Birthday, New York, & Running.

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Hi Guys!

It’s been a crazy week. It’s midnight here, but the only time I have for blogging. I can’t stand to put it off any longer. I have a lot to catch up on with you all and I’m praying I can stay awake to do it! If not, I’ll have to finish it up on our drive back from New York.

It was my birthday weekend last week and we went all out!

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On Friday, I took Grumples for a really long walk. It was sixty-five degrees and we took advantage of it.

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While I finished up work, I had a delcious late-lunch afternoon snack. The plate had apples, blueberries, dates, almonds, peanut  butter, and pineapple.

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It was my last time getting ready to go out as a 24 year old.

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Friday was family celebration night. We went to my FAVORITE restaurant in the Charlotte area, The Garden Cafe!

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When you go there, the fried green beans are a must.

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I had a house salad with a side of ranch and my dad ordered a stuffed jalapeño bacon wrapped pepper.

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My mom and I decided to split a meal because we can NEVER finish one when we go there. They give you so much and you’re full from all the appetizers. Plus, you have to save room for dessert when you are there. If you don’t order dessert at the Garden Cafe, you’re not doing it right.

We decided to split the Surf N Turf. It was a medallion filet and blackened shrimp served with garlic buttered gnocchi with a parmesan cream sauce and wilted garlic spinach. The steak was cooked perfectly. When you order medium rare there, you get medium rare. The flavors in everything were terrific. The picture above is after they split the meal and there is still a ton of food.

The waiter brought out a glazed pound cake with vanilla bean ice cream on the house. They sang happy birthday to me and it was the sweetest moment ever.  She comes in early to make her cakes and they are the best tasting things on the planet. She makes the pound cake for weddings. My dad couldn’t stop talking about that cake. We haven’t had a thing we didn’t like there.

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It was time to burn off all of those birthday calories. My friend Anthony and I ran the river walk early morning. It’s crazy how fast he’s progressing. He ran 7 miles on saturday and 14 miles this morning! He also just started running like a month ago. I decided to stop at five.

I was proud of myself for this run. Why? Well…I’m not a morning runner. I run around noon. I also do NOT run in the cold because my lungs burn. I ran in 35 degrees for the first time and overcame the fear. It sucked the first ten minutes, but it got better. I just don’t do cold in general.

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After our run, we headed to the juice bar to get breakfast. I ordered “The Doc” with protein powder. The Doc has spinach, kale, juiced apple, ginger, mint, strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, banana, spirulina, and probiotics.

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After our run, I headed back to my place and relaxed with some well deserved coffee.

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After my relaxation, a friend and I headed to the new J. Crew Mercantile they put in the Park Road Plaza:) After checking out the store, we headed to the South Park Mall for some birthday shopping.

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Our group of friends headed to the Wine bar for my birthday celebration on Saturday night.

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We ordered a Chef’s Selection Cheese and Charcuterie Board. It came with three cheese, two charcuterie, accompaniments, and lavash.

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We ended up having way too much fun that night. I don’t remember much after this photo, so that tells you it was a good birthday. We celebrated 25 like 21 year olds.

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Sunday was my real birthday, so we headed to my parents house for breakfast. They had champagne at the table and I couldn’t even look at it. I just wanted bacon and coffee!

 

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After breakfast, we headed to the range so I could hit some balls. It’s my favorite thing to do when it’s warm. I actually love taking a few months off from golf. I always come back stronger.

 

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Genghis grill is one of my favorite places. I have become a pro at stacking bowls.

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The bowl was fantastic. It had peppers, onions, egg, carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, water chestnuts, pepperoni, snap peas, squash, zucchini, crab, pepperoni, chicken, steak, and garlic. Even though I’m in love with Genghis grill, I get sick every time I go there. I’m nauseous about an hour after eating and we finally figured it out. I’m allergic to water chestnuts. When I ate there in Chicago and everywhere else, I got the same sick feeling. Several months ago, I had the bowl without the water chestnuts and didn’t get sick. This time I added them and got sick. I’d say that is all the confirmation I need.

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The reason I had an early dinner was so I could come back, run Grumples and then watch Grease Live! I popped a huge bowl of popcorn and relaxed on the couch with the pups.

I ended up falling asleep at the end, but it was a really good show. I thought they did very well and Vanessa Hudgens killed it considering her circumstances. I wish they would have turned the microphones up, but that is my only note.

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Monday night at Mac’s. I had a baja salad and honey bbq chicken wings.

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I spent Wednesday getting most of my work done before we took off for New York.

It was chilly and rainy, but I managed to get in a three mile run. When I get to Florida on Monday, I’m going five miles. It was way too cold to run in New York and we were very busy.

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We planned on leaving Thursday night. They had to work, so if we left at 7pm, we’d get to Upstate New York at 8am. Earlier in the day I planned on running five miles, but the weather was so bad. It was lightning and I needed to get back so I cut it short. I finished up on the treadmill.

Before my run I had a banana and a slice of whole grain toast with crunchy peanut butter.

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I had a Chopt salad before we took off.

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We made it to New York at 5 am. We stopped for a coffee and some snacks. Ant and I split some dark chocolate almonds. They were extremely good. I think these would make the best dessert.

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We arrived in New York at 8am.

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He calls Upstate New York “God’s Country” because it’s so beautiful. My dad grew up in Norwich New York and we went up there a lot as kids. It is beautiful.

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We stayed with Anthony’s parents. Anthony lives in Charlotte, but is also from Amsterdam, New York. My job was to keep them up while they drove. I sat in the front seat talking and playing candy crush. When we got to Ant’s house, I hit the bed and didn’t wake up until late. I was so proud of myself for staying asleep. I usually can’t do that.

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We met up with P. for lunch at La Cucina’s. I ordered the grilled chicken Caesar salad with a coffee. I always feel weird skipping breakfast food and eating savory food.

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I forgot my makeup bag in Charlotte. I do not know how that happened, but it did. We stopped at Target so I could pick up lipgloss and mascara. I also grabbed a coffee at Starbucks. I needed all the caffeine in the world.

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We went to Mr. Harrington’s wake at 4 and didn’t get out of there until 9pm. He was a well known and very loved man. He had over 2500 people show up to pay their respects to the family. He just inspires you to be a kinder and nicer person.

We went to the town’s most popular spot, Russo’s, for dinner.

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I was up early on Friday to get ready for the service. Anthony’s mom had coffee and bagels waiting for us. Anthony’s mom is a saint. I wish she lived in Charlotte.

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Their cute dog Neko that “doesn’t like anyone”….mmmhmmm

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It was a beautiful service. The priest spoke from his heart and they truly celebrated Mr. Harrington’s life. Life is so short and it’s important to live each day as if it was your last. I want to be rich with love and family. The priest said “Once you shook Marty’s hand, you became family.” It’s important to treat people well and love everyone. Our heart is big, but not big enough for hatred. Their family family makes me want to be a better person. His kids spoke so well of him, and you could tell what kind of person he was just by the way his children led their lives. Mrs. Harrington and Mr. Harrington were both diagnosed with cancer within the same month. I don’t think I know any husband and wife who fought cancer at the same time. She is currently still fighting, but she is going to beat this. She’s one of the strongest people and you can read a bit about their story on YouCaring.com

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The Campo’s took us to their favorite coffee spot, Stewarts Shops. The boys talked about how they would ride their bikes to Stewarts and get ice cream with endless toppings. They had me try their hard rolls. It’s a hard roll with a soft center and filled with whipped butter. It was weirdly delicious.

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We took our coffee and drove some of the country side.

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We all celebrated Marty’s life with a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey.

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We all went to the Harrington’s to hang out and we got a giant game of Head’s Up going. This was so much fun!

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I was supposed to get up and run on Saturday morning with Anthony and his uncle. I took one step outside, breathed in the air, and went right back to bed. It was 16 degrees! I don’t even run in 30 degrees. I decided to just take the weekend off and start back on Monday. I’m just not used to the cold and I’m a huge wimp.

We were invited over to Ant’s family’s for breakfast. We had the best blueberry pancakes, bacon, and sausage.

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Seriously, how cute is Anthony’s cat?…

We spent saturday together with the family at Aunt Jackie’s. She’s the funniest person on this planet and hanging out with his family is so fun. They’re are all nuts! (but the good kind of nuts).

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We took off this morning at 4am. Anthony’s mom packed us snacks and we had the entire day planned out. We were going to stop in D.C. for lunch and catch the super bowl at our friends house in Raleigh, NC, before we fly out in the morning.

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A couple hours in, our trip took a bad turn.

We heard something thumping. I thought they left the gas cap open, Anthony thought the door was open, but it ended up being a flat tire. We pulled over so they could put the donut on. We were so close to the edge of the highway and it was so dark out, so they  made me stay in the car. They had to unpack the entire trunk to grab the spare and it took them about twenty minutes to put it on in the dark. As soon as they got back into the car, the battery died. The blinkers killed the battery and we were stranded with no lights and no way to get anywhere. We called roadside and they got there in 45 minutes. It was so scary because it was dark out and we didn’t have our blinkers working.

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We made it to Newburgh and found a tire place that was open today. We had about an hour and a half to spare before 9am, so we stopped at Dunkin for coffee and so I could finish up this blog. (I fell asleep last night with the laptop in my hands). We finally have the car in the shop and hopefully we can get on the road. We aren’t sure if we will make it to D.C. but we hope we can make it back for the Superbowl. It’s been one heck of a trip and lets hope our Florida trip runs way smoother.

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