Summer Goodness


I’m being a typical girl when I say this, but where has the time gone!? I can’t believe it’s mid July already! Two seconds ago it was May 19 and I was running the Cleveland Half Marathon with an entire summer before me. Now I’m sitting here on July 16 with a full calendar of events every single weekend between now and Labor Day.

This summer has been awesome — even as I started my big kid job this past month and was officially welcomed into the 40+ hour work week. (P.S. What did I do with myself before I started working full time?!) So since I’ve been feeling like a real adult lately (although I could do without the car payment) my mom and I decided to throw a wine tasting party last Saturday. Pinterest was a huge source of inspiration – check out my Wine Tasting Party Board.

We sent out super cute party invites to guest (which I had a few pictures of, but two weeks ago I ran over my cell phone with my own car — and no, alcohol was not even involved surprisingly). We ended up having around 30 guest Saturday night, and the theme quickly changed from a wine tasting to more of a wine social. By the peak of the night, we probably had 40+ bottles of wine at the “tasting” area.

Beginning of the night.

– Beginning of the night

The party was a blast though. We had grape vine lights strung up as decorations, along with cute wine quotes in pretty frames, plus the weather was gorgeous. The week of the tasting Chardon was actually going on 16 straight days of rain. It was miserable. But the wine gods were shining on us Saturday and the sun was out.

1 of 5 outside tables

– 1 of 5 outside tables

We ended up with a ton of food, even though we supplied a majority of it. Red velvet cup cakes with little frosted grapes on them (they took forever to make), veggie cups, homemade pepperoni roll, a giant platter of sushi, cheese and crackers and of course enough wine to fill a pond. Nothing was better than sitting out on a deck sipping wine with my best friends, gossiping and chatting about everything under the sun. My girlfriends and I all vowed to host a wine or BBQ event once a week from now on. Stay tuned as to how that one plays out.

Food table with a gorgeous rainbow fruit salad

– Food table with a gorgeous rainbow fruit salad

Up next on the summer list looks like Painesville’s Party in the Park event this Saturday, followed by a 5-miler called The Johnny Cake Jog. The weekend after that looks like a

An overview of the decor

An overview of the decor

trip to Put-N-Bay, then Vintage Ohio Wine Festival and a Miranda Lambert concert. Oh plus I think I’m convinced the boyfriend to do a Biathlon with me on August 25. The Biathlon includes a three mile run and a 12 mile bike ride. Check out the 2013 Bellefaire JCB Biathlon & Walk.

Hope everyone’s summer is going just as awesome as mine. If you’re in Northeast Ohio like me — enjoy it now, because we don’t get to 85 percent of the year because of the snow.

Keep Running!

Death by Lack of Motivation…and NE Ohio Winters.


Ugh. I have not been feeling running lately. Does anyone else ever get like this? I love running, usually. But these past two weeks I have been burnt out both mentally and physically when it comes to running.

I got to week 10 of 18 of my training schedule for my half marathon and suddenly hit a wall. I have not ran in TWO weeks to the day today. Eeeek. Of course I’ve continued cross training with spinning classes and elliptical sessions, even a few cross country skiing workouts, but for real…14 days since my last run?!

Cross Country Skiing Workout

Cross Country Skiing Workout

But the truth is that I just cannot get myself back out there to run. On week nine I ran 11 miles in 21 degree weather. It was awful by every definition. At one point during the 11 miles I think I started crying, but it could have been the sleeting snow whipping at my face for over two hours. The following weekend I set out to do 12 miles (it was about 40 degrees) and then my watch decided to stop working without me knowing, so I had no idea how far I actually ran. At that point I was so annoyed I kind of just threw in the towel right then and there. Then the following weekend was filled with non-stop St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and the next weekend we got four inches of snow and ice in wonderful Chardon, Ohio. With my moral and spirits sinking, I didn’t even put up a fight to skipping my long weekend runs the past two weeks. Of course I felt guilty, but deep down I was kinda relieved.

Even today at 37 degrees, I wanted to get out there and go for a quick four miles, however here I am blogging and finding every other excuse on the planet not to go. Then I beat myself up over it when I don’t run and just settle for spinning instead. And at this point setting foot on a treadmill at the gym makes me want to die.

Hmm...not so much lately.

Hmm…not so much lately.

Is this battle going on with any other runners? What do you do when you’ve just lost it? I cannot even get myself to run four miles, let alone 13. I went strong for ten weeks and now I cannot find that same inspiration and motivation to save my life!

I think the snow and the cold weather have a lot to do with it. I’ve been hanging out at the gym since November and I’m starting to get cabin fever. I need fresh air, sun, pavement, shorts and any weather over 60 degrees would be fabulous.

What is everyone’s secret to keeping inspiration and motivation alive? How do you not give up on your dreams or goals even when you are burnt out and tired?

I’ll leave you with this picture. I seriously laughed out loud when I saw it on Pinterest yesterday.

Seriously LOL

Seriously LOL

“Dreadmill” Season

A little cold, but still braving the run!

A little cold, but still braving the run!

I’ve ran outside twice in the past week! Yes, twice In Chardon, Ohio – the snow belt of Northeast Ohio. This is AMAZING! I have been going crazy running on the treadmill lately, or as I like to call it, “The Dreadmill.”

I’m on week 3 of 18 of training for my half marathon in May. I’ve liked the shorter runs during the week (2, 3, 4 miles) and the longest run on Sundays. I know it will not stay this quick and easy for long though. I got week 1’s long run in outside (4 miles), but last week’s five miler was on the treadmill at the gym, and it was terrible. I was going crazy. I was so bored and restless. How do people run huge distances on treadmills? I had to put a towel over the distance number because I was driving myself crazy looking at it and hoping and praying my five miles was almost up. That’s not the way I want to run though. When I run outside I very rarely glance down at my watch to check the distance. A couple weeks ago I ran 6.5 miles outside easily because I was enjoying myself. I don’t enjoy myself AT ALL on the treadmill and I’m afraid that’s really going to hurt me later on down the road when there’s six inches of snow and ice outside and I’ll have no choice but to use the treadmill.

running puddlesBy the end of both runs outside this week my feet were cold and my shoes were heavy because they were so wet from all the melting snow. It was terribly uncomfortable. I just wish it was warm outside. It would make training so much easier and not seem so much like a chore  somedays. Oh and to make matters worse, the only time I can get some runs in during the week is by going to the gym after work around 6 p.m. It’s so packed it’s unreal, plus there’s about 800 people from high school I try to avoid there. I’ve even gone out the side exit to avoid seeing some people. (It’s OK, you can make fun of me for that, I laughed when I did it too and so did my best friend when I texted her right after “You won’t believe who I saw tonight…” I guess that’s a girl thing.)

Somedays it’s a nightmare and a struggle to get on that treadmill. It’s probably going to be like that for a while. It’s going to get harder too, but then again it’s going to get easier at some point too. I try to remind myself that I’ve wanted to do this for so long and when I am running that route on May 19, I’ll be able to enjoy it and I’ll be so proud of myself.

Does anyone have any tips for treadmill running? Is there a secret to not going crazy while running long distances indoors? Please share!

if you wait...

Turning to Another Chapter.


It’s hard to believe today is the last day of April.

I feel like just yesterday I was Tweeting how excited I was for this month. And it was exciting. But also stressful…like beyond belief stressful.

I am proud to announce I am officially graduating from Kent State University in August. Yes, four months and I am an official “adult.”

Scary, yet so exciting.

I am in love with college. I love everything about Kent State. I love the journalism program the school has, I love my professors, the students, the places I’ve lived, the friends I’ve made, the boys I’ve dated. Every experience I have had here at Kent State has made me the person I am today and I can honestly say I love who I am. I love the person I’ve grown into these past four years here. Even through all the heartbreak, stress, fall outs, good times and crazy parties, I wouldn’t change a thing about my time spent here at Kent. People weren’t lying when they said that college would be the best days of your life.

Friday marks the beginning of a new chapter — the last one here at Kent.

Come May 4, I will be done with spring semester, done with my current internship in downtown Cleveland, (driving to Cleveland three days a week, PLUS parking, cost a pretty penny, especially for a broke college kid) and lastly, my current roommate is moving out. (Let’s just say we had a falling out this past year, and I am PUMPED to have the apartment to myself all summer!)

On May 7 I start my brand new internship at Robinson Memorial Hospital, where I will be working in the Public Relations department. The following week I begin summer classes. Repeat for four months and it brings me to August 11, graduation day.

I am excited to get finals week out of the way and turn the page to something new. In fact, a very pleasant and new experiences-type-of-day was spent yesterday celebrating my future sister-in-law at her bridal shower. It’s weird to think my brother is getting married, but we seem to be finally growing up! The shower was then followed by a visit to a local winery — which was my first time ever going to one. (By the way, it was fabulous. We stopped at South River Vineyard, more can be found here.)

Mom and I at the bridal shower.

Mom and I at the bridal shower.

South River Vineyard is an old church. How cool is that?

South River Vineyard is an old church. How cool is that?

A view of one of the decks, beautiful. Look how it over sees the vines in the background. Everything had a Greek feel to it too.

A view of one of the decks, beautiful. Look how it over sees the vines in the background. Everything had a Greek feel to it too.

I am looking forward to the wedding (June 30) and even more looking forward to spending more time with this little guy…

My godson Jacob and I on Easter.

My godson Jacob and I on Easter.

So with my sentimental post about turning the page and life moving on, I will leave you with this precious, high school graduation picture of my friends and I back in May, 2008. (The majority of these girls will also be moving back home to Chardon at the end of the summer, as will I.)

It’s all bittersweet.

The next time I will be wearing graduation robes I'll be celebrating gold and navy blue.

Always a Chardon Hilltopper: Healing After Heartbreak in my Hometown.


If it had been February 27, 2008, I would have been speeding into that high school parking lot with about two minutes until the tardy bell rang.

It would have been in the midst of softball season, and I would have come bustling through those side doors of the school like any other Monday, carrying a giant bag of practice clothes, my bat bag and book bag.

I would have sprinted to the cafeteria with all my stuff, a race between sneaking into my study hall seat unnoticed and being spotted by the teacher taking attendance. My friends sat in the same spot everyday, they would have laughed at me trying to sneak in to avoid being marked late. It would have been like any other day at Chardon High School.

From where I sat my senior year, I would have been facing that cafeteria door. I would have seen the gunman, I would have seen the horror, I would have seen death.

But that was February 27, 2008… not February 27, 2012.

Chardon High School was hit with tragedy on Feb. 27, 2012, as a gunman targeted a table of kids in the school cafeteria. The gunman killed three and wounded two, and was later chased out of the building by a football coach and picked up by police a few roads over from the school. (More information can be found here.)

I said goodbye to Chardon High School in 2008 when I graduated on May 30 and went on to become a freshman at Kent State University. Never once in that high school did I feel unsafe. Not once did I feel threatened. Not once did I question my classmate’s intentions. Not once have I questioned anyone in Chardon. We are good people. Words cannot describe my confusion…Why? Why not another school? Why our tiny little town?

I keep replaying standing at my locker my senior year, I would have been able to look down the steps and see the gunmen walk through the front door. I keep replaying sitting in my first period study hall my senior year in that cafeteria facing that same door the gunman walked through.

I keep replaying all the hours spent in the Chardon gym with practices and games. I replay sitting on the front entrance steps waiting for the bus with my teammates. I keep replaying laughing with my friends between classes in the halls. I keep replaying kissing my high school boyfriend in that front hallway. I remember feeling the buzz and excitement of prom and graduation and high school parties when parents went out of town. That’s what you’re supposed to remember, that’s what you’re supposed to feel. That’s what high school is supposed to be like.

And that gunman took that away from all the current students at Chardon.

I have so many precious memories of high school. It was a time of not knowing what else is out there in the big world, a time of finding out who you are and who you’re friends are… you are so innocent and you’re supposed to be… and that gunman took that away from those kids.

It breaks my heart to think of those kids in that school. It leaves a feeling so tight and uncomfortable in my chest I feel like I can’t breathe. I think of the teachers, who would do anything for those kids. I have such strong memories of the great teachers at Chardon. I have such great memories of the good people in Chardon.

Our small hick-town is not the town it was before.

It’s not fair. Those kids were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing and suddenly they were hit with this. Your high school years, especially your senior year, is supposed to be so incredible and so much fun… and for those seniors, that gunman ruined it.

I am just so angry.

I hold my high school memories so dear to my heart and I feel like everyone who is from Chardon understands that. I couldn’t imagine a better high school experience or a better town to grow up in. And to three kids, those memories and that life in Chardon were cut way too short.

These students had no idea what real life was even like. They had no idea that their college years would be even better then they their high school years were.

I just wish this didn’t happen. I felt disgusted seeing The Daily Kent Stater running a giant front-page paper on Chardon. It shouldn’t be this way, is what I kept thinking.

People aren’t supposed to know where Chardon is.This isn’t supposed to happen to a place like this…

Tuesday night as I drove into Chardon for the vigil, I had instant tears start running down my face as I saw red bows tied around the trees on either side of the road leading up to the square. My heart ached as I saw all the houses with flag poles at half mast. And the picture of looking back behind me during the vigil and seeing hundreds of people holding candles standing on the grounds of St. Mary’s church will forever be seared into my memory.

This tragedy caused so much pain, anger and sadness in my community. Sometimes I still can’t even wrap my head, or my heart around it.

But I have seen strength come out of this. SO much strength from the people of the community. SO much strength from people of surrounding communities and from around the world. And to a little hometown like Chardon, that’s what it’s all about.

The students and families of the students remain in my heart. My prayers ask for them to heal and that they can continue being the kids they are supposed to be right now. My thanks goes to all of the Chardon community and everything everyone has done to help those hurting there.

Like Governor Kasich said during the vigil on Tuesday night, Chardon burnt down in 1868, but it rebuilt itself one year later. We will rebuild our community again.

I have never been so proud and so honored to call Chardon my home and Chardon High School not only my Alma Mater, but a place that helped shape me into the person I am today.

This amazing video is of the students returning to Chardon High School. Notice the superintendent hugging the kids and the teachers and members of the community clapping and cheering them in as they walked through the doors for the first time since the shooting. Unreal how amazing it is.

One heart beat. Chardon, Ohio.

Something Wicked This Way Comes – A Runner? At This Hour?


The other night I offered to be my friend’s designated driver while they enjoyed the bars (and I miserably went to bed since I had to work the next morning.) My friends called me around 1:30 a.m. to pick them up, so deliriously I drug myself out of bed to be an ever-so-dedicated friend. On my way to downtown Kent I saw two runners. What the —

1:30 a.m.?! These people suddenly had the urge to go running right then and there? They couldn’t wait a few hours until morning or have gone earlier? Now I’m a 21-year-old college student, 1:30 a.m. on a school night – normal. 1:30 a.m.  at the bar – regular. But to go running then?

Now I’ve done my fair share of night running lately. Working two jobs this summer, it seems to be the only time on some days that I can fit in a run. Especially with how hot it has been. I have to leave my apartment by 8:15 every morning and I’m not about to get up at 6 a.m. to go. Plus by the time I get back from the office at 6 p.m. it’s still 93 degrees out, so I’d wait until 8 or 9 at night to go. I can justify this.

But 1:30 in the morning?!

You have to wonder did something really tragic happen to these runners that they suddenly felt so distraught that they suddenly HAD to get out of the house and go running?

Who knows. But I did take note on what the runners were wearing – one in neon yellow and one in white. A wise choice for running in the dark. Neither runner had on any sort of reflectors though, which running  at 1:30 in the morning (Especially early Sunday morning when a lot of people/drivers are coming back from the bars) I would recommend wearing some.

These runners remind me of a story my dad told me one time. He’s an aerobics teacher and personal trainer, (along with being a chemist – isn’t he super cool? And no, I did not get any of his smart genes, I hate chemistry) and often heads to the gym at 4:45 a.m. for a 5 a.m. class he teaches. (Seriously, why?) He used to tell me about this lady who he would see running at this time every morning wearing a giant fur parka in the winter.

Now I’m from Chardon, Ohio…the snow-belt of northeast Ohio, and I know how HORRIBLE morning snow storms can get and how horrible the roads are in the morning there. My dad even pointed out the road he would see this lady running down, which has no sidewalks and was poorly lite. But he said every morning this woman was out there running through snowbanks with this giant fur coat on. I got to say props to her, but seriously?

To humor myself I picture her running in a coat like this. (Although this might not be far off from the real deal considering my dad said it WAS a fur parka.)

The Mysterious Fur Parka Runner of Chardon, Ohio

Whoever this abominable parka runner is, kudos to her. Although I would recommend some reflectors. And to the 1:30 a.m. runners – wear some damn reflectors too. Reflectors are not expensive and can save your life. Here are a few starting at $6.99, or pick up some at your local sporting good store.

Some other quick tips for all you night owl runners (or early morning umm…rooster runners? Ya ok, lame.) But here they are:

  • Always run facing traffic when running on the road (or ride with traffic if biking.) 
  • If possible run with someone.
  • Stay in well lit areas.
  • Stay alert.
  • Don’t wear headphones if it is very late out, considering that could be very dangerous depending on your area.

“There are clubs you can’t belong to, neighborhoods you can’t live in, schools you can’t get into, but the roads are always open.”   – Nike