Awkward and Awesome: Roadside

Hey everyone! I'm somewhere between Minneapolis, MN, and Rapid City, SD. You know, just a normal Thursday afternoon.

I thought I'd share some of the great and not-so-great moments from the past week.

- My check engine light coming back on. I haven't dealt with yet because of the long weekend and travel. Add it to the to-do list when I get home.
- Trying to walk home from the grocery store with coffee, a gallon of milk, and a bag. Then trying to open the door to my apartment. It took some balancing skill but I pulled it off.
- Being told that I went through my presentation slides too fast and having to go back through them.
- The number of parents that brought their kids on a 3.5 hour overnight flight. I would not want to be dealing with that exhaustion tomorrow.
- Taking off my shoes for airport security and realizing they don't smell so great.
- Getting an e-ticket sent to my phone (awesome!) but the airport security couldn't scan it. So much for saving trees.

- The really good sore feeling after lifting weights at the gym. And working up a good sweat. I've missed that.
- Getting compliments from my classmates after our presentation. I love that people are willing to ask questions, but also show you love. The people in my program are awesome!
- Drew's round-up posts of The Bachelorette. Seriously the funniest thing I've read in a while. Go check them out!
- Class getting out early enough that I had time to run home, eat ice cream, and change before heading to the airport.
- Our purchases while on the road today: growler of cold-presses coffee, buffalo skull, super sized container of Tootsie Rolls. That's how awesome the trip has been so far!
- Getting 3 more hours of sleep after getting to MN. So needed and wonderful.
- Feeling like I've got my blogging groove back. :)
- It's almost officially summertime. My favorite season of the year!

So, what were your awkward and awesome moments last week? (Bonus points if it makes me laugh!)

Waiting for Takeoff

I'm at the airport, ready to board my tenth airplane of the year. I think I counted that correctly. Tonight I'm headed to Minneapolis (for a few short hours). I was lucky enough to find an inexpensive direct flight, but it's also a red eye and only just over three hours, so I won't be getting that much sleep tonight.

I'm actually driving back home from Minnesota with some of the people I traveled through the east coast with, a real road trip. I don't really know what is in store, except maybe some white water rafting. I question whether we'll have time for it, but I imagine my travel partners are determined enough to make it happen.

I also had a presentation and turned in my project for my second class tonight, so I'm pretty much in the home stretch for the quarter. Just one last class meeting on Monday.

Life is really good right now. Possibilities for the future are in the works (nothing concrete, so I don't have anything to share--but I'm hopeful). I'm looking forward to a wonderful summer of class, family visiting, and lots of sunshine.

I've also started working out again semi-regularly (meaning when I'm in town). And I even have more travels coming up. I'm actually using my week between quarters for a couple mini-getaways and I couldn't be more excited about it.

That isn't to say life is perfect, but I feel like I'm in such a good, content place.

The only fly in my ointment, so-to-speak, is the air conditioning unnecessarily running at 11:30pm and a slightly delayed flight.

I'll be sure to report back with my adventures from the road. Until then, do you have any trips or adventures planned--big or small?


Traveling, Traveling, To and Fro

Confession: this post has been sitting unfinished in my drafts for quite a while. I kept doing a little here and there, but never actually finishing it. I'm finally doing it now. You know, because I should be sleeping.

This post is especially fitting because I'm taking off tomorrow night for another trip. I'll share more details, but for now enjoy learning about the travel I've done.

I've seen a few people fill out this little survey and thought I'd play along.  I haven't done a ton of international travel, but enough that it's fun to look back on.

A. Age you went on your first overseas trip: Out of the country was probably 11 or 12.

B. Best (foreign) beer you've had and where: Guinness in Ireland was pretty amazing. I also really like cider in Great Britain.

C. Cuisine (favorite): This is the worst possible question. I love food, all kinds.

D. Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:

E. Event you experienced abroad that made you say 'wow!': ziplining in Costa Rica, ringing the bells at Christchurch in Dublin, climbing to the top of St. Paul's in London,

F. Favorite mode of transport: train in Europe.

G. Greatest feeling while traveling: contentment tinged with excitement and a little bit of tired.

H. Hottest place you've traveled: Palm Springs in the summer. The pool didn't even have 'no running' signs.

I. Incredible service you've experienced and where: our hotel in Mayfair--the Chesterfield--in London. We got one complimentary bottle of wine because there was going to be a party next door and they wanted to apologize for any inconvenience in advance.

J. Journey that took the longest: Seattle to Dingle last summer. Between the flights, long layover and drive from the airport to our destination in Ireland it was well over 24 hours. I'm just glad I didn't fall asleep while trying to navigate the wrong side of the road.

K. Keepsake from your travels: I have a necklace that my mom got for me in Ireland that I absolutely love. It's a celtic knot and just gorgeous.

L. Let down sight, where and why: Warwick Castle in England. It's been rehabbed into a family theme park type event. I much prefer ruins.

M. Moment where you fell in love with travel: I grew up traveling quite a bit in North America and have always enjoyed it. I don't know that I can point to one moment.

N. Nicest hotel you've stayed in: In London I stayed at the hotel mentioned previously. It was ridiculously nice.

O. Obsession - what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling: I love scenery, skylines, wide angle shots.

P. Passport stamps - how many and from where: Um, five? Ireland, Finland, Amsterdam, Costa Rica, and the U.S. I am hoping to add a few more.

Q. Quirkiest attraction you've visited and where: The cathedral in Helsinki has a rotating art display in the catacombs. It was cool, literaltively (literally and figuratively--my sister, cousin, and I decided one word was better).

R. Recommended sight, event, or experience: Zip lining through the rain forest in Costa Rica, the walking tour in Kinsale, Ireland, and checking out Banff--or anywhere in the Canadian Rockies. Gorgeous!

S. Splurge - something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: A comfy bed. A good meal (though not always, just enough to keep spirits up).

T. Touristy thing you've done: My entire trip to Europe this summer. There wasn't much I did that wasn't touristy.

U. Unforgettable travel memory: Kayaking up a river and then hiking to a waterfall on Kauai. Pretty cool.

V. Visas - how many and for where: I haven't had one...yet.

W. Wine - best glass of wine you've had while traveling and where: wine tasting with my dad was a really fun experience.

X. eXcellent view and from where: From the top of St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Awesome!

Y. Years spent traveling: I grew up traveling some in the summers, a perk of my dad being in education. My first trips over the border were into Canada and Mexico. I've also been to Costa Rica and Europe (Ireland, Great Britain, Finland, and Estonia).

Z. Zealous sports fans and where: I saw the Canadian semifinal hockey game during the Vancouver Olympics. It was crazy how focused the entire city was. They had been closely following the curling match right before too.


Memorial Day: My Grandfathers

I just got back from the gym, showered, and ready for bed, but wanted to get in a post before I call it a night.

Confession time: I am a total night owl. I can train myself to sleep/wake early-ish, but I won't ever like. Also, it's better not to talk to me right away in the morning. I need a little time to get warmed up to life.

I haven't done much to celebrate/honor Memorial Day, but it's certainly been on my mind all weekend.

I was lucky enough to have both my grandfathers serve this county and live out their lives (otherwise I wouldn't be here). Both were committed, honorable men.

Grandad, my mom's dad, was in the Navy. He was just barely too young to serve during WWII, but spent several years shipping out of California.

Grampie, my dad's dad and lone living blood-related grandparent, was in the Army during WWII.  He had just completed his first year playing basketball at Oregon when the war started and he decided to join.

INitially, however, he was turned down. He was actually too tall to be in the Army. But he was finally able to allowed to join after having his mom make his uniform and custom ordering the cots and other equipment he needed.

So he went to China-Burma-India, where he worked hard and continued to play basketball. He avoided death with his company in an ambush because he was sick. And when he returned home, he continued to live his life with honor and conviction.

To him, and all the veterans and active military servicemen (people?), I say thank you.


Awkward and Awesome: TV, Driving, and Sunshine

I like taking things to the wire, which is why I'm posting my awkward and awesome moments from the past week now.  

Either that, or I just spent the past couple hours watching New Year's Eve. 

You decide which.

(By the way, I only watch critically acclaimed movies. Obviously.)

Enough with the introduction, I need to get this done by my midnight deadline. Also, I want to go to bed.

- The amount of laundry I have to do. Good thing I'm going up to the padres this weekend.
- The fact that greek yogurt isn't always a good replacement for sour cream. Luckily mom salvaged the beef stroganoff.
- Having a sales person at Nordstrom take my sister and I seriously as we try on ridiculous hats. Oops.
- Forgetting to set So You Think You Can Dance to record. That show is basically the best thing all summer. Luckily this week was just the first tryouts. But still.
- My overuse of lists and fragment sentences. You. Are. Welcome.
- My manual driving skills today. Downtown hills are not for the faint of heart and I rocked it.
- Sunshine and a trip to the top of the Space Needle. I was being tour guide for some out of town visitors and they really had to twist my arm to get my to go.
- The soreness that follows a good workout. I'm riding the gym high, even if I probably won't make it back until after the weekend.
- The fact that this time next week I'll be in a completely different part of the country. I have another trip next week that I'll share details about soon.
- Three day weekend! Okay, so I don't have a job, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate it.
- Hearing all the things you were thankful for. Seriously made my day!

With that, I'm calling it a night. Can you tell the blood, sweat, and tears I poured into this post?!

What's been awkward and awesome about your week?


Taking a Moment to be Thankful

I had a bit of bummer class tonight. We were working on a project, had a set back, and now it feels like we have to start over, at least on one section.

It was one of the moments that made me feel like I might as well throw in the towel. But I refuse. I just am throwing in the towel for tonight.

Instead of stewing in my frustration, I decided to a little "thankful for" post. I see other bloggers do this all the time and I think it's important--to step away from frustrations and focus on what is good. I have a lot to be thankful for!

Here are a few things I'm thankful for this week:
- A visit from my mom complete with a homemade meal tonight. I love to cook but every once in a while it's great to have someone else cook for you. Plus it's great to hang out with my mom, not that she's ever actually that far away.
- My check engine light going off after being lit for 24 hours. I'm hopeful it was just a fluke thing that won't return. I'm definitely breathing a sigh of relief tonight.
- Not one, but two sunny days in the forecast for the weekend, which will include a trip to the padres for laundry, puppy snuggles, and other miscellaneous activities.
- Some great friends, new and old. I have some great people in my life. I don't know what I would do without them.
- Fresh produce being back in season. Prices are lower and taste is better.
- The summer being just two weeks away! It's hard to believe how quickly this first year has gone by. It's been amazing and I can't wait to see what else I'll get to see/do in the next 6 months.
- Simple things, like clean sheets, hot showers, and sweatpants. These are things that will never get old for me.
- A good work out. There is something so invigorating and mood lifting (it's a fact) about getting my sweat on.

What are you thankful for this week?


Food and Pictures of Food

I'm making another attempt at getting into a work out routine. I've been running a bit off and on, more "on" recently.

And today my sister and I signed up at a gym just down the road a ways. We've seen ads for the discounted prices and it's close enough to be a quick trip.

I'm especially excited to take advantage of the group fitness classes and theater-style cardio room. I'll have to let you know how well I actually do at going regularly. Luckily my roommate is relying on both my sister and I to visit the gym as well, as our membership came with unlimited guest visits.

We celebrated by going out to dinner tonight and stuffing our faces.

Just kidding, we actually went out because my mother is in town for a couple days and we were too hungry to actually make dinner. Does that happen to anyone else?

Then we watched the Glee finale. What exactly will we have to talk about once all the shows end?!

Just kidding!

Before I head off for the night, I thought I'd share some of my life recently in pictures! P.S. I think it's telling how many of my pictures are related to food.

 Enjoying some sunshine in the park.
 Excited about vacuum bags. How grown up am I?!
 Rosie Thomas concert with a friend.
 Enjoying the Rogue Brewery in Portland.
 Sunset behind downtown Portland.
 Memphis Mafia donut - banana fritter topped with chocolate, peanut butter, and chocolate chips.
 Pickles! Beets, pickles, onions, and more.
 We moved the living room around and the dog loves it!
My favorite chocolate banana muffins. So good! And I used whole wheat flour and substituted apple sauce for the butter so they are a little bit healthy as well.


Weekend Update: WordCamp, Roommates, Thrifting and more

This past weekend was great--a mixture of fun and events with some good downtime. The perfect combination.

Friday night, the roomies, a good friend, and I went to Red Mill for burgers and milk shakes, and then to a bar for a little hang out time. We ate too many calories (totally worth it) and spent a lot of time laughing.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to catch the bus downtown for WordCamp Seattle. Thanks to awesome sponsors, the event was only $20 and had some interesting and knowledgable speakers. I'm working on consolidating some of my thoughts and notes from the event into a more useful form, but I definitely will share some of it.

It was interesting to think about blogging from two perspectives. For me, this blog is not a business, brand, or anything similarly related. I blog for myself, to share my life, and interact with great friends (from both online and IRL).

I'm not trying to make money, sell ads, or support my life. As you may remember, writing just isn't that important to me. But it was a good reminder of some best practices I can be using for the blog right now (like, say, an editorial calendar so I actually post more than once a week).

At the same time, I am studying and using online/social tools to promote blogs right now. And the management involved in those blogs is something I need to invest more time and energy into.

If you're interested, I'd be glad to share some tips and tricks that I picked up here, but I don't want to bore you all with the details.

Sunday was another pretty relaxed day. My roommate and I finished the season of Private Practice. Does anyone else watch that show? How did you feel about the ending? Sunday night we had roommate dinner at a yummy (but kind of pricey) Mexican place. In fact, I just finished up my leftovers as a post-class snack.

In related news, I am signing up for a gym this week.

Today, my sister and I drove about half an hour to hang out with my dad. He brought a good friend to the area for cancer treatment (thoughts and prayers appreciated!!!).

We took the opportunity for a father-daughter date, complete with lunch, thrifting, and smoothies. We have our priorities straight around here. I managed to finally snag a chambray/jean button up in amazing condition.

For now, I'm off to bed. Here's to the start of a great week.


Awkward and Awesome: Deadline Edition

Happy Thursday! Okay really, it's Friday since the day is over. The good news about that, it's basically the weekend. Yay!

I just wanted to share a few moments from my past week. Hopefully I'll be back with more soon.

- The fact that it's been a week since I lasted posted. Sorry folks! I'll be back with more soon.
- Reaching the end of the day and realizing that I really need to go grocery shopping and don't really have a dinner option. Grilled cheese it is.
- The increased sun has caused my motivation to drop a little, just generally, but I'm hoping a couple relaxed days will get me back on track.
- The ending of Grey's Anatomy. I just caught up on the season today with my lazy day and that ending was a downer. Does anyone else watch?

- A really fun weekend in Portland. I got to hang out with some awesome people, eat some delicious food, and hear some great stories. Hopefully I'll be back soon with a round up.
- Booking a ticket to go visit my cousin in June.
- Receiving my first Vox Box from Influenster. It's full of beauty goodies to try out. I haven't had a chance to play with it yet, but hope to this weekend. I'll let you know what I think.
- Plans for breakfast in the morning to catch up with a good friend. The early hour is totally worth it.
- Enjoying the nice weather recently with some outdoor running. There's nothing like it.

I'm basically two weeks away from being done with the quarter. Crazy! What have you been up to?


Awkward and Awesome: Bullets Again

It probably seems ridiculous for me to do another bulleted list so soon (as in a day later), but there's nothing you can do to stop this madness. I don't even think I have the power to stop it.

Anyways, you have two choices: read it or ignore it.

- More mold in the apartment. The window surround in our bedroom was gross. And I found two pairs of my heels were beyond saving. Sad days. Also, I'm sharing this with before my landlord...but I did already clean it all up.
- The cover of Time this week. There's nothing you can say that will convince me otherwise. It's not even about the topic, but how the picture was posed and taken.
- My laziness and lack of focus the past two days. Seriously. My projects are taking me forever. Even this oh-so complicated blog post.
- Trying to grocery shop when my list is on the phone I'm talking on. I came with some things I definitely didn't need and without some important items. I'll make it worth.

- A classmate introducing me to the TV show Sports Night. It's pretty awesome and a total flashback. Probably has something to do with the lack of focus mentioned above.
- A trip to Portland this weekend in an RV. Woot woot. It's for class, but I'm hoping to meet up with some good family friends along the way.
- The weather. I mentioned this yesterday, but it's supposed to be in the 80s the entire time I'm down in Portland. I probably should be more upset about this as a sign of global warming or something, but I'm just going to enjoy it.
- Chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. Fancy cheeses. Tater tots. Though not together.
- Having Amazon Prime and getting things shipped in two days. It's especially good because my vacuum cleaner's bag was getting really full.

I better just stop myself there and try to get a few things done. I'd love to be able to check at least one item off my to-do list tonight. Even if it's just making and eating dinner.

Sadly, it might be a challenge.

Before I go, how's your week?


My Life in Bullets

By bullets, I mean bullet points. I don't want you all to get worried. No violence happening here.

I was gone all weekend in the land of little cell reception and lousy internet service, so I didn't get a post up for five days, not that I really expected to, but the choice was out of my hands.

And I feel like I'm still trying to get back in the groove of things. (Story of my spring.) So I thought I'd go with bullet points for a post today, because then I don't have to come up with one complete thought.

  • First of all, you need to watch this video. It was made at Seattle Children's Hospital and is just too cool for school. 
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  • It's happy hour week at Starbucks. Stop in to get a frappe and pay half price between 3 and 5pm local time. Seriously delicious.
  • Along with that, the sun has actually been out here in our neck of the woods. Last year we didn't get over 70 degrees until sometime in July (it was ridiculous), but we're on pace to get close to 80 this weekend. Smiley face!
  • Graduation ceremonies are a lot more palatable now that I have an iPhone. More boredom was reduced significantly thanks to Words with Friends and Draw Something.
  • I'm seriously contemplating dying my hair back to its natural brown. Mostly out of laziness. But I do love the red I've been rocking. Thoughts?
  • I'm completely distracted today and have managed because of that to accomplish very little. Can the weekend get here already?
Any bullets to share about your week so far?


Awkward and Awesome: Fighting with Stuff

I've been fighting the internet here at my aunt and uncle's all night. Their satellite internet provider oversold their bandwidth so certain times of day are completely impossible. It's like I'm living in the dial-up era. I feel bad for my aunt and uncle having to live with this all the time.

I'm sure any day now their just shoot a new satellite up there. Apparently that's the only option. Which has me thinking, exactly how many satellites are just floating around in the atmosphere.

Anyway, here are my awkward and awesome moments for the week. This was started by Sydney over at the Daybook, in case you are interested (or think I'm the genius--I'm not).

- Almost dying when I accidentally inhaled a jalapeno slice I was chewing on.  I'm usually good with spicy stuff, but this was awful!
- My computer telling me I need to replace the battery.  The hard part is I think I'll need a new computer before too long so spending $150 for a battery doesn't really seem worth it if I'm not going to have it more than 6 months.
- Finding mold growing on my passport. I mean, I know it's been a while since I used it, but not that long.
- Having leftover salad dressing somehow spill out of the closed tupperware and all over my backpack.
- Not being able to find my flight vouchers from Delta. I either put them somewhere so safe and hidden I can't find it, or I tossed them. Neither option is working well for me.
- Having to get new license plates this year and having to pay to keep your old number, but getting a new one for free. Weird.

- Seeing the family this weekend over on the east side of the state. We'll eat food, take pictures, and talk...the usual. Plus I'll get to see my cousin's little guy.
- More travel coming up. I'm in eastern Washington for my cousin's graduation this weekend, will be in Oregon next weekend, and will head out to the middle of the country later this month for a fun road trip. And yes I do enjoy a good roadtrip. Plenty of more pictures to come, too!
- I bought trip insurance for the first time in forever and then used it almost immediately when I figured out that I booked the flight for the wrong day. That's what happens when you are flying out just after midnight.
- Adult capri suns. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? They are the adult beverages that come in the large disposable container that looks like, well, a capri sun. I had a margarita tonight that my aunt gave me.
- Jim Gaffigan's new special. So hilarious. And you can buy it on his website for $5. That's a crazy good deal. Go do it!!
- I have approximately a month left of the quarter. That's not even that much, folks. What are you counting down the days to?

P.S. Jim Gaffigan didn't give me any money. Just laughs.


One Last Pile of Photos

I thought I'd share the last few photos from my trip. It has only been a week and a half since I got home so that's not too bad.

These are from Pittsburgh, Lisbon, Cleveland, and Erie (with a couple thrown in my from brief stint at the airport/Marriot in Philly. Enjoy!

P.S. Thanks for all your comments yesterday!! I'm glad I'm not alone in those struggles sometimes when it comes to blogging.

 Loved all these old buildings in Pittsburgh.
 A shot of downtown from across the river by the stadiums (stadia?).
 The riverfront area was gorgeous.
 A sandwich from the famous Primanti Bros (pictured below). Slaw and fries included inside.
 This spot has been open since the '30s and stays open 24 hours a day year round.
 How we travel.
 Hello from a sandwich.
 Republican headquarters in Lisbon, Ohio.
 Awesome old Ace Hardware with glass jars of gardening seeds.
 And really cool built in cabinets.
 The oldest brick building in Ohio, found in Lisbon.
 A shot of the Cleveland skyline at night.
 University Inn, our dinner spot, full of Polish deliciousness.
 Breakfast at the West Side Market in Cleveland. Pasties, pies and more.
 A shot of the hustle and bustle.
Coffee girls staying busy.
 My plane was kind of small, just one little propellor on each side. And it was turbulent enough that we all got air off our seats. Good times!
 Some sort of dance event was going on at the Philly Airport Marriot. 
 The dresses were ridiculous. Also, I'm the paparazzi. 
So excited to see home! The beautiful Olympic Mountains.


The Thing About Words

I've been doing so much writing elsewhere in my life that sometimes I get to this blog and the words have run dry. It's not that there aren't things going on in my life or thoughts to share, but I just run out of steam.

My days are filled with stories, emails, phone calls, tweets, FB posts, texts, and much more. In some ways it's kind of weird. I've never been a person that has to write, that has that itch. My mom does.

But my mind isn't full of stories or thoughts that scream to be let out. Instead, I actually enjoy mulling things over inside.

I have to value this blog as a place to share little pieces of me and my life. And it's not that I don't have ideas for more posts. In fact, I have a handful or two of started but not finished drafts.

I'd like to think that things will slow down and change over the summer, but it doesn't really look that way. Grad school has made my life full, in ways that are wonderful and exciting. I wouldn't change that for a minute.

I think it really comes to down to better managing my time and maybe working blog writing into my schedule. Up to this point, I haven't really needed to. There's always been time to make things work.

Don't worry though, I'm not announcing a break, calling it quits, or declaring my dislike for blogging. I'm just voicing a few things I've been feeling/dealing with for this space.

For now though, I'm just going to roll with the punches and post when I get around to it. If I can just get through the next four weeks, things should get a little better. I think.

Until then, I'm just going to eat cupcakes. And share more photos ('cuz then I don't need words).

P.S. Happy Hump Day!