What are your Black Friday traditions?

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Hi friends!

I hope everyone had an AMAZING thanksgiving yesterday! We had about 12 people over (friends and family) and had such a fun day together. Life is best when you’re with the people you love! So much good food and awesome company. I’m still buzzing from all the good vibes!

What is everyone up to today? Who is going shopping today for Black Friday? I only went Black Friday shopping one time about 13 years ago. I was in college at the time and was spending thanksgiving at my brother Ken’s house. A few other family members and friends were there too, and at some point we decided to check out the Black Friday sales.

Goodness me, let me tell you — it was a purely BONKERS experience! There were definitely great sales happening all over the place, but the mall was nuts! I’ve never been so over-stimulated in my life. The crowds were intense, Christmas music coming from every corner, and lines to checkout were so long that it would take like an hour to get to the counter. That was my only experience with braving the Black Friday crowds — MAJOR kudos to anyone gutsy enough to do it! These days we enjoy a low key post-thanksgiving day, and if any shopping happens, it is definitely online from the couch.

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Speaking of online shopping, between now and Cyber Monday we might pick up a few things online… possibly a bench to go at the foot of the bed and other random stuff. It will depend on prices. We don’t actually NEED anything urgently, we just have a couple of things we’ve been thinking about purchasing for a while. One thing we have been thinking about for a long time is small bar-height table with 2 tall chairs for the deck. It’s not an urgent thing — after all, it’ll be like 7 months before it’s warm enough to even sit outside! But who knows, it doesn’t hurt to poke around and get a sense for what’s out there.

What do you guys normally do on Black Friday? Anyone have any cool Black Friday traditions? We don’t have any “set” traditions for Black Friday, but the past few years we have gone to see a movie with family. For a while we were watching Hunger Games movies every year because the movies would come out right around thanksgiving. Last year I think we saw Arrival with Amy Adams which got mixed reviews from our family/friends (I liked it, but my brother didn’t). I think one year we also went for a hike on Black Friday. This afternoon we might see the new Justice League movie. Everyone is currently lazing around at home so we’ll see what everyone feels like doing in a few hours.

I mentioned last week that I am currently reading Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen with my book club. So far I have completed 4 chapters, and can safely say I am hugely enjoying it! Her writing style is so palatable, and I find the character’s voice very easy to follow.

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Something that may or may not happen at some point this weekend is cake-baking! This is an old photo but it’s from the same cake mix. I have a some mix that didn’t get made for thanksgiving (we were very happily inundated with pie!). We’ll see how the day progresses and whether I want to be in the kitchen hah! Is it just me or does anyone need at least a day to decompress from all things cooking-related after big holidays? Plus we still have some pie leftover, so realistically I probably won’t make this for several days yet.

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Here’s a random thing I thought I’d share: we recently organized a corner of the garage that was previously spilling over with STUFF. I am determined to have an organized…or at least semi-organized garage! When it seemed like things were getting out of hand, I went up to the attic and dragged down an old plastic storage bin with drawers. It turned out to be the perfect solution for all the random stuff that was piling up in the corner. It would be awesome to eventually get a large sturdy cabinet with shelving, but for now this is a great intermediary solution.

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I have been chomping these sweet little clementines all day! They are so easy to peel and perfectly delicious. I like to have a box of these in the house at all times. I swear I can eat like 6 in a row. How do you store your clementines? I usually just keep them on the kitchen counter — they are usually gone within a few days and I haven’t noticed any issues with them going bad before then. My friend keeps them in her fridge because she likes them cold. Do you prefer your clementines by themselves or in other foods? I have had them in salads and they add a refreshing citrusy kick. Last week Joel put some clementines in his dinner… I’ve never had clementines with pasta, kale, and chicken —  it sounded kinda weird to me hah!… but he said it was good!

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Another random photo from my office at work. I know, it’s a holiday and who wants to talk about work? haha! Fun fact: my office heats up to like 90 degrees on summer afternoons. It can be absolutely sweltering, and the building management office said they can’t do anything about it because if they turn up the AC, the offices on the other side of the building will freeze. Apparently it’s been an issue for decades (yay old buildings). About a year ago, my solution was to put these sun visors against the window! Almost the entire wall is a window, which means the sun REALLY heats things up. Having the visors up help to block the sun and prevent the office from heating up so much. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but better than nothing. I took the visors down for the cold season. I’m sure people coming into my office must wonder why I have all these sun visors stacked up!

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Anyway, that’s all from me folks, I hope you’re all enjoying this holiday weekend, and that you’ve got some super fun plans in store with your loved ones!

What are your Black Friday traditions? Are you a fan of clementines? Got any books to recommend?

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Friendsgiving, pong, and holiday decor!

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Hi guys!

Happy thanksgiving everyone! Thanksgiving week is in full swing around here, just like I’m sure it is where you are!

Our thanksgiving celebrations started a week early when we had friends over for Friendsgiving! It was a total blast. Everyone brought a dish to share, which made for a wide variety of delicious options!

Joel and I brought two pie selections: a pumpkin pie and a “triple berry” pie. We picked them up at a local grocery store’s bakery section, as we have been longtime fans of their baked goods… ESPECIALLY the berry pie! Both of the options were delicious, but the berry pie was the mega hit with our friends. There’s something about yummy berries and flaky buttery crust that made for the perfect combination. I think the pie disappeared in about 60 seconds. If you are ever near a ShopRite, you MUST try their berry pie. I am not exaggerating — I literally went there specifically for this pie.

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In total we had 5 different pies, cheesecake, and cookies — no shortage of dessert options! There so much food leftover that everyone left with more food than they came with (don’t ask me how that is possible hah!).

It was such a good time hanging out with everyone. My throat was sore the next day from all the talking and laughing!

Somehow with all the different dishes that everyone brought, no one brought cranberry sauce — EEK! good thing we always keep a can on hand for such occasions! Cranberry sauce is one of my favorite holiday dishes. And STUFFING!!! With cranberry sauce, stuffing, and turkey, I am in heaven. Another favorite of mine is sweet potatoes (especially when they are roasted), but honestly if I had to choose between sweet potatoes and stuffing, stuffing wins hands down!

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After eating way too much, we played a couple rounds of Heads Up. One of my friends has the app on her phone so we used that instead of the board game. If you haven’t played, you really must. It is such a hilarious game.

And then after that, we played some ping pong. We mostly played doubles since there were a good number of us. We all agreed that a tournament NEEDS to happen very soon.

Speaking of ping pong, I thought I would let you know that interestingly enough, I have a decent back hand but a “meh” forehand. In tennis it is the opposite — my tennis forehand is way better than backhand. Who’da thunkit? But I guess none of that matters because I’m not great at either game hah!

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While ping pong was in full swing (very punny hah!) we got to hear a little bit of a song that one of our friends is composing. He is coming out with an album soon and it was really cool hearing the song before it is released! It sounded awesome! He’s going to do some touring when it officially comes out.

The past day or so has been fairly low key as we get ready to have family and friends over for thanksgiving day. I love having everyone together. I didn’t celebrate thanksgiving growing up because it isn’t a “thing” in Kenya, but I have fully embraced it!

While we’re discussing thanksgiving, I would like to know: what is your favorite way to prepare the turkey? We usually put the bird in an oven bag, which helps to keep it from drying out. Joel’s mom used to cook her turkey that way, so that’s where we got the idea. A friend of mine loves to brine her turkey. Also delicious!!

This year we contemplated the deep-fried turkey thing since we have all the supplies from our lobster bake. I’ve heard that deep fried turkey is ridiculously delicious –> of course you gotta be careful not to start a forest fire though! In any case, we ended up not going that route this time around, but are definitely interested for the future.

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I am still in the process of deciding what holiday decor I want to put up at home. Back in our old apartment, we put up a small (3 foot) faux tree and that’s about it. We still have that tree, so we’ll probably put it up again this year. Maybe next year we will get a real tree. I’d like to also do something with the mantle (garland?) and other spots in the house. I haven’t done a ton of decorating over the years so I’m fairly new to the whole thing. I’ve been browsing Pinterest for inspiration, which has given me a lot of cool ideas.

Over the weekend we went to 3 places in search of holiday decor: TJ Maxx, Target, and Pier 1. They all had some great options which gave us more great ideas. At TJ Maxx I saw a set of stocking hangars in the shape of snow flakes and I almost bought them until Joel pointed out that they were scratched and dinged. Bummer! Oh well. I plan to look for something like it on Amazon (here’s a similar option).

On a random note, Joel and I were in agreement that burgers and fries sounded stellar, so that is exactly what we had for lunch. It totally hit the spot! What are your thoughts on ketchup? Joel likes it on his fries but NOT on his burger. He’s a strictly mustard guy when it comes to burgers. I am a ketchup lover who puts it on fries AND burgers! I even like ketchup with my fish & chips (instead of tartar sauce) hah!

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For the rest of the day I am tying up some loose ends at work then popping over to the store to pick up last minute food items. I am sure the store is going to be totally bonkers with all of us last-minute shoppers trying to get in there!

I hope you all have an AMAZING thanksgiving tomorrow! Enjoy the delicious foods, and soaking in all that precious time with loved ones!

What’s your favorite holiday food/dish? How do you prepare your turkey? Where do you love to buy your holiday decor?  

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The very best things in life!

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Hi friends!

I hope your thanksgiving week is off to an amazing start! In the spirit of thanksgiving, I thought it would be the perfect time to discuss some things I am thankful for!

Joel

Of course I have to start with this guy! I am so very thankful for him. We met in college (many moons ago!), were friends for a year, then dated for 4 years before getting married. 10 years into marriage, I am STILL thankful that he is the person I am “doing life” with.

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Friends

I cannot express how thankful I am to have such incredible people in my life. Whether the friendships were formed waaay back in childhood or more recently, I am ridiculously blessed to know such wonderful people. I just wish we all lived closer, instead of being spread out across the country and globe! Thank goodness for things like WhatsApp and Gchat which make keeping in touch easier. But my secret plan in life is to somehow gather up all my friends so that we can live in the same city one day…

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Book club

I started a book club with several good friends, and it has been such FUN! I am super thankful that I have friends who love to read as much as I do! It is such a great time getting together, discussing books/reading, and catching up! I so appreciate all the ladies in the book club, and am excited to keep reading #allthebooks. We have a major list of books that we are working our way through (and always adding to!). Sometimes a conversation over wine and snacks is exactly what you need at the end of a long day. Our next book is Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen — I just received it in the mail yesterday and am excited to dive in!

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Family

I love my family! And I’m so thankful for them. I come from a big huge ginormous family — 9 kids! Yup, there are a lot of us. Family get-togethers are always pretty crazy in the best way possible. Now that most of us are married, and several of my siblings have multiple kiddos, the family is ever growing! It is such fun to hang out with my fam – there’s just something about people who “GET”, I mean they have known you for your entire life, and somehow still manage to love you! A lot of my family live in other parts of the world (Kenya, South Africa, Netherlands, parts of Asia, Australia, etc) so we don’t often get the chance to be together. Luckily for me, I have a brother who lives just a couple hours away in NYC, so we get to see him and his wife fairly often. I wish I could round everyone up and transport them to Connecticut stat!

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Small group

We started hosting a small group (same thing as a bible study group) through our church earlier this year, and we seriously LOVE it! I’m thankful for each person in our group. They are a pretty stellar bunch! We get together at our house every week. It has truly become one of my favorite parts of the week. Sometimes the best thing is a mid-week get-together with special friends! Relatedly, I am also extremely thankful for our church, City Church in New Haven.  The vibe of the church actually reminds me a lot of our church in Houston (Sagemont) which is probably why we felt quite at home since the very beginning!

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Running

This goes without saying, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyway — I am so thankful for RUNNING! I started running way back in college as a way of keeping fit since I was no long involved in sports every day the way I was in high school. I didn’t love running back then, it was just a way to stay in shape. But somewhere along the years, I discovered the magic of running. Over the years I have cycled through bouts of heavy training and light (or zero) training. But I always come back to running. I can honestly say that I feel my best when I am training consistently. I’m thankful to have found in running an outlet for stress. It is one of the ways I cope with anxiety. I’m also thankful for all the ways running is “there” for me, like never failing to give me a sense of accomplishment (even the bad runs)!

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Travel

I am thankful that we have had the opportunity to travel. We aren’t major globe-trotters (we have only taken a few overseas trips since getting married), but we hugely appreciate the travel we have gotten to do so far. One of my favorite trips was to the Grand Canyon. We were in Phoenix for a couple days for a work conference, and decided to take the drive up to the Grand Canyon and back — in the same day. It was a long drive (4 hours if I remember correctly), and the adventure was such fun! We left Phoenix at around 4am and returned that night totally exhausted. It was worth it though! The Canyon is absolutely breathtaking! Since we only got to spend a few hours there, we didn’t get a chance to do as much as we would have liked. But we did get to go on a cool tour, do lots of walking, and see the canyon from various perspectives. One day we would like to go back and do some hiking down into the canyon!

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Relaxation

What can I say, I love me some down time. I am thankful for all the times that we have been able to kick back and enjoy a relaxed moment. Joel and I appreciate a good low key day where we can just be still. Sometimes life gets so busy and it’s easy to forget to slow down. The still moments can be the most beautiful moments. I am thankful that we have had opportunities to take breaks from all the anxiety and stress of life.

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What are you thankful for today? Got some fun things planned for the week? What’s your favorite thanksgiving dish? 

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Michael Jackson, running earbuds, and guitar strings!

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Hi friends!

I don’t know about you, but I’m still getting over the shock that November is upon us. Where has this year gone?

I got my run in early this morning so that I could get a couple things done before work. I’m definitely a morning runner. I’d rather get up at 4am to run before the day takes off, than run in the afternoon or evening. In my case, if my run doesn’t happen in the morning, there is like a 0.01% chance it will happen at all.

This morning I listened to Michael Jackson before my run and I feel like it really got me in the mood to rock the run. My younger brother and I used to dance to Michael Jackson songs when we were kids – there may or may not be an incriminating home video of us absolutely crushing the dance moves. I’ve always loved some good ol MJ!

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This particular morning, I originally wanted to run 6 miles, but only made it 5. By that time I needed to hop off the treadmill if I was going to be on time. Even though I didn’t make it to my magic number 6, I’m still glad I made time to run.

Speaking of magic numbers, over the years I have found that my favorite number of miles to run in a single non-long-run workout is 6. It seems like that perfect “goldilocks” amount of time for me. I can get a decent workout in 6 miles whether it is 400’s, 800’s, a tempo, or a simple easy run.

In other running matters, my Jaybird Freedom bluetooth earbuds have officially bit the dust. 😦 I used these exclusively to run, so they got their share of sweat. I made sure to wipe and dry them after every workout, so I thought they would last longer than 3 months. With previous Jaybird earbuds that I have owned (like the Bluebuds), they died gradually before officially croaking. But the Freedoms died rather suddenly. I had just gotten done with a run when I noticed that the left earbud sounded crackly. Within minutes of that, the left side died completely. I powered them off, wanting to reboot them, but they never turned on again after that. Dead.

I called the Jaybird customer support who have always been awesome – but there was no hope. My Freedoms were a replacement pair for my previous dead Bluebuds, and thus were out of warranty. The agent was able to provide a 30% discount for a new pair, which is nice.

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I loved my Jaybirds, but the truth is I have not yet decided if I will purchase another pair. What I liked about it was being able to run without a wire connecting my ears to my phone. What I don’t love is that each pair only lasted me a few months before dying. I’m not particularly hard on my electronics; I try to take good care of them and only wear them to run. But who knows, maybe that hour-ish of sweat is more than the earbuds can handle, even though they are supposed to be “sweat resistant”. So right now I don’t know if I can justify spending that much on another pair…

For now, I am running with my trusty JLab Audio earbuds which have never let me down. They are sweatproof AND water resistant, and have been going strong for the past 2 years. I bought mine on Amazon for $29.99, but it looks like now they are $24.99, and there are some fun colors too!

In other news, for as long as I can remember, Joel and I have always done our weekly grocery shopping trip together. We started going to the store together back when we lived in Texas, and have never stopped! Whenever we get to the checkout counter, we always see who can guess the price of the food. The person with the closest guess wins, and you have to be within $5 of the final cost (after tax). As you can see, my seltzer game is still going strong! I have been in love with citrusy-flavored seltzer for years.

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Another thing we did was go to our local guitar store. We are hosting a “smores and song” night this week with friends, and Joel is playing guitar for that. He wanted to put new strings on his guitar, so we popped by to pick up some strings. Side note, I am VERY excited about smores! It is going to be fun sitting by a fire, singing songs, and hanging out with friends.

I haven’t been in a guitar store in years! The last time we were in one was in Houston. My siblings came down to Texas for Christmas and for some reason we stopped in to look at guitars. We ended up hanging out for a while in one of the rooms in the back. One of my brothers played guitar in a band, so he played a few songs and we all sang along as best we could. At some point a stranger walked in and turned out to be an amazing guitar player who knew some of the same songs, so he joined in too haha! Just one of those cool memories tucked away in my head that surfaces whenever I’m in one of these stores!

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Something else I am trying to do is finish up my book club book, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. I made good progress last month, but haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet lately. I still have a few days to get it together before our next book club meeting, so I plan to make significant headway this weekend. That is, if I can stay off Netflix long enough to pick up a book! Hah! Speaking of Netflix, please feel free to pass along your show recommendations… I binged watched Stranger Things 2 last weekend and am itching to get into another show (of course I’ll wait till after I’m done with the book though haha!).

What are your wireless/bluetooth earbuds recommendations (preferably sweatproof and waterproof)? Do you have any shows to recommend? 

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The one gym to rule them all. Get in here fam.

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In today’s “Friday Review,” let’s talk GYMS!

Ooh la la… la baguette… la croix… la fitness!  🙂

I LOVE my gym. We have been LA Fitness members since 2014, and it has honestly been perfect for us.

I have mentioned before that I run a lot, and many of my runs (especially in bad weather) happen at the gym. I also do a bit of strength/cross training, which is all aimed to support my running.

So here are a few reasons why I love my LA Fitness:

Proximity to home. My gym is only a few miles from my house, and I love that I can easily go from driveway to treadmill in 10 minutes flat.

Parking. There is a large, free parking lot right in front of the gym. I have never seen it more than 30% full. I never have to park farther than 20 meters from the door.

Convenient hours. I am normally an early bird. When I am in marathon training, I am up at 4am and running by 5am (when it’s still dark). Although my town is pretty safe, I don’t like to run in the dark. However, as my gym opens at 5am on weekdays, I can happily run there. On weekends it opens at 7am, which is still perfect because I “sleep in” on weekends 🙂

Treadmill plethora. There is no shortage of treadmills (or machines in general) at my gym. I have never had to wait for a treadmill, not even during the busiest times.

Clean machines. This is the cleanest gym I have ever been in. The cleaning staff are totally on top of their game. They are out there every single day vacuuming, scrubbing, disinfecting, and wiping everything from top to bottom. The cleaners have become familiar faces to all of us “regulars.”

Camaraderie. All of us 5am regulars know each other. As you might imagine from the early hour, there aren’t that many of us 🙂 maybe 20 people, who consistently come at 5am. I really like that the gym feels like a group of friends.

Pool. When I was injured with plantar fasciitis, I needed to find other ways to get my cardio in. I got good use out of the bikes, until I found my favorite way to cross-train… in the pool! I loved pool running, especially since it is the most similar type of cross-training to “real” running (aka land running). The pool at my gym is indoor and heated, which is awesome for runners who happen to get injured in the winter 🙂 or people who like to swim all year round!

Sauna. I loved the sauna after pool-running. As you may have gathered, I had my foot injury in the winter time. It felt so good to sit in the warm sauna for a few minutes after my workout in the pool.

Classes. Ok so I haven’t tried any of the classes offered at my gym, mainly because I’m there at 5am before most classes begin (I think the first one starts at 6 or 6:30am). However, I love that I have the option of jumping into a class at any time if I want to.

Personal training. When we first started going to our gym, they gave us a free session each with a personal trainer. I didn’t end up using mine, but Joel did, and he said it was really informative. I often see people with their personal trainer at the gym, and have thought about buying a few sessions of my own. Especially to help me build upper body strength.

Weights. There are a variety of well-maintained weight machines and free weights to suit your every muscle’s needs! I tend to prefer the lower body machines the most (runner here), but Joel really likes the free weights and upper body machines.

Lockers. Lots of clean lockers, for free! I use the lockers most when I do pool workouts, as I store my clothing in them. I do have a combination lock that I bought specifically for the gym lockers, but honestly I don’t use it… I have never felt like someone would take anything (I also don’t bring my wallet, so there’s not much to steal) 🙂

Childcare. We don’t have kids (yet), so we haven’t had a chance to make use of the childcare feature, but you better believe when babies come along we WILL be dropping them off at the awesome childcare in the gym. There is a large playroom just off the entrance with all kinds of kid-related things, like toys, colorful play mats, and climbing obstacles. I can’t say enough how much I love that this is an option!

Do you have a regular time that you always work out? What gym do you go to?

How weird habits keep you grounded

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In today’s “Thursday Thoughts,” let’s discuss habits.

Do we all have weird habits? …..Just me?

Let me give you a bit of background:

Back when I was in college, I shared a 2-bedroom apartment with a few friends. We all attended the same university (Messiah College), and the apartment building was located on campus. There were 5 of us in the apartment. It was such a tiny apartment and we crammed 5 women into it. I don’t know how we all shared one bathroom and a teeny kitchen. 🙂

My roommates and I were all from different backgrounds and majors. One girl was an elementary education major, another girl was super outdoorsey, another was on the hockey team, while another one on the volleyball team.

And then there was me.

As a biology major, I was into the sciences. I took a lot of Bio and Chem courses, which meant that I had labs almost every day for hours on end. I had big goals to attend medical school and become a surgeon (spoiler: neither ended up happening lol I became a psychologist), so I was constantly studying. I’ve never been a night owl, not even during my college years. Most days, I had all my homework done before dinnertime, which gave me time in the evenings to hang out with my boyfriend Joel (who is now husband). My bedtime was normally around 10pm…which is super early for college! Most of my friends were staying up until at least 2am, or even not sleeping at all! I’ve always been an early bird, and I liked running first thing in the morning before class.

One of my roommates, Emilia (not her real name 🙂 ) was an English major who did 99% of her homework and socializing AFTER 1am. She was a night-owl through and through! She works a full time day-job now so she’s probably not pulling those hours anymore, but back then she regularly did the all-nighter thing. It was no big deal for her to go 24-36 hours without sleeping. Emilia would sometimes catch up on sleep by taking an hour nap here and there at random times of the day. I don’t know how she did it — I feel foggy if I get less than 7 hrs of sleep <– probably one of the reasons why the surgeon thing didn’t materialize for me! 🙂

Even though Emilia and I had very different sleeping patterns and routines, we got along really well! We could talk for hours! She is absolutely hilarious and can make me cry-laugh like no other.

So this is how my weird habit started:

Often, I would be winding down for the day, and getting into bed juuust as Emilia was cracking those knuckles in preparation to write a big paper or chat on AOL messenger (…anyone remember that? lol!). Like many college students Emilia was famous for her professional-level procrastinating. It was not unusual for her to crank out an A-grade 3000 word paper in one night because it was due the next day. Talk about performing on a deadline!

Since she was usually madly typing when I was going to sleep, we often joked about how the sound typing was my bedtime lullaby. It was funny…but also not…because she was the proud owner of the clickiest, clunkiest keyboard (think jackhammer).

As a light sleeper, I was often kept awake by the hammering of Emilia’s keyboard. It was months before one of our other roommates suggested that I try earplugs. I had some unopened earplugs from an airline lying around, and when I stuck them in my ears that night… holy moly.

It made the HUGEST difference!

While the earplugs didn’t completely eliminate the noise, they dampened it down enough that I could drift off to sleep. And importantly, i was able to stay asleep all night. Let me tell you, I did not go another night without earplugs! I bought a new pack the very next day.

Fast forward to when my roommates and I graduated from college. We each went our separate ways to start sparkly new jobs and post-college lives.

I moved to New York City to start a Health PR job in Times Square. I went from a tiny town that only had one traffic light to one of the busiest cities on the globe. To say it took some getting used to is an understatement!

In hindsight, I’d say that it was probably during this time that my earplug habit really solidified.

You see, the earplugs were so much more than tools to drown out sounds of the city every night. Yes, they helped this light-sleeper to get some rest, but it was more than that.

This was a habit that “came with me” from my quiet college life to the hustle of the city. The earplugs represented a comforting vestige from those simpler college days.

If you’ve read my post on relocating, you’ll know that moving (at least for me) can be super stressful. Something I’ve realized is that it helps to have some “constants” during those times of change. Things that keep you grounded amidst a shifting landscape. Things that help to reduce the discomfort of upheaval. Things that stay “true” even as the world around you is changing.

So in a strange way, the earplugs became a “constant” in my move to New York. My new life was such a major change — for the first time ever, I was living alone and fending for myself. Nothing about my world was familiar. That is, except for those little earplugs.

In the years since, I have managed to curate a broader collection of habits and constants. In addition to earplugs (which I still wear!), running has become a firm constant in my life. No matter what changes occur, I will still be a runner. And people are my constants too, like my husband and my lifelong friends.

In any case, I know the earplug thing is a really random habit. I’ve been told by many a mom, that when kids come along earplugs will be a thing of the past. After all, I’d want to hear the baby monitor at night. But until then, I’m happily continuing on with this weird habit! 🙂

Got any weird habits of your own? What are your “constants” in life? 

Ideas for blog topics & themes, and my plan for posting

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In thinking about my little blogging corner of the internet, I thought it would be good to plan a writing schedule for myself. I’m at my best when I establish (and stick to) a daily routine.

The idea is to have topics in rotation that will inspire content that is both fresh and varied, while also staying relevant to a particular theme.

As I started to create a bank of ideas for topics and themes… and in doing so, I realized that coming up with viable ideas can be tough.

After all, I want topics to be simultaneously: (1) interesting, fun, or thought-provoking to me, (2) interesting, fun, or thought-provoking to readers, (3) broad enough that I won’t run out of things to say right off the bat, and (4) focused enough that I’d have some framework to work with.

Kind of a tall order.

After a bit of time and a lot of thought, I generated a list of themes, which I have divided by day as well as by month. These are listed below.

Having a couple different themes to choose from on any given day day will be helpful, in case I don’t have anything new or interesting to say about one of the topics. I don’t anticipate hitting a writer’s block anytime soon (then again, who does), but doesn’t hurt to build in a fail-safe or two.

*The general plan is to publish one post each day* 

Mondays: You’ll either see a post about a memory or a discussion.

  • Memory Monday. I have a lot of memories knocking around in this head, and I’d love to share them with you. Stuff like: The time I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. My little brother falling off the top of a building. Me killing a rabbit with my bike. My friend eating bowl full of fried ants. My sister and I getting terrorized by the hockey-puck-sized spiders at my grandmother’s farm. And more.
  • Discussion Monday. This is where we as a community get to engage in what I hope will be lively discourse on a given topic. Here’s one: if you had the chance, would you delete someone from your life or memory? Share your thoughts and opinions! All perspectives are welcome.

Tuesdays: You’ll either see a post giving tips or a “tea chat” post.

Wednesdays: You’ll either see a post about a “what if” scenario, or a ramble.

  • What if Wednesday. I love to think outside the box, and I’m super excited to exercise my creativity muscles. I’m already working on my first “What if Wednesday” post about time travel! ooOOoOOoo
  • Wednesday Rambles. Ramble posts will be exactly what they sound like… rambling! Here’s an example, a post about friendships I’ve made in my life.

Thursdays: You’ll either see a post about my thoughts or a post of reasons.

  • Thursday Thoughts. This one is self-explanatory – just posts about my thoughts! Here’s an example of what that looks like… a post about rain, written on a rainy day.
  • Reason Thursday. I think it would be cool to write about reasons for making (or not making) decisions. For example, I have plans to write up my reasons for getting a PhD, as well as my major reasons for being a long distance runner. Stay tuned!

Fridays: You’ll see a post about my favorites or a review.

  • Friday Faves. I’m very picky, but when I find something I love, I stick to it like glue. Here is one of my first posts on my favorites. It’s a pretty random collection of things that I genuinely love!
  • Friday Review. I love to throw in my 2 cents on everything from technology to makeup products and everything else. I’m excited to write thoughtful and honest reviews every now and then. My first review is on the Saltaire restaurant in Port Chester, New York – we went there for our date night last week 🙂

Saturdays: You’ll see a post showing “what’s in my___” , or just a brief story.

  • Saturday What’s in My. I like the idea of sharing various “what’s in my” posts. Such as what’s in my… bag, desk, fridge, pantry, pocket, recent calls list, notebook, playlist, netflix queue, wishlist, etc.
  • Story Saturday. Another theme I’m interested to write on is “stories.” This is where I share a story or poem that I have written. Or excerpts thereof. Here is a poem I wrote, called The Knight’s Rose. I find creative writing to be an incredibly vulnerable process. This is probably why “Story Saturday” is the theme that I am most intimidated and excited by.

Sundays: You’ll see a post about my running, or a rundown of the week.

  • Sunday Runday. This is a running-centric theme. I will recap my weekly miles in preparation for my upcoming half marathon, share thoughts on running, and maybe even tell you about marathons or other races I have completed.
  • Sunday Rundown. Other Sunday posts you’ll see are rundown posts where I do a “catchup” of the week, and tell you anything exciting (or not) that happened during the week. 🙂

That’s the plan… one post per day!

As far as monthly…

You will see each of the following once a month:

  • Reader spotlight. I highlight one of YOU and your accomplishments, your blog, your product, etc. The first installment is coming up in the first week of October. You can nominate anyone (even yourself) in a comment. I’m excited to showcase YOUR talent!
  • Tag. Admittedly I am new to the tagging game. I don’t even know what tags are out there (clearly I have some research to do)… but please tag me in the ones you’re interested in!

Also, every now and then, I’ll do a giveaway 🙂 

  • I’m working on my first giveaway right now, so stay tuned!