Goodbye, summer 2015

Goodbye, summer 2015

Earlier in the summer, when I first started this blog, I published a summer bucket list (here).  Sadly, this summer has quickly come to an end as my fall classes start on Monday.  But after quickly looking over my summer bucket list, I am excited to confirm that most of the stuff on my list got done!  And there were are A LOT of other great things that happened this summer that I never would have predicted.

Let’s begin with recapping my summer bucket list!

  • volunteer at a local Youth Track Camp for the 3rd year in a row:
    • I was able to do this earlier this summer, but unfortunately due to storms that repeatedly occurred on the nights we were scheduled to coach, we only actually had one full night of coaching.  The second week only lasted 20 minutes before lightening forced us to send the kids home with their parents.  But I am grateful that I at least got to spend one week with the kids because I aspire to be a coach one day and this is always a good (and laid-back) coaching experience!
  • run a local 4th of July 4 mile race with friends and family:
    • This is a tradition for my family and friends.  This year was no different and I finished the race with a 87 second PR.  I also was able to achieve my goal of finishing in the top 70 and improving my overall female finish (I finished as the 7th overall female).  For more details, here’s THAT blog post I wrote earlier this summer.
starting line
traditional Fourth of July crew at the race
  • make some $$$$:
    • yes, I worked this summer.  I was given a little more responsibility at my job than I got paid for but at least I was able to make some money!
  • take an online summer class:
    • I took an online summer class through a nearby college.  By doing so, I am now scheduled to be done classes by the end of this semester.  I also now have my CPR/AED/First Aid certification through the Red Cross!
  • take part in a local running club’s weekly runs (AKA make new running friends!):
    • I also became a member of a nearby running club this summer.  All the people I’ve met through the running club are so friendly and uplifting.  Every week that I was able to attend the fun runs, my love for running and other runners only grew because we all share a common interest and understand the ups and downs of running.  It made me realize that runners will always have a certain special bond that most other athletes will unfortunately never get to experience.
The running club I became a member of this summer
  • 20150710_085033_HDR
    On the AT with my dad with High Point Monument behind us

    hike/run the entire length of NJ’s Appalachian Trail with Dad:

This was completed in early July with my dad.  We hiked/ran the entire length of NJ’s Appalachian Trail in three days.  It was an amazing experience and I’m grateful that I got to do this with my dad.  I learned a lot about myself out on the trail too which I find irreplaceable. I now know that a human’s limits need to be tested in order to understand how far they can be pushed.  We averaged 25 miles per day which not only tested the body but the mind’s ability to ignore pain and push on.  Here’s a link to the video we created using our GoPro on the trail! (click to see video!)  All in all, this was an amazing experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

  • take day and/or weekend trips to the beach/boardwalk:
    • I went to Wildwood earlier this summer for a weekend with a few friends to run some races.  Although I didn’t step on a single NJ beach this summer, I was able to enjoy the beaches during a somewhat spontaneous trip to California!  Just the other night, my family also went down to the boardwalk for pizza and entertainment.
  • help pace my Dad’s running friend in his 24-hour ultramarathon in the wee hours of the night:
    • Yes, my dad and I paced our ultramarthon-ing friend at 4 AM on a Sunday morning in July.  This was a great experience and I absolutely love pacing runners, especially ultramarathoners.  I was inspired by our friend and I hope that one day I will be needing my own pacers for an ultramarathon too! (I blogged about this too)
  • go on long bike rides:
    • This didn’t happen.  But my dad is opening a running/biking store so I guess that counts for something!
  • run LOTS!
    cooper river park john and tyler
    One of the many post-race pictures of the summer
    • Of course this happened!  I was able to run with a variety of people this summer which I am forever grateful for.  I ran with friends, friends of friends, my dad, our dogs, trail runners, slow runners, fast runners, all types of runners!  And I was able to participate in local races (free to students!) and win three new drinking glasses that I will be using in my apartment this semester!  It was a great summer of running and now I move onto marathon training!
  • watch my brother graduate from high school
    • Yup, this happened.  He graduated!  I was a proud sister that night!
  • visit the 9/11 Memorial in NYC:
    • My family and I took a trip to NYC one day in July to visit the 9/11 Memorial/Museum.  It was an extremely solemn day and I recommend that everyone visits this memorial at least once in their life to understand more deeply the impact 9/11 had on people in 2001 and still today.
  • see a movie at the drive-in movie theater:
    • This didn’t happen.  Life got too crazy.
  • bonfires!
    • This didn’t happen either.
  • read books that aren’t school-related:
    • I read all three Hunger Games books (I read the third one in less than 24 hours).  They’re amazing.  Enough said.
  • buy a food processor and experiment with new healthy/vegan recipes:
    • I did buy a food processor but I did not experiment with healthy/vegan recipes.  There just isn’t enough time in the day.
  • visit Sarah for Music Festival:
    • I did not visit Sarah during Music Festival, but I was able to visit her for a weekend and take a tour of Bethlehem with her and her sisters. This was a great weekend and we even spent a day at Dorney Park which was fun!
  • go to Dorney Park:
    • As I just explained, I went to Dorney Park with Sarah. I do not recommend going on a beautiful Saturday though because it will be extremely crowded!  All the rollercoasters get a thumbs up though!
Trophy I won for the 5k I ran

So that was my summer bucket list!  Below are some of the other exciting things that happened this summer that weren’t on my bucket list but were accomplished successfully!:

  • I attended a wedding.
  • I started this blog.
  • I finished as the third overall female in a 5k in Wildwood.
  • Two months later they sent my an awesome trophy for winning third place.
  • We lost electricity for 3 days after a 30 minute storm.
  • I went cherry-picking!
  • We hosted my brother’s graduation party.
  • My brother bought fireworks and shot them off with his friend on 4th of July in our backyard.
  • I found the internship I will be doing in the spring.
  • I watched two old seasons of The Amazing Race as a way of “studying film” and preparing for when they decide to cast me on the show.
  • My dad and brother are opening their own business.
  • I painted a huge American flag (that can be seen in the business).
  • I visited California for the first time ever to visit family.  We went to a lot of beaches and took a trip to LA one day.  It was so much fun!
  • I watched all three Hunger Games movies with my best friend in one afternoon.
  • I went trailrunning.
  • My dad and I applied to The Amazing Race.
  • My friends and family and I went to Trapped Philly and didn’t get out within the hour.
  • I was reunited with my high school friends ❤
  • I spent a lot of time with friends and family members that made me realize that there is so much to be grateful for in this world ❤

trapped philly    last day lunch at Peohe's  wedding brunch

Thanks to everyone that made this summer spectacular!  You all have a special place in my heart.  Goodbye, summer 2015.  Hello, fall and last semester of classes!

Friendship is a two-way street

Friendship is a two-way street

Friendship is one of the most valuable aspects of our lives.  We turn to our friends for support and guidance.  We spend time with our friends laughing, reminiscing, and planning new adventures.  We ask friends for advice when we need the honest (and sometimes difficult) truth.  We look to our friends when we need reassurance.  Whatever the case may be, a friend cannot be a friend by themselves.  In order to be a friend you must be willing to start and maintain a friendship.  And that friend in return must do the same.  Therefore, friendship is a two-way street.

visit with sarah

In the past week I’ve been able to re-connect with five of my best high school friends (see the beautiful pictures below!) Despite the fact that we graduated high school three years ago, all went to different colleges, and have experienced life in all shapes, sizes, and varieties, we are still able to come together and catch up with each other.  Sadly, due to time constraints, other “adult” responsibilities, and our varying semester schedules, we are only able to re-connect about twice a year (in a good year). Regardless, we still care for each other and still can laugh about ridiculous things together.  We make sure that our own individual lives are headed in some sort of direction.  We find ourselves reunited again over our future and what life has in store for us next.  Since graduating we’ve had different pasts, but we are able to rekindle our friendship when we DO spend time together which I find irreplaceable.

trapped philly  flash pool party

Referring back to the whole “street” analogy:  think back to when you have driven down a dead-end street.  If you are an observant driver, you probably saw the “no outlet” sign warning you that the street would soon end.  When you got to the end of the street, you probably had to try to find a driveway to turn around in.  Or maybe you made a 7-point k-turn. Whatever the case may be, your drive would’ve been a lot easier if the street wasn’t a dead end.  The same goes for a friendship.  But in a friendship, there should never be any dead ends. Why?  Because a friendship’s street should extend beyond what the eye can see. It should extend beyond a sign warning you that there’s “no outlet”.  No matter if your friend lives two miles away from you or two-thousand miles away from you, this street shouldn’t end.  The language of speaking or writing doesn’t change – you can still communicate to each other.  Life may get hectic but in this current world you can easily send someone a quick text asking “hey, how’s your day going?”.  The person might not be able to respond for a few hours but what’s the rush anyways?  Eventually you’ll probably get a response.

Friendship is a two-way street because it takes two people to form a friendship. One must communicate to the other when they need guidance, reassurance or just someone to talk to.  Not only does it take two people to form a friendship, but it also takes two people to maintain a friendship.  Sometimes life gets in the way of constant communication with a friend.  We may go days, months or even years without seeing a close friend.  But we must all understand that even if life keeps friends physically apart from each other for days, months, or years, a true friendship can withstand days, months, and years of separation.  

I myself must be reminded of this sometimes.  And I hope you, the reader, are able to comprehend this too so that you can treasure your friends.  May you always value the friendship that can last through the most brutal of storms. May you always rekindle old friendships and hold tight to new ones.  May you be patient with the changing tides of life so that you can develop a closer bond with the ones you’ve learned to love.  May you reach out to a friend in need and lend a shoulder to cry on in desperate times.  May you realize that friendship, no matter how near or far, can withstand even the strongest winds.  May you value your friends eternally so that you can learn to love yourself as much as you love your friends.

Within the chaos there’s peace

Within the chaos there’s peace

This last week has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, highs and lows.  But within all the stress and chaos, I’ve come to realize that there will always be things and people to be grateful for.  In the big painted picture of life, the small little stressors are just miniature droplets of paint mixed within the blur of other colors of happiness, peace, and positivity.  And I’ll admit it, two days ago I was seeing the big picture as one big mess of scribbled lines and colors.  I was stressed.  I was impatient.  I was every sort of anxious in the book.  But now, it’s ok.  As many times as I’ve tried mentally reassuring myself that it would be ok, there’s always that little whispering voice in my head that tells me otherwise.  So here I am blogging about the louder voice in my head telling me that life is bigger than that whispering voice and those scribbled lines.  Life is a masterpiece we are destined to paint ourselves.

**I helped my dad and brother at their new business and have spoken to a lot of people who are excited for the business to open.  This reassures me that overcoming all of the stress, work, and setbacks will be worth it in the end; therefore, the reward will be far greater than the stress leading up to it.

**My best friend (who was leaving for DCP at the end of the week) and I were able to successfully watch all three Hunger Games movies in one afternoon.  This was added to our summer bucket list after we finished all three books earlier this summer (because we are obsessed with all the characters in the books).  We also enjoyed some pizza that I made and brownies with icecream.  For the past 2 years of our friendship, pizza has been our go-to food because we both love it so it was appropriate for us to share a pizza before he left for 4 months.  As much as I’m going to miss him, I know that he’s going to cross something off of his life bucket list which makes me happy for him and we can still call each other like usual to complain to each other and catch up on life!

**I was able to re-connect with a few of my high school friends in a fun “game” called Trapped Philly.  Four of my friends, five of my family members and I were basically “locked” into a room and had to get out by solving clues and codes within an hour.  Unfortunately, our hour elapsed before we were able to successfully “unlock” ourselves but it was so much fun solving the puzzles and clues to get out.  It was basically a life-size, in-person, brain teaser.  I’m so glad I got to see my high school friends whom I only see about 2-3 times per year and also spend time with my family!

**I made myself a new CD to listen to in the car because the radio plays the same 10 songs over and over again and I really really reallllly like the variety that I put on it (not to brag or anything XD)

**I got to hang out with my cousins at my mommom’s birthday party which is always fun!  I’ve only seen them 3 times this summer so I always value spending time with them when we do get together.  It’s never a dull moment when we’re altogether!  Family is a huge part of my life and I’ve come to realize in the last few weeks that no matter what your family will be there for you.  I cherish the times we spend together no matter what we’re doing and I will miss them when I go back to school.

**Today I got a 7.5 mile trail run in with four other trailrunners.  Trail running has always been one of the things that makes me feel less stressed.  I think it’s because my mind focuses on the roots, the rocks, the trees and not getting lost in the woods rather than everything else going on in the world.  Trails provide an opportunity to lose yourself in the run. Although the pace might be slower than a run on the road, I would much rather spend 90 minutes on a trail than dodging cars.  I am also always amazed how trailrunners all have the same mentality.  No matter the pace or the experience level of the runner we all just love to run!  That’s why we always come back for more!

So with all these happy “moments” from the last week, my life masterpiece has been layered with positivity and things/people to be grateful for.  When life gets you down, pick yourself back up and look at the bigger picture.  We are the creators of our own masterpiece; therefore, you can choose to stay down and out on the ground or you can pick yourself up and charge forward with all the good things going on in the present moment.  The choice is yours!

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Writing a letter is just putting your thoughts onto paper.

You simply compose sentences and attach them together.

Sometimes the letters you write to someone are happy letters to share exciting news.

Sometimes the letters you write to someone are sad letters to express the sorrow in your heart.

Sometimes the letters you write to someone are just to say hello.

Sometimes the letters you write to someone are to say goodbye.

Whatever the letter may be about, the words come from somewhere deep down inside your heart.

You write the letter because you want to share something from within you with someone else.

Not that many people write letters anymore – we’ve become too dependent on texts and emails to express ourselves.

But what if we all sat down with a pen and piece of paper for 10 minutes without any distractions and wrote someone a letter.

After you wrote to your heart’s desire you will sign it.

Then you’ll seal the envelope.

We don’t make copies of letters; therefore, whatever you wrote in ink is there to stay and only one copy will exist.

That copy will only be available to the recipient of the letter.

Even the letter composer won’t have a copy of the letter.

That’s what’s so special about letters – once that envelope is sealed, the words on that piece of paper cannot be edited, re-read, or thrown into oblivion.

The letter will then be delivered and the recipient will be able to re-read the letter as many times as they want; after all, it was addressed to them!

I think the world needs to start writing more letters to each other.

I personally am a much better writer than a speaker.

It’s much easier to write down my emotion than to speak of it.

So I ask you today to write someone a letter.

Thank someone for something they did for you or tell someone how much they mean to you.

I promise you that you won’t regret it.

Consider the letter as a gateway into peace with the world around you and the knowing that you hopefully just brightened someone’s day through words.

Mini Recap of Recent Events:

Mini Recap of Recent Events:

I have decided to make a quick (and probably not-so-short) recap of recent events since I haven’t blogged in a really long time.  Life has been crazy hectic these last few weeks so I haven’t had the time or enough brain-power to compose some sort of logical writing – so here goes nothing!

A few weekends ago I got to visit my friend, Sarah, and tour her town and go to Dorney Park for a day.  It took me almost an hour longer than it should have to get to her house because there was so much weekend traffic, but I got there eventually and that’s all that really matters!  We walked around her town and got a delicious milkshake from her favorite icecream stand.  The next day we went to Dorney Park, which was EXTREMELY crowded considering it was a beautiful Saturday.  We stood in lines a lot but we made the most of it and entertained each other.  This weekend was the perfect mini vacation I needed and I’m so glad I got to visit her for a few days before we went back to school.

I finished working for the summer as well so now I can enjoy the last few weeks before I return to school without the stress of work.  That same day I also got to catch up with two of my favorite people in the whole wide world at YOGO and just gossip.  It was perfect.

I also took a 5 day vacation in San Diego to visit family.  My brother and I boarded our first ever plane that was west-coast bound.  The plane ride was almost 6 hours long but we occupied ourselves with music, movies, and a book.  We spent a lot of time touring San Diego with our cousin who showed us all the local beaches and downtown restaurants. My brother and I also went on a beautiful hike in the mountains on the outskirts of the city.  The views were breathtaking and I was amazed by the fact that I spent the morning on the beach and the afternoon in the mountains.  It was great!

We also took a trip to LA for a day and stopped at Venice Beach and Santa Monica.  Both were unique beaches that attracted many different crowds.  We also took a walk on Hollywood Blvd.  Unfortunately, I found Hollywood to be somewhat overrated.  They make it seem a lot more majestic and appealing on TV!  Los Angeles was great for a day trip but there would be no reason to spend more than a day in this west-coast city.

After returning back to the east coast, I was instantly thrown back in to the chaos of the summer.  My dad and brother are working on opening their own business which has caused a lot of stress and extra work for all of my family members.  We have been working through the process together and staying positive that everything will work out.  We were able to officially make a Facebook page for the business and the overwhelming amount of support from friends and family members just reassured us that this business will be a success.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people near and far who are supporting our next adventure.

This weekend I did some back-to-school shopping and bought a lot of necessary things for my apartment this semester. I also went to Coldstone for icecream and went for a wonderful 6 mile run with one of my favorite running buddies.  Today I concluded my weekend with another 6.5 mile run which was a success.  I was able to exert some built up energy and stress during my run which led to the last two miles of my run to be faster-than-expected.

Recently, I’ve been also watching old seasons of The Amazing Race which has only fueled by addiction to the show.  I am intrigued by all the teams and even though I have watched the seasons before, I am still surprised by the winner during the final leg because I don’t remember who won each season (side note: I’ve been watching seasons from about 8 years ago so unfortunately my memory has failed me on the drama of each season).  I’ve also been watching YouTube clips of audition videos, previous race “dramas”, and brainstorming ideas for when I apply with my dad.  We plan on applying this week and I couldn’t be more anxious to show CBS what we have in store for them.

All in all, these last few weeks have been adventurous, hectic, stressful, and wonderful.  The last few weeks of summer will be the same.  It is almost that time when we have to say “see ya soon” to the people we love the most.  A new semester is about to start.  New adventures are about to begin.  I hope these last few weeks don’t go by too fast but I plan on making the most of them by spending time with the people who make my life complete….you know who you are.