One Year

Austin and I have been married for a year.

One beautiful, whirlwind of a year.

The year Austin and I started dating, I was working at camp in Pennsylvania.  One of the kids named Brenda told me she was going to read my palm.  I don’t really believe in that stuff.  Or I say I don’t.  It scares me a little bit.

Brenda looked at me.

“People tell you you have a ton of energy right?  They don’t know how you do what you do.  Your job is gonna be like that.”

I assumed she was talking about me teaching fitness classes.  That one was pretty self-explanatory.  I mean, she had probably heard that around camp, right?

“You’re dating someone right?  You don’t really like him.”

Ok.  I wasn’t sure how she knew that.  But she was right.  I was dating someone.  And it wasn’t really going well.  I think he sort of liked having me around.  But it was mostly a waste of time.  He would stand me up, drank a lot, and told me once that he would like to “have sex with a Latina.”  [Disclaimer: I would NEVER fetishize a group that way, those were actually his exact words.]

“You’ve already met the man you’re going to marry.”

I had no idea who she was talking about.  No idea who she could have been talking about.  But I was a little weirded out.

A month or two later, I found myself out with the campus rec crew.  We drank a ton.  I ended up seeing an ex that night.  But somehow, Austin and I forged a friendship, and what began as a few beer dates where we would talk, started to turn into something more.

“Would you date a white guy,” he asked one night.

I shrugged.  “Yea, sure!”

One date.  Then another.  Then another.  And almost 5 years later, we were cutting a teeny white cake on a table in Asheville, laughing, rapping, and wondering where a year of marriage had gone.

I don’t know what to say except this.  If you have found the person you’re going to marry and you’re considering it?  Go for it.  Jump in with both feet, be honest, and enjoy the gift that is marriage.

I’m certainly not one to preach, but God, the Universe, my father and my brother (who taught me what a real man should be) gave me an incredible gift in this marriage.

Happy one year to us.

Wedding Cake

Poison Control

If there was ever a question in my mind about my husband’s love for me, he smashed it today.

Let me back it up.

I’ve completely been overdoing it the past few weeks.  Staying up working late, teaching multiple classes, running home and running a vacuum, and doing the best impression of super career woman and wife that there has ever been.  So last night, after I came home late from work, I kissed Austin, and told him that I was going to take a bath to relieve some of the achy-ness I’ve had in the same knee that I broke a bone in a few years ago.  Whenever I’m stressed or wearing myself thin, that knee reminds me to dial it back.

So, earlier in the day, I bought a bottle of real Aleve (the generic was not doing it), and I pored over my choices in the Bengay section before selecting some Capzasin HP for folks with Arthritis.  I figured that it would help my knee and my hips.  When I got home, I jumped into the bathtub and soaked in water so hot, that sweat started dripping down my face.

I got out, dried off, and grabbed the tube of the cream.  I put a little on my hip, then on the front of my knee.


I made sure to get the back of my knee.

Again, nothing.

So I started to get dressed.  Grabbed a pair of compression tights and compression socks and started to work them on when my hip and knee started to burn.  The burn grew exactly the way it would when you eat a little piece of habanero.  Silent, than louder and louder.  I made my way out to the great room.

“Babe, I think we need to call 9-1-1.  I used some Capzasin and my skin is on fire.”

He looked up from his iPad, recognized I was in some pain, and asked,

“We need to call 9-1-1?”

I begged him to help, and he Googled it.

“I think you’re having a reaction to it”

First we tried vinegar on a paper towel.  We got me back into the shower, and ran cold water over me while I tried to wipe the oil off.  As soon as the water would stop hitting me, the burn would start again.  Every single solitary expletive I know crossed my lips.  And finally, we had to call poison control.

The woman I spoke to was a saint.  When I told her the percentage of the cream, 0.1%, she breathed, “oh boy,” before she told me what I needed to do.

“Are you rinsing in cold water?  That will set and solidify the oil in your skin.  You need hot soapy water, and do you have Maalox?  That will help.  Nothing like Pepto, it contains asprin.  Try that, and give me a call back and let me know how you’re doing.”

Austin poured baking soda on me.  Poured vinegar on me.  Filled his hands with hand soap.  Sipped a bear while I muttered the most filthy words the english language has to offer.  And grabbed the soap from the kitchen sink when nothing else would sud enough.

Allergic ReactionHad to avoid showing you guys a nudie to see what the cream did to my hip.  But it’s not good.

Word to the wise.  Go with the weak stuff when it will tingle burn the top two layers off your skin.  Here’s to a good Wednesday.   

Does your significant other support your running?

I try to keep my husband at a minimum on the blog.  Not because I’m not crazy about him, because I absolutely am.  But more because he didn’t ask for his life to be splashed across the interwebs.  But occasionally, I just can’t help it!

I’m running Ragnar in Las Vegas in less than two weeks, and unlike the typical Ragnar relay, we are considered an ultra team, meaning that instead of 12 runners over 36 legs, we are 6 runners over the 36 legs.  I’m so looking forward to it, and yet, a little apprehensive about running over 34 miles over a few days.

But, despite my apprehension, my body, my mind, and my legs feel strong.

In prep for the race, I’ve run at a few odd times – and last night, it was around 9:30pm.  Luckily, I live close to the state university, and can stay pretty safe running on campus during these odd times, or can call my brother to run with me.  And every time I push off at these strange times, Austin offers me a butterfly knife, and asks if it’s completely necessary for me to run at those times, in the most worried and caring of ways.

And this time, the poor thing was in no position to come with me, because he sprained his ankle terribly playing volleyball at the Y.

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

But I’m taken with how supportive Austin has been of my running. When we met, I was just doing some running for maintenance.  Despite being an avid weightlifter (which doesn’t  classically mix), he ran my first 5k with me.  Then my second.  He cheered me through my first half.  And then stood out in the cold during my first two fulls.  And now, even though he can’t come to Vegas with me, he’s been so supportive, and making sure that in the midst of all my training, that I’m staying safe and happy.

 So how does running fit into a relationship?  How should running fit into a relationship?  For you runners, weightlifters, triathletes, golfers, how does your sport fit into your relationship?  And is your significant other supportive of how you stay fit?  

For us, even though Austin has never expressed any interest in taking on the challenge of a full or an ultra, running has always been something that we could enjoy and do together.  And it makes me feel supported by him, that we aren’t in competition, but that it’s something we can do side-by-side.  Running can be so solitary, and yet, it makes me feel so close to so much and so many people.


Engagement anxiety.

Being married is my favorite thing ever.  Everyone keeps asking me what I think about being married, and honestly, it has been beyond amazing.  I felt, a few days ago, for one of the first times, that we’re settling into marriage, which is a beautiful thing.  It was nice to look out of the window a few days ago, see the shed that my husband painted, and kind of smile and think, “we’re building something together!”  And I know, marriage isn’t all la la la kittens and baby turtles, but in the time that it is, I’m relishing the time and drinking it all in.


We got married at a pretty standard age I think, in fact, I’m a little older than some of my friends were getting married.  But, I think I’m starting to get into the season of my life where I’m seeing a ton of weddings and a ton of engagements, and I’m so happy for folks.  I am so pumped.  But I wonder if any of these brides have experienced any of the engagement anxiety that comes with being engaged.

The reason this came up?  A few days ago, I ran into a friend who was brand, brand, newly engaged.  I spotted her hand sparkling and asked her about it.  She raised her arm, almost zombie-like, and showed me.

“Oh my gosh,” I said!  “When did you guys get engaged???!”

“Last night,” she quietly drawled.

She didn’t seem sad.  But she didn’t seem happy.  If anything, she seemed a little…stunned?

And I think that’s perfectly normal.  You’ve just made the pre-commitment to commit to someone for the rest of your life.  That said, it’s normal to feel:

  • Stupid happy.
  • Like a grown-up.  You might not feel like a grown up, because grown ups, in your mind, are old and go to bed early.  And they never drink too much.  And all of a sudden, you’ve done something that really old grown people do.  And you might start to feel old.
  • A little stunned.
  • Tired.  You’re showing off your hand, you’ve recounted your proposal story about 400 times, and people keep asking when the date is, when you’ve only been engaged for like a week.  It’s a lot of attention.  I thought I liked attention before we got married.  Woof, that was a lot.

I can’t speak for the men, but I’m fairly certain they too go through the “oh, shit” phase before it passes and you’re married to your best bud.  So remember, my engaged friends, it’s okay to have some or all of the above feelings for a few weeks after engagement.

What was one big life change that had you stunned for a day or two?  

The invite list.

We’re coming up on over a month of being married, and as I’ve stated again and again, being married is amazing.  It’s like before when we were dating, but even better.

On Thursday night last week, our wedding photos, courtesy of Blest photography came in the mail, and I’ve spent the last few days looking through 900 amazing photographs again and again.  I’m debating how to share this with you all, if at all, but here’s a little taste for you guys, one of my favorite photos of the day.

At this moment, Cole had just asked us if we minded playing around in the tobacco for a while.  Of course we didn’t, and Austin helped me pick up my dress and sort of frolic in the field.

But I’m getting distracted.

Let’s talk invites.

So I’ve hopped around the wedding thing a lot, trying to give you the best info.  But since I’ve just gone through it and my sister is going through it (she’s doing a wedding reception with her husband in December), and it’s something that is the source of a lot of grief.

Who the heck do you invite to your wedding?  Who don’ t you invite? How do you keep from insulting folks?

This is something we went through – I have a large family, and my parents got married in the 80s, when a lot of times, your parents would invite whomever they wanted, and you, the couple-to-wed, has very little say in who is invited.

Things have changed since then, so here are a few rules when you’re trying to figure out who you invite.

  • Immediate family.  Duh.
  • Friends.  Invite folks that you would invite to your housewarming.  Do not invite frenemies.  You don’t need negativity on your day.
  • Work people.  For my small, more intimate job at Fleet Feet, I invited everyone, as we often invite each other to big life events.  At my new job, I invited no one, and my husband invited folks that were on his leadership team at work.
  • Family/your parents’ friends.  This one got a little tricky for us.  We wanted to invite everyone our parents had ever met, but it simply wasn’t possibly.  Our venue would only seat 140, and we really wanted to make sure we got everyone in that we could.  We invited family friends that we’d grown up with, and Austin’s mom invited a few of the same.

The tricky thing when going through this list is figuring out how you can keep from insulting folks when you don’t invite them to your wedding.

Here’s your answer.

Who cares?  It’s you/your partner’s day.  And real acquaintances who care for you will understand that you like them okay, but not necessarily enough to spend over $100 for them to eat up all your food and drink all your liquor.

How do you decide who gets invited to big events?  


Wedding Wednesday: The Engagement Sessions

It’s really fun to do these Wedding Wednesday posts now that I’m married, and I’m not taking any time away from doing any wedding things. Yes, I could be writing some more thank-you notes at this precise second, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

So I have a confession to make.  A big, huge, horrible confession.  A confession that I’m ashamed to make.  But…years and years ago, I asked myself as I looked at a friend’s engagement photos, I thought to myself – “What is the point of engagement photos?”

Even after we were engaged, I wasn’t necessarily sure what the point was of getting these photos done.

Couldn’t we just save the money, skip the photos, create a really cute save-the-date without our faces being plastered all over them?  And I suppose we could have…until we saw the engagement photos of this gorgeous couple I went to school with.  The engagement photos literally took your breath away, and suddenly, as we were gathering a down payment on the house that would be our first home together as a married couple, I envisioned a home with zero pictures of us when we were young and freshly-engaged.  And I couldn’t do it.

So a year after we were engaged, I contacted the gentleman that I knew wanted to do our photos, and explained our weird situation to him.  He seemed open to the idea of it, even a year after our engagement, and he agreed, with all the grace that a human being could have with a silly couple like us.

image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios
image via Blest Studios

And once we spent the afternoon with Cole of Blest, it became extremely clear why engagement photos were important, perhaps even necessary, when you’re getting married.  

  1. Luckily, I knew Cole, and Blest Studios long before I was engaged, and I knew that the quality of his work was head and shoulders above what I’d seen from other photographers.  However, taking this photos really got me comfortable in doing photos with my husband.  You might think you’re really comfortable with someone – until you have to take photos of you making out and groping your husband on camera.  It really, really gets you comfy with each other. 
  2. Taking these photos gets you comfy with your photog.  Especially in cases when you don’t know your photog or his or her work, this can be really important.  I mean, you don’t want someone to eff up your memories, right?  If it takes some money for you to find out that you don’t jive at all with your photographer, why not, right?
  3. They serve as memories of an incredible times with your spouse.  We didn’t take the photos right after we got engaged, however, even after waiting a year, the pics, even taken a month-and-a-half ago, remind me of a beautiful time, where we met up in a park and met up with a friend to take some photos.  I remember being nervous, I remember showing Cole the spot we got engaged at, and I remember feeling so close to Austin as our story seemed to unfold for Cole. I won’t be forgetting that anytime soon. 
  4. You know what you’re gonna be getting for your wedding.  Direction, organization, light, editing.  We got the good stuff – and we knew that. And you will know that with engagement photos. 

I can admit when I’m being kinda rude, and kind of judgey.  Engagement photos?  Worth it.  

Check out Blest Studios, whether you’re engaged, pregs, celebrating an anniversary, or if you just want some gorge photos of yourself.

Annnnd they’re not paying me to say this.  I mean, it would be cool if they were.  And I’m opening the floor now for some payment 🙂 but Blest is just that good. 

Did you do engagement/pregnancy/anniversary photos?

Our wedding.

If you’ve ever gotten married, you understand why I’ve been disappeared for the last week or so.  The lead up was crazy – but I don’t even need to get into that right now.  You want to get into the good stuff right?  The stuff I’ve been talking about for the last year or so?

We got married on Saturday!

I will break down the whole thing a little more in detail in a few days, but I will give you guys a little taste of what we did this weekend.

Our wedding was gorgeous.  It was perfect.  It went off without a hitch.  And I am officially a Mrs!

  •  I heard from someone at the venue that our food was the best.  We did fried chicken (tofu for me), collards, mac and cheese, potatoes, and biscuits.  It was straight-up as southern as it gets.
  • My dress.  Ahhhhh that dress.  It was delicious, and I never ever wanted to take it off.  After we got back, I kinda flopped down on the bed in our suite for a good 20 minutes before I had to take it off.
  • I danced literally for 100 hours.  I had to shower after.
  • The day was perfect, and I love my family – my family family, and my new family – new husband especially!  Feels cool to finally call him husband!

A few photos to tide you over until I do the FULLLLLL recap?

photo 5
This was a quick screen grab that stopped me in my tracks. We actually got into a tobacco field for this one. Photo via Blest Studios.
photo 4
A drunken groomsman who charmed the pants off of all of our parents snapped this quickly at sunset.
photo 3
A guest snapped this as my father escorted me down the aisle. He’d been talking about wearing this tux for months and it TOTALLY came together. Love it!
photo 2
This was us, the HOT day of the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner.
photo 1
All lined up to practice walking down the aisle!

So, this is just a little taste, as I ease back into my life.

What I can say, however, is that I feel SO loved – by friends, by family, by my husband and I’m looking forward to years and years of celebrations like these.  I love you all, and thank you all for an amazing weekend.

That said…what did you do this weekend?

Happy Monday! My sister is a wife!

I am celebrated this weekend by going down to Charlotte to witness my little sister getting married. She called me up two weeks ago and told me she was going to get married, so Godspeed dear little sis, as folks are reading this, you have said your “I dos” and you are a married woman!  BAHHH! Make sure you help me to congratulate Deb, but not too much, cause she’s super private and might kill me when she discovered that the paparazzi shots I took are all over my world-famous blog.  Pardon the photo-dump, but you didn’t think i was going to watch my little sister get married without taking any photo evidence, right? PS you HAVE to tell me if anything about this post is weird – WordPress was crashing on me left and write as I was writing it, so let me know 🙂

DSC_0731DSC_0732DSC_0733DSC_0742It was really cool to see, and it literally took two seconds.  We enjoyed some dinner later on that evening, and I had a good time exploring my parent’s new building in downtown Charlotte – since they’re almost empty nesters (they will be as of August), and they moved to a party pad downtown, so I read by the pool, lifted at their gym, and explored for a little while.  I really didn’t want to leave when it was all said and done, but I’m down to my last few days at the old job, and I have to work hard to end on a good note.

How was your weekend? 

Private College. Is it worth it?

I have been really really open about the fact that I went to Elon University.  It was a wonderful, beautiful experience, and I loved it.  But was it worth it?  Is private college worth it, and for whom?28833_603402085403_7000782_n

I was inspired to write this by a few things.  Number one, as a graduate of a prestigious private uni, I am saddled with a pretty good hunk of student loans.  It keeps me up at night.  It motivates my thinking.  It affects my purchases.  And I feel an unimaginable sense of sorrow and guilt that when I signed on for the loans, I wasn’t 1000% sure what I was signing up for.  At the time, when my parents could no longer afford Elon, I was under the absolutely incorrect assumption that by now, I would have a job that paid me a reasonable, living wage, and that with some budgeting, I would quickly be able to pay off the debt that I’d incurred.

The second thing that inspired me to write this was the fact that Emily Yoffe from Slate addressed this recently, when a mother, who’d had nothing saved for her children’s education, was questioning if she should send her son to his dream school (that they could not afford), or have him live at home, attend a state school, and allow him to transfer a few years later.  Yoffe gave some decent advice, and on someone who kinda lived through the whole recession thing, here are my two cents.

Student Loans

I didn’t have a crystal ball.  I had no way to know that my parents would go from being able to afford school to having to build back up, but if I had had that crystal ball, maybe I would have chosen somewhere different to go.  But here is my assessment, especially for those of you wondering if you or your kids should go to your dream school, or to the best school you can afford.

Okay, here goes.

I do not regret my decision to go to Elon, and the subsequent debt however, please keep in mind the following before you sign away your life for student loans.

  • Your decision will affect your future purchases.  So four years later, when you’re trying to buy a car?  The fact that you have debt will impact what you can buy.
  • Were you thinking about buying a house soon?  Not so fast with those loans holding you hostage.
  • If you’re prone to anxiety, stay far away from those loans.  Seriously, the things that keep me up at night all involve money.
  • Marriage may be the furthest thing from your mind, (I know I was not in that headspace at all) but 5 years later, I brought my debt into my marriage. Or I’m about to at least.  And I feel really guilty.  Austin gets it, he understands, but this was not the ideal way for me to start a family.

So the verdict?

If you can afford it, go to the best school you can.  If you cannot afford it, think long and hard, long and hard about loans.  And after you’ve thought about it, go to the best school you can afford, not the reach that will affect your life for years to come.

What are your thoughts on student loans?