Sweet Life!

First of all, I’d like to thank you all for baring with me through that last post. I always get super nervous when I post about a serious topic, but your comments and kind words, once again, proved that I did the right thing by posting. I’m trying to keep my blog as honest as possible, and while most of the time life is all rainbows and butterflies, it isn’t always. So, thank you!

Enough of that.

After a long, internal battle about what to do this weekend I made a split second decision to stay in Maryland and attend the Sweet Life Festival. Holy cow, what a day it was!

The Sweet Life Festival is an all-day event sponsored by Sweetgreen (a super popular FroYo place around here) where they bring in local food vendors and have multiple stages with bands playing alllllllll day.

I’ve been to Merriweather before (a few times) and nearly every time I come, I get soaked due to torrential downpour (hence the irony of the name). Of course, the forecast for Saturday was calling for much of the same. That didn’t deter us. We packed up our ponchos, I grabbed some Clever Wraps for my iPhone, and we headed out bracing for the worst. We got to the pavilion a little after 11 (doors opened at 12) for a bit of a parking lot pre-game.

My deciding factor in attending the festival was that one of my favorite bands was playing: Fun. They went onstage at 12:30, which was super early. I’m assuming they had them as the first act in an attempt to draw the crowds in early. It worked on me! But, I was actually surprised at how empty it was for their set. I later found out that the shuttles that they were advertising to bring people into the venue were 3 hours late (ouch), which was the main reason that people weren’t there.

Fun. was AWESOME though. We got to jam out down on the floor for their entire set! They were super high energy and the lead singer’s voice sounds just as great live as it does on the album.

Excuse my singing.

Next up was A$AP Rocky. They were a rap group I had never heard of. We weren’t that impressed, so we decided to go check out food and drinks halfway through their set. The food was located in the “Food Forest” which was a separate portion of the venue. They had their own secondary stage with local/lesser known bands playing all day. It was a really chill atmosphere.

We opted for some burgers from Shake Shack and margaritas. Holy nom nom!

After that we decided to recover from our food comas by hanging out on the lawn.

Sarah and Colin opted for nap time. Old farts.

Speaking of being old. There were times were I really did feel like the oldest person there. While we were chillin’ on the lawn, there were swarms of high school and college kids. Colin made the observation that he felt like a “creeper”, I’m assuming because there were far too many young girls in the area. I don’t remember being able to go to events like this unaccompanied by adults when I was in high school. Either I was super sheltered, or times have achanged. Not only that, but there were some super-hipsters there. Don’t worry, I fit right in.

Once Fitz and the Tantrum started, we decided to head back down to the floor. I had never heard of them before, but they really rocked it! I’ve got to see if I can find more of their music on Spotify.

After Fitz was another band I had never heard of: Explosions in the Sky. Sarah is a big fan of theirs, so we braved the floor for their set as well. They were alright, but a little too chill for my taste. It was awkward because people were crowd surfing, which seemed out of place. Plus, I kept getting kicked in the head…which wasn’t annoying at all.

After Explosions in the Sky was The Shins. Around this time, I started to get super tired. We headed off the floor, found some beer, and a few seats a little higher up in the venue. It also started to rain around this time, so there was a mad rush of people from the lawn trying to stay dry. Pwnd. I like The Shins, but I’ve got to admit, I didn’t pay very close attention to their set. I don’t remember many details except that the place started filling up and my stomach started hurting.

Once The Shins were done it was time for Kid Cudi. Or so we thought. Cudi was about 45 minutes late getting onto the stage. My tiredness escalated during the long wait. We thought about leaving, but Colin was really excited to see him so we stuck it out. He started just in time, because I was seriously about to punch someone in the face. We found our way back onto the floor and I’ve got to say, I’m glad we stayed because I really had fun (not to be confused with Fun.). He is really awesome live and the crowd was SO into it.

We were too!

Once Cudi was done, we knew there was only act left. Avicii, who was the headliner. Since we were already on the floor, we figured we might as well get our money’s worth and stay for it. Somehow (seriously, don’t ask me how, I blame Colin), we found ourselves crammed up against 400 of our closest friends in the 3rd row. I’ve got to say, it was a PRETTY epic rave.

My entire body hurt afterward. Like, literally, every part. I think I might still be recovering today. I really am getting too old for this shit. Worth it.

You may have noticed, 95% of these photos were taken with Instagram. The festival was promoting the use of Instagram and Twitter hardcore. I’ve never been to a concert where they promoted photo technology like that, so I thought it was a cool concept. I would have gone even crazier with it, but once the venue filled up my AT&T service was shotty, at best. Typical.

What do you think of artists/festivals self-promoting through social media? Does it work or not?

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What’s My Age Again?

Time for some real-talk on this here blog.

There isn’t much that stresses me out. School, no problemo! Work, bring it on! I’m one of those people who flies by the seat of their pants, way better at making game-time decisions than having everything planned out. So, that’s why it’s surprising that I’ve been stressed lately. Even more surprising is what I’ve been stressed about: The Future.

It all started the other night after a conversation I had with my mom:

Mom: I watched that show Property Virgins on HGTV the other day, have you seen it?
Me: Yeah, I’ve seen it. Why?
Mom: Well, I just noticed that a lot of the people on that show were your age. I was just wondering if you’ve thought at all about investing in property?

After vehemently saying “no” for about 15 minutes (and citing many credible reasons: I don’t want to settle down here, I don’t know where life will take me in a few years, I don’t want to be tied down by a mortgage, it’s super expensive to own in Silver Spring and I don’t want to leave the city, etc, etc), it really got me thinking.

Is this something I’m supposed to be thinking about right now? I’m 25 years old. Buying houses is for old people who are married and settled down. I’m 25 years old. Oh god, should I be thinking about getting married and settling down? A lot of my good friends from high school and college are getting engaged, and some are already married and homeowners. Am I late to the game? This isn’t something that has been on my radar. Is it supposed to be? I’ve never been one of those girls who is itching for that, and I’m still not. So, I can’t figure out why this is causing so much anxiety (and it is…enough so for me to feel compelled to write about it anyway).

Don’t get me wrong. I like my job, I like the company I work for, I like my friends, I like where I live…for the time being. But I also know that things won’t stay like this forever. My friends are already relocating, forging new relationships, and moving on. So what happens when everyone I like in this town is gone? Then what? I do want to get married, buy a house, have kids…eventually, but when is that supposed to be? Not just that, but also career wise: am I supposed to know exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life? Because I have no idea. I could just as easily stay in media forever as I could open a wine and cheese shop. I’d be happy with either. When am I supposed to decide?

Recently, I’ve had a few serious conversations about where I want to end up in life. What’s alarming is that, when prompted, I can’t honestly say what I want. I don’t know. I don’t have a 5-year plan because I’ve never been one for planning. My family moved around a bunch when I was a kid so I’ve never felt super connected to one place. Home was wherever my family was. I don’t even really know what I consider to be my hometown, I’m a Pennsyvirgitonian! Which may be why I’m having trouble picturing myself settling in one place.

I’m not even ready to settle down right now, so I’ve been trying to figure out where this pressure is coming from. I read a bunch of healthy-living blogs on a regular basis, and everyone seems so perfect. They are settled, married, living healthy, happy lives. Is it possible that I’m jealous? Not only that, but being young in the professional world, I am constantly surrounded by people who are older than me. A lot of people who I work directly with (although they are all older than me…but not by much) are married and most have children. They talk about them all the time, and sometimes bring them to the office. They all seem to have their lives figured out. Do I feel left out? My sister is expecting her first child (a boy!!) and while I’m very, very excited, I can’t stop thinking about how she is only 4 years older than me. When she was my age, she was already married for a year.

Then again, people may very well look at my life and wish that they could live free and spontaneously like I do. The grass is always greener on the other side, is it not?

I feel like I just graduated college. But really, not that recently. Sometimes I still feel like a kid (this might be due to the fact that I watched 2 hours of Hey, Arnold! the other night, but whatever), and other times I feel like a full-fledged adult. It’s like I’m in some sort of weird limbo.

I’m 25 years old. Is that too old or too young to be thinking about all this stuff?

No cliche question to ask. If you have any thoughts, feel free to share.

Setting the bar…low

The barbell, that is.

A few years back when I was still at JMU, I had a brief love affair with lifting weights. 85% of the reason I started lifting was so that I could hang out in the weight room where all the cute guys were. The other 15% of that equation was that I actually sort of enjoyed lifting weights. I did this fairly regularly for about a year until, of course, I inevitably graduated and lost my amazing free gym.

So, thus, my love affair with weight lifting came to an abrupt end. Until today that is.

If you know me at all, you know I cave into peer pressure pretty easily. So, on this cold, rainy, morning (okay, fine, it was noon) as I was laying in bed, in my PJ’s, wondering if I should watch Free Willy or Rocko’s Modern Life on Netflix, when I got a phone call from my friend Colin. The conversation went something like this:

Colin: CAITSTRIDES [yes, he calls me this]! What are you doing?
Me: I’m just chillin’, what’s up?
Colin: Stop chillin’. We’re going to the gym to lift weights.
Me: No.
Colin: Caitstrides, get out of bed. We need get ripped at the gym. I need to do jump rope and you said you wanted to start lifting weights again.
Me: No, I don’t want to.
Colin: Caitlin, listen, I didn’t want it to come to this, but…someone’s life is depending on whether or not you go to the gym right NOW.
Me: No.
Colin: Cool, I’ll be up in 10 minutes.
Me: Fine.

While I was not happy with him at the time, I figured I’d probably be thanking him in an hour. And I was.

I forgot how much I LOVE to lift weights. It’s been over a year since I did any weight lifting and it’s pretty crazy how much strength I’ve lost in my arms. I had to decrease the weights from 40 lbs to 25. By the end of the workout I couldn’t even do 15 lb tricep curls. OUCH! How did I used to do this?

Anyway, I’ve decided that I’m going to start incorporating weight lifting into my regular routine again, especially since my apartment complex has a free gym that I really should start to utilize more. There are so many benefits, especially for runners. I need to start building strength again now that I know I have that whole endurance thing down. I’m aiming for 3 times a week, now I just need to find a legit weight lifting routine so that I’m not just doing random weights. I need to be working towards a goal.

After a solid hour’s workout, we headed back home (feeling great) and had a delicious Sunday morning breakfast.

On the docket for the rest of the day: Mad Men marathon! I’ve been wanting to start watching this series for awhile. Today is the day!

And fun dip! I heard sugar is really good for muscle recovery. Okay, not really. But, whatever!

Oh! New development: I can’t lift my arms up over my head. Soreness, you slay me!

What weight lifting routines do you use? What do you like/not like about it? I’m looking for a good one to start! Please share.

Confessions

I’ve seen some of my favorite bloggers do this series and I love it! So, I thought I’d test the waters.

Confession: I hate the smell of fresh cut grass

(Source)

Please excuse me while I puke. Blaaaaaaah! So many people tell me that the smell of fresh cut grass is one of their favorite smells because it reminds them of the start of summer and barbecues and what not. You know what smell reminds ME of barbecues? Barbecue. NOT fresh cut grass. Whenever I’m running and I see someone mowing their lawn out in front of me, I brace for the worst. Not only will I get a nose full of that poignant smell, but I’m also deathly afraid that one of those big blades is going to swing right off the mower and chop my leg off. Irrational? Maybe. But still possible. Ugh, just stop mowing your lawn when I’m running. Get on that, people.

Confession: I’m addicted to sunglasses

But I take terrible care of them or lose every pair I own. That’s why I won’t buy anything over $20! Actually, I think the more expensive the sunglasses, the quicker I ruin them. I have a $3 pair from 4 years ago that are still in perfect condition, but my $20 pair is gone in 4 months tops. Imagine how quickly I’d lose a $300 pair. Exactly. Anyway, I just bought 3 new pairs for the summer and I’m hoping that at least one survives through August.

Confession: Race T-Shirts are always too short for me

See? This is the only picture I could find where I was even wearing one.

I’m starting to accumulate quite a collection of race t-shirts now, but confession: I don’t like most of them! 90% of my race t-shirts are way too short. Like they were made for people people who are 5’3″ rather than 5’8″ (which they probably were). Sorry I’m tall and have a long torso, help a girl out!

Confession: I LOOOOVE sweet potato chips

Categorize this under: Foods I never would have touched a few years ago. I love, love, love these chips as a not-too-too-terrible-for-you afternoon snack. Check out the ingredients list:

All things I can pronounce. Winning! I may or may not have had these for lunch today. And some cake. Go ahead, judge me!

Confession: I can’t stop listening to Jason Mraz’s new album – Love is a Four Letter Word

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Do people still like this guy? I don’t know. Nor do I really care. And obviously he doesn’t care either since he’s looking like a dirty hippie lately.

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I dig it and his new album is GREAT!! So you should probably go listen to it too.

What are your confessions?

Aunt Cait Update: It’s a………..

The suspense is killing you, right? It was killing me too!

Last Friday, Erin and Robert found out the sex of their soon-to-be little one. They had a very exciting and creative way to share the news with the whole family (including themselves!). On Friday, my sister went to the doctor’s office for an ultrasound. Once they had determined the sex, she asked them to hold off on telling her, but rather to write it down on a notecard and put it into a sealed envelope. They then, brought that envelope to a bakery where they asked the baker to make the icing on the inside of the cake blue if the notecard read: boy, and pink if the notecard read: girl.

On Friday night, my whole family met up at my sister’s house for a dessert-first (!) dinner party! We were all itching with excitement. So much so that I don’t even really know how to describe the moment. Luckily Naturally, I caught the whole thing on video. So, I think it’s best if you just watch:

Excuse my obnoxious screaming. We were all overjoyed! IT’S A BOY!!!

The cake was actually delicious, made even better by that bright blue icing. Congratulations Erin and Robert!!!!

Perhaps you are wondering why I took an extreme close up of my mom in the video. Well, here’s the reason: my mom was 100% convinced that Erin and Robert were having a girl. When we asked her how she was so sure (I mean, there’s a 50-50 chance that it could be either) she said she “just knew” because she had a “motherly instinct”. The fact that she was so adamant about it being a girl clearly made me want to wager some money against her. I swear, I don’t have a gambling addiction! I placed a “friendly” $5 wager on it being a boy, after which we proceeded to trash talk for about 2 weeks. It was sweet vindication when I saw the blue icing! Thanks for the easy $5, mom! [For the record: she’s thrilled that it’s a boy. I’m sure she would have been thrilled either way, actually!]

Not only did I find out that I’m getting a nephew on Friday, but I also tried jambalaya for the first time. I told you, I’m on a cajun food kick! I really liked it. Robert made his with sausage, shrimp, rice, beans, onions, peppers, and tomato. Everyone thought it was super spicy, but I didn’t think it was spicy enough! This also marks my very first bean experience. Be proud, y’all. Be proud.

Of notable mention for the weekend, I also went to my first National’s baseball game of the season. So much fun! Would do again.

What a happy weekend. 😀

DC Weekend [In Pictures]

My friend Kristina came to visit from Seattle this past weekend. And boy, were we busy! I had a great time getting to play tourist in my own city and even hit up some monuments I’ve never been to!

I’m not even going to attempt to write a blog post about it because it would be super lengthy and would basically just be about food, drinks, and soccer. So instead, I will show you what we did in photo form!

SO much fun!  I love out of town visitors.

Have you ever played tourist in your own hometown? What fun things did you discover?

Mid-Week Musings and a West Coast Visitor

Longest title ever, am I right?

Anyway, I woke up this morning and without even opening my eyes, I dressed for work. Satisfied with the outfit I was wearing, I looked in the mirror before leaving and realized I look like a TOTAL hipster. I’m starting to realize that in all my jest about hipsters, I might be actually turning into one myself. Shit. Someone hand me a guitar, right meow.

Don’t worry, I added a special hipster-esque filter to give it the full effect. Also, do you know how freaking hard it is to get a full body picture when you’re 5’8″ and have T-Rex arms? Not an easy task, my friends. Not an easy task!

Today is Thursday! That means that my best friend from Washington (State) is flying in today! Kristina and I have known each other since our middle school days back when I lived out on the West Coast. We bonded over a shared love of all things *NSYNC, soccer, and ice cream…but mostly just the *NSYNC thing.

We’ve been able to stay in touch over the past 10 (holy cow!) years and still get to see each other on occasion, for instance when I have a 7 hour layover in Seattle on my way to Hawaii! This will be Kristina’s first time visiting me in DC and I plan to show her all the sights! And by the sights, I mean, we’re going to nom on some burgers from Good Stuff Eatery, eat FroYo, and drink lots of margaritas. Sensing a theme here?

If we find time, we’re also going to hit up a DC United game. Why? 1) We both love soccer! and 2) they’re playing the Seattle Sounders!!! Kristina is a die-hard Sounders fan and I used to go to games before they were even an MLS team. I even bought this sweet jersey for the special occasion:

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Random factoid about me: Although I’ve lived on the east coast most of my life, almost all of my sports team loyalties (except Penn State) lie on the west coast. Go Sounders! Go Seahawks! Go Mariners!

Do you have any weird sports-team loyalties?

Monument Ave 10k

This past weekend, I hit the road once again. This time to Richmond for the Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k.

I had plans to run this race with two of good friends: Meredith and Brook. Meredith’s parents live in Richmond (she lives up here in DC), and Brook lives in North Carolina. So we were all coming from different places and meeting in Richmond. Despite leaving work early, I hit an obscene amount of traffic. After about 3 hours of sitting on I-95 South, I looked like this:

Brook texted me and said that she was just leaving and was hitting no traffic.

Brook is a jerk.

Anyway, once I finally got to Richmond 4.5 hours later (seriously, longest it’s ever taken me to get there!) I went out in search of Italian (gotta carb load!) food with a few Richmond natives: Jim and Joe. The first place we tried was super crowded (I think due to a ton of runners with the same idea), so we headed across the street to the Village Cafe. The pasta was decent, huge portions, and exactly what I was craving. But my favorite part about this meal was that water was served in half pitchers:

As someone who chugs water like a camel, I appreciated this. Plus, I was trying to hydrate for my race!

A few weeks ago, Meredith approached me about possibly running this race in support of her friend Bess who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 26. Bess is a fellow JMU grad and an aspiring runner, so naturally, I was all for it. Last week, Meredith and I made t-shirts for the 3 of us runner girls, which turned out awesome (I think so anyway) and worked out really well for race day.

Front

Back

I had been monitoring the weather all week, which was calling for rain. Of course, mother nature delivered. It was a gloomy, wet morning. Meredith’s parents were nice enough to drive us to the start line on race morning, so we wouldn’t have to worry about parking. It was so clutch to not have to battle for parking with the 40,000 (!!!) other participants!

Seriously, this race is huge. All of Richmond must run it, because I have never seen so many people in one place at one time. There were about 35 corrals starting with elite runners and ending with walkers. I started in an early(ish) corral, pacing with folks who were planned to finish in about 56 minutes. My one qualm about the start line was that the bag check was located 6 blocks away. We actually had ask someone at the information booth where it was because we didn’t see any signs pointing us in the right direction. Once we checked our bags, Brook and I headed to our corral and Meredith headed to hers (she was running a few behind us with her cousin).

The race itself is a nice, flat, 3 miles down Monument Avenue. The beginning is pretty crammed. I had to weave in and out of other runners, and definitely found myself running on the sidewalk at times. I hate when I have to do that! But once we hit mile 1, the crowd thinned out. The cobblestone streets are slightly uneven and I had to watch my step a few times as to not trip. But I spent most of the race keeping an eye out for my friend Sarah, who was visiting friends in Richmond and said she’d come out to cheer us on. I spotted her just past mile 5 and it was the boost I needed to finish strong!

I felt great, and my legs felt strong. But I definitely did not PR. There were way too many people to dodge! Here are the official results:

52:15? Not too shabby for a rainy day!

Meredith and Brook did great too! Meredith finished in under an hour, and Brook was only a few minutes behind that. I’m so proud of them!

One of my favorite aspects of this race is that people have fun with it. There were a lot people dressed in costume like these guys, for example:

Post race, I had a margarita (necessary) and a quesadilla (and that’s not even close to everything I ate this day hahaha).

And then I did about 4 hours of this:

Note to self: get a hammock…and a dog.

Have you ever PR’ed at a crowded race? How do you deal with all the people?