Summer Nights

30 April 2010

It hit 86 degrees today in the valley and it felt like it! Although, the evening was perfect!

I'll post some photos from the circus later this weekend but I wanted to tell you about the wonderful evening I had. Noah's family took me out to dinner tonight at Mr. Noodles and I had tofu with Yaki noodles. More and more they feel like my family and I feel more comfortable all the time. Afterwards we walked to Maggie Moo's, an ice cream stand, and each ordered a cone (I had a kids cone with moosetracks)!

By this point in the day the temperature was splendid, maybe around 75. Not hot, not cool, but that time of dusk when everything feels still and peaceful. It was the perfect way to end the day's activities!

On the ride home I drove out our "back roads" to my childhood home. The sun had just set so an orange glow blanketed the fields and hills. All the trees are now a deep, lush green and the honeysuckle has already appeared. The drive back was so quiet and still and it fit my mood exactly.

Who doesn't love going to get icecream on a warm evening and basking in the few peaceful moments of life?

Beach Daydreams

Don't you have those days where you want to leave everything and take a vacation? Today I am really feeling the beach! I want to get a super cute outfit together, paint my toenails, and go lay out on the sand and play in the water!

Unfortunately I'm not going to the beach today. I'm not going this month. I will hopefully be going in August so I can wait right?

On the brightest side though, I will be going to the Apple Blossom festival today and tomorrow which I'm super excited for! I've always enjoyed this holiday with parades, carnivals, a circus, and funnel cakes. Tonight I'm going to the circus with Noah and my dad and maybe watching the fireworks display. Then tomorrow? The annual pictures with the floats, funnel cake until my stomach hurts, delicious smoothies, carnival games, and a parade before heading back to college. Yeah, then finals week hits!

I'll leave you with a picture from a previous festival! I can't wait to go get my fill of fun!

We Are Capable and Amazing!

29 April 2010

Emma over at Daisy Chain Adventures asked all of her followers to list the talents, quirks, and skills they have that make them amazing. I agree with her that too often we put ourselves down and don't feel up for a task. Everyone has gifts and skills though so here are mine and please share yours!

I love taking photos. All the time. Of everything. I'm not particularly skilled it just makes me very happy!

I can have a conversation with pretty much anyone. When it's silent at a meal it's my time to shine and I don't mind that at all.

I can play the saxophone and flute.

Some days I seem to see wonder in everything around me. I look out at the mountains and my heart soars, also when I see the clouds, the sun, flowers, an animal, people holding hands....

I take the time to be informed about most of my decisions and I hardly ever make a decision that I later disagree with.

Finals week does not stress me out.

I must, must, MUST lick the bowl clean after I bake something (cookie dough is my absolute favorite)!

Sometimes, when I go to buffets, I eat mashed potatoes for dessert.

It takes two people but I have a solid, happy relationship that I couldn't be happier about.

Write a post about your quirks or skills! Post a link in the comment section so I can read it too, thanks!

Spring Joys

28 April 2010

I'm looking outside at a perfectly blue sky above trees that are green. Spring is here in full bloom and I'm ready to enjoy it!

What are some activities you can do in spring to get the most out of your warm days? Here's some ideas!

Press Flowers

Go outside and pick some of your favorite flowers! Then you can press them for a scrapbook or frame them. My aunt does this with wildflowers growing around her house and framed them for her daughters. They are stunning and a great addition to any home or apartment.

Have a Picnic

Go out with your significant other, family, or friends and enjoy a warm day in a park. Make it official and take along a cute basket & blanket with some simple yet delicious treats! Watermelon, pasta salad, baguette bread, it's all good! Here is a sample menu for a picnic.

Blow Bubbles

As you can tell I'm a big supporter of blowing bubbles and honestly, when was the last time you did? It's so fun and so simple. The swirling colors will amaze and relax you and a can of bubblesoap may cost you fifty cents. Although, if you're a poor college kid like me you may want to make your own with everyday items. If so, try this tutorial. I know I will!

Host a Game Night

We all wish spring was full of sunny days that get warmer and warmer but we must accept that there will inevitably be a rainy day. When you're looking at the forecast for the weekend and it says "THUNDERSTORM" call up your friends for a game night! Prepare a few appetizers to go along with the game (chips and dip for example - yum) and be prepared to have a great time!

Hope you're enjoying spring weather today! What activities do you like to do when the weather is warm?

Everyone Loves Mail!

27 April 2010

Tillie, from She Waits for Whispers recently reached 100 followers and sent out personalized notecards! I received mine in the mail yesterday and they are fantastic! She asked for her followers to post one of their favorite quotes so I chose "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest opinion, or the smallest act of caring. All of which have the potential to turn a life around". Then sure enough I got wonderful note cards in the mail!

A huge thank you goes to Tillie and her wonderful work!


26 April 2010

We mostly celebrated our anniversary on Saturday with a Steel Band Concert (felt like I was back in the Caribbean), a birthday party, dinner, and a movie (How to Tame Your Dragon). It was splendid overall. After dinner we had a little time before the movie so we opened up our gift bags from the birthday party and inside there were bubbles! We ended up having a good time blowing some bubbles and taking some pictures.

My reason to smile today is that we can take a few minutes to stop what we're doing and enjoy a day - especially when there is bubble soap around!

Baby's Birthday!

On Saturday my cousin and her husband celebrated their daughters 1st Birthday. The two photos in black and white are of my other cousin's son who was also at the party.

Morning at the Market

25 April 2010

Yesterday morning, as has become ritual, I made a trip to the Farmer's Market downtown. This week I enjoyed some lemon ricotta muffins while Noah enjoyed a sugar cookie. I was still hoping for feta cheese but it still isn't ready!

There are so many wonderful baked goods, flowers, and homemade items. I love seeing the community in action (the college campus is great but it doesn't give you a real feel for the town). Everyone is so friendly and cheerful and you'll end up with some great purchases as well!

I like the idea of buying locally and it's easier and more enjoyable than shopping at a grocery store (...or you know, Walmart). Do you have any farm markets in your area? Do you like the produce or goods you find there?

Weekend Aspirations

23 April 2010

There is a lot going on right now with only one week of classes left before finals week! I'm feeling stressed about so many areas of my life right now (school, finances, living situations, etc.) and I just have to wait for it to work itself out.

So my goals for the weekend are these:

1. Try Olivia's coffee cake recipe.
2. Celebrate our anniversary
3. Get all my projects and papers done this weekend, not next week.
4. Buy necessities for summer

The list doesn't look to long but I'm sure it will take all weekend! I'll be looking for ways to indulge myself (warm showers, yoga, reading a good book) to help me relax as well. I wish it was a little sunnier here though so a walk in the park would be a good option!

Do you find that listing your to-dos helps you organize? When you're stressed what ways do you relax?

Our Anniversary

22 April 2010

I have been so fortunate in my life in finding Noah. He has been a constant support for me and my best, closest friend. Here is a picture of us when we started dating five years ago.

Here is a photo from this semester. Can you see a difference? I don't see too much change in myself but he sure looks different!

Cell Pics: College

21 April 2010

Hello all! Happy Wednesday!

I may try to update more often with some pictures from my cell phone. They aren't high quality images but you can get more of a feel for some aspects of college life (simply because I always have my cell phone on me)!

This first picture is at the Starbucks three blocks away from my apartment. I've recently taken to studying here all the time because I focus so much better.

This picture is from about two weeks ago when my friends and I sat out on the Quad for an hour or so. It was during those two weeks when spring came pouring out from all sides (grass was green, trees were sprouting, and the sky was blue)! I also mentioned this briefly in my post 'Sitting on the Lawn & Sunset'.

This is a picture of the kids I work with during my volunteer hours. Their parents are English Language Learners and we would watch the kids while their parents were taking English classes. This night we had paints out and we all painted a mural together!

Finally, welcome to bio lab! We did animals in the first half of the semester and then we moved onto plants. We have a lab practical next Tuesday but to be honest I'm not too worried because I like plants much more than animals. I've enjoyed their colors and shapes for years even though I do not have a green thumb. Plus, when you dissect a flower you can pretty much just pull the stamen off and be skin or organs to worry about!

I know I've said it before, but I really love college. My reason to smile today is that I'm privileged enough to be here! Oh, and that tomorrow is my anniversary with Noah! You know, that little thing.

Morning at the Market

19 April 2010

Saturday morning I went to the farmers market downtown. I'm still waiting for some fruit to appear! I did buy some homemade butter this time around and the man there promised me there would be feta cheese next time!

I love this little bakery too, well, by bakery I mean woman who must cook all week long to make that much food. Can you see that crystallized lilac on the cake? How delicious! Although my favorite this week was the little cinnamon muffin that she baked for everyone on her email list! So moist and sweet!

Above are some blueberry scones from that same 'bakery' I mentioned before. They look so scrumptious. Below is a bouquet I bought that morning appropriately labeled 'country bouquet'. I just loved the colors and the combination of flowers. Could someone tell me the name of the white flower in the bouquet by chance? I've seen it so many times but I don't know what it's called! Thank you.

Hope you don't have a case of the Mondays! If you're looking for a reason to smile, try to find a few more of nature's gifts around you - the flowers where I'm at are beautiful and bright right now!


(Another cell pic that you haven't seen yet... These alpacas were on our campus about two weeks ago. Aren't they cute?)

I want to apologize for my pictures not working in my "Cell Pics" post. I had sent them from my cell phone to Twitter then subsequently used their URL links to post them on my blog. My best guess as to what happened is that Twitter changes the URLs periodically or something similar. Anyways, I saved the images to my computer and they are now in the Cell Pics Post. Don't worry, it's not spectacular, I just wanted to share them with you!

So, in short, one of the reasons to smile today is that I fixed that post! Plus, I found NINE conodonts while doing research today. I'll tell you a little about conodonts in an upcoming post although if I'm honest, probably only geology/earth science majors or people who love fossils will really be interested. I still think it's fun to learn something new every day though!

Blue Hole

This weekend I went on an afternoon trip with Circle K, a volunteer organization, for one of our social events. We headed an hour away from campus to a swimming hole (more commonly known as Blue Hole). I knew myself well enough to say that when the water is 50 degrees I'm not getting in although our president and vp did jump from the cliff edge. We ate some snacks, talked, and played Catchphrase along with just relaxed. What a great way to take a break on a Saturday afternoon!

Top two images courtesy of Meredith Sizemore.

Day in Photographs: Relay

18 April 2010

My university hosted it's Relay for Life last night! Relay for Life is a nation-wide fundraiser helping researchers find a cure for cancer. People walk all night long to support the event. This year (so far) in America we have raised over 3 billion dollars. Since I lost my mom when I was 18 to brain cancer, this hits home for me as well. There are luminaries set up around the laps and names of loved onces are placed on them either "in honor of" or "in memory of". The lighting ceremony gets me every year and I must say how thankful I am that we do this as a group because you have such a support throughout the night.

Below is a picture of the Survivors' Lap. People who have survived cancer and their caretakers always walk the opening lap.

Again, it's a hard night, but I'm very glad to have people in my life who give me everlasting encouragement and support when I remember.

VA Tech

16 April 2010

If you go here there is a link from The Washington Post about the Virginia Tech shootings and the aftermath that happened in 2007. Many of my friends (as college students in Virginia) are changing profile pictures, statuses, and tweets to thoughts about VA Tech.

In the spring of 2007 I was a senior in high school just about to graduate. I had already applied to colleges and my sister and I were going through the process of touring schools to decide which one we would attend in the fall. Two weeks exactly before April 16 my family went to Blacksburg and toured that beautiful campus. I had friends that had graduated from my high school who attended there as well. So, when we were in school two weeks later and the announcement came on about the shootings teachers allowed us to take out cell phones and text anyone that we needed to from VA Tech to make sure they were alright.

We were fortunate, no one from our high school had even been injured, but 32 students lost their lives that day. I ask that you remember VA Tech today and think of the families and friends of those students.

Cell Pics

Sorry I've been falling behind on posting this week! Here are a few pictures taken throughout the week on campus for you to enjoy! Of course... they're all cell phone pictures so the quality isn't great but you definitely get the idea. I think during the summer I may end up buying a pocket camera. You know, those small ones that girls can carry around in their purse? I just love my DSLR but it is rather difficult to stick in my bag and carry around for those GORGEOUS sunsets when you don't expect them. Yeah, another camera may be in my future.....

As it is, hope you enjoy your Friday afternoon!

Sorry about the light in this one - I was in a dorm and the light had to be reflected in the window.

Yeah, my major is awesome. This is in my Meteorology class while we were looking at thunderstorms occurring around the globe. This is actually a 3D sphere with four projectors around the room lighting the image. It's actually much brighter than this in real life. (The images move around the globe - it goes through a yearly cycle on display).

Hectic & Hungry

14 April 2010

Monday and Tuesday are always chaotic schedules for me this semester. This week was no exception. Still, I'm glad that my free time yesterday was going to the gym because at least then I'm being productive.

I find that maybe I should start packing food for those days. On Monday I had a McDonald's medium fries for dinner. I prefer not to eat fast food as my meal typically (more like a snack in the evening if I'm being honest) but when I'm in a rush I still want to eat something but it just ends up being a bad choice.

Yesterday, I had cheetos for lunch and then nothing for dinner. I did have a veggie sub at 3:30 to counterbalance this and a pop tart at 8pm..... Yes, it's sad. So my goal from here on out is to get in one big, really healthy meal each day. Two is awesome but I'm going to be realistic. Grocery store here I come right? Veggies, and fruits, and proteins Oh My!

Do you ever get so busy that you just don't have the time to eat? How do you cope with it? Do you pack beforehand, eat after, or pull a me and just grab something quick and not-quite-so-good to eat? I'd be happy for any suggestions!

PS- There are many reasons to smile as normal! I've been busy with school work such as volunteer hours. Good news!! I don't feel nervous before I go in to work with the kids every Monday now. My job is pretty much babysitting kids and helping them with homework while their parents are taking classes and that was tough for me up front. I want to work with high schoolers but pre-k??? That was way out of my league. I still find parts of it stressful but I'm definitely getting better at it.

Also, schoolwork is getting done (finally)! I keep working but when two days are solidly devoted to it you start really knocking stuff out - like group work. That is definitely an upside to getting all this work done!

Dark Hollow Falls

11 April 2010

This morning I left with Noah to go hiking on Skyline Drive. Skyline Drive is in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and please, please - if you ever get a chance, please do visit. You could just take your car along the scenic drive, or you could camp, picnic, or hike trails.

We arrived at the trailhead around 10:40 and just hiked. If possible, we always try to hike in the morning so that the sun isn't too overbearing. Today ended up just perfect with blue skies and the sun shining down. We followed the stream for the majority of the trail and then after about .5 miles downhill we were at the falls. They are gorgeous! Out of all the trails I've been on in the Shenandoah National Park I think Dark Hollow Falls is my favorite!

We ended up taking some pictures there and rested a bit before doing the uphill climb. It was about an hour and a half round trip which isn't too bad and my sweetie was willing to take breaks for me. We stopped at the visitor center again before heading back down the mountain into the Shenandoah Valley so I could pick up a few trail guides for the future.

Hope your Sunday has been going well! Enjoy your last evening before work and school tomorrow!
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