Category Archives: travel

What Happens After Graduation

I finally broke up with my “Student-Athlete in love with health and fitness” tag line in the blog header above. About time, considering I only graduated….11 months ago. It took me a ridiculously long time to settle on “Post-Grad Life – Balancing Health & Happiness.” Finding a new direction takes time, y’all!

The timing of this is so appropriate and unplanned, since most of you are in college yourselves and graduation season is just around the corner!

What To Expect After Graduation  New Blog Post!

Now that I’ve officially cut ties with my student-athlete title (no looking back now!), it’s time to fully embrace the unpredictability and freedom that come with that first year out of school. There are unlimited directions. You can eat gummy worms for breakfast. You can move to a new city. You’re probably going to want to update that resume.

The most important thing that I can offer one year after graduating: be flexible with your plans.
What Happens After Graduation

Having goals for our career and lifestyle once we earn that degree is expected, but make sure you aren’t getting caught up in what everyone else is doing. Figuring out post-grad life isn’t a race or a competition; try to focus on working towards your own goals instead of comparing everyone else’s. Especially not what they’re showing on social media – you have no idea what else is going on behind the scenes of that strategically and perfectly curated post!

We see other people’s individual achievements and take them as a collective goal. What I mean by that is we see one friend with their dream job, someone else with the most gorgeously decorated loft apartment, another friend with a daily habit of $15 Whole Foods smoothies, a different someone with the most flawless make-up and hair, someone else in the most inspiring relationship and yet another who seems to spend everyday on a hammock at the beach sipping sangria (with a ridiculous bikini bod, to boot). And as a natural human instinct, we want all of these things too! We take these individual accomplishments and expect ourselves to achieve them all. But the reality is – no one has them ALL at the same time.Eli Young Band Guinevere Song Quote |

I think that social media, “reality” television, and our generation’s culture in general have provided a false sense of reality for a post-graduate. Of course there are the lucky select few who are the exception to this rule. In general, though, the vast majority of recent college graduates (or just those in their early 20’s) should expect to put a lot of time, energy and sacrifice into working towards the lifestyle that they admire. Dream jobs don’t land in your lap, and oftentimes they require a great deal of tedious or dirty work at first. Expensive habits like daily fancy coffees, superfood green juices and bottles of champagne can only happen if you pay your utilities, gas, phone bill, etc. first. (If you have to prioritize, hint: electricity > organic donuts.) And things don’t happen exactly as you picture them in your head. Exhibit A:

What Happens After Graduation | New Blog Post |Stronglikemycoffee.comI’m just going to use my own personal experience because I know a lot of my friends relate and you might too. Right before graduation, I had the fantasy goal of moving across the country, renting my own apartment, decorating it like Lauren Conrad, throwing adorable and elaborate parties, working out on the beach, finding the dream marketing job for a non-profit company with co-workers who would all become my best friends, meeting a guy straight out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, running an uber-successful health and fitness blog and never feeling an ounce of stress.

Wrightsville Beach, NC

There’s nothing wrong with GOALS and we should all have an idea of what lifestyle we want to create for ourselves! But expecting it all to happen the day after graduation was my downfall. I felt like having a gap between graduation day and this fantasy life meant I failed. I was disappointed that I’d have to move in with my parents until I worked everything out. My expectations were so far-fetched that I let myself feel disappointment and failure RATHER than feeling damn proud of graduating college, appreciative of my parents for all of their support, and excitement towards the possibilities of my post-grad life. No More! My parents have helped me become more realistic, and even though my personality type will always have pretty big goals and dreams for myself, I know that nothing is instant and that the time and work we put in will make it worth it. And taking a little time after graduation to figure it out is okay!

Mammoth Lakes Running and Hiking Blog Post |

Now that I’m wrapping this up, I hope this doesn’t come across as “make your dreams smaller” or “don’t aim so high.” My original post-grad southern life on the beach is still my dream/goal/plan! I’m just saying expect to work for your goals, you have to earn that end result, and don’t set such strict deadlines. Don’t be so hard on yourself, or compare your journey to anyone else’s. It’s not a race.

And P.S. The majority of these types of posts are things that I know I need to remind MYSELF, so I’m not writing this as a mentor or a preacher – I’m right there with ya. :)

Thoughts? Post-grad experiences? What are YOUR goals?

Surfing (kind of), Acai Bowls, and Cold Brew Coffee

I need more weekends like this past weekend.

Persian cats, happy hour boat rides, salt water snorkeling, and one of my best college buddies.

There has been a constant theme in my summer so far and it has to do with energy….

I’ve never been one to really buy into the whole ‘spiritual realm,’ but I am starting to believe that our positivity or negativity towards situation will affect the outcome. A ‘you-attract-what-you-emit’ type of thing…

You Can't Stop the Waves
Huh?? Well, it seems that during circumstances where I adopt a go-with-the-flow attitude and truly believe that everything will work out actually do work out better than I even imagined (like my Southern Road Trip!). A positive outlook brings a positive experience. Similarly, when I am skeptical or pessimistic about my day, it naturally tends to go downhill.

This weekend, one of my best friends from college Chelsea invited me to visit her and her family and it was so perfect and refreshing! Chelsea is such a patient and positive person, and I think that our go-with-the-flow/we’re-going-to-have-fun-no-matter-what attitude made the weekend such a blast. So on Friday I happily packed up the adventure backpack and headed towards Orange County!

I spent half of Friday, Saturday and Sunday with Chelsea’s family in a very water-filled weekend that also included many “firsts.” First time surfing, first acai bowl, and first cold brew coffee. But the weekend began with a little visit to a friend where I met this photogenic little guy… (Too many captions come to mind for his expression, I can’t pick one!)

Demon Cat

In the evenings, we took a walk around the lake and saw so many friendly people walking their dog. Chelsea has an extra surfboard and wet suit that I could borrow so we started planning our beach day….I was a little shocked when she suggested we start our Saturday at 6:00am. (!!!) Monday through Friday I wake up before the sun to squeeze in a workout before work. I have to give a disclaimer to any friends I have sleepovers with…my bedtime is somewhere between 9 and 10pm. #proudgrandmastatus

Duck Crossing

We compromised, setting our alarms for 6:30am ;) Starbucks made it a little easier, and we were westbound with an americano in hand before 7am!

Chelsea suggested hitting up Doheny State Beach because it’s known as a ‘beginners’ beach for surfers. The sky was grey and overcast and the water was flat. I got a little tutorial for paddling, standing up, and surf etiquette on the shore before we pulled on our springsuits and paddled out. I was nervous that the water would be freezing but it actually felt so comfortable!


There were looooong lulls of flat water between sets, so we spent lots of time just paddling, floating, sitting in quiet with other patient surfers, taking pictures and appreciating the morning.

When the sets of waves did come in, they were little baby waves crashing close to shore. There wasn’t much to catch with the board and we never stood up on the board. But somehow, four hours flew by and before we knew it, it was noon! We have no idea how the time passed so quickly as we floated on our boards.

All of that not surfing worked up an appetite ;) I’ve been eager to try out the trendy acai bowls but I’ve been told to hold out for the REAL DEAL at a specialty shop rather than a chain restaurant’s knock off. Chels and I loaded the boards in her car and drove to Laguna Beach for Bonzai Bowl where I ordered the Shark’s Cove Acai Bowl —> Acai, hemp milk, and frozen bananas blended together and topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, goji berries, bananas, coconut, granola and honey.

IMG_8444Now that we were full of super-food yumminess, we were re-energized to get back into the water! This time we used Chelsea’s snorkeling gear to check out Diver’s Cove. The water was SO CLEAR and blue, it was a gorgeous day. Chelsea brought her GoPro (so many fun toys!) and we took some fun underwater pictures.

I guess we weren’t done with the water yet so our evening consisted of a happy hour boat ride around their community’s lake, some snacks and good music. I felt so grateful for such a beautiful perfect relaxing day, where the toughest decision was which smoothie toppings I should pick ;) Even though I also had my first cold brew coffee that afternoon (which was STRONG), we crashed early again. Being out in the salt water and sunshine drains ya!

Weekends like this deserve a little extra appreciation. It was a total recharge going into this next work week. :) And now we’re all caught up! See you here again soon XOXO

Mammoth Lakes Adventures

Hope you’re not too sick of hippies and hiking and tree pictures just yet because I have one last blog post about my week in Mammoth Lakes! There were plenty of adventures unrelated to running & coffee to share :)

Mammoth Lakes CA Hiking

I was so ready for a week in the mountains, and the half a dozen lakes we visited were just the therapy I needed. Transitioning from a full-time student/intern/athlete into a full-time corporate employee has been a little challenging for me and my schedule is still getting worked out so my sanity is dependent on these little getaways.

Rock Spiral at Horseshoe Lake Mammoth | Stronglikemycoffee.comLast Saturday morning, we caravanned up to 9,000 ft. elevation and checked into our penthouse condo for the week. Dave McCoy, the founder of Mammoth Mountain Ski Lodge, used to live in the condo that we rented. It had gorgeous views at the foot of the ski lifts, a fireplace, a bar, and a loft for me! Everyone was ready for “vacation mode” and we had TONS of snacks and drinks, constant music, trips down to the pool and jacuzzis, strolls through the village and some “family” game nights. There were some definite stand-outs through out the week, so here are my Top 5 Mammoth Moments:

1.) Star-Gazing on the Ski Lift Deck during the Perseid’s Meteor Shower:

Campfire Mammoth Lakes |

Five of us made decaf coffees and hot chocolates to-go and walked to the ski lodge deck where it was pitch black dark to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower. Once our eyes adjusted to the total darkness, I could make out the shapes of everyone in front of me. That’s how I noticed a figure moving a hundred feet ahead of us. Panicky, I said “There’s something out there moving! I can see it’s shape! It’s coming towards us!” Everyone else spotted the figure too, and pulled out the flash lights. “It’s a coyote!” “It’s a bear” “Whatever it is, it’s walking on its HIND LEGS!”

That’s when the figure talked back to us: “It’s a guy walking his dog!” ………….Well don’t we feel like idiots.

After that near-death experience (I don’t know why people call me dramatic) I was less eager to sit in the dark on a moutain so after a couple shooting star sightings, we headed back to the condo.

Campfire at Mammoth Lakes |

2.) Picnic at Chickenfoot Lake:

Hiking in Mammoth Lakes CA

This was one of my favorite days! After I ran a few miles in the morning, the rest of our group packed picnics in backpacks and drove 30 minutes down to Tom’s Place. You can’t really describe the scenery around this area of the Sierra’s. We pulled off into a dirt parking lot across from Rock Creek Lake into a little cafe called Pie in the Sky.

Hiking in Mammoth Lakes |

The sweet Labrador played with us and a nest of baby birds sat chirping on the patio. We decided to come back after the hike so our friends could get a couple slices of pie and we could check out the lake. The actual hike started a couple miles up the road. The parking lot was full for this popular trail! We took rest stops at all of the pretty outlooks, lakes and marshes. It took us just under 2 hours to get to Chickenfoot Lake for our picnic.

Hiking to Chickenfoot Lake Mammoth CA

Boys were being boys and skipping rocks.

Girls were being girls and using the selfie stick ;)

Selfie Stick at Chickenfoot Lake Mammoth |

3.) Early morning Fishing:

Fishing at Mammoth Lakes CA |

This was one of those outtings that was fun after it was over. Even though it was the middle of August, it gets COLD on the lake in the early early morning. I wore workout capris and a light sweater and shivered for two hours. It was one of those “bonding experiences” that you go through together. :) I treated everyone to hot lattes from the Old NY Deli at the village and we played a little morning corn hole and ladder ball before heading back to the condo to be lazy. We did wake up at 5:30am on vacation, after all!

Fishing at Lake George Mammoth |

4.) Chasing Waterfalls:

The hike to Rainbow Falls isn’t too long, since we use the Red Meadow Shuttle to take us to Devil’s Post Pile. It’s 2.5 miles from Devil’s Post Pile to the Falls, another 1.2 miles to Red’s Meadow, and the shuttle took us back the rest of the way. Once we crested the last hill, Rainbow Falls came in to view below us. We looked down on the awesome waterfall where the light reflections on the mist give it it’s name. Pictures can’t quite capture the real-life view.

Rainbow Falls Mammoth |

Family pic at Rainbow Falls Mammoth

5.) Chipmunk Rescue:

Okay in actuality, this probably was not in the Top 10 moments from the trip but it was too cute not to share.

While we were lounging by the pool, my mom saw that a chipmunk had fallen in the indoor hot tub and couldn’t get out. She and my dad used the life preserver to coral him into the corner, and then created a “ladder” with a towel. He climbed right out, scared to death, and ran as FAST AS HE COULD……right into the big pool :( He went from hot tub to cold pool, and they had to repeat the whole rescue over again! He finally just sat in a sunny corner to dry off, poor little guy. And of course I was just hanging back snapping pictures ;)

Chipmunk Rescue in Mammoth |

Mammoth Lakes Chipmunk | Stronglikemycoffee.comObviously there were many more fun times on the vacation but I can’t blog about every single second so I’ll wrap up this recap here. This week I’ve been reuniting with the gym and trails, packing my lunches again, falling asleep before 10pm and waking up before the sun…..vacation’s over.

Family Vacay in Mammoth |

Boats at Mammoth Lakes

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