Radiating Sunshine: February 2016

Monday, February 29, 2016

Weekend Recap 2/29/16

Happy Leap Day friends!! Two weekends ago, J and I watched the movie Leap Year, which is an adorable love story about how a woman can propose to a man on leap day. Needless to say, J is staying far away from me today (haha only joking). Anyways, although I didn't get to spend this past weekend with J, I did do a heck of a lot of school work and saw some family.

Thursdays don't really count as weekend nights, however this past Thursday was just so exciting I wanted to share with you all what I did.

I started the night out with a presentation to the RAs on ways they can find happiness in their RA Life. I'll be disclosing more about this on Saturday when I blog for The SA Collective (Check Out My Articles Here)!
After I finished my presentation and turned the conference room back into a conference room, I went over to my friend Lindsey's for some hair therapy. Lindsey loves doing hair and she did incredible work with a straightener on Thursday night. I mean really people, I don't think I would be able to do this if I tried!
Can my hair look like this every day!
Friday night... I worked Orientation Carousel, which consisted of me interviewing potential O-Team Leaders and then came home and went to bed. I know, I got real wild. Just wait, Saturday gets even better.

On Saturday, I did probably 6 hours of studying and paper writing (the joys of graduate school) and washed all of my linens for some spring cleaning. I'm taking two classes: Assessment and Research and Stats. Both of these course are really dense with research and learning new facts, so I'm definitely getting my butt handed to me in work. Spring Break can't come soon enough!
 Saturday night, I decided to take a study break and drive to watch my cousin Brandon play volleyball. It was quite the adventure. For starters, I drove on the PA turnpike for the first time (BY MYSELF). I then realized that I didn't want to be charged a boat load of money, so I ended up getting off and literally driving up and down mountains. I kind of have a fear of heights, so driving next to cliffs made me incredibly nervous. But, I made it to my destination and got to see my cousin play volleyball and catch up with my aunt and uncle.
Sunday was basically Saturday morning and afternoon on repeat. Except I got to squeeze in church, a lean cuisine meal, and spent the entire time focusing on statistics. We have our first exam on Tuesday and I'm really nervous. So, keep me in your prayers lovelies! I took a brief study break and finished up Orientation Carousel and then before I knew it, it was 8:00PM and I needed to get to the gym!
Sunday night consisted of me watching The Oscars, catching up on some really important blog work, and yet again studying for stats. Its a shame that it was so beautiful today! I really wish I could have gone for a run or a further than just walking to church.

Overall, it was a gorgeous weekend full of grad work and fun! And it's crazy to think next weekend I'll be heading to Montreal for a conference. Cheers to travel friends!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Confessional Friday

Hello Friday! It's nice to see you again. Although today doesn't really feel like a Friday (I have a full weekend of midterm studying and orientation work to keep busy), but Friday never the less! 

And in true Friday fashion I have my confessions ready for you all: 

I confess... I'm addicted to Shamrock Shakes! But, that's not really my confession... my real confession is that I'm so beyond frustrated with McDonalds and their milkshake machines being down. They really should put on their sign that the machines are down... then I wouldn't go to the gym for an hour of milkshake prep and then be left disappointed. Well, Sheetz is always there for me so they came in clutch this week with a delicious strawberry milkshake to fuel my milkshake desires. 
I confess... finally RD Selection is over and my life will potentially stop being ON THE GO. I swear I've eaten more dinners out of my lunch box this week than ever in my life. But, isn't life even more exciting like that anyways. The only downside is that I never seem to have enough water! I'm not a huge fan of water fountains, but I have had to make do this week.
I confess... In almost a week I will be on Spring Break and heading two to difference conferences for work. One is on Montreal, Canada and the other is in Wilmington VA. I will spend all of Spring Break traveling around. At this moment, I'm kind of regretting planning so much because I'm in dire need of some relaxation time. But, traveling the world and learning about the area I'm the most passionate about... forget relaxing!

I confess... My department (and two really awesome RDs Chris and Emily) put together Tunnel of Oppression, which is basically a walk through event where you learn about different prejudice and a variety of groups of people. It was such a touching event and reading statistics about black deaths and celebrities with mental disabilities was really informative.
I confess... lately I've been doing a little too much overthinking. I'm not sure what is going on with my mind, but I just keep looking at issues and then boom I'm over thinking it! Even when thinking about the trip to Montreal I've been overthinking things and have been quite worried about it. I really need to let go and let God take it over.
Anyways, those are my five confessions for Friday! How are you all doing? Any fun plans for the weekend!?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Weekend Recap 2/22/16

Happy Monday friends! Another weekend has come and gone and I'm really looking forward to this week for several reasons... (1) Spring Break will officially be 2 weeks away and (2) February and RD Selection will be over. Clearly, break is on my mind. 

Anyways, here is a quick recap on how I spent my weekend. 

Friday night- I went out to eat with some of my RD friends! We try to plan a social every two weeks so it was awesome hanging out with everyone for a little while in a not work setting. After dinner, Josh and I went to Stations of the Cross a Friday Catholic tradition. We had never been to Stations at this new church so it was nice learning the new traditions. 
Saturday-- I went down to Josh's basketball game and cheered on his intramural team! They got to play on the actual Mount court and it was an awesome experience. They played two games at 12:00PM and 4:00PM and they were full college games. I also got to see two girls I studied abroad and it was really nice hearing how their senior years and grad searches were going.
The games went really quick... probably because they were (a) pretty interesting and high scoring games and (b) I had a wonderful book and great company. But, really the new book I'm reading 'Me Before You' (you probably have seen the movie trailer) is remarkable. Like literally I'm so excited to curl up in bed and just read that tonight. I love stories! I think I might love reading a good story more than watching a movie. There is just something remarkable about how authors can string words together and paint such a beautiful picture! 
Love hanging with these two boys! Can you tell who is who? Everyone thinks Josh and his brother Jonathan look the same, I personally don't see the twin-ness! However, I'll let you all decide! Either way I enjoy spending time with both of them.

Saturday night, I went home to visit my family and surprise my parents. They just got back from Jamaica and it was really nice seeing them and catching up with my sister. Its been almost two months since I have seen them and that definitely has been hard. I miss being home and being near them, but when we are all together its just so much more special!

Sunday- was a day full of church, rain, and chores! But, not a bad day at all! I must say I really know how to plan a Sunday (i.e. wait until Sunday to get everything I need to do). So, a lazy Sunday was not on my to do list.
However, I was really proud that I accomplished almost everything on my to do list for Sunday. I did a load of laundry, made oat banana coconut muffins (maybe I'll share the recipe later this week), cleaned every inch of my apartment, prepped my salads, and did homework. I also premiered on one of my RAs Radio Shows and talked about reverse racism. I am definitely not a race expert and I felt a little awkward at first, however it was really sweet of him to think of me!
Anyways, that's my weekend for you! Hope you all had a beautiful and fun weekend and a fabulous week.

xoxo,
Alex

Friday, February 19, 2016

Confessional Friday

Woohoo, Friday is here lovelies! Hope you all had an absolutely beautiful week. My week was definitely top notch, but I know that the weekend will be even better because I can spend it with my best friend! Any who, I know you all have been patiently awaiting my Friday confessions.... 

I confess... I love it when people send me snaps of Josh throughout the work week. A surprising number of individuals send me adorable creeper snaps (or in this case an adorable selfie) of Josh doing his thing around my alma mater! I miss seeing him every day and getting a tiny glimpse into his busy days bring my heart so much joy. Thanks Cassandra for sharing :)
I confess... I feel like everyone I know is heading down to Disney World for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon. I have very mixed emotions... part of me wishes I could run a half marathon with all of them. Part of me also wishes I could just go to Disney World. Even my cousin, Christina is now a Disney travel agent... check out here page here! Anyways, I think its a sign that I need to start saving up money for my next trip to Disney. I always thought I would wait until I had kids to go back again, but lets face it that place is magical for everyone!

I confess... National Drink Wine Day was definitely a thing this week. I feel like there is a national wine something every month, not that I am complaining! Anyways, my friend Alex invited us over for some wine and I had this delicious sweet red. Definitely appreciated a nice glass of wine with great company.

I confess... because of snow I haven't had any grad classes this week, which has caused a mix of conflicted emotions. Partly, I'm overjoyed (and I definitely danced and jumped around when I read those emails) about classes being canceled. But, at the same time I missed the classroom. I honestly debated about going to another section so I could still learn! I know, I know I'm crazy! Anyways, I loved my week off of classes. But, am so ready to get back into the classroom and to not have online assignments due!

I confess... last night I went to Ship's 'The Vagina Monologues' and laughed my butt off. I also ate a chocolate vagina (check that off the bucket list?) I must say when I interviewed at Ship around this time last year, I saw an advertisement for 'The Vagina Monologues' and was a tad offended (this would never have happened at my alma mater). One of the RDs explained the purpose behind the event (sponsored by The Women Center and raises awareness for YWCA Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Services) and I knew I definitely needed to check it out if I came to Ship. Anyways, Opening Night was definitely a hit and I really enjoyed a night out with some great RD friends!
Anyways, that's all for now! Please, have a safe and awesome weekend. For all of my half-marathon running readers enjoy Disney World for me! xoxo. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

RA Appreciation Day 2016

Yesterday was RA Appreciation Day! Appreciation Days are very important to me. I think we should show appreciation for others and their hard work/dedication every day. However, people get busy and sometimes we forget to say thank you. In my happiness research, I have learned that gratification is definitely one of the keys to success. Shawn Achor in his book 'The Happiness Advantage' claims that by incorporating gratitude moments into your daily routine you will essentially become more grateful and be happier. By starting your morning or ending your day by saying three things you are grateful for, you will be more reflective on the happy moments in your life. So, yesterday I spent my day showing my RAs how grateful I am for them.


RA Appreciation wasn't really that big of a deal at my undergrad. Nothing against my undergrad, but usually the day left me feeling less appreciated then when I woke up! I loved receiving baked goods from my various supervisors, but there was never really a lot of resident appreciation! Of course my residents appreciated me in their own ways, but for someone who lives and dies by words of affirmation (number one love language) I never really felt replenished and rejuvenated by  RA Appreciation Day. 

It was really important that my RAs NEVER felt those feelings! So, for their RA Appreciation Day I got several members of the building involved. To start, my Hall Council (RHA) did an incredible job! They decorated their doors, made door hangers with their names on them, and got them cupcakes. It was nice to have a student group work so hard on appreciating others!
 Now, it was my turn to show appreciation!I bought them cute little milk bottles and filled them with their favorite candy and then used my boss' Cricut to put their names and our building on the bottles. They can eat their favorite candy and enjoy a cute little keepsake. I also filled their bags with $5 sheetz gift cards, candy, pens, and capri suns. My favorite part of the appreciation gift however was the card. I had all of their residents sign a card for them and write little notes.
Check out that calligraphy!
 I'm really proud by the fact that I got a lot of their residents to sign their cards and hung up their posters by their doors without being sighted by any of them. Even with a snow day in between there I still managed to actually SURPRISE them!
I love this RA group of mine! My first year as an RD has been full of adventures and teachable moments. I will always cherish my first group of supervision experience and I hope I can continue to grow as an SA Professional.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Productivity on a Snow Day

As soon as I get that email that the University is closed, I get so tempted to just hit the snooze button and sleep for an additional few hours! However, this is my second snow day as an adult and instead of falling into my old college student ways, I decided to make this extra free day as productive as possible.

Now, in true blogger fashion I couldn't just be productive without sharing my tips, tricks, and experiences with you all. So, below are my five ways to be productive on your snow day:

Viewpoint: It's all about the way you view your snowy. You can't pass up an extra eight plus hours of time that you normally would be been spent working.

Strategies: Make a game plan for how you want to spend your snow day. I made two list {personal & professional} of goals to accomplish during my free time. Not every profession gives you snow days, so take advantage of all of this extra time.

Action: Don't waste hours just sitting on the couch... sit on the couch and be productive while you are doing it! For example, from the couch on my snow day I wrote a blog post, submitted a Shoppertunity application, scored some rebates for Ibotta, sat in on a conference call, watched two episodes of Gossip Girl, and started working on my happiness presentation for the RAs.

Relax: Although getting your to do lists done are amazing, take time to relax. Whether its taking a little afternoon nap or painting your nails. Use this extra day to get caught up on rest!

Gratitude: Be grateful for this day off! Not a lot of people get the opportunity to have an extra day off during the week, so don't take advantage of it! A free day can make a difference in a week that you thought was overwhelming or could even give you some creative freedom.

Its not every day that you get a snow day, but using it by getting ahead and making your life easier is essential! Stay warm out there lovelies :)


Monday, February 15, 2016

Weekend Recap 2/15/16

Another weekend has come and gone! Happy all chocolate is 50% off day! I'm hoping to find time to run out to the store today to get some deals on chocolate and candy for my building. Anyways, here is how I spent a fabulous Valentine's Weekend!

On Friday night, I caught up on some of my SPSS homework for my stats class! I thought I was done with SPSS when I graduated from college. Nope! Grad School definitely surprised me with SPSS assignments. Oh well, I'm just taking it one exercise at a time and thankfully it's pretty much all review. 

When I got back to my apartment, I practiced my calligraphy. I'm not very good at using the fancy tools that came in my calligraphy kit, however I am doing pretty well with using regular pens! If you have any calligraphy tutorials, please let me know! 
Saturday was a lovely day! I woke up and did a Beach Body tape. After my issue last week by only finishing half of one of the tapes and not being able to walk for two days, I decided to try it out again. I'm proud to say I finished the entire tape this time around! I then started doing various homework assignments and did some research on student development theory.

In the early afternoon, J came up and surprised me with the prettiest rose! I love flowers and he has never disappointed me on Valentine's Day. I know flowers are kind of cheesy, but I really think there is just something so very thoughtful when you receive flowers from someone you love. However, I know Josh truly appreciates food so I made chocolate covered strawberries for him!
After we did some homework and used up my gas points, we drove to church and spent an evening in Carlisle! We had all of these high hopes to leave early, but of course we left 10 minutes late and were rushing to get to church. However, late to church selfies in the car always the best!
 After church we went out for sushi, which has kind of become our new tradition. My Valentine even got me a Valentine Roll, which was a shrimp tempura roll with tuna on top! Nom nom nom. After we stuffed our faces with sushi and I drank as much green tea as I could possibly drink, we walked to the Green Door.
Last weekend for our anniversary, J and I went Swing Dancing for the first time. We knew we wanted to try it out again and we actually remembered a lot. We love sweet heart position and can do a lot of turns and spins. We haven't practiced any drops or lifts yet, but hopefully we will incorporate those in a few months. We spent the whole night dancing to Frank Sinatra and a bunch of love songs!
 Sunday we spent the day doing homework and studying! We both had a lot of reading and studying to catch up on, so it was a very low key day. For dinner we decided to make a Papa Johns feast courtesy of my meal plan (benefits of a Live On position). We also watched Meet the Parents and laughed our little butts off. After the movie, J got ready to drive home and I hunkered down to finish an annotated bibliography for Stats class.
Our weekends always fly by and I look forward to the day where we don't have to say goodbye on a Sunday night! Anyways, cheers to another week full of happiness. I have no idea what next weekend's plans will hold. But, I'm really looking forward to enjoying February and Shamrock Shakes for as long as possible.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Confessional Friday

Happy Friday friends! Today, I'm confessing that this week was the longest week ever. It wasn't long in the sense of exhausting... it was just seemed to drag on and on! I swear it was like we were on stuck on Tuesday the entire week! But, it's Friday and I'm so grateful for that. 

Anyways, before the weekend can officially begin, I have five confessions to share with y'all: 

I confess... my happiness research is going strong! I have been learning so much and really enjoying it! I think my favorite study that I keep sharing with any innocent co-worker who enters my office is the study on the Pygmalion Effect. Anyways, for those of you who aren't as positive psychology obsessed as I am, I have included this lovely quote for you all!
I confess... To continue off of the positive psychology topic I am presenting a Continuing Education for the RAs at my university on Positivity and the RA Life! I am so freaking excited I think I could burst! I don't know how I'm going to squeeze in all of this amazing stuff/research that I am hoping will inspire them all to continue to be rockstars. Anyways, we will see how much I can get into a single hour! 

I confess... I have been exploring our old academic buildings recently and am in love with all of the vintage objects I keep finding. I definitely appreciate my central heating, since it has been so cold. However, this heater is so gosh darn pretty to look at!
I confess... I added avocado and broccoli to my chicken bowl on Thursday... jk! I know you all don't care about my chicken bowl obsession. My confession is that I am so sore from doing 14 minutes of the Beach Body work out that I can't even waddle to the dining hall that is far away to eat lunch with my co-workers! However, I am feeling a little bit better (as of Thursday night) so I think I might try doing the exercise again and maybe I'll make it through the entire tape this time.
I confess... I love Winter, but these cold temperatures and the suffocating wind have not been my friend! They make it nearly impossible for me to waddle around campus and get my steps in! Hopefully, spring temperatures (but, not the pollen) will be around the corner soon. Especially, if we aren't going to get a silly snow day!

That's all for now friends! I hope you all have a blessed and safe weekend! Also, Happy Valentine's Day or Single Awareness Day for my lovelies out there.

xoxo.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Happiness Habits

Today, I'm taking about Happiness Habits! Everyone says that you choose to be happy and that happiness is an inside job. While, that may be true happiness relies on the people around you. For example, if one of your co-workers or friends is having a crappy day... chances are you'll pick up that negative attitude and wait for it... begin having a crappy day too. Now, the sad part of this post is you cannot control everyone's attitude around you. However, the silver lining to this is that you can control how you ACT.

So, I have come up with five happiness habits that will improve your outlook, make you feel happier, and hopefully will cause others to also be happier. Let's begin:

Don't compare... I am literally the worst at this! I compare apples to oranges all day long and guess what... all it does is makes me either disappointed in myself or frustrated with others! By just focusing on myself and less with the others around me, I will prime myself for success!

Talk less, listen more... this lesson hit me hard last week! For some odd reason, I have this flaw with rambling and saying something I shouldn't. Almost 100% of the time, I don't mean to come off as rude, stand-offish, or snippy but when I turn off my filter, who knows whats coming out of my mouth. On Friday, my bible study read the verse James 1:19 'be quick to listen, be slow to speak, and slow to anger'. Clearly God and the world was sending me a message.

Smile Often... as most of you know, the simple act of smiling can make others smile. However, it can also boost your neurotransmitters and confuse you brain into thinking you are happy. Psychologists have tested and shown that smiling over frowning actually does improve your day and you quality of work. Don't believe me? Check out this article on Smile Therapy!

Give to Others... probably self-explanatory, but by giving to others we can make ourselves happier and make others happier too! However, I'm not just talking about giving money or donating old clothes you never wear. You can give your time to others by turning off that cell phone and being engaged in what they have to say. You can give appreciation to a co-worker who has had a busy week and might need some recognition. The point is even if you aren't having the best day you still have opportunities to make other people's days GREAT and chances are it will probably end up making your day too!

Appreciate the Little Things... How often do we forget to say thank you when someone holds the door for us or when the person in your neighborhood waves as you drive by? My goal is to appreciate the little things and or moments that make life, life. I want to appreciate the good and the bad, because after all those are going to make up moments, which become memories, which you'll one day share with someone who is experiencing the exact same thing.

Anyways, enjoy these happy habits and hopefully they will work for you and your lifestyle! Happy Thursday, friends! If you have more Happy Habits, comment below!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Date Night In: Essentials for this Valentine's Day

On behalf of Valentine's Day prep week and Man Crates (The Most Awesome Gifts in the World), I'm writing a post today featuring a perfect Date Crate. There are a lot of people out there who struggle with putting on that perfect date. Well, today I'm writing about that Date Night Essentials Crate that will definitely bring romance to any occasion.

Now for me, it doesn't take much to put on the perfect date. I think the perfect date ingredients can change for many people, however my favorite date night crate would definitely feature a movie, perfect snacks, and a cozy gear (i.e. sweatpants & blankets). So, men if you're looking to surprise your favorite lady with a date, but you are on a budget... please consider my tips below!

You can still go big even when you're at home. When you are planning a date from the comfort of your couch make sure you cover the essentials. Get your partner's favorite snacks (mine happen to be milkshakes or popcorn). Pick a few movies out (warning: if you're indecisive and they are indecisive come up with a selecting option that is neutral-- J and I pick numbers). And get all of the comfort essentials. Whether you are in to building a fort or creating a pillow bed, make it comfy. Make sure you put forth some effort into this date night in. If your significant other gives out A+ for a lot of effort, make sure you do that.

So, to recap:

Now, I'm not exactly sure why lately I have been craving date night in! Maybe its the fact that I am working and in grad school or completely exhausted from my day date out last weekend. Nothing brings me more date night joy than a milkshake, a movie, and a blanket. Now, I wouldn't suggest you propose a "date night in" for the first date, but if you're feeling confident theI n I would totally recommend it. Date night ins give you the freedom to pause the movie whenever you want to talk or to have as many refills on sweet treats that you want!

What is your date night in necessity?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Weekend Recap 2/8/16

It may not be Valentine's Day weekend yet, but this weekend was full of lots of love and dates! J and I celebrated 2 beautiful years together on Sunday and we had a very busy weekend doing a bunch of amazing things! Here is how I surprised him with a date scavenger hunt and how he surprised me with a new homemade piece of furniture for my future apartment. 

On Friday, we took several students to the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter's Annual Spaghetti Dinner. J and I worked the take out station, which consisted of us running back and forth from the kitchen with meatball or without meatball spaghetti dinners. At some points throughout the evening, I really considered how useful I was in this process. However, instead of obsessing over ways to improve the system I decided to just go with the flow. After J and I served we also got to dine on a delicious spaghetti meal and then took the students home. 

Saturday morning started out with a bang! J and I got up early and packed various outfits for our day out. As I was meandering around the apartment, J decided he needed to run out to the car. And suddenly he reappeared back in the apartment with one of my RD friends and a gorgeous handmade bookshelf, which will serve as a pantry in my new apartment. I knew I wanted a storage unit to hold my KitchenAid Mixer and Josh really out did himself! I gave him some rough estimates on what I was looking for in a bookshelf back in early January and he really made this project his own. 
He definitely surprised me with the bookcase and then it was my turn to do some surprising. The week before our anniversary I sent him a letter with "Clue One" which revealed the location of our day out. "Clue Two" which Josh found in the freezer revealed the first event of our date-- Dunkin Donuts. Earlier that week I went to Dunkin Donuts and pre-ordered 6 donuts that were specialized with our initials and our 2nd anniversary.

"Clue Three" revealed our next location: Hand and Stone for hour long massages! J had never gotten a massage before and he has been working so hard with school and job searching, so I decided to spoil him with a nice massage. "Clue Four" revealed lunch and bowling at The Coliseum. I wanted to pick a place where J and I could watch sports and practice our bowling skills. On our second game, we beat our record as a team with a 230 score! Not sure if that is how you report scores in bowling or not, but I figured I would give it a try.
After our bowling adventures concluded, we drove around for awhile and then went to church. We loved the message from mass this week, "to cast our nets into the deep." We are both working on growing in our faith and that message was perfect to bring us into this Lenten season. We are still trying to figure out what we want to give up as a couple so we can be a team in our Lenten resolutions. Last year, we did a nightly devotional as a part of our Lenten journey. It ended up being our favorite thing and the part of the day I looked forward to the most often.
Once mass was over, we drove to downtown Carlisle and got sushi before a night of Swing Dancing. Josh and I love taking dance classes. Last year, we tried salsa and we didn't really find a knack for it. I think it was mostly my inability to move my legs and hips at the same time. Oh well! Swing Dancing, went much better for us. We learned the East Coast Swing and mastered the rock step, triple step, triple step. I've learned that as a follower, I really need to stay on beat.
I love this dance partner of mine! He knows me better than I know myself and there is no one else I would rather dance with, travel with, sing in the car with, eat delicious food with... the list could go on! Saturday was definitely a perfect day. And Sunday might have been an "ordinary" day full of household chores and football, but is still cherished all the same! 

Sunday was filled with homemade breakfast, learning the in's and out's of my new bookcase, doing ALL of the laundry, and accomplishing all of my household chores. J even helped me clean out the fridge (such a difficult task for him) and blew on my nails as they dried. I literally couldn't have asked for a better man to love and spend my weekend with! 

Anyways, I'm not sure how this weekend of love will even compare to next weekend. But, for now I'm going to enjoy this busy week and prep for our next Swing Dancing lesson next weekend!

Happy Monday <3

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happier You: Love

It's February and time for my newest Happier You Theme: Love! I'm really looking forward to this month. Although I loved Healthy & Wellness (January's Theme), who doesn't enjoy focusing on LOVE. February's goals are as follows {Love} my whole self, write more letters, old fashioned dating, make time for family, and appreciate my co-workers. I'm not sure how February will pan out, especially since work is smack dab in the middle of RD Selection. But, I think I'll still find time to write adorable letters to my cutest main man and call home. 

love my whole self. 

This goal has been inspired by loving my body and treating my body well. To continue on with my healthy goal, I'm going to love myself by eating healthy, focusing on my fitness, and taking more bubble baths. I also hope to nurture my soul! I can't believe Lent is literally just around the corner. So, during this next week I will be thinking about what I want to give up for Him and how I can work on being a better Christian!

write more letters.

I love receiving mail (not bills) so my goal is to send more positive mail to others. Every week in February, I hope to write at least one letter to a random person as well as send my normal valentines by mail. if you would like a positivity level... email me your address and I would love to send you some rays of sunshine :)

old fashioned dating.

Hello romance, it's nice to meet you! This month that is dedicated to love will bring out the true romantic in me. This coming weekend, Josh and I will be celebrating 2 beautiful years together. I'm so excited for all the fun things and the scavenger hunt that I have planned for him. This man of mine is truly the greatest guy and deserves as much love as I can give him.

make time for family.

On Sunday, I called home and talked about dates with my mom. We are all so busy and with my sister being in Alabama the opportunities for the fam of four (with Josh sprinkled in as well) to be together is limited! It made me so sad knowing that I won't get to see everyone until probably the beginning of March. But, no matter what I know that we will all be together soon.

appreciate my co-workers.

As I have mentioned before February is an extremely busy month for all of us. Between conducting RA or DA evaluations, getting evaluated ourselves, and conducting RD on-campus interviews. Selection times are always exciting and I'm really looking forward to all of the awesome candidates that I will continue to meet. Although this is a really busy time, I hope I can still show my gratitude to all of my co-workers and tell them how much I value them and appreciate them!

I'll update you all at the end of the month on 
how I do with all of my goals for LOVE in February! 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

DIY Salads in a Jar


Hello Veggie or Salad Lovers!! Today, I'm sharing my new favorite way to eat veggies... in a JAR! A mason jar to be more specific. I swear its practically an unwritten rule for me to love everything that comes from a mason jar. Whether it's homemade lemonade, my pens on my desk, or my toothbrush mason jars are amazing. So, its no surprise that they also keep delicious and fresh salads in them and are ready to be eaten at any moment.

A few weeks ago, my mom taught me how to make these salads in a jar, so today I'm sharing her tips and tricks with you all. Hope you love these recipes as much as I do!

Ingredients:  (4 Jars)
non-cream based dressing -- balsamic or italian would be my suggestion
1 cup of chopped onions
1 cup of chopped cucumbers- with seeds removed
1/2 cup of chopped or shredded carrots
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1/2 cup green peppers
2 hard boiled eggs
1 avocado (equally divided)
1 or 2 chicken breasts or protein of your choice
4-5 cups of mixed greens
cheese to sprinkle on top
sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top

Now, one thing my mom impressed upon me when she was teaching me how to make the salads is that the order is everything. It's vital that the leafy greens don't get mixed into the dressing (or the salad will be soggy)! So, the first steps are to fill the jars with dressing to the ML line. I would say it's probably 2-3 tbsp for each jar!

Then you add in the ingredients in the order of the list above. I love putting the onions and cucumbers in first because the dressing kind of caramelizes and pickles them (delicious)! After that you just pack everything in and make sure all of the wet ingredients are covering the dressing. Then, you stuff the jars with leafy greens until they are nearly full. I love mozzarella cheese in my jars (I know super healthy).
So, there you have it! Salads in a Jar. These salads are good for 5 days and are delicious every day! I alternate between dressings and protein to add different flavors. If you have any recipes, I would love for you to share them below :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Saying Goodbye to Winter

Happy Groundhog Day! "For the first time in forever" I feel like the Ground Hog hasn't predicted six more weeks of winter. I'm over the moon that spring will be coming sooner rather than later (my allergies still haven't gotten on board) Winter definitely has its charms and benefits. So, today I'm sticking on the positive track and sharing why I love Winter. 

Anyways, here we go... my five reasons to love winter:

(1) The sunsets

are amazing! There is just something about the white ground and the pink sky that just brightens my whole evening. I mean seriously, could this sunset get any prettier? I mean... maybe if I got rid of the buildings and had a mountain background. But, this will work too!
(2) Shoveling is really the best workout

Call me crazy, but I love shoveling as a workout method. There is just something so soothing about picking up a shovel, working away at a sidewalk, and clearing a path. It's incredibly therapeutic for me and definitely boosts my happiness levels right on up!


(3) My new winter headband

I really wish I knew how to crochet because I would make these for every single person I know. I love my headband and I have been wearing it every day. The only downside to wearing it every day is it's already starting to thin out :( Thus, I really need to learn how to crochet.
Also my new knock off duck boots are also a highlight of winter!
(4) Napping and Netflix

Forget Netflix and Chill and give me a warm blanket, a couch, a series to binge on, and a nap to be had. Recently, I have been on the re-watch Gossip Girl bandwagon. I don't even know why I watch these crazy brats who drink way too much, scheme way too much, and wear clothes I would never dream of wearing! However, it's definitely my guilty pleasure and I definitely have a girl crush in Blair.

(5) Life just slows down

After the recent blizzard, I can honestly say I didn't drive anywhere for almost a week. I just walked everywhere, got a lot of work done, baked a ton of delicious treats, and enjoyed life in the slow lane. Now, that the roads are clear I'll probably get back on my crazy on the go life. But, really there is nothing better than a snowstorm to slow you down and make you aware of how good enjoying every moment is.
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