college

Effects of Midterm Week

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I’m currently finding it very difficult to see the good in the things around me these past few days. My (newly acquired) seasonal allergy symptoms are at an all time high, I have two, back-to-back midterm exams tomorrow (literally back-to-back, 12:30-2pm and 2-3:30pm), and I continue to make mental lists of everything I want to accomplish, which continue to overwhelm me. I also made the rookie mistake of drinking a latte this morning. Lattes are comprised of two lethal ingredients, milk and caffeine. The milk obviously doesn’t help with the inflammation of my allergy symptoms, and the caffeine in no way helps with my anxiety symptoms.

Besides regretting my poor decision to drink a medium latte, I am overwhelmed with countless discrete and continuous probability distributions as well as consumer behavior theories, models, and definitions. I’m attempting to efficiently memorize and apply the multiple different probability distributions while simultaneously keeping myself from having a mental breakdown while thinking about everything and anything I could possible overwhelm myself from. (Books I want to read, things I want to do, yoga asanas I want to practice, places I want to run/bike, workouts I want to try, and school material I should probably be studying instead of typing this blog post.)

I need to constantly remind myself to breathe (deeply) and take my time and give full attention to one assignment or task at a time. And to not drink anymore lattes this week.

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Brief April Update… More to Come!

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Wow such a long time since my last post! It’s crazy that I love blogging so much, yet I never found the time to return to this passion until April….

Since my last post I have many new changes and will briefly discuss most of them below. Please be patient with all of this; I promise to set aside more me-time to blog more often.

I love my classes again this semester; I’m in Marketing Research, Consumer Behavior, Data Visualization and Simulation, Operations Management, Six Sigma Toolkit and Applied Statistics. I have a passion for the core of all of these, whether it be a math, business analytics or marketing class. I love my Six Sigma class because my professor is so smart, experienced, and helps guide the shape of my future during office hours. I will end this semester as a certified Yellow Belt (not much, I know, but definitely a step in a positive direction). I also love my Consumer Behavior class; my professor is like a cool mom. She has kids a little younger than us but knows what’s in and not and can hold humorous conversations with the class members during lectures.

I’m training for a half marathon – the Zooma Annapolis Half Marathon – on June 4th. I’m excited to complete it with my sister, however training for this has definitely made me realize how much I dislike running. I guess it’s more of a love-hate. I love running, just hate the lonely long distance runs (outside surrounding pollen and struggling to breathe.)

I’m finally beginning to feel more emotionally stable again – HALLELUJAH!! The medicine and therapy is definitely helping and I am choosing to do more activities that boost my mood (like yoga) and less activities that kill my mood. I’m extremely excited to graduate in a year and physically, mentally, and emotionally move on. College has not been the best experience for me, although it was much needed, as all of my struggles have help strengthen and build who I have become today. (ROMANS 8:18 “The pain that you have been feeling cannot compare to the joy that is coming.”)

I’ve also began the 100 Days of Happiness Challenge! #100happydays In case you have been living under a rock (and not followed my Instagram account – @strongandsmiling) than you would be unaware. I am committing myself to post something that makes me happy everyday for 100 consecutive days in hopes to further improve and stabilize my mood/emotional state. So far, I honestly feel that I have become the slightest bit happier, simply because everyday I am forced to take a picture of and cherish something happy so I am able to post and write about it that day. Today is day 21, so I’m only a fifth of the way done!

My goals for this week are to keep up with my yoga/lifting/running plans, sleep for at least eight hours each night and to smile for one minute every day – even if it’s by myself in my room. I’m hoping these three goals will help improve (or at least maintain) my physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Fall Break Festivities

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This weekend I was blessed with having the opportunity to come home for two days while my classes and field hockey have a “Fall Break”. I happily reunited witb two of my sisters, my parents and my pets Friday night after driving home straight after my game on Friday night. Since then I’ve caught up on all of my recorded Modern Family episodes (struggles of not having cable or a tv at school), went to the Annual Fall Festival at Kinder Farm Park, sold pumpkins at my church, hung out with my family and made homemade pizza and roasted marshmallows in our firepit and watched my sister’s rec field hockey game. It’s just a short trip home but it’s always a nice mental reset to sleep in my own bed (and hang out with my beloved cat, Beau Beau).

To pass the time selling pumpkins, my sister and I did some fun exercises; the videos are included below. The first video is a core exercise, the second is alternating lunges with a twist, the third is another core exercise with Russian twists, the fourth is squats with a shoulder press, the fifth is squats with bicep curls and the last two videos are of my sister and I using the pumpkins as an obstacle course for field hockey dribbling. 

   
    
    
   

More Slacklining Adventures and Some Gymnastics

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The slackline in our front yard is once again set up and back in action!!

My youngest sister, Lila, and I are both very competitive and home during the day, so naturally we never left the slackline all day yesterday and constantly competed to see who could take more steps, who could dismount off of the line higher off of the ground and who could stay on the line for a longer period of time. I don’t mean to brag, but I beat Lila in both number of steps, and beat her to walking across the entirety of the line without stepping off from the slackline. With her extreme competitive nature and naturally athletic capabilities, she could easily beat me with a few more hours of practice though!

We also had one of our other sisters take pictures while we posed together on the slackline at the same time. I’m not going to lie; slacklining is hard enough by yourself, so now imagine trying to balance on a two inch wide line of webbing with another person and their weight causing the line to wiggle around even more. Don’t tell my athletic trainer this, but I figured that slacklining would be enough ankle strengthening and could replace my “rehab” exercises for today. I also tried slacklining while wearing my ankle braces, hoping they would assist in my ankle stability and overall balance, keeping me on the line for a longer period of time. Surprisingly though, they made no difference.

I included some pictures from our slacklining fun! Even though it just looks like two crazy girls walking in the grass with their arms up in the air, we are actually intensely concentrating on not falling from the thin webbed line! The picture that looks like we’re sitting with our backs to each other, we are actually both balancing on the line, hovering just inches off of the ground, before we both lost balance and fell off. I will also have to give credit to Lila for doing a handstand on the slackline too! And of course, what fun is the slackline if the cat (Beau) doesn’t join in on the fun?! If you are interested in following his own Instagram account for more pictures of him doing cat things, it’s @beaubeauthecat

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Besides the obsessive slacklining, today was a big day in my gymnastics improvements!

When I was younger, I competed in gymnastics for many years. Always relatively flexible, many of the moves came easily to me and I was able to quickly progress. However, once my parents introduced me to contact sports like soccer, lacrosse, and field hockey, I gave up the balance beam and bars for running up and down the field and scoring goals. I’m glad that I stuck with these sports because I love running and playing all of these sports better strengthened my love for being a part of a team. I digress. A small flame has been forever burning inside of me with the want to pick up some of the more easily executed gymnastics moves (the harder ones hold a greater risk at injuring myself and most of them contain landings with too much unnecessary impact on my feet, shins and knees). Lila (introduced earlier in this post), with her competitive natural, loves to do EVERYTHING. This includes (but isn’t limited to) lacrosse, field hockey, running, singing, dancing, gymnastics, and any other activity where she can compete at and there is a winner and a loser. Lila is also my go-to girl when I want to learn something new.

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SO HERE’S THE PART OF MY STORY YOU’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR…. I went to Lila and told her my goal was to learn how to do a back walkover as well as a front walkover. Lila and I are both fast and dedicated learners, so I was able to quickly learn the technique and execution of the front walkover. And I did my very first one!! (As a twenty year old.) We caught it on camera and my reaction is so priceless! Stay tuned on my Instagram account (@strongandsmiling) for my video; however here is a sneak preview picture of how ecstatic I was after successfully landing. 🙂

I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading about these athletic endeavours and I look forward to sharing more about our summer adventures!

Bike Envy and Today’s Ride

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“Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

“If you can achieve something without a struggle, it’s not going to be satisfying.” -Greg LeMondIMG_4455

I couldn’t decide between posting a positive quote and posting about exercising so I’ve mixed them together by adding in these cool quotes about bicycles. Today I took a peaceful bike ride and even wore a helmet for once! Safety first!! I’ve always loved biking because it’s a great workout and you are able to enjoy everything all around. I believe that it’s an underrated activity in the United States. In particular, the Netherlands stands out the most to me, as I was just there over my spring break with my team while we completed our own “Euro Tour” and played many different hockey clubs throughout Holland and Belgium. What I loved the most about the culture over there is how basically EVERYONE rides their bikes to work, school, for leisure and anywhere else they need to be. Our biggest problem is that our level of patience has depleted dramatically in the past few years and people need to get where they are going right away, therefore biking would take way too long and be a waste of time. Another point my mom (a fellow fitness lover) recently pointed out was how crazy it is now in time where people will get in a car and drive to a gym just so they can sit on a stationary bike to get a workout and then drive home again. Think about it; it’s awful!

IMG_2303Back to the inspiring Dutch way of life, their general population was considerably less obese than the average American and although they still have deadlines, curfews, and times to be wherever they are going, they don’t stress about getting there “right now”, keeping biking still in the running for usable transportation. While on our previously mentioned “Euro Tour”, my team and coaching staff was fortunate enough to participate in a guided bike tour of Rotterdam. Although it was very cold and windy, it was incredible to be able to bike the same roads that the locals bike and experience the city from the seat of a bike. One of my roommates this past year was from the Netherlands and came to the US to attend college but rode her bike to class and practice with so effortlessly, beautifully, and graceful. (She can even ride impressively without using her hands!) She put all other bikers to shame with how great she looked while riding her bike. I still envy their lifestyle and abundance of patience and low-stress, along with their (and her) outstanding bicycle skills.

Unlike the breathtaking cities of Europe, my bike ride today consisted of biking a total of five and a half miles through my flat suburban neighborhood to the murky, brown river and back home again. I can’t complain at all though because it was a beautiful day outside and I am very fortunate to be physically able to bike, especially to the little body of water which eventually leads to the magnificent Chesapeake Bay.

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I encourage you all to bike somewhere outside and take a moment on the seat of your bike to acknowledge and appreciate the beautiful outdoors!

Nike Training Club App

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One of my favorite fitness apps is the Nike Training Club; I’ve been a happy user for the past five years! It’s a free app with over 100 premade workouts, instructed by Nike-sponsored athletes, such as new World Cup Champions Ali Krieger, Sydney Leroux, and Carli Lloyd, as well as artist Ellie Goulding, Olympic gold medalists Shawn Johnson and Gabby Douglas, tennis champions Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, skier Julia Mancuso, and so many more strong and empowering female athletes.

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IMG_4426The NTC app is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models and can also help track your fitness if you use a NikeFuel band (similar to Fitbits, Up bands, Garmin Vivofits and other activity trackers). The workouts range from six minute workouts to forty-five minute workouts and different between area-specific workouts (arms, legs, core, etc), strength workouts, toning/definition workouts and lean/cardio workouts. Another great feature in the app is the option to build a four week workout plan, which organizes a certain amount of workouts given to be completed within a time frame. For example, the “beginner” program designs a training plan with four to five workouts over a month, the “intermediate” program designates two to three workouts per week for a month, and the “advanced” program averages to three to five workouts per week for a month.

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Upon selecting a workout from the list inside of the app, you are shown the recommended equipment to complete that particular workout (think step, dumbbells, kettlebell, medicine ball, yoga mat), the total duration (in time) it takes to complete the workout fully, and the approximate amount of calories burned by completing the workout (as well as the approximate NikeFuel points). From this screen, you are also able to set up background music to listen to while you complete the guided workout, see a list of all of the times and exercises that form the workout and set up AirPlay, if you want to sync your phone to your TV or tablet.

IMG_4425Once you begin a workout, the trainer, or Nike athlete, will talk you through each of the exercises, as well as keep track of time, so you’ll know when to switch to new exercises within the workout. If you need more help understanding how to correctly complete an exercise, there’s a short video of each exercise showing the trainer of your workout completing a few reps. Another awesome feature in the NTC app is that you can connect with your friends to help motivate you to complete your workouts. Also within the NTC app, there is a “Sport Feed” tab or page where you can motivate or get motivated by other NTC users and Nike athletes.

I have added a few screenshots from within the app, so you can better understand what I just explained in this post! Also, there are new workouts added to the app frequently, so you’ll never become bored with the existing exercises, workouts or “trainers”/Nike athletes. The app doesn’t take up a lot of room, storage or data on my iPhone or my sister’s iPad, and you can download workouts on wifi before you go to the gym or outside and you’ll be good to go! Every workout you complete, you earn points, the longer the workout that you complete, the more points you earn for completing it, and the points help earn “Minute Milestones”. For example, after you complete a cumulative sixty minutes in NTC workouts, you can earn your very first milestone! If you’re big into sharing things via social media, you are also able to easily share your milestones on your “Sport Feed” with your NTC friends.

I hope you will be willing to download the NTC app and check it out for yourselves! 🙂

Northeastern R&R Vac-cay

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I’ve spent the last week kicking back and relaxing in the Northeast after diligently working my butt off to earn an ‘A’ in my summer school class. I’ll split my vacation into two parts in this post; my trip to Rhode Island to see one of my old teammates and close friends/mentors for a quick (but super fun and activity-packed) 23 hour visit, and my awesome and (much needed) relaxing stay with my family in Cape Cod.

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For such a little state, there is so many great things to see and do, and I definitely plan on returning back again soon. I arrived at the airport in Providence on a small thirty-six person plane and was happily met my friend. During my quick visit, I was able to meet and hang out with a few of her friends, go to the beach (and get VERY sunburnt – which turned into a great tan) and eat my first Del’s lemonade, my first New England Clam Chowder actually from New England, and my first and very delicious clam cake. Below are some pictures from my trip and from there my Dad and uncle drove me east over to Cape Cod, where my vacation continued.

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CAPE COD

I stayed in Cape Cod with my family and my aunt, uncle and three cousins; it was fun to hang out with my cousins on the beach and be reunited with my immediate family. We went to the warm-watered beaches on the bay for most of the days, however we visited the cold-watered ocean beaches once and to the infamous P-town (Provincetown) another day. Below are some pictures taken during my time at the Cape.

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Above is me lounging in a hammock at the Hammock Store in P-town and the surfboard at the Beachcomber Beach.

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Above is the sunset at the bay-side beach near my cousins’ house, as well me enjoying my sunset yoga on the beach.

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In the pictures above, my sister and I were doing different fitness-related activities to entertain ourselves on the beach.