exercise

Halfway There

This past Friday was officially the end of my sophomore year.

My mom drove me to the train station on Thursday and told me, “Can you believe you have two years of college under your belt?” And later, on Friday, my friend said, “Madi, you’re technically a junior!”

Oh my, I really can’t even believe it myself! Those people who warned me to enjoy every bit of college were right, it does go by so fast!

I’m trying to absorb everything about college and sometimes sitting down and writing about it really helps. Actually, it’s rather hard because I have to think of all that I have done and what I’ve accomplished.

I was really hoping to make honors and the Dean’s list this year. Last semester, my Trig course brought my GPA down. Let me be frank, I understand I need to be a well-rounded student, but please tell me what journalist ever used parabolas and radians to conduct an interview?

Miraculously, I got all A’s (well, one A- and all A’s) and I am so happy! This hasn’t happened since middle school! Not to mention, most of my classes require a hefty amount of reading and writing, and on top of that, I work about 30 hours a week. Thanks for letting me take a nice break from blogging, WordPressers, you can give me a virtual pat on the back if you would like!

This last semester has been great, but difficult all at the same time. Thankfully, almost all of my classes were major-related, so nothing was a worthless GenEd course (except for Modern History of Western Societies, sorry Prof.!).

The literature course I took was extremely difficult for me. I’ve never been that good at figuring out themes, analyses, or applying outside knowledge to the texts. I’m more of a “give it to me straight” kind of girl. The course, overall, was mostly fun since we got to look at graphic novels and the theme of heroes and villains. You would think it’s all, “Oh yay Batman!” but the course really gave me a whole new perspective on comic book agendas and heroes in general.

I had a news reporting class (seriously, how cool does that just sound to you!) which gave me the chance to meet some fantastic friends in my major. I have convinced a good handful of media and communication students that we should all start working on having a school newspaper, and this summer our advisor and myself will be working towards just that! I do believe my willingness to get this going should make me some sort of editor, what do you think?

Speaking of my advisor, this year I had the chance to really get to know him, and he could probably say the same thing about me. I didn’t want to be another face in the crowd, so I’ve really been reaching out to try to improve things at the college. Our major is really unappreciated, and while I sense a lot of exciting things will eventually happen, it’s hard to keep your head up in the meantime, knowing a lot of people at the school don’t really think of your department as important. That being said, what does keep me going is knowing that all the professors in the English and media and communication department care so much about the students. When I say they care about the students, I don’t just mean they occasionally stay in their office a bit later, or they wait after class for me. I mean they let me text them with final exam questions at 11 p.m., they read my blog, they hand me jobs for working on campus, they mentor, teach and act as a guiding hand towards my success.

Alright, now you may just be thinking I am trying to sweeten them up for a good grade (did it help??) but I’m being completely serious. Sometimes I think about transferring to a school in the city. I really want to try something new, and I think some of the schools in the city are great for just that. But, when I think about leaving the faculty, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Without them, I’m sure I would be having not only a miserable time at school, but I wouldn’t be the student I am right now.

My advisor in particular is probably the reason why I haven’t lost faith in my future career/plans. Reporting changes whenever technology does. It’s more than just being able to write, and I don’t think I knew that until about a year ago. I always thought in high school that because I could write, that would get me the job. My advisor has taught me that yes, I can write, but the fact that I’m driven and I’m able to adapt is what people will want. He’s helped me at all hours, night and day, answer the question I wanted an answer to. His knowledge and experiences has helped me figure out what I need to do to be successful, and I can’t wait to make some changes at the school to make him and the department proud!

The other class I thoroughly enjoyed this semester was my Theory of Writing class. Never have I had a class where at the final exam, a professor would bring in chips and salsa and have us casually sit in a circle and read aloud a final paper. It seems like a fun time, but it was more than that. It wasn’t a professor giving us an easy way out. He wanted us to sit and express something greater than any 12 page test could do. The point of the assignment was to write a series of snapshots (known as crots) that would explain how far we have come with our writing (I will post my paper later!). These snapshots could be anything from theorists excerpts, short stories, poems, lyrics, letters, text messages, thoughts, experiences—heck, you oculdn’ve even used a fortune cookie message. We had about four or five students cry while reading their papers, and most of us were teary eyed listening. What they had written, what we had written, was so moving that only by reading it aloud could we see how expressive we all are. This is what the class had taught me. That through writing, you can do more than just get a good grade or become a person who “writes well.” You can make mistakes and still get your point across. You can say, screw the conventions, and just write a series of blurbs to make an essay come alive. You can make meaning of what you are writing. I did all of that and more with this class, and it’s one that I never want to forget.

"The definition of liable is..."

“The definition of libel is…”

My professor who taught that class is more than just some salsa-loving guy who wants us all to sit around and cry over our words. He wants us to do something greater with writing, and I think we all have learned that. He’s the reason I no longer write with some silly five-paragraph essay, and the reason why I try to write in my own voice and not someone else’s. He also asked me to be a writing tutor next year, and I’m so excited to be a part of that team! It’s great to see my development as a writer is recognized.

Overall this semester has been so many things, and I don’t think I can say it all in just one post. Technically speaking I can, but I think you all would start to get bored. I’ll just leave it at, sophomore year has been great but I am happy for it to be over with.

My summer is looking great. I have an internship at my college, where I will be working in the marketing and communications department. I will also be keeping my job at the library, I can’t leave the House of Books (as my friend calls it). So again my summer is working 10 hour work days, which is fine by me! I love to stay busy. I also joined a gym so you will be seeing posts about me actually being active. I plan on reading a lot too, and maybe I will even pick up a new hobby! Who knows, life is full of possibilities, and if I learned anything from this year, I can make things happen!

How about I put that on a t-shirt!?

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The Detox Diaries: How to Eat Out (And Not Starve)

Today was day five of my body detox.  Started off with a light breakfast of a banana and some strawberries, and a cup of Salada’s Purple antioxidant tea.  I drank some water, stretched, and had a very successful run.  It was quite the beautiful day, so that made the run even more enjoyable.

I was excited for today because my boyfriend was coming home from college for the weekend.  Since we normally go out to eat on Friday nights, I figured we should value the tradition and find an eatery that contained food he would enjoy, and that was detox friendly.  There is a place called Saladworks that has numerous locations, and luckily one in our area. Colin (my boyfriend) was not particulary interested, but I was quite persuasive.  I figured it would be good for both of us to enjoy a healthier meal, together.  Now of course, Saladworks doesn’t just have salad.  They also have soups, panani’s, and wraps.

The atmosphere was very relaxing.  There is huge open space, with the option of a booth or table for seating.  When you go to order, there is a long section of salad toppings.  Anything from olives to artichoke hearts. They also have many different types of meat and cheeses, and a plethora of dressing  options.  It essentially looks like a Subway, only with salad fixings instead of hoagie fixings.

I was up first, and picked my lettuce base.  I chose spring mix, and salad toppings of onions, black olives, carrots, garbonzo beans and a black bean medley.  For my drink, a water bottle.  Colin chose a salad called “Tivoli,” which had iceberg and romaine, radiatorre pasta, pepperoni, tomatoes, baked ham, pepper jack cheese and oven browned turkey.  His was a lot more heartier and broke several rules in the body detox.  Our salads were huge, and I hungrily gobbled mine down.  There is nothing like a big salad on a beautiful day.  It was very satisfying, and I will surely go again (detox or no detox).

This day proved that I can still have a good time with friends and loved ones while on a detox.  I was able to successfully find a place that catered to my needs, and Colin’s.  Thankfully, he enjoyed the salad as much as I enjoyed mine.  It was a great evening, and I am wondering what tomorrow will have in store for me.

The Detox Diaries: “It’s a Wonderful Life”

This is when I know a banana is perfect. You can see how speckled they are, that to me means dig in!

Today was day four in my body detox.  I woke up and felt a bit sore from running the other day.  Nothing a little stretching can’t do to solve those aches and pains!  I fixed myself a cup of Salada’s Citrus green tea with antioxidants, and this tea really is my favorite.  It’s not bitter, in fact it is quite sweet!  I had a gigantic, perfectly overripe banana for breakfast.  So satisfying.  Banana’s taste like grass, in my opinion, unless you let them get nice and soft and beyond the point of being ripe.  Just don’t let them go squishy!  I have found that a bruised, or squishy banana works very nicely in a smoothie.  You don’t have to look at the ugly bruises, and you have salvaged a piece of fruit, instead of wasting it.

I wasn’t feeling too hungry today, probably because I had butterflies in my stomach (I will talk about why that was later).  So I fixed myself up a light lunch of stir-fry veggies with basil.  Basil is so wonderful, and it works with a lot of dishes.  I have grown to like it in my stir-fry because it gives the vegetables a nice flavor without overwhelming the dish.  I chopped up some carrots, green and yellow peppers, and threw in some cabbage.  I have really begun to love simple stir-fry like this.  My father tends to make stir-fry a lot more elaborate than I do.  He typically uses sesame seed oil to flavor the stir-fry, which is heavenly.  I’d say it’s about five minutes cutting all the vegetables, and about another five or so to cook.  How simple is that?

After my lunch, I fixed up another mug of decaffeinated tea to calm my nerves.  I had a meeting for a potential internship for the summer today, so hence the butterflies. I knew I needed to eat and drink water though, because I didn’t want to be passing out in front of my interviewer.  The walk to the newspaper offices was about a mile, and it is in a lovely town called Doylestown.  The sun was shining, and it was a beautiful day for a walk (even in the most painful flats ever to exist).  I had to walk to and from the office building, and then take the train home, so all in all I had about two miles of walking.

The rest of the day went well.  I was getting a bit hungry at work, and it did not help when my boss brought me and a co-worker Kit Kat bars.  Sigh.  The gesture was sweet but sadly candy is not on the list for a detox.  I was very tempted to have just one (they were mini) but my co-worker was a good friend and urged me not to eat them!  Such a good friend!  He is another form of inspiration to me.  He went several long months without any type of sugar that is not natural.  That eliminates a lot of food.  I would feel bad every time a co-worker would bring in cakes or brownies, cupcakes or cookies, but he stuck with it.  Way to go!  I moved on from the Kit Kat incident and went on my break.  I had a granny smith apple which was not so satisfying.  It was very bruised.

Overall this day was a very good day.  I was glad I could resist urges that I felt through foods I could not have.  I was able to make yet again another satisfying meal.  And as an added bonus, I got the internship!

The Detox Diaries: It’s All About Attitude

It was day three today, and today was all about my attitude.  I woke up this morning, and did some wake-up yoga poses (very simple stretches, really).  I thought I was going to have a headache, but I believe the stretches helped scare it away.  I made my Salada Citrus tea with antioxidants, and fixed up my day one breakfast consisting of a grapefruit and banana.  I love banana’s when they are slightly overripe.  All of the natural sugars come to the surface, and it just tastes a whole lot better than a not-so-ripe-banana.  I drank some water with lemon wedges, and put on my running gear.

It has been awhile since I have gone on a run, so I made sure to stretch.  I have many friends who dismiss stretching, and say “Oh, I don’t need to stretch.”  Stop the madness!  There are many people who say stretching doesn’t matter, but after many years of running, I have concluded that I personally, must stretch before and after a run.  The benefits of stretching are the warming up of the muscles, decrease in injury, and it helps increase flexibilty.  Plus I think it just feels good.  Today I felt a lot of pain in my hamstrings, for no particular reason, and I found stretching made me feel much better.  I even found less pain after I had run.

have to have music on when I run.  It helps me clear my mind, and an upbeat song always keeps me moving.  While I have a taste for alternative music, I normally choose upbeat, sing-song-y pop songs to run to.  Here is my playlist for today:

“Handclaps & Guitars”–Chiddy Bang

“Club Can’t Handle Me”–Flo Rida

“Good Feeling”–Flo Rida

“Moving in the Dark”–Neon Trees

“Everybody Talks”–Neon Trees

“Crank it Up”–David Guetta ft. Akon

“Tell Me a Lie”–One Direction (yes, I listen to One Direction)

I typically go for a mile, or two miles if I am feeling adventurous.  In high school I was more of a sprinter than I was long distance, but I can maintain a steady pace and go for a mile without losing a lung.  After my run, I stretched and cooled down.

When I washed up, I used Neutrogena’s Naturals Purifying Pore Scrub.  I highly recommend this, especially when on a detox.  This pore scrub has no harsh chemicals, and instead contains willowbark and jojoba beads.  These strange items are good for the skin, and do not burn it like some other facial products will do.  It is a really great scrub, and I always feel very clean after using it.  On a detox, some studies recommend using natural facial and body cleansers.  If you are using cleansers with high amounts of chemicals, you aren’t maximizing the decrease in toxins.

As for food, I had leftover brown rice with vegetables, and two kiwis for lunch.  My mother informed me that the kiwi is another super food, it contains many vitamins, minerals, and it is so delicious!  Kiwi’s are very easy to eat, just cut in half and scoop out with a spoon!

I also had a before work snack of a mango, strawberry, banana, orange and spinach leave smoothie!  Complete with a bendy straw.

The straw definitely made it taste better!

At work, I snacked on carrot sticks, and had a baked sweet potato for part one of my dinner.  When I came home, I whipped up some stir-fry, this time I added small chunks of celery.  All of the other vegetables go nicely with this refreshing vegetable.  I also added yellow peppers, because it’s important to have your bright colors each day.

At last the day winds down, and I sip on my Salada tea to relax.  Today was all about attitude.  I woke up with a positive attitude to get things done.  I did yoga, and went for a run.  I could have slept in until the cows came home, but instead I put a smile on my face and made the best of a beautiful day!  Side note, I also did some belated spring cleaning!  It all depends on your attitude.  If you can think positively, you can do anything!

The Detox Diaries: A Preamble

Well, finals are finally done, and I have officially survived my freshman year of college (hallelujah!).  However, I can say my body has not survived the long nights of studying, excess amounts of caffeine, and poor choices in what to eat.  Towards the end of the semester I was experiencing headaches, aches and pains, and I was exhausted for no reason.  My theory is that it was the drinks and foods I was consuming.  The foods we eat play a big role in how we feel both mentally and physically.  Most of the food we consume now are processed and contain little nutrients that are beneficial to our body.  That’s when I came to the conclusion; it is time for a body detox.

This is my first body detox, and I am both excited and nervous.  My biggest worry is that I will break down and not be able to complete the detox.  Especially because I am am a huge coffee drinker, and I rarely go a day without it (hint: coffee is on the do not consume list when doing a body detox).  I must have faith in myself!  However, I have done my research so I am fully aware as to what I am getting myself into.  I have spoken to some friends who have done the body detox in the past.  They both had great things to say!

The whole point of a body detox is to cleanse yourself, and get rid of all of the toxins that have built up in your system.  By eliminating saturated fats, processed foods, and drinks like alcohol and coffee, you are essentially “recharging your batteries.”

During the detox, studies suggest that you exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, meditate and practice yoga.  All of this is a way to relieve yourself of stress, and to feel your very best.  There are several ways to detox your body.  There is the all juice detox which helps give your digestive system a break, or stick with the seven day schedule like me.  It all depends on who you are, and what your body is like.  Some should ask a doctor or nutritionist first before proceeding with a body detox.

I think that this will be a great experience, challenge, and life-changing event for me.  I hope that after this detox and I can choose a healthier way to live, and to regularly keep up with exercise and yoga.  Stay tuned as to how my week goes.  I plan to concoct some interesting detox meals!

Also, if you are interested in more information I found Whole Living  to be extremely helpful!  Thanks for reading.