Friday, June 25, 2010

on feeling free

1. I went to yoga yesterday afternoon.... I think I'll be back. I've done it a handful of times previously but there was something about yesterdays class that was different. I'm not sure if it's me being in a different place in my life that made me appreciate it more. Or it could be that I'm way more stressed out that I was so I need it more. Or it may be that the teacher was able to instruct the class better/differently than before so I enjoyed it more. But regardless of the reasoning I thoroughly loved it. I don't know if I'll ever be a yoga master or if I'll "find my soul" stretching on a mat but as long as it keeps giving me a fresh start and a relaxed feeling like it did yesterday then I'll keep going. I left with such positive energy and felt like I had already accomplished so much for the day.

2. Maybe it was the positive feelings overflowing from yoga but volunteering last night at Hospice was a real joy. I really felt like I was making a difference last night. Even if it was just in relieving the House Aid by running errands and picking up dinner I felt like I was supposed to be there. And what's even better, I was offered a letter of recommendation for med school by the volunteer coordinator without even having to ask for one. I was in the right place at the right time and really felt like I was being thanked on an individual level. I also think I might stop by the local library and check out a few new Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I forgot how inspiring those books are. I got the chance to read a few stories to one of the patients last night and loved how they made me feel and how she smiled at the end of each one.

3. I made some serious progress on my paper today. A few hours at Starbucks later I had downed a bunch of iced coffee and was really rolling. (PS- if you don't have a registered Starbucks gift card, you need to get one. I recently made it to Gold Level, whoo hooo, which means I get FREE refills on all iced coffee and teas. Can you say sweet!?) Some parts were really hard for me to write, I wanted to give up or move on instead of write what needed to be said. But I was motivated enough to get through it and write. Not only for the sake of including anything that's made me who I am but also for my own comfort. I do admit that I ended up removing some of what I wrote but even just to get it down on paper, well technically on the screen, helped me. I never thought writing about something would make me feel this relieved, free, and rewarded.

4. I'll leave you with this image of what we saw on our late night Taco Bell run last night simply because I think it's hilarious. I know they're required to put up a sign about height clearance for trucks and what not, but how clever! How could a car duck? :-)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

on being matchy-matchy

When getting ready for my day this morning I picked out my favorite Gap Jean Shorts (because they're super comfy, the perfect length, and the perfect size) and a simple red tank from American Eagle (because it's a bright color and easily worn by itself). I decided to pair it with my Invisible Children bracelets, one in white and one in red, to accent my outfit. These bracelets are awesome, simple and different. I love being coordinated, I think it really ties the whole thing together. I was headed out to Starbucks to make some serious progress on my autobiography.

I slipped on my Old Navy flips and made a mental note, "am I being too matching right now with red flip flops?" And I decided, "Nah it's okay..." I grabbed my computer, my planner, my charger and my handy Free Handcrafted Beverage coupon that I mentioned here.

Packing up my computer, I realized, wait a second, my computer case is red too... maybe I should ditch it... I figured I wasn't going far, I could carry it by itself from my car into Starbucks.

I never go to Starbucks without my lovely Cold Drink Cup but didn't realize until I got there that what do you know, it has red too! I love the festive straw that came with the cups around the Holidays but seriously... more red? I got over it, enjoyed my free Venti Iced Carmel Macchiato, nonfat milk, extra carmel and attempted to write. I've been having some significant writers block lately but was able to get some good planning done as well as a little bit of actual writing. The air conditioning was blasting inside so I eventually had to head home to warm up a little. Plus I needed a break from attempting to be creative and my stomach was growling.

I step outside and what do you know, my car is red too. I never even think about it on a normal basis but now, everything from my whole day is the same color. And oddly enough, red's not even my favorite color. I decided, I'm not going anywhere else today until I change something about my matchy-matchy outfit. And to think it was all accidental. I felt like a little kid who's mom dresses them for the day. There are many many pictures of me where my shirt, the huge bows in my hair, my tights and even my shoelaces were the same exact color... but that was when I was six.... not twenty-one.

What do you think? Can you be too coordinated as an adult? Should I have stopped at the red flip flops? Has anyone else had a day like today... or am I the only freak odd one?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

needs to/wants to/can't be done

Dear Stomach,
Can you please stop grumbling?
Especially since I know you're full of pizza pockets, veggies and dip.
Slightly Annoyed,
I hate stomach noises

Dear MSAR Book,
Want to just tell me where to apply?
It'll save me a lot of time and effort if you just decide for me.
I love sticky-notes so please mark all corresponding pages accordingly.
Thanks for the help,
Future MD

Dear New Apartment,
We would love it if you just grew, oh, say 200 extra square feet.
It would make moving that much less stressful.
Your new tenant

Dear Chardonnay in the Fridge,
If there is anyway for you to make it Friday already (or even Thursday) I'd appreciate it.
Indulging on you by myself isn't the best option for today.
But you're new and I want you.
I want it to feel like summer

Dear Autobiography,
Do you really need to be 10 pages long?
Are there really that many things you need to know about me?
Aren't bullet points so much more effective?
Writer's Block

Dear Current Nail Polish,
Please leave so I can replace you.
It's magenta's turn.
Pedicure Princess

Dear Gym,
Be good to me today...
Declining Motivation

Dear Resume,
Why must you be so difficult?
Can't you just be good for every job listing?
I swear, you're so needy that I have to keep changing you all the time.
Needs money now

Dear Nook,
I'm sorry for neglecting you.
It's not that I don't love the novel you bring to me, I've just been busy.
Can we meet later this week?
It's time for a story

Dear Free-Coffee Coupon,
I plan on using you soon.
Thanks so much for giving me a free handcrafted drink.
Caffeine Addict

Dear Best Friend,
Please hurry up and get here.
I miss you.
Your BFF

Monday, June 21, 2010

on a daddy's girl

Be thankful for those in your life. Enjoy their flaws, their smile, their courage, their strengths. Tell them your stories, listen to theirs. Cherish their gifts and also their sacrifices. Respect their encouragement and guidance. Hold their hand close to yours. Give a hug because you care. Say I love you because you do.

"Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes"
~Gloria Naylor

on apartment decorating

In less than a month.... we're moving. I have to say that I'm pretty excited about it because I'm really pumped to have a new, clean slate to decorate. There were some decorating attempts in our current apartment but things were more just thrown together with what we had. I really want to try and make this apartment feel more like our own place as opposed to just where our stuff is. My dislike towards renting has really increased lately and I can't wait to be able to paint walls, change flooring, and make major updates but for now we have to make due with minimal, but hopefully significant additions.

I've been looking online for decorating ideas so we don't go into the new place with no concept of what we want. Today I spend the afternoon on Better Homes and Gardens looking at their great apartment improvement pages. Here is what I'm loving right now...

+ This kitchen is most likely close to the size ours will be. (I haven't actually seen it, but I'm going tomorrow.) I'm pretty sure I'm going to get a rug for the floor, it adds texture and definitely makes it feel more like home. While on our vacation, I got a gorgeous print of extra ripe, bright yellow bananas. I knew right away that the print was going in the kitchen! I went to Hob Lob when they had a sale for frames and got a set of awesome, denim-blue colored frames and plan on printing two more pictures from our trip to go along with it. So instead of a creepy man in our kitchen, we'll have a nice collage of prints.

+ I absolutely loooove the idea of this storage. It's hard to tell in the picture but it makes use of that awkward space underneath your kitchen sink. While ours will always have cabinet doors, I still plan on making trips to Ikea or the Container Store to purchase some organizing things for under here. Rolls of toilet paper or paper-towels, extra sponges, extra candles, and possibly even scissors/office supplies and some files we want to keep handy.
+ Since we're both students, we always have a lot of papers, notebooks, text books, note cards, calculators, sticky-notes, etc etc lying around. It's always driven me crazy that we don't really have a place to put them where they're not so... ugly and cluttered. Boxes with lids would be the perfect solution. We could even divvy them up as to whos are who's. While I would love to also add a cute hallway table like this into our personal collection of furniture, I'm not sure that's going to happen but we have plenty of spaces under our current coffee tables for sturdy boxes like these.

+ I've wanted a desk for far too long. I'm sick of sitting doing homework on the dining room table simply because it always ends up one of two ways. 1: I have to clear off all my supplies so we can have dinner. I usually have my computer (with charger), multiple books, pens, highlighters, notes, and stikies spread everywhere. And to be honest, it's a little bit of a hassle to move it all for dinner knowing I'll be back in the same spot in less than an hour. Or 2: I leave all said-supplies where they are, spread where we're supposed to eat, which reduces us to eating on the couch. Yes, there are sometimes when I like it. Ordering pizza so we can watch a movie during dinner, perfect time for the couch. But when we have salads, or pasta or anything that requires a knife and a fork, I much prefer the table. To be short, this table, matching with other furniture and extremely simple would serve as a perfect spot for me.

Have you decorated an apartment you rent(ed)? What worked for you and what didn't? Any tips?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

on summertime

What best describes my mood right now? I'm pretty sure this video sums it up perfectly!

I am so extremely grateful that I can finally relax and enjoy summer. It's like tomorrow is the start of a completely different life style compared to the one I've been living since March. When they say to study a total of 300 hours, it really is true. But for now... no more studying, no more "there's something else I need to memorize", no more libraries, no more practice tests, no more MCAT. And even though it seems like there's always something that needs to get done (my 10 page autobiography I haven't started, my application, desperate job hunting, planning to move) I am taking great comfort in being able to spend my days choosing what I want to do. And simply, if that means nothing, then so be it.

On the list for tomorrow: getting a much needed hair cut trim. I desperately miss my long hair; I can't believe it's been over a year already since the big chop! My pup also needs a bath so we're taking him to the laundro-mut :-) As for the rest of the day... whatever happens happens. But for goodness sake, it's summer and I deserve a break!

PS: I'm sorry that my consistency in blogging has been, well, inconsistent. Given that my life was previously consumed, I doubt anyone would be interested in the "adventures" I was having. Does anyone care that there was a screaming child for 30 minutes in the library on Tuesday? Does anyone care that I tried to go to bed at 9:30 all week because I was so exhausted? Yeah, I didn't think so. BUT, since I will now have more free time than I'll probably know what to do with, I promise to be better.

PSS: Thank you to anyone who actually still reads my poor attempts lately. My blog may be pathetic but I appreciate you none the less.

Monday, June 14, 2010

on paradise

To be honest, I don't even know where to start with details about our Antigua trip. Do I talk about all the things we saw diving? Do I talk about the people we met? The drama? The weather? The island? The adventures? Being as obsessed as I am with other people's blogs that always include pictures, I think that's how I'll begin. Hopefully I'll be able to explain how absolutely amazing, super relaxing, and much needed this vacation was for me.

+ If there was one thing that wasn't ideal about this vacation it would have to be actually getting there. In case you were like me when I first found out we were going here and thought "where the heck is this place" well it's in the Caribbean, south-east of Puerto Rico.... that's approximately 4700 miles of traveling from my home in SD. 2 hours from SD to Denver where I met with my family. 4 hours from Denver to Newark where we stayed the night. And 4 hours from Newark to Antigua. Can you say jet lag? But as soon as we touched down I knew I was going to like this place. The airport was small enough that we used the ladders to get off the plane and the oddest thing happened... We landed in perfect sunny skies and by the time we made it to the front of the plane, it was pouring. And when I say pouring, it's not like the normal amount of rain I'm used to. Each drop was like a cup of water and the water was hot, literally. So there we were, getting off the plane, running in the rain and 90 degree weather. Welcome to Antigua I guess?

+ Monday morning we headed into English Harbor to go on our first dives of the trip. Our dive masters name was John and we were lucky enough to be the only 5 people on the dive boat with him. That made the whole experience 100 times better because it's so much more personal that way. John is a skinny, little, extremely animated British man who owns a dive shop called Aquanaut Divers. Overall, the diving in Antigua was the best we've ever, ever had. The water averaged 80 degrees the whole time, much better than the cold Pacific. We saw a couple dozen lobsters that were all over a foot long, green and spotted eels, a shark, jellyfish, rays, and more fish than y
ou see in an aquarium. John was awesome at pointing things out for us and getting us involved. He even caught a jellyfish and let us touch it, without getting stung I might add. I wish my little waterproof camera had better depth ability and I could have documented all the gorgeous things we were able to see. We enjoyed freshly picked mangos during our air-time between dives each day and went to a total of 6 different dive sites.

+ Tuesday was picture day. My little sister came up with the brilliant idea to get her senior pictures taken while we were on our trip and contacted a local photographer, Jason Pickering, to do the photos. (I have to admit that I'm super jealous here pictures were taken here, how cool is that, seriously?) Luckily it's been years since my mom has had any pictures taken of the two of us so I was able to step in for a few too. They turned out absolutely gorgeous and it was such a cool experience. We had another freak rain shower, that lasted only about 10 minutes again, but we were lucky that we had just finished the shoot before it came. We had lunch at a local restaurant and stopped by the market to pick up some more groceries. Little did we know before the trip, but when Antigua says it's their "slow season" for tourists, it really is the sloooow season. So slow in fact that most restaurants weren't open for business anymore. I guess the threat of a possible hurricane from June through September really does shut the whole 108 square mile island down.

+ We spent the next few days doing more diving and more of this. The beaches were perfect; big tall palm trees, white sand, breeze off the ocean, 80% humidity and 90 degree weather. We learned after the first day though not to be on the beach after 4 pm. They have sand fleas that can jump up to 18 inches and they only come out in the late afternoon and evening. The locals call them "no-see-ums" because they're too tiny to see and you don't feel them biting your legs until you're covered with itchy red spots the next day. Needless to say, 30 bites will make you get off the beach real quick. But we also learned that since the island was settled by the British, they served tea and biscuits from 4-5 pm every day so that's where we spent the afternoons. We took full advantage of having a full sized kitchen in our condo and made dinner in all the nights we stayed there. The resort had a few evening entertainments like crab races and steel band music for us to enjoy before we passed out from our days in the sun.

+ Since the island is so small, it doesn't take more than a 45 minute drive to go from the farthest point south, where we were staying, to the farthest point north. So, feeling adventurous, we rented a car. With the steering wheel on the other side of the car and having to drive on the left side of the road, it made for quite the excursion. All that plus the herds of sheep and goats and pot holes that could swallow your car... I'm glad I wasn't the one driving. We drove through the Antigua Rain forrest which wasn't much of a typical "rain forrest" but it was still much more lush than any thing we'd seen. The road was lined with banana trees (known to the locals as fig trees) and there were people zip lining all over. Eventually we made it to the extremely crowded, not too nice, capital city of St. John, walked around for a bit and decided we were better off isolated than in that mess. We were able to see a lot of the coast line, lots of beaches, and different spots around the island. We munched on some Walkers potato chips that were the oddest flavors we've heard of; Prawn Cocktail and Pickled Onions to be exact, but they were pretty tasty. We drove to the medical school on the island but were very disappointed in their "hush-hush" ways that meant we couldn't even go through the gate.

+ We spent our last day packing all our dive gear and super sandy clothes and hanging out at our favorite place on the resort.... too bad we didn't find our favorite little pool until our last day. Because of how warm the weather is there, most of the pools were way to warm to be relaxing out in the hot sun. But this one, with it's flowing waterfalls, had plenty of circulation to keep it cool. My trusty Olympus digital camera came in quite handy for taking some great water pictures on our last day. Definitely shots you wouldn't dare try with a non-waterproof point and shoot. We all enjoyed floating and swimming and being the coolest we'd been the entire trip. Antigua is by far the warmest most humid place I've ever been. Not that I'm complaining, it's just nice to be able to cool off too. Mixed through all our sun bathing, adventures, diving, swimming, relaxing, and sweating I was able to spend some time with my trusty note cards and study material (I know, it never ends right?) but I have to admit that I didn't do as much as I had planned. Once we were there and I felt the stress start to come off, I realized it might be better for me and my sanity to not spend the whole trip inside with books. And I have to say, it was totally worth it. (my practice test today showed an improved score even with the less studying and extreme jet-lag from getting up at odd hours in the morning)

+ So what's the general consensus then? Antigua is paradise and I would definitely go back. Now as soon as I get myself caught up on some sleep tonight, I'm feeling pretty good about my test on Thursday... t-minus 3 days.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

on a speak peak

There's a reason I've been MIA lately and this time.... it's not stress related. I've been in paradise aka Antigua. I promise I'll update with details soon, when we're not laying on the beach or scuba diving.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

on giving a little love

I may not be the person who goes on political rants.
I may not be the person who choses to voice their opinions to anyone they meet.
I may not be the person who knows everything about every current event.
I may not be the person to try to change the things you believe in hopes that you'll agree with me.
I may not be the person to put you down for sticking to what you know.
I may not be the person who hates anyone that believes differently than me.

I am the person who believes in the best for all.
I am the person who wants the world to be a better place.
I am the person who will do a little something here and there to try and help.
I am the person who tears up for this commercial given the current state of our Gulf of Mexico.
I am the person who wants you to buy Dawn so that maybe one more oily duck out there can get a bath.

*I actually looked up what having a duck as a pet requires after seeing this commercial. They are so adorable*

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

on being thankful

I am thankful...

+ for the motivation I've had lately. Because without it, yeah, I'd be seriously stressed. I'm already starting to get those stress symptoms, stomach aches, head aches, groggy feelings, etc, even with all of the things I've been able to accomplish. My studying is going great, I'm right on track with my course and I'm feeling much more confident for this time around.
Current countdown= 15 days

+ that all my hard work is seeming to be paying off. My practice test scores have seriously increased from what they were 7 weeks ago when I just happened to have a break down and thought about giving up to work at Walmart my whole life. And even better than that is that my practice scores are now higher than my first actual score. Hopefully this keeps it's upward trend. 35 here I come.

+ for the motivation I've had in other areas besides my test because lord knows that's most of my time right now. I've made myself stop studying to go to the gym occasionally to try to work out those other muscles I have. Not just my brain and my "writing muscles." And I have to say it feels good to get out and release like that. Plus, Jeff and I even got up at 6 am and went for a run this morning. I know, I'm shocked too, but we really did it! For us non-runners, that was a big step.

+ for times when the laundry is clean. It seems like a never ending battle and I'm sure it's much easier to do laundry for two than for a whole family and I shouldn't really complain. But most of the time I dread doing it since we don't have our own washer and dryer. That means trucking to the garage multiple times and paying for each load. Not to mention having to run down as soon as it's done so some big jerk doesn't take your clothes out. (I seriously don't understand why people do that and it drives me batty! You really can't wait 5 min until I'm there and have move everything on top of the washer? Ughh) But as much as laundry annoys me, I love when it's done, you can wear whatever clothes you want!

+ we are getting to go out on Friday night and see Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, and Love & Theft! I seriously LOVE all three groups and can't wait to enjoy the night, maybe even with a beer or two. I really hope the evening turns out as great as I'm hoping it will but as long as there's good country music and I have my boy at my side, I'll be a happy girl.

+ for my upcoming Antigua vacation! I don't think it's really set in yet that I'm really going because of all the other things I've had on my mind lately but after browsing some resort pictures, yeah, I'm stoked! The traveling part is not going to be very much fun (flight Saturday to Denver 10:30 am, flight to Newark 5 pm, flight to Antigua 9 am, arrive 1 pm) but it's going to be so worth it once we're there. I found out yesterday they offer free water sports equipment so I may or may not try to wind surf while we're there. Along with the diving, tanning, shopping, relaxing, possibly drinking (they make their own specialty rum on the island) and don't forget the studying. (yes I know I'm a nut for studying, but my test is in 15 days remember) I'll definitely need someone to pinch me when we get there.
And to think that I get to eat this for breakfast every day.... Heaven.

+ most importantly for my BF, my main squeeze. He has been beyond supportive with all of my "non-fun" habits lately and I can't thank him enough. I am almost, just almost, more excited to be back in SD in a few weeks simply to be able to have fun with him more often. It's summer for crying out loud, let's make the best of it. But really, I love you babe. ♥

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

on vintage pictures

So I don't know about anyone else but I love vintage looking/inspired pictures. I think they are fabulous! I think changing the effects on a picture can totally transform it into something timeless, something frame worthy and something totally different than the typical "full-color, point-and-shoot" image. With all of that said, I happened to stumble on this website where you can upload your pictures and it will give them that vintage look. You can take a picture today in 2010 and have it look like it's from the 30's, how great is that! It's awesome for capturing a special moment or for taking a picture of something every day, like say flowers, and making it unique.

*Yes I realize the language on the site is, well, I don't know what it is but it's not English. However, it's still easy to do because there's a "choose file" option and a blue box below it that must say upload because it worked for me*

Here are a few pictures I tried and they look awesome! What do you think? Will you give it a shot (no pun intended)?


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