Yesterday was a pretty serious national holiday. Obviously I celebrated :)


Despite the fact that I’m three years removed from my organized basketball days, I’m briefly “coming out of retirement” to help my sister’s team out. I was their fifth player tonight…I forgot how tiring it was to play an entire basketball game with no subs! I am NOT in basketball shape…the sprinting ability + endurance needed require a little more cardio work than what I’ve been putting in. I’ve really been focusing on my strength training and yoga lately, but after feeling like a grandma during these basketball games (had a game last night too), I’m planning on upping my cardio again soon. It was great to play after so long though, and by the grace of God I managed ten rebounds and four points (my shot is a leeeetle rusty) today. I had a ton of fun playing with my little sister too. Playing against her can be dangerous (last one on one game=me crashing down flat backed on the pavement), but playing with her and hitting her for open shots is a lot of fun. It’s been great to watch her develop as a player over the years…kinda makes me nostalgic for my bball days.

Basketball game without subs=sweaty mess Shannon


I used to play year-round, pretty much nonstop minus a week in between seasons, maybe. I started playing in my church league at age 5, and I started playing competitively when I was 11. For five years I played club ball year round in addition to school basketball and random tournaments. I remember at one point, I was playing games with 4 different teams in a matter of about 10 days! I played A LOT of basketball in my day, and I can’t count how many hours I spent dribbling around traffic cones in my driveway and practicing my shot in the blazing FL sunshine. I played with my best friends for 11 years. I have so many wonderful basketball memories, but in the end, I made a tough decision. Although I enjoyed playing basketball, something always mentally blocked me from being a “great” player. I was solid defensively, could rebound against girls bigger than me, and made it my tradition to block a shot nearly every game (I’ve kept that tradition up this weekend :)). Still, I was never a strong offensive player. I could pass and hit the open man pretty well, and I could handle the ball decently for a “post,” but I was always timid when it came to driving to the basket and my shot in games never reflected all of the hard work I put into it in between games. Some seasons were better than others, but it got to the point where I sort of felt stuck. I wanted to be better, but something was stopping me, and I was trying to balance basketball with my budding involvement in scientific research through a school program. After frustration and a lot of deep thinking, I realized that my real PASSION was in cancer research, so I gave up my sport for a total commitment to working in a lab. Although it makes me sad that I didn’t finish out my basketball career, devoting myself to research was the best decision I’ve made in my life thus far…but that’s another story :)


Three words: Britney Spears concert.



See this horrible iPhone pic? This is what happens when you eat breakfast out of your lap while driving…smart, I know. Yep, I’m wearing scrubs beneath that bowl of nasty looking (but yummy tasting) banana oats/oatbran with chia seeds. I love to start my day with a bowl of oats, especially when I know I have a long day ahead…I’m currently doing some shadowing down at the hospital, so the staying power was much appreciated while I was in the OR! Props to Fage 0% plain Greek yogurt as well…protein is important too!

Since I’m not working this summer, Ive been doing random things like volunteering, shadowing, getting ready for next year, and seeing movies. I can’t WAIT to go to college, but I’ve enjoyed the time off to relax and prepare for the craziness of freshman year. I’ve also been pushing myself to be less “routine” and try new things. Today, this meant a beginner hip hop class at a local dance studio. I can’t dance to save my LIFE, but I went, tried, laughed, and had a good time. If Nicki Minaj needs a back up dancer…I have a long way to go, let’s just put it that way. I lack this thing called “rhythm” and I get so focused on one step that I mess up the rest. I think I’m going to stick with the classes though, maybe I’ll look like less of a fool at Zumba…hopefully…fingers crossed!

In elementary school, my teachers instructed me to begin all of my essays with some sort of “attention grabber” in order to get people interested in whatever earth-shattering topic I’d chosen to write about, which, if I recall, ranged from the highly informative “Why Pizza is Yummy” to the classic “Basketball is the Best Sport.” It’s pretty easy to grab people’s attention when writing about pizza. Just mention warm, gooey, melted cheese, the tantalizing aroma of fresh baked crust….pizza does all the work for you. My teachers failed to mention how to approach attention grabbers in the blog setting. I can’t really blame them, since six year old children don’t have much use for blogs anyways, but I digress. After about a year of reading a NUMBER of awesome blogs (and feeling like a stalker for silently reading/lurking without having a blog myself), here I am. My attention grabber? I have no attention grabber, just myself and an attempt at an introduction. Sorry if that’s not interesting, but I’m going to proceed full-force with the awkward first blog post regardless :)


My name is Shannon, and I’m a 17 year old (18 very soon!) headed to college in exactly one month. As the name suggests, I’m a Gator girl, as in a girl proud to associate herself with the University of Florida. I think my blog name also makes it clear that I am hungry like a gator (I’m assuming gators are hungry…they can weigh up to 800 pounds). I may not look like it, but I can EAT! I’m a secret (or maybe not so secret) nerd, and I’ve had the intention of being a doctor since age two when my dad bought me my first stethoscope and anatomy book. I’m majoring in Exercise Physiology, and I love to cook, do just about anything outdoors, ski, read, make really ambitious to-do lists, goof around with my Maltese, Lily, and, as my major suggests, exercise.

Hiking shot from my senior trip to North Carolina

     Although it isn’t always easy, I strive to find balance in my life; between my academics, my friends, my commitment to eating healthy, and my interests in fitness and getting stronger, it takes time management and a level head to make it all work. I’m not perfect, but I like to think that I’m doing a decent job of leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle. I hope to continue doing so in college, and I plan to use this blog as a way to encourage me to stay motivated to be the best version of myself and achieve my goals…which means not studying too much (or too little), always making time for friends, and putting effort into exercising and eating well despite the numerous unhealthy habits associated with college…but obviously having treats like chocolate or bread pudding (MY LOVE) when I want them! If I can earn a degree and manage to have a little fun and be happy along the way, I think I’ll be satisfied with my college experience.

   On the blog, expect to see random tidbits about my (almost) college life, my fitness goals and progress, my cooking “experiments,” and my random musings. I think I have a unique perspective, and I think blogging will be a great way for me to indulge my love of writing while also holding myself accountable for finding my “balance.” Even though I’m just a teen, I’ve done some pretty neat things in my lifetime, from working in a cancer research lab for three years (nerd alert) to traveling to some interesting places. I’ll do my best to offer something entertaining and possibly worth your time to read, but most of all, I’m doing this because I want to start a blog, plain and simple.


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