Monday, June 26, 2017

spicy sausage & sweet potato skillet

i saw this recipe on Sarah's blog a few years ago & have always had it in the back of my mind since then. last week, we went to a local butcher near our apartment and got some of their spicy sausage. i immediately thought of this recipe & decided that we needed to try it with the spicy sausage! but i decided to add some more greens and some herbs cause i love me some herbs! :) it came out super tasty & we are adding it onto our dinner rotation! to make it more healthy, we will probably make it with our homemade turkey sausage next time! 

1 pound spicy sausage
2-3 medium sweet potatoes
onion salt* (we use trader joe's)
rosemary flakes*
minced garlic*

* i don't really measure how many veggies or herbs i use, i just kinda put a lot of veggies in and put as much of the herbs as i think will taste good ;)

o1; peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into small cubes
o2; chop up your spinach, kale, and asparagus tops
o3; add olive oil to your skillet and turn the eye on medium heat
o4; add sausage to skillet and crumble, then add sweet potatoes, minced garlic, and spices
o5; cook until the sausage is cooked through and sweet potatoes are soft (15-20 minutes)
o6; add the veggies to the skillet and continue cooking until the greens wilt
o7; enjoy an amazing twist on "meat and potatoes" ;)

what are some of your favorite new-to-you recipes?

Friday, June 23, 2017

one year later

one year ago today i was getting ready to embark on the journey of a lifetime. that probably makes it sound a lot cooler than it was. ;) but to me, moving to a new city for grad school in order to change careers was like opening up an entire new world for me. and honestly, that's what it has felt like this past year, a whole new world. (cue Pocahontas song)

last year on June 23, i worked my last day as a corporate accountant. i quit my job to move to a new city and pursue a masters in social work. there were months of decision and confirmation that led up to that day. and also months of challenges and struggles within that environment - that made me really enjoy the day that i could say i was leaving. 

and now it is one year later. it has been a year of grand adventures. one year later, i feel lighter. i feel like me again. i have no doubt in my mind that this is the journey i am supposed to be on. even though grad school and my internships are super busy, challenging, and stressful... it feels like i'm home. and it's the best and most secure feeling in the world. even though i still have another year left, another internship, tougher classes, and looking for a job ahead of me... i already feel at home.

last year i wrote a letter to my future self a few weeks after finding out the journey to grad school was happening. and even though i wrote it to the me in 10 years, the me of this year enjoyed reading back through it. it was full of excitement, hopes, and also unknowns. i still feel the way i did when i wrote that letter, and i'm glad to see this year didn't change that.

this new adventure is everything i ever wanted, and so much more than i thought it could be. i'm a sentimental person that has "anniversaries" for everything, so i didn't want the day to pass without acknowledging what this year has been. it has been a year of changes, a year of growing, a year of sweating to death in this humidity, a year of new connections, a lot of lasts and a lot of firsts, a year of discovery, a year of settling in, a year of learning, a year of experiences, a year i wish would last a bit longer, and a year i would never take back.

so here's to another year of changes, another year of firsts and lasts, a year of no free saturdays, a year of 12 hour shifts, another year of challenges and growth. here's to looking back on June 23, 2018 and hopefully feeling this same way, working as a licensed medical social worker, and looking at all of this from a home that's my own. ;) and even if life a year from now doesn't look the way i think it will now, here's to enjoying every minute of it!

what are your hopes and dreams for this next year of your life?

Monday, June 19, 2017

the thing about change

changes are healthy and good and exciting. they are inevitable and part of life. with change comes beginnings, but with change also comes endings. 

it seems when we are saying hello to something we are also saying goodbye to something else. the happy balances out the sadness, but i think it is also okay to be sad when something is ending. 

all emotions are meant to be felt. emotions help us to remember we are alive. the sad times make the good times feel that much better. we wouldn't have happy if we didn't have sad. 

have you ever thought of that? we can't know happy if we have never known sad. otherwise, we would only know happy and it would just be what is. it wouldn't feel like it does, because it's all we would have ever felt. emotions help us to put things in perspective.

i heard this quote the other day "hard is not relative, hard is hard" and it's so true. maybe someone else is grieving their closed door differently than you are. maybe their door was slammed shut while yours was just gently closed.

but it doesn't matter. not really. we're told not to compare our joy to others, but we also shouldn't compare our sadness. just because someone else may be facing a different kind of sad than you, doesn't cancel out the fact that you are facing something sad. if we need to cry, we should be able to cry and not have someone tell us that someone else has it worse. we know that, and someone else will always have it worse. but we are still struggling in this moment. everyone grieves and processes life differently.

you've undoubtedly heard "when one door closes, another door opens" followed by "don't dwell on the door that closed" and that is true also, we shouldn't dwell on what was. but we should allow ourselves to feel everything that comes with that door closing. not stay there, but just for a time feel all the emotions that come with the change and then move on.

that's the thing about change, it is mega hard which is why we resist it so much. but the thing about change is that it is necessary, it's how we grow.

do you enjoy change or try to avoid it?

Monday, June 12, 2017

the seasons.

summer is not my favorite season, mainly because it gets really hot and humid, and i am very hot natured. we've had a lot of spring weather this year because the winter was mild, so i have enjoyed spring for longer than normal. but that summer heat and humidity is coming. however, it got me to thinking about the changing of seasons and i'm learning to appreciate each season for what it is.

it does no good to wish the seasons not to change, for they must. rather, i should enjoy them while they last and let them teach me what they will.


whatever it may be. for the next season is right around the corner and anticipation makes it all the sweeter. summer teaches me endurance to get through the months of heat. spring and fall teach me to savor the wonderful weather and appreciate it while it lasts. winter teaches me patience as i live through the dark and ice anticipating the perfect spring days full of sunshine.

with the passing of seasons also comes the passing of time. the passing of life. and i would never want to wish the time away. so i'm taking the seasons as they come, for what they are. not wishing them to be anything other than what they were meant to be. unfortunately summer was meant to be hot, but even through these miserable days... i am living life and each day is an opportunity to learn something new.

what is your favorite season? what do you love about it?

Friday, June 09, 2017

anniversary trip | New Jersey, Delaware, & Maryland

we drove instead of flying for our trip to Philadelphia, so we got to see a few other spots on our way up and our way down. i wanted to visit Delaware because it is a state that we have never been to. on my 30 by 30 list, i put that i wanted to visit 3 new states before 30, and Delaware was the third one!

New Jersey - Princeton
we wanted to see the campus of Princeton since we were only an hour away at the hotel we stayed at. it was raining so we didn't explore too much but we walked around the quad and the graveyard a few blocks from campus. we ate dinner at Princeton Pi and got some coffee at small world coffee - both great choices!

Delaware - New Castle
did you know that Delaware was the first state? and New Castle was the first capital?! so it is a historic little city that has great old buildings and cobblestone roads. it has a nice little pier where you can see the Delaware Memorial Bridge and it is a cool view! 

Maryland - Chesapeake Bay
we drove across the Chesapeake Bay on the way to Philadelphia and on the way home. it is a long bridge and we found Sandy Point State Park was a cool place to stop and see the bay and the bridge. there were some ducks hanging out at the park so we fed them some popcorn and sunk our feet into the soft orange sand. :) this was one of my favorite stops that we made on our trip! 

Maryland - Annapolis
Annapolis is actually the capital of Maryland but it's just a cute little town and we had so much fun walking around and taking photos of the cute buildings. on the way back home we stopped here & Thomas got a crab cake from Chick and Ruth's Delly that he said was amazing! the United States Naval Academy is also here so we got to see that as well - it is huge! (you can see it in the last photo)

what is your favorite part of road trips?

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

thriving over surviving

i have been extremely stressed this past week thinking about what the rest of summer holds, as well as my last two semesters of grad school next year. i have started to realize that i may have over committed myself these next 2 months. i think in my mind summer was going to be this slow time with so much openness, and a month in i am already feeling overextended. my word for this year is thrive and i feel like i was able to have more of a balance of thriving over surviving during the spring semester, maybe because i knew going into it that it was going to be overloaded. and now that summer has started with classes and two jobs, i've lost that balance. 

i've been thinking a lot about needs vs wants this past week. i have said no to a lot this past year in order to keep grad school a priority and have time to rest with Thomas and invest in our relationship. we still did things i wanted to do during the school year like go to the zoo and day trips to the coast in the winter, but i made sure the "needs" were met before those things happened. i've learned there is a fine balance in keeping needs vs wants in check, and that our needs and wants change with each season we are in. i just happen to be in a really time extensive season right now where the "needs" pretty much take up my life.  

so, here's some things i am doing to help myself thrive through the summer and the last year of grad school:

making goals
i made a physical list of goals for myself of what i need and want to do between now and graduation next May. i am going to leave this list on my desk so that i see it daily and remember to work towards these goals. if anything that i want to do or get asked to do in the next year doesn't align with these goals, then i cannot make it a priority. my priorities need to align with the goals i am working towards achieving, so frequently checking in with my goals and making sure my commitments are in line with them helps to keep me on track. making goals only helps me out if i am frequently coming back to them and making sure that every action i take is moving me closer to these goals. however, also realizing that goals change as time goes on, so adjustments to my goals will be needed during these "check-ins" as well. 

one of my goals is to spend more time exercising, since that has been on the back burner this year with everything else going on. there are some weeks where i have spent 4 days doing some type of exercising, but there have been some weeks where i barely have time to sleep, let alone exercise. but exercising and being healthy is part of caring for myself and this body that the Lord has given me. i have also started doing yoga these past few weeks. it all started with a yoga class that my summer job offered and now i am hooked. i realized just how relaxing it can be, while also helping me to build strength in my body and block out all the stressors and worries of life while i am practicing. so i have really pushed myself to practice at least 3 days a week as a way of resting and having that down time for myself. it has definitely helped cut down on the stress this past week. 

saying no
i can be a bit of a workaholic at times and i've been learning these past few years that as life gets busier (and it never gets less busy as we age apparently) there are more and more times that i will have to say no. i guess i have always looked at saying "no" as a negative thing, but i'm learning as time goes on that saying no is necessary so that i can say my best yes to other things. this summer i said "yes" to too many things, not realizing that it had happened. now as i am looking towards this next school year, i am having to say "no" and let some things end with the summer because i just can't do it all. and that's really what saying no is about - realizing and accepting that we as humans cannot and should not "do it all."

how do you keep track of your goals? what ways do you practice self-care?

Friday, June 02, 2017

project 12 | May

i love having my years captured month by month and plan to keep up with project 12 this year as i can. it's fun to look back on the details of our year at the end of it, as well as seeing how we change through the photos each month. :)


i took the first week of the month "off" so i only had to do stuff for one job and hunt down some paperwork and vaccinations for my upcoming internship. i finally got all of the training and prerequisites done and the hospital has cleared me! yay! my sister and nephew did come down that week for a surprise visit to the zoo so that was fun! we are going to miss living so close to the zoo!

Thomas and i took a mini weekend trip for our anniversary to Philadelphia! Thomas has never been so he wanted to see the liberty bell & historical parts of the city! we also got to meet up with Julie for lunch which was super awesome! we explored a little bit around Princeton in NJ and New Castle & Wilmington in DE. we are trying to slowly visit states we have never been to before! i put on my 30 by 30 list for us to visit 3 new states and Delaware was our third new state!

my saturday class started May 20th, so i will now have saturday classes until i graduate in May 2018. i started my second job also and it's a lot of what i was doing when i interned but some new stuff too! thankfully it is a part time job, so i was able to get Mondays off and still have a weekend even though my saturday is taken up. i was originally going to have Tuesday off instead of Monday but after the first few classes i am really glad i switched to having Mondays off cause it allows me to have some time to get my life together before the new work week starts! so, i am officially in two accelerated grad school classes and working two jobs over the summer... it is going to be a lot, especially with packing and moving again at the end of July!

Thomas had memorial day off at work, so we took a quick 2 day trip to the mountains for our weekend. it is getting hot down here in the armpit already, so we wanted to be able to get outside in the cooler mountain air. we just hiked and explored and enjoyed a weekend of rest. we were on the go the entire time of our anniversary trip to Philadelphia because we wanted to see a lot. so it was time for a slower paced trip. :) we even got to meet a pig that was enjoying some ice cream at Kilwins!

May 3 - day at the zoo with my sister & nephew
May 6 - mother's day & family birthdays for both families
May 7 - Fireflies game & met Tim Tebow!
May 8 - i started my second summer job
May 11 - drove to NC after work to break up the drive to PA
May 12 - breakfast with my friend in NC & drove to PA
May 13 - met Julie for lunch, explored Philadelphia & Princeton
May 14 - hung out in Philadelphia all day
May 15 - stopped by New Castle, DE and the Chesapeake Bay on the way home
May 17 - Thomas's birthday & our 4th anniversary - drove to my parents' for the night
May 18 - Thomas worked at the home office & then we drove back home after work
May 20 - my saturday class for the summer started (boooo no more free saturdays)
May 26 - i attended/presented at a child advocacy meeting for work
May 28-29 - overnight trip to the mountains for Thomas's extended weekend
May 30 - yoga class at work after hours :)

what have you been up to this past month?