Running the Disney Princess Half Marathon

So, in case you missed the earlier posts, I registered for my first half marathon last summer, trained for six months, and very much enjoyed my Disney vacation leading up to the race.

…which brings us to RACE DAY! Finally.

Sunday February 21, 2016
We woke up at 3:00AM. I managed to get a decent night’s sleep and even woke up a few minutes before my alarm clock which was a great way to start the day, but I still felt a lot of race day nerves. Continue reading

Disney Half Marathon Vacay

When I signed up to run the Disney Princess half marathon in the middle of winter, I don’t think I realized just how badly I would need an escape from my first winter in Boone. I’d been uncomfortably cold for months. After six months of training, I was so ready for this race and for the four-day Disney vacation that came with it!

After waking up at 3:30am (let’s call this a practice wake up call for race day) and driving for 10 hours, we checked in to our hotel. The drive was long, but we didn’t mind. We love Florida. We miss Florida. Driving to Florida felt like a breath of fresh air and sunshine after being trapped in the mountains for nine months. Continue reading

How I trained for my first half marathon

I’ll just begin by saying that running in the Disney Princess Half Marathon was everything I hoped for and more. I truly couldn’t be happier with my results or the experience, and even though I am exhausted and sore and possibly injured, I’m mostly just sad that it’s over. I’m going to share all of the details (AND PICTURES) soon, but first, I wanted to write a blog post about my half marathon training process.

I still can’t thank my friend Brandi enough for convincing me to register for this thing. When she asked me to run 13.1 miles with her – my first half marathon – my immediate thought was, YAY DISNEY WORLD followed quickly by, I don’t know if I can do this. I remember almost saying no. I remember almost signing up for the 10K instead, but I did it. I talked it over with Bret and he was completely encouraging and supportive so I registered for my first half marathon. I committed to running 13.1 miles, and then the training began! Continue reading

De-activated: Life after Facebook

A couple weeks ago, I deactivated my facebook account.


1. make (something, typically technical equipment or a virus) inactive by disconnecting or destroying it.

“the switch deactivates the alarm”


disable, defuse, disarm, disconnect, inactivate, make inoperative, immobilize, stop, turn off

“don’t forget to deactivate the alarm”

Yes. I needed to disable the virus that is facebook from having a role in my life. I decided to do this for a few reasons.

  1. I needed a break. I needed a timeout. I was in the habit of checking my facebook account way too often. I relied on it too much as a method of communication, but even more as a mindless distraction. I used to sign in to facebook at my dorm room computer once a day. Now, as a 29-year-old adult, I was sliding my thumb over my smart phone app several times an hour. AN HOUR. And for what reason? I needed to break the addiction.
  2. I needed to feel better. Even though I’d say I use facebook with good intentions: to catch up with my friends and see how everyone is doing, I always end up feeling worse than before I looked at it. I can’t explain why that is, really. …I’ll try. I felt isolated and jealous of the tiny pieces of former friends lives that they were choosing to share on the internet… which brings me to the next point.
  3. My Facebook friends are not my friends. I have some good friends who I actually talk to. We talk on the phone and make an effort to spend time together in person. I trust them and I care about them. And then I have facebook friends. Every time I update my facebook status, I’m sharing news with an anonymous audience of 500 people. Sure, I knew each of these individuals at some point in my life: a former classmate; a former co-worker. But the assumption that they are going to see, read, and care about something I post makes me feel entitled, selfish, and lazy. The fact that I may not have personally spoken (or texted, or emailed) with someone in 8 years but I know their dog’s name, where they went on vacation last summer, and what they ate for lunch today is WEIRD. I’m convinced that’s why my 10-year-reunion felt so weird.

So, I’m taking a break, and while I do feel a bit disconnected, I feel a lot better in general. So many of my friends post negative or insensitive things. I’d hidden most of them, but, honestly, that’s taxing. These days, I’m making an effort to write more letters, to text more friends, and to stay in touch on a personal level because I WANT to, not because I feel obligated to be one of the ‘likes’ on a photo you posted.

One thing I hated about facebook is the lack of intimacy. When you wish a friend happy birthday, and you may say something like, “Happy Birthday to one of the most amazing friends and most talented women I know!” …it seems disingenuous to me. Because you aren’t writing this in a birthday card for her to read and hold on to, you’re shouting it to the world along with a collage of pictures of the two of you that scream, LOOK WE ARE FRIENDS AND HERE IS PROOF. That message is not just designed to make your friend feel good, it’s designed to make YOU feel good. And, I know everyone won’t agree with me, but I also think a status like that is designed to to showcase your friendship and status to see how to rates with her other friends. In turn, you’re making everyone else feel a little bit bad, or a little bit left out.

I never *really* thought about this until I listened to a podcast where 12-year-old girls were talking about Instagram rules and expectations for liking and commenting on photos. I still have my Instagram, by the way. I’m not addicted in the same way and I don’t use it in the same way so I think this is okay for me right now, but if that ever changes, it’s going, too.

One more thing. The ONLY thing about I truly miss about facebook is Humans of New York:

Fortunately, you don’t need a facebook account to view the content. If you have a faceobok account and by some impossible feat have not yet discovered Humans of New York, please go “like” the page. It will brighten your news feed and make you feel things and give you some much needed world perspective in a sea of mindless updates.

2015: Year of Adjustments

A few months ago, while Bret and I were shopping at the Outlets, I spotted a pair of heavy-duty waterproof boots. Our Boone friends had lectured me whenever I showed up to their homes in flats. You’ll need a good pair of boots. So I bought them. And I waited patiently for the first snowflake. All October. All November. And then, in mid-December, it snowed just a little. I laced up my new boots. I crunched in the thin layer of snow on our front deck. I took a picture of the boots in the snow to validate the purchase. And I thought: This is my Boone life.


Continue reading

Harrisonburg is my Homeland

When someone asks me where I’m from, I usually answer like this,

“Well, I just moved here from Tallahassee, FL; but I’m originally from Richmond, VA; and I work in Washington DC, so I go up there a lot, too.”

I’ve learned this kind of answer is very normal in academia. In fact, I met someone last week who met me word for word. She responded with, “Oh, I love Tallahassee! I grew up in Jacksonville, FL. And I went to college in DC. And, yep, I lived in Richmond for a bit before I was in Texas.” And, by the way, she just moved here (to Boone, NC) from Cleveland. Continue reading


This past weekend was wonderful.

Once a year, three of my best friends from high school get together for a girls weekend. We always go somewhere new and spend a few days catching up and talking about life. And we always pose for a picture like this on a balcony, or, in this case, balcony looking object.

2015_balcony pic

It’s one of my favorite traditions. Continue reading

Just Another Post-Grad Struggle

I’m not good at goodbyes. It’s not that I usually break down and cry or avoid them at all cost, it’s just that I tend to not realize the fullness of something being over until, well, it’s gone. I was all smiles saying goodbye to my sister in a Mexican restaurant parking lot in May of 2012 until she said, “Well, I guess this is the last time I’ll see you before you move to Florida…” and I LOST it. I honestly had not grasped the fact that I was moving 14 hours away until that very moment.

I’m a post-griever.

I remember being at one of my first JMU football games and it hit me SO HARD that I wasn’t in high school color guard anymore. I cried. Where were those tears during my last color guard performance? It just hadn’t sunk in until months after the fact.

Throughout college, every summer, and in grad school, I lived within a few minutes of all of my friends. I saw the same faces on a regular basis: in class, for lunch, at work, in the library — and that was just a typical week day. If I was lonely, I could almost always find someone to meet for dinner or coffee or a drink on the Dave’s rooftop. It was so wonderful to have that built-in community for so many years.

Everyone was so emotional at graduation; they “couldn’t believe it was over,” but I don’t think I really got it. Part of the reason was because while most of my friends were moving away for jobs or moving back home, I had the pleasure of staying in Harrisonburg for work and grad school for a couple more years. Still, even though I wasn’t saying goodbye to the JMU community just yet, I don’t think I really considered how I would not be seeing my friends on that regular of a basis again. Ever. I remember reassuring everyone, “I’ll see you again soon! Really!” But, of course, six years later, I’ll be the first to tell you that wasn’t true. I haven’t seen some of those people since graduation day.


Don’t worry. That’s my sister and my favorite person in the world. We’ve managed to stay in touch 🙂

It’s one of the unexpected challenges of post-graduation “adult” life: keeping up with your friends. It’s been ten years since I graduated from high school, six since I graduated from college, and four since I graduated from grad school. In those years, I’ve lived in Harrisonburg, VA, Washington, D.C., Florida and now North Carolina. With every move, I’ve struggled to stay in touch with my long-distance friends and family.

I say struggle because it’s been a struggle. While some people kind of passively let friendships go (which I think is fine and healthy in a lot of cases) I have done pretty much everything in my power to keep these old friendships alive. I schedule regular Skype dates (or Google Hangout dates!), I write hand-written letters, I’ve implemented text-a-day communications with various groups of friends, and, occasionally I make a good old fashioned phone call. I love getting a letter from a friend I haven’t seen in years. I love hearing how someone’s day is going via text or through a catch-up phone call. It helps, but nothing can replace that neighborly love of being able to knock on a door and grab food together. Life keeps happening even though we’re apart, and sometimes, I really do wish I could live in the same town as my friends and family.

The best catch-up time is always in-person. It just is. That’s why I love weddings. That’s why I love reunions. That’s why I’m so excited for my annual girls weekend that’s coming up in a few weeks!

balcony pic

It’s also why I’m so happy to be living within a few hours (approximately 5) of my hometown. Within the past few years, a lot of my friends have re-migrated back to our hometown and living in North Carolina allows for spontaneous weekend trips which is so different from my Florida life. I’ve only lived here for a month, but in that time I’ve grabbed lunch and dinner with friends I haven’t seen in YEARS and it’s been fantastic.

Christy2  Sindhu

How do you keep up with long-distance friends? How do you make new friends? It was so much easier in school!

When a Stranger Buys You Beer [in a grocery store…]

Y’all know this blog has a lot of really random themes including odd grocery store experiences and encounters with strangers. I mean, my original blog post set the tone that this little corner of the internet was going to be dedicated to strangers who buy me things. Well, this one has all three!

20150603_170801Last night while Bret and I were picking up a few groceries at Harris Teeter, we had an experience that made me think I am definitely going to be writing about this.

We had just finished our nightly walk around the Greenway (pictured left), and decided that we wanted to make cheesy grits and salad to go with dinner, so we thought we’d pick up a bag of corn grits, cheese, and salad ingredients.

I LOVE shopping at Harris Teeter because of all of the samples. I was bopping around to each sample station eagerly sampling rye bread with oil, cantaloupe, and then some cheese while Bret checked to see if the seafood counter offered a particular kind of fish he liked to order in Tallahassee. (They don’t).

We met in the beer and wine section. We were looking at some local North Carolina six-packs that we bought a few weeks ago, but ultimately decided to buy some Blue Moon. It is one of our favorite beers so we agreed quickly. When we turned to to walk away, a voice called out,

“Excuse me, are you done shopping?”

This caught us both by surprise and we weren’t sure how to respond. The man who was wearing a shirt with the Hefe logo was holding up a 6-pack of Hefeweizen beer. In response to whether or not we were done shopping, I just said, “No – we’re not done.”

“I just wanted to ask if you’d tried this beer before. Have you tried this?”

We looked at each other to confirm before answering, “…No, (have you?), No.”

He went on to explain that we were buying the number 1 wheat beer in the country, and that Hefeweizen is number 3 and asked if we’d be willing to give it a try.

I should say right here that Bret does not like sales people – especially those who interrupt him to try to sell something. It may be why he doesn’t frequent the sample carts as often as I do. We were about to leave when he said,

“Okay – I’ll buy it for you.”

I felt like there was probably a catch so we still declined, but he insisted.

“It’s okay. I work for the brewery!” He pointed to his shirt to prove it.

Beer 2He told us that he would go purchase it at the register and leave it up there for us. Instead, he ended up finding us a few minutes later and bringing us the 6-pack in a bag with a receipt! I couldn’t believe it.

I said thank you and he said, of course, and he hoped that we’d like it. When we made it to the checkout lane with our other groceries I was going to explain the whole scenario, but when I held the bag, the cashier said,

“Oh yeah – he told me about that.”

I asked if he knew that guy (thinking maybe this was a normal Hefe/Harris Teeter experience) and he said no, but that really is the best beer they carry.

While we were walking out of the grocery store, I told Bret I’d had random men buy me a beer in a bar before, but never in a grocery store, haha. Also, yes, I am wearing my LCB high school gym shorts.

So while we were making dinner, we decided to do a little taste test. We poured one glass of Blue Moon and glass of Hefeweizen. Do you want to guess which one was smoother, a little sweeter and probably my new favorite beer?

Beer 1Yep. Hefe.

If you like wheat beers like Shock Top or Blue Moon, you will probably like Hefeweizen. Bret even tried it with an orange in it! I will say that we usually put Florida oranges in the Blue Moon and all they had was a regular old naval orange which isn’t the same, but, Bret tried a regular orange in both and still preferred Hefe.

So there you have it – a strong sales skill that worked. I will probably be buying Hefe again, but for now, we’ll enjoy the free 6-pack!

How a Magic Hat changed my life

Four years ago, I made a list that answered this question: If everything was perfect in your life right now, what would it look like?

I think this is an important question to ask yourself every now and then. There are a lot of things in life that you can’t control, but there are plenty of things you can free yourself of, and sometimes it just takes a quick assessment to figure out what needs to change. In 2011 I knew my life wasn’t perfect, so I made a list of what would make it better. My 2011 “perfect life” list included things like: a membership to a hole-in-the-wall yoga studio and plenty of space and tools to paint, write and bake. I was definitely committed to finding a fun, fulling job. The thing that stands out to me the most now, though, is this: I wanted to love where I lived.

The funny thing is, this philosophy was inspired by a beer bottle. My “favorite” beer is Magic Hat. I put that in quotes because as Bret will tell you, it’s not my favorite tasting beer, but it’s my favorite beer because it comes with a fortune under the cap, or, in my case, life-changing advice. My favorite Magic Hat bottle top to date says, “love where you live and live where you love”. I stuck a magnet on it and slapped it on my fridge the day I moved to Florida and it smiles at me every day.


Bret and I … we love Florida.


I mean we LOVE our Disney trips and we LOVE that we can drive to the Gulf of Mexico in an hour, and we really, really, really love this place we live called Tallahassee.

I always get attached to places, but I’m not sure I’ve loved anywhere I’ve lived before as much as I love Tallahassee. After living in a cute, small town (Harrisonburg, VA) and then living in one of the largest cities on my own (Washington, DC), Tallahassee feels like the perfect fit. It has my favorite aspects about city life: I can walk to the mall, Panera, the grocery store, and a frozen yogurt shop right from my apartment. And it has the small-town charm I can’t live without: familiar people in in familiar places, local festivals, farmers markets, seasonal parades. It’s just perfect.

We both love it here, but, pretty soon, we’re going to be moving somewhere new.

Despite our best intentions, I know we’ll be swept up in the logistics of the move and then we’ll be busy getting acclimated to our new city and before we know it, our Tallahassee life is just going to be a memory. Before all of that happens, I’m making a point to focus on and enjoy this particular stage. I want to absorb all of this goodness that our Florida home offers. For the most part, that just means living out our regular routine but being extra intentional about the way we spend our time knowing that this may be our last weekend out to eat at this particular restaurant or that we should walk an extra lap around the lake because we only have so many walks left in this particular place.

I also wanted to make sure we can preserve all of these memories in a tangible way. That’s why I’m so glad we invited an incredible photographer (who happens to be one of my very best friends), Tiffany, down to Florida last weekend to photograph us living life in our favorite place before we move. I sent her a whole brochure about what I wanted to do while she and Erik (her husband/also my friend) were here.


I can’t wait to get these pictures. I want to put them in frames and on canvases and hang them on my wall. I know it will be so nice to be able to “hold on” to these memories when I’m living in a colder climate and missing my Florida life. Eventually, I want to get them in an album, too, so if we ever have kids, I’ll be able to show them how awesome our Florida life was before they were born. I’m kidding (kind of).

Before Tiffany and Erik arrived, I made a list of places I want to be sure to visit. It was so hard to narrow it down: all of my favorite spots in downtown Tallahassee, FSU’s campus that brought us here in the first place, the coffee shop where Bret practically lives, and my new favorite cupcake shop. We went to the Farmer’s Market, to FSU’s campus, and all around our favorite Tallahassee places. We also ate at nearly EVERY one of our favorite restaurants. It was excessive, but wonderful. It meant so much to me to have these wonderful friends in town.

Making this list made me all sappy about this place we’ve lived for the past few years. Here are just a few of my favorite Tallahassee things I’m going to miss so dearly…

All the palm trees


My hole in the wall yoga studio


The North Florida State Fair. If you don’t love it, hush. I love it.


My Annual Disney Pass

Disney Pass sisters_disney selfie_1 muppets ladytramp food_3 epcot_2  epcot_3

The Tallahassee Museum


All of the FREE water sport rentals because Bret is a grad student

IMG_0902 IMG_0895

Skies over Tallahassee in the planetarium. And the iMAX.


The Downtown area

date night_1 walk_8 walk_3 walk_13

The Greenway – where we’ve attempted to train for a 5K multiple times.

20140913_190236 Greenway

Downtown Get Down. It’s like a pep rally for 100,000 people.

downtown getdown downtown 2

The Jingle Bell Run & all of the festivals

Dec_2014_2 parade  glee tallahassee 4th of July_2

Southwood & my Giraffe Tree & the armadillos we’ve seen there

March_Anniversary tallahassee Armedillos

The people.

Nov_ChristineBday 30th

The Food.

4th of July 3 my husband sushi

The French Pastry shop.

Feb_French Pastry IMAG4170 IMAG4169 french pastry 2


When I think about saying goodbye to all of these things, it hurts a little. I recently texted my sister – desperately – about how much I’m going to miss the Winter Wonderland Festival and Candy Cane Lane next December. She texted me back,

“You’ll find another Candy Cane Lane. You always do.”

To me, that was so comforting. When I feel doubtful, I remind myself that the core things that I was craving in 2011 are now life constants: a brilliantly secure relationship, my perfect orange cat. I didn’t KNOW I needed a free kayaking option, a sushi restaurant that feels like home, or access to a French pastry shop. So even though I don’t exactly know what I’m getting myself into with this new move, and even though it isn’t exactly what I had in mind, it may just be THE thing I need in my life right now.

And let’s be honest. The best part of Tallahassee, for me, has been Bret. Living here together away from our core group of friends and our families has taught us how to rely and depend on each other in a way I’m not sure we would have had to otherwise. We started our married life here. We’ve grown closer together here. And we know that as long as we have each other, any place we live will be just as sweet.

rehearsal dinner_5

Even though, if you asked me, I’d tell you I’d be happy to stay in this cozy Tallahassee place for a few more years, I would have stayed in Harrisonburg forever if a job hadn’t pulled me somewhere new. I think after I plop that magic hat beer bottle top up on our fridge, it will be easy to fall in love with the next place we call home. Sometimes you have to move to find out what else is out there. It’s a big world. I’m ready for the next big adventure.