5 Things I Need to Do Before Leaving the Country

Holy shit, excuse my French, but I leave for Spain in 2 weeks and 2 days.  16 days, mas o menos?!

I have been dutifully preparing for my departure, getting things ready, doing tons of research, and have starting packing.

packing-tips

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHAHAHA!!!

I found that picture on the internet.  Thanks, Google.

I have done none of those things.  I have thought about them, but I have not, as of yet, done anything.  What?  It’s not like I’m moving…forever…………………………………

I guess I should start actually doing some of the things I need to do, but in the name of procrastination (or organization, you decide), here are 5 things I NEED to do before I blow this Popsicle stand.

In no particular order…

1. Go to the dentist.  Haven’t had my dentures scrubbed in quite a few months and prefer not to make it a year and quite a few months.  Also my mom keeps not so gently reminding me I need to go BEFORE I LEAVE!  I get the hint, thanks mom.

2.  Tell the bank that I am moving and ask them to kindly not cancel my funds.  Imagine the fun that would be arriving in Europe with no money and no access to money.  That screams FIESTA.  Dear Frank at Firsttrust Bank, please don’t cancel my Visa Card. Frank is the man though, he has my back.

3.  Research some apartments.  People love to ask “where will you be living?!” and I love to respond “I have NOOOO idea!”.  En serio.  No idea.  I SHOULD start looking for a place, like yesterday.

Ok, I’ll take this one!madrid apartmentDream big.

4.  Make a packing list.  I guess this is important.  it’s not like I’m moving to a 3rd world country by any sense of the word, so if I forget something, no importa!!  But I like my stuff, so not forgetting things will be nice, too.

5.  Soak up as much time with my friends and family as possible!!!  DSC_0118-001When people ask me if I’m so excited?!?!?! to go, I tell them I am both excited and nervous!  I am MOVING for Heaven’s sake and while, yes, it isn’t forever, and yes, it really isn’t that much time, it still is a decent amount of time.  I thrive off of the people that are closest to me and when I think about leaving them, it makes me so sad.DSC_0735DSC_0061-001  IMG_0031IMG_0593

But, but, but, but, BUT my family says they are going to come visit for a few weeks (hopefully this winter), Russ is planning a visit at some point, and I have made an extended invite to my friends to come and stay with me!  For now though, and during these next 16 days, I am going to soak up as much time with them as possible.

I feel like I’m going to throw up!  Ahhhhh!!!!

Spain Question and Answer.

Hey, hey!

So now that you all know I’m going to Spain for the better part of a year, I thought I would answer some questions that you may have.  Or maybe you could care less, who knows?  Not I.  If you DO have any questions, please, please, please send them my way.  I will be using this Blog as a place to follow my travels, including HOW I am traveling.  So…ask away :) Going to Spain

How are you going to Spain for a year?

I’m going to Spain through a program called CIEE.  I found them online when I started researching ways to work abroad.  Once I get to Spain, I will be working under the Spanish government.

What will you be doing in Spain?

I will be “an auxiliar” or “Language and Culture assistant”, meaning I will be an English-language assistant in a school.  I just received my school placement, so I know I will be working with kids 12-18 years old.  This is great news because it’s exactly what I requested!  I much rather be with older humans than younger ones.  Anyway, I will be working with a teacher in a classroom to assist with English lessons, which I will do by giving lessons on various topics, such as American culture, history, math, reading, etc.  I’ll know more about what I’ll be doing in the coming months.

Where will you be living?

I know I’ll be living in Madrid, but I don’t know where or with whom!  I have to find an apartment when I get there.  Speaking of which, I should start doing some research on finding a piso (apartment) before I get there!

Is this volunteer or paid?

I have to initially pay CIEE, as they basically act is a middle man for placing me in Spain.  I also have to pay for all of my flights, but once I arrive, I will earn ~1000 euro/ month, which will cover living expenses and fun.  I also plan to teach private English lessons to earn some extra money.  I hear that’s fairly popular and common.

I heard you can apply directly through the Spanish Government.  Why did you choose to use CIEE?

There were a number of reasons, with the number one reason being that I applied late.  When you apply through the gov., it is first come, first serve on placement.  I was afraid of being placed in the boonies of Spain, which I read can significantly hinder your experience.  CIEE guaranteed a placement in Madrid.  I also liked that CIEE is here as a support system of sorts, to answer questions, help navigate the visa process, help with housing once we arrive, and offer 24 hour support.  I have read horror stories about working directly with the government and being left in the dark, and while it is obviously possible to do it that way, I like the added safety net.  While I do have to pay for CIEE’s services, the amount that I will be paid is a little bit more than the gov. pays, and therefore, will pretty much even out in the end.

When do you leave and come back?

I will be leaving September 12th, and coming back sometime around May.

Was it difficult to set everything up?  Do you need a visa?

I could be wrong, but I feel that CIEE probably accepts all “suitable” applicants-meaning that they accept any applicant that meets their requirements.  So applying was not difficult, although I had to write a couple short essays and get a couple letters of recommendations.  I do need a visa to travel to Spain, since I will be staying for longer than 90 days.  The visa was somewhat of a pain in the a$$ to get, but once you learn how to navigate everything, it’s not complicated.  I will be writing a detailed post with exactly what is needed, how much everything cost, and how I applied for all of the necessary documents.  I hope it will be helpful for anyone looking to travel to Spain in the future!

Do you need to speak Spanish?

If working with CIEE, they do require that you have an intermediate level of Spanish.  If you don’t, it’s not a problem.  You can apply for their Spanish Language Immersion program, which means you go to Spain a little early (either 2 or 4 weeks early) and take a Spanish course.  I was not interested in doing that, so I enrolled for a 20 week (1x a week) Spanish class in Philadelphia that I LOVE.  It’s at the Spanish Language School and it’s great.  When I enrolled, they wrote a letter confirming my enrollment, which was sufficient in proving that I would have an intermediate level understanding of Spanish before arriving in Spain.

Can I come visit?

YES.  Come visit me.  Except for the spam trolls that I know read my site. YOU are not invited.  Everyone else, bienvenidos :)

 

Vancouver Vacation Day 8: Hiking to the Top of the World

Obviously, it is literally impossible for me to get this post up, so here I am, almost a MONTH after our trip and I am finally going to finish writing about the last day!!!

On our final day in Vancouver, we did something that people repeatedly said was “so hard” and “don’t do it”.  So we listened to their wise words.DSC_0540-001

Or not.

At least we started the day with a protein-packed breakfast.DSC_0464-001

Again.  Or not.

We hiked Grouse Mountain, which requires climbing over 1,800 steps (with walking steps and hiking in between the actual steps) and the inability to breath abounds. Russ and I consider ourselves to be moderately more active than couch potatoes and this hike was HARD.  Possibly one of the hardest hikes I have ever done.  The people that work there said it takes 45 minutes- an hr and 15 minutes depending on fitness level.DSC_0491-001

Did they mean for Olympians?  Because it took us almost two hours.  I nearly croaked when I was dripping in sweat and praying for it to be over, only to look up and see… 1/4 of the way there.  WHAT!

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And my parents are rock stars!  While we were hiking, we would periodically stop for me to gasp for air and I would text my parents that they should consider turning around, etc, etc.  Almost 4 hours later, they made it to the top!  And heart attack free ;)

The views were worth it, but this was totally one of those knock-it-off-your-bucket-list-and-never-do-it-again things.  Or do it again, once the PTSD subsides.DSC_0540-001

Ok that’s it!  I don’t know why it took me so long to write this.  Have a great week!!!

Vancouver Vacation Day 6/7- Lynn Canyon and Granville Island

Happy, Happy Monday!  I hope you all had a nice weekend!  If you’re just catching up on the Vancouver vacation, check out day 1, days 2 and 3, and days 4 and 5.

Day 6

Day 6 was probably my favorite day of our entire trip.  It was fun, adventurous, relaxing, yada yada.  While we were on our West Trek tour, our new friends told us that we HAAAAD to go to Lynn Canyon, that there was tons of hiking and cliff jumping.IMG_1409

So when we got back, they invited us to go over there with them.  In order to get to Lynn Canyon from downtown Vancouver, you have to take the Seabus (a ferry) and then 2 buses, but it’s all for the price of $4.00  If there is one thing that Vancouver does INCREDIBLY well, it’s there transportation system.  Not only is it $2.75 or $4.00 for most trips, but the fare payment is basically done with the honor system, as they don’t have someone readily checking tickets.

Anywho, back to Lynn Canyon.  We trekked over there, crossed this huge, scary, swinging foot bridge, and then hiked to the spot where we camped out for the afternoon.lynn canyon Before leaving Vancouver, we asked Winnie (one of our friends) if we should wear sneakers/ if we would be hiking and he said “ooohhh no, not at all!” and then we hiked. a lot.  So I walked carefully and then slid down half the rocks while sitting so that I wouldn’t slip and fall to my death.  No thanks.

Lynn Canyon is HUGE and there were hoards of people jumping, swimming and hiking.  It was incredibly beautiful and a lot of fun, even though I didn’t do any jumping  But Russ did!  And he is afraid of heights.  The place that we hung out had 4 waterfalls (seen in the above photo) and while there were tons of people making the jumps without abandon, if you’re afraid, you’re sh!t out of luck because once you make the first jump, the only way down…is to keep jumping.  And they say the jumps only get scarier.IMG_1418One of the guys that we went with swore up and down that he WOULD NOT jump, but before we left, he found himself at the top of the falls, jumping from one base to the next.  Except for that last jump, where you can’t see over the edge of the falls and only see the rock protruding.  He spent a good 45 minutes pep-talking himself to jump while we all cheered (and took an abundance of videos…cracking up).  He eventually jumped, but not after making multiple attempts to climb back up, like a bear on a mountain hahaha.

I was perfectly happy perched on a big rock, taking selfies and taking videos of everyone else jump.  Maybe on a warmer day and a pep talk, I would have jumped.  Maybe.IMG_1465

After Lynn Canyon and our adventure back to Vancouver, we went to…COSTCO!  For hot dogs and ice cream.  It sounds just about as delicious as it was and I’m not being sarcastic!  That ice cream with fudge was incredible.  I could have eater 3 more.  I will..one day.  After that little bit of nutrition, we headed back to the hostel to shower and sleep before getting up again to meet up with our friends.  It was one girl’s birthday so they organized a big game of kickball and hanging out on blankets and cake.DSC_0329-001DSC_0352-001 It was really, really fun and I even scored 2 points!  (but made no other contributions to the team lol it was like being in gym class again.  Just as horrific).DSC_0342-001And we played in a pretty park while the sun set :) DSC_0336-001 DSC_0335-001

Russ and I ended the night with our 3rd trip to Burger King in 12 hours for a 4th Crispy Chicken Sandwich.  THEY’RE SO GOOD!!! Just saying.

Day Seven

And on the seventh day, we rested :)  But really we had a relaxing day, meandering all over the place.  But by relaxing, I mean we walked SO MUCH!!  We walked for almost 8 hours, from downtown Vancouver to Granville Island, back to Vancouver, to English Bay and back to the hostel.  I was totally wiped, but it was a fun day.

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Granville Island is a peninsula and shopping district in Vancouver that has lots of craft and clothing shops and lots of FOOD.  We walked around a bit and then bought a bunch of things to eat and share.

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He might kill me for putting this on the internet.

There were quite a few sites to see…DSC_0373-001And beautiful views all along the way.DSC_0364-001 DSC_0394-001

And colorful produce that I had to take pictures of, naturally.DSC_0405-001 DSC_0400-001

After walking around mucho, mucho, we took the ferry back to Vancouver and walked all the way to English bay to watch the sunset and have dinner!

English BayDSC_0421-001 DSC_0423-001 DSC_0434-001  And goof around with these guys!DSC_0444-001  DSC_0449-001 DSC_0452-001 DSC_0453-001

We ended up having dinner at Robson Mongolian BBQ restaurant, which was absolutely INCREDIBLE.  The restaurant had a unique set up in that the way it worked was that for a set price, you were given access to the salad bar, soup, a bowl of rice and a bowl to fill with all the meat, veggies, sauce and noodles that can fit and then they cook it for you.DSC_0460-001 DSC_0462-001It’s like build-your-own, but the only catch is that you have to take only what you can eat, because if you take too much, they charge you for the waste.  I loved the concept and would recommend that place 1000x over.  For Russ’ Yelp review, click here.

I was beyond pooped at the end of the day, but excited for our last day in Vancouver!  One more post to go…

 

Vancouver Day 4/5 with West Trek Tours

Just catching up?  Here are days ONE, TWO and THREE of our Vancouver Summer Vacation.

Day 4

Day four, day four.  By day four, a rash that I had had for the entire trip (forgot to mention that previously) was at its worst and I while I felt ok, the itching was getting to me, as well as sitting on the bus!!!  Ugh that bus was going to be the death of me.  Bhuuuuuut, we did some pretty cool things on the fourth day and saw some absolutely gorgeous places, so I think it was more than worth it ;)

We started the day with…

Breakfast from Tim Horton’s on the bus.  Oatmeal and hashbrowns. Yum…or not.  After that fine delicacy settled, we were off to our first stop.

Moraine Lake! IMG_1225

Moraine Lake was, without a doubt, my favorite lake that we saw.  I mean, LOOK AT IT.  It was just as unreal as it looks in that picture, which is #nofilter.  We were supposed to visit this lake the day before, but our group was FOREVER LATE for everything, so we ran out of time and made a quick stop to see it on the fourth day.  I spent more time waiting in line for the fly-infested bathroom than actually seeing the lake, but…c’est la vie!  Also, Russ took an awesome picture and I applied some expert Instagram filters to it:IMG_1256 which he then captioned “your next screensaver”.  Couldn’t be more accurate, could it??

Then they rounded us up like cattle, BACK ONTO THE BUS!!! We were off to our second stop, the crazy people stop.  The stop where we Polar Plunged into Bow Lake & Peyton Lake (I’m not sure which one it was) but I DO KNOW that it was 4* and I think I lost brain cells while doing it.

Polar Plunge DSC_0155-001It just looks like ice water, doesn’t it?DSC_0164-001All of us should be institutionalized for this.

A moment later, we held hands and then we were off!  We all dove in and after making the conscious decision that I need to get out of this water before my heart stops beating, I was back out and running towards my hoodie.DSC_0172-001I’m not really sure where I am in the above photo.  Presumably drowning.DSC_0179-001

Don’t let that smile fool you.  I think I was in shock. haha…DSC_0184-001Don’t we all look like we were having fun???DSC_0191-001

So much fun, really.

We quickly changed and then…you guessed it….back on the bus!

Athabasca FallsDSC_0276-001

Where we took lots of mature, adult pictures.IMG_1338 IMG_1344

I’m not sure which day we did this, but we were given the opportunity to do the “Snocoach Glacier Experience” which is basically a bus that drives you out onto a “REAL LIVE GLACIER!!!!” and then you get to walk around on it and ruin the Earth and speed up the ever-melting glacier.  Kidding!  But really, that’s what you get to do.  We decided not to do that, the tree-huggers that we are (hahahahahah) and instead, walked to the glacier.  We couldn’t get on it, but we got close.  It was pretty cool and I was all smiles since we didn’t have to sit on a…on a…BUS.

Glacier WalkDSC_0218-001 DSC_0221-001

Jasper

We made a quick stop in Jasper, which is a really cute ski town with lots of shops.  I took full advantage of their pharmacy and got some Benadryl and steroid cream for whatever rash was taking over my entire body.

We wanted to get a big group picture with our new friends.DSC_0254-001Kind of?DSC_0255-001Nailed it.

And then a big group shot that took way more coordinating than you’d think!  The sun, the shadows, etc, etc.canada canada1

We were trying to howl in that second one since we were “a wolf pack”.  Russ is my favorite in the picture!

Mt. Robson

The last place (I think!!) that we stopped to see was Mt. Robson.  Apparently we were super lucky to have amazing weather because we were able to see Mt. Robson which is the biggest mountain in….Canada?  Possibly?  I was asleep during this lesson so don’t quote me.DSC_0268-001

Day 5

The last day with West Trek was spent on the bus and at the mall.  I was itchy and hot and drowsy from the Benadryl.  And tons and tons of fun!  Just ask Russ ;)  But we did get to see Spahats Falls, which were HUGE and wild.

Spahats FallsDSC_0239-001 DSC_0246-001 IMG_1260

I could show you a picture of the mall…or the Poutine that my dad and I shared…or my rash that was at it’s worst point and I slathered steroid cream all over it in the bathroom…or…I just won’t show you.  I’ll spare you.

That night, when we were back in Vancouver, we had dinner in Gastown, which looks oddly like West Chester, or any other little college town.  I liked it and I liked the food :) DSC_0312-001 DSC_0325-001

So that’s it for the West Trek trip!  I may come back and add a few more photos to these posts, for my own enjoyment, but for the most part…that’s the jist of it.  The tour with West Trek was amazing and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to see a lot of things in a short amount of time.

Vancouver Vacation Day 2/3 with West Trek Tours.

Days 2-6 of our trip was spent with West Trek Tours, making our way up through the Rocky Mountains.  This post will cover days 2 and 3, which were spent traveling to different lakes, staying in cabins, and meeting Chester. None of us had ever been to any of these places and everything we saw was absolutely breathtaking.DSC_0151-001 From the lakes, to the mountains, to the polar plunge with did in 4* water. That was the most breath-taking of them all. ;) DSC_0164-001

Pros of trip: Beautiful scenery, met awesome people (hola Mexicanos :) ), polar plunge, hiking

Cons of trip: BUS TIME. Ugh I hate sitting still, but I hate sitting on a bus more. Russ and I got our naps habits down to a science, though.

I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking here.

If you are planning a trip to Canada and The Rockies, I definitely recommend West Trek tours! It was reasonably priced, our tour guide (Mia) and bus driver (Ian) were awesome and knowledgeable, we got to see A LOT in just a few short days, and it was-overall- a lot of fun. We opted out of the “extra” things that they offered (a gondola ride and a snow bus ride onto the glaciers) and were happy we did. They didn’t sound like they were worth the $$ and we still got to explore the glacier on our own and during the gondola ride…well, we enjoyed wifi at Starbucks, but had the option to go to a hot spring, which we did not do. We loved Banff and wished we had had more time to explore it, as well as the 3 lakes that we visited. We liked seeing the buffalo, but not the wolves. And we all agreed that staying in the cabins wasn’t worth the extra $$. Really nothing special since there wasn’t much of a view and there were soooo many mosquitos. My poor legs. If you have any specific questions about West Trek or our experience, reach out to me!!

Day 2 Pictures:

Kewlowna

DSC_0807DSC_0804DSC_0802I call this one “The Water Isn’t Cold”, a portrait.DSC_0796 DSC_0800 DSC_0823 DSC_0815

And this one is called, “The Water Isn’t Cold, Part II”  DSC_0802

Cabin Wildlife, Golden, British ColumbiaDSC_0846 DSC_0847 DSC_0839

As you may be able to see from the above pictures, the cabins didn’t have much of a view, but they did have a sign that said “viewpoint” with an arrow that I, admittedly, did not check out.  While we waited for dinner (burgers, salad and smores), I opted to lie on the hammock in the trees and let the mosquitoes chow down on my legs ;)

Day 3 Pictures:

Breakfast at the cabins:DSC_0860 DSC_0849

Off to see Chester, Chester Jr., Chester Sr. and the rest of the Chester Clan, at the Buffalo RanchDSC_0885Here they come!!! DSC_0889 DSC_0894 DSC_0909 DSC_0915

Selfie with the ChestersIMG_1211

And then the bus got stuck in a ditch:DSC_0938

Wolf Center:DSC_0943

 Emerald Lake:DSC_0973 DSC_0994  DSC_1000 DSC_1003 DSC_0040-001 DSC_0046-001 DSC_0021-001 DSC_0020-001 DSC_0016-001 

Lake LouiseDSC_0062-001 DSC_0075-001 DSC_0118-001 DSC_0123-001DSC_0155-001

Banff:IMG_1222

This picture hardly does Banff justice, but it is an adorable little ski town with tons of shops, restaurants and bars to check out.  For dinner, we went to a restaurant that offers all different types of burgers (beef, chicken, turkey, elk, bison, salmon, etc) for the same price.  We each got a different burger and they were all SO GOOD.  And then we went back to the hotel for drinks and then back out to a nightclub in Banff.  I would have loved to had one full day, or at least a few more hours to spend walking around, but it is what it is.

That’s it for days 2 and 3.  I’ll be back with more pictures of Moraine Lake, polar plunging, hiking to a glacier, y mas.


Vancouver Vacation Part I

Hey strangers(s)

*The following was written last week, but I am just getting around to adding photos*

I’m writing this post from the pool where I am subbing and it’s pouring rain so the pool is empty and ah, the stars have aligned, huh?   Anywho, I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 7:30 am last night so I feel a little loopy right now. Maybe it was the fact that I drank coffee at 10:00 pm last night or MAYBE- just maybe- the little barista boy put something extra in mi café. Ha. Kidding. Sort of…

For selfish reasons and because I have 600+ photos, I wanted to share our recent vacation to Vancouver. Vancouver? Who goes to Vancouver on a summer vacation???? Hm let’s see.  Crazy people.  Or… People who have unused companion tickets that are about to expire and want to use them to go as far as possible. That’s who!!DSC_0123-001 So that’s what we did. We went from Philadelphia–> Phoenix–>Vancouver–>The Rockies–>Vancouver and back

The first day we got to Vancouver, we ventured out for breakfast (coffee….lots of coffee on this trip!).

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And then took the SkyTrain into downtown Vancouver.DSC_0687 Fun fact: the SkyTrain leaves a lot faster than the subway does! Russ and I went to move to the back car and boom, the doors closed and it drove off…with my parents inside. Maybe that was for the better ;)

Once we caught up with them and checked into the hostel (for those interested, we stayed in the St. Clare Hostel in downtown Vancouver. It was inexpensive, but the rooms were HOT hot hot. It served our purposes, but a cooler room with a little more space would have been ideal. Definitely not a bad option for inexpensive Vancouver living, though).

The first day was just spent exploring. My parents went their separate ways while Russ and I did our own thing as well.DSC_0692

He actually bought that.DSC_0774

We walked alllllll over the city, taking in the cool, mountain air and marveling out how beautiful it was.  Right?DSC_0710 DSC_0735 DSC_0740DSC_0755

We also shopped: took pictures, explored, and ate pho….twice. We ventured down to English Bay, where the sun was setting and there were masses of people picnicing, (how do you spell that?), listening to live music, and chatting.IMG_1023IMG_1029 IMG_1039  I have another post already written for day 2/3/4.  Hold on to your hats…it’s coming ;)

Lately 5.0

Hey! Happy [almost] holiday weekend!  Do you have plans for the 4th?  I don’t!!  And I’m perfectly fine with that!  I’ll find something to do :)

Anyways, I have been busy busy busy around here, between finishing up my calculus class (I PASSED!!!!!), to working at a couple different jobs most days of the week, to heading to the beach with my parents, I’ve been busy.  Here is another Lately post to kind of wrap up the last few weeks into one place.  Oh, and my iPhone 5 is dead.  Like dead dead or is presumably dead, I’m not sure.  I need to go deal with those wrinkle-inducing people at Verizon and Apple to see what my options are, as I don’t want to get a new phone before heading to Spain!  I’m not going to sign a 2 year contract and then not use it!

Okie dokie…

Father’s Day

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For Father’s Day and my dad’s birthday, we went to brunch at a new local coffee shop.  My brother joined too, which was nice.  Lee had quiche and my dad and I each had an egg sandwich.  I think we all agreed the food was OK, but I was so happy to be out celebrating DAD. :)

Crazy Pasta!

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This is not really anything to report on…but this pasta is crazy cool.  Lee brought it back from his trip to Italy and while it didn’t taste much different than regular pasta, it was really pretty.

Han Dynasty with Tevin!

IMG_0581Russ and I finally finally finally took Tevin out to celebrate his graduation and just get together with him in general.  I am so proud of Tevin, for everything that he has accomplished and everything that he will do in the future!  We took him to Han Dynasty (and Russ’ friend, Jesse joined us too!). IMG_0575Everyone raves about Han Dynasty, but I thought it was just …ok… Russ is rolling his eyes as I type this.  He says I’m so hard to please haha.  I’m glad we all got to go out, and we finished up the night at Franklin Fountain, one of my favorite Ice Cream shops in Philadelphia.  It’s pretty expensive, but it’s a cute shop with fun flavors and it’s all homemade!  IMG_0579

Teddy

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He is so bad and doesn’t listen, but he does it with the cutest little face.  He fell asleep lying in my arms last night!  And today, he is off to see the vet about a mole-type growth on his front leg.  Praying that it’s nothing serious!

Hopefully I will be back with posts sooner rather than later!

Vamos a Espana!

Hola amigos!!

Most of my friends and family already know, but for the rest of you that read this little blog (hey extended family on Facebook and a few people from high school and college) that don’t know, well…I’m going to Spain next year!

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For the entire school year!!!

I’m excited to be going on the adventure of my life…

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But I’m nervous and SO SCARED.  I’m afraid to completely uproot my life, to say bye (or see you later) to the people that I love and see every day.  I’m nervous about what the next year will bring and what kind of experiences I’ll have.

But mostly, I’m so excited for this new adventure and opportunity and I’m so looking forward to bringing you all along for the ride.  Before I leave, I am planning an “Espana series” to tell you about how I’m doing this, what I’m doing, and how you can do it too.  And then when I’m in Spain, I’ll be updating with all of my adventures and using this blog as a way to keep you all up-to-date with my happenings abroad.

I feel like I’m diving into a dark pool head-first, but the only way to find out what’s in the water…..is to jump.

Here goes nothing…

5 Steps for Fueling My Fitness!

Hey, hey, hey!

It has been fo-or-ev-er since I’ve really written about exercise and the like.  I’ve been slacking with the posts, but not with the workouts (I swear!!).  ETB Fit, a nutritional supplement company, inspired me to tell you all about how I fuel my fitness before, during and after my workouts.  Feel free to check out ETB Fit for healthy pre workout supplements to help fuel your workout!  While I have not tried them myself, they are something that I would incorporate into my routine.  I figured that writing this post would be a great way to get back onto the fitness-writing train!

Anyway, all aboard ;)

Here are 5 things that I need to do in order to get the most out of my workout!  I’m not one for being at the gym longer than an hour or an hour and 15 minutes, so doing these things are important for getting in and out.

1.  Eat before I workout

I used to be a super early riser and  super early exerciser, so I would eat half a banana with peanut butter and be on my way.  These days, I usually fit in a workout mid or late morning, so I eat a substantial breakfast that will keep off hunger until I get home.  My favorites are:

Oatmeal // fruit // almond milk // peanut butter // cinnamon (and coffee if it’s early enough, but not too close to working out)IMG_0465

Or eggs // cheese // toast with butter // spinachIMG_0155

Both of those breakfasts sit nicely through my workout, but things like cottage cheese and yogurt…not so much.

If I’m hungry during a workout, I get lightheaded and weak, and I’ve been known to leave the gym, go get a snack, and come back.  I really can’t push through hunger!

2. Music or Netflix!

Ugh I love the gym, but I also kind of…hate the gym.  Treadmills and other cardio equipment are great places to do intervals and get in a good workout, but dear Lord, those cars driving by the gym are only interesting for so long.  A good, upbeat playlist or Pandora station is my favorite way to really push myself on the cardio equipment.  Click here and here for my favorite Latin playlists!  My favorite Pandora stations are: Summer Hits of the 2000′s, Pop Fitness Radio, Wake Me Up Radio, Prince Royce Radio, and Taking Back Sunday Radio for a trip down memory lane.  When I feel like drowning everything out and just doing some steady-state cardio, Lorelai and Rory (Gilmore Girls) keep me company ;) Gilmore-Girls-gilmore-girls-1907388-1103-1500

We all want to be a Gilmore.  Noooo shame over here.

Of course, if Gilmore Girls isn’t your thing (what? how?) there are other Netflix and Pandora things to keep you rockin’ and rollin’ on the cardio equipment.  My dad listens to Jim Gaffigan Pandora, which makes him crack up and chuckle while he’s exercising.  He’s the crazy man that thinks the elliptical is just too funny!

3. Switch it up.

Exercise should be FUN and it should be something that makes you feel good.  With that being said, cardio machines and weights can get SO BORING if that’s all you do!  I really try to switch it up with different exercise classes interspersed into the regular gym workouts.

A regular week of workouts:

Sunday: long run outside

Monday: Cardio & Nike Training Club

Tuesday: Bootcamp workout

Wednesday: Spinning

Thursday: Kettlebells Class

Friday: Short run and abs

Saturday: Rest.

I love boot camp-style workouts, as well as spinning and kettebell classes.  Interval workouts are also great for helping the time pass on the cardio equipment and getting in an awesome, sweaty workout. See my workout tab for interval workout inspiration.  When all else fails, or you don’t have access to workout classes, Nike Training Club will give you an incredible workout and keep things moving.  Also- take your workout outside!  Go to the pool, go for a run, go for a hike.  This all brings me to my next point…

4. Go outside!

A great workout does NOT have to happen in the gym, and often, my best workouts happen outside.  Go for a run and get a little lost or see a new place/ trail.  Take a couple weights outside with a water bottle or a towel and exercise in the grass.  Go to the local pool and swim laps.  Go for a hike or a run with a friend (this is my favorite thing!)  Going outside and doing something new makes working out so much more fun and leaves you with a nice tan :) IMG_0466

The view during last weekend’s run.

You can also incorporate local races into your workouts.  I love “fun runs” like color runs, and local road races where the entire community is out cheering!  Incorporate these into your weekend routine for some fun weekend exercise.IMG_0124

5. Refuel.

The first, first, FIRST thing I do when I get home is chug water and then eat… IMMEDIATELY.  I’m usually pretty hungry by the time I get home, so I have to eat.  If I do a tough lifting workout, I’ll drink a protein shake and then eat something more substantial, but more often than not, I just go for the food.  My favorite post-workout meals are eggs, salads with some sort of protein, or dinner leftovers.IMG_0320

Post-run meal

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Another post-run meal (plus a lot more food!)

It’s important to eat enough throughout the day to make sure you’re getting the most out of your workouts.

And lastly…IMG_0413

Nothing beats a couple ice-cold beers after a good workout!  Gotta make it worth it somehow! :)

And one more for good measure:

Drink plenty of water!!!  My water bottle is like a 5 apendage and is always full!  I can never get enough water, and during these summer months, it’s especially important.  We don’t want any heat stroked people out there!  I drink plenty before, during, and after my workout and my favorite thing to do is to add a little pizzazz in the form of mint // cucumbers // lemon // lime, in any combination that fits your fancy.IMG_0498

I hope you’ve enjoyed and learned from my 5 Steps for Powering Through my workouts!  If you have any questions or tips to add, feel free to get in touch via e-mail or twitter/ instagram!

Disclaimer:  ETB Fit inspired this post topic.  As always, all comments and opinions are my own.  Thanks for your support!