"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Easy Pumpkin Bread via Pinterest

I have this new obsession.  It's called Pinterest.  It's a website, pinterest.com, where you can pin things to a digital bulletin board.  You can have bulletin boards for different things.  Some of my bulletin boards are for places I want to go, DIY projects I want to try, or recipes I want to cook.  The difference between this and a normal hang-on-the-wall bulletin board is that when you click on the picture on your board on pinterest, it takes you to the original website and gives you all the information/instructions that you could possibly need.  It's awesome!  All right at your finger tips.

So I've been pinning all of these great DIY projects and recipes and I realized that it really wouldn't mean anything unless I started actually doing some of these things...so I did!

I chose to start with something easy.  And we all know I've been loving the new season, so I decided to bake a little to go along with it.  This recipe was cheap, and easy!  Super easy.  It was also delicious!

First I mixed the two ingredients...

And mixed them all up.

And then I threw it all in a greased loaf pan and popped it in the oven for about 40 minutes at 375.  It says to wait until you can stick a knife in it and it comes out clean.


It was delicious!!  My mom wants to try it with walnuts...I bet that would be really good!

I've got a few more things I'll be trying in the next few weeks.  It's a great way to be creative on a budget and spruce up my house.  Stay tuned!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cozy Feet

Check out my new shoes!  I finally ordered them after Paula gave me money for them for my birthday.  I love them.  Catherine always talked about how comfortable they were, but I was skeptical.  Now I know - they are really comfy.  I wore them yesterday :)

Isn't it funny how the simplest things can sometimes can make your entire day better?  That was how this worked.  When I saw the box on my front stoop two days ago it was like Christmas-come-early.  I ran inside, opened them and proceeded to walk around my house and do chores while wearing them...tag included.   I'm a nerd.  I know it.  But, rest assured, I did remember to cut the tags off before I left the house. I know you were worried.

What are the simple little things that made your days better?  :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mums the Word

In honor of the start of fall, I bought some mums for my front porch.  All summer I kept saying that I would plant some flowers in my front yard but it never happened.  To be honest, I think I'm scared I will kill them.  But in the fall, it's safe, because everything dies in the winter.  All I have to do is get these plants through the beginning of November and I'm golden.  Normally I wouldn't worry about killing the plants, but I really don't want to be "that lady" on the street with all the dead plants who can't seem to keep up with the yard work.  But, like I said, plants die anyway in the winter, so I'm safe.

I didn't even have to plant them - I just set it in the planter!

I can't wait until these red ones bloom.

The mums were on sale (of course) and they are actually really pretty.  When I get some pumpkins out there with them, I dare say, my house just might look festive!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fall Favorites

It's very fitting that the weather is getting cooler right now because fall is starting!  It's starts on Friday, to be exact.  I never would have guessed that fall would have come early in North Carolina - of all places - but it did.  And I am bound and determined to embrace it.  Therefore, I am going to share with you some of the things I love about fall... And no, that does not include a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, which is apparently what everyone else in the world loves.  Has anyone else noticed the crazy amount of advertising for those this year?  Or the amount of people that can't stop talking about them?...

Coming off of my tangent, here are some of the things that I love about fall!

1.  Scarves:  You can wrap them around your neck to ward off the chilly breeze and stay nice and cozy.  They are also an easy way to add a fun bit of color to an otherwise boring outfit.

2. Leaves changing:  The colors are gorgeous and I love the way something simple, like my drive to work, can change so much, so quickly.

Jumping in the leaves is also one of my favorite past-times.

3.  Pumpkin Carving:  It may have been said before, but I am very serious about continuing my childhood traditions.  Pumpkin carving is just one of those.  Easter egg dying, Christmas cookie decorating, and fireworks/sparklers are also some of these crazy traditions I still like to do.

4.  Football:  More specifically, the tailgating.  Who can turn down an excuse to eat great food and hang out with good friends? Not me.  .

5.  Boots:  In the summer it's too hot for boots, but in the fall, they all come back out; cowboy boots, rain boots, brown boots, black boots, and, of course, Uggs!

6.  Hoodies:  This is one college phase that I don't think I will ever grow out of.  They are so cozy and comfortable.  I got a new State one last week to add to my collection.

Hoodies all around.
7.  Candles:  I love the scented ones, especially apple pie, vanilla, pumpkin pie, etc.  They not only make my house smell good, but it also makes it so cozy (do you see a theme).

8.  Running in cooler weather.  It is amazing to begin a run before the sweat has begun to form on my brow.  It's so much more pleasant to run with a breeze too.  I go farther, and faster.  I think I had a smile on my face today too.

9.  Derek would like to add that he likes the fall because all of the outdoor pools are closed. And football too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Cold Wolfpack Day

Saturday, it stayed cold.  Really cold.  And it rained on us.  The kind of misting that isn't bad enough to warrant an umbrella, but bad enough to keep you soggy.  We still went out to Carter Finley though and supported the Wolfpack.  It was a fun day and now we know to bring extra layers for the future.

I made Derek re-take the picture of all three of us to get our boots in...cowboy boots, and goulashes.  Mandy's even have wolves on them.  Impressive.  We had no worries about the mud!

We all got to sit together, which was a nice treat!  Derek and Cameron danced up a storm in the stands during a Vanilla Ice song, developing some admiring fans of their own.  I still can't believe I didn't get it on video.  There is no telling what goofy things those two will do when they are together.  

    It was military appreciate night and the half-time show was very cool.  It was nice to see them honoring so many people.

Now, I know I said I was enjoying the colder weather, but if I could have some sun for future game days, I would really appreciate it!

And in other news....The Illini beat their ranked opponent, Arizona State University (23), on Saturday!!!!!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Whole New Outlook


Last night I met Derek for dinner after work and upon walking into the restaurant, it was maybe 70 degrees and drizzling lightly.  Two hours later when we walked out, the temperature had dropped to about 55 and it was windy - freezing to me after a summer of 90+ weather!  

So this morning came and I woke up and went for a run... in long sleeves!  Just last week I was running in 90 degree weather and today, I was chilly in my long sleeves.  The cold weather stuck around all night long.  I ended up doing a pretty comfortable and quick five miles, so I eventually warmed up, but not until around mile 3.  It was weird to be running, breathing cool air, and actually having sweat wicked from my skin instead of being soaked 10 minutes in.  As weird as it was, I have to admit, it was pretty wonderful.  

Just last night I was thinking about how I had very little desire to run these days.  Almost none.  Between my new job where I am on my feet for 5 hours at a time, the crick in my neck that just doesn't seem to want to go away, and wanting to use my free time for, well, other things, I had not been keeping up my training.  What was worse, I didn't really care.  

I'm still not sure where I am in my training, but I can tell you that after this mornings run, I feel refreshed.  I'm looking forward to my next run now and I was actually upset that the end of 5 miles came so quickly.  If I hadn't of had a meeting today, I might have turned around and done it again! 

I think it might be fair to say that Fall is peeking it's head around the corner.  I'm not dumb enough to think that this will stick around for long, but it makes me excited for when it does.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Bunch of Random Stuff

I don't have much to blog about, but I am going to go ahead and share a bunch of random thoughts for the day.

  • Yesterday I had a parent meeting with the parents of the swimmers in my group.  Afterwards the head coach came over and told me I received two compliments from parents walking out of the meeting.  One lady asked him "Where did you find this girl?, she's great."  That was very good to hear because the blank faces in the meeting did not leave me feeling well.  I love leaving a good impression on parents...it makes my life so much easier.
  • Last week Derek brought me along to the town Chamber of Commerce Banquet.  It was interesting to see how that worked and it made me aware of some of the things being done in my community.  Derek's work is a big part of the community and I'm aware of that, but not a lot of the other projects. We got all dressed up, and I got a (poor quality) cell phone picture for you all to see.  

  • I found a picture I took on Derek's birthday that I had totally forgotten about.  I explained last week about how I really wanted to make him feel special for his birthday.  He didn't let me give him any candles to blow out or sing to him while at the State game, so I sang to him and gave him a candle to blow out on Sunday.  Here is the photo proof...

  • I have a huge knot/crick in my neck and have had it for the past 4 days.  I woke up on Saturday morning barely able to turn my head.  It's gotten better and I've been trying to ignore it, but if anyone has any helpful advice on how to get rid of it, kindly let me know. 
  •  On my way home from work on Monday I called Derek to see what he was up to...he told me he was cooking pizza and poppers and waiting for me to come eat dinner with him.  Wow.  That was a wonderful treat.  How lucky am I?!
  • I booked my flight to Detroit today!!  Here I come - I am so excited that I get to see my family in just a few short weeks. 
  • I chopped 4 inches off my hair today.  

  • Derek made a cornhole set on Monday - I can't wait to play BAGS this weekend at the tailgate!  

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lake Day

This past weekend we had the chance to go to Lake Gaston for the day with people from Derek's work.  It was a blast.  Derek slalom skied, I rode in the boat :), and we all had a ton of fun.  I will say this - Seadoo's are not my favorite form of watercraft.

It was a wonderful day.  I think it is rare to have people who work together and genuinely care about the people who work for them.  

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Day in the Life

The most commonly asked question I received over the past few weeks is “What does your schedule look like?” or “What do you do all day?”  I thought that I would give you an idea of what my day’s look like right now.  They are never the same as the one before, but there are some similarities that I like to stick to. 

6:30             Alarm goes off and I press snooze J.    

6:45-7          I roll out of bed and get my coffee and check my email.

7:30             I head out for a run (on long run days I have to actually get up at 6:30 and skip the coffee/email step).

8:30-10       I eat breakfast, shower, clean my house, go grocery shopping, pay bills, do laundry, etc and I sometimes do it with Good Morning America or Regis and Kelly on the TV.  Yep, it’s true.  I never watched these shows prior to about a week ago, and now, I really enjoy them as background noise.  Regis and Kelly are pretty hilarious.

10:30     I head in to work and spend the next few hours checking and responding to emails, writing my daily workouts, planning out the cycles of the season, planning/brainstorming/meeting with the other coaches, and updating the calendar’s on the website (that’s my new responsibility as of yesterday…can you tell I feel important!)  In the future, I will hopefully be taking on more responsibilities.

1:00                 I head home for lunch or I go to run errands depending on what I need to get done.  This time varies by day, as well.  We don’t have any specific office hours, the idea is that we need to make sure we do our job and do it well.  Other than that, we are mostly free to come and go as we please (except for meetings/practices).

2:30-4              I am back at the office, helping the other coaches, finalizing workouts, responding to a new round of emails and voicemails that have come in from parents in the past two hours.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays during this time I work with the University team on the pool deck with their dryland workout and swim practice.

4:30-8        I am on the pool deck coaching every day during this time.  Yes, that is a lot of standing on my feet, so I have learned to wear supportive shoes, but it really does fly by.   I try to get out to my car to head home as soon as possible after practice because by that time my stomach is growling pretty loudly.

8:30-9           Cook/eat dinner and then relax, watch TV, talk on the phone with friends/family, hang out with Derek, etc.  All that good stuff.

11:00             Back to bed.  (I aim for this time…sometimes I make it, sometimes I don’t.)

It is a huge change for me because it allows me to have so much more flexibility than my previous schedule.  It also gives me free time in the morning and very little time in the evenings.  I am adjusting and like everything else, there are things that I love about it and things that I am hoping I can learn to like.  It will force me to have a lot of self-discipline and remember all of those old time-management skills that I used to use in college.  J  I am also thinking that I may adjust my schedule in the future to allow for a separate morning job.  I mean, I really don't need a 2 hour break for lunch! But I will wait and see.

It is a breath of fresh air not to have my days dictated by a schedule run down to the minute (hello bell-schedule) by someone else.  I feel as though I am free to gain this sense of responsibility on my own and I feel that is important because since school has been back in session, I have felt very weird - like I am playing hooky because I am not in school.  This is the first time in 20+ years that I have not gone back to school after a summer break.  It's scary.  I have the weird inkling in the back of my mind that I am going to get in trouble for not being at school, as if I will be called into the principal’s office at any moment.  It’s weird, but it’s true and I think it makes me all that more grateful that I have made this decision to switch careers right now.  

That is my schedule, and like I said, it changes by the day depending on how much I have to get done.  I am certain that it will continue to change in the future as I gain more responsibilities and figure out what I want my routine to be.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

WolfPack Weekend

Saturday was opening day at Carter-Finley Stadium!  (do they say "opening day" in football too, or is that just baseball?)  We started the day off early, stopping at Bojangles for the tailgate pack to compliment all of our side dishes, and then we headed to the parking lot. Early.  And we did it up in style...check it out....

 Make note, in the following pictures, we are one of the only cars in the lot.  Like I said, we were early.  I think the boys had been counting down the days for quite a while.

I played several games of Kan-jam.  If you don't know what that is, click here.  It's pretty awesome and I'm a lot better at kan-jam than I am at bags, so it is a lot less frustrating for me.

When we headed into the stadium, they gave everyone these little white towels to wave and they actually looked pretty cool when everyone waved them.

I wish they would have played a little better, but they did win.  Let's all just hope they learn a lot this week at practice.

It was a great weekend and I love that I get to have a football team down here.  They are no Illinois, but seeing as I can't get those games on tv or travel there in person, this will definitely do.  Watching score updates on a cell phone is only so fun and it get's old fast. Plus, nobody ever said I couldn't have two teams, right?!