Category: Life.

Floors and Flowers

Orientation begins in 12 days, school starts in 20, and the house is nearly finished — Thank goodness!

Today my mom helped me start my pocket garden and my dad taught me how to lay peel and stick flooring.

First the flowers.

Remember that garden pocket that my parents gave me back in June? Well, it finally has herbs and flowers in it!


My mom showed me how to properly transfer the potted plants into the pocket. Then I filled them with enough soil to fill the pocket and pad them and gave them some water.


I’m now the proud owner of a basil plant named Baze and a rosemary plant named Rose, plus two marigolds. Let’s call them Mary 1 & 2.

Now I have the urge to go make something that involves basil. Hrm, a project for tomorrow perhaps.


The other big project of the day was laying the flooring in the kitchen.

Flashback to the ugly yellow-faux-brick stuff.


Laying down a concrete leveling compound.


Look at me learning how to lay tiles.



Then dad came around and fixed all my mistakes.

Just kidding, but he actually did most of the work on the hard parts — the edges.


I forgot to take a finished picture, but you can see how big of a different the new floor has made. The whole kitchen looks cleaner, brighter, and more fabulous than before.

We also worked on a bunch of other little projects, such as fixing curtains, adding shelving, organizing cabinets, assembling bookcases, unpacking boxes, and more, but I’ll save those pictures for tomorrow…


Because tomorrow is Wordless Wednesday: The [Mostly] Complete House Tour Edition!

Finally Settled

Pack, unpack. Pack, unpack. Pack, unpack. Ugh.

The Summer of the Vagabond 2011 has officially come to an end. I’m back in Tallahassee for keeps and it feels so good.

Yesterday was a boring, lazy Sunday. Basically the highlight of my day was saving $37.98 at Publix. I’m still trying to figure out the coupon game, but I’m making progress. I did end up impressing the high-school-aged check out boy, does that count for anything?


This morning I packed up all my stuff and loaded my car for hopefully the last time.


I even brought my favorite travel buddy with me — Charlie. The fact that I’ve finally moved him to Tallahassee is another sign that my vagabond status has come to an end.


The sky was angry and dark for most of the trip, but luckily we didn’t hit too much rain. Gah. Driving in the rain sucks; and it’s scary.


I wonder if I drove one of those duck tour trucks if I would like driving in the rain a bit more. It would also have much more storage than my focus. 😉


All in all, it was an uneventful trip and Charlie was a perfect angel.


As soon as I arrived home, I unloaded the car, unpacked a bit, and prepared for my parents arrival. They’re making a stop in Tallahassee on their way home from North Carolina.

The latest addition to my living room are these new end tables — do you like ’em?

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My mom rescued them from the trash and my dad sprayed them white with his paint sprayer. I think they help round out the living area, but the area needs a bit more color, in my opinion.

I think I might try and find matching lamps and putting them on the end tables and then move the brown floor lamp near the front door. I also want to get some colorful pillows and get some stuff onto my walls!

Can you guess how long it took us to go to Lowe’s after my parents got to my house? Less than three hours. We’re addicted. Is there a Lowe’s anonymous group, because we need to join it.

My favorite part of the Lowe’s trip? Buying plants! I am now the proud owner of two marigolds, a basil plant, and a rosemary plant. I feel like I should name them. Maybe it will give me added incentive to keep them alive.


I promise better plant and house pictures tomorrow!

Completely unrelated — look at the different in “feels like” temperature between Tallahassee (left) and St. Pete (right) at 9pm. Ridiculous. I hope running in Tallahassee is just a smidge more enjoyable than it was in St. Pete.

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On that note, it’s time for bed.

Oh, and clearly Charlie is already feeling at home.


Rise and Shine

At 6:10am, my phone woke me up with a loud beep beep beep sound — on a Saturday.
Guess what that means? This morning kicked off the start of marathon training season!

But before I get to the run details, let me back track to which races we’ll be doing and our training plan.

After some thought, Hilary and I decided to run the 26.2 with Donna on February 12, 2012 as our full marathon. I’m also planning on doing the St. Pete Beach Classic Half on January 15, 2012 and the Gasparilla Half on March 4, 2012. I’m still a bit concerned about my school schedule working with my running plans, but I think it’s important that I make the decision to run the races now now and then figure out how to work it into my schedule later.

Last night Hilary and I made an impromptu trip to The Globe Coffee Lounge in downtown St. Pete, where she worked on her blog and I mapped out our training plan. I figured out that we have about 27 weeks between now and the full marathon, which will give us ample time to gradually rebuild our base and increase mileage.


I also went to Twitter and asked some of my favorite runners whether or not we should train beyond 20 miles.

During marathon training do you run more than 20 miles for your longest run? @ @ @ @

@ I only ran one 20-Miler for my first marathon, which worked out well. I'm planning three 20-milers for marathon #2.

I ran a 22 miler for marathon training, it helped mentally but don't risk injury! @ @ @ @

Everyone pretty much suggested that it was better to do a few 20 milers and not go beyond 20 miles in training. I liked that idea, so I built it into our plan.

If you’re interested in seeing the training plan, you can view it on Google Calender here! I combined the Hal Higdon plan with the 26 week plan Hilary and I used for Seattle Rock n Roll marathon. I also built in the other half marathons into our training schedule, so we should be well trained for all the races.

Basically, Sundays are our long run days.
Mondays and Fridays will be cross training days (spinning, biking, swimming, and group fitness) and the days Hilary has TriGator practice.
Tuesdays and Thursdays will be run days.
Which leaves Wednesdays and Saturdays as rest days — it will be football season, so Saturday off will work out nicely.

In addition, I plan on building strength training into my plan, probably on Monday and Wednesdays, but focusing mainly on abs, core, arms, shoulders, back, and not my legs.

I’m planning on posting my weekly work outs once things get into full swing.

Cut back to this morning —
With the training plan complete, Hilary and I kicked things off today with our first 5 miler. Admittedly, it’s never easy getting out of bed early on a Saturday morning, so when 6am rolled around, I needed to convince myself that I actually wanted to be out of bed. I promise I really did, it just took a bit of self-convincing.


We were out the door by 6:30am. We were out and running before the sun even woke up!

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One hour and five miles later we were done! It was 85% humidity during our run, which made it feel a lot tougher than I think the distance would have felt under different circumstances. Oh the joys of running in Florida.

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After the run, I quickly hopped into the shower and changed into my yoga clothes. My new friend Dee (via Twitter!) invited me to join her for some free yoga at the Tampa Lululemon. I’m so happy that I got to meet her before I leave for Tallahassee and I loved the yoga class. Thanks for inviting me Dee! Hopefully we’ll see each other again either in Tallahassee or for some of the Tampa Bay races.


Doing an hour of yoga after my first long run in forever felt ah-mazing! Seriously, I almost want to do yoga after every long run.

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Later in the afternoon the Zen feeling from the yoga dissipated quickly when Hilary’s cat ate an ibuprofen pill and sent me into panic mode. So far she looks like she’ll be fine, but the story of how Pixie and I spent the afternoon in the pet emergency room is the story for another day.

Namaste everyone!

R&R Day – Reading & Running.

Watch out — it’s four days into August and I haven’t given up on my August Practicing Habits Daily. Woo!

Flossed my teeth daily, check. Read for school and pleasure, check. Started planning out my upcoming race calendar, check. Ran two miles tonight, check.

Speaking of running, did you see Hilary’s post about setting a race calendar? She basically took the words out of my mouth, so I won’t repeat what she wrote except to say that I think we narrowed things down to wanting to do two half marathons and the 26.2 with Donna Marathon. Hopefully tomorrow or Saturday I’ll have a post about my plan of attack for training for a marathon and keeping up my fitness while dealing with my first semester as a PhD student.

Today, though, was a day for reading. The morning started with a trip to the beach to tackle some literary theory.


“I’m sorry sir, but Dostoyevsky is not considered summer reading.”

That pretty much sums things up. I’m reading introductions to literary theory and essays on literary theory as I soak up the sun at the beach. When I say soak up the sun, I really mean, I go to the beach between 9am-11am, I sport a big floppy hat and large sunglasses, and I put on my cover up after a bit to prevent burning, in addition to wearing sunscreen. Clearly I’ve become an adult.

I did put down the theory for a bit to enjoy some Harry Potter. It’s taking me forever to get through the Goblet of Fire because a) it’s crazy long b) it’s my least favorite HP book c) I wish JKR wouldn’t make Hermione so annoying about SPEW.


After the beach got unbearably hot I came home for some lunch, computer time, a bit of napping, and I don’t know what else.

Then, because I can’t seem to read indoors, I went back out to Starbucks to continue reading my school books for another hour or so. Take that, August goals!


When I got home Hilary convinced my to go for a run, because the sun was setting and according to her, the weather was nicer than it’s been for the past two days.

She lied. It was still crazy humid. I felt like I was swimming during our run.


But I’m glad I went because I think I’ve run all of twice this summer and obviously that needs to change if I’m going to start training for a marathon.

Fact: The newscaster last night informed me that the only other place in the world with humidity like Florida’s is Southeast Asia. I’m not sure that is actually true, but it feels rather hardcore to say that.

That’s all I got for tonight.

If you’re looking to be entertained, you should read Hilary’s post about her relationship troubles with running. They’re going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment.

Practicing Habits Daily – August

I love New Years Resolutions. I know a lot of people think they’re stupid and everybody forgets about them a few weeks into the new year, but I like the idea of starting a fresh year with new goals.

In 2010 I did a pretty good job of keeping my goals achievable and accomplishing most of them. The biggest one was running a marathon and I accomplished that one in June when Hilary and I did the Rock ‘n Roll marathon in Seattle. Unfortunately, 2011 has been a different story. The year got off to a rocky start with my thesis and PhD applications looming over my head, so I never really set any firm resolutions.


Well, with the year half-way over, I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog called “Practicing Habits Daily.” Each month I’ll set a few new goals for myself that I want to focus on turning into a new habit or a task I want to accomplish for that month. Don’t they say that it takes 30 days to turn something into a habit? I figure that if I work on just a few tasks each month, then by December I will have more than made up for my slacking in January-July.

I’d love any sort of encouragement, reminders, other people joining me in their own monthly tasks, as I take on this series!

Overall, I want the month of August to be about settling into my new daily rhythms of life. The past few months have been very unstable in the sense that I’ve been living out of a suitcase, constantly on the road, and lacking any sort of normalcy in my life. School starts back on the 29th and I start orientation on the 21st. I want to get myself back into the groove before life becomes chaotic. I also know it’s super important for me to establish a healthy eating and exercise routine before I begin to stress about school, otherwise it’ll never happen. So these goals will be geared towards getting me adjusted and settled into life in Tallahassee.

1. Floss every day. I had a dreaded trip to the dentist this week and he threatened horrible things if I don’t start flossing daily. So that will be my number one goal. It only takes a few minutes each day, so it is totally achievable.

2. Start my 30 Days Jar of Joy. I semi-accidentally, semi-purposefully left my Jar of Joy in Tallahassee. I want to do it there, but I forgot how long I was going to be in St. Pete. As soon as I get back to T-town I’m starting!


3. Do some sort of physical activity 5 days a week. Hilary and I have been pretty good about swimming and biking, but I need to keep that up. I know that if I slack off for too many days in a row, then it becomes impossible for me to get back into the exercise routine. As sort of a part two to this goal, I want to add strength training back into my routine, but I won’t make that a mandatory goal yet.


4. Pick a half-marathon/marathon and create/start a training plan. Most of the races that I’m looking at doing are in January-March, so I need to start training NOW. I also need to pick one and register for it, before the prices go up and as an added incentive to work out.

5. Start my garden and landscaping projects. I’ve really been looking forward to the chance to do some gardening, but since I’ve been all over the place I haven’t been around to watch over any new plants. Now the time has arrived.


6. Start taking my daily herbs, vitamins, and recording my body temps.

7. Spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day reading something for fun and a minimum 60 minutes a day reading for school. I am well aware that I spent too much time fooling around on the computer and I need to start setting a timer for myself. Instead of making that my goal for this month, I’m going to aim to spend more time reading because I have homework and Harry Potter to get through this month!


So what are your August goals? What do you want to make into a habit? Join me on my challenge!

Top Gun Triathlon Spectator Report

About three years ago Hilary and I were participating in Team in Training and one of our coaches asked us to help volunteer for a triathlon that she was organizing. We had a great time volunteering and seeing all the athletes accomplish their goals was a powerful sight. We both vowed that one of our next goals would be to do a triathlon. At this point Hilary has accomplished that goal by completing three triathlons and I’m making baby steps towards completing my first triathlon.

On Saturday Hilary competed in and finished her fourth triathlon, the Top Gun Triathlon on Ft. Desoto Beach, which just happens to be the same triathlon that we volunteered at three years ago.

Even though there was no way I was going to even think about doing Top Gun, both because it was sold out and because I’m not prepared for the swim, I knew I had to go and support Hilary’s efforts. As much as I love racing, and I really do love racing, it’s sort of anti-climactic if there’s no one there to watch you or do it with you.

So at 4:15am on Saturday we both woke up before the sun and headed out the door to go help set up for the race.
Clearly, I’m far too excited to be awake at four in the morning.


After Hilary set up her transition area she helped with body marking other athletes. I think body marking might be one of the top reasons why I want to do a triathlon. It just seems so hard core to be able to walk around after the race with this body tattoo declaring your athlete status.


*Cue the Rocky Theme*


We hung out for about 15 minutes waiting for the swim portion of the race to start. Hilary was in the third wave of swimmers, so we were able to watch the first two waves go out before she had to depart.


This race was also like a Team in Training reunion. We ran into both our former coaches and several team members, including Jennifer!


My sister is a goof and I love her.


Her face just about sums up how I feel about the swim portion of a triathlon and triathlons in general. Despite her looking nervous, she totally rocked the swim.



Comin’ out strong and heading to the transition area!


One major bonus to being up so darn early and doing a race at Ft. Desoto is the beautiful scenery!



By the time Erica and I made it back up to the transition area, Hilary had already taken off on her bike, so we waited to catch a glimpse of her biking from the side of the road. Can you spot her?



After the bike, comes the run. While running is the part that I worry least about myself, it also happens last and I think my legs would be crazy tired. It was also about 9am at this point. The sun was out in full force and the weather was very hot and sticky. The announcer people kept says to HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE! Apparently athletes and spectators were passing out because of the heat.


And she’s finishes!


I am so proud of her and hopefully sometime soon we can do a triathlon together!


And by sometime soon, I mean potentially next weekend. Hilary has grand plans that she will have me ready to do a super sprint tri by August 7th. I’m not entirely confident that I’ll be ready to do the swim portion by then. I’ve only been swimming twice in the past couple of months and it really wipes me out. If we can go swimming at least a few more times this week, then I’ll decide how I feel about the tri. If not, I’m going to try and aim for a different super sprint tri the first week of September.


Other than swimming, I went bike riding for the first time in many years the other day. Apparently you can forget how to ride a bike, because it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out how to balance myself on the bike and put my feet in the pedals. I did figure it out eventually though.




Really, the whole point of the bike ride, was so that Hilary could test out her new clip pedals for her new fancy-pants road bike.

As expected, she fell almost immediately.



But don’t worry, she was okay and ready to get back in the saddle.




So basically, the past few days have been filled with lots of swimming and biking, and sadly, not enough running.


Wiped Out and Wordless

This morning I woke up at 4:15am — on a Saturday. It’s been a long day, which was spent in the sun and riding bikes. So for tonight, I’ll just post some pictures and a promise for more explanation tomorrow!





Oh, and one more thing… the blog’s going to be undergoing a bit of a face-lift / makeover soon. Here’s a hint as to one of the changes:


Tour de Tally – A Guide to Tallahassee

Ever wondered when Tallahassee was established? What about how many colleges are actually located in Tallahassee? Or are you looking for some fun and interesting things to do in town? Well, I thought it would be fun to do a little introduction to Tallahassee in this post.

The title above is a shout out to my friends who lived in on the fourth floor Southgate in 2003! We always said we were going to make t-shirts that said “Tour de Tally” and then create our own tour of Tallahassee, but it never really happened. Here’s my own Tour de Tally.


Tallahassee was established and became the capital of Florida in 1824. Tallahassee is located in north Florida. In reality, Tallahassee and the rest of the panhandle resemble the culture, weather, terrain, etc. of Georgia and the deep south, more so than they do the rest of Florida.

Florida map

The culture of Tallahassee is best described as the rural south, which is obsured by all the politicans and college students.

Speaking of the government, Florida’s capitol building bears a striking resemblance to a phallus.

The Capitol of Florida

Another embarassing fact about Florida? Our current governor happens to have a side job as the stunt double for Voldemort.

Rick Scott Totally Looks Like Lord Voldemort

As for the college students, Tallahassee is home to three major higher education institutions and has satelite campuses for other schools, such as Saint Leo University, Thomas University, Keiser University, Barry University, and Flagler College.

Florida State University


Florida A&M


Tallahassee Community College

Tallahassee County Community College Seal

College students, phallic symbols, and Rick Scott aside, there’s actually a lot of beautiful aspects of Tallahassee. Since Tallahassee is really in south Georgia, it experiences a change of seasons and some cold, but not bitter, temperatures.


There are also lots of beautiful parks, like Lake Ella…


and the Maclay Botanical Gardens.

Brick path leading through gardens to Maclay House

So, what are some of Tallahassee’s claims to fame?

Did you know that Tallahassee was referenced on Lost multiple times?


Or that “On a Boat” rapper T-Pain’s “T” stands for Tallahassee?


What about the one band that Tallahassee wishes they could disown? Well, that would probably be Creed.


Enough of the silliness, what about places to eat, things to do, and art to see in Tallahassee?

When it comes to food, some my local favorites include:

1 Fresh Stir Fry


Momo’s Pizza


Gordo’s Cuban Food


Hopkin’s Eatery

Red Elephant Pizza and Grill

Three Guys Pizza from New York

Tallahassee actually has a lot of things to do and keep people busy, you just need to know where to look:

There are lots of theatre companies.

Check out Railroad Square on First Friday (or any other time).

Take a history lesson at Mission San Luis.

Or buy some fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers at the Downtown Market.

The Antique Car Museum also has loads more odds and ends to browse besides old cars.

If you’re looking for a glimpse of nature and science, visit the Museum of History and Natural Science.

Finally, if you want to take a short drive, check out Wakulla Springs.

When it comes to active healthy lifestyles, Tallahassee has a lot to offer:

Capital City Runners is the local running store and they do weekly runs from their store.

Gulf Winds Track Club keeps a list of all the local races and they have running clinics and training groups.

Running wise, there’s a spring time marathon and Spring Time Tallahassee 1 mile, 5k, and 10k.

New Leaf Market is a co-op health food store with a hot bar, juice bar, large selection of health and beauty products, and of course food.

Now that’d I’ve shared some of my favorite parts of Tallahassee, I want to know what I’m missing!

I’m hoping to explore as many new parts of Tallahassee as I can, so what should I check out? If you’re not from Tallahassee, what is the one thing you make sure to show out-of-town visitors when they come visit you?