Fun fact: I never spell out “night.” It’s so much more fun (and uh, efficient?) to spell it “nite.” Right?!
My two friends Amy and Christina have been all over the idea of having a girls nite, throwing out ideas for exercise, adventure, and other shenanigans. This week we had our inaugural Girls Nite at…
Christina invited a friend to make us a foursome, presumably so Amy and I weren’t fighting over sitting beside her on rides. Oh Christina… so popular.
We all headed to Hershey immediately after work to take advantage of their twilight pass which is a discounted ticket for the last several hours the park is open. The best part about this plan, aside from the reduced price, is that herds of people are leaving the park as you’re walking in and just starting your evening.
We’re so unbelievably fortunate to live less than an hour from rollercoasters, a water park, and CHOCOLATE!
Plus it was Christmas in July at Hersheypark which meant holiday music, lights, and a Christmas tree. The holidays are not complete without the traditional gluttonous stuffing of your face so we did what was right and consumed french fries, hot dogs (well, not me), pizza, cotton candy, funnel cake fries, fried peanut butter cups, ice cream, and Dippin Dots. Lest you think we all immediately suffered from a heart attack, that list of healthy eats was split among us. Not like that makes things much better…
According to Amy and Christina, our other attempt at congestive heart failure was riding the actual rollercoasters. You guys know how I feel about rollercoasters… obsessed. I ride the front seat as often as possible and my hands never once touch a restraint system or grab bar because they’re busy flailing in the air.
When my Mom rides a rollercoaster, she screams so much that I’m not sure if she’s scared, enjoying herself, or dying in the seat beside me. It freaks me out! Our Girls Nite participants also took to screaming but at least I could tell they were having fun! And I’m super proud of Amy for braving the front seat with me a few times, even riding one coaster a second time!
You’ll have to excuse us that we don’t all look 100% hot like we normally do. I mean, we were absolutely 100% hot but in the sticky, sweaty, I-feel-gross-and-probably-smell-worse way.
It was definitely a successful and FUN Girls Nite. We are already planning our second outing! We’re thinking Sky Zone or ziplining. I’m pretty sure the ladies are hoping to include wine in our next outing but I’m all about adventure. haha. I’m thinking they might eventually kick me out of the group because I don’t drink and all I want in life is adventure and travel! And hugs. Those are important too.
Have you ever had a Girls Nite? What did you do? Got any suggestions for our second Girls Nite?
No, “exchange brother” doesn’t mean you can exchange your brother for a different model or nice car. I’m certain there are many teenagers who wish that could be possible though!
My “exchange brother” is a former exchange student who lived with my family when I was younger. This particular one lived with us for a year when I was… uhh eight maybe?
Meet Francisco, AKA Frank, from Venezuela:
He visited us once shortly after his year in the States but we hadn’t seen him in about 17 years. It was so interesting/fun/incredible to catch up, even though it was just for breakfast right before we left for vacation a few weeks ago.
Frank was my big brother for a year while he lived with us, and we supported him in soccer games and dates (he was very popular with the ladies!) and anything he wanted to get involved in. The guy is straight up hilarious. Talks a mile a minute, is always making you laugh, and wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s also the inspiration for my mother’s famous line, “keep your pencil in your pocket.” haha. High school boys: take note.
My family truly got lucky with the exchange students we hosted. Frank is one of 10+ who lived in our home for various amounts of time and all of them are in some way part of our family.
My Mom is brilliant for hosting exchange students. She probably thought it (or she?) was a little nuts at times, especially the few times we got a dud (it’s rare but it happens) but we came out of our exchange/hosting experiences with the most ridiculous, funny, and zany stories. And my brother and I acquired a few more siblings.
If you ever get the opportunity to host an exchange student, for one week or one year, do it. Sure it’s another mouth to feed and another schedule to work around but it’s worth it. Learning a different culture and language first-hand, opening your heart and family to another person and their family, exposing your loved ones to the whole experience… that’s worth a million bucks.
I have a love/hate relationship with my body.
It does some pretty cool things like breathing, playing soccer, healing, propelling me through an untrained-for 5k, and providing all of my physical senses. I am very grateful for that. But I’ve never really liked my body (just my red hair and green eyes) and I think at almost 29 years old, it’s about damn time I learn to like it. For me, for right now, that means getting my body to a shape and size where I can like it.
Right now I’m in the “hate” phase with my body, although hate is a strong word that I don’t like to use so “I’m unhappy enough with my body that I’m motivated to do something about it” is more accurate. What is that something? I’m not sure yet. I weigh more now than ever and while I still feel confident in what my body can do, I also feel chubby as hell and super self-conscious.
How do I want to feel? STRONG is the word that’s been sticking in my mind. I did a brain dump to get out the raw emotion of how I’d like to feel if I can shape my body into something I appreciate and enjoy.
I’m currently in the process of researching activities and weight loss/muscle-building options. I’m enlisting friends. I’m scheduling events in the future that will motivate me.
Hanging a bikini on the fridge isn’t going to work for me. Watching American Ninja Warrior might (as long as I do a mini workout during the commercials). Training with someone might. Competing against someone might. I don’t know. What I do know is that I need to figure it out. I WANT to figure it out.
We’re getting healthy and strong up in here. I’m pretty sure the boys are coming along for the ride because we could all drop a few LBs and be better for it.
I have zero answers at the moment. I know practically nothing. I guess that means there’s only up! Forward progress, my friends. When I know more, I’ll share. Till then, pleeeeeeeease share with me any tips you have, suggestions for workouts or classes, fitness blogs you follow, workout videos you love, and where to find kale that tastes like a brownie.
Woohoo! It’s Friday! Killing time at work till 5pm? Or want to read some fun things this weekend? Let’s wander the web together!
The World Cup is over (sniffle) but I’m still gobbling up all the news coverage and analysis of the games. The most fascinating event of the World Cup wasn’t Germany clobbering Brazil, it was that the Netherlands subbed their keeper for penalty kicks to win the game. The article is more psychology than sports so even if you’re not into soccer, it’s a great read.
John and I have been scarfing this caramelized peach caprese salad lately. It’s insanely good. Make it this weekend!
Nicole at A Life Less Bullshit has been killing it recently with deep, motivating posts. I guess that’s what happens when you’re tackling a dream: you learn all kinds of lessons about yourself and life and want to share the wisdom with the world. If you’re struggling with procrastination, she sheds some light on the cause and how you can overcome it. (Procrastination is my middle name, by the way).
If you’re into music and art, you’re going to want to snatch up a few of these pieces by LyricalArtworks.
I’m loving Elise’s reflection posts on speaking at Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit (here’s my review on his book, The Art of Non-Conformity). Part Two of her reflection is about getting out of your comfort zone to do something big and scary that can have a huge impact on yourself and others.
I read everything I can about relationships because marriage freaks me out. Masters of Love tears relationships down to the basics so you can learn what you’re doing right and what you might be doing wrong.
I struggle with wanting to run but not actually enjoying it. If you’re the same, this might help you too: the 7 Most Common Roadblocks to Running (and How to Overcome Them). Missing from that article: the “fear” of being bored out of my gourd during a run. What’s the fix for that?
My real-life friend Elise bakes amazing zucchini bread so I want to try this award-winning zucchini bread recipe. Between chocolate chips and a crumble topping, how could it go wrong?
Sometimes I have to practically force John to hang out with his friends or brother. It’s weird. Now I have an explanation: Why Men are Bad at Friendships.
Have you been wandering the web too? Got something to share? Link to it in the comments!
Look! John made a new friend!
It’s a baboon. haha. Fitting.
Two weeks ago we took our annual summer vacation. We normally visit my Dad in Georgia with a stop in North Carolina to visit John’s brother, sister-in-law, three nieces, and nephew. This year we decided to just stay in NC and travel around the state. You already heard about our visit to the U.S. National Whitewater Center and today I’m sharing our trip to the zoo.
The North Carolina Zoo is located in Asheboro which I know zilch about and had never been there. What I do know is that the zoo was inexpensive, large, and easily took up five hours to see everything. It definitely requires a full day to truly experience all of the exhibits fully.
I can’t remember the last time I went to a zoo. My Mom might know. It was probably Philly, Baltimore, or DC and most likely we took an exchange student so I was pretty young then (age 6-11 maybe?).
These cougars were the most active of any creature we saw and were super playful. My kitty Gavin would probably have fun playing with the cougars if we could supersize him.
Since I haven’t been to a zoo in well over ten years, I didn’t know what to expect. Cages? Boredom? Our nieces, nephew, and J-slice being our only entertainment? So not the case. (Although the kids are entertaining!)
I was thrilled to see the creatures were in “natural” habitats with lots of space to roam and play. Look, I’m not getting into the politics of zoos here, I’m just saying the animals all seemed happy and well cared for. And that made me happy to fork over a few bucks to enjoy them and learn.
Plus… ELEPHANTS! They had so many acres of land to roam on that I only saw two of the six elephants. They’re such majestic creatures. I could watch them all day.
Almost equally exciting: zebras and giraffes. They’re just so darn unique.
The zoo tried to keep this wild animal in captivity but we decided to take her home with us:
Doesn’t she look like the princess of the woods or something? Future queen on her throne.
My favorite aspect of the zoo was that it wasn’t just walking around looking at animals. They had all sorts of creatures from all over the planet who live in various habitats. There were little learning stations spread throughout the zoo staffed by volunteers who showed off skeletons, antlers and horns, skins, cacti needles, and taught passers-by the differences between animals we often confuse.
It was hot as hell there (duh… North Carolina in July) but I loved that we could take our kids somewhere that offered a fun learning environment. Maybe one of them will grow up to be an animal-lover, a zookeeper, or an animal rights enthusiast. Who knows. For now, my only goal is to squeeze as many experiences as possible into their lives while all five kids still like being around us adults.
When was the last time you went to a zoo? What was your favorite thing to see? The NC Zoo has a glow-in-the-dark scorpion! Do you sprint past the snakes and spiders like I do?
Happy Hump Day! Today I’ve got a random smattering of what-we’ve-been-up-to updates.
On Thursday, I lost count of how many times I squealed. Because this happened:
Garth Brooks announced that new music is coming, his old music will be released digitally for the first time, and he will announce tour dates soon that start this Fall. I’m not a huge country fan but I have loved Garth since the moment I first heard him when I was a kid. To this day, “Standing Outside the Fire” is my favorite song of all time. I am SO EXCITED!!!!! Like, five exclamation points excited. Probably ten. Hootie is a Garth fan too so obviously my life dream is to see Garth perform in Germany with her then have her come to the States to see Garth perform again.
Following that excitement, John and I celebrated our fourth anniversary on Friday. That’s dating, not marriage, so some say it doesn’t count but I say anytime a relationship goes that long, it’s worth celebrating. This is our “holy crap we survived four years without killing each other!” look:
John got me a new Oakland A’s shirt since he’s massively into the A’s again and I am massively into elephants. And moderately like the team/baseball.
I blew his gift out of the water though. I got him an A’s pint glass as well as a sampling of baconlicious items from the appropriately named baconfreak.com.
The Great Bacon Haul of 2014 included bacon jerky, a chocolate bar with bacon and smoked salt, a bacon ice cream cone lollipop, maple bacon popcorn, and chocolate covered bacon.
I’m not kidding… John devoured half of that within five minutes of opening the box. Then proceeded to hide the rest so that J-slice didn’t see it. haha. It was hilarious. Ladies, take note: if you want to please your man, buy him bacon.
Saturday we ran the 5k Foam Fest together. It’s an obstacle run featuring foam, mud, water, slides, cargo nets, and more. This course was HARD. The obstacles were fine but the venue was a dirt bike track so we were constantly running up and down hills and along berms. Plus the course went into the woods which went uppppp and dowwwwn and felt like we were constantly going up. And steep! There was one hill that was so steep that they offered a rope alongside to help you up. That’s steep, my friends. I’m sore.
Oh and you learn something about your kid(s) every day: J-slice doesn’t like to be dirty. Surely he could be my child! After my first Dirty Girl though, I realized that you can hate being muddy while still enjoying yourself.
Sunday I worked, cheered for Germany’s World Cup victory, and attended the Can-Am Fire-Police Games opening ceremony. The Games are being held all throughout York PA, where we live, and we wanted to show our support. The opening ceremony had the coolest exhibition from the Pennsylvania State Police Mounted Unit. Horses! We got to see several different maneuvers that the mounted police use for crowd control. Again, you learn something every day!
What a packed several days its been! It might be annoying to hear about weekend highlights on a Wednesday but I think it’s fun to relive the events and start planning for the next adventure. Hope you agree!
Do you have any fun announcements, gifts, or events going on in your life right now? What’s been the highlight of your summer so far?
Teaching Lexie to use the toilet. (Kidding. I wish!)
Feeling sore from a 5k this past weekend and probably will feel worse tomorrow because I took BodyPump at the gym this morning with BFF Lauren.
Wearing my glasses. Still. Ugh.
Working on a video at work that I’m pretty excited about.
Cooking exciting adult meals since J-slice has been in camp over dinner. HOORAY!
Taking advantage of every spare weekend moment to squeeze in some fun.
Wanting all Haribo candies. I bought four bags of Haribo Peaches last nite. (Don’t worry, I also bought five real fruit peaches to balance out).
Missing the World Cup already.
Eating a sprinkle donut. My method for selecting one is pretty much “okay, which one of you has the most sprinkles?”
Waiting rather impatiently for any news from 1) Garth Brooks and 2) Hootie about her next visit.
Planning a slew of activities with friends to get my butt active (I say as I shove the rest of a donut into my mouth…)
Trying to schedule a weekend with Ginger BFF this summer or early Fall.
What’s new in your world? Share it in the comments!