Christmas Card Promotion

For the past 2 years since Jett and I have been married, I have totally slacked on the "Christmas Card experience". Two years ago, I tried so hard to get the perfect picture in front of our first Christmas tree. Unfortunately, trying to get 2 hyper dogs to pose in a Santa hat and reindeer ears with the self timer isn't as easy as one might think. The Christmas card of 2008 was not to be. I don't even have an excuse for last year. Maybe we were too poor while I was in graduate school. Sure, that sounds like a good excuse ... I'll go with it.

This year I either have to come up with a new excuse or suck it up and send them out, because we have plenty of people capable of being our photographers .... AND, Shutterfly is offering this awesome promotion to bloggers for 50 free super cute Christmas cards.

Shutterfly has tons of great products. Check out the hundreds of great Christmas card styles. Personally, I also love the personalized calendars . Too bad my brother and SIL stole that idea last year and made a calendar of their anniversary trip to Ireland ... how can I trump that one? Or, if you're a slacker like me and can't quite get it together in time for Christmas, they still have you covered. Check out the New Year's cards here.

Bloggers, find this great promotion here, or just visit their website to see all of the cute products for yourself.

Now, if only my wedding planning website had not deleted all of my addresses. Maybe I should have back that up in the past 2 years!?


Step Outside the Box

I am not one that ventures into new territory often, at least not always willingly. I love to try new things and gain new experiences. I also love to meet new people and find it easy to make friends. But I also am the person that recognizes an old acquaintance in Target and finds it easier to walk on by than to face the possible awkward moment of realizing they don't remember me.

Just in this past week, I've stepped out of my box and required myself to open my surroundings a bit. On Tuesday, I had my first meeting with a group of girls from the church we've been attending in Charlotte. When Jett and I first decided to sign up for a small group, my intention was to sign up for a couple's group--Jett is fabulous at enabling my need to have my hand held in new situations (although he may not know it!). He is social, outgoing, and just all around makes it easier for me to walk into a group full of new faces. But, due to his new erratic work schedule, my best-laid plans failed and I signed up for a 20-something women's group instead. I walked in Tuesday nervous to introduce myself to 10 new-to-me girls (what if I'm not good enough!?). Happily, I found myself leaving excited to come back this week and get to know these girls better. I think being in a group apart from my husband will make me lose the crutch and grow personally and spiritually.

Saturday, I went to a new running group. I don't run with others that I don't know (what if I'm not fast enough!?). After the intial evaluation run, I fell right in the middle of 2 groups--should I move down to the slower group or up to the faster? The friend I've joined with convinced me to try out the faster group. Although I was the slower one in the group, there was no need for me to get myself all worked up over it. I met some great people and felt proud of the accomplishment when the run was all said and done.

And as if psyching myself out over Satruday morning wasn't enough, I also had a phone interview for a nurse practitioner job on Saturday. While I don't often push myself to step out of my comfort zone, I also don't typically stress or let myself focus on getting too nervous about things. Except for interviews. I don't know exactly what it is about interviews. I actually think I interview well--but, I hate it! I don't like to try to sell myself, I don't know what to do with the awkward pauses, and I always leave feeling like they could just see the sweat pouring off of me. I go over and over what I could have done differently (what if I didn't say the right things?). Saturday I didn't let myself get all anxious about it, and just went with the flow. When it's over, it's just that much more experience I have to learn from.

So, all in all it's been a week full of growth and learning. What have you done lately to step out of your comfort zone?


Since I've Been Gone

Just a quick photo recap of some of the things keeping me busy while I've been gone . . .

We moved from our apartment in Charleston, SC, back to my hometown of Charlotte, NC.

I tried water skiing for the first time ... FAIL!

We planted our very first garden ....

. . . SUCCESS!

I graduated from the Medical University of SC with a Master's degree in nursing.

I ran my first half marathon.

We took a day trip to the NC mountains to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July.

Time has flown the past couple of months. I can't believe it's almost the end of July.



I obviously have much to update on, since I've been MIA for a couple of months. And I will--update, that is--soon. In the past couple of weeks, I have finished my master's program, we have both stopped our jobs in Charleston, and we have moved back to Charlotte. I will graduate this Friday.

But for now, I need some advice! I have my very first half marathon coming up in less than 3 weeks. Training has definitely not gone as originally planned, but has gotten back on track the past few weeks. We had a great 9 miler two weekends ago, and 11 miles on the schedule for this past Saturday. That's where the advice comes in ... after the 9 miles, my left knee felt a little tight, but not really painful. It didn't really bother me during the week, until Friday, when I spent a lot of time cleaning and when I would kneel with my kneecap on the ground, it was a little uncomfortable. On the run Saturday, my legs never did loosen up. My knee felt tight to start out, and then about 2-3 miles in started with a nagging ache. At 4 miles, it was hurting just enough to decide to stop the run and go out again another day.

My knee feels tight, with pain down the lateral side, with some shooting pains up my thigh area when I step down while running. It hurt mainly on downhills and a little on flat surfaces. Uphill was fine. I'm concerned that adding too many hills too quick may have irritated something, since up until 2 weeks ago I was running on all flat areas in Charleston. Since moving back to Charlotte, I've been running on lots of hills. The half marathon is in Hickory, NC--the start of the NC mountains, and the first 3 miles are all downhill. If my knee is still acting up, that could potentially be a painful 3 miles!

Any ideas on what this could be? Any suggestions on the best way to stretch that area? I've been icing it and taking ibuprofen, and today it feels much better. But, I really want to get a couple more long runs in without hurting it further.




News Flash: I am not a neat person. I am organized in my own little--stack it up in piles, throw it in a bag, toss it on the counter--type of way. Right now, my coffee table looks a little bit like a frat house, only sub diet Dr. Pepper cans for beer cans and cookbooks and pediatric drug dosing books for pizza boxes. The last person to vacuum was definitely my husband, and there may or may not be a load of laundry in the washer that needs to be repeated because I forgot to move it to the dryer in time.

Having admitted that, I would also like to make known that I feel like I do my part to make our little 900 square feet a happy home. Sure, the crock pot sitting on the counter right now may take an extra soaking to thoroughly scrub it, but that roast I cooked in it was mighty delicious. Sure, there may be 7 dog toys strung across the living room, but those dogs sure do live a luxurious life. And quite possibly I will remember the time spent snuggled on the sofa in that blanket (that still needs to be put away)watching tv with my husband a little more than I will remember that it took an extra day to empty the dishwasher or dust the furniture.

When it comes to picking up after myself, if I am completely far-left, than my husband surely must be completely far-right (or just off the scale altogether). Once upon a time before we were married, I remember a day when he literally jumped at the chance to clean my car for me. You would have thought I bought the man a new puppy or something. This guy can iron a shirt more flat than the cleaners. One time, he asked me if I had starch and I'm pretty sure I accidentally laughed in his face.

While I am the self-proclaimed messy one in this marriage, he certainly does his part to contribute to the pile of laundry on the floor, the dirty dishes on the counter, and the size 13 shoes that I stub my toe on every morning when I get up before the sun rises. His excuse is that by the time he gets around to contributing to the mess, I've already done my part to make it out of control. We are not dirty. We clean from top to bottom mostly every Saturday and pick up at least 2-3 times in between. But, we both do it at our convenience. No schedule, no set chores.

Which leads me to the real reason behind this lengthy explanation of our sanitation grade. Today at lunch, we talked at length about "even distribution of household chores". This conversation was sparked mainly by a topic I heard discussed on the radio the other morning, and partially by the comment that my husband made about how we couldn't have children because I'm messy enough on my own.

The radio topic discussed was about how to fairly split up household chores .... a lady called in to say that she and her husband do everything exactly 50/50. If she loads the dishwasher, he empties. If he does the laundry, she folds it and puts it away. So on, so forth. I am not a firm believer in 50/50. I think some days distribution may be 70/30, 90/10, etc. Others, it may be 20/80. As daily schedules, illnesses, and life gets in the way, time allowed to do certain things changes. I think with everything in life, we should watch out for those around us and help out where needed.

My husband, however, is an advocate of the ... da da dum ... chore chart. I'm pretty sure I even failed at the chore chart when I was in preschool. Stickers, prize boxes, and all. He thinks this will allow us to visualize more clearly (his words) what needs to be done.

How do you divide up necessary (but dreaded!) chores in your home? Does one person do everything, do you split evenly, or just do at your convenience?


Words to Live By

"The reason most people fail is because they trade what they

want most for what they want at that moment




I officially registered for the Charity Chase Half Marathon on June 5th. Maybe I've also officially lost my mind.

More to come on this decision later ... just needed to get it out there before I decide to back out.


Snow, Birthdays, and Sidewalk Monsters ... oh my!

Is it just me, or does it seem like February has flown by to anyone else?


Saturday, we celebrated my 26th birthday. Fun times with great friends that we've made during our short time living in Charleston. Bonus birthday present: Beautiful sunny weather and high 70 temps. Jett and I spent the afternoon with the pups at the park then at the outlets for a little birthday shopping. We had dinner at an ah-mazing Thai restaurant downtown, and then proceeded across the bridge for a little friendly midnight bowling competition. I was just starting to find my "bowling stride" (2 or 3 games later!) when our time came to an end. Sunday Jett took me to the driving range for a little golf lesson. Typically, my ADHD would prevent me from anything that requires intense concentration, but I really enjoyed it.

Pro golfer or bowler in my future? Doubt it ... but don't count me out just yet!

Snow day!

Backtrack with me here for just a moment, to 2 weekends ago when we had a miracle in Charleston, SC ... SNOW. We don't get snow in Charleston. Ever. I think it's been something like 16 years since there's been any accumulation of snow in this area. So the 3 inches we got living just 4 miles from the coast was quite the sight to see. Of course, it was all gone by 10 the next morning, but oh-so-fun while it lasted!

Sidewalk Monsters!

Last night when I got home from work, the weather was in it's last day of perfect for a while and I wanted to go for a run at the county park. Apparently the park closes at 5 during the winter, so that was a no go. I ended up parking about a mile from our apartment and running through the neighborhood behind where we live.

Usually, I try to avoid running by myself after dark. We don't live in an unsafe area, but definitely not the safest by any means (a few weeks back a police officer was shot right beside our complex). Charleston is a city with the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor living right along side of one another, so there aren't a lot of horribly unsafe or safe areas.

When I started out on my 3-mile run, I didn't realize it would be the sidewalk monsters, not the kidnappers, who would try to ruin my night. With about a 3/4 mile left to go back to my car, my foot was grabbed by one of the little sneaky monsters (or more likely an uneven break in the sidewalk), and (bad news bears, folks), down I went. Pitch black by this point, I really am not sure what I tripped over. But in an effort to not break my brand new Garmin, I went down mainly on my left forearm and right knee, and promptly skidded to a stop. The sidewalk now owns much of my upper forearm, a little skin of both hands, and a bit of my pride. If it weren't for the car driving past that surely must have been rolling in laughter at the sight of my spectacle, I would probably have lied there until Jett came to find me.

Since I wasn't sure he would in fact come to find me, I limped for a minute or 2, and then decided if I didn't get back quick, I wasn't getting back. So I ran that last 1/2 mile or so faster than the rest of my run. Part of that "speed" may or may not have been due to my paranoia of the sketchy guy walking past me and then picking up his cell phone. I was confident that he was calling his accomplice, who would jump out of the woods at any moment and get me. My suspicions were heightened when another odd fella crossed my path on his beach cruiser whistling a sneaky little tune as he pedaled past (the accomplice perhaps?). I booked it back, certain there were going to offer me candy or ask me to help find their lost puppy at any minute.

Either way, one thing's for certain: I should not be allowed to run in the dark by myself, ever again. (But I was quite proud of my finish, with decent run overall).

And the Garmin definitely suffered a bit of an injury, but didn't break. Crisis averted.


Happy Birthday week

My birthday isn't until tomorrow, but my husband gave me my present earlier this week. I'll give you a hint ...

It starts with a G ...

...and ends with an ARMIN.


The Day I Almost Died in the Gym ... Twice!

Let me tell you about how I almost died on the treadmill tonight ... and not by throwing a blood clot to my lung (thank the Lord, I was praying the whole time).

There I was, just running along on the treadmill at a nice, easy pace, jamming out to a little Joss Stone and people watching down below on the sidewalk, when none other than the treadmill monster jumped out and grabbed me, making me trip over my feet and almost bust it right in front of everyone. Lucky for me, I happened to have cat-like reflexes and caught myself right before my face was permanently imprinted into the germ-coated floor.

Whew, recovered from that one.

With a 1/2 mile left to run, I thought I'd pick up the pace a little. Where my head was, I don't know. Maybe I left it back at clinic with my last patient of the day, very young teenager, who needed birth control. Or maybe I left it in my car this morning when I reached over to throw my ice scraper on the floor (seriously, I have had to scrape ice off my car way too often this winter living in SC--and my ice scraper must have been built back when my grandparents were my age, because it definitely doesn't work) and knocked my entire cup of coffee onto my floor and gym bag. Or maybe I left it in bed, where I might should have stayed a little longer today.

Anyway, wherever my head was, it was not focused on the fact that when I went to increase the speed on the treadmill, I just kept my finger on the button, all the way up to 8-something. My legs do not run at 8-something. I was almost a pancake on the other side of the gym wall. Smashed. Cat-like reflexes save me again, but I'm certain not before the people next to me decided I should take a treadmill-f0r-dummies class.

Good news, I made it out alive. Even better news, I was actually supposed to run 2 miles but forgot and ran 3. Not so good news, P90X ab ripper is really hard when you have neglected your midsection for months on end.


Half Marathon ... maybe?!

I've been seriously contemplating training for a 1/2 marathon, but am in need of some advice from those more experienced with this than me (which doesn't take much)! I've been searching around for training plans that I could best make fit into my weekly schedule, and I've narrowed it down to 3. Here's where y'all come in ... those of you who have trained and run a half before, what type of plan worked best for you? Here are the plans I've found, in a nutshell:

1. MarathonRookie Plan
  • 10-week program
  • Longest distance run during training = 12 miles
  • Days per week to run = 4
  • No cross training days
2. Advanced Beginner Half Marathon Race Training
(*I am definitely not an advanced beginner, but this plan is still an option)

  • 12-week program
  • Longest distance run during training = 12 miles
  • Days per week to run = 4
  • 1 CT days
3. Half Marathon Training Schedule for Beginners
  • 11-week program
  • Longest distance run during training = 12 miles
  • Days per week to run = 4
  • 2 CT days
4. Some completely different plan that someone else has used or recommends??

So obviously the differences between these are minimal (total weeks and CT days). I think I prefer a plan with 2 cross training days worked in, because I have been going to spinning classes on Wednesday and Friday mornings. The 3rd one would be great because it already has W/F as the cross training days, so I wouldn't even have to tweak it.

Any advice?

Here's the second place that I need your help: I can't find a half-marathon in the NC or SC area (or somewhere within 3-4 hours driving distance) around the end of April/beginning of May. There's Charlotte RaceFest on April 10th, but that's a little soon. Does anyone know of any races around that time on the east coast, preferably NC or SC?

Even if I can't find a race to register for in that time frame, I think I still want to start training. I think it will give me a little more structure and motivation for my workouts, as right now I'm feeling a little lost! We also are planning to run the bridge run on March 27, so it will help prepare for that (last year before the bridge run, I went out a week before the run and ran (and walked) 6 miles down to the beach, then the day before went out and ran 2 miles--that was the extent of my "training").

One potential obstacle: Somehow, like the clumsy klutz that I am, I have hurt my leg. By running? Nope. Spinning? Nope. Something at least remotely exciting? Nope. I was sitting at lunch with my husband last week and reached down to scratch my knee. When I did this, a horribly painful shooting feeling went up my thigh. Since then, my thigh fills like someone took a baseball bat and beat me until I no longer had use of my right leg. But only when I sit on my knees, bend my right leg at a certain angle, or put pressure over that area. But when it does hurt, it HURTS. And there's some sort of knot under the skin. I don't think it will hurt when I run (although I've been paranoid to try for the past couple of days), but my mom has me unreasonably suspicious that I have a blood clot that's going to shoot to my lungs and kill me (extreme, I know). I think I'll just take it as it comes and see how it feels. Best case scenario, it doesn't hurt at all. Worst case scenario, I die from a pulmonary embolism (let's all cross our fingers that worst case scenario doesn't happen!). Most reasonable scenario, it stays like it is now and eventually goes away on it's own. I don't have a doctor in Charleston and refuse to go to urgent care unless it's actually urgent (which obviously this is not, as it's now been hurting for 5 days). But I do have a doctor's appointment in Charlotte next Monday so if it still hurts then, I'll have him check it out.

In other news, we celebrated Jett's birthday last week.

Happy 26 years to my wonderful husband!

Turning 26 has me a little freaked out ... seems so close to being out of my 20's forever. Ahh .. but more on that when it's actually my time to turn another year older (which in just 2 weeks away--again, a little freaked out).

Everyone have a happy Superbowl Sunday ... we don't have a team in the game, since the Panther's didn't even make it to the playoffs this year. But I guess I'll be rooting for the Saints, since Jett says I should support the team in our division.


Bargain Hunting

Last night, I decided that Marshall's and TJMaxx are among my favorite places to buy running/workout clothes. I already love these stores for purses, home accessories, and mainly just anything you could ever need for life in general, but hadn't ever looked at their "active apparel" until last week. It's sort of hit or miss because each store has different articles and different sizes, but if you can find your size and something you like, the prices are great.

I got ...
A pair of Champion running shorts in a purple/plum color for $9.99.

An Avia running tee in green for $5.00 (but I'm not quite sure about this top yet ... I wore it tonight and was SO hot, but I couldn't decide if they had the heat cranked in the gym or if it was really the shirt).

A 3-pack of Adidas cushioned, mouisture-wicking socks for $5.99.

And my favorite, a new running hat! I got a women's Under Armor heatgear hat for $12.99. My favorite part about it is that it's Carolina Blue & White.

It pretty much looks like this, minus the logo on the side.
I've been hoping to get a new running hat. It's one of those items on my "can't live without" list because I sweat like a smelly old man, and hate constantly wiping sweat out of my eyes. I also have really fine, stringy hair that is always flying all over the place. I've been wearing an orange fishing hat that my husband's friend left in his car over a year ago. (If it's in my possession for over a year, I think it makes it mine!) It's not moisture wicking and has kind of become a sweaty, smelly, nasty mess. And I'm not allowed to wear it when our friend is in town, because he would probably disown us as friends if he saw what had become of his beloved hat. And, Jett decided last night after I bought a new one to let me know that's he's always thought that hat was really ugly and not appropriate for a girl to wear. Thanks, honey, for letting me know after I've been walking around in public looking like an ugly boy.

Regardless, finally found a new hat, and it's a women's style, which fits my abnormally small head size for my abnormally tall body (I also have abnormally small feet for such a large body). But, I digress.

The moral of this long drawn-out story is that if you live near a Marshall's or TJMaxx, you should check out their "active apparel" section. You might just be pleasantly surprised.

The fine print: None of this bargain-priced apparel is guaranteed to create great running success, as tonight I wore my new shirt and hat and made it an entire 1.18 miles on the treadmill before accidentally hitting the emergency stop button and deciding that I was so hungry that it was time to go home. Better luck tomorrow.




\ses-kwuh-puh-DAYL-yuhn\ , adjective;
1.Given to or characterized by the use of long words.
2.Long and ponderous; having many syllables.
1.A long word.

Sesquipedalian ... which leads me into the pet peeve post. I will never understand why people insist on using huge, insane words when there are many simple ones that are easier to pronounce, easier to spell, and easier to read without having to consult the online dictionary just to get through one discussion board posting for class. I realize that I will be a master's-prepared student in a mere 4 months, but is it too much to ask for others to carry on a conversation that any typical 20-something year old person would want to participate in?

Do you know the type? Are you the type? What is your pet peeve ... or should I say personal vexation!? : )



I've obviously been missing in action for the past couple of months, as the ins and outs of every day life took over my world. To be quite honest, we went to Charlotte for an extended holiday season over Christmas and the first of the New Year, sans computer--and it was nice not to check email, facebook, and blogs daily. Then once we got back and settled into Charleston again, school started back full force. Final semester of my master's program--wahooo! But, while final semester equates to a somewhat lighter course load, it also means quite a few more clinic hours. I've also picked up a part-time job 2.5 days a week just to bring in a little extra income, so until April I'm going to be living like a big kid again, instead of like a college student.

This new schedule seems to have done some good for my motivation, though, as I've been up before 5:30 3 days of each week since classes started back, and when I haven't been in the gym in the mornings I've been there many evenings. I've started joining in on spinning classes with a friend a couple days a week, and they are killer! My quads are jello after 60 minutes. Yesterday the instructor had us doing pushups while riding. Insane, I tell you!

I've also realized that I missed catching up with everyone out here in the bloggy world, so I spent quite a bit of time catching on the 200+ posts that have accumulated in my reader over the past month and a half.

I have some exciting thoughts brewing in my head for 2010, so check back for updates.

I'll leave y'all with a a photo recap of some of the things I've been up to for the past couple of months.

(Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning in Charlotte..hills, hills, hills!)

(Got to meet up with one of my best friends and her hubby at the
dog park before we both headed back out of town)

(Waiting at Waterfront Park for the Christmas Flotilla Boat Parade,
which we didn't get to see!)

(One of the things I love about living in a city surrounded by water)

(Our early Christmas in Charleston before heading to
Charlotte for the rest of the season)

(Meeting our friend's baby, born on New Year's Eve!)

(Ringing in 2010 with the one I love!)

(MUSC oyster roast ... some of the coldest weather in Charleston's history)