Weekend Wrap Up [Christmas #1]

Our first couple Christmases together, we tried to do both families in one day. They were only two hours apart, so what could go wrong? A snow storm. That’s what. We got stuck in a snow storm coming back to NC from VA and I watched cars sliding off the road in my rearview mirror. The only time in my life I’ve been thankful my SUV has 4-wheel drive (otherwise not necessary in NC!). So, ever since then, we’ve tried to alternate. This weekend, we celebrated an early Christmas with my in-laws.

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My mother-in-law made a delicious dinner of fried turkey and delicious fixins for us and had a beautiful table where we dined.

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Santa came and was good to everyone, even the dogs!

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This guy has been obsessed with his stocking ever since we put it up. Every year he’s obsessed, but it’s to a new level this year. He seriously LOVES Christmas.

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On Saturday, we went to hear a storyteller at the Fearrington Barn. Donald Davis made us laugh, made us want to hug our families and made us want to visit the Grand Canyon but never ride a mule. If you ever have a chance to listen to him, DO IT.

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One of our families favorite things to do is play games when we’re all together. We’re big fans of Apples to Apples and Cranium. This year, we got new games which made us laugh until our bellies hurt. Smart Ass and Telestrations were this year’s choices, with Telestrations being played the most. Smart Ass challenged us all a little more with trivia but was definitely fun!

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On Sunday, after days of being tempted with cookies and squash casserole, I had to get in my 7-mile training run for the Key West Half Marathon.

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Not going to lie, I didn’t want to do it. I was a little sore from T25 the day before. It was cold outside. There was beer and football in the house. I had a million excuses. The first 4 miles SUCKED. I even took a break at one point and gave myself a pep talk.

IMG_8149Once I hit mile 4, I actually got in a groove. I felt pretty good and also, the setting sun sparked a fire under me (I am terrified of the dark so running after sunset is out of the question!). I got to see some pretty awesome stuff like the Fearrington House decorated for Christmas…

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And from the side:

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And I finished just before dark with my legs telling me I couldn’t run another mile and chills from my sweat combined with cool winter air. I didn’t hit my pace that I’ve been aiming for with my training. It was actually probably my worst 7 mile run ever but I told myself “Done is better than perfect.” And it’s true. I did it. It’s done. I ran 7 miles. Maybe not in 1:03 like I wanted to, but I did it.

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Oh, and my timehop reminded me on Saturday of a date my now husband and I had on our 6 month anniversary. Weren’t we cute?

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Hope everyone had a wonderful last weekend before Christmas (or just a good weekend if you don’t celebrate Christmas!). We’re both off work this week and excited to relax and spend some quality time together (and with our pups!). Happy Monday!

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We Believe Santa 5k recap + giveaway

Before I tell you about my 5k today, I wanted to share a few more items that are part of the giveaway. When I contacted Wendy with LoveW Boutique to see if she would be willing to donate something for the giveaway, she responded with “Can I send you 10?” I mean, seriously, the generosity of this woman is overwhelming! I received the bags and they are even more adorable in person! She sent two different sizes, some change purse sized ones and some larger make up bag sizes, and all different designs.

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And I may or may not have squealed over the charms that are attached to the zippers:

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The smaller bags will be paired with the jewelry that was donated by The Painted Pearl, Lori’s Wire Jewelry and Island Cowgirl.

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So, by donating just $10, you could win some fabulous earrings, a necklace, or pink ribbon rings PLUS one of these darling bags. If you need a reminder on the jewelry, here you go!

Earrings from The Painted Pearl in gold or silver:

Painted Pearl
                         Painted Pearl

Necklace from Island Cowgirl:

Island Cowgirl
Island Cowgirl

Pink Ribbon Rings by Lori’s Wire Jewelry:

Lori's Wire Jewelry
Lori’s Wire Jewelry

Aren’t these items incredible? And aren’t the shop owners who are so generous also incredible? Their kindness has blown me away. And I’d love for you to have a chance to win any or all of these items in the giveaway. So go enter TODAY and don’t miss out!

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This morning I ran what will be my last organized race of 2014. I ran the We Believe Santa 5k at the US National Whitewater Center. I’m not a huge fan of trail races (although trail running can be quite enjoyable).

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I really should have been doing a 7 mile run today, but my legs were actually still a little sore from my 6 miler and workouts earlier this week, so I figured strenuous hills and trails would be enough of a workout today. And it was. I finished 206 of 480 participants. Somehow, I did not do so hot in my age group but I reminded myself that I wasn’t there to compete, just run and that I did.

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And I had my biggest supporter waiting for me when I crossed the finish line, so it was a good run.

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How was your Saturday? Hope it was AMAZING and I hope you’ve had a chance to check out all the amazing items in the giveaway and entered. Remember, it all goes to a great cause of making some special wishes come true for ladies who have breast cancer. Your support is appreciated and you’re basically guaranteed to win something with all of these amazing prizes!

Weekend Wrap Up

It’s Tuesday but it feels like Wednesday. Boy is this week flying by! My husband’s best friend, Charles, visited over the weekend. We ate A LOT of food, starting with Queen City Q for barbecue on Friday. Since we had just been there the week before, I opted for wings this time. Wings are my weakness. Actually, anything with buffalo sauce is my weakness. I could live off of bland foods dipped in buffalo sauce.

IMG_6659Our friends Enrique and Urmie who recently moved to Charlotte, joined us for dinner and the Hornets game. We were in row A and I can’t say enough how much I love not having people sitting in front of me (now only if I could also not have them behind me!). We spied Michael Jordan from our seats.

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Even after having him here in Charlotte for several years now, it’s still pretty awesome to see him live at the games. The game was a thriller, with the Hornets winning in double overtime, with a last minute 3-point shot by Lance Stephenson.

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On Saturday, I had to get in my run to stay on track with my training for Key West. I decided to take it outdoors since the weather was next to perfect.  I have no idea what happened on mile 3, but other than that, I had a pretty good pace.

IMG_6352I had some pretty awesome scenery on my run, too. Fall is amazing for running. I am dreading winter long runs with bare trees and grey skies. But hey, at least it’s not snowing yet!

IMG_6707Saturday evening, we introduced Charles to NoDa Brewing and Birdsong. Being the wonderful groomsman and friend that he is, he remembered that he had Birdsong’s Jalapeño Pale Ale before our wedding and that we served Olde Mecklenburg Copper at our wedding.

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We love Charlotte’s craft beer scene, although I will say that we were disappointed this weekend to hear of NoDa’s new location that will be on North Tryon, and no longer in walking distance for us. We had dinner at Basil, which is one of our favorite Thai restaurants. The guys decided to watch the Alabama/LSU game on Saturday evening and I was apparently exhausted from the day, so I went to bed at 8:45. We constantly have the debate over whether or not I get TOO much sleep. I still say that’s not possible.

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Charles headed out after a very filling breakfast at Zada Janes. It was delicious but holy cow, those portions are GIGANTIC! I picked up our foster dog Daisy on Monday and brought her back to our house for the week. She’s a small lab/beagle mix at 45 lbs. She is the cuddliest, sweetest pup who just wants to be loved. I don’t think she was given a lot of positive attention in her last home. She has already met her forever family and will be going to live with them on Friday. I can’t say enough good things about Lucky Labs Rescue here in Charlotte. They are amazing to work with and we’ve loved both of our fosters from there. I highly recommend checking out the labs they have available if you’re in the market for a furever friend, or filling out an application if you don’t see one that works. They are great about working to find out what kind of dog you want and finding matches. Yay for Daisy and her forever home. Fostering is also a great way to check out dogs and see how they fit in your home. So happy for you, sweet girl!

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! 

100 days til “I do”

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Today marks 100 days until the BIG day. I’m sure there are a million things I should be thinking about, but I’m focusing on getting fit. Not that I’m not in decent shape, I’m “petite” by all standards and my co-workers swear I have the metabolism of a child, but I want to have that toned body that all brides want.

Sometime around Christmas, I signed up for FlyWheel, which I fell in love with from day one. I also purchased a FlyBarre class, to give it a shot. I started doing yoga, semi-regularly, and lastly, I signed up for 2 “long” races – a half marathon and a 10-miler. I thought a combination of these things would help me achieve the “wedding body” that a bride wants: toned arms, flat stomach and of course, a healthy look.

Sadly, I was so busy with grad school classes that I hardly trained for either of my “long” races, and although I completed them, that’s pretty much all I got out of signing up for the race. I have only been to one FlyWheel class (again, the time thing!), and I’ve yet to try FlyBarre. I also haven’t had time for yoga, on top of searching for a new studio due to some changes at the one I had been attending.

Now that I have graduated, and the countdown is on, I am kicking it into high gear with the working out. I’m running daily and promising myself to do fitness classes at least 3 times a week, and yoga too. On days I can’t get outside (or to the gym due to work travel), I’ve been doing Insanity or other work out DVDs. So I’m hoping to achieve my goals well in advance of the wedding, but also considering a personal trainer at the 2 month mark if I’m not seeing the results I want.

But I’m determined, and it’s not like I haven’t been a workout fool in the past. So here we go, start the countdown and start the calorie burning!

FRIDAY FAVORITES

1. Etsy
Anyone who is engaged should stay far away from Etsy. Oh my bank account! I would tell you all the things I’ve purchased but then you wouldn’t be surprised when they appear at the wedding. But in all honesty, you can find EVERYTHING on here – and you have lots of different options because there are crafty people all over that can create all the things your heart desires!

2. Shop Sweet Lulu
Our straws arrived and they are PERFECT. I can’t wait to see them sticking out of mason jars all over The Dairy Barn.

3. Southern Weddings Prints
 I’ve been collecting prints and vintage frames for our wedding decor. Southern Weddings magazine has some of the cutest prints you’ll find. They just added more this week so check ’em out. Great for around the house or office too!

4. Pressed Cotton
I was obsessing over their adorable pillows and burlap perfection before I saw them at a Bridal Show but now, I’m just DYING to order something. It’s only a matter of time. Doesn’t get much more Southern than this!

5. J. Crew
It would be a shame for me to leave J. Crew off of this list. My wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, best woman dress and our incredibly handsome bowties have all come from J. Crew. I am completely smitten with their entire wedding line (obviously) – and it’s perfectly fitting that our wedding party will be decked out in J. Crew since at least half of our closet bears the brand.

I’m sure I’ll have a much longer list of these favorites by the time the wedding gets here, but that’s enough for today. Need to rest up for my half marathon tomorrow… still working on that wedding body!