Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sick Sucks

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I have so much respect [read: awe] for those women who balance toddlers, home life, work, and everything else they do as Supermoms — plus blogging.

When I first began blogging, I was so overzealous about posting – even though my parents and Ian were my only readers – that I’d have posts lined up for days, set to be displayed when the clock struck twelve. I still have a lot I’d like to write about, but sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. And honestly, sometimes there are things I’d much rather be doing than interacting with my computer.

Here’s to you bloggers out there who have interesting enough lives and careers to post multiple times per day, every single day. My hat’s off to you, because that’s just not me. This week has been busy, busy, busy, which is why I’m not surprised…

that I’m sick.

Don’t fret, Mom. I think it may be allergies. Whatever it is, it hit me like a friggin’ freight train.

It started with a sore throat yesterday morning, which I assumed was either due to drainage (from sleeping on sky-high pillows) or from a lack of quality sleep. Within hours, I was miserable. My head was pounding, my appetite was non-existent (which did not bode well for the slice of homemade veggie pizza, Habanero BBQ almonds, Chobani Bite, or green pepper sticks and baby carrots with hummus I had brought for lunch… all I wanted was the cheese stick and the Wheat Thins), my throat felt like someone had massaged it with sandpaper, and I felt exhausted after 7 hours of sleep. Yet, I needed to carry on through five hours at Practicum, study, and do 3 loads of laundry.

The minutes absolutely draaaaagged at Practicum, and I could feel myself getting worse. I stopped at CVS on my way home and beelined for the Cough/Cold aisle. I found the biggest package of Halls cough drops available, and I snagged some store-brand Dayquil. I’m not a big fan of the “‘quil” family, but I knew I would need something.

The second I got home, I kicked off my shoes and buried myself under a blanket on the couch. I could have easily slept until this morning, but I let myself shut out the world for 45 minutes. I felt surprisingly better when I woke up, but it was a short-lived victory.

I somehow managed to get a few hours of studying done before I showered and collapsed into bed. At 9:00. That may seem like a normal bedtime for some of you, but I’m easily awake until 11 most nights. I didn’t even eat dinner. Unless you count the 100-calorie Greek froyo I savored between lunch and bedtime in hopes of mending my raw throat. Of course, with a belly full of honey lemon cough drops, mint Chloraseptic, and berry Zzzz-Quil, I didn’t have much appetite for leftover Mexican, anyway.

I’m trying every trick in the book – gargling with salt water, sucking down cough drops, guzzling water and natural sources of vitamin C, using Chloraseptic as needed, sipping hot tea with honey every chance I get, and eating well whenever I have a smidgen of an appetite so my body can fight off whatever this is. (You would not believe how nasty hummus tastes when your sinuses are clogged.) I’m also giving my body a break from the gym, even though I’m supposed to be in training mode for my upcoming 10k next month and 5k in May. I surrender: what I need right now is rest.

Ain’t nobody got time for this.

It’s going to be a busy and (presumably) fun-filled Easter weekend, so I need this plague to disappear ASAP. Send any cold/sinus/allergy remedies my way!

On that note, it’s naptime…

[Edited to add: Though I sacrificed a week of exercise for couch time, I traveled 46.3 miles in the month of March. I “should have” traveled 496.36 miles by the end of March, but I have traveled 138.23 miles in 2013. For comparison’s sake, last March I traveled 44.37 miles. Always improving!]

Scenes From the (Wild) Weekend

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Well, my bracket is sucking…

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But let’s not talk about that. I’m already the laughingstock of my bracket group. You can go ahead and have a chuckle.

This weekend was an absolute blast.

Friday, Ian arrived around 4:15, so we opted for an early dinner. His dad had sent us a gift card to this little steak place, so we treated ourselves to prime rib au jus 😉 I’m not sure that place serves salad underneath all that cheese or green beans with their salt, but I made an attempt at some veggies.

Our waiter overheard us discussing our wedding plans and even though we protested that we were too full for dessert, he brought us a little ice cream treat. I was bursting! But I can’t complain about free ice cream.

Then we grabbed some moscato and headed over to Rachel’s for what was supposed to be girls’ night. It was essentially an estrogen-fest plus poor Ian, who was trying desperately to watch basketball and analyze our brackets. It turned into this:

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I was essentially drinking out of a bucket with a stem, which didn’t bode well…

Saturday morning I was feeling a little green around the gills, but about a gallon of water, a snack of Tums, and a shower later, I was ready to hit the road.

We met our friends Mark and Heather in Charlottesville at the Mellow Mushroom. Neither Ian nor I had ever been there, but the pizza was spot-on. We split a medium House Special, which was this treasure:

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I won’t even try to pretend that this weekend was one of my healthier ones, but it sure as hell was delicious. The Mellow Mushroom has some incredible and unique pizza creations.

We left the pizza joint and carpooled to John Paul Jones Arena for — wait for it — Thompson Square, Florida-Georgia Line, and LUKE BRYAN!!

Even though my bank account is feeling pretty naked right now, I couldn’t resist tickets to two of my very favorite country musicians. I’m not super familiar with Thompson Square, but their music was just icing on the cake.

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I didn’t try to take pictures during the concert; I just soaked up every minute of music and time spent with Ian.

Florida-Georgia Line opened, followed by Thompson Square. Luke, of course, was the main event 😉 He was fantastic, from signing posters about squirrels, to throwing full Solo cups into the crowd, to passing a jar of “moonshine” around with his bandmates. My only complaint is that he didn’t sing “Sorority Girl,” which was the only reason I dressed like a tool in my ADPi letters. Somehow, we missed taking a picture of me dressed for Luke (whose wife is an ADPi), but the concert was phenomenal from start to finish.

Our seats were on the opposite side of the arena from Mark and Heather, and by some miracle, we did not have the drunkest assholes seated behind or in front of us. Even from row Z (literally) Luke Bryan was just as yummy (and loud) as I’m sure he would’ve been had we paid $200 per ticket. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself. Actually, our seats were great. We could see and hear everything perfectly, and we even had room to stretch out.

We got back to my apartment much later than I anticipated and pretty much passed out. We were on the go from the time Ian arrived on Friday until he left an hour ago in the midst of a… snowstorm?

Yep. We awoke this morning to this:

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I don’t know how long it’s been snowing or how much longer it’s expected to keep up, but I think we already have more snow than we got during the “storm” a few weeks ago.

Now, it’s time for me to sit back with a cup of coffee, the TV on mute to monitor my bracket (perhaps the first time in my 24 years that I’ve been concerned about sports), and some reading for class.

Happy Sunday!

Julia Cook

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Last night, instead of having our usual interactive lecture session from 7:00-9:30, my professor requested our presence at a speaker the school invited to discuss underachieving children and how parents, schools, teachers, society, and students themselves can change this trend. The speaker, Julia Cook, was quite prolific. I’m not one to voluntarily attend a presentation unless it’s for extra credit or something (#sorrynotsorry), but her presentation was phenomenal — even for a mandated assignment. It had humor, it was fast-paced, it was colorful, it was relevant to work I may encounter in the future, and above all, it was interesting. She used one of the best PowerPoints I’ve ever seen!

I didn’t know what to expect when my professor emailed us last week that instead of having a quiz and a lecture on the particulars of counseling Asian- and Arab-Americans, we’d be attending a speaker known for her published children’s books on bullying…

The best part of the evening was the gift! One of the deans approached two of my classmates and me as we were minding our own about 15 minutes before the presentation began, and asked if we would participate in Julia’s presentation. She said we wouldn’t have to do much, that we wouldn’t have to go up on stage or say anything, and that our involvement would be fast and fun. Okay, fineee.

Surprise! As soon as Julia called for her volunteers from the audience, we were asked to come up on stage. At least I only had to hold a sign up… Amy had to wear a red foam nose, a huge tie, and a clown collar! But, just as the dean promised, we didn’t have to say anything, and we were on stage for fewer than 5 minutes. (I’m not a big standing-up-in-front-of-people type of gal.)

So this is where my gift came into play. As a token of her appreciation for her 4 volunteers’ assistance, each volunteer was allowed to choose one of her books and have it autographed. The children’s books normally sell for about $10 apiece, but I received my very first official counseling resource gratis. I chose this book that Julia had read to the audience during her presentation:

Cliques Book

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The dean and one of the office administrators kindly arranged to pay Julia for Amy’s and my books and have them delivered to Amy at her on-campus job, so I’ll have my physical copy in-hand as soon as I see Amy again. I literally cannot wait to use this book as a resource, perhaps before my Practicum experience is over! When I took a Play Therapy class last summer, we discussed how the use of non-human characters (e.g. animals) in stories can help children relate to problems and problem-solving better than if human characters are portrayed. This book just makes cents to me 😉

Well, I’m off and running! I have a lot of cleaning and grocery shopping to do before my better half arrives this afternoon. I just wanted to share with you how excited I am to have my first counseling book!!

You Want Me to Make WHAT?!

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First of all, let me just say that the reason I haven’t been blogging as regularly doesn’t have much to do with my cruise; it’s writer’s block! I don’t have much to write about because so much of what I’m working on (Practicum, schoolwork, Internship placement, wedding biz) is confidential (or stuff I’ve written about far too often to even be considered “often.”)

Plus, if I’m being totally honest with myself — and with you guys — I’ve fallen off the healthy-living bandwagon a bit and I’m feeling a little disgruntled. I’m working my way back on, but there isn’t exactly a novel there. If you’re still reading, thanks for sticking with me!

Now, for today’s topic…

Ian is holding me down and forcing asking me to create a bracket for the college basketball championships. In case I’ve never mentioned it before, I am no sports aficionado. I know this much about sports:

Yeah. That much.

It’s not that I’m one of those hair-twirled-around-the-finger, gum-snapping, dumb-on-purpose (or-just-dumb-no-one-is-really-sure) girls. It’s that for the most part, sports simply do not interest me.

I actually know a fair amount about basketball. I played (not well, I might add) for a number of years in elementary school and middle school. I’ve been attending University of Richmond games with my dad since I was a toddler. I went to a number of games to support my Longwood Lancers, plus Ian and I continue to support Hampden-Sydney basketball.

But honestly, if it ain’t live, I don’t care. That’s why this bracket business is annoying.

If there’s one thing I hate more than watching sports on TV, it’s being left out of something that everyone else is doing. Yes, I’m five. 

This begs the age-old question, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump off, too?”

Well, in the case of the college basketball bracket bridge-jumping, then yes.

So tonight, while I’m cozied up on my couch rewatching season 2 of Pretty Little Liars and smiling into my Healthy Choice Greek froyo, I’ll be completing this %&$#@ bracket.

You’re welcome, honey.

P.S. Have you ever created a sports bracket before? 

Cruisin’, Boozin’, and Schmoozin’

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Heya, blends!!

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I sure have missed blogging! I took a bit of a lengthy blog sabbatical. Longer than I intended, actually. The weekend prior to the cruise was a whirlwind of planning, packing, and pandemonium. Ian’s parents were in town, plus we crammed the day before we departed chock-full of fun. If you had told me I’d tour a reception venue, go out to lunch, run around Maymont Park tossing a football and enjoying the rarity of all of the animals being out, grab dinner, and cheer on the Richmond Spiders on Senior Night all before a 5:15 a.m. wake-up call… I would have laughed in your face.

Now that we’re back, I can fill you in on deets! Sunday, we drove from Richmond to Jacksonville, FL, which took about 10 hours with stops. (I’d forgotten that one of the luxuries of driving a small car is that it doesn’t cost both arms and both legs to fill up…)

Monday morning, we were up at the absurd hour of 4:30 for the second leg of our journey to Miami. I can’t even describe the feeling of stepping out of the car into shorts-weather and sunshine, especially after the pre-break snowstorm. We finally boarded the Majesty of the Seas about 12:30 — and we headed straight for the food!

From there, it was fun, sun, and a LOT of adult beverages for four days. We were in Nassau on Tuesday, Coco Cay (Royal Caribbean’s privately-owned island) Wednesday,

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and one of my favorite places in the world Thursday: Key West!

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It was back to Miami — and back to reality — come Friday. But we couldn’t have concluded Spring Break without passing through downtown Savannah to celebrate St. Patty’s Day with two of our favorite people, Alan and James!

I’ll spare you the minute details of every activity we did, but here are some thoughts I jotted down poolside throughout the week at sea:

Was I ever that douchey as an undergrad?

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Am I really seasick for the first time in 24 years? (Luckily, it was fleeting, and probably cheap champagne-induced.)

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Beer for $6 apiece? Make it two. Or five.

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I feel more comfortable wearing a two-piece than I have in about a decade.

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Bed at 9:30? Don’t mind if I do!

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Ian is the only other person I know on this entire vessel, and I don’t hate that fact.

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I’m not even people-watching; I’m people-judging.

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We would kick ass at the Love & Marriage Game Show.

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Are there really sharks swarming around out there?

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Of course it’s raining on our only real beach day…

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Even on a luxury cruise, we still have to call maintenance. Go figure.

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How ironic is it that the ship featured in Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is the Carnival Dream? #suckstosuck

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(Would it make me an idiot or a bargain-hunter to try to book a Carnival cruise for next Spring Break…?)

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Mojitos sure do make me thirsty… for more mojitos!

T-minus 51 weeks until next Spring Break…

Spotting 42 states represented on license plates (plus Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, and Ontario) is pretty impressive, if you ask me.

I’m fairly certain most of the greens I consumed came in the form of lime and mint.

That’s all, folks! 😉

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#LoveBites

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As if I already didn’t love Chobani enough, look what arrived last night via UPS!

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Not only were the incredible people at Chobani kind enough to send me a case of their not-yet-available-on-the-East-Coast Chobani Bite 100-calorie Greek yogurt, they delivered it despite the snowstorm yesterday! Granted, much of the snow that fell overnight and in the morning had melted by the time this box of goodness arrived, but I was so impressed that true to their word, Chobani delivered when they said they would.

So how did I get lucky enough to sample Chobani Bite? Well, I simply “liked” the #lovebites photo of Chobani Bite via Instagram on Valentine’s Day. I never win anything, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to simply “like” the photo and give it a shot. My philosophy on entering giveaways is that it doesn’t hurt to simply put my name in the hat; I have nothing to lose, but so much to gain.

Much to my surprise, I was one of a few lucky people chosen among hundreds to receive 24 delicious little yogurts, delivered right to my doorstep. I was sent 8 Raspberry with Dark Chocolate Chips, 4 Fig with Orange Zest, 8 Pineapple with Caramel Chunks, and 4 Coffee with Dark Chocolate Chips.

I couldn’t help myself — I dove right into the Coffee with Dark Chocolate and Fig with Orange Zest flavors.

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I could hardly stand to allow my camera to charge before (literally) ripping open the box!

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This morning, I sampled the Pineapple with Caramel flavor, which may be my favorite flavor of Bite. It’s a tough call between that and Coffee. I haven’t sampled the Raspberry with Dark Chocolate yet, so this is by no means a comprehensive review. I just couldn’t wait any longer to get the word out about my Chob-session!

Question: Have you had the pleasure of sampling Chobani Bite yet? When it becomes available in Virginia, you can bet I’m going to raid the shelves at Kroger!

P.S. This may be my last post for awhile. Ian and I depart before the sun wakes up on Sunday, and I’m not sophisticated enough to have planned time-released posts for next week while we’re cruisin’ and boozin’. This weekend will be busy, between being in Richmond at the tail-end of my sister’s Spring Break, a third tour of a possible wedding venue, and last-minute tasks prior to the cruise. I’ll be sure to have lots of pictures to brag about when we’re back from Bahamaland!

Snow Day!

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Happy snow day, blends!

I don’t know about you, but here in Central Virginia, I got between 3 and 4 inches of the heavy, wet stuff. I was beyond excited when it started snowing around 10:00 last night. It had been raining most of the afternoon on into the evening. The trucks and plows weren’t able to get out to salt the roads due to the rain, so I thought there was a pretty good chance the snow would stick 😉

This morning, I awoke early to see several inches covering cars, trees, rooftops, and sidewalks… but wet, black pavement. That meant the roads had to be clear, which meant life must be continuing on as usual. I even had an inclement weather text message from school, stating that the college would be functioning on time and as scheduled. Bummer.

(I really don’t know why I was so excited for an honest-to-goodness snow day, because I don’t have class or Practicum on Wednesdays anyway!)

It snowed like hell from the time I woke up until early afternoon. At times it practically looked (and felt and sounded) like a blizzard; the trees were bent sideways in the wind, and it whistled between the apartment buildings. Around 1:00 this afternoon, the snow fizzled out and the sun even came out to play. There’s nothing I love more than a snow day, and there’s nothing I hate more than the sound of snow melting, dripping from icicles and rooftops into gutters, and running into the sewers. A wee bit of an exaggeration, but it really does make me sad when the beautiful white snow melts away and leaves huge muddy puddles and street chemicals behind. Sigh.

There’s also nothing that helps me be mindful like snow. I’m not very good at slowing down and really taking notice of my surroundings or what’s happening within myself, but snow does that for me every single time. I focus intently on watching it as it falls. I try my darndest to catch the perfect flake on my tongue. (Yes, Mom, I still eat snow.) I listen as the snow filters through the trees and lands softly on the ground. I love the smell of it before it arrives. I take notice of the color of the sky and the way it traps light in its low ceiling. I make sure to get my hands wet to really feel its consistency and its coldness. I walk in it and listen to it crunch and squeak beneath my boots. I don’t worry about Instagramming it or tweeting it or letting everyone else know that I, too, am experiencing the snow. I just am with the snow.

Maybe I’m a bit too obsessed with snow, but it has been my absolute favorite form of weather since I was a tiny kid.

Despite my best efforts to re-watch seasons one and two of Pretty Little Liars — because, tragically, I don’t have access to season three and I’ve run out of excitement about Netflix — I accomplished everything on my to-do list. And then some!

The couch is actually calling my name again now that three loads of laundry are done… Great catching up with you!

Question: What’s your favorite thing to do on a snow day?