Thursday, December 3, 2015

Celebrating Grandma

I know it's been a while since I posted, things got really crazy right before we headed to Europe. I have more light hearted pictures and posts planned but today is a day of remembering and celebrating my Grandma, who passed away at the age of 92 last Sunday.

She had gone into the hospital with a kidney infection before we left for Germany and when we returned, my mom let me know that she had taken a turn for the worse and passed away that afternoon.

I flew to Pittsburgh yesterday and the funeral is this afternoon.

My Grandma was awesome and I know just how fortunate I was to have her as long as we did. I was lucky to have been able to visit her when we were up here for the football game in October. I couldn't have known it was the lat time I'd see her.

Both of my Grandfathers passed away before I was born and my dad's mom passed in 1984. So it's just been Grandma for all those years,

She was always there for every event, every play. every show, choir concert, you name it, she was there. She was our biggest supporter and loved her grand kids unconditionally.

I wish I had something eloquent to say, but I don't.

My Grandma was awesome and I'll miss her every day.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Renaissance Fair!

Last Saturday Kev and I went to the Renaissance Fair and it was awesome. We've both been really busy and needed to have a little road trip. Kev told me a few days ago that we were going on a surprise trip and all I needed to do was get up and get in the car. So I did.

We took off and drove and drove and drove. I really had no idea where we were going even when we made the turn to Charlotte. Mainly because I had no idea the fair was outside of Charlotte. We made the turn, I saw the signs and was super excited. We've said for years we finally wanted to go and finally we did!

Since it was Halloween the attendees were all dressed up. The big costumes were obviously Renaissance and Star Wars. For reals.

We walked in and were hungry. I immediately went to the crepe stand, mainly because William Shakespeare said it was the best deal in the town. At least he said he was Shakespeare...

We ate it and wandered over to a tent where some guy was telling limericks. It was dirty and awesome. I really had no idea that the fair was going to be so... bawdy. Everyone was naughty and told dick jokes. 

There were a bunch of shops that sold vaguely medieval things. There was a cool show that sold hand drawn maps of fantasy lands. I squealed a little when I saw this one. If you know what it is, we can be BFFs

This one too. 

Next to the map store we found a torture museum for $2 per person. I would have apparently been wearing this back in the day for questioning authority. It's a good thing I was born in modern times.

One of the best things I saw was this guy.

He's an insult comic who gets hit with tomatoes. He was hysterical. Kev had to throw some at him and was called Bluto and Pavarotti and other assorted insults. Heh heh heh.

So worth the $4.

Soon it was time for the joust! We didn't get a seat in the bleachers but got a pretty good spot at the end of the row.

This is pre-horse.

This guy had me dying, He was selling flags in the colors of the 3 knights who were jousting. Our guy was max and he was black and gold.

So many poses.

This is Max, he was very... knight-like

So funny

Our guy ended up winning the joust which was pretty cool. I have no idea how the got points but I'm pretty sure it was all staged. But I didn't really care. 

There were so many people dressed up and I found my favorite. 

Ooooo Yeah!

Then we found this guy. For $5 you got  to shoot paint balls at him. I have no idea why he was medieval but we shot him anyways. 

We looked in more shops, Kev watched part of a show while I waited in line for a brat and some mead. Let me tell you, mead is the -ish, A dixie cup was literally $6 and it was strong and fruity and yummy. We ended the day watching the R-rated show of the Tortuga Twins. 

I also learned that just  like in a strip club, people put dollars in the pants of the performers. I don't know why, but it's totally a thing. A performer also set his nipple on fire for $20. I'm sure he's fine but everyone might have been a little dunk. It was like what would happen if drunk, talented carnies had a show and no one complained about what they said. 

Yea, we had a great time and would totally go back!

Have you ever been to a Ren Fair??

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

GYPO Fall Challenge

It's more than a little embarrassing how long I've had this post planned. Let's put it into perspective. The 3 week challenge is over and we're on round 2, week 2. Then again, the last 3 readers are probably really tired of me talking about how far behind I am on this whole blogging thing. 

Anywho, I put together my capsule wardrobe for the challenge. It actually started my first day in Scotland. I brought some of the outfits with me but when I train, I really prefer to be more dressed up. I figure if I'm going to sand in front of a class, I might as well have on something nice. 

Here's what I put together in the capsule.

Shoes: I have tall brown boots, black booties, brown fringe booties which I actually haven't worn yet because they're a little too tall for me. I can wear a tall shoe but these are just a hair too high, leopard heels, I really need to find a pair of leopard flats I like and gold flats. I only brought the brown tall boots, gold flats and black booties to Scotland. (bad idea).

Pants: I had burgundy pants, black, olive and some skinny jeans, the challenge called for boyfriend jeans which I actually found a few days ago, just in time for round 2. Shirts: black and white patterned, white, black and white polka dot and polka dot chambray.

Sweaters: Orange cardigan, neutral cardigan (I found one I liked a lot better in Scotland), grey shirt as a sub for a gray cable sweater (yea, too damn warm for cable sweaters in NC), and a pink sweater.

Instead of a camel blazer, I used my black leather-ish jacket, I also had an orange suede dress and a black and white shirt dress to swap for a plaid dress. Believe me, if I'd been able to find a plaid dress, I would have been so happy. Still looking. 

For the jewelry, I had my chunky pearl and Kendra Scott tassel necklaces, MK watch and some bold earrings. 

I also had a flower scarf and instead of an orange plaid, I found this fabu leopard/lace/orange scarf. Loooove.

For some reason I had a heck of a time finding things I loved for this challenge, I subbed a bunch from my closet and didn't really look for other things, I just ran out of time. Being in Scotland the first week also threw a kink in my fashion plans.

I still had a blast playing along and I've definitely gotten some staples for my wardrobe. Now to wait for the winter challenge. I'm sure I'll be overseas during the challenge too but at least I already found a fur vest that I'm pretty sure will be in the challenge. :)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Scenes from the Weekend

Ahhh It's the first of November! So many awesome things happening this month. Mainly, my birthday and our trip! My other favorite thin about November is the deluge of birthday coupons I'm about to get. There's a 50% off Kendra Scott that I'm anxiously awaiting. Oh yes....

Well, on to the weekend! Friday at work we had a costume contest. In usual fashion I waited until the last minute to decide on a costume. Thankfully Pinterest is there for me when I need help. Wednesday night I went to the Halloween store and scored me a hat, mask and a cape. Thursday afternoon I went to Michaels and got some felt and voila!

Yea, I was the Hamburgler. Stripped dress and there you go. All I really did as make the tie out of red foam and then I free drew some burgers and hot glued them onto the tie. I added some yellow ribbon to the hat and I was done. Making the tie really took all of an hour and I was pretty pleased with it. 

At work we had all of the people in the office go trick or treating at the manager's offices. But they didn't and now I have a giant pumpkin full of candy. Not as awesome as you might think....

The costumes!

I do have this awesome horse head mask now. I was doing a mob-tober contest with my team and the person with the fewest calls would get the head on their desk.

He eventually got a hat too. 

After work I changed out of my costume and headed over to NC State to get my bib for the City of Oaks 10K that I was running on Sunday morning. Yes, I was planning on running the half marathon and didn't. I'm grudgingly admitting that I need to go to PT for my hip because no matter what I do, it's no bueno. 

At the expo I really, really wanted to change to the half but knew I wouldn't be happy. Foreshadowing... I'm really glad I didn't. 

Saturday morning Kev had a surprise planned. He wouldn't tell me where we were going, just that I had to be up at a certain time and that I could bring my costume if I wanted. I decided not to because I wasn't able to get a costume put together for Kevin and I didn't want to be the only one of us dressed. 

I really had no idea where we were going and we drove and drove and drove until we ended up at... The Renaissance Fair! 

I need to put the Ren Fair into its own post but it was awesome and we had a blast. It was a lot more adult than we expected which was fantastic. I'll leave you with a few pictures....

Since it was Halloween people were encouraged to dress up. I found my favorite!

The fair is out by Charlotte, it ended at 530pm and by the time we got back it was pushing 8pm, We grabbed some sandwiches and headed over to our friend's house for some bonfire, candy and to pick up Cleo who stayed over there. 

Sunday came bright and early and the race started at 7am. The marathon, half and 10k all took off from in front of the bell tower at NC State but the 10k finished at Cameron Village. Raleigh friends, let me tell you, this was the easiest parking and in and out of any race I've ever done.  I drove down Oberlin, parked at Cameron Village and when it was time to leave, I was out in minutes, no traffic. It was glorious. 

I was definitely glad to be finished at 6.2 and not running another 7 miles. 

While I've been working through this injury I've been doing walk/ run intervals and I ran most of this race with 3 short walk breaks. Considering my hip was bothering me most of the race, I'm OK with the time.

Lemme tell you though. The 10k is half the price of the half, you get the same shirt, hat AND a medal. I'm good with that.

When I got home I found my cat in the fire pit....

Shower, breakfast and coffee then I took Cleo to Unleashed to get a bath and some dog food. Then grocery shopping, a nap, laundry folding (so much), my first experience with Plated (another post) and baked a pie for Kev. Phew! Now some blog time!

It was a jam packed but fun weekend! How was yours?? Linking up with BLoved Boston! AND

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Confident Twosday

Today I'm super excited to be teaming up with Laura over at I do deClaire for Confident Tuesday! She was super nice an let me push back my co-hosting day when things got crazy and I headed over seas. 

She also doesn't seem to mind my awkward bathroom selfies. One day I'll buy a better mirror. One day...

Today I wanted to feature my newest favorite thing, the leather jacket. I looked a lot, and I do mean a lot of places and tried on a TON of jackets before I found this one. 

I think leather and leather-like jackets are always timeless pieces. They get more popular, then less, but I don't remember a time when they haven't been around. I actually have a jacket that I think an ex got me when I was in grad school. Considering Kev and I have been together for 11ish years, and I've been out of grad school even longer, yea, I've had it for a while. I think everyone has one in their closet.

This season I was looking for a leather jacket that was light enough to wear in the office and still be warm enough to wear outside. It also had to be flattering, not too restrictive in the arms and have a drapey front. Seemingly impossible, yes, but my quest paid off!

Behold! The BNCI jacket from Nordstrom Rack! You can check it out here. It's not too short, just drapey enough and I love it. 

Wear it with a professional dress...

Or something more sassy.

I wore it all over Pittsburgh and Scotland. It was stylish and functional. Win win win.

I don't get affiliate dollars or anything like that, I just really, really like this jacket and I think you will too.

Be sure you head over to the Link Up and visit the other hoppers!

Happy Tuesday!!

I do deClaire (Bloglovin) | Cookies Cardio and Clothes (Bloglovin)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Scotland pt. 2

This recap is gonna be a long one with lots of pictures. Just a warning. 

There are pictures of food but I have to be honest, the food in Scotland wasn't the best. In fact, it wasn't very good at all. That's Kev's job when we travel, he finds the good food and tells me where to eat.  I make sure he doesn't leave anything behind. When left to my own devices I wander into places and end up with a steak and ale pie. 

Prior to this I was waiting 20 minutes at a pub and no one ever came over to take my order. It wasn't awful, but it was half burnt. That side with the gravy, under the gravy is the burn. More peas and some potatoes. Meh. The un-burnt part was OK.

I think it was Thursday after work I went over to Princes St and hit up some shopping. The night before I met some airline attendants who told me I had to go to Primark, and I did. I also was on the lookout for some better shoes. I planned my shoes for training, not for traipsing miles and miles over a city of hills and cobblestones. I had my running shoes, tall brown boots, short black boots with heels and and gold flats. In theory, I should have been fine., My feet were not.

My shoe choices for Germany will be much different. BTW, I'm taking shoe recommendations. I did find some cute black boots. I thought they were all trendy and European, then I found similar ones at DSW. Crap.

I don't remember what that building was but the view was pretty impressive when I turned the corner and saw it.

One thing you can't miss is the monument to Sir Walter Scott. Lemme tell you, prior to going to Scotland, I wish I'd read up some on Scottish history. They're all about the history there and a documentary or something would have been helpful.

I learned about Sir Walter Scott on the castle tour I took on Saturday. Here's what I know. Sir Walter Scott was a writer and wrote lots of poems and shit that everyone loved. In 1818-ish he "found" the Scottish "Honours" aka the Crown Jewels. From what I understood they were in the castle in room and he took a team of people downstairs, opened a box and there they were.

It'd be like if I took some people on a quest for my high school yearbooks and we went to the attic and opened a box. I don't think I'd get a statue though.

So cool, and huge

That night I had dinner at a tapas place. It was OK, nothing awesome. 


Friday night I had planned to be super touristy and went on a ghost tour. Before that I stopped into Angels with Bagpipes for a little dinner. Sadly one of my best meals was French. I obviously had the tartatre, it was delish.

Then it was off to the super ghost tour. We went down into the "Underground City" and back to Greyfriars Kirkyard. I don't have any pictures, it was dark... But definitely spooky. No ghostly activity but I could totally see that people had spooky encounters there.

Just some dark spooky streets in Edinburgh. Old streets are scary.

When we were in Grefriars Kirkyard the guide told us that this was the cemetery that overlooked the restaurant where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter. There are graves for McGonagall, Lupin and Tom Riddle (!!!) in there. Then she said "If you don't like Harry Potter, then YOU'RE WRONG". Preach it sister. 

Also in the cemetery is the Mackenzie Poltergeist. You can read all about it here. It's a pretty creepy story. Basically Mackenzie was a real asshat when he was alive and in 1998 someone came in, defiled his tomb and ever since then the poltergiest has been active in the cemetery. We didn't see anything but it was still pretty creepy.

After traipsing all over Edinburgh in the dark, I stopped for a kebab on the way back to the hotel. 

It was so good. Really one of the best things I ate there.

Saturday came bright and early and I was off to the Castle! I bought my tickets in advance and off I went!

View of the city from the castle. Look at the coast!

Holy Crap! A real live castle!

I didn't wear sunglasses for 10 days straight. That might be a record in my adult life. Light colored eyes + LASIK = super light sensitivity and sunglasses pretty much every time I step outside. 

The entrance to the castle.

There are 2 knights on either side of the gate to the castle

Walking on up.

You can still close the gate and keep the raiding hoards out. 

View of the city from the castle

More views

Walking through the different parts of the castle

Another view because I loved the contrast of the old spires and the newer architecture.

Edinburgh Castle is a historic site and has a crap ton of history and museums to wander through. A lot of the museums were focused on Scottish military history. It was definitely cool to look at, but I think someone who knew more about that topic would have really, really liked it.

I just like taking pictures with statures.

Here too. The sign said to take a selfie with the soldiers, so I did. 

The center square was where the majority of the cool (in my opinion) things were. 

I went to the Great Hall

Where something was happening. I didn't wait to see what it was. 

This was cool. Apparently the room where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth was in the castle.

Then I went through the line to see the Scottish Crown Jewels. That's how I learned about Sir Walter Scott. When you go through that exhibit, you see the history of the crown jewels.

Including when Robert the Bruce was crowned. It wound all the way around until you got to the jewels. Sadly, no pictures allowed. I'm assuming they want to avoid a jewel heist.

More parts of the castle. I think this was the war memorial.

This was a little cemetery for animals.

A wider picture of the war memorial.

Finally it was time to leave. I had a reservation at 230pm to do the Real Mary King's Close tour and I needed to get some lunch before I went.

But first, a view as I'm leaving.

Bye castle!

On the streets of Edinburgh you get a lot of random people trying to make a pound. All the signs say "worth a picture worth a pound"!

Remember the last post when I took a picture in the dark of St. Giles Cathedral? Well on Saturday I went inside.

Agh! So amazing!

And the stained glass was to die for.

After wandering around and lighting a candle, I needed some lunch.

Fun fact, you can't get a brewed coffee in Edinburgh, you have to get a Cafe Americano. Nothing but Americanos. I expect Germany and France to be the same.

For lunch I got a proper fish and chips, complete with the tiny fork. 

Then it was time for my tour, You couldn't take any pictures in the close but it was super informative and really interesting, I highly recommend it. I learned about the Black Plague and I'm pretty sure I felt a ghost down there. There was a room dedicated to a little girl where people left dolls. I felt a definite cold spot swirling around me and then it left and was warm. Yea, I got my ghostly encounter. 

I did the underground tour then the above ground and there was about a 45 minute wait between the 2. I walked up and down the street and did a little shopping, 

The owl wasn't amused. 

The above ground tour was pretty interesting as well but I'm pretty sure the guide was hungover. Like on the struggle bus hungover. He was good but mumbled a lot and his eyes were super bloodshot.

A view from the tour. 

Before I knew it, it was time to head back to the hotel and drop off my shopping. Bye castle!

In my last night in Scotland, I had to have the haggis. I apparently went for the fancy version which was a haggis appetizer wrapped in filo dough.

Honestly, it wasn't bad. It was a rich, spiced ground meat. I'd eat it again and probably even try a less fancy version.

For dessert I had to have the sticky toffee pudding. 

I expected it to be less gingerbread-y. It was still really good, just too much sauce for me.

Then it was off to bed and to catch my 8am flight! Even though I was working, I still had a great time in Scotland. I can't wait to go back and maybe next time, Kev can come with me.

Linking up with BLoved Boston! AND