“There is a magic in misery. Just ask any runner.” Dean Karnazes

Sending out an early morning post for you all to enjoy! I woke up around 4:30 and couldn’t fall back asleep so decided to just get up and be productive before I headed to the gym. Amazing how much one can get done in the wee hours of the morning when it seems nobody else is awake. Gah! I love mornings!! Speaking of loving things, this post is about running… something I don’t particularly love…#thrower4life. However, over the past couple months, I’ve been trying super hard to at least like it! In my efforts to enjoy running more, I completed a couple runs with some friends.

I ran my first 5K at the beginning of summer. My three goals wrapped into one were to complete it without walking in under 30 minutes. I didn’t die, even though at mile 2.5 I was not 100% convinced I wasn’t going to! I finished without walking and the time on the clock was 30:31. Although I didn’t look at the clock when I officially started or use a watch to time myself (running newbie!) I’m pretty sure I started running with at least 31 seconds on the clock so I’m chalking that up as a goal met!

Bib Number!

Bib Number! I made sure to send this out before-hand so that if race officials had to peel me off the trail I’d be easier to identify #comfortingpreracethoughts 

Post-Run! #sweatyselfie

Post-Run! #sweatyselfie

More recently though, I ran a 5k Color Run to support my friend Katie’s roller derby team. This run was significantly more fun! Partially due to running with friends, partially because of all the color powder being thrown. The dance party after the run was also fun, which you know much have been top notch if my non-dancing self enjoyed it 🙂

Before the color run!

Before the color run with Katie and Jeff!

Run, Run, Run! :)

Run, Run, Run! 🙂 Looks like I smile even when I run! #foreversmiling

Yay for Friends and Post-Run Smiles

Yay for Friends and Post-Run Smiles! #colorful

The most recent run I completed was part of Inaguration Weekend for our new President. The College of Saint Benedict hosted a “Glo-run” that tied into the inaguration theme of “Illuminate.” It was a two mile course that ran through our campus. It was held at night and neon paint was launched at us and we were “illuminated” with glow-sticks. It was a neat community event to be a part of. One of my college roommates/track teammates came up for the weekend and I suckered her into running it with me. By that I mean, I signed us up before even asking her about it, thanks for being a great sport, Alyssa 🙂

Alyssa and I at the Glo-Run!

High-Fiving the cheering sisters during the Glo-Run! Super AH-DOR-ABLE! #lovethesisters

I don’t have any other races planned for the near future. The thought of upping my mileage and tackling a 10k has crossed my mind a few times. Usually though, my thrower instincts kick in and remind me that voluntarily running 6.someoddnumber miles does not sound like much fun to me.

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“The greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance.” Brian Tracy

This post will take us back to Christmas! As I reflect on what a lovely holiday season it was, I am reminded how blessed I am to have such wonderful family and friends! I gave only homemade gifts for Christmas this year. I enjoyed the anticipation of giving each gift that I experienced while I was making each one equally as much as I enjoyed watching loved ones open them.

Although none of the gifts I made are extravagant, they were made with love 🙂 I would like to publicly thank my dear mom for helping me, as without her help, I would not have finished my gifts on time. There is just something about the projects I discover on Pinterest that make them look a lot simpler than they actually are. You’d think after all the Pinterest inspired DIY projects I have completed that I would have figured this out by now. Maybe next time 🙂

Check out the pictures to see what each family member received!

Rice Heating Pad given to Jenna

Rice Heating Pad given to Jenna

Rice Heating Pad given to Jeremy

Rice Heating Pad given to Jeremy

Rice Heating Pad given to Dad

Rice Heating Pad given to Dad. I also went in on a fishing themed gift with my siblings. I bought some fancy hot dogs for grilling when Dad and Mom go fishing. Jy got a mosquito re-pellant and Ja contributed a gift card for chicken livers and a license!

Rice Heat Pad for myself :)

Rice Heat Pad for myself 🙂

Mason Jar Glass filled with drink mixes. Given to Jenna

Mason Jar Glass filled with drink mixes. Given to Jenna

Crayon Art Quote with a quote Grandpa used to say, given to Jenna

Crayon Art Quote with a quote Grandpa used to say, given to Jenna

Tile Coasters, given to Jeremy

Tile Coasters, given to Jeremy

Canvas Quote given to Mom

Canvas Quote given to Mom

I also made a blanket and a crayon art quote for a friend, but I forgot to take pictures of them! So will have to add an update if/when I remember to take a picture of them.

These gifts are nice, but of course, my presence was clearly the best gift of all 🙂 Hope that your holiday season was filled with joy and you were able to spend it with your loved ones!

“A Journey is Best Measured in Friends, Rather Than Miles” Tim Cahill

This is my first post from my new home in Minnesota!! I’ve only been here for about two weeks and I’m already checking things off my Day Zero Project list. My first day of work at my new gig was a week ago from this past Tuesday and it was by far the best first day of work I have ever had. You may be asking yourself, what made it so great?! Well, I flew to Washington DC with my fellow coworkers for a conference! We attended the ASACCUU Conference which is the Association for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities.

Attending this conference with my coworkers was super exciting on so many levels. Mainly because I left for the trip not really knowing any of the wonderful ladies I work with, but I returned calling them my friends and feeling as though I had known them for years. Adding to the excitement was the fact that I had the opportunity to ‘visit a state I had never been to’ I had never been to Washington DC or the state of Virginia, which we were in briefly.

The conference was set up so that during the day we attended key-note speakers and sessions that talked about some of the unique challenges and opportunities that come with working at a Catholic institution. The evenings were free, though, so at night we were able to do some sight-seeing. This was an added bonus because the first night we were in DC (July 23) was the eve of my golden birthday! One of my new friends had a friend from highschool that lived in the area that met up with us and we rang in my 24th birthday while sitting on a patio along the river at an outdoor bar. What a way to kick off my golden birthday, right?!

On Wednesday, my actual birthday, I attended a lot of very informative sessions that really sparked my enthusiasm for the upcoming year. After the conference concluded for the day, a group of the representatives from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University that were at the conference went out for a fancy dinner. The dinner was absolutely scrumptious and even better was the eye candy the chef provided during the meal (schmokin hot chef! haha!) Since it was my birthday, I was given a free dessert! So yummy! After dinner, my friends and I went to the White House. Yes, I spent part of my golden birthday at the White House with my friends. We are kind of a big deal 🙂 After doing some sight-seeing, we went to a speakeasy (where my friend’s friend worked) and celebrated my birthday in style!! (shout out to Katie, Kyleen, Ann, and Tara for celebrating with me!!) What a fantastic way to celebrate my life! Here’s to the fantastic year that is in-store for me!!

Thursday, the last day of the conference, I attended the best session ever! haha shout out to my amazing coworkers on their phenomenal presentation on the programming model that they created the previous year. I can already tell that I am going to learn so much this year from my coworkers and that is super exciting! After the conclusion of the conference, we had the opportunity to go on a bus tour of the monuments. Super cool to see all of them! It was hard to get quality pictures at the monuments as it was at night, but below are some pictures from the trip!

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That’s the point of working with one’s hands, you see. It gives the mind something else to do besides worry” Charles Todd

Well, tomorrow I head to Saint Joseph to get all settled in to what will be my new home for the next ?? however many years! I’ve been keeping myself busy while at home in northwest, Iowa. Partially due to the fact that I’ve had these projects in mind for quite some time and finally have some time to work on them, but partially to keep my mind from thinking too much about all the changes that are about to come my way! Here are some things that have kept me busy 🙂

1. Button Headband: My parents went to an estate sale a few months ago and ended up with a whole slew of buttons! All different shapes, sizes, colors, and styles so I figured why not take some of them and make a super stellar headband?!

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2. I also did a few home improvement projects in my room! I started with having Dad help me take down my loft and then repainted the walls. I painted three of the walls grey and the remaining wall white with the intent of stenciling it yellow and grey. Unfortunately the stencil I ordered did not come in time, so next time I am home I know what I will be doing! I also took some old shutters that my grandma gave me the go ahead to take out of an old garage at the farm in northeast Iowa and made a headboard out of them! Big shout out to my brother for helping me to assemble it! When I initially asked him for his engineering advice as to whether or not the way I was thinking of assembling it would work, his response was that I needed to not be so ambitious… after that though it was smooth sailing 🙂002 009 (2) 012

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3. This last project I made for my parents as a combined Mother’s/Father’s Day present! I got the idea from a friend in Indy (shout out to Jay!) who made one for a bridal shower for our great friend Jacqui with one of her engagement photos. I used a photo from my master’s hooding ceremony of my parents and myself and used deco pauge and resin to transfer portions of the photo into bottle caps fastened to a canvas. Big shout out to the guys who let me have their bottle caps so I could make this (you know who you all are!). Took a long time and I think I liked it better before filling the caps with resin, but such is life!! This picture doesn’t do the canvas justice, but because of the shine on the resin it was difficult to get a good photo. Hopefully you get the jist of it anyways 🙂

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“Being crafty is not a hobby, it is a way of life” Unknown

Once again I am a bit behind on blogging about my Day Zero Project. I completed some Pinterest inspired crafts while I was in Indianapolis, which wraps up Complete 10 Pinterest Projects. Yes, I just used the past tense!! I am writing this update from good ol’ northwest Iowa as I left Indy exactly two weeks ago today. Hard to believe that it has been two weeks! Definitely missing some of my Indy peeps already. You know who you are 🙂

When I left Indy on June 30th, I spent a few days with one of my college roommates in Grand Mound, Iowa (shout out to Alyssa!) and helped her with some crafts for her wedding. Was a lot of fun and I can already tell her wedding is going to be b-e-a-u-tiful in October! From there I went to visit another former roommate (shout out to Molly!) in Iowa City. We did some shopping and I got the grand tour of her new house. Yay for being a homeowner!!

Then I spent a day kayaking with an old college buddy before heading to spend the fourth of July and surrounding days with my lovely grandma! My aunt and her two daughters from Minneapolis came down for the 4th as well so I got to spend some quality time with my youngest cousins. Never a dull moment with them around, so fun!

I made the rest of the trek to Northwest Iowa on the 6th, which was a super exciting day as my brother also returned stateside from his adventures from being an appropriate technology developer with the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic that day! To say my parents were excited to have us both return home,let alone on the same day, would be an understatement!

This last week has been filled with some fun projects around the farm (which I’ll be updating you on shortly, hopefully!) making up for lost time with my family, and trying to adjust to the fact that my time in Indy is done and that I wont be going back to my apartment there once my visit at home ends. Not quite sure it has hit me yet, but I’m sure it will on Wednesday though! That is my official move day!! I will be making the move to Minnesota and starting my new position at the College of Saint Benedict’s the following Monday!

Enough rambling though, here are the Pinterest inspired projects I worked on while still living in Indianapolis!

1. During the last few months of my time in Indy, my good friend Amy and I were on a streak of going to garage sales. Sometimes we got super stellar deals and sometimes we found nothing, either way we always had a lot of fun and always had experiences that made for great stories! These are corkboards that I bought at one of the garage sales we went to for only $0.75! I covered them with some scraps of fabric that I had laying around and they are going to make a great addition to my new office!

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2. Okay, so this isn’t Pinterest inspired, just a random Bath and Body Works box that I had from a Christmas present. I covered it in some cute fabric and walah I have a little keepsake box! 🙂

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3. This canvas idea actually came from Pinterest! Finally something that actually relates to what this blog post was suppose to be all about! haha!Spent a rainy afternoon punching out hearts. I punched a butt-ton (an actual amount!) out of scrap paper from my scrapbook and fixed them onto this canvas with raised foam stickies to give it some dimension. Turned out pretty good I think!

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4. This last project that was Pinterest inspired I entered into the first annual UIndy cook-off! They are corn-on-the-cob cupcakes and took FIRST PLACE in the Most Original category! They were super fun to make and turned out really well. They are a plain vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting topped with jelly beans and a yellow laffy taffy to resemble an ear of corn with butter! So fun 🙂

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Mad props to you if you made it all the way to the end of this entry! Give yourself a pat on the back, you deserve it! 🙂 Even though I have completed the 10 projects to meet the requriements to check it off of my Day Zero project list (click the Day Zero tab above for a refresher of my complete list!) I will probably still continue to post updates on the crafts/projects I complete!

“Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.” Brian Tracy

This past semester I took a Spanish class just for fun. I had taken four years of Spanish in high school, but didn’t take it at all during my undergraduate years. Partially because it wasn’t offered at my undergrad and partially because I didn’t make enough of an effort to take it through the college down the road. My interest in learning another language, specifically Spanish, was re-sparked over the summer when one of my really good friends and I went to visit my brother, Jeremy, in the Dominican Republic. (Shout out to Maria!!) Not being able to communicate very well with anyone and seeing him interact with everyone led me to talking to my supervisor about the possibility of enrolling in a Spanish course.

Since it had been 5 years since I had taken any Spanish, I originally signed-up for Spanish 101. Once my professor found out that I had taken Spanish in high school, though, she had me take a placement exam. I somehow tested out of Spanish 101 and landed a spot in Spanish 102. At first, I was really excited that I did well enough to be bumped up a level as I found the placement exam to be super hard. After the first day of Spanish 102, I was significantly less excited! We started on Chapter 6 and I didn’t remember as much from high school as I would have liked let alone what was covered in Chapters 1-5 in Spanish 101!!

Luckily, having class every day and with a little extra studying, what I once knew came back to me relatively quickly and I was able to keep up in class and not be too lost. I definitely learned a lot this past semester including a slew of new vocabulary and a couple of tenses. I even had the opportunity to take part in some outside of the classroom learning. In early December I volunteered at Santa’s Workshop, which was sponsored by a local church, and it gave low-income families an opportunity to pick out clothes and toys for their children for the holidays. They needed some volunteers to help translate for families that didn’t speak English. I was a little hesitant to sign-up at first as I was not confident in Spanish-speaking abilities. I was able to assist several families, though, which was a huge confidence booster. This experience also opened my eyes to ways that I can use the little Spanish knowledge that I do have to help others.

Although I wont be taking Spanish this next semester, due to taking an extra graduate level course, I do plan on continuing to study Spanish in the future! Since I didn’t have any pictures of my class or volunteer experience, I have included a few of my favorite pictures from my trip this past summer to the Dominican Republic as that is what led me to taking this Spanish class for fun!

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“It’s impossible to separate a great wine from a great experience” ~ Dorothy J. Gaiter

Visit a Winery I was invited over for dinner by some of my friends and as we were eating they mentioned that they were going to Oliver Winery on Saturday. Of course when they extended the invitation to me to join them, I enthusiastically accepted the offer. I had never been to a winery before which is why visiting a winery made it onto my Day Zero Project! So, last weekend a few of my friends and I went to Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Indiana. It was a quick hour-long drive to the Winery and when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised that they were celebrating their 40th anniversary! In addition to the regular wine tasting they had live music, food trucks, and tours for the celebration.

We started out with their wine tasting in which we were able to sample eight different wines. Not being a very experienced wine drinker, I wasn’t really sure what types I would like. Luckily for me, my friend Ali and the sweet lady working helped me out 🙂 Turns out I like semi-dry (Riesling, Creekbend Traminette, Creekbend Vignoles, Moscato) and semi-sweet (Creekbend Catawba, Blackberry) the best! They also had a very tasty dessert wine that I enjoyed, Creekbend Chambourcin. After the tasting we spent the rest of the day enjoying some wine and the beautiful weather! We also took a brief tour of the bottling process, fed the fishies, and listened to some of the live music while chatting about life.

It was an absolutely wonderful day! Great Wine, Great Friends, Great Weather, Great Experience! I expect that I will be returning again in the near future. Below are some photos from the day! 🙂

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