SUMMERTIME.

I’ve officially been on summer break for one week. This is my first summer since college started that I’m not taking classes and that I’ll be staying at home. After perpetually being in class for about three years with no significant breaks, this is a big relief.

This is always my summer theme song:

  • A week ago, my boyfriend Tyler GRADUATED! He earned two bachelors degrees: a BA in history and a BS in economics with a minor in political science.

Tyler now works for the political consulting firm NASICA, but is looking for a job more closely related to economics. He also wants to go to grad school at some point.

  • Last Friday, I got sick, and it got worse after I went home. I think finals week really took its toll on me – I pulled three all-nighters; and on the nights I DID manage to sleep, I didn’t sleep very well. It was worth it because I received great grades on all of my finals. But man, did those A’s come with a price! On Monday I went to the doctor and was able to get some Amoxicillin, which works WONDERS.
  • My big goal for the summer is to get healthy. I’d love to lose 15 lbs. by the time school starts, but I’m not going to be very strict with that exact number. I’ve found a gym close to my house that my parents have graciously agreed to buy me a membership to. My dad gets a 50% discount through his work, so that’s a major plus!
  • In one week, my family + Tyler will be leaving for a vacation to Memphis, TN! I’ve never been there so I’m pretty excited.
  • I applied to go to a leadership conference in July that will be in Washington, D.C. I’m REALLY hoping I get accepted.
  • I installed software on my laptop that blocks Facebook (you can get it here), so obviously I have been spending much less time on Facebook. It’s been pretty nice taking a break from it.
  • I want to create a political blog. For the past few days I’ve been trying to come up with a clever name for it.
  • My 21st birthday is in 25 days!!

That’s it for now.

Peace, Love and Liberty,

Ann

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KITTEN FEVER.

Meet Capricorn, the new roommate in my apartment.

She is my roommate, Rebecca’s kitten.

Growing up, my family only had outdoor cats. But we have had our dogs for longer.

These are lessons I have learned from being the parent of an indoor kitten for the past few weeks:

  • Cats are extremely mobile – When I’m sitting in the living room, Capricorn can, without warning, climb her way onto my shoulder. Or when she’s in my room, she’ll hop onto the top of my bookshelf. I cannot take my eyes off her, because she’ll find her way to climb onto a high place or squeeze into a very small space. DOGS DO NOT DO THIS.

CARE TO JOIN ME BEHIND THE SHADEZ?

  • When cats get mad, they tear things up – One time I put Capricorn in my roommate’s room. When I came back, she had thrown a lot of the litter out of her litter box. Another time, she tore up a garbage bag. Apparently, cats do these types of things when they get mad.
  • Kittens want to be the center of attention – I said before that I cannot take my eyes of off Capricorn. Part of the reason for that is that SHE WON’T LET ME. Look at what she did while I was trying to work on homework last week:

She perched herself on my shoulder to get my attention. She has also sat herself on my keyboard before, too.

  • The simplest things keep cats occupied – I guess this can apply to dogs, too. I think this video illustrates what I mean perfectly:
  • Kittens like to read – Well, sort of.

O HAI WAT R U READING??

  • But most of all, kittens are forces to be reckoned with!! – This one is, at least 😉

Peace, Love and Liberty (and purrs),

Ann

From the Weekend

Sometimes the words for my blog posts come easily; sometimes they don’t. I want to show my neglected blog some love, but I’m at a loss for words. Luckily I have some pictures.

^Me channelling Conway Twitty at Recycled Books. I bought this record. It was only $5.00.

^ Went to Mr. Frosty Drive-N (no longer a drive in). There are times in my life when I feel like a human anachronism, and being in this restaurant was one of them. This place opened in 1954 and very little has changed.

^A Coke float at Mr. Frosty Drive-N. It was good, however I hear the best things about their shakes. It’s on my to-do list to try one.

^An acai bowl from Seven Mile Cafe. Description from the menu, “Granola topped with organic Brazilian Acai berry puree blended with strawberries, bananas, almond milk and and apple juice topped with more granola, sliced fruit and agave syrup.” It was just as delicious as it sounds.

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^I wish I had thought to snap a pic of the courthouse this weekend. I spent quite a bit of time on the square.

I’m looking forward to this week (no, really!).

Peace, Love and Liberty,

Ann

Oats & De-stressing

Yesterday, I tried “oats in a jar” for the first time. I got the idea from the awesome health blog, Carrots ‘N’ Cake.

I had tried soy nut butter, and the jar was nearly empty. The day before, I put 1/2 cup of rolled oats, 1 cup of soy milk and some cinnamon into the jar. I let it sit in the fridge overnight, and what I got in the morning was delicious!

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BTW, soy nut butter is really good and tastes very similar to peanut butter. I would recommend it to people with peanut allergies, or people looking to try something other than peanut butter.

I currently have a jar of almond butter, and I can’t wait until it’s nearly empty so that I can do oats in a jar again.

Now for an update…

I’m about one month into the semester, and whenever people ask me how my semester has been, I always say it’s been pretty “meh.” It really has been. I let my stress and anxiety progress and take a stranglehold of my sanity.

The stress piqued when I was sick on and off for about 3 weeks. I would get really stressed/anxious, and then I would start throwing up (sorry if that was TMI). Then for several hours, I wouldn’t be able to keep any food down. It was terrible. I went to a doctor, who said that I had a virus that I probably would have recovered from sooner if it weren’t for all the stress.

THANKFULLY, I’m doing better now.

Sadly, I haven’t worked out regularly in…a few months. I’ve been able to fit in a workout here and there, but as far as going to the gym regularly every week, I have been a total failure. So when I went to the doctor, it added to my stress to find that I had gained…*drumroll* ELEVEN pounds since the last time I weighed myself! (which was probably last November) So even though I had been throwing up every other night (not by choice, mind you) I still managed to pack on some stress pounds.

This is news that NO woman wants to hear, trust me!

I realized that I know what I need to do to make my life easier; it was just a matter of DOING it. So, I’ve been trying to de-stress my life as much as I can.

I went to a boot camp class at the gym today. It was really hard. Definitely harder for me than it would have been this time a year ago. But I’m so glad I went…nothing helps me to de-stress quite like working out does. My plan is to keep going back to the gym, at least 3 times during the week and at least once on the weekend. I set a goal to lose 15 pounds, but I don’t have a “by when” date. I guess just as soon as I can get there the healthy way.

I’ve been trying to cut down on how much sugar I eat/drink. I have a sweet tooth, and I know sugar can be responsible for a multitude of health problems. Plus, my recently-deceased grandma was diabetic, which I guess makes me more susceptible. Eating less sugar won’t hurt with losing weight, either!

And while browsing Kroger the other week, I saw this tea:

I thought, “Stress relief? Hell yes!” and bought some. And I think it really works! (Even if it’s just a placebo effect, as long as it has any effect at all, I’m happy).

OT, I also saw this:

I guess this is how Yoda describes “I Can’t Believe it’s Not Butter!”

Another thing I think could help bring down my stress would be trying minimalism! Which is, quite simply, living with less stuff!! I think it would be so freeing to not place such a high emphasis on material possessions, and learn to appreciate what I already have. Last week I stumbled onto the blog, The Everyday Minimalist and I’ve been reading it every day since. I plan on trying to take on minimalism slowly, and blogging about it.

That’s it. I hope everyone else’s lives are stress-free as can be!

Peace, Love and Liberty,

Ann

Song of the Day:

Alright by Supergrass

74 Days Later

It’s been 10 weeks and 4 days since my last post. OBVIOUSLY, a lot has happened.

I will have to spread out updates among multiple posts to accurately recount everything.

But here are some things in a nutshell:

  • By far the biggest thing that happened in the past 74 days was that I went to Iowa for eight days during caucus season to help campaign for the good Doctor…Ron Paul! It was, hands down, one of the greatest experiences in my life. I will without a doubt need to devote an entire post to my experience during those eight days.^With my friend Nash on caucus night in Ankeny, IA. Never mind the fact that I look like death…
  • I received an iPhone for Christmas! I no longer have a “dumb phone” (as opposed to a smart phone) as Tyler puts it.
  • Shortly before leaving for Iowa, I made an attempt to take control of my health. After weeks of NT Daily articles, research papers, finals and the stress of LIFE, I had put in many, many hours hunched over a computer and eating junk food. Toward the end of December, I became inspired by the ripped women in Oxygen magazine and began weight training. I decided to not necessarily focus on weight loss but on fat loss. It was going well until I took my eight day break, of course, during which I did not exactly lead the most healthy lifestyle (but I had a good reason not to!).

Upon returning from Iowa, I have been making a big effort to regain control of my health. So I have started using a juicer and experimenting with different fruit and vegetable juices.

^ 1 beet + the stem and leaves, 2 stalks of celery and some parsley juiced together and then mixed with carrot juice.

^I’ve never referred to soup as “pretty” before I made this last night. It’s 1/4 of a cabbage, 2 celery stalks and some parsley juiced together and then mixed with 1 cup carrot juice, heated up and eaten as a soup.

^Breakfast juice: 1/2 a lemon, 2 medium oranges and 1 cup berries juiced together. This picture was taken before I added a packet of green superfood. The green superfood usually tastes disgusting by itself, but the fruits drowned out the taste.

All pics taken with my new iPhone 😀

I hope everyone is having a great start to the new year.

I will be blogging more often from now on! Hopefully, anyway. I want to chronicle my health pursuits, political exploits, and life occurrences in general.

Peace, Love, and Liberty,

Song of the Day: Melanie’s Melody by The Black Angels

A pictorial summary of the effects of my insomnia and caffeine dependence

When school started, I was like

Then I began doing homework and I was like

And then I was like

So I got some coffee

But that fueled my anxiety and made me like

So I ended up sleeping anyway

Stay up until what most would consider “too late” taking too long to do homework. Get up the next day and do it over again.

Today

Today, everybody has been posting their “Where were you when?” stories about 9/11. Mine is pretty unremarkable. I lived my whole life in Texas. I didn’t know anyone who was directly affected by the attacks. I have an aunt who, at that time, was living in the New York-area and working in New York. Thankfully, nothing happened to her.

Ten years ago today, I was ten years old. It was a regular morning in fifth grade at Gattis Elementary School in Round Rock, Texas. Class had just started an I was sitting at my desk, when my teacher, Ms. Newell-Byrd, answered the phone. I remember her stopping what she was doing, seizing the remote, and turning the TV on to the news. There was an image of the World Trade Center with smoke billowing out.

I don’t remember how many towers had been hit at that point, but it was before either had collapsed.

My teacher said, “A plane has hit the World Trade Center, and it wasn’t a mistake,”

I remember being completely confused by her statement.

She also told us that that day was a day that would go down in history books.

Later that day my mom came and picked me, my brother, and sister up from school. I told her about what I saw on TV, as if she didn’t already know. I don’t remember what she said to me, but she was uneasy. My dad had been on a business trip, I think it was to California, and was supposed to fly home that day, but not until later. All flights everywhere had been cancelled. My dad and his colleagues ended up renting a car and driving all the way back to Texas.

My mom told me later that after she heard of the terrorist attacks, she went and filled our mini-van up with gas. She was prepared to take us out of harm’s way, anywhere, if she had to.

I didn’t understand the magnitude of the attacks then. And while I have learned a lot since, I still don’t. In the past few weeks, I have been researching 9/11. I don’t know why, I guess just to make better sense of it.

I’m stopping because I don’t know why i’m writing this. I feel like, as a person, I’m pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. That’s what this event is causing me to realize.

9/11 has helped me to realize that evil, real evil, truly exists. But, so does pure goodness and kindness. And I thank God for that.

___

Where was God on September 11?

(God explains)

“I know you’re mad at Me right now. That’s alright. People have been mad at Me before and will be again. Being mad is part of being human. My Son got mad, too. It’s all right to be mad sometimes at injustice, for example, or the lack of charity.”

“You probably think I am unjust and uncharitable when an airplane goes down like that. All those people lost. The children gone. It doesn’t seem right; it can’t be loving. You ask, ‘Where was God?’ Why did He allow that to happen?”

“I allow it to happen because I allow you freedom. I could have left you on a string and made you dance all day without getting tired. I could have moved your mouth for you and made you sing all night without growing hoarse. I could have pulled a wire that would have let you soar skyward and never fall.”

“I could have, but I didn’t because I love you so much. I want you to be free to decide when to dance and sing. Free to determine when you will come to Me in faith and hope. Because you are free, some of you choose not to dance or sing. Some of you select hatred over love, revenge over forgiveness, bombs over a helping hand. As you choose, I watch. I do not disappear. I listen to both the songs and the bombs. AND I REMEMBER.”

“Where was God?” you wonder…I was there. I whispered in the ear of a little girl, ‘Don’t be afraid, I am with you.’ I held the hand of a business woman as tightly as she clutched mine. I cradled a pilot against my shoulder as if he were a baby again.”

“Amid the paralyzing fear, I was there, as I was there with my Son in the garden. Amid the unbearable pain, I was there, as I was with Him as He was whipped. Amid the terrible realization that life was ending too soon, I was there, with Him as He hung on the cross and asked, like you, “My God, why have you forsaken Me?”

“I had not forsaken Him. I did not forsake them. I was there as they fell, and as they rose to eternal joy. I listened to their anger, answered their questions and showed them why they had been created. Not to end that way, but to live with Me forever.”

“In an instant, they came into existence. As you did. In an instant, they left this world. As you will. But beyond that last instant, I kept my promise… A little girl dances, a business woman sings, and a pilot keeps his wings forever.”

___

Oh Hai Free Time

HELLO BLOGOSPHERE! I’ve missed you.

This month of August has consisted of: wrapping up my stats class with a project and final exam and all that fun stuff (which I passed BTW!), trying to make my deadlines for NT Daily articles, moving to a condo (it is AWESOME), cleaning/furnishing the condo, fixing my schedule for the fall semester (it got screwed up; long story), beginning the fall semester, and, um…trying to keep my sanity.

I’d say I did a pretty good job at keeping my **** together, except for not getting sleep and not exercising. Both of which I plan on fixing ASAP.

I may not have blogged, but I thought about my blog a lot. And cultivated some ideas.

The Photo Thing

There was a time when I had a really good digital camera. I took it with me practically everywhere and snapped a million photos that I would post on my MySpace and Xanga page (mind you, this was 2005). Unfortunately, that camera broke around my junior year of high school. And my photography has been pretty scant since.

I have a point-and-shoot that is broken beyond repair. RIP. I also have an SLR that is wonderful, but not very portable. I happen to be the queen of losing USB cords, so with my old laptop I would just put the memory card into the card reader. My new MacBook has no such card reader.

I am tired of finding pics on other websites and putting them on here. Not cool.

So my goal is to save up for a good point-and-shoot that I can use to take a plethora of photos for my blog. I’ll hold tight to my USB cord and make sure it doesn’t escape into oblivion (SRSLY, I have lost at least three so far…where do they go?!)

I’m thinking of getting this bad boy.

Video: yea or nay?

What if I posted a video of myself talking? You know, a vlog. Would that be cool, or…awkward?

Several bloggers I follow vlog every now and then, such as Rachel Getting It and Julie Borowski. They do a great job.

I could just see myself posting a video of me going “OHAIMYNAMEISANNIDKWHATTOSAYLOL…”

Plus, I haven’t exactly figured out everything on my new MacBook, including how to take video from the webcam. So as soon as I improve my awkwardness and my Mac-savvyness, you *may* see a vlog on here 😀

Political Blog

I like keeping up with politics and am a Poli Sci minor. I want to write about politics as a career. I have considered writing my political musings on this blog, but have decided against it because political posts may turn people off. So, I’m seriously considering starting a political blog. Actually, plan on me doing this. I need to start on political writing so I can develop a style, become familiar with the lingo, etc. This will be especially enjoyable with the elections of November ’12 coming up!!

If anyone reading this enjoys political blogs, political conversation, or anything else related to politics, HOLLA ATCHA GURRRLLL!!!


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I would be a professional blogger if I could be. That would be awesome.

GOAL.

Peace and Love,

Song of the Day: Eclectic Prawn by Dumbo Gets Mad

Choose Happiness

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happy (comparative happiersuperlative happiest)

  1. Experiencing the effect of favourable fortune; having the feeling arising from the consciousness of well-being or of enjoyment; enjoying good of any kind, as peace, tranquillity, comfort; contented; joyous.
[via wiktionary.com]
Confession: recently, I have not been happy.
I’ve been stressed, sad, grumpy…feelings of that nature.
I’ve been thinking to myself, “I sure would be happy if ____” [fill in the blank]
If…
…I wasn’t taking classes.
…I had less responsibility.
…more of my friends were in town.
…I could take a vacation.
…I could get more sleep.
…I knew how to dress better.
…I knew how to do my makeup better.
…I had more money.
…I lost 10 pounds.
…I wore a smaller jeans size.
…I went to church more often.
…I saw my boyfriend more often.
But, ultimately, I believe that there is only one true way to fill in the blank:
I would be happy if I let myself be happy.
I keep thinking up all these scenarios that I think I would be happier in. I don’t ever think of how I can be proactive and be happy in my life right now.

proactive (comparative more proactivesuperlative most proactive)

  1. (proscribed) Acting in advance to deal with an expected change or difficulty
[via wiktionary.com]
I’m going to stop treating happiness like something that I have to wait for to find me. I have to find it.
I know that I can look to the Lord for all things. I know that I can find happiness in Him. I’m still trying to figure this out.
Hope everyone has a happy week.
Peace and Love,
And Happiness,

College Cooking: Turkey & Veggie Spaghetti

Last night, I was hungry for dinner, and I decided that I had had enough of fast food and Easy Mac. So I decided to channel my inner June Cleaver and cook myself a meal.

I chose a recipe that I found on another blog: Turkey and Veggie spaghetti from Just A Titch. Thanks Amy!!

In my opinion, spaghetti is a pretty good staple food to make in college. It’s not easy to mess up. It doesn’t take very long. You can make a lot at once to put in the fridge and eat for a couple days. And, you can make it as healthy (or unhealthy) as you want it.

I used whole wheat spaghetti noodles – the thinner kind. I also used the same veggies as Amy did: asparagus, bell peppers, and broccoli. I used spaghetti sauce from a jar, and ground turkey that had Italian seasoning.

I live in a dorm that’s about 60 years old, give or take a couple years. It actually comes with a little kitchenette! Nothing fancy and a little dinky, but still a step up from the kitchen-less dorm rooms I have lived in before.

Kitchen view one – note the cell block walls and the 70’s-style groovy yellow counters. Don’t mind how it’s semi-messy :3

Kitchen view two- the stove. This was my set up while I was cooking the noodles. I have Teen Mom (yes, the MTV reality show, one of my guilty pleasures) on my laptop. The FiberOne is on the counter because of lack of cabinet space…

I followed the recipe pretty much verbatim as Amy described it.

And…how do I put this? I had never…um…browned meat before. (Surely I’m not the ONLY one, right?) But I found this AWESOME how-to on StartCooking.com. I’m going to check the rest of that website out because it looks pretty straightforward and useful.

This was the end result:

I mixed it all together in this bowl. I was talking to my boyfriend on speakerphone and said “Uhhh…can I call you back while I scarf down some of this pasta? It looks delicious…”

Scarf it down,  I did.

YUM!

It was delicious. Such a good break from the crappy, stereotypical college kid meals that I usually eat. And, I have enough left over for me to eat tomorrow, and probably the next day; and probably enough for my roommate, Bonnie, to have some as well.

This was my dessert:

I’m a fan of FiberOne products (you probably noticed the cereal on my counter earlier in the post). When I found out that FiberOne was coming out with brownies, I thought, HELLZ YEAH! And the brownie did not disappoint.

It was just the right size and had the right amount of sweetness to taste dessert-y. It had chocolate chips in it, which earns kudos from me, because my favorite brownies have chocolate chips in them.

And not only was it chocolate-y and peanutbutter-y (the perfect combination) it contained 90 calories and 20% of my daily value of fiber!

When I finish the spaghetti leftovers, I would really like to cook another college-living-friendly meal and blog about it on here. So I’m on the lookout for recipes now!

Have a delicious week, everyone.

Peace and Love,

Song of the Day: Awake and Alive by Skillet