August 30, 2013

Back At It

This week marked the start of the Fall Semester and for some crazy reason I decided to take 3 classes again (actually, it’s not a crazy reason – I want to graduate ASAP!). I survived taking 3 classes in the summer, but that was just 8 weeks. Luckily, this is the last semester I have to take 3 classes…only 13 weeks to go.

I’m really excited about this semester. What am I taking? Well, I’m glad you asked!  

Marketing Management
Did someone say marketing plans? I do this for a living…if I fail the class, I’m in trouble :)

Consumer Behavior
Individual consumer? I shop all. of. the. time. I wonder if we can get extra credit for shopping? That would be a really good excuse to shop every day now through December…

Public Affairs Management
I don't have a witty comment for this me out people!

I have a few goals for Fall Semester, outside of the classroom.

The first goal is to keep up with my workouts. Since I started grad school in January, it’s been a struggle to fit in runs between work, class, and sleep. This semester I have a plan. It’s in writing – in pen, even – so I have to stick to it. I only have class 3 days a week, which means I should definitely be running or doing some workout on the other 4 days. I’ll do my best to post recaps on the blog (see goal 2) so that you all can keep me accountable!

The second goal is to keep up with the blog. I barely blogged at all during the spring and summer semesters. I’m going to blame it on the whole “move to a new city, attempt to survive 14 hour work/class days” thing. Blogging is a good outlet/stress reliever for me so I am going to try to make time to write during the week.

The third goal is to keep my apartment from looking like it is constantly in battle with a tornado. Last semester it was shoes, clothes, books, papers EVERYWHERE. This is the least likely of the three goals that I will actually achieve because, let’s be honest, if I have to pick, running and blogging trump cleaning any day. 

Now, for all of my readers: YOUR GOAL is to help meet achieve all of my goals! Hold me responsible when I skip workouts, calm me down when I get stressed out, and remind me to do laundry every once in a while....seriously...that last one is important!

Any readers out there working on their MBA or other graduate degree?

What's your best tip for staying organized? 

August 29, 2013

Pictures from Home

The last three weeks in Louisville were pretty awesome. I was going back through the pictures on my phone and decided that you all should look at them too!

August 14th was my sister's 23rd birthday. My mom hosted a bithday dinner and made chocolate surprise cupcakes (the surprise is a peanutbutter cup in the middle!).

Yes, I am wearing running clothes. No, I had no idea what Justin is doing.

After eating way too much food we went on a family walk to see the set up of The Moving Wall. I decided I would try to skip the mile home (I made it 100 ft). I guess Justin decided to pretend to be an airplane...and Brittney & Shane are behind up acting like they don't know us...

Later on in the week, Dad and I went back to The Moving Wall to see all of the exhibits (since they were still in the set up stage the first time we went).

The wall listed the name of every person killed during the war.

This is a replica of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - complete with a 24 hour guard.
Dad and I also visited Sam's Club while I was home. When I grow up, I am totally becoming a member. I love free sample day.

Fruits & Veggies anyone? We got enough to feed 10,000 people.
While in Knoxville, we went to the Sunspot for a bottle of wine and dinner. The wine was a perfect choice. You need to try it. I had the Rattlesnake pasta which was also fabulous. I ate it too fast to take a picture though.

We went to Orange Leaf about a bazillion times while I was home.I had different flavor combinations every time, but always added a sour gummy worm. You can't have FroYo without a sour gummy worm. I know you don't really want to see a picture of my empty cup, but one of the Orange Leaf's I visited had these awesome dividers.

One last thing - and I don't have a picture for it - Tuesday's post was my 

Thanks for reading everyone - I hope you're as excited as I am for the next 100 posts :)

August 27, 2013

An Olympic Tri & Saying Goodbye

The past week and a half flew by. I can’t believe my three weeks at home is already over and I’m back in Pittsburgh. I have a “blog list” of all of the things I need to tell you about (including a recap of my first race of the year!), but first I want to tell you about The Boy’s first ever Olympic Triathlon.

I headed down to Knoxville last weekend to spend time with all of our friends there, visit Peyton Manning’s picture on the side of Neyland Stadium, and most importantly: cheer on Justin at his biggest race of the year. He’s been doing triathlons for a little over a year, but this was his first Olympic Tri.

On Friday night, we hydrated, ate at Chuy’s, and had FroYo….maybe not the best pre-race strategy, but it seems to work for us (more on that later). We went to sleep early because we had to be up bright and early to head over to Kingsport, TN.

I ran a warm up mile with Justin and then creepily took pictures while he stretched. He probably wouldn't admit this to you all (but it’s my blog & I’m telling the story), but he was really nervous! He hadn't ever swam the race distance in open water. The swim was 1.5K…an out and back. The course wasn't really a spectator course, but I was able to run along the shore line and keep an eye on my guy.

He's swimming the start here - I couldn't get a good picture during the race

Ok - Let’s be honest – I had no idea which green cap he was, but as long as none of the green caps disappeared under water, I knew we were good :) I managed to get 1.5 miles in during the swim and make it back to the finish line to see Justin come out of the water in 36:12.

He then took off on a 40K bike ride (just under 25 miles) so I had some time to kill. I took off on the run course and got some miles in. It was a good course and I was taking it easy. Before I new it, I had run 3.5 miles, bringing my total for the day to 6 miles. 6 MILES! That is officially my longest day of the year. I gave myself a pat of the back and then grabbed the camera to head over to the transition zone.

Justin finished the bike 1:18:48 and took off on the 10K run. His swim time and his bike time were a bit slower than he had planned, but his main goal was to finish and he felt great going into the run. I stretched (a lot) and then walked the mile towards the finish line (my legs were starting to feel those 6 miles at this point haha). I caught Justin at the 5 mile mark where he yelled “my left foot is completely numb!” I yelled back something along the lines of “rub some dirt in it, ya wuss!” and took off to meet him at the finish line.

The picture is literally mid-yell about the numb foot

He KILLED it on the run – 47:42 and finished in a total time of 2:44:55 – well under his goal of 2:50:00. He was 7th in his age group and got an awesome visor to prove it. I am so proud of him!

"Get a picture of my number" ...yea...the number...sure

On a separate note, my 6 miles was under an hour so I am proud of me too :)

The rest of our Saturday was spent at Justin’s fantasy football draft and a cookout for his Economics department. Suddenly, it was Sunday and I packed up the car for that loooooong 9 hour drive. I am so ready for 2015 to roll around, you have no idea.

What did you do last weekend?

Any thoughts on why Justin’s foot goes numb while running long distances?

August 15, 2013

Wedding Venues: The Search is ON

The first two questions that everyone asks when you tell them you’re engaged are when is it? and where is it? For the first few weeks after getting engaged our answers were a confused mumbled mess of sentences that included the phrases “after we graduate” and “Louisville”.

We are now able to answer the first question (sort of)! We've picked a Saturday night in June 2015. Justin wants to steer clear of June 13th“since it will eventually fall on a Friday” and that’s as far as we've gotten.  

Knowing that we have almost two years to plan the wedding is reassuring. It’s more than enough time to plan…I hope!  We lose some planning days since (a) neither of us live in the city where we are getting married and (b) we do not live in the same city (or state, or part of the country) as each other. Since we were both spending time in Southern Indiana in August, we decided in would be a good time to go tour some venues. My list started with 23 venues on it. Justin sent me a list with one venue that he thought would be cool and a note that I probably had every other place in the tri-state area on my list….men...
No, we did not visit 23 places. I narrowed my list down to 15 after looking at event space pictures, capacity, price, etc. Then I sent my list to my mom, my MOH and to Justin and we narrowed it down to 7 (I can make important work decisions in a matter of seconds, but it takes me weeks to make personal decisions).

We spent the last week researching the 7 venues and taking tours. We had a few things in mind when we started our search:
  • Downtown (view of the river is a plus)
  • Ceremony and reception in the same place
  • Outside ceremony space
  • Big dance floor
  • Awesome photo opportunities
  • Close to hotels
  • The groom must be able repel in from the ceiling or parachute in from a helicopter (guess who’s criteria that was)? 

After each visit, Justin and I made a pro and con list for the venue. We then ranked the venues in order of our favorites (have I mentioned that I am a very anal detailed person?). We had a few matches as we went down the list, but our top choice never matched….until the 2nd to last tour.

Ladies & Gents, I think we have found THE PERFECT venue. I was so excited that I took my mom back to tour with me yesterday and ask all of the questions I forgot to ask the first time we were there (the only question I could think of on the first visit was CAN WE BOOK TODAY?).  The next step is to put down a deposit. It’s hard to believe we’re planning already…it still seems pretty far away…but hey, time flies when you’re having fun! 

Less than 685 days to go!!!!

Engaged/Married People: What questions did you ask your venue?

Louisville People: Where is the best spot for photos on the river?

Everybody: Let's play guess the date/place...what do you think??

August 12, 2013

Girl’s Night & Hot Soccer Players

Friday night was spent with some of my favorite people in the whole entire world. My favorite thing about these ladies is that even though we haven’t all gotten together since last summer, we can still pick up our conversations right where we left off. In case I haven’t done it yet, let me officially introduce you to my high school crew:

Jennifer: is currently living in Cincinnati working on her doctorate in Chemistry. She’s my maid of honor, I am the godmother of her cat Breezy, and she is the person who introduced me to my fiancĂ©. She likes drinking wine, dancing in parking lots, and overanalyzing every situation. This is why we are besties.
Erin: got married last summer and recently moved to California. She is a pharmacist and probably the smartest person you’ll ever meet. She and her hubby are the cutest couple ever. If you ask nicely, you can convince said hubby to take a bazillion pictures during girls night so that you have them for your blog post
Jessica: recently got home from a Harry Potter convention and VidCon which both sounded amazing when she was telling me all of her stories. She does disaster relief work and is a youth minister so she always has great stories to tell!
Morgan: is planning a Valentine’s Day 2014 wedding and recently bought a house which is decorated with the coolest stuff. She is more stylish & trendy than I can ever dream of being. Her mom took our English class on a trip to Europe in high school and we nicknamed her dad Captain Christmas.

Girl's Night = Success
On Saturday, we drove down to Bardstown so that Justin could play in the Alumni soccer game at his high school. I have to admit, I know next to nothing about soccer (but I am really trying to learn!). What I do know is that soccer players are pretty good looking.  I know that you are all still swooning over Juan Pablo but not me! I have my very own smokin’ hot soccer player :) 

On Sunday, I got to go to lunch with another one of my favorite people, my cousin Taylor. I had a very important question to ask her, and she said YES! Our first wedding task is complete…now we just have to pick the date, the venue, the caterer, the DJ…..and on and on and on.

What did you do this weekend?

How often do you get to see your high school friends?

Does anyone have a soccer for dummies book I can borrow?

August 10, 2013

An Engagement Story

I’m warning you now…this blog is about to be taken over by wedding posts. I realized earlier this week while watching the Bachelorette finale that I haven’t told you all about The Boy’s proposal yet…so here we go!

We had planned a family cookout for the last weekend in June. My mom had met Justin’s parents but we hadn't officially introduced our families yet and knew we wanted to make that happen. Justin and I were both in town that weekend and my brother and his girlfriend were in from Florida that weekend too – so it was perfect timing. We invited my sister and her husband and Justin’s sister and her boyfriend to get the entire crew together.

After spending all morning setting up lawn games, tables, and chairs I was inclined to stay in my running clothes for the cookout. My mom had to convince me to get dressed and ‘do something with my hair’ (sometimes I have no control…only curly haired people can understand). This should have been my first hint.

I was carrying around my mom’s iPad while we were setting up the croquet course per the United State Croquet Association rules (we’re very official when it comes to lawn games). My mom kept grabbing the iPad away from me every time I picked it up. I thought that she was scared I would drop in and break it. Hint #2 that I did not pick up on (the iPad had a picture of my ring on it!).

We played croquet & corn hole and ate a ridiculous amount of food. My third hint should have been the fact that both my mom and Justin’s mom had their cameras glued to their hands the entire afternoon. I just assumed they liked taking pictures of me :) Right before we got to dessert Justin tapped my arm and told me he wanted to ask me a question.
I have to sidebar real quick and tell you another story. For the past month or so, every time Justin and I were out and about, we would have this conversation:Justin: This is fun. We should get engaged. Kim: Ok.
Justin: When do you want me to ask you? Kim: Today. Justin: Nope, I can’t ask you today. Kim: Okaaaaay.
Back to my story: Justin pulled me to the side and he said, “This is fun. Do you want to get engaged today?” I said, “WHAT?!” and apparently “stiffened up like a 2x4” according to Justin. He likes telling this part because he said he literally had to drag me into the yard so that he could get down on one knee :)

And that’s exactly what he did. He got down on one knee in my parent’s backyard in front of both of our families and asked my to marry him. He had a speech…and says he nailed about 90% of it. I’m glad we have it on video because I barely heard a word he was saying. My thoughts were something like this the entire time, “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. This is happening. What’s he saying? I should listen. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh!!”

Then he pulled out the most amazing, beautiful, special ring I have ever seen and asked me to be his wife. It was the easiest question I've ever answered :) The day was even more special than I ever could have imagined since we got to share it with the people we love the most. We have tons of pictures…and the video that I mentioned earlier. We were so caught up in the day that we forgot to watch the video before his parents left to go home. We’re visiting them this weekend and I am excited to watch the video and relive one of the best moments of my life.

Engaged/Married People: What is your favorite proposal/wedding planning memory?

Does anyone have any planning tips or suggestions that I should keep in mind?

Does anyone else still play croquet?

August 9, 2013

Guest Blog: Honeymoon Cruisin'

I've never been on a cruise and I've never really had any interest in going on a cruise until my sister came back from her Honeymoon in May. I was so in love with her pictures and stories that I asked her to share them with you! So here you go folks, welcome to Brittney’s Guest Post.

To me a vacation isn’t a vacation without the ocean and a fruity drink. So there was no better way for Shane and I to start our honeymoon than by boarding a cruise ship and drinking a “Fun Ship”, I’m still not sure what was in it but man, was it delicious. Our first night on the boat we explored everything. Shane is not content until he knows everything about where we are staying...sounds like a good plan until you realize how big a cruise ship actually is. We were on Carnival Ecstasy, which has 12 decks! It was a long exploration, but so cool.

 The first whole day was spent on the boat was at sea. You would think being on a boat for that long would make you go crazy but there is so much to see and do that we almost ran out of time. We spent a little time in the casino and a little by the putt putt course, but for the most part we laid by the pool looking out into the ocean. At night there were all kinds of things to do. We chose to go to the comedy club. I have to say, for cruise ship comedians they were so funny. I was a little skeptical at first, I thought they would be a little boring but I was proved wrong. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.  

Half Moon Cay was the first port we docked at. I use docked figuratively because we just anchored off shore and took a little boat to shore. Half Moon Cay is Carnival’s private island. How cool is that - a private island with 2000 of our closest ship mates? The water in the Bahamas is unbelievably blue. I have never seen anything so beautiful. Shane and I were floating in water well above my head deep and could still see the bottom.  Not only was the water great to look at, the temperature was wonderful, a little chilly at first but as the day went on it couldn't have been better. We enjoyed the day playing in the sand, floating in the water, and drinking Bahama Mamas. What else do you drink on an island in the Bahamas?! The whole island was gorgeous.

Our next stop was at Nassau, you know, where Atlantis is. We could not pass up an opportunity to visit the slide that goes into a shark tank. Plus, Shane has wanted to go to Atlantis since he was little so there was no way we were missing it. Our day at Atlantis started out rocky, there was a 40% chance of rain but we were going to get wet anyway, so off we went. Half of the ship didn't go because of the chance of rain. Well, guess what?? NO RAIN!! Since so many people stayed on the ship because of the rain there was hardly any lines. We never waited more than 5 minutes for a slide. We had the best time.

Our third port was Freeport. This was by far the best port, I’m a little biased because this is where we got to SWIM WITH DOLPHINS! One of the things on my bucket list was to swim with dolphins. I wasn't really sure what to expect because I have only ever seen it in the movies. I could not wait to jump in and swim with them. I didn't realize it would be just me and Shane in the ocean with 2 dolphins, but that’s what happened. Shane and I swam with Coral and Exuma. They were so beautiful. The best way to explain swimming with them would be like they were puppies. We swam at our own pace and they just followed us around. If you dove under water they went with you if you went right so did they. We got to kiss the dolphins with was so cool. One of my favorite memories was after Shane kissed Coral he trainer asked her how his kiss was and she spit water at him, that’s what he gets for kissing another lady! It was one of the most amazing times of my life.

I am a huge food person so the trip would not have been complete without good food. Dinner every night is a story in its own. There is one sure thing about a cruise, you will never go hungry.  If the 24 hour buffet isn't enough, there is a dining room every evening with the most incredible food. There was always something new to try!! After dinner if you need to satisfy your sweet tooth and the cheese cake, chocolate melting cake, or plate of fresh fruit (in case you are like my mom) weren't enough, there was a 24 hour ice cream bar. THIS GIRL WAS IN HEAVEN! Finally, for people like Shane who need their midnight snack but don’t want to get out of bed, 24 hour free room service. You read that right, 24 hour room service, and man was it delicious. It is true what people say about gaining weight on a cruise. If you aren't careful you could eat all day.

Have you ever been on a cruise?

Where did you go?

What was your favorite part?

August 8, 2013

WWNPP – The Two Ps

I know you've been patiently waiting to hear about the two Ps, so we’ll get right to it.

The First P = Pen
I know – a bit of a let down, but the next P is much more interesting. The pen, of course, is so that you can write everything in your Notebook . I have a personal preference for black pens. I DON’T like switching colors. It annoys me. Unless I have a really special day…then I use a purple pen.

The Second P = Positive Attitude
This might just be the most important letter of the bunch. Let’s be real for a minute: running hurts. There are a bazillion reasons to slow down, start walking, or stop altogether when it gets tough. There are also a bazillion reasons not to do those things.

I first read ‘An Elite State of Mind’ when it was posted on The Hungry Runner Girl in March and I really liked it. I went back and revisited it this week and it still resonates. It discusses how runners are always trying to emulate the training methods of elite runners and how we should emulate their attitudes about running as well.

The author says that there are 4 Keys to an Elite Attitude. Numbers 1 & 3 are key for me as I get back into the running routine. Last summer I finally broke 22 minutes for my 5K and I was so excited. I ran my second timed 5K in over 9 months last week at a 29:56 (the first was back in May and I was a 30:29). I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty bummed at first. Then I reminded myself that I just had a 33 second PR from earlier this year and that I would get another PR on the next run….and I did. On Monday I ran a 29:01…and I was happy (and totally would have gotten that last second if I hadn't gotten stopped by a car)!

The next time you start feeling down about your run or your time, remember this quote from Kara Goucher, "That's the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing successes. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is."

Did you miss the last three posts in this series? You can check out Water, Watch, and Notebook by clicking the links.

What is your favorite motivational running quote?

August 5, 2013

Lazy Sundays Are My Favorite

Ok – so this post really starts on Friday, but I’ll get to Sunday eventually. I kicked off my weekend by packing up my entire apartment and attempting to fit it all in the Mazda. I’m so excited because I am spending the next THREE WEEKS in Southern Indiana with my family and friends. I was so not excited to pack. Do you know how hard it is to pack for three weeks? I was having a panic attack thinking I was going to forget something important like a pair of shoes or my toothbrush (which I absolutely did forget). I ended up fitting everything into two suitcases and a duffle bag. For me…that is impressive :)

I made the trip to Southern Indiana in 6 hours and 20 minutes on Saturday morning. A new record! I made it home just in time to go to church with the family and head out to my cousin’s new house for a house warming party. I forgot to take pictures so I snagged these pictures of the cookout from Facebook. Their new house has way too much closet space and I am insanely jealous. She has an entire closet dedicated to shoes (it’s a tad obvious we’re related). When I grow up and buy a house, it will have way too much closet space and there will be a closet (or 2) dedicated to shoes.

Now we can finally get to the lazy Sunday that I enjoyed so much. I kick started the day with a walk through the neighborhood with my mom. After I was warmed up, I decided that I wanted to see how fast I could run a mile. After hardly running for 6 months and some slow training runs in July, I wasn't expecting much. I ran an 8:09 and was PUMPED. After lying in the driveway for few minutes and chugging some water, I went on an 8 mile bike ride with the Bobster. Don’t we look cool in our matching helmets?

Next up was a visit to my favorite shoe store. We got my dad laced up in a new pair of running kicks so he can train for Fast Freddies. He ran a 1:03 last year and wants to break an hour this year. My mom bought her very first pair of running shoes too…a pair of Brooks, a woman after my own heart. It might have taken 12 years, but I finally got my entire family into running :) My sister recently ran her first mile too!!

Sunday evening we had a mini-cookout to celebrate my grandparents 42nd wedding anniversary. We ate way too much food, chipped golf balls around the back yard, attempted to hula hoop, and almost broke the window a few times with the football. After everyone left, we tried to watch a few episodes of Friends but I kept falling asleep. My “lazy Sunday” was exhausting.

Do you have a closet dedicated to shoes?

Is there anyway to not have a sore tush after a long bike ride? How do you spell tush?

What did you do this weekend?