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Sharing Recent Inspirations

Throughout winter break, I saw and read plenty of things that got me inspired in all sorts of ways.

First, Wild. The book by Cheryl Strayed has been on my reading list since Julie at PBFingers.com posted a book review about it a while ago. I didn’t get to it before the movie came out, but after seeing Reese Witherspoon’s performance of the true story, I can’t wait to read the book for more detail. This story is incredible (Reese’s nominations are certainly deserving!) and I was inspired by the fearlessness of Cheryl.

The film didn’t exactly spark my interest in backpacking and I won’t be crossing the Mojave on foot any time soon. But I liked the idea behind her journey and the fact that she challenged herself to make a healthy change.

Another Reese flick…..The Good Lie was possibly even better than Wild. I enjoyed this movie so much, I could’ve turned around and watched it twice in one sitting. We rented this to watch before it is released but I can’t wait til it comes on DVD to rewatch. The story of the “Lost Boys” follows three young men whose tribe in Sudan is massacred during the civil war. They, like many others, travelled on foot for months to Kenya where they live in refugee camps. Years later, many are granted residence in the United States to restart their lives with a job and a home. However many have never experienced electricity, modern businesses and stores, or even telephones. This movie highlighted how foreign our American culture is to these refugees and how assimilating to American life isn’t necessarily the right way to help them. I thought the actors did a fantastic job. Watching their reactions to our commonplace items like utensils, toothbrushes, and light switches was a great reminder to appreciate even the ‘simple’ daily conveniences we get to enjoy.

The latest novel I was able to finish over winter break was American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld. The fictional first-person memoir of a first lady covers her childhood in the 1940’s, high school in the 50’s, love and marriage in the 70’s and entrance into the public eye in the 90’s. The author attributes Laura Bush with her inspiration for the main character Alice. Alice was an inspirational character for how kindly she treated everyone. During a time period when segregation was still prevalent, Alice defied her mother-in-law’s disapproval and invited the “help” to family events and theater performances. She treated everyone equally. She kept everyone’s secrets. She supported her husband even though his political agenda was completely different from her values. She bought books and read to underprivileged children. And she made several sacrifices to care for her aging parents and grandmother.

All equally entertaining and inspirational :) Let me know if you’ve seen or read anything especially great recently!

The Last Week of Summer Break

It has been 105 days of Summer Vacation.

As much as I love my family, I am beyond ready to return to college life for SENIOR YEAR. My car is packed, my apartment is ready, and I’m cruising down the highway as we speak! The past 7 days have been the busiest and craziest days…here are some highlight:

 The Green Goods:

Last week at work, our receptionist asked if anyone would like to “adopt” some of the office plants. I have a brand new unfurnished apartment…something green sounded nice!   I got some funky flowered plants (don’t ask me what they are). Well….they needed pots. And planting soil. And metal stakes. My “free” plant babies cost $30. These damn things better not die. ;)
My first house plant (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

The Book List:

I stocked myself up with PLENTY of reading material for the school year too! One day after work, I had some time to kill while I waited for the temperatures to cool off enough for an evening run. The selection at the used bookstore in the mall this week? JACK POT. As I browsed the store, the stack of books in my arms grew taller and taller. The cashier actually came to me TWICE to hold my books at the counter.

“That looks very heavy.” You underestimate my muscles, mister.

But thank you ;)

My favorite find of the day = Someday, Someday, Maybe because of the author. Lauren Graham AKA Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls AKA my favorite show ever and ever. I’m three chapters in and already hoping she writes a sequel.

New Used Books for Summer Reading List (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

The Last Home Long-Run:

On Sunday morning, I tackled a 12-mile long run before the 7 o’ clock hour. The route was different than usual because 3 miles in I took a sharp left turn that led to some greener views. Sightings: 1 coyote, 2 scruffy mutts, and 5 hungry ducks.

Summer Sunday Long Runs (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

A Jittery Habit:

I’ve picked up a habit of running to the deli next door for an afternoon Iced Americano with 3 pumps of sugar-free cinnamon dolce and a splash on non-fat. I have this “treat yourself” mentality going on right now. I’ve had 4 this week. Starbuck’s is capitalizing on my cold cravings and I’m okay with that.

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Baseball Oreos:

Our office hosted a Bake Sale fundraiser for one of the employees. Instead of buying goodies, I will be participating by contributing something to sell. Pinterest is my go-to for crafty-crafts and I was immediately attracted to “Baseball Pops” AKA white chocolate-covered Oreos.

Popsicle sticks + Oreos + White Melting Chocolate + Red candy melts

Baseball Oreos Pinterest Recipe (Stronglikemycoffee.com)
Interning as Usual:

All summer long, I have worked in the corporate office of a major national manufacturing company.  This has been an eye-opening experience since so much of my projects are directly related to my business courses. I’ve really enjoyed working in an office-setting….mainly because I get to dress up in heels and blazers and pencil skirts. Playing dress up is never a bad thing.

Office Intern (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Lot’s of “goodbye” meals.

First, the department at work planned a mid-week lunch. It was my choice of restaurant. Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar & Grill :) No shop-talk allowed!  I got a salad with shrimp skewers, avocado, mango salsa and light balsamic vinegrette on the side. (It reminded me of the version I made two years ago…)

Shrimp Salad from TK Bar (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

We also met up for a last summer dinner with my mom’s BFF and her daughter. We were too busy girl-chatting for pictures on that one ;) Yesterday some girlies from work all went out for lunch at my favorite: Panera. Garden Veggie Soup with a Thai Chicken Salad:

Panera Bread Lunch (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Friday morning I walked into the office for the LAST day of my summer internship. Outside of my office was a breakfast spread that was noticeably different from previous company potlucks: It was healthy! Our office enjoys celebrating birthdays and special occasions with potlucks, most of which include donuts and streudals. They themed this one “healthy” in honor of moi and covered the table in fruits, nuts, granolas, yogurt, hummus and crackers. So sweet!

Office Breakfast Potluck Healthy Spread (Stronglikemycoffee.com)

Plus an awesome last dinner at a sushi bar, Ooka. This week was full of some hilarious, ridiculous moments. It included lots of packing and cleaning and errands. But it also became a little overwhelming at time, and by Friday night I wanted a drink! I wanted to sip, relax, laugh and have a great last night. It was a success :)
 

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Sending me off to school fat & happy and ready to take advantage of our amazing recreation center!

My summer was a long one. Two trips to New York and two medical procedures. Two trips to Flagstaff. One spectacular concert. Working full-time. Running morning and evening. Baking and cooking. Trips to San Diego and Newport. The only thing I didn’t get to was a baseball game. But the Dbacks are just a two-hour drive away, so maybe I’ll catch an AZ game pretty soon. ;)

BRING ON THE NEW SEMESTER.

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