The Weekly Update

This past week has been really relaxing with easy hours at school. It was a great way to ease back into school after having two weeks off. Despite not being that busy, I have continued to be really exhausted. I have been needing at least seven hours of sleep to be able to function. My days have not really been hard either. I need to get my energy level back up to normal! I have definitely enjoyed being back at school where I can fall into my normal routine with my brother. I am able to eat so much cleaner, and I am more active. As active as I try to be, I just hop in my car at home where I walk everywhere here!


My family went to see Beauty and the Beast this past weekend. I felt such like a kid watching this movie. I really did enjoy it! They did a great job with the characters and animations. The story line was slightly different than it was in the original movie. I thought it had a nice twist or change to it. The hardest part for me was the different voices. This was one of my favorite movies growing up, and I have the original voices engrained in my memory, especially the songs. I am looking forward to watching it again in a few months when it comes out on DVD!

My mom and I are traveling to Charleston this weekend to do The Bridge Run! I am so excited to visit Charleston. I haven’t been down there in years, since I was a young kid, and I definitely didn’t get to appreciate the town. We have a list of things to do while we are there, but would love any tips or recommendations anyone has! Packing for the weather has been hard because it is still so cold in Philadelphia. Plus, my feet are so big and my running shoes take up almost half my suitcase!

Here are some things I am loving this week!

Whitefish, Montana // When I biked across the country two years ago, I fell in love with Whitefish, Montana. Everything about it enticed me to go back there and visit (or move there). It is on the western edge of Glacier National Park. This video has been made by Yeti Bicycles of bikers going through these mountains. You can get a little taste of this place by watching this video. Please put this place on your bucket list to visit, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

March Madness // This weekend is the final weekend of March Madness. This year there has been so many upsets that most people I know have busted brackets. I am happy for South Carolina to have done so well this year (the Terps are my ultimate favorite). Overall, I am rooting for UNC!!

Halo Top Ice Cream // I totally dissed this ice cream last year. It kept popping up as adds and my friends told me about it, but I swore that if I was going to eat ice cream, I was going to eat the real stuff. But how do you just eat one serving of Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream?? You can’t! This ice cream is low in calories, one pint has about the same calories as one serving of other ice creams. Now, I will be honest and say that not all flavors are that great and flavorful. You really have to pick and choose, or try them all as my brother and I are doing! My favorites so far have been mint chip and cookies and cream!

Must Love Dogs // I love dogs more than anything, especially these fluffy Australian shepherds. There is just something so undeniably wonderful about them. My dog, Dizzy, is the best one of all, but this little nugget is also pretty cute! I hope these videos continue and we get to watch him grow. His eyes are unbelievable!

These Sandals // I have really sensitive feet, making it hard to wear cute shoes. Anything that doesn’t have a sturdy sole won’t last more than ten minutes on my feet. I end up unable to walk for days! Sam Edelman shoes have worked well for me through clinics when I am on my feet most of the day. I can’t wait to try these studded sandals!

Coffee with a View // I love to visit new coffee shops with great energy and vibes. I tend to end up back at Starbucks because I can get the same cup at any location. It is the consistency I enjoy. These stores make you feel like you aren’t in the same old busy Starbucks with some character inside.

Moving on to Adulthood

I have been in school since I was three years old. Twenty one years of school with no breaks in between. It is honestly all I know. I fall into such a routine when I am at school with my friends and my brother and fall into such a weird rut when I go home. All my good habits go out with window. I have had summer jobs since I finished my freshman year of high school, and I kept one summer job twice a week my last year of college. Even over the summer, my summer jobs weren’t hard or complicated. I worked as a life guard for five summers, where the hours were flexible every week, and someone could always cover for you. Other summers I worked as a veterinary technician for my parents where I could set my hours and they would always give me time off when I needed it. This summer I start my first real job, and I am really nervous.


This is the first time where all my decisions really mean something. I will have help along the way and great mentorship, but I am in charge of much. Even more so than out of work, all my bills will have to be paid by myself. My parents have been wonderful these last seven years and have helped me with my rent and groceries. I saved as much money over the summer as I could so I had to ask my parents for less and really only for the big things. Come the summer, I have to pay for my rent, groceries, gas, car insurance, health insurance, and anything extra I want to do. It is a big responsibility.

I rely a ton on my brother right now. We live together and work together really really well. We have everything down to a science, even though we constantly change things. Food is always made for both of us to share. If one of us is cooking, whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner, we always check in on the other to see if they need anything. Dinner is usually a together activity, and we try new things constantly. It keeps everything interesting! Without him, next year will be really weird. We went to college (for my two years in Towson) one mile apart. Then, with a two year gap, we spent the last three years together at school. I am not ready to lose my brother as my best friend.


This May, I am moving in with my sister, but we have very different habits. We don’t agree on food at all. She is beyond picky when it comes to food, and I don’t enjoy cooking for one person. She always tend to cocoon in her room and stay out of the main areas. My brother and I tend to relax in our tiny living rooms and not in our rooms unless its time for bed. It will just be an adjustment. I am excited to live with her. We have the same taste in junk television shows, which is great. She also will be a great companion to walk our Aussies together. Now, we walk our dogs in different cities and talk on the phone the whole time, so it will be the same, just standing next to each other. We also push each other to be active, we are just too competitive, which can be a good thing.

The one thing I am most excited for is to have a say over my life and weekends. I will have harder weeks and easier weeks, but I get to decide how I spend my time. I won’t have teachers or treatment shifts until midnight at school, where I am exhausted the next day after four hours of sleep. I can also get into a routine that won’t change every two weeks when my rotation changes. Being out of the city will also be a huge plus for me. I am not a city girl. I love to be outside with trees and nature and quiet streets! There won’t be trolleys honking their horns every few hours. I know there will be ups and downs in the upcoming months, but I am really looking forward to my new and exciting life!

Better than Rice!

I have a huge new food favorite. If you are like me and love Chipotle, but hate feeling like you gained ten pounds after eating a burrito or burrito bowl this is for you! This is cauliflower rice! I know it may sound weird. Honestly, who even likes cauliflower? I now have a new appreciation for it. It is an amazing rice substitute.


I love to eat burrito bowls with (cauliflower) rice, vegetables, ground turkey, fish, chicken, and so much more. They are such an easy and versatile meal. It doesn’t take much to make it different from the day before, and I get bored of food so easily! Add some different vegetables or a different protein and it is a brand new food. Plus, it is great reheated for lunch the next day.

Mr brother and I had a really hard time finding cauliflower rice. Our local grocery store says that have it, but we have been unsuccessful finding it in the store. We even tried Whole Food, but they had a box of rice that you would have to boil and would take so much extra work. We need something quick and easy for school nights. Amazon has a type that comes in a bag you just have to microwave. Super easy! They also make other types of noodles that aren’t really noodles that I am looking forward to trying.

I am not super crafty in the kitchen, I will be honest, but I love to try new things! Rice is something that you can whip up into all kinds of dishes. It is also really filling. I am on the search for new types of dishes that involve rice, so if you have any, send them my way!

Exploring Annapolis

My mom and I took the dogs to Downtown Annapolis for some exploring. Once my mom started to feel better, we needed to get her out of the house to have some fun and going down to the water was just the ticket! It is so much fun just to be down there. The atmosphere is so bright and happy and being down on the water is extremely relaxing. Once I graduate, in just seven weeks, I will be fifteen minutes from downtown by car and forty minutes by bike, making it somewhere I hope to spend a lot of time.

img_0767img_0769

The dogs absolutely love it down there. People wanted to pet and love on them and they enjoyed staring down all the ducks! It was also such a beautiful day that they were happy to be out in the fresh air. I love to walk around and peek in shops. One of my favorite places to go to is Dock Street Coffee and grab a drink. Honestly, it is better than Starbucks!

We stopped by Storm Bros Ice cream and grabbed an ice cream cone to share. The ice cream here is top notch and delicious. I hope not to get addicted to it when I move here! There are so many great restaurants down here as well that will be great to eat at with friends and family, especially once the weather gets nice and we can eat outside.

 

img_0736

Long Distance Biking

This year I have changed my main focus of mountain biking. Up until this year, I just focused on staying on my bike without clipping a tree or wiping out on a turn or even (this is embarrassing) falling up hill. I honestly tried to just get around the loop without getting really hurt. I had no technical skills, walked over most logs, and floundered over the rocky sections. My goals for this year are to improve my technical skills, rocks, logs, sharp turns, and roots, and improve my endurance.

I am competing in the NUE race series this year, which are long endurance races ranging from 45 to 101 miles. A huge part of making it through these races, like any endurance event, is nutrition and hydration. My brother, Heath, constantly tells me to drink more water and eat before I began to fade. I set a timer in my head to drink every 20 minutes to help prevent the hole I dig for myself. Eating while I ride is hard, especially while mountain biking because it is hard to take your hands off the bars through the sharp turns. For me, I  usually have to stop to eat, which can work on a casual ride, but is not great for a race.


Heath and my dad use Infinite energy drinks to get through their long days. They create custom formulas based on their needs while they ride, how flavorful, how much you sweat, if you cramp up, if you retain water, and much more. This drink can also be made to stop you from needing food while you bike, which is a huge plus for me. I usually drink Gatorade for longer and hotter rides to help keep me going and encourage me to drink. I finally decided to try Infinite for myself! I made and ordered my custom formula just a few weeks ago. I got to try it out some this weekend because we got to go for some longer and harder rides, and I am looking forward to see how it affects my riding!


Our ride Saturday was really broken up because rode to breakfast and then to a bike demo. We biked to a nearby park where there was a Scott and local shop (Race Pace) riding demo. Sneakily, we changed our road pedals out for SPD mountain bike pedals that morning so we could try some demo bikes! I got to try a Scott Spark 930 and 27+ which were both awesome bikes to ride. This was my first time riding a plus bike, and I loved how easy it was just to cruise over the logs and smash through the rocks. It was a great confidence boost. It was also so easy to change how much suspension I had making it great for rocky sections fully open, long climbs part way open, and road sections being locked out. I really enjoyed riding these bikes!

On Sunday, Heath and I went for a nice ride before the misty rain set in. We got to take his dog, Oakley, out with us, which always makes the rides more fun. He loves to run and can keep up really well. Although, he does cut some of the corners!

The Weekly Update

This week has been a little bit hectic. My mom was really sick for most of my time home, she even spent a day in the hospital. I was happy that I was home because I was able to take care of her while my dad was at work. Luckily, she is doing better now and getting her normal spunk back! We are traveling to Charleston next weekend to run a 10k and she needs to keep running. We have also overpacked our itinerary, which is typical, so she needs to be at full strength! The rest of my time home was spent playing with Dizzy and Kiwi, relaxing, and biking, both indoors and out.

IMG_0464

I am not really ready to go back to school this weekend. I have really enjoyed just relaxing and being my family. I also am getting really nervous about graduating school as it flies towards me! I want time to slow down. Speaking of slowing down, Dizzy turned six years old last week. She acts like a puppy so much of the time, full of energy and always ready to play. I don’t notice a difference in her age until she is around Kiwi, who just turned one.

 

IMG_0755

ONE // With all my future travel plans, I was in the market for some new luggage! I came across this design that is perfect! My phone always dies while traveling because I listen to music constantly while traveling.

TWO // With sports at the forefront of most people’s minds, this comment by a coach really stood out to me! Sports play a huge role in our lives, whether we are young or old, and we learn so much by our coaches and professional and collegiate athletes.

THREE // I weirdly skipped a year of college and never technically graduated, so graduating this year is a huge deal to me. I am so excited to share this news with my friends and family. I love this post with the cutest graduation announcements and I cannot wait to send mine out! I need to slow down and wait because March is just a tad bit too early!

FOUR // I am not someone who would say they have anxiety, but I definitely overthink and over craze about everything in my life. I can be meticulous to a fault, driving people around me a little nuts at times. This article got me thinking and is a good read!

FIVE // Heath and my dad were so lucky to get to travel to St. George, Utah for the opening NUE race. I am beyond jealous of where they were able to ride. The trails sounded amazing. I hope to get the chance to ride here some day! You can check out his race report here!

Thirty Days of Wholesome Eating!

Today marks the end of my Whole 30 challenge, and a challenge it was! I gave up sugar, sweets, grains, legumes, and so much more, to get back my stomach. Food becomes so much more than something that we nourish our bodies with. We use food to get us through the hard times, when we are bored, when we are sad, when we are celebrating, and all the times in between. It can be such a positive thing or such a negative thing. I know I can through so many ups and downs, even in just one day. Through this experience I learned so much about myself over these 30 days.

17190588_1318341608242754_2317217581313370002_nimage

One thing I was really able to accomplish was to stop drinking soda. I use soda as a crunch to get through my really hard days at school. I sometimes needed a pick me up craving something sweet and something with caffeine. I became much better at preparing for my day to prepare for this time (usually around 3-4PM). I made sure to have water nearby, always fresh and cold, and I would drink this instead. I began to realize that I really didn’t need it and got through my day. This is something that I really wanted to kick and I am really happy I was able to!

I rediscovered my love of fruit. I know this sounds really weird, but I have started eating a lot less fruit over the last months for a variety of reasons. It is so hard to keep fresh fruit around without it going bad. I feel like every time I get a box of blackberries or raspberries, they are moldy within 24 hours. And I really, really loathe wasting food, it really bothers me! I began getting fruit more regularly, allowing me to get less fruit at a time and having some always around. I kept it readily cut in the fridge to eat and snack on, replacing my old junk food. Now, I crave fruit all the time and freak out when I don’t have any around. My favorites right now are oranges and mangos!

Making breakfast at home has become much easier than I remembered. I used to rely on bagels for breakfast because they were easy to eat. You can get them anywhere, and they last for a while once they are made, which can be key in the morning in a hectic hospital. Making a wholesome and filling breakfast added only about fifteen minutes to my routine, and I felt better throughout my day and actually full. I started making eggs in the morning with bacon and avocados. I really enjoyed mixing these up with added things like mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, and spinach.

Lunch was definitely my hardest meal. At school, we don’t always have the most time for lunch. Sometimes, we only get ten minutes to eat before moving on to the next thing. You don’t get to enjoy your lunch, you kind of have to just shovel it in. If you forget to pack a lunch, you really don’t have the time to get something good for you either. You have to just get what you can, which is not always good for you. I had to really plan what I was going to do for lunch. I have a problem where I get bored of food really easily, making salads hard to pack every day because the toppings begin to bore me. I kept mixing up my toppings or I would buy a salad from a local store. I definitely noticed a difference when I wasn’t eating junky foods for lunch.

The second hardest thing for me was not snacking at night. I have a routine where I come home, ride my bike, and then walk the dogs. After all this, I eat dinner. I have to be careful not to eat everything in the kitchen while I wait for dinner to cook because I am usually way past being hungry at this point. After dinner, I usually relax and watch some TV to unwind. This is when I eat whatever I can find in the kitchen. Kicking this habit has been really hard. I had to keep healthy snacks, like carrots or bananas or apples, readily available to snack on. Or, I brushed my teeth to stop me from eating. Both options worked in their own ways.

I am currently for some long distance mountain bike races. Luckily, I only had one race during these last thirty days and it was only 24 miles. Anything longer and I would have needed to eat something along the way. Foods that are easy to eat while biking are not Whole 30 approved! I was afraid of feeling guilty for cheating on the Whole 30 while training and riding these long rides, which definitely made my long rides a little harder. My brother definitely got after me about needing to eat more while riding!

Overall, I really enjoyed this journey. I learned how to have some self-control. I mean, I went out to eat and didn’t devour the entire bread basket. That’s a win in anyone’s book! I found foods to keep around the house that feel like a sweet treat without me eating a pint of ice cream. There are somethings I am looking forward to having back and adding back in to my diet, and others I am happily going to continue to avoid and not rely on! All in all, I feel so much better with a ton more energy!