I’ve never been a runner. In fact, when my high school tennis coach had us run up the hill for conditioning, I despised it. With extensive tennis training over the last ten years, specifically the last three, I was always advised not to run distance because it counter-acts the fast-twitch muscles that are desired to strengthen in tennis training. Running distance was completely foreign to me – even when I had signed up for this first race. So here’s the story that got me to finishing a 10K!


I joke that you could find me throughout the entire summer either doing chemistry, in the emergency room, or running – which is true to an extent. I wouldn’t have had it any other way given the option! I gained shorts and sock tan lines, streaks of white-blonde in my hair, and my watch looks like it’s painted forever on my fair skin.

I signed up for the race in May, giving me the entire summer to train. Being a conditioned athlete from three years of a college sport, I began by running one mile at a time. Yes, ONE MILE. And when I say I was a conditioned college athlete, I played two hours of tennis 5-6 days a week, did speed and vertical mobility workouts, and strength-trained to a total of about 20 hours/week.

But I quickly learned that there is nothing like training to run. I struggled to run a mile straight at first, even despite my physical training I had withstood in the past!

To train, I continued to add more and more distance at at time being mindful as to not over-do it. I ran consistently (or close to) every other day, and would attempt to add 1/2 of a mile each time. I cross-trained by playing tennis and lifting weights and taking at least one “active rest day” per week.

When September came, I was running more than the distance of the race – which I couldn’t fathom! Looking back, it is amazing to think about what the human body can do. I knew I was capable of doing the distance I had ran, but when you actually do it, you feel amazing. But this was not easy. In fact,


The hardest aspect of training for me was learning how to pace myself. I was used to sprinting (and trying to beat all my teammates in conditioning drills 😉 ) and one learns pretty quickly that giving your all fatigues your body in no time. I became nauseous throughout my runs and had to learn when to eat, what to eat, and to stay hydrated prior to running.

To overcome this, I went painstakingly slow at first (yes, it killed me). I adjusted to going slower and maintaining that near-constant speed rather than tiring out a few minutes in. Gradually, I built up a better endurance, and was able to go faster, but as mentioned, this is difficult to learn!

My essentials?

  • One Direction, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift. Need I say more?
  • Apple watch. It tracked my distance, pace, time, and route all summer long.
  • GOOD RUNNING SHOES. I’m talking ones that don’t hurt your feet or other areas of your body. I am a huge fan of Nike, but not their running shoes. After I switched back to my Asics, life was better. Running is logging a lot of miles over time!!!!
  • having a friend that is experienced. Shout-out to my girl Jenna for giving me advice and training with me.

Race Day?

On race day, I woke up, brewed black coffee, and read my bible about 2 hours prior to the race.  I had two pieces of plain whole wheat toast, and slammed a bunch of water. It was a balmy 45 degrees here in North Dakota that morning. I prefer wearing shorts and a sports bra when I run, but the conditions were not right for that specific attire on race day.

When getting to the site, Jenna and I got our race tags and gear, and started our watches to track our distance, pace, and time. Before I even could conceptualize what was happening amongst the crowd of excited runners, I heard the race gun saying, “GO!”

The route went through many residential neighborhoods and was part of several of my training routes. It was comfortable and beautiful; from the people outside cheering, and the midwestern hospitality of serving water and some alcoholic drinks along our route – though we politely declined. :p

Everything went smoothly, by mile 5, I felt drained. I tried my best not to look at my watch in attempts to keep my mind off the distance left, but I was feeling those five miles! I asked Jenna if we could slow down, and she continued to talk to me, carrying out a conversation. I thought nothing of this and kept going.

When we got to the origin, or the finish line (displacement of zero 😉 ), I FELT AMAZING. Jenna said, “we kept the entire race under a 9 minute mile. I wasn’t sure if you wanted to go that fast, but we did it.” I will never forget that profound statement. Jenna distracted me from thinking about the “temporary misery” that I thought I was experiencing. That alone proves how mental the sport is. And there is nothing quite like making it past that finish line. It screams, “YOU DID IT!”

race day details!

After we got our finishing medals, Jenna and I headed to Bully Brew Coffee House to get some carbs and caffeine. About an hour after the race, each of us felt uneasy and I personally faced strong abdominal cramping. I lost my appetite and began to feel sick. This seems to be a common theme among distance runners when scanning internet forums, and I had experienced this in a much milder form when training. But by dinner time, I ate 3/4 of a pizza from Blackbird and was the happiest girl on the planet. I have to remember to be mindful of what and when I eat, and caffeine consumption prior to running in the morning. You live and you learn!

Why running? 

Tennis, my predominant sport throughout my life, requires skill and a great deal of athleticism that one learns over time. This is true to some extent with running, but the difference is that you do not have to be good at running to run successfully; you have to have the mental drive to finish. Sure, you get better at it over time; your physical and mental endurance outdoes the voice in your head telling you you need a break, but if you have the willpower to keep going you will be good at it!

Running in itself is its own category. You are out, alone, experiencing the beauty of nature. Just you, your music, and the details of the world around you. It challenges your mind and body, and crossing the finish line is a feeling like no other.

You want to give it at shot?

DO IT! Be patient with yourself. There are good running days, and there are not-so-good ones. Thrive from the good ones, and don’t let the bad ones get you down. Run a little bit at a time. Stop if you don’t feel well. Keep going if you’re feeling great. Carry pepper spray when you run alone. Run in safe areas. Don’t run in the dark. Treat your body well. Drink a lot of water and at a well-balanced diet. Invest in high-quality running shoes and break them in by wearing them around the house. Appreciate your hard work.

Thanks for reading!

Push yourselves and step outside your comfort zones – your future self will thank you!



Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
thankful for this girl and all of her words of advice & encouragement! 

If I’m brutally honest, I am not a die-hard autumn fan. When you’re in the midwest, fall can only mean one thing: WINTER soon. That particular season and I aren’t the best of friends. 😉

I will admit, however, that with anything, if there’s food involved, you can count on me being there and mentally present. And along with harvest, change of seasons & produce, and dishes that come with autumn are rich, warm flavors, big squash, pumpkin, fragrant cinnamon & nutmeg, and the warmth of the season are things worth appreciating.

Apple pie is a fall favorite, but with any dessert, it packs copious amounts of sugar.

My version is a twist on the classic. This dish is warm, fragrant, and will give you a taste of apple pie without all the sugar and guilt. It’s quick, simple, and worth your time. 😀




  • 1-2 apples of choice
  • 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • slice the apples in half and use a spoon to scoop out the core and seeds
  • Cut off the stem and remove the bottom of the apple as well
  • in a small bowl, melt the coconut oil in the microwave for about 30-40 seconds.
  • add the brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  • Combine with a fork
  • Place apples face up on a baking sheet.
  • Fill with oat mixture uniformly
  • Bake for 20 minutes
    • if you stab the apple with a fork and you’re easily able to do so, the apples are done!
  • Enjoy them by topping with coconut whipped cream, yogurt, or a drizzle of honey!

If you’re like me, embrace the fall season, the pre-cursor to the dreaded winter months!

Happy eats!




Another autumn season, another fall harvest with an abundance of zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers form the garden. Last year, I utilized the large zucchini I had from harvest and shared Zoodle Shrimp Scampi which is still one of my favorites! Go check it out –> 😀

This fall, I came up with something a little different with the neutral vegetable. Here’s how you make zucchini chips!


  • 1 LARGE zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • approximately 1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
  • low/no-sodium seasonings of choice (garlic powder, pepper, chili powder, paprika, italian seasonings)


  1. cut zucchini in rounds and slice rounds in half if zucchini is very large
  2. Make a dredging station. What’s a dredging station?
  • take two flat dishes or bowls.
  • in the first, beat both eggs.
  • in the second, add the breadcrumbs and seasonings of choice (I used italian herbs, and black pepper). Lightly stir together with a fork.

3. with your left hand, take a zucchini slice and thoroughly coat in egg wash station

4. Place egg-coated zucchini slice in breadcrumbs mixture (with your left hand)!!!!
5. With your right hand, coat the zucchini in breadcrumb mixture!

6. Place on baking sheet as you would with cookies 😉

7. Repeat until all the vegetable slices have been covered and placed on sheet.

8. Bake at 450 for 25-30 minutes, flipping about halfway through. You’ll know they’re done when they start to turn brown.

9. Toss in a sprinkle of salt, parmesan cheese, or nutritional yeast!

10. Serve with marinara sauce, on a sandwich, or as a side!




As you guys know, my study playlists consist of both relaxing alternative music to Drake. I think it’s the combination between the two extremes that gives me the most effective study sessions.

I finished my first week of senior year (aka physics overload) and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now that syllabus week is over, let the studying begin, and what better way than to release a new study playlist?

Click here to find it on spotify, or enjoy it from the list below! 😀

  1. You Need Me, I Don’t Need You – Ed Sheeran
  2. Body Like a Back Road – Sam Hunt
  3. 2U – Justin Bieber
  4. Particula – Major Lazer, DJ Maphorisa
  5. No Vacancy – OneRepublic
  6. Strip That Down – Liam Payne, Quavo
  7. Wildfire – John Mayer
  8. Light – San Holo
  9. On My Mind – Public
  10. Old School – Urban Cone
  11. 22 – Taylor Swift
  12. Drop the Game – single version – Flume & Chet Faker
  13. This is How You Know – Union Moon
  14. Anywhere – Dillon Francis, Will Heard
  15. Slow Hands – Niall Horan


Get your study on!





I spent this weekend at a small lake in the woods in Minnesota before the craziness of the school year begins. Without even saying it, I’m sure you could guess that I finished most of yet another book! This was such a perfect way to close out the summer.

In this memoir, Dr. Kathy Magliato writes about her path and current life as a cardiothoracic surgeon (one of the few women in the field) as well as a heart transplant surgeon. Her story consists of multiple stories that get her to where she’s at today including having children despite the busy lifestyle her career gives, being married to a liver transplant surgeon, and how her training made her an ever stronger person.

Dr. Magliato is hard on the outside, strong-willed and does not give up, but she also describes the kind of physician she is in that she sits down with her patients, prays with them, and offers them her “free” time and her full attention.

Her stories are both motivating and inspiring to me and Dr. Magliato’s work and philosophy of putting her patients first is exactly the kind of physician I aspire to be.

Read if you are interested in the life of the operating room, the rigorous training of becoming a specialized surgeon, and what it’s like to be a minority in the field of medicine – and prevail.

Do yourself a favor. Read this one. 😀

Find it for about $12 on Amazon and to read more about Dr. Magliato, check out her website!

Happy reading, friends!





It has taken me a long time to figure out what really works for me in terms of learning. I wish I had the ability to read something once and fully understand it, but I am no Lexie Grey. If you feel you have the same terms of memory capacity as the fictional doctor, consider yourself lucky.

If you are like me, and NOT like Dr. Grey, keep reading and I’ll tell you how I study efficiently. 😀

I’ve found my brain likes to write and I best understand a concept by doing. I’ve found that hands-on courses like labs and simulation activities are the types of of courses I excel in. Learning this about myself has taught me to adapt my studying by how I personally learn best.

If you find yourself a visual/hands-on learner, keep reading. Here’s how I study!

Before class:

  • I download the notes the professor has online before class. I will either download them to my computer or iPad, or print them out.
I use my iPad every single day. 


  • I check the syllabus to see what will be covered in class that day and skim through the textbook if I have the chance to do so. This helps simply to be aware of what will be covered in class that day.


During class:

  • I listen to the professor’s lectures and write down important concepts. This is done by circling, bolding, highlighting, or sometimes when a professor says: *THIS IS ON THE TEST!* you bet I’m going to write that in bold, or brightly colored ink. Every student’s favorite words.
I use the program NOTABILITY on my iPad with my Apple pencil. save the trees! 😀


  • I draw arrows and bullet points to their notes to help keep everything in the same category for my later reference and know exactly what is important when I’m copying down the notes


After class:

  • If and when I have a break after class, I will begin copying down ALL of the notes fro the professor’s including the material I have added myself – yes, that is right. I wish this wasn’t my brain’s best method because it is very time consuming but I have learned the hard way that this is what works for me. Ok, I shouldn’t say all of their notes, this includes paraphrasing, but you get it. The jist of the information professors convey is copied down into my notebook.
Black pen, highlighter, and blue pen to copy my notes. Most of the pens are hopsital-acquired. From taking them home in scrub pockets. Relatable? 😀
  • I write the bullet points in black ink and write in answers to practice problems and/or extra information in blue ink. I draw pictures in various colored ink, and I highlight and bold important concepts. This way, when I’m reviewing for an exam, I can skim through and the bold and highlight will catch my eye.
sketches, drawings, black ink, highlighter. histology! 


  • If a concept wasn’t clear through the professor’s notes, I will refer to the textbook and/or YouTube, specifically Khan Academy to clarify a topic or subject. I will add – in my own terms – the difficult topic to my copied notes from class. Acronyms/mnemonics are written in blue ink alongside my skeleton of black notes.
red & blue ink for the cardiovascular system! anatomy

Before an exam:

  • Flashcards and note review – I write out difficult concepts or terms on flashcards and quiz myself. My notes are highlighted and bolded for reference that my future self always thanks my past self for 😀


  • Talking though a concept repetitively. This works really well with going through the flow of blood through the heart, or the metabolic pathway a certain protein channel. I have a friend take my notes and I recite the information back to them. If I don’t know something, I think of something that will remind me of it. I’m going to do an entire post on acronyms, ok? It is also beneficial to talk through and draw a process with a friend/study partner.
whiteboards and concept mapping is VERY HELPFUL! 


  • I DO NOT STUDY THE NIGHT OR ESPECIALLY THE MORNING OF A TEST. My brain hates this. I control any test anxiety by stating I will only know what I know 24 hours before an exam and that I won’t learn or retain anything new past that point. Cramming makes me crazy. Instead of doing so, I will REVIEW material such as skimming over notes and reading the highlighted material. Sometimes reading them out loud helps me.


  • Trusting in my preparation – this is KEY. My philosophy on exams is either you know the material, or  you don’t. Attempting to study and learn new material the day before an exam, the night before exam, or the MORNING of an exam trigger serious test anxiety for me. This is why I DON’T STUDY THE DAY BEFORE AN EXAM. Reviewing is different that studying. Reviewing is looking over a concept, refreshing your memory, or looking something up briefly. Studying is attempting to learn and integrate new information. While this may not work for me, it might for you – that’s ok. All I’m saying is I have learned to trust in my preparation and that alone puts me at ease & gives me confidence when going into an exam.


*What works for me might also work very well for you (that’s the intention), but because everyone is unique, my methods might not work for you. Just remember that. 🙂

How do you study? What works best for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

I wish you all the best semester and I hope you celebrate the little things throughout it! Happy studying!



3 years of college in: here’s what I keep with me to fuel my study sessions and days of class!

I joke that it is quite possible I am able to live out of my backpack for at least 24 hours, but the truth is, I have learned over time that it is much more beneficial to keep everything I need with me so I can simply grab my backpack and leave without thinking about missing something crucial. 😀

  1. computer AND/OR iPad
  2. CHARGERS for computer & iPad/iPhone – electronics are useless without them.
  3. headphones – sometimes 2x pairs – studying without music might be impossible for some. My Bose over the ear headphones are not sound-proof, but they definitely cancel out noise better than earbuds! Having another pair might be nice if your friend forgets theirs, too 😀
  4. snacks – check out my post on my top 5 snacks on the go for more details!
  5. a waterbottle – anything but glass.
  6. notebooks for class – only the ones I need that day!
  7. PLANNER. I don’t think I could live without this. Between my iCloud calendar and my paper calendar, my life is somewhat put together. Mine is a Ban.do agenda and I love it dearly.
  8. Pencil pouch full of pencils and pens and highlighters.
  9. cash – at least $5. I always carry my debit card with me, but you never know when you need cash. Food stands, farmer’s markets, some places still don’t take cards! (I learned this from you, Mom!)
  10. sticky notes – I staple some to my planner pages to make a to-do list every day
  11. naproxen/acetaminophen/ibuprofen. Headaches often come without warning.
  12. gum. Again, you never know when you’re going to need it. Dates? Teeth just feel gross? Peppermint for nausea?
  13. chapstick & a small bottle of lotion. Essentials in North Dakota winters.
  14. Hair ties, bobby pins, a headband. In order to put your hair up and get s*** done, these items are required.

Here what I NEVER keep in my backpack (or have made the mistake of keeping in before):

  • lotion alone – if the bottle breaks or the cap comes off somehow (yes it’s possible), your backpack is probably ruined. Yes, this has happened to me before.
  • fresh fruits or vegetables – if you forget about them and they make it to the bottom, you’re going to have some serious regrets. Again, I learn from experience.
  • loose pens. Pens explode. Always, always, always keep them in a case!
  • glass bottles for juice/coffee/water. If you fall on ice, which is very possible in my homeland of North Dakota, you water bottle may shatter and ruin anything and everything. And if you have a water bottle of any kind, MAKE SURE IT IS ALWAYS SEALED. 😀 water damage is unfortunately irreversible.


I use a North Face Double Time backpack which is smaller than the others I’ve used in the past, but this size is perfect so that I don’t have the option to put textbooks in it and put a strain on my back. I hopefully have a lot of school left and I’d like to spare my lumbar spine 😀

Durability is essentially important in college and graduate school. I have used a backpack like this several times. Having a high-quality backpack is not something I can skimp on. It’s an investment that will last for years if you take care of it!

What am I missing? Likely not much. 😉

Keeping all the essentials right here with me supports a healthy, busy lifestyle. What do you keep in your backpack? STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO OF THIS #backtoschool SERIES!