Music to Quicken your Step

I have a love/hate relationship with exercising. Typically after a long day of work, exercising is the last thing I want to do. I’m tired! And yes, I realize that exercising will give me more energy, but still. I belong to a studio near my apartment that offers a bunch of fitness classes like barre, spin, and strength training. Barre class is my favorite. Who knew that tiny little movements could make you hurt so much! I also try to do a nice walk/run a couple days a week. The only way that this walk/run is bearable is because I am listening to some great tunes to quicken my step. Below are some of my faves. Check them out and add them to your work-out playlist!

Oceans Away by A R I Z O N A

Magic by Thomas Gold

All We Know by The Chainsmokers

Romantic-NOTD Remix by Stanaj

September Song by JP Cooper

Where I Want to Be by A R I Z O N A

Body Like a Back Road by Sam Hunt (because every good playlist needs some country!)

Happy cardio!


My Favorite Roomie!

Going away to college can be pretty scary. I was homesick a good portion of freshman (and even in to sophomore) year because Spokane, Washington is very different than Southern California. I hated the gloom, hated the rain, and definitely hated the snow. During the days when I was homesick, what made it all bearable were my friends and roommates. I can now look back on my time at Gonzaga fondly because I loved the professors, my classes, Spokane (I can say that now), the experiences I had, but mostly because of the people I met. I’m very fortunate to still call some of them friends today, too. And I am even luckier to have been paired up randomly with a girl from Idaho as freshman roomies who is still my best friend today, 11 years later.

Below, you will meet my freshman roomie/college bestie, Whitney! In order to properly introduce you to her, I thought it would be fun to answer some questions about each other.

Here are my answers about her!:

When, where, and how did you meet?

I met Whitney during move-in day freshman year. I think we had found each other on Facebook before school started, too (this was when Facebook was super new!). Move-in day was the weekend of August 28, 2005. We were assigned to Goller which had 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, and a shared common room in an apartment-like set-up. I still think I was incredibly lucky because you can literally be paired with anyone. And I got her!

What are your favorite memories with her?

Oh boy, I know if I share one particular memory, I’ll end up remember something else right when I’m done typing because there are so many!

  1. Travel buddy: We’ve gone to a lot of places together! Boise (times a ton!), Seattle, Portland, LA (times a ton!), Phoenix (times a ton!), San Fran, Zambia, London, Canada (Nelson, it’s a tiny little city). She is a great travel buddy… perfect amount of exploring and relaxation!
  2. TV buddy: Looking back, I have no idea when we studied. We seemed to spend a lot of college watching TV and introducing others to our fave shows (ahem, Steph). There was even one day when (stop reading mom and dad) we were so into a show that we skipped class to keep watching. No DVR yet, what else we were supposed to do?! And our fave TV snack? Pop Tarts and milk.
  3. Just college in general: Open closet policy, AIM convos while being in the same room, Battle of the Blocks (she was my perch!), decorating Campion for Mardis Gras, listening to Whitney’s usual answer “I don’t knowwwww” when discussing boys, The Grind, Wendy’s after basketball games when we got free cheeseburgers, Didiers for fro yo on Tuesdays, Dawgs After Dark where we lied on the survey, basketball games, baseball games, etc, etc, etc!

What quality do you admire most about her?

I’ve always admired Whitney’s confidence. She may not agree with me on this one, but she’s always exuded a self-confidence that I wish I had! She can talk to anyone and is always just comfortable in her own skin.

What three things does she always carry with her?

I am going to go with: phone, chapstick, and sunglasses. I know these are pretty standard but I’m sure if I dumped out her purse everyday, these items would fall out. We text pretty consistently every single day so duh, she has her phone. I always see her putting on chapstick, so that’s a must. And she is always prepared with her sunnies!

What item would you love to steal from her closet?

We were perfect roomies because our clothes sizes are similar enough to raid each other’s closets. I would steal any of her jackets. She has a bunch of cute ones and I refuse to buy new outerwear because I can’t justify the cost of most when I only need it for about a month or two. She also has this adorable animal print scarf that I would love to have! Whit, never give it away when purging your closet. Send it my way!

If you were ordering a pizza for her, what toppings would you get?

We are pizza soul mates because I’d order Whitney my favorite kind of pizza because it’s her favorite, too– Canadian bacon and pineapple!

Pose a question, turn your music to random, and answer the question with the song that comes up after 7 skips: (We did this “game” all the time in college!)

Will Whitney ever move to California? “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. Ha! So I’m going to take this as it’s a possibility! Plus, this is “The Hills” theme song so that basically means she will since that was in LA! YAY!

And here are the same questions that she answered about me!:

When, where, and how did you meet?

End of August 2005 during move in week at Gonzaga, we lived in the same suite.

What are your favorite memories with her?

So many!!!  Our last two years at Gonzaga we lived in the same apartment.  Looking back now, I think one of my favorite things is that we would text, or talk through AIM (because we are old enough AIM was popular then!!), and convince the other person to take a study break for One Tree Hill, Guitar Hero, Sonic, or anything else we could think of to get out of studying.

One we still talk about…. the trip to the San Diego Zoo!  It. was. AWFUL!!  It had to be over 100 and I think every exhibit we wanted to see was on the other side of the park from our current location.  We had such poor planning, it was miserable.

What three things does she always carry with her?

Phone, sunglasses, and some kind of sweater/light jacket.

What quality do you admire most about her?

Her modesty in selfless acts.  Sarah is so giving to charities and does a lot of extra things to help improve others’ lives.  She doesn’t do it in a showy way, or looking for recognition or praise, it’s just done because she has a good heart and wants to help support those who have less.

 What item would you steal from her closet?

Pretty much any one of her Rebecca Minkoff or Kate Spade purses…. I miss being roommates so I had two closets to choose from!

If you were ordering a pizza for her, what toppings would you get?

Canadian Bacon with pineapple, but she’ll probably pick off some, if not all, of the pineapple so there is “just the flavor.”

Pose a question….

What best summarizes the theme to Sarah’s upcoming summer break?

“U Can’t Touch This” M.C. Hammer…I’m sorry, but the song game is the boss!…


February Book Review

I was able to finish 5 books since my last book review post! I haven’t picked up a book in the last week so hopefully I can get back to it and read a few more this next month.


Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper    unknown-2

I read this one with my 6th grade book club members (we are three members strong, including me!). The book follows Melody who is in a wheelchair and is non-verbal because she has Cerebral Palsy. She has all these words and thoughts in her head but no way to express them… until she gets her speaking device! This one struck really close to home because Melody reminded me of Erin in a lot of ways (the best being her personality). It broke my heart to see how other students treated Melody, but I love that the story gave a voice (literally) to someone that people need to and should hear from.

Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson 


I’ve read other books by Matson and enjoyed them so knew I needed to add this one to my list. It was a predictable young adult read that I looked forward to picking up again every time I had to put it down. The book follows Andie whose summer plans change drastically and what starts out as a disappointing summer turns into a summer that she needed. I really enjoyed the friendship between Andie and her besties. Like I said, totally predictable but thats why I love YA books– they are easy peasy and enjoyable to read!



Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlinounknown

I had been on the waiting list for the e-book for what seemed like months and it was well worth the wait. Before We Were Strangers follows two people who used to be in a relationship who randomly spot each other at a subway station. Most of the book takes place in the past where were learn about where they met and what led them to, 15 years later, being strangers. While it was kind of predictable, woven in the story were some pretty unpredictable developments. I love a good rom-com and this reminds me of a book that would make the perfect transition to film.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

unknown-3I read this one in about 3 hours. I also texted my mom and bestie, Whitney, during these three hours and told them either how much I was enjoying the book or how much I think they need to read it. This memoir is broken up into two parts: the story of how Paul came to be a neurosurgeon and the story of how Paul dealt with his cancer diagnosis. I throughly enjoyed his stories of being a surgeon and even more, I enjoyed reading about his insights on death. While that doesn’t sound like a fun topic, it really made you think. This wasn’t a light read whatsoever, and the epilogue comes sooner than it should because of Paul’s passing, but overall, if someone were to ask me how to describe the book in one word I’d say “beautiful.”

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley 26245850

This one has been on the best seller list forever and has been sitting on my shelf unread for awhile too (Barnes and Noble had it mis-marked for 50% off! And plus my mom’s 10% off member discount, I needed to scoop it up!). In the opening chapter, you are introduced several people who are boarding a private plane from Martha’s Vineyard to New York. Sixteen minutes after take off, the plane crashes. The rest of the book explores the stories of each of the people before the crash and follows the two survivors after the crash. There are a lot of characters and a lot of information you have to sift through, but I really enjoyed this book. The whole concept is fascinating (and terrifying). You do find out why the plane crashed and while I didn’t really like the reason, it wasn’t one that you could guess from the first few chapters.

Anything I should add to my March reading list?

Social Media Sensation


I always look forward to Mondays. Not because the work week starts again and not because I have to set my alarm again after two days of sleeping in, but because it’s Bachelor Monday! I’ve watched every season of the Bachelor, Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, and Bachelor in Paradise. To say it is my guilty pleasure is an understatement! My family can make fun of me all they want and Michael can roll his eyes at me when I ask him to record it for me (I don’t have cable so I need to mooch!), but I don’t care. They are the ones missing out! I’ve wanted to do a Bachelor post for awhile now but didn’t know what I’d write. That changed last night!

I signed up for Twitter about a year ago to follow some of my favorite celebrities. I follow 160 people, have 35 followers, and have basically only retweeted articles I want to come back to and tweets about books that I need to remember. Once in a while I tweet about the Bachelor while watching and use #TheBachelor hashtag so that Bachelor Nation can see my tweet and appreciate my humor. Usually this results in about one or two people liking it.

Michael is out of town so instead of mooching off of his cable, I had to mooch off my parent’s satellite and watch last night’s episode on my computer. I tweeted one thing and it just blew up! Even as I am writing this, almost 24 hours later, I’m still getting notifications on my phone. And the kicker is that I even spelled the contestant’s (okay, this makes The Bachelor sound like a game show when it is definitely NOT!) name wrong! Twitter doesn’t let you edit posts so I had to leave it. So apparently people who tweet don’t care about proper spelling because currently it has 353 retweets and 1,551 likes. My mom said I was a social media sensation. You can see the tweet below in all it’s glory. Not bad for someone who still only has 35 followers!


Kids These Days

I don’t know how I got to be 30. Time seems to have blurred and sped up because 30 used to be this far off number. Teaching doesn’t really help either with making me feel any more youthful. My current students are 11/12 which means they were born in the 00s– 2004/2005 to be exact. How on earth was I a senior in high school when these kids were born?! And how are the first graders that I taught during my student teaching now in 8th grade? I’m not getting any older, how are they?!

My kids are highly amused about the fact that I didn’t have a cell phone until I was 16. I try to explain to them that um, cell phones weren’t really a thing back then (ugh see, I’m referring to what seems like 5 years ago as “back then”!). And all the apps they use now? Nope! Even, texting wasn’t really a thing until I was in college. It baffles them. But really, I think they are the ones that really miss out…

They’ll never know about…

1. Disney Channel Original Movies: I don’t watch the Disney Channel anymore so while unknownthere may be some movies still on, I know they have nothing on “Smart House” and “Rip Girls” and “Zenon.” (My co-workers and I recently talked about these movies and it was funny to see how super excited we all got when naming them).

unknown-32. The Oregon Trail: What a masterpiece of a game. My kids will never know how fun it was to go into the school computer lab filled with HUGE computers (think of the floppy disk days), name your wagon crew, and work tirelessly to make sure that they all make it safely to Oregon.

3. Skating rink parties: Maybe I’m off on this one but I don’t know if my students even unknown-4know what a skating rink is. This definitely makes me sad because the rink provided, hands down, the best birthday parties! Throw on some good jams and I could skate with my friends for hours (or until they brought out that limbo pole).

unknown-14. *N SYNC (and other boy bands): I recently played some music in class while my kids were working and *N SYNC came on. I asked my kids if anyone knew who it was. Or if they knew what band Justin Timberlake used to be in. Blank stares. It made my heart so sad. And then I proceeded to play more *N SYNC so that they could learn to fully appreciate 90s boy bands. The work of a teacher just never ends.


I know this is a super short list of things our poor youth will never know. What else would you add to it?


Life Lately

Life lately has been a whole lot of busy. Here are some of the things I’ve been up to:

Work// I had my third formal observation of the year on Monday. I am used to being evaluated, both formally and informally, but my new school has performance-based pay which adds an extra element to the process. I am super proud of my evaluations so far and am pretty tough on myself because I constantly want to be improving as a teacher. Oh, and our new campus will be done in a few weeks and our official move-in date is March 2nd! I cannot wait!

Sick// I have been sick for what seems like forever. Right when I start feeling better, I am coughing again. Earlier this week there were 6 kids absent in my one class of 29 so something is definitely going around. I’ve been really busy on the weekends and go-go-go during the week that my body is just begging for a day of rest. I decided to take today off and just relax and rest my voice. That’s one thing with being a teacher; there are no breaks ever during the day. I don’t get to sit down at my desk and “take it easy” so I am super thankful for the extra long weekend.

Sports// Yes, there is a sports update. Michael works at ESPN as a content researcher and was invited to a Super Bowl party at one of the anchor’s houses. It was a fun place to watch the game and meet some of the people Michael works with. The taco truck didn’t hurt and Michael enjoyed introducing me to the “famous” people aka ex-sports players that he works with. My dad and I went to the Gonzaga game at LMU last Thursday. We knew it was going to be a blowout game, but it is always fun to watch my team! I can’t say that the traffic to get to the game was anything fun though– an hour and 15 minutes to go from Pasadena to LMU! No, thank you!

Family// Kelley and James were in town over the weekend for a visit so I spent the weekend out in Corona. They were pretty busy with wedding to-do lists and making sure to see everyone they needed to, but I’m glad I was able to see them for the time I did! And I am always up for a weekend at my parents since it involves slumber parties with Pippa!

Michael// Michael has been out of town for work lately. He got sent to OKC to cover the Thunder game against Golden State and decided to have an extended layover in Phoenix (his hometown) on the way back. We did dinner on Valentine’s Day after I picked him up at the airport and on Sunday, he will be headed on another trip for work to Bristol. We have very different work schedules right now so I appreciate the time I am able to see him… and watch Homeland ;).


And I will leave you with this lovely picture of blue skies and palm trees… it’s supposed to rain pretty much all weekend so I will be staring at this.



Giving with Gusto

As expected, my family’s traditions have changed a little bit as my sisters and I have gotten older. Some of our traditions have included our beds being made for us and getting the front seat of the car on our birthdays, getting to choose the restaurant for dinner if we got straight A’s on our report cards, and Nana and Papa always coming over on Christmas morning for brunch and to watch us open gifts. Some of these things still happen (I wish I still got my bed made on my birthday…), but the biggest change has been the gifts. What do you get for someone who has everything they need or if they want something, can buy it themselves? While we still get stockings (that story should be another post!) for Christmas, for the last couple years, in lieu of giving gifts, we have donated to charities for the other people. I’ve made blankets to donate to a local hospital, sent Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and simply donated money to organizations that each person supports.


I saw this tag on a gift bag a couple years ago and loved it!

I am not a huge Valentine’s Day fan. It’s not that that I don’t like it, but really, it’s just another day to me. With it approaching, Michael and I discussed getting gifts for each other but it was decided that this year, we’d donate to charity. It was actually Michael’s idea, which I think is the best part. I still got flowers (yay!) but am happy that we decided to do something that put others first. And I am happy that the tradition of giving to others at Christmas has now extended to another holiday, too.

We chose to donate money to organizations that fully represented the other person and what they support–I chose the Committee to Protect Journalists for him and he chose Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund for me. There’s always a time to receive gifts and while I love a new handbag (just ask Michael), I think that the best gifts come when thinking of others and putting their needs before our own.

I am hopeful that this can be a new tradition for Michael and I on future Valentine’s Days! I think I’d like the holiday a little bit more! 😉

What are some of your favorite traditions?