Monday, March 19, 2012

Food truck fun

Of all the crazy ways people have come up with to serve food these days, I have to say one absolutely takes the cake in my mind.  That my dear friends, is the Food Truck.  I honestly wish I had thought of this mobile restaurant idea because it makes me so happy.

Here in Nashville, we've been having some amazing weather lately.  So, my coworkers and I thought we would celebrate by taking a walk to visit one of these moving kitchens.  And of course, what better food could you get from a truck than a grilled cheese?  This is probably my favorite meal on wheels, and I'm so glad I got to experience it.  It certainly made the middle of my work week a little brighter!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

AND . . .I'm getting married.

Clearly a lot has happened in the two or so months I've been absent from this blog.  And by "a lot", I mean some of the biggest moments of my life, including Coley asking me to marry him and me saying "YES!!!". (Notice my Kentucky love made it in the picture . . .)

I won't retell the whole story because, one, most of you have heard it and two, my computer would probably crash from all the minut details I would want to include.  But, I will tell you that it happened in a way that was better than I could have ever imagined and, to this day, I still think back on the whole weekend and realize what an incredible picture it is of the way Coley has and continues to love me.  Every detail was thought of, every angle covered, and every wonderful surprise was 100% planned out so that, I, the unknowing bride-to-be, would understand just how much this man wanted to spend the rest of his life with little ole' me.  WOW.

Since then, the Type A planner in me has taken over.  We are eight months away from the wedding and we are moving full speed ahead.  I couldn't be more thrilled with the choices we've made so far as I think they totally capture the "Southern Wedding" feel we are going for.  (I know we are both from Ohio, but let's be real, I've been trying to develop a southern accent since college!)

I did take a breath and enjoyed my first engaged Thankgiving and Christmas holidays.  What an awesome feeling! 

And then, this past weekend I put on my party pants for Coley and I's engagement party.  Let me just say, I have the best friends and family in the entire world.  The party was amazing and Coley and I were truly blessed by all the people that came to celebrate us.  It was definitley a night to remember.

I guess that's all for now.  I'm going to get back to bridesmaid's dress shopping and hotel booking.  I may act like it's a hassle but don't let me fool you-- I've got a smile pasted on my face all the while :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Costa Freakin' Rica!

In exactly 27 days, I will be headed to Costa Rica!!  That's less than one month people!  Can you tell I am just a little excited? :)

I am going with my wonderful BF, and he just so happens to have a good friend from grad school who is a native Costa Rican that lives there currently, so we will definitely be experiencing the local flair!  I can't wait for authentic food, beautiful scenery, fun fruity drinks, and most of all, a winter-time tan!  And, as an added bonus, I will have the opportunity to put my Spanish to use! (guess I should find those text books from college because I am RUSTY).

To get me into the spirit for this vacation (as if that was going to be difficult) I took some time this morning to find some pictures of what we might be seeing during our time down south, and all I can say is . . . ENJOY!

Courtesy of (We are doing this!!)

Courtesy of


I think in this month of November, when thankfulness is at the top of everyone's mind, I can certainly say I am grateful for a world that has places like this and for an amazing man that wants to experience them with little old me :)

Hasta luego! (yep, I'm practicing!)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Marathon running for type A personalities

I admit it.  I'm a type "A".  My happiest world would be one where everything is planned out and in everything I do, I reach the goal I set, which in most cases would be perfection.  To put it nicely, thinking this way is unrealisitic.  And to put it in a "just get to the point" kind of way, it's downright crazy.  I only point out my ridiculous tendencies so that you know the kind of thoughts I was fighting during my first attempt at 26.2 miles.  But don't worry, you can breathe a sigh of relief because in the end, I overcame my perfectionist self, and realized that regardless if I completed the race in the exact time I wanted to or in the exact "way" I wanted to, I RAN A FREAKING MARATHON, and I should be extremely proud of that accomplishment.

The race was unlike anything I've every done and really, I don't think there was anyway I could have known what it was really going to be like before I was right in the middle of it.  Going into race day, I was very confident because I had a great group of Nashville friends I trained with and we had been very dedicated and consistent with our running.  Coley had created a great weight program for me that I had been following religiously as well, so I felt ready to go.  Emotionally and mentally, I was also in a great place because I had an amazing support system with me the day of the race.  Coley, his parents, my parents, and my dear friend Christi were all there to cheer me on.  And boy did they ever!  If you need an education on the "L" train system in Chicago, you can ask any one of them because they owned those lines in order to find me at various points during the race.

Overall, the race went really well.  There were a few things that threw me off my game, and if I had it to do over again, I would make a few changes that I think would have helped me reach my time goal.  Before the race started, my two race buddies and I weren't even able to make it into the start corral.  So we ended up crossing the start line with the 12-minute per mile folks, which made it a bit challenging to speed up to my desired pace early on.  At mile eight I dropped my Gus (the energy boosting gummies I ate consistently during all my training), and though I don't think it actually made that big of a difference, it really messed with me psychologically. So, note to self, next time I will be in the start corral with the pace group of my choice and I will have a better system for my chewies :)

In the end, I crossed the finish line at 4:21ish.  About 6 or so minutes slower than I had hoped for, but still not too shabby for my first experience!  And the major mark of success- I have the itch to run another one!

Most important, I had the opportunity to visit a great city, and spend time with great friends and amazing family.  I feel so fortunate to be healthy enough for this accomplishment, and to have the kind of support system that makes it worthwhile!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Awkward pictures and surprise parties

THIS is not a flattering picture of me . . .

However, I'm sharing it with all of you because that face is the result of a wonderful surprise Coley had for me on Friday night.  I recently accepted a new position at Vanderbilt (sorry for just filling you all in), and I'm completely switching gears.  It's a good move, one that I feel will lead to a lot of opportunities in the future, and honestly, one that I wouldn't have been so confident in pursuing if it weren't for Coley's encouragement.

So, as far as I knew, Coley and I were heading to one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Nashville to celebrate with a little "date-night".  Instead, I found six of my favorite people waiting to surprise me and celebrate my new job!  Supposedly a picture says 1,000 words, and my expression in the photo above perfectly captures my confusion, amazement, and shock at what Coley had managed to pull together.

We had an amazing time talking, laughing, eating, and drinking really great wine.  And as if that wasn't enough, I had my very own cake and the chef signed a menu for me! (Excuse the phone-camera picture quality)

It really was an awesome night and I'm looking forward to my next professional adventure!  I can't thank Coley enough for this celebration.  It was more than I ever expected, but just what I wanted . . . of course, he already knew that :)

Monday, September 12, 2011


Last Tuesday was my wonderful dad's birthday.  I'll spare him public humiliation and leave the number he turned unknown, but I did want to give him a shoutout.  And as it happens, my friend Sarah recently wrote a wonderful dad-blog, so I'm going to steal from her a little bit :)  Well and actually, I'm double stealing, because the thoughts below originally came from the post "50 Rules for Dads of Daughters".  I've added in some personal memories my dad and I have shared to spice it up, so here's to you dad!

-Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

I can't imagine who could better compliment my mother than my dad.  He simply ADORES her and I've never doubted his love for her for one second.  He is a great example of what a husband should be to his wife.

-Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she add years to her… add life to her years.

My dad was there for EVERYTHING.  In fact, there were times I remember thinking he was TOO involved.  But now that I'm older and wiser :), I realize just how important it was that he made me  his priority.  I'm sure he sacrificed more than I could ever know, but those sacrifices gave me the great sense of family I have today.

-Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.

No one prays like my dad.  After I left home, I would sometimes call on Saturday mornings and when I would ask my mom what my dad was doing, she would say "Praying for you and your brothers".  Just knowing that made me feel like I could face anything life threw my way.  I have no doubt that many of the blessings in my life are directly tied to my dad's prayers.

-There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”

In my case, it was a kitten and the obstacle was my mother.  My dad was a champ, and eventually convinced my mom that the perfect present for my 7th birthday would be a cat.  Even though I ended up being deathly allergic to my dear Peaches and had to give her up only a week later, I'll never forget how hard he worked to get me what I wanted.
- It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.
I have no doubt my teenage years resembled a money pit to my father.  And, I'll make no excuses for the cost of my wedding.  But, his financial advice has made me think twice and I oftentimes buy one pair of shoes instead of two because of his guidance :).

-Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.

My dad NEVER had trouble saying no.  And oh there were days when his "no" was the end of my world.  Obviously now I realize that little word was the best thing he could have said and it saved me from things like eyebrow rings and kool-aid based hair dye.  And that's just skimming the surface :)

-If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.

I would say I was more of a fish than a duck.  We belonged to a pool growing up, and my mom took us practically every single day of the summer.  I would swim all day long, but my best memories are with my dad, when he would come to the pool after work and go down the waterslide with me for hours on end.

-Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the present you gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.

My dad has gotten me some pretty awesome birthday gifts over the years, but the truth is I could take them or leave them.  What I most look forward to is the early morning call  (many times before I'm even awake) and the voicemail of him singing me the birthday song.

-Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

Were it not for my dad, I wouldn't be nearly as self-confident as I am today.  Don't get me wrong, I still strive to be more in-shape, to keep up with the latest trends, and I will never give up highlights!  But, my dad has always told me I'm beautiful, both inside and out, no matter what the circumstances, and those words are worth their weight in gold.

-Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.
I know this was harder for him than he would ever admit, but he managed to do it so incredibly well.  I owe the woman I am today to his ability to let me grow up. 

Love you Dad :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lessons from marathon training . . .

Over the past four months I, along with a number of my runner friends, have been pushing our bodies farther than many of us had ever dared in hopes of completing the Chicago marathon in October.  We are 2/3 of the way there, and the list below if a small sampling of the things I've learned during this experience.  As you'll notice, most of them aren't too profound, but in the end, it's the little things that matter most anyway, right?

- Chocolate milk is without a doubt the best after-run drink known to man.

- Gatorade of all flavors can be mixed together to provide sweet, sweet, mid-run hydration.  It may be brown in color when all is said and done, but nothing has ever tasted so good.

- Bongo Java breakfast puts a smile on my face no matter how many miles . . .

- Bikers are mean; runners beware!  (This of course excludes all my wonderful biking friends!)

- Long runs are better shirtless.  Thank you Sarah Shearer for giving me the courage to rock the sports bra/shorts combination.  It has changed my life . . . and the amount of laundry I have to do.

- Morning runs really are the best and I'm more used to 5:00 am wakeup calls than I ever thought I could be.

- I have never felt so good about consuming enormous amounts of carbs and the quantities continue to grow with each long run.

- A cold beer is worth its weight in gold.

- When you have to go, you have to go.  Running routes with bathroom stops are a hot commodity.

- It is faster to run to Wave Country than drive thanks to the Greenway.

- If you find you've locked your keys in your car when you finish your run, you can just run home for extra milage. :)

- Nashville is a seriously hilly but seriously beautiful place to run.

-Last, but absolutely not least, nothing bonds people better than sweating together.  To all my running friends, you are bad ass and there is no way I would have made it this far in my training without you all.  You have inspired me to push myself farther than I ever thought I could go.  We are going to ROCK Chicago and I can't wait to celebrate with everyone after our 26.2!

(Of course this post wouldn't be complete without a special shout out to my sweet sweet Coley.  You have helped me during this training more than you know and I wouldn't feel nearly as good about this race if I didn't have your support.  I'm so excited you will be there with me in the Windy City!)