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deck those halls, trim those trees {Christmas recap}

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Even though I got to take nearly a week off to go to Ohio for the holidays, I hardly know where it went. Christmas has not been a very big deal to me for the last couple of years, and it’s a hard time of year for me. Getting to go to my cousin’s for some family time, even when the rest of my family isn’t around, helps a lot.

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I got to NP’s around 12:30 on Friday night… and Niece 1 promptly woke up puking at 1am. I was supposed to babysit the next day while NP and her husband worked, but my uncle ended up having to come over for awhile so I could run out and get medicine and supplies. It takes a village, I’m telling you.

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Viva Tequila!

By Sunday, everyone was feeling better. I sat again until 2, did some shopping of my own, and went to our favorite restaurant for dinner. NP and I really learned our lesson last year when we had left all the presents to be wrapped on Christmas Eve, so we took some time that night to get a head start. This turned out to be the greatest decision we made all weekend. We also compiled a list of things that still needed to be bought, so I ran all over greater Cincinnati on Monday picking up presents and playing Santa. Happily, the crowds weren’t overwhelming at all. One of the places I stopped on Monday was the Sweaty Bands warehouse sale. It was really cool to see the warehouse, and I spent WAY too much money.. but how could I pass up $2 and $3 bands? (Answer: I couldn’t) I also stopped to see my other cousin for awhile and by the time pizza arrived for dinner, my tummy was feeling unsettled. I figured it was what I had been eating until NP text me that she was throwing up at work. Yep, we both caught the bug. Instead of our last minute preparations, we put on our pj’s and robes and passed out in front of the TV.

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Gold Star Chili, God’s gift to my tastebuds

Christmas Eve we went to her aunt’s house in Northern Kentucky, but we still had some errands to run. We ended up being an hour and a half late to dinner… what are you going to say to two sick girls? Thankfully we were feeling good enough to eat (and drink) by 3. We tried to wrangle the kids into bed as soon as we got home, but it didn’t happen. At one point the doorbell rang, and we panicked, thinking the neighbors had begun to bring over the boxes that were stored in their garage – but it was carolers! I’ve never had carolers come before. Amanda and I both cried. It was beautiful. Youngest was up until after 10 with NP and I while we snuggled in bed and watched Christmas on the Bayou.

Playing Santa is always so much fun. (We even got our own presents when her husband got sick around 11pm. Karma!) The kids got up at 6am and I drove back to Virginia yesterday on four hours of sleep. I am still feeling the effects of no sleep the night we were sick, so I’m definitely ready to go home and crash today.

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday (or day off, if you don’t celebrate) free of that ugly stomach bug! Did you get any great gifts?

December 26, 2013
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What I Did This Thanksgiving Weekend

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20131203-143133.jpgI’m back from a fantastic holiday week! I ended up taking extra days off work to make it a whole week (and a half day) break. For those who don’t follow me on Instagram, here’s a peek at my week:

Monday I headed up to see Sixx. I spent the night there and generally had a great time. Our relationship is so hot and cold lately (today it’s the latter, go figure,) but it was nice to get to see my person. Tuesday I drove down to my cousin’s house and spent some one-on-one time with her and the kidlets before my mom arrived that night. We all went to dinner once she got to town and relaxed with tequila.. then at home, we relaxed with Dancing With the Stars (my girl won!) and beer, and Rumchata. Oops.

Most of the rest of the family came in on Wednesday, and I’m honestly not totally sure what we did. NP and I went on a very brisk run, and I suppose we finalized Thanksgiving day plans. That was a good thing because on Thursday NP got called in to work… which meant I had to take the charge on making dinner for 40. It actually ended up pretty well, everything was ready at the same time, and it was delicious. I was pretty proud of myself. Once the extended family left, I took a quick nap before we headed out to the stores.

Black Friday is huge with my family. It’s one of the first times I remember hanging out with NP by myself a few years ago and I think we all spend quality time together doing it. That said, the backlash about stores opening on Thanksgiving night this year really shocked me because for the last few years, the outlet near our house opened at 8 that night. At any rate, that evening and the following day were filled with broken sleep, puppy naps, and a broken back. I managed to throw out my back sleeping on a mattress on the floor and running all over creation. (I’m only just now getting back to normal.) Since my family is huge and spread out, Saturday was our Christmas. Short of a gun-related panic attack and a drunken meltdown, it was a pretty nice time.

Most of the family left on Sunday, so I got more time with mama llama. We also watched a Hallmark movie that was filmed in the town they live in. The movie was awful, but was fun to see places we go on screen. My nephew was especially excited to see his school, which they used as a hospital. To be honest – I’m not feeling “in the spirit” at all this year, and I’m not sure what the deal is. I’m certainly ready for days to be long again and to see the sun when I get out of work!

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you scoop up any Black Friday deals?

December 3, 2013
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Hello again.

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Well hello!

I’m back from a much-needed break. Seems that post-marathon depression, mixed with a perfect storm of other things, all culminated to make me bonk. Here’s what I’ve been up to, in brief:

20131122-112404.jpgI ran two races: the Danger! Zombies! Run! 5k here in town as well as the Real Girls Run half-marathon. I’ll be posting a recap of that fail of a race but suffice to say… I’m just happy to have finished both of them. The 5k was basically 3 miles of hills and was my slowest 5k yet.

20131122-112429.jpgI’ve been focusing on a lot of Les Mills & kettlebells classes lately. I’m loving the change in my workouts.

20131122-112447.jpgI saw Amos Lee this week. I’ve seen him before and he continues to blow my mind. I was in the front row and I’m pretty sure I got pregnant.. he is the sexiest man I’ve ever laid my eyes on.

20131122-112437.jpgI’m really trying to make the best of being in a situation I don’t necessarily want to be in. Still seeing the new guy, trying to be engaged around campus and go to events and maybe even make some friends. I remain skeptical about the necessity of friends, but I hear they’re good for mental health.

And that’s it in brief! I am thankful to be leaving for holiday break on Monday afternoon and getting off to Ohio. What are your Thanksgiving plans?

November 22, 2013
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Cleveland Rocks {run rock ‘n’ roll half-marathon recap!!!}

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I’m officially, finally, a half-marathoner!!! Over the weekend I FINALLY got to do the Run Rock n Roll half marathon in Cleveland. I apologize – I know I get long-winded with recaps, but maybe this will be the last lengthy one and in the future it will just be greatest hits.

rock n roll cleveland recap

I flew up to see Sixx on Thusday night, so I spent the whole weekend with him. We headed to Cleveland on Saturday morning and as I was checking my race info on the way, I noticed that none of the documents had an actual physical address for the expo. I figured it couldn’t be that hard to find, because one did have a cross street, and an expo center should be well-signed, right? Nope – not well signed. We couldn’t find it, so we elected to park at the hotel and walk over. We found it that way but it still wasn’t very clear and the only reason I even figured out what building it was was that I saw a Run Rock ‘n Roll sign inside the glass door. The expo was super empty when we got there around 10:30 so that was really nice. It was also very small – since the only one I’d been to before this was the Flying Pig one which was HUGE and awesome, I was kind of disappointed – but that also meant I escaped without spending any money. (Which also meant I came in $200 under budget for the vacation, holla!)

We were able to get into the hotel early (yay!) but would have had to pay for late checkout

A little bit of everything. I totally ate the CRAP out of those sweet potatoes

A little bit of everything. I totally ate the CRAP out of those sweet potatoes

(boo.) After we did a little settling in, we took showers and made a plan to hit the casino. Fun fact – I do love gambling. I also really love casino buffets, and as soon as I walked by the spread at the Horseshoe, my plan for a healthy race weekend went out the window. Oops. After we feasted, we hit the slots for a little while before returning back to the room. Neither of us won big, but I only spent $3, so I’ll call that a win for some cheap entertainment. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing, I ate more crap for dinner (Irish Nachos at Tilted Kilt – yum!), I taped my knee, and went to bed at 9. (My peaceful slumber was interrupted around midnight by the loudest hotel party I’ve ever heard next door. I was extremely close to running out into the hallway naked and giving them a piece of my mind, but settled for calling security.) I had been nauseous and impatient and anxious all day for the race – I wasn’t nervous, just so excited for it to come. All of my things had been set out in the hotel room, I took the gratuitous “Flat Desi” picture, and pinned my bib to my shirt. (Lesson learned – do this while wearing the shirt, or else it won’t be centered and will rub on your arm.)

HoFFINALLY my 6am alarm went off! I hopped out of bed, took a quick rinse, and got myself ready to go. I knew Sixx wouldn’t be walking me to the start line, which was fine. Before I headed out I stopped in the lobby bathrooms to shake out the last of the nerves I could get out, and met a nice couple from Pittsburgh on my walk over. She was running her first half too and it was nice to walk over with them, talk to them, and get a few last pieces of advice. I dropped my bag at gear check and thought “well maybe I ought to just jump in the port-a-potty line..” Can’t hurt, right? Lesson learned: don’t listen to the race volunteer directing you to shorter lines “down there.” They aren’t shorter and they are farther from your corral.

I did a little stretching, really enjoyed the electric guitar Star Spangled Banner, and then Corral 1 was off… then Corral 2… then, finally, me in Corral 7. My plan was to run one song, then walk one. My secret goal I wasn’t talking about was 2:45. When I heard my first split on Nike+, I was shocked – 11:26. Faster than I have ever gone. It was awesome! I kept a great pace and when I thought about slowing down, I thought how freakin’ awesome it would feel to finish under 3 hours. That kept me going for a really long time, as did conversation with other runners. The signs in Ohio City at mile 5 were great, and the aid station volunteers were fantastic. I think it was around mile 7 when I started doing math and realized that if I kept my pace, I was going to go sub-2:40. That made me so happy I wanted to cry. I literally never thought that was possible. I paced myself with other runners (since I made the mistake of not shuffling my music AND putting the Lana del Rey album on the playlist.. what was I thinking? way too slow) and raced those around me.

I was feeling strong and nomming on my PowerBar chews every 30 minutes and blessing the Gatorade volunteers. I’ve never been so happy to see Gatorade in my life. I was doing great until mile 10 when the weird pain in my foot got too much to bear. It was a new ache in the arch of my foot that I’ve never felt through any of my training. I had been pushing through it for two miles before it finally got too much and I had to slow WAY down. I was pretty devastated and upset, but I had to tell myself that for my first half marathon, the real goal was to finish. I hobbled through 10-12, pushing past the pain and medical tents, and managed to do some jogging on the last 1.1 miles. The volunteers on those last miles kept saying “the finish is just around the corner,” so when I finally saw Sixx at mile 13.05 and he said it – I had some colorful words for him 🙂 I wasn’t able to sprint the last quarter mile like I like to because the GPS tracker was off on my app, so I only got in the last .1, and I finished in 3:04:07. I’m pretty upset about it. Sixx was waiting on the side just past the medals, and I went over to him, started handing him all of my gear and just said “I’m going to the medical tent.” He walked along and as I was collecting chocolate milk and bananas and the rest I would hand it to him. (Lesson learned – always bring a pack mule! :)) Of course I then bypassed the medical tent and strained my neck to slam my chocolate milk while I tried to catch some of Gavin DeGraw’s set but that didn’t last too long. I was just impressed with myself that I didn’t hurt myself more seriously than I did, and I didn’t feel bad at all when I was sitting around plenty of other runners getting ice saran wrapped to their bodies.

After that I hit the beer tent. I drank my free beer and then was handed another complimentary beer which was awesome, but I was in no position to drink it (so I stuck it in my bag and drank it later that night.) I ate Skyline Chili and then we went home, the end.

tripleSo.. I’m disappointed. To be going at such a great pace for me and then fall on my face from a new pain that I’ve never felt before is truly frustrating. At least I have Real Girls Run in a few weeks to redeem myself!

October 9, 2013
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End of Summer Favorites

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Well, it’s finally here. I am a self-proclaimed End of Summer Denialist. I was still trying to log hours by the pool last week after they had officially closed it, laying on toweled concrete next to nasty water. I’d be out there again today but it’s starting to get stormy. In mourning of my favorite season, here are some of my favorite things from the summer months.

Cotton Candy Grapes – HAVE YOU HEARD OF THESE? Probably not as they are apparently super rare. When I visited Sixx over Labor Day, the local grocery store had samples of these – I immediately gave in and bought a bag. They are the sweetest, tastiest things I’ve ever eaten. It’s crazy how much they really do taste like cotton candy! There’s a great NPR article on how they’re made and whether they are a health risk.

Bath-Body-Works-Palm-Beach-CoolerPalm Beach Cooler candle from Bath & Body Works – the last time I did a favorites post, I’m pretty sure this was included, but that’s how much I love them! I went through four this summer. It has a great light, sort of coconutty, sort of beachy, very refreshing smell. Knowing Bath & Body Works I’ll have to savour my last jar as they tend to take away everything I love.

 

cn5953088Gap Fit Ruched Shorts – I have two pairs of these and LOVE them. They are so comfortable, and I have been pretty much living in them if I’ve not been at work or the gym. The strings on the side that provide the ruching can get a little annoying and in the way occasionally, but for something that is so comfortable – I will survive. These aren’t available online anymore and they’re being clearanced out in stores. I picked my two pair up for less than $10!

 

15-M Runner’s Booty “She’s a Runner” t-shirt – Runner’s Booty was one of the first cute runner gear websites I found early last fall when I started running, and this was the shirt that I fell in love with right away. This summer I excitedly tore open the package and tried it on right away, and have been running weekend errands in it since I got it. I will say, if anyone is thinking of getting it, that the American Apparel Track Shirt that this is printed on is very fitted so if you want something more cozy for relaxing, I’d suggest sizing up. If you want your own Stunner shirt, or anything in the cuter Runners Booty store, use discount code “NORTH15” to save 15% on your purchase through October 23!

 

inspire_women_1-117x148YurBuds for Women Inspire – I have very finnicky ears when it comes to headphones. I’d been using the standard Sony over-the-ear headphones for years because Apple earbuds don’t stick in my ears right, and any in-the-ear headphones would work their way out when I worked out. This summer I picked these up and I. LOVE. THEM. They have two different sizes in the package so you can try them out and see what work for you. They also have the option of being over-the-ear or in-the-ear depending on preference, and I actually wear them both ways. They have a “twist and lock” design so they don’t come out if I don’t use the over-ear setup. YurBuds also carries them in a men’s design and they also have the same model with a microphone built in if you’re someone who can talk on the phone on the run. (I am not.)

Did you have any great product discoveries this summer? What should I check out for fall?

I received the Runner’s Booty shirt to review, but all opinions are my own.

September 21, 2013
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