Friday, February 27, 2009


After enjoying paradise for a few days, I headed to a different kind of paradise to visit my folks in Houston, Texas. I was very excited to be home since I hadn't visited since last May. I had a great first day - ate some Mexican food, saw my cousins, and caught a movie with my brother. I even got Freebirds!

Thursday started out very unexpectedly. I am training for the Cherry Blossom 10-mile and even though I was on vacation, I still had to respect my training schedule (I even ran in Hawaii on the beach, but who can complain about that?). So Thursday morning, I woke up to go for my run in my parents subdivision, was nearing the end of my run, and SMACK! I fell after getting caught on some uneven sidewalk. Let me tell you, that is not a good way to end a three mile run. Basically, my face and right hand broke my fall.

My Angelina Jolie look

Fortunately, I was only a few blocks from home so I was able to make it there in time to be patched up by my folks (after sitting down a few times on the way for fear of passing out). With a fat lip and pretty intense wounds on my hand, I was out of commission most of Thursday and Friday. My parents were great; it was like being 8 again with them bringing me ice and neosporin. Everybody needs a little TLC every now and then!

this still hurts ...

I had made plans to meet up with some high school friends for dinner Saturday night at Mamacita's, a restaurant owned by Gina's family. It was great catching up with a few old friends. Fortunately, I had healed a bit and the swelling had gone down so I didn't look terrible in the pictures. I can't wait to see everyone again when I'm in town.

Marjie, me and John

Gina, me and Kelli

Sunday night I went to dinner with my Mom, step-Dad, sister and her fiance. I hadn't seen Lori since last May and it was awesome catching up with her and checking out her new bling (very good job, Bill!).

my sister, Lori, and me

I look forward to my next visit home. There is no place that feels quite the same as where you grew up.


Random parrots on Waikiki

Since I had such a crazy holiday season and needed some summer weather ASAP, I decided around the new year to take a beach trip. I had hoped that someone would be able to join me on my vacation, but Anne was taking a cruise with her husband and it wasn't a good time for my Mom so I decided to just go it alone.

near Diamondhead, I think

I have been on countless business trips by myself so traveling alone has never felt uncomfortable for me. However, when I told people I was making the trip to Hawaii by myself, there was a lot of 'Wow, really?' and 'That's so courageous of you'. I had no idea it was weird? I guess from the outside looking in, maybe it seems a little anti-social or introverted but I assure you, I met a lot of locals while I was there and saw the inside of my hotel room very little (mostly just to sleep and eat breakfast).



Regardless of my single-occupancy status, I had a wonderful time. Hawaii is hands-down one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. It's so beautiful, it's hard to believe it isn't man-made. The water is crystal-clear blue and the landscape is brilliantly colorful. I was relaxed and at home immediately after getting off the plane.


My dear friend Regan lived in Hawaii for a few years and wrote down a list of things to do and see on my trip. Armed with my guidebook, a rented compact, and my blackberry's GPS, I ventured into the unknown. What I found was a people who are very friendly and laid back and an environment which constantly amazed. I tried the local fare and it was amazing: shrimp from the famous Giovanni's Shrimp Truck, Korean BBQ, and lots of fish. I laid out on Kailua and Sunset beach while watching the windsurfers catch some awesome waves. I even tried surfing, got up twice in two hours, and acquired a new found respect for "surfer dudes". I will surf again, and hopefully on the north shore.

The last night I was there, my friend Sean came to Waikiki on business so we went to dinner at a local burger joint. I imparted to him all my Hawaiian wisdom, gave him my guide book and map, and told him, "Don't stay in Waikiki on your down time". Oahu has so much more to offer.

Sean and the Delorean

On Waikiki beach

Before I left for the airport, I visited the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor. It was a somber experience to see the destruction and know what happened there in 1941. I'm glad I was able to appreciate what our servicemen did then and continue to do now.

It was the perfect escape from the DC winter and I can't wait to visit again.

Secondhand Serenade

John Vesely - lead singer for Secondhand Serenade
The night before I left on my trip, Austin, Tom, Jeff, and me went to the Birchmere in Alexandria to see Secondhand Serenade play.

Tom, me and Austin

The band is alternative/emo/rock fronted by John Vesely, who composes all the music and writes all the lyrics. It usually isn't my genre but I love their A Twist In My Story CD; the music is very moving. John comes from two classically trained musician parents so it's no wonder that he has such a talent for composing.

Me and Jeff
We had a great time and I enjoyed being able to meet some of the band members from Secondhand Serenade and their opening act, White Tie Affair. It was a great night for sure, but I had to go home and finish packing so I could be on a plane by 7 AM.

Me and the lead singer for White Tie Affair

Me and the lead guitarist from Secondhand Serenade

It was totally worth it. :-)

Great Falls

It's been a few weeks since I blogged so I'm doing a few posts today to try and catch up. A little preview: in the past two weeks I have hiked in Great Falls, seen Secondhand Serenade perform, let loose in Hawaii (!), and visited my folks in Houston.

Before I left on vacation, we had a brief respite from the cold here in Virginia so Rachel and I took advantage by walking around Great Falls park and getting some cool photos. It was a beautiful day and I little preview of what was to come for me in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My 25 Things

I was inspired by my best friend to write 25 interesting things about myself. This trend was started on Facebook. I resisted even reading any of the lists until yesterday when I read Anne's. I have to say, it was pretty interesting learning new things about her so I decided I might as well jump on the wagon. Here's my list.

1. I'm really inspired by people who live with painful, noticeable disabilities. They remind me I have nothing to complain about.

2. When I'm running on the treadmill, I fantasize about performing or being serenaded by the music I'm listening to. When I get off the treadmill I fantasize about not being so wiped out.

3. I love red wine from the Barossa valley in Australia. South American wines give me a headache.

4. I'm irrationally protective of the people I love. Especially my younger brother.

5. I was the biggest two-percenter at A&M, I didn't even go to a game until I was in grad school. How ironic that now I love being an Aggie and watching A&M football, and they suck miserably.

6. In a perfect world I'd probably bake all day. And weigh 400 lbs because of it.

7. I'm the jack of all trades and master of none. I really like trying new things but stop when I lose interest or become so good people start noticing. I don't like the pressure of being on top. I love flying under the radar.

8. Even though I'm 27, I still love reading People and US. I read them every time I get pedicures - which I've gotten every month for the past eight years.

9. I have over 60 pairs of shoes. It might be more but I stopped counting a while ago.

10. Mt. Vernon is my most favorite place to visit in the DC area.

11. Cockiness and laziness are my least favorite qualities in a person. I'm really attracted to humility and quiet confidence. People who don't rest on their laurels or talk about their accomplishments are the most interesting to get to know.

12. My perfect vacation is laying on a beautiful beach and no alarm clocks.

13. My hair has always been naturally curly and my eyes have always been blue/green. And Shani isn't short for anything.

14. Anne is such an awesome best friend. She totally keeps me accountable in a loving way. She is probably the most honest person I know and inspires me all the time.

15. I go to everyday.

16. My secret shame is Real Housewives of OC. I just can't stop.

17. I like reading books about string theory and quantum mechanics. I balance this with such classics as the Twilight series.

18. Chocolate is my biggest vice - dark chocolate especially; I have it everyday.

19. Rollerblading is my favorite way to exercise.

20. Freebirds rocks, Chipotle sucks.

21. It really irritates me when people use their upbringing as the reason not to succeed. Suck it up. Everybody had a childhood that wasn't so ideal.

22. I have a weakness for musicians and engineers. I'm also really attracted to men who are handy. A guy has got to know how to fix a toilet, right?

23. I get so much out of leading bible study with Rachel. The girls constantly amaze me and it's awesome to see the Lord's work in their lives.

24. My ego is shamefully fed by people telling me I look younger than I am and getting carded for beer. Hey, I'm knocking on 30 so I'll take it!

25. I can't wait for Nats baseball to start again and I'm looking forward to a summer of weeknight games and weekends by the pool!