Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Empire State of Mind

Well, I made it. Like really, I’m in New York. I mean, I’ve been talking about this for over a year now and it’s probably not even set in yet, but I’m here.

I’ve been in the Big Apple since last Thursday and I have yet to find something that I really dislike. Granted, it’s not snowing yet. Stay tuned, I’m sure that will change.

I’ve got tons of fun things to share so here’s a quick rundown of the highlights thus far:

The Farmers Market: Um hi! This place is totally awesome. Tons and tons of local vendors selling plants, veggies, fruit, bread, baked goods, authentic cuisine, honey, sauces, wooden carvings, etc. You name it, someone in Ithaca makes it and sells it at Steamboat Landing on the weekends. These are my first few purchases at said farmer’s market – a rosemary plant, honey and gerber daisies (ya, they are in a Nalgene, don’t judge, they are in a vase now).

The gym: I’ll admit I was unimpressed with the hours at first, but I’m getting used to them quickly. I’ve already pulled double workouts twice (love that I have the time to do that right now!) and it’s pretty sweet. I even have a female lifting buddy, which is super cool since half the people in there are jacked dudes. It’s a refreshing change from the good ole’ Y being that all the machines work, basically each machine has its own TV, the free weights don’t give me metal splinters, people are actually my age, the locker room is pretty clean, etc. Basically, it’s smothered in awesome sauce. (Thanks for that one, Jen!)

The roommates: This couldn’t have worked out better. We all get along great and haven’t annoyed each other (that we know of) so I’m thinking these are good matches. Lyndsay is in Sport Management with me and Ilana is going for her Master’s in Musical Theater.

Ithaca College campus: I am here for school so I guess this is pretty important. Just as I was told, it’s a gorgeous place! I’ve gotten lost once or twice on campus, but that’s supposed to happen.

Sport Management crew: While my program seems like it’s going to be pretty intense, everyone gets along great which will come in handy I’m sure. The few girls we have are already planning an outing tomorrow night and others have a little bromance going so this should be a pretty fun bunch. It’s weird to be able to have legit sports-related conversations with girls that actually get it, know what I’m talking about AND like it!

The assistantship: This should be super fun and a great learning experience. I’m working with the Athletics Department, focusing on Event Management. My first task – work the field hockey game Thursday. My second – Football game Saturday. Sounds pretty sweet if you ask me. I know I’ll be spending a ton of time here – our new Athletics and Events Center that houses swimming, indoor track, a bomb weight room, field hockey and soccer field. Triathlete friends – you might have to come visit me just to look at the pool. Be Jealous.

So ya, that’s my last week in a nutshell. Oh and of course I’ve got a ‘Must-do-in-Ithaca-before-I-leave’ list going: hicking, gorge, picnic, Syracuse football, visit Cornell, it’s getting longer by the minute.

I mean, I was excited before, but now that I’ve seen what this next year holds… I’M REALLY EXCITED!!! I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity and enjoying the journey for once. Like I’ve said several times, I’ve got one year to do grad school and I’m going to do it right.

Here’s to my new place of living and I believe Jay-Z has put it best …

There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York, New York”

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Peace Out, Maine

This day has been a long time coming. I have been talking about my departure for graduate school for over a year now but I can’t believe it’s actually here. These past 365 days have been crazy. I have enjoyed every moment for what it is – happy or sad – made continuous memories and taken advantage of my opportunities. I had so much fun and I will always look back fondly on my Maine memories. Not really sure if I’ll ever have a Vacationland address again, but Maine will always be home.

While I’m sad to leave the good ole’ Pine Tree State and the great people in it, I am proud to report that I am ready to move on to the Big Apple. I know I’m so ready to do this and I’m not just saying that. I’m ready to go back to school after this three-month break, to meet new people and focus on the future.

I can’t wait to go somewhere that no one really knows me

…somewhere that will be completely new

…somewhere that holds lots of promise for my future

…somewhere that I can grab life by the horns (ya, Dodge, you love it)

…somewhere I’ll make friends for life

…somewhere I’ll learn life lessons

…somewhere that I’ll make my own

I have done everything to prepare for this day and the next chapter of my life. The possibilities are endless and I’ve only got one shot to do this. I’m doing things for me while I still can and I’m going to love every minute of it.

As Jenessa and Karen have so wonderfully reminded me, ‘It’s a glamorous life’ and I plan on living it to the full extent.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Y? Because it's awesome.

Despite the fact that I have known this day would come for months now, I can’t believe it’s finally here. My last day at the gym.


I guess it’s only fitting that I finally post one of my favorite entries to commemorate this day. This post is full of laughs, tears, fitness tips and words of wisdom from some ladies I’m super sad to leave behind. I'm not posting pictures, well, because I don't want to. No need for them this time. Just sit back, enjoy and be jealous that these peeps aren't yours.

Jen –The first time I met Jen, she admitted that she creeped me on Danielle’s blog and recognized my shorts from the Maine Marathon. Boy am I glad she did! As self-proclaimed in her blog, Jen went from fat to fit and she truly inspires me every single day, but not just from her phsycial transformation. Jen has encouraged me to live my life for me, take care of myself first, etc. since I met her. She was proud of me when I acted like a 23-year old and taught me to appreciate my independence but always made sure to offer motherly words. She was always there for a hug, a super-big smile or to offer a completely inappropriate comment. “I’ll shove her face in my a** flab and see how she likes that.” – Yup, that’s my favorite. Jen is the epitome of how hard work and success translates into rewards and I can only hope that I can carry her motivation into my future.

Steph – I have never met someone who I can so comfortably talk about poop with than Steph. During our many early morning workouts, Steph and I have proudly proclaimed all things No. 2. In addition to our endless references to poop, we have shared some great moments. Steph taught me many things – the killer version of the deadlift, to keep my shoulder blades retracted, what butt cramps on the recumbent bike feel like and that some things leave one ‘hurting for four days.’ While those tips will always come in handy, Steph shared one thing with me that I will stick forever – I’m young and have my whole life ahead of me. This came at the perfect time and was like a total epiphany for me. I tend to live life to the fullest but forget to enjoy the journey and so I’ve made a conscious effort to find a perfect balance.

Misty – Oh Misty. Where to begin. I never really thought that the day we met at the Polar Bear Tri that we would become friends. We had a blast at Reach the Beach, snuggling on my nights off, sharing stories, shopping and most of all – complaining – about everything. Like Jen and Steph, Misty reinforced the idea of living life to the fullest. She taught me to enjoy life while it lasts and enjoy each and every moment for what they are. I’m not going to share specifics because there are far too many, but I will say that I’m going to miss this woman. She has always been one to express how proud she is of me, support my every move and make sure I too, am proud of myself. Misty has also grown herself – she’s becoming quite the yogi and I know she’ll be sending me relaxing yoga poses all semester long!

Erin – My true gym mom. Erin has been the closest to a motherly figure I’ve had at the gym (don’t get me wrong, all these ladies have done their share of mothering, but not like Erin). She told me when to stop working out and rest, asked me how my big events went, checked in on my injuries, let me vent countless times and I’m pretty sure got nervous for me when I took the GREs. She’s awesome. Her four-year old son may nearly be the same height as she is, but she really is super mom, super wife, super marathoner and I’m glad to say super friend.

Veronica – I’m so glad to say that Veronica and I put our respective judgmental bitch faces aside and got to know each other. In addition to the gym, she rocked the Maine Marathon and USM with me. She’s becoming a super figure competitor and I couldn’t be more proud (and a bit jealous!) of her intensity, determination, motivation and stick-to-it-ness.

Jenn – I think they’ve all said it – Enjoy life while you can. Along with the aforementioned Jen, Jenn has listened to some very intense stories of mine, all the while encouraging me to what I want when I want. Her advice and sarcasm has helped keep me sane this summer and I think it’s safe to say that I’ve done the same for her. She tried to teach me some sweet plank moves, but my awesome coordination does not allow for that to happen. She listened, laughed, shared Army base secrets with me and is always encouraging me to strive for the best. Jenn, of course I’ll misdeeds you. Way too much for my own good.

Lisa, Chris, Charles, Kris, PG, Todd, the old guy who asks me how work is every morning, Dick, Carlo and the hotties who will remain nameless – It’s been real. Thanks for always being there to smile at me, laugh at me and heckle me.

Well, that’s that. You never know where you’ll meet someone great. I’m lucky enough to have a ton of them in one building! While each relationship may sound familiar, each of the above ladies have had a huge impact on my life and I’ll miss them dearly. I see most of them every day and they have become my irreplaceable little gym family. I’ll miss that manly automated voice ‘welcoming’ me each time I buzz in, the awesome locker room smell, the oh-so-interesting individuals that attend the Y and well, pretty much everything about that darn place! Can’t wait to come back and steal my mom’s membership for a return visit!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Top 10 Maine Places I'll Miss

Well, I’m back! I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been busy and things are about to get even more insane. On Thursday, yes, Thursday, I leave for New York. I’m heading to the 607 for grad school and I’m not really sure if I’ll ever come back to the 207. I mean I’ll be back to visit obviously – my family, friends and some of my favorite places are in Maine. I have lived here for 23 years and I’ve got so many memories in the pine tree state, but it’s time for me to find my inner Columbus and do some exploring. So, without further ado, here are the top 10 places I’ll miss (in no particular order).

No. 1 – My house – I’ve become quite fond of the place I’ve been living in for the past 12 years. I’m super close with Mom, Dad, Michelle and my grandparents and I’ll miss them dearly. I’ll miss my walk-in closet, cute bathroom, the ‘man room,’ the claw foot bathtub that provided several ice baths, Mom’s cooking, Dad’s everyday solutions, and pretty much everything about Michelle. Lucky for me, I know it’ll all be waiting when I return for a visit.

No. 2 – The gym – The Northern York County YMCA may sound like it’s a gym for people over the age of 60 and it pretty much is, except for my phenomenal group of friends/running buddies/female meatheads. Call them what you want, they’re awesome. We’ve made great memories, laughed about so many things, cried, shared inappropriate stories and supported each other through several individual feats. More on this wonderful place later.

No. 3 – University of Southern Maine – Karma. Murphy’s Law. Fate. Whatever it may be, it’s pretty funny that the one place I dreaded going four years ago is one of the places I’ll miss the most. I met some of my best friends there and had great experiences that have helped shape me into who I am today. One class totally changed my career path and I look forward to seeing where sports management takes me. By the end of my time as a Husky, I was soooo good at stalking people for a space in the parking garage, navigating MaineStreet, paying to print and arguing with all of my liberal classmates. It was fun.

No. 4 – The beach – I’m going to upstate New York. This means two things: 1. No beach. 2. Lots of snow. Sounds less than awesome, but I mean, as of right now, it’s only for nine months.

No. 5 – Trader Joes/No. 6 – Whole Foods – Love, love, love both of these places. I’m usually in and out of the Marginal Way organic shopping area in less than an hour with everything I need. Not looking forward to getting used to a new organic/health food store. BUT, there is a pretty sweet looking farmer’s market right down the street from me!!!

No. 7 – The Old Port – Oh, Old Port, how much fun you have provided me with in these last two years. I have to laugh when I think about it, because there have been some pretty awesome times. There doesn’t really need to be an explanation for the fun I’ve had there – that’s between me and whoever had the pleasure of enjoying it with me. “Are we moving?”… ‘It’s going to be a dangerous night!”… Just you wait until I’m back to visit.

No. 8 – Arundel Wharf – Pretty sweet location for a summer job, don’t you think? I worked on a deck, in the sun, watching the sun rise, boats sail around the port, in a polo and shorts. Fun! I’m pretty over the tourists, but it was a great way to make money this summer. I met some great people who go all over the country for school, work and fun and I hope I can stay in touch with most of them.

No. 9 – Birchwood Lane – Ever since the ‘kids’ made dinner last summer, there have been thousands of laughs at a certain Birchwood Lane residence. I wouldn’t say is necessarily the house itself that I’ll miss as much as the people in it. The nine of us all together make up some of the best family anyone could ask for. How can I not miss them?!

No 10 – Maine Running Company – The absolute best running supply store in the state has provided me with everything I need for the most rewarding hobby I’ve ever had. Sneakers, rollers, body glide, Feetures socks and my cute Beach to Beacon outfits have all come from Maine Running, and this girl has grown a bit attached! I did see something similar in Ithaca, but it’ll take some getting used to.

Top 10 Places I