Why 2017 Scares Me

When I was a kid, if I could have changed one thing about myself, it probably would have been the fact that I wasn’t white. 

Being Asian, not being white, meant that I was different from my family, who adopted me as an infant. 

It meant that I stuck out like a sore thumb in the small town in Tennessee that we lived in for four years and a slightly less obvious sore thumb in the town I spent the rest of my childhood here in Virginia. 

I never really felt too different when I was around my family or my friends. Or my coworkers or my peers. I always felt like I was the same as them. I liked the same things, wore the same clothes, ate the same food, celebrated the same holidays. It was still only the outside of the that was really any different, so sometimes it came as a shock when somebody reminded me that oh, yeah, I am not the same as everyone else. 

I wanted blonde hair and big eyes so that people couldn’t pull back their eyes and mock me for something I couldn’t change about myself. I wanted to not hear racial slurs or mean jokes. I wanted to look white so that people wouldn’t ask me “Where do you REALLY come from?” or “Why don’t you go back to where you came from?” or “Can you speak English?” just because of how I look on the outside. More than anything, I wanted my outside to match the way I felt on the inside, which was just like everybody else I knew. I wanted to blend in so badly that it hurt sometimes. 

It’s taken me every bit of my 30 years on earth to get used to the fact that I am not white and to become okay with that. But these days, it’s actually really scary because I feel like it’s becoming more popular and more culturally mainstream to hate minorities. If the fact that men can march as Nazis and KKK members openly without masks is any indication, at least. As a minority, as a woman, I feel like once again I am being told, “it’s not okay to be not white”. That makes my heart hurt for my future children, for my African American husband, for the many, many people I know who are not white, but are some of the best people I’ve ever met. This makes my heart hurt for myself, who always desperately wanted to not be Asian because it didn’t seem like it was okay to be Asian. 

My biggest fear right now is all of the turmoil with North Korea and how quick the hatred from these groups will focus on Asian Americans. I know it’s probably coming. Muslims have been a target because of people’s fear. African Americans have long been a target. And Asians were right in the center of it way back in the thick of World War II. Who knows when it’s coming, but with someone leading our country who doesn’t disavow outright acts of racism and makes it mainstream, it’s almost certain it will happen. 

It’s 2017 and I am scared to be not white in America. How awful is that?  

Puerto Vallarta

If you follow me on Instagram, or we’re otherwise connected on social media, you probably already know…I went to Mexico last week! I was there to photograph the wedding of a fellow photographer and we turned it into a little mini vacay! 

I’d never been to Mexico before, but I really loved it! I had heard such great things about Puerto Vallarta (especially compared to the more touristy spots like Cabo and Cancun) and it turned out to be really charming! If you want to get more of an “authentic” Mexican feel and swim in the Pacific Ocean, Puerto Vallarta might be for you! There’s also a huge gay nightlife there, which is SOOO much fun and another reason to go!!

This trip was our first time staying at an all inclusive resort and I wasn’t sure how that would be since I really like to get out and explore a lot when I’m traveling, however…for a wedding or for a nice little relaxing getaway, I think they are a really great option! We mostly stayed on the resort, but several days of lounging by the pool or the ocean with cocktails was exactly what I needed after a busy Spring season. The food and drinks at the Hyatt Ziva were all really good. I tried to eat in moderation, but, moderation is hard for me, y’all. Especially when food is at your fingertips 24/7!!!!

It felt really weird to get there and sit down for a meal at a restaurant and not have to wait for our bill and settle up before we left…at first I felt like I was doing something wrong. But, I quickly adapted to not having to worry about anything besides what cocktail I wanted with dinner and which meal sounded best to me! Even room service was included with our stay, which was so nice! There’s nothing like being able to order pizza to your room for free after leaving the Tequila bar at 1AM, am I right??

This was such a great trip for us and we are soooo thankful to Caroline and Josh for including us and for giving us the opportunity to photograph them in Mexico! For their wedding photos, click here to view their post on my photography blog!! 

Our Sixth Anniversary

I'm so behind right now on sharing my adventures here on this blog...between a pre-birthday trip to Charleston in March and a girls' "Spring break" trip to California in April, I've got quite a few things to write about and post! Time is flying by a bit quicker than I can keep up these days, which, is kind of scary because it seems like it only flies by faster and faster every single year! 

I really wanted to share about our anniversary weekend though, so you'll have to forgive the backlog of posts I still have to share and live by my motto these days, which is "Just go with it...".

Anyway, as of a couple of weeks ago, John and I have officially been married SIX years! Six years seems like both a little and a lot to me. It's a small number when you compare that to the number we'll hopefully have one day when we're older and grayer, but it's kind of a big deal when you consider the fact that if our marriage was a person it would be in FIRST GRADE. It would be able to read!!!! How crazy?!?

If there's one thing I've realized about myself over the past couple years it's that I love any reason to have a celebration. Life can be somewhat mundane if you let just slip by without making a big deal out of things sometimes and we've always done something to mark our wedding anniversary, even if it was just as small as getting Olive Garden takeout because we were saving for our Hawaii trip. Last year we stumbled upon the idea of having brunch to celebrate our fifth anniversary. We went to the champagne brunch at the Jefferson hotel (which is totally top notch, by the way...I'm considering a return for my 30th birthday celebration in July...) and since our actual anniversary fell on a Sunday this year, we decided to make a Sunday Funday out of it!

We started our Sunday Funday Anniversary Celebration by heading out to Quirk Hotel for brunch at their restaurant, Maple & Pine. I've been to Quirk a few times, but this was my first time actually having brunch. I normally go for a cocktail (and we actually stayed here for New Year's Eve!) and  we once went for a Sunday dinner for a friend's birthday. It's always a blast!

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Quirk is one of those super adorable places that is just begging to be Instagrammed. You can pretty much guarantee your IG story will be on point whenever you visit.

It's not brunch without cocktails, so we both ordered drinks. John went with a Bloody Mary and I stuck with my old fave, champagne. Nothing says "celebration" like champagne! Maybe that's one of the reasons I love it so much! 

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For food, I chose the grilled avocado with poached egg, smoky bacon crema, and some sort of cheese atop sourdough. I wanted something that wasn't super heavy and this fit the bill! It was actually really good...the flavors were perfectly mashed together in a fancy avocado toast kind of way. 

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John got the fried chicken sandwich, which I had some of (I mean, duh). It was LEGIT. The fried chicken has some kind of crack in it...or maybe it's the sauce that has the crack??? Who even knows?? I thought it was amazing and I wished I had gotten it.

After a photo at the rooftop bar, we headed out to Upper Shirley Vineyards. We did a tasting of all of their wines and then shared a bottle of their Rosè! Rosè is one of my favorite summertime drinks and theirs was the bomb. 

After our wine, we packed up and headed home and grilled dinner together out on our patio. We listened to Neil Young and ate steak kabobs and had the rest of the Upper Shirley Rosè and it was a truly fantastic way to end our day. 

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It's hard to believe we've been married six years, but it was so much fun celebrating how far we've come together! Cheers to six years!

Peonies and a few odds and ends

Since this time of year is one of the craziest times of year for wedding photographers (we lovingly refer to this as "busy season"), it's all I can do to keep up these days! It's also getting warmer outside, so things are heating up in our day to day lives as well. (Pun intended).

We're currently working on moving out of the 1910s house we were renting (which means painting, landscaping work, and a bunch of other odds and ends), as well as preparing for several weddings we're involved in next month...including one where John is actually a groomsman! It's his first time being a groomsman, which is funny to me because I've been dying to be a bridesmaid and he, of course, gets to be in a bridal party before me! We've also joined an adult kickball league for the first time and I'm learning how to do sports. Most of what I can do is run...but they haven't come up with a position yet that allows for someone else to kick the ball and me just do the running...ha!!

Since this weekend is Mother's Day, I went to Trader Joe's today for flowers for my mom (and myself, because hey, cat moms matter, too!) and instead of buying a pre-made bouquet, I decided to make us both arrangements instead. 

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Although I'm kind of already over the gray weather forecasted for the next three days, the rain and gloom was actually perfect to put on Alabama Shakes and get to work creating with these pretty flowers with a cup of sugar cookie coffee.

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I love how the arrangements turned out! I love playing with flowers...it was a fun little escape from my work for the afternoon...now it's time to head back to my editing cave!

Charlotte Spartan Sprint Recap

Oh hello! I feel like it was just the beginning of April, wasn’t it? How did we already get to the first day of May?? It seems like I was literally just prepping for my second Spartan Race the first weekend of last month and now here I am several weeks later and I’m just now blogging about it! I’m a total slacker lately when it comes to this blog, but I’ve got a TON of stuff to share in the upcoming days and weeks! 

I think anybody who’s known me a really long time (beyond a couple years or so…) would think it’s somewhat hilarious and/or ridiculous that I’ve actually run TWO Spartan races now. WHO AM I EVEN?? Last year when I turned 29, I decided to set up a list of challenges and activities to work on completing before my big 3-0 birthday this July and one of those things was to run an obstacle course race! I started OCR training through a local group called ROC Training and it ended up being perfect timing. My friend and I ran our first Spartan, the Wintergreen Sprint, back in the Fall and set our sights on a Trifecta in 2017 by signing up for Charlotte Sprint!

Thank you to my friend Tori for the pics! She ran her own preggo Spartan running around taking photos of us!!

Thank you to my friend Tori for the pics! She ran her own preggo Spartan running around taking photos of us!!

Since this was my second race and I didn’t have to work until late the night before, I felt so much more at ease going into the race! Not only did I know what I was getting myself into this time, I’d also heard from multiple Spartan veterans that the Wintergreen Race we’d run (I’m using the term “run” loosely here…) is one of the hardest Sprints out there. Starting Saturday morning I was excited to see how far the last few months of training would take me and what I could improve upon…especially the rope, which was my nemesis at the last race. You can read all about that here in my Wintergreen recap, if you’re interested!

One thing I’ll always remember about this race is how freaking COLD it was at the start. A lot of that, I’m sure has to do with the time of year we raced (beginning of April) and the time of day our heat was (8:00-8:30 competitive). I’d definitely take the cold weather though, over racing later in the day because the second thing I’ll always remember about this race was the MUD. 

Oh, the mud. It smelled like straight up cow poops and had the texture of what I’d imagine quicksand to feel like. I’m usually pretty good at barbed wire crawls because I’m petite, which makes me lower to the ground naturally, but I can’t imagine there was even one person who didn’t struggle through that mud! It almost would have been worth it (and faster!) to do the 30 burpees and skip slogging through that crap (literally…haha).

The mud made all of the obstacles more difficult…especially the rope. 

The rope. THAT STUPID FREAKING ROPE. Last year, when I started ROC training I think I laughed (or more likely rolled my eyes or grimaced, which I have a tendency to do) when they started trying to teach us how to climb a rope. It’s not like I’m not strong, but upper body strength has never been a strong suit of mine and I’d always imagined a rope climb would be straight up upper body work. It turns out that it’s mostly technique and since we spent a lot of time before the Wintergreen Spartan learning that technique and I felt like I stood a pretty decent chance at getting it at the race.

Well, if you've read my Wintergreen recap post, and/or ever talked to me about that race experience in real life, you’ll know that it was a pretty epic fail at my first race. I basically got 3/4 of the way up the rope and lost all of my energy and did a horrible, awkward slide down the rope before bursting into tears. I tasted my hot, salty tears during the angriest, most defeated thirty burpees of all time. That moment was my biggest regret from that race and I think it was because I felt I really did have the capability to climb it. Some obstacles I don’t feel bummed about failing because I know that right now they are so far out of my reach due to my size, genetics, strength levels, etc that even if I literally gave 100 percent towards completing it, I still wouldn’t get it. The rope wasn’t one of those things, so it made me so mad at myself knowing that I failed and ultimately let myself and everybody who was cheering for me down. I vowed to make it up the rope at my next Spartan and dedicated as much time as I could practicing rope climbs and working on my grip strength. 

The morning of the race, we could see the rope area as we parked and headed to the start. “Oh that doesn’t look too bad!” I said out loud. It was almost like I jinxed myself. It technically wasn’t all that high (though, when you’re afraid of heights, pretty much anything is high) but it was destined to be the most slippery thing on earth after hundreds of people attempted to climb after crawling through literally SHIN DEEP poop mud. 

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After slogging through the poop mud, I hustled to the hoist and the rope. The hoist was a piece of cake…again, because I think they have us do heavier hoists in training, I was well prepared! After the hoist, I was antsy to get over to the rope. Cheryl noticed and commented on how ready I was. “I’m just trying to get it over with!” I said. I think most of us were just DONE after the mud, so I know I wasn’t alone in feeling that. I couldn’t relax or concentrate on anything else until I’d gone up that rope. The closer I got to it finally being time to attempt the climb, I started to feel more and more anxious. I felt it in the pit of my stomach. What if I didn’t do it? Especially after I made such a big deal about making it happen this time?? 

The first thing I did when I approached the rope climb was look for one that had dry-ness starting lower than the others. The ropes were ALL muddy and slick towards the bottom, but towards the tops they were dryer where you could tell that people had quit. I grabbed the rope in my hands and went to hook it around my foot and that’s when I realized this was going to be NOTHING like climbing the rope in training. Nothing really could have prepared me to go up a rope so slippery I couldn’t really keep it between my feet very well OR hold onto it well enough to grip it with my hands. I could feel my heart sink and my tear ducts filling up after I jumped up on the rope only to have it slip through my fingers and my (unfortunately bare) legs.

I slid down off of that rope, hot tears in my eyes, already feeling like a failure, full on toddler style meltdown about to erupt, when my friend Leah stood in front of me and told me “NO CRYING!!”. She said it with such sternness and fierceness that I immediately sniffled and took a deep breath before collecting myself as best as I could to go at it again. I couldn’t walk away with that being how it ended…I just couldn’t. I knew in that moment that the only way I’d be giving up this time would be if I physically fell off of the rope because my arms and grip gave out. 

After a couple more deep breaths, I jumped back up and took it kind of slow. I realized that if I could just somehow get past the slick, wet mud stained part of the rope, I’d be home free (I mean, as home free as you can actually be when it comes to a rope climb…). If I could just get past the slick, slimy length of the rope, I’d be able to inch up the rest of the way just like I’d done a hundred times before in practice.

Thinking back to that moment, my memories of making it up feel like a blur. Like it happened in an instant, but also like it took a lifetime. Near the spot where I quit on myself at Wintergreen, I felt exhaustion creeping in. It hurt, I was tired, wet, and I was so hungry! My arms were burning and I just wanted it to be over. That’s the moment when I realized that I couldn’t give up. I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t let my mind take over when my body knew what it needed to do. That’s a moment I will go back to again and again in my mind when I need that little bit of extra to push through something difficult…in that moment I knew that the only difference between me last time and the me that I wanted to be…the one succeeding and ringing the bell, was to keep going despite how hard it was. 

And isn’t that such a good metaphor for life? What’s the thing that separates successful people from those who aren’t? What’s the thing that separates athletes from people who aren’t? It’s that grit that says keep going even though everything in you wants to stop. I say all the time “If Katie Nesbitt can do it, anybody can” because I know that I’m not special. None of us are. We all have the capability to give our best or the capability to quit. If exercise hating, junk food junkie, bookworm, couch potato, Katie Nesbitt can climb ropes and deadlift twice what she weighs, I feel that anything is possible…(but seriously).

Anyway! Back to my story: I kept pulling away at the rope while my coaches and my friends (and a few strangers) yelled encouragement and other random things at me. Suddenly I heard people yelling at me to hit the bell. I was so confused for a second because I didn’t think I was close enough to it, but I held on for dear life and swung my arm out and hit the bell. In that moment I felt fear (because I was literally swinging from the top of a rope and afraid of falling off) and SO much relief. 

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After sliding awkwardly to the bottom, my eyes welled up with tears. This time becauseI realized I had climbed the freaking rope! I had conquered an obstacle that had frustrated me to no end at my first race and I’d done something I NEVER would have thought I’d be able to do in my lifetime.

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That moment, that feeling of being able to prove to myself that I could do it was something I will never ever forget. Wintergreen was a great experience, but Charlotte was all about redemption for me. I am so glad that I got to go and do this, AND that I got to do it with friends! Throughout the race I bitched and complained a lot, repeatedly asking “WHY DO WE PAY MONEY TO PUT OURSELVES THROUGH THIS SHIT?!?” but I know why it is we do it. Because it’s cathartic to be able to push yourself, to prove what you can do, to redeem yourself from past failures, and because the camaraderie you share with your teammates is something so special. 

Running a marathon a few years back was just a yolo thing I did to say that I’d done it that ended up wearing me out, but running Spartans has been an intentional thing I’ve done that’s given me confidence, strength, a tribe of amazing athletes that I get to call friends. I can’t wait to sign up for my next race!

Photos & Meal Planning

One of the weird things I do that maybe not everyone else does (or maybe they do??) is photographing most of my meals. Not all of the photos are nice or are in good lighting. In fact, most of them are just quick snapshots of whatever I'm about to dig into before I chow down on it. 

I started doing this for two reasons.

1. I really, REALLY love food. I like to remember great meals that I've had! Taking a photo of a meal is like taking a photo of any other good memory to me. 

2. I like to look back through my food photos for ideas on what to eat when I'm in a rut food-wise or just can't decide what to eat. We all have those nights when we're trying to decide what to eat because nothing sounds good and this helps me pick from things I've had before. It really does help when I'm meal planning or just thinking about what I should have for dinner!

Meals pictured (left to right) 

Row 1:
1. Coconut Thai Shrimp Bowls, 2. a Blue Apron salmon and cous cous dish, 3. a kid's meal from Cafe Rio, 4. Chicken pita from Zoe's Kitchen

Row 2:
1. Skinnytaste Butternut Squash Lasgana rolls, 2. Skinnytaste Crockpot Sesame Chicken, 3. Leftover chicken teriyaki and beef bulgogi and salad, 4. Ground turkey, roasted green beans and butternut squash, 

Row 3:
1. Lean Cuisine Vermont Cheddar Mac & Cheese and open faced tuna sandwich 2. Rice, broccoli, chicken, and a cara cara orange, 3. Homemade chili, 4. Bagel thins, baby bel cheese, spinach, and smoked salmon

Row 4: 
1. Peanut Butter Pie from the Roosevelt, 2. Skinnytaste Crockpot maple drumsticks and cauliflower gratin from Trader Joe's, 3. Angel hair pasta with olive oil and sauteed shrimp 4. Baked Chicken, rice, and sriracha ranch. 

A Weekend of Good Things

This time of year I start to feel a little bit of cabin fever from spending so much time at home in my office that it's almost inevitable I will start seeking fun weekend plans. This past weekend was no exception...I wanted nothing more than to spend a little bit of time outside of the house and lucky for me, I got my wish! 

I had seen a magical sounding Oreo beer (yes...OREO beer!!!) posted about on Facebook. When I finally got around to clicking one of the articles about it, I realized that not only was the brewery that made it only about an hour away, it was also one I HAD BEEN TO BEFORE. 

The Veil Brewing Co made a special Oreo Chocolate Milk Stout and immediately sold out of cans. Because we had nothing else to do, we drove out to Richmond to try it out for ourselves! I wish I could say that I had thought to bring actual Oreos to pair with it...but I sadly did not. 

It had actual chunks of Oreo cookies in it! It was velvety smooth, and had just the right amount of chocolate taste. I thought it would make a wonderful dessert!

After trying a couple of their other beers (because when in Rome, right?) we went to my favorite Asian Fusion place in the whole world, Foo Dog

Foo Dog is the only place I've ever been that has Malaysian curry style ramen. The broth is coconutty with a hint of spice. It's creamy and warm and so freaking delicious I've even eaten it on days when the heat index was over 100 degrees. They also have a bunch of really legit cocktails and appetizers. I'm a fan of most of the ones that include Belle Isle Moonshine!

We shared the shrimp app and wings. Their wings are so SO good. Crispy and saucy the way I like them! After leaving Foo Dog, we went by Sticky Rice for a night cap and a bucket of tots, because obviously, we hadn't had enough carbs.

After my normal Sunday morning workout (which went great, thanks to the aforementioned carbs),  we drove out to Virginia Beach to have brunch with our friends Brandi and Stephen at Esoteric. Once a month-ish they host a beats, beer, and brunch with a dj and everything!

I was really craving a burger, but I settled for the Haute Dog...a hot dog settled between a split, toasted brioche bun. Brioche is probably my favorite bread! 

John and I both had a cocktail. I chose a Bloody Mary because I felt like I needed vegetables in my life and he chose something they created with CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH CEREAL MILK and bourbon! As soon as we move and I'm able to get into the kitchen more, I will be trying to make things with cereal milk, because this is such a genius idea! Plus, I love eating cereal, so it's a double win for me!

We finished our brunch with maple cinnamon sugar donuts. I can't say no to a donut!

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2017 has been an interesting one so far in that there have been lots of wonderful moments, like some of the ones I shared in this post, and yet, it's also had it's share of no good, terrible, horrible, very bad moments too. Those not so great days have made me extra thankful for the good ones full of laughter, and for friends who will get you out of the house and eat bad things with you. 

The Fear

I have gone back and forth about writing this post. My main reason for not wanting to write it is because, well, who really wants to put their business out there on the internet for literally anybody else to read? For them to not only read my story and feel whatever they want about it but to also then be able to pass their own judgments about it? 

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But then I remember exactly how isolated I feel sitting at home, feeling broken hearted and scared. Like I’m the only one who’s ever felt this way. It hurts to not only feel like you are somehow defective but that you’re also a little bit of a freak too because no one ever talks about it. People just keep it to themselves. 

No one ever talks about how scary it is to not know what your body is doing and why. I’ve never heard someone else describe how they desperately want their period to come because that at least means that their cycles are working normal enough for their hormones to be somewhat like a regular person’s would. Or how every time a person announces their pregnancy (and there’s at LEAST one a week…some weeks there’s one every single day) you have to take a few minutes to yourself before you can congratulate the person the way you should. Or how it makes you feel just a little awkward when you're around a bunch of parents who are talking about parent things and kind of looking at you like, "Oh, you don't even know what we're talking about".  You're like, well I want to, but it's not really my fault I don't. 

The fear is what does this to us. To me. It’s the fear that I’ll never be able to be a mom. That I’ll never meet another biological family member. That I won’t ever get to know one single person who shares the same DNA as me. The fear is what keeps me up at night and makes me take medication for Type 2 diabetes. It's made me a weird version of myself that's somehow more vocal but at the same time very quiet.

The fear is what makes me a terrible sister and a negligent friend. I’ve literally told friends of mine that I’d punch them (jokingly) if they got pregnant before I did. The fear makes me bitter. It makes me feel like my life and my body are completely out of my control. I don't know how to tell it to leave.

The fear is hard to live with because on the outside, you look completely normal. You go to dinners, hang out with friends, post selfies to social media, and you seem like a completely typical, happy human being. The reality is, a lot of life has a little bit of a bittersweet tinge to it because you’re just feeling a little bit empty inside. To me, this emptiness is not all that new, because I grew up feeling like there was at least a little teeny tiny piece that was missing. It’s just that the teeny tiny piece has grown to a slightly larger hole right below my heart. 

I write this not for pity but because I want people like me to understand that they’re not alone. It’s NOT just me that feels like this. And if you are reading this and you don’t relate because your body is just fine or you just aren’t at that place in your life, or for whatever other reason, remember that there are most likely very many women in your life right now battling this very secret, very invisible fear and that you should be gentle with them when possible. 

My heart goes out to the women who have had to go through this much longer than me, especially to the ones who deal with this fear and on top of that, the grief from losses. Tequila shots and hugs for all. 

Our Very Busy Post Holiday Week

The last couple weeks have been so crazy! Normally the holidays are kind of busy for us  (especially since my parents are divorced and remarried….which means we’ve got a LOT of houses to visit for Christmas) but this year it was even more so, because we added in a trip to Florida! Why Florida? My sister and infant nephew live there! So do our friends and their two little ones! Instead of spending the week between Christmas and New Years being lazy at home, this year we drove down to sunny Florida and spent the week there instead. 

Our trip included lots of time playing with the three year old and one year old. 

And a trip to Universal Studios, where our friend Mark works! I can’t think of a cooler job than mine...besides his! 

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Sidenote, did y’all know they serve cocktails at Universal?? I’m used to Busch Gardens Williamsburg that only serves beer and wine. It was fun having a rum punch and exploring the park! 

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Between spending all the time I could cuddling with my 8 week old nephew and playing swords and guns with our toddler friend, I only had time to work out one time, but that workout was a doozy…I ran two miles, did 200 burpees, and 120 jump squats. It’s just as horrible as it sounds, especially after sitting in a car for 12 hours!!! 

After I tearfully said goodbye to my little nephew, we headed back to Virginia. But not before stopping at South of the Border (of course) for some New Years sparklers! 

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New Year’s Eve we stayed at the adorable Quirk hotel with friends of ours and checked out the festivities at the Veil Brewing Co and the Hoffmeyer building. It was my first time at both and I’d definitely go back to either one! The Veil specializes in IPA beers, but they’re really drinkable, even if you’re just taking baby steps into the world of IPAs like me. 

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The party at the Hoff was Moulin Rouge themed with a killer band and burlesque dancers! I could hardly see their performances because I’m short, which means I never see anything, but what I could see between people’s shoulders was great! 

After partying New Year’s Eve, we were treated to a FEAST yesterday at our friend’s Brandi and Stephen’s house. Champagne, oysters, meatballs, lemon chicken pasta, black eyed peas, and more!

It’s safe to say that after all of this, I’m beyond exhausted today. I’m going to need at least a week to settle back into my regular life, but you know what? It was so worth it. I loved every minute of the past week and a half or so and I wouldn’t change a thing!  I’m looking forward to taking time this week to write out some goals for the next year and start fresh by collecting things I want to purge for a yard sale in the Spring. Anyone have tips for hosting a yard sale??

Have a great first week of 2017!

 

Must Haves for Long Haul Flights

We are a little over a week from heading out to HAWAII (!!!) and I couldn't be more excited. I've already started working on my packing list (which is actually a spreadsheet...and includes things like who I want to buy souvenirs for and what sights I want to see). Is that really weird and type A?? I can't help it, I guess I was just born this way, because that's how I roll. 

Since Hawaii is a little bit of a trek (we've got a four hour flight and then a seven hour flight to get there), I thought as I was packing up some of my long trip essentials, I'd also share them here!  

1 & 2. Earplugs and a sleep mask - These long haul flights are the perfect opportunity to get a little bit of sleep if you can sleep on a plane. I personally can only sleep on a plane if I'm exhausted beyond belief. And even then a sleep mask works wonders, especially when people near you decide they really want to keep their window shades open and the sun is right in your eyeballs. Earplugs are a bonus. 

PRO TIP: I usually pick a window seat on the side I sleep on. I sleep mostly on my left side, so I usually pick the left side of the plane. Something about doing that helps to trick my body into feeling like it's time to sleep.

3. Comfortable headphones - If you don't want to use earplugs, comfortable headphones are so important. If you're wearing your headphones for more than an hour or two at a time, comfort is really important! I recently got these Beats headphones, that I love! I'm a big earbud person, but a lot of people also love to wear the over ear headphones too. 

4. Spotify Premium - I started using Spotify Premium when I was marathon training and needed access to hours of music that I could also access offline without purchasing 70 or 80 dollars of music from Apple. I love it for long haul flights because you can make a playlist of as many songs as you'd like and then you can make it available offline, meaning you won't have to use wifi or data to listen. This is awesome for flying or any other time when you might want to conserve data or battery life! 

5. Mophie Charging Case for iPhone - Speaking of conserving battery life, I don't travel without a Mophie Charging case for my iPhone! Previously I had the external universal mophie charger, which I'd use with my regular phone charger, but I've found the charging case to be the most convenient and easy to use when you're traveling. You don't need to carry anything extra, the charger is on your phone! You just flip a little switch when you're low and it starts charging right then and there. Such a lifesaver for a flight on a plane that doesn't have power! I have this one. I thought it would be super bulky and I would hate it, but once you get used to it, it's just fine! 

6. A zippered pouch - I think the key to staying organized when traveling is lots of compartments. There's not much I hate more than looking for something I need and having to dig through my entire cavernous carry on bag. I keep a smaller bag of some kind in my carry on with all of my in flight essentials (gum, dramamine, headphones, advil, lip balm, nyquil, etc) so that I can grab that and stick it in the seat back in front of me so I'm not digging through my carry on every time I need something. 

7. Compression socks - I'm very pro wearing socks when I fly. If it's a shorter flight, I might wear sandals, but for long flights, I always wear socks, specifically compression socks. Long flights are always FREEZING, so socks are very important. Compression socks are great because in addition to keeping your feet warm, they also help keep your feet and legs from swelling due to cabin pressure and lower the chance you might get a blood clot. 

8. Zabees Immune Support and Sleep powder I discovered this stuff on a trip earlier this Fall and fell in love with it! When you're traveling, your immune system can always benefit from a little bit of a boost and the melatonin and other things in the powder also help me relax enough to drift off to sleep. I highly recommend this stuff before a red eye flight! 

My last "must have" is a must have for ANY flight. It's TSA PreCheck. I signed up earlier this year and was mad I hadn't done it earlier, because it makes the process of getting through the airport SO MUCH SMOOTHER. You pay a one time fee and go to your local office to have them verify your identity and take your fingerprints and you get a known traveler ID that allows you to bypass the long TSA lines and go straight to the PreCheck line instead. I love it because I can keep my shoes and jacket on and I don't have to remove my laptop or liquids! I travel alone a lot and really prefer people not know I have an expensive laptop in my possession.