Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Eve

I am so thankful that it's the weekend.

I had grand plans today, including a ten-mile run. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. However, I did get a lot of other stuff accomplished.

I woke up super early (7:00 or so) and headed to the grocery store to pick up some meat for tonight. I tried to grab it last night, but unfortunately the butcher had already left, and they didn't have any beef short ribs cut and ready to go. So, this morning started with a trip to Dahl's.

When I got home, I immediately started prepping the meat and the sauce to throw in the crock pot since it needed to cook for 9-11 hours. As soon as that started simmering away, I cooked breakfast and enjoyed it at the table with a special someone:

Who else would I be having breakfast with, y'all? The "special someone" was a little girl kitty. Don't get your hopes up.

While I was eating breakfast, Katie texted and asked if I wanted to run errands with her. Since I needed to pick up a few things for my trip (and since Old Navy was having a killer sale), I decided to postpone my planned run and head out west with her.

First, we stopped at Old Navy, and I picked up a strapless linen dress, a casual black dress, workout capris, a workout top, a cross-body purse (but in a red color), and a work shirt (that looks a lot cuter on me than it does in this picture). While I spent more money than the $0 I anticipated on spending, I did not buy anything too frivolous and am really pleased with my purchases.

Second, we stopped at Trader Joe's. I didn't need a whole lot of groceries since I'm heading out of town, but I did pick up some apples and almond butter to take with me to Atlanta, some blueberries and mango slices, and some coconut milk to have on reserve.

Finally, we stopped at Target where we farted around for far too long. I got a few necessities, such as deodorant and fuel for long runs (i.e. baby food pouches), but I also picked up some splurges: a pair of black flip-flops and a maxi dress (with the excuse of well, I have a plane ride this week, so I need the dress). It doesn't necessarily look like it online, but the dress is actually very flattering.

All of our shopping and wandering around had us quite famished, so we stopped at Star Bar for lunch prior to heading our separate ways.

When I got home, I worked on some blog entries for this week since I will not be in town to write. Get excited for those.

Around 5:00, it was time to start getting ready to head over to Katie's for Shaw's birthday dinner. I, of course, had to wear one of my brand-new outfits:

Dress: Old Navy; Shoes: DSW; Necklace: Hot Mama;
Earrings, Ring, and Bracelets: Express

I'm pretty pleased with how the look turned out. I do, however, need to get the top of the dress taken in just a smidge: it's a little big (surprisingly) in the boob-age area.

The party was super fun: it was me, Katie, Katie's special friend, Shaw and his two daughters (Kate and Natalie), Beth, and Tony (formerly known as The Boy). We ate some delicious food, watched silly YouTube videos, and then caught the season premiere of Orphan Black, a show that I am going to start watching from the beginning so that I can participate in discussions with my friends.

It was a good night with great people. I do have to say, however, that I am a bit down tonight. And what makes me even sadder is that my "being down" has to do with stupid boys. (Seriously, I embarrassed that I give men that "power" to make me feel crappy. I am a strong, independent woman. Ugh.)

  • Boy 1: I'm annoyed that he said he wanted to be friends with me yet does not initiate contact with me, does not respond to questions regarding whether or not he is attending an event so that I know how much food to buy, and just acts differently when we hang out.
  • Boy 2: I'm annoyed that he bailed on a commitment with very short notice, and I'm annoyed that he responded in an utterly disrespectful manner when I called him out on leaving six other people high and dry.
  • Boy 3: I'm annoyed that in a text conversation last weekend he told me that he missed me and that he had been talking with his parents about me but then that he has not communicated with me (or responded to my two attempts at communication) since Wednesday.
I guess I'm just frustrated and upset with the male species as a whole.

It's about time I found a quality partner, someone who treats me well and who has my best interests at heart. If anyone has any idea where I can find someone who fits those characteristics (and is also single, smart, funny, motivated, and semi-attractive), please let me know.

It's about time for me to log off, though, as I have big plans for tomorrow and need a good night's sleep: ten miles are on the calendar, y'all (as is laundry, packing, and grading). Yikes.


Today I had a carb-heavy breakfast because I thought I was going for a run. Oops. I mixed one sweet potato with a jalapeno, mushrooms, avocado, salsa, and two eggs. I made a small strawberry-blackberry salad for a side.


I had my most recent "usual" from Star Bar today: the sesame-crusted tuna salad. Honestly, I ordered this as a bit of a "test." This is the meal I ate right before having the most awful allergic reaction yet on Wednesday.

The test was a complete and utter failure, however, as I had absolutely no reaction whatsoever. (It's a scientific failure but a social success, as I did not have to take Benadryl and/or hydroxyzine in the middle of the day.)


Katie and I both made Korean Short Ribs (we needed two crock pots for the number of people that we had at the party). Katie also made a pear-celery slaw and some pickled cucumbers, radishes, and red onions. We then put everything together into tacos and/or lettuce wraps. I also made some spicy green beans for a side.

It was so good. We made nearly ten pounds of ribs for eight people -- and had zero leftovers.

Katie also made a cheesecake with a chocolate crust and raspberry sauce. I had a very small piece, and it was absolutely divine. It was so, so sweet -- ridiculously sweet after not having had sugar for quite a long time.

What did y'all do on this beautiful Easter Eve?

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Five Favorites

Happy Saturday, friends!

I really, really missed telling you about my five favorite things last week while I was sick with allergies, a migraine, and then gone in St. Louis, so compiling my five favorites this week was extra fun.

I hope you enjoy!

1. Goody Ouchless Ribbon Elastics

I first saw these hair ties when I saw Aly and her mom in Omaha. I noticed a really cool ribbon-y bracelet on Aly, and I thought it was something from J Crew or Banana Republic and didn't think much of it. 

Then I saw that same ribbon-y bracelet holding up her hair. Duh, Emmy, it was a hair tie.

I immediately knew I had to get my hands on some of those bad boys, as I rarely put my hair up anymore simply because I hate wearing elastics around my wrist.

These are so pretty, and I love that they don't crinkle or rip out your hair when you take down the pony. I wouldn't wear only one of these during a run or a hardcore workout because they're not that strong, but I'd definitely consider wearing one over a normal hair tie simply for the fashion aspect.

I love them.

2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

One of my students read this book and absolutely loved it, so I impulse-purchased it when I was at Barnes & Noble with my mom and sister a couple of weeks ago.

I impulsively threw it in my purse to take to St. Louis with me "just in case," and I nearly finished it by the time we got to St. Louis.

I devoured it.

It was so good, friends. I know that YA fiction is not "for everyone" (although I have a hard time understanding why not), but I absolutely loved this book. I thought it was just so real -- the first relationship between an awkward guy and even more awkward girl. I loved that the characters were imperfect and flawed, and I appreciated that the ending was not very "clean" and left a lot of questions in readers' minds.

As soon as I finished the book, I wanted to talk to my student about it. And, I want to give it to all of my other students to read: so good.

3. Bees Beechwood Spatula

We really like bees in my family: our last name starts with a B, so it's just natural that we like bees. I don't know. It makes sense to us. Don't judge.

For instance, check out my mom's blog signature:

Yep: a bee.

And this is a gift that I bought for my sister a couple of years ago:

Yep: another bee.

We like bees, okay?

But back to the spatula. I was at World Market a couple of months ago and saw the cutest collection of bee stuff: the spatula, a spoon, measuring cups, a cookie jar, etc. I knew that I had to have a bee something, and if I was going to have a bee something, so was my mom, my sister, and my sister-in-law.

I seriously love this spatula. I use it nearly every single day -- at least once -- and it has yet to fade a bit. Not only does it look cool, but it also feels good. I'm picky about kitchen utensils, and this one is a definite winner.

4. Gym Bag

I think I've mentioned before that I was the cheerleading coach for three years at the school where I teach. And as a reminder, I coached for three more years than I cheered myself.

One of the perks of coaching was a bunch of swag. I have more navy and white cheer shirts than I know what to do with. I also have a warm up jacket with a huge sparkly silver R on the back and plenty of jackets that have "Coach Emily" embroidered on the chest. Don't be jealous: I'm sure I can spare one for you.

But in all seriousness, I absolutely love the cheer bag that I received for all of my hard work bought. I haven't coached cheer for the last five years, but I've used this bag countless times. It's perfect for heading to Omaha for the weekend or bringing workout clothes to work for an after-school change. I think this is one of my better investments.

5. Simply Balanced Fruit Twists

Simply Balanced is Target's wellness brand and offers a great line of all-natural and preservative-free foods. The ones I've tried thus far (the fruit twists pictured above) and the twisted fruit ropes are really, really tasty. And, the fruit twists are awesome -- and perfectly portable -- for fuel for long runs.

I bought a thing of Simply Balanced almond butter as well but haven't opened it yet. I'll keep you posted.

What are some things you're loving lately?

Find previous "Five Favorites" here:
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Be Jealous

I fudged a bit on my Whole30/Paleo plan again today.

Remember how I (and 8,000 other people on Pinterest) said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail? Yeah, well that happened this morning.

I totally forgot that I was supposed to get eggs on my way home yesterday, so I had a whole one egg in my fridge this morning. And I totally spaced on making coffee until about 7:10, and since I have to be at work at 7:25 and did not have time to French-press a pot, I decided I would just head to Bruegger's, my favorite coffee spot in town -- that just so happens to be three blocks from my house.

Well, since I was out of eggs and going to Bruegger's for coffee anyway, I decided I'd just grab a bagel. I did get it cut "skinny" so that it was really only about three-fourths of a normal bagel, but I did get it with cream cheese.

It was great.

Interestingly, yesterday and today I didn't stick to a totally "clean" diet, and yesterday and today I didn't have crazy allergic reactions.

It's super interesting, but it's also really, really frustrating. I'm trying to treat my body the best that it can be treated, but when I do so, I get crazy-sick, crazy-allergic.

I guess I won't totally attribute the allergies to clean-eating quite yet and will wait for the allergist's official diagnosis, but it's a frustrating, to say the least.

In other news, today was an absolutely beautiful day. At tennis practice after school, I wore a tank-top and my running capris -- and actually played a little tennis with the girls! I am looking forward to playing more, as it's really fun and a good, easy workout. I am absolutely terrible right now, but I think I could actually be pretty good if I practiced.

After practice, I headed home and started cleaning my apartment. I have been so disgusted by how messy it's gotten lately due to me simply not being home to clean it, so I spent several hours scrubbing the toilet, cleaning the litter-box room, organizing summer/winter clothes and shoes, dusting ceiling fans, and more.

I took a mini-break to head to a team dinner for tennis. It was a really nice little get-together, and I played a few games of Bananagrams (my favorite) with the hostess, her mother, and one of my favorite girls, a student from Kazakhstan.

So, tonight was spent cleaning and hanging out with high-school students. I am so cool.


Like I said, I had a skinny everything bagel with light garden veggie cream cheese -- and a salted caramel coffee. It was all so good and so easy. I also didn't think that was enough carbs, so I ate a banana, too.

Lunch: I didn't do a great job for lunch. I ate a bite of my Moroccan Meatballs and just couldn't eat anymore. I don't know what my deal with meat has been lately, but I just can't do it. So instead, I ate more carbs: yet another banana and some all-natural fruit snacks.

Snack: I ate a Larabar before tennis practice.

Dinner: At the tennis potluck, I had a very small portion of pulled pork with sriracha sauce, cole slaw, and pineapple. I'm sure there were some non-compliant ingredients in there, but oh well. I'm going to log off shortly and watch Game of Thrones (if I don't fall asleep), and I may eat an apple with almond butter since I'm a bit hungry and will likely head out on a long run early in the morning. We'll see.

I hope y'all had an amazing Friday night and are not super jealous of my shenanigans!

What are your plans for the weekend?

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Five on Friday

Just like I have for the past several Fridays, today I am linking up with The Good Life BlogHello! HappinessCarolina Charm, and A. Liz Adventures for "Five on Friday."


Please don't forget to join me and Aly for our link-up: Three Thanks! We love the gratitude that we've seen and read so far!

And, please don't forget to enter my giveaway: today is the absolute last day to enter! Good luck to y'all!

As always, here are some random musings:


I had to cut my fingernails for the first time in probably 25 years yesterday. 

I have always, for as long as I can remember, been a nail-biter. And it's not necessarily that I've been a nail-biter so much as a nail-picker. I think it stems from my obsessive tendencies: I really, really like everything to be equal, to look the exact same way. So if one of my nails broke, I wanted them all to break to be that short. That obsessiveness caused me to basically bite/pick my nails down to nothing.

But, I've finally stopped biting and picking, and yesterday I actually had to cut them. 

I'm pretty proud of myself -- prouder more of kicking this habit than I am of completing Whole30, believe it or not.


My students are currently reading the book Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and this week we took a break from reading the novel to read a short story and watch a music video.

I had my kids read A Simple Gesture by John Schlatter, and we discussed how seemingly meaningless words or actions can have such a significant impact on others' lives.

We then watched the music video to Mark Wills' Don't Laugh at Me.

After the kids got over the late-90s style, we had a great discussion of how we cannot judge others because we do not know their stories, how we should always treat people with nothing but compassion and kindness.

I then had students write about their responses to a few questions: how others' actions have positively or negatively impacted them, how they could have acted differently to more positively affect someone else, and how they believe they acted in a manner to help another human being.

While some students did not take the assignment seriously and others were uncomfortable answering such personal questions, the majority of the students really took the assignment to heart and were honest and reflective in their responses. I only hope they truly take it to heart and treat their peers with love and kindness.


I'm really looking forward to a weekend to do nothing. I was gone two weekends ago in Omaha and last weekend in St. Louis. I'll be gone half of next weekend (until Saturday) in Atlanta, the weekend after that in Omaha/Lincoln for my half marathon, and half of the next weekend (Saturday) on the Market-to-Market Relay.

I'm hoping to get a lot of Netflix-watching done tomorrow and Sunday.


Oh, and I'll get a ten-mile run in there somewhere.


You know what else I should do this weekend? Clean my apartment.

I'm getting pretty disgusted with the state of my bathroom, the ickiness of my kitchen floor, and the litter that my cats think is necessary to kick all over the floor of their little closet. The dust on my ceiling fans is not going anywhere, and I'm pretty sure I need to vacuum all of my floors at least twice to get up all of the gunk.

I just need a good deep clean.

I don't know anyone who is this happy scrubbing floors.

But I really, really, really do not want to do it.

I think I need to hire someone.


On the way to St. Louis last weekend, Mindy and Katie and I bought our tickets for 80/35, Des Moines' two-day music festival.

(Side note: Mindy and I logged on immediately at 10:00 a.m. to buy the early-bird two-day tickets for $39. Katie logged in thirty seconds later, and the tickets were sold out! She had to pay an extra ten bucks. Crazy!)

I have gone to 80/35 a couple of years, and I'm super pumped for this year's festival already. A few of the acts have been announced thus far, and they look awesome. I'm especially pumped for Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes, one of my favorite indie bands who was up-and-coming when I was in high school and all over everything Saddle Creek Records), Ziggy Marley (I love me some reggae), Brother Trucker (a great local band), and Bonne Finken (always a fun show).

I can't wait for them to announce the Saturday headliner. Any guesses?

Also, I would love to see Delta Rae, Trapper Schoepp & the Shades, and Mat Kearney again sometime soon. If the 80/35 organizers are reading this amazing blog, please make that happen. K thanks. :)

I hope you all have a fabulous Friday!

What is the best concert you have ever been to? What is the next show I should binge-watch on Netflix? What has been your hardest habit to break? 

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

True Confessions

As the title implies, I have a confession to make.

I'm not sure what the cat has to do with her
husband being away, but...
I totally strayed from Whole30 today.

But here's the thing: I do not feel bad about it.

I have been feeling pretty crappy all week, and I have had pretty much no appetite whatsoever. Last night was especially bad allergy-wise, and today was a long day: teaching followed by a tennis meet that lasted until around 7:00.

I had chicken and pork chops in my fridge to cook for tonight, but neither one of those huge hunks of meat sounded good tonight. The only thing that sounded somewhat palatable, in fact, was Gusto pizza.

So I said screw it. I have been eating next to nothing lately, and if I want to eat Gusto pizza, I'm going to eat Gusto pizza.

Katie (BFF), Shaw, Kate, and I headed to Gusto after the meet -- and then we swung by Orange Leaf. I definitely ate some fro-yo, as it was something I had been craving for a really, really long time.

I was such a little kid. Nom nom nom.

Two things about breaking my Whole30 regime:

  1. The crap food is no longer in my system. It lasted there approximately one hour before quickly making its exit. (You're welcome for sparing you the details.)
  2. I have not yet noticed any allergy issues today -- nor did I really notice any in St. Louis. Is it possible that my body is reacting to not having some sort of food in it? Does it need wheat or dairy or something else that I have been "depriving" it? I don't know.
I guess it's something to consider.

But anyway, here are today's eats:


I was one of those people today and nearly forgot to eat my breakfast. I'm telling you: I have had no appetite at all lately. But, I remembered with about ten minutes left in my planning period and ate my scrambled eggs, avocado, mushrooms, and jalapeno. I also ate a banana right as the kids were walking in.

Lunch: I ate a small portion of leftover Moroccan Meatballs and cauliflower rice. Honestly, I just had a few bites. I just wasn't that hungry and just wasn't feeling it.

Snack: At the tennis meet, I ate some of the all-natural fruit snacks that I bought for running fuel, an apple, and a Key Lime Pie Larabar.


I had the Il Figaro pizza from Gusto. This is my favorite, and it had been off the menu for several months. It tasted okay tonight -- not nearly as awesome as I remember it.

Even though it was just okay, I ate the entire thing. Yes, yes I did.

And then I ate this:

It was half Wedding Cake and half Salted Caramel, topped with marshmallow stuff, cookie dough bites, graham cracker powder, and peanut butter shavings. I didn't fill my bowl too full at all, but I did not even eat the whole thing.

The splurge today was totally worth it.

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Three Thanks

Happy Thursday, friends!

Thanks for stopping by! If you have a blog, please link up with me and Aly at Here Comes Happiness for our weekly blog party. And if you don't have a blog, we would love to hear your "three thanks" in the comment section below!

Join in the fun any way you'd like. :)

The Swallow Flies & Here Comes Happiness Three Thanks


I am thankful for good girlfriends.

Me with BFF and ME (two of several amazing ladies in my life)

I have always been blessed with the most amazing girlfriends in the universe, and I wish I could impart to my ninth-grade girls just how important good friends are, that they should focus more on building and maintaining relationships with other girls and not spend so much time on the boys.

I am so grateful for the weekend that Alicia, BFF, Mindy, Tamara, and I were able to spend together. It was so much fun and so relaxing and just so nice being away from everything but great girls.

I wish it could happen more often.


I am thankful that Shaw asked me to coach tennis with him.

I know absolutely nothing about the sport -- but I'm learning more and more about it every day. What I really love is hanging out with students in a capacity other than teaching. The girls are so much fun, so silly, and super nice. And, it's a good excuse to be outside in the beautiful weather. :)

I also kind of want to play tennis...


I am so grateful for the kind, thoughtful students who I teach.

I had kind of a rough, stressful day yesterday, and in one of my classes, I received a not-so-nice "essay" from a student that detailed how much he disliked me, how I don't care about anyone but myself, etc. I am an extremely sensitive individual, and even though I know that I shouldn't take what 14-year-olds say to heart, I do. So, I was hurting.

In the next class, I have one of my all-time favorite students, a young man that I had in class as a freshman, who I've gotten to know well through an extra-curricular organization, and who I have again as a senior. He is just so, so sweet, always giving me great big hugs and asking me how I'm doing. Today, I had to step out of the room for a minute right before the bell rang, and I found these notes sitting on my keyboard:

I know that they were from him, as I saw him hand one to another teacher as a "good luck" prior to her presentation in front of the staff.

I know that this particular student probably did not know that I was having a rough day, but the fact that he gave these little notes to me really affected me and truly put a smile on my face. And, it really reminded me of all of the awesome students with whom I work -- the reason that I do what I do.

What are you especially grateful for today?

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Guess What Day It Is!

Mike Mike Mike Mike Mike!


First, please remember to link up with me and Aly (Here Comes Happiness) tomorrow for our weekly Three Thanks link-up. It's Aly's birthday tomorrow, and I'm sure she would greatly appreciate the gift of your link-age. :)

Today was a busy day, as they all have been lately.

Work was okay, although I did receive a not-so-nice note from a student, which completely hurt my feelings and upset me quite a bit. Luckily, I had approximately 60 other amazing students that made my day much better -- as well as my family members who joked about the not-so-nice note via group text and totally cheered me up.

Because today was Wednesday, we had a building-wide professional development this afternoon, and it was absolutely awesome. Linds, the teacher with whom I have worked the most closely for the past six years, gave an amazing presentation about how to best serve LGBT youth. She did such a phenomenal job: I love her so much and am so thankful she's my colleague and my friend.

I had to duck out of PD early, however, as I had an appointment with an allergist.

I've seen enough of these in the last two
weeks to last me a while.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a whole lot of answers. He drew four tubes of my blood: one to send to the East Coast to test for an Ibuprofen allergy, and three to send downtown to Mercy Hospital to check something with enzymes.

As soon as I heard enzyme testing, I knew I had to turn to my trusty source of all things medical: Google. I am pretty sure that this is what is wrong with me. I texted it to my dad, and he said, "Just what every doc loves -- a patient with access to the Internet." I responded that I still need the doctor to tell me what causes it; I haven't quite figured that out on my own...yet.

Anyway, after the blood tests come back, I will likely have to go in for skin testing: both for food allergies and for contact allergies, although he's thinking more "no" than "yes" on food allergies.

Shortly after my doctor's appointment, I met one of my good friends, Emmy Jean, out for dinner. We hit up Star Bar, one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Des Moines, and had a quick dinner and fabulous conversation. I love that girl.

As I was driving from the ol' SB to bowling, I noticed that my face felt really, really hot. I looked in the mirror, and sure enough, my face was bright red and splotchy, having some sort of allergic reaction to something. This reaction continued through bowling and grew to be over my entire back, both of my arms, my chest, and my booty.

Bowling was really fun tonight (aside from itching like crazy and looking like a hot mess). First, I bowled really, really well: I scored 139 on the first two games (nothing like consistency) and a 156 (or something close to it) on my third game. I was pretty pleased with myself. Second, one of the guys I bowl with recently started dating one of my former student's moms, so she met up with us. She is so, so nice, and I really enjoyed spending time with her outside of parent-teacher conferences. (It also helped that she talked about how much her son loved me last year, that I was his favorite teacher, that I was "so hard" but taught him a ton, and that she as a parent really, really appreciated me. After the last couple of days -- with the parent interaction yesterday and the student's note today -- it was really great to hear that from her.) I told my teammate not to screw this up. :)

Back to my health: right now, my face hurts really, really bad, and the rest of my body itches really, really bad. This might be the worst reaction I've had yet -- ironically, on the same day that I saw the allergist.


I took two hydroxyzine and a claritin, so I'm hoping to knock out pretty quickly.


Remember how I didn't eat dinner last night because I just wasn't feeling well? Apparently that continued on to this morning. I ate three bites of Paleo Oatmeal and threw the rest in the trashcan. I just couldn't do it.

Lunch: And I don't have a picture for lunch...because I didn't eat any. I still wasn't hungry. Around 2:45, however, I did eat an apple.


I was finally a bit hungry for dinner, which is why I suggested to Emmy Jean that we hit up Star Bar. The only thing that sounded good to me tonight was a salad -- and I ate the whole darn thing. Like last time I was at SB, I got the sesame-crusted tuna salad. It was absolutely delicious.

I also sucked down two vodka-sodas (with lime), which might just be my new favorite drink.

I hope you all had an absolutely wonderful Wednesday!

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