Adventures in Studying

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

So this week it has felt like all of grad school has crashed down at once. Ahh. I am in one last class and am getting three credits worth of research by helping my adviser and her colleague on grant work and implementing a program into a school.

I am loving my last class and feel really confident BUT this research is totally outside of my comfort zone. I am working independently with vague expectations and deadlines and it's such a challenge for me. I'm also doing work I've never done before. Like academic research that actually effects real life situations and lit reviews! Yuck.  And I have a steady 3.7ish cumm gpa and I don't want to jeopardize this.  (Sometimes I wonder what high school could have been like if I worked as hard as I did in undergrad and grad school...)

So I have been working on optimism, organization, and productivity. And so far so good. 

On Sunday, I put on my new power suit (and halloween costume).
And made the most detailed to do list of all time (it has since been added to and rewritten).
I also had a great family meal with the family I lived with last year! That helps a lot.
On top of the school work, I'm taking my licensing exam on Tuesday next week (ahh!) and I am starting the DC job hunt.

Super casual. Nothing life changing or anything.

I'm going to go try not to pull my hair out now!
Happy Wednesday!


7QT: This week in a nutshell!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Linking up with Kelly today! For Link-toberfest today...I have done very few 7Qt posts as this is just the beginning of my blogging journey, but so far my favorite has definitely been my very first seven quick takes post that focused on my seven favorite things at the time! Even though it was only a month ago, it's fun to remind myself of all the little things I have been finding joy in lately and sometimes I definitely tend to get a little caught up in the negative and seem to forget (lately).

1. Last Saturday, I got my first stitch fix! I was as excited as ever.  My mom and sister have both recently started it and I had to jump on the band wagon too...even though we are a little late to the fix-party!  I had high hopes and I was not disappointed.  I ended up keeping three out of five things and the ones I didn't keep were definitely my fault! I had linked up my profile with my pinterest board and just have one general clothes board.  So, it is filled with pictures for ideas on how to wear my vests.  Low and behold I got another vest!  I would have definitely kept it (I can convince myself that I need ANY article of these shoes for example) but I am not a huge fan of winter white in terms of outer wear and the fifth item was a coordinating scarf! (And I now have a separate stitch fix board).

They sure do get you though!  It would have only been about $30 more for me to keep both! WHAT? That blew my mind.  Anyways...

What I did keep:
Please ignore the horrible quality--I had to go selfie style and my mirror game is lacking.
This awesome black cardigan/zip sweater situation!  Totally unlike something I would typically buy but I love it.  I wore it yesterday with a striped long sleeve shirt and statement necklace.  This will definitely become a staple in my closet.

This oversized gray V-neck sweater.  Another great staple and another item I wouldn't seek out in a store.  I am looking forward to wearing this with black skinnys, my toms booties, and a large scarf!  I was at first worried it was too big, but was surprised about how flattering I think it looks from the side!

And lastly, I had asked for a fall jacket and got exactly what I hoped for!  This wonderful army green jacket that debuted itself when I went apple picking last Sunday!  It is a total winner.  And I hope that it is something that stays timeless in my closet even though it's pretty trendy (at least in Milwaukee)!

2. This week I also made homemade applesauce with my apple picking (out of a barrel) apples!  I had never had homemade applesauce growing up and just in the past couple of years have started making it each fall.  I can't wait to continue the tradition!  This year, I loosely followed this recipe, but skipped adding the sugar and did 50/50 of water and cider...and as you can see I used lots of cinnamon!

3. I also baked some Halloween funfetti cupcakes with some kids that I nanny!  It was equally fun for all of us and I managed to not use any of the frosting that they repeatedly dipped their fingers swatch watch (imagine Tom Haverford's voice right here ) that I had a little treat yo self moment with in September debuted for the occasion...see how with one extra babysitting job I can convince myself I need anything?

4.  I shared a great lunch of cheese sandwiches with Peppa and George.

5. I HAD THE BEST DMV EXPERIENCE EVER.  That deserved to be yelled.  This was my first DMV experience as an adult AKA without my mom and I prepared for the worst.  I also overly prepared.  I got there right when it opened, my number was called immediately after it was given to me, and I had filled out TOO much paper work.  I was in and out in 15 minutes with new license plates and a transferred title...all to gear up for the selling of my car in two months!  I was so happy after that.  Set the tone for the whole day.

6.  Had a lovely FaceTime call with Ryan last night...we don't facetime often because he is usually at school from 8am-11pm but we snuck in a good night call last night!

7.  I got my massive group paper back last night and we got an A!  From chatter about the class and this assignment from past students, that seems pretty uncommon.  I also had met with my advisor about a research project I am working on and she said she had heard that our paper was awesome.  So that was an excellent way to end the week!  If only I still didn't have 50 more points of work for the class left!
Yea, I was so excited I took a picture of it to send to Ryan!
Happy Friday!!!

Adventures in Meeting Ryan

Thursday, October 22, 2015

I'm marrying Ryan ONE YEAR from today (what? how is that real??) I thought I would post about how we met!  If you know us in real life, stop now! Because we love to tell this story and so many people know it already.  It's much more fun (and embarrassing) to tell when someone asks how we met and Ryan looks at me and says "can I tell the real story?"  Because even though I like to pretend I am always nice...the first time I met Ryan I was not that friendly! Get ready to see a million pictures of us...and to see every hairstyle I've had in the past few years.
Our first (very beautiful) photo together
Exactly four years ago, I was living in a condo with one of my best friends, Ashley (I now live in that same building in Ryan's condo since he's moved to DC--crazy).  There was a small fire on the floor below us one night when I was at work and Ashley met Ryan at the Dunkin Donuts on our block where everyone from the building was waiting it out.  Fast forward two months and I was about to graduate and move out of the condo.  Ashley invited Ryan over--and let me paint you a picture.  I was recovering from a shingles flare up (I get them right under my eye), was drinking diet coke out of the 2 liter, and eating domino's pizza straight out of the box.  Super gorgeous. And totally my typical state during that phase in my life (it's now hot Cheetos and diet CHERRY coke)!
Ryan's first trip to Omaha
He came over and I remember, after he left, telling Ashley that it was the first time I had laughed like that in a really long time.  That night, I had off handedly mentioned I was moving the following weekend and Ryan offered to help.  I immediately brushed it off. 
Fast forward to the weekend...I graduated from Marquette and my whole family was in town.  I was also moving into my first own apartment that same day.  So that meant furniture shopping (see that gorgeous red couch below??) and while my grandpa and dad were huffing up the stairs with said red couch, my dad stopped and asked me if there was ANYONE that could help them.  I begrudgingly told them about this boy but that I didn't feel comfortable asking him to help.  My dad then asked the following questions, "Is he nice?  Is he funny? Is he cute?"  That followed by three yes's.  And ten minutes later there was Ryan helping my dad and grandpa move all my furniture.  And while he was in my new kitchen talking it up with my parents, grandparents, and sister my dad decided that he was a winner (I think my dad knew he was the one right in that moment, honestly). 
About five days later, we were both going home for Christmas but texted the entire vacation.  When he got back, he met my friends (and was such a champ), drank a lot of tequila (girls weekends are trouble with me), and kept winning everyone over (including me).  We went on two dates before he asked me to be his girlfriend (mid second date).  He got directly to the point!  Poor guy, asked me out two days before my birthday!
Soon after, he told me a story (this is the part that makes me look bad) about how on the day he moved into the condo building he met me on the elevator and that I was completely rude to him.  I immediately denied it (I know vaguely remember this moment...) but in my defense, no one in my building was overly friendly at the time and elevator chit chat wasn't a normal occurrence.  He then told me that he texted himself when I got off the elevator that a cute girl lived on the 12th floor and when he got back in his condo his dad asked why he had texted himself and he told him.  I totally thought this was just some exaggerated smooth story that he was using to whoo me (I thought he was a total BA when we started dating and was just beginning to really learn how much of a sweet heart he really is--he was an MMA fighter in college so I immediately had this BA perception---I now know he is a BA and a sweetheart :)) 
A few months later, his dad came to town for business and I was meeting him for the first time.  Halfway through dinner, his dad stopped and asked if I was the cute girl from the 12th floor! My jaw dropped. I really hadn't believed that part of the story until that very moment.  And I have to say, I immediately thought, wow if we get married this is the best story (I was in love with that boy pretty quickly)!  And here we are, almost four years later with only one more year to go until I really do get to marry him!
Ashley and my dad totally take credit for this entire relationship.  I feel like they definitely will be getting a shout out at the wedding!  I hope you enjoyed our cheeseball story!  Now, I may or may not be spending a good chunk of my morning walking around the area to see what I can vaguely expect what the trees/flowers will look like on this exact day next year!
Ryan's Law School Graduation
The day Ryan asked my dad for permission to marry me!

#5faves: So Many Books

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Linking up with Call Her Happy today for my #5faves! I was reading non stop this summer and even though my reading train has slowed down, I have five ultimate favorite books from the summer! 

I love to read.  And I love to read almost anything.  I read a lot of YA (young adult) and chicklit (AKA target best seller's section).  I live about two blocks from the big central library in Milwaukee and visit it usually weekly/  This summer I scoured good reads and tumblr and created an ultimate list of books I wanted to read.  Every few weeks I would request about ten of them and then pick them up when they were available (most convenient thing ever).  I was reading about a book a day on a good week!  I miss it so much.  But, with the time I have had to read, I have read some great books this fall!  So, here is my top 5.

1. Me Before You/After You (Jojo Moyes)
If you cry when you read, bring the tissues! These books capture an amazing love story. And when the movie comes out I think it'll be the next The Notebook.

2. Go Set a Watchman (Harper Lee)
This is an extremely unpopular opinion. People who grew up loving Scout and Atticus don't like that you see a new side of Atticus that contradicts why we all fell in love with him in To Kill a Mockingbird.

I grew up with To Kill a Mockingbird and it means a lot to me. When I was in 6th grade, my dad had me read it out loud to him. It was and is his favorite book and I have always been an avid reader. It was such an important and special part of our relationship when I was growing up. He named our dog Scout! That's how big the TKAMb love is. It is also the first book I ever taught as an English teacher and one of Ryan's first dates was to see the play---so why did I read something that might ruin the love?

My dad bought it for me and told me that if I read it first and love it he would read it and if I hated it he wouldn't. So I got it the last time I was home and it was finished before my flight touched down in MKE. 

Reasons why I loved it and you should read it:
  • You get to find out what happened to Dill and Jem and all your favorites!! 
  • There are more flash backs to their childhood that weren't in TKAMb!
  • Harper Lee wrote this FIRST so I like knowing that she didn't just haphazardly end their stories. It was all intentional.
  • I felt the same warm feeling I did the first time I read TKAMb because Harper Lee is an amazing author and Scout as the narrator just gives you that cozy feeling while your reading. 
  • Atticus does disappoint you but her uncle doesn't. And Aunt Alexandria is finally not totally a brat. And Atticus kind of redeems himself in the end. When you are reading the book the racism isn't as shocking and out of character as I expected it to be---anyone agree or disagree? 

The only reason I didn't like it was because it was so short!

3. Big Little Lies (Liane Moriarty)
I LOVED this book.  This was my first Liane Moriarty book and I liked it so much I was reading the rest of her books immediately.  I can't say anything more because when I go on about books I love I am known for giving away all the spoilers. But read it!

4. What Alice Forgot (Liane Moriarty)
I briefly talked about this book here. I am fairly sure that this book is becoming a movie.  It is a semi often told story about memory loss and a husband you don't remember, etc.  But, it definitely is a fresh new version of the typical story.  It is a warm and fun read that keeps you on your toes!  Liane is just such a fabulous writer.  Her voice comes through fantastically and you really are 100% enthralled for the entire read.

5. The Last Letter From Your Lover (Jojo Moyes)
I had a hard time choosing my fifth one because all of her other books could fit in this spot! But this one wins because the ending was the most heart warming!

Happy reading!!!

Adventures in Apple Picking

Monday, October 19, 2015

Yesterday, I was finally able to satisfy my fall activity craving! After work at the nursery I drove to Apple Holler, an apple orchard between Milwaukee and Chicago, to meet my friend Becca and two of her friends for some apple picking!  Becca is one of my best friends and we used to be roommates! Since she moved to Chicago we don't get to see each other as much as we'd like, but it sure is awesome when our plans work out. 

We were able to perfectly recreate our same outing last year! We spent our time walking through the orchard (we actually bought pre picked apples from barrels) taking advantage of the photo ops, catching up, and eating apple flavored goodies! 

I was so excited that in my stitch fix that arrived the day before I got a perfect army jacket to wear! I also finally had an opportunity to rock my LL Bean boots that Ryan's mom sent me last April!

After a wonderful afternoon, Becca drove back to Milwaukee with me for a sleep over! It was exactly what the doctor ordered. This past week had left me feeling pretty down in the dumps and extra lonely so girl time was perfect. 

We went by our old apartment and ate at our favorite lady date place, Zaffiro's! 
I love that girl so much! Tomorrow I've got another fun fall lady date planned so I am spending my Monday feeling pretty refreshed and ready for the week! 

This lunch with Peppa and George didn't hurt either! 
Happy Monday, friends!

7QT: rambles, voice, and more adventures

Friday, October 16, 2015

Linking up with Kelly today to continue my linktoberfest stride! I'll be honest, all of the blogs I follow are from Emily's recommendation! But, I was introduced to Catholic All Year from Emily AND through 7QT so I'm going to count that :) I need to really start devoting some time to finding my own blogs to read and stop relying so much on my little sister (isn't it supposed to be the other way around?)!

1. I have really been thinking about my "voice" on my blog. I feel like it's rambley and not very thoughtful. I don't know. I whole heartedly believe that comparison is the thief of joy and that may be why I'm feeling this way! I want my blog to reflect who I am and what my life is like at the moment (which I guess is pretty rambley) but I want to do it in an intentional way. My blogging has seemed to replace my normal journaling and I'm realizing that without writing things down regularly, I am constantly thinking about a million things at once. 

2. Speaking of! I can't stop thinking about the fact that two months from right now, I will be packing to move to DC. And this may be the most bittersweet experience I've ever had because that also means two months from now I'll be leaving my friends that I've lived with and near for the past eight years. I don't know if the uncertainty of moving back to Milwaukee is more of a good or bad thing. It keeps me hopeful but also constantly doubting. And it's not fun for friendships :( I can't think for more than a minute about saying good bye to my bestfriends without crying BUT then I think that's crazy because I'll be with Ryan every day (yea---the rambleyness of this post is not going unnoticed---I'll work on that next time)! Sigh. Being a grown up is hard. Sometimes I just wish I could be one of those people that goes to school, lives, and marries someone from home (even though distance from loved ones is the only thing I would change about my life which I do appreciate) Those people have it so easy!! ---again I need to take my own advice from #1. 
But I would do anything to live in the same city as the fam!! 

3. On a lighter note, Em and I hosted a super fun shower for our sister-in-law last weekend! I'll blog about it more soon but check out how cute this photo op was! The shower was story book themed and the decorating was a blast.
4. I am so sad that the family I've been working for is moving in a month! It's the shortest I've ever worked for a family but I feel so close to their kiddos! The little girl and I even match on the regular. 

5. Speaking of nannying, I feel like all I do is play with kids! Counting jobs today, I have five different babysitting jobs this weekend! One of the moms told me she found motherhood easier than being a nanny (her children are angels) and while that may be totally controversial to mom readers, it does make me feel a little better while trying to get a little boy to eat meatloaf and getting kicked in the face. 

6. Even though the highlight of last weekend for me would have to be the dress, the very best part was being with my siblings and parents all together! It happens so rarely, but when it does nothing beats it. We didn't get a photo all together but how cute are my sisters and mom! 
7. Last but not least, I know everyone's been dying to know...I told my (future) father in law to watch HTGAWM! AND I got that big paper done and it was turned in yesterday...all 30 pages of it! 

Happy weekend!!


Adventures in procrastination, dresses, and new TV

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I am currently procrastinating doing everything that I am supposed to be doing right finish a 25 page group paper that is due on Thursday.  Why is it that the last step of a project always seems to be the hardest one to complete? 
My current procrastination station!

I'll be honest, I really just can't stop thinking about my wedding dress that we bought on Sunday!  Seriously.  I wish I could post a picture on here.  I am having the hardest time not showing every single person I come across.  I am a total bridal clichĂ©.  I went in looking for EXACTLY what I had decided I wanted.  And I put it on first and totally felt defeated.  I did not have that magical moment!  And I am an inpatient person so I was nervous and the poor consultant...I was sweating like crazy.  It took until dress #3 to feel the "wow" and all I will say about it is that it is so UNlike me that when my sister repeated back to me what I was getting, we both started cracking up! 

I realize how lucky I was to find the one on the third try!  We were at a great bridal store in Omaha so I figured it wouldn't be hard to find the perfect dress.  One thing I hadn't anticipated was what the best part would really be.  It may be because my future mother-in-law had only met my family the day before, but the best part for me was hearing all of the laughter and chatter that was going on in the store while I was in the dressing room.  I definitely had one of the biggest bridal "entourages" I've ever seen, but it made it all the more fun. 

And the new big question on my plate...what show do you recommend to your future father-in-law when his favorite show was Parenthood?  No pressure.  But, really???

Happy paper writing to every-other-grad-student-out-there-who-is-miserably-writing-a-paper-while-waiting-for-her-nanny-kiddos-to-get-off-the-school-bus!

Happy birthday, Emily!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Today is my little sister's birthday! She has had quite the year becoming a wonderful momma. 
I am so lucky to have such a wonderful role model for marriage and new motherhood! She has paved the way for me and I will be forever grateful. I'm so lucky to have her! We have gotten so close and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Happy birthday, Emily!
I love you! 

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