Thursday, May 29, 2008

Summer Swap!!!

I'm so excited! I got my Summer Swap package from the lovely Angela over at The Bona Fide Preppy Bride. I loved it! The purpose of the Summer Swap is to send a blogging world partner a package with summery items representing each letter of the word summer (in case you didn't know).

I was busy packing last night and watching the LOST finale (finally, a year later we find out who was in that coffin! But I have so many questions... How did Locke get off the island? How did he die? Why did he go by a fake name... though I assume it was so no one would know he was from the flight. Why do the feel like they have to go back?!!)... so I didn't have time to really get a lot of good pictures of each item, but I hope these will show everything off well.



Here are all the gifts with their letter lables. How cute!


One of my favorites is M for Margaritas! She sent these cute wine bottle markers, margarita salt and a margarita rimmer set. I actually don't have a rimmer or salt, so this was perfect! And the wine bottle markers will be adorable on the blue bottles of Relax I like to keep around.

Tucker of course had to see what all the fuss was about and spent some time sniffing around all of the presents! He also liked playing with the ribbons that had been on the items.

S is for Something to keep coins and stuff in at the pool. (Notice the brightly colored coin pouch near Tucker's tail - it's adorable and will be put to good use!)

U is for Use these pads to write down summer plans. She sent two cute memo pads! I love such things.

M is for Margaritas! (See above)

M is for Matthews, Dave Matthews. We discovered we're both DMB fans, and she sent this blue DMB bag. I'll definitely use it to carry magazines to the pool!

E is for Exercise. She sent this awesome water bottle that I'll definitely use at the gym! I realized that it's odd that I didn't already have something like this, so it was a perfect gift.

R is for Rubber Duckie! (See below)

Another favorite was R is for Rubber Duckie! She found this cute basket of bath items including a rubber duck! (My bathroom is done in rubber ducks. Mature, I know. But it's so bright and cheerful!) The thing that kind of made me laugh about this gift is that a friend of mine had given me a boy bunny duck a while back, so now I have a girl bunny duck to go with it!

Angela was super sweet and even sent a little summery something for Tucker! It's hard to get pictures of him playing with things (he's so fast), but here's one of him while he tossed around his new red anchor catnip toy! I realize it's on the floor, but he had just been throwing it up in the air and chasing it.

Girl, thank you SO SO much for all of the items. I seriously loved it all, and this package was a nice little summer kick-off for me!

My package should be making its way to her, so I hope she likes everything! It was really fun going to pick out cute summery items to send!

In other news, I am kicking off my summer travels TODAY. I'll be heading out in a few hours after work with my mom and sister to go to Gatlinburg for the weekend! We'll definitely be hitting up the outlets (fingers crossed I find a summer purse and some new tops, and maybe a dress!). There's also a huge scrapbook store to check out, and I am going to drag them to do a little hiking in the mountains. A Gatlinburg trip wouldn't be complete without having blueberry pancakes, so we'll do that! I also hope to get to use my new camera some while we're there so that I feel sure about how to use it when I go to Boston next weekend!

Have a great weekend, and I'll let you know how vacation 1 goes when I return!

A Funny Anecdote

I know, I know... it's not like me to post more than once a day. You'll catch up.

I remembered something today that cracked me up this past weekend and thought I'd share it. Maybe it's not so funny when you weren't there, but I think it's good to laugh at myself from time to time.

I joined my parents and sister and her boyfriend for dinner this past weekend. I saw that the restaurant had my absolute favorite dessert that evening. (They only have 2 desserts each day, and it changes from day to day.) I told the waiter when I ordered my meal to make sure they don't sell out because I wanted some.

He kind of leaned back and was like, "Wow! You're serious about your desserts. I'll make sure we have some because you might hurt me if we don't!"

Smart man.

Later, we got several pieces of said dessert to share among us (ok, who am I kidding? I didn't share my piece). Sister's boyfriend said he liked it, but that his favorite dessert is the chocolate molten at Chili's.

"Oh my gosh, I know! I can eat a whole one by myself!"

Our waiter happened to be passing by and overheard this little exchange. He burst into laughter, which caused all of us at the table to crack up, too.

I'm serious about my desserts. Serious.

Thursday Thoughts



So I love Jonathan Rhys Meyers (and found this picture on the internet so that I can drool over him a bit). I decided this after watching August Rush the other day. Here are some reasons why:

1. He's hot. And we all know that's a good reason to love someone, ha.

2. He has a real Irish accent, being raised in Ireland and all. That adds to the hot factor.

3. He knows how to sing and play the guitar and keyboards in real life, too.

4. I could listen to the couple of songs he does on August Rush over and over. In fact, I bought the soundtrack yesterday. I never buy soundtracks.

5. He's tall, dark and handsome... and even though it's a bit of a cliché, I tend to go for that.

Maybe if I met him I'd find that there's nothing past a physical attraction, but who knows... maybe he's also incredibly smart, witty and giving to go along with his attractive smile and gorgeous eyes. I'd let the man take me to dinner.

So, now let's get back to reality... tonight is the season finale of my favorite show presently on TV: LOST. Ok, so LOST isn't reality, but it's real that I watch it every week. Love, love, love this show. I'm trying to prepare myself to maybe get a few answers in the 2-hour episode as well as to be left in suspense in some way. I love that the 5th season won't start again for MONTHS. I guess that's how they keep you coming back.

Diving more into real reality, I actually don't have a lot on my mind right now. I'm looking forward to going shopping in Gatlinburg with my mom and sister this weekend. It also kicks off a series of my vacations. I'll soon be off to Boston, and then Florida with the fam, and then maybe DC, and then Memphis for the DMB concert, and then maybe Chicago. I'm still working on the details to see if DC and Chicago will happen. I promise I'm not unbelievably rich and go flying around all the time. I just have friends in a lot of places which = free place to stay. And I have tons of air miles to cash in, making the flights more affordable. And I save money so that I can do stuff like this. I'll probably spend more this summer than I originally intended, but I figure that now is the time in my life to do stuff like this. I could meet the love of my life at any time, and that will change being able to jump up and go places whenever, especially since some of the friends I'll stay with are guys, and boyfriends tend to not like that. :)

I'm going to try to make myself get to a 5:30am spin class tomorrow. With my travels these next two weekends, my running schedule is getting seriously thrown off. I am going to try to stay on top of keeping in shape these next 2 weeks. I did run 8 miles yesterday, which is more than I usually do mid-week. But hey, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right?

Needless to say, check back tomorrow to see if I get my butt out of bed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

My Spot

First of all, one week until I go to Boston!!! I'm super excited.

Second, I was looking over some of the recent Google searches that have brought some of you to this blog. Many of them make sense... "life is a marathon," "running soundtrack," and "RC Cola and Moon Pie 10-Mile Run." (I'm sure Bell Buckle will be glad of the publicity I'm giving their race.)

But I had to laugh over 1 of them today.... "who painted a virgin mary running a marathon."

Wow. No idea about that one... I suppose I've used "virgin," "running," "marathon," and "painted" at some point in my posts.

Anyways, today's post is about findyourspot.com. I had heard about this site where you take a quiz and it tells you where you are well suited to live. Apparently, I'm meant to be a southern gal. I think I could love the big city life of NYC, Chicago, or D.C. But my loathing of bitterly cold weather must have ruled out a lot of that. Here's my list:

Charleston, SC (been there... could be a cool place to live)
Jacksonville, FL
Augusta, GA
Knoxville, TN (also been there... probably too many times to consider moving there)
Chesapeake-Virginia Beach, VA (home of the Rock-N-Roll Half!)
Houston, TX (would never live here)
Orlando, FL (I do love me some Disney World)
Norfolk, VA
West Palm Beach, FL (used to go here as a little girl... don't remember much)
Cincinnati, OH
Memphis, TN (I'd choose to stay in Nashville if I'm staying in TN)
Long Island, NY
Nashville, TN (yay, considering I already live here)
Carlisle, PA (where?)
Charlotte, NC
Hattiesburg, MS
Biloxi, MS (I'm going to say no)
Fort Worth, TX (could be cool... would prefer to try Austin)
Oklahoma City, OK
Little Rock, AR
Jackson, MS
Athens, GA
Tuscaloosa, AL
Gainesville, FL

Well, when I think about moving I don't really think of these places. I think of a big city. But maybe these places would be good later in life when I have a family or something.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Thought for Today

Who on earth was sitting around one day and thought, "I think I'll put hot wax on myself and see if it rips out my hair when I pull it back off with strips of paper..." ???

I'm thinking it was a man.

Except that I'm not sure they can handle the pain.

Anyways, won't be shaving my legs for a few weeks... this may be more than you care to know, but I just thought I'd throw it out there for anyone who is curious: yes, it does hurt. But no, it's not that bad.

Monday, May 26, 2008

3-Day Weekend in Summary

Number of friends I spent time with: 9 (sometimes one-on-one and sometimes in a group)

Miles Ran: 10

Movies Watched: August Rush (awesome... will probably download the soundtrack soon), Enchanted (cute, and I kept laughing to think about my sister making her boyfriend watch it), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (seen it, but wanted to watch it again before I go see Prince Caspian), Batman Begins (saw this one in the theater in Cambridge, England back in 2005... had bought it for dad for Christmas and realized he never watched it so we pulled it out)

Restaurants visited: 7

Art museums visited: 1

Malls visited: 2

Money spent at malls: $27 for a pair of shorts and a pair of capris at The Limited = yes, I'm one heck of a bargain shopper

Days I didn't have to get up at 6:30am: 2 (very awesome)

All in all, it was a very good holiday weekend around here. Now I'm getting pumped about all my trips coming up...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Blog-iversary

I started blogging one year ago today. Wow. Something that I originally intended as a way of keeping some friends up-to-date with my life has become so much more to me. Now I write to not only give updates of my life, but to be part of a bigger blogging community. Thanks to everyone reading and commenting and sharing this journey with me. I hope you'll continue to do so because I know I'm enjoying it.. as well as reading all of YOUR blogs, too!

On another note, I graduated from high school SEVEN years ago today. Crazy. On one hand, it really feels like forever ago. That part of my life is so foreign and almost blurry in some ways. But on the other hand, it's not so long ago and still crystal clear. I'm still really good friends with some of my high school pals. I still meet up with a few others occasionally for dinner and catching up. It's crazy how much my life has changed... how much I've changed... in the past seven years. And it's crazy that our 10 year reunion is getting so close!

I started my Memorial Day weekend off well. Last night I went with a friend to the Frist Center to see the Monet to Dali exhibit and the Tiffany lamp exhibit. Both were really cool, and I had a great time checking out the paintings and lamps. I'm not an art fiend by any means, but I like a lot of the French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism stuff. I also saw some examples of Modernism that took me back to my Senior AP English days... oh, what good memories those are!

After that, we headed over to Sambucca in The Gulch to have dessert and check out a band. I realized after we got there that the band was actually a couple of guys I knew from college and hadn't seen since. That was really fun!

I can definitely appreciate that there is such a variety of fun things to do around Nashville. I managed to see an art exhibit, hear a band and have a delicious dessert at a cool restaurant in like a 3-hour time frame.

Today, I logged a 10-miler and ran a few errands before relaxing a bit and going out with a few friends. I am really excited to have a 3-day weekend. I intend to watch some movies I've been meaining to see, catch up with a few people and do a little shopping at The Limited... I've got a gift card to use!

Have a great weekend! And here's to my next year of blogging!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Past and Upcoming Races

CURRENT PR's

Marathon: 4:11:22
Half Marathon: 1:52:16
10-Mile: 1:23:41
5-Mile: 39:50
4-Mile: 34:46
15K: 1:17:16
10K: 53:03
5K: 23:36

UPCOMING RACES
The Great Pumpkin Run 9.21.14
The Middle Half 10.11.14

PAST RACES AND TIMES
Bruce Gilley Run for Him 8.30.14 - 34:13
Firecracker 5K 7.4.14 - 31:19
Run for Ronald 5K 6.21.14 - 33:27
Indy Mini Half-Marathon 5.3.14 - 2:33:20, but 2:31:33 (course was long) - PR for Adam!
The Graffiti Run 5K 4.27.14 - ran for fun with Connor and didn't time it - his first 5K!
Tiger Dash 5K 3.1.14 - 30:30 at the 5K, but 31:52 (course was long)
Singles Dash 5K 2.15.14 - 33:30 (Adam won an age group award!)
Frosty Trails 5-Miler 1.18.14 - 1:05:20 (more like 5.2 miles)

Jingle Bell 5K 12.15.13 - 32:07
Boro Dash 4-Mile 11.28.13 - 41:04
The Middle Half 10.12.13 - 2:21:31
Mill Race Half Marathon 9.28.13 - 2:39:28 (Adam's 1st half! I won a truck!)

12South Winter Warmup 12.1.12 - 1:10:41
BoroDash 4-Miler 11.22.12 - 37:00
Flying Monkey Marathon 11.18.12 - 4:52:43
Ragnar Relay 11.9-10.12 - 3 legs totaling 18 miles
Color Run 5K 10.21.12 - no chip; ran for fun and got colorful!
The Middle Half 10.13.12 - 2:09:07
Stump Jump 11-Mile Trail Race 10.6.12 - 2:37:46 (first ever trail race)
Titans 5K 8.25.12 - 37:15 (Adam's first 5K!)
Tap N Run 4K 8.11.12 - 42:34 (beer run in costumes for fun!)
Chicago Half Marathon 7.22.12 - 2:15:42 (led Team Not Alone)
RC Cola and Moon Pie 10-Miler 6.16.12 - 1:41:13
Mardi Gras Half Marathon 3.4.12 - 2:31:56
Predators Fangtastic 5K 2.4.11 - 34:20 (ran with friends)

Santa Hustle Half Marathon 12.11.11 - 2:15:52
BoroDash 4-Miler 11.24.11 - 34:46 (PR)
Flying Monkey Marathon 11.20.11 - 4:54:58
Mayor's Challenge 5K 11.13.11 - 26:45
Run for Mercy 5K 10.22.11 - 22:26 (course a bit short so not a PR)
The Middle Half  10.15.11 - 2:10:04
Chicago Marathon 10.9.11- 5:12:52
Shelby Bottoms Boogie 15K 10.1.11 - 1:23:45
Warrior Dask 9.17.11 - I had fun!
RC Cola and Moon Pie 10-Miler 6.18.11- 1:37:59
Ragnar Relay Chicago 6.9-10.11 - 3 legs totaling 19 miles
Run for the Homeless 5K 5.14.11 - 34:10 (ran with a friend for fun)
Country Music Half Marathon 4.30.11 - 2:14:50 (ran as the 2:15 pacer)
Tom King Classic Half Marathon 3.12.11 -1:54:43
Disney World Half Marathon and Full Marathon Goofy Challenge 1.8-9.11 - Half Marathon - 3:13:04; Full Marathon - 5:39:40 (qualified for Marathon Maniacs!)

Huntsville Marathon 12.11.10 - 4:19:08
Boulevard Bolt 11.25.10 - 39:50 (new PR!)
Flying Monkey Marathon 11.21.10 - 4:38:55 (2nd in age group!)
Team Nashville 10-Miler 11.13.10 - 1:23:41 (new PR!)
Ragnar Relay 11.5-6.10 - 3 different legs at varying distances/times
Run for Mercy 5K 10.30.10 - 23:36 (new PR!)
The Middle Half 10.16.10 - 1:52:16 (new PR!)
Shelby Bottoms Boogie 15K 10.2.10 - 1:17:16 (new PR!)
Women's Half Marathon Nashville 9.25.10 - 1:53:57 (new PR!)
Howl at the Moon 5K 8.20.10 - 24:57
San Francisco Marathon 7.25.10 - 4:53:32
RC Cola & Moon Pie 10-Mile Run 6.19.10 - 1:38:54
Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K 5.8.10 - 2:36:57
Country Music Half Marathon 4.24.10 - 2:14:52 (ran as 2:15 pace team leader)
Purity Moosic City 10K 4.10.10 - 53:03 (new PR!)
Oak Barrel Half Marathon 4.3.10 - 2:06:12 (toughest course I've run! rain!)
Tom King Half Marathon 3.13.10 - 2:08:20
Frostbite Half Marathon 2.13.10 - 2:02:23

Huntsville Marathon 12.12.09 - 4:25:37 (course PR)
Boulevard Bolt 5-Miler 11.26.09 -41:11 (new PR)
Team Nashville 10-Miler 11.14.09 - 1:25:03 (PR by 3:35 and 2nd in age group)
Chicago Marathon 10.11.09 - 4:11:22 (a PR by 20:01!)
The Middle Half 10.3.09 - 2:14:25 (last LSD for Chicago)
Shelby Bottoms 15K 9.26.09 - 1:19:58
Franklin Classic 10K 9.7.09 - 54:07
Howl at the Moon 5K 8.14.09 - 24:40 (1st in age group!)
Nashville Striders 5K 7.25.09 - 27:18
Self-Transcendence 10-Mile Run 7.4.09 - 1:36:36 (on vacation in London)
RC Cola & Moon Pie 10-Mile Run 6.20.09 - 1:41:24

Memphis Half 12.6.08 - 3:20:59 (walked it with a cracked femural neck)
Boulevard Bolt 5-Miler 11.27.08 - 45:11 (ran it with a cracked femural neck)
Battlefield Marathon 11.8.08 - 5:07:56 (used as a training run for Memphis Marathon)
The Middle Half 10.11.08 - 1:58:57 (a new PR for this course!)
Howl at the Moon 5K 8.15.08 - 25:54 (1st in age group!)
RC Cola & Moon Pie 10-Miler 6/21/08 - 1:37:29
Country Music Half 4.28.08 - 2:02:28
Tom King Half 3.15.08 - 1:56:09

Rocket City Marathon 12.8.07 - 4:31:23
Boulevard Bolt 5-Miler 11.22.07 - 42:05
The Middle Half 9.22.07 - 2:02:04
RC Cola & Moon Pie 10-Miler 6.16.07 - 1:28:38
Country Music Marathon 4.28.07 - 4:56:17
Tom King Half 3.17.07 - 2:04:00

Team Nashville Half 11.4.06 - 2:11:34
Firecracker 5K 7.4.06 - 27:19
RC Cola & Moon Pie 10-Miler 6.17.06 - 1:43:17

Country Music Marathon 4.30.05 - 5:12:43

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Sadness

Image from stevencurtischapman.com




I'm not big into the contemporary Christian music scene these days. Now don't get me wrong... I don't have any problems with Christian music. It's just not what I regularly listen to right now. But when I was younger I listened to a lot of Steven Curtis Chapman. I've still got a lot of his cds, and I break them out from time to time. The man is incredibly talented and not only writes some amazing music about God, but he also writes love songs for his wife or songs for his daughters and other cool stuff like that.

His brother-in-law was actually my art teacher back in my middle school days, and he later came to my high school to teach art and coach the swim team. I always thought it was kind of cool to know someone related to a well-known musician. My little sister got the cooler connection because she was in a class with the brother-in-law's son, and SCC came to their class one day and sang and hung out with them. She still has the autographed picture that proved it (because my parents didn't believe her at first when she told them the "guy from the cd in the car" was there).

SCC lives in Nashville, and yesterday his little 5-year-old adopted daughter died after a terrible accident in their own driveway. You can read more about it here. The whole thing is so sad, and even though I don't actually know these people it feels close to home... I still see the brother-in-law and his family eating out around town all the time. This was their little neice. I still remember listening to SCC when I was younger and singing along and going to one of his concerts with my church youth group.

One of the things I like about living here in Nashville is that everyone really is a neighbor. I'm sure this can be said of other places, but I only know of the nature of the people around here. The local Christian radio stations are playing music and talking about what happened and letting people call in to share thoughts with the family. It's obvious that a lot of people around here want to share some love with the family. I think it's because whether we've been through something like this or not, we know it's a terrible thing to have to go through.

It reminds me of what all I believe as a Christian... bad things happen to good people. It doesn't matter how "good" we are in this life... we still live in a world that isn't quite perfect and will have to face both mountains and valleys because of it. But I believe in a God who can use EVERYTHING for good. I know this is a terrible tragedy for a fellow Nashvillian family, but I also know that a lot of good can come out of it whether it's reminding us to simply not forget to love on our loved ones or if it's that people learn more about adoption (because the little girl was adopted from China).

I certainly offer my love and prayers to the Chapman family today.

Pictures from my Birthday!











Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Headlines of Note

I don't really keep up with the news, but I do glance over a homepage with headlines each day to see if anything catches my eye that I might want to read more about.

Today, I saw that American Airlines will soon begin charging people an additional $15 per checked bag. Now I never fly AA, but unless their prices + the checked bag fee were ridiculously lower than everyone else's I certainly won't start now. They say it's to help out with the rising fuel costs. That's all fine and dandy, but I'm thinking this isn't really going to increase their business. People don't like forking over extra cash, especially for something they previously didn't have to pay for. I'm no marketing expert, but I think they would have been better of just raising their airfare a bit and getting the extra cash there. It's one of those mind over matter things... either way, if the trip is going to cost you more than it will with another carrier whether you pay up front or at the gate for your bag, I have a feeling they'll be losing some business.

And don't think that the solution is to just carry your bag on. Not only is this not practical if you're going anywhere for more than a couple of days, you also can't take any liquids without going through a 9-step process to contain them.

I'm starting to wonder if you'd be better off flying somewhere, using hotel toiletries, grabbing some extra clothes at Good Will, and then donating them back before you head home.

The other interesting headline was about a parrot in Tokyo who got lost after flying out of his cage. He was able to share his full name and street address so the people who found him were able to get him back to his owner. My favorite part? "He even entertained vetrinary hospital staff with a few cheerful songs while waiting for his owner to arrive."

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Coming Soon to a Google Reader Near You...

I hope you're getting excited... because I have collected all of the pictures from my birthday celebration(s) and will be posting a selection of them soon so that you can feel like you were part of the party!

In the meantime, please forgive the slowdown and lack of much substance in my postings. I'm still a little worn out from living a rockstar life the past few weeks. I'm pretty sure I'm looking forward to a 3-day weekend. I intend to use at least one day to relax... a pedicure might be on the agenda. And sleeping in. And finally organizing all the magazine clippings I've saved over the past year. This last one is random, I know... but an aspiring writer does things like that. My stack has gotten out of hand and needs to be categorized and filed in some fashion. Have I ever mentioned I like organization?

Hope to post the pictures tonight or tomorrow.

PS - 2 weeks and 1 day until I head to Boston for the bestest's graduation!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Unhappy Bride-To-Be

Saturday night I headed downtown with some friends of mine to polish off my birthday celebration. (Yes, still celebrating... 25 is a big deal people! And celebrating birthdays for a week is an art I've mastered over the years. The party doesn't stop until I make my birthday trip with mom and sister next weekend).

Anyways, we had a blast at our favorite local piano bar. They seriously know how to play like everything under the sun, and it always impresses me.

One of the fun things about this place is that there is a very diverse group of people there. One group was there celebrating some guy's 50th birthday. There are people young and old. There are other birthdays. And there are bachelor and bachelorette parties.

There was one bride-to-be who seemed a little less than thrilled about being out and celebrating. We never could figure out what was going on with her, but she looked mildly irritated all evening.

Is she just an unhappy person when she drinks? Is she dreading the upcoming nuptials and being out at her bachelorette party remind her of this? Did her friends buy her really hideous lingerie? Did they force her to come to this place when she really just wanted to go to Cadillac Ranch? Seriously... I have never seen someone who looked so miserable at her own hoopla. I can't think of anything that could possibly cause someone to be such a sour puss when all her friends are out celebrating one of her last unmarried evenings..

Even more odd was that all her gal pals seemed to be having a blast. Maybe she was jealous that they seemed to be enjoying themselves more?

No telling... but I know one thing. When the day comes that it's MY bachelorette party, you better believe I will be having a blast!

Friday, May 16, 2008

All Your Questions Answered!

The time has come for me to announce the winner of the 25th Birthday Giveaway. (I realize I had said I'd do this last week, but I was still a little busy celebrating the big 2-5, so do forgive me!) And the prize goes to... (drumroll and crazy intense music inserted here)

Preppy(STB)Peshke

Yay! Please make sure you get your mailing address to me so I can send your prize. (And in case anyone is curious, I just wrote all the names on paper and drew one out of a hat... well, actually it was a Target bag, but does that part really matter?)

Everyone else who entered is a winner, too, because now I'm going to answer all your questions! This will also be known as the longest. post. ever. Here we go...

Rachel said...
Cool post and great way to celebrate your birthday and generosity! Have you ever run a marathon in Georgia? How did you get started running marathons?
Thanks Rachel! I actually have not ever run in GA. My full marathons have been here in TN and one in AL, but I have made plans to run a marathon in GA later this year!

I ran my first marathon back in April 2005 here in Nashville. I had been on the track and cross country teams when I was in high school and found that I really enjoyed running, even though I wasn't the one winning races or anything. I didn't run much when I got to college, but my senior year I decided that it was a good time to cross running one off my "life to do list." My boyfriend at the time (LTX) decided he was game, so we spent 4 months training and then ran together. It was a pretty awesome day. After that I was hooked and have been running races ever since (thought my running partners have changed from race to race).

Katy said...
What a fun idea! Ok, I'm just now TRYING to get back into shape (I used to run 2-3 miles a day BEFORE college)and its just as hard on my joints as on my stamina. How did you get started? Did you just hit the pavement and go?


Thanks Katy! Like I said in my answer to Rachel's question, I ran in high school. It's been 11 years since my first day on the track team, but I'm sure I started off SLOWLY. Anytime I take a break and come back, I try to take it easy. It takes your body about 3-4 weeks to get used to any kind of new activity, so I'm not surprised that your joints are bothering you a bit. My best advice (and I'm no expert, but this is what I would do) is to go run/walk for however long your stamina will allow. If you feel like you're too out of breath, then slow down or go on and stop for the day. If you can try to go for about the same amount of time for a week or two, you'll find that you eventually will run more than you walk. In time, you'll be able to keep going longer. It's always best to gradually build up to more. Don't let yourself feel intimdated or discouraged... it takes time to get back in shape. No one can go out and run lots of miles easily when they're out of shape (well, I'm sure some people can, but they're not like us average people). Good luck, and keep in touch about your progress!

jojo said...
Hi! I'm a lurker, I admit it. Happy birthday early. So, my question: what do you like most about the city you live in?

Thanks for the birthday wishes and for delurking, JoJo! Ah... Nashville is a fantastic little place to live. It's really hard to pick one thing. We have tons of good restaurants, lots of places to catch live music, and endless opportunities for entertainment. I think if I have to say what I love most, it's that we have that southern small town feel and a little bit of the big city (although we're not talking like NYC or Chicago big) right here in the same place. It's kind of neat.

B2G said...
Firstly, I love that you used the word "connectivity."

Secondly, my question is: What are the top three characteristics that you're looking for in The One? One thing can be something physical.
Thanks B2G! I like fun words. :)

Oh, wow. Hmmm... can I just say that we all are wanting to find someone that we're physically attracted to and that not count as one of the three? Wait, it's my birthday... I can do what I want. So yes, of course physical attraction is a key characteristic (and in my mind, he's tall, thin/athletic and has a gorgeous smile and great eyes! But I'm open to other looks...).

I definitely want someone who shares a faith in God with me. I don't feel like he has to have the same background as me or agree with me on every single thing or anything like that... but I do want to feel like we have some sort of common ground about our beliefs because so many important decisions (i.e. how to raise kids) would be based off of our core beliefs.

I have to find someone that I can talk to... share with... I want someone that will listen to me and talk to me as well. A confidant. A best friend basically...

And finally, someone that makes me laugh and laughs at me. Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows, but I hope to find someone that will find joy in small things... who will enjoy life with me... and who will find plenty of reasons to smile and laugh. Although I won't lie... sometimes it's nice when he's all these things AND has a little bit of an edge.

Susan said...
What fun! The above comments asked some great questions, and I'm looking forward to your answers. Hmmm, let's see... my question will be:

What is your usual exercise routine/schedule (How often, far, long do you run each week? Do you do different exercises besides running?, etc. etc. etc. and so forth)

I also wanted to ask you "What 3 places would you like to visit and why, but maybe I'll let someone else claim that if they wish... or can I use it as a bonus question?) :)

Happy early birthday to you! 25 is a super age! Enjoy it to the fullest! :)

Thanks so much Susan! Ok, so as for my exercise routine... I try to make sure I do some sort of exercise 3-4 times a week. I always do a long run on Saturdays. At a minimum, this is usually 10 miles. If I'm training for a race, it'll be longer depending on where I'm at in the training plan. I run on 2 weekdays... if I'm training, this includes a speed workout and a tempo run, both about an hour each. I tend to do between 5-6 miles when I do each of those. I really don't ever run more than 3 days I week. I almost always get one strength training workout in, but I'm trying to get that up to 2 per week so I can tone up and strengthen my core. I also like to make it to a class at the gym whether cardio or yoga so that I can change it up a bit.

You can totally ask a bonus question! I have a LOT of places on my list to visit right now, but I'll pick three. I really want to go to New Zealand. I have seen pictures, and it looks absolutely gorgeous and full of possibilities for adventures in the beautiful land. I'd also like to do the Switzerland/Germany/Austria section of Europe. Also beautiful and with really cool cultures I'd like to become immersed in for a few days. On a more local note, I'd love to see more of the New England area like Connecticut, Vermont, Maine. It seems like it's also a beautiful area of our own country that I'd like a chance to check out. (And a bonus answer... I definitely want to get to Hawaii someday... or somewhere else that is similarly tropical.)

Crazy Daisy said...
Happy Early Birthday!

My question... If you could do any job in the world what would it be and why?

Thanks girl! This one is easy... I'd love to be an editor at a magazine or publishing house. It doesn't matter to me which one. I've always dreamed of being a writer and certainly have plans to pursue it later in life, but I'd jump at the chance to work in editing. I can see myself making important decisions about content and overseeing copy editors. Needless to say, I love The Devil Wears Prada and Ugly Betty for fueling this regular daydreamn (which also usually includes me living somewhere like NYC). I don't really see myself at a fashion magazine or anything like that, but there are definitely LOTS of possibilities. There's a good chance that I'll go after this sometime, but we'll see. :)

Quirky said...
Happy Birthday Mel. You'll love 25. 25 is when you aren't a considered a kid anymore, but still young enough not to be old. :-)

Okay, here's my question: If you could have absolutely ANYTHING (cost is no object) as a birthday present, what would it be? And it has to be purchasable...no fair asking for a loving husband or boyfriend or world peace.(although if mail-order husbands exist, maybe that counts). A bazillionaire wants to give you a birthday present...what do you ask for? Go big.

Thanks for the kind wishes! This one is actually a toughie... I would obviously want to allow this person to be really generous since they're offering to do as such. I wouldn't want to offend them by asking for something too small. A lifetime unlimited shopping spree at The Limited would be nice... or maybe a really huge house because then I'd have a nice home, and if I ever sold it the money would be great. Wait! I got it... I'd have him buy me a magazine or publishing house along with all it takes to run it so that I can have my dream job that I referenced in the above question!!!

Joe said...
What is your earliest memory? Was it a good memory or bad memory?

I think my question is going to win. No offense to any other question up here though!


Aw, sorry Joe. You only win an answer, but I hope that will be a nice prize for ya! I SWEAR I can remember my first birthday party. My parents always say it's because I have seen it on video, but I have a very vivid memory about them cutting off some of my little personal cake to give to my uncle. This is not in the video. But maybe it's in my head... After that, I have a slew of memories of being in pre-school and playing with the other kids in my class. I got in trouble once for throwing a blanket back and forth with another kid when it was supposed to be naptime. I also remember being 3ish and my mom being pregnant with my sister. I'd kiss her belly at night and tell my baby sister goodnight. All of those were kind of all around the same time I think.

smc said...
Happy (upcoming) Birthday!

My question is: If you were only allowed to listen to one cd for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Speaking of presents, I sent yours on Thurs. They said it will arrive on your birthday. So keep an eye out on Tuesday!

Thanks! And what a fantastic present that showed up here on Tuesday! Sneaky, sneaky.

Goodness, this one is a toughie as well! Considering I have several thousand songs on my itunes, it's hard to pick something like this. But if I must... hands down, Dave Matthews Band's Crash. I always claim DMB is my all-time favorite band (out of SOOOOO many other favorites I have that are all completely different), and Crash is my favorite album they have... so it only makes sense. There's not a bad song on there.

peachy perspective said...
Ah, love the episode with Chandler in the box... "you stay in there and think about what you did"!

So in honor of that, what is your favorite Friends episode?

Oh my goodness, ya'll have really broken out the tough ones. I immediately find myself thinking about the one where Janice is asking the 6 if any of them have ever "almost" ended up together and the episode flashes back to a few years earlier when Rachel was newly engaged and Central Perk was a bar. Ross and Phoebe almost... Chandler and Monica almost (interesting)... Monica and Joey kinda almost... Rachel and Chandler almost (in her daydream)... just an all-around funny episode.

But I also like the one where everyone starts finding out about Chandler and Monica: "They don't know that we know that they know we know!" And the one where they all watch the tape to see who came on to whom when Ross and Rachel ended up getting together. Oh goodness, there are SO many. I still laugh so hard everytime I see them...

Preppy(STB)Peshke said...
I have just started working out again - got to fit into a wedding dress in 88 days. My first trainer appt was this morning and she killed me. Any advice to beginning runners?

Also, 25 is such a great age - any quarterlife crisis yet? Are you where you thought that you'd be at 25? I didn't think that I was at the time, but in retrospect I was in a perfect place in life.

Happy Birthday!

Thanks Preppy! Congrats to you on the upcoming wedding! Keep at it with the trainer.. they definitely know what they're doing and can show you tons of great exercises for you to do with them and on your own to help you get wedding day ready! The first 3 weeks of any exercise program are always the hardest because it takes your body about that long to adjust to being so active. Keep at it, and it will definitely get easier. A lot of my answer for Susan's question above will help you out with beginning your adventures as a runner. The most important thing is to just do what you can at first, even it's just to run for 10 minutes. Keep at it, and eventually you'll feel like you can push yourself to go a little longer. Once you can run 30 minutes, assess how many miles you're doing in that time. From there, add no more than 10% more each week. So if you run 3 miles in 30 minutes, start trying to do 3.3. Once that gets easier, bump it up another 10%. I hope this helps, and feel free to shoot me an e-mail or comment if you have any other running questions as you get into it!

No quarter-life crisis for me. :) I've certainly done some thinking (as evidenced by previous posts over the past month or so) and have been trying to be on top of being sure I'm where I want to be. For a long time I would have said I'd be married and considering having a child by now. That didn't happen. And I'm fine with that. I like where I am now. I'm also trying to be mindful of the future and be really aware of if I need to make any changes. And in the meantime, my 25th birthday has served as a great reminder that I'm young and single and should be out having some fun! I've been trying to just enjoy the heck out of where I'm at right now, and doing so is really keeping things sunny and bright. I know that I have a lot of things I want to accomplish and that I'm actively trying to do so with each one... but I'm also trying to remember that I don't have to get them all done by a certain age.

Nate said...
Have you ever been out of the country? Which country (or groups of countries) do you most want to visit, if any?

Why yes I have! Back in 1997, I went out of the country for the first time when I went on a Caribbean cruise with my family. I didn't leave the US again until 2004 when I traveled through Scotland, England and France. I went back to England again in 2005.

Reference my answer to Susan's bonus question above to find out that I'd like to see New Zealand, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. I might as well add that I'd love to see Italy and Australia, too. One of these days I'm also going to get myself up to Canada since I have a friend there.

Joy said...
Hey Melanie!
Happy, happy 25th birthday! My 25th is next Monday, so I've really enjoyed reading your "pre 25th" posts. My question is this: what is your favorite Nashville restaurant? Why do you like it, and what do you have there?

Happy 25th to you as well, Joy! This is a toughie as there are SO many good places to eat around here! I'm a big dessert kind of gal, so I love stopping by our Cheesecake Factory for a slice. Bosco's also has a terrific dessert menu including this chocolate burrito type thing that I LOVE. The Pancake Pantry is terrific for pancakes, of course, but there is always a line. We have some great local mexican restauarants. I've been to The Melting Pot once, and it was pretty fantastic. It's too hard to pick one place!

Jackie said...
What is the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do at night?

Well, after turning off the alarm I usually pet my cat Tucker because he climbs up on me before I can sit up and starts purring. Then, I usually go to the bathroom. Glamorous, I know. 10 minutes later I'm usually out the door.

Before I go to bed, I brush my teeth and wash my face and put on face serum and stuff in an attempt to make my skin nice and clear. I climb in bed and sometimes I read, sometimes I watch a little tv. Lately I've been watching Friends episodes. I'm on season three!

Thank you all so much for your fabulous questions and for sharing my 25th birthday with me! Congrats again to Preppy(STB)Peshke for winning the grand prize (I won't list what it is in order to keep it as a surprise for her, but keep an eye on her blog and maybe she'll let you guys know when she gets it!)! Congrats to everyone else for winning answers to all these terrific questions. I feel like we're old friends sharing a cup of coffeee...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Icing on the Cake...

Wow. I had one hell of a birthday surprise on Tuesday. (This surprise is also the reason why I haven't had a chance to post since then. I promise I'll pick a winner from the birthday giveaway and answer all your questions within the next few days. This also means if you haven't entered yet, you get an extra day to do so!)

I'm sitting at my desk on Tuesday afternoon and next thing I know I look up and see my very bestest friend Stephanie at the door. I know my mouth fell open. As I grabbed my keys to go let her in, I just kept thinking about how she was supposed to be in Boston, not here at my office.

It was a very big surprise and a very exciting part of my birthday.

I ditched work a few minutes early for us to head home and open presents and laugh and cry (only because I was telling her about a really sad story I'd been reading about) and catch up a bit. Then we were off to Chili's to have dinner and the 2-for-1 margaritas that Chili's is known for. As we were sitting there, my sister and her boyfriend came walking in. That wasn't planned... they just happened to come to the same place for dinner. Still, it was a fun little something.

We headed out in the Boro to do a little shopping. We both found some awesome sunglasses, and I found a cute green headband that was on clearance (and I love when cute things are on clearance). As we were trying on sunglasses, this woman passed by and commented on how beautiful Steph's eyes are... you'd think that they'd exchange pleasantries and that the woman would move along. Nope. She started chatting it up with us and next thing we know she's telling us all about her three teenage daughters and how they all have their periods at the same time and how bad she feels for her husband and son that they have to put up with it... only in the south do perfect strangers start sharing their intimate details about their lives while standing in the middle of a beauty supply store. Wow. We had a good laugh over it later.

We rounded out the evening by meeting up with my friend Crystal and some of the guys that Steph grew up with that live around here (I also know them, but because I met them through her). We spent the rest of the night laughing and talking and enjoying general merriment all around. I seriously think this was one of the best birthdays I've had in a while. I had a blast, and Steph showing up here was seriously one of the most fantastic birthday presents I could have received.

We slept in yesterday and then headed in to work. Steph was a trooper and helped me out with some things, and then we met my mom for a quick lunch before Steph had to head out again. It was the shortest trip ever, but I am so very thankful that she came and surprised me! I'll be seeing her again in a few weeks when I go to Boston for her graduation, but I was still a little choked up to see her leave yesterday. I really miss that girl. Sometimes I think I just need to make plans to move up to Chicago since that's where she's landing next.

I was exhausted, so I spent yesterday evening lounging around and watching American Idol. I so heart David Cook.

Another fun birthday surprise? I got my economic stimulus. Technically, I'm saving it to buy a Mac this August when we have a another tax free weekend. But for now I'm going to leave it in my checking account as a buffer for all my upcoming trips so that I don't have to pull money OUT of savings for them. So really, it's all the same difference.

Thanks again to everyone for all the birthday phone calls, emails, Facebook comments, text messages and blog comments. You all rock my face off and made it one of those birthdays where I really felt the love.

Stay tuned to have all your questions answered and to find out if you've won the 25th Birthday Giveaway!

PS - I promise you'll see pictures from the big 2-5 day as soon as I get them from Steph.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Time Has Come.... For Me To Turn 25!

Happy birthday to me! Yay!

This is also my 200th post! Yay! Don't worry... I won't be listing 200 things about me and forcing you to read them.

It's only 9am, and I'm already having a fantastic day! I have received a few birthday emails, my Facebook wall has already been bombarded by well wishers, and one of the guys at work had a happy birthday sticky note waiting on my computer for me when I got in this morning. One of the other guys is out installing today and called to sing "Happy quarter-century birthday to you!" It was nice to be serenaded, even if it wasn't from some super hot guy in his mid to late 20's that wants to sweep me off my feet. (Hey, a girl can daydream, right?)

Last night I went to the Olive Garden with my parents, my sis and her boyfriend, and my pal Crystal and her mom (both close family friends). I ate WAY too much, including the Black Tie Mousse Cake... yum! I also have some leftovers to enjoy later today. AND - our server has the same exact birthday as me. I thought that was kind of cool. Except he was turning 21 and was all like, "Our birthday starts at midnight! Are you going out?" Um, I'm turning 25. I'll be asleep at midnight, thanks.

Actually, I'll probably try to go out and do something fun this weekend again since it'll still be one of the weekends surrounding my birthday. (Have you noticed I like to turn the whole month of May into my birthday?) And I'm still looking forward to Gatlinburg later in the month. I've gotten some cash for my special day, so I'm totally going to take it and do some shopping. I'd like to find a really awesome dress to wear to Steph's graduation. I mean, when your best friend graduates from Harvard Law it's a pretty big deal. She's a pretty big deal. And yes, I shamelessly brag on her for it.

I even got this award today from the lovely lady at Forever Daisies, so that's exciting, too!


I might meet up with my mom later for lunch. I'm sure she's busy all day reminiscing about that dark and stormy Friday the 13th when she had to go in to be induced because I was refusing to come out. Good times. I do the singles' ministry thing on Tuesday nights, so I'll be spending my evening there. I'm really starting to feel like a girls' night will be in order this weekend. Nothing like embracing the single birthday and going out with the girls, right? :)

I also received some nice gifts from my parents. They got me a green running shirt (my fave color!) as well as some new ADPi flip flops since my college ones are old and wearing out. And yes, I know I've been out of school for 3 years, but those are the most comfortable flip flips ever! They also got me a cute black, white and yellow polka dot bag to use to carry my gym clothes to work so that I don't have to keep being ghetto and use a shopping bag!

Other cool things going on today... the new Deathcab for Cutie and the new Jason Mraz albums both come out today. A few years ago the new Dave Matthews Band album came out on my birthday so that was exciting. I don't know why, but it's just fun when fun things like this occur on your birthday!

I feel good. And I don't feel any older than I was... only it kind of feels cooler to say I'm 25 than 24. What's up with that? I won't bore you with the details, but I had a couple of really yucky birthdays back in 2005 and 2006, so last year and this year have definitely been making up for it. I just wanted to say thanks to all of you out there in blog land who have been sharing this journey with me as I turn 25. I appreciate all of you and am glad to "know" you through our blogging adventures. Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes. I'll let you know how the celebrations throughout the rest of today and this week go! (And I'll try to post some pictures, too!)

Don't forget to go to my post on May 7th and leave a question to enter the giveaway. I PROMISE the prize will be nice. You have until I get to work tomorrow and have time to write the post answering all of them, so feel free to leave a question as long as I haven't written the post answering them and you can still be entered!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Almost Birthday to Me!

A quick reminder: If you haven't already done so, read my post from May 7th and leave a question for me so that you can be entered in my 25th Birthday Giveaway! You have until the end of tomorrow to enter.

Speaking of my 25th birthday, it's tomorrow. :) This also meant that my driver's license was set to expire. So this morning I took some time to put on my makeup (because I normally don't since I work at a cabinet company with 4 married men who don't even notice when I do have any on) and curl my hair (another thing I don't do for work). I also spent some time deliberating over which shirt to wear. This ended up being a waste of time because the picture is zoomed in so far that my hair covers the part of the shirt you might could actually see. All in all, it was a good picture so I can't complain. I'm just a bobbing head with lots of brown hair.

The driver's license place wasn't quite as bad of an experience as it is for some people. I was in and out in about 30 minutes. Of course, I couldn't leave without noticing a few things... First, they have all renewals use this self-serve computer. Not a bad idea, unless one of the customers isn't very confident on a computer. I waited 15 minutes for this older man (with a pager, no less) peck his way through the screens. I kind of felt bad for the guy because I think he would have appreciated the people at the counter taking care of it instead of forcing him to use the computer. He finished, and I was done about 3 minutes later.

Then we had to wait for our pictures to be taken. There were 2 employees. Ah, how I love state run operations. (Speaking of which, not to start some political debate but if our gov't can't handle running the driver's license places then how the heck do we think they can handle things like health care for the entire country? Just an opinion that you may or may not agree with...) This one guy finally finished with the person at the counter and then proceeded to answer about 3 phone calls. You may know from my experience with the Wal-Mart vision center that I think it's incredibly bad customer service to ignore the customers right in front of you to talk to the ones on the phone. But all in all it wasn't a terrible experience, and I was out the door and at work by 8am.

In other news, I had a pretty fabulous weekend. Friday night was spent out with some friends, new and old, in the Boro. It was another late night that didn't end until 4am. I think that somehow my 25th birthday has nagged at my subconscious that I'm young and single and should be doing a little bit more to enjoy all of that while this is where I'm at... which somehow my brain has interpreted as staying out until ridiculous hours of the night, or morning depending on how you look at it. But I'm having a blast and that's what matters, right? I just need to make sure I don't let it interfere with my running. I MUST get my long runs in on weekends.

There was also dinner and a movie in there as well as lunch with my mom and sister and a little shopping trip since we got her a gift card for Mother's Day. I managed to pick up another pair of my favorite Brooks running shorts and a running tank top by Suggoi that was on clearance... AND I had my $25 rewards from Fleet Feet to use, which always makes shopping more fun. So like I said... fabulous weekend.

I did get a little bad news. My trip to Gatlinburg has to be postponed a few weekends because apparently there is a car show this weekend and all the hotel rooms are booked. People - there are a LOT of hotel rooms in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. I didn't know car shows were so big.

On a final note, I heard the new single "Summertime" from the New Kids on the Block twice this weekend. It's fantastic. I think it's going to be released on itunes tomorrow and you know I will so download it. It doesn't really sound like they're old stuff (because they have manly voices now), but I really actually liked it. So far they're not coming anywhere near here on their tour, but they said on the radio that they might release more tour dates soon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they'll realize Nashville is Music City and come here. Sign me up right now. I don't care how much.

Birthday dinner with my family tonight. I'm excited. In fact, I'm excited about a lot of things right now. Things are just going really well and all of a sudden I'm looking at my life and realizing that I really like it. There are a lot of possibilities right now.... nothing to really talk about yet... but still, they exist and it excites me. So yay for that!

Friday, May 9, 2008

TGIF!!!



This LOLCat was too cute to pass up today.

Is anyone else as glad as I am that today is Friday? A lot of my weekend plans are still up in the air as to what exactly I'll be doing, but I think it's going to be a good one.

I'm digging the new Jason Mraz song "I'm Your's." They really don't play it that often, but everytime it comes on I crank up my speakers. I might just have to download it.

I'm also really excited today about getting my partner in the Preppy Summer Swap. I'll be exchanging fun summery gifts in a few weeks with the lovely lady over at The Bona Fide Preppy Bride. I have a few good ideas up my sleeve so I'm excited!

I always take a little time off after I run any race, but I had full intentions of getting back to it this week. I went to the gym once. I ran a few miles and did an abs workout that at the time didn't seem that difficult. I still hurt everytime I laugh now. Not to mention, my quads are sore. I didn't realize that quads get covered in a core workout, but oh they did this week! I'm determined to do a long run this weekend and maybe hit up a yoga class so that I can get back in my groove. I need to keep a solid base so I can start building to a marathon again, and I'd like to not have a pudgey tummy when I don my bikini at the beach next month.

Today I stopped by my parents' house to grab the muffin I had left there (background: we ate at Mimi's cafe last night to celebrate a family friend's birthday and they have terrific muffins). I thought I had turned off the alarm, but I must have missed a button because it went off. I walked to the back and found my sister sitting up in bed hissing, "You scared me to death!" I thought she looked pretty alive to me. I only felt a little bad... it was almost noon. Ah, the life and sleeping patterns of college kids.

I also grabbed a quick margarita (or 2) with a couple of girls last night. Oh, how I love summer! I also ran into a guy I went to high school with.. and middle school and elementary school. It's probably been about 8 years since we'd seen each other, but once he said his name I remembered him (points for me!). I was also glad that my appearance has improved since middle school when I had glasses and braces and both a haircut and figure that made me look like a boy (more points for me!). It was kind of fun catching up and remembering that we sat beside each other in 8th grade science. Before I left he handed me his number on a napkin. It was a kind gesture and not really that strange since I knew him, but at the same time it was kind of funny... I've never had a guy give me their number on a napkin before. It's usually the other way around (except for the napkin part... I don't think I've ever written my number on one before).

It's been a pretty random week for me, but also one of the best weeks I've had in a while. Don't get me wrong.. my life has been great. But it's always really nice when it's the beginning of summer and it's almost your birthday and lots of fun things keep happening. So yay!

Have a happy weekend, and don't forget to post a question on the May 7th post to enter my 25th birthday giveaway. Cheers to the horizon of another terrific weekend!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A quick post

I'll keep today's post brief since yesterday's was a bit lengthy and I want everyone to have ample time to ask a question and enter the drawing.

So a few random tidbits:

- Ladies, I need advice... does anyone have any good recommendations for a set of curlers/hot rollers? I have really long, thick hair and keep reading that I could have wavy hair if I use rollers... I remember using them in high school and it working, but I don't have a set anymore. I'd love it if anyone knows of a good set that they'd suggest I check into. I'm ready to do something other than wear it straight. :)

- It is pouring today. It makes me want to go home and curl up on the couch and start a How I Met Your Mother marathon... because I found both seasons at Target and am ready to be entertained by the AWESOMENESS that is HIMYM. Anyone want to join me? It'll be Legen... wait for it... dary! (And if you don't watch the show, I'm sorry you won't get that.)

- Tucker had one of his mornings where he raced up and down the hall like he was being chased. It was really funny because I was JUST talking about how he does that sometimes last night. But then he knocked over a basket in the kitchen and scared himself. He spent the last 30 minutes waiting for me to get up by sitting in the bedroom doorway and staring down the hall. I suppose maybe he thought the basket was going to try and come knock him around a little.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Birthday Presents for Me AND for You

When my sister and I were younger, our parents always had the whole family over for a party every time we had a birthday. It was always a big ordeal with BBQ and birthday cake and, of course, presents. My mom is an only child, so we're the only grandkids on her side. Every time it was my birthday, I would get a few presents from my grandparents. They would also bring one for my sister. They did the opposite on her birthday. We no longer gets presents on the other one's birthday (because we're big girls now who understand why the other gets birthday presents on her birthday), but I always thought it was a really great concept.

So... with my big 2.5. rapidly approaching (ahem, Tuesday), I've decided that I don't want to be a birthday hog. I of course will accept all forms of birthday gifts you might like to bestow on me (and not just money or material items... I also accept kind words and love); but I'd also like to give a gift to all my readers.

Here's how we'll play. You have from now until next Tuesday the 13th to ask me ANY question you would like in the comment section of THIS post. I've seen other bloggers do this before and think it's a pretty neat idea. I will pick one person who asks a question through a random drawing to win a special birthday prize in honor of my own 25th birthday. I will also answer ALL of the questions in a special blog post, so that'll be like a little gift for everyone involved.

Ask anything. What do you want to know about your favorite Marathon Melanie? What do I not mention in my blog that you're curious about? Do you have a question about running? Do you wonder what songs I sing in the shower? I do so solemnly swear to answer every question, but I also reserve the right to be evasive if I need to be since I'm not an especially anonymous blogger.

As for the prize, I promise it's not going to be a regift from my birthday presents. I already have a special surprise in mind that I think anyone would love. You will of course need to feel comfortable with sharing an address (work or home) for me to send your prize to. I will contact the winner to get that when it's time. If you're not ok with that and still want to ask a question, then just let me know you don't want to be in the drawing. Also, I can only send it to someone located in the US (sorry to my international readers!) so please let me know if you're not in the country if you ask a question.

You might already be asking why I've decided to do this? Well, the reasons are 3-fold. (And for my fellow Friends fans out there, I always think of The One with Chandler in a Box everytime I say that!)

1. I think that giving presents is as much fun as receiving presents and that my birthday would be a good time to honor my readers with a little gift of some sort.

2. I really liked the idea when I saw other bloggers do it and, like many of them, I'm hoping it'll encourage some of your lurkers to delurk and leave a comment. :) (I'm not a selfish person, but it's my birthday... please let me know who you are because I appreciate it that you stop by and read my posts.)

3. I am amazed at the connectivity that exists in this world of blogging. The best way to share what I'm saying is to copy something I emailed to a good friend recently when she and I were talking a good bit about our blogs and why we keep doing it and why we read others:

"I definitely am spending more time than necessary reading blogs of other people, but I have found that there are a lot of really cool people out there to read about. I've realized that all they're really doing is sharing stories about their lives... kind of like what I do. And I find it really interesting. I definitely try to write in a way that people who know me will feel like they're reading me as if I'm chatting with them like I do on the phone, and also so that perfect strangers won't be completely lost but will still have a picture of my life. I think in the end I'm writing and reading blogs to share in this walk of human life... and even though most posts are random things about our lives, they're often things other people can relate to. And since I've discovered some other bloggers who have in turn started making comments on my posts, I've found that other people know exactly what I mean about some of the things I write about... and then I've got something in common with this perfect stranger.

I think for me, this blog has become a way of connecting with other people out there... you know what I mean? I think your blog is just fine. I think it's kind of like what I'm saying... you're sharing about your experience in this thing called life. Isn't that in some way all any of us can really do? Share in the ups and downs, the rants and raves... And I mean, relationships are what we're kind of here for, in my opinion. God gave us relationships. He said to love Him and love one another. I feel like even though I'm not cultivating bunches of new best friends through a blog, I am making some sort of cyber relationship with some others and could quite possibly have an impact on another person who reads what I write. Not to mention, the lives of other people I read about in blogs can impact me. As writers, isn't that a big part of what we're trying to accomplish? Writing something that will create an emotion or action or some sort of "hmm" moment in the people that read it? It is for me anyways...

Wow, I have no idea where it came from but I so totally just felt like Carrie from Sex in the City when I was writing all that. Asking questions and writing about relationships... I just had a moment where I felt like I was typing some really profound column at the end of an episode. I don't know that what I was saying was all that profound, but hopefully you'll know what I mean.

I hope you chose orange juice. That sounds delicious."

Ok, well the part about OJ doesn't really matter, but it does show how interesting transitions in emails with best friends can be.

So there you have it. Somewhere in the past year since I started this blog (yet another reason for celebrating in May!!!), I've become really wrapped up in it. I feel like I'm connecting with others in a new way, and I like it. Thank you to all my readers. And thank you to all the writers who keep me coming back daily for more. I'm enjoying sharing this adventure with you.

Ask away. It's my present to you. And good luck in the drawing! (Speaking of which, I'll probably hold it on Wednesday or Thursday... it just depends on when I have time.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I love...

I love when it pours down rain at night when I'm falling asleep. I love seeing the way clouds move across the sky as storms come and go. I love it when it's sunny on days that I feel happy.

I love getting pedicures in the summer and having a fun, bright shade painted on them. I love leaving my fingernails unpainted. I love purple eyeshadow and great mascara. I love Eternity by Calvin Kline.

I love wearing my summer clothes. I love flip flips and other summery shoes. I love my Brooks running sneakers. And my Brooks running shorts.

I love waking up and finding Tucker curled up and sleeping soundly beside me because he knows he's safe with me. I love finding him at the door when I come home, and I love all his little meows. I love watching how excited it gets when I say "treat!" or when I open the door so he can watch the world outside.

I love how Anna stands at the fence and wags her tail when I come home. I love how she looks at me with her sweet little eyes when I pet her.

I love looking out the window and daydreaming about something (or someone) fun.

I love imagining myself winning my age division in a race when I'm finishing up a really tough treadmill workout on a cold day. I love running in the park and being surrounded by nature. I love running races and seeing if I can outrun myself. I love meeting new people during a race.

I love depositing my paycheck and the endless possibilities of what I can save money for. I love to travel and see how people live in places outside of Nashville. I love finding new places in Nashville that I've never checked out before.

I love taking home leftovers from eating out and then eating the rest of it for lunch the next day. I especially love taking home Olive Garden. Yum.

I love spending time with friends, making new memories, taking pictures, talking up a storm and finding plenty to laugh about.

I love writing in my journal. I love using different colored pens to write about different things in it. I love being a little OCD on occasion.

I love it when someone I really care about puts their arms around me and holds me close. I love hugs from special someones... the kind of hugs that envelop you and make you feel like nothing else matters. I love kisses, too, but mostly from a significant other.

I love watching a Friends episode before I go to sleep at night. Or reading a chapter in a really good book. I love curling up on the couch with Runner's World every month. I love going to see a movie with a good friend and then grabbing coffee to gab and catch up. I love seeing a movie with a boy and letting him hold my hand.

I love catching someone smiling at me. I love smiling back. I love unexpected phone calls from old friends... or guys that I didn't think would call.

I love the color green. I love lillies.. and tulips... and daisies. I love listening to Dave Matthews Band or Radiohead or Coldplay when I'm in the perfect mood to hear them. I love DMB live. I love concerts of any band/artist that's on my ipod. I love my ipod.

I love running... I love it in a way that I know is beyond reason. I love how my body feels after a 20-mile run or a race. I love knowing that if I can run a marathon, then I can do anything I want to work hard to do. I love buying new running shoes and thinking about how many miles I'm going to put on them.

I love reading other people's blogs. I love knowing that there are other people out there, just like me, trying to enjoy each day in this crazy world.

I love writing and sharing things that are on my mind. I love the community found when you're a writer who isn't afraid to make some writings public. I love working on things that I don't post on my blog. I love aspiring to write for a living someday.

I love where I'm at, and I love thinking about where all I might be going.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cinco de Mayo

It was more like Tres de Mayo for me. And Qautro.

I didn't really have much planned for my weekend. In fact, I anticipated leisurely hanging out and getting some things done at home. Next thing I know, I go out on Saturday night and don't find myself driving home til 7am. Yes, 7AM!!!

Melanie used to be a night owl. But then she graduated college and had to get a job. And now she goes to bed by 11pm to be up at 6:30am.

I tell ya... it's been a while since I've stayed up so late. I slept in on Saturday (since I never run the Saturday after a race to give myself a break from training), which turned out to be a good thing. I had done some grocery shopping and went to visit my grandparents. I fully intended on going home and moving the winter clothes out of my main closet and summer clothes in. Exciting, I know, but these things must be done.

Then Crystal suggested going to M'boro. So I showered, got all dolled up (aka actually put on some makeup and found a cute little top to wear as well as shoes that weren't sneakers) and headed to her place.

Despite having lived in the Boro for 4 years, I never went to Jim's. People are often amazed at this. But to be honest, the bar scene wasn't really my scene back in my college days. For starters, I wasn't old enough to get in until junior year had already wrapped up and everyone had gone home for the summer. I was also dating LTX, and we didn't really hit the bars. We were more of a margaritas with dinner at Chili's kind of couple. And that was fine by me.

So I was a Jim's virgin - until Saturday night. I now know that the place isn't really quite as shady on the inside as it looks on the outside. I ran into sorority sisters I hadn't seen since graduation. I saw people that I recognized from MTSU but that I never had actually met before. Here's the thing... I have gradually become more extroverted as the years have passed. It started when I met Steph at age 14, and it's been a progression since. So by the end of the evening, I had met a handul of fraternity guys that were at Middle when I was there, but that I had never spoken to before. It was strange because I'd seen them around enough back then that I felt like I knew them even though I actually did not.

It was fun. We laughed. We talked. I harrassed a fellow for wearing a marathon shirt when he'd actually never run a race before. (All in good fun of course... but really, it's kind of not cool. It's like wearing Greek letters for a group you're not actually in. Yes, I can be a distance running snob sometimes. I'm working on it.) I made some new friends (rather, I decided Crystal's friends are now also my friends). I met some cool people. I was actually really surprised how many people that went to school with me are still living in the Boro. I didn't feel old, which was nice.

There are pictures. But someone else took them so I don't have them yet. When the place closed, we headed to some guy's house (don't worry... Crystal knew who he was) and hung out there for a while. And there were little black lab-looking puppies that I of course had to get in the floor and play with! (Yes, I'm more of a cat person... but puppies are small like cats, so I can manage them.) I also played the tambourine for a while... random, yes, but they had instruments for like a full band in one of the rooms and so we all started playing. I'm surprisingly good. :)

All in all, it was a terrific evening. I hadn't been out like that all night since... well, I can't even remember the last time. Needless to say, that was enough for me for one week so I won't be heading out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo tonight. Instead, I'll be catching up on laundry, finally moving my clothes between closets, and catching tonight's How I Met Your Mother episode.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. As for me, I have a newfound love for going out in the Boro. I tend to be a Nashville nightlife kind of gal when I do go out on the weekends, but it was really fun running into so many people that I know back in my old homestead. I might have to venture out that way again sometime soon. Plus, it's summer now (ok, ok.. it's really only spring... but here in Tennessee it pretty much flips from winter to summer. We're due one more cold snap for blackberry winter, but we're already having 80 degree days). It's been a long winter, so it's always nice to start getting out again when the weather turns warm.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Running Advice - Getting Started

It's come to my attention that many of my readers are actually interested in running half and full marathons. Some have done one in the past, and some haven't.

I'm not an elite runner. I'm always pleased that I'm usually closer to the front than the back at most races, but I'm still not winning awards or anything. However, I have completed 3 full marathons, 5 half marathons and a handful of 10-milers and 5K's. I'm still learning a lot about running and trying to improve with each new race. So I want to make sure I take some time to not only tell you about my running, but also to share some of the things I learn that you might be able to use for your running.

Thus, the first post containing some so-called Running Advice.

If you're a beginner or a former runner who's wanting to get back into it, I strongly encourage you to check out the May issue of Runner's World. They have a really awesome section for such people this month. For current runners, I also really enjoyed reading everything about the Boston marathon and women's Olympic Trials. You don't have to subscribe to this magazine to call yourself a runner, but I read it every month and think it has some great tips for runners of all levels. The website also has some great tools to help you with training.

If you're going after a full marathon, I also recommend Marathon Guide. This website lists practically every marathon around so that you can find one in your area or during the time of year you want to run, etc. There are also some great tools like running logs and message boards to communicate with other runners.

I also recommend checking to see if your home has a local running group. For those of you in Nashville, check out Nashville Striders. If you need to find local support, these clubs are great to join. I haven't chosen to join the one here at this time because I like running places they don't usually run. But if you join these groups, you can attend group training runs and get tips and support from your fellow runners. If you can't find a group or aren't satisfied with what it offers, you can always ask around and try to find a running partner. Believe me... long runs are easier with a friend. If all else fails, go to the park and see if anyone runs about your pace. Run along nearby so that they figure out you run about the same pace. Strike up a chat about running and ask if they're training for anything. Some people like to run alone, but you never know when you might find someone who'd like a training buddy. Please Note: For any male readers out there, I don't recommend you try this with a woman. You never know when she might be a black belt or have a can of mace tucked in her sports bra or fuel belt.

Gear: Make sure you have good shoes. Everything else isn't really important. I like going to running stores like Fleet Feet where they have people who watch you run and make sure you leave in a shoe suited for your foot. My foot is long and narrow, so I wear Brooks since they cater to that. I also recommend getting your clothing at a running store. Buy things that are dry-wicking. Buy stuff that is comfortable. I'm a Brooks girl through and through, so I buy these shorts.




Having good socks and a good sports bra are pretty important. Ask someone at the running store for help. They know what they're doing.

The best thing to remember as you pick a race is to set small goals. If you're going after a half, remember that it's ok if you can only run a half a mile right now. You'll get there. Find yourself a training plan on the Runner's World website and stick to it the best you can. Make sure you take time to rest. I only run about 3 days a week myself. I ran 4 days a week when I ran Nashville in 4:53 and when I cut down to 3 days I ran 4:31. Resting is important!

I'll be making occasional running advice posts. Please let me know if there's anything you'd like to know about or if you have any questions.

Happy running!

And the Award Goes To...


Apparently, me. The lovely lady of TiedTogetherWithASmile shared a blogging award with me. My first award! How exciting!

I've been having a blast the past few months adding new blogs to my Google Reader and following the lives of some fellow 20-s'thing gals around the country and world. I think one of the reasons why I've gotten so into this blogging community is because it's really nice in an unexplainable way to connect with others and find out that I'm not alone in some of the things I experience day-to-day.

I'd like to pass this award on to a few of the blogs that I make sure I never miss a post from. I tried to check and give it to some people that have not already received one, but please know that if you ever receive a comment from me that I am a regular reader and love your blog!

Sass Attack
Peachy Perspective
The Warnock Family
Diverged
Back to Good

Also, I noticed when flipping through my reader to determine who to share this fabulous award with that I only have two blogs written by men... Interesting.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

13 Days 'Till I'm 25...

The time has come. With my 25th birthday now 13 days away, I'm ready to share some of the thoughts on my mind as I reach this milestone.

A milestone? I see you raising your eyebrow! But yes, a milestone. Think about it. I have to get my driver's license renewed for the first time since my 21st. I can now rent a car without paying a ridiculous mark-up for being "underage" in the car rental world. And the bigger thing that most people seem to start thinking about when we reach 25 is that we're now getting closer to 30 than we are to 20.

Over the past few months I have discovered the blogs of several fabulous ladies that are really perfect strangers to me, but as I read through their posts about their life around the age of 25 (even some that have just recently turned 25 and some who are soon approaching it) I feel so unbelievably connected to them. I'm not the only one who's wondering if 25 is a time to ponder some things... mull over some thoughts... ask some questions.

Of course, a lot of my really good friends have already turned 25. It seemed to go well for them. So it's not that I'm feeling all like "oh my gosh I can't believe I'm 25" and freaking out over it. I realize that it's just like any other birthday when it comes down to it... and my boss is right when he points out that on your birthday you're only a day older than the day before.

I know I'm young. I pray I have a lot of life before me to live. I'm not in any way freaking out over turning 25. Honestly, I don't feel so phased by the number.

But it has caused me to do some thinking. Now, I mentioned a while ago that I felt like enough time had passed since me and LTX (long-term ex) split that I could start referencing him. This post is one such post where I deem that appropriate. On LTX's 25th birthday (3 years ago), we spent a pleasant day with his family. Then we went home, and he broke up with me. The details really aren't that interesting and after 2 years together, you could assume how I dealt with it. I was devastated. But that's not the point. The point is - who breaks up with someone on their own birthday?!

We got back together.. and then later broke up again... and now I'm all certain it was for the best, but I don't think I ever quite figured out what about the 25th birthday is so scary that you'd break up with someone you had previously discussed marriage with. So I've wondered for 3 years. And now I'm here. No, I don't have a boyfriend right now so I guess it's a little hard to compare, but I don't feel like I need to have a quarter-life crisis right now like he did.

But at the same time, sure... I do find myself questioning my life a little bit right now. I've been done with school for 3 years now. I'm definitely engrossed in the "real world." I think the thing about 25 is that it leads a lot of us to questioning if we're doing the right things with our life. We wonder if we chose the right path or if we need to make a change. We daydream about the future. We try to understand the reasons why maybe we're not where we thought we'd be right now. So I get it. 25 can be an incredibly thought-provoking birthday.

My thoughts? They're not of fear or insecurity. I'm not freaking out. I'm not feeling the need to do anything impulsive or foolish. I'm not experiencing a sense of having wild oats to sow. But I am trying to be mindful of where I'm at, how I got here, and where I want to go next.

I was telling a friend the other night... I'm happy with where I'm at right now. I have a great job. I'm involved in some fantastic things. I love my gym. I love living in Nashville. I'm reaching personal goals. I'm setting new ones for the future and reminding myself I don't have to achieve them all at once. There are tons of fantastic people in my life. So I don't feel those feelings of "this isn't where I thought I'd be at 25." Granted, I'm not where I thought I'd be at 25. But I think I always knew that my plans were probably not going to go exactly as I intended since life is kind of funny that way..

However, I do feel really confident about who I am. I feel more sure of myself than I did when I was younger. I suppose I still have some fears and insecurities, but nothing that controls my life. I am confident about living my life and feel like I'm a pretty independent kind of gal. But I still want to be AWARE. I want to stay open-minded because maybe there is something else I should be doing. Maybe there is going to be a change of plans in the second half of my 20's. Who knows other than God? In fact, I really hope there will be some changes. I want to grow and evolve and try different things and experiences as the years go by. But I don't want to be so comfortable in my life right now that I miss out on any potential opportunities to do those things, whatever they may be.

So that's where I'm at as I approach the big 25. I'm good where I'm at, but I'm open to seeing where I might need to be. I don't feel like I need to make any big decisions and change anything right now, but I'm trying to be aware of things enough to recognize later if I should.

I'll even be a little vulnerable here. I never thought I'd be 25 and single. I thought for years I'd be married by now and thinking about when I might start having babies. I even thought for 3 years that marriage was something that was coming very soon. Here in the south it's just normal to get married to your college sweetheart. But things change. And I'm a little used to being the "last one" when it comes to such things. Even though I have a strong desire to be someone's best friend, companion, partner, wife... I also know that it just hasn't been right yet. I try not to let myself go down the path of "what happens if I reach 30 and I'm STILL single?" because that's not helpful. I'm certainly not going to go running down the aisle with just anyone... I'm definitely not one of those girls who just wants a MRS. I want to be with the right man for me, and I am confident he'll be worth waiting on right now. For everyone else out there wondering what day your prince will come, I'm right there with you. But I know he'll turn up when we're both ready... and knowing that makes me feel really confident that it's right that I'm not married yet. Besides, being single can also be a hell of a lot of fun so I'm enjoying it while I'm here. Make the best of it, right? :) Though I wouldn't complain if a hot gentleman wanted to take me out for a birthday dinner.

I have a tendency of turning like the whole month of May into my birthday, so please enjoy partying it up with me this month! Thanks to everyone out there in the blogging world who is in this similar place in life.. your posts have made me laugh and made me think and made me more aware that we all have some of the same desires and dreams and that we're all just trying to do the best we can to reach them.

And I say cheers to that!

More news about the 2-5 to come...