Archive | October 2013

Playing catch up & an early halloween

Hello hello and Happy Halloween! Anyone dressing up tonight? I’ll be headed to night-class, but I’d much rather be celebrating and handing out candy, that’s for sure.  Anyway, I fully intended on blogging last week but every time I tried, studying got in the way. Unfortunately , for the time being, studying > blogging. Luckily though, my studying paid off and my midterms went great! HOORAY. So now I’m playing catch-up on sleep, blog-reading, homework and life in general.

Okay, time to talk about much more exciting things than studying…like celebrating Halloween. Prior to last year, I had celebrated the previous four Halloween’s out in Boston with girlfriends, and it was always a blast.
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Harvard schoolgirls throw-back

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Me as Barbie a few years ago!

I skipped last year (I was actually on a flight moving to Australia!) so this year I was psyched to have the chance to dress up again, and even more psyched to be dressing up with my twin sister. We hadn’t dressed up together since we were in grade school!
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Although we celebrated a few days early since they obviously needed to throw a party on a weekend rather than a week-night, it was an epic Halloween in my book. I actually really liked my last minute cowgirl costume, but I loved Kimmie and Jimmy’s pirate get-ups even more! 

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I had been anticipating last weekend for the entire two months I’ve been home, as it was the first time I was going to be able to spend multiple days with my Kimmie, and the puppies too.
Just LOOK at these adorable little boys. Bumble-bee and alligator…I die.
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At their Friday night housewarming/Halloween party we  drank a little too much,  ate a few too many pieces of candy, and played way to many games of Flip Cup. It was perfect.
Here’s the outcome to our few to many drinks:
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Whoops. Dunkin’s breakfast sandwiches, homefries, muffins, and coffees were needed in a BIG way. (That would be me with the ketchup issues.)

The rest of the weekend involved exercise, real housewives marathons, pizza, pedicures, and lots of puppy snuggling. I did not want to leave Connecticut!
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Post-run snuggles
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Cupcakes from Sugar Bakery (winner of Cupcake wars!)
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The best cupcake I have EVER eaten.
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Cuddles with my boy.
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One of our favorite things to do together!
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Peanut was a tiger for costume #2!
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Love my nephews

This week it’s been back to reality, but it’s almost Friday so that’s a positive! And since the Red Sox won the World Series last night, there’s a lot to celebrate this weekend for sure!
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What’s your favorite Halloween costume-to-date?
I personally loved being an eskimo. I loved wearing a furry-hood on my head all night, and face paint can be so much fun!

Do you like cupcakes?
I have cupcake problems…seriously I cannot be trusted around them.

Who else is psyched about the Red Sox?

Appreciating the moments

Hello, hello! Long time no talk on my part.  I really marvel at how time flies.  The last two weeks were some of the busiest I’ve had since I returned home, and while they were jam-packed with some very exciting things (and some not-so-exciting things like exams), I tried my very best to appreciate each and every moment as it came. Lately I’ve felt like I blink and suddenly a day is over, a week is gone, or a month has passed, and I just don’t like it!  So I made myself a goal to simply slow down and appreciate more moments. When I slow down, everything else seems to fall into place and I just feel happier.
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Things that I try to do to savor special moments include taking pictures, tapping out of technology, and just ‘being present’. Also, I find that no matter how busy I am, if I make a list and plan accordingly, everything seems works out.  Here’s some special moments I appreciated the last couple of weeks:

Moment One:
Brandon came home to the USA for a visit (and coincidentally he needed a t-shirt (my t-shirt) to sleep in LOL!)
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He was home to be a groomsman in his best friend’s wedding and I was fortunate to be invited to attend with him. It was honestly the best wedding I’ve ever been too. The love in the air just made me smile and my feet still hurt from dancing 5 days later! Congratulations Katie and Michael!
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Moment Two:
Mimosas with my boss after a great accomplishment of his. I’m so happy we did this because it was necessary to take a moment and celebrate. Plus, mimosas always seem to hit the spot!
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Moment Three:
Walks and talks and down-time with my parents. After living so far away, I’m just loving being back together.

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(Please note it’s only October and my Dad is dressed for freezing temperatures already!)

Moment Four:
Quality time with my second family. When I say it never gets easier to see Brandon head back to Australia, I mean it. It never gets easier. However, being surrounded by loved ones certainly helped, and fried clams helped our sad moods, too! We were just missing you, B!
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Moment Five:
Alone time/retail therapy. When I’m down, my go-to cheer-up reliefs include shopping, baking, and exercising. If anyone has a few other alternatives that won’t have me spending money or eating copious amounts of chocolate, I’m all ears! However, even though I really shouldn’t have been shopping, I couldn’t help but be psyched that I scored a new dress with a gift card(that I wore to the wedding) and a striped hoodie, both of which I’m loving!
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A much-needed run
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Dress shopping
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Loving this nautical hoodie.

I hope you have a special weekend, friends.

How do you slow down and appreciate each moment?
Does anyone else shop, bake, or eat chocolate to cheer yourself up?
Do you like weddings?

I seriously LOVE them. I officially have wedding fever!

study bits and bites

Hey there!  I know I’m a few days late on this, but I can’t believe it’s October already! Sometimes I wish life would just.slow.down. A sure sign that time is flying for me is that my exams have begun. I feel like I just started fall classes here, yet somehow I had two exams last week, and I have two more this week.  Thankfully I did well on both of last week’s, and I’m attributing this mostly to the fact I had some trusty ‘study bites’ to get me through my long, late- night study sessions. Cookie Butter Oatmeal Energy Bites=greatest snack ever.

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Besides these energy bites, there’s a  few other things that consistently  help power me through study sessions, too. I thought it might be useful to share a couple of study habits I live by, in case anyone else out there is looking for a tip or two.  I have to admit, even though this will be my second degree, studying has not gotten any easier. Truthfully, I think in many ways it’s a lot harder the second time around because of additional responsibilities and time-management quandaries  that naturally occur as we get older. However, I also feel a major benefit of going back to school school when you’re older is that it’s likely you already know how to study. Knowing how to study is quite a talent if you ask me! To power me through daily study sessions, these are the top things that keep me in line and stop me from procrastinating: 

-Starting early
My mind is most responsive and most willing to learn in the early morning hours. By early, I’m talking 6a.m. to 3p.m. After that, my brain is toast. Since I know this, I don’t try to fight it. Instead, I just plan my study-times within those hours.

-White noise
I am so NOT a music-studier. For the life of me, I really wish I could learn while listening to my favorite tunes because I would be smiling the entire time if that was the case! However, its just never been that way for me. Instead, I turn my bedside fan on high and go from there.
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Sidenote: I have a basic, boring black fan. HOW CUTE is this pink one?! Must find a.s.a.p!

-Keeping Hydrated
Staying hydrated keeps my headaches away, my hunger at bay, and  helps me focus. My line-up of beverages includes iced-coffee/water in the morning, hot chocolate and flavored water in the afternoon, and water/tea at night.
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-Having an organized ‘study-zone’
Since I haven’t studied at home (where I grew up) since I lived here in high-school, I knew my desk area in my old bedroom would need some revamping. I hit up Target for some inexpensive cork-boards, thumb-tacks, mail organizers, and other cute trinkets to spruce up my desk area a bit, and it did the trick! I don’t know about you, but when things look organized, I simply feel more organized too.
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-Satisfying snacks:
This is where the  ‘study bites’ come into play.  I love these bites because they’re simple to make, satisfying, no-bake, require one mixing bowl, and are perfect for snacking on-the-go which is what I (unfortunately) have to do most days of the week due to my class schedule.  These are full of protein (in the form of oatmeal, nut-butter, & protein powder)  but they are sweet too, and I always appreciate a small sugar-kick while studying. It helps my brain!

If you haven’t tried cookie butter, I promise you, you’re missing out. When I was in Australia, I had my Mom ship me a jar each month because I simply can’t live without it. I hope I never develop an aversion to it because I will be devastated! Lately I’ve been buying the ‘Biscoff’ brand, but whenever I get to pop into a Trader Joes, I buy their version, too.  If you don’t have cookie butter or would rather use something else, any type of nut butter will work in these bites. The best part of making these is that you can use the ingredients you have on hand. Here’s what I used in mine:

Cookie Butter Oatmeal Bites
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Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats
1 scoop chocolate protein powder ( I used Arbonne)
1/2 cup cookie butter
1/3 cup light maple syrup
1 tsp.vanilla
2 tbsp. sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. chopped pecans
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup raisins or craisins

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in one large mixing bowl, mix and combine until you form a large ball of ‘dough’.  
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Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes. Once chilled, roll into ball-formation and place in an air-tight container.
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Voila, study bites are ready when you need them!
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I’d like to say these lasted me all week but truthfully they only lasted about 3 days. Once my parents tasted them, that was the end of them!
Have a happy weekend : –)

Are you obsessed with cookie butter like me?

Do you have a favorite studying snack ?
Any fun plans this weekend?