Radiating Sunshine: November 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Break 2015

Happy Cyber Monday friends!! Hope you are all enjoying the day and the deals... comment below and where you're finding the best steals. I'm the worst at shopping. Even when I coupon, I always seem to spend more money. I need to take a serious class on coupon 101. Anyways, today I'm going to recap about a wonderful few days off. 

On Wednesday afternoon, I went wedding dress shopping with my friend Amanda and after we settled on her dress, we ended up getting together with all of the bridesmaids and tried on potential bridesmaids dresses. These girls are so fun and we are all amazingly the same size... which is really exciting. We tried on probably five or six dresses before we ended up deciding to go back to the first one we tried on. However, we have almost 10 months until the wedding so we have plenty of time to find the best dresses. 
 After bridesmaid dress shopping concluded, I met up with my favorite family to see The Hunger Games! It is our Thanksgiving tradition to go see a movie and we had to go on Wednesday because our schedules didn't align to go on Friday night. I love this tradition and I'm sad that next Thanksgiving we won't have another Hunger Games to go watch. But, maybe another movie will be premiering and we will be able to see that.

On Thursday, we traveled a lot. We went to visit my Aunt Holly's and my dad's mom. The SNL video of Adele's Hello has turned out to be quite the conversation starter and I have shown so many people it. So, if you're wondering were all of the million of views have come from... it's probably from me!

We always end up matching.. even when we don't try!
On Friday night, I drove up to Josh's parents' house and I spent the remainder of the weekend with the. We traveled to Pittsburgh, ate Meadow's ice cream, consumed two plates of stuffing, and did Thanksgiving crafts. I love going up to Pittsburgh and seeing his extended family. We only see them twice a year, so it is quite the event when all of his family is together under one roof.

On Sunday, I finally made it to the gym to make up for all of the stuffing I have consumed over the past few days. We will see how the scale looks tomorrow... except I also consumed a ton of cookie dough today as well. So, the scale could go either way! But, I successfully baked 200 sugar cookies for all of the Ship RAs. We have our end of the year staff wide party, so I'm going to contribute sugar cookies (not gluten free) and cookie word searches to the holiday bags. I have been loving my experiences at Ship and have learned so many cool ways to appreciate others.
An extreme mess
Anyways friends it's going to be a busy busy week! I have a holiday party for my Hall Council tomorrow night, several conduct hearings and settlement agreements, and a friend holiday party to prepare for. But, God is good and it's officially the Christmas season so bring on the holiday cheer. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving friends! I hope you are all enjoying this delicious and thankful holiday as much as I am. Today, marks day 26 of my grateful project and I have been doing pretty good! There have been some days that I have missed people, but I have been working hard on making up for it. I have sent cards, called family members, sent positive text messages and wrote thoughtful Facebook posts. And it has had an amazing affect on my life. Not only am I more grateful to everyone in my life, but I have also been spending more time evaluating who I spend most of my time on/with. When you work as much as I do it can be hard to balance calling your aunt and writing a letter to a friend. I love my work, but sometimes the hours are just not very supportive of a social life. 

However, one thing that I have been forgetting is that my work continuously challenges me to be self-aware. So, my grateful project kind of debuted through a variety of different programs. I have done two of my favorite thankful programs, which have really helped me think about everyone and everything I am grateful for. The first one, was my annual Thankful Tree -- where residents write on leaves what they are thankful for and enjoy some apple pie. The second was Thankful pumpkins -- where they write on orange strips and what they are grateful for coupled with some old fashioned coloring. It doesn't cost much (or really anything) to have your residents and friends reflect on what they are grateful for and it can be really flattering when someone mentions that they are thankful for you :) 

Anyways, blog world! I'm out. I hope you all are having a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you enjoy this holiday. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Weekend Recap 11/23/15

Happy Monday friends! Hope your Monday is off to an incredible start. I know mine definitely is because this work week is two and a half days long and then I have bridesmaid responsibilities, thanksgiving dinner to eat, babies to hold, and family to visit. So, what's not to love about today! 

Anyways, here is a quick recap about how I spent another wonderful weekend! On Saturday, while Josh was at a football game I took my staff ice-skating and out to lunch! Ice skating was quite the staff development. For starters, I am not the greatest ice skater! I just don't really trust myself that much on the ice so I act very timid on the ice. But, I loved taking them ice skating and being able to get off campus for awhile. I'm really grateful for this staff of mine and they are helping me to grow into a better professional. 

On Sunday, Josh came up for an afternoon of holiday preparations! We decorated my Christmas tree, did some Christmas shopping, and did holiday crafts! So, my apartment is officially ready for Christmas. We love the holidays and this year it will be particularly hard for us to spend another holiday apart. But, we have a lot of fun traditions set up and I can't wait to share them with you all. I am forever grateful for this guy of mine and he is doing so many wonderful things. This weekend I also started to get some Christmas shopping done. I'm slowly collecting gifts and making plans to really start shopping. However, I'm trying really hard to get meaningful gifts this year and I'm so excited to wrap them in my warm and cozy apartment.
How did you all spend your weekend? What are you looking forward to this year?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Let's Go on a Date

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BeHealthyForEveryPartOfLife #CollectiveBias
Earlier this year, I went to a guest speaker at my local university who was talking about the differences in men and women. And one of the topics she discussed was what women and men do to prepare for dates. She discussed how women will plan every second of the date down to what she will wear, what time the reservations are for, what would happen if she had a piece of spinach stuck in her teeth, etc! Men... however, aren't always such planners. Their idea of a perfect date is to show up, eat some food, and watch tv. Now, although these are great generalizations and puts men and women into two distinct categories, I couldn't help but find some of what she said to be true. 

For example, every time I go on a date I plan my weather permitting outfit (and then usually change 3 times in between the getting ready stage to the actual date itself), I plan what time I need to be ready by and how long it will take me to get all dolled up, and I plan what I should expect for food (aka do I need a snack to keep me from reaching the hangry level). 

However, once you're on the date... you're on the date! Life can throw some curve balls like actually becoming hangry or having horribly bad breath. I always pack the essentials, which kind of inspired my little date night kit. I've surprised myself on how often I have needed something or someone has asked me if I have something in my bag. Today, I'm going to share with you all the date night essentials kit that has saved me so many times. 

What Every Date Night Essentials Kit Needs:

ChapStick Total Hydration: Everyone needs some ChapStick on date night which is 100% natural and age defying! ChapStick Total Hydration needs to make your date night kit because of its advanced nourishing formula with argan oil and avocado butter and rosehip oils (thank goodness). This ChapStick instantly smoothes and moisturizes, leaving you visibly renewed lips. Totally kissable.

Emergen-C: No one likes a sniffly date (cue the hand sanitizer and air high five)! Emergen-C can help give you more healthy days, more healthy nights. There are over 20 varieties of vitamin supplement drink mixes. Emergen-C offers the formula, flavor, fix, and fun for any date night. So, "Let Your Healthy Out."

Advil Tablet Vial: Is a complete no brainer... (haha get it) When you're on a date you spend so much of your time talking, flirting, and laughing that you can occasionally forget to stay hydrated and boom you need some pain relief. Well, the Advil Tablet Vial is compact and is stored very easily in your date night kit. Nothing's stronger, longer lasting or better on your tough aches and pains than Advil, and nothing works on more pains than Advil (among OTC pain relievers).

Eye Renewal Drops: Commonly known as fake tears or something to keep your eyes from drying out, but they are essential for any date night success. Nothing is worse than having dried eyes when you're out on a date and constantly rubbing at them.

Floss & Gum: I know most people aren't big flossers, but it will definitely save you on a date! I have used floss twice on a date and it has saved me from the embarrassing "you have something in your teeth" comment. Floss is crucial on every date night, whether you go to dinner or to the movies. Gum or mints will also keep your breath smelling fresh all throughout the night!

Sewing Kit: Um yes... you may not have time to sew something when you are going out, but it will really impress your date if you can sew on their button for them. Even the smallest sewing kit also can save your favorite sweater from getting a dangerous snag in it!

Extra Earrings & With an Eraser Back: You never know when you are going to lose an earring or more often a back to an earring, so carrying an extra pair and an eraser back will save you when you are in a jam. It can also save the person in the bathroom who just realized that they lost their earring's back.

Mascara: Eyes are often the most noticed feature on a date, so treat your eyes right and bring some mascara for re-application purposes! It will make your eyes pop and your date will love it!

Lotion & Fragrance: is a must! When your hands get dry or your perfume is wearing off, this can come in handy so it leaves you smelling fresh with soft hands! But, don't over do it... that can give your date a headache, but if you're carrying an Advil Tablet Vial at least you can help them out!

The date night essentials kit is completed by the clear zipper pouch (that you can purchase at any Walmart). This clear zipper pouch fits right into your purse and allows for easy access to any of your date night items. It also adds a more sophisticated look to your purse, compared to the regular old plastic bag trick! There have been so many times when I have been out where these date night items have come in handy. Whether someone around you needs an Advil or on a cold breezy night when you desperately need some ChapStick! You won't regret carrying around a date night kit. If anything it can help start up some conversations and can impress your date! If discussing your date night kit seems weird to do, I have also included '5 Easy Conversation Starters' to make your date night perfect and complete!

It is great to be spontaneous and go with the flow, however the best dating advice I can give is to put together your own date night essentials kit with the items I have included! For more information on my favorite date night products, click here! Regardless of whether you're meeting the person for the first time or you have known them for twenty years, its always important to come prepared!
What would you put in your date night essentials kit?!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Weekend Recap 11/16/15

It's been quite the holiday duty themed weekend! I know I'm like way early for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I couldn't help myself. So, on Thursday night I had my annual Thankful Tree and pie program. It's crazy to know that I've been doing this program for four years. It has kind of become a tradition and I loved doing this program on a building wide level. But, sadly I could only stay for a half hour because I was on duty and when the duty phone rings I have to respond! 
Friday morning started off with a bang as I said in my Friday Confessions! All of the Residence Directors and I got together to talk about our strengths that we discovered through StrengthsQuest! It was a great staff development morning that started off with my first caramel brûlée latte from Starbucks! After StrengthsQuest, my RD Buddies and I went to lunch, which was really fun! We ate delicious sushi that I really hope I can eat again soon.
Friday night I was a celebrity dealer for a Casino Program. I only got to deal one hand before I got called away for a duty call, which was probably a blessing in disguise because I was dealing Black Jack and despite what people say that "black jack is a simple game" it's not.
Saturday: Josh came up to visit and we went to the last home football game. Josh is a huge football fan and we really enjoyed snuggling up and watching the game! Ship isn't going to playoffs, but we still really enjoyed watching them win for Senior Day. Following the game, we came home and warmed up. Then we headed to church and had dinner at the dining hall. I have a certain amount of guess meals, so why not enjoy a free dinner? After dinner, we came home and put up my Christmas Tree. I know it is way too early, but it's beautiful and I couldn't wait any longer. Josh and I blared the Christmas tunes and had a blast.
On SundayAfter we put together and lit the Christmas tree, we snuggled up and watched a movie. We were long over due for a movie night and we tested out my new couch, which proves to be very comfortable!

Sunday: I put up the remainder of the decorations including my "Be Merry" sign that I won from a blog giveaway last year. Josh and I are officially decorating next weekend, but I needed to inventory what I need for my apartment. So, what the inventory tells me: I need ornaments, a tree skirt, and garland for my centerpieces. I am also thinking I may purchase a little mistletoe to put up over the arch in my kitchen. Not entirely sure what else I need... hopefully Target won't suck me in too badly!
Anyways, that's all for now folks! I have a fun week ahead full of class, programs, and work! I'm really looking forward to completing the final projects that I have and going home next week for Thanksgiving. Hope you all have a beautiful week :)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Confessional Friday

It's Friday friends! Woohoo! To start off this glorious Friday I get to spend three hours of staff development time discussing my strengths. Two weeks ago, my fellow RDs and I were sent out access codes to StrengthsFinder and now we have the big debrief meeting to discuss how our five strengths can help us out in the work environment. For those of you who have done StrengthsQuest, my strengths were: developer, maximizer, responsiblity, positivity, and discpline. I'm hoping to do a big reveal next week and see if you can get your employers on board with this awesome staff development idea!

Anyways, to officially start of Friday I am here to write about my five confessions from this week...

I confess... that I was completely eying this adorable sewing kit... until I opened it up! It's so cute from the outside, but the sewing supplies on the inside are completely outdated. I found this cute kit at Walmart for $15 and I was so disappointed when I opened it up and saw the inside :( However, I could always replace what is on the inside... so maybe once I officially pick up sewing/stitching I'll do that!
I confess... I'm going to continue on the sewing trend and discuss how Pinterest has taken me by storm and one of my RAs and I are going to do Sock Snowman. They are the cutest little guys and I can't wait to do this secular DIY craft with my residents.
I confess... I leave my office unattended sometimes. My office is located under the stairs in my lobby and when I have the Desk Assistant on duty I feel the freedom to run to the bathroom without locking my door every single time. well, yesterday I learned a little lesson from my Housing Director who left me this note on my computer. I guess I need to be less trusting?
I confess... strawberry donuts are my favorite! And I deeply enjoyed this little guy for breakfast this morning! Seriously though, I love strawberry donuts and it's a sure way to be friends.
I confess... tonight I'm going to spend the evening with a friend doing some homework and then I'll be attending a weekend program. I'm really excited for a quiet Friday in.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I Want to Be Happy

So, I am sure this is not a surprise to you all... but Radiating Sunshine was inspired by my goal to live a happy lifestyle... or in other words "radiate sunshine" through smiling and being positive. Well, since I started became a Residence Director and started graduate school I have noticed a strange feeling lingering over me... I can't really identify what feeling it is per say, however it mostly revolves around exhaustion combined with un-satisfaction and constant worrying. I have been noticing that I live more for tomorrow then I actually live for today. I go to bed every night thinking about my to do list and the pleasure I used to get from crossing an item off has gone away because I add five more things to my list. 

Now don't get me wrong, I love my life as an RD. I feel fulfilled by my every day assignments and I love being able to build a community and host programs. However, living for the future is not how I want to spend my every day. So, a few weeks ago I began researching happiness and what it truly means to live a happy lifestyle. I have 4 books what I want to read before I establish my happiness goals for 2016. {They are pictured below.} Now, I don't plan on making any radical changes...But, I do hope that through reading about happiness and identifying what areas in my life I can add more happiness to I'll stop living for tomorrow and be happy with today!

Now, I don't know if my little experiment will work or if I'll even get through four books by the time January rolls around! But, I have high hopes for myself. I'm excited to see how this happy path will unfold and hopefully in a few weeks time I will be able to share with you all what I have learned. I shared my basic knowledge on The SA Collective in my recent guest post that I published last week, check that out here! Hang with me as I learn more about living a happier lifestyle and share all of the happy things I learn along the way. Also, if you have any advice for me as I begin this journey feel free to hit up radiatingsunshineblog@gmail.com with your thoughts!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Weekend Recap 11/9/15

This last weekend was another one for the books! It started out on a positive note when I met with a group of RAs who are on my Civic Engagement Auxiliary. After we went through our regular agenda items (what event is coming up/debrief old events) we did a little self-awareness activity. So, every time we meet I put an inspirational quote at the bottom of the agendas. However, this past week I really couldn't choose, which helped spark a wonderful activity. I printed out a bunch of social justice related quotes and had them choose, which one meant the most to them. They picked their quotes and shared beautiful testaments on where they are at. It was great to see the different quotes that they chose and I love hearing student leaders talk about things that they are passionate about {especially if they are passionate about giving to others}!
Friday night, I went to my friend Anette's to eat dinner and meet her parents! Her parents are adorable and her mom is a great cook. After eating with them, I drove down to Josh's and met him at his old High School's football game. The team lost, but I enjoyed spending time with Josh and his dad. Later that evening, Josh decided to educate me on the Browns Football Life business and why the browns are really the Ravens, Bengals, and the Patriots... which, in the end is why the Steelers don't like any of those teams. Pish posh. Anyways, it was quite interesting and I feel like I'm in the "know" on all of the football drama (even though it happened like 50 years ago). 

Saturday was a phenomenal day. I spent the morning with Josh's family and then Josh and I drove t church and then met my parents/grandma. It was a real treat to spend time with Josh's family and my own. I'm incredibly blessed to have two families that are full of kind and caring people. When dinner was coming to an end, my friend Ben picked me up and we drove down to Baltimore, MD to celebrate our friend James' birthday! We went to the Greene Turtle and they all participated in the "Hell in a Shell" drink endeavor. Definitely a recipe for potential disaster, but we were all safe and we spent the night in a hotel room down there. It was really nice getting to see everyone and hearing about everyone's lives.
One of my favorite parts of the weekends in Fall are all of the perfect walking days. Josh and I took a really nice walk on Saturday afternoon and it's during those walks that I feel extra-grateful for the kind man who I get to hold hands with. God is so good everyone! I'm really looking forward to more walks with my favorite man and admiring the beauty that surrounds us.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Confessions

Happy Friday lovelies! I hope you all have had a beautiful week and a happy November. We are officially in the grateful month and this semester is slowly coming to a close. I can't believe that we have less then a month left of classes and then my first full semester as an RD will be over. It's crazy how time moves so slowly, but at the same time flies by. I'm feeling particularly grateful for all of my opportunities and everyone I have met on this path. 

I confess... living in PA has been pretty grand! I enjoyed the Summer here and the Fall has be absolutely delightful. Now, of course I have not experienced winter here yet, so maybe my thoughts will have changed. But, for now I am loving this weather and state!
I confess... I've been working out almost every day now and I can't seem to get sore anymore... I know that is a strange issue, but being sore shows me that I had a good work out and I am struggling to get that satisfying reward. Any suggestions?

I confess... my Christmas list is long over due and I have no idea what I want to ask for! It's not a bad place to be in, being grateful for everything that I have and not needing anything else. However, my mom is quite the giver so I think I'll be able to scrounge up a little list with toothpaste and a blender on it. Who knows! What is on your wish list for the year?

I confess... I got a surprise package today! I very rarely get mail, especially not packages so when I went into the office today and Ms. Teresa our administrative assistant said I have something for you, I jumped in delight! ACPA, the conference I am attending in March sent me a bunch of conference bling. So, now I am ready to rock some swag as I walk the streets of Montreal.
I confess... the most exciting thing I have going on this weekend is seeing my family/Josh and being loaned their old christmas tree. I couldn't be more excited! I like weekends where I can relax and enjoy some quiet time. And I love knowing that soon I can start decorating for Christmas and singing carols all day every day!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hey November

I cannot believe we are already 5 days into November! I mean it felt like just yesterday when I could walk through Target and not see 6 aisles dedicated to Christmas decorations. Now, please don't be mistaken... I'm not complaining over here! But, seriously 2015 is slipping away and I am trying hard to get everything I can out of this year!

So, I have decided to make a six goals for the remainder of this year! I'm working hard on being more reflective about my life and all of the opportunities I have been given. With these six goals, hopefully I will be able to live a happier and healthier life.
 Goal setting is a really easy way for me to feel accomplished and end this year on a good note!! Do you have any goals that you would like to work on? Share them here :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fall Centerpieces

*Company Shout Out Post. All opinions are my own*

If you're new to this blog of mine or you're a returner, there is some basic information that I want you all to know about me. I love Fall. Just like every other blogger in America, Fall is my favorite holiday. I find beauty in the metaphors of autumn blooming one last time before the winter months hit. I love the trees and all of the colors that decorate the mountains that I live next to. I also love decorating for Fall, which is what I'll be writing about today! I love having fresh flowers and leaves to decorate my center pieces. There is just something about the fresh look of pumpkins and pretty leaves that liven up my kitchen table. Today, I'm sharing with you all a really cool company that can bring more color to kitchen tables everywhere.
Have y'all ever heard of BloomNation? After hearing about BloomNation, I was inspired to share my thoughts on how I decorate for the Fall season! BloomNation is a company that supports local florists through flower delivery services and portrays their unique flower arrangements on their online marketplace! I almost always have some sort of flower arrangement (real or not) happening on my kitchen table. BloomNation has so many great ideas on how to incorporate flowers into your every day decoration style and helps local florists grow their businesses. I encourage all of my flower friends to check them out and bring the beauty that Fall brings to your own home!

Give Thanks

So, now that November is underway I am going to work hard to appreciate this thankful month and try my best not to skip to December the giving month! So, I've decided to make a list of people who I am truly grateful for and do something nice for them during the month of November. My goal is to surprise them with a phone call, letter, or little treat to remind them that I truly appreciate them in my life.
 So, every day for the next month I have chosen 30 people to focus on! I thought it would be hard to choose 30 people to focus on... like do I even know 30 people? But, I realized that the hardest part was choosing only 30 people. So, as my calendar started to fill up with names... I started lumping people in to categories... like "RAs" or "Buddies."To help hold me accountable, I printed off two calendars (one for my office and one for my apartment). I also wrote notes on how I could appreciate these people the most. (I.E. some people may like a phone call or others might like a letter).

I try to be grateful for everyone, every day but sometimes life happens and I forget to call home as often as I should! Hopefully, this November I can bring joy to everyone in small ways!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Weekend Recap 11/2/15

Another beautiful Fall weekend has come and gone! I took Friday off this weekend, so it was quite a beautiful 3 day weekend full of laughter and friendship.

The weekend began with the East vs. West Powderpuff Football Game to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness! The event raised over $75 for The National Breast Cancer Foundation and was such a hit! We were all worried that the weather wasn't going to pan out for this event, but God worked his magic and we had quite a beautiful Fall evening.

After the game, I drove down to Josh's house and we went bowling. We hadn't gone bowling in so long and it was nice to have an impromptu date! I also got to see a lot of other Mounties and it was nice hearing how some old staff members and friends were doing.

It was bring your girlfriend to work day on Friday... just kidding! But, I did wake up nice and early and drove over to work with Josh. But, instead of going to his office I ventured around the Mount to visit old faculty member's offices! I got to see my Psychology mentor, Dr. Faas and quite a number of old professors who I think I can now call friends! After visiting a few professors, I met up with my friend Cassandra for some breakfast and then we walked around and talked about life. 
After Cassandra went to class, I had lunch with Alex... or really watched her eat lunch and we gabbed about the latest and greatest moments in life! Alex works at the Mount with Josh, so it's really quite spectacular that all of my greatest friends work together. After lunch, I was reunited with my favorite man and we hiked to Indian Lookout! We have made it a tradition to go up there at least once a year and so far we have two beautiful years down in our book! It's crazy to reflect on what we talked about last year and what we talked about this year. Now that I am employed, I have found that my worries are completely different from what they used to be last year. But, one thing has not changed and that is my appreciation for him! Now that we are officially in November I can start bringing out my thankful notes and sending thankful letters to people who mean the world to me! 
Saturday was Halloween (just in case you forgot) and unlike most people, Josh and I decided to forget the costumes and appreciate a quiet evening together. We went to the Ship football game and watched them win over Millersville or "The Ville" as the like to be called? We then went back to my apartment and made apple pizza! We basically used a pie crust, some butter, cheese, and some apples that was baked at 350 degrees for 12 minutes! It was the perfect pre-church snack! We then walked to church and heard a beautiful homily about recognizing the "happiest moments in life" and acknowledging that the happiest moment (being united with God) is yet to come!

When we got back from church, we went for a walk and my adorable boyfriend helped me cross another thing off my 101 in 1001 list... jump in a leaf pile! It was fun being silly and jumping around in a pile of leaves!

We then made our way back to my apartment where we carved a pumpkin, ate a child's favorite dinner, and watched Harry Potter. Josh hasn't seen the Harry Potters, which is completely mind blowing to me... so we began with the first one and hopefully we will make it to the 7th by this time next year.

I love weekends with this guy! Happy November friends and don't forget to appreciate everyone in your life and tell them how thankful you are for the little things that they do!

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