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three things thursday

Hello there and happy Thursday, how has your week been? First, I wanted to say that both Brandon and I are so saddened by the devastation that has occurred in Oklahoma.  Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected <3

On another note, I can’t believe how quickly this week has flown by!  One more week of class is complete and I have just one more to go (not that I’m counting or anything) : –)
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I was just a litttttle excited to be off to my last lab of the semester!

I’ve actually been quite productive on the study-front this week, so I am hoping (fingers crossed) I’ll get enough accomplished tomorrow so that I can take most of the weekend off from studying. We shall see. Anyway, last Thursday I shared three things that had kept me on track and focused all week, so I kept that in mind for this week, too. Here’s three things that helped keep me focused and productive this week:

1)  Staying organized:
I’m not sure what I’d do without my planner. Maybe I’m stuck in the dark ages, but I just can’t get used to an electronic calendar or planner.  I know there’s Google Calendar and zillions of other options, but I have always felt like I NEED to see something written in my planner for it to be a legitimate plan. Also, call me crazy but I love buying a new, fun, decorative planner each year. I always look forward to it because it makes it seem like I’m starting out the year with a clean slate!
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2)Rotisserie chicken to the rescue:
I struggled with meal-planning this week because I wasn’t really craving anything and I knew I wouldn’t have much time to devote to cooking dinner each night. All I can say is thank goodness for the easiness and versatility of rotisserie chicken. Most of the time, it’s actually cheaper than buying fresh chicken breasts here, and it saved me so much time! Plus, we ate it for multiple meals. First, I added it to a vegetable risotto to give it a protein boost…

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…and then I used it in a South-western  black-bean quinoa stuffed pepper meal. I’ll share the recipe soon, I was so happy with how they came out!

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3) Maximizing my time outside:
Fresh air truly does wonders for me.  To take advantage of the beautiful weather, I opted to study outside on our balcony multiple times, studied outside before and after classes rather than opt for my usual table inside the library, and exercised as much as possible outdoors, too.  I felt more awake, revived, and just felt happier. I love the outdoors, and I am especially loving Autumn in Australia!

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Thumbs down to Anatomy…thumbs up to outdoor studying
(Please excuse the hanging laundry!)

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Can’t beat that sunrise after my work-out on Wednesday : –)

So, does anyone else use a planner or am I seriously stuck in the dark ages?
Do you ever buy rotisserie chicken? If so, what do you make with it?
I often just shred the chicken and use it as salad toppers and inside of wraps or sandwiches, but I really enjoyed adding it into meals this week!

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Three Things Thursday: A Balancing Act

Hey friends, happy almost-weekend! We are in the home stretch and it sure does feel good! I’ve had a busy week of studying and work, so I am ready for a day or two of relaxing.  I truly can’t believe I’ll be taking my final exams in 3 weeks. Where did this semester go? I am already starting to experience those familiar anxious feelings I vividly remember having near the end of every semester at Bryant University when completing my business degree.  You know the nervous, heart palpitations, exhausted, anxious feelings, and the “how am I ever going to remember all of this stuff” thoughts?  I fear those may become a daily occurrence around here, but I’m going to try my best to not let that happen.
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(I loved that quote!) Source
Now that I’m 4 years older (and wiser, I like to thinkWinking smile) this time around back in school, my goal is to continue to maintain balance throughout my days, even while studying and during finals. During my years at Bryant, I was terrible at keeping a balance within my life. If I had an exam, I would lock myself in the library and simply study for days and days. I look back now and cringe because I know I wasn’t eating properly or sleeping enough, which are both very important factors in preparing for exams! Now that I understand the importance of taking study breaks, fueling  properly, getting enough sleep, continuing to exercise, and just ‘living’ in general, it’s very important to me that I keep-up with a good balance. That’s my goal and I’m sticking to it!

Anyway, to help me achieve my goal, I thought I’d turn ‘Three Things Thursday’  into three things that have helped me maintain a balance each week until finals are over. So, here it goes! This week:

1) I cooked a casserole:
I attribute this week’s balancing act success to a great meal I made on Tuesday night: Taco-Inspired Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie.
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I always seem to forget about casseroles and their benefits. Most of them create meals you can eat for multiple days that are perfect for leftovers and reheating, they taste better as the days go on, and for the most part they can be relatively inexpensive to make. This was simple and delicious, a major hit in this household!   I’ll post the recipe soon : –)IMG_2833

2) I squeezed in exercise when I could:
I don’t know about you, but exercise is my outlet. It clears my head, makes me feel ‘up’ when I’m down, and is just something I enjoy. Although I consider myself to be a 100% morning exerciser, my new schedule with work and studying just doesn’t allow me the time I used to have to work-out when I want to most mornings, but that’s okay. I am listening to my body, sleeping later when I know I need to, and just fitting  in exercise when I can. It surprised me, but I’ve really enjoyed all of the evening runs I’ve taken. I’ve seen some beautiful sunsets!
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3)I made time to laugh..and eat ice-cream:
When I’m stressed, I really have to remind myself to take a chill-pill, and then I talk to my twin sister. Last year she made a career change and went back to school for a nursing degree, so she’s gone through all of the classes I’ve taken and had the similar stresses I’m having now. She lets me vent and our conversations always end with a smile. Plus, the pictures we send each other never cease to make me laugh, either!
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(We really miss each other…but her dogs always help cheer us up!)
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Oh, and a soft-serve cone always helps too : – )
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What’s your favorite casserole to make?
What are your tips for maintaining a balance in your life when you get too busy?
If you’re a student or you’ve been a student, what did you do to stay healthy during finals?
I always try to get 8 hours of sleep per night during exams, stay hydrated, and eat nutritious meals. Your brain needs lots of fuel for all of that knowledge!

Three things thursday

Hello hello and happy Thursday!
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I am PSYCHED it’s the weekend!
Boston strong <3

How do you feel about Thursdays? I’ve always loved them, but when I got to thinking about why, I realized that through the years my reasons have changed quite a bit. I thought this might be fun to share! For example:

In my four years of college I loved them because of the anticipation of “Thirsty Thursday”…a.k.a. the biggest drinking night of the week. I specifically remember sitting in classes on Fridays wanting to cry because I felt so ill and vowing to “never drink again”, only to repeat Thirsty Thursday the following week. Looking back, I honestly wonder how my liver survived it!

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Bryant University Thirsty Thursday throwbacks!

In my 4+ years in corporate America, I loved them for what we at John Hancock called “LTK Thursday”…a.k.a. the biggest drinking night of the work week at the bar next door, Legal Test Kitchen. We went there so often that the bartender knew our names AND our drink orders every.single.time. I specifically remember thinking on many Fridays “how will I get through the day?” See a trend? Whoops.  Although I really do miss the social aspect of Thirsty Thursdays, I don’t miss the cost or the horrible hung-over feeling I felt most Fridays!
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Throwback LTK Thursday with my best girls!

Fast forward to my present life as a  27-year old second-time student and gosh things have changed. I adore them because at 3:00 p.m., my classes end and the weekend begins! This means I can catch up on cleaning and homework,  go for a sunset walk and cook a great dinner. What can I say, I’m officially old.  : –)  Just kidding…kind-of.
However, besides just getting an early start to the weekend, I also love this Thursday for a few more reasons:

1) I woke up smiling thanks to an amazing dinner I had with some of my girlfriends last night. Sometimes, you just need girl-time, right?   I had 5 beauties over for a few hours of laughs and a crock-pot pork dinner, which was a huge success. I’ll post the recipe soon because it was too good to-not share!
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Last night’s dinner. I loved the colors : –)
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The girls (taken when my Mom was visiting!)

2) I was able to “sleep-in” until 7a.m. today and started out my day with a beautiful 4-mile run on the ocean, followed by an amazing BODYPUMP class.
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Seriously, how awesome is that sunrise?
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Super sweaty at the gym after BP!

3) Today is the last day I have to spend away from Brandon! He has been gone for almost 2 weeks due to work and travelling and I can’t wait to have him home.
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College throw-back

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5 years later! What do you think? Have we changed?

There you have it. I love Thursdays, especially this one!

P.S. Happy birthday to my dear Michelle! She is finally home from the hospital, and is on the road to recovery. Thanks for continuing to keep her in your prayers!
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What’s your favorite day of the week?  Do you love Thursdays or am I alone on this?
Anyone doing anything fun this weekend? Please share!