Be Spontaneous

GIVEAWAY IS STILL HAPPENING – ENTER HERE!

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My husband and I saw that one of our favorite bands was going to be within 4 hours of us (they haven’t been to Charlotte yet!), so we scooped up tickets and booked a hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee for the following weekend. We realized that we would be going right through Asheville, NC on the way and made plans to stop in for lunch and a stroll.

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First stop was at Lexington Avenue Brewery (LAB) for some beer and lunch. We walked around a little beforehand but quickly decided on a place when our hunger set in. This place had a creative menu, craft beer and no wait. Triple winner.

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We each got soup (roasted pepper bisque with cilantro oil for me, stew for him) and then split a couple small plates (or ridiculously large portion of bison nachos).

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After loading up on some dried lavender from the Herbiary shop, we started the second leg of our trip to Knoxville. I searched for bears on the mountainside while my husband drove.

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We had a great view of Knoxville from our hotel. My only experiences with Knoxville previously were one short stay for work two years ago (oddly enough, same hotel), and many stops through on my way as a kid from VA to Nashville to visit my cousin. I had no idea what Knoxville was really like!

IMG_1051We had about a half mile walk into the ‘Old City’ area, where we had planned to have dinner. I took this opportunity to play with the art in the city.

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Dogs? YES. Also, can I get a replica of this for our yard?

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The old city area was ADORABLE. It was bustling with people who were watching March Madness games, heading to our same concert and just out and about. The place we really wanted to go (Stock and Barrel) had a two hour wait. They served s’mores and nutella milkshakes which sounded amazing, so I debated on this wait for all of three seconds before realizing it was absurd to wait that long. Next time, Stock and Barrel, next time.

IMG_1064We ended up at Not Watsons, which was delicious. My husband had chicken and waffles, which I found to be amazing. His only complaint was that it was chicken tenders versus a whole breast. That syrup though!

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I got a black bean, kale and avocado wrap which was also amazing and healthy. I felt pretty good about that choice after seeing how heavy the chicken and waffles were (but again, they were delicious). After dinner, we headed towards the Tennessee Theatre for our show.

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The inside of the theatre was intricate and beautiful. And the sound…. wow. It sounded incredible. The openers were surprisingly good, although new to the scene.

IMG_1089Alabama Shakes were everything we expected and more. Brittany’s voice is even more incredible than it sounds on their records. I loved watching her on stage. She’s so passionate and full of energy and just totally rocked that place. It was definitely worth the four hour drive.

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We figured we might as well explore UT’s campus while we were there and check out the football stadium. It was pretty impressive in size (compared to Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium) but the design looked industrial and uninviting.IMG_1124
I’m sure it gets pretty rowdy in there and clearly people love going to games but aesthetically it’s not the best looking stadium.

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But it’s always fun to check out other stadiums when we’re in town. Looking forward to the UT/VT game in Bristol! GO HOKIES.

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We made our mid-morning commute back to Asheville with plans to stop in for lunch again. We walked around a little, enjoyed some street music and then grabbed some burgers at Jack of the Wood.

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No pictures of the food because we devoured it but we did decide to make a stop in French Broad Chocolate Lounge for some dessert.

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And I snapped pictures before we scarfed it down. We couldn’t decide on one thing (or even one thing EACH) so we picked three small items to share and the hubs got some coffee for the ride home.

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I loved our weekend getaway and roadtrip. We saw so many things in so little time. We had amazing food, heard great music, and had lots of time together. spontaneity worked out for us on this one – now maybe I can convince my husband to take that spontaneous trip to Belize, Honduras or Costa Rica? *Wishful Thinking* But I can say that we both thoroughly enjoyed this trip!

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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to support breast cancer champions!

Oh Happy day + giveaway winners!

A few weeks ago, I ran a  5-mile race with some of my girlfriends. Afterwards, I tweeted about the race and Mizuno reached out offering me a free pair of their newest running shoe, the Wave Rider 18. These beauties arrived and I can’t help but notice the irony that the color scheme is called “Key West” and we just announced our trip to Key West + my running the half marathon there in January. I think these shoes and I were meant to be!

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I’ve already started training for the race but since I’m 10 weeks out, I have the opportunity to slowly work my way up. I’m currently at 5 miles and did a run last night, keeping my pace under 9 miles (though my first two miles were by far my fastest!). So far, so good with hitting my 2 hour goal. I’m excited to try out my new shoes, set a new PR in this race, and get back into running.

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Now… the real reason you’re here…. the winners of the giveaway. I am so grateful for everyone who donated and read the blog this past month. You helped make some serious wishes come true for perfect strangers. The Porters visited Bald Head Island last week. Adrienne had two stock-car driving experience passes sent to her (big thanks to the Joey Logano Charitable Foundation). Julie G is getting her discs to help her learn to speak French. Michelle received two passes to go hang gliding in the OBX. As donations continue to come in, we’ll work to cross more items off these bucket lists. But let me say one more time, THANK YOU. I’m so grateful for your big hearts (and your excitement for Tieks). The winners were selected by Random.org. There were 14 of you who entered (names were matched with donations and comments). Congratulations to Kelly W, winner of the $100 gift card to Tieks; Amy T. winner of the pink ribbon hat; and Arely P., winner of the $10 Amazon gift card.

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I will be in touch with each of the winners. I hope to be able to offer more giveaways and to continue raising money to bring happiness to the lives of these amazing fighters. Check out the Pretty in Pink Foundation if you get a chance. They do some pretty awesome things with some pretty awesome people. Oh, and you just did something awesome, too, so high five to you. And big hugs all around. My heart is so full of gratitude for you all!

Happy November + a running playlist!

I woke up to stories of snow here in NC, as well as in SC. We don’t have any in Charlotte, but we do have some cold rain. Hard to believe that this past Monday was 80 degrees, and this coming week we will be back in the 70s. Is anyone out there still denying global warming? This weather is craziness! And this weather pushed me straight to the gym for my first half marathon training run this morning. I don’t do rain and I especially don’t do cold rain.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 11.57.27 AMYesterday, I registered for the Key West Half Marathon in January. I’ve wanted to do this race for years and since my birthday is also in January, we decided to make a birthday trip out of it. My husband even decided to do the 5k while we are there! Having a winter birthday and growing up in Virginia meant I didn’t have a lot of warmth or sunshine to celebrate my special day, so I’m thankful that this year, I will. Well, warmer than January in North Carolina, anyway.

11315_10100995262378323_6758311029683940757_nIf I haven’t told you before, I LOVE the beach. Don’t care where it is, as long as it has sand, salty water, and sunshine, I’m a happy camper. However, signing up for a January half marathon means winter training runs. So I’m going to need a lot of motivation, warm running clothes and some awesome music to keep me going. Luckily, the course is flat (Thanks, Florida), so I will have an advantage training on hills here in NC. I’m already prepared to train some on the treadmill, at least on rainy/snowy days, or days that drop below 45 degrees. My run this morning was 4 miles at an 8:53 pace. I’m pretty happy with that, but am also pretty positive I can’t maintain that for more than 5-6 miles. My goal for this race is to get it done in 2 hours or less. So, I need to be under (or at) a 9:10 pace for 13.1 miles. Whew! That’s what training is for, right?

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 3.16.06 PMI created a new playlist to get me motivated for training. I usually just put my iPod on shuffle so I’m not always listening to the playlist in the same order. Everything is pretty upbeat. I’m especially loving Florence + The Machine these days! I grabbed a few songs from Jen’s playlist to push me to the 2 hour mark. Now I know I have enough music to run 13.1 miles (or I’m going to have some quiet thinking time if I don’t get it done in 2 hours).

So, here’s to 13.1 miles, birthdays in Florida and some awesome music on this cold, rainy November day. What are your favorite songs to run/workout to? I’m always looking for new additions to my playlist! 

Weekend Wrap Up

This past weekend, we took a little trip up to Chapel Hill to watch the Hokies kick some Tarheel booty on the football field. My in-laws live in the area and were sweet enough to let us bring our pups and crash at their house for the weekend.

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Friday night, we went to the Fearrington Granary for dinner. For some reason, we were both craving red meat and ordered burgers and beer upon our arrival. Both were delicious. I think if we lived in Fearrington, we’d eat there at least 3 nights a week.

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On Saturday, we spent the day at Kenan Stadium, cheering on our beloved Hokies. The weather could not have been more perfect. We lathered ourselves in sunscreen beforehand but stupidly didn’t take any extra with us so we both got a little unplanned color.

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I ran into THREE people that have been some of my best friends over the years. Jacqueline and I were inseparable for years 18-20. She graduated college before me but did come back to hang out for special events like my 21st and Quadfest. We only live 1.5 hours apart now but we don’t see each other very often. Looking forward to another hang out session this week when she’s in Charlotte.

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Matt and I kind of grew up together (he was my cousin’s best friend) and we went to college together. We ended up hanging out in the same group, doing silly things like chugging Mad Dog 20/20 and running the beer pong table at parties. And of course, my bestie, Seth, who moved to Charlotte just after I did in 2008. I got him in the break-up with my college boyfriend. Seth is one of my most favorite people in the world – and my husband loves him, too. Actually, my whole family loves him. We laugh constantly when we’re together, like laughing til your tummy hurts, laughing. It’s wonderful.

IMG_5612We were so exhausted after the game (I took a two hour nap) and we wanted to watch the Ole Miss/Alabama game, which left us starving at 7 PM. After half an hour on Yelp providing options for places to go, we decided to head out to either the Singaporian place or the Italian place. Half way there I announced that we should just grab a frozen pizza and a red box movie and curl up on the couch. Winner!

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I am not a fan of pizza (never delivery!) and rarely recommend it for a meal, so my husband was happy to hear this idea out of my mouth. He ended up falling asleep in the movie (Blue Jasmine) and I’m pretty sure I only stayed awake because I had a nap earlier.

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Before we left to come home, we took our boys for a long walk which totally wore them out. It was an amazing weekend (especially with that Hokie “W”). I ended the weekend with an hour and a half of hot yoga with a friend, and started my week feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

 

Wanderlust!

Last week, I mentioned how much my husband and I love to travel together. In our first three weeks of dating, we took a trip to the beach and the quaint town of Swansboro on North Carolina’s coast, and we visited Cleveland for a wedding (but took the opportunity to explore while there!). When we got married, we discussed our future travel plans and agreed on one BIG domestic U.S. trip a year and one BIG international trip a year. Coming up with “where” to go was the hard part.

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I created a board on Pinterest to capture all the places that I would like to visit. Italy, Colorado, Galapagos Islands, Maldives? Yes, please! While flying home from Aruba, we each made a list of 10 international and 10 domestic travel destinations and compared. Ireland was at the top of both of our lists. (Of course, travel has to be done within reason, and within your means. This pin is helpful for budgeting appropriately for travel). So, our plans for this year were AUSTIN, TX (domestic) and IRELAND/LONDON (international – and while we’re paying to fly that far, why not kill two birds with one stone?).

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Jamaica/2010

We’ve had Ireland on our bucket list for a while now and we thought this would be the year; however, with the rest of our friends getting married and buying a new house, it looks like it will be going on the back burner until 2015 (or until we win the lottery – whichever happens first). Austin was also on our list for this year and coincidentally enough, we were invited to a wedding in Austin. However, my husband is in a different wedding and will be at the bachelor party that weekend. I am majorly bummed over this one but I know we can’t do everything.

San Diego/2011
San Diego/2011

So here’s what we are doing this year: Boston, Indianapolis, Weston & Woburn (Mass), Ponte Vedra Beach (Florida), Maryland, Blacksburg, Ocean Isle Beach, Wilmington (NC), Richmond, and I’m sure a handful of other places. International probably isn’t going to happen this year between the new house and my husband’s job requiring weekly travel. I’m okay with that since we bought the cutest house ever and I’ll spend that traveling money for decorating.

Aruba/2014
Aruba/2014

However, travel is one of our “things.” It really is a big part of our life and we love those trips, whether long or short. So while we’re hunkering down and doing house things, we still need to make room in our schedule for those mini beach vacations, or spontaneous trips (ie: Alabama Shakes in Charleston), and do the things that make us happy while we work on making our new house our home.

Jekyll Island, GA/2012
Jekyll Island, GA/2012

I’d love to hear what’s on your travel bucket list – or places we should add to ours!