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 Healthy Eating and Camp Update

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First off: I’m extremely sorry for not posting since last Thursday!!! I was unexpectedly, constantly busy during camp this past weekend and have had laptop problems on top of that. Anyone that is good with techie stuff: I have a Dell Inspiron and anytime I plug it in, my laptop says “plugged in, not charging” I haven’t done much research on it, but I’m sure other people have also experienced similar problems.

So the correct chronological order of events described in this post: 1) Prepared and consumed delicious and healthy food with my friend 2) Made beer bread which I took to camp to share with my friends, 3) Worked at camp on Friday through Sunday.

1) Beans and Greens

It is exactly what it sounds like; beans and greens (along with bread, goat cheese, garlic and tomatoes), but nonetheless, it is still absolutely delicious. What to buy at the store: french bread, goat cheese, a bulb of garlic, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of beans and a bag of spinach. Depending on where you shop, you can get all of this for under ten dollars and make three or four meals out of all of it. Definitely a GREAT bang for your buck. Along with being cost-effective, it takes under ten minutes to prepare! Here’s what you have to do…

Cut up a clove of garlic into small pieces and put in a frying pan with olive oil. Put the pan on heat and once the pan is hot, add the can of beans, the can of diced tomatoes and continue to stir. Meanwhile, put the french bread slices in the oven on broil until the bread begins to look toasted. As the bread is heating up, add the spinach to the beans and tomatoes and put a cover on everything to let the spinach steam. It should all finish around the same time. To eat, shmear the goat cheese on the slices of bread and spoon the “beans and greens” mixture onto the bread and eat like bruschetta. It’s a great source of carbohydrate (bread, spinach), protein (beans), vegetables (spinach and tomatoes), and dairy (goat cheese).

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2) Beer Bread

I made a loaf of beer bread to both satisfy my craving for bread and to also save as a snack to share with my teammates during our downtime at camp. There’s more complicated ways to bake beer bread, however I opted to use a Tastefully Simple mix and added beer (you could also choose to add a soda if you wanted to too). It turned out delicious and was a big hit for both my bread-loving self and all of my hungry friends in between coaching sessions throughout our days over the weekend!

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3) Field Hockey Camp

For those of you who have never participated in a summer sports camp, in an extremely brief summary, it is A LOT of activity jam-packed into two to four very long days. From Friday morning until Sunday afternoon, it was non-stop field hockey, but don’t get me wrong, it was completely fun! I got to coach middle schoolers and high school field hockey players, and I love coaching, and hang out with my college teammates, and of course play field hockey! The days begin around 6:30am and end around 11pm everyday so my ability to blog was compromised by my want for more sleep. There’s not much else I really need to explain, other than it was so great to hang out with my teammates and be able to share my love of field hockey with high schoolers while also sneaking into a few of the drills with them.


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Hi all!!

So, unless you know me personally or you previously read my bio page, you probably would’ve never guessed that I play field hockey for my college at the NCAA Division 1 level. Fun fact: it’s true!! If anyone out here reading this is looking at/hoping to also play at the collegiate level, let me know (or comment below this post) and I can give you some more in-depth knowledge on how I got where I am today.

Surprisingly, I’ve been able to construct over a week’s worth of blogs and instagrams without a single post about the sport that I have “signed my life over to”. Don’t worry; I didn’t actually sign away my life. I’ve always been active and part of a team (lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, track, golf – yes in middle school I was on my country club’s golf team, etc) and to this day I don’t regret my choice of continuing to play for my school at the collegiate level. As you’ll hear from any college athlete, YES, it is very demanding, I had my fair share of days wondering what my life would be life if I had just gone to school as a normal student, and time consuming, making time management and prioritization so essential in order to perform well on the field, in the classroom and still squeeze in eating, sleeping and having a social life outside of athletics.

I don’t want to drag on too much about my athletic choices, but I just wanted to “officially” introduce the sport which I dedicate roughly 30 hours per week (between practices, games, lifting sessions, conditioning practices, training room appointments, team meetings, individual meetings and traveling, you can see how easily it is to reach that many hours every week!

Just for fun here are some throwback pictures of me from high school and also some newer pictures from college. If you have any questions at all or want to know more, please don’t hesitate to comment below! Murphy-SPHS-Fockey-4_0sphsfh

Above are both pictures from my high school – note the twiggy, thin arms, and even legs too!

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Above are two pictures taken during my college career thus far. Be on the look-out this fall for even more action shots! Also, note the not-so-twiggy arms!


if you want new and exciting footage of me practicing earlier today, please check out my Instagram post from this afternoon! If you don’t have an Instagram, don’t worry! Just find the video on the vertical bar on the right-hand side of the screen.

work every single day

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I apologize that you don’t get some super lengthy and detailed post about what I was up to today (in brief: studying and working out, more on the specifics later this week!) because I’m doing some last-minute reviewing for my first exam/test/quiz for my summer school class about Human Biology. If you weren’t already aware of my studying today, I think you should check out my instagram and maybe even give me a follow! I post everyday what I’m up to – usually working out, eating healthy or getting motivated by awesome quotes, such as the one that started off tonight’s post. I’m @strongandsmiling –

I wanted to share this picture because it not only applies to working out, it also applies to eating healthy, building relationships, and getting tasks done. Think about it. You can’t have a killer body, strong heart and ripped muscles (or any other variations due to exercising and working out) by just going to the gym once, or even just a handful of times and thinking that will help you reach your goal. Trust me on this one, it just won’t. To get strong, fast or in your ideal shape, you have to constantly work towards it. And once your reach your goal, you also can’t just stop working towards it because guess what? I can tell you what will happen; you’ll end up back at square 1.

This same simple picture also applies to eating healthy; if you eat clean or healthy or however you want to call it for a meal, or maybe a day, or maybe even a week, it doesn’t mean that you will suddenly lose weight or look more toned. It takes time; but also during this time you can’t sit around and wait to reach your goals, you have to consistently eat healthy in order to fully and effectively reach your goals.

I’m not going to keep repeating myself for the other points because hopefully by now you all can see the big picture and understand the recurring theme. To reach your goals (being healthy/working out, eating clean, building strong relationships, completing a difficult or lengthy task, etc) you must consistently work hard. Did you catch all of that? You must be (1) consistent, meaning if you really want to achieve your goal you must work towards it everyday or almost everyday and (2) you must work hard. This means no half-assing. As the brilliant Ron Swanson once said, “Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.” I believe this applies to this situation very well.

Lastly, it’s important to not burn yourself out by remembering to have fun, and always “sharpen the saw” when it’s necessary. P.S. if you’re currently asking yourself what this girl means when she wants us to sharpen a saw, I suggest you scroll down a little and read my previous posts. 🙂

Happy Sunday and see you all tomorrow!


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I finally got over my agitated feelings towards my school’s modified hours (12-5 on weekends) at the Campus Rec Center and stopped in yesterday for the first time, since arriving at school. Even though I have access to (and take advantage of) the Varsity Sports Weight Room, due to my membership on my College’s Varsity FIeld Hockey team – if you didn’t already know this then you have some catching up to do on my blog!! – I am very blessed to also have access to an amazing recreation facility.

I don’t mean to brag at all, however the Campus Rec at the College of William and Mary is awesome! It has three floors, an eight-lane swimming pool, rock-climbing wall, multiple courts for intramural sports and other activities (basketball, racquetball, volleyball, etc), an entire floor for weight-lifting dumbbells, racks with bars and plates, and boxes, kettlebells, jump ropes, and low-weight dumbbells, another floor dedicated to cardio machines, lifting assistance machines, massages, two group fitness classrooms and a smoothie bar. Jealous??

Although I complete all of heavy weight-lifting necessary for my training in the Varsity Weight Room, the Rec happily satisfies my other fitness needs with its abundance of cardio machines, swimming pool and large variety of group fitness classes and enthusiastic group fitness instructors. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog posts, you would’ve already learned that I have CECS, chronic exertional compartment syndrome, a fancy way to say NO FUN. The CECS makes the small muscles in my shin swell and causes running to be painful. In order to stay in shape, I’ve learned to love low-impact and no-impact activities that are still just as cardiovascularly challenging as running, such as rowing, biking, attending low-impact group fitness classes, and swimming.

Besides being a natural lover of all things fitness and exercise, the Rec is also (in my opinion) very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Check out these pictures (borrowed from the Rec’s website) and you can agree for yourself:

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Above you can see a section of the cardio machine floor, the swimming pool (used by the Men’s and Women’s Varsity Swim Teams), the lobby and the exterior of the Student Rec Center.

I was excited to find out that there was a new Lifetime-brand stationary bike; these newer models of step machines, treadmills and stationary bikes have a screen where it looks like you are outside running, walking, or biking and make the workout a lot more entertaining. I chose a course through rural towns in France and biked for a little over seventeen miles total, not including my warm-up or cool-down. I’m excited to return and bike the other trails and “explore” parts of the world where I’ve never been or seen before!

Below is a picture of the screen around ten miles in on my adventure through the French countryside, so you can see for yourselves how cool the graphics are; they are undeniably better to watch than the stats and numbers of an ordinary stationary bike.



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“Do less with more focus”

“Let yourself rest”

“Have less, do less, be more”

Three awesome quotes that have taken a little over 20 years to fully understand and accept.

My entire life, I have always been a doer. I did (and continue to) do everything (or basically everything). I’m going to take you all for a little trip down memory lane. It is Thursday, after all, why not write a little TBT (Throwback Thursday)?!

In 10th grade, I was accepted into the “Leadership Institute” at my high school and was enrolled in a special elective class literally called “Leadership 1”. To cut to the chase, we read and analyzed and discussed one of my favorite books to this day, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey. Fun Fact: they guy that wrote this book is the son to the guy that wrote the infamous “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” – Stephen Covey. So as a very brief recap, there are obviously seven habits that are discussed throughout the book, each with a catchy phrase and exercises and stories to go along with the habit. At the time, 10th grade Samantha read the book and completed all of the analyses and necessary class presentations pertaining to each of the habits but it wasn’t until my freshman year of college did I actually begin to use everything I learned from this book and the information and exercises I still to this day have (fortunately) engrained into my brain.

Back to my TBT…. the final habit is to “Sharpen the Saw”. What does this even mean you might ask?? Well basically a guy wants to cut down a tree with a hand saw; after many hours of sawing back and forth he has the opportunity to stop and sit down, take a break and sharpen his saw, or he can continue to attempt to cut down the tree without taking the break. Moral of the story: it is more efficient to take a break when needed, and continue what you were previously completing after resting up versus trying to continue on with fatigue and a dull saw.

Every once a while I find myself having to sharpen my own saw, so I am able to return to my daily activities and routines with more energy and motivation. Maybe physically, my body needs a break from lifting heavy weights, running or completing high-impact exercises, or maybe emotionally or mentally or spiritually I need a me-day. Sometimes I only need a half-me-day. Being a constant-doer, you can see where the stubbornness fits snuggly into the equation. I never wanted to stop doing anything that I was in the middle of completing and I never wanted to finish a task or activity without immediately starting a new one.

Luckily, I have a really great teammate at school who has introduced me to practicing yoga consistently throughout the week, to help stretch my muscles and to give my mind a designated time to relax, and taking time off because (and she lives and breathes this quote onto me) “doing less is more”. Old Samantha would think, “this makes no sense… doing more is obviously more… what is she even talking about?”

As an NCAA D1 student-athlete, I have acquired quite a number of physical injuries; most recently, a knee problem in both knees, a concussion this past fall, and of course the compartment syndrome I now have for life in my anterior and lateral compartments, of both legs. I was lucky enough to survive high school without being forced to take any time off due to injury,with the exception of getting stitches (the plastic surgeon and ER doctors always instructed for no physical exertion the day after they put them in). After just two years of playing a college sport, I’ve been cut from the travel squad for games due to injury, I’ve had to stop playing in games before the end of the game due to injury and as you can imagine not being able to physically compete is not the most fun for anyone who loves their sport and loves to stay active, healthy and competitive.

New Samantha now diligently thinks, “Hmmm my legs/ankles/knees/arches/feet/etc have been hurting more than usual, I should let them rest and get better before I make matters worse.” Although, I would have to admit, I’m still working on the acceptance part of it all, I am WAY better at recognizing when my body needs a break so I can once again “do less” and hurt less and feel better than trying to push through and dig myself into a deeper hole or create an even larger problem than it originally was. In this way, my teammate was incredibly correct. Doing less is most certainly more.

And if you’ve made it this far down my article, here’s a nice aesthetic award; artsy quotes are my absolute favorite so I hope you can enjoy them as much as I do!

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