Col’s Golden Birthday

I have no idea why but I have always looked forward to my golden birthday. I love the number 27 and cake. So take a day where I turn 27 on the 27th and get to eat cake, and I AM THERE!

Even from a young age, I loved cake and celebrating birthdays. This year, it feels like the celebrations are all over with already. I got an awesome gift from Danny Boy–the Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor that I’ve been reading reviews about for a few months and secretly longing to splurge and buy.

Saturday night, we went to Chuck’s which is my favorite BBQ restaurant that also happens to carry a stellar beer list. Only complaint was that I barely got a table reserved for 16 people (the Hawks lost) and we still had to steal chairs to fit everyone at my table.

This year was definitely the best celebration in the last decade. Just to be fair and name the awesome people in attendance: Danny Boy (of course), Stephanie, JD, Stina, Nik, Jenny (and a friend), Terri, Matt, Shawn, Diane, Justin, Maggie, Ed, Mandy, Luz, Bob, Dan, and a friend of Terri’s also joined the fun. It was so much fun!

Now I don’t mean to brag, but I did get an awesome balloon. After Danny Boy threatened to pop it, I wouldn’t let it out of my sight. So yes, my birthday ended with me going in the bathroom with a balloon in tote, and it isn’t all that easy to pee and hold a balloon.

The next day, my mom had a birthday dinner/lunch. I’m not sure which to call it. It was turkey, potatoes, corn casserole, broccoli, sweet potato, biscuits, and millions of other sides. But it was at 1pm. So it was a birthdaylunchthanksgiving (patent pending). We showed Grandma and Grandpa how to play Xbox kinect and then Diane taught Dan and I to play Pandemic.

So we may have allowed a horrible disease to spread and kill the world, but we were able to cure it the second time we played and I might have to go buy the game because it was a blast to play.

Now that today is my actual birthday, what will I do? Absolutely nothing.

I have to be up early (making Biscuits N Gravy in the AM) and I have studying, gym time, and making dinner.

I feel old and now that my golden birthday is done with, what to look forward to in t he upcoming years?

Please reserve your comments and references to those other big adult things that I’m not ready to do. I do not wish to wear an expensive white dress or buy tiny little clothing outfits. I guess I have my Master’s Degree to be excited about and some sort of career to follow.

Well I hope everyone has a good birthday this year too! Maybe next year I will finally fulfill my wish to be in New Orleans for my Birthday and see Mardi Gras (though my hip hurts thinking about dealing with the crowds).


Woahhh it’s wednesday

Today is an exciting day! The weekend is approaching, and I’m having a grand week. The last time I weighed myself, I was a lb or 2 lighter (though I didn’t bother to record it).

I had an awesome outside run on Monday night with Stina and managed to run 2 miles in just under 26 minutes (thought Stina is a show off and continued to run another 5 miles longer). I decided I loathe running on the treadmill and am going to opt to run trails and the streets from now on (or as much as possible).

In other news, I am rocking a new lunch tote. I know that is probably the least interesting thing I’ve said but I like it, and it also made me excited to pack a lunch everyday. I haven’t had fast food since… pizza on Saturday night with Dan and Ed. My fridge is exploding with delicious veggies and the crock pot is simmering my favorite Chicken Taco Chili recipe.

What can I say, life is good. I am dying with impatience to know what Danny Boy got me for my birthday. If there was a wrapped present, I’d be shaking it and guessing what it could be every time I saw it. Last awesome thing I am doing, snacking on Banana Nut Bread that I made on Sunday night and turned out delicious!

Also, getting my hair done today, going bowling over the weekend with friends, out for dinner n drinks on my birthday and only two weeks and a few days from the 5k Race. I’ve got a few playlists for the 5K race in the works as well. I’ll probably post a list when it’s ready! The last thing I can report in the good news arena is that my body fat percentage has decreased slightly (about 1.5%).

School is well, life is well. Things are almost too good to be true. I really hope things don’t come crashing down on me in the next few months. I really like this happy, being treated good by my partner in crime, and being around positive and amazing people (all of which I hope to see at Chucks or bowling this weekend).


dragging along Monday

Mondays are never fun! You go back to work, wake up early, and have tons to do before Friday. It’s especially uneventful because my birthday is next Monday and I can’t wait to celebrate a little. I’ve had a good start to this year and need some fun and relaxation before the Masters Thesis gets overwhelming and before I start doing crazy things like Half Marathon Training (next year, Stina!).

But a few changes to my blog I should explain. I’m adding a page for Races so that I can keep track and commemorate each race I complete. This means adding some cool pictures and talking about the good friends who have joined me on my journey.

Besides the new page, I cannot wait to start knocking off items on my Mission 101. A lot of them require summer time weather and the free time that comes along with that season. Even though I’ll be working on my Thesis, not having to attend a class weekly and do other readings and write other papers will free some fun time.

One thing I want to plan is a trip to Starved Rock for some hiking. I am hoping to drag along Danny Boy, Ed, my brother Shawn, Diane, and Stina. It’s pretty open for whoever feels like joining but I think it’ll be lots of fun even if we don’t camp overnight (though I know Ed will want to).

I did manage to cross one thing off the Mission 101 List and that was Make Someone Breakfast in Bed. I didn’t even realize I was completing an item on my list (and I am not lying about this!). It’s quite normal for me to wake up and make breakfast for Danny Boy. It happens every single time I drag myself out of bed before him on a day I don’t have work (rare since I hate getting out of bed).

Steak, Pepper, n Egg Pita

Mid Week Updates

I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day and spent it with someone important (whether it be a significant other or a family member or a great friend). Dan and I had a morning workout, lunch at home (including left over homemade mac-n-cheese), night classes, and then got some studying done at Denny’s. Besides being up til midnight and not getting enough sleep, I’m having quite a great week.

Our gym time yesterday was cut short due to us both not really feeling well. We aren’t sure if we just didn’t have enough food for breakfast or worked out too soon after eating, but we both got some cardio and upper body strength training accomplished. Besides not feeling 100% on Tuesday morning, my progress in being healthy and getting more active is a success. We’ve meal planned every week, made plenty of homemade meals with veggies and organic ingredients, and I started training for a 5K.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve lost 6 lbs. But most importantly, I feel better. A million freakin’ times better. I know what goes in nearly every meal I eat. The few times I have had fast food or eaten at a restaurant are followed with not feeling good. My body feels tired and lethargic. I am beginning to really enjoy cooking (now that I have Danny Boy to do the dishes that used to cause horrific back pain… yes, I exaggerate).

Training for the 5K is quite a fun challenge. I’ve completed an 8K and a 5K in the past but did not train properly. I did train and I did go running to prepare myself. But I did not have enough consistency in it. So far, here are my runs since 02/01/12.

02/01/12 – 30 Minutes – 2.12 Miles
02/08/12 – 35 Minutes – 2.38 Miles
02/10/12 – 35 Minutes – 2.33 Miles
02/11/12 – 65 Minutes – 3.19 Miles (Walk)
02/14/12 – 30 Minutes – 2.12 Miles

I realize there are some gaps in there, but I’m not a perfectionist, nor do I ever pretend to be. I spent one weekend in Louisville, KY which put a lot of my plans on hold–including eating healthy and unprocessed foods. I can’t wait to update everyone with a few other stats like my new personal best in finishing the 5k and how many percentages I’ve lowered my body fat.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


The Woman in Black – Quick Review

I rarely get around to seeing a movie in the theaters. But I have my quirks about certain things that can draw me into a theater no matter how insanely overpriced they are becoming. So I dragged Danny Boy to see a movie with Nik and Stina. We saw The Woman in Black…. and it’s starring some famous actor named Daniel Radcliffe. Oh who am I kidding, HARRY POTTER! I may have said one too many Harry Potter jokes during the film because Danny was losing his patience with me.

I had some low expectations for the film which is a precaution for every horror movie I go see. I am a big fan of horror films old and new. But I don’t expect them to be the best story lines and plots. This film had it’s moments where you nearly jump out of the seat. The storyline drags sometimes which I believe just builds the suspense. They don’t just throw a ghost in your face in the first 10 minutes.

What I really enjoyed were the settings and visual imagery that reminded me of two different things. The first thing it reminded me of, The Ring or Ringu (the original Japanese version). The setting on an island in an isolated part of the country as well as the use of water and uncovering of family truths made it feel like a British version of Ringu.

The real reason I probably enjoyed this film more than most people is that it reminded me of my travels in Ireland last summer (and not because of the accents). I stayed on Valentia Island for a few weeks and walked that island. I had my fair share of getting lost in fog where you can hear strange noises in the distance but can’t see more than 5 feet in front of you. I also climbed my wall into old and crumbling buildings (though nothing as grand as the house in The Woman in Black).

Finally, I recognized some interesting themes that were very prevalent in the film. There is the British fear of protecting children and having someone to leave your estate to. The attack of the children in the film makes a real statement about British culture and their biggest fears and superstitions. There were also some interesting portrayals of Mothers as well as the dead Mother complex that Shakespeare is so full of. You have the main character’s son who lost his mother and then a million mothers who have lost their children. This creates an interesting dynamic.

So my recommendations for this film are as following. If you like ghost stories and the horror genre, go ahead and see it. But if you like really fast moving films with lots of plot developments, save this for a rental or pass completely. I personally enjoyed it but I would never try to convince my brother Shawn (who’s much more knowledgeable about film studies than me) to go see it because he would more critical of its flaws. I overlook flaws due to my interest in British culture and love of horror genre. I definitely will be locating the novel version and reading that in the future.

I’m thinking a future post will be my Top 20 Horror Movies of all time. I’m due to reflect upon my love of the horror genre and go over some of the best including the best movies to watch to laugh at for being the worst.What’s your favorite horror movie of all time?

Focusing on Academics

I know my blog appears to be pretty bi-polar. It used to be about school and general things, then it became a travel blog last summer, and then it became all about healthy living… making my own meals and training for a 5K. But bear with me, I have a lot going on in my life!

So the first thing is that I need to FOCUS. If you don’t recall, FOCUS is my theme for the year. I think this will help me stay in tune with what’s important and not get too crazy with my wandering ideas and goals. I know, I wander a lot. But if I really focus this year, I will hit some major milestones in my life–obviously a Master’s Degree is a big deal!

I’ve got to really dig my heels deep into my research and reading for my thesis. I’m finding that a new terminology is incorporating itself into my thesis topic. This new term is Hermeneutics which is the “study of the interpretation of written texts, especially texts in the areas of literature, religion and law” (Wikipedia).

I won’t give much detail since this is a really gigantic work in progress and a very fluid and changing process. I started scheduling my study sessions for the Master’s Thesis but I believe I will need to start scheduling the purpose of each so that I am moving forward and don’t get frustrated by the “not knowing where to start”.

Another part of focusing on academics is my efforts towards publishing my papers and/or presenting them at conferences. I achieved my first conference presentation in Louisville this past weekend. It was the Southern Humanities Conference and small but very friendly and welcoming. I don’t think I could have asked for a better first experience with conferences (unless you know of one that gives away millions of dollars???).

Some blog updates: I have finished the Photography and Mission 101 pages. Please check them out and leave me comments or feedback. The Mission 101 page already has some things crossed off because I built the list off a bucket list I made less than a year ago. Since I had accomplished a lot last summer traveling alone, I wanted to include those things on my new blog (I know, I love to brag).

Peace ~COL

Why, hello new blog!

Times are a changing! I’m starting a whole new blog and going to be consistent with it now. I want to start posting recipes as well as my health and fitness goals. I plan on continuing to update my progress on my Masters Thesis and the scary but must-happen search for a job after graduating.

But I will start this blog with a reflection of the last year of my life and the changes I’ve been through. Last year had it’s trials. School was getting harder and harder to handle and I was able to remove myself from a very damaging and dangerous relationship. With the loss of that relationship also came the loss of many ‘friends’ who were indifferent towards me. If I believed in god’s existence and was really sure of it, I’d be thanking her for that change in my life.

I got to enjoy being happy and single and travel to Europe and make new friends. Then just before starting my teaching internship, I met Danny Boy and started dating him. He’s not going to like that I call him Danny Boy on my blog, but it’s going to happen that way. We’ve been together for almost six months and our relationship has been a great ball of healthy change. I stopped drinking and partying (for the most part) and really began to focus on home cooking and fitness.

But it’s not all butterflies, sunshine, rainbows, and leprechauns. There are moments when time management gets difficult, meals don’t turn out the way they do in the pictures off the blogs I borrow them from (mostly How Sweet It Is and Back To Her Roots).

So, please enjoy my blog. Feel free to leave me comments or suggestions or share links!

My first official post will be a summary of my first presentation experience at a conference and my weekend in Louisville KY.