Things we love about the South.

North Carolina, in particular.

I made a single-day trip to Charlotte from Raleigh this weekend (about 6 hours total, to where my parents live), and even though the South isn’t renowned for some things (race relations and state budgets), but there are a LOT of things that make North Carolina totally worth it.  If you’re ever thinking of making a move, let me help you with a few reasons why North Carolina is one of the most beautiful states EVER, and you should move here.

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1.  The pace is perfect.  We’re not as slow as some of the spots in the deep south, but we’re not as quick as say, DC.  We don’t use our horns.  We’re generally not a bunch of assholes when we drive.  Stuff opens when it’s supposed to.  Closes when it’s supposed to.  It’s really nice.

2.  Customer service.  In New Jersey, where I’ve spent a ton of time (and where a lot of my family lives now), you pay someone for a service, and they’re STILL rude to you.  The guy parking your car is a colossal idiot of a jerk, and will yell and scream at you if he deems it fit.  Here in North Carolina, at the Harris Teeter, for example, if you’re looking for an item, the kind associate will WALK you to the item that you’re lost on, and then ask you if you have any questions about it.  Oh, and Harris Teeter!

3.  Northerners (which I am one of,) try and make fun of this, but they are jealous. We get snow days off.  So rude folks, enjoy making fun of us, but we get to sit at home and sip hot chocolate while you slough your way to work.  Boooo.  As a kind of bonus to this reasoning, the weather is amazing here.  We (typically) don’t get much of a winter, have a gorgeous fall, and the summer nights make you want to slap someone they’re so good.



This is what happens when it snows in Raleigh.  Snowpocolypse.

4.  The food here.  There are a few things here that you can’t get in New York (mah home state), and it’s so sad.

  • Mac and Cheese made right.  Velveeta should not be an ingredient.  And it needs to be baked.
  • Biscuits.  The biscuits down here. Like.  Don’t even get me started.
  • Cookout.  Not like, a barbecue.  There’s a magical place called cookout where you can get really disgusting food and enjoy it.
  • Sweet tea?  That is one thing that I could never really get down with, but people say it’s amazing down here.

5.  The music.  If, for a second, you don’t think some of the best musicians come from down here, you are trippin.  Clay Aiken (okay, kidding!), Fantasia, Chris Daughtry, and the amazing Petey Pablo are all from here.

So are there any North Carolina people out there?  What do you love about this state? 



The Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Controversy

So, last year, when Competitor Group announced that Raleigh would be getting a Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, and Full Marathon, the reaction was surprisingly mixed.

I, an avid runner and an employee at the local Fleet Feet was elated because the majority of my fulls and half marathons required me to travel out of town in order to find a race with an expo, support along the course, well-marked pace groups and all the trappings that some of the races in the larger cities had.  I’d run the Run Raleigh Half, relayed the City of Oaks, paced the Umstead 100-Miler, and shuffled through the Greensboro Marathon, and all though all of those races had been pleasant, there were a few things that stuck out about those experiences that I didn’t love.

  1. There was not really a full expo for any of the local races.  The expos consisted of a gracious local running store, oftentimes us or Capital RunWalk opening their doors, you picking up your packet, and promptly leaving.  There was no fanfare, no booths for you to explore and discover new products, or places for you to snag some cool samples before the race.
  2. There was definitely medical support along the course, but not as dense as it was at some of the bigger races I have been to.  The Greensboro Marathon, for example, was awesome, but when I got sick, my option was to lay down and die, or finish the race.   At least at a bigger race, there might have been an option for me to rest a little bit, and then continue on.
  3. Further into fulls out here, it seems like everyone disappears.  You’re in, 17 miles into a race, and you’re alone.  That can’t be safe, right?  And it’s certainly no good for your mental status at that point in the race, to be running alone.

And then, the local newspaper, the News & Observer, and a local running retail store, that I will not name, has seemed to make it their personal mission to trash-talk this race, topped with this article, describing some level of shock that none of the races fees went to charity.  (And to keep it 100, the racers raised 250k for the V foundation, that’s not too shabby right?)

So, far all you RnR haters, a few points on the race that will have me running again and again.

  • The race was incredibly well-organized.  There was no confusion about where to go, where to park, or where we were running.  Everything, and I mean everything was clearly marked, right down to the split around mile 9 between the half the the full, and I have never been to a race where it was so clearly marked.
  • Following the race, we were given cold towels, pizza, bananas, fresh bottles of water, and a free beer, as well as a big fat chunk of a medal.  There’s a good chance some of our fees went to these perks.  And I didn’t hear anyone complaining about our beers, our medals, or our food there at the end.
  • Runners raised a TON for the V-Foundation, a local charity for cancer research.  
  • These smiles.



  • The fact that there were a ton of people in Raleigh making a good decision for their health and well-being. 
  • Just because I ran this big monster of a race, doesn’t mean I won’t run local, which is what a lot of the arguments against this race have implied.  The races do not have to be mutually exclusive.
  • “The city cut them a huge check that they didn’t normally cut to the other local races!”  Well in addition to the 12,500 runners, there were their families.  The hotels were sold out.  ESPN Run was in town.  People ate our food.  People drank our beer.  Folks shopped at our runnings stores.  People shopped at the expo.  People filled the bars and the brunch spots after.  And Raleigh was put on the map.  Do you think, for a second, that it’s a coincidence that Raleigh is starting to make all these lists, and we just brought HUGE amounts of national attention to the city?

A few examples of our spot on some of Forbes’ lists?

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Can we just stop complaining and embrace the fact that as a growing city, that things like this, cool, awesome things like this, are gonna happen?  You CAN run big AND run local.  And that’s exactly what I plan to do.


Remember when I told you that Zyrtec was one of my weekly obsessions? I wasn’t lying, on Friday, after spending a miserable Thursday at work. I was not kidding at all.

Toward the end of the day, when my throat was feeling extra horrible, I wanted to kick a hole in the wall, but I resisted the urge. Barely.

So, on Friday morning, when I woke up feeling like less of a monster, and more like Cheri, I did the natural thing. I tweeted @Zyrtec to tell them that their product was really fly, and was surprised to see how responsive they were!

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 12.26.35 AMI followed them…

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 12.20.34 AMAnd I called them.

They were really great. They wanted to collect some info from me about my age, my usage of Zyrtec, and then they popped a few coupons in the mail for me.

If you didn’t know it already, it’s true.  I am still obsessed with Zyrtec, and they rock. And they didn’t pay me to say this, even though I would be totally down with it if they did decided to throw me some bennies and free product to talk about their miracle drug.


I’ve got a new running partner.

photoSo last week, I was doing some blog stuff, cruising the Facebook, and a picture of this sweet boy popped up on my feed.

His story?  Apparently, the Beagle mix had been dumped in Garner, and the woman who has hanging on to him was concerned, as her dog was acting aggressively toward him.  She, and some friends had posted his photo on Facebook after scouring Craigslist for his owners, and they were looking for someone to at least foster him until a wonderful home could be found.

I immediately moved on the little guy, and by Sunday morning, Nelson, as I started calling him, was happily cruising toward my home in my little Lancer.

I don’t think I can keep him in this little apartment with the cat and the dog, but he really has been a joy.  His first night, he ran about 2 miles with me on the Greenway, and hopped up on the bed with me.  I woke up early yesterday morning, and hit the dog run with him before work.

I have to admit, now that I potentially have a very kind family lined up to take him, that the thought of him not being here sort of makes me sad.  But while he’s here, he sure makes a damned good running partner. 🙂

It’s a beautiful day for a photoshoot!

So I had an amazing Saturday.  The weather was amazingly beautiful, and I was amazingly busy.  But one thing in particular, totally rocked my world.  The founder and CEO of Headbands of Hope, Jessica Ekstrom, invited me and a few other wonderful girls to participate in a photoshoot for Headbands of Hope.

So a little bit on HOH.  Jessica started HOH when she was 19 years old.  Yes, you read that correctly, Jess was 19 when she started HOH, and the premise is incredible, yet simple at the same time.  For every headband purchased through HOH, which you can view here, $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund research, and one headband is given to a girl with cancer.  The headbands are really, really, really cute, so it was a no-brainer when Jess reached out to invite us to participate in her photoshoot.

So, heads up, these photos are a sneak peek at the real deal, and the real post on our shoot will come in about a week-and-a-half or so, so I will totally fill you guys in on our awesome photographer and our awesome stylists who outfitted us for the shoot.  These are just a few shot from my vantage point!


So we actually hiked out to the location – and if you thought I was exaggerating about how beautiful the weather was, I totally wasn’t.  It was like 75 degrees, and we did the shoot in Historic Yates Mill Park in Raleigh, a few minutes away from NC State.


After we made it out to the location, we gathered around, finally all dressed and styled, while folks started arriving.


A few gorgeous shots in a field…


And even CEO Jess jumped in to take a few shots of her own with her camera.  I was able to sneak a peek at Jess’ camera to figure out what she shoots with because I’m really wanting to get a new camera for the blog soon.  Everyone is saying that this investment is definitely a good one for the blog, in order to get good, attractive shots.



My turn in the field!

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The shoot wouldn’t be any fun without laughter!

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My mom loved this one when I showed it to her.  I’m excited to see how it came out in the shoot!

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And finally, the shoot ended up with us getting to try on a ton of Jess’ cool designs.  This one is one of my favorites because it’s super duper bridal!

It was such a fun day, and I can’t wait to show you guys the photos from the shoot, and introduce you to our photog and stylist, both incredibly talented ladies!

I hope your Saturday was as busy and awesome as mine was.

What is your feeling on a nicer camera?  Worth the investment to grow your blog? 

Clark Howard, I’ll let you do your job, let me do mine.

During yesterday’s snow day debacle, where I literally spent the entire day inside, blogging, doing laundry, and cleaning.  I did not do any running, and for that, I feel extremely guilty.  [addendum to this post] I finally couldn’t take it anymore, and Austin and I put on our winter finest, and shuffle-ran to to local coffee joint, grabbed a cup, and shuffle-ran back.  My feet are very cold!

But anyhoo, when I was working on the blog and doing my usual scan of Facebook/Twtiter/Bloglovin, I came across this gem by Clark Howard.  Clark Howard, if you’re not familiar, is the resident financial guru on HLN, and he offers tips and tricks to “Save More, Spend Less, and Avoid Rip-Offs,” which I’m all game for.

imgres – Clark Howard

Seriously, as I moved toward getting married and merging finances with another human, I’m working to get better with my finances, as Austin is seriously amazing with money, and I’ve learned a lot from him. So I try not to spend money on stupidity, but I was blown away when I came across this article, that was credited to things Clark Howard had said.

The main premise of the article? 

Cheapo sneakers are actually better for runners.

No, no, no-no, no no no no no.  Absolutely not.  The article credits a Scottish study that somehow concluded that less-expensive shoes are just as good as low cost one.

Full disclosure here.  I work for Fleet Feet, and I am biased, however, having run in both $25 shoes and $150 shoes, there is really no comparison.  You pay more, your feet feel better.

I consider myself something of specialist when it comes to running shoes (since it’s my job) and I’ve said it once, and I will absolutely say it again.  Go to a specialty shoe store, like a Fleet Feet or a Pacers, get a fitting, and pay the full price for your running shoes.  If you’re running, there’s no reason you should be pounding around on shoes you found in a Payless.

And now, I present to you a list of stuff you don’t need to be skimping on!

  1. Your bras.  Sports bras or not, you don’t want to be turning into a floppy mess by the time you’re 25.  Spend the money on something good and supportive, and you won’t regret it.
  2. Your jeans.  I’ve purchased jeans from Target, and they smell like mothballs.  I’ve purchased designer jeans from a consignment store.  Designer digs > Target jeans.
  3. Your vacuum.  If you buy it cheap and your ish is gonna break in 6 months anyways, spend the extra bucks and enjoy your vacuum for years to come.  I have an Oreck XL that’s like a million years old.  I don’t remember how much it cost when it was first purchased, but it’s still going strong.
  4. Your food.  Now let me clear, you can certainly afford healthy foods on the cheap.  Heads of lettuce, fruits, and juices can be purchased for cheap.  But don’t run out to some bargain place and sweep the bottom shelves for Ramen.  You’re doing your body no favors.
  5. Obviously, your running shoes.  Unless you like bunions and bone spurs.  But that’s completely up to you.

So what are you willing to spend your hard-earned money on?  

Snow day!

I think I was gonna post on something else today, but Raleigh, NC shut down today.  Thankfully, yesterday was slated as an off day from marathon training, so I wasn’t really worried about how I was gonna get my run in – that said I am not sure how or where I’m gonna get today’s 8 in because everything is shut down.

I woke up yesterday morning, and it was just straight-up cold.  But the school system closed school for the day, so it had to be serious, right?

I drove into work anyway, and worked for a short time before it occurred to me that I didn’t want to be stuck, so I headed home, and immediately set about to taking a nap.  When I fell asleep it was cold and dry.  And when I woke up, I saw this.

photo 1I’m not sure how over 3 inches of snow accumulated in the amount of time it took for me to doze off, but it did.

photo 2I stumbled out of my sleep, not realizing how much it snowed, and if you peek in the bottom of that picture, you can see that I wore my nude flats, because I honestly didn’t realize how much it had snowed.  Poor Coco didn’t really know what to make of the snow, and during her bathroom break, she actually ran underneath the building so she could find a dry spot to “powder her nose”.

At any rate, the snow day was nice because I actually had time during the day to write and to work on my blog, which, is quickly rocketing to my Top 5 of things I like to do with my time.  Can I just go full-time with the blog yet?  And it was all fun and games until Austin called and told me he was stuck, and that Raleigh had turned into a version of Atlanta 2.0.

1780853_10101721454588119_2019573208_nThis, my friends, is how the South does winter.  Let me tell you what, the South does many things correctly.  Biscuits, musicians, and summer nights.  All very well done by the South.  But winter, winter is not our strong suit.  This is literally a few blocks over form my house, and yes, in case you were wondering, that is a car on fire down the hill.  Talk about a bad day, right?

So I went into stress mode, thinking about Austin stuck.  I thought about hopping into my Lancer and saving him, like a knight(ess) in shining armor, but that quickly was pushed aside, and I kind of just wrung my hands until he was home safe.

P1160164As night fell, a really nice ice crust formed over the ice…

P1160166And my fur-baby was having absolutely none of it.  (How cute are her little footprints, PS)?

How is the weather where you are?  How do I navigate my run tomorrow? 

Can I shop in peace?

I taught a class yesterday morning, like I always do on Saturday mornings, and then headed into Fleet Feet Raleigh to moonlight for the weekend (which I love doing btws).

I ran after class, so I was smelling extra ripe, so I decided to jump in the shower after class to spare my coworkers the pain and suffering of having to smell me for 5 or 6 hours.

This is all to say, I wasn’t looking particularly fine on Saturday afternoon.

Midway through the afternoon, I headed to the mecca for health-conscious 20-somethings, moms with tattoos, and people who smell like patchouli.



And I was ordering my pizza sandwich, the sandwich that I eat when I’m feeling like pizza but when I know I don’t need it, when this short sorta frumpy guy sidled up to me.

“Just cause you pretty doesn’t mean you can hold up the line.”

[Polite laughter]

“So what do you order?”

I told him with a polite smile glued to my face.

“So what are you, some type of vegan or something?”

And then his creepy friend rolled up and smiled in a creepy fashion.

“Are you a student athlete?” [He looked my body up and down.]

And the conversation went like this, me politely laughing and trying to ignore Dumb and Dumber whilst they looked my body up and down, a body that, I might add, was barely showered and not looking its best.

I can not express to you how painful it was to get looked up and down while I just tried to order my sandwich.  Seriously.  Can anyone else empathize with me? Can I shop in peace?

The scam in Acuvue Contact lenses…

This is about to be a hard-hitting piece on what I feel is a grave injustice!

Okay, it’s not that serious, but it really annoyed me, and you guys tell me if you’ve had this experience.

So I’m blind as a bat.  I started wearing glasses in like 4th grade, and my vision has steadily gotten worse, even more so now that I spend the second half of my day glued to my laptop.

My only option at this point is contacts – I work out way too much for glasses, and I think I look pretty stupid in glasses.

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So the way it all works, is that when you order 6 months to 1 year in contacts, they tout this rebate as like, the biggest draw EVER to ordering the contacts in bulk.  Since I wear dailies, that meant that I had to order a truckload of contacts to get a $35 rebate.

So I apply for the rebate, and I’m notified that it’s going to take 10 weeks to get the rebate.  Okay, fine, whatever.  At least this time I didn’t forget about the rebate, like they were hoping I did.  I got that thing in the mail over the weekend and my “rebate” is a prepaid Citi card with $35 on it that I have to activate, and it expires in a year.  I also have to spend all $35 in one place because they charge you per transaction.  That rebate sucks.  I’m buying my contacts through Walgreens’ website next time.

photo 1


Moving right along…SNOW!  Actually, it was fake snow.  Here in North Carolina, we never get good snow, so on my way to the gym last night, the snow was looking pretty serious, but it was for naught.  By the time I was done with the gym around 9pm, the snow seemed to have eased up, and was replaced by a bone-chilling wind and cold.  Ugh, North Carolina, can’t we get just one good snow before the spring?  Please?!

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Once I got to the gym, I ran an easy 2 miles, and then hit the studio to take instead of teach a class with the amazing Loretta Bates.  I look like a beluga whale next to her, but she is teeny, not only around, but she’s a good half-a-foot shorter than I am.  Her class was a blast!  It’s so nice to take a class instead of teach one once in a while.

So how are you guys doing today?  Enjoying a snow day?