Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Hierarchy At Our House

I think the title of this blog and the picture say it all :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Super Cute Halloween Idea

A few weeks ago a cute "Trick or Treat" bag mysteriously showed up on our doorstep. I thought someone goofed and that it was meant for someone else but upon further inspection I found it most certainly was meant for us...

It's called a Boo Bag and the idea is that you surprise people with this neat treat. Check out the letter that goes with it...
Here's what the Boo Bag that was left for me contained...

And here's the sign you're supposed to hang in your window (which we did)....

Needless to say I didn't let the fun stop with us! I made up the 2 bags as instructed and left them for some folks.... I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.

What a fun idea!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Glee - Remembering Cory... Farewell to Finn

I wasn't able to watch last night's Glee Episode which was the Farewell to Finn episode until today.... Wow - talk about a really tough episode to watch.....

I debated all day about when to watch it... I knew it would be emotional but I didn't know just how emotional it would be....

(For those of you who only know me "electronically" - it's probably worth noting that I am not generally an overly emotional person.

You may be thinking "chelle you are crazy to be so emotional about some silly TV show" maybe you're right... but I don't think so.... It's so much bigger than just some silly TV show. Yes I have absolutely grown to really love this show and have become emotionally involved in the fictional world it is but this episode spoke to tragedy which so many of us have experienced in life in some way or another and it did it in a very touching way.

For those of you who don't know Cory Monteith played Finn Hudson on the hit show Glee. A few months ago Cory was found dead of an overdose much to the surprise of many. The writers of Glee decided that they had to tackle the loss of his character in a way that was true to Glee and I think they did an amazing job.

The show never goes into why Cory died but instead shows the emotions and pain of those who loved him so dearly. In that facet, yes this is a fictional show but it is done so true to real life that if this episode doesn't tug at your heartstrings, I don't know what will.

Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the show was when Kurt (Finn's stepbrother and dear friend) says  "Everyone wants to talk about how he died too, but who cares? One moment in his whole life — I care more about how he lived."

I will openly admit I started crying about 5 seconds into the show. The opening scene is "Seasons of Love" from Rent done in a very similar fashion to how it is done in Rent. Very effective emotional set-up for all of us who are fans of Rent because every single time I've seen Rent live on stage... that song/scene always makes me tear up.

Perhaps one of the reasons I love Glee is that while I am not a particularly musically inclined person, music has always spoken to me and been better about expressing emotions better than I can ever find the words to. I listen to songs and the evoke such strong emotions sometimes and sometimes I wish that I was a better singer so I could use other people's words to express how I am feeling. The characters on Glee do this all the time so perhaps that's part of the allure of the show for me. Each song sung with such emotion in the episode kept the tears cascading down my cheeks...

Let's put it this way - even though I was watching on DVR and could've fast forwarded through some of the commercials... I ended up watching some of the commercials just so I could catch my breath and let the tears subside a little..

The emotions of each character were truly palpable as you watched the episode... I highly doubt there was much acting required for their emotions because they truly were paying tribute to their dear friend. Seeing their very real tears and their very real pain of the loss of a loved friend just tore at my heart and kept the tears flowing. I read in an article that almost every scene in this episode was done in only 1 take (absolutely unheard of in TV) because cast members would have to run out of the room crying they were so emotional. That all comes through on the screen and makes this some of the most emotional scenes I've ever seen on the screen in any facet.

Bottom line... I think this episode was beautifully done....

And yes I went through a lot of Kleenex for my buckets of tears... just see my previous Facebook post comments to see how many :)

This episode definitely hit close to home for me in a wide variety of ways from the feelings of the pain of the loss of someone you love to the various ways that grief manifests itself in different people and at different times in different ways...

I hope this episode reminds everyone that life can be entirely too short....  Embrace life! Embrace the ones you love! Remember that each day is not guaranteed and to make the most of your days....

I send hugs to all of you my friends.....

Sunday, September 29, 2013

How is that comfortable!?!?

Guinness gets himself into the funniest of sleeping or just lounging about positions.... so often Ken and I just look at one another and ask "How is that comfortable?!" But Guinness seems pretty darn happy so I guess he is!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Half Marathons in Consideration

Man I have been a slacker this year (and who am I kidding last year too - even more so then!) about getting registered and running some half marathons...

I was thinking that I really wanted to do the Hershey Half Marathon (I mean come on - it's Chocolate Town USA!) and so when my slacker self got around to looking to register this a few weekends ago  wouldn't ya know... it's sold out! Grrrr! I should have known better. Really I do know better.... so now I'm sitting down to really start hashing out some East Coast Half Marathons that I want to get to work on getting on the calendar... Why especially East Coast? Well because at the end of the day I know we are "short timers" here in Annapolis (meaning we have a finite amount of time that we will be living here) so I ought to take advantage of this geographic location while I can.

Rock-and-Roll Series
As much as I was completely irritated with the RR series after the Vegas half a few years ago it sounds like they've gotten their act together regarding that race and honestly the other races they run have been pretty darn good. Assuming they do this again for 2014 I am considering breaking down and getting the tour pass and knocking out as many as I can with that...

Annapolis Half Marathon - November 23, 2013
I have pathetically signed up for this before and then not run it (was overcome by events) and while November is cold to me I really do have to run one of these that I can walk to from my house!

Divas Myrtle Beach - April 27, 2014
My dear friend Eve lives in Myrtle Beach so at least I've got a place to crash :) This one looks like fun and fits my East Coast slant that I am working on...

So those are the ones immediately on my radar... am open to other prospects...

Anyone want to join me at any of these? Anyone have any other suggestions? :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Guinness Goes to a Ballgame

A few weeks ago Ken & I took Guinness to Bark in the Park at the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. We all had a whole lot of fun and Guinness made a few new friends too!

Guinness was not so sure about meeting Pinch but Pinch wanted to be his friend....

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Baseball Parks...

I mean in all seriousness the following statement....
      If I were to win the lotto one of the things I would absolutely do is go to every Major League Baseball Park in America (and many of the Minor League ones too)! 

I suppose that's part of the flip comment I frequently make about how Ken married me for beer & baseball :) 

What can I say - I love baseball and so does Ken! So much so that we got engaged at a Spring Training baseball game and ever since have been trying to visit as many parks as we can! One of the beauties of our time here in Annapolis is that there are so many Minor League Parks in the area for us to checkout... I suspect there will be a lot of days where I may kidnap Ken and drag him off to a game for an evening! (Currently I am hoping the weather is good on Monday because if it is we are going to take Guinness to Bark in the Park at the Waldorf Blue Crabs game.)

We want to see all the baseball parks together so our ground rule (different than a ground rule double!) is if we haven't seen it together it doesn't count on the list of parks that we have been to. 

So here's the rundown of what we've seen.

Wrigley Field (Chicago Cubs)
Old Yankee Stadium
Shea Stadium (Old Mets Stadium)
Citi Field (Mets New Stadium)
Camden Yards (Baltimore Orioles)
Cellular Field (I still call it Comiskey! Chicago White Sox)
Citizens Bank Park (Phillies Stadium)
Chase Field (Arizona Diamondbacks)
Progressive Field (Cleveland Indians)
Minute Maid Park (Houston Astros)
Nationals Park (Washington Nationals)

Norfolk Tide
Bowie Baysox
Frederick Keys
Toledo Mudhens
Portland Sea Dogs
Pensacola Blue Wahoos

... I think I've got them all that we've been to together... hope I didn't miss any..

We've been to a whole bunch of Spring Training Games in Arizona and Florida too as well as 2 different stadiums in Japan but I won't bore you with all those listed :)

Here's a great link to a map of all the baseball parks

We didn't make it to quite as many this year as we had hoped (stuff just got in the way) so we are already promising to make a better effort next year. Gotta check off those East Coast parks while we're living here! 

Batter Up!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Well Said Ashton... Well Said

Okay I will openly admit that I was never been a big time Ashton Kutcher fan... I didn't dislike him it's just that I wasn't going to rush out and be first in line to see a movie he did because I was such a fan. He's been entertaining so for me he fell into the category of actors that are entertaining enough that I will watch their movies but I'm not necessarily going to pay big bucks to see it at the actual theater.

I must admit... I am now a much bigger fan. I know this video has made the rounds after the Teen Choice Awards but I want to share it as well just in case you didn't see it or if you didn't watch it because you thought "Meh - why would I care what this guy has to say."

He's speaking to a demographic that is so in need of inspiration and a demographic who is so impressionable... I am really impressed with the way he took to heart that what he says has such an impact on these kids. He's frank.... He's honest... He's just a regular guy speaking from the heart and experience.

I love that he points out that he thinks that "Opportunity often looks like Hard Work." And then points out all the menial jobs he's done over his life... so often in today's "Instant Gratification" society many people forget that there's a lot of hard work to get to where you want in life.

"Opportunities Look a Lot Like Work." - Ashton Kutcher

Next quote I love...
"The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart." - Ashton Kutcher
YES! I would've thought that by now in society we'd be over the idea that it's not cool to be smart but sadly we're not over that idea. Why would you want to look like the idiot? I don't understand it! Thank you Ashton for reiterating that smart is sexy!!!

He then goes on to talk about how we can all build a life instead of just fitting inside the box that society has created. For those of you who've heard my quote from my talk in Glasgow - "Forget just thinking outside the box - throw the box away!" - you can see why this really resonates with me.

All I can say is pay attention people! This man knows what he's talking about. Heed this advice!
Haven't seen it - well check it out for yourself. Ashton says it much better than I can summarize it... (And I hope that maybe if before you didn't want to watch it now after hearing some of my comments you can't wait to watch it!)

Ashton - you have yourself a new big time fan. I will be heading to the theaters to see your movies (and paying the premium to do so) because I believe in supporting those who make a positive difference in this world... And I am a big believer that you have made a hugely positive difference in this world with your speech.

Thank you Ashton

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bon Voyage Scott! But Guinness is NOT Happy About It!

Guinness has become very attached to many of "his mids" and "his Ensigns" but he is especially attached to his best buddy Scott.

Scott & Guinness have definitely had some fun (well at least in one of their minds it was fun) here in Annapolis.

But alas... now it is time for Scott to flee the nest and head out of Annapolis to EOD school. Yesterday we said our "good-byes" for now which were really more "We will see you soon!" because Scott will certainly be stuck seeing us for many many years to come.  Guinness knew something that he didn't like was up and he was very sad to see Scott go (even pouted extensively after Scott left!) so I promised that once Scott is settled into more permanent housing than the BOQ I will bring Guinness out to visit.

Scotty you will be missed here tremendously by all of us but we will see you soon! We wish you lots of luck! Love ya man!!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Guinness Loves Visits from Family & Friends

We were lucky to have my "sister" Lisa & family come and visit us for a few days here in Annapolis. Guinness loves them all so much! He was very sad when they had to leave but I promised him that we would work on a visit to go see them in Indiana again soon :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I love Facebook for the Actual Live and In-Person Connections!

I will admit it - at first I was not a fan of the idea of Facebook... then I got on it and realized that it's a pretty great way to share information and keep up with what is up in people's lives which is really helpful given how little time (sadly) we all have in life to make proper phone calls or visits to catch up. No Facebook will never replace real, live and in-person face to face time but it does help us stay connected... and sometimes it even leads to unexpected real, live and in-person face-to-face time. Let me explain...

Not once, not twice but 4 times now I have gotten to catch up with great friends in totally random places compliments of Facebook.

First instance we were in Scotland... had headed to the UK to do some space talks to schools with ISSET. At the beginning of it a few of us decided to make a stop in Scotland since we had never been. While we were there I noticed that our friends Vicki and Craig (who are from Australia and we had met in Fiji on our honeymoon) were posting about their travels and not only in the same country but were touring the same cities just 1 day ahead of us! Compliments of Facebook we were able to able to connect and meet up in person in London for dinner and a night out on the town. (Note that this picture is not from that meet-up but it is of us with Vicki & Craig!)

Next instance was probably the most bizarre of all. Last fall we were headed to Dublin to see the Navy vs. Notre Dame football game. Even though it was a heck of a trip for a weekend we were no kidding doing it in a weekend. I won't go into the gory details of how much United messed up on this one but since we had to connect in Frankfort we got stuck there for about 16 hours due to a strike by Lufthansa.  Needless to say I was a rather unhappy camper about that so I ranted about it a bit on Facebook. Boy am I glad I did... got a message back from some of our best buds Tonto & Swani that they were in Frankfort for their connection home from Russia. We did a little sweet-talking to get ourselves into the area that they were in and sat around the United Club (whatever the equivalent there was called) and caught up for a little over an hour until they had to fly to Houston.

The third instance happened in New York City. I was in NYC with my mom - Mom had never been there so I thought I would take her there for a new adventure. We had bought tickets to see "Kinky Boots" (which I still need to get off my butt and write a blog about too!) and as we were prepping to head there I saw my dear friend Gary post on Facebook a picture he'd taken and tagged as in New York City currently. I immediately shot off a text to ask if he really was in NYC to which he replied Yep! Knowing that time was of the essence I called to see what he was up to... unfortunately he was extremely busy with some Social Media Conference he was going to and was only in town for about 24 hours so sadly he wasn't going to be able to get together with us to hang out at all. It was further crazy that he was staying at the hotel that is my "usual" Times Square Hotel but we weren't staying there because by the time I had gotten around to deciding that we were going the hotel had gotten way too expensive. We ended the call both lamenting that it was too bad we were both in the same city but that our schedules just wouldn't cross. Not to be deterred I decided that I could manage to hoof it over to the bar Gary was sitting in and would have just about 5 minutes to do a Hug and run in order to get to the show on time. Gary was quite surprised when I showed up and it was great to be able to say Hi "live and in person" even if it was just a quick visit.

The latest instance just happened and it's funny because I was going to "publish" this blog before leaving for London but just never got around to writing the last of it. One of our favorite Ensigns (recent Naval Academy Graduate) was on leave and flying Space Available around Europe. Upon my arrival in London I had a Facebook message waiting for me that he too was going to be here! We had no idea!  So we managed to meet up with him at a London pub for a beer or 2! (Actually we were sad we were too busy to get to do more with him but C'est la vie!)

So while Facebook has helped me to keep up with so many people virtually perhaps what I love the most is that it's helped me connect in person with these dear friends who I might have missed seeing otherwise! Even Ken (who is seriously anti-Facebook) has to admit that it's pretty dang cool for that purpose!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Copyright Question

If there's one thing I know it's that I don't actually understand law at all! Seems like for every point in law there's another point somewhere else that may say something different....

So I have a question for my lawyer friends... or anyone in the know frankly... come to think of it my music friends may know the answer as well...

I know there is lots of sensitivity with Music Copyrights....

QUESTION - If I make a playlist to play as background music at a Mission Discovery (event with several hundred people) for when people are coming in or taking a break etc. - is there any copyright issue with this?

Pardon my ignorance but contrary to popular belief I actually do what I can to stay out of trouble when I can :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Guinness Pictures of the Week - 7 July 2013

These just absolutely crack me up! I am sure you can imagine how much I was laughing when I took them!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Guinness - It's been awhile since I've posted pictures

I have been so incredibly slacking lately about posting Guinness pictures... I really apologize for depriving all of you of such adorableness. To be fair I've been behind on all sorts of stuff on social media because life has just been busy busy busy.... but life is good!

Here are a few Guinness pictures to make you go awwwwwwww.....

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Guinness Loves His Mids

As mentioned in my Facebook status I've been remiss in posting to Facebook but I've also been remiss in blogging and posting Guinness pictures of the week as well. Sorry about that folks!!

I thought it was very appropriate that this week's installment of "Guinness Pictures of the Week" be in honor of the Midshipmen who have all been recently promoted (either to the Officer ranks or a year further at the Academy)... Guinness sure does love his Mids & Officers :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Who Knew It Would Be So Tough?

Well I've been spending lots of time working on my plans for my non-profit (If you don't know what I'm talking about you can check out my previous blog  and who knew how complicated it would be?! Don't get me wrong it's not as if I expected it to be easy to get this going but good grief... every time I turn around there's some new "difficulty" I encounter.

I'm trying to figure out how to legally get it set-up.... what to do about a mailing address since obviously we are not stagnant enough to just set it up here where we live (Thank you Jared for info to help me with this!)... where to actually set-up the nonprofit (Delaware perhaps?)... and not the least of my troubles is trying to settle on the "perfect" name because at the end of the day I have to have that information before I can really get any of this underway! I'll give you that I am not the most creative person when it comes to naming etc. but I can't help but be struck by the fact that the name I pick is the one that hopefully we be around for many many many years to come so I want it to be just right.

I've been so appreciative of everyone who has given suggestions and/or voted on the suggestions that I had so far. I took those inputs and started doing some more research for the top 10 ideas. I researched domain name availability (website), what other companies/foundations etc. are out there with similar names, ideas for logo design etc. Unfortunately based on some of these things I had to cut some great ideas for names. I've shortened the list but still don't have it narrowed down to 1....  so I created 1 more survey that is a short survey (seriously very short - 2 quick questions) that if you have a few minutes I would be GREATLY GREATLY appreciative if you'd check this out and tell me what you think..... My goal is to get this really underway (well the official set-up) as soon as possible so I can start fundraising for scholarship money!

Thank you so much in advance :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Guinness is Happy "His People" Are Home

Guinness got to spend some time at a rather luxe Dog Hotel while we were gone this past weekend but you know how he is about having "his people" corralled... Now he can rest much easier since we are home... (No this picture was not taken today, or even here in Annapolis, but it's such a perfect capturing of how he looks today too!)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


In my humble opinion I think one can tell that a movie, TV show or musical is really good when it moves you and gets you emotionally vested. Don't get me wrong I've seen a lot of movies, a lot of musicals and certainly a wide range of TV shows that I have enjoyed but most of them are just that enjoyably good not truly great pieces of work. Only a few fall into that truly great category for me. (Don't worry for all you "Glee" haters this is NOT about "Glee" - well not this time at least.)

The show I am talking about is "Smash" on NBC. It's the story of a musical being made and it's produced by Steven Spielberg so that should be your first clue that of course it's good! I don't want to give too much of the plot away because if anyone hasn't seen it I don't want to spoil it since I want to convince you all to watch it! Let me give you some broad strokes though... There are many characters which I would consider to be main characters... 

You have Tom & Julia who are musical writers (played by Debra Messing and Christian Borle) but you don't just see them as writers. You see how so many pieces of their life are affected by the work they do and they choices they make.

There are Ivy & Karen (played by Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee) who battle for the lead role in the musical. Again you don't just see them sing and dance you live out many parts of their life with them. Their voices are SPECTACULAR!

Jack Davenport (who I have to admit is incredibly handsome!) plays Derek the Bad-Boy Director and in many ways is the most complex of all the characters. 

Anjelica Huston plays Eileen the Director of the musical who goes through more than a few trials and tribulations along the way.

Many other characters get added but I don't want to give too much away. What I will give away is that the writers of "Smash" do an impeccable job of character development so much so that you can't help but feel raw emotions for and towards the characters. You will feel empathetic for each of them at different times but then frustrated with them at others since this show is so multi-dimensional. 

What's the musical you ask? Well I will give that away (well the first one at least)  - it's called "Bombshell" and it's based on Marilyn Monroe's life. In many ways this musical becomes a character all in and of itself. 

The show is in it's Second Season but you can buy or borrow Season 1 and get caught up!

I know this "review" of sorts is all over the place and not terribly informative but I just don't want to give away anything fantastic from the show for anyone who hasn't seen it. I watch every episode anxiously waiting to see what happens because I am so enraptured by the story. I want you to have the same experience. 

I absolutely would go see these musicals if they were the real deal on Broadway especially if the Broadway show had this amazing cast! 

What made me write this blog today? Well I just finished watching the most recent episode (yes I know I am a few days late but given how hectic our lives our DVR is the only way I can see any shows that I want to be sure to catch!) and all I can say is WOW! This episode pulled together all the feelings and emotions that have been building in the show and put the viewer smack dab in the middle of them all. I don't want to give any major spoilers (in case some of you haven't seen it yet) but I will tell you that I spent most of the episode in a puddle of tears. 

Maybe it's the music in the show that helps people (okay well at least me) connect to the emotions of the show. There are few shows that have ever done this for me but another notable one is "Rent" so perhaps it's apropos that Jesse L. Martin has become a character in Season 2. (He was Tom Collins in the Original Broadway Cast of Rent.) There are also many parallels I could draw between the 2 shows but I'll save that for another blog.

Once you watch the show you will of course want to own the music too! (It's well played on my iPod I can tell you!)

Bottom line - you don't want to miss this show! Check it out - I can pretty much guarantee you will be hooked!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Even When He's Being Pestered He's Adorable!

Guinness gets "pestered" with various things by all of us and yet he remains adorable instead of looking grumpy... he's such a good sport!

Here he was "wearing" a birthday crown hat (stuffed kind of thing) that fell down around his neck so he just decided to put his head down and take a nap :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

DC NIke Women's Half Marathon - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I posted my as I am calling it "Happy Happy Joy Joy" blog of "Thank Yous" about the race because truly I am so happy about the final outcome and my personal achievement. That said I have a lot of commentary about the actual race and not all of it is good. I figure it's only fair to write another blog that's more of a review of the race that really gives you the good, the bad and the ugly about the whole thing. I'll break it down into parts.

The Washington DC Nike Women's Half was my 16th Half Marathon so I've seen more than a few races and can genuinely assess how this one was conducted. (I say this because it's driving me - and many of the others - crazy that people keeping posting on the Nike Facebook page that this was "The Best Race Ever" because I can definitely tell you it was NOT. I suspect that many of these people have never run a race before so they don't know any better.)

I have overall commentary as well that doesn't necessarily fit into any of these categories but I'll save that til the end I think... Let me first give you an overview for anyone who knows nothing about this race and then I'll get into the topics...

The Nike Women's Half Marathon Series (I guess that's what you'd call it now that there are 2 of these) started in San Francisco 10 years ago. The hook for this race is that instead of getting a medal at the end of the race you get a Tiffany Necklace. (I swear this alone gets women who have never run more than from one room to another to grab a ringing phone to decide to run a half marathon!) This year was the first running of this race in Washington DC.

Registration & Communications
The Good
  • While I am not always a fan of the lottery system the fact that this race is so popular (due to the Tiffany necklace) I do like that they use a lottery system to even the playing field. 
  • You can register as a group. Let's face it some of us do this with friends and we are not interested in going if none of our friends can so I like the group registration.
  • Registration is open for quite a few days which is a great thing

The Bad & The Ugly
  • College students get definitive entry. I find it absurd that an unlimited number of college students get to have guaranteed entry. I am okay with "X" number but not a free for all that as many who want to can get in. (Frankly if you have $150+ as a college student you've got too much extra money on your hands. For me $150 was probably about 6 months of groceries when I was in college!
  • The lack of a website. Using just a Facebook page and not having an actual website makes it difficult to find information and frankly is just unacceptable. 
  • Lack of communication after the Boston Bombing. Don't get me wrong I didn't expect them to have an answer about this race immediately after it happened but I did expect some sort of official statement on the race page (which as I've already mentioned was only Facebook) about Boston just like every other race/running group did that said something even if it was just "We are With You Boston"
  • Didn't release runner tracking detail until Friday just 2 days before the race

Overall Commentary
Communication is key no matter what your event and Nike just blew it on this one. 

Packet Pick-Up & Expo
The Good
  • We went on Thursday right after it opened and there was pretty much no wait for anything (which is why we chose to go then)
  • Nice location on the water. It was a beautiful day so we went to one of the restaurants right there and enjoyed lunch outside.
  • Lots of great photo opportunities. Loved the "WE RUN" huge "sign" as well as the others signage for the race. 
  • Glad they had samples of Nuun there so we could taste what we would be getting on the course
  • I love how they put all the names of the participants on the wall at the Nike store. Very cool!

The Bad & The Ugly
  • As usual Nike's idea of an Expo is pretty much the Nike Store. I'm really not interested in waiting in line to get my hair done or make-up from Bare Minerals. I would much rather see some other vendors with things I'd be interested in such as charms etc. Yes Nike it is possible to have other vendors in there that are not competitors for your Nike products. I also found it ridiculous that I couldn't by the race shirts etc. at the actual Expo and that we had to go to the Nike Store to get this
  • The commemorative shoe release was just awful. The fact that your expo started at noon but you didn't release the shoes til 6:30 and then you released them in a variety of places in addition to where your runners were. If we as the runners of your Half Marathon are helping you launch these shoes you should at least offer the courtesy of offering the shoes to ALL of the Half Marathon participants at the Expo FIRST and then offer them to the general public. This was an EPIC FAIL on Nike's part
Overall Commentary
Nike as usual does a great job with branding. The event "gear" was fantastic and there were a lot of options to choose from (which is always great) but all that said if you are a runner who loves a good expo you will be VERY underwhelmed by the Nike Expo experience.

The Actual Race
The Good

  • Great course. The way it was set-up we got to see lots of great stuff and it gave spectators lots of opportunities to move about and see their runners.
  • Loved some of the bands that were on the course. The drummers were AWESOME!! 
  • Great security at the start area as well as along the course. (Given recent events I think this was appreciated by all.)
  • Good Mile Markers

The Bad & The Ugly

  • The start corrals were horrendous. We were given wrist bands to indicate which corral we should start in. Upon arrival at the corrals they were beyond full so lots of us were forced to stand outside the entry gate into the corral on the side of the road. Clearly you need to leave much more room in each corral for the people who belong there
  • YOU MUST DO A WAVE START! For crying out loud - with 15,000 people how could you even consider not doing a wave start. It's ridiculous. Add to that the fact that the corrals were a disaster many of us were forced to start way back in the pack behind MUCH slower people than our pace so many of us were very frustrated for the first several miles. (My husband will tell you when he saw me at Mile 2 I was downright ANGRY.) Put volunteers with a rope between each corral and do a wave start. 
  • They had no official photographers on the course and didn't bother to let anyone know this. If ind this absolutely unacceptable. I've never run a race (including the dozens of 5Ks I've run) that didn't have some sort of official photography. 
  • Too many people who don't understand race etiquette such as you don't run 4 abreast and you don't walk in the middle of the road etc.
  • Runner tracking could only be done through Facebook. Given that not everyone has facebook they really ought to use a more general tracking option such as texts like other races do
Overall Commentary
I appreciate that this is a fun "unique" race (because of the Tiffany necklace) and as such this becomes a target race for new runners. I applaud everyone who has the desire to undertake this challenge - I just wish they would get some guidance as to how to not be in the way of others by using proper etiquette. I'll catch slack for this but honestly time and time again the Team in Training people are the worst about this. The start was absolutely unacceptable. 

The Finish
The Good
  • The Tiffany necklace is absolutely fantastic! LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I have to admit it's nice to have handsome young men in tuxes hand it to us as well!
  • Love the finisher shirt. Great color!
  • I like that they only sell Finisher's Gear (these are items in  addition to the shirt we got just for finishing) at the Finish. I get really irritated at Rock-N-Roll runs because they sell the Finisher Shirts at the expo where in reality all you've finished at that point is paying a bunch of money!

The Bad & The Ugly
  • Not enough people handing out water and not in enough places. I saw people right after the finish but not further along in the finisher's area. 
  • No Finish Line Photos :( Very sad. I buy mine for every PR so I am bummed that I won't get to buy one for this PR.
  • The line to purchase Finisher's Gear was absolutely horrendous. I waited more than 40 minutes in line. When my friend finished the race the line was even longer than that. You need to have more than 2 lines set-up for this.
  • No Family Meet-Up spot. Most races have specific areas tagged to initials etc. but there was no such thing here and no info that there wouldn't be
  • (Adding this one later in the week as an edit) - Finisher Gear that wasn't sold out at the Finish Line was moved to Georgetown but for less than a week. I was unable to get out to Georgetown but when I would have been able to (just a week later) they said they had shipped it off to their main distribution center and have no idea where it will end up. You absolutely should have put this stuff online for us to purchase. Frankly you're crazy not to. You're going to send it off to places where people may or may not want this stuff but if you'd put it online I can pretty much guarantee you would have sold most, if not all, of it. 

I appreciate that this is a highly coveted race because of the Tiffany Necklace but given that it is so prone to first timers I wish Nike would offer more information to them about how to run in a large race properly.

Team & Training
Okay I felt like I had to do an entire bit here for them.... Look I appreciate they are raising money for a worthy cause but in the end I would respect that a lot more if they weren't also raising money to send themselves to places to run and have fun. Given that a not so insignificant chunk of the money they raise for Team in Training goes to pay for their, airfare, hotel and race entry fees I am not a fan of this program. (Oh and to pay for their "Coaches" travel too I believe.) If you really want to do some good raise the money for the charity locally and pay your own way to travel to the race. The Nike races are big Team in Training races and I am not alone in not being a fan of Team in Training. They are frequently the folks that people have trouble with on the course of walking in the middle of the road, stopping in the middle of the road (general stoppage or going from a run to a walk with no notice to the people behind them), walking or running too many people abreast etc. Additionally it seems like their people only support other "Team" folks and don't give a hoot about anyone else. Here's the bottom line - when the average runner (who is not part of Team in Training) sees the purple shirts (That Team in Training always wears) and groans that should tell you what the overall impression of that group is...

While I love the necklace and the course I am left feeling like "Meh - I don't know that I would run this race again." The frustrating parts were very frustrating and given that I like to run a variety of races it's highly unlikely you'll ever see me like the gals who have ever charm from every Nike Half that's ever been run. Given the enormous nature of Nike I was disappointed in how much they fell down on the basics such as communication. Yes I realize it was an inaugural here in DC but they've run this race 9 times in San Francisco with many many more participants so they should know the ins and outs of how to handle a race like this. (That said when I ran the SF Nike in 2006 it was only my second race so perhaps there were as many issues there and I just wasn't wise enough to know.)  I am very happy to have done the race, SUPER happy to have PR'd (though with that start I am still not sure how I managed that!) and thrilled to have been able to do the race with my dear friend Tonya but perhaps once was enough for me on this race... we'll see!

So which race shall I run next?! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

My Post Run "Academy Award Thank You Speech"

Well as most of you have figured out I ran the Nike Women's Half Marathon yesterday in Washington DC. I definitely have some commentary on the race itself (and a lot of it is "not pretty") but today I am still in my Happy Happy Joy Joy mood about my performance yesterday so I am going to continue to roll with that and actually type out the blog I was "crafting" in my head yesterday.

I ran a PR (Personal Record) yesterday and not by a little... by a fairly sizable cut in time so I am super stoked about that! For those of you who are in your 20s or are natural runners I still probably don't run as fast as you but given my abilities I am totally psyched about my time!

So I am a dork but as I was left with some of my thoughts yesterday relaxing I thought of some of these things so I thought I would write a blog about it. As I was thinking many of these thoughts they reminded me of the Academy Awards Speeches so that's what it's become for me :) Yes I am a dork I know! But you also have to understand that as I was thinking it yesterday I was pretty exhausted (definitely didn't get enough sleep the night before and then I ran all out for the race) so my mind was working in funny ways... well funnier ways than usual I suppose!

Thank you to my dear friend Tonya who made the trek from Houston to the East Coast to run this race with me. Tonya not only ran this half marathon but she also did the Go Ruck Challenge in the middle of the night Saturday morning (If you don't know what it is Google it!) so in my mind she was the rock star of the weekend! I so admire her tenacity!

Thank you to the best race course support on the planet - Ken! (Of course it just so happens that he's been off the planet too!) Ken was a total trooper and willing to meet us on the race course anywhere we wanted to grab gear from us. He kindly went to mile 2 to wait for me to dump my long sleeve shirt and didn't bat an eye when I came through in a less than cheery mood at the time. He just said something along the lines of "I love you honey" which was definitely what I needed at the time! He happily hung with us over the weekend pre-race and happily waited with us post-race at the crazy Finish Line debacle.

Thank you to all "my mids" who texted me to wish me Good Luck or who texted after to find out how the race was. I know you all have lots of fun to cram into your weekends so I was touched that you thought of me!

Thanks to my friend Cary for a much needed laugh in the middle of the course. I was starting to drag a little and then one of your songs came on and hearing it made me think of you and how you would just shake your head at me and tell me I was an idiot for running 13 miles on a Sunday morning.. I could totally picture it perfectly so that made me chuckle and helped me keep moving!

Thank you to all the volunteers on the race course who handed our water, had their band playing or handed us food at the end of the race. Without volunteers these races just can't happen and we appreciate the volunteers tremendously.

Thank you Dan (and your whole band) for several of yoru great songs which were on my Playlist. They always keep me upbeat and when I was pretty tired and "Open Up Your Eyes" came on it made me stop thinking about the race (and my tiredness) and think for a bit about the fact that we get to see you guys perform in Atlantic City in less than a week which took my mind off the race for a few which was much needed!

Thank you to all the law enforcement and the many Bomb Dogs we saw out there. While we were not running in fear we did appreciate the visual reminder that we are being looked after.

Thank you Nike for having the class to hold a minute of silence for Boston - Boston was certainly in all of our hearts and minds and it was nice to have a moment together to honor Boston.

Thank you to our wonderful dog Guinness who helps motivate me to go run even when I don't want to. Without this I certainly couldn't have PR'd!

Thank you to the Craft Beer Companies, the Cheese Makers, Great Wineries and the Cupcakeries (Especially Crumbs because I just can't resist you!) for making such deliciousness that I just have no choice but to run because I love to partake in your deliciousness so often!

Thank you to Mel for getting me sucked into the Half Marathon insanity.... a long long time ago in that crazy place known as Russia :)

Thank you Glee for your awesomely fun music! With 3 miles to go I was cratering and then the song "3" came on - the timing was perfect! (Thank you Jenna Ushkowitz!) I was considering walking but while singing this song I got some pep in my step! The last quarter mile I was jamming to Darren Criss's "Last Friday Night" which absolutely helped propel me through the finish. (In case folks haven't figured it out - the only way I can get through 13 miles is with good music!)

Thank you to all the spectators out on the course with funny signs! This helps us take our mind off the run and it helps me get through the 13 miles in a big way! I may have to post a blog of just funny run signs later.... You may think your sign is not a big deal but I can tell you it's appreciated!

And last but not least thank you to my Mom for instilling in me that physical activity is a MUST! There was no sitting around on our butts playing video games, watching TV etc. in our house! We were told to get outside and do something and we did! It's something important that I have carried through my whole life. Thank you Mom!!

How's this blog for total dorkiness? :) Perhaps I still need more sleep....

Friday, April 26, 2013

Air Travel by Weight....

Many of you who have read my blog in the past have no doubt read one of my issues with airlines is that frequently I end up having to "share" my seat with a large person who is stuffed into the seat next to me. (In case you haven't read my comments before let me boil it down to the simple point - I don't like being uncomfortable in my seat which I paid for because they don't fit in their seat.)

Samoa Air is doing something that is a first for airlines... They are charging passengers by the pound for their weight as an individual and luggage. Frankly I just think this makes sense. Let's face it - what it costs for an airplane to fly is based on weight so why shouldn't people who are larger or have more luggage be expected to pay for more of the cost. (If you go to a restaurant and it takes 3 meals to fill you up you pay more money than the person who just orders one meal... same concept in my opinion.) I don't find this discriminatory I find this to be good business and in the end I find it more fair to everyone. Of course I find it more fair because I believe that equal means equal which also means everyone pays their equal share.

I would like to see all airlines adopt this policy. Weigh the passengers, weigh their luggage and base the ticket price on that. Along those lines - no more free lap children. They may not weigh much but it's not free to fly them. They have weight to them which means that they require fuel... if you're going to charge more for people who weigh more to make all things equal you must also charge for these small children as well. 

I don't doubt I end up highly unpopular for these thoughts but I challenge you that if you really think of it from a business and equality perspective... perhaps you might see it in a different light....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Why I Run...

When I ran the Nike Women's Half Marathon for the first time in San Francisco (the original location) in October of 2006 there was someone at the expo who was handing out race signs that included the logo and the words "Why I Run." They had markers out so you could fill in your sign with what your personal reasons were/are. I thought this was really cool and not only got one for the race but took it home and continued to add to it. I hung it in our closet so I could see it frequently and use it for motivation. When we moved sadly I decided that the poster was pretty worn (given that it was just poster board and not framed it's not surprising that it was pretty worn) so I didn't bring it with us to Annapolis but it doesn't mean that I don't think about the reasons why I run. I thought I'd share with you Why I Run....

Some of my reasons sound "cheeky" or flippant and I suppose you could think in some ways they are but even those have some seriousness to them. Other reasons are certainly obviously serious. Here goes...

Why I Run...
I run for cheese, chocolate, beer, wine, mexican food, pizza and all the other wonderful tasty things that I love to eat and drink that are not necessarily the most healthy things in the world. (Let's face it while it sounds flippant it's true! I enjoy my food lifestyle and the only way I can continue to enjoy it is to work out and running is part of it.) I run to clear my head on days that I need to just get lost in the movement and I run to get my mind thinking about complexities I am struggling with an answer to. (Yes I know these 2 things are very counter but both can be true depending on the day.) I have run for many a cause to bring awareness or fundraising to it and in doing so I often run for those who can't run for themselves. I run for Guinness! (Yes the beer but even more importantly for my darling pooch who so loves to run.) I run to travel with my friends to see new places. (You may not realize it but running is a great way to see a city. And given that so many of my friends live in different places a half marathon is a great excuse for us to converge somewhere new together!) I run for my health. (Way too many people don't take care of themselves and have so many issues because of it. I certainly do not want to be one of those people. I like to LIVE my life and the best way to enjoy living life is if you are healthy! No I am not a total health nut but I do the best I can from time to time.) I Run... Because I Can! :)

I am sure there are a whole lot of other reasons I run too but these are what I've come up with for now. Do you run? If so - why do YOU run?

Finishing San Francisco Nike Half 2006

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Guinness Loves Sushi

Come on now - you all knew that Guinness is all sorts of spoiled so this next part shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to you....

A couple weeks ago we went out for a really fantastic sushi dinner with a friend of ours and while it was fantastic we unfortunately ordered too much. None of us were willing to do "sushi leftovers" but since it was just the fish (no rice etc.) we figured as long as we gave it to him pretty quickly that we'd see if Guinness might enjoy it.... and oh boy did he!!!

Here's some video of him chowing down!

And he most definitely licked the "plate" clean when he was done!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Is It Relevant?

Ok - I've tried to step back and not get upset at some of the things that are being bantered about in regards to the terrible tragedy in Boston but try as I might I simply can't. Being silent to me is condoning and I don't believe in enabling such terrible behavior without at least intellectually challenging folks to think about what they are saying instead of just espousing hateful rhetoric.

Let me start with just a simple question.... Is It Relevant?

Is it relevant that the left side of politics did this? Or that the right side of politics did that? What the hell does either side have to do with this really other than that we want a scapegoat to blame for this senseless tragedy and since we don't have one some people decide they need to create one. I'd say it's not relevant. Politicians are politicians on both sides of the coin. Both sides do good and both sides have their less than stellar moments but I would say that's not relevant to what happened yesterday in Boston.

Is it relevant that people lost their lives yesterday? Or that people were injured? YES YES YES! When we turn to nastiness within our country we dishonor these people. I'd be willing to be these people want justice for what happened but justice is about the INDIVIDUALS who planned and execute this attack not about who supports which political party.

Is it relevant to make a comment about how "a Godless person" must be behind this attack? Last time I checked the individuals who flew the planes into the Twin Towers were NOT Godless... they simply didn't believe in the God that most Americans (who are believers) choose to believe in. That does not make them Godless. Don't be hateful to an entire group of people with statements like this. And frankly at the end of the day it's not relevant wether they believe in God or not...

What is relevant is that there are good people and there are bad people in this world. There are good and bad within every political party, race, religion/non-religion, country etc. Generalizing only creates more hate. Creating more hate only lets terrorism win... Why would anyone want to let terrorism win?

Is it relevant that we bond together and honor the fallen, support the wounded and seek to stop senseless acts like this? Again I would say YES! YES YES! How do we do that? Well I personally feel it begins with us becoming UNITED once again instead of so polarized against each other. That's the grand scale but we can each individually start somewhere small...

Are you in the Boston area? There are many stories of people going from the finish line straight to the hospital to donate blood. (Made me tear up literally when I first heard this story.) There are many many stories of people in the Boston area offering shelter to the runners who had no where to say... or offering them drinks/food... or offering them a shoulder to cry on because let's face it didn't we all in some way need one of those yesterday after this horrific event even if we weren't physically in Boston? So follow suit and carry on good deeds in the same fashion as those folks. Of course there's always going to be an option to donate to the wounded and the survivors of the fallen - consider doing that?

As silly as it sounds I do believe in the idea that small acts of solidarity speak volumes and tell the world "We will not be beaten down. We will stand together and support one another! This evil will not be tolerated." Along those lines there is a major movement for folks to wear race apparel today - pull out a race shirt and do that! (Think this kind of thing doesn't make a difference? Think again! Look at how "Go Red for Women's Heart Disease" has become a major movement. And really how many of us see the color pink and don't think about breast cancer awareness?!) The same movement is encouraging people to get out there and run (or walk) and is intended to both honor the victims as well as serve as a display of unity and solidarity in the running community. Think you're not a runner? Have you ever run even 1 mile? Then you ARE a runner! (I mean that truly! You don't have to be a marathoner to be a runner. Do you think these small acts of solidarity are relevant? I sure do!

Band together.... Run together... 
Guinness and I will be heading out to run later this afternoon. I know my heart with be heavy with thoughts of Boston but I also know that running will be cathartic in many ways too. I suspect that every person I pass running will increase my hope in our world becoming more united in support of all who are touched by this tragedy. To me.... that's relevant... 

Run on.....

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Coming Soon!

How many of you have had troubles with sharing pictures with your friends and family after a big event? I know I certainly have. I've used a wide variety of ways but they all have issues...

  • Facebook - can't easily download all the pictures at once and you can't easily group your pictures with pictures from other people at the same event
  • DropBox - Not the easiest to use interface
  • KodakGallery, Snapfish etc. etc. etc - Again can't easily download all the pictures at once and can't group pictures
I suppose I could continue to go on and on about the issues I have had with various mediums for this but I won't... instead I'll tell you about how I am excited about something that is coming soon....

Event Stacks!

The idea is you and all of your friends and family can upload, store and share all your photos from an event in one convenient place. It is going to revolutionize how we share pictures and I can't wait for it!

I will admit the folks who are starting this are my friends but I also have to tell you that when they told me about this idea I literally started bouncing up and down because I knew what a great idea this is! I immediately started peppering them with questions about when it would be available because to be honest I needed this years ago! I so wish I would have had this to use for our wedding, Ken's launches, The Marine Corps Balls we've attended, Girls Wine Trips, Group Vacations and so many more things! 

Event Stacks is not up and running yet but it's in work. You can help get it going faster by going online to and registering today!

As their slogan says
                 "Live It. Stack It. Share It." 
Please share this with all your friends and family! 

I absolutely can't wait to start sharing my pictures this way!!! Check it out!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Latest Workout & Running Playlist

I definitely have to switch out my running playlists from time to time... I haven't completed the newest one but here's what I've got so far... It's a bit of a mixture that's for sure...

  • "Toxic" --  Britney Spears
  • "Down" - 311
  • "Lose Control" - Missy Elliott featuring Ciara
  • "Pepper"  - Butthole Surfers
  • "Hey Ya!" - OutKast
  • "Where It's At" - Beck
  • "Boyfriend" - Justin Bieber
  • "Teach Me How to Dougie" - Cali Swag District
  • "Thrift Shop" - Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis
  • "Daylight" - Maroon 5
  • "Loser Like Me" - Glee Cast
  • "Me Against the Music" - Glee Cast
  • "Oops!... I Did it Again" - Glee Cast
  • "Last Friday Night" - Glee Cast
  • "Goodies" - Ciara
  • "Mike Rocks" - The Cool Kids
  • "Sideways" - Matt Caplan
  • "Amsterdam" - Cary Shields
  • "Dirty Dancing" - NKOTB
  • "When I Grow Up" - Pussycat Dolls
  • "Hot in Herre" - Nelly
  • "Ladylike" - Storm Large
  • "Open Up Your Eyes" - Tonic
  • "3" - Glee Cast Version
I am looking to add some more songs... What do you think I should add? Remember this is for Working Out & Running. Also worth noting I hate country so please no country suggestions :) Other than that my tastes are pretty eclectic and I love suggestions from other so let me know what you think!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Fur is Flying!!

Well Guinness never had terribly long hair until we moved to a colder climate and now he's gotten all sorts of furry and fluffy over the winter. (Now that spring has sprung he will be getting a haircut this week though!) We've been chuckling over how different and adorable he looks. Last weekend while driving his fur was all sorts of flying about with the windows rolled down...