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Fill In the Bank Friday!

  Happy Friday!  I'm zipping off to Saratoga for a weekend with Dom's family and our friends' engagement party! Since my last week has been filled with studying, a little sleep, and more studying, I thought filling in some blanks with Lauren would be a little more fun than listening to me whine! ;)

1.  When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is,   wish my room had windows.  It's so much easier to wake up with sunlight! Then, I check my phone for my good morning text :)   .

2.   I can hardly wait for   May 25th! It is my last day of work.  Then I am just taking Orgo and can have sometime to breathe! Right after Orgo is Florida! I feel like if I can get to May, 25, I will be unstoppable!   .

3.  The quickest way to my heart is     laughter       because     happiness cures all :)  .

4. A little known fact about me is that    I am deathly intolerant to coffee beans.  I mean really, how weird is that? I used to love it, and now it puts me in the fetal position for DAYS.  Sad news.

5. The best part about my job is    Seeing the relief in my patient's family's eyes when everything turns out okay!  Especially with Pediatric cases, which are particularly scary.

6. Something I just couldn't live without is    Mascara.  I am just NOT one of those women who wake up looking flawless.  If I don't wear mascara I look like I have no eyelashes.  It's weird.

7.  Something useful that I wish I knew how to do is   Drive stick!  My boyfriend's car is manual, so if there was ever an emergency and I didn't have my car I would be S.O.L.  It's first on our "to do" list this summer!  I also really wish I was an intuitive cook.  I can follow a recipe but I wish I could just look in my fridge and think up something amazing!

Have a wonderful weekend!


What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Hey, there!  Life has been so stressful lately with my third round of midterms, and then finals just around the corner.  I used to think finals were bad in college, but now that I have finals season and work full time, it's even crazier!  So, since I'm spending most of my days being stressed I figured I would join in the "What I'm loving Wednesday" trend and focus on what makes me happy!  Without further ado...
1.  I love that I was able to spend the last weekend kicking back and relaxing with Dom.  It was his fraternity's annual "Beach Bash" party and we had a great time!  Since I am out of school and Dom is nearing graduation and focusing on applying to med schools, we don't really party like most of his friends.  Still, I had fun pretending I was still in college and trying to keep up! It pretty much just turned into a night of us being really silly.
We danced for a bit in the "beach" in the house, then went to sleep early and got up for church and breakfast the next morning!
2.  I'm loving the fact that in less than a month I will be done with my classes, turn 23, and watch Dom graduate from college!
3. I'm LOVING that I move to Florida in 4 short months :) Can I fast forward through Organic Chemisty please?
4.  I'm loving that after I take Orgo this summer I will have finished all my pre-reqs to go back to school to be a dietitian!

Now for some material things I'm loving...
Perfect for a summer wedding!
Can I live here please?
Caramelized peach and brie quesadilla.  For real.  Need to learn to make this gluten free!

Cute, and yummy. :)

What are you all loving this week?


Who's your Doppelganger Link Up!

From A Mommas Desires and Pacifiers...can't get the button to work!

I saw this link-up and it looked so fun had to join! I get told I look like Jessica Alba a lot, which I obviously love, but I really think it's just that we're both brunette and relatively tan.  Sometimes I get Ashley Judd, or some totally random people I've never heard of!  Needless to say, I had to upload a picture and see what the computer came up with!
I uploaded this picture...
I must say...I'm pretty happy with the results! Even if I know it's random :)
Yes, please!
Josie Maran.  Don't know who she is but I'll take it!
Um...not seeing it.  Maybe just the Latina-ness?
What?! Love her, but I think the computer is a little confused ;)

Who do you think your doppelganger is? Join the link up for some great laughs and an ego boost!


April 17th...and my theory for happiness

No, it is not my birthday, or a special anniversary, or really anything other than an ordinary day, until April 17, 2009.  Growing up I always had AV node re-entrant tachycardia, a kind of SVT, or basically, a cardiac arrhythmia.  Still with me?  Essentially, I would be sitting doing nothing and my heart would start beating really quickly and irregularly.  It was weird and scary, but my doctors figured until it got bad enough that I would pass out, or happened really frequently, that they would just watch it and see.

During my sophomore year of college it got more frequent and would start to wake me up at night.  I got a cardiologist in D.C., but still didn't think much of it.  Then the night of April 17, 2009 came about.  I had just broken up with my ex-boyfriend, and was returning to his place to get my stuff.  It escalated to a huge fight and by the time I got back to my house I was in full fledged SVT.  It lasted longer than normal, and I was upset, crying and now scared I couldn't catch my breath.  Then it all went black.  Thankfully, my roommate was an EMT!  She called 911 as I slipped in and out of consciousness.  After that night, my cardiologist decided it was time to do something, and I was scheduled for an ablation (a procedure where they burn the extra electrical pathway in your heart).  We joked he literally broke my heart (and thank goodness he did, I had bigger and better things waiting for me!) A month later I had the procedure and my heart was better!

By July, I had lots 12 pounds and was diagnosed with gluten intolerance.  They think the ablation was my trigger.
The day after Christmas, I got sick, and stayed sick until my appendectomy less than a week before going abroad.
But, I swear this is a happy story!
One of my closest friends in my abroad program had a theory.  She believed that everyone has one year of their lives where everything goes wrong, and then when that year is up, their luck changes.  April 17th was when my health took a turn for the worse, so April 17th was the day my luck would change!  Every time someone would mess up my order, or I'd lose something, on of my friends would yell "April 17th!" and we'd count the days.  On April 17, 2010 they threw me a big party and it was honestly one of the happiest days of my life!  
 Ah, tequila...I miss college ;)
Funny side note, that night was one of the first nights Dom came out with all of us because he thought it was my birthday! It's actually May 17th and 2 years later he still gets confused.

I still see April 17th as my "new year."  This past year has some health issues too, but I now see it mostly as a day for my luck to change, and to be happy that I'm starting fresh!  No matter what struggles you're facing, or what obstacles have gotten in the way of your happy life, try to pinpoint when it started, or more importantly when you want it to end.  It doesn't have to be a year away, it could be even a month or week! My luck did actually change starting that April 17th 2 years ago, but I think what changed more was my attitude.  No matter what happened, I looked at the bright side because I didn't have my "unlucky' year to blame.  So give your life a chance to get you down, but don't let it keep you that way!  Once your "unlucky" time is over you have the power to make your luck change.  So go do it.  Find your April 17 and be happy, even if life is unfair.
"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it"-Charles R. Swindoll

Happy April 17th everyone!


Liebster Blog Award

Happy Sunday!
I was delighted this morning to wake up to an e-mail telling me the lovely Laura from a spoonful of joy had selected me for the Liebster Blog Award!
The Liebster Blog Award is for up and coming blogs with fewer than 200 followers (ha! I'm looking forward to 20!) My little blog and I are very excited :)
1. Choose five up and coming blogs to give the award to. Must have less than 200 followers. 
2. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them. 
3. Post the award on your blog. 
4. List the blogs you gave the award to with links to their sites. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they have received the award. 
5. Share five random facts about yourself.

The blogs I'd like to give this award to are:
Leanne from Simply Beautiful- her blog really is simply beautiful and so is she!
Amanda from Swim for Brighter Days- she's so fun and a fellow gluten-free girl
Michala from The Hally Household- I just recently found her blog, and it has great tutorials and couponing ideas!
Sue from Hello. Also, I love you- another recent find and an instant favorite as I come closer to my future as an Air Force girlfriend 
Cathryn from neuf vies- she has some of the most powerful and inspirational posts, plus she's super fashionable!

5 Random Facts about me:
1. I met my boyfriend in Australia, and we fell in love in Fiji
2. I know how to fix bowling lanes.  You never know when that might come in handy, right?!
3. I am allergic to gluten, and most fruits and vegetables (and everything else in the world for that matter!)
4. I LOVE sunshine more than anything in the world.  My happy place is sitting by the water, in the sunshine, with some iced tea and a cool breeze :)
5. My favorite place in the U.S. is Montauk, NY!

Thanks again to Laura for nominating me! What a great start to the week :)


The BEST Chicken Salad

Okay, so chicken salad might not seem like the most exciting first recipe to post.  However, it has a very special place in my heart, and my boyfriend's tummy.  This is the very first recipe my best friend and former roommate and I tried to cook together.  It's a very simple recipe, and an adaptation of this from the food network.  Basically, we just took that recipe and took out all the things we didn't like, and added some we did!  For some reason, after making it for my boyfriend when he came to visit me, it has become his all time favorite! He's literally obsessed.  And so are his fraternity brothers.  Whenever I visit the house now I have to come with a huge bowl of it to keep everyone happy!  It is so great as a sandwich, over lettuce, or my personal favorite, with gluten free crackers!  It's easy and if you make a ton it can last for a few meals at a time.  Here is the basic recipe I use, but feel free to tweak it to your liking.  Hope you enjoy!
The Best Chicken Salad
 Image from the Food Network. My plates aren't pretty enough to photograph :)
                4 cups diced poached chicken
                1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
                1/4 cup sweet onion cut into 1/4-inch dice
                Bunch of sliced red grapes (I use lots because I love them :))
                1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or fresh dill
                2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
                1 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise
                2 teaspoons strained freshly squeezed lemon juice
                1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
                2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

In a mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, celery, grapes and herbs. Set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Add to the chicken and mix gently until combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Note: If you let it refrigerate for at least an hour before trying, the flavors mix and it tastes even better!


European Getaway!

Sometimes my man really pulls through.  After my health scare last week I was feeling kind of down and shaken up, and my man came up with pretty much the best thing ever to cheer me up.

A European Getaway!

But really.  I think I'll keep him. 

Dom is coming with my family to Italy this October for a week to go to the Canonization of Blessed Mother Marianne Cope (a post on my connection to her coming soon!).  If you have read our love story or seen my adventures tab, you know Dom and I share a love of travel, and even more, a love of travel for cheap!  Our week long trip to Fiji cost a total of $600, including airfare and all inclusive resort (although I use the word resort was Fiji after all).  Dom has a great talent for finding ways to save money, so we can have our adventures and not break the bank.  So, while I was in my MRI, Dom was researching what kind of traveling we could do if we stayed an extra week after our family week and explored! I mean we are already going to be over there, why not take advantage?

After some researching he put together a driving route that will take us to Zerich and Zermatt-Switzerland, Strasbourg-France, Luxembourg-Luxembourg, Brussels-Belgium, Amsterdam-Netherlands and Dusseldorf-Germany! 6 countries in 6 days.  There will be lots of driving, hostels, eating pre-made gluten-free sandwiches, and probably some sleeping in the car.  Still, I couldn't be more excited! Don't get me wrong, I will happily stay in a 5 start resort, and I can be a little high maintenance about my hair, but I think this kind of adventure is one of the most fun things you can do with the one you love!  You really learn a lot about someone when exploring a completely different country, and being thrown completely out of your comfort zone.  It's going to be such a great experience, I'm so lucky he was able to put it together.  If medical school doesn't work out I think he should be a travel agent!

Have any of you been to these cities or know some must see spots? I think we have a pretty set driving route, but a side adventure is all part of the fun!  Can't wait to share it all with you! :)


Easter Weekend!

After an extra long holiday weekend it was back to the real world for me today! But before I get too depressed, I get to relive my not-so-normal Easter weekend with my recap post!  Usually in my family, Easter is spent going to church and then all my extended family comes to my house for a big fancy dinner.  This year, my mom got tickets to Easter service at the National Cathedral! All 4 years I was living in D.C. she wanted to go, but tickets sell out at least 6 months in advance, and we always realized too late.  We decided to turn it into a girls weekend and head down to D.C. for service, and so I could visit G.W.!

Our first stop was the Titanic exhibit at the Nat Geo Museum

Of course, right after we had to go see the movie! We laughed, we cried, it's just as amazing 15 or so years later.

Next we headed to campus.  I visited my old neighborhood from senior year and saw how much it has changed in only a year.  I didn't want to take away from the "mother/daughter bonding" so I didn't tell too many people I was coming, but I did have lunch with my Little Sister from my sorority! She is the love of my life and I miss her every day.

 My old townhouse! :) The new occupants had a sweet sign on the door. Made it easier to let go! ;)

My D.C. OOTDs!
On the Left: Top- Old Navy: Jeans- Gap: Shoes-Tory Burch
On the Right: Easter dress- Lilly Pulitzer: Shoes- Guess

 Easter service was one of the most beautiful I have ever been to! Plus, the sermon was sweet, funny, and joyful.  Everything you could ask for on Easter Sunday!

 There had to be netting inside the church due to damage from the earthquake last summer.  Thankfully, there were only a few angels that fell down, and no major damage.

 This is my favorite stained glass window.  In the middle is an actual piece of moon rock!

I hope you all had fantastic weekends as well!


Scared back to Life.

What started out as a semi-regular day today turned out to be one of the scariest.  Monday night in my Chemistry lab I had an episode of blurry vision, and my peripheral vision cut out temporarily.  I got dizzy and light headed, and found it difficult to catch my bearings.  I made it a few steps outside the class to call my mom (she's a Registered Nurse) to ask her opinion.  We guessed it was low blood sugar since I had eaten only a few hundred calories in the past two days.  She met me in the parking lot with tons of food and juice, and I started to feel better.

The next night when I went to my parent's house to celebrate my brother's birthday my father (an intensive care physician) said I should meet with a neurologist to see what was going on.  We figured it was a weird migraine thing, but my father likes to pull out all the stops just to make sure.  He called the doctor and got me in for the next morning (having connections helps)!

I had every intention of chatting with the doctor and have him prescribe me some meds and I would be on my way.  After checking my eyes and doing some hand-eye coordination tests he checked my reflexes.  When he tapped my left leg, I kicked him very enthusiastically...with my right leg!  Not the reaction either of us were expecting.  He mentioned that was odd, but didn't seem very alarmed, so I didn't worry.  Then he dropped the bomb.

My doctor told me he was ordering 3 MRI scans, and he wanted them done today.  There were many things that could be causing my symptoms, but her wanted to rule out M.S. M.S.

I immediately looked to my father, who was sitting there calmly.  My father is always calm.  He deals with extremely sick people everyday, and specialized in multi-organ failure.  I've never seen him not calm.  Especially when it involves someone he loves, he checks out and you'd never know what he was thinking.  I went blank after that, and didn't hear a word the doctor said the rest of the exam. 

I went to work and waited for the MRI department to call and say they were ready for me.  I was numb.  And I was terrified.  They finally called me down at 9:30.  I got ear plugs and an emergency ball to squeeze in order to stop the exam in case I panicked during the 2 hour closed MRI.  Normally this would scare me, but I was already too scared to say anything.

A lot went through my mind during those 2 hours.  My family, my boyfriend, myself.  What if I never get married.  What if I am never a mother. What if my best years already happened?  I know many people live positive fulfilled lives with M.S., but I don't think I'm strong enough to be like them.  I have an amazing man I love and a great life planned, but I spend most of my time being depressed that I work 45 hour weeks and go to school for another 20.  I'm stressed and crabby and rarely wake up with a smile.  What if I'd wasted my only time being miserable?

I talked to God a lot during those two hours.  I needed to know everything would be okay, no matter what the diagnosis turned out to be.  I needed to have something to believe in if my world came shattering down.  I just needed something to hold on to.  This was to closest I had ever come to being literally scared to death.  However, instead of scaring me to death, it lit a spark in me to promise if everything turned out okay to never wake up without a smile.  I promised if I were blessed enough to have a clear scan that I would never ever take my life and health for granted.  I was so scared, I just wanted to get out of that machine and get back to living.  Somehow the phrase scared to death didn't sound right, this experience had scared me back to life.

Those 2 hours finally came to an end, and my doctor called with my results about 30 minutes later.  It wasn't clear, but it isn't M.S.  I have a cyst on my pituitary gland, it's not a big deal, just needs to be watched.  Sometimes they can develop into benign tumors, which can be easily removed.  I also have something called a Chiari Malformation.  Basically, my brain is also too big for my skull, so it's protruding through my foramen magnum and therefore opening my spinal canal more than normal to compensate.  It's weird, and can cause problems in severe cases, but for me it's something I have apparently had my whole life, and since I am done growing it's nothing to worry about. I'll just be hyper reflexive, and now have a reason behind my terrible hand-eye coordination! I will still have to go in for some more testing to check out my reflexes, but all I cared about was that my brain is a little weird, but I'm not dying!  I don't have a degenerative disease! Now it's time to start living!

First up? D.C. for a girls weekend with my mama! We're headed shopping and going to the National Cathedral for Easter service! I can't think of a better way to celebrate my new outlook on life.  I won't have a computer while I'm away, but feel free to follow my adventures on twitter and instagram! RobinJay17 :) Now I'm going to sleep so this roller coaster of a day can finally be over!

 Happy (almost) Friday!


Weekend Full of Birthdays!

Hello, lovely bloggers! I apologize for my absence the past few days, midterms and work took over my life.  I’m lucky I was able to set aside a few minutes to write this post! I can’t wait until I take a break from working for the summer to take Orgo.  My life will finally calm down and I can focus on blogging! Until then, I adore reading all of your blogs and am going to try to be as consistent a poster as I can! Bear with me. So without further ado, here’s my slightly late weekend recap!

Last weekend I celebrated 2 25th birthdays, my brother’s and Dom’s brother’s!  They are only 2 days apart and could not be more different.   My brother, Daryl, is a self-proclaimed theater geek, and still not-so-secretly wants to be a superhero.  We joke that he’s 25 going on 8.  Anthony, Dom’s brother, just got his masters in accounting and is a very sweet and mature Italian man (who still knows how to have lots of fun)! Since my dad was away at the Final Four, we celebrated my brother’s birthday a few days afterward, but still had cupcakes!

 Yes…he’s turning 25.  Yes…he still wants to be Spiderman.

Dom and I headed to Saratoga for the weekend to be with his family and celebrate Anthony’s birthday.  We went to Chiantis, which is the best restaurant in New York, in my opinion.  Plus, they just started serving gluten-free pasta, which is beyond amazing.

  His dessert was slightly more age appropriate ;)
Dom’s parents are some of the sweetest people you’ll ever meet.  I am always so excited to visit his home because I feel so welcome and like I’m part of the family.  He has a crazy Italian family, and the more abuse I get, the more I know I’m accepted!  The first few times I visited were so intimidating, I met his parents, extended family, neighbors, lifelong family friends, bosses and even the hairdresser all in one day! There were lots of loud fun people, lovingly picking on little ol’ me. Now I love them so much and can throw it right back!  They definitely bring out the louder side of me.

When we returned from dinner we were surprised by…

The Easter Bunny!

Dom’s mama is so stinking cute.  The bags were full of yummy and practical goodies.  Sadly, none of us won the mega-millions that night, but with my tickets I did get $12.00! High Roller. ;)

Going out to celebrate with Anthony and Dom’s friends was one of the most fun nights I’ve had in a long time.  Dom and I are usually so busy with work and school we rarely get to let loose and have fun!  It was the first time I’ve seen two friends who came to Hawaii with us, and it was so fun to catch up and hear how the wedding planning is going!  Actually, I was the only girl there not engaged, so maybe it was all the wedding talk that made the night so great!

Plus, I won cards :)

Off to catch up on your weekends!

P.s. My blogger is rebelling and refuses to let me upload and post pictures from my computer, so I had to send them straight from my phone. I'm mad they're so blurry. Better luck next time!


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