Detroit Tigers Comerica Park

Can I Get A Pause?

Wow, what a week. I have been majorly negligent in my regular posts, but since this week’s Sunday Shenanigans fell on my birthday, I think I should get a pass.

The last few weeks have been quite the whirlwind, with major client meetings at work, traveling to St. Louis for a wedding, a final exam, and several social events including my birthday and two nights spent at Comerica Park watching the Tigers. Of course, my life can IMG_3255never go a long period of time with things running completely smoothly, so I walked out of Friday’s game to find my car with a dead battery and awoke Saturday morning to a leaky shower pipe in my basement. Both were relatively quick and easy fixes, (though the shower was not fixed until this morning so I was showering at my dad’s), but neither were things that I really wanted to deal with.  In short, life has been hectic, but overall fun. The next few weeks promise a similar whirlwind. My next class starts this week and will require a large amount of time spent reading and writing outside of class. If I don’t post for an extended period of time, it is safe to assume that my blogging hours have been absorbed by class hours. I also have another trip to St. Louis for a bridal shower/bachelorette next weekend, a camping trip coming up in July, and various other social events throughout July. Basically, by the end of July all I am going to want to do is sleep, which will not be an option because I will not be done with classes until mid-August. It does not help things that I have only been averaging 6-7 hours of not so restful sleep recently. Despite my best intentions, I have continued to shove too many things into too few hours in a day. I mentioned in my last post that I had considered dropping my next class and taking a few weeks off before my seminar  in August. That is still a very tempting option, but I know that it is not the right choice. I can not guarantee that this class will be offered again and taking it gives me a greater degree of flexibility to take my final classes one at a time instead of trying to take multiple writing intensive classes at the same time. Still, a few weeks of regular sleep and not rushing through my workouts to get them done would be nice. Once again, I am living through the reality of grad school and a full time career.

My advice to anyone who is thinking of pursuing their degree while working is simply to go in understanding that it is a huge commitment. Grad school classes are not like many of your undergrad classes; you will not be able to coast through with minimal effort no matter how smart you are. Professors expect you to participate with thoughtful answers and will grade you accordingly. In the same vein, if you are serious about a graduate degree, coasting through should not be an option. Go back to school to actually learn something, not just for the letters behind your name. I realize that that may be a tall order for some; there are plenty of people who go back to school only for the credentials, and that is fine, but in my opinion that is a lot of time and money spent for a minimal payoff. Even if you do not feel that you learn from the material in all of your classes, at least make the effort to sharpen the skills that the class calls on, whether that be presenting, critical reasoning, or managing a team. I have been just as guilty as the rest at times, with a mindset of just get through and get a good grade, but I do strive to take something away from each of my classes. If I am going to spend the time and money and love through the stress, I want to know that I at least did it well.

With all of that said, it is back to the roller coaster ride for me. Wish me luck!

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Monday Highlights

Sleep: 6.5 Hours

Work: 8 Hours

Study: 1 Hour

Workout: Pilates and paddle boarding

Current Soundtrack: N’SYNC Pandora station

 

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My Great Debate

There comes a time in every grad student’s tenure where they wonder, “what did I get myself into?” That question has crossed my time several times in the last few weeks, as I cram more and more into my days. Class two nights a week plus a crazy eight week stretch of social engagements on top of the busiest time of the year at work has left me choosing between sleep and working out, making poorer eating habits, and generally feeling exhausted. While my current class is not difficult, the tight time frame is tiring. The fact that the material is not as challenging as other classes is in some ways to my detriment as I am tempted to put off reading since in theory the material should not require a great deal of extra reviewing. The problem with this approach is that when I do get back to reading, I am reading closer to 100 pages in one sitting instead of 30. After a long day at the office, those 100 pages feel pretty prohibitive. My first summer class ends this week but my next class, Global Automotive Marketing, kicks off next Monday. I am actually excited for the material in that class as it relates closely what I do every day. It is also taught by the same professor I had my first WSU marketing class last fall which I enjoyed. However, she is tough in her expectations and places a large emphasis on case studies that demand a fair amount of writing. Not overly difficult, but very time consuming. That time demand plus readings and the 6 hours of class every week feels a bit daunting at times. Especially during the summer when I would much rather spend time on the boat or playing with my dog, school feels like an anchor. So much so that I have considered dropping my next summer class to take a few weeks off. I still have my two weekend immersive class in August to get through and I will be taking Corporate Finance in the fall, which promises to be a bit of a headache. The idea of having a few weeks where I only have to worry about school is tempting. I can take a break, recharge, catch up on things that have fallen to the wayside. On the flip side, I want to take the class and doing so brings me closer to finishing my degree all together. It also gives me the freedom to take the classes I have remaining in smaller chunks. Given that three of my four remaining classes after the fall semester are heavily focused on writing, the ability to take one at a time is advantageous. I have already spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out what order I should take those classes in and how much time it will take me to complete my degree. I’ve looked at the possibility of taking my last three classes one at a time and I’ve talked to people who have already taken those classes to try and figure out which ones I can double up on without driving myself crazy. Throughout all of this I have had to keep in mind the growing number of responsibilities I have taken on at work and what I would like to accomplish in the career setting over the next year and a half. To say it has given me a lot to think about would be an understatement.

Thinking long term, it is clear that I should remain in the class and get it over with. Work is busy now but not unbearably so, which I cannot guarantee will remain true in the coming months. This is the time to set aside dome extra time for school, while I still have “extra time” to spare. Yet the short term temptations are brought to the forefront every time I sit down after a long day to do homework. While I am driven, I am also tired. Tired i the sense that I am probably not getting enough sleep, tired of having to rush workouts and feeling sluggish throughout them, tired of not having time to cook much, and tired of my desk looking like a hurricane ripped across it. In short, I am in need of a bit of a mindset adjustment. What I need to do is purchase my next class’ materials and make the commitment that I will not take the easier route. The next 6 weeks are going to  be hard, but I think they are worth it in the grand scheme.

 

Best,

Katherine

 

Monday Highlights

Sleep: 8 Hours

Work: 9 Hours

Study: 4 Hours

Workout: Rest Day (not exactly by choice)

Current Soundtrack: Piano Guys Pandora station

Tomatoes and Basil - healthy eating

Brain Food – 3 Quick, Healthy Recipes for Students on the Go

Eating healthy: a goal of many with good intentions that is often a causality of busy schedules.

When we were in undergrad, most of us maintained a diet with a large dose of pizza, chicken strips, Easy Mac, and fast food. This is partially because all of these were readily available and didn’t require us to cook (especially when you lived in a dorm), but also because at that age food choices often seem like they’ll never catch up to you.  Fast forward a few years and many find that this is in fact not the case. Eating pizza four nights a week may be easy and lets be honest delicious, but it does you no favors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. As we get older, the importance of a healthy lifestyle becomes more apparent, but our busy schedules can make it difficult to translate good intentions into action, particularly when it comes to food. Long days at the office followed by hours of class time or grad school homework make a quick stop at Qdoba or the frozen food section of the store much more appealing than spending time cooking. Even for someone like me who loves to cook, a quick fix is sometimes a necessity. Luckily, there are plenty of recipes out there that are quick, easy, and healthy. These are a few of my favorites that I regularly make.

 

  1. Breakfast – Honey Vanilla Granola with Greek Yogurt – Found on Pinterest c/o Southern In Law homemade honey vanilla granola
    • Tasty and versatile, granola is great with milk, on top of yogurt, or as a snack on the go. I like this recipe because it’s sweet from the honey but doesn’t add much extra sugar. The recipe doesn’t call for it, but it is also good if you add some cinnamon to it.
    • Cook Time – 45-55 min including prep depending on your oven and how crunchy you like your granola
  2. Lunch – Quinoa Bowls – Katherine’s ownHealthy Living Meal Prep
    • Quinoa has gotten attention in the last couple years as a “supergrain,” full of fiber and protein. I can’t speak to its status as a superfood, but I can say it makes a great base for a tasty meal. I like to make a couple bowls during meal prep on Sundays to use throughout the week. Two of my favorites are an asian inspired chicken and broccoli and my own take on a Qdoba burrito bowl. The quinoa takes 15-20 minutes to cook, giving me time to cook my veggies and meat. For the asian twist, I add garlic, broccoli, and mushrooms with soy sauce to a skillet and cook until soft. I generally add the garlic and broccoli first and then add the mushrooms and soy sauce since the broccoli takes longer to cook. For the last few minutes I will add the chicken so it soaks up some soy sauce. That mixture is added on top of the portioned out quinoa and then topped with some sesame seeds and additional soy sauce to taste. This is a great dish to make on meal prep days as it reheats well and keeps for a few days in the fridge.
    • Cook Time – 25 minutes including prep
  3. Dinner  – Caprese Chicken Bake – Found on Pinterest c/o The Novice Chefcaprese chicken
    • This has become a favorite at my house. Healthy and delicious, this meal is ready in under a half hour and makes for great leftovers. I’ve stuck pretty closely to the recipe created by The Novice Chef, but instead of cooking the chicken in the skillet I prefer to bake it at 400° for 20 minutes. I start the tomato basil skillet with about 10 minutes left on the oven timer and then add the chicken to the same skillet to melt the cheese. Don’t forget to drizzle the baslsamic vinegar on top, it really makes the dish.
    • Cook Time – 30 minutes

 

Be sure to check back for more healthy options as well as some fun treats. I’ll be sharing recipes I find as well as the ones I make up. If you have a go to recipe let me know! I love trying new recipes!

 

Best,

Katherine

Stop! Study Time!

I hope you all read that title in the voice of M.C. Hammer and now have U Can’t Touch This stuck in your head. If you didn’t before now you do. You’re welcome.

This week is trying to kill me. In my last post I talked about trying to shove too many things into one day; I hate to say that I have not improved on that since. I spent much of Sunday catching up on my reading for Project Management and reviewing the other chapters that will be on our test tonight. 6 chapters doesn’t seem that bad until you shove them into a two week period and add them to the rest of life’s demands. I spent 4 hours last night reviewing the chapters and making my cheat sheet. I did not use my cheat sheet for the first test, but there is more complicated material on this test and making the sheet is actually a good way for me to study. The downfall is that it is also a great way to make my hand cramp up. 6 chapters on two pages front and back makes for a lot of writing. I feel fairly confident for tonight, but I will also be reviewing a bit more before I go to class. What I really want is just a day to catch up. I put everything on hold to study last night, which helped me prepare for the test, but it meant that I couldn’t get anything else done. I have clean laundry sitting in my basket waiting to be put away, a dog that would love to go back to longer walks, books and magazines that I want to read piling up, and desperate desire for a nap. Over the last couple days that thought of ” I just don’t want to” has crossed my mind multiple times. I don’t want to be in school, I don’t want to read chapters, write papers, and prepare cases. I want to come home from a long day at work, finish my workout and hang with my dog. I want to be able to think about the fun summer activities I have planned and not worry about when I am going to get all my reading and studying done. I don’t want to have to get up before 6am to be able to squeeze my workout into an overcrowded day. These are all wants, but they are not my reality, and for now that is ok. My bigger want is to complete my MBA and do so with high marks. I want to have those three letters behind my name and know that I achieved them to my greatest ability. I know the end goal is worth it, and while I have days that I whine and don’t want to make the effort, I push through. I can survive weeks where my laundry stays in the basket a little longer and days with early workouts. I may need some wine and chocolate as motivation, but I will do it.

 

Now it’s off to conquer the day!

 

Best,
Katherine

 

Wednesday Highlights

Sleep: 7 Hours

Work 8 Hours

Study: 4 Hours ( 3 in class)

Workout: TBD

Soundtrack : Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake

Social Butterfly

Butterflies and Caterpillars

This social butterfly wants to be a caterpillar for a few days.

Don’t get me wrong, the fact that I have people to spend time with and fun events to attend is awesome. I am very excited to attend the Grand Prix of Detroit this weekend, take a trip to the west side of Michigan next weekend, and St. Louis the following weekend. Those will all be great, but looking at my calendar I also realize that between all of these great events lie school and work, and that combination leaves little time to just relax. Starting two weeks ago and going through 4th of July, I have at least one event every weekend. They range from birthdays to weekends away and a bachelorette party. With all of this going on on top of my work and school load, it can be a little overwhelming. Having to lay out exact days when I will study and making sure that I am well prepared for tests while managing large projects at work is an exhausting endeavor. There have been a few times over the past few weeks where curling up and going to sleep was a much more appealing option than any social event. My crazy schedule has also had an impact on my workout schedule, leading me to miss or shorten one of my main stress relievers. From a pure fitness standpoint, my activities have kept me moving and thus I haven’t necessarily missed the physical benefits of a workout, but that time to myself to clear my head and focus on getting through always provides a nice reprieve. Even when I have time in the morning, I have found that it has been much tougher to get myself out of bed; I have failed twice this week at making that happen.

The reality is that I am likely trying to shove too much into too few hours in a day, and while I recognize that this is a bit of a problem, there is little I can do to remedy it. Work projects will continue to demand a large majority of my time and summer classes will continue at their current pace to add to my reading list.  I could choose to remove myself from select social events, but the those with the largest time commitment are also those that I cannot back out of. There is also the known need for breaks between work and school. At what point does eliminating social events translate into all work and no play? Is that really a healthy alternative to my situation? A consistent theme in this blog has been the need for balance. The balance between work and school, the balance between obligations and a healthy lifestyle and mindset. I think it is something that many people struggle with, both those who are students and those who are not. The need to get everything done but also have time to relax and recoup. As I make my way through this busy summer and into the fall, I have to make time for myself. Getting everything done is important, but not burning out in the pursuit of goal is equally as important.

 

I hope you all make some time for yourself this weekend!

 

Best,

Katherine

 

 

Friday Highlights:

Sleep: 7 Hours

Work 8.5 Hours

Study: 2 Hours

Workout: Tone It Up Friday Workout

Current Soundtrack: Confident by Demi Lovato

Pinterest success, strawberry basil avocado toast

Brain Food – Breakfast Favorites

It’s a well known fact that breakfast is an important part of the day; many even argue that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, when I was growling up breakfast was not a regular part of my routine. Waking up before dawn to jump into a cold pool was a rough way to start the day without adding extra time to find and consume breakfast. Even through college when I was no longer getting up for 5am practice, breakfast was not a priority for me. I was picky about breakfast food, not enjoying many of the quick go-tos such as yogurt and granola, and preferring to have a snack or wait until lunch. Fast forward a few years and I have changed my stance. Especially on mornings when I work out before work, breakfast is a game changer. My tastes have also evolved to include many of those breakfast staples that I previously scorned. A close family member is still waiting for the day that I add shredded wheat to my rotation, but I haven’t tried it yet. I do however, have several breakfast favorites that fit nicely into my busy schedule. These are easy to prepare in the morning or ahead of time and allow for a wide range of variations to keep your breakfast rotation interesting.

Egg Muffins

egg muffin

Perfect to add to your Sunday meal prep, these healthy, protein packed muffins are easy to make and will keep for up to a week. Choose your favorite fillings, I like broccoli and mushrooms, prep your muffin tins, and bake at 375°. In little time (about 18 minutes) you have a week’s worth of quick and healthy breakfasts. They are also great as a snack or post workout fuel. 8 eggs make 12 muffins. Fill the muffin tins about 2/3 of the way with your fillings and then top with 2-3 tablespoons of egg. For more specific instructions, I like this recipe.

Avocado Toast 

avocado toast
This was a staple in every foodie and lifestyle blog in 2015, and there is a reason why. Not only does it require very little prep, but with healthy fats, filling carbs, and low sugar, avocados are a delicious way to start the morning. You can stick with the basic avocado on toast (or english muffins!), or fancy it up with strawberries and/or balsamic vinegar. If you are looking for something a little heartier, this simple meal becomes a protein loaded breakfast sandwich when grilled chicken is added.

 

 

 

Granola

homemade honey vanilla granola

As I have said before, granola did not used to be a favorite of mine, but is now regularly represented in my breakfast line up. I like to make my own during my Sunday meal prep but you can purchase pre made if you prefer. While I will munch on plain granola as a snack,  for breakfast I prefer to give it a little more substance, usually in the form of milk or greek yogurt. I mix a 1/2 cup of granola with 3/4 – 1 cup of greek yogurt, making sure that the yogurt does not overpower the granola.

 

What are your breakfast favorites? Do you prep ahead or cook in the morning?

 

Best,

Katherine