Monthly Archives: July 2012

Tasty Tuesday

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Happy Tuesday! How is yours going? Mine was busy yet exciting! And now I am home and wondering what to do for dinner! I feel like I haven’t cooked in forever!

Lately I’ve been loving fresh vegetables… and finding any combination of them has been at the top of my list. I’m not a vegetarian, but I will eat all the veggies I can get! Here are a few recipes that have caught my eye lately! Which one should I make?!

 

– Kale Salad with Strawberries and Kalamata Olives. Strawberries and bitter greens make one delicious combo! (from Peas and Thank You)

– Teriyaki Chickpea Stirfry. This recipe has pineapple in it. I am sold! (from Peas and Thank You)

Noodle Salad with Peanut Mmmm Sauce. This one has some random ingredients I know I don’t have in my pantry or fridge, but I might have to try it anyways!

– Strawberry Roasted Chickpea Salad with Cinnamon Dijon Vinagrette. I think this one might be a winner, folks!

Clean Greek Salad. This just sounds goooood!

Quick Pesto with Broiled Tomatoes. What a perfect way to use all the delicious tomatoes that are in season!

Pesto and broiled tomatoes

– The Summer Arugula & Prosciutto Pizza from Amanda’s blog looks mouth-watering! And there’s even a recipe for the crust!

What should I make for dinner?! Do any of those recipes sound appealing to you?

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On Donating

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Friday afternoon I did something I’ve wanted to do for a reallllly long time… I donated platelets.

I was a sophomore in college when I donated blood for the first time. Despite a few technical difficulties afterwards (ask me about it sometime if you want a laugh), I was hooked on donating. It felt like I was doing something so tangible in order to help someone in need. I donated again junior and senior year at the annual blood drives. After my trip to Peru last summer (that you can read about in various posts here), I couldn’t donate for a year… and I seriously was so angry. I wanted to donate blood & platelets so badly. Finally when June 8th rolled around this year, I was eligible to donate again. Of course things kept coming up and finding time to donate never fit into my schedule. Until last Friday.

Friday I went to UNC’s Cancer Hospital to donate platelets for the first time. 

I can’t say enough good things about the staff, process, or experience itself… it was a great first platelets donation.

I got to watch half of a movie (Safe House), eat a snack, drink a Ginger Ale, look out the windows down on UNC’s booming hospitals, and have warm blankets thrown across my shivering body. (feeling cold is of the one side-effects during donation) 

The entire process took about two hours from the time I walked in the doors until the time I walked out. No time at all. I mean really- two hours to donate something that could save someone’s life? Totally worth it!

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Donating platelets is different than regular blood donations…

-after giving blood, you might experience some weakness as the body has been depleted of some of its blood (usually 1 pint out of ten that the body holds) and can take your body 2+ weeks to return to normal. After donating platelets, you probably won’t be able to tell much of a difference in your body because some of blood components have been returned into your bloodstream, and it only takes 2-4 days to fully recover from apheresis.

-donating blood takes 10 – 2o minutes, whereas donating platelets takes anywhere from 1 – 3 hours… it depends on your body and blood! (It took me 85minutes once I got plugged into the machine)

-you can donate whole blood every 56 days, but you can donate platelets 2x a week and up to 24 times a year.

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Before donating I was nervous & excited. During it I was concentrated and contemplative. Afterwards I was exhausted, yet energetic and excited.

I hung out for a while in the room after they unplugged me and bandaged me up… I felt a little light-headed and tired. I talked with one of the workers, and he applauded my willingness and enthusiasm for donating. He was so sweet and such a blessing. We were discussing how donating makes you feel good about doing something that not necessarily anyone will know about (unless you blog about it… oops…) He said, “Well there are a few people who know- us, you, and God. He is proud of you for doing something for others.” Those words made me smile.

I highly recommend the UNC Donation Center for anyone in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area!

After I felt like I could safely walk out and head downstairs, I thanked everyone and promised to be back soon. I headed straight to Starbucks in the hospital (seriously, UNC Hospital has one of the nicest Starbucks I’ve been to! And the staff is great too!) for some much-needed caffeine. I grabbed my coffee frappuccino and headed outside to warm up in the 90-degree temperatures.

I chose a table in the middle of the courtyard and sat down. I pulled out my notebook and began to jot down little thoughts and thanks from the past few hours:

:: the kind people who understand the importance of donating

:: the feel of the sunshine warming my chilly body and energizing me even more

:: watching the little girl in the wheelchair rolling herself around, then ditching the wheelchair to chase a bird around on her wobbly legs

:: wind chimes dancing in the trees and making music

:: the cute little dinosaurs on my lime green arm wrap

:: friendly faces smiling because of the excitement that is FRIDAY

I seemed to find beauty in everything Friday afternoon… it was impossible not to! After you do something good you just feel good. Does anyone else know the feeling?

Arm wrap

I donated platelets on Friday for the first time and I plan on doing it as often as I can! I highly encourage donating to anyone healthy & able! You won’t regret it. You might even save a life by giving up a few hours out of your schedule. If you ever want to join me at UNC, let me know! 🙂

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If you have any questions about the donation process of blood or platelets, ask me- I’ll be more than happy to answer them!

Fact: Currently only 3 out of every 100 people in America donate blood. via  Are you one of those 3???

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Disclaimer:: I don’t want to sound bragadocious in this post… like “oh look at what I did.” That’s not what I want to get across to you! I simply want to stress the importance of giving (if you can) and enlighten you on the process!

Today, I Swam

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Today, I swam.

Boy oh boy did it feel good.

It’s been over a year since I have jumped in a pool and swam laps. And gosh, I’ve missed it.

I grew up swimming and had a love-hate relationship with it in high school. (I still need to blog about that) In summers past, I haven’t had opportunities or places to swim laps so I haven’t done much of that. Last summer, I swam in the channel at the beach against the current… and that’s honestly the last time I had done any intense swimming.

Until today.

I spent the entire day poolside… it was amazing. I got to relax in the sun, catch up with my aunt (who has the pool in her neighborhood), watch planes fly by overhead, and swim laps… how could it not be an amazing day?!

Seriously, today gets an A+ in my books.

SO many people there!

We got to the pool around 10:30… not another soul around. My aunt and I floated, sunbathed, and gabbed. I had every intention of swimming laps but I lounged instead.

Hours passed, sunscreen was reapplied, and water was chugged down. (I went through 5 bottles in 7 hours!)

pool & clouds in my shades

Once people started coming for a swim, I kept telling myself, “when they leave, I will swim.” People came and went. No laps were swam.

4:00 rolled around and everyone was gone. I knew it was time to swim.

You see, I was kind of nervous… a year had passed since swimming last, and I guess I was nervous I would only be able to do a few laps. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to do the different strokes. I was nervous that all my swimming skills had left me.

I grabbed my goofy Speedo goggles (seriously, who looks cute wearing goggles?!), adjusted them on my head, and took a few deep breaths.

Three… two… one…

I pushed off the wall with all my strength and butterfly kicked until I had surfaced about halfway down the pool. Stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe. Stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, breath. I had a rhythm going. I was kicking with all my might, stroking my arms as quickly as I could… sprinting as a warm-up probably wasn’t the best choice, but oh well. One lap down. One to go.

Third lap I slowed down the pace by a landslide. Trying to catch my breath back after my sprint.

The next 8 laps, I crossed my ankles together and simply relied on my upper body strength to get me from one wall to the next. Whew, talk about a workout. I would sprint one lap and slow it down the next, all the while using my arms like crazy.

I did a lap of butterfly, three of breaststroke, two backstroke, and two of freestyle to end up my little afternoon swimming endeavor.

By the time I finished, I was breathing so heavy, heart was pounding, arms and shoulders were sore from their hard work. After I had chugged down a bottle of lukewarm water, ripped off my goofy goggles, and caught my breath, I couldn’t help but smile. I felt good and tired. Although I didn’t swim nearly as many laps as I used to be able to, I was proud of the few I had accomplished. I was proud there was still a swimmer inside of me. Still living up to my “mermaid” nickname.

Today, I swam. 

 

Friday Favorites

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This week I have been a news-story-reading fiend. There have been many headliners and lots of news about the Olympics (which start today- WHO ELSE IS EXCITED?!) and lots of other random articles that have provided lots of “hmm’s” and smiles while at work. Take the time to read just a few… I promise they are interesting! 🙂

 

 

:: Rubber Bands vs Watermelon  — a sick video by the Slo Mo Guys. Is it dumb that I want to try that?

:: Did you know that lemurs are the most threatened mammals on the planet??? (as opposed to on another planet…duh)

::  Toe-Rag was the word of the day this past week on OED. Random word, yeah? Definition–>  Toe-rag: 1) A rag wrapped round the foot & worn inside a shoe, in place of a sock; 2) A tramp or vagrant; a despicable or worthless person.   (Source: OED)

:: Chapel Hill Magazine published an article with local olympians who are competing! Pretty cool.

:: Yoga reduces stress… would you ever have guessed?! Article that explains why, here.

:: Milo Greene performed “1957” on Letterman the other night! Video.

:: I’m sure by now you’ve seen the US Swim Team and their own version of “Call Me Maybe.” If not, here it is.

 

:: Oh, the debate on guns. Obama vs. AK-47s

:: Foods to boost your mood! Do you need any of these?

:: Volunteering our time makes us feel like we have more time. (article here) This is so true! I totally feel that way. Despite my busy schedule, when I make time to volunteer and help others, it just feels good and surprisingly not as busy.

:: The Staggering Beauty of Iceland’s Glacier Lagoon. Somebody take me there, please!!!

:: A cute & tiny pinecone necklace from Etsy!

:: Cinnamon Bun Protein Cake (recipe here) This seriously sounds delicious! Great way to use protein powder.

:: India’s President was sworn in on July 25th.

:: Guess Seattle won’t be seeing many Japanese anymore after Ichiro’s trade from the Mariners. Pretty crazy how a sports trade can cause a minor drop in the economy.

:: Time’s 20 Most Influential Americans of all time. Are any of those people whom you admire for their past achievements?

:: Interesting article on flexibility from Share it Fitness. Do you stretch?

:: Lastly, a cool commercial from AT&T. I’m kind of biased to Verizon, but this commercial makes me smile.

 

What news stories have you been reading this week???

One of Durham’s Best-Kept Secrets

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Durham, NC is located almost in the center of the state, near the capital, Raleigh. Durham is a great location because of it’s proximity to Raleigh, the iconic Durham Bulls, and also because of the local colleges & universities. First off there’s Duke University. Then down the road is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A little further down the road is North Carolina State University. And then throw in North Carolina Central University as well. Basically, Durham is the hub of some great ACC teams and because of that, basketball (and other sports) seasons can get very exciting!

I love basketball. Watching, that is. I’ve been to more games than I can count, whether they were my brother’s home-school middle school or high school team, pick-up games at church where I was in charge of the books, and I have been to my fair share of Duke games… as a Cameron Crazie. (that’s another post!) During the summer once the NBA is over, I miss basketball. Lucky for me, Durham is home to one of the best-kept summer secrets- the Greater NC Pro-Am.

Don’t believe me? Maybe the big names will do the convincing:

Nolan Smith

Raymond Felton

Rasheed Wallace

Miles Plumlee

Dominique Sutton

Mason Plumlee

Ryan Kelly

Jerry Stackhouse

Rodney Hood

PJ Hairston

Kyrie Irving

…and those are just the “well-known” players. Each team roster has a handful of players who you see play, and you think, “who are they? who do they play for?” Sometimes, the lesser-known players are the best ones to watch.

Miles & Mason Plumlee
July 2011

Rasheed Wallace
July 2011

Crowds line up outside of the gym at NC Central before the games and file through metal detectors. Once inside, choose your seats in the gym and prepare to see some sick basketball. Warm-ups are my favorite to watch because not only do you get a sneak peek at everyone’s skills, you also get to see the attitudes of the players… are they here to rack up the points, or here to play as a team?

The league is divided up into teams. Sometimes, with players from rival schools on their roster. That’s when the games get interesting. At the Pro-Am games, it isn’t necessarily about what college you play for, but rather about if you win. Gotta give the crowd a good show, right? After the games, the team standings are posted. What that page doesn’t show is the top scorers of each game…. Tuesday night, PJ Hairston had 31 points, Rodney Hood had 25, Amile Jefferson had 18, and Leslie McDonald had 16.

The NC Pro-Am blog boasts of other great reasons why it’s the best: It’s the rucker of the South, there’s better music (in-house DJ!), SHEED Wallace(!), Durham has more character than Vegas, the NCCU location, the players, hecklers, the fact that it’s a free event, and announcer Bill Murphy. (“That was a three ball from DOWNTOWN!” is said quite a bit.)

Still don’t believe me that the NC Pro-Am is one of Durham’s best-kept secrets??? Check out the highlights video from July 17th. I was there watching the whole time.

More articles about the action at the Pro-Am:

Tar Heels Hold Court (The Herald Sun)

Quinn Cook with 24 points (News & Record)

Hot Games at NCCU Summer League Have Calming Effect (The Herald Sun) *personal favorite article!*

Duke Newcomers Start Slow (News & Record)

UNC Newcomer Tokoto (News & Record)

Rasheed Wallace fills elder statesman role (The Herald Sun)

If you’re in or near Durham, you need to look at the schedule and try to make it out to a game or two! Chances are, you’ll see some great basketball and maybe even gain a greater respect for other teams’ players. The NC Pro-Am is definitely one of Durham’s best-kept secrets!

And if you can’t make it to the games, follow the NC Pro-Am twitter account!

Or Mark Watson who usually tweets highlights from Duke players at the games!

Meet Milo Greene

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A week ago, the band Milo Greene came out with their debut album.

Album art

Yeah, Milo Greene is a “them” and not a “he.”  And they are so cool.

At first glance you may think, “oh that’s just another album” but no… ohhh it’s more than that. It’s a work of art. If you watch this interview with the members you’ll understand. Basically everything about this album tells a story… from the album cover, to the songs, to the music videos themselves… it’s all going to be a movie! (You can watch a few installments/parts here and here.)

You might wonder why I’m so excited about this. Well, I’m super excited about their album and their project for a few reasons: 1. I love their music. 2. I love Milo Greene.

There’s something about live music that makes you fall in love… with the music, the musicians, the singers… everything. It’s like a musical high. And I was lucky enough to fall in love with Milo Greene at a concert in December 2011.

my first glance at the awesome members of Milo Greene

MG

I’m telling you- their harmonies are amazingggg. I don’t think a group could sound more perfect together than Milo Greene. 

Forget the main act of the concert (The Civil Wars)… I didn’t want Milo Greene to stop playing!

And one of the best parts? Afterwards we got to meet the members of Milo Greene. We got their autographs on their CD. We took pictures. We laughed. We laid in the grass in front of Duke Chapel. We tweeted. True stories. All which make me love them and their music even more. I’m such a big fan because they get to know their fans, they care about their fans.

The girls and Andrew

I was really excited about this picture. Don’t judge.

In the grass

The moral of this post is this: Go check out their new album on itunes. Follow them on twitter. Like them on facebook. If you’re lucky, they might be coming to a city near you! (I’m going to see them in October!) And enjoy the amazing sounds of Milo Greene. I promise you won’t regret it.

Friday Favorites

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I’m sure all you’ve heard about in the news today is the horrific shooting in Aurora, CO. Hopefully some of these news stories I’m going to share will bring a smile to your face, make you think, or even give you the urge to travel, read, or cook! 🙂

 

— The Duke football team cleaned up Duke’s campus! They do this every year and I think it speaks volumes about Coach Cutcliffe and the team.

— 6 Best Foods for runners! I’ll save you the read and go ahead and tell you: almonds, eggs, leafy greens, oranges, quinoa & sweet potatoes. (things I already eat lots of because they are so good!)

9 Really Strange Sports That Are no Longer in the Olympics. There are some really strange ones… but tug-of-war and rope climb- why don’t they still keep those?! I personally the distance plunging would be the most fun to try… even though I would be horrible at it! (it just has a funny name)

Silents Soar in San Francisco by Leonard Maltin. I had never been a fan of silent films until I saw The Artist earlier this year. LOVED it!

— A mouth-watering Chinese Chop Salad recipe that I really want to try soon!

Deep South Magazine has a Summer reading list for 2012. I sure wish I had time to read… I love a good book in the summertime!

— I just found out about the Colca Canyon in Peru this week. A friend went and her pictures were amazing! Definitely adding that to my “Travel To” list 🙂

Cañon del Colca

— 48 Tons of Silver was recovered from a WW2 shipwreck! It’s being called the “heaviest and deepest recovery of precious metals. Article here.

— Apparently the Great Wall of China has grown??? (I REALLY want to see this some day!)

— A post about relationships and respect from Cory Copeland.

— How to do interval training. (Something I’ve been doing lots of lately!)

— Do you know how many slaves work for you? Find out at Slavery Footprint. Kind of an eye-opener… I won’t share my results, but if you take this survey let me know what you think of your answer!

Oregon’s Crater Lake looks amazing. Who wants to visit it with me?!

— And now back to the tragedy that occurred last night: the Aurora Shooting. My heart breaks for those who were there and the families affected by it. This morning on different news channels I sat watching, praying, and so touched by the stories from victims. Some days, I hate the fallen world we live in. But I do hope everyone realizes that the US is not the only country mourning deaths today… a bomb in Thailand injured 8. A Bulgarian bus bombing killed 7.  Crazy explosions in Damascus. And so many other sad stories.

USA Today put together an interactive timeline with the worst mass shootings in US history. I hadn’t heard of some of the shootings, but most I had. If only none of those shootings had ever happened…

 

What news stories have caught your eye this week???

Things I Can’t Put on my Resumé

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The title explains it all, folks. The following are skills I have acquired, tasks I accomplish on a daily basis, and various other shenanigans that I can’t put on my resumé. (If I could, I’m sure I would have job offers out the wazoo! 😉

– I’m a pro at making Starbucks runs for 5+ people. (ok, maybe I have trouble opening doors with zero available hands, but I somehow make that work too 😉

– I can entertain children while they are getting their blood drawn or skin prick tests done. (just make faces and talk about summer activities… easy peasy)

– I can walk at a super speedy pace therefore making my arrival time to anything, on time.

– I can carry a half-full box of computer paper a half mile up the road. (Yes, this has been done many a time. I have the biceps to prove it. Ehh, not really)

– I have really great quinoa-making skills… Greek quinoa, Mexican quinoa, Asian quinoa, garlic quinoa, sweet quinoa, etc. (Am I the only person who loves quinoa?!)

– I can type 83 words per minute. Oh wait, that IS on my resumé 😉

– I can organize a refrigerator like nobody’s business.

– I can organize a chart room like nobody’s business.

– I am a professional at-work tweeter. Guess that’s not really helpful unless I get a job in social media…

– I can change a flat tire.

– I have over 273 crazy faces in my repertoire. As in, I can make hundreds of crazy (Read: UGLY) faces. My mom says I’m weird…

two of the many faces Amanda and I have

– I can recite almost all of the lines and lyrics in some of my favorite musicals such as, Singin’ in the Rain, The Wizard of Oz, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

– I can quote silly youtube videos like “Bon Qui Qui” and “Nail Salon” with Anjelah Johnson. I’m sure only one of my friends will understand this… cough cough Brittany!

– If the copier machine is broken, I can fix it! On numerous occasions people have left the copier jammed and who comes to the rescue? Why none other than Meredith! Yes, copier-fixing skills really should be on my resumé…

– I can give a good manicure. Shoot, I never go to the nail salon. I’ll paint your nails for cheap! (Payment in coffee or froyo, please!)

– I am a good barterer… in Peru. You say that scarf is 12 soles? Pssh, I saw one over there for 8! Oh, you’ll give it to me for 9? Score! (Stuff is cheap in Peru, but sometimes you just want a good deal!)

– I am a great Eno Hammock setter-upper. I pick the right spot everytime 🙂

– I can fix a broken toilet! (unless it’s a plumbing issue.)

– I am a professional painter. Of walls & ceilings, that is. (see proof of bathroom here. I painted my room & the living room back in the day. Ok, maybe not professional, but I do enjoy it!)

the brown that covers 3 of my 4 walls. the 4th is a lovely apple green!

– I can mulch a yard in under an hour.

– I have serious paintball skills. Don’t think you can shoot me!

– I rock it out with the legends on Guitar Hero. And I love it. It’s so much fun!

– I can create a new recipe out of leftovers or random produce and pantry items. Hellooo dinner.

Those are just a few of the many skills I can’t put on my resumé. What are some random skills you can’t put on yours?