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I had to write this before the adrenaline and endorphins run out.

February 27th marked my “one-month” anniversary of exercising- in other words, I have consistently been exercising for a whole month. While I may reside with the outliers that do not exercise (or that’s how I feel), this is kind of a big deal. Rewind to 10th-grade-me and ask her if I exercise. She would say, “What’s that? What’s a gym? I have running shoes but I don’t use them.”

[Sidebar to sidebar: Cycling is different than running if you are thinking about that now]

Last-month-me struggled but oddly, I kept pushing through. I’ve been reading this book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business and it’s kind of my jam. I love reading books that are nonfiction. ALTHOUGH, I do have to say, I didn’t realize that this book would influence me like it has. There’s this thing called the “habit loop”, it’s fascinating, talk to me about it. I didn’t know that this book would prove something to me. (I know that’s weird to say, but it makes sense in my head) The first day is just as hard as the last day of the month and now I realize that it will be this way until I stop. This is a harsh reality (like many things in life, ha!).

But coming back from my first 5-mile run (YEAH BUDDY!), I’ve had a revelation of sorts: I GET IT. I GET IT, RUNNERS. Sort of. Although I’ve only been running for a month, I understand the solace you find in it (almost like the peace I find in grocery shopping). Granted, it’s slower than cycling and I feel like I get dehydrated much faster, but there is something different** about it.

For the first two weeks, I couldn’t break 3 miles and this was upsetting. I thought to myself, “I can break 5 miles on my bike easy, why is this so difficult?” But I kept going, the habit was slowly building, I wanted to see if this “habit loop” theory worked. Every time I found myself sitting idly on the computer surfing the internet, I got myself out of the house to run. I changed my cue of surfing the internet and sitting into running.

A month later, here I am, sitting in my sweat, writing this post. Does this mean the “habit loop” theory worked? What length of time constitutes a success? I don’t know, I haven’t finished the book! But here’s something different**: I like it. I feel a craving to run which is odd, because I usually feel a craving for bacon but now that’s now replaced with an apple. So maybe this theory is working, but it’s definitely something I cannot speak too soon about.

Note to loved ones: If I stop exercising, please throw an apple at me and get me to run or cycle, we all need a little help sometimes.

Note to runners: How do you stay hydrated? I usually make my route that passes water fountains but is there some secret you’re all holding out on me? Let me know.

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One time I ran…to the Farmers Market so I could get a tamale. Oops.

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I know, I know, I’ve been holding off this secret for quite a while. This is Sandy, my twin.
She’s the older one. In fact, she’s older than me by four years.
Okay, so she’s not my actual twin but we are definitely related by blood, apparent looks, and mannerisms. Since we were kids, I have been called “Sandy”, “Sandy 2.0”, “Sandy’s twin”, etc (we weren’t that creative with the twin names but you get the point). And as a kid, I didn’t know how to feel, Sandy was my only other girl cousin in our cousin cluster and so of course I wanted to hang out with her all of the time. When we grew into our adolescent stage and I was still mistaken for Sandy, I started to grow restless. “When would they stop?” I’d ask myself. I would get defensive and upset because of it too. Something about being an individual and there wasn’t any way I was similar to Sandy. I’m not a “Sandy Follower” (but really, we all were, we all still are).

Fast forward to present time, people still think Sandy and I look like twins. I feel like she’s got the better end of the stick considering she’s older than me but looks younger than she is (not because she’s old but… you know what I mean). But at the same time, I’ve come to realize how flattering it is to be mistaken for my cousin, for people to think we act the same. She’s talented, intelligent, fashionable, and is so beautiful! (I guess this is my Ode to Sandy, love you!)

Besides, it’s impossible to be so similar even if we were twins. Even twins have differences, no?

Side Sidebar: Reason #45 Sandy is awesome: She started an Apple-A-Day Club at her work. I’ve joined the club 1,700 miles away and you should join me too.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who didn’t know what to do with her life. She searched, read (a lot), and took classes so that maybe something would spark. Society led her under the notion that when you know, you know. Kind of like marriage… or something. Way back when, she thought she was going to own a candy shop and be a pharmacist. At the time, it seemed to fit together. Then, it was somewhere in the medical field, there was just no other way.

Then she entered college. And then she took Chemistry II and all of a sudden, medicine went out the window. Fortunately, she fell in love with something else entirely: communications. Yada yada yada, she’s still on the search but she thinks she’s on the right path.

Psst. That girl is me. Why am I telling you this story? I don’t know, I wanted to, and I can. It’s all true though, I thought I wanted to do one thing and when I got to college, doors seem to simultaneously open and close for me. While I could stil see myself in medicine and I still find it fascinating, I feel like my talents lie somewhere else.

I think when I started this post though, I meant to say that going along the communications, more specifically, advertising route is not easy. I’m in the #1 advertising program in the U.S. with hella talented peers, not to mention my cousin who has taken this route already and is killing it in NYC. Self-conscious is an understatement to how I feel. I applied to a lot internships this last semester, I would get a handful of interviews, and then get rejected…to all of them. Except one (hence the title).

And that’s all you need. It’s that one that gets you through the door and color me cliché but maybe I was rejected from all of the other ones so that I could find a great one.

Hi, my name is Thu and I’m interning for Austin Restaurant Week. I’ve started work already and I can’t wait to share it with you guys. Y’all know I love food, I love Austin, I can’t explain how perfect this internship is for me. I’ll be a contributor on the ARW blog so look out for those posts too. I’ll take suggestions, recommendations, the ARW blog is a community. Share the love**.

**Love = food

Also, did I mention I get bike to work? The ultimate dream. It feels like a marathon biking back [uphill] but it’s worth it [for the most part].

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Stop letting ludicrous events change our feelings about life and humanity.
It’s easy to instantly turn cynical, it’s easy to instantly turn nostalgic,
it’s easy to feel angered by the turn of tragic and life-altering news.
What is difficult is to love in the static speed of life,
and to cherish one another when we feel like there is nothing to cherish.
There is always something to be thankful for,
there is always someone who needs love and needs the reminder.

Also, read this nice blog post by one of my favorites, Seth Godin: ‘Empathy takes Effort’

But I’m not the only one. (See what I did there?)

I’m probably more of a dreamer than most. Sometimes I make decisions irrationally based on feelings rather than a process. These decisions are my spontaneous ones like “what are you doing right now, let’s get coffee'” decisions. If you’ve been reading my blog, I’m all about the feelings and I’m working on acting upon those feelings. Going for it and taking a chance on big risks– that’s who I hope to become. Most times though, my brain kicks in and has to think logistics. At the beginning of the day I may be a dreamer, but there’s a logical-me that comes out intuitively. Seth Godin calls this  the “lizard brain” (or the resistance**).
“The voice in the back of your head telling us to back off, go slow, compromise.”**

If I am a dreamer, then I’m lucky and blessed to have a friend who keeps me grounded. But I want to be a dreamer because I know not everyone feels this way and I hope by being one, others will want to dream with me too. I came across this article that talks about the ‘Top Five Regrets of the Dying’. It doesn’t talk about dreaming necessarily but I think it’s something I want to keep in mind when I go about my week. Often it’s easy to be so consumed by what I have to do next, what paper is due next, what final is up next, and I forget to breathe. Often I have to think logistics but that may not be the key ingredient to success. Society and environment has definitely changed the way we defined this but I am deciding to go against the grain.

I want to measure my success by happiness, remembering to take in the earth and breathe. I want others to remember that I told them that I love them and they are my refreshing joy. And I don’t want to just tell people my dreams, I want to show them (this nugget of wisdom is thanks to Beks).

The thing I remember about successful people I’ve met is they just love what they’re doing and they love it in front of others.
– Mr. Fred Rogers (Acceptance Speech, 1997)

from one of my favorite authors/illustrators: Dallas Clayton

from one of my favorite authors/illustrators: Dallas Clayton

I am a huge music nerd and all I want to do all of the time is tell people to listen to ______ because I’m obsessed. It usually changes in phases. One month I could be on a huge Blind Pilot kick, for a couple of years it might be Lil Wayne, or an all-of-the-time thing like Beyonce (my music library is very diverse).

Here are some picks that I can’t stop listening to:

Thanks to my cousin Sandy, I can’t stop listening to this while biking, spreading my arms apart and moving to the wind. It’s so groovy.

This next one is most definitely inspired by watching Perks Of Being A Wallflower. The memorable dance scene featuring the song, “Come On, Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners.

And because I don’t want to push too many songs on you, I’ll finish the last one with something that is more up my alley in terms of music genre. I recently found out that Alt-J will be one of the thousands of bands playing at SXSW 2013. I am super stoked to see them in the spring.

P.S. If you haven’t been listening to the new Ellie Goulding album 50 times over by now, we need to talk.