Fun While It Lasted

Well it’s a sad day, friends. Not only is it Monday, but also my long vacation from work has officially come to an end. I’m lucky enough to work for a company that operates on a “non-accrual” PTO policy, which basically means you can take off however many days you want. These days are subject to manager approval but as long as your work is done and your requests aren’t excessive, the number of PTO days you take in any given year is up to you. I’ve read that companies expect employees to take 3-4 weeks off per year under this policy, but in 2013 my days totaled just over 2 weeks. Definitely not going to be the person who abuses that policy.

Anyway, since I don’t take many days off during the year I was able to use 6 PTO days to create a 16 day holiday vacation for myself. Initially we were planning on going back to work on the 2nd, but the idea of going back for only Thursday + Friday seemed silly (and painful) so we took the additional two days. You know how after a vacation you find yourself wishing you had a vacation from your vacation before going back to work? That’s pretty much what that was. The road trip and all of the traveling wreaked havoc on our sleep schedules – which is why I slept through NYE – so it was nice to have a few extra days to reset before going back to the grind.

You probably hate me now. Sorry about that.

While the days off were certainly relaxing, they were also very productive. On Thursday we did all of our laundry from the trip. Brad took the dogs to the park and I went shopping for baking sheets. I came home with new baking sheets, cake pans, a muffin tin, a loaf pan, and new silverware. Still not sure how I ended up with all of that stuff. Whoops. Our previous bakeware and silverware sets were ~8 years old, so they could be somewhat justified. But probably not. But oooh, look how pretty the new silverware is:

silverware

Thursday night we went to see the Wolf of Wall Street. I read the book awhile back (‘09 or ‘10) and was really excited to see it was being made into a movie. The reviews were so-so and some people seemed to be genuinely horrified by it. Let’s be serious here: it’s a movie about Wall Street. Obviously there’s going to be sex, drugs, excessive spending, and a hell of a lot of cursing. Maybe I was prepared because I read the book. Maybe I was prepared because I expected it out of a movie directed by Scorsese exposing the lavish lifestyle of stock brokers. Either way, just know this: if you’re a modest (or even somewhat-modest person), this movie might make you ridiculously uncomfortable. After all, the movie set the all-time record for the use of the F-word.

On Friday the Christmas decorations came down. This is kind of a big deal considering we usually we keep them up until my birthday on the 21st. But the weekend before my birthday is the Houston Marathon and the weekend after I have friends in town to help me mourn the loss of my 20s. I really didn’t want to wait until February 1st to take them down so it happened this weekend. And I’m not really upset about it. The house looks so clean now.

20140105_150235

Saturday I did some work on the office. Someday this room will be done. I emptied a huge filing cabinet that basically held every important (and some “WTF did I save this for?”) document from 2002-2009. You know, just in case I’m curious how much I paid for electric in October 2004 ($89.52) or what my rent was in 2008 (more than our current mortgage payment). I filled up a laundry basket with paperwork that needed to be shredded and that thing was HEAVY. Then I went through the manila folder labeled “To Be Filed” that has been sitting on the desk since 2010 and created hanging folders for each category, filing each paper away into its new home. There’s still a little more work to do (pictures need to be hung, desk needs to be cleaned off, etc.) but it’s getting there. Paula, here’s your progress photo:

20140105_131015

Sunday morning Brad went out and bought a shredder. We spent over 5 hours shredding our own crap, plus a giant box of his mom’s paperwork. Six garbage bags later, anything with personal information on it had been converted into confetti. Then I deep-cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom. Our counter space in the kitchen is pretty limited so I moved a few things into cabinets and a few things into our bookcase.

20140105_152247

All wine and booze now live amongst our many leather-bound books. And this corner of the house smells like rich mahogany. I’m slightly upset about how empty that wine rack is. Don’t worry friend, I’ll fill you up soon.

After cleaning the bathroom and organizing hair products + makeup, I decided it was time to bring my makeup brushes out of the drawer they’ve been living in. Now they’re out on the vanity for easy access (thank you, Pinterest):

makeup brush container

So now that the laundry is done, the Christmas decorations are gone, the kitchen is clean, and the office is somewhat organized, I feel a little bit better about going back to work. There’s something about a clean + organized house that calms me. Here’s hoping this first week back is quiet and uneventful!

Oh, and a puppy photo, because… why not?

20131223_121827

Upgrade Early with Verizon Edge

Disclosure: I’m a Verizon Wireless Voices SE Ambassador and have been provided a phone to use through the duration of this program. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Back in my younger days when I was much less wise, I had countless short-term relationships with phones. I frequently drove with a cup of iced tea in my cup holder. I also drove with my phone in my cup holder. A handful of times those two things happened simultaneously and byebye cell phone. I’ve left a phone at the bar and returned in the morning only to be told it hadn’t been turned in. I’ve had a phone thrown off my second story patio by an ex-boyfriend and watched it shatter into a million pieces. Unfortunately for my meager 20-something bank account, these things always happened outside of the window for a discounted upgrade. Full retail = see ya later, paycheck.

Thankfully as years went by I learned to take better care of my cell phone. But since technology changes so fast these days, I find myself wishing for a better phone only a year into my contract term. Your smartphone is basically outdated the second you walk out of the store with it. Whether you’re looking for Siri to answer all of life’s problems or a camera with higher megapixels, there’s always something bigger and better out there. A majority of the population will wait until they’re eligible for an upgrade rather than plunk down full retail to purchase the latest and greatest device, myself included.

Verizon recently launched a program that might have been able to save my ass back in the day AND gives me the opportunity to try something new much earlier right now. Rather than waiting the standard 24 months to upgrade at a discounted price, Verizon Edge lets you upgrade every year if you want – and there’s no long-term service contract to worry about.

 

Here’s how it works: first, you choose the phone you want. All phones offered by Verizon are eligible on Edge. I’ll use the Samsung Galaxy S4 as an example, which retails for $599.99. This is spread over a 24 month period, so with taxes/fees you’ll add $25.22 to your monthly bill. Once you’ve paid for 50% of the phone (which in most cases will be 12 months) you can upgrade again! At first the idea of tacking on an extra $25 to your bill each month might not be appealing, but it’s really no different than shelling out $200ish dollars to upgrade. It’s a matter of spreading the amount across 24 months versus dropping a large chunk of cash up front.

With the Verizon Edge program you’ll receive a data plan capped at 6GB. Before you get bent out of shape, know that this is a fairly large amount of data. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the internet in general more often than I’d like to admit, and the most data I’ve ever used in a month is 4GB. And I’m pretty sure a lot of that usage was due to having the GPS enabled. 6GB should be plenty to get you through each month.

Verizon Edge - Verizon Wireless

Verizon is currently running a great promotion for customers trading up to the Edge program that includes free activation, a waived initial monthly payment, and a $100 Verizon gift card to buy as many phone cases + other accessories (I recommend this one, it’s a lifesaver) as your little heart desires. Interested? Make sure you take advantage soon – it expires on January 15, 2014!

Good Intentions

So it’s that time of year where we all pledge to quit things (coffee, smoking, drinking) or start doing things (read more, save money, go to the gym) or just strive to be a better person all around. After two weeks of reading 2013 recaps and 2014 resolutions, it’s very clear people either love making resolutions or think they’re absolutely dumb. I creeped back in my archives and found resolution posts for 2011/2012/2013 filled with aspirations to live a better life each year. Pretty sure those lists didn’t get revisited once the calendar flipped past March. Best laid plans, I suppose.

The road outside my house is paved with good intentions.

So this year, this dreaded wonderful first year of my thirties, the focus will be on different things than I’d normally put on a resolution/goals list. Instead of resolving to drink my body weight in water daily (which will probably happen anyway) or quit sugar (which will never happen in a million years), I want to finally get my passport. And master pivot tables and circular references in Excel. And finish decluttering + reorganizing the damn office. You know, adult-ish things.

I’m still trying to come up with something more clever than “30 Things for 30 Years”. HELP. Once the list is done and has a non-lame name, it’ll live on a separate page on the blog for all the world to see. Accountability, people! That’s why we put this crap on the internet, right? Then I’ll obviously shout it from the rooftops when I check one of those babies off the list.

Let’s dub 2014 as “The Year to Get Shit Done”. What big thing are YOU planning to tackle this year?

I Slept Through NYE

We pulled into our driveway yesterday just before the sun came up and our road trip was officially over. The drive to/from Florida was done without stopping for the night and it was certainly an experience. The dogs surprisingly handled the trip really well despite the fact they were sharing a bench seat of a F-150. Instead of a 9-post series on detailing every minute of the trip, I’ll sum it up in one. You’re welcome.

Florida: Part I

Coming back to the state I called home for seven years was somewhat traumatizing (yes, I’m dramatic) as most days I struggled to keep from melting into a puddle. Sunday was spent doing last minute Christmas shopping, taking the dogs to the park, and laughing our asses off in the air conditioning while watching Anchorman 2.

20131222_120407

Because apparently we’re gluttons for punishment, Amy and I set early alarms for Sunday morning to meet up for a run. Alarms on vacation? We must like each other. Thankfully it was a breezy morning and a lot of the waterfront trail was shaded. The views were great and the company was even better – the miles flew by!

Lake Trail - Palm Beach

That afternoon Brad and I took the dogs up to Juno Beach. The water was a little rough (very unexpected – it’s usually pretty flat) and Sox wasn’t really a fan of the waves. Brad carried her in a few times and she swam fine, but when it came to going in on her own? Didn’t happen.

20131223_114222

20131223_120640

20131223_115554

Monday night we had dinner with a couple friends at Tryst in Delray. The food was incredible and I fell in love with Sixpoint Resin Double IPA. And a bottle of Epoch red. The entire night went undocumented somehow, so no pictures for you.

New Jersey

On Tuesday I flew up to NJ to visit my family. One of my favorite things to do when I’m home is spend time in the kitchen with my mom. On Christmas Day we cooked so many meals that the dishwasher had to be run three times. Ridiculous. Make this risotto – you’ll be really happy you did.

Sweet Potato Risotto - How Sweet Eats

Wednesday and Thursday nights I spent with my best friend from high school. She always rearranges her schedule to see me as much as possible while I’m in town and I love her for that. We hit a few local bars and caught each other up on our lives. And I harassed her to book a flight to Austin ASAP. It totally worked, the flight itinerary was in my inbox last night.

Florida: Part II

The “perfect” direct flight with free bags I booked for Saturday morning ended up coming back to bite me in the ass as I set my alarm for a 2:30am wakeup. Ouch. I also managed to forget to check in for the flight and was one of the last people to board the plane. Aisle seat = crappy sleeping situation. Once back in Florida, we went back to Juno Beach with the dogs again to meet up with one of my best friends and her dog.

20131228_155030

20131228_154456

Then we packed all of our crap back into the truck and drove north to Orlando to see Paula. Her and her man took us barhopping to their favorite spots downtown. That early morning wakeup call was kicking my ass but thankfully a little Red Bull (& vodka) saved the day.

20131228_210625_thumb

Sunday morning we went to brunch at Maxine’s on Shine with Paula before hitting the road. And Bo blocked the front door so no one could get by without petting him.

Maxines on Shine - Brunch

20131229_121951

That afternoon we headed across the state to Spring Hill (Tampa-ish) to visit another one of my best friends (hi, Mer!) and her family. I give her a lot of credit – taking care of twin babies (plus another child) is no joke! We spent the day watching football, eating pizza, drinking wine, and catching up. Pretty damn perfect. It was wonderful to see everyone and hopefully we won’t wait as long in between visits next time.

coughcoughmovetoaustincoughcough

Monday morning we packed all of our crap into the truck for the umpteenth (and FINAL) time and jumped on the Suncoast Highway to begin the journey home. The plan was to drive straight through and just get the F home. Our erratic sleep schedules and general disdain for driving in general made the trip down I-10 a little challenging and required more caffeine than the first leg of the trip.

We ambitiously went grocery shopping on 3 hours sleep yesterday which ended up being a HUGE mistake because it was absolutely slammed and I wanted to run everyone over with my shopping cart. Or my car. Definitely one of those. We ordered a pizza for dinner and rented Prisoners. I think I made it mayyyybe 10 minutes into the movie before I passed out hard on the couch… at 8:30. And when I woke up it was 2am. Whoops – missed New Year’s Eve! It’s virtually impossible for me to fall asleep on the couch so I had to have been super tired. Brad tried to stay up but only lasted until 11. Super exciting night over here.

Well, now we have an extra bottle of champagne for mimosas. Never a bad thing.

Happy New Year!

Running on a Formula 1 Track

This recap will be short since we didn’t actually “race” the 5K but I thought the newest race to hit the Austin area needed a little attention. HITS Endurance may have held its first event in Austin last weekend, but this wasn’t their first rodeo. They have many other events, including Napa Valley, OKC, Lake Havasu, and New York.

HITS Endurance - Austin

The Formula 1 track in Austin hosted their first US Grand Prix in 2012. RunTex launched a Formula Run race several weeks before the Grand Prix where runners could do one full lap around the F1 track [slightly under 3.5 miles]. The race didn’t fit in with my training for Philly so I figured I’d run it in 2013. When it came time to register, the fee was $50 or $60. I get that you’re paying for the experience, but that still hurts the wallet a bit for such a short race. Austin Runners Club was promoting the HITS Endurance race and I ended up only paying $25 for pretty much the same course as Formula Run.

20131214_103310

HITS had multiple distances [1M, 5K, 10K, Half & Full Marathon, Sprint Duathlon] and the start was staggered. The half / full marathon started at 7am, the 5K / 10K started at 11am, and the duathlon started at 2pm. I really thought I’d love the delayed start but it ended up throwing off my day. I wanted to enjoy my coffee and relax, but instead I was trying to chug the coffee and chase it with Nuun.

We left the house around 9:45 to head out to Circuit of the Americas in Del Valle. It was a windy and chilly morning, bringing back painful memories from Shiner. Parking was plentiful [the venue does host the F1 race, after all] so that wasn’t an issue. We found an area to huddle inside near the start to get a break from the wind. That was definitely a nice perk!

20131214_105323

At quarter to 11 everyone began lining up at the start. The 10K runners were released slightly earlier than us since both distances were an out-and-back and they needed to get a jump start on the course. Just as the 10K was about to kickoff, a marathon runner came flying into the finish. It was weird to see an athlete running towards us, but I guess that’s what happens when using the same area for start/finish.

The course had a fair amount of hills, including a killer climb the second you crossed the starting mat. Although since this was an out-and-back, it gave you a super fast downhill finish. There was a water stop just before the turnaround which had water, gatorade, and candy – yes, candy. Pretty strange, but I’d be lying if I said I turned down that KitKat.

20131214_110059

20131214_110229

20131214_113613

20131214_114435

One thing I thought was cool for this race was that a checkered flag was handed to the lead runner for each distance in the final 800m so they could cross the finish line with it.

20131216_205450

I will say that the medal for the aforementioned Formula Run race was much cooler than the one for HITS, which was a little generic. But $25 cooler? I’m not so sure. In any case, it was pretty awesome to run on a track where cars race at 200mph!

Something New

Since I was able to successfully transfer over subscribers, my WP readers probably noticed ‘Melissa Runs’ is a thing of the past. If you manage your blogs in Feedly or Bloglovin’, it’s quite possible you truly had no idea I renamed and revamped the site.

At the end of 2011, I made the decision to leave a joint blog behind [We Run for Wine – has anyone been around long enough to remember that?] and create Melissa Runs. It filled all of my requirements [running-related, short URL, etc.] and worked out quite well over the past two years. A few months ago I started getting the itch to change the name again. Not so much because I wanted something new, but content was a big factor. I definitely still want to write about races & running shoes [duh], but felt like the ‘Runs’ part of my blog held me back from delving more into my personal life. And to be honest, I kinda grew to hate having my name in the blog title. Seems like a silly little thing, but it drove me nuts.

I had a discussion with this girl about it back in September, but never moved forward with anything because I was nervous about the change. I wanted a clean, modern new look but also didn’t want to pay someone $500 to design it for me. I found a few graphic designers who were awesome and very affordable, but only worked with writers using the Blogger platform. I still don’t understand why people use Blogger – how do you live without threaded comments?! Anyway, after a ton of research and many DMs with Kristin [who was super nice & patient with me while I bombarded her with questions] I felt confident enough to make the switch on my own.

The last weekend in November I purchased the new domain name for So These Are My Thirties. It’s doubtful I’ll still be blogging in my 40s [despite what Paula says] so this new moniker should cover the rest of my existence on the Internet. I somewhat feel like a fraud launching this before actually turning 30, which doesn’t happen until next month and when it does? Please hold me. But I had the free time and wanted to pull the trigger on it before changing my mind. I created a new header, cleaned up the sidebars, found a new theme, and played with a ton of different fonts. There’s still a lot of work to do, like re-categorizing posts and updating old links because not a single plug-in I’ve tried will fix all of the 404s. But I’m happy with it so far and excited about the change!

And with that, I welcome you to…

So These Are My Thirties

The One With The Whiskey Pinata

This weekend was pretty busy and probably not as productive as it should have been. I did, however, create a ridiculously detailed color-coded spreadsheet on Sunday for our upcoming trip while sitting on my butt all day watching football. That counts for something, right?

Friday night I worked packet pickup for HITS Endurance (race recap tomorrow) at Texas Running Company downtown. The weather sucked all day so traffic was an absolute nightmare and it took over an hour to go less than 7 miles. That was fun. Packet pickup wasn’t terribly busy, most likely due to the weather, so it gave Jeanette and I plenty of time to catch up. I also managed to leave the store without buying a single thing. Pretty sure that’s a Christmas miracle.

I came to a gift from my Oiselle Team Secret Santa, which is AMAZING and I love it so much. It’s ridiculously perfect! Meghan rocks.

IMG_20131213_195706

Brad went grocery shopping while I was at the volunteer shift since we weren’t sure where else it would fit into the weekend. The plan was to make a huge batch of chili on Sunday night and then use the leftovers for lunches during the week. I emailed the recipe over to Brad and let him know to double everything, except for the onion and garlic because we already had both. Well, he missed the garlic part and bought 4 cloves of garlic. Or so he thought.

garlic
When I got home, he asked “These are cloves, right?” Ha!

Neither of us felt like cooking so we ordered Chinese and caught up on the DVR. No spoilers, but HOLY SHIT to Grey’s Anatomy and Sons of Anarchy. I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open during the entire episode of Sons.

SOAFX

Saturday morning we ran the HITS 5K. There was an 11am start and I kinda hated it. Thought I’d enjoy the late start and ability to sleep in, but it ended up taking up a decent part of the day. More on that tomorrow. On our way back we stopped at  Kerbey Lane for brunch to grab something to eat before running errands. Thanks to Foursquare we realized it had been 10 months since our last visit and that’s just unacceptable.

20131214_133853

There was guac in our queso, brisket in our eggs benedict, and bacon (!!) in our pancakes. Whoa. I could hardly even breathe when we left and was completely uninterested in going shopping. But we went anyway. Halfway through our Target trip we remembered that the party we were going to that night was actually a birthday party and we probably shouldn’t show up empty handed. After a few laps around the store and a bit of brainstorming, we walked out with a piñata. Yes, you read that right – a piñata.

And then we went to the liquor store. Introducing the Whiskey Piñata:

20131214_154254

IMG_20131214_154223

The party that night was themed and we needed to dress up as our favorite vinyl cover. We thought about going as Johnny Cash and June Carter, but scrapped the couples idea when Brad asked if he had to shave and I realized there was nothing June-esque in my closet. We left the house as Bruce Springsteen and Joan Jett.

1466193_10202090679807609_1415925524_n The Whiskey Piñata was a HUGE hit! You know, literally. We had only one casualty out of twenty-ish bottles, so not horrible. At least they were plastic – could have been worse!

20131214_200342

600646_10100557044445595_2129527679_n

20131214_222432

Obviously all of the whiskey sours and whiskey shots made for veryyyyy lazy Sunday morning. We were dogsitting and none of the 4 dogs understood the concept of letting us sleep in so afternoon naps were definitely necessary. I also caught up on blogs, worked on the trip spreadsheet, and watched football – all things which could be done while comfortably sitting on the couch in my PJs. It was glorious. I made a vat of IGE’s Sweet & Spicy Chili for an early dinner and we were in bed by 8pm. That was also glorious.

And so that’s the story of the last weekend we’ll spend in Austin for 2013.

Thursday Things

1. I’m in a weird place with The Voice. At the beginning of this season it was always the last show in our DVR that we watched. The 2 or 3 hour shows are painful to sit through and to be honest, we fast forward through all of the personal stories and filler crap. I didn’t get invested in anyone until really late in the season – and then they went home. Not really sure how Tessanne made it as far as she has, definitely not her biggest fan. But Jacquie Lee? Um, where the hell did she get a voice like that? It’s kind of ridiculous to hear a teenager belt songs out the way she does. Anyway, after this season I’m not sure if we’ll watch anymore. Kinda over it.

2. Have you seen how WestJet made hundreds of passengers’ Christmas wishes come true? Pretty damn cool.

3. This and this brought back memories of the way too many years I spent in the service industry. If you’re a former (or current) server/bartender, you’ll be nodding your head agreeing with each and every point. And even if you’ve never stepped in a restaurant to do anything other than stuff your face, they’re still worth a read to see how NOT to piss off the people who handle your food. 

Worst Restaurant People

4. Brad and I have opposing opinions on which Home Alone movie is the best. His is the original and mine is Lost in New York. Generally I despise all sequels (don’t ruin a good thing!) but for some reason Home Alone 2 doesn’t fall in that bucket. I love Kevin McAllister livin’ it up at the Plaza Hotel. Which is your favorite?

Kevin McCallister - Home Alone 2

5. I’m a serial returner. As in, I buy things and 9 times out of 10 they go straight back to the store. I don’t know if it’s impulse buying or buyer’s remorse. Obviously it happens way too often because any time I’m about to click “Submit Order” on something, Brad asks me why I’m buying something I’m going to return anyway. YOU DON’T KNOW ME! Okay fine, nine years later I guess you probably know me. I’ve even tried waiting a week or two before buying something to make sure I realllllllly want it. Unfortunately the outcome is still the same: return, return, return. So strange. If anything, it’s good for my credit cards.

Tackling Holiday Travel

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Holiday Problems - Part 2

Aside from those mentioned in Part I, another huge source of anxiety for me is holiday travel. Not so much the ACTUAL traveling, but the planning and being able to afford it at a time of year where we’re already spending a significant amount of money on gifts and whatnot. When I lived in Florida, my parents came down for Christmas almost every year. I didn’t fight it, I mean come on – Christmas on the beach? Yes please. It was a no brainer.

Once I moved to Texas, things changed quite a bit. Here’s how Christmas has looked over the past few years:

2009: My family drove out to Texas for the week, Brad flew to Florida on Christmas Eve to see his family
2010: Brad went to Florida and I went to NJ. I got stuck there for an extra week due to a massive snowstorm. Yikes.
2011: We stayed in Texas.
2012: We stayed in Texas.

386297_862061130755_916690525_n

While spending the holiday alone is low-key and stress-free, we’re also spending the holiday alone without our families. So last December we made a pact to figure out some way to see both families for Christmas in 2013. I had the bright idea for us to fly to Florida, then on Christmas Eve fly to New Jersey, and then fly back to Texas a few days later. Once I priced that thing out it was obvious this option would NOT be in our budget. We also had the added obstacle of the two dogs. If we went out of town, we’d have to find somewhere for them to go. I’m not a huge fan of the boarding option, especially because of how much it would cost. I really didn’t want to have to leave them. After a ton of brainstorming and number crunching, we finally figured out a way to make it all work.

Road Trip!

Sox Drives

We’re jumping in the truck with the dogs and heading to Florida. I’ll spend a few days with Brad’s family and then fly up to New Jersey on Christmas Eve to see mine. Then we’ll meet back up the following weekend and drive back to Texas, making a pit stop to see this girl on the way. Somehow this crazy ass plan is the most cost-effective. I was able to book two one-way tickets to/from NJ for $100 each [on Jetblue + Southwest, so $0 bag fees] which is a RIDICULOUS steal for holiday airfare. Since I never take any time off and will be out of the office for quite awhile, my boss has been referring to this trip as my sabbatical. He’s hilarious.

Anyway, I’m glad it all worked out and that we’ll be able to bring the dogs. Not entirely sure how the drive is going to work to/from Florida with a 100lb and 70lb dog in the truck, but it should certainly be interesting. And I’m also kinda concerned about having to pack for two different climates. I have a feeling I’ll be bringing a lot of layers so there’s options.

I’m super excited to see family/friends in New Jersey and Florida. Can’t believe it’s only a couple weeks away!

How do you tackle the holidays in your house? Do you travel or does your family come to you?

Do the holidays usually run you into the ground? Will you definitely need a cure for your #HolidayProblems by the end of December? Enter to win a trip for two to Travaasa Austin in 2014!

holiday problems

Disclaimer: Earlier this year I fell in love with Travaasa Austin [reviews :: resort stay & culinary class / wine tasting] and they are offering to send me back in exchange for my participation in their #HolidayProblems campaign. My thoughts + opinions on Travaasa are 100% my own and no additional compensation will be received.

Share your #HolidayProblems and enter to win!

Elf Pub Run

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Earlier this week the 3M Half Marathon celebrated their 20th Anniversary by hosting a pub run, Elf-style. The event popped up on do512 [if you’re in the Austin area, you need to follow them on Twitter and/or FB – you’ll never miss a thing in town] a few weeks ago and since Elf is one of my [and everyone else’s] favorite Christmas movies, I knew this a pub run that couldn’t be missed.

Elf Pub Run Collage

I’d tell you the route we ran, but I think 3M narrated it best:

So, grab all your “buddies,” meet at the Paramount and then “pass through the seven layers of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gumdrops, and jog through the Lincoln Tunnel.” Okay, okay…so it’s more like through the swirly twirly layers of downtown Austin construction, across 6th street (if you see gum there, don’t eat it, it isn’t free candy), around the Frosty tower, until you can follow the scent of the “world’s best sausage” and follow it to Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden at 79 Rainey Street. Once there, grab a pint of “holiday cheer” – a.k.a. complimentary local Austin beer and a sausage wrap from Banger’s that will be available for purchase for $8 cash. Then make your way back around the Frosty Tower, across 6th street (don’t hug anything there), through the swirly twirly layers of downtown construction, and back to the theatre for more “holiday cheer” a.k.a. complimentary local Austin beer and a 7:45pm screening of Elf.

There were approximately 300 runners so they sent about 20 of us off at a time, leaving a couple minutes between each wave. Downtown was decorated for Christmas so that definitely made the run more festive, despite the fact that it was 80 degrees outside (WTF Texas).

There were volunteers along the way holding signs with funny sayings adapted from the movie, like this one:

20131202_201857

I didn’t wear my Garmin so I have no idea how far we actually ran to/from Banger’s, but obviously not far enough that a couple beers would make the trip back miserable. Our drink ticket got us each an Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap Pils, which surprisingly wasn’t bad. When I saw they were pouring light beer, I was disappointed – but it ended up being pretty decent. After that round we made the executive decision to skip the “World’s Best Sausage” and check out the 100+ beers on tap inside.

20131202_190456

20131202_190511

Um, I have trouble deciding what beer to have when there’s only 5 options on the menu… but 103? It took me ten minutes to make up my mind! They’re organized into categories like “Hop Heaven” and “Dark & Roasty” which was super helpful for the ones I had never heard of. There was a java stout calling my name, but the thought of drinking it and running afterwards just didn’t seem like a good plan, so I ended up with Founder’s Brewing’s Dirty Bastard scotch ale. It was REALLY good and had tons of flavor. Brad went with Sixpoint Global Warmer, which was good but super fruity.

20131202_191256

After that round, we switched back into running mode and made our way back to the Paramount. Everyone received 2 tickets back at the theater which you could redeem for beer, popcorn, or other concessions. They were also handing out gift bags that included a water bottle, beer koozie, Texas-shaped Post-Its, and a 3M Half Marathon magnet. Oh and before the race they handed out reflective armbands to all of the runners. For a $15 pub run, I definitely think we got our money’s worth.

Before the movie started, race director John Conley awarded free entries to 3M in 2014 to the five best festively dressed runners. Loved Mr. Narwhal, very original!

20131202_195144

And if you follow me on Instagram, you’ve already seen this gem:

20131202_211452

“It looks like a Christmas tree!” We act like adults approximately 5% of the time.