Radiating Sunshine

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Newest Apartment: Post Move

So one of the best (and worst) parts of being a Live On professional is moving. When you work for Housing &/or Residence Life at a university, you will most likely have the opportunity to "live on" so you can respond to duty related incidents in a timely manner and be present to help build community. I am currently going on my seventh year of living on a college campus and I could write an entire post about the highs and lows of this journey! But today I'm sharing with you all my new space!

As a child I used to chronically move my furniture (and it drove my parents NUTS). I think I just liked change and believe it or not I was always wanted to clean and organize things [no joke: used to clean my friends' bedrooms - and would enjoy it]. Now as an adult, moving has sort of become the worst chore on the planet. I think I am realizing that I collect way too much stuff and moving four times in the past three years has definitely shown that. 

Anyways here is my new space! I can't do much in the areas of paint, furniture, and carpeting... but I have been able to add my own personal style and touch to almost every space. Today, I am giving you all a virtual tour of my bedroom, living room, guest room, and bathroom. The kitchen will be discussed in a later post, so stay tuned for that-- I'll worn ya it is nothing glamorous!
Something I want to add to this space: White curtains
The bedroom is the first room I unpack when I move. Partly because moving is exhausting and all I can think about is climbing into my comfy bed, but also because I love getting a space that seems so functional settled. I did not change my color scheme from my last apartment because I LOVE gold and navy blue together.
The bedroom layout itself is a little hard to work with. On my back wall I have three cubes that work as closet spaces and storage. They don't have doors so by repurposing my old blackout curtains, I was able to provide some style and cover up my closet.
I am also using my old food pantry that Josh built me as additional bedroom storage. I really don't know what to do with these shelves -- they were intended for food storage and now I'm kind of using it as a place to hold sweatshirts, workout shirts, and random boxes! I'm hoping to be a little more innovative with this storage space in the future -- and I am totally open to any of your ideas! (also check me out in the mirror).
The living room is the second room I unpack... mostly because Josh helps me move and I have him available to help me set up the technological devices. I had some serious Comcast issues when I moved to this apartment (literally wasted so much time on hold with them). But I am happy to report that I do not repel technology and everything appears to be working.

Not being able to hang a lot of things on the walls is killing me about this new space. I can hang a lot of my artwork with command hooks, but for my bigger pieces I have been struggling. I put a few nails in the bedroom; but I am not sure how the maintenance and damage/billing works in my new space so I'm trying to refrain from putting holes in the wall. 
I genuinely love the living room! The only thing I think I'm craving is a sectional sofa-- which is on the investment list (as soon as I graduate grad school). I think a small sectional would add so much seating to the living room, but I am working with what I have. 

Another thing I absolutely love about my current apartment is all the light. I have big windows in both my bedroom, guest room, and living room (that also has some privacy from a massive tree outside) which has really brightened up the space.
 
The guest room is kind of work in progress! It is currently serving as my space for guests to sleep, a library, garden center, home office and storage room -- I know the space is the real MVP. I opted to keep the residence hall furniture in this room so I could use the bed for storage. I am so happy I did that because I have a lot of random things that need homes, that probably shouldn't be visible to the public!

The bathroom is larger than my kitchen! It is an enormous space that unfortunately I leave relatively undecorated and empty. But if I'm giving y'all a tour of my apartment I should include the good, the bad, and the oversized! One thing I absolutely love about the bathroom is the counterpace. Its a shame that I live by myself because most days I feel like I don't even take advantage of everything this counter has to offer!

The bathroom is only equipped with a shower... so you better believe I miss bubble baths! However, there is no room for that negative complaining here! I am just beyond grateful to be settled and that I have running water. Although the bubble baths would be nice, I'm sure the next apartment/house that I will be looking into will have that amenity.

Anyways that's all for now, folks! Hope you enjoyed the brief little tour. The kitchen is to come in a future post (I promise). Have a happy Monday friends!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Introduction: Whole30

This past Spring, my best friend Lindsey did her first Whole30! I remember when she called me to tell me she was starting and how I was initially very skeptical of what I thought her new "diet" was. I remember thinking that there was NO way I could do it. After all how was I going to drink coffee without the 80% creamer that I put in it. And you mean I can't have cheese? NO WAY. Well, one of the main tenants behind Whole30 is letting the program change your life... and rest assured friends, it does. It definitely does.

So, this past May I decided to give it a try! To anyone who has been considering trying it I would definitely recommend the program IF (1) you like eggs/meat/aren't a vegan (2) you can get creative with meal-prepping (3) you're okay with the occasional struggle when you're out to dinner. If you think you can do all of those then I would highly recommend Whole30.

The basic rules (and you can find all of them here) include: Eating real food. Yep! All real. Things that you'll avoid for 30 days (I know the fun part) are added sugar (real/artificial -- honey included), alcohol, grains, legumes (not the precious peanut butter), dairy, carrageenan/MSG/sulfites, & baked goods/junk foods.

It is recommended that you stay of the scale while doing Whole30; but rather focus on the way you feel and the non-scale victories. (side note: if your whole30 is anything like mine you will lose weight -- you just have to trust the process).

Now doing Whole30 while working on a college campus (and having a meal plan) was a little difficult. My work pays for my meal plan (it is encouraged that I eat with my students, which is wonderful -- but also difficult when you can't eat most of the stuff in the dining hall). Meal prepping was a HUGE success factor in my Whole30. Now before you give me the whole "I don't have time to meal prep" -- yes you do! If you are efficient with your time and are able to get groceries - meal prepping will change your life!
 
I meal prep twice a week (the whole Sunday all day meal- prepping thing would be nice -- but that's just a little too much for me at this point!) I usually meal prep Sunday/Monday evenings and Wednesdays for about 1.5-2 hours! I can make almost 6-8 meals in that time frame and that really comes in handy throughout the week.
 
Although the dining hall is full of temptations, I have been able to use the dining hall to my advantage (as seen above). For lunch all I had to make was the Whole30 compliant egg salad (egg + avocado) and then grab veggies from the dining hall. I had a small side of roasted sweet potatoes to eat; if I needed something a little sweeter and starchier. I also usually pack some sparkling water to go with one meal a day!
My fridge is often times filled with Tupperware and Whole30 complaint things (but don't worry I keep some cheese around for Josh). My favorite Whole30 drink essentials include: Libby's Pineapple Juice (no sugar added), Silk's Unsweetened Almond & Coconut Milk, Coconut Water, La Croix/ Spindrift. I also usually have a ton of fresh fruit, meat, veggies, eggs, and nuts. One indicator of Whole30 success is whether you are prepared or not -- so go to the grocery store and stalk up!
 
Now this is an introductory post for a reason because there is no way I could cover all 30 days of Whole30 wellness and my current Whole20 reset before the academic year begins -- no worries I'll save those for later posts... but I will briefly share that I found Whole30 to be really helpful for me. To start it allowed me to focus on nutrition. All throughout the program I knew that I was only putting real and healthy foods into my body! It also helped me defeat my sugar dragon! Before Whole30 I was the type of person who had to have dessert before I went to bed every night. After Whole30 no dessert and I'm cool!
Now I did lose weight and inches while doing Whole30! I don't prefer to focus on those solely because weight is just one scale of measurement. The benefit I loved the most about Whole30 was the boundless energy (known as Tiger Blood) that I experienced! I used to be obsessed with the snooze button and when I was doing Whole30 I was waking up on average 2 hours before my alarm even went off (NATURALLY). The energy alone was one of my favorite parts of doing Whole30 and if you feel like you are dragging throughout the workday then I would HIGHLY recommend the program!

Have you done Whole30? Have you considered doing Whole30? Comment below. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My Downtown

I think that I am convinced that every city has a little charm. This past weekend I explored downtown Chambersburg, PA with my co-workers! While Chambersburg might not be "my city," but it is within my on-call boundaries and I loved being able to explore it for a few hours on Saturday. 
We started the day off at Brussels Cafe. Brussels Cafe is an adorable creperie located near the North Square Market! They offer a bunch of delicious crepes/waffles as well as coffee & macaroons! Another charming aspect of this cafe is the fact that they greet and call their customers by name. I was so pleasantly surprised that the owner called out my order by saying "Alexandria." -- Definitely not used to answering to that! They also will put your orders under names that you request, so it took me by surprise when I head "John Snow" being called out for a strawberry nutella crepe! 
The aesthetic in the cafe was hands down my favorite! Down to the hard-wood floors or the chalkboard on the wall that asks you the question "What Makes You Happy?" This space was chic! You could eat inside and outside (and if you chose to eat outside- you were surrounded by gorgeous brick walls with disney murals painted on them). I definitely plan to go back to Brussels Cafe -- hopefully when I'm not doing Whole30 because that John Snow's crepe was calling my name!
After my co-workers and I finished up with breakfast, we explored the North Square Farmer's Market! There were several booths that offered fresh produce. I loved the flower shop and the zinnias were begging me to buy them! Sadly - during RA Training (check out my insta stories for updates) I am never really in my apartment to enjoy them! 
I also tried kombucha for the first time! It has been on my bucket list FOR MONTHS! There was an adorable little booth at the farmers market and I knew it was time! They ran out of their lavender lemongrass brew, so I tried their featured drink that was apple based! Thank you Undone  for providing a delicious drink with completely organic ingredients [Insert Salsa Dancing Emoji]! Also, I totally love their concept of "rawsome!"
I will be job searching in less then 9 months and I will definitely be on the look for institutions with cute downtowns that I can explore! I love supporting local business' and would much rather go grocery shopping at the farmers market over the grocery store any day of the week! 

Where's your favorite downtown scene?
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