Thursday, February 23, 2012

Do More: Week Seven

It's about that time to check-in folks!

Be more creative.
Paint and craft more. Made some little signs for the first years in our office to congratulate them on their internships and a scrapbook for MC!
Use my talents to make meaningful gifts for the ones I love. Made a scrapbook for MC of our first year together for our anniversary. Some pictures to come on this!

Write more.
Blog more to share life with family and friends. Done & done!

Read more.
Read more books and novels that I enjoy rather than watching TV. Finally started Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinesella--Michelle don't worry you'll get it back before hooding :)

Cook more
Try out 52 new recipes. Stuffed acorn squash, mmm. 
Make a conscious effort to prepare my meals rather than eating prepackaged food. Lots of this still!

Speak more.
Ask more questions...at work, with friends, with family, everywhere. I think I've asked so many questions in the Journalism office they're probably wondering why they let me do a practicum there-HA!
Make a better effort at keeping in touch with friends and family. Good chats with old friends this week. 

Spend more time outside. 
Go for a walk outside at least once a week. Two times at the Riverwalk this week. Since I've been checking in there on foursquare it told me I've been there every week for 8 consecutive weeks, win! Also branched out a bit and tried to run on the roads...not a fan

See more.
Find 10 new things to explore in Columbia, SC before graduation. Finally ate at Brioso-does that count?
Take every opportunity to explore around when traveling. Visited Savannah, GA and took a trip to Tybee Island! (more details to come soon)

A pretty productive week I'd have to say! I've heard somewhere once that if you can keep up with your resolutions through Valentine's Day then they'll stick as habits. Well we're past that date and I'd say many of these attempts to "do more" have really become a habit in my life and it was surely about time. 

Now my newest journeys will be going without candy (hard) and Facebook (meh) for the duration of Lent. I'm foreseeing many cupcakes and pudding cups in my future until Easter!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Comps Managed!

I noted in my post a few days ago that I just took the comprehensive exam for my Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program. We have some great traditions here at South Carolina surrounding comps that I wanted to share!

A lot of students typically study in groups, many of which will create a group name and get crazy with a theme. My group got really excited this year and got really into a Harry Potter theme. Not only was it great for designing shirts and getting props, but actually helped us while we studied. We were able to associate every student development theory with Harry Potter characters and most of our review notes and power points had images and information relating back to HP.

One of the biggest traditions is surrounding The Torchbearer, which is the statue in front of Wardlaw College, home to the College of Education at USC. Any HESA student taking comps does not touch horse at all during their first year and a half at USC, though thesis writers will touch the horse for good luck. After the second years complete comps they gather and run out in a group to celebrate and jump all over the statue. I honestly like to refer to it as HESA bid day, as the second years get comps buddies so there are lots of posters, balloons, confetti, screaming, yelling cheering, and a huge group of people running together in similar shirts (I actually got a mouth full of glitter while running to the horse). Sounds like a good metaphor right? We were even featured on the homepage of USC's website!

My group got up early to have breakfast together before the big test and jam out to some crazy music in the car to get pumped. We then danced around The Torchbearer and naturally put some charms and spells on it with our magic wands to ensure that we'd pass comps.
Preparing for Comps!


Wish I had gotten some close-ups of our shirts, we had the outline of Wardlaw College with footprints and our group members names like the Maurader's Map on the back, and "I solemnly swear I'm up to no good" on the front!

And then the aftermath came...
Comps group on the horse!

My awesome Comps Buddy!!


 
Running back through the banner we didn't break the first time...

HESA 2012 did it!!

My sister came to celebrate and even brought me a yummy red velvet treat from Cupcake, thanks Alyssa!


 Me and my roommate Jesse, I've still got my magic wand in hand

Out to a celebratory lunch

WE DID IT!!! COMPS MANAGED!

And I got the best email last Thursday followed by a letter in writing today...

Now put a hood on me, c'mon May 4, 2012!!
(Oh, and also please give me a job. Thanks!)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

One Year Down

Can't believe that today marks exactly a year of "officially" being with MC, and a wonderful year it has been! 

We've traveled together to eight different states, have been to Carolina football, basketball & baseball games, three pro baseball games, countless movies, and have most likely consumed over 50 rolls of sushi. With so many adventures jam-packed into this first year it's crazy to think that there's still so much more to conquer. 

I love you bud, enjoy this trip down memory lane!

Third date, at the Savannah River in Augusta
My spring break, first time I got to meet MC's friends
Carolina Cup 2011
Brave's game
After the Master's (still mad they don't let you take cameras inside the course)
My sorority's 20th anniversary in Wilmington, in the middle of a storm
Wrightsville Beach, the happiest place on Earth!
Easter 2011
USS North Carolina in Wilmington, MC's happiest place on Earth
Opera house in downtown Newberry, SC
Cutest kitten found outside of my apartment that we kept until finding her a good home 
Putting our hands on Hootie's at Billy Bob's Honky Tonk in Ft. Worth
The Ft. Worth Historic Stockyards
Half cross-country roadtrip, one state down!
One state to go!
Grilling for SPA orientation pool party cookout!
Favorite candid of all time
Downtown Gatlinburg, TN
Blue Ridge Mountains
Dancing the night away at my friend Michele's wedding
Millennium Park in Chicago
Birthdays: 24 & 29
White House!
ICE! at the Gaylord Hotel in the National Harbour
Brickhouse Inn Bed & Breakfast in Columbia, NC for Christmas 2011
Edenton, NC
New Years 2012


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do More [kinda]: Weeks 5 & 6




Be more creative.
Paint and craft more. More coming on this!
Use my talents to make meaningful gifts for the ones I love. Made blondies with my sister to send to our brother for Valentine's Day!
Write more.
Blog more to share life with family and friends. No too much, but Comps was all I could handle at the moment...
Send more cards and letters to friends and family. Lots of thank you cards for the love and support while studying the past few weeks!
Read more.
Read more books and novels that I enjoy rather than watching TV. Almost done with the first book I started for one of my classes this Spring. Also started a new book for fun!
Cook more
Try out 52 new recipes. Blondies, mmm!
Make a conscious effort to prepare my meals rather than eating prepackaged food. Made tex mex dip for my Comps group on Super Bowl Sunday and some new yummy breakfasts.
Spend more time outside. 
Go for a walk/run outside at least once a week. Somehow made it out twice the week of Comps. Have been out once this week due to gross weather.
See more.
Explore new places...they don't have to be far. Went to the Sheraton rooftop bar after Comps and it was snazzy!

A little behind the past two weeks but slowly getting my life back together. I'm excited for some time coming up soon to be able to read more, especially because The Hunger Games trilogy has been staring at me since I've gotten it for Christmas. Don't forget even when it's crazy to keep your priorities in line. Even though studying for Comps was crazy, taking the time to go for a run or walk everyday was key in attempting to keep myself sane. Key word: attempting!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

J'Adore

I've definitely been a little MIA lately, and no I'm talking about this little lady who flipped the bird at the Superbowl...

Last week was my comprehensive exam for graduate school, which I'm now finally done with (yay!) and you can expect to hear more about soon as I've got lots of great pictures from the event. I've also been preparing for a big event with work and with a major deadline out of the way I can now breathe a little bit easier. 

So anyways, Valentine's Day...do you love it or do you hate it? I must admit that I've always had a thing for Valentine's Day. First of all I'm in love with anything pink and can eat my weight in candy, so what's not to love? I think I was also brought up in a house where it wasn't just about romantic love. Since I've left home my mom has sent me a Valentine's Day package every year, even somehow getting it to snowy Michigian in 2010 when I was on the road. My package this year came complete with a digital picture frame and a cute cupcake picture holder in addition to my candy.

I decided to pass that love on, and my sister and I baked some goodies to send a package to my brother who's at Middle Tennessee State University. He was lucky that his girlfriend was able to come visit for the weekend, but we were sure he'd still enjoy some goods baked with love (and tons of candy that I had hoarded while studying for comps that I've desparately needed to get rid of). I naturally saw the recipe for these blondies on Pinterest and thought they'd be a fun project and they definitely were! Enjoy these pictures of us baking and looking our finest...





Last year was the first year I've actually ever had a Valentine. Somehow that date always seemed to be a time of year that I was not dating anyone, and my first holiday with a Valentine was spent well at a nice dinner and then playing questions over a bottle of wine, only one of mine and MC's first couple of dates.

This year due to our schedules we knew we wouldn't see each other and so we celebrated early this weekend. I was excited to get this new gem for my Pandora bracelet:
We went out to see The Vow, which I was supposed to see on Saturday with friends but my plans got interupted by work. He was a good sport and even enjoyed the movie. I would give it 5 stars hands down, but I'm a sucker for movies like that. I legitimately cried the entire movie, not kidding ask MC. We had a yummy dinner at this great Mexican place and then went to bed super early...love being old. Then today my sister and I treated ourselves to sushi and cupcakes (there was some time in between) with our parent's credit card (thanks Mom & Dad!).

I hope that whatever Valetine's day brought you it was wonderful. Remember that loving yourself is the greatest task of all, so give yourself something special by the end of the day, I've already given myself a half a bag of Dove chocolates...whoops!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Do More: Week Four


A day late, but better than nothing. It's about that time to check in folks!

Write more.
Blog more to share life with family and friends. Lots of blogging!
Send more cards and letters to friends and family. As I've been receiving lots of fun little encouragement notes I decided to pick out a handful of people in my life that I know could use some and returned the favor this week. It felt great :)

Read more.
Read more books and novels that I enjoy rather than watching TV. Actually started reading every night before bed, yay!

Cook more
Try out 52 new recipes. Not sure if it's much of a "recipe" but I "made" Greek yogurt veggie dip (aka tub of Greek yogurt with a ranch dip packet)
Make a conscious effort to prepare my meals rather than eating prepackaged food. Cooked my dinner every night but one.

Spend more time outside. 
Go for a walk outside at least once a week. Ran on Mon., ran again on Weds. (finally hit 5k!)

See more.
Find 10 new things to explore in Columbia, SC before graduation. Not really new "places" to explore but went to the World of Beer Festival and Arts & Draughts at the Columbia Art Museum.


Do more, be more, go have a great week!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Going Greek

Nope sorry, this post is actually not about Fraternity and Sorority Life, sorry to disappoint!

This is actually about my on-going love affair with Greek yogurt. I first learned about this gem during Summer '10 and tried it while I was babysitting for a family to save some money before starting grad school. It was a Chobani fruit flavor, and it's continued to be my favorite brand.

It's so much heavier than plain yogurt (without as much sugar) and is packed with protein making an awesome ingredient in a breakfast parfait, filling snack, or even a creamy dessert. I'm pretty sure that my first year of grad school it's all that I ate. Plain Greek yogurt with honey and Kashi Go-Lean Crunch cereal--YUM!

If you haven't tried it before, I would suggest trying out a flavored kind first. The plain is actually a bit tangy and tart but that's what I like about it, and why it pairs well mixed with some honey. There are some new flavors that have been introduced lately and I picked them all up at Bi-Lo last week to check them out.

Apple Cinnamon-this was TOO good! Eating it plain was phenomenal but I put it in a bowl with some Kashi Go-Lean Crunch and it was like having apple pie. This would definitely be a great dessert flavor.
 Blood Orange-this was tangy and citrusy while also having just enough sweetness to it. I think this one would make a perfect snack flavor for a little punch of tang & sugar to pick you up in the afternoon.
 Pomegranate-I love anything pomegranate and so naturally this was a fan-fave! I'd mirror my thoughts on the Blood Orange flavor with this one.

While I typically tend to get Chobani (definitely with flavored yogurt), there are some other brands I really enjoy as well. I've also really enjoyed Athenos and Oikos which is an organic brand from Stonyfield farms. I had been eating this brand for a while and learned some great things about their story and what they've been doing when I watched Food Inc., it was one of the only uplifting parts of the video!

Fage (pronounced fah-hay) makes a great plain variety, but what I enjoy is that their flavored yogurts come with the fruit, or topping, in a separate container on the side. For individual containers that are honey flavored, the honey is either on the bottom or mixed in and I don't particularly care for that. With Fage I can pour or drizzle the honey into my yogurt, mmm!

My next venture is trying to find the Oikos frozen Greek yogurt, and it comes in my favorite flavor, honey! Has anyone seen it stores around Columbia yet?