Midweek Run

We’re one day away from the weekend, woohoo! I’m super excited for tomorrow because I’m going to dinner with my friend Sarah who I haven’t seen in over a month. I thought I would fill you guys in on my day yesterday.

My morning started out by waking up early on the couch. Apparently leaving for three weeks lets your boyfriend get used to having the bed to himself because he now takes up the whole thing! I may be buying a body pillow to form a barrier really soon 😉 My morning was fairly typical: wake up, shower, eat then head out the door to work.

Work consisted of a lot of lab time yesterday. I started a bunch of lab tests that I’ll check on weekly. One thing with working for a chemical company is getting lab tests ready involves me looking like a mad scientist ha! I wear protective eye glasses, a lab coat and plastic gloves.

This week I started to bring my book with me to work to read during lunch. Everyone in the office eats at different times since we all work slightly different hours. It’s a great way to step away from answering emails during lunch and actually take a break. My current book is The Secret Life of Violet Grant, I plan on doing a book review again soon so I’ll give my thoughts then.

Once I got home from work I got changed and headed out for my run. I’m currently looking into a race in either September or October which will be fun! I don’t know which one I will do but I have a few options on the table right now. Once I was home and out of my sweaty clothes, I worked on the computer a bit before getting some things ready for dinner.


For dinner, Alex fired up our George Foreman grill (our apartment complex does not allow actual grills) and we had lemon garlic marinated chicken, rice and roasted broccoli. We are currently obsessed with roasted broccoli, I’m pretty sure we have it at dinner 5 days a week!

After dinner I prepped a big bowl of salad. I find this makes having a bowl of salad with dinner so much more enticing since all of the chopping is already done. Once my lunch was finished I was ready to relax! I typed up this post then worked on more behind the scenes stuff with the blog.

Before bed, I did a face mask. I love this one from First Aid Beauty. It’s a peel off mask so it gives me the satisfaction then any dirt and oil is being pulled away from my skin. I read a bit before bed as well.

 

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Dear Rutgers

My little brother texted me today to say that my diploma arrived in the mail. I feel like this is the definite end to my undergraduate years. I thought I would write down my feelings for the past four years of my life as a way to sum it all up.

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Dear Rutgers,

The past four years have been interesting to say the least. You have allowed me to grow as a person through different challenges and joys. I would not be where I am today or the person I am today if I did not chose to spend four years of my life there.

During freshman year I met some amazing people that made the transition from high school to college fun and interesting. Whether it was pregaming to “We Can’t Stop” or “Gas Pedal” or going to my Physic TA’s offices hours every single week, I made it through a year of being completely away from my family, friends, and home. I was always so excited to go back to Chicago because I started to feel like I was home at Rutgers. It was this year that taught me I do not have to be near family to feel at home. Home is the people you surround yourself with.

I was so excited to come back for sophomore year. I was finally going to take specific engineering classes instead of the general ones. That fall semester was the one that introduced to Packaging Engineering and I have not looked back since. Since that first class, I was intrigued with packaging and ended up switching my major within weeks of school starting. With all of the amazing opportunities packaging offered, I never thought I would meet some of the amazing people I did. When people I considered to be my “best friends” ended up turning on me, I was able to turn to my friends in packaging who were there to pick me up when I needed it. These were the people I would the rest of my college career with.

Junior year was were I felt like an “adult” by moving off campus. It was the first time I had to cook for myself for all of my meals and when I and my own apartment (even if I had 7 other roommates). This was the year I really delved into packaging. The summer leading up to and throughout the entire year I got to have my first real world experience of being a packaging engineer. I was able to work at Shiseido, a cosmetics company in Central New Jersey. I learned so much from all of the coworkers and ended up with enough makeup for years lol. Shiseido gave me the confidence to know that I would succeed in packaging.

I was also picked to work on a case study project that took me to Las Vegas. Although we did not win, placing in third place was a nice way to have all of the hard work rewarded. Las Vegas is also where The Pope Squad (I name my packaging friends and I came up with) started and I don’t think junior year would have had has many laughs without those 4 other girls.

Senior year started on a crazy note. I was working full time and taking classes two nights a week in order to be a full time student. With all of that going on, I somehow managed to meet Alex who is The One and has brightened my days ever since. I lived in a house with 7 roommates again and although some were huge pains in the butt, I lived with Sarah who has become one of my best and closest friends. Without the two of them, I truly don’t know how I would have managed the past year.

Senior year also gave me the opportunity to travel. I was lucky enough to be one of 7 students picked to go to France for a week to work on a project with French students. Without this opportunity, I would not have been able to visit Paris and Switzerland with my friend Maggie (from the Pope Squad!) The was an amazing time and I am forever grateful.

So Rutgers, it appears our time together is through. I don’t know how I will feel come fall once I see younger students going back to school. I don’t think I’ll miss any exams or projects but I will miss you. I’ll miss the campus with the mix of 251 years of history and new modern buildings. I’ll miss every amazing opportunity I was given. I’ll miss the way you (and God) brought people into my life and took them out of my life when I no longer needed them. At the time I may not have understood, but now I see it was leading me to where and who I am today.

Thank you for showing me how strong of I person I am by allowing my 18 year old self to grow into a 21 year old with a full time job and more hopes and dreams now than when I was a little girl playing dress up.

I’m sure I will be back soon but I know it won’t be the same.

Love,

Maureen

Rained Out Run

Happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a good Monday.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m starting full time in the office this week which seems crazy to me. After being out for 3 weeks I had to get everything back how I like it in my office. I still need to decorate it a little so I plan to do that at the end of this week once I’m all caught up.

I had a run schedule for last night but after about 10 minutes it started pouring!! Alex drove out to come get me (and I didn’t even ask since I left my phone in the apartment!) I changed into real clothes and caught up on a few things I needed to do. My parents sent me some mail from their house which included graduation gifts so I had thank you notes that I needed to write.


For dinner I made pesto crock pot chicken and tortellini, the recipe is below. Such an easy no fuss meal that’s also delicious. It was the perfect comfort type food since it rained on and off all night. Rainy night = movie night in our house! After dinner we got comfy on the couch and watched “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone”. Movie night is not complete without popcorn so halfway through we popped some to enjoy. It was the perfect way to end a gross Monday!

Pesto Chicken with Tortellini

In Crockpot 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Spoon some pesto (about half a container) on chicken and into bottom of crockpot. Turn on low. I cook mine from when I leave for work to when I eat which is about 11.5 hours.

On Stove

Bring a pot full of water to boil. Put in one container of tortellini and cook per package instructions. Drain the water once down.

While tortellini are cooking, take the chicken out and shred on a plate. Place tortellini and chicken back into pot with stove on low then add in the rest of the pesto. Stir to mix then enjoy!

*I used Buitoni tortellini and pesto because that’s what I had on hand at the time. You can use whatever pesto or tortellini you like best.

 

Have a great day!

Weekend Recap With A Cancelled Flight

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed Father’s Day. Let’s catch up on the weekend shall we?

Friday

I went to the office for an hour before heading to the airport. My flight was supposed to take off from Dallas at 12:40…until it got cancelled. I was so not in the mood to deal with potentially not making it back home. While in line to talk to an agent about rebooking me, the man behind me, Del, and the woman in front of me, Chris, became friends while complaining. Funny the way a cancelled flight can bring three strangers together! All three of us were calling the 800 number to see if that was quicker than the line. When Del reached an agent, he got a seat on a flight from Dallas to Chicago to Newark. The agent he spoke with was kind enough to also book Chris and myself on the same flight.

Throughout our four hours together in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, we talked about a variety of topics. Del was an actor and even has his own IMDb page! Luckily the flight to Chicago left on time at 6:45 pm. After a quick layover in Chicago, about 45 minutes, we were on the next flight and off to Newark! I don’t think I have ever been so happy to be on an airplane. When I got home, I basically tackled Alex because I was so happy that I made it home (even though it wasn’t until 3:30 am Saturday morning!) but it was better than staying in Dallas another night.

Saturday

Since we didn’t go to bed until between 4:30 and 5, Alex and I were lazy and didn’t get out of bed until close to 10 am. I spent the morning picking up my car from the shop, going to the grocery store, and going on a run! It felt so good to get a run in that morning after spending majority of Friday sitting at airports and on airplanes. Surprisingly, I was not that tired Saturdays until about 4 pm. Which was right around the time Alex and I were getting ready to go to his parents house. His grandparents drove in for the night so the family celebrated an early Father’s Day. Since I didn’t sleep too much, I was a little out of it and tired but it was a fun night.

Sunday

Even though we didn’t go to bed too late Saturday night, I didn’t wake up until about 9 yesterday but I felt very well rested. Alex’s grandparents had never been to our apartment so they stopped by before they went back to Pennsylvania. I made my grocery list in a hurry Saturday morning so I had to go back yesterday, oops! I guess that’s what I get for being impatient on the shopping. It was almost 90 in New Jersey so Alex and I decided to check out the pool in our complex. It was surprisingly empty for such a warm day but then again we did go at about 4:30 so maybe most people had gone home for the day.

For dinner, we made burgers with roasted broccoli and salad. I typed up this post while watching Gilmore Girls. Later I read more of my book before going to bed.

 

Today is my first week of being full time at my job while in the office! Technically I became full time last week while I was in Texas so it didn’t really feel like I had officially started. Have a great day!

Exploring Fort Worth

It’s Friday! We’re so close to the weekend (and I’m so close to being home 🙂 I decided that instead of sitting at the hotel after dinner I was going to explore a little. I had done some research and made the 30 minute drive from my office to Fort Worth.

There’s a cute area called Sundance Square that had a bunch of shops and restaurants. Some are local and some are national chains. Since I was traveling I wanted to look at some local stores.

The first one I went to was called Earth Bones. They had some cool Texas themed t-shirts and gifts as well as your typical quirky gifts that you would expect. There was a sale on sandals but they didn’t have any in my size which is probably a blessing in disguise lol.

I walked around a little bit more until I came across another store called The Virgin Olive Oiler. They specialize in flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. I tested a few different ones out and they were amazing! I wish I could have bought some but since I am not checking a bag on my flight I couldn’t. The store does ship out and of the oils or vinegars so I’ll be shopping for some soon! The owner also makes different salt blends for food as well as bath salts. If you live in this area definitely check them out!

Today I’m at corporate for about an hour until I head to the airport. I can not wait to be home and start cooking my meals again! I missed cooking after work this past week.

Finding Restaurants

Hi guys! Since I’ve been traveling so much recently I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to find places to eat in new cities.

Ask At The Hotel

If you’re staying at the hotel, the person at the front desk will be from the area. Don’t be afraid to ask them for recommendations! If there is a local cuisine that is very popular (like barbecue in Texas) ask what their favorite place is. The front desk person is more likely Most hotels have menus for places nearby that deliver if you don’t want to go out as well.

Ask Friends And Family

People tend to remember delicious food that they’ve had while traveling. If a friend or family member has been to the area you are traveling to, ask where they ate. Since they’ll know your food preferences, they’ll be able to recommend places you’ll enjoy!

Yelp

Yelp is probably my favorite place to find restaurants! You can pick a variety of different filters such as price and type of food. I love Yelp because people can leave reviews which can point out what food they had and their thoughts (this is how I got the enchiladas on Tuesday). Like any sort of reviews, there will always be the person who has a bad experience for whatever reason and want to complain. Don’t let those influence you! Read a few before you make a decision.

OpenTable

OpenTable is a great website to use if you want to make a reservation. Similar to Yelp, you can set a variety of filters and search for restaurants near you. Majority of the time, the menus for restaurants will be on the site so you can see what they offer. If you sign up for OpenTable’s rewards program, you can get points that can be used for a gift card.

 

These are all of my tips for finding restaurants while travelling. If you have any tips let me know in the comments below!

Another Night in Texas

Happy hump day! Today is my first time going to my company’s corporate offices, it feels crazy since it’s my full time job and not for an internship. I’ll let you all know how it goes tomorrow since my schedule is packed for the day.

Yesterday was day 2 of my DOT class. It was a lot of information just like the first day. The company that ran the workshop had lunch for us which was nice since the Texas heat is no joke! It’s over 90 degrees this whole week. I don’t know how people do it all the time. Anyways, lunch was ceasar salad, pasta and grilled chicken. It was pretty good and fueled me for the rest of the afternoon. In order to get certified we had to take a 20 question test. Luckily the test was open book and not that hard so I passed. I’m now certified to ship hazardous materials!

The first two nights I stayed at the hotel where the class was offered so I switched last night to a hotel closer to the office. I didn’t have a workout scheduled so I almost felt bored after I checked in! Luckily, I had part of my book left. I finished “Lone Survivor” before dinner and I’d be lying if I said I did not tear up at certain parts.

Once I got hungry I figured I would find somewhere to eat. Since I’m in Texas I thought I should get Tex-Mex at least once. I went to Tio Carlos and it was delicious! I read a review that said the brisket enchiladas were delicious so when my server confirmed I was sold. While I waited for my entree, chips, salsa and black bean puree (the best way to describe it) were brought out. I love spicy food and salsa but this salsa had a kick that was different than anything I have had. The enchiladas though. Oh my god. Amazing! I would definitely go back there any time I’m in Dallas or if I have a free meal the rest of the week (I’m eating with coworkers majority of the time later this week). If you are in Dallas, you need to eat at Tio Carlos.

Being the party animal that I am, I got home from dinner and put on my pjs. Wild night right?! I typed up this post, watched tv and started a new book., “The Midwife’s Confession”. I’ll be sure to let you know what I think once I finish.

Enjoy you day!

I Got a Running Coach

Happy Tuesday! As you can see by the title I got a running coach. I’m super excited about it. Yesterday was the official start date with her. I found her on Instagram about 6 months or so ago. Her name is Melissa and you may find her page here.

I was really excited to start because I spent my workday learning all about the department of transportation’s hazardous material shipping regulations. Luckily the instructor is pretty cool so the class doesn’t completely drag but it’s two days with a lot of info about something that isn’t super exciting to me.

After the class finished for the day, I changed and went down to the gym to get a run in. I was so ready to get on the treadmill (and I hate running on the treadmill!), unfortunately one of the treadmills was out of order and someone was on the other 😦 I made the trip back to my room to type this up and research places for dinner. Yes I said research, I like trying local places when I travel but I’m picky so I always look at menus.

After a 35 minute run I was ready for dinner. I found a local place that had wings which sounded pretty good and the reviews on Yelp were promising so I figured I’d try it. Oh my god you guys, not only was the food good but the service was amazing! I went to Buffalo Wings and Rings. I sat down and within 30 seconds a man who I assume is either the manager or owner (because he had on a button down while the other employees had t-shirts) came over to me. He first asked if I had been helped and when I said I just sat down he took my drink order. I was really impressed in that he filled it and brought it to me himself instead of giving it to someone else to fulfill. I got boneless wings and they were SO good! The manager/owner told me that hand bread them when ordered and I could definitely tell that they were not frozen from a bag or anything. I know this is a small chain so if there is one by you then I definitely recommend checking it out!

Since it was 8 o’clock when I finished dinner I drove over to see AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play since it was about 7 minutes away from my hotel. I know it’s a big stadium but seeing it in person was shocking. It’s huge and that was just from the car! I can’t imagine seeing how the area would be when there is a game.

After getting back to the hotel I worked on this post while watching t.v. then put on a sheet mask.


Since sheet masks can get a little expensive I recommend the Tony Moly masks. I bought a pack of 11 on Amazon for less than $1 each! The one I used was the seaweed mask and I liked it a lot. I don’t have a favorite from the line since I like them all.

The rest of the night was spent reading “Lone Survivor” and watching tv. Have a great day!

Whirlwind Weekend

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend! I will be in Texas for work this week so I’m hoping I can do a little bit of exploring since I’ve never been to Dallas before. Let’s catch up on this weekend shall we?

Friday

I was off of work so I decided to run some errands while Alex was working. I went to Home Goods for a new set of sheets and let with throw pillows for our bed, a spice rack, blank cards, a jewelry organizer and the sheets. I could spend all day in that store if I could. I had to stop myself from continuously putting things into my cart because my apartment doesn’t have room for them.

When Alex got home from work we decided to have a low key night at home. We were going to have one of Alex’s friends over but the plans fell through. We had a steak and mashed potato dinner then hung out on the couch watching tv before heading to bed. It was the perfect way to start our weekend.

Saturday

Alex ended up having to work for about an hour each morning this weekend (he runs a construction company with his brother Tucker). While he was out, I did a few things around the apartment before we went out to run some errands. We had a birthday party to go to Saturday night and wanted to get a small gift so while he was buying new work jeans at Target, I looked for the gift. I found a new to me line of candles that smelled so good and were not expensive at all! I love to have a candle burn but they can be expensive. Once I burn through a few I think I’ll go back to pick up this candle, it’s the one we gifted to the birthday girl.

After relaxing at home, we got changed and headed out for Alex’s parents house. The party was for his brother’s fiance’s mom so we went a little early to help her set up. They rented the banquet hall at a local restaurant called Tavern On The Lake. Allison (Tucker’s fiance) and her sister chose a beach theme since their mom loves the shore. It ended up looking really cute. They had some tea candles and seashells on the tables which looked really nice with the center pieces.

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Before her mom came, they had some appetizers out. Her mom was definitely surprised! Allison and her sister thought she may have had a clue when they said to sit upstairs but she was so shocked. They chose to have a buffet style dinner that had salad, pasta, chicken, veal, potatoes and some sort of tomato dish. I don’t eat tomatoes so I’m not sure what it was to be honest with you. Alex and I sat next to Allison’s younger cousin who was adorable! He made Alex “jealous” by dancing with me after dinner which was so cute. The night ended up being a lot of fun!

Sunday


While Alex worked, I got ready for the day and started to pack again. We hung out at home until I had to leave for the airport. The flight was delayed a little over an hour because Air Force One was taking off from Newark. The flight crew apologized a ton for the delay throughout the whole flight which I thought was nice of them. By the time I got to my hotel it was about 11 so I went to bed.

 

I hope you all have a good Monday!

Home

I’m finally back in New Jersey and reunited with Alex! Let’s catch up on yesterday though shall we?

I intended on waking up at my 6:15 and 6:30 alarms…but then my mom came into my room at 7 to finally get me out of bed. I usually take a decent amount of time to get ready but I managed to get ready in about 15 which is quick! After the 2 hour drive back to Miami I was at the airport and dying to get on the flight home. 10 days is a long time to be away from home and I was ready to be back with Alex.

I try to always have a snack or two on hand when I fly in case I get hungry. My flight left Miami at 11 so I knew I would be more hungry than just a granola bar during the flight. The Miami airport was lacking with the food department in my opinion. Maybe it was just the terminal I was in but man I felt like there was nothing! Maybe it’s because I usually fly out of Newark and Chicago-O’Hare which are pretty busy so they have a lot of options for both sit down and take out places. I ended up finding a Subway near my gate and grabbed a turkey sandwich to eat during the flight.

When the flight landed I hauled it to the passenger pickup so I could catch an Uber home. I was so happy to be in my own space and be back with Alex. I quickly hopped in the shower to wash my hair (10 days of humidity, salt water, and pool water were very apparent). I got dressed and unpacked while Alex played guitar in the other room.

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Alex and I decided to have monthly date nights once we moved in together so that we don’t cohabitate and that we keep dating. He decided to chose last night as a low key date night at home which was perfect with me! We ordered cheesesteaks and cheese fries from a The Original Steak and Hoagie which tasted so good. I got the original cheesesteak with ketchup and hot sauce while he ordered the buffalo chicken cheesesteak. My body is definitely ready for some healthy home cooked meals though.

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After dinner we had a movie night and watched War Machine, a new Netflix original movie starring Brad Pitt. We ended up not liking it very much so we turned on on oldie but goodie The Benchwarmers. That movie never fails to make me laugh. 

Enjoy your Friday!