Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Firsts of Graduate School

It's only been a week and a half, and I can already say that I've experienced so many firsts in graduate school: My first grad school friend, my first almost-test, my first time being called on by the teacher and not knowing the answer. The list goes on and on!

People ask me all the time, is grad school as difficult as is sounds? The answer (being completely honest) is yes. Graduate school is definitely more serious than undergrad, more is expected of you, there's a lot less explaining, and more of an expectation that you know what they're talking about. All this, combined with working 40 hours a week at the university, makes for a very interesting adventure!

This semester I'm taking two classes: Organization and Governance in Higher Education on Mondays and American Higher Education on Wednesdays. Both courses are offered at night from 6:00-8:45.
Before attending my first class, I couldn't help but imagine how things would be. Would it be anything like undergrad? Would I feel unprepared since my undergraduate major was far from Education? I had those first day of school jitters all over again!

I knew that during the first week especially, I wanted to feel as prepared as possible. I made sure to strategically plan my outfits, pack my book bag, and have the best supplies for class. I must have been doing something right because it went swimmingly, and got me so excited for the semester to come! Determined to get an involved as I can and meet new friends, I've also joined HESA (Higher Education Student Association). Since Boone is such a college town, I thought this would be a great way to meet some people in my age group, and be even more active in my program!

When I graduated from undergrad, I never in a million years thought that I would go back to school for my masters in anything, so for me, this is a big deal! 
To remember how special my first day of graduate school was, I took some time to make a sign, and had my friend Tara snap a picture of me. I love seeing how people change over the years, and I'm sure I will see a change in myself as I work toward my Master of Arts in Higher Education!

I'm sure there will be many more "firsts" to come, this is just the beginning! Have you ever thought of pursuing a master's degree?

As always, Have a Sweet Day!

Friday, August 30, 2013

I'm a Half-Marathoner!

As of this past weekend, I am a half-marathoner!!!

Last Saturday morning, I ran in the High Country Half-Marathon, the second race in the High Country Triple Crown series. My friend Marcia and I debated registering up until the day before the race, but on Thursday night after work, we took the plunge! Going to the football stadium to sign up and get my race packet made me even more nervous than I already was!

My Dad came into town on Friday night, to cheer for Marcia and me on Saturday. I was so thankful to have him there! It makes all the difference in the world knowing that someone is waiting for you at the finish line.

On Saturday morning, my alarm was set for 5:45, but I woke up at 3:00 not able to sleep at all. I was so anxious, excited, and just plain scared knowing my first half-marathon was just a few hours away! When it finally was time to get up, I had my outfit laid out and ready to go. Like most of my other races, I wore a lightweight racerback shirt with Nike shorts. I also made sure to wear a thick headband to keep my hair out of the way the entire race. 
My Dad and I headed to the stadium a little before 7AM, so that I had enough time to stretch and get warmed up. We even had time to snap a picture before I had to be at the starting line.
The race started at the football stadium, and after running 3/4 of a lap around the track, we began our trek from Boone to Blowing Rock. The course was tough and extremely challenging. The level of difficulty was similar to the Cub race that I did back in June, but this one was 6 miles longer. Except for about two miles in the middle of the race, the rest was completely uphill. By about the tenth mile, all I wanted was to see that finish line!
Though Marcia and I did this race together, we went completely at our own pace. She actually ended up finishing six minutes before me. I was so proud of her! My final time was 2:19:06!

 Running through the finish line was such an emotional moment, as it always is for me. I couldn't help but think back to last December, when I wasn't able to run a mile without stopping or feeling like I was going to be sick. A half-marathon was always my goal, I just had no idea it would be here so soon! I am so lucky to have such wonderful family, friends and co-workers to support me through this journey.
After the race, my Dad and I went straight to the Tervis Tumbler store in downtown Blowing Rock. I'd seen a "13.1" water bottle there a few months earlier, and I knew I had to have it!
This race set me on fire, and I can't wait to earn even more medals through my running!
My next half is scheduled for February, when Marcia and I travel to Disney World for the Princess Half-Marathon, but I'd love to get another one in before then! What an amazing experience!

If you ever have the opportunity to run a half-marathon yourself, or any race, I would absolutely recommend it! Crossing that finish line is so empowering!

As always, Have a Sweet Day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NYC Staff Directorship: The Application

For those of you that read my blog on a regular basis, you know that I've been planning to apply to Appalachian's NYC Staff Directorship for months! Well y'all, the word is out. The office of Business Affairs has officially sent out the call for applicants to the two directorships that the loft offers. The email went out last week, and honestly my heart skipped a beat when I saw it appear in my inbox!
Of course, I still have to apply, get approvals, recommendations and such, but for me, the chance to do this is so much more than something to list on a resume. If chosen, I would have an opportunity to work for two weeks in one of the most amazing cities in the world, the city that I also happen to dream about on a regular basis. For someone that one day would love to live in New York, living and working there for two weeks is the perfect trial run.

In the meantime, I've been learning all I can about the city and where things are located. I've also been studying the subway system, how it works, and how exactly to get where I want to go. I can't imagine getting to the city and not knowing how to get from place to place!
The deadline for applications is October 15th. After that, the Office of Business Affairs schedules in-person interviews for all of the applicants. There are two different two-week periods up for grabs, but I plan to apply for the Dec 28th-Jan 13th time slot. 

Representing Appalachian is one of my favorite things to do on a daily basis, but getting to transition it into a city that I dream of being in makes it that much more exciting. 

Cross your fingers for me!

As always, Have a Sweet Day!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Graduate School Orientation

Last Monday night, the Higher Education graduate program at Appalachian had orientation for its new, incoming students. I was so excited (and a little nervous) knowing this would be my first time meeting all of the students and teachers in my program!
At 5:30, I headed over to the brand new College of Education building on campus. While looking for the classroom, I got that whole "new freshman" feeling all over again! I was actually still wandering around, when a man approached me and asked if I was there for orientation. I'm sure I had that "lost" look all over my face. Later in the evening, I found out he was one of the two professors I have this semester. 

The orientation was quick, easy and super casual, which really eased my nerves. I was able to meet other new students, as well as the faculty members in the Higher Education program. After a few ice-breakers, we learned about expectations of the program and were able to chat with continuing Higher Ed. students. 
That night, I went home ready and so excited to get back to school! It's one thing to work for the university, but being a student again at a school that you love and take so much pride in is a whole different feeling. This will definitely be a degree to be proud of, in two years that is!

As always, Have a Sweet Day!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Five on Friday: Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer & Lululemon!

Hello Everyone & Hello Friday!!!

When I leave work on Friday afternoon, it's a completely different feeling from leaving work every other day of the week! I can't wait for that feeling in just a few hours! I've got another exciting weekend filled with family and weddings, but in the meantime, here are my FIVE favorite things from this past week!

I finally went to a Lululemon store! After reading about Stephanie's love for Lululemon products, I had to see what all the fuss was about! Last Saturday, I tried on one of their sports bra, and fell in love! The Energy Bra in Blue Moon would be the perfect top for the Princess Half-Marathon next February. It has a ton of support for a long run, and is still super flattering! I plan on going as Cinderella, and it is the perfect color!
I've officially purchased my dress for Homecoming this year! At Appalachian, football is a big deal, and Homecoming is one of my favorite events! It's the perfect time to see all your favorite alumni and dress in your best black and gold! I think I'm most excited about this year's dress because it's different from anything that I've ever had before! Here are a few of my Homecoming outfits from years past!

I found out that I get to work closely with Convocation and Commencement again this year! This was huge news for me, and such a relief, that I can be super involved with something that I'm so passionate about! Convocation is on September 10th, while Commencement isn't until December the 14th!
The Kate Spade Surprise Sale was one of my favorite parts of this week! Luckily, I saw a tweet from Summer Wind to go check it out, and I'm so glad I did! Though I could have spent my whole paycheck, I did make out with one fabulous item! The Eat Cake For Breakfast Gia! Did you scoop up any new Kate Spade at 75% off??
I have been looking for an announcement about the Lilly Pulitzer End of Summer Sale basically all summer long! If you've never participated in this sale, it's when most of Lilly's Summer clothing is on super sale, and you can scoop up all of those fun items you've been eyeing, but had waited to purchase! I saw yesterday that Lilly stores are saying the sale will go live on Monday, August 19th and last through the 22nd! Have you got your wish list made out? I know I do! The Lilly Goodie Goodie Necklace is one thing I've got my eye on!

Have five things you're loving this Friday? Link-up and let us know!
Happy Friday Y'all!

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As always, Have a Sweet Day!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Birthdays & Baseball: A Weekend Recap!

This past weekend was so much fun! I packed all sorts of things in, so it was definitely a busy one!

On Friday morning, we celebrated my friend Tara's birthday at work!

Birthdays in our office are a big deal (one of my favorite things we do,) and Tara's birthday was no exception! A few people in her area brought fruit, drinks, chips and breakfast casserole, while I brought strawberry cupcakes and a few fun gifts!
In my book, no birthday is complete without balloons and champagne, so of course we had both!

Eating together and enjoying each other's company was so much fun!

When lunchtime came around, we had to do something special! Tara suggested Vidalia, and I was completely on board! I've talked about Vidalia before, and I have to talk about it again....SO good! I love the feel, the food and it's quaint downtown atmosphere! Tara enjoyed the fried chicken sandwich as her birthday meal!

I had the pimento cheese sandwich, which was a close second to their chicken and waffles dish, that changed my life!

On Saturday morning, I drove home to meet my family, before making a trip to the nearest Apple Store...on Tax Free Weekend. Sounds like a recipe for disaster right?
And just like we assumed, it was packed! There were people everywhere. Though I'd planned on buying a MacBook Pro for graduate school, I ultimately decided to wait a little while, before I make such a big purchase. All was not lost. We had a delicious lunch at one of my favorite places, Jason's Deli, and I got to go into a Lululemon store for the first time!

We made it back home just in time for a quick nap and some bonding time with my favorite Doodle!

Around six, we headed downtown, for a Winston-Salem Dash baseball game. My Dad is a big baseball fan, and my Mom got him these tickets in June as part of an anniversary present.

Mama & me at the game!
Daddy really enjoyed himself...
and believe me, so did I!

It was so much fun, eating, drinking and just hanging out with the family for a night. We were lucky and had absolutely no rain, but the heat had definitely gotten to my hair by the end of it! Up it went!

We even stopped by Krispy Kreme on the way home! It was the perfect end to a perfect night!

Sunday was spent going to church, hanging out at home and doing a little shopping! How fun are these America Flag shorts I tried on just for fun?!

It was definitely a weekend well spent!

What have you been up to lately?

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As always, Have a Sweet Day!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Melody Learns to Cook: Homemade Pizza

In my Five on Friday post two weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to have some cooking lessons from my friend Frances! I am happy to report that I had my first one last Tuesday night, and it was a huge success!

Frances is new to my office, but has quickly showed what a great cook she is! We got to talking about how I'd love to learn to make some new dishes, and she offered to be my teacher! We threw around a couple different ideas for my first meal, but after getting this awesome coupon from Earth Fare, we knew this was the winner!
I was able to get enough dough, sauce, cheese and pepperoni for a whole pizza, and only spent $4.13!

I also grabbed a few macarons from the dessert display, so I ended up spending a little over $8.00 for the entire meal.

Since I had only been to Earth Fare once before, we used this as an opportunity to walk around the store, get to know the employees, and see what all they had to offer! We had the best time!

Frances with her pizza supplies!

Once we got home and the dough reached room temperature, I rolled it out into the classic pizza shape. The dough was super easy to work with, so using my hands worked just fine.

When I got it to the thickness that I was looking for, I started adding pizza sauce. I covered the entire pizza, except for a little bit of dough where the crust would be.

Then it was time for cheese and pepperoni. I love a lot of both of these items! The bag of cheese that I got for $1.00 was the perfect amount to fill my pizza, and I even had a little leftover for some pasta later in the week! (Thanks for that idea, Frances!) The pepperonis were large, so I had no trouble covering the whole pizza.

Ready to go in the oven!

We cooked our pizzas on 450 degrees for 20 minutes. This time and temperature worked perfectly! It tasted great, and turned out pretty as well!

I can't forget about dessert! My very first macaron was de-licious. I think I'm hooked!

Frances is a great teacher, and so tolerant with my lack of cooking knowledge, which I really appreciate! We're planning on getting together to do a new dish each week!

Have an easy recipe for me to try? 
Please share!

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As always, Have a Sweet Day!

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