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Paris is never a bad idea!

May 14, 2012

These pictures are long overdue.  I hope to follow up with a full blog post of all we did, including some of the great restaurants and stores we checked out.  For now, enjoy these pictures!

 

I work out.

November 13, 2011

Back in June, when James and I were still living in San Diego, my friend Kim and I decided we would pick a fun destination and meet there to do another half marathon.  We ran all the time in San Diego together and she was the reason I started running in the first place. Rock and Roll Savannah. November 5, 2011. Date Set.

Well fast forward five months, and James and I were just getting settled into our home in Virginia. Training for this run was the last thing on my mind.  I pulled every excuse not to run.  Too hot, raining, too cold, I don’t know where to run, other things to do. Excuses. Not cool.

Well,  I was still looking forward to this fun weekend with my friend from San Diego and another friend from Atlanta, Catherine.

Kim and I met at the airport Friday night and picked right back up where we left off.  I love those kinds of friends where no matter how long it’s been, you go right back to where you left off.   My parents picked us up and we spent the night in Atlanta.  We met Catherine bright and early Friday morning and headed down to Savannah.

Our first stop was picking up our race numbers before heading to River Street for lunch at The Shrimp Factory and Kim’s first taste of okra.

It was an early morning, so we went back to the hotel to rest and clean up. Later, we found a great italian restaurant to carb load, Bella’s.

The breadsticks were amazing.  We went to bed early so we could get enough rest for this run the next day.

Saturday came quick and after a long bus ride to the start, a quick stop at the port-o-potties, and dropping our gear, we finally started our run 40 minutes after the start time and ten corrals back.


Disclaimer:  Yes, that is Kim in a Georgia sweatshirt.  It was purchased purely because it was inexpensive and she needed something to toss after she warmed up.  

It was a great run and I couldn’t have run it without Kim. I surprised myself and ran all but roughly one mile. (We walked twice for about five minutes.)  Nontheless, I fully expected to only run about six miles of this thing.

After the run was over, we walked; no I limped to the car where Catherine picked us up.  We showered and headed into town to lunch.   A friend recommended Soho South City and I’m glad we listened.

This place was amazing good and had a great atmosphere. Warm soup and tuna were exactly what I needed.

We spent the next few hours walking around and checking out the cute shops around town. And of course, trying on fun hats!

We then stopped in at Rocks on the River at the Bohemian Hotel for drinks on the roof.

It was beautiful to watch the sunset.  Also very cool to see so many groups of women who had completed the marathon.

I hope this is something I can continue to do as I get older and am thankful I can do these sort of things now.

I have some friends who moved to Savannah within the past year, so we stopped by their place to see them, their beautiful home and adorable little guy, Luke (who just turned one)!  It was great to see old friends and catch up. They also did the 1/2 marathon!  Congrats Kelly, Mark and Abbey!

From there, we had reservations and a local hit spot called Local 11 Ten. The food was great, I loved the atmosphere and the service was wonderful.  And bonus, Kim got to try shrimp and grits!  We had such a great time at dinner, just the girls. I loved it!

Before leaving the next morning, we had to have breakfast at where else but Waffle House!  Scattered Smothered and Covered, Kim has officially been welcomed to the south y’all.

Kim’s flight was a few hours before mine, so after dropping her off at the airport, Catherine took me to see the house they are hoping to close on soon.  Then we walked around my old stomping grounds in Virginia Highlands and grabbed some lunch at Neighbors.

I have so many wonderful memories of this area and it felt great to be back to visit.

It wasn’t long before I was on a flight right back home.

The weekend was great.  I accomplished something I wasn’t physically prepared to do.  It taught me that it’s all mental and you can do anything you put your mind to.   But really, this weekend was just good for my soul, to have such a great time laughing  with two wonderful girlfriends. Running or not, I planning more fun weekends with great friends!

Now that I’m back home, I must admit, I have the itch back.  At least until I have to actually go out and train this time!

The Road Leading Home

October 31, 2011

Wow!  I don’t even know where to begin.  Our country is amazingly beautiful and deserves to be seen. I mean really looked at, enjoyed, hiked, and just taken in.  At some point, everyone should drive across the country.

We left San Diego taking roads we always take and it didn’t quite sink in that this was really goodbye. We left on a Friday afternoon and got caught up in the typical Friday night Vegas traffic.

Poor planning on our part, but oh well, we were beginning this wonderful adventure!  We stopped the first night near Hoover Dam and got up bright and early the next morning to take the Dam tour.

It was incredible and fascinating to learn how this massive structure was built and how it affects farming, communities, and energy.

From man-made accomplishments  to natures’ masterpiece, we left for Zion National Park Saturday morning.

Pictures don’t do any of the parks justice and Zion is no exception. The views were breathtaking and the word that comes to mind to describe this place is majestic. It is truly and absolutely MAJESTIC.

We set out on the Hidden Valley trail and learned that if we continued on past the end of the trail, there would be an arch.  Well we walked, and we climbed and we scrambled over big rocks.

It felt like natures obstacle course. We finally got to the end; I don’t think we could have gone any further and still we saw no arch. We even ran into others looking for the arch, but I think we all missed something so we turned around  to head back.  Oh well. We had big time fun back in the canyon!

The next morning, we left for Bryce Canyon National Park.

We’ve heard mixed reviews about this park and considered taking a detour to check out Monument Valley.

I must say, I’m so glad we came here. It was breathtaking. I mean I couldn’t believe this place, every view had something different to offer.

We did the Queens Garden Trail combined with the Navajo Trail and the Peekaboo Trail.   The first two were incredibly impressive, awe-inspiring!  Peekaboo was more like surprise, here’s another hill to climb and completely kicked my booty! I was worn out and we still had a final climb ahead of us.

I will say, the trail leading to the top was like something out of a story book. Of course, why would you expect anything less.   We proceeded straight to the lodge’s diner for a much-needed dinner!

Monday, morning, we are up and running.  Okay, so not exactly…we forgot to set the alarm and woke up later than we thought. Not to worry, the FREE pancake breakfast offered to us by our hotel was willing to make it to go!  It was like music to our ears.  Okay, so pancakes and coffee on the road and we are on the road again.

We took a bit of a detour and drove through Capital Reef National Park.  The entire drive was incredible, breathtaking, beautiful… The list goes on and I’m running out of descriptive words to express the pure amazement I found while turning each bend.

You have to drive this part of the country, no excuses.  Once we arrived in Arches, we grabbed some lunch and hit the trails once more.

We were a little worn out from the previous days hiking and thought we’d take it easy.

Four different trails and five miles later, we had seen numerous arches, including the infamous Delicate Arch. (From the overlook trail, though we must go back and hike the actual trail to the arch.)

From there, we went straight to town to grab so grub and found the perfect place for dinner, The Peace Tree.

All I could think while hiking was that we, as human race are so minor compared to these monuments of nature. How dare we take this for granted, we must truly appreciated this land and what it provides for us, for we are only here for a short period of time.  Wow, God surely can dream a bigger dream for is than we can dream for ourselves!    Our country is amazing!

When I woke up Tuesday morning, it took me a moment to remember where we were and what day it was. I’m enjoying this road trip 100%, but it will be nice to get where we are going. We grabbed breakfast at an eclectic little Cafe, aptly named Eclecticafe, in downtown Moab.

Then back on the road. Again.  After passing into Colorado, we began to see more and more trees covering the rocky mountains.

The Colorado river running by our side and the air rich with fresh pine. My heart was happy.

We stopped for lunch in Vail and wish we had more time to take a ride down the mountain on a bike.

I’ve never seen Vail, or any other ski town during summer and never thought I would make a trip to do so. After seeing how absolutely beautiful and serene the town is, I know we will be coming back for some summer fun in the mountains.

Along the drive to Rocky Mountain National Park and in between the small mining towns, homes were nestled into the mountains.  The mountains grew bigger and we could see snow capping several of the tall peaks.

Once we checked into our hotel and dropped our bags (and Lola), we hit the trails.

From the Bear Lake Trailhead, we hiked up to Alberta Falls and then around Bear Lake.

The waterfall was beautiful and the trail leading up to it reminded me of home.

It felt good to be back on this kind of trail.  I could feel it in my heart and it was so very happy.

I can’t wait to get back!  Later that night, we had a great dinner at Lake Mary’s Lodge, out on the patio overlooking the mountains and listening to a guitar player strumming Rocky Mountain High. It was pretty perfect. The lodge was cool too and next time we come back, this is where we hope to stay.

The next morning, we slept in. We booked and extra day in RMNP and we needed it!  We had breakfast at The Stanley Hotel and took our time.

We picked up some ready-made sandwiches and packed our bags before hitting the Twin Sister Trailhead.  This 8 mile hike was listed as strenuous but has wonderful overlooks including the Continental Divide and views of the entire park.  No problem, right? I don’t know if it was the altitude or my legs being worn out from hiking five days in a row, bit this gradual climb kicked my booty! Big time!

I was dragging and ready to turn around at mile 2, but call it determined or stubborn, I was getting to the top of this mountain.

Finally, we made it to the boulder fields and I could see the top, an end in sight. It was beautiful and the views were great, the Mosquitos, not so much.

We took a few pictures and had to head back down the mountain, eating lunch as we went. The way down was so much easier and we practically ran down the mountain. As we got closer to the end, we started to hear the sky rumble with afternoon thunderstorms. The wind picked up and the claps of thunder became more frequent and by the end, we were actually running to our car. We did make it and a lake at the bottom of the hill looked beautiful with the storm brewing.

The rain held out for us and we made it back to the hotel just in time to clean up and relax a little before heading back out for dinner. We found a great local spot called The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern that was just what we were looking for.

A beer at the bar while we waited for a table and listened to some music before enjoying a relaxing dinner. It was a great day and we crashed hard when we got back!

The next morning we got to check out another cool town…Boulder-for breakfast.

The Cup was just the type of place we were looking for in this awesome town.  It reminds me a bit of the town we are moving to and only makes me that much more excited to get there.

How fun is this downtown mall!?

Time to get serious.  It’s just the two of us in the car for 1600 more miles.  Boulder to Charlottesville.  Nothing but cornfields, silos and farmland.  And it’s beautiful!

For our last dinner on the road, we stopped off in Lexington, Kentucky.  Nothing like girls in sundresses and guys in khaki’s and croakies to know you’re back in the South!

We spent the night in Huntington, West Virginia, leaving about 5-6 hours of driving time for our final day.  Boy, I won’t miss riding in the car!

Soon enough, we were in Virginia! Finally!

As soon as we made it to our new house, we popped open a bottle of Champagne to celebrate!

A new journey awaits and we are thrilled to begin this new chapter!


A quick lunch at a nearby spot overlooking Jefferson Vineyards!

This has been an absolute amazing trip.  We’re so thankful we’ve been able to experience our country this way and to really get to SEE it, hike it and breath it. 

It’s good to be home!

A Bittersweet Goodbye

June 24, 2011

San Diego has been an amazing experience. One that we will never forget and will always hold very close to our hearts. It’s where we spent the first two years of our married life together.

Our first home together.

We’ve taken amazing trips up the California coast line.

And shared time with our families who live out here!

Gone on wonderful hikes in the desert or along the coast.

Walks on the beach after work.

Frisbee in the park overlooking the city and the bay.

Bike rides up to La Jolla for some snorkeling in the Cove.

We even got surfboards and learned…well, kinda learned how to surf!

It’s been a sort of a dream land, a permanent vacation.

I’ve made incredible friends who have encouraged me to do amazing things.

I competed in my first triathlon.

My first, second, and third half-marathons.

And walked 60 miles in the Susan G Komen Three Day for the Cure.

I’ve challenged myself and accomplished things I’m proud of.  Things I would have never thought I could do, but because of a great friend, I’ve learned to push myself.

I had a great job. It’s one of those jobs that you don’t find easily and when you do, you don’t typically walk away from it. The kind where they respect you, value your opinions and appreciate your hard work.

Yes, they tell me “Thank You” for just doing my job and it makes me want to work even harder for them and I did.  I’ve learned to not be so hard on myself and realize that I actually am good at what I do.  I’ve enjoyed working for them and they told me often how much they will miss me when I’m gone.  I will surely miss them.

I’ve learned about a part of the country that I knew nothing about and in that I’ve learned more about who I am as a person.

I’ve learned I do like rain and clouds and stormy-stay inside with a good book-kind of days. I love hot summer nights and trees all around me. I’m proud to say y’all and call Georgia home. But I’ve also enjoyed swimming in the ocean and running along the boardwalk with occasional dolphins jumping in the air.

I love taco Tuesday and California Mexican food.

I love taking The 5 north and going places.

I love the can-do attitude that seems to envelop all minds when you live here.  California has taught me to take risks and that if I want something and put my mind to it, I can accomplish it.  And THAT is powerful.

I will most definitely miss San Diego.

It will forever hold a place in my heart.  It has changed me in a good way, made me a stronger person and opened my eyes to another way of life.  I will take these things with me and be a better friend, wife and hopefully mother one day.

As we settle into our new lives and new home and as I’m painting the walls and decorating the rooms, our life in San Diego will resonate in my heart and I will surely shed a tear at what we left behind, but I will smile so big at the wonderful adventure we were lucky enough to have and at our new life ahead of us.

It is surely a bittersweet goodbye!

If You’re Going to San Francisco

June 22, 2011

The past few times we flew into San Francisco, we were just passing through to go to Sonoma or Napa Valley.  This time, we were here to stay and enjoy the weekend in “the city by bay, the city that rocks, the city that never sleeps” and it definitely rocked.  Plans were made to come take part in the famous Bay to Breakers run.  A family friend mentioned this event to me and I immediately signed up, not completely aware of what I was getting myself into.  It meant a weekend in San Francisco, and that’s all I cared about.

We arrived in town early Friday afternoon and went straight to the most famous street in town, Lombard Street.

Right around the corner and WAY down the hill was a wonderful wide open park, right on the water, overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. We would be there ALL the time if we lived there.

Loving to run around and get in a little exercise before going to dinner, we created our own activities.


This counts, right?

Anyway, around the corner from this park, Stacy, one of my co-workers daughters, lives in a great apartment.  We walked over to her place for a glass of wine before heading out for dinner.  As we walked to Pane e Vino, she pointed out all the hip spots to shop, eat or just hang out with friends.  James and I wondered what it would be like to be young, out on the town and in our 20’s, living in this oh-so-hip part of town.  Stacy is one lucky lady and just a great host!  Dinner was delicious, the company was perfect and shoot, we were in San Francisco!  Life doesn’t get any better!

Thanks Stacy!  We had a great time with you!

The next day we got up and went straight to Sausalito to find a place for breakfast.

DiVino was a hidden gem off the main street, but well worth the detour.  We sat right up at the bar and ordered a traditional Italian breakfast alongside a big ole cup of coffee.  So cozy!

We walked around a bit and checked out Sausalito.

Quite a charming little town with all the benefits of a big city, but with more space and an amazing view!

We took a short drive over to Muir Woods National Monument to get a little exercise and check out the humongous Redwood Trees!  They were beautiful!

After finishing this beautiful hike, we drove back over to San Francisco to check out the famous ChinaTown!  It was incredible!  We really felt as thought we were in another world.

Later that night, we had dinner at a restaurant called Serpentine.  We were worried about finding parking downtown with it being one of the busiest weekends in San Francisco, thanks to Bay to Breakers.  Luckily, this restaurant was out of the hustle and bustle and parking was no problem.

Inside felt like an old warehouse.  The food was fantastic.   Overall, we loved it and would definitely come back!

Finally Sunday morning was here, it was the reason this trip was planned and we couldn’t miss it now.  San Francisco has so many wonderful things to see and do and part of us wanted to take in more of the city and skip the run.  But we will definitely be back for more exploring and after all, I had already paid for this event, I was determined to attend.

Bay to Breakers is known for extreme costumes and drinking and I can definitely see why.  By no means was this a 7 mile run or walk, this was officially a 7 mile party.

By far, the most laid back event I have ever experienced, we stopped for breakfast along the route and checked out all the creative costumes.

Well, and then some people had no costumes at all.  And I don’t mean they wore regular clothes, I mean they didn’t have on ANY clothes.  Yes, we saw plenty of that!

It was a great experience, I’m glad we ended up doing the run attending the party.  We got to see more of the city and we definitely experienced the spirit of the people living there.  We were thrilled to finally see the water and know we were finished!

We had a great time in San Francisco.  I felt like we really packed a lot into our short visit and while it was wonderful, it was not nearly enough time to take it all in.  We’ll be back!

Fast Cars and Family

June 18, 2011

Another weekend taking the 5 North, we left early Friday afternoon to spend time with friends and family up the coast.  My cousins had been vacationing in Huntington Beach for a week to celebrate their parents 40th wedding anniversary!  I haven’t seen any of them in such a long time and it was so wonderful to pop in for the day!  We enjoyed sitting on the back porch catching up and looking through a wonderful photo album that Lauren put together of Karen and Jim’s wedding from 40 years ago!

Soon after, we gathered numerous beach toys, a beautiful butterfly kite and walked to the beach. Kate and Connor enjoyed standing as close to the water as possible and then running away with all their might when the waves came near. This is, of course, the universal kid beach game!

It was great sitting on the beach talking to Robin and Mike about their upcoming move to Laguna and all the wonderful exciting things they will get to experience once they move here from Chicago!

We eventually walked back to the house and changed before heading out to dinner at an Italian Restaurant in downtown Huntington Beach!


Jim and Lauren


Connor, Robin, Mike and Kate-  These guys have now moved to Laguna Nigel!


Karen and me

James and I enjoyed spending time with the Quinn family, et al.  What a great opportunity to get together!  We are thrilled for Robin, Mike and the kids who are now in California.  Since this visit, we have had a few more opportunities to get together with them and have just really enjoyed it.

That night, we spent the night at our friends who live in Long Beach.  Whenever we are here, I love relaxing on their back patio.  It’s the quintessential California backyard.

Not much sitting around though.  We soon hopped on those fancy bikes and rode to downtown Long Beach for some street racing!

Because what else would you do when they shut down the roads for the Grand Prix!

Taking a break from the races, we settled into a table with some friends at Yardhouse.

Our bodies were exhausted from the long day in the sun, fun times spent meeting new people and the many miles on a bike getting around.  It was the kind of tired you felt when you were a kid, when you just run around and play; you don’t even realize how completely worn out you are until you sit down and just konk out.  (And I did just that when we got back to their friends house.)

Once back at Rudy and Kindell’s we dropped off the bikes, sat on the porch to rest our legs and then headed out to an incredible dinner at a sushi restaurant called I Luv Sushi.

Delicious.


I can’t get enough of that backyard!  The inside of their home is pretty amazing too.

Overall, we had a fun, exciting weekend learning a little more about what this California life is all about.  Surrounded by family and friends, I gotta admit, life is pretty sweet.

Wine and Jazz

May 25, 2011

One thing I adore about living in San Diego, is the variety of things we’re able to do living here.  Hiking, skiing, wine tasting, beach going!  The opportunities, it seems, are endless.  And so on a normal Saturday, no special occasion and just because we can, some girlfriends and I went up to Temecula to go wine tasting.

Standing at the counter, in between trying this red or that white, we talked about traveling, friends and places we will one day visit.   The views were beautiful; it was the perfect day to be up in the mountains enjoying the scenery and spending quality time with friends.


Meet Kim and Kim!

Our second stop, Monte de Oro, had just the tasting room to take in the beautiful views of Temecula.  The weather outside was clear and crisp with just the right amount of chill in the air.

For our last winery we went over to Leonesse Cellars, where Kim is a member.  It’s like something out of a picture book with perfectly manicured lawns and gardens, patio’s overlooking the vines and tall mountains in the background.

As we walked through the fields to get to the member tasting room, we came upon this perfectly placed table.  Of course, we had to stop and take in the views!

Enough with that and onto more tasting, we made our way to an enormous cellar with barrels lining the wall.


Kim loved this wine and tried to take it home with her!


I love this picture.  It’s representative of our day–full of laughter and a little blurry.


All in all, it was a great day.  Much needed time with friends, just enjoying the day with MANY glasses of wine and being thankful of where we live.  

Back at home, I took a quick nap before James’ cousin Kait Dunton dropped by.  We were lucky enough to have her spend the evening with us and went out to enjoy some Sushi for dinner.  The next day, Kait performed at Dizzy’s for the 2nd Annual Women in Jazz Concert.  It was too cool and she did PHENOMENAL!


It was a lovely weekend spent close to home, just enjoying what’s around us.

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