This week has been the best one I’ve had in quite some time. After studying nonstop for 10 solid weeks, I finally took my test and passed. It wasn’t easy–in fact, it seemed as if most of what I reviewed was a total waste of time, but I passed, and that’s all that matters! My comprehensive exam totaled 160 questions covering 8 areas of counseling: Human Growth and Development, Helping Relationships and Theories, Groups, Career Counseling, Social and Cultural Perspectives, Ethics, Appraisal and Research. Oddly enough, the Appraisal and Research sections ended up being much easier than expected while Human Growth and Development still kicked my ass, despite my emphasized focus on this section in particular.

Leading up to the test, several good things happened. First, my coworker gifted me two bars of homemade soap and a large mason jar of silky cocoa butter, while my other coworker surprised me with flashcards, because a third coworker told him I needed additional study materials. How very sweet and thoughtful!

20160926_125932_hdr.jpg

Then, I received news that my psychoeducational Domestic Violence write-up will appear in the Greeley Tribune in October. After blogging the last 4 1/2 years, it feels amazing to submit my work to the local newspaper.

Wednesday evening Keegan and I drove to Denver for Crystal Castles, which absolutely blew my mind. I caught their brief set at Counterpoint back in September 2012 in Atlanta, but a storm swept through the festival like an unexpected hurricane and cut their appearance short. They played a 20 minutes daylight set to a soggy, disappointed crowd. So needless to say, we had a great time Wednesday. Those strobes were unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and I’ve frequented many EDM shows in my day. I can’t find any live videos on Youtube thanks to their bogarting efforts preventing fans from uploading footage (I know this, because I posted a Crystal Castle video back in 2012, and it was abruptly removed with a copyright warning delivered to my inbox), but trust me. The show was good.

20160928_222546.jpg

On a side note, Starbucks rolled out one of my favorite coffee flavors ever, Mexican Chocolate also known as Chili Mocha. A kick of cayenne pepper in an iced latte simultaneously satisfies my need for warmth and intense flavor without any emanating heat.

wp-1475453790883.jpg

And did I mention I won an ice cream contest recently? I took a photo on National Ice Cream Day and tagged it to try to win a $20 gift card to High Point Creamery in Denver. Well come to find out, I was entered to win a trip from Big Pinky (their ice cream truck) to my house, and I won! I was informed of being a finalist on the 21st and the contest kicked off on the 23rd. After harassing my friends relentlessly, I earned enough votes between Facebook and Instagram. To be honest, I barely promoted the contest on IG, because my Facebook friends are awesome. If it wasn’t for Instagram, I would’ve never heard about the contest. And I would’ve never guessed when I posted the picture back in July that I’d win an ice cream photo contest in October–go figure!

14433140_521608251366512_2462057122355655398_n

So I won the ice cream contest the day before I passed my exam. I stayed the night with Christine on Friday since the test began at 8:00 a.m. sharp Saturday morning, and she lives all the way in Fort Collins. We watched the Office and chilled before my comprehensive exam the following morning.

The test took every bit of the alloted 4 hours. I answered 160 questions in three hours and re-reviewed several questions from 11:00-12:00. My graduate coordinator texted Christine (my proctor) to ask if everything was okay, because the test had only 5 minutes remaining and I was still logged in. I went ahead and submitted the exam and received a message stating “Access denied. You have either been logged out or do not have permission to view this page”. As one would imagine, this sent me into a panic, and we had to text my graduate coordinator again. We waited on her to force-submit the test, and Christine asked if I would like her to refresh the page. I said yes not expecting anything to happen, and sure enough there was my exam score. I screamed so loud, I scared the cats, but I couldn’t help it! I am SO glad to put this test behind me, finally! And now I know without a doubt that I will absolutely graduate in December. Let the planning begin!

I’m buying my cap and gown tomorrow and waiting to receive them in the mail before I go and buy a dress. And instead of purchasing UT Martin’s fancy invites, I think I’ll find a free template on Pinterest and print them myself. And last but not least, I’m eager to decorate my cap. I’m just excited, because the hardest test I’ll ever have to take is now a thing of the past.

To celebrate, Christine, Regina, Linda and I met at the Welsh Rabbit to sample the finest cheeses and drink copious amounts of wine. Christine, Linda and I continued the party at Social, while their happy hour drinks only cost $5. Once I made it home, Keegan surprised me with flowers and took us to Origins where I had several more drinks and even more cheese. I passed out around 11 last night–kinda early for a night owl, but with the most content taste buds this side of the Mississippi.

wp-1475453758520.jpg
Love these supportive, down-to-earth ladies
wp-1475453751736.jpg
First cheese plate featuring Rocky Mountain Cheddar, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Prima Donna and some sort of Washed-Rind with Wild Boar, Roasted Duck and complimentary crackers. Not to mention, my flight was awesome.
wp-1475453745674.jpg
“Can you torch our Rosemary so more? I need this to be smoky”–Christine
wp-1475453727713.jpg
Burrata–my favorite dish from Origins, plus the cheese plate Keegan and I shared.
wp-1475453722083.jpg
You can choose from three different countries, but we went with the passport platter to try ALL the cheeses.
wp-1475453735180.jpg
This was called something like Rum Rose Champagne. Best drink I’ve had in a really, really long time.
wp-1475453713163.jpg
Whiskey Fig

That about sums up my week besides our gardening success. What seemed like a dry, challenging environment earlier this summer has turned out to be just wonderful. We’ve had success with tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, pumpkins, eggplant, spinach, brocoli and cauliflower. Can’t wait to add more beds next summer.

So to that one person that doubted I would graduate in December…you were wrong, wrong, wrong. I’m out here doing big things while you still can’t get your shit together. And that’s all I will say about that 🙂