Radiating Sunshine: July 2015

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July Saturday Nights

Last Summer, Josh and I spent the entire July apart (and June too)! When we first started dating I knew his favorite song was 'Springsteen' by Eric Church. I didn't realize how disappointed he was that after a year of dating, he still hadn't been able to drive me around and sing 'Springsteen' to me! Well that has all been changing this July. We made it our personal goal to be together for July Saturday nights. This past Saturday, we went to Hershey Park. I have the fondest memories of Hershey Park as a child. For everyone who is not in the East Coast region... Hershey Park is an amusement park where the founder of Hershey's Chocolate built his factory. Hershey originally built the park for his employees, but now it's open to the public!

Josh and I loved our trip to Hershey Park! We enjoyed spending the day with his family and walking around the park. We woke up really early on Saturday morning and ate the banana chocolate chip muffins as we took a road trip to Hershey, PA.

On Friday night, Josh's mom took our Subway order so we could eat subs instead of spending money in the park on overpriced food. It actually saved us a lot of money. There was a Subway in the park and for a 6" sub, it cost $5.50 and we paid $7.50 for a 12"! So, just a little tip buy lunch outside of the park and eat it at the car!

When we got to Hershey Park, we bee-lined it to the quickest roller coaster. I was a little nervous to get on a roller coaster. I haven't been on one in years, so it was a little nerve wracking. But, we absolutely loved it!! Our favorite roller coaster was The Great Bear. Josh has never ridden on a dangle foot roller coaster, so it was a great experience for him.
I'm rockin' the fanny pack... and I'm not ashamed! 
We walked so much around the park, I thought my feet were going to fall off. We covered a lot of ground and I think we made it to every section of the park. Saturday was definitely one of those days where I wish I had a FitBit. The lines weren't too bad for a beautiful Saturday. I think the longest we waited for a ride was maybe a half hour! But, then again Josh and I didn't go on the brand new really big roller coasters either.

We road a lot of baby "fair" like rides... for example: The Music Express (see below) and the Scrambler (all time fave). We also went on the Kissing Tower, which is basically a big Hershey Kiss that goes up and educates you on the park. We loved that because not only did we get to learn some things, have a great view, but we also got permission for some PDA ;) 

Next time Josh is going on the outside!!
Another aspect of this past Saturday that was so important for me was that I turned off my email. It was the first time since I became an RD that I went a day without checking my email. It was really uplifting and helped me just spend the day with Josh and his family. I'm super grateful for everything that they do.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Candy Party with Skittles® #ShareFunshine

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareFunshine #CollectiveBias
I love Summer. There is nothing sweeter to me, than driving around the country side with my windows down and the air blowing my hair. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin. I truly cherish my Summer days. Now, that I work full time my Summers look quite a bit different than they used too. Instead of spending the day outside like I usually did; I'm inside sitting at an office computer. However, when the sun goes down and it's time for me to head home, I love to entertain guests and have friends over. Every week, my fellow Residents Directors and I like to get together and chat outside of the office. And this past week, I invited them all over for some sweet fun. 

I decided to host a Summer Candy Party!! I had to brainstorm what kind of candy I wanted to purchase. Did I want salty or sweet? Crunchy or smooth? I ended up deciding on a mixed variety and grabbed my list. I went to Walmart to get my supplies. I bought Skittles® 14 oz bag, M&M's® Plain 42 oz bag, M&M's® Peanut 42 oz bag, SNICKERS® Ice Cream Bars- 6 Pack, and Starburst® Minis Unwrapped. 

I had a blast buying the different candies and I'm pretty sure the other customers thought I had a major sweet tooth (which, let's face it I do). I also used this awesome coupon (http://cbi.as/8v0q) which, not only saved me money, but also allowed me to enter a chance to win a $100 gift card to Walmart... you can check it out here: Share a Little Funshine Sweepstakes

Check out your neighborhood Walmart store's Aisle 6 for these yummy treats! 
I knew I wanted to make something really creative with all of my candy supplies for my candy party. Something completely out of the norm. So, I decided to attempt a fruit dip with Skittles® and was pleasantly surprised on how it turned out! The dip tasted very similar to Skittles® and paired so well with the apples I bought! Check out this fun & easy recipe below:

Skittles® Fruit Dip
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 tbsp. lemon
1/2 cup of strawberry cream cheese
1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
15-20 Skittles® 14 oz bag
Directions: {10 Minutes}
(1) Whisk together lemon juice, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar.
(2) Add the marshmallow fluff and strawberry cream cheese and mix until smooth.
(3) Garnish with Skittles® and serve cold.
Serve with apples or other fruit. 
The dip was really refreshing and the Skittles® added a delicious taste and texture. My RD friends raved about the dip and the extra candy on the side! The best part about the fruit dip is that it was so incredibly easy to make and it really doesn't have too much sugar.

I'm really considering doing more themed socials before the Summer ends. I loved setting up for the party and having a catered menu ready to satiate anyone's sweet tooth. Summers have definitely felt different now that I work 40-60 hours a week. But, it was really nice having a simple evening with friends. The Candy Party was sweet for a Summer night and what was even sweeter is that I got to save some money with coupons thanks to Walmart and Mars Wrigley. You can download the Blippar app from your Apple or Android store to scan your package and receive exclusive content!
If you're interested in more savings so you can have your own Summer Party, click here! 
I absolutely loved having my RD friends over and the Skittles® Fruit Dip 
was a wonderful success. It literally couldn't have turned out better! 

How would you incorporate Skittles® into a fun evening with friends?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Planning RA Training

Today, I'm going to talk about the in's and out's of planning RA Training. It still feels a little strange being on the planning side, considering for the past three years of my life I was always the trainee. It was quite the adjustment, but the little planner in me is happy. My staff and I plan RA Training every Wednesday for the entire Summer. Our meetings usually last from 10AM-12PM and sometimes 2 hours isn't even enough. I never realized just how much goes into planning a training. You have to think about the topics (what are 'must haves' and 'could do withouts'). You then have to look at how much time you have to work with and figure out how long each session will go. 

But, first you need to choose a theme!! We had a blast with this. Early on in the summer we constructed a list of different themes we liked. Then all 9 of us got 3 votes, which allowed for us to slowly eliminate ideas... until we finally came to one conclusion. Since, the university I work at is nautical themed, we thought Pirates would fit very well. So, all of our training sessions and the RA T-shirt matches our theme. 
My team found it to be the easiest if we scheduled all outside presenters (anyone not in Housing & Res. Life) for sessions first. We wanted to give the outside presenters first priority, so what we typically did was email/call and see if they had a day preference. If they did, then we accommodates their requests and scheduled them for a time that was suitable. If they did not, then we gave them different options and let them choose what worked. Some of our outside presenters include: Volunteer Fire Fighters (Emergency Procedures), Diversity Talk, QPR Training, Student Conduct, etc.

After the outside presenters were finalized, we then began to fill in the gaps. Some sessions like BCDs (Behind Closed Doors) take up more time then others, so we accommodated that. When we were scheduling our sessions, we were very careful not to make some of the days too heavy. What I mean by this is sometimes our sessions have a lot of sensitive material, so we are just cautious of our RAs mental stability and happiness.

The Actual Sessions
The way my staff planned the content of the sessions was really nice! We (RDs) basically signed up to plan certain sessions. My sessions include: initiatives (Team Builders), Emergency Procedures, BCDS, and Conflict Mediation. I've been busy at work planning these sessions. I think BCDs has probably been the most work. We meet every week for about 2 hours (usually at night) and comb through all the content and see where we can reform things.

When we finish content for our sessions, we present them at our weekly staff meetings/planning sessions. This is probably the hardest part for me. Now I love some constructive feedback... but, sometimes its really hard to just watch people tear down your ideas. However, that's what happens and you just have to go with it. I would argue 99% of time everything people add to conversation is beneficial and I love seeing how my other staff members plan their sessions.

That's all for now! I'll update y'all next Wednesday on more RA Training related fun! 
Happy Wednesday :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Family Reunions

Howdy friends! Happy Tuesday. Today I'm recapping how Josh and I spent our weekend with the 3 F's! Family, friends, and lots of food. Seriously though, I can't think of better way to spend my weekend then with family, friends, and a whole buffet of food. 

On Saturday morning, Josh and I drove up to northern PA to visit his family and to attend his annual reunions. I have never seen more organized Aunt's getting everything prepared for a reunion of 50-60 people! We played games, won prizes, swung on swings, and he introduced me to all of his aunts, uncles, and cousins. 
After we finished at his mother's reunion, we drove around the country side of PA and went to an Altoona Curve (Minor league) baseball game! Josh grew up going to this field and when we first started dating he would rave about how beautiful and awesome it was! And now I know why. The field was beautiful and had a view of a roller coaster from the outfield. The Curve played the BaySocks, which are the Orioles minor league team. So, it was kind of like going to a mini Pirates and Orioles game, which is really fun!
Josh and I also did a lot of travel. However, we both were not very familiar with the PA area so we clung to my Maps App and used up some data. When we were heading home from our adventure I told him "you have 28% to get us home." And that's what he did! Love my travel buddy :)
On Sunday, we drove to Patton Park for the last of the family reunions. We were both tired from the night before, but Sunday was just as good as Saturday. Patton Park had an adorable little train and a lot of walking paths. We even played on the playground and swung on the swings.
Oh and how could I forget the food!! We devoured this buffet! I learned a lot of things about my food pallet this weekend. For example: I have a new found admiration for stuffing balls. Not sure how you can admire them, but I feel like they are the best adventure since bread it's self! I also love Swedish Meatballs. Not sure why it's taken me 22 years to really fine tune my passion for them, but man are they good. And last, but certainly not least, was my new found discover of blueberry pie. I really don't remember the last time I had blueberry pie. So, when I saw there were three blueberry pies to choose from I had my pickin'!
I love family reunions. Josh's family was very organized about everything. They sent out the cutest letters, informed everyone of the price for family ($10-15), did a basket raffle, a 50-50 raffle, and we played tons of games. It has been quite sometime since my family did a family reunion and I think this reunion weekend has inspired me to plan something.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Watching Baseball

To be completely honest, for the majority of my life I never followed baseball. I just thought it was kind of boring. I enjoyed going to the games, partly because it was a social event and I usually got dip n dots! So, for the most part I took no interest in baseball. I knew how it worked and I cheered on the O's, but that was really the extent of my passion for baseball. Until I met this guy!

Josh is probably one of the most knowledgeable people I know when it comes to sports... and really life! He can tell you the elaborate technicalities of the games and even remember scores from past games (literally decades ago)! Not sure where he stores all of this information, but I knew when we first started dating that sports would definitely become a part of my life (specifically baseball). So, I began learning everything I could. I would listen to his critiques of players, ask questions, call out the stupid rules and demand explanations for them (foul balls in baseball-- what's a strike and what's not)! So, a few weekends back I had my first baseball filled weekend!
On Friday night, we went to his brother's All-Start Baseball Game! We went for a walk around the field and we talked about the players. For once, I felt smart enough to call a strike or a ball. I even know what the position numbers are and when an error happens all the field (cue applause here).

And on Saturday, we really hit it off while watching the Nats vs. Pirates game in DC and seeing our first No-Hitter!! I have never been to the Nationals' Ballpark so we got into the park early to look around, get Shake Shack, and watch some batting practice.
Still a big fan of ballpark food... just not the prices!
 We went with his brother and dad and we had a ball (no pun intended). The rain even held off until the end of the game. I'm glad they invited me to tag along with them and that the day turned out to be so nice. Baseball is America's past time and I'm glad I finally know stuff about it and can enjoy watching it.
However, I'm still not at the point where I will willingly watch a baseball game on TV by myself... I'm still working on that! But, for now I'm happy with the progress I've made ;) Maybe I'll even start practicing my wiffel ball skills!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Intro to Grad School

It has officially been a week since I began Graduate School. It's actually really exciting to get back into the schoolwork flow. I have surprisingly missed it, especially since I'm studying a topic I'm actually interested in. My first grad course is Introduction to Helping Services CNS 559! We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:00AM-11:45AM. It is a long time to meet, but it flies by.
 I'm officially on the journey to get my Masters of Science in College Student Personnel. My program is counseling focused, which has been really great. I come from a Psychology background so I love seeing how the two intertwine. So, far there has been a lot of reading! I feel like as soon as I catch up on all of the reading, I'm already behind again. We also do a lot of online responding, which is an interesting way to learn. My class only has 10 people, so it is really easy for me to read what other people are thinking in my class. We have a lot of open dialogue and it's been going really well.

The only thing I'm worried about is failure. I really want to do well in my graduate classes. For my program, I actually cannot get two Cs or I'll be dismissed from the program. When those words came out of my professors mouth, my entire class erupted in the "what if" concepts. So, now I begin the process of planning out how to succeed and doing everything in my power to become extraordinary.
Another aspect of my class that I really enjoy is how we practice counseling. At the end of every class, one of us gets up and "counsels" our professor. So, far I have been a little to anxious to volunteer... but, maybe by the end of this week I'll gain the courage and get up there. I can only learn from the experience and become a better professional.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weekend Recap 7/6/15

Happy {Belated} Fourth of July, friends! I hope you all had safe weekends that were full of family, friends, and fireworks! My weekend was wonderful. I was off work on Friday, so I drove home and spent the weekend catching up with my family and getting laundry done. On Friday, I met up with my roommate from college, Hannah and we talked about her engagements and our lives. It's crazy that we used to live in the same world and we did the same things and now we are both on opposite schedules with completely different lives. The only downside to sitting for 5 hours catching up in the sun was the sunburn we both experienced. After my afternoon out, I came home and did two loads of laundry, worked on homework for grad school, and watched a movie with my dad. I also made these babies. Years ago, long before Pinterest, my good friend Amanda taught me how to make these cuties. White chocolate, blue sprinkle, strawberries is the perfect Fourth of July treat. 
Saturday & The Fourth of July: 
On Saturday morning, my sister Brooke and I went to breakfast and went to the grocery store! I really miss her since I moved to PA. I'm thankful we had the short amount of time together before she left to go camping. When we got home, I folded laundry and got ready for my college friends to come over.

We decided to create a new tradition starting this year... Our hope is that every year, all of us will get together with our significant others and families and enjoy time together. We had a great four years together during college and hopefully even more wonderful years to come.

Kevin & Matt
Hannah, Liz (Kevin's Fiance), Ben, Afton, Angela, & (Me)
Bob & Joel

*Not pictured James, Cat, & Noelle*
I'm really not sure where we will all be next year or the year after that. But, hopefully we will all be able to come together around the 4th of July and take pictures, reminisce on good memories, and laugh a heck of a lot. 
And hopefully, Liz and I will be able to take a picture without having these silly boys trying to constantly photo bomb us! I mean come on, all we want is one picture and they refuse to let us have it. Oh well, I guess the next time we will try to get a pic is when she ties the knot in October, woot woot!!

That's all for now folks! It's going to be a busy busy week with lots of 
things that are changing in my RD world. And I'm so pumped for this upcoming weekend!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Past, Present, & Future

 It's kind of weird looking back at what my blog used to look like. Actually, one of my biggest regrets and something I hope all bloggers start/continue to do is document what your blog looks like before you do design changes. When I first started blogging, Radiating Sunshine was called Curls, Crafts, Cooking & More (I know what a mouthful) and after 6 months or so Radiating Sunshine was born and with that came my need to HTML Code and format the entire blog. I have learned a lot over the past three years with blogging. I have thoroughly enjoyed  my blog journey and all of the bloggers I have met on my way. This blog has seen me through my undergrad college experience, life's ups and downs, different friendships, different places, getting into Graduate School, getting my first job, moving into my first apartment. This blog has given me the opportunity to document it all.  
I have learned a lot on this blogging journey! I have had very successful posts... and some not so successful posts. Like when I tried to do a Product Love Link Up! I think I linked up by myself for a few weeks before I got the picture... this was not a successful link up. However, there are some successes too! I participated in some blog swaps, guest posts, several giveaways, my blog grew tremendously, I learned a lot about HTML coding, and followed new blogs. When I first started blogging, it was very much a blog only world. But, now we have an Insta-blog world too. I'm still learning how to use the appropriate social media outlets and pair them with the blog. It's exciting how all of this technology changes the way the blog world works.

What is even funnier to look back and compare it to now is how much my appearance has changed, but yet also stayed the same. Besides some minor weight gain during the summer of my sophomore year (no doubt due to the delicious Texas food), some long curls and some short curls, some tanned skin and some fair skin... this blog has seen it all! We've been through thick and thin times and I'm so glad I got to document it all!
Another thing that this blog has seen is my entire relationship with this guy! I'm so glad I met this man back when he was a wee-sophmore and I was a Junior! We're slowly approaching the year and a half mark and we couldn't be more excited. We have so many plans for this summer, like going to family reunions, to the beach, and moving me into my new apartment.

So, life has been pretty great over these four years of blogging! I can't wait to see what the next four years holds for Radiating Sunshine and to see where we go.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Poached Eggs & Orange Juice

** all opinions are my own **
Last weekend Josh and I did some breakfast exploration! We decided to try new things and to experiment in the kitchen. So, we brought out the pans and pots and made our first batch of poached eggs together. Josh was responsible for the sausage and english muffins and I made the hollandaise sauce and poached the eggs. 
 I have never poached an egg before and I don't think Josh has ever focused on toasting english muffins and grilling sausages all at once. But, boy were we successful. Our sausages were perfectly cooked, we only lost one egg in the poaching process, the hollandaise sauce was succulent, and the english muffins were toasted to perfection.
Here are some tips and tricks to poaching eggs: (for amatures) 

 - use a small measuring cup and crack the egg into it (1/3 cup)
 - use a wooden spoon and stir the *almost boiling* water
 - gently add the egg to the boiling water

 - crack the egg directly into the boiling water
 - continually try to stir the egg together
 - fish the egg out with a pointed utensil

 And do serve your poached eggs with Florida's Natural Fit & Delicious Orange Juice®! Josh absolutely loves orange juice, so I know when he is coming to spend a weekend at my place, I need to make sure I have orange juice on hand. And let me tell you, the Fit & Delicious Orange Juice® is light and heavenly. It was so refreshing and made for a lovely addition to our breakfast spread!! It's new to Florida's Natural® line of OJ products, so I would recommend looking for it on your next grocery trip.
** I was not compensated by Florida's Natural to write this post. All opinions are my own **
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