Category Archives: Family

Happy Times

Christmas #1 has come and gone.

Brian and I traveled up to Philly for a nice long weekend with his family. Lots of food, lots of people, lots of gifts. It was a little weird being away from my family for the holiday, but it was nice to be part of a new set of traditions. Best gift of Christmas so far?

Time for some heavy duty baking.

My MIL gave me this! We didn’t get one as a wedding gift, and she’s insisted we need one. This is the heavy duty version…like the kind they have in REAL restaurants. So far I’ve made one bangin’ batch of chocolate chip cookies and hope to try pizza dough soon.

I vow to be good in the kitchen.

Brian and I also squeezed in a nice hilly/muddy 5 miler while up in PA. He likes to show me his old running stomping grounds, so of course we ended up running through the forest. Thanks to a MASSIVE rainstorm the night before, it was a messy run through the muck and mud. Oh, and hillly. What’s new PA?


I have the whole week off from work (YAY!), so now I’m down in NC to start Christmas celebrations #2 with my family. Brian is heading down soon and we’ll have another Christmas morning. I’m pretty much using the week to relax, read books, play with my mixer, write wedding thank you notes, and run. What a life…

And in other superexcitingawesomeamazing news….I FOUND MY GARMIN. It’s been missing since the half marathon and it’s been a sad thing. Thank goodness for my RunKeeper app on the iPhone.

Time to end the randomness. Next up, NYE!

That August Whirwind

I’ve been booked solid for the entire month of August. Thankfully most of the things I had on my agenda were for play, not work. September will be another story…


Last weekend Bri and I headed down to Myrtle Beach to enjoy a long weekend with some of his work friends. It was relaxing, full of wine, and generally a great time. Ironically we didn’t even set foot on the beach since the condo complex we stayed in had a massive awesome pool. And by awesome I mean they let you drink IN the pool. We also managed to enjoy two wine tastings.

MmMmmmm Blackberry Merlot.

I ate ridiculous amounts of food over the weekend which probably won’t bode so well for my upcoming dress fittings. Boo. But at least it was super tasty.

Flash forward to the past weekend…Brian’s 26th birthday was on Friday and we celebrated by taking a trip up to Philly for a Phillies game and a beerfest. Last year I surprised Brian with a trip to the beerfest – I schemed with him family to surprise him at the hotel. We had such a great time that we had to do it again this year.

We both took Friday off and stupidly didn’t hit the road until about 9:30am that morning. We usually leave late Thursday night when we drive up, but Bri got an iPad for his b-day and we decided to spend the night playing with it. It basically took us 6 hours to get up there since everyone was fleeing from Hurricane Irene.

When we arrived we grabbed some food, showered, and left for the ballpark 2 hours early. Brian was convinced there would be tons of traffic but we actually made it to the stadium in record time. We spent the next two hours tailgating by ourselves with a 6 pack of beer.

We're the coolest.

Eventually we made our way over to the stadium and proceeded to eat more food and drink more beer (well, Brian drank more beer, I was DDing for the birthday boy).

Fake cheese is acceptable at baseball games.

Sadly the Phillies lost, but it was a great game nonetheless.

The next morning we woke up at the early hour of 9am (ha) and squeezed in a 5 miler at the local park. And that run kicked my bootay. Richmond is ridiculously FLAT compared to the rolling hills of PA. I seriously thought my legs were going to fall off during the first 3 miles. It was brutal. However, what goes up, must come down, and we were rewarded with a solid quarter mile decline around mile 4. Um, hello 7 minute pace?! We finished up in about 48 minutes with a solid 9:30-something pace.

From there we cleaned up, played with the iPad a bit more, and whipped out our rain gear as Irene made her way into PA. The beerfest was about an hour away near Lancaster, PA and we arrived in time to eat some grub at a local diner, snooze for a bit, and whip out the Pinot.

The fest did not disappoint. It’s held at Stoudt’s Brewery and it is truly one of the best beerfests I’ve attended. It’s completely indoors, so the fact that a hurricane was whipping around outside didn’t really affect us. $35 gets you a tasting glass, a buffet dinner, and a really fantastic band. Oh and I fell in love with Watermelon Beer. Serious love.

Watermelon beer is my second love after this dude.

By the time we caught the shuttle back to the hotel, Irene was really starting to blow in. The rain was pouring sideways and there were branches whipping around everywhere. Thankfully we didn’t experience any sort of damage, although our hotel room started to smell like hermit crabs (I kid you not)…

Now it’s back to reality and the fact that September is equally as busy! But it’s my birthday month, so BRING IT on.

Thunderstorms…the ultimate motivator. And my hair.

If there’s one thing that always motivates me to run, it’s the weather. And I don’t mean nice weather. Drop me onto the street with a thunderstorm looming in the distance and I am going to run like the wind.

I set out to complete 9 miles on Sunday afternoon, which is an usual time to run for me. I like to knock my long runs out on Saturday mornings (it makes me feel like I have the whole rest of the weekend to just veg out) but since I was out of town for my lil bro’s graduation I had to make adjustments. I checked the weather report obsessively on the way home from NC and it seemed as though I’d be running in torrential rain no matter what time I started. However, I take the weather reports with a grain of salt since they are usually just flat out wrong. Around 5:30 I decided it was kind of “now or never” and laced up my shoes.

The first 4 miles of the run were super pleasant – not the massive storm had predicted for 5pm. I chose a flat route and the sun was still shining gloriously. Around mile 5 I headed into the park near my house and the winds started to pick up and the sky darkened. I contemplated turning home, but I could see a twinkle of sunlight in the distance and I was bound and determined to get in my miles.

This looked scarier in real life. Props my my iPhone for taking the edge off.

I was literally at the FARTHEST distance from my house when the rain started to come down. I was also in the middle of a forest and completely alone. It kind of freaked me out. However, it did motivate me to whip out a 9:16 mile. I could feel the adreneline pushing me faster and faster. It was pretty bad ass.

Thankfully the rain lasted all of 1.5 minutes and I was out of the park in no time. My knees started to feel fatigued around mile 8 which scared me a little bit. I hope everything works properly and pain-free at Sunday’s half!!

Overall I was super happy with this run. I paced myself in the beginning and was able to reward myself with faster speeds at the end. 9 miles and change has been my MAX training distance for this race…let’s hope it’s enough.

In other life news, my brother has officially moved in. We haven’t lived together for 8 years, but so far so good. Now when I work from home on Monday’s I’ll actually have some social interaction…yay! He’s spending most of his time trying to find a part time job while he prepares to go back to school in the fall. The rest of his time will be spent cooking us gourmet meals I hope.

Also, I’ve been wearing my hair UP a lot lately. It’s naturally curly, so this humid weather makes it difficult to maintain.

Au natural

I like to blowdry it straight, but as soon as the humidity hits it goes a little crazy and I throw it up in a bun.

Check out my hair, not my ear.

In the winter (and on NON-HUMID days) I can even whip out the curlers and really go to town. However, these occasions are few and far between. Tears.

Nice hair requires entirely too much effort.

Wow, what a tangent.

Next up on the agenda, the Story of US, part deux. Stay tuned because it’s about to get juicy.

Taper? And a New Roomie!

The Williamsburg Half is only a week and 3 days away, so I should probably start tapering off my runs so I’m fresh and strong for race day. Although I must admit, it feels a little weird to taper when I’ve really only been back running for 1 week since my sickness. My plan is to attempt 7-9 miles on Saturday and then really tone things down.

Monday I ran a very successful 6 miles. I left the music at home and just ran. It felt amazing, which hasn’t happened to me in a while. Brian’s been trying to teach me how to pace myself a little better during these runs. I tend to want to go all out for EVERY run I do, but he insists that I need to maintain specific paces for specific distances. I’m pretty clueless about all of this, and he was a collegiate runner, so I guess I should listen. I attempted to stay at a 9:30ish pace for the 6 miler.

I definitely had energy left during the last mile, so I decided to go all out. In other words, Brian’s advice basically went out the window. One day I’ll learn…

Apparently I also went a little too fast during my 5 miler today. Maybe I need to readjust my definition of hard vs. moderate vs. easy?? It my head it makes sense that I should do a 5 miler faster than a 6 miler, but according to Brian it’s not all about speed. I’m hoping for a lightbulb moment sometime soon.

It makes me happy to see that I can do 5 miles at around a 9 minute pace. I should be able to do 13.1 around 9:45 right?!

Moving on.

This weekend my little baby brother graduates from COLLEGE and the exciting news is that he’ll be moving in with us!!! He is graduating with a degree in civil engineering (he’s super smart) and has been applying to jobs and programs. So rather than kill time in our hometown in NC for the summer, he’s opted to come up to VA! I’m sure the fact that his girlfriend (who is also one of my best friends – I helped set them up!) lives in Richmond had a little bit to do with it too wink, wink.

My bro is da

Tristan is the best lil bro in the world, so I have no problem welcoming him into our home. He and Brian also get along really well, especially over their shared love of beer. We’re 4 years apart in age, but we did live together for 18 years so I figured, why not. He’s a good kid (yes, he’s still a kid to me), a good cook (score!), and just generally easy to get along with. He moves in on Sunday!

We've come a LONG way.

Another epic adventure of my 2nd quarter…living with two guys and two male cats. I’m soooo outnumbered.