Life Lately

Hello, there!

I’m taking a quick homework break to post some pictures from the past few weeks. School really took off and I don’t think I’ve ever had this much homework before, but it’s okay because I really do love my school. It will all be worth it! Without further ado, here is a little peak into my life lately… it’s mostly pets {as usual} because they’re my life.

Bailey hiding in pillows

Graham won’t be able to find me here!


First Tennessee game. Our Internet went out during the middle… we have a new Internet set-up now.


Graham dancing on a morning walk in the park!

Kristi Teddy smiling

We’re going “bye bye!”


Dental Hygiene Christmas! Getting our instruments ūüôā


Graham and Paul: man time


Shrewsbury St. College Shuffle goodies


Shrewsbury St. College Shuffle goodies {this was AMAZING}

Paul and I


Boxed water

Boxed water. Has anyone ever seen this before? It was new to us!

Me & Paul jerseys

First Seahawks game

goldendoodle puppy

Graham 14 weeks


Friendly’s date!


Studying for my first two exams {that were in the same day… so mean}

Teddy & Graham

My babies


Bailey found another hiding spot!

Me, Teddy, and Graham

Outside on a gorgeous day

The end.

First Week in Worcester, Mass.

Hello, hello!

It’s been exactly one week since we officially moved into our apartment in Worcester, Massachusetts. Where did the time go?! Probably into the unpacking/shopping for odds and ends vortex! I swear, no matter how much I unpack, there are still mountains of boxes left. I think someone is playing a trick on me ūüėČ

Here is a quick recap of some of the major stuff that’s been happening around here lately!


Confession: I never want to make the drive from Georgia to Massachusetts ever again. With two dogs and a cat, it was not an easy one! Many “potty breaks” were taken… and a lot of time was added to the drive because of them! In my car, I had Teddy and Bailey. Paul took little Graham with him in the moving truck. All of the animals were champions and did so well!

Goldendoodle puppy

Graham’s first time in SC

SC rest stop

Welcome to South Carolina

I originally wanted to stop and take a picture in every state we go through. That didn’t last very long… but more on that later! I got the first few though!

Doodles and I in North Carolina

Doodles and I in North Carolina

After 7 or so hours of driving, plus time for stops and lunch {which adds up to be over 10 hours somehow}, we made it to one of my favorites states- Virginia! Driving through the Fancy Gap area in the Blue Ridge mountains will always bring a level of excitement to me. I have made the drive countless times on my way to Radford and it’s simply gorgeous. It used to be the “Okay! I’m in the home stretch!” feeling and I think that will never go away. Virginia, you are such a beautiful place.

Virginia is for Lovers <3

Virginia is for Lovers ‚̧

After this stop, we ended up driving diagonally through Virginia from base to tip. I thought I was never going to leave the state! When you’ve been driving all day and it’s getting late… 4 hours in one state can seem like forever! I ended up losing Paul along the way and drove through West Virginia, Maryland, and part of Pennsylvania myself until I reached our destination for the evening: Grammie and Poppop’s house! My brother Kevin, who was gracious enough to help us out on the move, had already gotten there 3 hours before I did. Just goes to show you how much time is added stopping for animals!IMG_0889IMG_0890

We spent all of Monday in Pennsylvania resting and relaxing with Grammie and Poppop. It was so nice to spend time with them ūüôā The three weary travelers were sure glad to get a full day’s rest in… especially since we were driving until the wee hours of the morning. {Except Kevin… still jealous} Grammie cooked for us like we were kings and queens. We left on Tuesday morning with full bellies and a happy heart.

The drive from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts is considerably shorter. I was definitely glad to have already done the bulk of the drive! Only 4.5 hours separated us from our new home!

I had told Paul and Kevin before we left that there are two routes that take the same amount of time, but one goes through New York City and the other doesn’t. Let’s take the route that doesn’t go through NYC to make it easier.

Thanks to a GPS flaw, guess who ended up driving through the heart of NYC? Oh yes, that would be yours truly! Paul an Kevin followed my advice and didn’t have to deal with this mess. Lucky them!

The good news is that traffic was fairly slow moving thanks to some construction work, and I was able to snap a few photos.

IMG_0901 IMG_0902

I was lead over the George Washington bridge {for a cool $14… highway robbery!} and through Manhattan.


Lesson learned, New York. Lesson learned.

Finally, I reached the sign I had been waiting to see…


{Excuse my quick drive-by blurry photo.}

We made it!


The dogs have been adapting pretty well so far! The one big thing initially was that we don’t have central air in our apartment. For someone who prefers to keep her room temperature around 65 degrees {and that might be generous… I’d love to sleep in an igloo} this was not acceptable. The dogs were panting for two days straight and several box fans and a tower fan did little to provide them {and us!} with relief. Needless to say, we are now proud owners of an air conditioning unit so we can all sleep in peace. Hallelujah!

Goldendoodle puppy 10 weeks

Graham checking out the floor

Boy, does this puppy love to snuggle!

Boy, does this puppy love to snuggle!

Is it time for a treat?

Is it time for a treat?

I’ve been taking them on at least one long walk and several short walks per day. They love getting outside and being active! Dogs after my own heart! It’s been great to explore the neighborhood and some city hiking trails as well ūüôā

Walk time!

Walk time!

Sleepy baby

Sleepy baby


I love this picture because it shows how much Teddy and Graham play with each other. It also shows the Teddy is teaching him how to “doodle.” Step 1. Look adorable…


The humans have been doing some exploring of our own as well! We have discovered a couple delicious treats already…

Gourmet Doughnuts

Vanilla cream filled and blueberry cake doughnuts

These were the two best doughnuts I have ever had. We just happened to drive past a doughnut shop while returning the moving truck. The line of cars wrapped around the building and filling every space in the parking lot was a good indicator of a local favorite!

ice cream

Rota Spring Farm ice cream cone

After a recommendation from our realtor’s husband, we made it out to Rota Spring Farm. They have homemade ice cream as well as a country store selling their own fresh produce and meat. We indulged in ice cream {of course} and then headed inside to fill a bag up with some of the best looking vegetables I’ve ever seen! So, so good. I’ve missed New England ice cream! Nobody else seems to¬†do it as well.

Shameless selfie because everyone around us was eating ice cream

Shameless selfie because everyone around us was eating ice cream

Sweet bakery

Cupcakes in Boston

We made our way into Boston on Sunday afternoon so Paul could feel out his way to work for Monday. We went into this cupcake shop that was adorable! Also, see the little cup of frosting? They have “shots of frosting” on their menu in addition to cupcakes. I had to get one simply for the novelty of it! ¬†My cupcake {vanilla} was amazing, by the way.

Aside from sweets, I was pretty excited yesterday because I went to buy food for dinner at Trader Joe’s. I have never lived less than an hour away from a Trader Joe’s and the thought of actually going there to do some grocery shopping made me way more happy than it probably should have. But, hey! It’s the little things!



IMG_0921So far, we are both still happy we made the decision to move here. Worcester itself seems a bit run-down, but that is probably because we are both used to living in shiny suburbs where everything is brand new. Also, I’ve never lived in an actual city before. The neighbors we have met so far have all been very nice and welcoming! I joined a gym today {YAYYYY!} and with each passing day it’s starting to feel more and more like home… even if we never get our boxes unpacked and I never learn these crazy streets ūüėČ Paul has started his job this week and I begin school next week. Everything is coming together! I look forward to all of the adventures that are awaiting us.

Georgia on My Mind {A 9 Year Reflection}

Hi friends!

As many of you know, I am getting ready for a big move. If you didn’t know, I am going back to school for a second¬†degree and could not be happier about it! My new school is located in Worcester, MA… just a little ways away from metro-Atlanta! {Okay, it’s actually pretty far} While I have been packing up everything I own the past week or so, I’ve been reflecting¬†a lot about my time in Georgia.

In my 25 years of life so far, I have been extremely fortunate. My siblings and I have had an opportunity that most of our peers cannot begin to fathom; we have lived in 7 states all across the country. I’ve lived in the north, south, east, and west. Due to our regional prowess, I have a pretty strong handle on the regions I prefer within the United States. In short, I know what makes me happy. Because of this, I have known for over 9 years that Georgia is not the place for me. That’s not to say it’s a horrible place to live; it’s just not for me.

I truly believe that there is a perfect fit for everyone, where they can flourish and push themselves to be their best. I think about in terms of a¬†relationship, but a relationship with a physical area, not a person. In my opinion, most people are quite narrow-minded when they think of where they would be happiest. “In my hometown” would probably be the most common answer, if I had to guess. But I say, challenge yourself! If you’ve never stepped outside of your comfort zone, never been away from that bubble of familiarity, how would you actually know? You won’t know unless you’ve tried.

With all of that being said, I’m going to take a little trip down memory lane. I have complained about Georgia a lot in the time that I have lived here. So much, in fact, it’s a miracle that I have any friends at all! {Like I said, it’s just not for me} I want to do this; however, to point out the positive aspects and the reasons I am thankful to have spent 9 years in Newnan, Georgia.


August 2006

August 2006

Here is a photo of our first day of school in Georgia! {When I took the photo out of it’s frame, some of the ink stuck to the glass. Ignore the white splotches!} The funny thing is, I look incredibly similar now to the way I did when I was 16, minus the bangs. I suppose that’s why I am still often mistaken for a high schooler at 25… maybe someday I’ll be grateful for that? All of my siblings look like babies in this picture though!

Although I absolutely hated our high school in Georgia, I am thankful that I graduated high school and was able to move on. High school just wasn’t “my thing.” I was never in the popular clique or the girl with a huge circle of friends. I related in a huge way to Taylor Swift, who sung her heart out about exactly what I was going through. I was good at school {I took 6 AP classes} and good at swimming, but I did not thrive socially. I was very shy and that did not bode well for moving across the country at 16. On top of that, I’ve always been an old soul and I couldn’t stand immature kids! I¬†was so ready¬†to get this nonsense over with!¬†Needless to say, I was thrilled beyond belief to graduate and move right along to college!

For college, I made the obvious choice to attend a school that was not in Georgia. I already knew that Georgia is not where I was happiest and wanted to experience somewhere I had never lived before. I chose Radford University in Radford, Virginia. I can say in all honestly that I love Virginia.¬†I love the way that it is truly a combination of North and South. After being taunted my last two years of high school for being a “Yankee” {which I loved to point out that Washington was not even a state during the Civil War, fool} I was more than excited to be at a place where everyone was accepted. People with all different types of upbringings were friends. It was so refreshing to experience! This is how it should be.






I did not party it up in college like most of the other students {I was nerdy… remember} but I had an incredible four years that I wouldn’t change for anything. I did college my way and would recommend that to anyone and everyone! You do you.


I hear all the time that Millennials do not know the value of work. That we expect everything to be handed to us on a silver platter. That we are lazy. While I can agree to an extent that there are a lot of people my age that sadly fit those qualities, I believe that I have learned the importance of work.

My parents own a concessions company. I’ve talked a little bit before about working shows or fairs with my family. I’ll argue until I am blue in the face that you do not know what it is to be bone-tired from working until you’ve worked a busy fair. From the time I was 16, I have worked for my parent’s company when they need me. This can entail 18-hour workdays. Manual labor. Driving across the country. Most importantly {and daunting}, dealing with the PUBLIC. Oh, the public. As a person that struggles with uneducated people, this was a big lesson for me. You sometimes have to break things down to a preschool level {without being condescending, if possible} to get people to understand you. When you explain the concept of a “refill” to a full-grown man five times and he still doesn’t get it,¬†you just have to let it go. No need getting yourself bent out of shape because of it. Stay composed, stay professional, and move on with your day. People can be rude and treat you like garbage.¬†I have learned more from these rough situations than I ever could have imagined.


I also had the opportunity to work retail {at Ann Taylor} and to work in a hospital {Cancer Treatment Centers of America}. I am forever thankful for both of these job opportunities because it has shaped me into a more well-rounded individual. Excellent customer service should be provided regardless of where you work! I learned how to provide world-class service to those in need. I will carry these skills into my future life in the dental field.

My parents always say that they would put any of us kids up against anyone else our age and we will¬†out-work them. We know we are capable of working hard; we’ve experienced it. All of this was primarily instilled into my siblings and I while in Georgia.


A question I keep encountering is “Will you be okay up there without your family?” Truthfully, I am always taken back a little bit by this question. I have never once considered that I would not be okay living far away from my family. They have raised me to be an intelligent and capable individual. I can cook healthy meals from scratch, bake with the best of them, study and earn high grades in my classes, take care of my pets, stay physically fit, manage my finances, and¬†roll with whatever life throws at me. It makes me question my generation, if this is such a big concern for people. Would others struggle making it on their own? Why?

I am glad that I was taught to be capable. My parents gave me a lot of responsibility, especially being the oldest of 7 children. But the responsibility I have shouldered has made me stronger. It has prepared me for life. Would I have been ready to move 1,000 miles away when I was 15? No. But in the 9 years I have lived in Georgia, I have become an adult. I can do whatever needs to be done; bring it on!


Oh, my babies. My loves. Some of my greatest joy in life comes from my pets. I have always had a pet. There has never been a single day in my life in which I didn’t have a pet. But, while in Georgia, I have learned how to provide care to them for myself.

It started about 6 months after we moved here in 2006. I’m not going to beat around the bush, I was depressed. I would cry myself to sleep most nights because I hated living in Georgia so much. I hated the stupid warm weather {still do}. I hated my high school. I hated that swimming was not a big sport here. I hated that I had no friends. There really wasn’t much going for me around this time. I went with my mom to Petsmart one Saturday afternoon¬†to buy dog food for our Golden Retrievers, Lexi and Willie. There were about a dozen cats¬†available for adoption. I stopped dead in my tracks and asked the volunteer if I could hold one of the two cute grey and white kittens. {A big deal for the shy high schooler} I immediately fell in love. We were told that these sisters were found tied inside a plastic bag on top of a wood pile. I looked at my mom {who was holding the other grey and white kitten} with huge eyes. I didn’t even have to say anything because she knew I needed them. Knowing what a rough six months I had had, she told me I could have a kitten. I protested that these two could not be separated! My eyes filled with tears. Being the true animal lover that she is, she said I could adopt them both. By the time we had them home, I had named them Mia and Sophie.





These girls brought the first true happiness I had found in Georgia. I needed them as much as they needed me. They are so sweet and still make me smile on a daily basis.

Three years ago, I adopted an adult cat. Her name was “Baby girl” but I wasn’t fond of that. I changed it to something I felt was similar enough that she would catch on to, but that I actually liked. I renamed her Bailey. Bailey has definitely taught me about problem solving! She is one particular cat! She is so snuggly though and loves to cuddle.



Two years ago, my mom purposely bred two of our goldendoodles. I prepared myself for the birthing process as well as I could and helped to deliver Lola’s first litter of beautiful goldendoodle puppies.

The whole process was nothing short of amazing. I won’t go into all of the details again, but it was an experience that I will never forget. Through that day on April 23, 2014 I became attached to a certain special puppy. As you may have guessed, that is Teddy.

Baby Teddy bear

Baby Teddy bear

Teddy at 8 weeks

Teddy at 8 weeks

Without my assistance, Teddy never would have taken her first breath. She had a little bit of a rough¬†entrance into this world and we bonded immediately. In fact, I am tearing up as I write this. People probably think I’m a little extreme, but I love her to amounts I cannot begin to describe.¬†I love her as my child, which to me makes perfect sense. I saved her life. She is alive because of me and me alone. I provide for her, I feed her, I take her on walks and runs, I taught her that the outside is for potty, and most importantly I love her with all my heart.

Teddy's first Christmas

Teddy’s first Christmas

Teddy and I

Teddy and I

The pillow queen herself

The pillow queen herself

We had another litter of puppies earlier this summer. The experience was still amazing, but not nearly as memorable as my first time being a doggy midwife; I knew what to expect this go around. A puppy was born {also fourth} that reminded me of baby Teddy. It was a boy that was very petite. He was also darker in color like Teddy and completely adorable. I knew I was going to be moving in a few short months and told myself to try to not get too attached, as I was already finding out that an apartment in Massachusetts that allows large breed dogs is ridiculously hard to come by. After working with an angel of a realtor, she found a pet-friendly place for us to rent! In comes my little Graham.

In my opinion, he is the sweetest puppy of the 12 we had in this year’s litter! He is playful mixed with the right amount of bashful. I know he and Teddy will become the best of friends. She already is a tad bit obsessed with licking his paws. She’s a good big sister! I also know that my love for Graham¬†grows stronger each and every day. I can tell that he is such a good boy.

Graham 5 weeks

Graham 5 weeks


Graham 9 weeks


Graham and I braving the Georgia heat

I know the dogs have no idea that their world is going to be turned upside down this weekend, but I truly think they are going to enjoy Massachusetts. The crisp fall air. Seeing snow for the first time {I cannot wait to witness this}. Summers that are hot, but not so much so that after 3 minutes of standing still outside, you have a stream of sweat down your back… nice visual, I know.

To wrap up this little section, I’ve always been an animal lover. But while living here, I have embraced my love of animals and learned how to take care of them completely.


Since I was 11, I was on a swim team. I became a competitive swimmer just before I turned 13. I swam throughout high school for both my school team as well as a more competitive club team. I’ve always loved the notion of practicing hard to break your own records. I swam for part of college and eventually decided that it was best for me to part ways with the team. The choice was highly personal and a difficult one for me to make.

After my swimming career was over, I felt lost. What would I do with 20+ extra hours a week in college that were previously devoted to practice? I still worked out, but it was nowhere near the rigor that I was used to as a Division I athlete. I needed something to work hard towards physically. I joined a small triathlon team at my college that had just started up. I was already a strong swimmer, but had never run or biked before {besides recreationally}.

Completing my first triathlon

Completing my first triathlon

Running proved to be the most difficult aspect of a triathlon for me. When I started, I could not run a 5k without stopping at least once. Shortly after my first triathlon, I graduated college. I got home and thought I wanted to do more! But before I did, I really wanted to improve my weakness- running.

After some random google searches, I found the Atlanta Track Club. They host a 16 weeks half marathon training program. Novice runners were welcome! In fact, you just needed to be able to run 3 miles to prepare for the program. I knew I could do that and before I knew it, I had committed to training for my first half marathon! I was nervous that I wouldn’t actually be able to complete 13.1 miles straight, but I was more than up for the challenge!

The funny thing is, running became a huge passion for me. I am not a fast runner. But it is something that always challenges me and I get a mental high after each run. After I crossed the finish line at my first half marathon, I knew I was addicted. My goal was to complete the race without walking, I did not have a time in mind. I just wanted to finish strong and have a solid race. I finished my first half in 2:22 and was beaming!

First half marathon!

First half marathon!

To date, I have completed 8 half marathons, a 15k, two 10k’s, and countless 5k’s. I adore the process of training for a half marathon and giving it your all on race day. {Except for runDisney events… I do not try for best times for those. That’s about the overall experience} I love the dedication training requires. I love the feeling of finishing the race. The rush of accomplishment and excitement.

If you were to tell me 4 or more years ago that I would grow to love running, I wouldn’t have believed you. But life has a funny way of turning the tables in all sorts of crazy directions!

Besides running, I have developed a passion for lifting weights through BodyPump. This Les Mills program works every muscle of your body in the hour long class. It keeps you entertained with the music and choreography. I have been going religiously for over two years now and look forward to class. I liked it so much that I became a certified instructor last summer! I still haven’t taught because I had a full-time job and the hours weren’t conducive, but that’s not to rule it out forever!

BodyPump Training

BodyPump Training

I’ve become passionate about fitness as a whole. Though I’ve always been mindful of the importance of exercise from being a competitive swimmer, I have embraced it to a fuller extent. This is a part of my life that is not going away. I don’t think “Oh, I should probably go to the gym today.” I’m actually excited about it! I enjoy cardio as well as lifting and understand the importance of each for a person.


I have saved the best for last! Though I initially did not have many friends when I moved to Georgia, I have slowly built up a meaningful group of strong friendships. I would not have met some of these amazing people had I not lived in Georgia. I’m not going to start listing out my friends to make myself feel popular, but suffice it to say that I am thankful for each and every one of you.

The one special shout out will go to none other than Paul. We were introduced through a mutual friend and my life was forever changed. I might also add that NEVER in my life did I picture myself dating someone who was born and raised in Georgia. It seemed inherently wrong! But Paul is not a typical “Southern boy,” though he is absolutely a southern gentleman. It has been over 2.5 years and I could not have asked for a more supportive and understanding boyfriend.

I’m going to try my best to not get too mushy here ūüėČ I will probably fail miserably.

One day last year I called Paul. I told him “Hey, I found this really neat dental program. The only problem is, there is just one like it in the entire country… and its in Massachusetts.” Without a moment’s hesitation, he said “Go for it. You should apply. I think¬†you’ll be happiest because this is what you’ve wanted. I’ll move to Massachusetts with you.” His unwavering support has meant the world to me. When I wanted to punch every person in the face that told me “The winter is going to suck in New England!!!” Paul was always there to remind me not to listen to the haters. That we are doing this for us, not for them. He is the best. {Plus, winter is my favorite season anyway}

My 23 birthday, two weeks after our first date

My 23 birthday, two weeks after our first date

Jersey Shore 2013

Jersey Shore 2013

Peachtree Road Race 2014

Peachtree Road Race 2014


It’s GAMEDAY! February 2015

We have had so many wonderful times since we have been together and I am looking forward to our future. I am also incredibly proud of him for accepting a wonderful job position in Massachusetts. Sometimes, things just work out the way they are supposed to. I love you, Paul.

All in all, my 9 years in Georgia weren’t all terrible. In fact, I can say with clarity that I have grown into the person I am today because of Georgia. I have no intentions to return here on a permanent basis, but an thankful for all I have learned.

No peace, no peace I find
Just this old, sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

Celebrating Mother’s {A Belated Edition}

Hi there!

I’m coming at you today with yet another belated post… such is life.

As everyone knows, last weekend we celebrated Mother’s Day here in the good old US of A! While I was truthfully annoyed at receiving zero recognition for being the pet mother of 4 {Paul and I do not see eye to eye on this matter, clearly}, I was more than up for celebrating my own mom! For anyone who does not know, I am the oldest of seven kids. All born to the same parents, who are still together! Not only that, but there is me, then triplets, then twins, and then one more single to finish us out. So… needless to say my parents are kind of rockstars. {Also, no fertility drugs were used… so I am terrified I will someday have septuplets :O}

We were all able to come together, except for one brother, to celebrate Mother’s Day this year! That in itself is a huge feat considering not everyone lives in the same house these days!

Together for Mother's Day

Together for Mother’s Day

On the top from from left to right we have Kevin, Alex, my dad, Kayla, and Kyle. Along the bottom, there is Maegan {Kevin’s finacee}, my mom, Thomas, me, and Paul {my boyfriend}. Greg was the only one missing in action this year!

We had steak, potatoes, and roasted green beans for dinner: a Freund classic! My dad seasoned, tenderized, and grilled¬†the steaks to a mouth-watering perfection. I must have said “This is amazing” at least 5 times!

Steak dinner

Steak dinner

After our bellies were full, we stepped outside to take a family photo. Thankful a neighbor stopped by to snap it for us! Then, because we are us, we began taking pictures of the goldendoodles.


Lola and Mom… the two mothers!


Mr. Bentley and Mom

I think my mom loves Bentley more than all of her human children combined…. and that’s the truth ūüėČ


Mom and I


Paul & I


My gorgeous girl


Thomas with Daphne

That about sums it up! It was a nice low-key evening relaxing with family.


  • Have you ever celebrated being a “pet mom?”
  • Any meal your whole family loves? It’s steak for us!

Pregnancy Announcement {of the NON-Human variety}

Well hello there, long lost friends!

I have some exciting news to share with everyone on this fine Cinco de Mayo! Lola, one of my family’s Goldendoodles, is pregnant with her second litter of puppies! Can you say “Hip hip hoorayyyy?!”

My mom took her to the vet yesterday, where a sonogram confirmed her pregnancy. Not that we had any doubts… {And yes, it was planned. Lola is a well-mannered lady, after all}

Lola's sonogram

Lola’s sonogram

The vet counted 7 puppies so far. Do you remember the counting mishaps we encountered last year? We will get a more accurate X-ray when she is 55 days in {Goldendoodles typically deliver around 61 days} to know what to better expect. I’m guessing 9-12 based off of last year! I will keep you updated as we find more information out!

In case you don’t already know, here is a picture of both Bentley {big daddy} and Lola {pretty mama}.


This litter of puppies should be born the first week of June. I will be preparing myself for the dog birthing process again, since it’s been over a year since I last assisted!

Goldendoodles have the absolute goofiest personalities of any dog breed I have even encountered. I am completely obsessed with Teddy and cannot wait for the other puppies to be born and watch their own personalities grow and develop. It’s such a neat process!

OODLES OF DOODLES, here we come ūüôā


  • Have you even assisted in a dog birth?
  • What is your favorite breed of dog?

Disney World 2015 {Day 1: Expo}

Hey HEY hey!

{{Disclaimer: I began this post over a week ago. I had some technical difficulties with pictures not loading and decided a blog without pictures was too boring to post. Finally got it working again!}}

After a whirlwind week in Orlando, coming back to work for 4/5 of this week was rough. But now I’m back in action {and writing a blog post on a Friday night… don’t judge me and my¬†pathetic excuse for a social life}!


We are fortunate enough to live close enough to Florida to have a day drive rather than spend boocoo bucks flying there! My mom and I left mid-morning on Wednesday afternoon. Mickey, we’re coming for ya!

Road trip to Orlando

{We may have made a pit-stop at a Dick’s Sporting Goods along the way… can’t let those coupons expire!}

We arrived at a hotel on International Drive in the evening and found our way to Uno Chicago Grill. I love deep dish pizza! We had decided that we didn’t need to stay on a Disney property that night.

I went to sleep that night with one goal in mind for the next day: get a pair of the 2014 runDisney shoes!


For those of you unfamiliar with the runDisney/New Balance collaborative process, I’ll give you some insight:

On the first day of a runDisney expo, a “virtual queue” line opens up at 6am. You sign up through your race bib number {to ensure you are legitimately running in a race that weekend}. You will be¬†assigned a group number and a time. I’m not sure how many people are in each group, although I’m guessing around 20. You will receive a text and/or email when your turn is up. At that time, you have one hour to return to the New Balance tent. {Your spot is not saved if you arrive¬†later than that} Although you have a group, your spot within that group is determined by your actual time of arrival at the tent. Each person is then escorted individually by a New Balance rep to the shoes. Just because you are in that virtual queue, you are not guaranteed your size or style of choice. It’s actually an incredibly stressful process!

Going through what my mom and I went through last year, we were aware of the process and determined to get another pair from last year’s styles. For the 2015 shoes, they decided to go with a retro design that we were not particularly fond of. We knew they had a very limited quantity left from 2014 though! There was even an inventory online of what was sold out in semi-real time. {I heard it had a slight lag} Since there was the Disney Marathon in January, much of 2014s leftover stock was gone before our race weekend even began! So, as soon as the clock struck 6am, I had my race number out and typed as fast as I could to get the earliest group possible. Guess I was quick enough because I was assigned Group 1! My heart was beating so fast and adrenaline fully flowing! The first endeavor of the day was a success!

We arrived to the expo location nearly 2 hours early. This was partially because we had nothing to do, and partially because we wanted to be very first in line at New Balance. It was a freakishly cold day in Florida {sub freezing temperatures and 21 mph winds} and we were standing outside for two hours. Some people might call that crazy…


Our toes and fingers were completely frozen and faces red from that cold wind. But we stood there and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, they decided to open the expo early because everyone was freezing their butts off! The good news is that we were the first two people in line for the shoes! HOORAY!!!!! I got the smallest size made of the men’s “Goofy” shoes from last year, while my mom opted for last year’s Cinderella model. We were so pleased with ourselves!

As we were ringing up the purchase, a New Balance manager that was there shouts “The first two pairs sold of the expo!” and everyone surrounds us and starts clapping and cheering! That was a surreal moment, to say the least! If you know my mom and I at all, you know that we have an unnatural love for “cool sneakers.” My dad said he was glad someone finally recognized us for our great accomplishments ūüėČ

Cinderella and Goofy

Cinderella and Goofy

After our major shoe accomplishment, we browsed through the rest of the expo and enjoyed seeing the different booths in relatively low crowd levels!


We also took advantage of many photo opportunities!


runDisney Expo


The NEW glass slipper!


Glass Slipper Challenge



Following the Expo, our hotel check-in was a breeze! I took advantage of Disney’s online check-in process, so all we had to do when we got there was receive our room number! This year we stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. While checking in, the concierge even joked “have you done this before?!” because I had everything completed and nothing left to fill out. Our magic bands {that were mailed to the house a month in advance} served as our room key as well as FastPass at the parks!



For the rest of the afternoon, we walked around Downtown Disney, went to our dinner reservation at BOMA Flavors of Africa, and then went back to Downtown Disney! It was a busy night, but we were so excited to be at Disney, we wanted to do as much as possible!

If you remember from last year, Boma is my very favorite Disney restaurant and I was so glad to be back! It’s an African-themed buffet that is crazy delicious! My only disappointment was that I adore their carrot ginger soup {so random} and we went on a day they were not serving that particular soup. It was still a fabulous dinner, though!



Plate of Mini desserts!

For the desserts above, I was not a fan of the guava panna cotta at all. In fact, I’m surprised that I had the self-control to not spit it out… definitely not a guava¬†person! At least I know that now. I adored the little zebra-looking dessert, though! The key lime cheesecake was great as well. Bread pudding was so-so, in my opinion.

At Downtown Disney round 2, we made a stop at Ghirardelli to split a sundae… as if we hadn’t had enough dessert for one night! Have you heard about my sweet tooth?



Once we were finished, we toted our sugared-out selves to the bus area and went back to the hotel. We wanted to get a good night’s sleep since we were going to the MAGIC KINGDOM all day on Friday!


  • Is there a¬†food you can’t stand? {guava— ick!}
  • Any further questions about the runDisney New Balance process?

ORLANDO: We Have Arrived

I am currently blogging from a warm bed in a hotel room in Orlando, FL! I just want to stop on by and say a quick hello!

My mom and I drove down yesterday. We may or may have not been singing along to Disney songs along the way… no shame ūüėČ


Currently, we are getting ready to leave this hotel to head on down to Disney for a little breakfast and go to the “Disney’s Fit For a Princess” Expo! Last year, we were so impressed by this race expo and are looking forward to it!

Throughout the week we will be going to Magic Kingdom, attending a wedding, going to Epcot, racing in the Enchanted 10k, and racing in the Disney Princess Half Marathon! {<– those two events make up the coveted “Glass Slipper Challenge”} We are beyond excited for the busy week ahead!

I probably won’t check in again until after our trip is finished, so have a great week and I’ll catch you later!


My Sweet, Sweet Valentine

Hello, all you lovebirds out there! I hope your Valentine’s Day weekend was filled with the ones you love most¬†‚̧

Sweet Tooth Fulfillment 

On Friday at work, the Valentine spirit began a day early! Throughout the day, I collected quite a few treats {that I may have indulged in without regret…).


I received even more after this picture was snapped, but you get the general idea. My favorite was the EOS lip balm that my thoughtful boss purchased for everyone. What a great idea! I left work on Friday feeling the love and looking forward to the weekend ahead!


Saturday morning began with a couple of my loves… exercise and catching up with a friend! My friend Jade and I met up in Atlanta to do a 5 mile run around Piedmont Park and have a Starbucks date to follow.

As far as the run went… I struggled. Big time. Which is not exactly a good feeling when you have both a 10k AND a half marathon in the next week {Glass Slipper Challenge, here I come!} After 2 miles I already felt tired and sluggish… but pushed through until we made it to 5. My best guess as to why my run felt like poo is that 1) I hadn’t hydrated properly beforehand and was dying of thirst and 2) I ran the day before and tend to do better when I’m more well-rested. But then again, who knows!

I was just glad to rehydrate with a large water along with my favorite drink. Anyone know what that might be? A chai tea latte. Comfort in a cup!

IMG_8313YES. We ended up chatting away for two hours… how time flies when you’re having fun! Then I drove back home to finish up some Valentine’s baking, pick up a gift from my mom, and get ready for my dinner date with Paul.


Chocolate peanut butter cupcake from mom! I’m one lucky girl ūüôā She is the BEST!


I arrived home to a dozen red roses {awwwwwwh} from Paul. I don’t care if I’m cliche {or “basic”}, I adore fresh flowers. They are so beautiful and never fail to make me happy. This was the first time in my life that I have ever been given red roses… I don’t know why I feel like this is a significant fact, but I do! To me, red roses just say “I love you.” Does anyone else feel that way, or is that just me?


I took a shower and got ready. The dinner location was a surprise for me, so I was eagerly awaiting to find out where we were going!


Paul had made reservations at a steak house¬†called Parker’s on Ponce in Decatur. Neither of us had ever been there before and from the moment we walked in, we knew we were in for a treat. There were several fireplaces lit, live piano music quietly setting the mood, and couples grinning at each other all around. I took some pictures of our food without my flash because I didn’t want to be obnoxious, but they were way too dim to post. I’d recommend looking up their website to see how impressive each dish truly was.

As an appetizer, we started with the Short Rib & Ricotta Stuffed Piquillo. Oh my gosh, that was delicious! I would recommend that appetizer to anyone in a heartbeat! It was rich, creamy, and had a “melt in your mouth” quality. As a main course, I got the 6 oz. Filet Mignon with Blue Cheese Butter on top. Wow. Simply incredible. Paul enjoyed¬†the NY Strip Steak Oscar with a Loaded Baked Potato on the side. Although we were stuffed, we decided that dessert on Valentine’s Day could not be ignored! The Chocolate Lava Cake was our dessert of choice. It was as delectable as it sounds! I am so thankful to Paul for treating me to such a special dinner. It was without a doubt one for the books!


A time to celebrate love would not be complete without my little red-headed love… Teddy!


IMG_8336 IMG_8339

Paul and I took Teddy¬†and Toby to the dog park for a little playtime today. It was chilly, but the sun was shining! Teddy bear loves her soccer ball! She also loves kisses from me ūüôā

That pretty much concludes our Valentine’s Day weekend! I had such a great time and am reminded once again how lucky I am to be surrounded by my loves. I hope each and every one of you feel the same!


  • Did you go to a fancy Valentine’s Day dinner as well?
  • Do you also receive/ give out Valentine’s Day treats at work?

I’ll be back soon to share my prep for the Disney Princess Half Marathon taking place next weekend!

7 Benefits of Training with a TREADMILL

Hi guys!

My laptop¬†had a little bit of a meltdown {nooooooooo}, so I was out of commission for a little while. Paul seems to have fixed the problem… temporarily at least! I know it’s about time for a new one, as I have a 5 year-old Macbook, but I don’t want to part with this one! I love how pretty and white it is and they stopped making this model years ago. Never-the-less, this baby has served me well as outlasted any other computer I’ve ever had.¬†#teamMac!

Anyway, enough of that randomness.¬†On my day off from work today, I hit the gym this morning to use a treadmill as it was pouring rain outside! That got me thinking… treadmills get a bad reputation. I often hear people call it the “dreadmill” and I can see how people would prefer other methods of cardio. BUT, there truly are some pluses to using a treadmill to enhance your training!

Treadmill Training 7

Now, keep in mind that I am a far cry from a running expert! These are simply some benefits I have personally experienced throughout multiple half marathon training cycles. 

1. Holding yourself accountable for running at a goal pace! If you don’t have a GPS watch for running outside, the treadmill is a fantastic way to make sure you’re running at a particular speed. This is especially helpful if you are training for a race and have a goal pace in mind. You’ll get an accurate feel for the speed you will need to maintain.

2. Safety. A lot of people, including myself, work for the entirety of daylight hours during the week. Especially in the winter when the sun isn’t out as long. Although I live in a safe area, I do not feel comfortable running outside by myself in the dark before/after work. Enter the treadmill! To get my cardio in on work days, I typically gravitate towards the treadmill because I get a much better workout in than if I were to use a bike or elliptical. Everyone is different, but this is my go-to when¬†it’s dark!

3. Ease of incorporating interval training! A lot of running gurus encourage you to incorporate some sort of interval workouts into your training routine. There is one type of interval training that I was introduced to through a running club a couple of years ago called “fartlek.” The term is Swedish for speed play and helps you to ultimately get faster! The treadmill makes this super-easy, since you can actively see the clock ticking and are able to set specific speeds.

4. Bad weather is no excuse to not exercise! A lot of people tend to use the weather as an excuse to stay at home and not exercise. This is a terrible excuse, because even if it is too cold/snowing/raining/too hot/too humid/ whatever weather you don’t like outside, you can still get a solid run {or walk!} in with a treadmill. Today, I would have run outside if it hadn’t been raining. I could have easily said “Oh, it’s raining. I can’t run today,” but instead I took my run inside and completed the same workout that I would have if it was sunny out.

5. You can make hills. Well, not technically. But if you want to do a hill workout, that can be accomplished with the push of a button. Changing the incline is a wonderful way to make your workout more interesting, as well as more difficult! You can always leave it at a certain level, or alter it throughout your run. Whatever you are in the mood for can easily be accomplished in a way that it often cannot be outside!

6. Less hard impact on your body. Although running on a treadmill is still running, the softer surface of a treadmill can help with that pressure. I know that after a race when my legs are feeling sore and tired, I prefer to do an easy post-race run after a day or two on the treadmill instead of outside. It’s not as rough on my body, which can be helpful in the recovery process. There are even special treadmills with zero impact… although I’ve never had the privilege to use one of those!

7. It’s good mental training! I think one reason people don’t like treadmill is because they can be boring. I’ve learned to challenge myself mentally on a treadmill, which is incredibly helpful for both racing and work! I can’t tell you the number of times during a race I hear people say¬†“What?!? It’s only been __ miles? I’ll never make it!” I know that due to my treadmill training, I’ve learned how to really get a feel for time passing slowly and pushing through that mental block!


  • Do you use treadmills to enhance your training?
  • What is your favorite treadmill workout? Please share!

Holiday Hoopla {and more!}

Hello friends! Happy 2015!

Is the holiday season over already?! I can’t believe it! As a die-hard fan of December, I’m always a little sad once New Year’s Day rolls around. Post-holiday depression? Is that a thing? If so, I’m pretty sure I have it. That being said, I’d love to share some photos from my holiday season this year ūüôā


Christmas Eve sheet washing


Christmas Eve cold-cuts dinner


Christmas jammies!


Dozing off in hopes of Santa Paws


Christmas morning


Teddy opening one of her gifts


Mia loves her Kong catnip toy from Santa Paws


Gift opening


Favorite presents! Espresso machine and Taylor Swift tickets!


Never too much Christmas spirit!


Christmas dinner with Teddy


BEST meal of my life! Brisket quesadillas from Mi Cocina


Weekend walk


Ugly sweater party!






Cleaning out Paul’s room


Great group of people


Rainy date

That was just a glimpse into our past week and a half! I hope your holiday season was filled with love, joy, and new memories to cherish! I’ll be popping back in again soon to talk resolutions!


  • Does your family do Christmas Eve pajamas?
  • Do your pets receive a visit from “Santa Paws” as well?
  • Are you sad or relieved once¬†the holidays come to an end?