Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I Found My Mantra!

A few months ago I had a meeting about next weeks Service Immersion trip to Hawaii and as part of the curriculum the students will be doing a vision board and talking about their legacies. This really got me thinking about what I wanted mine to be. I really hadn't ever been able to put into words what my legacy would be. I knew I wanted to make people happy, I knew I wanted to make things around me better, I knew I wanted to live a life of spunk and zest and not one wasted. (Look at that, words, maybe this isn't so hard). I stumbled upon this quote however on Pinterest the other day and knew this was it. It sums up EXACTLY what all of the things above mean to be, but does it more succinctly. I have just found my life mantra! Do you have a life mantra? Do you know what you want your legacy to be? I'd love to hear other people's!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Local Saturday

It has been a busy week with Will and I moving. Lots of work still to do, but for the most part we are in the new place and happy as can be! Had a little water snafu after I decided I wanted to take a bath (they are just so relaxing!) but thankfully the landlords were over first thing the next morning to get it fixed.

Yesterday I had a lot of things I wanted to get done, but first on our list was the Broadripple Farmers Market. It is one of our favorite things to do here in Indy and yesterday was its first day open for the season! It isn't a huge market, but I always like the variety! One of the first things we always do is go get Maxwell some treats and water and then get fresh crepes for breakfast from 3 Days in Paris! Will loves the red eggs and bacon which has eggs, spinach, red pepper and cheese. I got a sweet one with cinnamon, sugar and lemon zest, though I usually go for the banana/nutella.

We also came home with spinach, delicious fresh strawberries, a few pretzel rolls and ham and cheese twists from a german coffee shop/bakery, dog treats, an amazing block of fresh bacon flavored cheese from Ludwig Farmstead Creamery (literally heaven in cheese format), a dozen eggs, and then I bought a custom window herb planter with oregano, basil, rosemary, chives, and tarragon. I get to pick it up next week!

That was enough to make my day great alone, but then after we ran some errands and to the grocery store, I came home to make one of my favorite soups and some breakfast burritos for us to freeze, and then with one of Will's friends in town, we took a walk to BRICS a local ice cream place where we could people watch on the Monon Trail! Will and I then decided to do a date night at Arni's, another of our favorite places. While I kept nice and busy, it was actual a fantastic day with lots of outside time and lots of local Indy flavor! I adore my city and my new neighborhood!

Unfortunately today I now need to get back to the organizing and unpacking that I avoided yesterday.Pictures to come!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hello, My Name is Gretchen and I'm a Hunger Games Addict

So I mentioned in my last post that I finally caved and started The Hunger Games on my trip to California. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I have severe addictions to books and tv shows meant for teenagers (enter Pretty Little Liars), so I'm not sure what convinced me that I could casually get through this series. Within days of being home I was having withdrawal, so needless to say I bought Catching Fire and finished it on my way to Minneapolis on Sunday. I then of course quickly on Monday morning ran to the Gustavus bookstore to get Mocking Jay. Both were finished before my 2.5 day trip ended!

So in case you hadn't thought I was a book nerd after 2 books in 2 days...Do you ever get so into a book that when it is over you actually get sad? As much as I loved them, I was really sad that I had nothing left to read and that I wouldn't get to follow the characters anymore! I'm so sad its over that I'm actually considering re-reading them already. There are worse habits than books I suppose, so I won't give myself too hard to a time!

My trip to Minnesota was a great one! I was lucky enough to be handing out bids and getting rolling on our brand new colony at Gustavus! The women were great and I can't wait to go back in the Fall. My camera died, but I love this little campus. Here is my favorite view as you drive up the hill towards campus.

Now time for me to get moving, literally! Movers come at Noon tomorrow, but I need to spend my day packing and taking some car loads over to the new place! I'm both dreading it and super excited at the same time!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Califoooorniaaa, Here We Coooome

Surely I wasn't the only one who was obsessed with The O.C. and then of course consequently that theme song? I've been singing it since the day I landed in sunny Cali!

So California is another state I was lucky enough to cross off my list this semester! I spent the first few days at AFLV West, which while I had a lovely time, is not what I'll report on since I didn't hardly get to leave the hotel. I was however lucky enough to spend two extra days in California with the other half of the Monmouth Duo (was the nickname for the college bestie and I, she was the Panhellenic President and a Kappa, I, the VP Recruitment and  Pi Phi. It just fit!) She has been in the Air Force since we left school and she and her husband have been stationed outside of Lompoc, CA for the past few years. They are getting ready to move, so I am happy I got to sneak up and see them.

I started my trip by making a 4 hour drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. It was by far the most beautiful drive I have ever made! I was trying to be a safe driver so I didn't take pics, but below is an example of my view. Mountains on one side, coast on another. It was breathtaking.
 (Picture Courtesy of http://www.roadstothefuture.com/Pacific_Coast_Hwy.html)

After arriving in Lompoc, we decided to spend the day wine tasting. While we went a few places, my favorite was the Wine Ghetto. Located next to a Home Depot, it is old storage units, turned small storefronts for various local winemakers! Seriously, this is a concept that has got to take off nationwide. It was awesome! My favorite was Ampelos and I made sure to bring home a bottle of the Viognier. We also went to Firestone, which as a Bachelor fan of course made me happy. The views were amazing, but it was actually my least favorite wine. You win some, you lose some :) If you ever get a chance to experience the Wine Ghetto however, I suggest you do!

My second day, Erin and I wandered around some of the neighboring towns. We did a little outlet shopping, checked out San Luis Obispo, and then went and had lunch at a place called The Custom House at Avila Beach. It was beautiful enough to sit outside, so this was our view for lunch.
Because of how early I had to get up, we called in an early evening on night two. Erin got me hooked on The Hunger Games while I was there, so we might have also been nerdy BFF's and spent an hour on the couch reading. I'm sad that my trip wasn't longer, I spent yesterday driving back to Costa Mesa and then flying across country. It was so beautiful and such an amazing experience. I am already plotting how to get myself back there.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Today I'm Grateful

I know I mentioned this in some of the my last posts, about really trying to enjoy what I have in my life. After having a few days of feeling grateful, I thought it would be beneficial to write it down.

1. I have an amazing boyfriend. We went and watched American Reunion last night and after spending the 15 minutes before the movie laughing with him, and the entire movie laughing with him, I just realized how truly blessed I am.

2. Said boyfriend and I have found a new place that is perfect for us! Price within our range, specifications that we wanted, location we wanted, and all completely remodeled. Move in date is t - 17 days!

3. I get to visit California for the first time this week and also get to see my BFFL this weekend. Even better, since the first part of my trip is for work, the only thing I'm paying for is a car. She is one of my dearest friends, and life and her Air Force career  have kept us apart, but I'm so excited to see her.

4. I'm also going to Hawaii next month for a Service Immersion trip with 20 students. I won't even post too much, but I learned today what our service is going to be, and let's just say I can't stop smiling. I can't wait to share it with everyone. I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

5. Had an Advisors meeting tonight at Butler, and just was reminded again how much better my life is thank to my membership in Pi Beta Phi. I love that I can give back to a chapter that isn't even my own and still feel the joy in what membership brings women.

So that is what I'm grateful for this week! I type this while watching my favorite show, Modern Family, with my sweet sweet kitty, Tibby. Am I too happy and cheesy or what? God is good to me, there is no doubt. Patience is not a virtue that I am good at, but I'm starting to be reminded what is worth waiting for.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Update on the first 4 days of fun!

I'm 4 days in to Run to the Finish 30 day challenge and thought I'd update on how its going!

Day 1: I finally decided to start 30 Rock from Season 1. It is a show that always makes me happy, but I started watching. So I spent an extra hour laying in bed in the morning and started 2 episodes! I never allow myself to stay in bed, I normally feel like I'm wasting my day, so it was a great change!

Day 2: Was lucky enough to go check out the new place with Will for us to do some measuring and make some furniture decisions, and then got to watch basketball! You know from my last posts that I love my basketball!

Day 3: I worked from home yesterday because of some work I was trying to finish, but took my lunch break to watch What Not to Wear and to daydream with the JCrew catalog, one of my all time favorite past times!

Day 4: Today has been a fun one and its one of the things I love most about my office. We can deal with some ridiculous people, and yet spend an hour laughing about it rather than stressing out. Aubs and I spent the day rocking to some Glee Pandora music, there were a lot of laughs, and I might have even left Allison's office by doing my best pony riding to Pitbull. I mean its not Ginuine, but he'll do :) Today was the epitome of finding fun in the small things. I also ended with a dinner with 8 of my closest friends in town. Score!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fruit and Oats Mean I'm Cooking Healthy, Right?

So being home means I actually get to do a little cooking so I am reporting on two recipes that I tested out this weekend!

Last night, I went over to a friends house for a KU/OSU viewing party. Since the game was late at night, we all just brought over snacks, so it gave me an excuse to try out the fruit salsa recipe that I've had my eye on. I had made the cinnamon sugar tortilla chips before, so I knew at least those would be delicious. I'm just linking up to the recipe, because I pretty much stole the whole thing. I also forgot to take pictures. Bad blogger, I know. So here is the fruit salsa. I found the recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything. Really the only thing I did different was add a little bit of nectarine. It turned out amazing, and everyone gobbled it up. This will be a party staple from here on out for me. Not to mention it lends itself to substituting fruit in season or on sale. Looking forward to making it again during farmer's market season!

So I had another recipe I've been itching to try, as I'm still trying to not eat out and to keep snacks on hand at home. Recipe 2 was homemade chewy granola bars! Lauren's Latest provided me a great basic recipe so I won't repeat it either, but the only change I would make is to use a little less honey, mine are delicious, but definitely honey flavored. Can't wait to make these again with different varieties as well!

 The brown sugar, butter, and honey. Just heat this up until bubbly, and then lower and stir for 2 minutes. You then add the oats and rice krispies and stir. You then pat it down tight in together like below!

These made 10 bars for me. I wrapped in saran wrap and have them individually to go!

Both recipes a big hit this weekend, though I can't wait to perfect them on the second try!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

State Hopping and Some New Goals!

So its been a busy winter in general for me with work travel, but I finished up last week with some state hopping for extension presentations. Megan and I began the week in Geneseo, NY. Neither of us went into this trip with high expectations, because mostly neither of us had any clue what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised and I think Megan was ready to jump ship and move to possibly the cutest town I'd ever been to.

We took these pictures during a walk we took before the presentation. Seriously, adorable! I should mention that it was ridiculously hot for New York in March and I spent most of the day sweating and trying to still look professional, but wish I could've spent more time for sure!

I then got the pleasure of spending the remainder of the week in Minnesota, my second home. Visited friends, Mankato, and spent a day at Gustavus for work. It was weird and overcast, so no good pictures on this trip, but I'm heading back soon, so I'll work on it.

With some downtime and vacation days this week, I've also set some new goals for myself for the next month/few months. Will and I have found a new place and are moving in May, but with that comes a financial burden for me since my lease isn't up until June. So starting 2 days ago, I'm no longer eating out until my Hawaii trip at the end of May. Even in 3 days I've noticed how little money I spend when I don't eat out. I know it will challenge me a lot, but I know I can do it. My budget needs an overhaul and this is the place I can do it! I've also joined Run to the Finish's 30 day Challenge for April, which is to inject fun into our every day! I've got a calendar all ready to go and will post how that is going too!

Overall, life is pretty fantastic right now. Finally in a place where I can actually enjoy and be grateful for what I'm blessed with and hope to keep that up!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Soaking up Life!

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has felt like they miss too much of life. I often feel like the summer is over, year is over, experience is over and I didn't truly take time to enjoy it. Have been having some conversations with my people the past few days about my life in that way. How when I tell people what I do for a living, or that I get to travel, the response is always "how cool!" or "you must get to go to some neat places". My response is always "I usually just see a lot of airports and college campuses". In reality though, I have some amazing opportunities in my life and DO get to do things. So in an effort this weekend to be better about the experience, I played tourist!

My sister lives in Columbus, OH which I've been to about a bajillion times (we are kinda inseparable after all). With my nieces 2nd birthday this weekend, I drove over with manfriend to celebrate. It really was a fantastic weekend! We were blessed with some amazing weather and a sassy 2 year old to get us through, but we took the time to really soak it all in.

We went over Friday night and mostly just hung out and watched some basketball as a place down the street called Rooster's. Nothing fancy, but we did watch Lehigh beat Duke which was actually pretty awesome. Saturday Will and I woke up and decided to head out to North Market. I've been there before, and it is actually where I was introduced to my beloved Jeni's ice cream, (Seriously, BEST ICE CREAM EVER!)  but Will had never been. North Market is like a city market with dining options, bakeries, etc. I always describe is as much more eclectic and delicious than Indy's City Market though. The two of us wandered around trying samples and checking things out before settling on some barbecue for lunch. We sat outside and ate while listening to some outdoor musicians and soaking up the sun. It was really just wonderful! We then decided to go back in so I could buy some of my favorite popcorn from Pam's popcorn (the best cheese popcorn you'll ever eat, no lie) and then so Will could test out all the Jeni's flavors he wanted. He settled on finally a scoop of the dark chocolate and a scoop of cherry tres leches, I ended up with lemon frozen yogurt and mango kiwi special cake. I strayed away from my norm and was pleasantly surprised. Here are our cones below:

Once we got home Will, my sister, myself, Ela, and Maxwell the dog went for a walk around the neighborhood. Ela had a great time walking Maxwell all by herself!

Then it was time for the birthday! As Ela would say we had Elmo Abby cake and presents, and here is her best rendition of a cake monster (she's been big on Monster's Inc lately)

Today Will and I headed home so I could do some packing before I travel this week. We decided to play tourist one more time and stop by the Warm Glow Candle Company. This place is off of I-70 just outside of Richmond, IN. I have passed it more times than I can count, but in an effort to do more, we stopped. Lots of fun candles, and Will and I came out with lots of new votives for our new place.

About to eat some fresh pasta and tomato cream sauce for dinner, courtesy of North Market, and hoping to watch Lehigh win again tonight before I head out of town tomorrow. Hopefully some more posts from the road as I continue to try to play tourist and enjoy those little moments!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Madness has begun!

One of the things I adore most about my home state is having been born and raised on college basketball. IU basketball was a way of life growing up and I think it is part of our charm. I have a few teams I root for, buy none more so than my alma mater, Valparaiso University . I had the best collegiate experience a girl could ask for. I already proclaimed to manfriend in fact that our future children will also go to Valpo. Thankfully, he was smart enough to go along with this.

I was a cheerleader for part of my time in college as well, so that only intensifies my Valpo basketball love. Luckily this year Valpo played in the championship game of the Horizon League tournament and have played a hell of a season. Manfriend told me if I bought the tickets, he'd go to the game with me, and so Tuesday night we hauled our butts the 2.5 hours to Valpo, bought ourselves some new t-shirts in the book store, and got our cheering voices ready!

Don't we look excited to be cheering on Valpo?!

Sadly, the team had a really rough second half of the game and we lost to Detroit. I am so happy that I got to go back and see my team play, and have already decided to try harder next season to get to more games. Again, I'm super lucky that manfriend loves college basketball as well, and it also helps that we started dating during March Madness last year. Most of our first dates involved basketball watching.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Can't Sit Still

So I travel for work...a lot! While there are some amazing perks to that, one of the downfalls is keeping on top of adult like things. You know, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping. Since manfriend travels too,  I was lucky enough to have a whole day today by myself. Do you want to know what I did? Got moving!

I've been in a super spring cleaning organization mood partially due to some ideas on Pinterest, and partially due to an impending move in the late spring. This morning I managed to wake up and make enough breakfast burritos for me to have quick breakfasts this week, I did my p90x workout, and managed to do another load of laundry while starting my chicken in the crock pot for dinner.

The roommate and I then got moving on the fridge and pantry. After doing some major purging. I decided to start a snack basket that I had seen http://pinterest.com/pin/52284045643610077/ The one pictured is a fridge one (I'll get there at some point too) but here is my pantry basket!
I pre measured out little packs of almonds, popcorn chips, and puffins cereal so I can just grab and go. I hope to keep adding to this!

One of my other projects was tackling underneath my bathroom sink. I'm the girl who wears ponytails every day, but has enough beauty products to be a Hollywood starlet. After some purging again, I also decided I need a way to control (as manfriend calls it) my hair flair. I've always got bobby pins, ponytail holders, headbands, and the like cluttering up the bathroom. After another idea I found on Pinterest I re-purposed and old oatmeal container for a hair flair organizer.
I covered it with some scrapbook paper that matched my bathroom. My headbands don't fit around it, because well this idea was for kids and not adult sized heads, I still decided I could throw them on and stack them. Inside are all my little pieces of flair for easy finding!

My day isn't done, I'm hoping to tackle one more project before bed. It is college basketball season and Valpo is playing in the semi-final tournament against Butler tonight, so I can't tackle anything that would get in the way of my basketball watching. Cheer the Crusaders on for me, if they make it to the final game, I've got tickets!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Funday Awards Edition

I have spent another week traveling like a mad woman! First an extension presentation in Evansville, IN. I ordered a heart shaped pizza for my lovely homies, because unfortunately that is how we spent our Valentine's Day. Lucky for me I got to go to The Melting Pot with manfriend the night before. We don't really do V-Day presents, but I got him some DVD's and he got me this awesome candle I was eyeing for my soaks in the tub.

Spent the last few days in Hartford, CT at the Northeast Greek Leadership Association Conference. It was so nice to see some former students of mine and some of my favorite colleagues! These things always re-energize me for the work that I'm doing and helps remind me that Fraternities and Sororities make a difference in our students lives! I'm however home and exhausted. Just made me some Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels and am now home all night to watch the red carpet and Oscars! This is my favorite time of year!

Hopefully I'll have more fun things to report now that I'm actually home for a bit, for now..I relax :)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

One Big Ole Cliche'

So Justina and I are on our last day in Buffalo together (she stays put, but I leave tomorrow. Woohoo!) We decided since Canada didn't pan out last weekend, we'd try to do something not work related today.

As the post title implies, its been one big old girly cliche' today. We started the day with bid day to round out the end of recruitment. We still have some work to do here in the long run, but we definitely ended on a high! Because of the snow we decided today wasn't the best day for a Canada do-over, so instead we made an indoor girly day. The two of us went and got bubble tea, which was a first for me. It was delicious and in the cutest little shop. The tapioca pearls are definitely interesting to get used to, but you do eventually. I've now been scoping out places in Indy. Justina got the milk based one, I got a fruit one. I actually preferred Justina's almond milk, lesson learned!
So after our tea adventures, we decided a movie date was in order. The obvious choice? The Vow. A. it has two of my favorite people in it. B. Why sit at home when you can cry it out in a movie with a friend? While not the best movie ever made, it served its purpose and we got a good cry in. Finally we ended our day at Fowler's Chocolates . They have the usual delicious truffles, caramels, and treats, but also have lots of buffalo shaped chocolates. I bought some Truffalo's to bring back to the staff, but really wanted the Buffaloreo's too :)
 Because I've got to do some packing tonight, we finished up with pizza for dinner and are looking forward to SNL tonight. Sorority bid day, tea, chocolates, pizza, girly movies....seriously could we be any more of a walking girl cliche' today?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Buffa-Lovin It

So I suppose you never know where life is going to take you, and my life has taken me to Buffalo, NY for the past 2 weeks! I've still got a few more days here, but thought I'd get this blog moving again with some of my Buffalo adventures.

I'm here for work and have spent a whole lot of time planning and preparing for recruitment for two of our chapters up here, but Justina and I have managed to squeeze in some fun. J took me to Niagara Falls which was really cool! Unfortunately, after hounding me for weeks about bringing my passport, she forgot hers. We only saw the Buffalo side but it was great nonetheless. Another sad moment is that on the Buffalo side you can apparently get really close, but due to winter and ice issues they close off the stairways. Here are some pics of the trip!

While I hate wings which of course Buffalo is known for, it hasn't stopped the two of us from visiting the local wing places. We hit up Anchor Bar and tonight made it to Duff's. Justina and I like to go local, so we also researched and bought some delicious ice cream from Lake Effect . I bought Cinnamon Toast, no complaints :)
The trip has definitely been exhausting and I have no desire to travel for 2.5 weeks again, but we've had some fun too. Its nice to actually have someone here and to not be traveling alone for once. That has allowed for a whole lot of laughs, some venting, and some major car singing/jam sessions. Looking forward to being home, but I won't spend as much time hating on Buffalo anymore. I'll be spreading the Buffa-love!