Back to School Again!

back to school again
See, I laugh because I think it’s funny that I have to go back for more school. 🙂

Back to school again! Don’t you all love another back to school post?! So my classes started this past week but we were fully online. The plan is now for us to transition into our hybrid and in-person classes. Fingers crossed it works, oh boy. I still have a few classes that are fully online for this semester but my university has hopes that with enough testing, we will be able to have a more “normal” semester. I really hope that’s the case!!

After being hope since Thanksgiving break, it’s going to feel really weird going back to living on my own. I’m used to have my food made for me (thanks Mom!!) and having the ability to do a lot of the things I like to do when I like to do them. I’m used to being able to go for walks with my dog often and not have to wear a mask every time I practically step outside. There will definitely be some adjustments to make as I get back into my school routine and I know I’ll make it work. I just hope I can deal with the loneliness part of things okay again. I’m really glad I have technology to help me there at least!

To prep for going back to school again, I did the usual- play some tennis and grocery shop. Not that tennis has anything with getting ready to go back to school, but it is a lot of fun! Lately, my mom and I have really good luck getting food from Target. I don’t know about you all but I really think that Target has improved their grocery department IMMENSELY. We can get a lot of the same things that we get from King Soopers (all-natural, no GMOs, etc.) for much cheaper and the quality is still really good if not better than what we find elsewhere. More reasons for me to love Target.

I hope you all have a good week and if you’re getting back into the swing of things, whether that’s at work or at school, we all got this. Stay safe and stay healthy and I’ll see you all next Sunday! 🙂

My Samsung Watch 3!

Samsung Watch 3
Image: © Future. This is pretty much exactly what my watch looks like, minus the heart rate and battery icons. 🙂

For my 21st birthday this past October, my family got me a Samsung Watch 3 and now that it has been a little while, I wanted to go ahead and give my review! Honestly, I’ve been pretty impressed with all of the things that my watch can do and I’m so thankful that my parents and sister are the wonderful, generous, amazing people they are because I’m in love with my watch.

I have the 41 mm Samsung Watch 3 in mystic bronze (OoOoOoo). It also comes in a silver color in the size I have and then if you want a larger watch face, there is also a 45 mm size that comes in black and silver. It supposably has at least a 2 day battery and water locking features. It tracks my heart rate, stress levels, oxygen levels, steps, sleep, exercise, and various other health related things. While I have really loved having my fun new accessory for the most part, I’ll share both the ups and downs of the Samsung Watch 3, just so if you’re interested in getting it, you’re getting more of the full picture!

LIKES
I’ve really enjoyed being able to track workouts on my watch. I can see how many calories I’ve burned and what my heart rate has been throughout my workouts. Whenever I set my watch to track a workout, it has a couple of faces I can flip between. One shows the duration of the workout and total calories burnt and another shows where my heart rate is and then it classifies a few different heart rate zones including: low intensity, weight control, aerobic, anaerobic, and maximum. I think it’s helpful to see what exercises and workouts really get my heart rate up there so I find it useful to look at all of that.

There are a couple of cool settings on the watch, one of my favorites being “good night mode”. When I’m ready to go to sleep for the night, I just hit the little moon icon on my watch and it shuts the face off for the night and prevents me from activating anything that would regularly turn on my watch face. It’s super nice because I don’t wake up during the night from the bright light of my watch face or from notifications. Thank you for that!

It’s pretty customizable! I’ve never been a big watch person in the past because I feel like I just get a little bored with the same thing being on my wrist all the time. I say this and yet I wear the same two necklaces every day, haha. Oh well! Anyway, I really like that I have the ability to customize my watch face and widgets to use my watch to its fullest potential and get it to fit the looks I want. I consider myself a pretty organized person and I love having the ability to organize so many different things on my watch, and like I said, truly set the watch so that it fits my lifestyle to the best of its ability. In addition to being able to customize everything I’ve mentioned so far, I think it’s super cool to be able to customize notifications on the Samsung Watch 3. I can choose when and how I receive notifications and what specific apps I do and don’t receive notifications from. I’ve found it very helpful to have text notifications on while I’m away at school and not near my phone, so that if I get something from family, I can see it and respond right away if needed.

DISLIKES
Battery life hasn’t been as amazing as was promised but I’ve honestly still had very few issues with the battery life of my watch. I think the watch’s battery life is advertised being around two-ish day but don’t quote me on that! I often find that if I try and go without charging it for around two days, I usually HAVE to charge it partway through that second day. That’s really not too bad at all and like I said, this isn’t the greatest issue for me but I was still a little bummed to see that it doesn’t fully live up to what I had heard about the battery life of the Samsung Watch 3. I’ve found workarounds by seeing what can optimize the battery and I charge it when I go to shower or really don’t need it on and I’ve found that everything works just fine that way!

I’m not sure if I just have really small wrists and there isn’t always an accurate reading but sometimes I feel like my heart rate isn’t accurately read when I do workout. As mentioned earlier in this post, I love love love being able to track my heart rate and burned calories but it doesn’t exactly help when my watch says that my heart rate is around 150 when I know it definitely isn’t and then it incorrectly determines calories burned from there. If anyone knows a way to ensure that your Samsung Watch 3 more accurately records heart rate more frequently, please let me know! This isn’t a huge issue that I have, again, but it does bug me knowing that my calories burned may be an overestimate. At least I’m aware of that!

In general, I really like the size and look of my watch but sometimes the bezel makes it feel a bit bulky. Again, this really doesn’t bother me too too much but when my watch gets caught on my jackets it kinda does. We got my sister the Samsung Watch Active 2 for Christmas and that doesn’t have the bezel that my watch does and sometimes I wish that I had done more research and asked about that but I’m overall so so happy with my watch and I don’t think I could switch it, even if I really wanted to.

OVERALL CONSENSUS!!
If you’re a Samsung user and you’re looking to dive into the world of smartwatches I HIGHLY recommend the Samsung Watch 3! It has the look of a real watch, it looks classy, and it really isn’t too bulky. Yes, I did say that my watch sometimes gets caught on my jackets but that issue comes up so rarely. If I’m being honest here, putting together the dislikes part of this post was really hard and I feel like I had to be quite nit-picky when determining what it was that I’m not totally happy about regarding my watch.

Overall, I’m so happy I have this fun little gadget to help me keep track of me and I really hope that it continues to be a properly functioning and helpful little watch. It’s a stunning little accessory that works for when I go to workout AND when I need to dress myself up a little. I love it so so so much. 🙂

I hope you all have a great week and I’ll see you next Sunday. Stay safe and stay healthy!!

I’m Back!

I'm back

Happy New Year everyone! I apologize for being gone for a bit but I needed some time to focus on my academics and also family and personal life for a bit. I’m back now though! I’m back and hopefully you won’t have to deal with hearing anything else about big stressful tests for a while. 🙂 I just thought this week I would do a little update on where I’m at and just wish you all the best for 2021.

Christmas was quiet but very good. My family and I had a wonderful breakfast and included my great aunt’s cheesy potato recipe. We used to go to her house Christmas mornings when visiting family in New Mexico and so it has been nice to keep some parts of our old traditions in our Christmases the past two years we haven’t been to New Mexico. We also Skyped with my aunt and uncle that live in New Mexico and enjoyed opening presents with them. I really hope I can see family in person soon and I bet many of you can agree with me on that! Basically right after I finished opening presents, I spent the rest of Christmas Day studying as much organic chemistry and math as I could to feel decent going into my DAT the next day.

I finished strong with my fall semester. I still made the Dean’s List (despite my B in anatomy) and my other grades looked really good too which I am super thankful for. Following my semester, I had a few weeks to really study hard and prepare for the Dental Admissions Test, which is also known as the DAT (I referred to it as the DAT above). I had been preparing to originally take the DAT in August but I wasn’t feeling ready so I made the decision to reschedule my test to December 26th, the day after Christmas. Throughout my semester, I dedicated a lot of time to reviewing material for the DAT, but when I was finally free from my schoolwork, that’s when the hardcore studying really kicked in. And I’m happy to report that all that hard work really paid off. 🙂 If I’m being honest, I thought I was going to have to retake the test but I scored above average so I’m really pleased with how I did.

Finishing out 2020 was very low-key. I spent a lot of time just recovering from all the stress and exhaustion associated with the DAT and playing tennis with my dad and sister. We rang in the new year with sparkling cider and that’s basically where I’m at right now. For next year, I think I’ve decided that I’m going to call it good around 10 pm on New Year’s Eve. I STRUGGLED to stay up til midnight if I’m being honest.

With the beginning of 2021 there was a lot that happened in our nation’s Capitol. In response to it, I just want remind you all that it is important to be respectful and it is important to be kind. I understand the frustration. I understand the anger. From both sides! There is a lot done by our government that is right and there is a lot that needs to be improved. There is absolutely no justification for breaking into and vandalizing the Capitol building however. That is low. If we want change, we must first go with clear heads and then make the decision to respect ourselves and others.

I wish you all the best in 2021 and I really really hope that it’s not 2020 part 2. I’m glad to be back and I hope you all will still around for another year of blogging. Have a good week and I’ll see you all next Sunday! 🙂

Happy Upcoming Thanksgiving!

happy upcoming thanksgiving
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

To those of you in the United States, I just wanted to wish you all a very happy upcoming Thanksgiving! I hope you are all doing well, staying safe, and staying healthy out there. Things have been everything but normal this year and there a lot of things that have really frustrated and upset me this year. I bet we can all agree with that statement in some way. Regardless of the many challenges and struggles our world has faced this year, I think it’s always very important to focus on the positives and the little things we have to be thankful every single day. I just wanted to take some time to reflect on some of those things. 🙂 Hopefully you have some time to do the same this week.

  1. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful that my university has given me so many opportunities to get tested for COVID-19, even if I haven’t necessarily been happy with it at the time. This has provided me with some peace of mind, even if I knew I was perfectly healthy without the test.
  2. I am thankful for my family and friends. My family and friends have been nothing but supportive, caring, wonderful, and awesome beings. I’m so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.
  3. I am thankful for my education. I feel fortunate for the knowledge I have and the opportunities that my school has given me so far. I look forward for all that is still to come.
  4. I am thankful for my faith. It has allowed me to find more peace of mind. I know to trust in God and all will be okay.
  5. I am thankful for the beautiful state I call home. I don’t know what I would do without my mountain view every day. Thank you for being you, Colorado.
  6. I am thankful for all of you. Thank you for being here and taking time to read this post and every other post.

I hope you all have a chance to reflect on the things that matter the most to you today, tomorrow, and every other day. Even the little things can mean a lot. Have a wonderful week and happy upcoming Thanksgiving! Stay safe and stay healthy.

Switching to Online Classes Soon…

online classes

Things have been so crazy lately and it’s crazy to think that it’ll be Thanksgiving soon and before we know it, December! With all of this comes the switch back to online classes. Before this semester started, my university made the decision to fully transition to online classes to hopefully prevent more students from contracting COVID-19. Hopefully that works.

I’m all for fewer people getting sick, but I’ve really hated having to deal with all these online classes. I teach a class for the honors program at my university and that has basically been the only fully in-person class I’ve had this semester. It’ll be hard for me to transition to being online for that class and I can’t even imagine how difficult that will be for my freshmen. It has been a really weird semester for them already and so I can’t imagine what that’ll be like for them when we’re fully online.

I’m honestly really excited for this semester to be over. It has been a big odd ball, that’s for sure. I’m practically done with my anatomy class, considering that was a class that I could take at my own pace anyway. I just have my exam on the upper limb tomorrow and then I’m DONE!! My business law class will also be finishing up in the next week once I turn in the last two assignments. My only remaining classes will be my cell biology class and macroeconomics (blehhhh). Having just those two online classes will be kind of nice but I’m worried that I won’t be able to find any motivation to do work. We shall just have to wait and see.

If anyone else out there is switching to remote learning soon, I feel for you. It’s tough but we will get through it. 🙂 I hope you’re all staying happy and healthy. Have a good week!

Adulting is Hard

adulting
Photo courtesy of Echo Magazine

This semester I’ve learned a lot of things, but one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that adulting is hard, or at least whatever it is that I’m doing seems like adulting and it’s a lot.

Living in the dorms the past two years, I didn’t have to worry too much about preparing my food. Most of the time, I would get something from one of our dining halls or their express shops or I would pop something in the microwave and voila, my food would be ready. This year, things are a bit different. I have a kitchen! I’m very happy to be able to make food for myself but it has been an interesting balance trying to make sure I still get all of my school work done and then also cooking and making something decent for myself to eat. I’ve enjoyed being able to use my kitchen though for the most part. Very thankful for it as well. 🙂

When I lived in the dorms and even living at home, chores have always been a thing. Cleaning up after myself has always been a thing. I would consider myself a pretty clean person but I never realized how much responsibility comes with having a space to yourself like my apartment until I’ve had to take care of it. Vacuuming and cleaning the floors are a regular part of my weeks. Cleaning my mirrors and wiping down countertops, tables, and my decorative table are also things I have to keep up with. Dishes, laundry, the lists go on and on and on. I may sound like I complain when I say these things and sometimes I do complain that there’s so much to do and only one person to do it. But I’ve also learned that I appreciate cleanliness and that cleaning up around my apartment makes for a great study break sometimes.

Reflecting on what I’ve mentioned here with my food situation and my cleaning, I feel like I still haven’t done much of this thing that people do call “adulting” but I feel like I’ve had a good introduction to what’s to come.

Sorry for another short post this week. I have a lot going on with school and I’m really trying to finish two of my classes early since I have the chance to with them being asynchronous and fully online. Final push here!! Have a great week everyone!

Reminder to Be Kind

This week, I’ve got a lot going on so I need to keep this a bit short. An anatomy test and econ test are in my future unfortunately. I hope you all had a great and safe Halloween! It’s crazy how fast the year has flown and that it’s already November. I also hope that you are all staying happy and healthy. With flu season on its way and the cold temperatures coming in, it’s more important than ever to be healthy. With all of what is going on in our country currently, especially with Election Day being on Tuesday, I just wanted to remind you all to be kind.

We may differ in our political views and opinions but we need to respect one another. You don’t need to sever ties with your family and friends, just because they vote for a different person. Yes, these choices matter, but that shouldn’t be what ends a relationship. You don’t need to call people names solely based on the fact that they filled in a different bubble than you did on the ballot. Let’s act like mature adults with this wonderful right we’ve been given. You don’t need to create an environment of hate and tension in a time when that’s really the last thing our country needs. We may not see eye to eye on various issues, but we need to recognize that and choose to be the better people. We need to use our heads, think with clear minds, and do what we think is best not just for ourselves but for the wellbeing of the country. We need to educate ourselves, and learn the facts, so that we can be better people and functioning members of society. More than anything, we need to BE KIND. Not just on Tuesday with the election or throughout the week but every day.

Be good to each other. Be kind and stay healthy and safe. See you next Sunday.

reminder to be kind

Fitness Journey Update

fitness journey update

On July 26, I posted that I was going to start working with a personal trainer to help me find a sustainable and healthy workout routine. If you’d like to read that post here’s the link to it! FITNESS JOURNEY BEGINNING! Not only that, but I had the goal of adjusting my eating habits and working to create more healthy lifestyle habits for myself. Here we are, now on October 25. I’ve been working with my trainer for about three months now and I just wanted to give a little fitness journey update!

I think the hardest thing for me this past three months has been training my mindset. I’m easily motivated to workout and hardly find myself having to force myself to do my workouts, but I struggle with the progress part of this whole process. After dealing with such painfully-slow healing with my injuries in high school, my patience has really been cut short and I get frustrated easily when I don’t see progress or improvement quickly. There have been moments where I’ve stared at myself in the mirror and still hated what I see but I’ve noticed that I’m feeling that way, less and less as I’ve been working out more. I still struggle with my patience but I’m starting to appreciate the process and celebrate the small progressions and little victories. When I first started with my trainer, I was tracking my activity in a log but now with my watch, I just track my workouts from there. In my log, I was tracking the little victories I had and I think that’s part of the reason I’m starting to see a more positive mindset when it comes to progress and I’m starting to be a bit kinder to myself.

My favorite thing to do is look back on that activity log and see those little sprinkles of positivity. Like on August 22nd, I did bench squats for the first time and that was my first time ever lifting truly heavy weight. I squatted 95 pounds that day. When I first started in the gym, I was mainly working with 10 and 15 pound weights during arm circuits and arm workouts but it was really tough. For being a tennis player and also setter during my volleyball years, I’m shocked my upper body strength was so weak!! That has been one of the main focuses of the time with my trainer. Upper. Body. Strength. On September 19th, I wrote that I was finally able to EASILY work with the 15 pound weights. Good day. 🙂 The next weekend, my trainer noted that my core was clearly stronger because I was able to do an exercise that I hadn’t been able to do when I first started working with her. That was something that made me really happy. In October, some of the highlights came from October 2nd where I wrote that I didn’t expect myself to be able to do wide leg squats with a 65 pound kettlebell as easily as I did. I also bench pressed for the first time that week and lifted 55 pounds. Not much, but a good start. I also did some core stuff with these weird elbow sock things where you dangle off of the ground and I found those really fun. I stopped tracking my activity after I got my Galaxy Watch 3 for my birthday since my watch can do that for me, but I still note the little things that motivate me to push myself harder. Like last weekend, my delts were really starting to get some definition and just yesterday, I bench squatted 125 pounds, setting a new PR for myself. I was really proud of that. This fitness journey has been no joke. I’ve been really sore some days but I love the feeling of being sore. It means things are working and progress is being made!!

When this all began, my first few workouts were very full-body focused and as I’ve progressed, the days have become more focused on arms, legs, triceps/back, glutes/back, and cardio. I appreciate the focused days, especially arm days. They suck but I find myself enjoying those the most because I feel like I die the least on arm days haha. My trainer has also been such an important part of this whole fitness journey. She’s an amazing person and I’m so happy to consider her not only a mentor but also a friend. She has done so much for me and I love getting to workout with her and laugh and have fun, even when she’s killing me with the intense workouts.

I’ve really tried to refrain from making the goal of all of this to lose weight. That’s not what this is about. I’ve told myself that I’m working to get stronger mentally and physically. With that said however, I have lost 8 pounds to this day. I see and feel strength in my arms and core and my legs are feeling a bit tighter. As I mentioned a little before, I feel better about myself but I still have some things to work on regarding the mental aspect of this all.

Regarding food, I try to stick to the same things when I’m at school. Breakfast is avocado toast with two poached eggs and I try to add some sort of sausage or other protein when I can. For lunch and dinner, it varies, but I’ve cut out pasta (unless it’s whole wheat) and have really tried to up my protein and fiber intake. I eat a lot of salads and soups and have really enjoyed making use of my air fryer to help keep vegetables and also potatoes more fun and hopefully more healthy. As far as sugar intake goes, I really limit that in the mornings because in the past, that’s where I’ve taken in a lot of sugar whether that was from some sugary coffee/tea drink or a pastry or some sweet yogurt, etc. I still enjoy sweets occasionally, but I’ve found that I’m just a lot less inclined to eat sweets now. I still do really enjoy the occasional trip to Starbucks though, I will say that.

From the past three months, I’m most happy to see my mindset begin to transform. Nothing comes overnight and this is something my mom has told me over and over again but in the past, I’ve just been frustrated by that comment because I wanted results that instant so I could be happy with myself again. Sometimes, I still feel that way, but it’s all getting better. Some things just take time and it’s so much more worth it to celebrate the little victories and enjoy the progress. Have a good week everyone.

21!! Almost…

This weekend has been such a fun weekend, mostly because my family and I decided to celebrate my 21st birthday! I officially turn 21 on October 20th (this Tuesday) but we decided to celebrate a little bit early since I won’t be home on my actual birthday because of school.

Friday, my mom and sister treated me to Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks after I finished my macroeconomics recitation which is always a good time. I really like their spicy chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese. Yummy! 🙂 Definitely not the most healthy meal but it tasted good and that’s what matters haha. The rest of Friday was spent doing a lot of homework just so I could spend more time doing other things over the weekend.

Yesterday morning, I worked out and then my dad and I went to pick up my cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. My aunt and uncle are always so sweet to get me a cake for my birthday. I love the tradition and I especially love the cream cheese frosting on Nothing Bundt Cakes. It’s so sweet but so good. I went with a pumpkin spice cake, because who wouldn’t in the fall? It was a super pretty cake and I’m very thankful that my aunt and uncle think about me. I just wish they could be here to enjoy it with us. 🙂 We played tennis yesterday and then later in the day, my sister and I got Clubhouse Games on our Switch and practically played that for the rest of the day. Clubhouse Games basically just has a bunch of games like mancala, checkers, chess, and Yatzhee. Very classical but super fun!

Saturday night, we went to Ted’s Montana Grill, one of my favorite restaurants and my mom let me try some of her margarita. Yes, I’m technically still 20 but I’m so close to 21, we figured it was ok. Anyway, 10/10 do not recommend tequila. I like the lemony-lime taste of margaritas but the alcohol part I’m less happy about. Dinner was great and back at home, we had cake and I tried another tiny amount of alcohol, this time Baileys. Again, 10/10 do not recommend. I hated the burning feeling it gave me in the throat. The taste itself wasn’t horrible but I just think I’m never really going to be that much of a drinker and that’s ok! I know that alcohol typically tends to be a theme when people turn 21 and I’ve just never been that interested or curious. I was yesterday for a little bit but I think I confirmed my theories and know that I just won’t be doing what a lot of other kids my age are doing and I’m perfectly happy with that.

Sunday morning, my mom and I did some grocery shopping before heading back to school and I got my gifts from my family. Beside the cute new pair of boots I got, I’m really excited to play around with my new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. It’s such a cute little thing and I’m most excited to use it to track my workouts and see how active I am, especially doing online school for the most part.

More than anything, I was just happy to spend some good time with my family and friends this past weekend to celebrate something special. Birthdays are always fun but they mostly remind me of how loved and supported I am and it really means a lot to me. I don’t say that to brag or make an attempt at showing how amazing my life is, but I say that because sometimes we struggle to feel loved and appreciated, and it’s during special celebrations like this that I’m reminded of how wonderful my family is and how much they mean to me.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Cheers to (almost) being 21!

Visits From Angels

This is definitely going to be a really different post but it’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately. Sometimes I wonder if dreams are a way for those from Heaven, our angels, to visit us. Shortly after my grandma passed away, she appeared to me in a dream and told me how proud she was of me and then she walked into light. When my grandpa passed away, I saw him and my grandma holding hands in the distance. They both waved at me and smiled from a distance. 

When my sweet little boy, Marty, passed away last August, he appeared to my sister in a dream not too long after his death and he was apparently very happy and healthy looking again which made me very happy to see. I saw Marty in a dream a couple of months after he passed and there was such a feeling of warmth and comfort. It felt too real to just be something my brain was just imagining. A few weeks ago, my sister said she saw Marty again and his hair was getting fluffy and he was becoming a “wooly mammoth” again, as we used to call him. Jokingly, I told her that God needs to give Mar a haircut.

Just this past week, I had a dream that we had this little pop-up tunnel thing in my living room at home and I could see and hear movement inside so I looked to see if Boo was in there and it was Marty. His hair had been cut in the typical Schnauzer cut we always had him groomed in and his little lion poof of a tail was wagging. I remember the noises he would make when he rubbed his sweet little face into the carpet. Whenever he finished, he would always let off this really deep sigh or sneeze and I could just hear him making those noises as if he really was there. I picked Marty up out of the tunnel and squeezed him so tight. He gently licked my face like the good boy he always was and I told my mom and sister that Marty had come to visit. I let him go and he went over to get some water. He was a very thirsty boy, that’s for sure.

Dreams like that make me feel so good and honestly make me feel complete again and it’s very clear that I still really really really miss Marty. I cry a lot over Marty and maybe that’s ridiculous that it has now been over a year since he left us, but he was my first dog and will always hold the most special spot in my heart. I think about him a lot and every weekend I come home, which has basically been every weekend since school started, of course I’m excited to see Boo and spoil him for the weekend, but I miss my Mar. I wish I could still hug him in person and hang out with one of the best little guys ever. 

Dreams like those I’ve kinda shared do make me wonder, are dreams a way for angels to visit us? I’ve mentioned this a bit already, but the feelings I’ve had, seeing my grandparents and Marty feel too genuine to just be my subconscious and my brain processing information. There has to be more to it. The feeling of comfort and security and warmth I get with dreams like these Without a doubt, it feels like I’m being visited by my angels. 

Have a good week everyone.