Reading Challenge 2016

There is nothing I love more than reading. I have always been a voracious reader, consistently being the top reader throughout my elementary and middle school years. When I got to college, however, my reading for pleasure really dwindled.

Now that I have graduated, Matt and I have both really gotten into reading again. I’ve even centered most of my resolutions this year around reading.

For one, I want to build a Little Free Library. I own tons of books and want to give others the chance to read them or add them to their collection.

Secondly, I have issued reading challenges to myself! I plan on doing the entire shorter list (shown below), and part, if not all, of the longer list as well. To help with this, I’ve also joined Emma Watson’s feminist book club on Goodreads! The first book in that club is “My Life on the Road” by Gloria Steinem, and I am really enjoying it so far!

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Other books I am currently reading include:
“Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee
“Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kiernan
“The Martian Race” by Gregory Bedford
“The Tales of Beedle the Bard” by JK Rowling

Books I am intermittently reading are:
“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy
“Dragon’s Egg” by Robert L. Forward
“Skywalking” by Tom Jones
“Moonshot” by Deke Slayton and Alan Shepherd

Thirdly, I want to keep track of all the books I read this year, and which books I don’t finish (and why I didn’t finish them).

What are your reading goals this year? Are you interested in joining me in my reading challenges? Do you have any books that you recommend I read this year? Let me know! Maybe we can start a book exchange!

Currently

Loving: (and missing) the mountains. I went to Denver for 10 days for work and had an awesome time in the snow and in the mountains. I would love to go back!

Enjoying: time off of work over the holidays. It’s been a great time to spend time with my family, and with Matt and his family.

Reading: I finished “The Brethern” by John Grisham and have finished the “Journey to the Force Awakens” books, “Lost Stars”, “Aftermath, and the Han, Leia, Luke, and new character books. I haven’t started anything new but books that I have been working on include “Dragon’s Egg”, “Anna Karenina”, “The Martian Race”, “Sherlock Holmes”, “Skywalking”, “Moonshot” and “Girls of Atomic City”.

Watching: almost finished with 30 Rock and have just started Dark Matter. Dark Matter is such a great show! I definitely recommend it!

Working on: my astronaut application!

Wanting: to get stronger. I will be working out more and trying to build my strength. I’m starting with the below challenge (although it’s not geared for strength training), and adding strength training into my routine. Also, since the weather is great, I will begin hula hooping again!

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Learning: more about animals. My go-to on Netflix recently has been animal documentaries! It’s really fun. Also, I’ve been learning about growing olive trees, as I will be planting a few of my own soon!

What about you all? What has been going on in your life? Feel free to comment or make your own post and link it in the comments!

A Snowy Journey in Denver

I’ve been in Denver for the past couple of weeks for training for work. It was a wonderful time! I learned a lot and had a great time overall.

I got to adventure some during my time. I drive through the mountains, visited a casino in Black Hawk, and played in the snow! It was incredible! Denver is such a beautiful place and I absolutely loved it. I would love to possibly live there someday!

Here are some pictures from my trip.

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A Grateful Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and to celebrate what you are grateful for. I use this day to think about how I have gotten to where I am today, and how incredibly lucky and fortunate I am.

I am thankful for my loved ones. My family and my boyfriend are my greatest support system. They encourage me to follow my dreams and support me in whatever endeavors I embark upon.

I am thankful for my job. Lockheed is an incredible company to work for and I love my job. I am also grateful that I get to wake up and go to a job that I truly enjoy and make enough money to support myself.

I am grateful to live in a nation that cherishes freedom and independence. I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for my dog. I am also grateful for good books and sunshine.

What are you thankful for this holiday season? Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Gatlinburg

About a month ago, I had the pleasure of going to Matt’s family reunion in Gatlinburg. It was my first time visiting Tennessee  and I absolutely fell in love with the area. It was incredibly gorgeous. I also loved meeting Matt’s extended family; they are a lovely and fun bunch! We visited the tourist part of Gatlinburg, and even went to the south’s largest Christmas store, which was so great! I bought so many ornaments for my first Christmas tree. All in all, it was a great time.

Our adventure, in pictures:

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Currently

Loving: my garden’s progress! My cayenne pepper plant has started to produce big peppers, and my marigolds are in bloom. My tomatoes are also growing wildly, and it’s amazing! I have my first tomato forming I have also repotted my cabbages and planted garlic, which is sprouting like crazy. My lemon tree is also getting big and growing huge new leaves and new branches. Most of my succulents are thriving, too! I love the success I have had so far in gardening. I would love to expand and start making homegrown food a part of my diet.

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Enjoying: the weather. It still hasn’t cooled down too much here in Central Florida (and it’s a lot hotter here than back home in Jacksonville), but the weather is nice. Spent most of the weekend in a hammock on the backyard!

Reading: several books (still). I just finished “Lost Stars”, one of the precursors to the new Star Wars movie, and “The Casual Vacancy” by JK Rowling. I am reading “Aftermath”, the other precursor to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A few of the other good books I’m reading are “Dragon’s Egg”, “Anna Karenina”, and “The Brethren”.

Watching: season two of Reign and 30 Rock! Reign is one of my favorite shows, and season two was recently added to Netflix. It’s honestly not nearly as awesome as season one so I’m hoping that it picks up. I’m now in season 6 of 30 Rock and am trying to finish that show up!

Working on: my astronaut application! Well, I’m not working on it quite yet but since NASA has announced the opening of the application for the next astronaut class, I’ve decided to apply. Although I haven’t been working for three years, I want to try and apply to get practice for the next round of applications! So excited!

Wanting: the holidays to come! Thanksgiving and Christmas are two of my favorite holidays. I live for the cheer, merriment, and love during the holiday season.

Learning: patience and mindfulness. I am definitely trying to learn to enhance my patience and mindfulness, in order to relieve myself of unneeded worry and stress. I want to become the best and healthiest person I can be, and ridding myself of unneeded worry is a great way to do that!

What about you all? What has been going on in your life? Feel free to comment or make your own post and link it in the comments!

The Blessings and Curses of Passion

If you know anything about me, you probably know that I love space. 

(If the word love even does it justice). 

The cosmos are my passion. Ever since I was a child, I have loved the stars, the planets, rockets, and anything and everything that is encompassed by space and space exploration. This passion is a vital part of my life. 

I have more space posters and memorabilia than anyone I know. My dorm room/cubical walls are decorated with space collages. I have a decent collection of space trivia and facts stored in my brain, (just in case I am ever on Jeopardy). I also do a lot relating to space, from my internships and projects, to the organizations I am a part of. 

really love space. 

(You get the point)

     (You get the point)

Most people have interesting reactions when they discover my love for space. Whenever I move back to campus and get a new set of roommates, their outward expression to my public display of cosmic love is usually curious but supportive. They, like many others, find it interesting. And more often than not, when people do discover my passion, I hear something along the lines of “It is amazing that you love something so much”, among other things. 

This is one of the blessings of having a passion. Statements like these started in high school with my love for physics. I would absorb physics literature and books with such wonder and excitement, much to the puzzlement (and amusement) of my peers. They always thought it was funny and awesome that I had found something I loved SOOO much, when most of them were still trying to decide on a college major. 

But this trend persisted even through college, when more people have a sense of what it is they want to do with their lives. People were still remarking on my love for space, and I discovered that even though I was in college, a lot of people had yet to discover their passions. This discovery was one that did, and still does, sadden me. I truly wish everyone could find what they love as much as I love space, and be able to incorporate that in some way to their daily lives. My passion for space brings me a lot of happiness, and I know it is something I will always have. It is truly a blessing to have this passion, (especially when it brings about unexpected friends and opportunities). 

But having this passion isn’t always a blessing. Sometimes, it can be a curse. Don’t get me wrong, 99.99% of the time, my passion for space is a blessing. But it can come about to bite me. 

Have you ever loved something so much, it becomes all-consuming? 

Space is an all-consuming passion of mine. It is not to say that I don’t enjoy other things; I love to dance, rock climb, read, and go on adventures and explore the outdoors. But my love for the cosmos affects me in ways that I would have never anticipated. 

An example: my passion for space has evolved into a HUGE love and appreciation for this planet. This makes me very conscious of my everyday decisions and how they can impact the planet. That being said, that also means I am very conscious of what OTHER people do to impact the planet. This constant awareness can be depressing and on occasion, angering. But this can be a post in and of itself.

The biggest way my passion can become harmful is when it absolutely overwhelms me. Because I love space, I have a *slight* problem saying “no” to anything involving space, or just letting other things go. Sometimes, my projects can take over my life in a negative way, to where I am balancing a million precariously balanced china cups, trying very hard not to let any of them break. This can be stressful, and although I usually have a GREAT ability to balance many things and succeed in all, it is very demanding and will usually take a toll in some form or another. 

Overall, my love and passion for space is wonderful, and I wouldn’t want to love it any less. Just like everything else in life though, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Can anybody else relate? Are there blessings and curses to any of your passions?  

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Happy World Vegetarian Day!

It’s World Vegetarian Day! What a great day to celebrate (and try new) plant-based food. I think I will make a new recipe tonight after work to celebrate the colorful and delicious world of fruits and veggies, (especially those that are green and leafy!).

Tell me, what’s your favorite vegetarian/vegan food? Maybe I can find inspiration for dinner tonight! Or if you’re looking for veggie dinner ideas, please comment! I have tons of ideas to share🙂

I’ll end this post with one of my favorite veggie memes:

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Water found on the surface of Mars!

http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/2015/09/28/nasa-confirms-evidence-that-liquid-water-flows-on-todays-mars

If you haven’t heard the incredible discovery announced today about Mars, stop what you’re doing and read the above article.

Researchers at Georgia Tech have discovered seasonal salt water flow on Mars! Such an incredible discovery! This definitely will change where we explore the red planet and how future research will be conducted on Mars.

Research findings like these are so exciting to me! This is what motivates me to work hard and do what I do.

New Car!

This weekend, I did something a bit unexpected, and I bought a new car.

I’ve been looking at buying a Prius for a while, and ended up actually buying one over the weekend. It’s a 2015 Prius 2 in sea glass pearl. I love how different the color looks in the shade and in the sun. Isn’t it gorgeous? (Neither of those photos were instagrammed or edited). I am absolutely in love with the car, and in love with the amazing deal I got on it.

I’ve been a Prius fangirl for a while, but now I’m an official member of the club!

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