on the lake. I picked up Brett at his house after work, and we enjoyed the Undisclosed podcast (which studies the same case that Serial covers) on our ride north (already addicted). When we finally got into town we came across the Raymond Town Fair in full-swing, so of course we had to stop for fried dough.

Pretty much all of Saturday and Sunday we were at the beach or on the boat. There were some paddle boards on the beach on Saturday so of course we had to try them out! (So fun!) We got a solid stick-throwing session in with Kiwi, and capped off the evening with a fire in my dad's new fire pit, s'mores, and Not Your Father's Root Beer floats. Absolutely perfect!

After my #SundayRunday of 9 miles (and where I accidentally wound up becoming part of a 10k in the town center... hilarious), we went back to the beach for a few hours to bake in the sun and swim around some more. The weather was unbelievably perfect and I'm still so confused as to why summer isn't EVERYONE'S favorite season. After getting home and showering, Brett and I made our usual pilgrimage to La Festa and chowed down before returning to MA.


This past weekend was our trip to our friend Ashley's Cape house! We really couldn't have asked for a better weekend for it either. We spent most of the day Friday and Sunday just lounging on our floaties in the water, which was actually bearable for being the Atlantic Ocean! Because I'm a huge wimp to being cold, I was thrilled that I was able to float and swim around all weekend. I brought my GoPro to take some fun pictures and videos, so be sure to check those out below! :) Huge shoutout to Ashley for having us to her house for sunshine, good food, fun times, and great company! <3

We only really have two more weekends before Brett reports for football camp, so we're really trying to pack as much summer as we can into the month of July. This upcoming weekend we're headed back north to hang out with his family in Ossipee, and the week after that we're planning (as of now) on taking a trip all the way up to Maine to see my extended family for our annual family camping trip! I have a few more beach days planned with some friends after Brett's life is taken over by football, and I'll likely be taking at least one more trip home to NH before the school year takes over mine, but for now I'm trying to take full advantage of this extremely relaxing summer!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summer 2015 Wishlist

I feel like I've mentioned it several times on this blog, but I LOVE SUMMER. I love the hot weather, the sun staying out 'til 9PM, and so many fun activities! With grad school in the rearview, I've had so much more time this year to just relax and make so many awesome plans with the people I love and it has been wonderful. I've also seen so many fun summer products out there this year that I've been dying to get my hands on! I thought it would be fun to compile a list and share with you some of the items that I'm drooling over this season.

Food-shaped Floaties

Pizza - $55 at Urban Outfitters
Pretzel - $29 at Urban Outfitters

I keep seeing fun food-shape floaties circling Instagram and they are so adorable! How cool would it be to just float around on a donut or a pretzel in the sunshine? The designs above are a little bit more expensive than I would pay for an inflatable I'd probably only use a handful of times a year, but they are so adorable that I would probably have a hard time walking away from one that might be a little bit cheaper!

I Love Running/I Hate Running Tank

$22 (Originally $27) at ActiveApparel

It's pretty much impossible to run in the hot summer sun unless you're rocking a tank top, and when this design popped up my Facebook timeline I fell in love! The graphic is a perfect representation of my feelings toward long-distance running, and I think it'd be so funny to wear this while marathon training!

Strut Your Stuff Elephant Cross-Body

$298 at Kate Spade

While I could nevereverevereverever justify blowing nearly $300 on a small cross-body bag, this one is amazing. I love the origami elephant design (obviously) and the bag features 14k gold hardware. You know what's the kicker - THE EARS DOUBLE AS EXTERIOR POCKETS. WHAT. *heart eye emoji* If only I made enough money to make this dream a reality... At least it's fun to look at, though!

Kadee Island Flat

$31.99 at Crocs

I am normally not a fan of Crocs at all, but I've always said that they make really adorable flats! There was an ACUHO-I intern at BSU this summer who had a really adorable pair of nude Crocs flats that prompted me to peruse their website to see what kind of designs they had available. I fell in love with these guys and just might buy a pair the next time I have a spare $32. I mean, I can't say I would hate having an insanely lightweight and comfortable pair of shoes I can wear to work!

SNL & Judd Apatow Memoirs

Memoirs and biographies are by far my favorite genre of books, and this past year some really cool titles have been released. I recently purchased Modern Love by one of my favorite comedians, Aziz Ansari and will be diving into it soon, but I really want to get my hands on the newest edition of Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live as Told by its Stars, Writers and Guests by Tom Shales & James Andrew Miller that was released in September, and Sick in the Head by Judd Apatow. (But first I should probably get through a book or two that I already own...)

Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer

From 21st Amendment Brewery

This beer was first released in 2002, but for whatever reason I keep hearing people talk about it and keep seeing it all over ever store I go to this summer. I'm a big fan of lighter wheat beers and pale ales, and I'm not opposed to having those beers have a little kick of fruit flavor in them during the summer months, so I'd really like to give this a shot at some point this summer!

What are some products you'd really like to try out this summer?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Stumbling Through 26.2 - Part 4: Getting Back on the Horse

Photo taken right after completing my 9 miles on Sunday.
Summer running = attractive selfies! XD
Marathon training is tough. Not only are you pushing your body beyond its physical limits, but putting in all of those miles to prepare for the big 26.2 takes a LOT of time. It can be hard to be disciplined and stay on top of your training program when all you want to do after a long day of work is spend time with your loved ones, or even just curl up alone with a good book or movie. Sometimes I feel myself dreading my evening runs because there's just so much else I'd like to be doing besides spending two hours running, which leads to me skipping scheduled runs and falling behind in my program. This is my third summer training for a fall marathon, and I haven't once been able to see a program to the T all the way through. Like I said, it is TOUGH.

This June, Orientation came in and took over my life. It's a different kind of event that really requires all of your time and attention, and when you're finally off the clock you're essentially a zombie. (Super props to Brett for putting up with that for the last two summers!) By having such a demanding schedule, I only managed to fit in one 4-mile run a week during the three weeks of Orientation (I was pretty on top of my runs during training, but once the program started it was game over) and it made me feel SUPER guilty even though I knew I had essentially zero energy to spare for the miles my program was calling for. I was falling behind and it was really hard to ignore the nerves that were a result of it.

However, over these last few weeks, I've made an effort to get back on top of it. It's not easy knowing that my program says I should have been running 12 miles on Sunday when I could only really muster 9, but I know I'm not too far off of where I need to be. Distance running is 90% mental, so keeping a positive attitude and continuing to put an effort forth is the majority of the battle. I know I'm not the only one who hates falling behind, and I'm certainly not the only one who has when there's a big race in the near future, so here are some of my tips on how to get back on the running horse when you've fallen off.

Keep Trying

Duh, right? Sometimes the best way to get back on the horse is to suck it up and just do it. Put on your sneakers and just jog around for a mile or two. You might get a kick of motivation and want to go further. The best way to get back into the habit of running is to keep getting out there and running. It's as simple (HA) as that!

Negotiate with Yourself

There are going to be those days where you just can't muster it. Sometimes you can't get yourself out of bed in time in the morning, sometimes you just aren't feeling it after you get home at night, and sometimes life just takes over. When I was working Orientation this summer, I utilized the days I had off mid-week to at least run a little bit. It definitely wasn't as much as I would have liked to be running, but at least it was something realistic that I could commit to.

Now that my schedule is a bit more open I'm running much more often, but there's still some days where I just am not feelin' it. For the most part, I try to suck it up and run anyway, but on the days I can't get out and run due to schedules or other interruptions, I'll trade one of my designated rest days out to make up for the missed run. Sometimes I just need an unscheduled rest day, and it tends to make all the difference! As long as you make an effort to make up your missed runs, you should be okay. However, don't beat yourself up if you have to sacrifice a short run or two all together. Which leads me to my next point...

Don't Skip Long Run Days

Your long runs are 100% your most important runs out of your whole week. These are the ones that should almost never be skipped (and if it is absolutely necessary to skip them, make sure you're making these up!). Your long runs are going to build your endurance enough so that you can cross the finish line on race day, and it will also build your confidence enough to do the same.

If you follow me on Twitter, you'll know I do my long runs on Sundays (I usually tweet with the hashtag #SundayRunday), and there's actually a bit of a community that does the same! If you need a bit of a motivation boost to tackling the big miles, check out that tag and join in on the conversation! You'll run knowing that there are thousands of other runners out there tackling their long runs as well, which makes it a little less painful.

Reward Yourself

I talk about this a bit in my Staying Motivated post, but giving yourself a bit of a reward at the end of a long run or a long week of training always helps me get back into the swing of things. Since I'm a huge nerd, I like to put a sticker in my planner next to the runs I completed (I'm essentially still in Kindergarten, and I'm okay with it), and after completing my long runs, I reward myself by eating pretty much whatever I want (really, eating junk food guilt-free is one of the best motivators to get back into the rhythm of training. It's the best! :D).

Don't Push Yourself Too Hard Too Fast

Yes, when you're a distance running you build a solid base of endurance, but when you're trying to get back into your training program after a long break, you need to build your mileage back up gradually. Otherwise, you'll risk injuring yourself. For example, as I mentioned earlier in this post, I was scheduled to run 12 miles this Sunday, but I did 9 instead because I knew I just wasn't ready for 12 yet. Eventually I'll work my way back up to speed with what my schedule is asking me, but for now I'll be patient with what I think my body can handle. You just need to be realistic in what you think you can accomplish while still giving your body a chance to adjust in the longer miles.

Remember to stay positive! Getting back to where you were in your training will take time, 
but you can definitely accomplish it if you just keep going. Good luck!

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

Friday, July 10, 2015

Etsy Haul! {July 2015}

Late one night while I was on duty during Orientation (read: at the tail end of an 18-hour day), my delirious self hopped onto Etsy for the first time in months and decided it was time to make some purchases. I had some money on my PayPal account that I could afford to burn, so why not make some adorable purchases to make my surroundings a bit cuter? Check out the items I bought below, and make sure you also check out each of the shops that I bought from!

Ever since I bought my 3DSXL a year and a half ago, I've been craving a Squirtle decal on the front of my plain black console. I've been rummaging Etsy ever since I purchased my DS for the perfect one, but for whatever reason never stumbled across these adorable Pokemon stickers from PixelBoundStudios! These come in matte & glossy stickers and magnets, and Ashley (the shop owner) has created designs for a decent amount of Pokemon! It was so hard for me to decide between the Squirtle and the Blastoise (they're both SO ADORABLE), but ultimately I (obviously) went with the Blastoise. The face he was making was just way too cute to pass up! (AND it's become the perfect addition to my DS!) I will definitely be purchasing more of these stickers or magnets in the future! :)

I've been drooling over glam planners on YouTube and Instagram for years now, and some of my favorite photos and videos feature these cute decorated paperclips that are typically found on Etsy. I found these at HaveACupcakeNY and they are so adorable! They are made of paper so they aren't the sturdiest things in the world (at the time I took these photos I had already been using them in my planner for a few days and you can see that the bottom of the bow is already a bit frayed and the cherry stem on the cupcake is a little bent), but they are too cute to pass up. I would recommend these if you're the kind of person who likes to keep their planner in one place (unlike me, who takes mine literally everywhere!). Check out the photo of these gems in action over on my Instagram!

Animal Sticky Notes & Page Flags

What kind of type-A planner nerd would I be if I didn't totally binge out on cute sticky notes? I think cute sticky notes are my favorite planner accessory because a. they're obviously adorable, and b. I actually use them in my planning on a pretty regular basis. When I came across this shop I knew I had to snag a few packs!

I was pretty disappointed when I received these last two packs because they are teeny tiny. I was really hoping they would be a bit bigger so I could write notes on them more often, but the listing doesn't have any size information available so I really didn't know what I would be getting size-wise.  Here's what they look like next to a Pilot G2 pen:

Planner Stickers

These are probably what I'm most excited about with this Etsy haul! I knew that I wanted to add a bit of flair and cuteness to my everyday planning, so I thought that the best route was to try out some planner stickers! I ordered laundry, grocery, sushi, and alcoholic beverages stickers for starters, because I figured those were the ones that I would use the most often. How cute are these?!

The shop owner, Tiffany, also sent me a free sheet of weather stickers as well as a handful of samples of her other stickers, and all of them are so, so cute! I will 100% be ordering from her again when I want to buy more stickers, and I highly recommend that all of my planner people do the same! :)

What are some of your favorite Etsy shops? 
Leave them below - I would love to check them out!

*I had originally ordered a Safari pack of these animal page flags, but received these ones instead. I went on to this shop to see if I could find the Safari flags, but they were no longer listed, so I'm assuming they sold out before the seller could fill my order. However, there was no email or note in my shipment to explain the change. I was a little bummed, but I understand that this is one of the risks you take when you order from an independent vendor.

Monday, July 6, 2015

I Moved!

Seen above is a panoramic of my essentially empty apartment at Dean. (A few of my furniture items did not make the cut in the move to my new tiny studio.) Over the last few days I've been moving across the state of Massachusetts to my new home! This is my first *big girl* apartment - one that is away from work, that I'm paying for myself, and can really call my own. It's like I'm adult or something. YAY!

Brett and I spent the majority of last Wednesday and Thursday driving back and forth from Franklin to my new teeny-tiny hometown in central MA, which turns out to be about an hour and some change one way. Throw in the Cape Cod traffic leading into the holiday and it made for a grueling couple of days. Our hard work paid off, through, and we only had to make one trip to the new apartment when my parents came down to help with my larger furniture. We made 5 trips to the new place in total (totaling in around 10 or so hours over three days) and I can now officially say my time at Dean is over. It's been an interesting three years (to say the least), but it brought me so many wonderful things like my first two apartments, a path into the field of Higher Ed, amazing connections with students, Brett (*heart eye emoji*), and my friendships with Rob and Cassie. It was very bitter sweet to say goodbye (I mean look at that apartment) but I'm happy my career is progressing in the direction I want it to! :)

I went from living in a gorgeously too-large-for-one-person 5 room apartment at Dean, to a small studio that is actually perfect for one person with the lifestyle I have (aka always working and never home). I had to do a significant amount of downsizing and as I unpack I am still working on figuring out what I do and don't need and throwing things out or donating items that are still usable. My place is on the first floor of a small apartment complex in the mountains of central MA and it is so freaking quiet here that it's basically the opposite of living in a residence hall. It is so perfect. (The views of the mountains don't hurt either!) I can't wait to share photos and videos of  everything once it's unpack and in its place, but for now, here's a vlog from our moving experience last week!

I hope you all have a fantastic week! :)