2015 in Review

31 December 2015

How to describe 2015? Tumultuous, perhaps. Full. Ups and Downs. A mix of insanely busy and times where I didn't know what to do with myself.

2015 in retrospect feels like a stepping stone to me, like a transitional year. Sometimes I feel as if nothing actually happened in 2015, but then I realize that it was jam-packed with little moments of life. I must have had at least six parties at the lake, enjoyed a Super Bowl party, rushed Kappa Epsilon, visited Seattle and the OBX (and then the OBX again in December). My friend had a baby. Two of my best friends are currently pregnant. I was inducted into the honors leadership fraternity Phi Lambda Sigma. I met so many new people and have continued to learn more about myself.

I find myself always looking for the milestones (I'm ready to graduate and have a family). That whole thing that older women say, you know - "one day you'll want a baby"... well, that day came and it's sort of messed with my head ever since. Did you know that it feels somewhat like a switch has been flipped? It's nearly that instant.

I am trying to slow down and enjoy this journey. I passed my "milestone birthday" of 25 and turned 26 this year. For some reason that was a little insane for me. Growing up I watched Friends and I remember Rachel turning 30 and thinking she was crazy. 30 is still so young! But now at 26 I can understand her feelings a little more. Time is a really strange thing.

Without further ado, here is a brief overview of 2015.

January: In January the weather got cold. My friend Allison met with me to talk about resolutions and lifelong dreams before heading off to Dubai. We had a party at the lake house. Sam, Kathy, and I made the first of many visits at Paper and Scissors Rock in downtown Winchester. It snowed a lot and made it difficult for me to get to my IPPE at Target Pharmacy. 50/50 opened in downtown and they are known for their flights and burgers. 

February: Sam and Ben hosted a super bowl party (the last one they'll have in that house on Braddock). Pharmacy courses were picking up their pace along with seminars. I pledged a fraternity. Game nights really picked up for Noah and me and this group became our solid friend group that we see at least every other week. Brewbakers hosted the first Wine and Paint Night in Winchester and a whole group of girls went with me. We hosted another party at the lake. Sam, Ben, Noah, and I did the chocolate tour on the Loudoun Mall. Noah and I hosted the youth group at the lake. I was still leading Fusion every other week. I presented a research poster. 

March: In March it was restaurant week and Noah and I visited food trucks and local restaurants downtown. More and more snow was coming our way. Dad, Noah, and I went sledding in Jim Barnett Park. I visited Richmond to see my sister and her fiance and coincidentally met Coconut on the first day they adopted her. We explored the city that weekend. I hosted some wine and cheese days at my house. Hosted a KE party at the lake with my fellow pledges. Had a plethora of game nights. Made my paddle. Continued Harry Potter movie days once a month with a friend group. Was inducted into Kappa Epsilon. Had a freakishly warm day and studied with my group outside at the lake. Had another party at the lake. Jake, Jeff, and Emily came to visit. Went to Mexican with my brothers to celebrate a birthday. Experienced my first poison prevention puppet show. 

April: Went to a winery with my class for a social. Visited the lake a bunch with Noah and Odin. Had more game nights and more Mexican food. Went to egg hunts at the church and still hid some for Noah. Went hiking on Skyline Drive. Went to Pharmal with my Brothers. Did flamingo flocking as a fundraiser. Studied all the time. ALL THE TIME. Scheduled days with Will for studying. Every spare moment, I swear. Noah had his jazz band perform at a dinner and I got to dance. KE had it's end of year party (we would coincidentally come to own the couch that we are all sitting on). Enjoyed cocktails and food with friends. 

May: Hit up all the Apple Blossom events with my friends and family. Even went to a women's luncheon this year and we were the "obnoxious table". Buckled down for an intense finals week. My study group was probably dead sick of each other. We would sit outside and study until long past the sun was down. Finals happened. Enough said. Had an awesome carpool crew for my summer rotation at the VA. Loved every second at the VA and think it would be great to work there. Had a birthday party at the lake, one of our biggest bashes in a while. It's so great to see all your friends in one spot. Had a crew meet at Panera after finals to destress. Dog sat. More game nights. Crafted for Kathy's birthday. Went to IKEA for the first time ever and was blown away. Enjoyed the first tastes of summer and my heart melted. Jake's family came up to visit. Visited the farm market downtown and went on more double dates with Sam and Ben.  

June: Had a picnic in Clearbrook after work one day. Went to Fredericksburg! Did some agility training on the side with Odin and canoed. Celebrated Noah's birthday with his family at Ichiban and a party at the lake. Helped host crafts at Bible School. Went to Richmond for an evening. Stayed in Williamsburg with Ben, Sam, Sydney, Nic, and Bethany before hitting up Busch Gardens for an awesome day of fun! Visited the Drive In. Started a podcast. Flew across the country. Stayed on the Puget Sound in Seattle and my heart was stolen. The bay and the sunsets were absolutely gorgeous. There is no way to describe it to you. Visited many areas of Seattle with Mitsi, Bret, Nic, and Noah. 

July: Started off and we were still in Seattle. The Snoqualmie Falls were one of my favorite parts of the trip along with kayaking on the bay at sunset. Played with Odin a bunch since we felt guilty about traveling. Went to the OBX with family and Noah learned to fly a kite. Went on a dolphin boat tour. Continued learning how to edit sound clips and really enjoyed it. Visited the zoo for Sam's birthday. Started church hopping in the Winchester area. Played tennis and crafted a lot. 

August: Went to Richmond with Noah to see my sister for the whole weekend. Swam in the James. Tried new places to eat. Represented KE and ACCP at orientation and met some of the incoming P1s. Had the first game night of the year. Hosted the second one at the lake and had over 20 people attend. Study sessions started up again. Went hiking on Skyline Drive. More study sessions. 

September: Got ice cream with my classmates. Picked a pumpkin. Started running more. Participated in Greek Olympics and had a ton of fun. Did a poison prevention puppet show at the safety fair. Went bowling with my Brothers and friends and raised money for the YSC. Had new people at game nights! Went to the Johnson family reunion in West Virginia. Found my current church, Life House. Went back out for Mexican food (practically a tradition at this point). More game nights and more lake time with Odin. Allison came into town and we crafted. Went to Hill High Farm with KE. 

October:  Game nights. Went dark brunette. Had Mexican food. Met some new girls one on one to talk about school as a mentor. Started my placement at the hospital. Volunteered to help educate the public on the flu shot. Went to the KY bonfire. Learned how to do glucose monitoring. Flew to San Francisco and took the BART train. Attended my first global pharmacy conference and walked on the Golden Gate Bridge. Was accepted to Phi Lambda Sigma. Went to the Annual Mario Kart Tournament. Took a surprisingly decent place in the bracket. Wore mustaches in class. Hosted an awesome Halloween Party. Found out my BFF was pregnant. 

November: Studied. A lot. Don't let me ever deceive you. Most of my time in school is actually spent studying. Did a diabetes med education. Was inducted into PLS. Did yoga with some peers and a professor. Had wine with friends on the mall. Did a pole fitness class with friends and a professor. It was hilarious and a workout. Took part in a fitbit step competition. Went to see Romeo & Juliet. SLAMMED into finals week. Always stressful. Over. Hallelujah! Hosted Thanksgiving at our house for my family. Enjoyed visiting with Noah's dad's family too. Decorated the house for Christmas. 

December: Made cookies with my grandpa and my dad. Went to the OBX with my girlfriends and study group. Played a lot of games, laid around, walked on the beach, went out for food and drinks. All around had an awesome time. Hosted a Christmas party. Noah had his winter concert. Went to a friend's wedding in Charlottesville. Had such a great time catching up with old high school and college friends. Not to mention getting some drinks and dancing, only wish we could have stayed later but I'm a dog mama. Went to my friend's gynecology appointment because her husband couldn't make that one and got to hear her baby's heartbeat. Was a great experience. Found out one of my other best friends was pregnant. Babies everywhere! Spent a lot of time with our families over Christmas. Read up a lot on immunizations. 

It's definitely a big round up and I'm interested to see where 2016 takes me. To be honest though, I expect it will just be a year-long tale of me drowning in this one agonizingly difficult pharmacy course. The great news is I will basically be an aunt and I have two friends who I get to spoil rotten during this. We'll get a new group of pledges. My last summer ever is coming up. Can't decide if I'm working or if I'm going to try to enjoy my last bit of time off before I work forevermore. So, for now... I'm just glad to look back over the year and see how many opportunities I had with friends, two flights across the country, to grow professionally, and to be my introspective self

Just For Fun

17 December 2015

Looking for some contagious laughter? This guy at 00:17 is cracking me up as well as the news anchor immediately following him talking about the ugliest dog competition. Sometimes my friends and I just send each other funny videos and images just to make each other laugh. We're the worst about it in class. This past semester the one time my friend actually busted out laughing was when we were paying really close attention in class and working. I was trying to mimic the professor's curve for AUC of a med on Google Slides and it was not going as anticipated. She saw my struggle and busted out.

After all the Thomas the Tank Engine and unicorn posts... that's what did her in. Love it when you get to laugh with your friends. 


14 December 2015

It's hard to believe, but my mom has been gone for seven years now. You know what you never get asked after seven years? "How are you doing with the loss of your mom?". Granted, it's not something I wrestle with every day any longer. I go days at a time without thinking of her because I've been fortunate in life and have moved on with daily life, keeping myself occupied. 

But there is always someone missing. 

There's a reason people say the holidays are harder. All those traditions, family get togethers, growth (weddings and babies) seem to culminate in this feeling of family. Sometimes it's enough to make you feel full of life and happiness and other times it's just enough to make you feel entirely alone.

At 26, I still don't have any close friends who have experienced this loss yet. I hope they don't for a long time. There's no way to explain that sometimes feelings just hit you out of nowhere. A bride dances with her father on her wedding day, you see an advent calendar that looks just like the one your mom made when you were growing up, or you get just a hint of a smell (perhaps that dreaded wood furnace smell that reminds you of Saturday morning chores) and all of a sudden it comes rushing in. Like floodgates, that had been almost forgotten, open anew and drown you. 

With my sister in Richmond, my dad with his wife in my mom's repainted house, my grandma passed away, and my grandpa getting shakier it just feels suffocating sometimes. I appreciate having Noah's family who are as inclusive as possible, but sometimes I still feel like an outsider there; I find myself wondering sometimes if that ever goes away. Perhaps when children are brought up and you truly create your own traditions? 

If you've experienced a loss that you're feeling this season, I'm sorry. I hope you're doing well. Do what you can to bring that person close to your heart and don't be afraid to feel when you need to. 

Quinoa Salad

Well what do you know? It's been ages since I kept up with food and recipe posts. In an effort to get back into fitness and health I'm going to start posting more recipes up here. Afterall, this is usually the first place I go to to look for recipes when we're meal planning. But it's been so long since I updated the recipe page that I don't have most of my recipes on here. I'm going to remedy that!

To start with, here is a quinoa salad that I made. What's included: quinoa, tomatoes, spinach, and avocado. There's also some oil and salt thrown in for good measure, but that's it! Easy peasy.

I got the recipe from The Garden Grazer.

Charlottesville Wedding

13 December 2015

Congrats to our newlywed friends, The Smiths! Noah, Nic, and I travelled down to Charlottesville yesterday to celebrate with our friends as they started off their married life. It was the first time I had been to a Catholic wedding and it was a beautiful service. The site was beautiful, the music was lovely, and it was wild to see our friend with a ring on his finger.

I think that happens as you get older. It's nice to have other friends joined the married club, but it's odd now that we'll go to weddings for long-standing friendships. As friends move away and everyone gets busy we get to see each other less and less so it's these big moments that bring everyone back together again to celebrate and have fun. It's nice to have friendships like that. 

The reception took place at an absolutely stunning country club. I have no doubts that this will be the fanciest wedding I will ever attend. Immediately upon arrival we were greeted with a cocktail bar. And we caught up with some of our old college friends. Wow, what a great experience. When we moved indoors to the reception we were seated together along with Duncan, Sarah, and Steve and three others that we were just meeting. We had a hilarious table, which made for such a great dinner and evening. So many funny people all in one spot. 

As a side note, I love seeing Noah with a new group of people. It's kind of like I step outside of myself and can look in and see again all that "first love" that I once felt. I like the steady burning that you get with time, but it's nice for those feelings of infatuation to flair up again. He's definitely in his element at events like this. 

All in all it was a fabulous event with lots of friends, drinks, dancing, and some memories that will definitely stick with me. Here's to new love and long lasting happiness! 

OBX Weekend

09 December 2015

Just had a great trip with friends to the Outer Banks! My best friends and I went to North Carolina for the weekend and finally got to relax together. We tend to get so busy during the semester that we don't have time to actually hang out with one another. We took pictures on the beach, walked the boardwalk, cooked, ate, and played games. It was a great way to kick off break as a team and I hope in the future we can keep up annual trips together as we move and our families grow. 

This year we had two couples, one baby, and two girls for the weekend; I wonder how that will change and grow in the future. Time seems to move faster and faster as you get older. While I am more than ready to be done with school right now, I'm sure I'll look back and realize that it actually flew by so I'm trying to appreciate every one of these moments with my friends now.

KE Christmas Party

Holiday Goals

01 December 2015

This holiday season is a little odd for me. For the first time ever in my life I have no obligations between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Honestly, as a person who likes being busy, I don't know what to do with myself! 

So, ever faithful to myself, I made a list of goals. They are as follows:
  • Meal plan for beach week(end)
  • Make cookies with grandpa
  • Make a vet appointment
  • Make a doctors appointment
  • Take down the borders in the upstairs bathroom
  • Find a wedding guest dress
  • Write my movie script (only one month to go when the movie should be done)
  • Have that double date we've been talking about all semester
  • Christmas Party
  • Start planning baby shower for my friend! (so excited!!!)
  • Re-read Harry Potter
  • Finish my 101 in 1001 list
Based on that last goal, I've got a little further to go, which is exciting. But, for now, I'm off to go see my grandpa and make a batch of Christmas cookies! Wishing you all an exciting holiday.

Reason to Smile: Lots of quality family time this week!

Feeling Good

26 November 2015

Looking for some great dinner party music today while your family sits down to celebrate Thanksgiving? Check out Pandora's "Dinner Party" station because they've run three of my favorite songs back-to-back. Michael Buble's Feeling Good, Nat King Cole's Unforgettable, and Georgia on my Mind. I am definitely a big fan of the classics and pulling them out for the perfect ambience during your soiree is a sweet and subtle move. 

Reason to Smile: Thanksgiving is here and I've been so lucky to see my family yesterday and we're going out to be with Noah's family today and tomorrow. 


18 November 2015

"It's a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you're ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any."

- Hugh Laurie

Just Keep Swimming

13 November 2015

We are less than a week out now from finals and the pressure is starting to pick up. So you know what I'm doing in all my free time?


Thanksgiving dinner.

Planning the next pole fitness class.

Wrangling a dinner party. 

Having a step competition.

Basically trying to slam all the friend time in that I possibly can since half of my friend group will be spread across the world (Cali, Colorado, Vietnam!) over the month of December. I love these guys and it's always so tough that we are together when we have to be studying and apart when we actually have time to conquer the world. This morning I'm reading a few blogs before my daily phone call with Heather. We talk about pharmacology every morning now... because obviously we don't get enough of school or each other during the regular school day. 

As much as I want to just hang out with my friends we've definitely been hitting pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. Yeah, I'm basically studying made up words! Sometimes we move so quickly in these classes that I can't believe I'm keeping up. Pharmacy school is tough and I think you need to figure out study habits early and find a support group to keep each other going. 

But, as my favorite professor from undergrad said "You can do anything for three weeks". And I'm down to two... 

Pole Fitness

09 November 2015

I'm excited to say that I can mark one more thing off of my list! As part of my fraternity's Silent Auction our professors put up packages that students could bid on. The yoga class I talked about recently was another package offered. 

Last night one of my best friends and I went to a Pole Fitness class, which we've both been wanting to do for ages. [See the fiery red head in the first photo.] We had a ton of fun! For your first class you mostly do floor work because lets face it, you need to be incredibly fit in order to do most of your stereotypical pole moves. We did get to learn two spins on the pole last night: The Fireman and the Half Spin. 

They were a lot of fun and as a class full of pharmacy girls we were laughing and being overly dramatic in every action. I almost put a video up here so you could get an idea of the moves we were doing, but decided against it. I think I'll keep the video for myself and my friends. Rest assured though, if you're looking for a good work out and want to find a way to feel confident in yourself and your body pole fitness could very well be for you! Our group took that bottom photo as a joke, but it was a bit harder to get back up after the hour class than we anticipated. And yes, MB is a very comfortable pillow.

Lively music, a fun atmosphere, and girls proving their strength? A+, would try again. 

Health Goals

07 November 2015

Yesterday evening I finished out my week with a yoga class downtown. I had forgotten how much I enjoy fitness classes. I really loved doing jazzercise with my best friend, but due to time (and money) constraints I had to give it up and focus on school. 

I think I'm going to have to find my center again. 

My friends and I are setting up a "Snow Plan". We're getting geared up to workout this winter break and keep each other on track. FitBit will be rearing it's head again, along with meal plans, and routine workouts. I haven't been too off the tracks this semester, but I could definitely be hitting the workouts a little stronger. 

October Adventures

02 November 2015

 Well... What can I say? October was a whirlwind.

In October I flew across the continent and visited San Francisco for the first time. My first time flying without a family member.

I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.

ACCP hosted their global conference and I went to learn about residencies.

Took 6th place in a Mario Kart Tournament (out of 16).

Made some s'mores at a bonfire.

Won classes at a yoga study and a pole fitness dance class.

My friends and I planned a mustache parade.

Had a plethora of coffee and gelato dates.

Jumped through performance hoop after performance hoop.

Did patient counseling.

My sister came up with her fiance and her pup for a visit!

Learned how to do blood glucose monitoring. I stuck a friend and she stuck me.

And to wrap it up we hosted a Halloween party with some interesting events that I probably won't forget.

Things have gotten a bit crazy around here and I forget to update as life happens and takes over. The holidays are coming up though and I love that season (even if winter shows it's gloomy face alongside the celebrations). Hope you had a great October too!

Cozy Rain

30 September 2015

The last two days have had the pitter patter of rain mixed throughout. My alma mater has experienced a fair bit of flooding and our little garden is looking fantastic. 

Yesterday was a whirlwind of patient interviews, exams, and meetings at pharmacy school. That's the professional life. I'm starting to really love it. It was fine my first year, but I've really found a niche of my own. A past president of a different university's ACCP chapter has reached out over Twitter to help our executive board plan seminars. I love that blogs, twitter, and other forms of social media can really make the world a smaller place.

But today... today is a day of relaxation and rest. I have one more midterm coming up (Law) before fall break. So today is cleaning and dancing and cuddling with my dog. Take a few deep breaths and slow down. 

It will pick back up quickly enough. 

For now, I'll keep swaying to my music and grab another cup of coffee. 

Hill High Farm 2015

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