the passionate life

London Funsies Part 1

This trip was so packed full that today's blog will be part 1 of 2 which is the first two days that we were there and how we approached our travel! :) Please excuse all grammar errors in this stream of consciousness blog post.

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We did so much this trip and I feel like I don't have enough photos to showcase it all, so let's get started. I honestly was very confused on how to approach this city which meant that we did alot of research and still ended up planning like nothing. We thought that we would take each day by sections of the city but that just doesn't always work out well so we just would wing it each day (per the usual on trips that we take tbh it always works out so whatever). Because we knew that we wouldn't always have signal, Tanner had starred all of the different recommendations that others had given us for places to eat and stop and saved that, so if we were in that area and hungry we would pull that up. It was super useful, so I recommend that. 

There are a ZILLION restaurants in London..more than anywhere I've ever been and all of them have amazing, delicious foods. There is a pub on literally every corner, but then also all kinds of other options as well. They had stop in shops to get food literally everywhere so food was definitely never a problem. We only ate out in a big way 4 times and other nights would grab something quick like before the plays that we saw. The first night, we actually were able to go to a pub, get a bottle of wine to share, and two entrees for 35 pound which is around $50 which is a KILLER deal for London, so we would look around and look for 2 $$ typically when looking for a place to eat. We aren't picky on food, and actually prefer American bar food. Lol. Hashtag Shelby. I also don't eat much and Tanner eats like a linebacker, so it always works out that he just eats the remainder of what I don't finish. 

DAY 1

We started off the food with a placed called The Breakfast Club. I actually accidently got the full English breakfast without even realizing it which is sausage (they offered veggie sausage which is what I got), eggs, beans, potatoes, and bloomer bread (just white fluffier bread classic in London), and Tanner got freaking gravy french fries (for breakfast-yes-he's crazy haha). He also lost 5lbs on this trip from all the walking and "not enough food"... #men

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On the first day, we decided (per a recommendation from a client) to get on a double decker bus to see the city in that way and then decide where we wanted to spend more time after sight seeing from above. Tanner was pretty adamant that we would just get stuck in traffic taking a lot of time out of our day. That is essentially what happened so after 45 minutes of stand still type traffic on a double decker, we got off at Trafalgar Square and started exploring. We walked over to a Christmas market that was nearby and we knew the TKTS ticket booth would be there and we wanted to snag some theater tickets right off the bat. 

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I'm a HUGE theater buff. I'm obsessed and Shelby just announced they may reopen the theater here, and I'm so pumped and will be getting season tickets. I saw Harry Potter was on the list, and freaked, asked if they had tickets and he laughed at me in the first British accent I had really heard for the first time and said "no. Those are sold out for two years. You can try the ticket booth for cancellations but don't count on it." We decided that since we were there, and I REALLY wanted to see at least one show and preferably Christmas we would book "A Christmas Carol"...so cliche but always so good. It was SO SO GOOD! I don't know if it's because their accents were so genuine, or if because they did it up huge in this particular show, but man it was one of the best shows I've EVER seen (that was of course before I saw HP). 

We kept walking all around that area, and hit up The National Gallery. This is a huge art gallery that goes through various artists and the stories behind their paintings. I guess I was just ALL IN this trip, but I just love to go into museums and actually enjoy them and not just be lame and walk around. So, I envision myself in the time frame that these artists lived, and their lives, and what it must have been like to be in their shoes and it really helps me to enjoy the art so I was in love with the National Gallery.

I just really liked this painting because I love snowy cold weather :) 

I just really liked this painting because I love snowy cold weather :) 

We decided that we had a few minutes so we would walk over to the HP box office and just see if they had any tickets. The guy asked us how long we had, and we said all week until Friday night. He said that he had tickets on Thursday and Friday night. I almost fell out, and then I got ready for him to tell me how much they would be. dun dun dun. Y'all...it honestly was a freaking deal, and the second he said the price Tanner says WE WILL TAKE THEM! They ended up being in the stalls (aka the front sitting area). We could see perfectly and were on the floor. I won't go into all details just yet, but I literally cried tears of joy during the first show, it was so unreal. 

We had booked a Harry Potter walking tour at 330pm that day, honestly not knowing that our entire trip was going to be very HP based, so we wanted to get lunch and start heading that way. Turns out in London, when it's 40 degrees, that's actually REALLY FREAKING COLD. I don't know what it is, but we FROZE the entire trip. One day I wore 5 layers on top, and was still getting cold..ridiculous. We ended up only making it 1.5 hours into the tour, gave him a tip and then darted off to find a coffee shop to warm up! LOL! We learned all kinds of fun behind the scenes type information about the different buildings in London that were used during filming such as Gringotts. He kept saying that the ONLY production that could ever shut down parts of London for the day would be Warner Brothers and Harry Potter. haha! He also mentioned that one thing movies if they are ever based in London is ALWAYS ALWAYS show London in the best light and try to really show the best parts of London because it's such a touristy city that they want more people to come to build the economy. I'm sure the same thing goes for NYC which is why it always looks so glamorous even when it's sometimes so not glamorous. haha! 

This was actually when we popped over to Times Square district before the London trip and saw the Rockefeller tree and had coffee at the Boathouse in Central Park! YAY!

This was actually when we popped over to Times Square district before the London trip and saw the Rockefeller tree and had coffee at the Boathouse in Central Park! YAY!

At the coffee shop, we started researching some things we wanted to do the next day and where to get dinner. We were starved. We decided to really take the night easy as we had been doing so much travel, enjoy the bottle of wine together, and we ended up having a blast getting a littttle (alot) tipsy (sorry mom) and laughing with all the British men in these pubs that were much more drunk that us. We had bangers and bash and this classic Henry's BBQ chicken thing. This one man legit was going down some stairs and he was around 65, and we all thought he would face plant. Like legit 100% certain he was going to and then somehow he caught his footing. Alcohol is ABUNDANT in London. People drink from the time that they wake up until they go to bed, and they really don't care how old you are. It was crazy, and honestly by the end, the drunk people were getting on my nerves. Let's be real, they were on my nerves on night 1 but I still love London ;) hahaha! 

This is the super famous "Oxford street" and it was normally SO crowded but we hit this night at a good time, and it was SO gorgeous. I couldn't get enough.

This is the super famous "Oxford street" and it was normally SO crowded but we hit this night at a good time, and it was SO gorgeous. I couldn't get enough.

We went back to our cozy airbnb (ha-not), and snuggled up to go to bed and knew we would go run the next morning. 

DAY 2

We woke up around 630 not realizing the sun doesn't come up until 730, ate breakfast at the place as we had went to the grocery store the night before and headed out to run The tower bridge, the London bridge, the Millenium bridge, through Borough Market (that wasn't up and running yet), and through the Christmas on the River shops. We both got on a super duper high during this run just thinking about what we were getting to experience and how blessed and fortunate we felt. It was such a beautiful run, and we ran back up through the area that we were staying (Whitechapel) to our place, showered, then headed out for the day. Of course, we stopped for breakfast #2 at that point. 

Tanner was so annoyed by me trying to take photos on a run! HAHAHA! If he only knew how many times I've done that in my life that I was like "bro this is so normal-what is your issue?" hehehe.

After our run, we had a 1030 walking tour scheduled for the City of London, and our tour guide was Margaret who is actually from California with a degree in British history. She was literally so good at what she does, I cannot recommend her enough and it was through freewalkingtours.com. You could tell she just had a rhythm that she follows on her tours, and has her stuff known like the back of her hand so she spoke quickly and you were able to learn soo so much about the city of London in 2 hours and 3 miles of walking. London is so massive, but the actual city of London is only 1 sq mile and that didn't expand until the 1600's (I think) so we got to see some of the oldest parts of the city during that tour. We learned about the Monument, so right after we left the tour, we decided to go conquer it. 

Far left: Samuel Johnson's famous cat who only ate oysters. Samuel has a lot of history but most notably, he wrote the first English dictionary.

Middle: the church that was the design for the first wedding cake and why wedding cakes are tiered in this way 

Far right: MARGARET! Oh I just could have been BFF's with her! 

The Monument is 311 steps to the top and was actually not caged until 1842 but people kept committing suicide (so sad) so they enclosed it, but I'm so thankful for that because otherwise it would have been terrifying. I say it wasn't that hard to climb 311 steps .. like at all...but I also run marathons and I don't even mean that to sound presumptuous although I'm sure it does, but just that YOU CAN DO IT! When we got to the bottom, they give out certificates so I did my best Grinch "soooo, I hear there's a check" but replaced check with certificate. Tanner laughed, they didn't understand, but I got my certificate! hahaha! 

This picture makes me laugh SO hard. This is me with my certificate under the monument! WOOHOO!

This picture makes me laugh SO hard. This is me with my certificate under the monument! WOOHOO!

I wanted to see the Platform 9 3/4 that we had learned about on our Harry Potter tour, so we headed to King's Cross station at this point. Funny story is that this platform that JK Rowling describes in the book, she was actually confused on the London location so there is no platform between 9 and 10 at King's Cross, and so they put the makeshift one between 8 and 9 and just hope people don't notice. They don't. We waited in a long long line just to take these silly photos, but it was SO WORTH IT! ;) 

A Christmas Carol was the play that was scheduled for our second night, so before we did that, we headed to check out Topshop and TKMaxx (their equivalent to the obvious TJ Maxx) to see how they compared. They were essentially the same, but a little more expensive just due to the money conversion. Tanner had never been in a Topshop so he really liked the men's shoes and ended up needing a pair because the ones he brought really hurt his feet. 

From here, we grabbed a quick bite to eat before the pub and headed to the theater. This theater was small which was so nice because basically everyone had incredible seats. The man who played Scrooge was phenomenal, and they gave us free mince pies when we arrived. At the end, when Scrooge has the big meal for everyone, they started passing food from the back of the theater down the aisles to the stage which was this really cute twist that everyone excited and laughing, and then they poured fake snow on us. I've never had such fun during a play and not sure if that's normal for London or maybe even normal in NYC, but it was unique and really made the experience. 

I just wanted to show how the theater allowed everyone to see really well by the shape of the theater which was so nice!

I just wanted to show how the theater allowed everyone to see really well by the shape of the theater which was so nice!

Up next -- > Days 3-5! This includes the Royal Run through Buckingham and Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland, and then all the changing of the guards, more food, more tours, and more plays! HIP HIP HORRAY! 

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Colorado Trip 2017

I had a friend once tell me that she doesn't read my blog for anything other than the travels that I do and the tips that go along with that because she's not interested in fitness. I thought that was wonderful! Lol! How fun that she still had a reason to make her way over here ;)

So, with that said, I'd love to tell you about our trip thus far. We already know what we are doing for our final two days here, so I'm sure I can give a pretty good picture of what that's going to be like, and help anyone out that think that they may want to find their way out to Colorado (specifically Denver/Boulder area). 

We actually flew out of Atlanta on Wednesday morning and stayed the night with our friend from NYC that moved to Atlanta on Tuesday night. As you all know, we have friends seriously everywhere across the US and love using these times to catch up! :) We have decided however that we don't think that we will fly out of ATL again just because we still live a good 3-4 hours from there depending on traffic and that makes for a really long, unnecessary travel day. But seeing Peter made it totally worth it. He's single ladies, and quite the catch! HAHA! (He would kill me if he ever read my blog and saw that sentence). 

When we landed in Colorado, I had no idea and thought that the friends that we are staying with in Colorado lived only 30 minutes from the airport, so we got our rental car and headed that way! My friend, Bridget, actually works from home so that was convenient and easy to arrange! :) 

The first night, we went back into Denver for dinner with a friend that was once a follower, but over time we just realized we had a lot in common and the last time that I went through Denver on the way to Utah, I had lunch with her, and so this time, we wanted our boyfriends/husbands to meet and do dinner so that was a lovely dinner at a place called Linger. They have vegan/vegetarian options which is great! As usual, when the option is presented to us, it's wonderful to have it, but we don't mind either way! :) However, people who follow me, know that we eat mostly plant based so they pick restaurants with options! ;) 

The thing I will say about Colorado is that they are SO GENUINELY friendly. When they say hello, they mean it. When they ask you how your day was, they want to know the details. If you want any sort of substitute for ANYTHING food wise, they do it with a smile on their face. I don't have Celiacs, but I know a lot of people want to have that option and they have it EVERYWHERE here. More than anything, I think it just says something about the character of the people, and I appreciate that. 

Before dinner, I went and ran on a single track trail for 9.5 miles. It was ridiculously freezing cold, hazy so you couldn't see the mountains but I had been stuck on an airplane so it felt good to move!! The second day, the ice had set in everywhere so I decided to keep the workout INDOORS on that day. I also fell on the ice, and ran straight into a pole because I had my hood up and now have a bruise on my eye lid, but no pain no gain right? LOL. NOT. It hurt. 

The next morning, we went for a hike in Boulder. To give perspective, my friends live in Louisville which is one of the towns surrounding Boulder. Boulder is CRAZY expensive to live in, and so many live in Eerie, Louisville, Longmount and some others to be able to afford the area but just not being in actually Boulder, but we are only 15-20 minutes away. It was super snowy, and when we got halfway up to the peak, it got super hazy and looked dangerous. We had Yactrax on our shoes, but just didn't feel safe (and I also was being lazy because it was a heck of a climb) so we turned around. We still got a beautiful day out in nature and the snow and had a ball. That afternoon, we went into downtown boulder for some coffee. It's ADORABLE! In North Carolina, the walking malls would include Ann Taylor and Banana Republic whereas Boulder has a walking mall of Patagonia, Newton Running, and all the other outdoor hippy shops! ;) I loved it! 

The second night we also were able to have dinner at the home of someone that I grew up with from Shelby. She made us dinner, and we got to meet her husband and precious little girl Madeline. It was SUCH a treat to see such a familiar face and she is someone who has done INCREDIBLE things. She's in politics, and has been on Fox News/some sort of TV probably around 300 times, and was named Forbes 30 under 30 in Law and Policy last year and this year, the 3rd most influential Republican female. She is SUCHHH a joy to be around, so I loved our evening with her. 

On Friday, we spent the day going to 5 breweries all over the area. I'm honestly not a beer drinker...like at all haha! But Tanner is and so that was fun for him to be able to try out a bunch of different places and we were with our friend Matt, so he was leading the way. Needless to say, I drove home at the end! ;) On Friday night, we visited a vegan restaurant and then out for drinks again! ha! 

On Saturday was altitude sickness day! I woke up so excited to get in 18 miles with my friend Bridget (which it turned out being better that we didn't because of Tanner and I's hike on Sunday). We started off and got in the first 6 and it was totally fine. When we turned the corner, there was an intense wind going back but then I started feeling REALLY bad. We started slowing up and going like 9:30 and I still couldn't hold it. I was for sure that I would pass out. We stopped and I took a break for like 5 minutes and ate some Honey Stinger Gummies, and even though I was super nauseous, we kept continuing our way back. I had to stop at least once per mile to breathe and genuinely felt I was for sure going to pass out. We were doing like 10 min/mile and I felt like we were doing 6. It was awful. I was sick the rest of the day with GI upset, headache, nausea, and lack of appetite. Yikes. 

The rest of the day we spent going to consignment gear shops around the city and I found a Prana vest for $20! Score! We also found a ski rack for our car that would save us like $150 but we have no way to get it back so we passed. BOOOO!! 

That night we went to their house to help them paint because they BOUGHT A HOUSE HERE! YAY!!! It's officially official that they are going to be here for a while, which is exciting for them (they just moved in April). I left early to go to bed because I felt so awful.

On Sunday, which was yesterday, was the epic hike. We found a hike that we thought would be "moderate." Tanner has what appears to be walking pneumonia (yea I know lol) and his hamstring issue and he's like REALLY untrained cardio wise right now, and we had NO idea what we were getting ourselves into. It ended up being 10 miles (5 miles of 3500 ft of gain mostly rock climbing in the final 2 miles). There was snow and ice and mud and rocks and falling and cussing and 5 hours worth of work but we made it up and back down and are glad we did. Tanner felt bad that he was "holding me back" because he's so sick but I just couldn't believe he was even doing that altitude while hacking up his lungs. He woke up this morning crazy sick so he is going to just study for his oncology board all day today in coffee shops. 

The hike was beautiful but challenging. It opened up once to where we could get some views and the rest of the time was just climbing. I genuinely thought it would never end, but it did and I'll never forget it. 

We did decide that we aren't as "badass" on the mountains as we try to think we are (I mean we knew this but just a slap of reality check). We also decided that we aren't even sure we enjoyed that kind of "push" as much. So, we decided we will leave the Everest climbs to other people, and I'll leave the 100 mile races for those that are a little more intense than I! ;) I'll stick with road running and triathlon for now! It's interesting the difference in the peaks of Utah and Colorado. Colorado is very pointy so you have to climb a lot to get to the peaks, but then you are like on the ledge looking out over the world. In Utah, it's like you can see more beauty quicker. I like that more! hahah!! 

I had a few ask me about this peak, and it was South Boulder Peak, and when you summit, the other side of the peak that you can't really see in the pictures is a complete drop off. As we were walking around in these pictures, we were holding on to that rock for dear life just because one motion and you're done. I had no idea that it would be so intense of a day but it's a memory of a lifetime. It also helped me to get 61 miles on my feet for the week which is exciting! 

Last night, for the Super Bowl, we headed to a local restaurant and bar and it was a relaxing good time. Today, we chill. Tomorrow, we are going to Winterpark and skiing all day so of course I'm more than thrilled to be doing that!!! Our epic Colorado outdoor adventure is slowly coming to a close, and it's crazy how many trips and memories Tanner and I have made together, and I can't wait for the next one. However, we have decided to not have anymore week long trips away from home for the remainder of 2017. We have some big goals that we are trying to accomplish, and I also feel bad always leaving my dogs with other people. So, this was our big trip of 2017 and it's been amazing! :) 

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San Francisco Trip

In the past couple of months (since July), I have traveled more than I think I ever have in my life. I remember making a status of all that I had to come and couldn't believe all the places I was getting to go. Tanner and I sat down one night and decided that we wanted to take every trip we possibly could make work with the amount of PTO that he had, and we started scheduling. One of the places that I had been dying to go was California. I had been in touch with North Face about the possibility of running the 50K, and so I knew that this was a viable option.

With all of the places that we have been, I have not been on the plane on our way with butterflies. California had the same kind of allure to me that New York City once did (and still does but I've just been lots of times). It's a place where you hear so much about but it has just never felt tangible. So, needless to say, I was excited. We landed in LA first, and just had a short lay over to San Fran. I will say that I wish I had got to stop in LA at least for a few hours because I feel that might be more of the Cali that I was dreaming of (not that San Fran wasn't a-mazing lol). We didn't arrive until 1am on Friday morning which with the time change was 4am our time so we were TIRED. We slept until 7am (which would have been 10am) and we felt refreshed for the day on Friday.

As I said yesterday, we were staying with a friend that I met at the Boston Marathon, and she is an absolute gem. She had her entire living room area set up for us with a nice queen air mattress. I wish I knew this brand of air mattress because it's certainly the best I've ever slept on and has never deflated. haha! I feel like I always wake up in a taco with air mattresses. Just me? lol.

On Friday, Tanner and I started exploring. One of the things that I had told Tanner the night before is that I HAD to have an acai bowl while I was here. Ironically, Meredith told us "You have to go to this place called Basik" and that's exactly what they are known for. We LOVE some coffee so we first stopped into a coffee shop called Saint Franks and then moved onto those acai bowls. Immediately we realized how expensive San Fran was and even more expensive than NYC (although I think we just learned tips and tricks with living there). We always find it super interesting that the day before we were in a different spot on a map having a coffee for $1.50 then we fly on a plane and then it costs $3.50 for a small. Ha!

After acai bowls, we headed to Lombard street which is the curviest street in America and we were close by. They have turned it into a garden area as well so it was super pretty. If you don't know this about San Fran, the temperature is ALWAYS moderate. It never really goes below 40, but never really above 80. I haven't decided if I love that, but I love some snow so that would make me sad to live here (but let's be real Shelby gets no snow either). We could see the Golden Gate Bridge in the background and all of the houses look like the set of Full House. I felt like I was in a dream in this place I've dreamed about for so long. Isn't life funny like that? Why haven't I just come here sooner? Who knows!

Another thing about San Fran-THE HILLS! I didn't know about it, and I'm not exaggerating that it's the steepest hills I've ever seen on streets. I feel as if they go straight into the air, and when I saw that, I was like "Ohhhhh boy" thinking about how I was supposed to be running a race on Saturday. Tanner and I wandered around and ended up at the Ferry Building for lunch. Most all of the places at the Ferry Building were very heavily meat focused, but we were able to find a place that had some options for us that was overlooking the water. It was absolutely beautiful. We came back to the house at that point to meet up with Meredith before we went to the Cliffhouse to watch the sunset. With daylight savings time as we all know, it's like super duper early and that's where my best friend Brandy met us. We had talked earlier in the year and decided that we were going to plan a trip out here, so she was staying with a different friend but we spent a good amount of time together.

We went to a place called Cliffhouse but the beach was right beside of it, so we laid out a blanket, and a bottle of wine, and just enjoyed it. It was breath taking to be honest, and the prettiest sunset I think I've ever seen. We could NOT stop taking pictures!!

From there, we got dinner at an amazing stop in place called Blue Barn that Meredith took us to and headed back as we knew we had an early morning with the race (4am to be exact). Read all about Saturday HERE.

After the race shenanigans, we showered and went down to Fisherman's Dwarf for some drinks. It was a super cool area that is one of the touristy spots so I would definitely recommend it. I thought when we came, we would need to rent a car and Brandy did because she was staying an hour outside of San Fran proper, however Meredith lives right in the heart and with the parking situations, you definitely don't need a car. We took ubers or walked to most places and found that to be the easiest. Renting a car wasn't that expensive for this week, but I'm glad that we didn't for ease of travel.

After having drinks we met up with Brandy and her friend for dinner, and as usual, we headed back early. We knew we were planning on going to wine country on Sunday so we thought we'd go to bed early. Truth is: we had jet lag the entire time and went to bed at 8pm and got up at 4am every day but we figured we would keep doing it and then we could adjust easily going back.

Sunday morning, we got up and went to brunch at a little hole in the wall and then headed on our way. I knew that west coast was much more "liberal" for lack of a better word so I was challenging myself to stay vegan the entire trip and I totally was able to easily. It's been no problem at all, and I've really enjoyed it to be honest! :)

After that, we headed off to wine country. There are a couple of different areas that you can choose for wine country but we chose to go to Sonoma. It's a little more chill than Napa. We went to three different vineyards and tried about 10 different wines none of which were Pino so then we got a bottle of Pino at the last place and split it between all three of us. Of course, we had to stop and take beautiful pictures in the vineyard as well. We had a REALLY great day at the vineyard and all kept talking about how blessed we felt to be getting to do these things and how much we love life.

We stopped at a restaurant called Soul Food on the way back, and again, AMAZING vegan food. It's so cool to be in an area of the country that values this lifestyle soyou are able to try the most amazing dishes that are all plant based. There are so many combinations and it makes me appreciate food more now that I live this lifestyle. I won't complain but I do wish Shelby had just a fewwww more vegetarian options as it basically is nonexistent.

We got back at about 6pm and no lie watched Netflix until we fell asleep at 8pm. HA!! We are party animals clearly! Monday morning we woke up somewhat wishing that we had flown out on Monday but our flight was on Tuesday so we had an entire extra day. We really didn't know what to do yesterday so we basically meandered around doing nothing pretty much all day. LOLLLL! On Monday morning however, I went to a run group called Back on My Feet. It's meant to help the homeless. They have a point system for when you come to the run club and if you come a certain amount of times then you are able to get certain benefits from that that helps them lead into independence. The program is brand new in San Fran so there weren't that many people there, but it's an amazing thing they are starting. I laughed because I've never done a huddle where we didn't pray but we did this huddle and they like started encouraging everyone, and I bowed my head and then popped back up like "Oh, we aren't praying!" hahahaha! It was hilarious in my head, but makes sense because it is San Fran after all! ;)

We have LOVED San Fran and will definitely be back sometime. We are so lucky that we were able to stay with a friend, and I definitely want a little redemption on that 50K course at some point! ;) We honestly however are REALLY excited to get back to our puppies, decorate our home for the holidays as I'm having family at my house for the first time on Christmas day, and we have big plans for fun things we want to do in our area! :) We have left the season of travel but are really looking forward to some time at the house. Our next trip is Feb 1-8 when we go to Colorado for visiting friends in Boulder and a ski trip! The beautiful thing about travel is that it's beautiful, it's exhausting and when you get a little tired of it, home is always waiting with open arms.

Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season!

 

 

 

 

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Things We Do to Keep Our Marriage Healthy

I believe health is many things including relationships. I also find it's very hard to find health is other areas of our lives if our closest relationships aren't at peace. I want to start with the disclaimer that I know that we have "only" been together for 5.5 years, and we most certainly are very lucky because there are MANY MANY situations where people wish that things were different and just some simple steps are not going to fix the deep wounds after decades of hurt. But, from my young, 4 year old marriage, I'd love to share how we fall in love more and more every year. 

1. We keep Christ at our center with each other as our first priority.

I remember when I got married, my best friend Brandy said "Let's go to Boston on spring break" and I was like YESS! So we booked the flight and I told Tanner after. He was so kind about it but he was just basically like, "You didn't think twice of me. You knew I had to work and you didn't even care that I couldn't go."

I was so convicted because it was so true. I hadn't given him a second thought. Ooops. I love my friends dearly. I love my family so very much, but my husband comes first to me. We genuinely desire a true Christ like marriage. I also feel that this sounds so .... just ... cliche Christianese talk. But we discuss it frequently, and how can we make this something that actually happens and not just something that is a nice catch phrase.

2. We found common ground and became best friends.

The reason that I said "we found" and we "became" is because I would actually say this was not the case when we got married. I didn't work out at all, and he lifted weights pretty seriously but we never talked about health and fitness. We connected because we had similar backgrounds and upbringings, similar religion, political views, and we just clicked very quickly on many topics however we didn't really share any hobbies. This has evolved over the years. 

While I know that a big one of ours is fitness, that's not the only one. We are dreamers. We are travelers. We are bucket listers. We love to make lists of places that we will go. We commonly say "Okay if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?" or "If you could do anything right now, what would you do job wise?" and then we try to make action plans towards those things. We love to dream, but we love to actually see some of those dreams come to fruition. It gives us such passion and zeal in life together. We get jacked up...together. It's fun. 

3. We listen to one another. 

I hate when he chews loud. He hates when I lose my keys. We created systems to prevent the moments of tension. I eat many times per day, and so a lot of times I just leave my plate, fork, spoon just out and dirty. The other day he said "This really actually bothers me a lot." (He is a clean guy) and I was like "Wow. I'm so sorry. I've been doing that forever." But guess what? I'm not going to do it again. It's small stuff like that that's not worth arguing over. I know you can't help if your spouse won't do the same but maybe if you start doing the things that they tell you they don't like, then they might feel more love towards you in that and start doing the things that bother you. 

4. We seek counsel from healthy Christian marriages and we ACTUALLY listen to what they have to say. 

If I see someone doing the marriage thing right, you better believe I'm going to ask them like that moment what makes them the way that they are. If I see an older couple holding hands, I ask how they have stayed so in love. If I see children that are just so mature at a young age, I ask how they feel they raised them differently. Many times I get answers that I don't want to hear to be honest, and think "Man, I need to change some things" and sometimes those things don't change and I have to revisit them, but I try. And he tries. I'm very lucky that I have a man that tries as well. 

5. We waited/are waiting to have children. 

For us personally, this was actually a big deal. When we met, we were in pharmacy school and I'm a huge focuser in things like that. I don't make adequate time for relationships. From there, we went into residency. From there, we moved to NYC and he worked evening shift and I worked day shift. We are just coming into a season of normalcy and we want to really enjoy one another during this time. We didn't "date" long and got engaged quick and we don't regret that at all, but are kinda sad we missed out on some dating phases of the relationship and so we want to take this super slow and date each other now! :) 

6. We don't nag and we aren't needy

AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. Seriously. I really do think I might be more nagging if I had the energy but ironman + small business owner + everything else = who cares if he did this one thing? I'd rather just move on. 

He used to try to talk things out with me but he knows better now. I'm just like "if we could just wait 10 minutes, I'll probably forget this even existed" and that's basically how we handle things. 

7. We make sex a priority.

Sorry, mom. Women, I know this is tough. It really is at times, and I totally get it. BELIEVE ME. But I love my husband and I know that it's a huge thing for them. It's also huge that we not just say "Uh yea sure whatever" but that we are excited. It is a huge part of how they are made, and I firmly believe that sometimes it's just not always about me and if I'm feeling it. 

8. We desire a loving, compassionate marriage. 

We are probably too anxious about how "bad" we do at this. We are very over analytical on our marriage with our desires to make it better, so maybe that's not good either but we are constantly talking about what we can do to make it better. We talk about how to break down the walls of getting too busy to even just hold hands or go to dinner together. We just make small efforts...small tiny daily efforts.

9. We talk through conflicting issues when we aren't in conflict and we don't talk about each other to anyone else. 

Remember how I said I just like to walk away in conflict? Yea, usually that's what we do. But sometimes, Tanner will later say "I feel as if this is maybe an issue I don't want to become an elephant in the room so now that things are calm, let's talk this out" so then we do. We have a no yelling policy. I needed a policy for myself. Tanner has probably never yelled in his life except maybe during a max deadlift or something. haha! 

We also have really found a common ground that we agree on for bigger issues. I know we don't have children yet so I can't speak for that. Finances for example, we put our money together and we have a $50 limit where we at least call and say "Hey do you mind if I get this?" We also had conversations before about how we wanted to handle money to make sure that we were on the same page. The same goes for other topics as well. 

10. We are each other's biggest fan and cheer each other on. 

He will be at every event that I do with bells on. He gets off work and changes his schedules to be there for me (except when he was like in residency and didn't have a choice). He is a pharmacist that works in an outpatient chemotherapy clinic and he is wanting to get board certified in oncology so that he can be better at his job. This requires a lot of studying at nights now, but I'm so proud that I'm like "Let me make you coffee and bring you dinner!!" We just always say that we are a team and that if one of us is doing something then we are in it together. 

 

 

 

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How I Respected My husband and made our marriage better

I always like to start these semi controversial blogs with "DIS IS MY BLOG. YOU DO YOU BOO BOO." 

This is not your typical southern baptist "well the bible says to respect my husband as head of the household therefore I'm going to lie down and not speak" so while the title may have made you think that, that's not what this is about. I also think it's important to recognize I'm sharing this in efforts to show others even small little issues can be resolved without huge blow ups, but that I'm being vulnerable so maybe keep that in mind. ;) 

I just simply wanted to share a story on how I really did something that I've never done before and how it changed my marriage. When Tanner and I moved to NYC, there was no trouble in paradise but there were a few heated arguments over REALLY silly stuff. I can remember the days but like not even really what they were about. I think we all have these. I do remember one thing though...he felt completely and utterly disrespected from the way that I treated him in front of other people. He never said those words of course though.

I am not one to deal with this well so I fired shots. Shots like, "OH COMEEEEEE ON CALM DOWN IT'S NOT THAT SERIOUS DUDE! IT WAS A JOKE!" I also fired shots of "How dare you demand respect like this is 1910? I am a woman. Here me roar." 

We all know I'm over exaggerating here, but you get the point. To explain what was going on-I was doing what every wife does right? Her husband says something that she believes to be silly. She rolls her eyes in efforts to let everyone know "He's so silly. I know he's silly. I'm embarrassed." I have this thing that I do to myself also. I point out my flaws to make everyone laugh. I thought the same humor would hold true when pointing out the flaws of my husband...in front of him...and friends. I'm not a terrible person. These are not like REAL flaws, but like funny flaws. For example, I always laugh about how someone will tell me "I saw someone that looked JUST LIKE YOU the other day" and I'm like "Let me guess. They had a long horse face." (cue the laughter) 

Everyone laughs when I say this because they know I have a long face which makes it even more funny when I'm like "YEA SEE WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING SO HARD!!" I'm not offended by this. I don't have low self esteem about my long face. I just have one and I like to make people laugh about it. So what was the harm in playing this game with my husband right? 

Wrong. 

I was having a bible study with a group of girls and we were going through the book, Love and Respect and the "crazy cycle." The crazy cycle goes like this. You feel unloved so you disrespect him. He feels disrespected so he doesn't love you well. You aren't loved well so you disrespect. You get it? In order to break this cycle someone has to just say "Okay, I'm just going to sacrifice my desires in efforts to do this for you." Typical Christian-ese marriage talk. 

So, I'm reading along in the book and it says something about making a joke at the expense of your spouse to make others laugh. I thought "Woah... do I do that?" I had never thought of it in that way. My little grinch heart started to soften. We went to our group that night and I had this epiphany moment. I know they all probably thought it was just normal talk but I was thinking "No really, this is huge. I've got to stop. I'm going to stop. I'm being so mean to him in efforts to make others laugh. I get embarrassed by some goofy thing he might say and I roll my eyes at him. That's not the wife I want to be. I want to lift him up." 

I'm going to be honest, and I know that some might think it's silly but men were CREATED to have their ego stroked.... and especially by their wives. No, my husband does not ask me to stroke his ego or even make reference to this but when I started uplifting my husband instead of picking on him, he was a different person. Let me tell you though... that did NOT happen overnight. The word I would describe him as was ... defensive.

I started to notice that any time there was even a hint at something that I was putting him down, almost like he thought I was treating him like a little kid, he would give a snide remark (mind you it's Tanner-he doesn't raise his voice but he would immediately make it clear he thought I was putting him down and he didn't understand why I always do that). I kept thinking to myself how I created him that way when that was NOT how he used to be, so it was my job to undo it and show him I wasn't going to pick on him or put him down. I know yall only know me through this blog, but yall, I don't do well with keeping my mouth shut in moments like this. It took genuine REAL effort to be think to myself "KATIE DO NOT SNAP BACK!!" I can remember twice I had moments of broken down tears of "I'm trying so hard to uplift you and be so biblical with the way I'm treating you and you don't even recognize how hard I'm working over here" and him immediately being like "Oh wow. I had no idea you were even trying. I'll start trying too." 

Little by little, he started to give back. Little by little, he started to not have the knee jerk response of defensiveness. It's been really cool to see the change in our marriage simply by me sacrificing just getting that last word in. When I say we don't fight...we like legit don't fight. I can't even remember the last time.  We agree on really big issues that people argue about (politics, religion, food preferences, financial preferences, ways to raise a kid [we will see how that lasts ha], etc etc) so we find it rather easy to agree. I honestly will say that without a doubt, I made him into the defensive person that he was for a year. I picked on him. I made him feel belittled. But, I had no idea I was even doing it. It took introspection to see the things that I needed to change. It took a solid year to undo the response he had towards me, and then now I look back and think "when did the defensiveness stop?" I don't even know. But, it did. 

I know there will be tons of stories like this in our marriage, but it's really cool to look back and know that through making Christ the center of our marriage, I was able to recognize that it's not about me and my desires, but about how can I make us better together. I'm not saying I got this gig figured out and it was most definitely the work of the Lord through me in those moments of prayfully keeping my mouth shut and knowing how to uplift him not put him down, but in all those moments of wanting to say "NO! ME ME ME! I AM WOMAN HERE MY ROAR" to saying "I respect you so much and I think you're wonderful and a true gift to me so I'm going to shut up and sit down", I was able to see my husband become an even better husband and love me even better than he already did. 

((There are so many run on sentences in this blog and yall all know I'm not a grammatically well written author and I'm more of a 'spew my thoughts on the world wide web' type of blogger so please forgive me. hahaha!!))

For more info: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/relations/how-much-does-couple-counseling-cost/

 

 

 

 

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Prosperity Gospel

"If it aint true for a single mom in Haiti, then it's not true for you." 

Lately, I've been really challenged in my faith in the whole world view of things. Hashtag blessed has taken a whole new meaning. I've really looked at things from the WORLD and not my extremely white, American culture. I'm not blind to the fact that because of where I just so happened to be born, certain things happened to me, and somehow that means that God has more favor on me? That just shakes me the wrong way, and it's just not the case. Do I think that there is hate & discrimination in our culture and I don't even grace the topic of it because I just simply know in every way that I don't understand. No matter how hard I would try to understand, my viewpoints are different because of the very fact of where I was and the color of my skin and the opportunities that I've been given.

It's hard for us to wrap our minds around these things when we look at the starvation and poverty of our cities and around the world. It makes us wonder where is God in most all of it, and even in our own culture, but I don't want to get into the depths of that today. It's too deep, and I might flounder in explaining how I feel about that in a poor way. 

First, I am a fitness and health coach and a blogger. I want everyone to know how I feel and how faith has changed my life. I'd love for it to change others as well, and I want to be able to show Christ's light in my life, but I never ever want to come across as demeaning or trying to convert someone or trying to make us feel guilty about our world that we are in (not that you would from my little ole blog but just clarifying). 

If you get a job and you start making really good money, you probably would say "Yes I'm so blessed. The Lord has been so good to me" if you were an American Christian and that would be true, but again, what does that say about the gospel? Does that mean that the person that you beat out of the job is not as favored as you? Or does that mean that there is something better in store for the person that you beat out at the job interview? What if that person at the job interview thinks "Okay, the Lord is going to move me into something greater and better and THATS why I didn't get the job" so they move on, get another job, and it's awful...absolutely horrible and your job is still fantastic. Does that mean that the Lord favored you more because their job sucks day in and out?

I got married early. I have a really amazingly sweet and loyal (and attractive ow ow) husband. Does that mean the Lord has more favor over my single friends? Does that make my single friends mad at God?...maybe at times. Does that mean that the lady who is struggling in domestic violence is not favored by God? 

"GIVE TO THE LORD AND YOU WILL BE ABUNDANTLY REWARDED!!!" It's like I can hear pastors saying this, and it makes me feel so weird. It's not that I don't think that you will be blessed and favored in life, but that's just not how it works because if it was, then what about all these other cases? 

Could it be that you just didn't get the job because the company just simply picked the other person? If you get a really sucky job after your dream job is ripped out from under you, are you still going to be living for him? 

I think that's the point that I want to make. You are not abundantly blessed because of the clothes that you have, but because of the live that you live in Christ. You are abundantly blessed no matter your circumstances. Circumstances does not equal gospel. Your wealth and prosperity has nothing to do with blessings from the Lord. In all things, we praise him and not just when we land the job and we don't praise him because we didn't get the job in anticipation of the next job that we think is going to be even better. 

When you live your life in Him, those things fade into the background. They just simply don't matter as much anymore. To say that they don't matter at all is a lie because we are way too engrained with these cultural standards, but it starts to be just a passing thought. The amount of burden and anxiety lifted is unreal. So why pray then right? The Shack explains this so well in that praying is like when I play with Jackson. It's not that I don't already know how to color or read simple books but we bring ourselves to the level of a child because we love them. That's how Jesus feels about us. He lowers himself so that we are able to experience Him fully. That's why we needed Jesus...to show us the human form of Christ. 

I've caught myself so much lately realizing the reality that if God is real then we have to face the hard questions of the people all around us who aren't even close to as fortunate, and what does that mean? For me, that just simply means doing the best that I can to bring it all back to him in the good, bad, and ugly. As one pastor said at the death of one of my very good friends from high school, everything doesn't happen for a reason as that's just too painful to think about, but we can find reason in everything moving forward. 

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Our Story to Becoming Young Life Leaders

{{This got a bit lengthy but I wanted to share the full story}}

I remember the first time that I ever explained to Tanner what Young Life was. The infamous Blair Jones put up a facebook post that she was organizing a team of runners to run across South Carolina in efforts to raise money for Young Life (200 miles). I was like YES I WANT TO DO THIS! Life is so crazy because I remember that we lived in Raleigh, and we were to meet in this parking lot at the home of the organizer (blair) and ironically enough, that is now our neighborhood. I had NO idea at the time that I would be living RIGHT BESIDE this parking lot 4 years down the road. But, I digress. 

I raised the money for Young Life, ran the race, and I told Tanner all about my high school years of Young Life and how much I loved the ministry. That was that. 

But, that's just the first time I told Tanner. Let's rewind to how much I feel the Lord has been pursuing me for this ministry for a long time. 

When I was in high school, I was involved. I won't say I was SUPER involved, but I was very very busy with the sports that I played and I remember always thinking how badly I wanted to go to their events but couldn't seem to ever make it. I always thought it was so cool when the girls would come talk to us at lunch (which is funny because of how AWKWARD that had to have been for them) and how I wanted to be one of the cool kids that did Young Life ;) I always went to Windy Gap. I wanted to go to summer camp, but my family didn't have the money and I actually didn't know that you could fundraise most of it. 

I went to college at App, and became instant best friends with Erica Aguero (Gardner now). We decided to go to College Life one night (I have no idea why to be honest). We decided we wanted to be leaders. We both talked about it, and right before everything was about to start, I bailed. I knew I did not have the time or energy to be this "perfect student and get into pharmacy school" and also be committed to Young Life. I lived with Erica sophomore year. I loved watching her be a leader. I went to a few meetings & events with her...nothing serious. I knew the Lord. I loved the Lord, but my focus was so skewed back then. Pharmacy school or die because I "had to be successful". I told Jesus I'd get to know Him when I was done with all of that....which I guess I kept to that promise at least. HA! 

Pharmacy school ends and we head up to New York City for a year of adventure. The first thing that happens is how involved we become with our church. One of the first months that I'm there, I meet someone who is a young life leader. I talk with her literally the entire night about how much I love the ministry and want to be involved. We exchange numbers. It was a go....until I left and talked to Tanner. He knows me. He knows how I jump in before thinking. He was like "Katie really? You are working 40+ hours a week, commuting 2 hours, studying for boards, training for your first marathon and opening up an incorporated business. This is just too much." I remember thinking that he was not "being a spiritual leader" hahahaha! No, the boy just had common sense and spoke it into my soul when I needed it. 

Then, we move back to Shelby. We get really involved with our church and still are, and I run into a friend, Wes. He is married to this really cute, sweet girl named Rachel. She is so bubbly, introduces herself and I tell Tanner how I could be such good friends with this girl and how she totally had the "Young Life Vibe." I knew they were very involved. At this moment, I literally had ZERO intentions of any involvement, and honestly just hadn't thought of it. Rachel facebooked me later that week and asked if I'd like to get coffee. I was like UH DUH and that's all she wrote on our friendship. It's been a go ever since. ha! 

In the midst of that though, I remember one night she texted me and said "I promise I'm not a recruiter, and I don't normally do this, but I just honestly think that you and Tanner would be great Young Life leaders." When I read her message, my heart kind of stopped because I thought "God, here you are again, for the THIRD time bringing this ministry to me across the span of 8 years." Like, how insane right? There are MANY MANY different ministries that I could have met along the way, become friends with people involved and been pursued. Yet, somehow from Shelby, to Boone, to New York City then back to Shelby and it's there every time. I honestly don't think I'd ever felt so "led" like "Woahhhhh...this just happened." haha! 

Then, I got nervous. How am I going to tell Tanner I want to think and pray about this? He's going to tell me I do too much and I don't need to, and he has no idea what it is so I doubt he will want to do it. So, I started dropping subtle ((which I know Rachel will probably LOL as she's reading this)). Like- "hey babe-Rachel gave you the best compliment today that you'd be such a great leader of Young Life and obviously NOT THAT WE ARE but like IF WE WERE, you'd be so good at it." You know--build up the man's ego...yall know that's how they work ;)

His three comments were: "Well I just don't know what it's about because I've never done it" and "I don't feel like I'm good enough to lead" and "I'm not against the idea at all...I just need to think and pray about this." 

A few weeks went by. We kept talking about things. I had honestly come to the conclusion he really didn't want to. Tanner is either IN or he's not. He said he "wasn't against it" but I know him. If he's not ALL IN, he might as well be out and if he was in, he would talk about it nonstop and be so excited. He wasn't that (STAY TUNED).

We went to a marriage retreat with our church, and Wes and Rachel did too. Tanner was able to talk to Wes a little bit more about what Young Life looks like day to day from a full time working spouse type thing. He was coming around and I could feel it! HAHAHA! 

I honestly didn't say a word. I prayed individually about it, and continued of course talking to Rachel about it, but I didn't want to pressure him at all. I wanted this to be 100% his decision and not something I forced on him, so honestly I didn't talk about it like....at all. 

I can't even remember how soon this was, but we were on our way to pick up something at Wes and Rachel's one night and the conversation went like this: 

Tanner: Oh, by the way, I'm 100% in now.

Me: For what? Wait what?

Tanner: Yea..Young Life-I'm 100% down now. Let's do it!

Me: How did this happen? When? Why did you make this decision? 

Tanner: I don't know. I prayed about it, but I just know now and I'm 100% in. 

AND THEN MY EXCITED TANNER KICKED IN. I told yall, I know the kid.

At that point, we reached out to the area director in Shelby now, and had dinner with him and his wife. Shoutout to them for being the absolute best hosts and I'm so excited to get to know them even better than we do now because they are FAN-TASTIC. I feel like God hand picked them to be just what Cleveland County needed for YL. 

Things happened quickly at that point, and we were placed at Burns High. For a little background, I went to Shelby High. Burns High is a rival, but not like a deeply routed rival. It's more of a friendly rival. LOL!! I had a REALLY incredible leader in NYC tell me once that being humble is not about never recognizing where you are needed. It's having the maturity to think so little of yourself that you are able to recognize from the outside an area that you are of need, and to fill that need. That's EXACTLY the emotion that I feel about being at Burns. I feel as if God hand picked us for this spot, this school, at this time. It's pretty incredible to be apart of something I know to be just SO RIGHT, and I'm so excited for the future of it. 

 

 

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Marriage Retreat & Asking the Awkward Questions

When we were asked to go on the marriage retreat, for some weird reason, I was hesitant because I had two other trips that month so it was going to be three weeks back to back. I know that with training that can get tricky. However, my friends at church started talking about it and I was like "Uh I wouldn't miss this for the world" and I'm sure glad I didn't. 

The hotel was at Lake Lure Inn which is a beautiful lake in the NC mountains if you aren't familiar that's only an hour from Shelby (which I didn't realize-going to be making other trips ;)). It was a really old hotel and we had 21 couples that essentially took up the entire place. I heard a young couple coming down the stairs on Saturday night say "There's this church here taking up the whole place because they have so many da** people!" hahaha! It wasn't THAT many, but it was a small(er) hotel I guess. 

Friday, we stopped with 2 other couples at a restaurant before we got to the first session at 8pm. The way that a marriage retreat or any retreat goes for that matter is that typically you will have a speaker and they just get real with you. It's not meant to be a sermon. The theme of the weekend was "How to Love well" which #DUH #marriageretreat! :) The speakers were an absolute joy...really. They have been married for going on 20 years, and I just LOVE hearing about faith based marriage and they are still very much in love. It's a beautiful thing to see and be mentored by. 

At the end of each session, they would provide questions for us to talk through (and pray over) with our spouse. This is where half of the title comes from, because I'm officially a huge fan of that. The only time that you are ever going to do that is in a setting like this. I'm not going to write up some questions for Tanner and I to go over, and if I did he would be like "love ya babe, but I have to go brush my teeth" because most likely he would find that activity more productive! It is so transformative. I'm not even lying. You get down in the dirty with your spouse or if it's at your small group or even just with a group of friends, and you talk about the things that you wouldn't EVER talk about. What are my fears? How does that affect our relationship? Do I represent and respect you well in public? How can I change that? 

See, not too many right? ;) 

See, not too many right? ;) 

It is just an open line of communication for things that might not have even surfaced that you can work through. The same goes in other settings that might just be within your own thoughts of things that you might not have realized are there, but you need to work through. I was able to see SO MUCH about myself in just talking to Tanner about it, but also really walk through the steps on how I can do better. (Specifically always fear of failure-are you shocked?-probably not). 

It's cool because typically you only would start asking these questions in marriage unless you went to like counseling or something because your marriage wasn't doing so great. It's really neat to be able to do them even when your marriage is good so that hopefully before the red flags of anger are even drawn, and the bitterness is not even there, you can work through things that might come up in the future. Tanner and I realize how lucky we are with our marriage. We fight very little, and are just super chill about certain stuff. We also agree on almost ALLL life things, so that produces very little arguing but we have been together for only 5 years. We haven't walked through the absolute DIRT together of maybe one of our parents passing away when we are older and some who have lost children or those fathers who have to work all the time to be able to provide. Life can be REALLY REALLY tough sometimes, and it's so good to hear these couples talk about how they worked through these times so that we can be prepared to know how to do that. 

At the retreat we had 3 of these sessions and I loved working through the questions with Tanner. On Saturday, we had a breakfast buffet provided for us, and lunch and dinner we were on our own.

{{Just to throw a little bit of health in for the readers at home...as you can imagine... I really don't think nutrition is something that needs to be concerned with. I eat well if I can. I stop when I'm full. Listennnnn to yooooo body. Just because you go on a trip doesn't mean you have to eat everything in sight but it also doesn't mean that you have to stick to your nutritional plan either because that's cray cray. I also typically will take Saturday as my rest day and do my longer run/ride when I return from trips on Sundays. I literally don't even think about health and fitness when I leave for weekends like this, and I planned on vlogging but my mind is so far from thinking about that, that I just don't. ha.}} 

Saturday, we also had a picture scavenger hunt. IT WAS SO FUN!! We paired up with couples, but ours didn't win. BOOO! ;) Saturday night was filled with fun and so much laughter with all of these people whom I have grown to love dearly. I felt this way about my NYC community as well, so maybe I just love people, but I really really do think that both my church in NYC and my church here are so very special.

The people at BRCC (Broad River Community Church) in Shelby...I just can't explain. They are just SUCH genuine people! I hear them talk and I'm just like....wow. It makes me want to model my life after some of the older ones just seeing how much of a servant heart they have, and how they genuinely pursue Christ in every day life. It's really inspiring. Our entire staff is volunteer so you'd think our services wouldn't have the most qualified worship leader and pastor. I'm telling you how amazing they are, because they could EASILYYYYYY go to another church and make A LOT more money!!! 100%..no doubt in mind. Our pastor is incredible...such a theologian who has spent so many years of his life speaking all over and seeking genuine truth in the bible always, and our worship leader could literally be on broadway. It just doesn't matter to them. They seek Jesus. That's it. They don't care about the money. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! 

Coming back this week leaves me feeling refreshed and renewed and honestly just at peace. I tend to get really stressed out throughout the weeks, and this just felt so good. I will be updating you guys soon as well on my decision to work in high school ministry, but for now, I'll keep it suspenseful. My mom reads my blog so she saw that in one of the posts and was like "I KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO DO THAT!!" and I was like "How in the world did you know?" and she said "It's just been a part of your life for so long that when you mentioned ministry, I knew that had to be the one." So, there's that. Momma's always know best ;) #Sometimes #Don'tGetArrogantMOMfitscript #JKILOVEYOU !! 





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The end to the Daniel Fast

So at the beginning of the year, I started on a journey to eat 100% plant based. I did a lot of research and became addicted to continuing that research on the benefits of living a life of plants. The reasons for going plant based were many-fold, but I did a youtube video that you can find HERE on some of those reasons. There is not one person (most likely) that is plant based without a reason. You can eat meat without people thinking that's odd but plant based is CRAY CRAY talk and you need to be able to explain yourself. So, to recap, here are the bullet point reasons of why I wanted to try this: 

  • World Hunger

If everyone in the world only ate plants, then we would have enough grain to feed the entire world. There are 795 million people that are starving and many are due to lack of resources because we are taking the grain, and feeding it to cows (who consume 27 pounds of grain PER cow PER day). Can you imagine how many people 27 pounds of grain would feed? In my discussions with other people who like to play devils advocate, they mention that many times people are starving due to their governments so even if the food was available, they still would starve. Well, okay, if you want to play that game then I guess we can. HA! 

I have become very fascinated with World Hunger actually, and I think that we are all very blind to it. I think that we have the notion of "well what difference could I REALLY make?" and the answer is: You could make a difference to ONE child and that's enough. 

  • Health 

There is WIDE spread evidence of this, and I really am not here to convince anyone, but just to share what I've learned and THIS VIDEO sums it up in a tight little bow. I promise it's worth watching.

  • Animals 

So we all know that animals are treated cruel in the industry. I'm not an animal activist. I hardly would say that I "love animals" and I don't say that to make you hate me, but just to say that even with my "Eh whatever" attitude towards animals, if you learn how they are actually treated, I think you would be horrified. I think it all boils down for me to the fact that I'm supporting people who could actually do those things-whether it be to animals or not. Like, the things they do.... yikes. It's bad y'all. 

  • Environment 

You MUST watch Conspiracy on Netflix. it's free. I am not an environmentalist. I've always just thought "Eh whatever" just like with animals, but you have to watch this. It's very eye opening to the industry and the greed and corruptness of it. THATS what I don't like. 

Before you get all upset at me for these comments, I am in no way putting down people in this industry. There are bad people in EVERY industry and there are really really good people. So, please don't mistake me for saying that. I was just explaining what made me want to challenge myself in this. I saw some things that I couldn't unsee and learned some things that I couldn't unlearn. On the days where I was thinking I would try this, I had a friend email me and ask me to join her in a Daniel Fast, and I was like "This is perfect. I can try this out for 21 days"

So, I did. I'm not going to sit here and lie to you that I was perfect, but I didn't have any meat whatsoever. The other stuff is the problem-dairy, whey in products, cheese (although I get veggie cheese and it's not that serious), sour cream, yogurt, ice cream...THAT is the stuff that's hard. Not buying meat is not hard. I just don't do it. Haha! One of the hardest changes was eggs. In the past week, I added 3 egg whites into my day. In all honesty, I was feeling very restricted which I haven't felt in like 3 years since I overcame some awful eating habits, and so that scared me...a lot. I thought that if 3 egg whites per day made me feel better, then I wasn't jumping ship-I was just doing what worked best for me. 

My family was nice about it, but I wouldn't say they are okay with it. Our family everything revolves around food, and the food always contains meat, and if it doesn't contain meat, it DEFINITELY contains meat products but I worked around it. 

So, here's where I'm at: 

Our family will not be eating meat because that's easy for us but if I go to someone's house and they have prepared something with meat in it and I can't work around it, I'm going to eat it. This actually comes back to my faith. When Paul is teaching, and he goes into a home with vegetarians, he eats vegetarian. When he goes into a home with people who aren't vegetarian, he doesn't eat vegetarian. I believe that everything that I do should bring light to the love and joy that Christ brings to me so therefore I'm not going to get in an argument or discussion over meat, I'm going to eat the meat. Paul wanted nothing that he did to ever pull people away from the REAL importance which is shining Christ's light. It's really not that serious. 

I think that's my point too. ITS REALLY NOT THAT SERIOUS. That's what I want to tell my family too. I'm not doing drugs. I'm not jumping off a bridge here. I'm just simply choosing when I can, to not eat animal products. But, I'm not going to be crazy about it. 

I guess I'm here to say that I will do what I can, when I can. I will choose plant based for myself on every occasion in my home. When I go out to eat, I will look to see if that's an option. If not, that's okay too. I'm not going to leave or something bizarre HAHA! I'm not going to talk about it to people (other than my blog) because it's a very sensitive topic and I really don't care to even try to pretend like I know everything because I don't. I just saw some captivating research. That's all :)

Plant based is really amazing to be honest. You open your eyes to so many new plants out there that you've never tried before. You open yourself up to so many new fresh recipes that are so yummy, and I can't wait to expand my bank. I have a sweet friend who is sending me some cook books, and I'm excited to try those things as well. Another friend told me that doing what I can is better than doing nothing at all. Just because I really want eggs doesn't mean that I should eat beef every day too. haha! 

Lastly, the fasting portion of this which is what the title is. This month taught me about sacrifice and getting uncomfortable. That's what I like to do. I think that it really challenges us to look outside of our own little bubbles. It challenges me to take things in prayer and say "okay God, I really stinkin want to lather this in cheese right now" but I've made this commitment for this month. I did have eggs-whomp I suck-but I did pray about it and felt that in that moment, the restriction that I felt, it was more important for me to have them so that I could get over this weird waffle craving! (duh, why else would I have needed 3 egg whites teehee) I think that I'm going to have some other fasting experiences just because it just draws me closer. Lent is around the corner so I'll have to figure out what I want to do this year. It's always fun (kinda lol).

So, with that, I'm exhausted from discussing this. HAHA! It has snowed here so time to go PLAY!!! I'll talk more on this later, but can we all just agree to be chill about it? ;) 

Zucchini oats is actually something that I had never tried before, and I liked it haha! It's not as disgusting as it looks ;) 

Zucchini oats is actually something that I had never tried before, and I liked it haha! It's not as disgusting as it looks ;) 

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World Hunger & Giving up Meat

So this came about somewhat serendipitously, so forgive me for the random detour. I won't give a lot of details but you'll find reasons in here that Tanner and I are giving up meat. That is by no means a political stance, nor is that a viewpoint we wish to push on others, and I really don't even want it to be a thing. It's just what I feel is right for us at this time for reasons that you'll find in this video.

I also ask that I am not labeled. "Katie's vegetarian. Katie's vegan. Katie's plant based." There's too much judgement, politics and viewpoints that go along with those terms. I never want some label placed on me. It reminds me of some verse in the bible where Paul talks about how his soul purpose is bringing people to Jesus therefore if someone is vegetarian, well then he didn't eat meat with them. If they weren't vegetarian, well then he ate meat because those things are insignificant in the light of the REAL things that matter. Amen brother. It's not that serious of an issue. The final reason is something that almost feels like divine intervention when I get an email from one of my incredible friends in NYC who serves the Lord WELL. She was asking me to participate in the Daniel Fast with her. Truly, I'm not a fasting type of girl. I know that sounds quite selfish but really, I get hungry, grumpy and it just isn't in anyone's best interest and I didn't see the utility. 

This is only a 21 day fast. This is not a JUICE CLEANSE OR A DETOX DANG IT! This has NOTHING ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with diets or losing weight. I'm just giving up animal products of any kind. I'm also not a quack I promise ;) hahaha! But I do think that it's important to challenge ourselves, moving out of our comfort zones, and into the unknown to discover things about ourselves and for me right now, that means giving up meat and any other animal products for the 21 days of this starting Jan 4. It's called the Daniel fast (as some of you might be familiar) so I'll be sharing more of that as I go. [[Sooj, if you are reading this, I had already wrote this blog and was planning on doing this anyway and then got your email and read so much stuff on the Daniel fast last night so I dove right in]]

I think it's convenient that 21 days also is the amount of time it takes to break a habit so there's that. I'll be doing full days of eating on the bloggy blog of what that looks like. I'll be following a macro breakdown but a little different. I might gain weight because I'm normally very structured. WHO CARES? I SURE DON'T. But, just putting all nutritional data out there. :) 

I also legit never intended on telling all of this and was just going to do it, but then the stars have all aligned and here I am spewing my words on the blog. LOL! Today is also the final day of finishing the bible. WHAT A YEAR! WOW. Here is how I feel about that, and how it changed my life. I have gotten a lot of emails from people asking about my faith and how I share it and how that affects my business, and the truth is that it probably does in good and bad ways. No matter your religious affiliation, I want everyone to just be passionate in the things that they believe with their full hearts. When I sat down and thought about whether I would include faith in what I do, it kind of seemed pointless to not. It felt on purpose and unnatural to not, and I couldn't have that.

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My 2015 Year in Review

I have probably spent approximately an entire extra day re writing blogs that get deleted because I forget everyday that squarespace is now shutting down on me. I have switched browsers, and it’s still deleting my posts therefore I’m going to be emailing them today **insert fake happy face because I’m about to go mad**

However, I always get really excited to do these posts. I always feel like I’m bursting at the seems when a new year starts with all of my new ideas and ways to improve and not just Katiesfitscript but just life in general. I like to look back on this blog and see what I’ve done throughout the year, and at my post from last year and see what I realistically did because I do like to actually do those things I say I will. HERE is that post if you are interested.

I find the most interesting the fact that I thought I was going to be able to do all of those races. I thought it was my last year in NYC and so I wanted to do as many as I could but come to find out, we were going to be moving much sooner, so that didn’t happen. With the Boston Marathon and my full ironman this year, it’s a little unrealistic of me to think I’m going to do a ton of races, but I do hope to do an ultra this year as well but not sure which one yet.

This post is going to just be about how 2015 panned out and tomorrow I’ll do my goals so that this post isn’t 20 pages long! ;) The thing I did above all of my races that I'm most proud of is that I read the Bible from start to finish this year! It has absolutely transformed my life from the inside out, and set in place a quiet time in the mornings that I hope to hold onto forever and ever.

January

We went to Hunter Ski Mountain with a huge group of friends-I personally haven’t been on a trip like this so I found it to be really fun. I’ll have a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) when they go this year, but so thankful I got to go and plan last year’s. 

February

We went to Norway, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Berlin. I think that it takes getting on the outside of a trip like this, and remembering it that you realize just how amazing it was. We went somewhat spontaneously, and just looked up things to do in each city on the train on the way. We slept in two train stations not knowing that there would be no heat in the middle of the night in Europe. It made for THE BEST memories with Tanner that I’ll never forget. If you’d like to see how we did it $2500, HERE’s that. But of course, it is of note, that’s because we slept in train stations.

One night we found a hotel across the street, and went and asked how much it would be because we would only be there like 2am to 6am, and they said $100 and we were like “NAAAA we’re good” HAHAHA ;) So, we froze.

March

NYC Half Marathon-PR’d with a 1:33 and got to run through Times Square and the rest of the city which I absolutely loved! Do that half marathon if you get the chance, and I’m hoping to qualify for the full soon!! You need a 3:12:53!

April

We announced our move and had to sleep on friend’s couches because our lease was up and there is basically nowhere in the city that you can go for that short of time. I was honestly REALLY stressed out during this time because I lived in a constant state of guilt of having to ask people for help. I didn’t like that AT ALL but I’m forever grateful to the friends that were so gracious to us in this time when we didn’t know what to do. 

May

We moved back to North Carolina on the 11th. I’ll never forget it.

I did the Over the Mountain Tri also, and this is the course that my bike broke down halfway. Honestly, I was trying to ride like a Walmart cruiser on the hardest bike course on the east coast and just thought my endurance would carry me through. I hadn’t even rode a bike outside at all I don’t think at that point. Legit, just signed up because I wanted to know what an open water swim felt like, so at least I got out of it what I came for ;) I found out that OWS does not bother me at all so that was good.

June

We started the process of buying our first home which we are in now. Super exciting stuff! I was studying like mad to take the licensure exam for NC at this point. BUSY BUSY.

July

I (FINALLY) became a licensed pharmacist in North Carolina which is something that I’m so incredibly proud of.

I also ran Grandfather MountainMarathon and somehow got first place in my age group. I found that I absolutely love running through the mountains and on trails which leads me to believe that I would love ultramarathons, so I’m hoping to be able to do one this year. It’s a marathon up a mountain so it’s pretty intense (aka crazy lunatic) stuff.

September

Katiesfitscript became incorporated which was a huge deal to me! I keep telling people that I’m going to keep doing this as long as it’s the Lord’s will and it keeps providing, and as of right now it just continues to grow so for that, I’m grateful!

October

Beach to Battleship Half Ironman

I think back on that race, and after my crash, I thought maybe tris just weren’t for me. Maybe I just wasn’t meant for it, and then when I crossed that finish line, every moment was worth it. I’ve never been so proud of myself…ever. It changes you. I also hired a coach

November

Thunder Road Marathon where I PR’d with my 3:15:20 and was the third female overall winner. I still absolutely CANNOT believe that.

I also took an overnight 12 hour bus to surprise my BFF, Brandy so that was an adventure.

Now, here we are. December was a blur full of memories and laughter, and we leave on thursday for our last trip of the year to Nashville for New Years! 

I always am so mushy but when I think about how much this life has to offer, I’m just in awe. When I sit back and think about the rest of the world, and how incredibly LUCKY we are to be in the positions that we are in. Just let that sink in.

Are you reading this? That means that you have the capacity to have internet, and most likely a computer. If not a computer, then that means that you have a phone. I don’t know why but the world poverty and all of the needs in the world have been HEAVY HEAVY on my heart this week.

Even before I spoke with the family from Haiti, I just felt like I was being called to help more in my community and far beyond that. I think it started when our church took food to needy families in Shelby. I’m not going to go into full details here, and I’m going to save that for tomorrow’s YouTube to explain my emotions lately with food and world hungry and poverty. So, if you haven’t subscribed, now is the time ;) 

This is the final week to sign up for the January challenge (The Blueprint). It will teach you everything that you need to know about macros (how to calculate your own, how to track, how to eat out, what to do with food allergies/preferences). You will have a Facebook group for accountability and at the end, there will be prizes. There are new workouts that are gym focused but you can choose to be sent my other workout options (hybrid training programs OR home workouts). It has a full meal plan for 4 weeks. Y'all, I call it the blueprint because I truly want it to be something you can't fail with! You can find it at SHOP > CHALLENGE GROUPS > The Blueprint Macro Guide & Meal Planning.

Lastly, if you want to convince your friends to join up and earn money while doing it, shoot me an email and I'll give you a code to do so. You'll make 20% for every sale!

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Christmas Traditions & Haitian coffee

Can you guys believe that Christmas has come and gone? It’s hard to believe that we are wrapping up 2015? I actually haven’t officially wrapped up all of the Christmas fun as I’m currently in Bristol TN with Tanner’s family. First, I love Bristol. It’s so beautiful with the mountains. You will find me doing a 10 miler at sunrise in the morning because I can’t imagine coming here and not running through it. So beautiful.

Tanner and his dad are currently in the shop downstairs working on some things together. He just built a table out of wood that he got out of his back yard, and yall, I wish I had a picture of it. It’s absolutely gorgeous and he is incredibly talented. It looks like something off Restoration Hardware. We told him he definitely needs to sell them. Tomorrow, we are going to have lunch with his moms side of the family for our final party which will wrap up party #11!!! WOAH! This Christmas has been CRAZY and it definitely snuck up on me. I don’t know how I wasn’t prepared, but I was super unorganized, and had to get gifts last minute. That’s not normally my style, so I’m going to be much more prepared next year.

I’m craving a bit of a routine, but we are actually leaving again on Thursday for New Years to go to Nashville with our friends from NYC. I know that it will be a fantastic time, and I’m super excited about it but also just that small part of me like “What were we thinking? I need rest!” LOL! However, I’m HUGE on giving experiences for gifts instead of material things as I feel those memories last forever. So, I gave my mom a raod trip with me this Christmas.

We don’t get a lot of one on one time together so I thought this would be a perfect bonding time in the car, so we are going to start planning that (most likely to the OBX).

I don’t know about you guys but my Christmas for 25 years has basically looked exactly the same. We have Christmas Eve with my dads side of the family and then on Christmas day, we wake up at my moms (“Santa”), have a big breakfast and open those gifts, and then we go to my stepdads side of the family then finally head to my Mawmaws at around 5pm and stay until 1am.

That family is big, and we do it up big-food and gifts. There are about 22-25 of us, and it used to be that everyone got everybody a gift. This obviously got excessive quick, so a few years ago we dialed back to just drawing names. This year, we decided that we were going to scale back one more time and get gifts for the kids next year, but the adults were going to put money towards getting a gift for a needy family in Shelby. None of us really need anything, and the older I get the more joy I find in giving to those less fortunate. I’m also totally a fan of us having less food or giving the extra to the homeless shelter! J

This year Christmas was different. Tanner and I have our own house now so woke up there and had our Christmas morning together in our home, and of course worked out in our home gym together ;) (haha typical). We headed over to my brothers house at 9am and had breakfast because of course, Jackson is here now, my nephew, and they are starting traditions with him. Tanner helped him on Christmas Eve with setting everything out for Santa, and we did the milk and cookie decorating so that was so precious.

If you follow me on instagram, you probably saw that today I spent the afternoon with a family who are refugees from Haiti. This was not intended to be, but it turned out to be quite the life changing experience. I hope this is something that we can continue to help with…indefinitely. This family lives down the street from Tanner’s mom, and the daughter graduated with Tanner, and they actually escaped from Haiti years ago. The husband has made it his life mission to send every dime that he can possibly back to his country to help. He works solely to send more money to them, and even worked two jobs one time to do more. They shop at Goodwill just to be able to send more. It’s incredibly inspiring.

When he was in Haiti, he worked for the government and instead of using it for power like most, he used it to help the people. The government did not like this at all, and he found out they were planning to kill him so his family went into hiding for 4 months. During that time, he got to know someone that would help him get out of the country and so he escaped.

He goes back 2-3 times per year, and takes money and helps in the villages. Right now, they have taken on 27 children to sponsor their tuition for school because if they don’t go to school then of course they stay at home, get no education, and don’t eat. My heart like bleeds for third world country children and always has so we sponsored a child. It feels so much more personal too rather than the larger corporations because he is literally going to hand deliver the money to them. They don’t use a middleman just to cut back on costs. We hope to one day be able to go with him, and meet the child that we are sponsoring. 

They gave us coffee that was ground in Haiti a month ago when they went, and it’s the best coffee EVER. I never like coffee black and I loved this. They gave us some to take with us, and we also bought his book talking about being a refugee. They showed us pictures of the children in the villages, and videos, and shared stories with us that were bringing them to tears. I’ve never seen someone so on fire for the Lord’s work in their lives, and making that everything they are about. I was incredibly moved, and it was the best final Christmas gift I could have received.

And I promise we will be back to regular programmed fitness activities soon enough ;)

WHAT ARE YOUR CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS? (forreal tell me, I want to know!!! lol)

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First Annual Ringley Christmas Party

So, this party went better than I could have anticipated! :) When we were thinking about New Years, I told Tanner that maybe we could have a party at our house. He was like "Girl, you can't have a party at every holiday and call it yours and annual!" hahah! What can I say? I like to party! And by party, I mean putting on a Christmas onesie with one drink and everyone gone by 9pm!

Like I said in a previous blog, this party was planned VERY last minute. I realized on Sunday morning that I had a general idea of what I wanted to do but no real plans, and for that, I am proud of the way that it turned out. I always think that if there is something to actually do at a party then it ends up being a lot better, which is why I knew I wanted the kids to build the gingerbread houses and for the adults to have the photo booth to keep us entertained.

We have a space on our wall that we normally have the dog crate, and so I knew it would be the perfect spot. We put the dogs upstairs in our bedroom, and they did surprisingly well to be able to hear 20-25 people down below them and not tearing everything up. If they had been at the party though, it would have been crazy because there was 8 kids, and unfortunately Zoey my anxiety baby, does not do well with kids so we are going to have to work on that! Haha! 

texted my friend Leigh Ann on Monday morning and asked her if she had a rolling pin and parchment paper for the gingerbread houses. She so sweetly laughed at me and told me I was crazy for trying to have kids like actually make the gingerbread, and that she would bring all of the supplies (she’s a teacher and a life saver always). She’s super organized, so she comes in with this box. Yall, it was great! I wish I had a picture. It was stocked full of milk cartons and waffle cones and icing and candy for all of the kids to decorate with.

 

I had NO IDEA what was required for the making of gingerbread houses, but now I know and will be better prepared in the future. I didn’t have a table cloth and she brought one and suggested that I put trash bags over my white upholstered dining room table chairs. CLEARLY I DON’T HAVE CIHLDREN YET! Hahaha! 

I also was running crazy behind because as you all know, Mondays are my check in days. It all worked out though and I just worked 12 hours yesterday with an hour break for some Salvation Army bell ringing and singing (proof I am one track to hollywood with my voice in the video below #jokes) to make up for the time that I missed on Monday when I had to stop work at 3pm. I knew I had to at least stop then so that I could speed clean my house and get things at Ingles and pick up pizza. I had no time to change so I had to go to the grocery store in my onesie. Most people stared and laughed, and one rolled their eyes at me. COME ON SCROOGE! IT’S DECEMBER 21ST! I saw a friend and of course she was cracking up at me! I rushed out and went to grab the pizzas, which took forever of course. So, at 6:18pm I was walking out with the pizzas and my party started at 6:30pm and nothing had been set out. WHOMP!

I called Leigh Ann who had come early and asked her to start putting stuff out and preparing the chicken salad croissants! Hilarious how crazy this day was!

I knew I needed to get my hot cocoa bar set up, which when it was over and we were cleaning up, Tanner said that the only reason I have that is so that I can take a picture because no one uses it. HAHA! Unfortunately, my picture is not even pinterest worthy and he was right in that no one used it. So, that was expensive and I will not be doing that next year. Everyone opted for pizza, beer, wine, and spiked egg nog and of course all the other snacks. 

As the host, the night was a blur. With being so underprepared, I was running around just making sure that everyone had everything! I sat down with some of the kids and helped them do their gingerbread houses, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen this in action, and how fun is this activity for kids! This will DEFINITELY be a holiday tradition with my kids! 

Everyone filtered out starting at 8:30 and some of our good friends from church stuck around towards the end and we just chatted until around 9-9:30! They also helped me clean up everything. I’m always the person saying “No no no! I’ve got it” but they insisted and when I woke up on Tuesday morning with a clean kitchen, I could have hugged them.

Shoutout to Leigh Ann because she had NO idea that she was going to be such a huge person in making my party go well, but she is the reason it did! Haha! They have parties at their house literally all the time so I think that she is well versed in how it all goes. She’s the tiny one on the far right and was my babysitter when I was a little kid during the summers! 

Also, my brother is really inappropriate but hilarious. 

brother.jpg

We had such a good time, and I think me and mom may make one at our party tonight because we had so much fun with the gingerbread houses! :) 

And look who has been doing a better job about Vlogging! Be impressed guys! BE. IMPRESSED! ;) I plan on keeping it up and this talks about my training for this week and moving into next at the end if you are curious just so you know what's included. I know videos are hard to watch, but I've really gotten into listening to YouTube videos while riding on my trainer instead of Netflix, and I thought this might be something fun for me to keep up with as well!



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New Training & Post Marathon Weekend Fun

About 30 minutes to an hour after I finished my marathon, I thought to myself “I’m so excited to see what time I can bring to the Charleston Marathon because it’s flat.” Thunder Road Marathon is incredibly hilly. I think that many times when people complete a marathon they think to themselves that they are done for a while, and I’m like the opposite. It makes me want more and more. I talk about this a lot but every single time I go through an endurance event, it like awakens some part of me that I didn’t know was there. I think that 5K’s, 10K’s, and halfs are all WONDERFUL but there is just something about a full and beyond. Your body can only realistically go about 20 miles before you really start feeling it, and that’s where the true memories begin. That’s when you truly begin to search yourself for that ounce of effort you have to bring forward. You chant to yourself to just take one step forward..just one step forward. It searches the deepest parts of you. MOVING ON… lol!

Thunder Road Elevation Map-that hill at the end like to have killed me

Thunder Road Elevation Map-that hill at the end like to have killed me

After the awards ceremony, we had to hurry and go to my cousin’s birthday party. I couldn’t eat for a few hours after but was hungry on the way home and so I choose Zaxby’s! Every single post marathon, fast food is all I want. I’m such a junkie. Crinkle fries had me at hello. My cousin’s 7th birthday party was at an obstacle course at a university close to Shelby (Gardner Webb University) and I would have totally been on that thing the whole time if my body didn’t feel broken at that point. LOL! My aunt told me she was disappointed that I couldn’t do it because she knew it was totally my thing. 

How is he 7? We decided to re create this from when he was a baby! Love this kid!

How is he 7? We decided to re create this from when he was a baby! Love this kid!

Everyone congratulated me, and also told me I was crazy but that’s nothing new. I will admit that my family does think that I’m insane, but respect it I guess is the right way to put it. I tend to just not bring up running or fitness or anything around them unless someone asks. I’m glad I have this blog to share my passions with you guys because I never talk about my heart really in person unless it’s a runner and then I spill my guts. Haha! 

After the birthday party, we headed home for showers and naps. I took a really long hot shower, and then laid (layed? Lied? Lyed?) down to nap. I ended up replaying the events of the day through my brain. Am I the only one that can never nap? Eventually, I got up and answered some emails (typical)! It was pretty late in the afternoon by that point, and Tanner headed out to my aunt and uncles for dinner.

I wasn’t ready yet, so I told him to come back and get me later as we were planning on going out. I knew I needed rest too. I got ready, and I put on heels. GENIUS PLAN KATIE! And not just like wedges, but like actual spiked heels. I’m actually insane.

Our favorite band, Big Daddy Love, was playing at the brewery. Scott Moss is a family friend, and he is an INCREDIBLY talented musician (look him up, you won’t regret it). Their music is like bluegrass rock. Shelby is so interesting because if you decide to go out, the entire bars and brewery will be filled with people that you know. I have always just been used to this, but when I think about it, that’s very odd. It’s really cool because it’s always going to be a big party with the whole town (or at least the ones that regularly come out). Tanner has never experienced that, so he thought it was cool. All the girls that had run the marathon were there, and it was so so fun getting to chat with them more. I’ve been friends with Lori for a while, but kind of just know the other girls through Lori so I loved getting to talk with them more. No one else wore heels like this big dummie.  LOL!

At around 11:30, I of course was DONE. I love Big Daddy Love so I made it longer than I even thought that I would. My aunt, uncle, cousins, and friends were all there so we said our goodbyes and headed home (1.2 miles down the road-I LOVE MY SMALL TOWN LOL). 

On Sunday morning, I woke up and realized I was a Boston qualifier. I don’t know why that didn’t click until then. My body also felt DESTROYED! I could hardly walk HAHA! I was behind on my bible reading’s so I caught up on Sunday morning. We got ready and headed off to church. I knew the afternoon and evening were already full. We had plans to go to my brother’s for the Panther’s game, and then my grandmother’s for dinner. We stay busy if you can’t tell but I think we all do to some extent, right? Haha! I also did an active recovery cycle. I set up my bike trainer and just did about 30 minutes super duper easy (I legit stayed in my church clothes for this lol). I foam rolled and stretched to work all of the incredible aches and pains out.

We had sloppy joe’s at my Mawmaw’s and my mom’s recipe is SO good. It’s not the yucky manwich out of the can, but homemade with lean beef and ketchup and a bunch of other stuff that I don’t know. We do dinner there all the time, but it was really fun this Sunday. We did however do this quiz on politics. It asks you questions and matches you up with acandidate. Let me tell you how DUMB that is in this setting. We do NOT talk politics in the family because we have a STAUNCH DEMOCRAT (my grandmother which makes no sense for most of her views but whatever), a STAUNCH REPUBLICAN (my stepdad who I won’t go into his opinions), really really liberal cousins with parents that are conservative, and Tanner and I who are libertarian because DUH THAT MAKES THE MOST SENSE ! ;) 

Of course I hung up my new medal too which is the far one on the right!

Of course I hung up my new medal too which is the far one on the right!

Anyway, moving on into Monday’s which are my crazy days. I worked all day and then two of our friends from NYC needed a place to crash for the night between Florida and New York. We made dinner for them last night (fajitas) and then stayed up chatting because it’s been since May that we have been able to catch up. They are getting married on New Year’s this year, so we are stoked to go to their wedding in Nashville!!! YAY!

Tonight, I’m going to a packing party for boxes that our church is doing for hungry kids in need. It’s such a huge need in Shelby, and so many kids go home with no food after school. One of our members headed up this backpack program, and you send the kids home with a backpack full of food so I’m helping to prepare all of that. It will be fun getting to spend time with everyone from church too. We have formed such a community with them here, and I’m so so glad we fell into that easier than I could have EVER dreamed. It’s also my best friend in the whole wide world’s 25th birthday. Man, I’m so sad I can’t be in NYC today. I miss her like crazy!

Last but not least, my new training! I got quite a few comments from my marathon that getting a coach must have helped me a lot, and while I think they are the greatest coaches in the whole wide world, I was only with them for 2 weeks before my marathon. I did MONTHS and MONTHS of training on my own, so that kinda stung a little. LOL! However, I’m SO STOKED as I feel we are just beginning. Today is my first day back. I’m doing a recovery 3.5 miles, and I’m so excited to see how that feels. I’m going to obviously take that very easy. The rest of my training this week is as follows:

Wednesday- 5.63 miles (45 minutes @ 8:00 min/mile testing heart rate post marathon)

Thursday- 6 miles @ 7:30 pace & easing into strength work

Friday- 3.5 miles

Saturday- 13 miles @ 8:05

I’m actually going out of town this weekend. The location is a surprise so stay tuned! EEK! I’m about to jump for joy about it, but either way I’m meeting up with some people for that Saturday run and it should be a good time! The week afer this one, we will go back up to a 55 mile week. WOAH! I’m going to have to see how my body handles this, but I’m 9 weeks out from Charleston and like 12 weeks out from my first 50K so we will see what happens! I will of course rest when I need to, but I love this life! 

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NYC Friends Weekend and Final Long Run

It's me again! I think that everyone can tell the rotation of my blog is most of the time Monday through Friday with a  Monday post about the fun on the weekend! Andrew who is one of our best friends is still here, so we are working together today. He is currently playing Christian music across the house and singing. I love this kid forreal. The cool thing about city jobs is that many of them can be done remotely some of the time. In Shelby, that would basically never be the case unless you have a unique job like mine. He is hoping to go to Crossfit Shelby this morning. I'd love to do the WOD with him, but I just have my marathon next weekend, and my wrist is not entirely healed up yet. 

Someone at church said "I see Tanner's friends are in town" and I just said Yea! ... but really they are just as much mine. haha! We had such a close knit community group in NYC that we are all just like brother's and sister's now. It was a very low key weekend and so wonderful!

Andrew got a super early flight and arrived at 8:30am Friday morning with the sign below. He is a riot, and is constantly making jokes so I was not surprised to see this. He saw me, but was like walking around holding up the sign as if looking for "Katiesfitscript" HAHA! He had to work and so did I so that's what we did. Tanner took a half day so we grabbed some lunch (at Chickfila duh ha). At around 3, our friend Peter drove in from Atlanta. He was in NYC with us, but he took a job change to Atlanta. Tanner and Andrew had just planned on working out so they drug poor Peter into it. He was sore the rest of the weekend. HAHA!! 

Legit, Tanner was out there with them for like over an hour and made them do sprints at the end. I was like DUDE THIS ISN'T BOOT CAMP! COME INSIDE! haha! As you can see, my non existent social media husband is also very into fitness ;) 

After that, we cleaned up and went to dinner in downtown Shelby with my friends Erica and Justin. If you follow my blog for any amount of time, you'll recognize the same names of places come up. Erica's sister was playing guitar and singing at Newt's (a burger joint) but it was so crowded, so we headed to dinner at Pleasant City (the wood fire pizza place, fun fact, Shelby is called "The City of Pleasant Living" lol). After dinner, we went to the brewery that had a bluegrass band. They were SO GOOD! ... there was also guys dancing hilariously to which Andrew was flipping out because Shelby is just so small town southern. HAA!

Saturday morning, I woke up at 5:30am, per the usual, to get my long run in. My routine is always to give myself an hour to wake up. I read my bible over coffee and then eat breakfast and get mentally prepared normally with an inspirational youtube video. It was pouring rain and I was like "okay katie you got this" followed by "Katie, is this really what you want your life to look like? This is so insane." I was meeting someone so that helped. Justin is a friend I met through running, and has been a competitive runner for 11 years throughout college. He of course slowed down for me, but I was so thankful for someone who is very used to running through weather. We headed out for 12 miles. I was still so sore and it was stressing me out. We chatted about all things running so I just tried to forget about it. He also just did a half ironman too so we talked about triathlons. I'm so thankful for fit running friends! I'm also thankful for being able to live a fit life while also that being such a small part of who I am.

 I headed back home to the boys just waking up of course, and we got ready and went to Shelby Cafe for breakfast. Their breakfast is the BOMB! While the boys paid, I ran over to see my girl Molly at her boutique. I told her she needs to sell online because I'm just obsessed with her stuff! SO CUTE! SHELBY PEOPLE-She just got her new winter stuff in!! 

Garbage Plater = 2 biscuits, eggs, bacon, hash browns topped with gravy! I wish I could say it was mine, but I'm not this crazy-this was Tanner's but of course I ate some. haha!

Garbage Plater = 2 biscuits, eggs, bacon, hash browns topped with gravy! I wish I could say it was mine, but I'm not this crazy-this was Tanner's but of course I ate some. haha!

We had planned on going hiking, but it was raining (because apparently Shelby is now Seattle).  We hung out at the house for most of the day catching up, watching Netflix, and it was perfect! :) At 3, we decided to go see the new James Bond movie. I hate boy movies, and want to like them. I ENJOYED IT! YAY!! The cinema is on the way to Charlotte, so we left from there to go to dinner in downtown Charlotte. We went to Cowbell. Y'all, if you live in Charlotte, you HAVE to go to this place. It's a gourmet burger place...and now I have told my whole family I have to take them back. I took a selfie in the bathroom. See below hahaha! 

Booties or wedges with skinny jeans is like my all time jam this year! LOVING it! 

Booties or wedges with skinny jeans is like my all time jam this year! LOVING it! 

From there we went to the Epicenter which could almost be compared to an outlet mall that goes up and the stores are bars and clubs. It's hard to explain unless you've been, but it's really cool. Unfortunately the entire world though it was cool. It was so insanely crowded at every bar so it was kinda a big WHOMP! We ended up at a pub with a 90s band which was awesome but we left pretty quickly. I wanted froyo at the place next door, and it was not closing for 10 more minutes, and she wouldn't let me in. I was very upset...like genuinely actually upset and mad. I was internally coaching myself "Katie, this is not a big deal. It's froyo." hahahaha! 

We got home at midnight which is like perfect for this early bird (I CANNOT do the 3am outing junk). I'd actually prefer 10pm, but I won't be that guy. I woke up Sunday morning so proud of myself for getting that run in the Saturday rain, and could enjoy my Sunday. 

Andrews snap chat-haha! I can wife up sometimes ;) 

Andrews snap chat-haha! I can wife up sometimes ;) 

I made breakfast (bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits with hash browns), and then we headed to church. Our church here is so similar to my church in NYC, I knew they would love it. They are such good guys they would tell us they loved it regardless, but they got in the car and immediately started complimenting it. It just always makes you feel so good when you have friends who can build you up. I, too frequently, desperately miss NYC. We moved back so soon mostly because of Tanner's job, and that makes me feel guilty that I sometimes don't tell Tanner how much I miss it. I can't even let myself think about it really. And that does NOT mean I don't love Shelby and North Carolina. I do. I really do. I just feel I'm in my final location at 26, and I'm very much a wanderer so it just doesn't sit with me right....which is why we travel and will be going back frequently!! :) (And yes, Tanner applied to about 47,000 different positions but with the union, it wasn't happening and he was very depressed with his current situation there.) Who else is like me? I would rather buy ZERO new clothes or things, and spend every time on experiences! I've had the same car since I was 16 and Tanner like begs me to get a new one, and I'm like NOPE! She runs great! 

After church, we headed out to my brothers for the Panther's game, grilling, and shooting guns. We ended up not shooting but Andrew at least got to hold him a gun, which he was so cute about. What a game for those Panther's fans! THANK GOODNESS we won! My husband and brother were seriously about to lose their freaking minds, and I can't handle that mess over a football game. Yes, huge fan. But even when I play the sport, I'm like "okay calm down it's not that serious" lol! I got to love on my sweet nephew too of course. He is talking more and more! I love watching his little mind form language and think things through! Babies rock! (but I'll still hold off on my own).

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Peter had to leave to get back to Atlanta at that point, so we headed back home and to tell him bye. It was somewhat of an emotional goodbye, but he is coming up to NYC in December so we can all be reunited again! Then our other friends are getting married in Nashville on New Years and we are all going! The rest of the evening was me cooking and cleaning and watching Kevin Hart! We laughed our butts off to the point of tears. Laughter is so good for the soul. 

Friends are so good for the soul. 

Weekends are so good for the soul. 

However, I've realized for me, structure is also so good for the soul. I love jumping into a routine. I love needing to get things done. I don't like to be bored. I like to accomplish things. So, we are off to another week and I wrote out some goals for the week this morning! Tapering is upon me now, so I hope I handle it well as tapering always makes you a little crazy. I have a HUGE volume ahead of me in preparation for my first 50K so I'm going to embrace this taper FULLY! 

What did you do this weekend? Anyone racing next weekend also?

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Halloween, App Game, Gift Galleria & Long Run

So, this weekend was a really fun one. It wasn't too busy but we did a lot of stuff so it just felt relaxing but productive at the same time. I find social life to be productive too. HAHA! I think I've talked about this, but sometimes I have to say "Katie, now it's time to go have fun!" because I'm a little slave driver. Ooopsies! But, I'm really diligent about doing that. 

I also have the craziest story to tell y'all with my long run (couldn't decide if I was actually going to tell it but what the heck!).... but I'll go in order of time ;) 

On Friday, my mom and I went to this gift galleria in Shelby. It's held by the Junior Charity league to help raise money for clothes for children of Cleveland County that can't afford them, and vendors come out. It's very similar to a "Southern Christmas Show" but it's all local vendors and honestly some really awesome stuff. I wasn't expecting to purchase anything because I never do at these events (sorry just being honest). I ended up with a Christmas wreath (so beautiful), 2 bottles of wine (Christmas gifts), some new leggings from Miss Molly's Boutique, a birthday gift for my BFF, and a christmas gift for my mother in law. Like holy cow...what in the world! Fun fact: the box to the wreath broke walking out. It was in my left wrist. I thought I had like sprained it over again in that moment! HA! #hurtsobad 

That night, Tanner and I met Molly (from Miss Molly's who is also on my team and one of my best friends lol) and her fiancé Nick for dinner at the Mexican restaurant downtown then went to Pleasant City (which is a bar in Shelby). We had a lot of laughs like usual. It was a Friday night Costume Crawl, and we forgot the memo about the costumes. We legit might have been the only ones not dressed up. Oops again! I always say I'm going to get a cool costume but that never happens ...

On Saturday, I was planning on doing my long run. Wanna know why I didn't? My hair had only been done for the night before, and I didn't want to have to do it again to go to the game. So, I woke up at 5:30 only to push back my long run because of my hair... hahahah! I went outside, and spent some quality time in my Bible which always feels amazing. GUESS WHAT PSALM 26:2 IS? "Test me, Oh Lord and try me. Examine my heart and mind." You know like 26.2 miles? It really has nothing to do with running in the context of the Bible, but you know what, I'm gonna cherry pick that verse out and rock on. HAHAH! 

We drove up to meet his aunt and uncle in Hickory for lunch at Chili's (I got Southwest Chicken Soup and salad-it was great!). They actually were the ones that got us free tickets to the game, so that was fun catching up with them and always good to see Tanner's family. We drove from there up to Boone. The game was really fun. It wasn't like freezing cold, but as usual, I definitely didn't prepare well, and was very cold after sitting. We left during the third quarter because it started to rain, but it was a really cool game to watch because the offensive line of the other team was doing some crazy stuff I've never seen done in person (no huddle offense & other things y'all don't care about but I love football HAHA).

I know y'all don't know Tanner as well, but this is totally his "I'm so over selfies face" HAHA!

I know y'all don't know Tanner as well, but this is totally his "I'm so over selfies face" HAHA!

We stopped at Chickfila on the way out because I'm obsessed and I got the regular sandwich. I had brought food in the car too so of course I was eating all day on that. Just pro tip: that's what I always do. When eating out, finding things that are low in FAT is always going to be the problem. I pick things that I'm going to enjoy but that are also reasonable. I'm not going to get the fries with my sandwich. I actually got 6 grilled nuggets with my sandwich for later. I choose to eat food I have packed while enjoying the regular vs grilled sandwich. It's all about picking and choosing what you love but being reasonable. It's not that you have to get the grilled nuggets with the fruit cup. Let's be real, the fruit cup at Chickfila is not all that great. Don't hate your food, but also don't feel like you can't eat out for lunch and dinner and still stay on track with your goals. 

We had plans to go to my cousin's bonfire when we got home from the game. We walked in at 8:30 and if you know me, I love my bed and I love it early. I knew I had a long run, and my cousin lives 30 minutes away. I was like NEGATIVEEEE. So, we made hot chocolate and snuggled up on the couch with our puppies and watched Friends. Most blissful Halloween I could ever ask for! We did feel like Scrooge though with our neighborhood having an event and the kids going house to house so we wish we had prepared for that, and will next year. Our neighborhood is one with HOA, and it is just adorable. They had a hay ride and a party at the club house and it's a super safe neighborhood for kids to walk around. That's one of the reasons we picked this neighborhood was because of all the fun our kids can have in the future! :) 

It was fall back so I went to bed at 10, got up at 5:30 but actually got 8.5 hours of sleep. SO WONDERFUL! I felt so good, then I looked outside and it was pouring rain. BOO!!! I thought "I'll just run my long run after church" then realized I was doing what I tend to do a lot. I keep pushing back long runs sometimes into Monday's and it ends up stressing me out more. So, I just went and luckily the rain let up for most of it. I was coming out of my neighborhood when I spotted the men from my town that always run Sunday mornings (Shelby is small clearly if I ran into them LOL). I yelled to them, and asked if I could join as I knew they have a similar pace to me, and they were so happy to have me tag along which is so nice. 

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I talked with one of the men for almost the entire 10 miles I was with them about how he has done countless marathons, and 7 ironman events since he was 18 when he started "this fit thing" as he called it. More than anything, he just talked inspirational stuff and how running changes your life and endurance is something that can't really be explained but that it's a spiritual experience when we have those mornings together. How amazing! All three men are dads, and they all RAVE about their kids and how much they love them. If I split off with one, they talk about how awesome the other 2 are and we talk about our faith and about God EVERY run. It's so nice to meet such quality men right here in my hometown.

At 10 miles, they were going out to do 22, and so I headed back towards town. I think this was from Jesus himself for what happened at mile 11.5. I'm gonna keep it short and simple and to the point. My bowels let go, and Tanner had to come pick me up. HAHAHA! I've never had this happen, but it was literally NOT stoppable. AT ALL! I was in a neighborhood (on Marion St for those in Shelby) and was frantically trying to think of friends I knew in the area. Nope. HAHA! So, I was so mad and had to stop then. 

I went home, and had to clean myself up. Y'all, Tanner loves me for that car ride! We were cracking up but I was so upset and embarrassed at the time. Now I'm like YOLO... happens to us all right? hahah! 

We were signed up as greeters for church so I had to start getting ready then. So, I showered, and we went to church. The Lord presence was SO evident this Sunday. It was amazing, and we adore our church. With that being said, I was a little anxious because I wanted to finish. 

I set back out right when we got home for my final 6.5 miles. I did as my coach said and sped up at the end, and I felt awesome. BUT WHAT A MEMORY!!! lol! 

We went to my grandmother's at 6pm for our family dinner. Tanner and I were talking on the way home how much we love those nights. It's not a big deal. We all just meet for dinner, chat a little, and go home. But, it's so nice to see EVERYONE in my extended family and it keeps our family really super close because we are always having meals together. I actually did not eat because I had ran 18 and we were having chili. That is too much fiber and would fill me up, so I stopped and got fast food instead TBH (Bojangles lol). I need DENSE calories because I get full quickly but I need those calories as I burned 1500 on my run. Normally, I consume about 3000 on these days.

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I totally took the above photo to send to Bethany to be funny but it's appropriate so whatever haha! I've started taking my basal calories (I know this from trial and error) and I add 0.66 per pound per mile. For example, I weigh 105 approximately so that's 0.66 x 105 x 18 miles which is 1247 EXTRA calories. I normally do an 75% carb 15% protein 10% fat type breakdown. This was my first week trying this, and going to see how it goes until I start incorporating this with my clients as well. Right now, my recommendation is a flat 50g/hour of running but it just is SO individual that it takes time to just figure out what works for each person. 

We got home, and I worked while Tanner watched the football game. I didn't include that but in between all the fun stuff, I always just work. Haha! Otherwise, I would get so incredibly behind and I like to be on top of it! :) 

It was a wonderful weekend, and this Friday two of our best friends from NYC are coming into town, so I'm more than excited to have them in our home. Tomorrow, I'm going to try to put together a youtube video of everything I eat today so that should be fun! 










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A Change in Pace

Okay, so I have talked to a lot of bloggers and those that read blogs, and I really really really want to be able to share some of just my life and for you guys to still continue to be interested. I will say it's hard to come up with topics on the regular that are constantly giving you guys information and honestly I love reading blogs about those lives that I follow. Everyone always says that they are being a stalker, but I don't think so. I absolutely enjoy just being inspired by every day life of those around me. 

So, here is my attempt at that, and please let me know your thoughts in the comments or my emails if you enjoy this so that I'll have more courage as normally it makes the views PLUMMET. haha! But as one of my best friends, Leila, (after meeting in OKC and one of my clients) told me, everything takes time to build. Don't be discouraged if people don't want to read this at first, but maybe others will come that do! :) I do hope that y'all will enjoy some shift in pace every once in a while but of course that doesn't mean the info will stop either.

SOOOOOO...

Do you ever feel like the weeks and the months of your life are just a whirlwind? I feel like I work real hard, and I play real hard and then I'm like OH HEY IT'S OCTOBER THE 29TH! How did that happen? We are almost done with 2015, and I have almost completely read through the Bible. I'm so proud of that, and I've come so much closer to the Lord through this year of committing to that. I always have all these huge plans of small business ideas, but as a single person, can I get an amen on how long stuff takes? haha! 

Tanner and I always giggle because if you say that you work from home people are just like "OH YOU HAVE IT MADE" like that I just drink coffee all day and watch Netflix! HAHA! However, it is SO fun!! I know this will sound awful to those in real life, but sometimes I look forward to not having any social engagements at night so that I can just plug away and work on things because it just really is so fun to me. 

trying to heal that thing up... YUCKY! 

trying to heal that thing up... YUCKY! 

Tonight, I have an engagement but this is one that I'm so happy to help with. My sister in law is opening up the very first 3D/4D ultrasound clinic in Shelby and has her first clients coming in tomorrow. The machine took a while to get here, so they are setting that up tonight, and I'm going to watch my little nephew while they set that up, which I'm sure there will be plenty of selfies to be had! 

Speaking of family, mine is super close, and I posted last year about my grandmother being really sick so I wanted to update you guys on everything to do with her. She has to have 24/7 round the clock care these days. It's hard because she's a very high maintenance old lady. God love her. We all love her to death, but she is hard. If you make her a drink, she has to have the ice filled to a certain point in the glass, the fizz to be to a certain point, and always a specific type of glass and straw. That's just an example of how everything goes. HAHA! So, caretakers that don't have the love like we do have a hard time with all those details. We have had  MANY different caretakers, and we have had good ones and very very bad ones. She just sits in the bed all day, so we try to make her life as enjoyable as possible. Her best friend since college (literally roommates and BFF since) passed last month, so she is just in a HARD state of life. So, prayers for Mawmaw always please?! :) 

We haven't been able to go on our shopping trips like we have always done (which she used to join us but obviously can't anymore), so we snuck away this past Sunday and enjoyed "Christmas in the South" in Charlotte. It's basically just a big convention center where a lot of vendors come out with different things. There is always a lot of cool stuff, but I'm cheap and it's pretty over priced so I always just enjoy time with family more than anything. I did get this fleece Panther's head wrap doe! lol!

Everyone in my family is doing macros these days so we went to Cracker Barrel and everyone had out their myfitnesspal. HAHA! But, I'm weird about that and don't like to talk too much about macros because I just feel like as women it can become an all encompassing conversation and there is much more important things in the world to talk about :) However, almost every single one of us got the egg beaters with bacon with biscuits and I got toast and made it into a sandwich for my second breakfast (of course I had waffles at home LOLZ).

Lastly, MILEAGE this week! 55 miles for the week! This is the highest mileage I've ever done, but I wanted it to be heavy going into my taper because I took last week light after my half ironman. I'm not lifting right now with my wrist. Everyone keeps asking, and it is basically back to normal other than weight bearing. I can do most everything but when I pick up heavy things, it just gives out and hurts really bad. My whip lash has been the worst thing. I still can't really look to the right side so swimming has been a no go. Also with my wrist, I don't want to ride the bike so it's all running for me right now but I love that. 

I'm going out with Tanner at 4pm today (when he gets off work) to try and get some really good fall running pictures. Most of the time I just take my iPhone with me, but I have my hair done and it's a beautiful day and perfect overcast weather with the beautiful leaves so why not do a little photoshoot! After that, I'm doing my first workout with my new coach. It's a 30 minute assessment. I'll warm up before I start and then for 30 minutes, I go as fast as I possibly can to see how many miles I can get in. My heart is going to be beating out of my chest, and I will update you guys on how far I get! I have talked a lot with my coach through email this week (his name is Alec Blevins and is an amazing runner if you want to look him up lol). It looks like the mileage and the intensity is about to increase, and I am so excited to hopefully get faster!!! (and also just because I geek out over this stuff) I officially have Garmin Connect set up with username : Katiesfitscript (are you shocked? ha) so if you want to follow along there you can! 

I could write for days about all that went on last week and this week with my cousin's senior night, peyton and zoey's vet visit, the young life banquet I went to, the dinner I had in Greenville with my best friend from Gardner Webb (I went there for one year), small group dinners with church, date nights, bon fires at my brothers, and the fact that my best friends from NYC are coming to visit next week!! So, I'm really thrilled for this change in pace every so often! :) 

SIGNING OFF NOW TO MAKE CARAMEL APPLE PROTEIN PANCAKES FOR TOMORROW'S POST!!! YASSSS!!! 


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Where I come From

So, as y'all know, I'm from a small town in North Carolina. For those that know me personally and live here, they probably think I'm a super nerd for doing this article. For those that don't live here, I have to tell you about this place on the map because it's adorbs and I probably have 10X more readers that aren't from where I'm from, so let me begin by telling you that it has not always been this way. 

When you grow up in a small town, the last thing that anyone talks about is coming back. I always knew that I would, but it's like not the cool thing to do to go back home to family. For my family, that's different. It's like born, bred, and driven into us basically that we will be disowned. #kidding #kinda There was this youtube video made, and it is the most ridiculous video that like holds no truth to what our town is really about. It's actually comical it's so silly and makes Shelby look dangerous and awful.

I totally understand people moving away but having quite literally hundreds of people (maybe thousands) of people that I know and would have my back any day is a really cool feeling. I just bought a house and got a deal on basically every single facet of buying a house because "oh well I know so and so who does this" I can't imagine how it must be to have children when you don't have an entire clan to help you out. Haha! Tanner loves living here. He says there is nothing like it. It used to be kinda lame though. I mean it wasn't THAT bad at all, but it just wasn't what it is now however there are some people that have gotten really excited about bringing it back to life, and it has the whole town excited and just doing more and more. We keep priding ourselves on "being the new Asheville" but we don't have many hippies and we don't really care about organic foods (for now). 

Incredible photo by Jeff Adams at  neofilm.us

Incredible photo by Jeff Adams at neofilm.us

Downtown is where it's at right now. There is one street, Lafayette that has basically everything.

Pleasant City Wood Fire Grille is a pizza place and bar that everyone loves. They have bands on the weekends and a lot of people come out. 

There is a froyo place beside of it called the Fuzzy Peach and then down a little further is the new brewery (Newgrass) opening up by a long time friend, Jordan that I grew up with. She will be the youngest female owner of a brewery in the nation. The entire town is SO pumped about this. Around the corner is a home owned dog shop called RollOver Pets and it has everything you can imagine for a dog as well as grooming and babysitting ;) 

Across the street, you'll find Shelby Cafe which has been there for YEARS and years. You grow up with these places and don't realize just how cute they are until you come back, or maybe it's just me. They sell lots and lots of livermush ;) and all the other local foods. If you want fine dining, we have that too at Smoke on the Square which prides themselves on Southern Soul Fare and winning multiple cooking competitions across the southeast! 

There's a specialty wine shop around the corner called Dragon fly and an adorable micro brewery roasting shop called Lilly Bean. There's a burger joint called Newt's that specializes in burgers and beer. Around the corner from that is the Don Gibson Theater. There are some really big names that come into Shelby and different events held there frequently. There's a really awesome hair salon called Hats Off where two of my good friends work (one of which is a marathon runner herself!) There's a new bike shop that opened up called Puzzle Creek and it has two really knowledgeable cyclists who will help you in any way. They have been super successful with this store and have opened up this location in our downtown (one of which will complete Ironman Chattanooga in a few weeks). Miss Molly's Boutique is a boutique opened by one of my really good friends and her parents and it has the most adorable clothes and it's so much more affordable than all the boutiques around North Carolina!

There's Shelby Yoga Center and then a crossfit gym down the street. There's a cleveland county runners club that meets every Saturday at the court square and runs different distances and paces and you just join up with those that you want to run with running all through the rolling hills of the city. Swamp Fox is a local mass general store that just opened up one street over along with Mi Pueblitos which is another bar and Mexican restaurant where bands come (guess you could say it's apart of our "night life" haha). There is also a new olive oil store that opened up that has over 45 different oils and vinegars aged from 8-18 years. There's a monogram shop right on that street as well called Logos to Go if you ever need anything adorably monogrammed.

Every second Saturday all of the stores hold specials and there is a band that plays on the court square and families can come because there's activities for the kids. 

The last thursday of every month, we have Alive after 5 which is when there are bands that come to the court square and vendors with food and beer and everyone dances and has a good time. The farmers market comes out every Saturday and every Thursday night, there is a yoga class after a short run on the square. This is all like on the same street. There's an Art Walk, a livermush festival (Mush, Music & Mutts-you can bring your dogs HA), the fair (okay its not that exciting but it's the biggest one other than Raleigh in the state), and Clear Mountain View Festival which is a HUGE musical festival all weekend long and some really big names come out. We have Owl's Eye winery (literally 0.5 mile from my house) and it's so beautiful to run down this road. 

We have the Legion World Series every year here and this year Kelly Pickler and Thompson Square are performing. The Hunger Games was actually filmed here which is actually quite hilarious because we were the 12th district. HAHAHA! #donthate #wehaveroughparts #welcometothejungle

The city park always has a Merry Go Round festival which has bands and vendors come out along with all the ball fields for the little kids. I've spent many many nights there watching my brother and friends play baseball. There's a drive in movie theater up the highway closer to my rival high school, Crest. There's just another rivalry in this town to keep us all alive with the four schools (Shelby, Crest, Burns,Kings Mountain). And when I say a little, I probably mean a lot. Sports are huge here from the time you are little. 

We have a university twenty minutes away (Gardner Webb University) and within one hour, you can reach so many different cities. That's probably one of the main reasons we picked Shelby officially is because there is Charlotte, Gastonia, Greenville, Black Mountains, Lake Lure, Lake James, Moss Lake, South Mountain, Morganton, Boone, and so many more within a short drive.

Speaking of lakes, we have Moss Lake! We also have Broad River Greenway where you can go fishing, running on the trails, or picnic with your family.  

There are so many more things and stores that I know that I'm missing but the point is that this is an incredible place to live and raise a family. It's a really small town (population approx 30,000) and everybody knows everybody. I really have nothing to hide so maybe that's why I love that. I love going everywhere and seeing people I know in every single shop. It may sound like I'm pumping up something that's really not that great, and there will probably be those people that say that there is "never anything to do" but they just must not be creative because I can find something to do every single night in this town! No, we don't have clubs. No, we don't have endless bars so if you're looking for night life, then maybe go somewhere else. 

However, if you want to live somewhere that the entire town will come together to support you or where you can raise a family or where you can always have clean, wholesome fun and activities then you would love it here. 

With love and the city of pleasant living,

Katie  



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Anniversary Recap

So for our anniversary, we normally say that we only do experiences. Not just for anniversaries, but just in general we try to stay away from gifts, and just go for experiences. We did the same this year. We had originally thought that we were going to go to Virginia at this amazingly cool place, but then decided that we wanted to save some money because we are buying a house!!! YAY! Exciting things to come in the future now that I have a home to do things at (more recipes, more get togethers, dinners, bible study, stability to be able to do LOTS more!!). 

First, on the actual day of our anniversary June 16th, we went to dinner in uptown Shelby. It was so nice. We went to Pleasant City (and who knew it was half off pizza night ha). We got home and Tanner had surprised me with champagne (my favorite-I wish I liked wine or beer but I only like champagne and liquor drinks-I'm an expensive date HA). I gave him my time from dinner onward with no phones and all of that. I wanted to just spend time with him.

Tanner texted me one day asking me if I wanted to go backpacking for our anniversary and I just thought that was the best idea, so we decided on that. Funny story is that we ended up buying a tent so there went that! HA! It is going to be such a great investment though because we will be able to use it for years to come!

So, I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with the NC mountains, but we went to the Black Mountains which are not apart of the Blue Ridge. Mount Mitchell is the highest peak in eastern North America! SAY WHAT? And in NC! So cool! So, the way that you do all of the peaks is you drive up to Mount Mitchell, and then you start the hike going from peak to peak (Mount Craig, Big Tom, Balsam Cone, Cattail Hill, and then we stopped at Potato Hill). This is about a 4 mile hike going up and down! The hike in was not near as bad as the hike back out! That was BRUTAL! haha! 

Mount Craig was the first peak that we hit, and it was absolutely beautiful and I'm so glad that we stopped to take pictures because the day got dreary after that. 

From there, it is not really a dip down but more of a straight across to Big Tom! After Big Tom, it goes down into a valley. It's so steep that they have ropes going down so that you don't fall going down and so that you can actually climb back out. It's so fun though. I felt like it was a real life spartan race or something! haha!

We thought Cattail Peak would you know, be a peak but it wasn't. I will say that's really demoralizing in hiking and happens to me a lot I feel like. I think something is going to be a peak after working really hard to get to the top and then it's anticlimactic! HAHA! I asked Tanner if we could stop and eat because I was feeling very shaky and needed some CARBS! haha! Then, we continued on our way to Potato Hill! The camp sight was in Deep gap past Potato Hill but we found some flat places that we planned to camp before that point. Deep gap is very down deep which we knew meant climbing back out ;) 

Before we got to Potato Hill, it came a terrible storm and we ducked off in this alcove. A couple from Tennessee shortly did the same, and we were able to talk with them for about 30 minutes. IT was really cool just getting to know someone that you'll never see again but just had so much in common with. People are just awesome sometimes! (Sometimes they stink too tho hahaha!!) We finally made it to Potato Hill and decided to stay there all afternoon and enjoy the sun................. rain. Haha! We were able to get maybe 1.5 hours of terrible wind but no rain. So, we made coffee and that was really fun on a mountaintop. 

Honestly, I love these days most because of just the solitude of only Tanner and I. I get to talk to him more than usual, and just talk about how excited we are about things in life right now. We can't wait to put our little home together <3 YAY! 

Anywho, it kept raining...and kept raining so at 5:30 while I am reading and settled into the alcove again, Tanner says "I think there is a storm rolling in and we should leave." I was shocked and didn't expect that. But, that's what happened. We talked for awhile about the possibilities and whether we wanted to be wet because we didn't a pad for the bottom of our tent and we decided it would be best to just go back out. So, do you remember that it took us HOURS AND HOURS to get there? And now, we needed to get out before dark? We basically sprinted up and down mountains to get back to the car! It was definitelyyyyy an adventure....that left me with a really inflamed sartorias and a husband that feels so guilty like he messed up my training! NOOOO! It was already a little inflamed but whew, that made it bad. So, I'm laying low for a few days to let this calm down so I can resume training. I had a 20 miler this morning and I missed it dang it! Maybe one day I'll make it all the way through training injury free! I know it's part of the game, but dang I hate it. 

Either way, we did not quite have the camping trip that we wanted but we know that we will be back out there in no time! :) 

With love and fun anniversaries, 

Katie

Video below and FYI: Another plan in our new home is I'm going to have a studio which means many more quality videos to come so subscribe to my channel if you are interested! :) 

With love and happy marriage,

Katie

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From NYC to NC

It's officially been almost one whole month since we moved home. Wow. Time stinkin flies. I wondered how this would go. I thought I would have PTSD. I thought I would seriously grieve. 

I will admit something-I stay too busy to even think about those things, which is somewhat ridiculous but just being truthful. However, Tanner and I just keep saying like "Wow, we really did that." It almost seems surreal now. Like, we actually lived in New York City for a year. Did we seriously go to the grocery store every week and walk back with the groceries? HA! Did we seriously walk EVERYWHERE and almost a mile to the subway every day? Did we get to spend a year with some of the best people ever, and did we get some of the most memorable moments of our life? So weird now. 

Every person that we meet, we have to explain how "Yes, we just moved home from New York City" and it never fails with the big country accent "OH MY GOSH NEW YORK! YUCK! Thank The Good Lord you came home from that awful place" to which I want to give them a swift kick in the shin bones. I have so much pride and love for that place, and no I didn't leave because it's just so awful. It's wonderful...in so so many ways and is home to some of my most favorite people in the entire universe. 

Does life feel as glamorous? Well no, and yes. With the job that I had, I'm pretty housed up. I work from home, and I stay really busy contrary to what a lot of people think. I have to be honest, and say that it's so nice to be able to just walk outside for a few minutes for fresh air. In order to do that in NYC, it was a 20 minute ordeal of having to take the elevator downstairs then back up again, and there was never anywhere to do anything outside other than a coffee shop that I had to walk a mile to. On the every day, NC feels like a vacation. I feel relaxed and at peace, and I really really needed that. Sometimes I felt the fast paced NYC was going to give me a heart attack at the age of 25, and I know I'm just an anxious person. That's nothing on NYC, but it just wore on me sometimes. 

However, in the quiet moments sometimes, I miss the hustle. I miss just walking around and knowing that I hardly exist to anyone but I'm like in this bubble and I don't know how to explain it but it makes you come alive. Something about walking around that city made my heart want to explode in joy sometimes. Everyone gets it if they live there. You watch Sex in the City and are like "I LOVE NEW YORK CITY" then it rains and you're like "I hate my life. I want to leave." HAHA!

I miss my church family, and my friends.... a lot. I got spoiled seeing them everyday, and I seriously loved them all so much. I wish I could just transport them here. :) I feel SO close to my nephew though, and it makes me so so happy. He pretty much smiles at everyone, but I get to see him smile at me and recognize me. I was so scared of coming home, and having to explain to him who Aunt Katie was and where she lives, but now I don't have to do that. I get to see my best friends here. Oh, how I've missed them and dinners with old friends makes me so happy and feel so at home. 

It feels so cool to be known here, and I don't mean from social media but just because I'm from here. Some people hate Shelby for that reason. They hate for everyone to be in their business, but I guess I don't have anything to hide right now. Maybe if all my secrets get out, I'll hate a small town. ;) hahaha! Every single solitary place that I go, I see someone I know and it's fun. But the new fun has been, now when I walk into almost every place I hear, "Oh my gosh are you Katie?" which is HILARIOUS! Yep! Dats meeeee! And they actually care, which is just really cool and fun and all that stuff!

Now, as for my husband, it was the best decision we could have made. In the last month that we were there, he got really close to some guys in NYC and it was really sad to leave them. However, with the job change and the lifestyle change, I have finally seen my husband be who he is. He has went back up to Bristol to get all of his fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, and any and all outdoor things. He has had more dinners with me and cooked with me more times than I can count already, and it makes every moment of moving worth it. I'm so thankful for the men that were placed in his life in NYC, but I am oh so grateful for the man that he is now that he's here and where he wants to be. I don't think people in Shelby know it, but he's actually a very country boy. I think that because we lived in NYC, they think Tanner was like from there or something and many people have asked how he's adjusting to the south. HAHA! He's from East Tennessee peoples! He sacrificed and loved me enough to go to NYC for my crazy butt! ;) 

Lastly, we have found a home. We have found the place that we will raise our children, and the place that they will run around. It's so amazing. I can't wait to show it off. I would have still been renting in NYC, and it just feels so adult to finally no longer rent and to finally buy a home with my husband so we can settle and have a baby!

I miss the glamorous nightlife and Sunday brunches. I miss the people. I miss the sights. I miss the smells (the good ones). I miss Battery Park. I miss running on the Hudson. I miss Apostles (my church). I miss cute coffee shops. I miss Trader Joes and Whole Foods. I miss the hustle. 

But, I've gained so much. Change is inevitable. Change grows us and teaches us things. I'm so happy and blessed with change.

With love and big moves, 

Katie

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