Cool It: A Summer Drink Recipe

With the end of the school year in sight, the faculty, staff, and majority of students have our eyes on the prize. The days are getting longer, meaning that we (technically) can fit more into the day. Staying up later makes waking up in the mornings more difficult.

So if you’re like me and need a bit of a boost (or like this and require coffee to start your day), here’s a quick & easy recipe I’ve been using to cool down and ramp up!

coffee smoothie ingredients

Vanilla Mocha Protein Smoothie (makes one regular-size Magic Bullet)
Vanilla protein powder
Ice cubes
Mocha iced coffee
Almond milk

1. Fill Bullet blender cup a third of the way with ice cubes.
2. Add 3/4 c. iced coffee, 1/4 c. almond milk, 1/4 c. protein powder
3. Blend to desired consistency and enjoy!

coffee smoothie

If you’d rather not use premade iced coffee, Health.com provides instructions to make your own.

Have a great Thursday!

Word Nerd

At some point throughout the day, especially if it’s a hectic one, I like to glance at USA Today’s 5 Things You Need To Know. It gives me a sense of what’s going on in the world, but’s not as intense as watching the news or Twitter.

The last item today caught my eye – not only because I’m always interested in learning new words/increasing my vocabulary, but also because the state of writing and spelling in this country is becoming more and more appalling to me. It’s inspiring to see so many young people who have an interest in language.

NSBee logo

Spelling was one of my better subjects in school, and with my minor in French I felt more than ready to tackle the preliminary Scripps Bee test. My total score was a 28 – not too shabby! You bet your bottom dollar I’m returning to the site at the end of the week to see if I would have qualified for the Semifinal round!

If you’re a word nerd like me, the Scripps National Spelling Bee can be viewed on various ESPN channels (depending on the day). If watching the Bee live isn’t your thing, but you’re curious about how students get to this point, check out Spellbound – it chronicles the journey of eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee. Highly recommend!

R&R

This morning, I was planning on taking it easy. Sleep in, lounge around, do some freelance work, attend a cookout, and possibly fit in a run.

Then I read Renee’s post.

And I laced up my shoes. It wasn’t my prettiest run, as my calves got tight and a stitch formed in my side about three-quarters of the way through. Yet, I was reminded of those who aren’t running for fun, but running for their lives. Running from bullets, knives, toxic chemicals. Not only running, but DYING so that I can enjoy this gorgeous day. I ran and remembered.

run details 5-27

To the Class of 2013…

advice

One of the famous sayings of our former school president was, “Do NOTHING between now and the end of school that will jeopardize your graduation or break your mother’s heart.” It was told to the students time and time again (mostly during the spring semester). By the students entered their senior year, these words were ingrained in their heads and he would only have to start the saying and they could recite the rest by heart.

A few small words, but a big life lesson. This man knew that although he had influence over these young people, the way to their hearts was to (literally) bring the words home.

Unfortunately, he passed away from cancer last year. Yet, in his absence, I have found myself restating these words to those seniors crossing my path. The Class of 2013 knows these words well, and knows that they ring true not only within our school walls, but within life as well.

What’s a piece of advice you would give to those graduating this year?

Seven Things Every Woman Should Accomplish in Her 20s

I saw this article on Thought Catalog this morning and while I agree with most of the suggestions, I’m not completely on board with all of them.

So I made my own list.

First, the things that I agree with:

1. Travel. Maybe not alone, but traveling is definitely on my list. I spent a semester of college in Europe, and I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I went back to Scotland a few years later and had a bit of time to travel to myself. I spent the a few days in Edinburgh wandering around and while it was a bit scary, it was liberating at the same time.

kilt

2. Have a night where you get too crazy. In your 20s, your metabolism (and tolerance for certain beverages) is probably at its peak. Enjoy it. Be a bit irresponsible. Make memories. Dance your heart out.

3. Disregard your parent’s advice on something. Now, my take isn’t the same as it is in the article. You see, I never really had a ‘rebellious’ time. When I went to college, I decided I wanted my belly button pierced. I had just turned 18 (ok, so not technically 20s yet but whatever), and asked Mommy Janks what she thought. She immediately responded that she didn’t like the idea. I did it anyway. Later on, I heard her recounting the story to her friends as if I didn’t do it without her permission. Sigh.

4. Ask for a raise. In a prior position, I was a part of a pretty intimidating review process. But it prepared me for life. I had to defend my decisions, express my interest in the company, and explain why I deserved a raise. If you weren’t prepared, you were like a fish in a barrel. As I said, it’s made me a better person (and also made me get everything in writing.)

Now, for a few not on the list:

5. Live in a city. While State College is big enough to merit its own zip code, it’s not necessarily a city. I’m a suburban girl and while I had a few friends who lived in the heart of a city, I have never done it. The JA was living in a part of Baltimore when we started dating and we remember that time with love and longing. It’s great feeling like a bigger part of something…like, maybe a Super Bowl win?

Ravens

6. Take a trip with a close friend or your significant other (just the two of you). If you haven’t done that yet, do it now. You learn about someone when you’re sharing a car, plane, or room with someone for a few days.

7. Invest. Whether it’s buying a piece of clothing that you know you’ll wear for years to come or putting money in a retirement fund, invest in your future. I’ve always been a saver (sometimes to a fault), and I understand how hard it is to invest in big-ticket items. Yet, I bought my first decent suit jacket in my 20s and I wear it all.the.time. Initial cost? My jaw hit the floor. Cost per wear? At this point, it’s pennies. Completely worth it.

There are a few more that I could list but then it wouldn’t be seven things, so I’m going to turn it over to you. Anything that you would add/change to this list?

Life Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dog

I wanted to write this post for a long time now. I thought it could wait until a big milestone (our 1 year six-month mark of owning a dog) but I saw this photo of a dog that survived along with its owners in a storm shelter during the tornado in Oklahoma. This post may seem trivial in comparison, but loss comes in many shapes and sizes; please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers.

Photo via Instagram from @todayshow, who reposted from @weatherchannel producer @mikejenkinstv

Photo via Instagram from @todayshow, who reposted from @weatherchannel producer @mikejenkinstv

In the past, I used to scoff at those bumper stickers that read, “Who rescued who?” but since we adopted Watson, I’ve changed my tune.

Having a dog is one of the best decisions the JA and I have made (besides marrying each other, of course). Here are a few of the lessons he’s taught us:

1. Be a good companion. I.hate.being.alone. Coming home to an empty house led to me sitting at the computer for hours on end, piddling around, working, and counting the seconds until the JA came through the door. When he did, either I was 1. super happy to see him and wanting to talk all about my day, or 2. upset that he was late and why can’t we make more time for each other?!

Not so good.

Watson has given me a reason to come home on time and like it. He gets me out of the house, and there’s no happier face than a dog who gets to be outside on a nice day.

W outside spring

2. Test the limits (but know when to give up). Between shredding the laundry room door, sneak pees, and eating my camera, these past few months have had more than enough “BOY, you are lucky you’re so cute” challenges. We like to say that he’s as high maintenance as we are – when he’s unhappy, he shows it. We’re getting better at learning his cues, but also controlling him more when necessary.

3. Shake it off. Sure, I cried a bit when I found my good camera cracked and in pieces around the living room. But the majority of the time, we have to accept the fact that what’s done is done. Picking up the pieces and moving on (while seeing Watson slink around because he knows we’re upset with him) is a trait that dog ownership has certainly strengthened.

How can you be so upset? Look at this face!

How can you be so upset? Look at this face!

4. Love like there’s no tomorrow. Now, I’m not knocking the JA here, but when we’ve both had a bad day, it’s sometimes hard to get out of that funk. Doggie don’t care. As long as we walk through that door, he will greet us with a wagging tail and a ‘let’s go play!’ look in his eyes. I never had a pet growing up, so Watson’s my first try at this whole thing. This little guy has brought so much joy into our lives that I can’t wait to watch him grow and adapt with us as an important part of our family.

W portrait

5. Everyone needs a good cuddle now and again. There’s nothing like a doggie cuddle. Or the ‘paws up because this is the best belly rub’ look. Or finding the secret spot that unleashes the highly sought out foot jiggle. Cuddling never hurt anyone, and most of the time it’s appreciated.

paws up

6. Bring snacks and always share. Watson is always down for a snack. His preferences are animal crackers and pretzels with peanut butter coming in a close third. Boy is like his momma – loves the carbs and gravitates toward them like a bee to honey.

W with pretzel

What life lessons have you learned from a pet?

Update: This video appeared this morning that show a woman who recovering her dog from the rubble in Oklahoma. I totally teared up, but wanted to pass it along. You’ve been warned.

And On The Seventh Day…

…we rested.

After finishing our duties as senior prom chaperones at 1a, sitting on a closed beltway and not getting home ’til 2a, waking up at 9a to do some cleaning before our landlord showed our house, and running some errands (hello, people we need food!), we crashed. And when I say crash, I mean it. We all (Watson included) napped from 3p – 5p. It was magnificent.

selfie in the elevator

selfie in the elevator

Needless to say, we didn’t get a lot accomplished today. We’ve got another crazy week (our dinner schedule has dashes next to Tues, Weds, Thurs, and Fri meaning either one of us is on their own or we’ve got a dinner event planned), so it’s nice to sit back and chill. Especially when it means I come home from running errands and can justifiably spend the rest of the day in “comfy clothes.”