Monday, June 3, 2013

Channeling Katniss

We’re all aware of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games.  She’s a pretty, badass, bow-wielding female heroine in the books.  And I even loved her depiction in the movie version.


Now, while this wasn’t the impetus for our date a few days ago, it makes a good segway huh?  Last Friday, Jack and I decided to go arching together.  Yes, we shot bows and arrows together.  This was my first time doing so but apparently Jack had done some as a child.  You see, little boys have archery parties while little girls have tea parties.  Who knew?


In the end, he had a few more bulls-eye shots than I did.  My single bulls-eye hit was from the furthest distance away though.  Boo yah!


It was a pretty kick butt date, actually.  We had a lot of fun.  And rather than shooting guns, this was remarkable relaxing and pleasant.  We both had four arrows in a round and we’d shoot all eight between us, then go down and yank them out of the wall.  Repeat the process.  It also helped that we had the whole range to ourselves, so we could shot whatever we wanted, and move around at will.  I would love to go again sometimes, though I did pretty well this time.  Maybe I’ll just go out on top.  =D


Questions: Ever shot a bow and arrow?
Excited for the next movie installment of The Hunger Games?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

And She Said…YES!

Today is going to be a special guest post. Rather than being written by your regular, beautiful hostess Jill, I'll be writing it. To help things make a little more sense as to why I'm here instead of her, I have some exciting news to share:


We're engaged! I asked her to marry me on Memorial Day, and she said yes. And, as she's been getting back into blogging, she wanted to share the story with everyone, and came up with the idea of seeing it from my perspective.

The plan was pretty simple. I had already made reservations for dinner that night, with a special note that we wanted to celebrate our recent engagement. Of course, this presented the obvious problem: we weren't yet engaged. So I needed to do it today. I was going to ask her in the morning, shortly after we got back from working out. She always thinks she's too sweaty to even kiss after she's finished a long run, but it's always worth getting a little sweat on my lips in order to kiss her.

I wanted it to be a surprise for her, which is a little harder to accomplish when we are spending so much time so close together in her new one-bedroom apartment. I wanted to catch her while she was looking absolutely gorgeous, even if she didn't normally think it of herself. So asking her after she's spent an hour putting on her make-up and getting her hair done up while in a pretty dress wasn't going to work.

Unfortunately for my simple plan, the day broke with a rain storm moments after we got out of bed. We're talking cats and dogs coming down in sheets. Alright, no big deal. We'll just wait a little bit longer to go to the fitness center to work out so we don't get there sopping wet, and I'll just wait a little longer to pop the question.

It just KEPT raining. Hours of it. Which is normally fine, I can go ahead and spend a day inside with my beloved girlfriend, but the dinner reservations at 5 pm were creeping closer and closer, and I didn't want to need to pull her aside as we were walking out the door and basically shove the ring onto her finger as an afterthought, and I certainly didn't want the people at the restaurant spoiling the surprise by asking about the "recent engagement" we were celebrating. I might've been able to spin that into a "oh yeah, engagement is British for being hired" or some such, but it'd've been a stretch, and awkward, and I'm sure Jill would have seen right through the obvious cover story.

So, maybe we could go even though it was raining a bit? I kept asking her when she wanted to go, even though it was, of course, still raining. She kept picking up that I was antsy for some reason, though didn't have any idea about why, just that I was apparently really really eager to go working out. I think I asked a total of three times over the course of the day, spaced out to try to not draw too much attention and arouse her suspicion, but I was really worried about her figuring things out.

Finally, the rain broke, and we went to work out. It was a strength-training day for both of us. I explored some of the machines and free weights in her fitness center, trying to find how to most closely replicate the workout routine I do at the gym at school. The co-rec there has squat racks, barbell benches, deadlift platforms, and more, which lets me easily do the classic heavy lifts. Jill did a bunch of bodyweight exercises with extra weight from dumbbells to increase the difficulty. I'm not sure what her routine was, specifically; she's always been better about planning what to do at a gym than I am, I usually just walk in and do what seems interesting at the moment until I'm sore and tired.

After we got back, we were figuring out where we needed to go that night for dinner and to the hotel afterwards, and making sure we would have everything we needed for our upcoming celebratory vacation. She had her back turned to me, checking out things on her phone as it charged on the iHome in the kitchen. Perfect. I slipped the ring box out of it's hiding place in my backpack and came up beside her, the ring in my far hand. Of course, now that I was next to her, she was looking at me as we talked, so I asked a question to turn her focus back to the screen of her phone, and then went down on one knee. In my mind, that's the only way to do a proposal.

She was shocked into silence, and her eyes went a little wide. She said later that it felt like so long had passed before she could finally get her voice back to say "of course!". This was followed by plenty of laughing and smiling and hugging and kissing, and tears of joy on her end. She cries pretty easily at things like this, so it was nice to see it happen.


We had dinner plans for 5 pm, since we were planning on having a nice leisurely dinner. We sat down in the mostly empty restaurant, and immediately started having a fantastic time with our server. Turns out, he was recently engaged as well. Small world. We started the meal with an appetizer of bacon-and-cheese-wrapped shrimp, and a walnut and cranberry vinaigrette salad that we split.


At the waiter's recommendation, we opened a bottle of blended white wine, which was incredibly sweet. I had the stuffed salmon with sautéed green beans over mashed potatoes with sausage. It was fantastic, and I had to slow down my pace dramatically to make the meal last a little longer.


She had... some other fantastically delicious dish. I'll admit, she's much better at remembering meals than I am. Fortunately, she's also very good at taking pictures. [From Jill: Cashew crusted tilapia with Jamaican rum butter sauce (holy crap, awesome) and sweet potato couscous with sautéed green beans.]


For dessert, we were gifted two glasses of champagne and a "chocolate box". The box was formed of milk chocolate, and filled with white chocolate mousse and raspberries, blueberries, and bits of strawberries. It, like everything else, was delicious.


After dinner, we took a walk, enjoying the warm night and chance to be downtown where we normally aren't. We ended up drifting several blocks over and finding ourselves by a Cheesecake Factory, so we stopped in for a second dessert to truly celebrate the wonderful occasion, as well as some drinks. I had a Long Island, she had a martini, and we split the Oreo and Kahlua cheesecakes.


A fantastic way to end the night. Of course, we still had to get to our hotel, so after some fancy navigating to get on the highway out into the boondocks, and quite a few missed turns, we were finally on our way there, and arrived near midnight. We checked in without any trouble, but when we got up to our room, we discovered the bed was all disheveled and immediately turned around. If the room was occupied, we didn't want to stick around when whoever was occupying it came out of the bathroom. The ladies at the front desk were very helpful and very apologetic, however, and immediately found another room for us to take. We were upgraded to a suite (awesome) and given two vouchers for free breakfast at the hotel's restaurant (also awesome).  Quite the day! And the start of a fantastic forever with my new fiancée.



Jill here, again.  So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen.  We’re engaged and very happy.  The wedding won’t be for a while, think three or four years given that Jack needs to finish his PhD, but we figure that just means we have a ton of time to get it perfect.  =D

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The [May] Month of Great Change

So not only did I graduate this past month with my final, most awesome degree but I have since moved to a new place and am about to start a brand new job.  It was quite the crazy last few weeks.  So let’s start close to the beginning, shall we?

First off, I had to say good bye to everyone amid packing up the entire apartment.  I don’t know about you all but packing up everything in your life is incredibly displacing and uncomfortable.  Not to mention busy, chaotic, and just downright messy as all else.  It is definitely one of my least favorite things, ever. 

Saying goodbye, or see you later as the case may be, to people you love and have spent so long around, is difficult.  I think it almost made it worse too because I didn’t just have one party where I said “so long” to everyone in the same night.  I took the draw-it-out path and had individual dinners and things with those important people.  While this gave me a chance to hang out with everyone individually, it meant that I had to suck up the tears multiple times before leaving behind my life there.


Never-the-less, these people were worth it, and I’ll miss them terribly!  They’ve all been such an integral part of my life these last seven years.  But, I’m sure there will be new friends and new things waiting for me here in my new city.  Never to replace the old, just to add on the new.

By the end of the month, the 24th, it was time to actually move.  We had a rocky start to the 23rd, the pack-the-truck day.  Budget Truck Rentals called me to tell me that they simply didn’t have a truck for my reservation.  I’m sorry, what?  What the heck is a reservation for?!?!  The only silver lining to this was that they called me a half hour before the pick-up time, rather than having us go all the way there to find out there wasn’t a truck waiting for us.  We managed to find another truck, thanks to the lovely people at Penske


We packed things up in the truck, with many thanks due to Jack and a new friend Eric.  I treated them to lunch in exchange.  Jack and I then returned to clean our way through the apartment before handing in the keys.  Sadly this took even longer than it took to pack the whole place up!  How crazy is that.  Thankfully, Jack’s mom came to help us out.  Couldn’t have done it without her.  After that, we were more than hungry so we met up with another friend and indulged in some great Greek food as my last meal before leaving.


I had some delicious vegetarian sampler plate, some of the flaming cheese, and a piece of the best baklava ever.  And with this food baby in my belly, we slept it off and woke up bright and early for the move day.  Jack and I made the entire move in one day and by the time we got here and unloaded everything, we were completely wiped.


The mess was just unbearable so we left and got food.  We went to a recommended pizza place and immediately sat down to order waters and a cream cheese pesto dip.


Then we had some drinks and a bacon cheeseburger pizza.  And yes, it was as incredible as it sounded.  Seriously delicious.


When we returned thankfully we had already made the bed so we could crash immediately.  No joke, if you do one thing the day you move, make your bed.  You will be ever grateful to yourself and your forethought.


The rest of the weekend was spent unpacking and getting things that I had determined to simply buy new on the other end.  I managed to get the entire apartment unpacked in a single day.  Sunday was a full 8 hours of work but it was nice to finally have everything done.  This cause for celebration meant another night out.  We headed to a local stellar burger joint and ordered a bunch of yummies.


I had the andouille chicken sausage burger with watercress, blue cheese, and onions.  Jack had a burger with a parmesan crisp and a fried green tomato.  On the side was a trio of sweet potato fries (with herbs and brown sugar….amazing!), truffle tater tots, and ridiculous onion rings.  The whole meal was insanely good but we decided shakes would make it better.


And my peanut butter marshmallow one certainly did.  And again, nursing food babies, we went back home and crashed again.  We were so tired from all the unpacking and stuff.  Moving just takes it out of you!  Also, Jack was kind of getting over a sickness (which he eventually gave to me and I haven’t stopped sniffling since) so that didn’t help either.

But, in the end, we were finished.  And I am moved.  And the rest of the adventure was (and is still) just getting started.  In other news, Memorial Day also turned out to be a pretty stellar day.  More on that in another post though, probably tomorrow.  Believe me, it’s a sparkly surprise.  =D

Questions: How do you get through moving?
Where do you get your recommendations for places to eat in a new city?

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Master’s Graduation: Take Two!

Welcome to the real world, Jillian.


Today I walked in my second, and final, Master’s graduation.  I now have my second master’s degree, after my graduation in 2011, and can finally practice, can finally do what I want to do.  My class and I are now genetic counselors!!!


Pretty awesome right?  Yea, we think so too.  In attendance: Joshua, Jack, my parents, and my paternal grandfather.  What a support system, right?  I am so blessed.


Also, while we’re talking about commencement and the start of the rest of my life, I have a huge announcement!  I have accepted a prenatal/reproductive genetic counseling position.  I am officially employed.  It made graduating that much more sweet given that I knew where I would be going, what I would be doing.  Not only is the position exactly what I wanted, but my apartment is pretty awesome too.  Major selling point: the awesome spacious kitchen.


I can’t wait to move in and start the next chapter of my life.  I can’t even believe we’re here at this point.  It has been an incredibly long time and coming.  But hey, bring it on.  What’s that saying?  The world is my oyster.  Or how about, my future is so bring I need shades.  Sure, all that.  Great day.  =D

Last but not least, to all the readers, on this day of all days, thanks for hanging in there with me as I disappeared for a while.  I know it’s been rough and spotty and such but I look forward to sharing this new transition with you all (much like my last move) and chronicling my first foray into the real genetic counseling world.  I hope you’re on board, because this train is leaving the station!

Question: What is your favorite part of graduation?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Study Fest

After a wonderful Friday night (celebration, announcement to come shortly) and Saturday (bridal shower for Jack’s brother’s fiancée), today I am relegated to catching up on sleep, hydration, and studying.


Jack, his friend Chris, and I all hung out together to keep everyone focused.  You can tell I look incredibly excited to be reading over and memorizing close to 60 diseases/disorders.  They spent their time working on physics and writing on blackboards.  At least we were slightly more focused than sitting in rooms alone with temptations like TV staring us in the face.  Anything to get my through these last three days of school.  Then it is all over.  Graduation, here I come!

Questions: Ever Skype studied with friends of a loved one?
What are some tips to help keep you on track during marathon sessions?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Gone But Not Forgotten

Hello group!  It’s been over a month since I’ve blogged and I’m sorry for that.  I have been incredibly busy doing a million and seven things getting ready to graduate.  Here’s a brief recap of some stuff off the top of my head:

1) Job stuff is coming along awesome.  There may be an announcement soon.  No promises but I’m on the edge of my seat!  (Been looking pretty cute on interviews too.)


2) I see my absolute last patient as a student today.  I can’t believe I’ve made it through 15 weeks of  prenatal counseling and a whole year of other types of counseling.  This schooling has been some of the toughest I’ve ever endured but I know I couldn’t be a counselor without it.  I am ever grateful for the experience.  No matter how many times I griped…

3) With all this emotion going around (finishing up school, getting ready to graduate for the last time, trying to find a job, balancing school work, taking [and acing] a cumulative exam, etc. –> you get the picture) it is amazing how easily I am reduced to tears now-a-days.


4) I made a new friend recently.  Maybe I’ll introduce you to him soon.  This may depend on the results of #1.

5) Salads and I have been really close lately.


6) Besides #2, the only thing that stands between me and my graduation is finals week.  I have two: one on Monday and one on Tuesday.

7) Thanks to my awesome boyfriend, I have been enjoying massages to keep me sane these past couple of weeks.  Oh he is good to me.

8) Speaking of Jack, we went to a Thunder this year and saw some incredible fireworks.  What a nice day to relax and take a break.


9) I've been studying in my pajamas a lot recently.


10) I got a cute new purse that I absolutely love!  Cute orange crossbody.


In short, it’s been nuts.  I hope to blog more soon as school wraps up and I graduate.  From there I think big things will be happening.  I definitely want to keep tabs on those for you!  Have a super weekend everyone and I’ll catch you soon.

Questions: How has your month of April been?
What are your plans for the weekend?

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