It’s Been a Good Year…

As my Facebook kindly reminded me this morning, I officially said goodbye to Arizona and moved back to California one year ago today. I know I seem to say it a lot in my posts, but this last year has probably been one of the best.

I was not happy in Arizona. I had a couple good friends (hi Tricia and Jolene!) but aside from that, I had no roots there.  I was there for six years and never really let myself establish anything because I knew I didn’t want to be there forever. My life there was really lonely– my family was in California, my boyfriend was across the country in Connecticut, and my best friends were either back home or in other states (this I am used to though!) I told my mom, time and time again, that I felt like life was just passing me by. I saw everyone moving forward in jobs, relationships, and just life in general, and I was still not even living where I wanted to. Everyone’s life seemed to be in this straight, easy path and mine had zigzagged all over, leaving me still somewhere I wasn’t happy to be.

 

I’ve spent the last year exactly where I want to be and with the people I longed to be with the most (minus some people are still in other states 😉 ). That zigzagging road finally took me right to where I wanted it to! Enjoy the picture overload of some of my favorite things from the past year.

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Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend was whoa. A whirlwind! Thank goodness for spring break in a few days because I need some rest and relaxation time! Sit back and get comfy, this post is a long one.

Friday: Work, of course! I also had my follow-up doctor’s appointment. I shared about getting some results back last week. I had to have a thyroid biopsy after they found a pretty large cyst a few weeks ago. It’s benign (still so relieved) and the endocrinologist wants me to get another ultrasound in six months to monitor. Easy! I can do that. Nice to finally be able to put that in the way back on my mind. After my appointment, I needed to get out to Corona to leave for Phoenix the next morning but I also needed my car in LA because that’s where I was flying back into… my bestie was the best ever and picked me up and we drove to Corona. Traffic wasn’t too horrendous but it was made a ton easier to have someone to chat with. Whit, I still owe you dinner!

Saturday: Dad and I headed to the airport in the morning for our flight to Phoenix. We got in about 11:30 and despite the craziness at the airport and getting into the stadium, we arrived with plenty of time to watch our Zags! Steph and I were able to visit for a few minutes before Dad and I hiked up to our seats. Considering how huge the stadium is, and how high up our seats were, they actually weren’t too bad! There were two students from Arizona sitting behind us who bought tickets at the start of the tournament hoping their team would be there. I told them they were now Zag fans! I texted Michael, Whitney, and my mom the same thing several times during the game: I CANNOT HANDLE THIS! I get stressed out watching at home, but let me tell you, it is about 100x more stressful in person. That last minute of the game dragged on but when that final buzzer went off? SO HAPPY!!! ON TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP!

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Sunday: Dad’s flight was super early so I hung out at the hotel until Jolene picked me up. We headed over to Tricia’s house and caught up for a few hours— it’s always fun hearing how things are at my old school (and being thankful I’m not there) and then just laughing with those two. I’m glad it worked out to get to see both of them! Tricia and I relaxed some more once Jolene headed home and we met one of our other teacher friends for dinner. Tricia is the best for letting me crash at the Igwe house and I know I’ll be seeing her again in California soon! 😉

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Monday: GAME DAY! I woke up so incredibly nervous. Throughout the day, I would remember the game and think to myself, we are playing in the CHAMPIONSHIP! How on earth did we ever get here?! I met up with Steph and her parents at the Biltmore where we walked around (lots of GO ZAGS! when people saw us in our shirts) and then we headed to the arena around noon. McFadden’s was the Gonzaga “bar” so we ate there and mingled with tons of Zags before the game. Adam Morrison even led us in a cheer. I had a single ticket to the game because my dad had to head back home and most people already had tickets or were trying to find them but I had a budget (I still paid a lot…) and it was just too hard to coordinate. I ended up sitting with tons of alumni and a few people that got tickets just because a championship was on their “bucket list.” The poor guy next to me, who also had a single ticket, had to deal with my anxiety during the whole game. He was rooting for the Zags and it was much less stressful to have someone to talk to (kind of like when there is turbulence on an airplane… I need to distract myself). The last 100 seconds of the game was heartbreaking. I’ve never liked UNC and losing to them, in the last 100 seconds, was tough. But I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am of my team. No one expected them to be there… basketball people said they were a championship contender but the skeptics wrote them off and said nope, they play in an easy conference, they don’t have any good wins, they beat an 11 seed and a 7 seed to get to the championship… all of that. We were right there the ENTIRE game. Bad calls (go away, refs) and off nights (it’s okay, Karnowski) got us in the end. I think we proved to the basketball world that we are a true contender. And if they still don’t believe it, they weren’t watching this season.

I am now back home, exhausted from my 7am flight, with a full day of teaching ahead of me. It was a weekend I’ll remember forever though– watching the Zags win in the Final Four with my dad, seeing them take the court for the final game of the season, and hanging out with Zags fan who came from all over to cheer on their team.

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What’s Up Wednesday

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I haven’t posted in awhile so today is a good time to link up again this month with Mix and Match Mama for What’s Up Wednesday. Here are all the things that I’ve been up to this month.

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What I’m eating this week:

I LOVE pizza (hence the blog title!) and am always looking for healthier ways to eat my favorite food. I’ve been getting naan and putting homemade sauce on it with fat-free cheese. Yummy! The homemade sauce is super easy to make and has way less sugar than any of the sauces you find in the store. My grandpa also sent me back with some homemade sauce a few weeks ago which I will also use on some pizza!

What I’m reminiscing about:

 In sad news, we said goodbye to our pup, Maggie, last week. I wrote about her in a post last week. I was home over the weekend and the house just seemed empty without her. The picture below was her looking up at me on my way out the door one day a few years ago. She hated suitcases- I swear she knew that they meant you were leaving. I’ll miss this sweet little face looking up at me.

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What I’m loving:

I’m loving college basketball and am, of course, cheering for my Bulldogs! WE MADE IT TO THE FINAL FOUR! Dad and I got tickets to the game in Phoenix and will be flying in for a short 24 hour trip (I tried every which way to justify taking two days off of work to plan to go in for Mondays game but just couldn’t). It was super spontaneous and the high prices were justified by it being an early birthday present for my dad (his bday isn’t until June…).  And my wonderful grandparents offered to pay for flights so we wouldn’t have to drive. As you can see, the whole family is excited about the Zags!

What I’ve been up to:

I’ve just been busy. Conferences are this week so that’ll be two very late work days but  thankfully I’ve been able to decompress after work with a good book and I am still going out to Corona most weekends. Michael’s schedule changes in April so until then, I’ll be maximizing my Pippa time! He and I went to see Beauty and the Beast last Sunday. I didn’t love it but do recommend if you like the original. I thought some of the new songs they added were unnecessary but you can never go wrong with a book-loving princess. Michael looked over at me during the movie when Belle saw the castle’s crazy big library… he knows I would never leave that room.

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What I’m dreading:

I don’t think I’m really dreading anything at the moment!

What I’m working on:

While we’ve been in our new school for a few weeks, I am still working on getting everything organized and set up. The last of the bulletin boards arrived last week so time to get student work up! I took a picture in the process of getting this one up…

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What I’m excited about:

There’s a lot of wonderful things happening right now which is a 180 from several weeks ago when I just felt so much stress and anxiety and felt like everything was going wrong. I won’t go into very many details but I got some medical results last week that I am super excited about. I have a follow-up appointment on Friday so we will find out the next steps but, for now, a huge weight is off my shoulders. It’s been wonderful being close to home and being able to have my parents and Michael at all my doctor’s appointments. All this stuff was a whole new territory for me so I am thankful they made the time to make sure I wasn’t alone during any of it.

What I’m watching/reading:

I am watching lots of Reality TV as always. This is Us ended a couple weeks ago so Reality TV it is. I am finding myself wanting to read more in the evenings so I usually have shows stacked up when I am ready to watch. I did re-watch the first episode of Season 2 of Broadchurch with my mom over the weekend and will probably continue. It’s been awhile since I saw it so I got hooked back in. If you haven’t seen it, add it to you queue!

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And as far as what I’m reading, my March book review post will be here later this week! I started a ton of books this month but only finished about 5. There are too many good books and not enough time so why keep reading something you’re not enjoying? That was my mantra this month.

What I’m listening to:

I’m loving all of Ed Sheeran’s new stuff. I’ve been listening to his new album on repeat for weeks! I tried to get concert tickets for his show at the Staples Center and unfortunately, have no tickets in hand. My co-workers and I had everything set to get them during the pre-sale and couldn’t believe the cheapest were $99 (plus fees) for the seats wayyyyyy up there. We should have just bought them though because tickets on StubHub are way more than that now! Ugh. Sorry Ed, maybe next time.

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What I’m wearing:

 I am back to wearing sandals on most days because the weather is super nice but did want to share my favorite pair of flats with you. My feet are super sensitive (as in 99% of shoes give me blisters). My mom loves Sam Eldeman and has tried to get me to buy the flats for months. It’s hard to justify a pair of shoes that are over $100, but I did find some at Nordstrom Rack (animal print, too!) for under $60 so I snatched them up. THEY ARE LIKE WEARING SLIPPERS! You best believe that I will be buying more pairs in the future. And I definitely won’t be so hesitant about paying because I know how comfortable they are. If you have sensitive feet like me, be sure to try these ones on!

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What I’m doing this weekend:

I’ll be in Phoenix to see Gonzaga take on South Carolina! And Tricia and Jolene were texted the second we got tickets so hopefully I will be able to see them on Saturday night!

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What I’m looking forward to next month:

I can’t wait for the cruise and me and Michael’s mini-vacay to SF! I plan to be in full tourist mode. We just made reservations for Alcatraz and Michael is checking out seats for a Giants game (what luck that his favorite team, the Diamondbacks, are playing when we are there). T-minus 7 school days until spring break!

What else is new: 

That’s about it. It’s been a busy few weeks to say the least.

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!…

 

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 ;).

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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.

 

 

Weekend, Come Back!

This past weekend was so much fun! Steph had texted me a few weeks ago saying she was going to be in LA for work and asked if we could make it a mini-roomie weekend seeing that it was perfect timing with the Zags playing Pepperdine. I convinced Whitney to join the mini-reunion too, but unfortunately Jess was going to be out of town for work. Here are a few gems from our weekend! I love impromptu trips, especially ones with these gals!

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I love South Pasadena. Whitney and I drove through and looked at some houses and spotted this adorable Free Little Library. We were checking out Zillow as we drove through the neighborhoods and it’s probably safe to say that I won’t be a homeowner in South Pasadena anytime soon ($$$).

Happy hour at PUMP was a must. Colin (above) was our bartender the last time we went during roomie weekend and he recognized us right when we walked in (good? bad?). We had reservations at SUR (we made it this time!) and the food was definitely lacking- I think you’re paying for the chance to potentially see someone from the show. If you are ever in town and want the Vanderpump experience, skip SUR and just hang out at PUMP. Tell Colin that the four horsemen told you to swing by!

We headed up to Malibu on Saturday for the Zags game against Pepperdine. We hung with other Zag fans and alumni at a restaurant near by before heading up to the game. I’m confident to say that there was probably an equal number of Zags fan in attendance! We won (here’s hoping we are #1 today!) and headed back home for pizza and One Tree Hill.

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The weather on Sunday was PERFECT! Last time the girls were here we hiked up to Griffith Observatory so this time I decided to take them to Eaton Canyon where the views are just as great. We headed to brunch afterwards, had some fro yo (earned because of the hike), and got to the airport with not a second to spare!

The next roomie weekend is already in the planning process. Spokane? Destination?