here we have me hiding my tripod remote in one hand

In the past few months, I have attended a Hack-a-thon and a Design Challenge (which was basically a Hack-a-thon but for designers). A hack-a-thon starts off with the hosts giving topics - i.e. Healthcare, Women in STEM etc. The next step are for coders/developers/designers to form a team and decide which topic they will be creating a project for. And then they're off coding a project all night until it's time to submit.

So, the reason I'm starting off with a brief intro into my own coding life is because for both of those Hack-a-thons I wasn't the most confident- I hadn't attended a hackathon before. And on top of that, for the past few months I've been applying for Front-End Developer positions (speedy translation: I design/code websites!) and I've always gotten one of these responses: We went with someone who had more experience; after examining your experience we've decided to not move forward at this time; your background was not a fit at this time.

I actually got two rejections on Monday which was when my latest video on my YouTube channel was supposed to be up. It didn't go up. It's all becoming a cycle of I need to have prior experience in order to get experience. I started tracking the amount of applications I sent in an excel sheet, and since I've been doing that that brings a total of 18 rejections. Last week I started to wonder if maybe there isn't any room in this field for me. And that although I love this field (honestly coding is so much fun) maybe it isn't for me with the amount of rejections that I keep getting.

So I actually got a little bit curious:

 How many recent college graduates are unemployed?
According to Forbes, 1 out of every 40 college graduates are unemployed.

When I went to the Hack-a-thon, I went alone and there were a few other solo coders and that's how I ended up on a team. Two members of the group were recent graduates (one being me) and the other two were still in school for their Bachelor's in Computer Science. The other recent graduate decided that the easiest way to complete a project was to use one of her own projects she created, make minor edits, and pass it onto the judges as if we all coded it. I wasn't on board with that idea. The point of a Hack-a-thon is to test your brain and skills to work in a tight time constraint not use something that's already been created.

To make a long story short the other recent graduate left the group and the remaining three of us decided to actually design and code a project from scratch. Of the group, I had the most experience with coding while the others were still relatively new to it. Our project we created ended up passing the first round, and secured a place in the Top 4 for the Healthcare category. 

We didn't have a lot of experience - it was all our first hackathon- but we didn't let that stop us from creating a project. We were surprised that we passed the first round  (there were a lot of awesome projects) and although we didn't get the first place prize we were all able to realize the benefit of doing our own project rather than passing one skilled person's project as our project.

We tested ourselves. We learned a lot. We lost a lot of sleep. 

here we have my code disrespecting me and me trying to figure out why it's not working

For the Design Challenge I attended, I sat down next to someone and started talking to them. It was their first hack-a-thon and they were nervous that they'd do badly. That's when I found myself giving the advice that I now remind myself through my rejections: Your lack of experience does not mean a lack of skill.

If you're also in the same boat as me, there is a lot that can be running through your head with rejections and thinking that it means you lack skill. You don't. You know so much more than you give yourself credit for.  When I looked at what I've created, the coding projects I literally assigned myself because I wanted to improve and learn, I realized that for each project I've grown as a developer even if I didn't realize it at the time.

For every door that closes there's another one that opens. I'm not sure where that open door is but every closed one leads me closer to it.

I recently started thinking about my Front-End Developer life in the same perspective as I view my running. In both running and Front End Development the learning never stops. I'm constantly learning new exercises to have a stronger core to run faster, and with Front-End Development I'm constantly learning faster ways to do certain things.

From this maze of unemployment I've realized that my happiness doesn't and shouldn't stem from me having a job. Although having a job in my field would be great, it is also important to note that happiness comes from within you not from something outside of you.

If you're also in the same maze of unemployment: The right opportunity is out there for you even if inner you tries to convince you it isn't. Don't give up on yourself, keep! applying!

I used to be one of those people who thought who even wins giveaways? Until I won one. My first giveaway I won was my RoadiD which I wrote about here, Staying Safe As A Solo Runner. Fast forward to now, I was partaking in a BibRave Chat. During this BibRave Chat, Buff was partnering and at the end BibRave would choose two winners to be gifted with a Buff as long as you answered the questions they asked with the hashtag #BibChat.  I was watching Harry Potter as I was chatting and suddenly got the notification on Twitter that I was one of the winners!

What is Buff?
Buff is essentially multifunctional headwear to keep you warm throughout any activity that you may be doing.  In the photo above I wear it around my neck (I usually wear it underneath my Nike Hijab on my neck but for photo purposes I am wearing it over my Nike Hijab), but it can be worn as a headband, a bandana etc.  There are 12 different ways to wear it!

Buff actually began when one of the founders, who was/is a fan of motorcycling, was trying to find a solution to keeping his neck & head protected. That's when this idea of a multifunctional headwear was born. The name Buff is actually a shortened version of the word bufanda which is the Spanish word for scarf. As the weather gets colder and winter finally settles in, anyone who is athletic is on the quest to keep warm as the seasons change!

Which Buff did I get?
I got the Original Reflective R-Coral Pink one. I tend to always stick with blues and greys (special shout out to the men's section for having no fun patterns/colors - personally I like to have a lil bit of room in my running tops) so having a pop of color seemed like a great idea. The great thing about this one is that it's reflective i.e. If I end up going on an evening run and it gets darker a little sooner than I thought, cars would still be able to see me!

ALSO! Almost forgot the best part! It is made with 2 recycled plastic bottles!

HOW DOES IT FEEL ON THE NECK: 2.31 Mile Run in 45°F | 7°C

This was my first run with my Buff and it was a bit windy so I thought it was the perfect weather to start wearing it. However, as I was running I was overly aware that something was around my neck and it felt uncomfortable. I think this is majorly because my neck wasn't used to something being there to keep it warm. As I finished the run, I began to think that it probably needed to be colder to wear it.  I ran at a 9:53 pacing and finished the run itself in 22:55. I was building up mileage after an injury hence the not so fast run.

the amount of times I had to run past my tripod because I was going too fast and my phone couldn't capture me at the right moment - so uh enjoy a blurry Sahara running

HOW DOES IT FEEL ON THE NECK: 100M Sprints (2.08 Miles total) in 52°F | 11°C

This was a Speed Workout - 20 Repetitions of Mile Sprints for 30 seconds. (Uh basically 30 seconds of sprinting 20 times in a row with a minute rest in between each) So, although it was a little bit warmer compared to the first day I wore it, it didn't bother me as much. This confirmed to me that I just needed to get used to something keeping my neck warm as I run. I ran this run with a pacing of 7:12 and finished the run itself in 15:00.

For transparency here's the list of my workout that day:

HOW DOES IT FEEL ON THE NECK: 3.29 Mile Run in 56°F | 13°C

By this time around, I have gotten comfortable with running with something keeping my neck warm. This was actually my Race Day, and it was windy and raining. Throughout this run my Buff kept me warm but not tooo warm to the point where I felt uncomfortable. I finished my race with a time of 27:57!

HOW DOES IT FEEL ON THE NECK: 3.1 Mile Run 40°C | 4°C

The temperature was slowly going down and although the Buff is meant to keep me warm, during this run I started to become overly aware of it. You know when you're wearing a winter scarf and your neck just wants to be free because it's too hot even though it's actually freezing? Yep so that was me during this run.

One thing I realized is that what makes it or breaks it for me when it comes to this Buff is whether or not it's going to be windy/freezing run. If it's not windy then that's when I feel I begin to feel uncomfortably hot with it on.

I finished this run with a pacing of 9:23 per mile and finished the run itself in 29:27 (thankfully I now feel strong enough to continue increasing my speed per mile wohoo for being injury-free!)

here we have me holding my tripod remote not knowing how else to pose for a photo anymore

MY VERDICT ON THE Buff: It's great to keep you warm as it starts to get colder. Winter is Coming and it's better to bundle up with something that's really lightweight.  The great thing is that it absorbs my sweat so I'm never actually sweating around my neck.

Although I feel it really depends on wind in terms of comfort, there were times where it felt uncomfortable while I was running but on my cool down walk I was thankful to be wearing it.

Also any snowboarders out there? Skiers? MY WINTER SPORTS FAM PLS INVEST when you're going down slopes this will 100% be keeping your neck warm. I for one know I will be wearing this when I go skiing - although light it does a great job of keeping me warm on my windy runs. 

Not really a have-it-around-your-neck type of person?
Other than there being 12 different ways to wear it, they also have warm hats!

Have a four legged running friend?
They also have Buffs for them too! You can't leave your running friend without some warm neckwear!

Have a little kid that's also athletic and loves to run/ski/snowboard/what-ever-sport-floats-your-boat?
They have Kid Buff's too!

How are you preparing for running/what-ever-sport-floats-your-boat in the colder months? 

p.s: I wasn't paid to write this or anything like that, I just won the giveaway and felt like doing a review on it!

A few months ago, I mentioned that I was training for a race in November and then my fitness life dropped off the side of the earth on my blog. Well, that fitness drought has ended: YA GIRL RACED LAST WEEKEND!

From stumbling through injuries for majority of the summer to making it to the start line in November for my very first 5000M/5K USATF (USA Track and Field) Sanctioned Race was honestly such an amazing feeling; I honestly felt like someone needed to pinch me because I couldn't believe I was finally at the start line.

Injuries can either get you down and make your motivation go through some deep dives or you can be an optimist and trust that your recovery process will ensure that you are ready and able to race. I fell into the first category. It's been a long journey in trusting my training process; I'm easily discouraged by seeing other runners have official coaches and have the timing that I need to Qualify for the Olympic Trials. But here's the thing I'm constantly reminding myself: Just because someone is where you want to be that doesn't mean there's no room for you at the table; it just means your seat is in the VIP section and is waiting to be unlocked by you.

The night before the race, I happened to be looking at the website and saw that there was a video of the path that we runners would be running. In the video there were a few hills and I hadn't put hill running in my training schedule. Hello panic. Now, to stop myself from falling into the you-aren't-going-to-do-well hole, I decided to open Spotify and stumbled on the Fearless Motivation - Motivation Podcast. And in all honesty it calmed me down, if you ever feel like you're not going to well at something even though you full well know you are prepared, I'd recommend giving it a listen.

If anyone was curious about what I had for dinner to fuel me up the next day - I had some whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce (pretty sure I ate about half the pot even though serving size was most definitely not one). The morning of the race was misty raining, and I've run in the rain before so it wasn't a problem. Driving to said race location however was straight up origami.

here we have rlly nervous Sahara stretching

There was a lot of construction happening so a lot of the roads were closed which meant my GPS was constantly re-routing and I kept having to make twists and turns only to make it to another 'road closed' sign. Eventually I made it to the race location to pick up my bib and as I was walking to pick it up I saw a few people with USATF sweaters and uh wow hello nerves. This was starting to feel real official real fast.

Also, something else I read online was that runners weren't allowed to race USATF Sanctioned Races with devices/headphones. (It depends on the race director present.) Personally this wasn't a problem, I've been running without headphones to keep my focus on my form so no headphones/with headphones was chill with me. The thing that was not so chill with me was the no device thing. I use my Nike App to track my pacing,  how would I know how long it took me per mile without it?

So, as I was leaving the Bib pick up area, I saw two officials (inner me wanted to abort immediately) and asked them if it was okay if I ran with my phone on my arm. They were really chill and told me it was completely fine to run with my phone. WHEW.

I went to open my bag to grab my armband and guess what ya girl left on the table at home? My armband that I use to put my phone in.

 Since it was raining I was wearing a running jacket from my university and! IT HAD ZIPPER POCKETS!

My mom wished me good luck and I weaved myself in through the crowd to be in the front. As a solo runner it was really awesome seeing other runners - I'm easily encouraged to go faster by seeing other runners. So, the bell was off and it was time to go full speed ahead. 

I'm the person right under the flag! Photo quality not the greatest but my mama did her best!

Here is a checklist I made for myself in the event that you're also a runner and are gearing up for a race:

1. How's your breathing?
 Keep it under control. Your shoulders should be back and as you run allow your chest to lead your chin - do not slouch. If you slouch your shoulders you aren't allowing enough air into your body.

2. Are you going too fast too early?
Conserve your energy but don't conserve it too much. By the second mile you'll have found your rhythm but in that first mile make sure that you are going at a controlled pacing & you're not huffing and puffing like you're about to be a guest star in Little Red Riding Hood.

Although I easily get encouraged by seeing other runners I also wanted to keep in mind that I need to go MY PACE not the pace I see around me. If I went too fast in the beginning, I'd lack the energy to finish strong. So my tip for any runner is you know yourself. Trust Yourself. Pick up the pace with your breathing in control.

For mile 1 and 2 I made sure to keep an eye on the lead car that was guiding us runners, I wanted to finish in the top half so keeping eye on it was pretty much where all my focus was. Since I wasn't running with music I was pretty much aware of every little thing. You may be wondering why exactly am I mentioning Breathing so much in this post. That's because the runners around me were huffing and puffing and didn't have it under control. If your breathing is under control you're going to have an amazing run, just remember that!

extremely blurry/grainy of me from zooming in - my mom was trying to only get me in the photo haha!
also I'm levitating so clearly someone did the wingardium leviosa spell 

One other thing I was really aware of was of the people who stood out of their homes and cheered us on at 10AM on a Saturday. 10AM on a Saturday I'm pretty sure everyone's hitting the snooze button but here these people were cheering on runners they didn't know just because they wanted to. As I was nearing the end of my third mile, another female runner who finished was standing on the sidelines and said 'You may not feel great, but you look great!'. 

I crossed the finish line with a time of 27:57 and was so happy to see a bottle of water. They had water stations for each mile, I only grabbed a cup on mile 2, but speeding while drinking a cup of  water isn't really the most effective way to get water into your system. 

There was a little section of bagels, coffee and granola bars to fuel ourselves back up which great because I was starving. I had eggs at 7:00AM - so a few hours before the race to allow my system to digest it - and pretty much needed some energy after finishing. 

As I was attempting to butter my bagel with a spoon (I really don't know who decided THAT was the utensil needed to spread butter) they started taping up the times on a wall. I had to weave through a bunch of people and finally found my name with a number 3 next it in a column named Place Category. I kind of didn't know what that meant and tried to ask but everyone was trying to see their own times. So I just took a picture of it and went back to where my mom was standing and the thing is inner me KNEW what the 3 stood for but outer me was kind of in shock.

I placed third for my Age Category and would be getting a medal.

Overall, I placed 265/500+ Runners and was the 95th female to cross the finish line. I just raced the way I trained and honestly that made the phrase 'trust your training process' real for me. In the beginning, when I was warming up, I saw a lot of runners with professional looking jackets. It kind of made me a bit unsure of my own ability because who was I? I wasn't part of a running group, I didn't have any sponsors, I was just me. 

And being just me was more than enough.

I'm going to end this post with this:

 Not everyone has the same path to get to a single destination. For me, I stopped running after High School because my track coach insulted and cursed at whoever wasn't the ~best~. The idea was that you'd start pushing yourself harder. For some it motivated, for others like myself it made me not pursue college running. 

I recently came across a study showing which runner did better - the one who was insulted by their coach or the coach who encouraged and spoke kindly to their runners regardless of how they performed.

Those that were encouraged and had kind coaches were faster.

I came back to the running world towards the end of my second year at university, and began training more seriously in my third & fourth year and am now working towards making it to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as a 5000M Runner for Team USA.

It doesn't matter when you pick up a sport/skill, that doesn't determine how far you'll go in it. YOU determine how far you'll go in it.

ps: if you are curious about my training I actually document every run + upload Run With Me's every Monday (showing what running I did that whole week) on my YouTube Channel!

And my Greece Adventures are coming to an end. This is my last Travel Guide for Greece where I take you through my time in Paros & Mykonos. I spent most of the time on boats with minimal sightseeing so, they both are getting combined into one post!

📍Paros, Greece


If you find yourself on a boat (and you know how to swim and are not afraid of heights) and the boat stops at a place for Cliff Jumping- JUMP! The cliff I jumped off of - my very first cliff jumping!- was 32 feet and wow what a long way down.

If it'll also be your first time cliff jumping:


 TIP #1: I'd recommend wearing swim shoes of some sort. I had to climb up the cliff and it was a bit hard with just bare feet.

TIP #2: Do not climb all the way up there if you have a fear of heights. Odd tip but the person in front of me climbed all the way up there and said he had a fear of heights. He eventually did take the express elevator down - i.e. jumped - but it took a lot of convincing.

TIP #3: When jumping, you must land like a toothpick. STRAIGHT! So keep your hands to your sides. If you even move a bit to the left and land on your thigh you're going to have a massive bruise there, so please please please make sure you land as a straight as a toothpick so you don't get hurt.


 TIP #1: If you have an iPhone, your best bet is to hand someone your phone and have them take a video and you can screen-cap from there. If you attempt to have your photo taken as you're in mid-air, chances are the person taking the photo won't capture you.

TIP #2: If you have a go-pro strapped to your head for the jump, I would take some precaution. The person in front of me who eventually jumped had a go-pro strapped to his head and on the way down it unclipped. Thankfully it wasn't so deep and a few skilled swimmers managed to get it for him.


If you're interested in seeing me jump in action - you can check it out on my YouTube Channel at minute 1:49 on this video -  HERE


Aegeon Hotel

The address:
Peripheral Road of Parikia, Kakepetra, 84400, 844 00, Greece
Their Website

2/5 Stars

What I Loved:
- The Hotel was family run and the family was so warm-hearted and so so sweet to talk to. Although there was a language barrier, they were so kind to speak to.
- There was a beach a short drive away

-  The Hotel was very close to a bakery, so if you weren't feeling the small selection for breakfast they had, the bakery was right there for you:

Directions to the Bakery
Exit the hotel and walk to the right for a little bit.
You'll see a bakery right across the street! 

I also want to note that this bakery had a massive slice of baklava for 2€. Best 2€ spent.

(split it in two for my sister and I!)

Now, I really wanted to find the exact location however, when I went on Google, the street view hasn't been updated since 2011. If you find yourself at this hotel, just remember there's a tasty bakery for breakfast extremely close by!

What I Didn't Love
-  The rooms were extremely tiny. I shared with my sister and another roommate and walking-space was not a luxury. What I mean is that when it came time to actually get ready for dinner, we literally had to hop onto our beds if someone needed to take a quick look in the bathroom.

- The Shower: Our tour guide mentioned that the water pressure here in Paros is not the best, we saw that with the shower we had. It was pretty low pressure.

- There was no place for us to dry our bathing suits. We had to hang them in the bathroom and even balance some on top of a hook by the window - they weren't the driest the next day but it's better than having it be soaking wet!

- The Elevator takes a while to come down so when you first arrive you are better off carrying your luggage with you up the stairs.

📍Mykonos, Greece

Ah yes, the party island. My EF Tour had an excursion for my tour group for a Beach Party and seeing as my sister and I don't drink we opted out and decided to spend the day on our own.

The Windmills (Kato Milli)


TIP #1: Wear closed toe shoes/comfy footwear. In order to get to the Windmills there is a lot of walking, some on sand depending on if you take that route.

TIP #2: The best time to go is right before sunset, your photos will have nice lighting and you get to see an amazing view.

last time I did this jumping pose - for those who haven't read my last Travel guides, I do this jumping pose at every major place!


TIP #1: You are going to have to pick and choose which Windmill you want in your photo, you can't really get all of them in one photo. And if you do, you'll be this lil tiny thing in the photo.

TIP #2: Make sure the person taking the photo is slightly crouched in place, leaning back a bit, so they can get the full view of the windmill(s) behind you.

TIP #3: When having your photo taken, have the person kneeling down on your righthand side/left hand side to get a photo of you with the windmills at an angle.

TIP #4: Getting a picture without people behind you may be a bit difficult, so you're going to have to wait a few minutes to get a less crowded photo.


Rouvera Cafe Restaurant
Mikonos 846 00, Greece

5/5 Stars

At this restaurant, my sister and I got a fish and a bowl of clams to share. I really wish they had their menu online so I can tell you exactly what I got and that I actually wrote it down. Although pricey, it was honestly the best fish we've both ever had.

The person who served us was actually the person who went on the boat fishing that morning. So, your food is quite literally fresh. The cost of the fish depends on the weight of it - I believe the fish was about 14€ for us, it also came with a small portion of rice.

You may be wondering, well where's the picture of the perfect meal? Well, you see, I was really hungry and didn't think to myself oh maybe I should take a photo of this.

Also, best part? FREE WIFI!


We went to another restaurant near the Windmills however we weren't too in love with. You are mainly paying for the view of the windmills not necessarily the food if that makes sense. So, if you find yourself by the Windmills, I'd recommend finding a place to eat where the start of the walkway is rather than near the windmills - you'll get better food and a better view!


Mikonos 846 00, Greece
5/5 Stars

For some reason the address is the same as the restaurant however just keep walking straight all the way down the path.

We actually found out about this ice cream place when we saw so many people with their little ice cream cups walking around. So we started walking down the path after eating at Rouvera and found it. Now, please drumroll for this ice cream flavor I am about to tell you about.

Baklava ice cream! I didn't know this was actually a thing but it tasted like heaven. You'd think the baklava might get soggy however, it still has its nice crunch to it! It was nicely priced at 3.50€ for a cup.

Funny story: After my sister and I tried this place we mentioned it to our tour group, and everyone in our tour group went to get ice cream and we all basically finished their baklava ice cream.


Alkistis Hotel
Agios Stefanos, Mykonos

Their Website
1/5 Stars

What I Didn't Like:

- You see those stairs in that photo above? Yep, so imagine having to climb that + 3 more of those daily because there is not an elevator. Oh, and climbing up those stairs with your very own luggage up all those steps. That itself was a workout. It made me really upset though because it wasn't wheelchair accessible. Although yes I am able to walk up these stairs, I kind of got upset that they didn't think of making this hotel wheelchair accessible.


If you're interested in seeing me walk up my hotel room in action- you can check it out on my YouTube Channel at minute 1:25 on this video -  HERE

- The water smelled odd in the shower and from the faucet that was outside of the bathroom.

- The air condition stopped working, and there was a quick blackout on the island. When the generator kicked in we put the air condition back on and essentially the air condition had an identity crisis because it turned to heat. Why there is a heat function on this air condition, I have not the slightest clue. So we had to sleep without the air condition that night.

- I didn't get the best vibes from the people at the front desk.

What I liked:

- The beach in front of the hotel was free for you to go to.

- There was a convenience store right near by, just walk to the right hand side for .5 seconds and you should see it.

- The bus stop was nearly right in front of the hotel. Right by the convenience store, you'll see a bus stop. It was I believe 2.50€ for a ride.


AND THERE WE HAVE IT - the end of my Greece Travel Guides. This Travel Guide was supposed to be up last week however I was attending a hack-a-thon and prepping for my race, so it ended up getting pushed around to this week instead.

I really hope everyone enjoyed reading my Travel Guides, I had a lot of fun writing and remembering what I did in Greece - I think of them now as massive diary entries with tips I wish I knew before. If this is the first one you're reading from me, you may want to check out the others as those have a lot of sightseeing, photography and general tips!

Travel Guide: Athens, Greece
Travel Guide: Santorini, Greece [Part 1]
Travel Guide: Santorini, Greece [Part 2]
Travel Guide: Santorini, Greece [Part 3]

Thank you again for reading, I mentioned in my last Travel Guide that doing Travel Guides were really outside of my blogging comfort zone and I'm so happy with how they turned out!