Tag Archives: Wine

Grown-Up Weekend


You may or may not be able to relate to this, but do you ever feel like just because you’re in your 20s, in professional school, working, or living independently, that you’re not quite a grown-up?

I’ll be 25 in December, I will begin the third year of my M.Ed. program in 25 days, I have my own apartment where I attend school, and I am planning a wedding… but I still do not feel like a grown-up.

Maybe it’s because I still call my mom to ask, “What do I do?!” for the simplest of queries.

Maybe it’s because I will wait until I’m on my death bed to see a doctor. (Though the way I hear it, a lot of grown-ups do the same thing!)

Maybe it’s because I conveniently seem to forget about appointments I’d rather not go to (e.g. the OB-GYN).

Maybe it’s because I have chosen to live with my parents (from the time I graduate in May) until Ian and I are married in October.

Whatever the reason, I, A.K., do not self-identify as a grown-up. Nevertheless, Ian and I decided to engage in some “grown-up” activities this weekend. For example, we hosted our first cookout at his apartment. We invited several close friends, including two of my favorite heterosexual life partners whom I have known since freshman year at Longwood, Rachel and Charlotte.



We carefully prepared our menu: blue cheese-infused turkey burger sliders with all the accoutrements, baked beans, and curly fries. Our couple-friends, Mark and Heather, brought one of the most delicious and unique cheese balls I have ever tasted! Plus wine. It’s definitely not a grown-up cookout unless there’s wine involved 😉


We asked our guests to arrive around 7, so we began preparations at 5:30. Ian had done the grocery shopping earlier in the day. As nervous as I was about someone who doesn’t eat tomato or avocado choosing the perfect ones, he did splendidly with the insanely detailed thorough grocery list I gave him.

He caught me a bit off-guard while I was trying to slice and dice the perfect little onion and tomato wedges and figure out the sliders:



[Don’t worry; I usually cut vegetables with my eyes closed, so I’m a bit of a pro.]

Ian and Mark manned the grill while we ladies waited for the beans and the fries to be ready.



The men must comment on the status of cooking meat, in addition to the size and heat of a fire, the poor gas mileage on cars, what good time they’re making on a road trip, and the score or status of any sports event imaginable, amiright?

The sliders turned out much smaller than I had anticipated and the blue cheese flavor wasn’t as prominent as I hoped, but everyone proclaimed the meal a success. I considered it a success myself afterward when everyone sat around moaning about how full they were 😉 I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I was glowing when Charlotte complimented my ability (read: luck) to have the sliders, the fries, the veggies, and the beans done simultaneously.


A wonderful evening was had by all! I was sad to see everyone go, but it was 11:30 before I knew it and Ian and I were fading fast. We finished cleaning up and hit the hay. Asleep by 12:30 on a Friday night? One of the most grown-up bedtimes we’ve had since I met this HSC gent.

Saturday morning, we slept in and did absolutely nothing. It was positively glorious knowing we had nowhere to be and nothing to do. Ian made me a breakfast of scrambled eggs, Chobani Flip, toast with apricot jelly, and apple cinnamon oatmeal. We did a little wedding-planning business, and then we settled in for the Harry Potter marathon. My lazy butt needed a nap toward the end of the first movie, and I awoke at the beginning of the fourth thinking, How long have I been asleep?! Turns out, the movies were being played out of order. Momentary panic.

Around 3:00, we packed up and headed to my house. We ate an early dinner and then Ian and I, my parents, my sister, and her boyfriend piled into the car for the 90-minute drive to Spotsylvania. My dad and I ran in the Spotsylvania FCHC Twilight 5k at 7:30. Ian served as my gracious photographer as I stretched, got prepped, and tried to get “into the zone.”

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You probably know by now that my dad and I run races together, and we keep pace with one another. I am the watch-wearer in this relationship. Our goal for months now has been to finish together in ≤34 minutes.

We started off fairly strong with a 10:37 first mile. We lost a good bit of speed as we rounded the halfway point on the out-and-back course at 17:14. We hit mile marker two at 22:25, and I was pretty certain we weren’t going to make our PTR. To say the course was “rolling” was a gross understatement. There were some hills, man. Plus the humidity was killer.

When we rounded the last turn leaving the neighborhood and I could see the finish line in the distance, I said, “Let’s go, Dad!” and he said, “Go!” I didn’t think I had much left in me, but somehow I took off. I sprinted toward that finish line, hearing our four supporters calling my name and cheering me on.

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Dad finished strong just behind me:

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I clocked myself at 34:36. I couldn’t find the “stop button” immediately as I crossed. The chip I wore strapped to my right ankle clocked me at 34:38, finishing 118th out of about 200 runners. Dad was clocked at 34:53, finishing 119th. According to my official time, I averaged 11:09-minute miles, so we should have been right on pace to finish within our goal.


As soon as I caught my breath — which I never thought I would between the humidity and pushing so hard at the end — Ian and I headed toward the snack tent for a banana (and the requisite post-race pics).

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After the race, we celebrated with custard from Carl’s, a Frederickburg favorite, as evidenced by the crowd snaking around the building. For a shop with only five flavors, the place sure was hoppin’ at 9:00 on a Saturday night. I was too pooped to snap pictures, but Ian and I split a chocolate sundae with chopped nuts. The custard hit the spot with my sweet tooth and wet my whistle, but it can’t hold a candle to Sweet Frog or Coldstone.

Things got a bit silly on the drive home as Rob, Caroline, Mom and I cracked up at the Instagram account @youhadonejob. If you’ve never heard of it, check it out. These ridiculous mistakes will have your sides hurting!

It was to bed early for everyone as soon as we got home at 10:45. Yet again, I felt like such a grown-up: splitting a sundae, participating in an out-of-town race, and getting to bed at a decent hour in preparation for church today.

Needless to say, it was a wonderful, fun-filled, adult-like weekend. Talk to you again soon!

What were you up to this weekend? How did you get out and move?


This Weekend I Learned…


…that I have truly incredible friends. Well, I didn’t just learn this. But I was reminded 😉

…that I still do not know the meaning of the word “moderation.” This is the feast my culinarily-skilled friends prepared for the Super Bowl. Yes, I “sampled” all of it.

Sausage dip

Sausage dip

Pineapple casserole, buffalo chicken pizza roll

Pineapple casserole, buffalo chicken pizza roll

Sugar-free, fat-free pistachio pudding

Sugar-free, fat-free pistachio pudding

"Skinny" buffalo Ranch dip

“Skinny” buffalo Ranch dip

…that time away from distance running (for me, 3+ miles) definitely makes a difference in trying to build back up my stamina.

…that my state of mind is equally as important as, if not more important than, the meal I eat before a long run.

…that I just do not find myself to be photogenic. (Why do I squinch my eyes up like this?!) First time using the self-timer = success!


…that sometimes, a weekend to myself can be a refreshing change of pace from the go-go-go of weekends on the run.


…that sometimes, a weekend without my other half is, well, incomplete!

…that wine therapy is the best kind of therapy 😉

…that taking a break from wedding-planning allowed me to take a step back, relax, and look at things with a fresh perspective.

…that I am so over hearing about “Ray Lewis’s last game.” #sorrynotsorry

I hope your Super Bowl weekend was awesome!

Question: What’s your favorite Super Bowl tradition?

Gift-Giving: Scrooge or Santa?


As much as I absolutely love giving gifts, this Christmas my wallet is hurting more than usual. I’m trying to save for the cruise Ian and I are taking in March, plus I desperately want a new cell phone. Currently, I have the Samsung Fascinate, and it is a hunk of junk doesn’t work. Nevertheless, I was on the hunt for cutesy, inexpensive (read: not pricey, but not cheaply made) gifts for my grad school girls. Three ladies dear to my heart tolerated my Project Nazi shenanigans with admirable patience and grace this semester, and we were very successful in our work. We generally don’t exchange holiday gifts because we’re all in similar financial boats, but this year I felt they deserved a little something for their high A.K. tolerance levels. If I’d been them working with me, I’d have needed a bottle of vodka at every project meeting just to get me through myriad questions and “what ifs” and nit-picking.

Insert Christmas Tree Shops here.

I’m pretty sure my mother has achieved VIP status at one Richmond location. When she walks through the door, the employees must all chorus, “Hey, Ruth!” and greet her with a mug of hot tea and her usual shopping cart. Well, she introduced me to this nifty store a few months ago during one of our mother-daughter errand-running sprees. Despite its holiday-themed name, Christmas Tree Shops — plural, for reasons beyond me — is a chain of stores full of home decor and crafting supplies, plus neat little doodads. Over my Thanksgiving break, I ran across the most adorable wine glasses I just had to have for my grad school buds:

“Naughty is more fun than nice,” “Open another bottle of Christmas cheer,” “Define ‘naughty'”

We’re all winos (duh), plus there were even blonde and brunette glasses with different sayings! I picked up a glass for each of them, plus a couple bags of mixed-flavor hard candies to stuff in the glasses:

I seriously underestimated the height of the wine glasses, so my friends received upright wine glasses filled with candy in upside-down gift bags… or upside-down wine glasses in rightside-up gift bags… or something. Anyway, I scored all of this loot for about $13, and the girls “oohed” and “ahhed” and squealed when I gave them their thanks-for-still-being-my-friend-after-a-nightmarish-semester gifts last night before class. (Score one for CTS!)

I can still recall the awkwardness of middle school, when many of the girls exchanged gifts at Christmas time. On more than one occasion — because I was clearly the Regina George of Midlothian Middle School (ha!) — someone popped up with a gift for me, when I had not planned a gift for her. That meant scrambling to find something for her and pretending that she’d been on my list all along.

Maybe not everyone agrees with me, but I’m of the mentality at this point in my life that girlfriends can openly discuss with one another whether or not they’re going to exchange gifts. Then, if someone surprises me with a gift, I will of course thank her profusely for it, but not feel obligated to return the favor. After all, there’s no sense in needless spending just to ensure that every female acquaintance in my class feels warm and fuzzy. This ain’t Kindergarten, where everyone gets a generic Star Wars or Strawberry Shortcake Valentine… this is grad school, and I’m broke, people. “Ms. Manners” or Martha Stewart might slap my wrist for such sentiments, but without being a total Scrooge or breaking the bank to please every soul, this is how I celebrate with friends. Just sayin’ 😉

Question for you: How do you feel about gift-giving with coworkers or acquaintances (I’m not talking close, intimate friendships here) around the holidays?

Love Thyself


Yesterday afternoon, I was a bit of a Debbie Downer, as I tweeted:

One of my sorority sisters, Colleen, reminded me to take a break, turn off the TV, and do something fun in the name of self-care. And ya know what?

She’s exactly right.

I had been glued to the boob tube all. day. long. Watching the flood warnings, highway closings, and waves lapping at homes and businesses was fascinating, of course, but I wasn’t doing myself any favors. Somehow, I slipped from watching for “updates” to watching for the sake of watching. I also slid from a carefree state about the impending storm to a state of filling every large container I could find with water, and rushing around in pursuit of D batteries.

That’s when I knew it was time to get up and get moving. I dragged my butt from the couch to the gym and hit the elliptical. Not only did I feel great physically afterward, I cleared my head of stress and anxiety.

Later, because, you know, I wanted to revisit that stressful state, I ventured out in the rain and frenzied traffic because I “needed” wine. Karma is legit, my blends; I stood clutching my wine as the panicked woman in line in front of me narrated her life story — in storm survival tales — as she unloaded an unnecessary number of loaves of garlic bread from her cart. I suppose Kroger wasn’t enough of a challenge for me, because I drove out to one of the city’s busiest roads for Chick-Fil-A.

The take-home lesson from yesterday’s adventures: it is apparent that Hurricane Sandy could not have been weathered without a Chick’n Strips Salad, Barefoot, or the company of a great friend 🙂

The second take-home lesson: Colleen was exactly right. Self-care cannot be neglected. Do something for you today. Read a chapter of a book. Light a fire in the fireplace and enjoy a quiet cup of cocoa. Complete a workout circuit you enjoy. Fill the tub up with scenty bubbles and relax.  Work on a craft or project you haven’t had time for. Whatever you do today, make sure you include self-care!

P.S. I hope y’all stayed safe and dry during Sandy’s wrath!

Hurricane Sandy Thoughts


This is one of those rare, few-and-far-between times I wish I had a roommate. Last night, I was lackadaisically watching a movie and sipping tea. I enjoyed a chapter of a new book, watched the idiotic undergrads playing football in the pouring rain until the police ran them off, and made a mental to-do list. This morning, I filled every large container I could find with water. “Just in case.” Did three loads of laundry. Kept my laptop and cell charged. Rearranged my porch furniture in the event of high winds and/or paranoia. All of this last-minute hurricane prep would be much more exciting if I didn’t live alone.

Every school on the East Coast cancelled classes today. Oh, wait… not mine. In the past 48 hours, I have received no fewer than nine emails from various personnel. If none of you are delivering exciting news, please stop blowing up my inbox.

If Kroger runs out of wine, I can’t be held accountable for my actions. In the event of a natural disaster, it is scientifically proven that texting a nearby sorority sister, “If classes are cancelled or we lose power, expect wine and me on your doorstep,” will reduce chronic boredom. Now, I just need to pray that the wine selection holds out until I can arrive at said sister’s apartment…

The Jersey Shore hotspots may be wiped off the map. I don’t know whether to be upset or to laugh maniacally. Somehow, I got sucked into six seasons of utter ridiculousness. I guess now that JS is over and everybody’s old married people, Karma doesn’t serve a purpose?

Loss of power = loss of sanity. Enough said.

I keep wavering between “this is pathetic” and “this is too exciting” when it comes to the news. I’ve been glued to the boob tube all. damn. day. Maybe it’s the swirly colors on the “Sandygrams” CNN keeps looping. Honestly, it’s 2:30 p.m. and not a thing has happened in this area.

P.S. How are you coping with Sandy and the effects of the storm(s)? Stay safe and dry out there!