Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Life Lately

The month of November has been a whirlwind, as you could probably tell by my lack of posting. I was so excited for this month to be here because there were so many exciting things on my schedule. Between birthdays, a bachelorette, reuniting with good friends and far too much good food, I haven't found much time to chronicle anything. I've been lucky to get out of bed and into work on time each morning.

So what have I been up to over the past few mysterious weeks?

Mr. Young and I both had a birthday! I definitely owe a post on turning 26 since I now officially feel like a grown up. It's the first birthday ever that I've woken up and actually felt like I was older. Or maybe just accepting the obvious? I threw a surprise party for Mr. Young (more on that later) and my friends supper club fell on mine and another member's birthday so we celebrated with massive amounts of Mexican food and indigestion for all--hooray!

One of my oldest and best friends is tying the knot in early January and I was so excited to head back to my hometown to celebrate her all weekend! Her sister and MOH should seriously start an events business because each last detail of the weekend was perfect to the personalized bachelorette mad libs we played and the adorable bachelorette survival kits she made for us. Can't wait to be a part of her big day--and that's getting me even more excited for mine--ahh!

Miss Georgia
 If you're an Instagram follower than you're probably familiar with this little furball by now. Within our first week with her I think I may have posted about six pictures of her #sorrynotsorry
After saying goodbye to Pip last month our other cat has been sadly moseying around the house looking for her friend. We knew it would only be a matter of time before we got her one and after about a month and a half it finally felt right. We both took the day off on my birthday and adopted her from the SPCA. I knew she had spunk from the  minute I spotted her and she has turned out to be quite the energetic kitten. I forgot how crazy kittens are. We are loving every minute of it though.

While there's been a lot more than that going on these are some of the big ones and now I'm itching to get out of town for the holiday this week. I am so grateful Mr. Young and I both work in jobs that provide us with great breaks so we'll be heading south to see his family in Augusta tomorrow morning. Hopefully November has been just as good to all of my sweet readers!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Richmond Day Date

While I unfortunately didn't sleep as much as I'd hoped this past weekend it was definitely a great one! I did a bit too much shopping, a lot of good eating, and finally found some rugs for our house. If you're an Instagram follower you got a sneak peak of one rug yesterday, stay tuned for updates on the house soon.

One great thing about this weekend was lots of little dates with Mr. Young! Our weekends (and weeknights) have been packed and it was nice to spend some time together that wasn't just late at night or catching up before work.

The weather here in Richmond was absolutely gorgeous this weekend and being the first weekend in November I took it as a sign for the last warm-ish weather we'll probably have this season. So we made sure to take full advantage of it!

On Sunday we headed downtown for lunch at the Urban Farmhouse which I've been wanting to try for ages. It's such a cute little place and the food was great. I had a grilled cheese with apple (killer combo) and Mr. Young's tuna was yummy as well. He also had some chicken pot pie soup which he also raved about. We were starving when we got there so this is all you get...

Afterwards we had some time to walk around in Shockoe Slip, which is an area we've yet to explore too much. While we enjoy our little house I'll admit that I feel like we miss out on the city sometimes by living in the 'burbs. I'd like to do some "Richmond Neighborhood Tours" and go spend a Saturday in one area of Richmond, eat there, find things to do, see, etc.

Last was a surprise for Mr. Young, we took a historic canal cruise! There is a canal that runs parallel to the James River and we got to cruise up and down it learning more about the history of our city. I continue to be amazed when I learn about Richmond. Growing up near DC I never thought I could live anywhere that could top it, but I'd have to say Richmond has a hand in the game.

Learned many cool things about Richmond history and it's current downtown areas and I can't wait to go back down there and explore the canal walk by foot. Although I'd have to drive a bit from home I think I'd love running down there because it's so similar to the Riverwalk in Columbia, SC, where I fell in love running.

It's still crazy for me to think that I live in this city. I am now a Richmonder. During college and grad school I must have driven through Richmond about fifty times and never stopped. I'll be the first to admit that our city is not very pretty from I-95, but once you're off the highway (depending on your exit!) you can start to see her charm.

Sadly enough the weekend ended as it always does, but I'm just going to keep the beautiful colors and sites of this weekend in my mind for the week...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

October Reading Review

Now that I haven't been spending as much time running, I've gotten back into the swing of reading and have picked up some great books lately! I decided to join one of Megan's reading challenges to get me back into the groove and earlier in the fall I shared a list of books I planned to read for the challenge.

After not picking up a book for a while I was pretty proud that I got through four in this first month! There are 13 on my list to finish by December 31st so I'd say I'm making pretty good time. It's like race training all over again!

Me Talk Pretty One Day // David Sedaris 
I've wanted to read something by Sedaris for a while so was excited to pick up this book. I enjoyed that it was a series of short stories and there were a few moments where I was laughing so hard that the tears came. It was a quick read and although some parts were a bit heavy I really enjoyed it.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time // Mark Haddon
OK I'll be honest that this book originally ended up on my to-read list because of the cover. Yes, I'm one of those. When the challenge called for an epistolary novel I did some searching and found that this fit the bill. It was also a quick and easy read, though instead of laughter this one brought on a few tears. It was interesting to take a look into the thoughts of someone with Aspergers and see the courage of the main character.

Dad is Fat // Jim Gaffigan
Back to laughing, and lots of of it. While I had heard of Gaffigan I've never seen or heard any of his stand-up so didn't know what I was in for. I love that he's a "wholesome" comedian and so the book had wholesome humor as well. Gaffigan chronicles the adventures and missteps of having five children, especially for someone who lives in a two bedroom apartment in Manhattan with said children. The book was good overall but I did feel that there were a few chapters thrown in just to take up space. 

Orange is the New Black // Piper Kerman
This was the book on my list I was most looking forward to reading which is why I picked it up early on. I have yet to watch the TV series (and now can't wait!), but absolutely devoured this book. Reading Kerman's first hand account of her prison experience opened my mind up to many things I never knew or had thought about the prison system in America. I'd have to say it also helps to put some things into perspective. I now can't wait to start watching the series. 

Have you read any of these yet? If so, what are your thoughts? 
Read anything else good lately that I should add to my list?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Sweet November

The day has finally come, it's my favorite month of the year! November is a spectacular month for a variety reasons, and not just because it's the glorious month of my birth. 

Now that Halloween is over it's time to dive into late fall and pray that I don't see anything Christmas related in stores until after Thanksgiving, fat chance. I had another quiet Halloween this year, though was excited to finally have some trick or treaters. The cat was pretty pumped about it too, she guarded the door all night and the littler kids were all way more excited to "Pet da kitty?" through our glass door than to grab candy. Oh well, more for me!

I'd say I found a great recipe for adult halloween. Red wine, DVR, adding to my wedding registries, and eating one piece of candy each time a group came through...

Anyways, let's get back to November. She is quite a spectacular month. First, we have Thanksgiving--and who doesn't love that? I secretly like Thanksgiving more than Christmas, much to the dismay of most Americans. It's a holiday that I feel hasn't become quite as commercialized as the rest and the eating is usually concentrated into one day rather than an entire month of cookies, candy, and parties.

I also get to see a lot of good people this month! The weekend after my birthday is one of my best friend's bachelorette, and I'm also making a trip down south before Thanksgiving to visit with some friends from college and see my fabulous bridesman perform as the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz. Yes, I have an extremely talented bridal party.

My one quip with November (especially now that we're in Virginia) is that it's when real fall sets in. It's no longer the up and down temperatures of October, it starts to just be cold. Bleck. But with the theme of Thanksgiving and always seeing many friends and family it's always a month where I am cognizant to be thankful all that I'm fortunate to have.

I might use November for a few posts about some things I'm extremely thankful for, but as I think about this month I am thankful...

For friends and family that shower me with love on my birthday
For the cooler temperatures just so I can feel justified with my pumpkin spice latte
To be close with and to my family to celebrate the holiday season together
For daylight savings time to end so I can finally run before work again
For this kickass view outside my window at work everyday...

Happy November y'all, and TGIF!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sunday Funday: Wine Edition

This past weekend was packed and although I got no laundry done and had to go grocery shopping yesterday evening, it was definitely worth it. I spent Sunday on a wine tour with some gals from the Junior League, not only was it a great day but I totally forgot that one of my 101 in 1001 items was to visit three new wineries in Virginia. We went to four, so check and check!

I've only seen a few wineries so far and enjoyed that these are all in the Charlottesville area which is just around an hour away from us. We visited Delfosse, Pippin Hill, Blenheim and Trump. I think my favorites were Pippin Hill and Blenheim, but we didn't really get to explore the outside area of Trump which also looked amazing. I would love to go back with a picnic lunch, buy a bottle of wine and just enjoy the afternoon at one of these spaces. The weather was absolutely perfect on Sunday so we were able to soak in the beautiful views at each place.

Have you visited any wineries in Virginia? Although I hit my goal of three (maybe I should have made it bigger?) I am continuing to visit as many as possible while we live here. Where you have been? What's your favorite place?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Some days just make you stop and reflect on all that you have in life. After a wonderful weekend filled with friends I woke up yesterday morning not wanting to get out of bed, despite getting an hour more than my usual night's sleep. I couldn't figure out what it was, maybe I just woke up in the middle of a REM cycle?

I got out of bed, ate some breakfast, and got myself together and out the door to work. Then the work day flew by in a whirl of students, PowerPoint building, and inbox clearing. On the way home I knew I needed to go for a run and so for the second time today forced myself to get up and get moving.

While I only ran two miles, which feels so defeating after a half marathon, I ran a hard two miles and at the end I ran right into this scene.

It was gorgeous and I couldn't help but feel grateful for getting myself outside for fresh air and beautiful sights. As I walked home that train of thought continued.

I am incredibly grateful...
To have a job I enjoy
To have a purpose of helping others discover and seek their passions
To be able bodied and enjoy running
To have many wonderful friends even if some are far away
To be able to buy good, healthy food
To have a sweet fiance, even if he forgets to bring all the travel coffee mugs home

Every day that you don't want to get out of bed, go into work, go to the gym, cook dinner, or clean the dishes, remember the small joys that you have in life. I couldn't have imagined when I woke up that I would end the day feeling so grateful for the mundane nuances of life.

I'm still learning that life isn't about being busy every weekend, traveling everywhere, or flashy parties. Sometimes you just need a hot cup of apple cider, a big blanket, Walking Dead on DVR and someone to cuddle up with.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

In my lust of the fall season there was one thing I knew I'd have to do when the leaves started turning: go apple picking! Last year we knew many people that headed out to Charlottesville to go picking at Carter Mountain Orchard and this year we didn't want to miss out. We set a date with some friends and even though the weather was less than spectacular we piled in the car and headed west in search of sweet, crisp apples.

Driving up the mountain in the rain was quite the task to go through in order to pick apples but we made it all in once piece and headed out into the rainy, muddy orchard to pick our bounty. We had a fair share of successes with finding great apples to bring home, and Mr. Young had a fair share of unfortunate moments like slipping in the mud and having an orange colored bottom for the rest of the trip...

I had dreamt of what I might make with my bounty of apples. Sweet apple desserts? Savory apple entrees? Rather than acting in haste I waited a few days and spent some time searching around Pinterest and the web for a good recipe to put my hard earned apples to work. I stumbled upon this recipe for apple muffins and that was that. Check and check off the 101 in 1001 list!

One thing to note with this recipe is the fact that is calls for you to mix all of the wet ingredients together and then begin adding in the dry. Well this smart girl right here didn't think twice about adding freshly melted butter into from the fridge milk. I turned my back and I saw shiny yellow chunks floating in my butter. Two degrees later and I can't even do simple baking... Yet another reason why I find the "add a little of this, and a little of that" cooking method to be far superior to baking.

To remedy this I began to heat another stick of butter and poured new milk to be at room temperature. Instead of following directions I began to add in some of the dry ingredients first, and then added in the melted butter so it would not congeal in the cold milk. Worked like magic!

Additionally, I had all types of flour stocked up when I made these so I decided to experiment with that. I double the original recipe so for my four cups of flour I used three of white whole wheat and one of whole wheat flour. I think you definitely need to have some white flour with this recipe or the muffins may not turn out as they should but I think if I played around some more I could have used a bit more whole wheat. I also upped the cinnamon. When I saw one teaspoon for FOUR cups of flour I was outraged. Bring on the spice people!

Apple Cinnamon Muffins (adapted from Silver Pennies)
yields 24 muffins

8 tbsp. of melted butter (1 stick)
2 eggs
2 cups of milk
4 cups of flour
2 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup of sugar
3 large or 4 smaller apples finely chopped
1/4 cup of cinnamon sugar mix

Heat oven to 375* and grease two cupcake pans. Mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate, large, bowl mix milk and eggs together. Mix about one cup of the dry mixture into the wet mixture, when combine add the melted butter. Slowly add the remaining dry ingredients into the bowl. When fully mixed, fold in 2/3 of the chopped apples.

Spoon mixture into the cupcake pans. Top each muffin with some of the remaining chopped apples and if needed, use a spatula to press them into the batter. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

101 in 1001

I always find myself thinking or saying "Ooh I really want to do that!" "I really want to bake that!" or "I can't wait to try that craft I saw on Pinterest!" Then life happens and I don't do whatever the project was that I was so excited about. At this point in life I have plenty of time to spend accomplishing these smaller goals, so why not today?

My house has a pantry full of ingredients to bake on a whim, there's an AC Moore less than half a mile away from me that sends me piles of coupons each week, and I live in a city with a vibrant culture and vast array of events going on every weekend. So I've decided it's time to stop saying I want to do things and actually go do them.

Years ago I started a Life List, similar to a bucket list, of things that I want to accomplish or do at some point in my life. The thing about that list is that one, there are many lofty goals on it, and two there's no expiration date. Throughout life I've found that the best way for me to achieve a goal is put a time limit on it.

After I saw Charlotte make an inspiring list of to-do's I decided it was time to make one of my own. I actually started this list a few weeks ago and have checked off a few things so far. I am so excited about everything on list and am looking forward to many more adventures over the next 1001 days, a few items are cross listed from my Life List.

So you know that thing you said you were going to do this weekend? Well work it out and go do it, because there's no time like the present. I encourage you to make your own list and think about reachable goals to challenge yourself!

Start Date // October 5, 2013
End Date // July 2, 2016
  1. Get married!
  2. Complete a half marathon. [10/6/13]
  3. Complete a marathon. 
  4. Ride in a hot air balloon.
  5. Spend an entire day doing nothing but reading a book.
  6. Go to five new states.
  7. See the sunrise over a body of water.
  8. Watch the sunset over a body of water.
  9. Grow an herb garden.
  10. Go kayaking in the James River.
  11. Completely fill up my wine rack {24 bottles}.
  12. Visit two new countries.
  13. Get my Etsy shop up and going.
  14. Create a gallery wall in our house.
  15. Go on a family vacation.
  16. Buy nothing new for an entire month.
  17. Make gnocchi from scratch.
  18. Learn how to make jewelry.
  19. See a movie at a drive-in theater
  20. Go apple picking. [10/13/13]
  21. Bake or cook something with my apple haul.
  22. Get my 5k time down to 30 minutes or less.
  23. Become comfortable with speaking Italian.
  24. Learn how to sew.
  25. Be a "host" for an international student at the campus I work for.
  26. Do some soul searching and come up with professional goals.
  27. Blog every day for a month.
  28. Project 365, take a picture every day for a year.
  29. Make homemade ice cream. 
  30. Send mail to family & friends for no reason at all.
  31. Bake an extravagant layered cake.
  32. Donate blood.
  33. Host a dinner party.
  34. Buy a bicycle.
  35. Complete a sprint triathlon.
  36. Go camping.
  37. Successfully complete a Sudoku puzzle.
  38. Spend an entire day without any type of technology or social media.
  39. Participate in a "fun run".
  40. See the Nutcracker during the holidays.
  41. Make thoughtful, homemade gifts for all family & friends for one Christmas.
  42. Find a church I like enough to join.
  43. Read a book by Ayn Rand.
  44. Take a photography course. 
  45. Start taking nice pictures for the blog.
  46. Buy coffee for the person behind me in line.
  47. Run a race to raise money for a philanthropic organization.
  48. Learn how to make a really good mixed drink.
  49. De-clutter and sell/donate what I don't need or use.
  50. Leave a 100% tip at a restaurant.
  51. Ice skate outside. 
  52. Make homemade cinnamon rolls.
  53. Paint my desk a fun, happy color.
  54. Go hiking in the Shenandoah. 
  55. Cut down our own tree for Christmas. 
  56. Visit three new Virginia wineries. 
  57. Buy a lottery ticket.
  58. Go on a picnic. 
  59. Star gaze date night with Mr. Young.
  60. Paint the rooms in our house.
  61. Do a juicing cleanse.
  62. Adopt an Angel Tree kid at Christmas.
  63. Go to a UR football game.
  64. Take a random day off work just because.
  65. Visit Busch Gardens for Howl O Scream.
  66. Bake homemade bread.
  67. Read 25 books on my "To Read" list.
  68. Create something to display my race bibs and medals.
  69. Throw a surprise birthday party for someone I care about.
  70. Learn how to do an at home pedicure.
  71. Pay off my car.
  72. Take a spontaneous day trip to the beach.
  73. Watch five Audrey Hepburn films.
  74. Revitalize an old piece of furniture.
  75. Make 10 crafts off of Pinterest.
  76. Lose college weight for good.
  77. Run a half marathon in 2:20 or less.
  78. Watch a handful of movies I haven't seen {Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles, Princess Bride, Good Will Hunting, Animal House, Gone With the Wind}.
  79. Visit 10 new restaurants in Richmond.
  80. Start taking vitamins every day. 
  81. Make a terrarium for our house.
  82. De-clutter my work office and make it look more professional. 
  83. Create a photo book. 
  84. Take a girls trip with some of my best gals.
  85. Go to a concert.
  86. Find a fun new hairstyle {after the wedding}.
  87. Go zip lining.
  88. Learn how to create and manage my own blog design.
  89. Try a new workout. 
  90. Attend three festivals.
  91. Find a good LBD.
  92. Handwrite my favorite recipes and keep in a nice recipe box.
  93. Learn how to make sushi. 
  94. Go on a staycation here in Richmond.
  95. Make homemade marshmallows. 
  96. Work out with a personal trainer.
  97. Go a month without buying Starbucks.
  98. Complete a 100+ piece puzzle.
  99. Actually read all of the magazines I subscribe to.
  100. Update all of my blog pages.
  101. Put $10 in savings for every goal completed.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Long Run Power Playlist

I don't think I could ever be one of those people who runs without music. Maybe I could do books on tape or a podcast, but I have to have something in my ears to keep me going and entertain me. I forgot my headphones for one of my long training runs and I just played music from my phone speakers; it was rather refreshing to hear the sounds of the city with my music in the background.

For the 10 miler and half marathon that I recently ran I knew I'd need to put together a playlist. I couldn't chance my phone not picking up Pandora, or coming across songs that I wanted to skip. In the famous words of Ron Popeil I just wanted to "Set it, and forget it!"

I set off to create a killer playlist. Every time I heard a song that pumped me up (especially when running) I made a note of it. I kept a list of songs in the notes app on my phone, I would Shazam songs I heard in the car, and screenshot good jams that came across on Pandora stations. This helped me to create the perfect playlist for my long runs.

This play list is two hours and forty minutes so it's a great length for a half marathon (or just jamming out at work). If your goal time is longer, then just add a few more songs and voila! You can easily find it here via Spotify for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

I Gotta Feeling // The Black Eyed Peas
On Top Of the World // Imagine Dragons
Toxic // Britney Spears
Girl on Fire // Alicia Keys
Hooked on a Feeling // Blue Swede
Blurred Lines // Robin Thicke ft. T.I. & Pharrell
Can't Hold Us Down // Macklemore & Ray Dalton
Next to Me // Emeli Sande
Feel So Close // Calvin Harris
Tongue Tied // Grouplove
Holy Grail // JAY Z & Justin Timberlake
Roar // Katy Perry
Get Outta Your Mind // Lil Jon ft. LMFAO
Royals // Lorde
Ho Hey // The Lumineers
1901 // Phoenix
Fly // Nicki Minaj & Rhianna
Bad Girls // M.I.A.
Feel Again // OneRepublic
Red Hands // Walk Off the Earth
Brave // Sara Bareilles
Come & Get It // Selena Gomez
Sweet Disposition // The Temper Traps
My Body // Young the Giant
Teenage Dream // Katy Perry
(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To // Weezer
Kids // MGMT
Dynamite // Taio Cruz
Send Me On My Way // Rusted Root
Pretty Girl Rock // Keri Hilson
Suddenly I See // KT Tunstall
The Edge of Glory // Lady Gaga
Firework // Katy Perry
Dog Days Are Over // Florence + The Machine
Empire State Of Mind // JAY Z
It's Time // Imagine Dragons
Some Nights // fun.
Anything Could Happen // Ellie Goulding
After Hours // We Are Scientists
Wind It Up // Gwen Stefani
Here It Goes Again // OK Go
This City // Patrick Stump & Lupe Fiasco

What songs pump you up when you're running or working out? Anything I should add?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sticky Banana Bread Oatmeal

Yesterday morning I woke up at 10:00am and after looking outside my window to find another dreary, misty, October day, I was so incredibly glad I didn't have to go run in it. Instead I played on my phone for a while and decided I wanted something decadent for breakfast.

I started scrolling through my breakfast board on Pinterest and then I found it: Sticky Banana Bread Quinoa Breakfast Bowl from Healthy.Happy.Life. This got me bounding down the stairs to the kitchen and I knew it was going to be a good morning.

As I looked through recipe I decided to make a few adaptations, and also to not measure anything. This is why I find cooking far supreme to baking. Less accidents, at least in my book. If you mess up, just add a little of something different to fix it. I had a hankering for a good bowl of oats so I used my Silver Palate Thick and Rough oats, seriously amazing.

The result? To. Die. For. If you like banana bread and sticky buns, this is like a cross between them in a spoonable form. There's not too much added sugar, protein from the nuts, and fiber from the oats. An all around win-win situation for my belly.

Here's my adapted recipe for your taste buds:

Sticky Banana Bread Oatmeal
serves two
2/3 cups of Silver Palate Thick and Rough Oats
1 1/4 cups of water
2 bananas cut into small chunks
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp pure maple syrup or agave
2/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts

In a saucepan boil the water, then add oats and cook 8-10 minutes until all liquid is absorbed stirring occasionally.

In a medium skillet melt butter over medium to medium-high heat. While butter is melting, cut up your banana. I quartered the banana lengthwise, then sliced each quarter into small chunks. Once the butter is melted add the banana, walnuts, and syrup and stir to combine. Add a few shakes of cinnamon, and a shake of nutmeg. If you're looking to kick it up a notch add in a dash of cayenne.

Stir banana mixture until everything if fully coated and combined. Once oats are finished cooking divide into two bowls. Then add half of the topping mixture to each bowl. Throw in a spoon and enjoy!

Optional: best served with a fall flavored coffee...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Race Recap: Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon

For as long as I've had the goal of running a half marathon I've dreamed about writing this blog post. That and a heavenly peanut butter banana Oreo milkshake from Cookout, which I promptly devoured when I got back to Richmond from my race last Sunday.

The events of last Saturday made my first half marathon experience incredibly different than I imagined. First, it totally messed up my pre-race eating and hydration plan. After making it down to Hampton on Saturday night we didn't even go to get dinner until 8:30pm and the best looking place near our hotel was Mexican, so we went for it. I was a bit hesitant as to how that would end, but luckily it went well.

I was certainly able to get to bed easy on Saturday night, but woke up on Sunday morning still emotionally exhausted and with a horrible case of puffy eyes which were captured in my pre-race Instagram. Honestly, I wasn't feeling much of anything. I wasn't nervous or anxious, but I just wanted to get the race both started and finished as quickly possible. It kind of made me sad to not be happy about something I had worked so hard to achieve.

I got in my race corral (the last one, of course) and about 15 minutes after the first corral took off it was our turn. I passed Mr. Young who was standing just after the starting line and then off I went. The first mile felt like ten thousand years and I was astonished to see people walking after thirty seconds. Did they know they signed up for a half marathon?

As the mileage increased, so did the heat. Unlike the 10 miler this course provided little shade and I was thankful for my last minute wardrobe change into an incredibly light, breathable tank and running hat. I'm pretty sure it was over 80* by the end of the race.

Around mile four we ran through downtown Hampton, and I passed the 2:30 pacer group. My mind was blown! At that point I got my head in the game and decided to not let that group pass me. We kept running, and running, and running. I think it was miles six through eight that we ran right next to the water and it was gorgeous. I tried to block everything out and pretend I was running at the Columbia, SC river walk, where I first fell in love with running. I started getting tired during the ninth mile and chowed down on some energy jelly beans I picked up at the race expo. Eating while running is dangerous.

At mile 10 I switched my train of thought, "I just have to run a measly little 5k. I've already gone ten miles so I can totally run a 5k!" Then the damn 2:30 pacer group passed me. Although my main goal was to finish, I had a secret time goal of coming in under 2:30 and being able to physically see my goal getting ahead of me was insane motivation. At that point I vowed to not let that guy get out of my sight.

As I got close to mile 11 I just couldn't keep running. I started walk/running and I would slow down for just long enough for the pacer to get about .1 mile ahead of me, and then I would run up to the group, slow down and repeat. I continued this until around 12.5 miles.

Even though I was hating life when I reached mile 12 I saw my friends and Mr. Young holding posters and cheering for me and I think this totally gave me the energy to finish. On so many long runs when I wanted to quit towards the end I thought, "Self, what if this was the half? Are you just going to up and quit at mile 12 after working that hard? NO! Keep going lazy!"

While I still walked a bit after I saw them, once I hit 12.5 miles I picked it up and ran strong until the finish line. I loved that my name was on my bib and spectators kept saying "Go Anna!" "You got this Anna, just a bit farther!" At first I was incredibly confused about how all of these strangers knew my name.

Then I saw it, the finish line. I started sprinting, or at least what I felt like was sprinting after running 13 miles. I took my headphones out and heard them call my name over the loud speaker, I did it. I was a finisher. I walked like a zombie towards the people handing out medals and pre-race fuel. After hobbling to the bathroom I met up with Mr. Young and company for lots of pictures, hugs and high fives. Then the best part of a J&A race was the food and beer. And by food I mean bread bowl full of crab chowder, which may or may not have been awful choice for people who just ran 13.1 miles in the hot sun.

I wore medal for the rest of Sunday. And now it's all over. I haven't ran once this week, and I've eaten like crap. As much as I'm enjoying some free blocks in my daily schedule I think it's a matter of time before I find a new challenge. Sprint triathlon anyone?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Unexpected Farewell

This past Saturday began as I had planned. For the first time in weeks there was no long run ahead of me since my half marathon was on Sunday, but I was still up early to volunteer for a Junior League event. We packed up to head out of town for the race later that day and then Mr. Young dropped me off at the event and took our cat, Pip, to the vet.

Since we moved we slowly realized she was not acting like her normal self. Usually full of energy and sprinting around, for the past few weeks she had been lethargically laying around the house. In addition, the cat who used to binge eat no longer had much of an appetite and she was getting tinier by the minute.

There were a few things we thought we might hear from the vet: “Your cat has anxiety,” (and yes, they make Prozac for kitties) or maybe “Your cat has UTI,” (unfortunately she had also been using the bathroom in odd places) but we never expected “Your cat has feline leukemia.”

Mr. Young called me at my event to tell me the news and I immediately started sobbing. He quickly came to pick me up and we just sat there in silence for a few minutes. Little did I know feline leukemia is different than the human variety; it’s a virus that can be easily spread between cats. I took Pip out of her carrier and held her all the way home to get our other cat so she could be tested.

The short drive was filled with tears, what if’s, and the hardest decision we've ever had to make together. Unfortunately Pip was already so sick that she would have needed a blood transfusion before we could even give her medicine because she had become severely anemic. Even if we went through with this treatment path there was no guarantee of what would happen and it would maybe buy a few months. When we got home we grabbed our other cat and I also poured an entire bag of cat treats into Pip’s carrier.

After returning to the vet, the next hour ahead of us was an emotional roller coaster. We had a quick blood test run on our other cat and thankfully she doesn't have the virus and we were given some medicine for extra protection. With one weight lifted off our shoulders we then had to shift our minds back to the inevitable.

We signed papers and learned there are more options than we ever imagined of what you can do when your pet passes. While we waited for the doctor we held Pip in the afternoon sunshine near the window and told her all of the things we loved about her. The next twenty minutes felt like an eternity and as tough as it was we were glad that we could hold her and be the last thing that she saw. And then just like that she was gone.

Vet offices should really make you reconcile your bill prior to a service like this. It was no fun to go up front and fork over money for a bill equal to our monthly grocery budget, especially when we were leaving with one less cat than we brought in.

Not that there’s ever good timing to find out your pet is fatally ill, but seriously world—what shitty timing. We had to speed back to our house to drop off our other cat, and unfortunately leave the poor, confused, little thing at home by herself while we head out of town so I could grab my race materials before the expo closed.

The way that my mind works I was almost able to just put my grief on pause. After my year and a half journey to complete a half marathon I knew I needed to keep my spirits up for the next day. On the way back home from the race is when it hit me realizing that she wouldn't be there when we got home. And again going to bed and knowing she wouldn't be sleeping near my feet. 

We adopted Pip in July 2012 and although we had just a year and some change with her we've made a concerted effort to think positively about this whole situation. The Humane Society had taken her in as a feral cat, so we were able to give her a loving home she wouldn't have otherwise had. She had a best friend in our other cat, seriously y'all they would cuddle and lick each other all the time. She made us laugh with the funny ways that she would sit and her cute high pitched sneezes.

Pets definitely open up a special place in your heart, and I am so glad we had this little one in our life for as long as we did.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Smallest Step

Thank you for some of the sweet messages I got about yesterday's post. As noted I am happy with so many things right now, but it's that whole "I'm 25 and an adult, now what?" thing that I'm still getting used to.

Saw this quote today and can't stop thinking about it and several projects that I've have been lingering in my mind for a while. I think I'll take this as a sign...

And TGIF y'all, did this past week feel like an entire century for anyone else? I am so looking forward to eating pad Thai in front of the couch tonight with Mr. Young #grandma 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

It's Odd to be 25

It's an odd feeling to be 25. I'm not sure that I ever dreamed of what my life would be like after college, but I definitely don't think my current life would have been a part of that plan. This is not to say that I'm unhappy with my life but I think I'm still adjusting to so many parts of it.

Never in a million years would I have guessed that I'd be engaged at twenty five. I can recall 20+ times when I told people I wouldn't even think about marriage until 30, that I had a life to go live and places to see! Now here I am, 25 and engaged. I am so happy that I'm engaged to a wonderful guy and I'm looking forward to many great years with Mr. Young, but again still an odd feeling sometimes.

There are even little things that throw me off and make me wonder: where did the real Anna go? I've been practically begging for daylight savings time so I can go back to sunny mornings that are perfect for running. This is coming from the girl who used to savor every drop of evening light from late summer into the fall and preferred to sleep until 10am. I go to bed early all the time because I'm tired all the time. Heck, I'm 25 not 55. Our wedding registry makes me slightly feel like playing house--am I really grown up enough to do this? And what's the big deal about dinner plates?

Although I never had firm plans I think I imagined my twenties spent in a big city with great girlfriends, damn you Sex & the City for these false glimpses of life. I pictured a beautifully decorated little apartment that wouldn't be a sea of pink, but would still have a certain edge of femininity to it. There would be roommates who would turn into best friends and brunch is something that would happen every weekend, always with mimosas.

Now I'm in a bigger-ish city although I live in the suburbs, my house is decorated decently (with little pink), but there's definitely no brunch, no mimosas, and all of my very best girlfriends live in other places. There are no girly nights and frankly not much of girly anything, and I'll admit that's something that I need to work on. Not always easy when you live with a boy.
This doesn't quite make me happy or sad because there are so many things I love about my life right now, but there are still a few things that I'm really missing. When I stumbled upon this quote over the past year I saved it because it really stood out to me. When I'm over here having a pity party I need to remember that I'm not going to find things to be happy about if I don't make a concerted effort to seek them out.

Some of these mundane everyday life things do make me happy and while they aren't a flashy life in the city there is still joy to be taken from them. Going to sleep along side my best friend, coffee in my girly coffee tumblers, coming home to my little house and family.

Everyday I remind myself to be grateful for these small things and the many blessings in my life. But this is life lately and I couldn't get my fingers to stop after typing the first sentence. I think it's called "growing up," my least favorite word pairing in the English language.

A continuation of thoughts from this post.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Race Recap: VA 10 Miler

Those that follow me on Instagram or Facebook saw the exciting news on Saturday morning that I survived the Genworth Virginia 10 Miler in Lynchburg! Not that I didn't believe in myself, but damn that course is hilly. I knew it was going to be hilly, but when our hosts drove us through the course after dinner on Friday night I finally knew what I'd be up against.

It was a bit chilly at the first, but it ended up being a perfect temperature. I didn't get hot and sweaty at all but I also wasn't cold while running. At 8:00am sharp the race began and I ran the first mile and a half with my friend Diana before I pushed her to go ahead of me with her bad self. The sweet couple that hosted us (that Diana knew from college) were standing along the course to cheer us on so we stayed together to see them before splitting, and heading up our first hill of the course.

The hills weren't as bad as I thought and just as I imagined it was the flat parts of the course that were rough after so much up and down. I must admit that this race honestly blew me away. First it was incredibly organized and easy to navigate and second the fans, volunteers, and spectators really made it a special experience. I don't think I could went more than 100 feet without seeing people cheer me on, and it really made a difference.

The course for this race was a loop and at mile three I got a bit emotional as I saw the first runner heading back towards the finish (who finished in 47:34, superhuman). I don't even know if I can describe it, but you could just see everything on his face. How early he got up every morning, how hard he trained, how much he regimented his diet to prepare for this. It made me so happy to see this person in first place reaching their goal that I seriously got teary.

I snapped out of it and got my head back in the game, but really enjoyed continuing to watch people on their way back. I wasn't jealous or envious of them at all, but so proud of them. At the halfway point we ran off the road and through Riverside Park which had a crazy steep hill that I was not prepared for. Somehow I didn't stop to walk on it but had to take it seriously slow for the next quarter mile afterwards to recover.

Unfortunately the second half didn't go by as quickly but wasn't nearly as dreadful as I was imagining. I kept trudging along and was excited to see that our hosts were still out at their cheering spot where we saw them at the beginning of the race. It was great motivation because they were right before the infamous Farm Basket Hill. The last 1.5 miles were uphill. Who's bright idea was that?!

The last 1.5 miles felt like an entire 5k. I stopped to walk about four times up that hill and stayed motivated by the old man and pregnant women who were chugging along right in front of me. Each time I had to stop for a bit I still kept on with a ferocious power walk so my time wouldn't get too off. When I finally crested that damn hill I could see the finish the line and my power came back.

My friend Diana finished before me and I saw her near the finish. She snapped the awesome action photos. When I was about .10 away I broke out in a full sprint towards the finish line and definitely felt like a beast flying by people. Why don't more people sprint that last stretch?

It was an amazing feeling to cross that finish line and we wore our medals out to breakfast and even shopping later on that day. If it was appropriate I'd love to wear it all week to work. We got free massages (win!) and gobbled down some free race food before we headed back for showers. After rinsing away those 10 miles we had breakfast at Market at Main which was phenomenal. I had Eggs Chesapeake (Eggs Benedict with crabcakes) and a sinful homemade cinnamon roll. We threw back our meal with a celebratory mimosa and I don't think anything has ever tasted so good.

Although I still need to add another 2.1 miles on for my half this upcoming weekend it sure feels good to know I finished the 10 miler. After 10 hilly miles I'm sure that 13.1 flat miles will be fine even though I didn't get as far with mileage during training. My mental doubt has been pushed aside and if I thought it felt good to cross the finish line on Saturday I know it's going to be a million times sweeter to do it this weekend and finally hit a goal I've been working towards for so long.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Autumn 2013 Book Challenge: The Preliminary List

Remember that time I made a goal to read 52 books this year? Yeah, maybe this wasn't the year to try to read a book per week. At first I kept a great pace, and so far I've read 21 books. My Goodreads challenge shows that I'm 17 books behind schedule...

I've been meaning to load my Nook up with books for a while and now that my race training is dying down I think I'll be finding I have some spare time to keep working towards my goal. When I saw that Megan at Semi-Charmed Kind of Life was having an autumn book challenge I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to get back at it. I also enjoyed the fun themes for selecting books to read for this challenge!

It took a while to make my list since I only borrow ebooks from the library I had to make sure everything I wanted to read would be available. I'm looking forward to kicking off the challenge with two books I've had on my to-read list for ages: Love in the Time of Cholera and Me Talk Pretty One Day.

A book that does not have "the," "a" or "an" in the title // Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris 
A book featured in Oprah's Book Club // Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A book that takes place in the state where you currently live // Big Stone Gap, Adriana Trigiani
An epistolary novel // The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon
A book first published in 2013 // Dad is Fat, Jim Gaffigan
A book with something spooky in the title // Dark Places, Gillian Flynn
A book with "air, "water," "earth" or "fire" in the title // Water Cooler Diaries: Women Across America Share Their Day at Work, Joni B. Cole
A book on which a television series has been based // Orange is the New Black, Piper Kerman
A fiction book that has someone's first and last name in the title // The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, Diane Chamberlain
Two books by the same author // Big Cherry Holler & Milk Glass Moon, Adriana Trigiani {same series as Big Stone Gap}
A fiction and nonfiction book about the same topic // The Trouble I've Seen, Martha Gellhorn & The Worst Hard Time, Timothy Egan {both about the Great Depression}

Time to get reading, let's see if I can make it through these 13 books by the end of 2013. Interested in the challenge? Head over to Megan's blog for all of the rules and join in the fun!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

TBT: Past Races

I looked at the calendar and somehow it's two days until my 10 miler, and barely a week until my half marathon. My mind has seriously not caught up to how far my body has come. I'm in utter shock that my races are here!

With this thought I found it appropriate to honor Throwback Thursday with the races that lead me to where I am today. For those who are new around here my running journey began a little over a year and a half ago, you can catch up on that here. During my last semester of grad school I found running as an escape during one of the busiest times of my life. 

Since then I've ran a handful of races, signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, hurt my hip, cancelled the Princess Half, ran my first post-injury mile, and signed up yet again to complete a half marathon.

Get to the Green 5k, Columbia SC // March 2012
This was my first race ever! When a group of friends from grad school said they were going to run it I decided to finally try and meet a goal I'd had forever to run a 5k. I set out to train (aka start running) and got up to 3.1 a month before the race. I was so proud to come in under my goal of 35 minutes even with a surprise hill I didn't know I was going to encounter.

HCA VA 8k, Richmond VA // November 2012
I thought a 10k would be the next step but with a popular 8k in town I went that route. This was my first dose of running in the cold. I thought I was going to die during my first training run where the temperature had dropped below 50*. It was even pretty chilly the day of the race, and at this point I had already hurt my hip but again came in under my goal of an hour at 51 minutes.

Carytown 10k, Richmond VA // May 2013
I had hopes of running the ridiculously popular Monument Ave. 10k but wanted to take my re-introduction to running easy so I didn't hurt myself again. This Cinco de Mayo race fit the bill! I went into this race with no goals or expectations of time, but mainly to just finish. I finished strong without stopping at 1:05 and was so proud that I actually emailed my PT after the race to show him my progress.

On Friday afternoon I'll leave work a bit early to head west to Lynchburg for The Genworth Virginia 10 Miler. I'm going with my friend Diana who I ran the 8k with, although when I say "ran with" I really mean that we drove there and back. I run in Diana's dust but I'm OK with that and proud of her speed! 

I'm excited and nervous at the same time and just keep thinking of my running reward which is going to be a trip to the J.Crew Clearance Store. Who wouldn't run for that? I'm sure you'll see some updates on Saturday after the race, and I'll be sure to provide a recap next week. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: Getting Organized

Before I was even engaged I stashed away tons of articles and tips on Pinterest on how to stay organized while wedding planning. As someone who has had experience planning several large scale events I had no hesitations about planning a kickin' party for my closest family and friends, but when I started to get into it I realized it was a bit more to keep up with than I originally thought.

Enter the wedding binder!

There are some great resources out there but after trying to play around with The Knot for a few weeks too long I realized I would need to figure out a different system to work with. I took information from several sources and thought about what methods usually work best for me and I knew that a tangible (and adorable) binder was going to be the best way for me to go.

THE Binder
You're going to become intimately familiar with your wedding binder throughout your engagement so spend time finding something you love. I found this polka dot binder at Target and they had a ton of different patterned binders to choose from, find something that's your style. Grab some stickers or a paint pen and make it your own, add your name or better yet your future name! I printed off some of the images I found on Pinterest that inspired the colors and feel for our wedding and taped them on the inside of my binder so I have some eye candy every time I open it up. A picture of you and your fiance is also a good idea!

Once you have the binder you're going to need to fill it, trust my advice and splurge for divider that have folder pockets on them. They are crucial for stashing away business cards, brochures, and other materials that you can't hole punch. Here's how I organized my dividers:
  • Venue {contracts, floor plans, pictures, and details on your venue(s)}
  • Catering & Sweets {all things food, sweet and simple}
  • Guest List {finalized guest list, RSVPs, seating chart, gifts received, thank you's sent, gift bags}
  • Bridal Party & Attire {details & receipts, attire choices for bridal party, checklist}
  • Photo/Video/Paper {photog contract, must-have photo list, info for save the date & invitations}
  • Vendors {all contracts, details, pictures, business cards & comprehensive contact list}
  • Rehearsal {everything and anything for the rehearsal & dinner!}
  • Timeline & Details {ceremony plan, day of timeline, decoration/set up details, miscellaneous}

You can find checklists galore on the internet. There's a pretty comprehensive one on The Knot, then there are some cool timeline infographics like this and this, and finally there are some phenomenal blog posts out there like this one with links to free printables to use in your binder. I decided to use these different resources as a guide and created my own on plain old loose leaf paper. I used a different sheet for each month leading up to our wedding, the week of, the day of, and post-wedding. This method works well for me because I was able to customize the list to fit the details of our wedding specifically. For example we're getting married and having our reception at the same venue so that cut out many items that are on sample checklists.

Some things are just easier in a good ol' spreadsheet: guest lists and budget. Use one spreadsheet for your guest list and create multiple tabs for different wedding festivities like the rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, bachelorette, etc. Immediately add all of the addresses you already know and then contact the remaining guests for their information. Excel is clearly your best friend when it comes to the budget. Even spreadsheet illiterate people like myself can do it! There's a wedding budget template...shhhhhh.

Google Drive
For brides that are planning all the time and all over the place Google Drive can be your best friend. It's a great place to keep your guest list so you always have access to it, but I've found some uses that work well for me. I have one master spreadsheet with a few different tabs:
  • Music {keep track of your must plays, don't plays, and ideas for the first dance, father daughter, etc.}
  • Vendor Research {great way to keep track of recommendations from friends, that cute bakery you pass by while shopping, etc. to look into later}
  • Registry {master list of what to register for and conveniently on your phone so while you're cooking and realize you don't have a garlic press open your Google Drive app and voila! add it to the list}

Get a system going early and find a regular time each week that you can sit down to do some planning, a routine is one of the best ways to tackle this beast. At the end of the day don't stress out, and remember...


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mile 9 & Tea Time

I continue to be amazed at just how far my legs can take me. Yesterday morning I conquered nine miles and can't believe that my 10 miler is just one week away.

At first I was a bit apprehensive about this run because I didn't get in the amount of mileage that I wanted during the week. Also I have been doing my long runs up and down Grove Avenue in Richmond which is a flat, straight course, and yesterday I ran back home at my parents house. This meant running in a rural neighborhood and also LOTS of hills. Which I guess was good preparation considering this 10 miler is supposedly super hilly.

It was a nice change of scenery and there was something fitting about running in the neighborhood I grew up in while also listening to "Summer Hits of the 2000s" on Pandora. Clutch. I thought a good deal about how I never could have ran this far when I was in high school. In gym class I could barely make a B for our timed mile run and here I was whizzing past my high school on my nine mile jaunt. Take that!

After mile seven I honestly felt like I was on autopilot. My legs just kept on going it almost felt easier to keep chugging along than it would have been to stop at that point. Such a weird feeling.

I'm pumped to be so close to race day and actually feeling pretty ready. I know that the course is going to be pretty tough but I've realized that my mindset is such a major part of conquering these longer runs. I have some mad pep talks with myself when I even have fleeting thoughts about stopping. I can't wait to get my new polish to celebrate the milestone!

Somehow I wasn't completely wiped like I usually am after my long runs which was good since I was back in my hometown for one of my best friend's bridal shower. It was one of the most adorable showers, I felt like I had stepped into a Pinterest picture! Her sister, and MOH, threw the shower which was an afternoon tea and there were many little details that made it so special.
Wedding festivities to celebrate my friends is definitely getting me more excited for our wedding. Now that we finally took engagement pictures and are starting to do some real planning it's getting much more real. The joy and awkwardness of a long engagement.

Hope y'all savor the rest of this weekend!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The World Will Go On

This is a little mantra I sometimes have to repeat in my head, or sometimes even out loud. Yes, sometimes I talk to myself. I have spent the better part of my twenty five years being ridiculously on time for everything on my calendar, whether a meeting for work or just getting in front of my TV five minutes before a show starts.

I think some of this comes from my mother who is extremely timely and taught me to also plan well and think ahead. I'll admit I think some of this also comes from a little bit of FOMO (ya know, fear of missing out) because I hate being the last one to show up when everyone is already have tons of fun.

Lately I've been working on trying not to get so anxious about time because Mr. Young is completely opposite of me in this department. And yes, this causes much stress for us. When I'm in the car racing to my destination I've tried to slow it down and remind myself that if I'm three minutes late "the world will go on" (for most things). Driving any faster really isn't going to make a big difference and it just puts me on edge. At that point if I'm already going to be a bit late, why stress over it?

This morning I finally found myself acting pretty calm in this type of situation. I decided to update to iOS7 over night (which I don't care for at all, more on that later) and didn't realize that this would mean that my alarm wouldn't go off. Mr. Young and I get up at pretty much the same time so I don't stress because one of our alarms will always go off.

Surprise, not today!

My internal clock had me up at 7:00am, forty five minutes after we were supposed to be up, and I first freaked out because I was supposed to run six miles before work (who was I kidding with that goal?). Then I realized Mr. Young was still asleep and screamed "GET UP IT'S 7:00!! IT'S 7:00! OMG!"

Typically this wouldn't be the biggest wrench in his plans but today of all days he had a faculty meeting before work. While he ran for the shower I started stressing over how I didn't get to run and I said to myself "Self, get it together! If that's the worst that happens today you're not doing too bad." Instead I ran downstairs to help Mr. Young get ready.

With impeccable timing he came downstairs to grab his lunch, breakfast, and coffee I somehow threw together in three minutes and was out the door at 7:10.

Although he was freaking out during those ten minutes I kept reminding him that he is a responsible employee and being 5-10 minutes late for his meeting was not going to be that detrimental. For someone who's worked 7:30am-9:30pm every day this week, I think missing an alarm is exactly what he needed.

So when you're running around today in your crazy life remember that the only thing it's going to do is stress you out. Don't mosy along to your appointments, but please don't sprint either. I promise it will be OK, and if not we can all move to Europe where five minutes late (or more) is the norm.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wedding Wednesday: $300 Million Dollars

Although this blog has only recently become Chasing Young, I must pay hommage to her predecessor, My Semi-Charmed Life. When I saw that today would be my 300th blog post since establishing this little piece of the internet back in May 2010 I knew I should do something to commemorate the momentous occasion, but what exactly would that be?

After kicking off my new Wedding Wednesday series last week I decided I would blend these two themes. Also, THANK YOU! to all of those who share their words of wisdom via comments and email about wedding registries. I really need to get a handbook on all of this, it's like a science. If you have some good advice about registries you didn't get to share, please share all of your insight with me on this post!

So, back to Wedding Wednesday...

For this week I was first thinking of doing a daydream post of what kind of wedding I'd have if I had a million dollar budget. To incorporate the celebration of my 300th post I've upped the ante to $300 million dollars. 

At first I began to imagine a wedding in some type of barn-esque type building decorated with billowy fabric, big chandeliers lighting the space, and hydrangeas everywhere. Something rustic yet still classic and slightly glam. Fine china, silky linens, and a live band for the soundtrack. Maybe a bit like this...

By the way I highly encourage you to head over to this photographer's blog because this is seriously one of the most gorgeous weddings. Legit size bottles of wine for favors?

Once I came up with this beautiful scene in my head I realized something else. If I had $300 million dollars (heck if I only had one million) I would run to the nearest wedding planning boutique, sign up for a full service package, and have them plan this for me. Then I'd like to sit in an oversized chair drinking champagne and eating Trader Joe's cookie butter from a spoon while they give me options for flowers, food, and other details and I simply select what I like the most.

Damn, that sounds amazing. Alas I have no where near $300 million dollars, however I am still determined to have that rustic yet classic wedding and am excited about many fun ideas to start bringing to life with planning. 

In real life we tasted some phenomenal cupcakes and took our engagement pictures this weekend. Both were an absolute blast, I'm glad some of the fun parts of being engaged are coming into my life. Want a sneak peak at our pics? Check out our wedding website/blog.

Happy Wednesday lovelies, what would YOU do with a $300 million dollar wedding budget?