2013: The Best Worst Year of My Life

The last day of 2013. I feel like I should do some grandiose, month-by-month, epic-like, (cue my movie voice) “Here it is: The Year in Review, 2013 Edition.”

But ehh, I don’t feel like it. Annnnnnd 94,362,106,875 other bloggers are, so I’m not going to. Sing along to the tune of, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to,” but only switch it to, “It’s my blooooog and I’ll write if I want to. Write if I want to. Wriiiiiite if I want to. You would write, too, if you were in the mood.” But again, I’m not.

For the most part, this is how I felt about 2013:
lets never speak of 2013 again someecards

Yup. Similar to my 2009, this is now the second year on record that I’d like to simply have go gently into that good night. I shall stay up until midnight tonight, not only to welcome 2014, but to make sure 2013 gets to steppin’.

I don’t mean to sound angsty. Goodness gracious knows that if I have one wee little non-positive sentence in a 99.9999% positive blog, I get called out on it! But, like I’ve said ad nauseum on here, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, I’m a human. Just your regular, average, down-to-earth, call-it-like-I-see it, honest-to-a-fault (and sometimes my own) gal. I’m not a donut-maker; I don’t sugar coat.

Speaking of donuts, I do eat them sometimes; I’m also not a health-bot. [Read: Health-robot, but health-bot is easier to say.] I’m just a woman who promised her mother on her deathbed in 2009 that she’d lose weight, and fell quite short of making good on that promise until her professor called her out on her fatness (not phatness) by referring to her as “Precious” in January of 2010.

And here I am four years later. I’ve had my 15 minutes of fame more times than I ever thought was possible. So much at times, it got to the point where I was almost sick of seeing myself everywhere. I thought surely y’all should be! I didn’t know if people were being sincere or sarcastic when they’d ask me, “So what magazine are you in this month? What website will feature you this week?” But when I could come back with a definitive answer, I didn’t know if I should. So sometimes I’d just chuckle and wave my hand in the air with an, “Aww shucks…oh you!”
nasmontheset121213
On the set! NASM Master Trainer Annie Malaythong, me, Hosts Astrid McGuire & Dave Sinclair

The Cherie Hart Steffen Promo Tour of 2013 was crazy. Yes, I deemed it that. Just when I thought it was over, I was whisked away to film a National Academy of Sports Medicine commercial in Los Angeles earlier this month. What?! And then this past Saturday, another photographer was in my apartment doing a photoshoot for Woman’s World Magazine. (It’ll be out in the March 3, 2014 edition, haha, so this continues…) I’m amazed at all of this. AMAZED. Humbled. Thankful. Appreciative. And Blessed. Afterall, I’m just a girl who lost some weight and wrote a blog about it!

So yes. The publicity for which I didn’t expect, but am BEYOND thankful, was the highlight of my 2013. That’s what made it the Best Year of My Life. My story got out to so many friggin’ people in various mediums and so many of you personally contacted me to let me know that it inspired YOU–that’s what makes me know that sharing this journey is worthwhile. Even when I feel like I’m becoming quite ubiquitous. ;-)

plane

Other wonderful noteworthy moments of 2013: I got a raise, a promotion, ran my second half marathon in my hometown, flew on a plane and didn’t crash, discovered my love of weight lifting, became a NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, landed my first personal trainer job, and my life was saved by a few friends who care a whole lot.

So as awesome as my year was professionally, it tanked personally. Seriously, I felt like I had two completely separate worlds. Happy happy work concerning my day job and personal training life and then a complete opposite of that which had anything to do with my love life, finances, weight, and mental stability.

I know everything can’t always be rainbows and sunshine, but doggone it, it was darn near lightening storms and hail. My clinical depression, which had been out of my life since ’03, made a raging appearance somewhere in June. And that was right about the time that I last saw my muscles, firm buttocks, and slimmed down tummy.

birthdaycompilation10111213

My birthday was yesterday, 12/30. As I always do a comparison of birthday pictures, you’ll see me getting smaller every year since December of 2010. Until this December. BOOM. Up 13.8 pounds since last year on my birthday. What?!! Oh yes. (I weigh every day, so all I had to do was scroll back in my little notebook.) See y’all, it can happen to anyone. Even me!

I can clearly trace the weight gain starting in June, right after the depression hit. I lost all “get up and go” because it “got up and went.” And why did the depression return? Why was I eating all of my feelings and stressing out beyond belief? I knew my marriage was ending. I mean, I didn’t know, but I knew. I didn’t want to face it; didn’t want to deal with it, tried to ignore the inevitable. It made me sick to feel this coming on. But instead of losing my appetite, ohhhhh did I gain it. And of course the weight.

I got separated in September, left my four bedroom house and moved into a one bedroom apartment. Oh, and the bills though. Oh dear goodness gracious the bills. I was all on my own and trying to tread water but was drowning fast. Yeah, that made me eat more. And work out? Haa. If you know depression, you know you lose all interested in activities you used to love. For me–that was fitness. Kind of difficult for a personal trainer who’s supposed to be inspiring thousands of people, right?

I was at the end of my rope. But instead of trying to tie a knot and hang on, I thought it’d be best to use to rope, tie a noose and take care of the problem–ME. It surely was me. All of these issues–I WAS the common denominator. It wasn’t getting better. I was a failure in everything that I once used to excel. I was approaching 36, going to be alone, never find love again, live with 10 cats in a cardboard box, and be “Precious” again and was just in general going backwards in life. I wanted out. Okay, no–it wasn’t a noose. But you get my drift. Anyhow, as noted above, friends saved my life so I’m still here to tell the tale.

Except for the second half of 2009, this second half of 2013, was on record as being pretty rough. Some other stuff happened but this is enough to mention for now. I can closely liken it to 2009, so yes, I have deemed it the Worst Year Ever. But as far as “Worst” years go, the “Best” stuff was pretty dang awesome and balanced it out. Do you get me?

But it’s what you make it. I get that. I didn’t ask “Why me?” when the good happened (well, sometimes I did, but you get the point), so it wasn’t really right to ask “Why me?” when the bad happened. Some things that happen to us are way beyond our control. But how we respond? That’s in our hands. It’s in MY hands. THAT is what I need to remember in 2014.

birthdaycake123013

When I made my birthday wish, I wished for — well, you know I can’t tell you. But if it all comes true, next year this time I’m going to be writing about the pure awesomeness of it all. But I won’t be writing it on my birthday night. Nope–I’ll be out celebrating instead of sitting on my couch with my laptop as my companion. But I’ll gladly fill you in the next morning. ;-)

Have a wonderful, fun, relaxing, entertaining–or whatever you most want it to be–New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! And thank YOU for being the best part of my 2013! ♥

Get Busy Living…It’s a Wonderful Life.

Exactly one month ago today, I found myself at a major crossroads. I came home from work, sat alone on a bench in my apartment, and thought about my life. It was one of those moments where I thought, and this is straight from Shawshank Redemption, “I’m going to get busy living or get busy dying.”

Everything that had happened in my life over the past few months was swirling around my head in the darkness of the room–the clinical depression, the marriage separation, moving out of my house, moving into an apartment, loneliness, very little money with a lot of bills, consoling myself with full plates of empty calories, and a solid 15 pound weight gain. I felt like I was drowning. Suffocating. Gasping for air. For life–any life but the one I was living.

If you can call it that. I didn’t feel like I was living. I felt like here I was, approaching 36, and I was going backwards in life–in every aspect. I had a husband, I had a 4 bedroom house in the country, help wading through the sea of bills, and my body was on the verge of rockin’, the best its ever been. And then, it was all just slipping away. Going, going, so far gone. Everything was gone. I felt like I was disappearing, too. And a failure.

no man is a failure who has friends

I won’t go into details, but other than the death of my mother, that was the second worst night of my life. That’s pretty high up there in the ranking of bad days, folks. But just like George Bailey had Clarence, I had so many dear friends, my own Clarences if you will, watching over me. They came to my rescue like angels and showed me that it is indeed a wonderful life that I had, have, and will have and I needed to get busy living it.

The “Clarence event” snapped me out of it. I started to appreciate my life, as dysfunctional as it was at moment–and know that it wouldn’t always be this way. I had to grasp that my life cannot always be rainbows, lollipops, sunshine and puppy dog tails. I had had so much “good” happen during the beginning of 2013, it was almost as though I forgot what it was like to experience the “bad” and how to handle it. I don’t think I was jaded; I was just accustomed to every thing going my way and one thing topping the other, haha. I mean, Fitness Magazine, Women’s Running Magazine, CNN, the best shape of my life evahhh–I was having a pretty good ride.

So when my “ride” got a couple flat tires, I didn’t adjust well. But I needed it to happen. Just like in 2010, I NEEDED that teacher to call me Precious and light the spark under me and remind me of the promise I made my mother, I NEEDED the bottom to drop out now. Whether I like it or not, I still stick to my belief that everything happens for a reason. I sure as sugar don’t necessarily know why, but it does.

Had my mother not gotten cancer and made me promise her on her deathbed that I’d lose weight and had my teacher not called me Precious and jolted that promise to the forefront of my mind, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I didn’t know why she had to leave me or why that teacher had to embarrass the hell out of me but it led to something great. One month ago today led me (and is leading me) to something great, too. I just had to trust and believe and know that there’s a reason I’m here and why I need to keep going on.

Haha, I don’t want to sound like a self-help book, but the moment I started to think positively and believe that a very wonderful life was indeed possible for me after all, things started getting better. I started getting better.

In the span of a week, the most awesome series of events began. You know how I had to quit my membership at Snap Fitness because I couldn’t afford the gym any more? I applied for a reduced price membership at my local YMCA and ended up not only getting a free membership, but offered my very first personal trainer job! They even want me to lead classes for the members about nutrition, so now I can also put to use my new NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist creds! I’ll be working part time very soon! So yeah–that totally was going to help with the financial sitch. But to help it even more, I got a promotion and raise at my day job! No longer am I a Leasing Consultant, I’m the Assistant Property Manager. Then, I got an email from a producer in NYC who wanted to come to NC to film me about my weight loss story for a NASM promotional video. What?! AND then pay to fly me to Los Angeles this month to film at the taping for the NASM video. WHATTTT?
video shoot
• NASM video shoot

Ok, that alone being cool, it was EXACTLY what I needed to kick my rear into gear and get back into my norm. The norm meaning the Cherie who comes home and cooks healthy, clean meals, and works out. Yeah, because that Cherie took a 3 month hiatus. You caught the part above about the 15lb weight gain, right?
carolina girl
• I was seeing the weight gain. Not pleased & it was time to get back to norm!!

Well, knowing that I was going to be on video snapped me right back into my old self. No more being lazy and coming home from work and making three grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner with a bowl of chips as a side and two chocolate-icing-covered brownies for dessert because I’m living the new bachelorette life and too tired to make a healthy meal. YES, YES, SEE–IT HAPPENS TO ME TOO, PEOPLE. I say I’m not a health-bot and boy did I mean it for the past three months. I was the opposite of a health-bot. I was a couch surfin’, Dorito eating, depressed-bot.
salmon
• Happy to have salmon back in my life!

Going into the bathroom at work to cut the lining of my skirt because it was too tight and I couldn’t walk/breathe should’ve been a wake up call. It wasn’t–the call about being on video was, haha. But whatever works, I’m back. ;-) {But we won’t discuss the part about me being deathly afraid to fly. Oh snap.}
samsung galaxy note 3
• This phone is awesomeness. And free. Free is pretty cool.

And that wasn’t the only awesomeness. I participated in a FitFluential Twitter chat mid month and wound up winning a Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Umm, yes. That’s a $300 phone. $700 w/o a contract. It’s a wonderful phone!

carrboro gobble and gorge 8k
• Thanksgiving Day race! Smiling and happy to be back at it.

Now, I don’t know where any of this will lead. Only He knows. Could Jillian spot me in LA and want to hire me? Maybe. Could I end up being a full time personal trainer and I could quit my day job? Maybe. Could I start using the gym at the YMCA and build an even better body that I was starting to build months ago? Quite possibly. But if none of that happens, I’m still happy with what I already have received. I’m happy for the bad, so I can fully recognize and appreciate the good.
love you more
• Love ME more. Note to self!

I’m especially thankful for the angels out there watching out for me. I’m thankful I chose to get busy living. And I’m thankful for my wonderful life.

I Bought a Lululemon Bag and Now I’m Getting a Divorce.

Remember when I posted this on Instagram a couple weeks ago?
lululemon happy hatha hour bag instagram

Looking at the caption of the picture, well… I was half joking about the title of this post and half not.

If you follow me on my Instagram, Facebook page, Twitter or just know me in the real world, you know my big news. And you can pretty much guess now, why my good ol nememis depression came back a few months ago. And why I’ve been M.I.A. and haven’t written a blog post in quite some time.The husband and I have decided to get a divorce.

No, the bag itself did not lead to his decision, but it likely could have been one little piece of hay adding to the already tall stack. And, in its own way, it added to my stack, too. But this post is not the place to list his reasons or my reasons. It’s happening, it’s been decided, and as I’ve believed about everything major or minor in my life to date, it is happening for a reason. All I can say is he’s a damn good man, I’m lucky to have had him in my life for the past almost 10 years as my friend, boyfriend, fiance’, husband, estranged husband, and now, friend again. I wish nothing but the absolute best for him, always and forever. There is a frugal, more reserved, considerate, sweet, History Channel-watching woman out there for him, and there is an outgoing, gym buff, sarcastic, football obsessed alpha male out there for me. But a better friend to me than Mr. Steffen? I doubt there’s one out there. I’d like to think he feels the same about me. :-)

In the state of North Cackalacky, you have to live separately for a year and one day before you can get a divorce. So, we had the big talk on September 4, and by October 5, I was moving into my own apartment in Chapel Hill. Seeing as how I know the Leasing Consultant very well (it’s me–duh!), I was able to take my pick of the available units. It’s all about who you know! Haa.
apartment

I’m all settled, unpacked and highly decorated. The place is very comfortable and very Cherie. Since I am now the sole provider for myself and money is beyond tight, I refurbished a lot of my old furniture to make it new again. Also, if you follow me on Instagram, you know I pretty much flooded my thread with home decor for the past month. A few people even questioned if I had transitioned from Cherie Runs This to Cherie Decorates This.
kitchen
beverage cart
living room couches
living room
psycho poster
bedroom

I almost started to believe I did. But assure you, I still RUN this; I’m still here. I just needed a little time away to take care of something things. Of me.
bitstrip gym

And that’s not to say that I wasn’t working out at all. Moving is a b*itch and my stuff is heavy. Haa. But to be honest, it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. Fitness was still on my mind…in there somewhere–just not at the forefront as per usual. Eating? Yeah, I’ll just say it–my eating has been pretty much crap for two months. My clothes still fit, but not like I’m used to them fitting. I look the same I suppose, but upon closer glance, I can tell I’ve been eating crap. I knew it was time for me to get back to “my norm.” Clean eating, and especially my workouts. Sooooo picture the sadness when I realized I could no longer afford my gym membership. “But Cherie, you started this journey without having had stepped foot in the gym; you worked out at home. Can’t you do that again?”

I could. But not for everything. My neighbors downstairs wouldn’t be too pleased with my jumping around. Luckily I am surrounded by awesome places to run right outside my doorstep now (Chapel Hill is friggin’ gorgeous) and there is a great jungle gym next to my building for body resistance exercising. But y’all know how the gym found a special place in my heart. And the weights. Hardcore love.
ymca

I ran to my local YMCA on Saturday to see about getting a membership there. As soon as I hear back about that, hopefully this week, I’ll update you more on that!
steelers love

Anyhow, I’m still here, I’m still smiling, adjusting to the single life and I’m doing okay. This is a whole new journey and I’m going to take it day by day just like all the others I’ve traveled before. :-)

Half marathon training begins now!

While training for my first 5K, I had a set schedule for how many miles I needed to run every week. Once the race was over, it was as though I was a complete newbie again wondering how many miles I should run each week, how many miles would keep me fit, how many miles would help me continue to lose weight, etc. I’ve pretty much been winging it because while I am a Certified Personal Trainer, I am definitely not an RRCA Running Coach! So thank goodness for Runner’s World Magazine

This fun little tidbit of information is from a back issue, May 2006, I think {Last summer I got a zillion back issues from eBay and I’m still going through them all!}. Now, I know you can’t believe everything you read, but RW doesn’t lead me astray too often. Since 20 miles is a nice number I think I can hang with weekly, this is my new weekly mileage goal. AND I want my waist fat to get the eff off my body! So if it says 20 is the magic number, I’m doing 20. Heck, maybe 21.

Oh, but wait.

I do have a race coming up. No, not the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Half Marathon–that’s not until May 2013. And no, not the Rock ‘n’ Roll Pittsburgh Half Marathon–that’s not until August 2013.

Just last night, after some discussions with the hubster, I registered for the 2012 Carolina Sports Medicine Battleship Half Marathon in Wilmington, NC!


We’re both pretty excited! Wilmington is where we normally go to celebrate our wedding anniversaries, but we haven’t been able to make it the past few years. Our 5th anniversary is this month, so we’re going to wait for that getaway celebration to take place on this race weekend. Oh, and if you run the race, you get a free entry to tour the Battleship–we love it! Hubs was sold on that and will probably be running it with me. Not with-with because he’s faster than I, of course. :-)

So eeeeeek! So instead of the comfortable 12-15 months I had to prepare for my first half, I now only have 5 months!!! Of course, rationally, I know that’s plenty-o-time for me. But right before I was about to hit that “submit” button, I was freaking a little bit lot. What made me finally click submit was the saying that “life begins outside of your comfort zone.” I keep seeing that quote every where lately.

My comfort zone, right now, is about 6 miles. I need to do twice that and then some to successfully finish this half. I want to reach that goal. I want to experience life as a half marathoner. I want that life to begin November 4. So I stepped out and clicked. Looks like I’ll be hitting the trail to train more often and following another plan from Smart Coach!

But note to self {and all of you}: Don’t watch the Identification Discovery channel, Dateline NBC, 48 Hours, or any scary movies before I go running alone on the trail.

The other day before I hit the trail, I watched some horrible horror B-movie called Simon Says. It was awful. I love scary movies–horror is my favorite genre–but this was just plain bad. The movie mostly faded into the background while I was doing computer work, until I saw a scene with girl running in the woods.

You know it’s an older movie seeing as how she’s carrying a CD player.

The runner girl was knocked down by the scary killer man in the woods.

The runner girl tried to crawl away to safety. I’ll leave you in suspense as to if that happened or not…

Anyhow, the moral of this story for me is to be alert while on the trail!! I should not have my music up so loud that I can’t hear what’s going on around me. Also, I need to keep lifting my weights {even though I dislike it so much} so that I can fight back. And again, I should not watch these shows RIGHT before I go running!!! Paranoia at every sound/bush/tree/falling leaf/passing runner occurs!

I didn’t run on the trail yesterday; I knocked out 4 miles of speedwork on my treadmill. {I was actually somewhat speedy compared to my normal turtleness.}  Here’s another post-run video!
Oh–and if it doesn’t show up below, you can watch it here on my Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/v/10150790160540356

Are you training for your first half marathon? How did you train?

Fifty Shades of My Weekend

My first race is in 12 days and I finally ran yesterday for the first time in days. DAYS! I last ran-ran on Tuesday {one day after the gym machine ninja attack–dumb, I know}, and then couldn’t attempt another run until days later on Saturday. And that was surely JUST an attempt. Even after all of this:

Hanging in my inversion table!!

My back still was not cooperative and I couldn’t handle running even though my leg felt better. :-(

You can tell from my expression I was NOT pleased!!!

So yesterday was my first real run in a while. I was supposed to do six miles; I ran exactly 3.1. Hey, it was something. I was slightly in a better mood about it!

I really needed a good run after date night from this weekend. Saturday evening the hubby and I visited one of our favorite neighbor hangouts {there is only one hangout in our neighborhood, but luckily, we love it}, the Saxapahaw General Store for some pizza and beer!

Yes, oh yes, it was cheat meal time!

I wore a somewhat new skirt from Soul-Flower that’s just been waiting in my closet for too long as cute as it is!

It's so hippie!

We sipped on our beers of choice while we waited for the pizza. Yuengling was mine!


Then it was time for the pizza. Ohhhh, yeah, buddy!


I did have three slices. Mmmmph! And I’m not sorry about it either! Miraculously I’ve not dipped back up into the next weight bracket {since hitting my new milestone} this entire week–even without my running! So I just smiled and happily ate my slices. :-D

I'm old-school and keep track of my daily weigh-ins on paper. The little dashes stand for record lows. :)

But since I also haven’t dipped below the 149 point, haha, I’m not resting on my laurels for too long. Hubby offered me the leftovers yesterday and I politely declined! The 130s/maintenance level awaits!!

So besides working out and eating on this glorious 3-day-weekend I’m in the midst of, I’ve been getting a lot of reading done.

I’m ANTI Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games for damn sure with a passion {NO interest in wizards, teen vampires, and kids killing each other}, but this? OHHHHH yessss… this I can and have been getting into. Mmmmmmy!!!!!! Fifty Shades of Grey is my cup of passion right there!!! I will definitely be picking up the 2nd and 3rd book soon and sooooo looking forward to the movie!

I’ve been staying up late, ’til like 3am late, every night reading this book. Except for last night–had to get to bed so I could get up for HOT YOGA this morning!! Finally, again, right?!

How was your weekend, everyone? Have you read 50 Shades?

Instagram, Zombies, Run For Your Lives!

Yesterday I opened my email and found the most glorious message:

instagram availbable for Droids Androids

Hooray!!! I felt a little bit cooler the moment I saw this. As if I was at some über hip club and suddenly gained access to the VIP area behind the velvet ropes. I never once have been sad that I didn’t have an iPhone until I realized Instagram wasn’t available on the Droid. Not so anymore!

After my 4 mile run, I decided to get busy snapping pics.

I was about to make a delicious serving of tuna salad but got stuck standing at the pantry looking as confused as ever. It was a serious Jessica Simpson moment.


I couldn’t, not for the life of me, figure out if the contents of this can were indeed chicken or tuna. Now, I bought the dang thing. I knew I bought tuna the other day, but standing there looking in the cupboard, it was as if my mental capacity eluded me. I kept asking/saying to myself, “Is this chicken? Or is it tuna? I know it says Chicken of the Sea, but that’s confusing me more. I don’t want chicken. I want tuna. Okay, this isn’t chicken. It’s tuna. For real–it’s tuna. Yeah, it’s tunafish. Let me go make that salad.” I think the only thing I can blame my mental fart on was the intense slow recovery run beforehand??

Anyhow, the above was my very first stab at taking a photo and putting the magical Instagram fix on it. Love it! I just wish I had a little make up on so I didn’t look so much like a zombie…

I gradually got better with the visual effects.

My asparagus, Alexia oven fries, and baked chicken {only 380 calories for all this!} looked so much more awesome the Instagram way than they would have on just my regular Droid-snapped pictures.

Yummy right?!

Okay, so just a second ago I mentioned zombies. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned my love of zombies on my blog, but if you know me in person, you know I have a serious zombie-obsession. If you do too, good–we’ll chat sometime. And if you think that the zombie apocalypse is surely going to happen and it’s just a matter of time, also good–we can compare our zombie escape plans. {All of my running training will NOT go to waste we’ll just say. Rule #1–CARDIO.}

Anyhoooo, because of my zombie love, I have selected my next race!

How awesome does this look?! I can't wait!

The Run For Your Lives Zombie Infested 5K Obstacle Course Race!! I wanted to do it last year, but still wasn’t quite ready. I surely am now! It’s not until September, so I’ll have more time to plan for it. This is going to be sooooo much fun!!!! I am crazy-excited to train for this!! And hubby will be running it with me. When I wasn’t sure that I could get him to go for it, I was chatting with the zombie race organizers on Twitter. Their response to me was:

When I posed it that way, how could hubby say no? ;-)

Oh and check out the video for it–

It’s not the cheapest race, but we’re going to save up for it and hopefully get registered soon. I don’t need to go to the beach this summer. Give me running and zombies and this girl’s happy. Yay!!

Do you love Instagram? Have you had it for a while or is it new to you? Any fun races planned? Any with zombies?

Birthday Recap: Beer, Freebies, Food & Cake!

However you choose to look at it, my birthday was either 3 days ago, or it was last year and is now 364 days away {thanks, Leap Year}. Anyhoooo, since my cake is still fresh and edible, I’m going with the 3 days ago thing and doing a pictorial recap. If you read my post the other day, you pretty much know what I was going to do, but here are the pictures capturing it all!

Before we left the house, hubby snapped a photo of me in my birthday outfit. Yes, that’s a pink ribbon saying “Birthday Girl.”

These Anthropologie shorts are like, my fave things evahhhh!

Again, I’m still amazed at how different I look from last year on my birthday!

After we left the house, our first point of destination was the Red Oak Brewery. Yummmm…beer. :-P

Red Oak Brewery

Red Oak Brewery

Haha, so true.

Red Oak Brewery

Hubby, not double-fisting--just holding my brew.

After the tour, and sampling the deeelicious brewskis, we headed over to Sephora to get my free birthday gift.


The sales associate gave me not one, but TWO bottles of the Happy Birthday, Beautiful from Philosophy. She said she had extra and since I came in on my actual birthday, she’d give me another one. Score! This stuff smells like the most amazing cake ever!

After a few other random errands, and a quick pitstop at home, we then headed to Chapel Hill for dinner. Destination: Talullah’s–amaaaazing.

Talullahs Chapel Hill NC

Talullahs Chapel Hill NC

We had the coziest little, tucked away booth!

Talullahs Chapel Hill NC

Appetizer...

Talullahs Chapel Hill NC

Dinner. I can't even pronounce the Turkish words for it...but it was great!

We were full and happily delighted. I forgot my coupon for a free birthday drink at Caribou Coffee, so we went home to have some there…along with my mystery cake that hubby made and decorated for me. I was excited to finally see it…

Pittsburgh Steelers Birthday Cake

Is this not the cutest cake ever?! There's even a little Ben Roethlisberger on it!!

I wasn’t sure what the theme would be, but I figured it was a toss up between fitness and Steelers, lol. I’m happy with how it turned out! So cute AND delicious!

So that’s it. Thanks for taking a little stroll with me down birthday lane! Any big birthday plans or surprises for you or yours this year?

Eat, Drink & Be Married.

I’m safely back from the DC roadtrip and so happy to be home. It was fun pretending to be a tourist, going to my first Steelers game {will blog about that soon!} and seeing my sister marry the love of her life, but there’s something about just relaxing and sitting on your own couch. I’m exhausted! Annnnnd I have to go back there in less than two weeks for a NASM personal training conference. I’m a roadtrippin’ fool lately!

So now, about my sister marrying the love of her life…Yay! That’s right….I did go to DC to be the Matron of Honor in her wedding!

This is the happy couple in one of their engagement pictures. Isn’t my sis cute?! My new bro-in-law Shurman is a lucky man. She’s also lucky because she found a really good guy. Awww, ain’t love grand? :-)

The wedding and small dinner reception took place at the Chesapeake Beach Resort & Spa. It was beeeyooootiful there.

I could stare at water forever. I seriously need to move to the beach. It doesn’t matter that I don’t know how to swim. I just want to look at it.

Now, I did a lot of running around at first–I had lots of Matron of Honor duties to complete! I then felt sweaty and gross by the time the ceremony began. Blah. But it wasn’t about me. But I’m also slightly vain so, yeah, I still wanted to look nice! ;-) Not so, I’m afraid. After all that searching for the perfect red dress of my dreams, I don’t like any of the pictures that I found of myself  in my camera. My hair was a mess, my face was oily and needed to be blotted. Double Blah. I’m HOPING someone else got good ones.

This is the only one I somewhat like and it’s BLURRRRY. Grrrr. So, here’s another:

I think my face was still puffy from the cats! My sister has the most amaaaazing little kitties and I adore them, but I’m allergic. I guess I cuddled too much with them, lol! I sneezed the whole trip, but as hubby pointed out–at least I didn’t sneeze during the wedding. :-)

And now, for the most gorgeous bride ever–my sister Pamela!

LOVE the dress!



After the wedding, it was time to come in and get our eat on! {Or, drink on…}

Can't forget the champagne to go with my Yuengling!

I did eat, too. :-)

Oh, and the cake! The cake was yummy. Pretty, but yummy mostly.


And here are some of Pammy’s best friends enjoying themselves:

It was a great night had by all! I’m so happy for my sister and thankful to see her married off! The only part I dearly missed was having our Mommy see her, but I know she was there watching from one of the soft, puffy clouds in the gorgeous sky above. I thought I felt a small drop of rain hit my arm during the ceremony, but I’m quite certain it was her shedding a happy tear. :-)

‘Tis the season for weddings…have you been to any this summer?

aren’t there any good mistresses in south carolina?

      this story keeps getting better and better. first the governor of south carolina is missing. then he’s camping. then he’s in another country. and now the truth comes out–he was in argentina having an affair with a friend. say it with me everyone, ARGENTINA?? oh for the love of pete. if he was going to cheat, please tell me why he couldn’t find a mistress here in the states? did he really need to go to argentina to do it? don’t say it’s because he’s famous, i’d bet my house that there are plenty of men more famous than mark sanford that are getting a little on the side here in the u.s. and no one is the wiser.  yes, there are always the john edwards and the elliot spitzers that get caught–it’s the risk they take for a little nooky. but argentina?? what’s wrong with a good ol’ south carolinian lady friend? and did he really think that he’d be able to just slip out of the country unnoticed?  for five days? to go camping? hahaha, thank you gov. sanford. in my time of sorrow that i’ve been having this month, you have given me the best laugh ever. i can’t wait to hear more.

best. lie. ever.

best. lie. ever.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31522908/ns/politics-more_politics/?GT1=43001