Birthday goals

It’s been almost a week since my 28th birthday, and per usual, it’s been one of the craziest weeks ever.  We went to a Friendsgiving, wrapped up the Annual Campaign after raising $1.4 million dollars ($1.4 million?!), and generally, didn’t get a minute to ourselves.  I mean seriously, I fell asleep on the couch twice this week and my hubby had to come get me and tell me to come to bed.


So in this week, and in thinking about what 28 means, and what I want to accomplish in this year.  And after having sushi with a friend who told me he likes to set 4 goals each birthday, I decided to do the same, and hold myself accountable for each of those goals.

So here goes, 4 goals for my 28th year of living. 

  1. Get my personal trainer certification.  It’s something I feel will make me a better teacher.  I don’t necessarily want clients, lord knows that there may not be enough hours in the day for that, but anything to make me a better and stronger, I think is worth going for.
  2. Begin some real work on a book.  It is my dream to be the black Bethanny Frankel – to write a book on black women, and their health and fitness.  Maybe my first book won’t be that, maybe it will be a guide to dating, or something fun and syrupy, but I know I’m destined for it.  I don’t know why, but I just know.  Plus I need that advance so I can pay down my student loans.  (Just kidding! Kinda…)
  3. Utilize my time more efficiently.  This is something I’ve really been striving for, but I’m not great at.  That’s sort of an abstract concept, but that means squeezing the most out of every moment I can and limiting distractions.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a lazy Sunday, but I don’t want every night when I come home from work to be a flop down on the couch kind of night.  I don’t have time.
  4. Do something creative every day.  I do my best when I’m given the chance to do something creative every day. Whether that means going to Home Depot and picking out colors, picking out linens, painting, writing (even if it’s just 100 words), or READING, I will be doing this each day.
  5. Okay, and I had to sneak a 5th one in here.  I would like to start saving more.  I’m starting with an EXTREMELY modest goal of $500, which means I only have to put $41.67 in a separate account each month.  But on top of this, I’d like to put all my checks from Aradia into this account.  The amount varies depending on how much I work, but the reason why this is hard/important is that I usually like to take that Aradia check and do fun things with it.  But it’s time to let that go.  I’m really competitive, even if it’s just with myself, so I’d really like to push.  Additionally, I’m toying with the idea of “tipping” myself for every workout I do.  I’m not sure how much, but I’m playing with  the idea of tipping myself 10% in dollar amount for the minutes I’ve worked out.  So $3.00 for a 30 minute work out, $6.00 for an hour workout and so on.

What’s ONE of your goals for the next year?  

30 Before 30 – the beginning

So on Saturday evening, I officially turned 27 years old.

I don’t really feel any kind of way about it, certainly not negatively, because honestly, the year that you get married and buy a house, planning some sort of birthday extravaganza isn’t tops on your list of things to do, but I really, truly had an awesome time for the big 27.

I taught a class….

The literal worst photo of me ever taken, but #longhairdontcare
The literal worst photo of me ever taken, but #longhairdontcare

..Went to dinner at Irregardless, which I am fully aware is not a word, but the food there is the absolute BOMB…

…And I drank lots and lots of mimosas with my friends at brunch, one of the most amazing food groups in the world.  (Seriously, I would attribute 99% of my college weight gain to inordinate amounts of brunch, and I was saddened that I had to let it go when I started becoming a little healthier.)

Brunch with my hubby (and a few friends)
Brunch with my hubby (and a few friends)

But, I’ve seen this really cool thing on other blogs, and I think it’s a cool way to hold myself accountable – a 30 before 30 list.

So the list won’t be finalized here, but I think it’s an interesting thing to start thinking about, especially since 30 isn’t necessarily a mythical age that is far off in the distance.  I’m no math whiz, but I’ve got a little less than three years until I start my 40 before 40 list, ya dig?

So a few things I’d like to accomplish before 30?

  1. Run a marathon. Quickly.
  2. Hone my guitar skills and perform on my own a few times.
  3. Get paid for a few gigs.
  4. Pay off my student loans.
  5. Speak Spanish well.
  6. Travel, legitimately travel, with my husband.  (We’ve taken trips here and there, but never a real trip, where we pack up, leave the pets behind, and push off for a few weeks of travel.  We’ve talked about Alaska and Greece for real, and I’m hoping to get to one of these as a honeymoon trip for us.
  7. Throw parties for my friends.  It’s something that has emerged over the past few years as a thing I like to do.  We’ve thrown Super Bowl parties, housewarming parties, New  Years’ parties, and I have never regretted having people over.  It’s something that I’d like to continue doing!
  8. Start an enjoyable and lucrative business.  Me and Austin are looking at a plan, possibly to launch next spring.  It’s a cool thing, because you get to flex your creative/organization/management muscles without too much risk.  If it doesn’t work out?  Hey, at least we have some experience running and maintaining a business right?
  9. Do stuff that makes me uncomfortable.  I’m pretty decent at this, but it’s not something I want to get out of the habit of doing it.  Teaching Pole Dancing (seriously, something I’m starting in the New Year), signing up for a challenging race, keeping myself on a tight budget – all things that I’m a little uncomfortable with, but things that would be a win for me ultimately.

So this is what I have so far.  Any ideas on what I should add to this list?  What is on your 30 before 30 (or 40 before 40 or 90 before 90 list?)

White Ford Bronco – Where were you?

So on Wednesday, Austin turned the big 2-8, so in celebration, I took Austin on date to the first place we ever went, which was the Rockford downtown.

The Rockford is really cool spot, and was an excellent choice for Austin to take me to because the food is good, fresh, and it has a little bit of a vegetarian lean – I could easily find something on the menu without having to do too much wiggling to figure out something to eat.

So I took him there, and we had the best time.  He brought me flowers.  I hope we never stop “dating.”

Date NightThis poorly lit, sorta blurry photo is the only documentation I have of the night cause we asked this guy at the bar for a photo, and he snapped a terrible one, and I was too embarrassed by his terrible photography skills to ask him to do another one.  Oh well!

Okay, so let’s make a right turn.

Bronco Chase 6-17-94The other night, Austin and I watched this ESPN documentary that documented June 17th, 1994.  Which was 20 years ago, by the way, if you’re looking to feel super old.

I’m not really interested on anyone’s opinion on OJ’s guilt, however, what I am interested in is finding out what you were doing when this chase was going down.

For me, I was with my family (there were only 5 of us at this point), at Smuggler’s Notch in Vermont.  I remember it being one of the most amazing vacations in the entire world – I also remember coming back to the condo from a swim or something, and my parents being transfixed by this chase that was happening in real time.

The Knicks were also losing a game, if I’m not mistaken.

Where were you during this chase? 


I got my car towed.

This weekend is nuts.  Absolutely nuts.  And I know that you missed me a lot, I could tell.

So let’s recap Friday.

I was super tired from the week, but I got home after work on Friday, and, inspired by another blogger who’s a mom, I straightened up, went for a run, and headed out to a birthday party late, because Selena was on telly.  Woops. That movie is good as hell though.

So we headed to Trophy Brewing Company in Raleigh for beer, pizza, and a shot of Fireball to celebrate the birthday of Adele Gregory, a good friend (who’s also really crafty and excellent at baking).

DSC_0184Trophy (for those of you local folks) is down on Morgan Street and features a lot of beer, pizzas, and good times.

DSC_0171DSC_0174The birthday girl was the only one who didn’t  stuff her face to its capacity – she stuck to a salad.  She was better than I was!


Birthday shots!

Then my car got towed. 

So when we left the brewery, I walked out to where I was pretty sure I’d parked my car, in a lot that was designated as okay to park in after 5:30 pm.  Or so I thought.  When I came out, the car was gone, and we figured it’d been towed.  As it turns out, I was completely in the wrong, there was another sign that stated that the late was for folks in an apartment complex across the street.  That was totally cool, I’d screwed up, and I was willing to pay the consequences for my mistake.  But when we called the tow yard to get the car, a woman rudely told us that no one was there and I couldn’t get my car until after 11:00 pm.  Which is fine, but we knew for a fact that it was mandated that someone is supposed to be there, and that cars had to be released within 45 minutes of you getting there.  Which wasn’t happening.

Long story short, we called the cops, the cops called the towing company, and magically, they were really really apologetic and released my car, all to the tune of $100 cash.

So if you’re wondering where my favorite lady was, instead of writing I was in a creepy part of town waiting to get my car out of a creepy yard.  How was your weekend?  

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Okay, okay, enough about my birthday.

Okay, okay, enough about my birthday.

I promise, I’m not one of those birthday extravaganza people who feel like I should get a bounce house for my 26th birthday party. I recognize no one cares about that day after like, age 21, but this was too good to share. On my birthday night, I went to a local bar with my sister and some friends, and we ran into a group of older gentlemen, ready for their night on the town. One, to whom I made very clear I was happily engaged and excited to get married, and not at all interested in anyone but my future husband, could not get enough of me, and honed in, especially once I mentioned to someone else that I just completed my second marathon. What ensued was the best picture to ever be captured by man.

My sister’s boyfriend managed to catch the guy not-so-subtly checking out the goods in a photo. I’ve censored it, but enjoy!

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling…


26 has never looked so good.

Okay sike kinda.  Today is my 26th birthday, and I write to you, not from my fancy vacation, but from my desk on my way to work.  Since I’ve absolutely sucked at doing my 30 days of thanks, I’m gonna hit you with 26 incredible things that happened in the past year, and that I’m thankful for.  Here goes (in no particular order)!

  1. I ran two marathons in my 25th year.  Right before I turned 25, I ran my first half, and I guess I caught the bug.  More specifically, I ran two half marathons, 2 fulls, and I think one really fun 5k.
  2. I got engaged!  I was telling my mom yesterday, that I never would have thought that I’d meet someone I’d love enough to marry just 4 years after I graduated.  After I broke up with my college boyfriend, I really thought that was it for me, and I was content to live with my animals.  Seriously, before Austin I’d fallen into this dorky routine of working out, watching Dancing with the Stars, and getting into to bed before midnight most Fridays.  What a difference a few years makes, right?
  3. I learned about the power of networking.  They always say it’s not what you know but who you know.  And I’ll be gosh darned, they were right.  And I credit that with this next one.
  4. I got a social work job. After searching for what felt like 50 years.
  5. But I also worked full-time for Fleet Feet, a running specialty store, and I have to be honest with you, I’m still in love with the company, and I’d consider opening a store with my husband.  Bob and Kathy, my bosses, and my coworkers, are such amazing, good people, and working there really pushed me to be a better athlete.   I think that speaks for the company.  When your job creates a better and more competitive athlete out of you, that’s something special.
  6. I got my cat, Martin.  He is the worst behaved cat I’ve ever met.
  7. My grandmother passed away.  That is not the good part, obviously.  The good part, and the part that warmed my heart was the fact that all of us, all 3 of my siblings, and both of my parents were able to coordinate enough to get on planes and make it to her services on short notice. 
  8. I got to go to my second home, camp. It was just as beautiful as I remembered.  After my first summer there, I literally thought I’d never see the place again, and I would dream about coming back there at night.  I made it.  And I love those kids.
  9. I bought my first car.  When my ’99 Taurus died on me (transmission issue), I laid down and bawled, not sure what I was going to do.  Austin helped me through the process of buying a car, and I made my first real adult purchase, a little Lancer, with an equally little payment.  It’s perfect for me.
  10. I went through some interviews with some not-satisfactory results.  But you know what?  Every “failed” job prospect was a great learning opportunity, and I think I emerged from each experience a little stronger.  At the time, I was shaking my first and gnashing my teeth, if you will, but it was all for the best.
  11. My mom is still with us.  The same weekend I bought my new car I was actually signing the paperwork for my new car, when my mom called me.  “Hey.  What are you doing.  You sound kinda weird,” I’d said kinda causally.  “Oh, I just…well I’m in the hospital.  But everything’s okay!”  and the way the universe takes care of me is the minute I’d signed the paperwork on that new car, I was able to drive down and spend what would turn out to be a couple of weeks with my mom, who’d, as it turned out, had a small stroke at some point.  She’s doing better and better each day.
  12. My bank account is looking a little bit better than it was, this time last year.  Praise.  Let’s keep that thing on the rise.
  13. I got a library card.  Maybe now I can stop pouring money into my Kindle.
  14. I chose a wedding venue!  Kinda superficial, but I had a rough go of it for a while!
  15. My siblings are all successful, productive members of society.  Not everyone can say that.  Armours. Bettah. Werk.
  16. I attended my 4th Elon University Homecoming (nearly didn’t make it out alive, as you’ll remember last weekend), and now I’m considering become even more involved with my alma mater, and not just offering my meager financial support.  I really don’t mind giving back to the school that literally taught me how to become a grown up.
  17. I have great friends.  I worked at Fleet Feet the other night, and fell right back into an old pattern like no time had passed.   The same of Elon Homecoming, it truly felt like no time had passed.
  18. I got closer with my friends.  And this year, I vow to be an even better friend if it kills me.  More coffee dates, more phone calls, more visits.  I’ve let it get a leetle too far in between some friend dates.  My sincere apologies, ladies and gents.
  19. I participated in one FANTASTIC wedding, which was fun from start to finish.  My good friend Alexa got married in May, and since I was a bridesmaid, I got to participate as far as getting a cute dress, contributing to her bachelorette weekend in Asheville (which meant I got to run in some crisp mountain air), and I got to celebrate her wedding….
  20. And I attended the wedding of another good friend in Cincinnati.  And it was like an Elon reunion all over again.  All this to say, guys, I’m sorry, if you notice a few similarities between your wedding and mine – but they both were so different and so beautiful, that I’d love to try and recreate these moments all over again.
  21. I started doing yoga.  Actually on January 1st, I started, and I credit that with singlehandedly allowing me to get through my first marathon without hurting anything.
  22. My home.  Admittedly, I miss my old condo, the one I lived in when I started this blog.  I had to move because the owner sold it (or is trying to sell it for way more than it’s worth, but that’s just my two cents).  But as I strolled through my apartment this morning, freshly vacuumed and smelling nice, I was thankful for my toasty little nook in the woods.  Often, when I run, I look under bridges that I pass, and I’ll often see vestiges off a little home there.  Foodstuffs, blankets, sometimes and old mattress.  And I thank God that I have a warm place to lay my head at night.
  23. This blog.  I raised some money last year, and I really appreciate for people to tell me when they’ve been following along.  I mean, I love to hear myself talk, so I’d prolly continue writing even if I suspected that only cats are reading my blog, but man, I’m happy and grateful that this blog “happened,” so to speak.
  24. This country.  Things are a hot mess.  But we live in the best nation in the world.  Run and tell dat.
  25. My health.  I continue to be amazed at where I can push my body.  Part of the reason for the tears at the finish of each marathon is to thank heavens that my body is able to hold up for that long, and recover quickly.  Not everyone can say that.  I hope they can, eventually.
  26. Real Housewives of Atlanta is back on.  And I really don’t need to say much more about that.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for reading, and thank goodness for another year.  Here’s to 26 being another good one!