ShabbyBlogs - Must be Maddie

Sunday, December 15, 2013


This week's long run was 6 miles.  Admittedly I was nervous about it.  That's a lot of miles.  I have never run 6 miles in my life.  Five miles yes, but 6...get out of town buddy.

Leading up to the long run, I made sure the day before and day of I was adequately hydrated.  I know from past experience that if I am not hydrated, my runs suffer.

Friday afternoon, knowing that I had at least an hour of running ahead of me, I ended work early.  Strapped on my shoes and got comfy for my longest run ever.

Now that I am running in the cold, something I am getting used to, I knew the first two miles may be tough.  I was right.  As usual it took me about two miles to get warmed up which means for those two miles I was tight, uncomfortable and not yet settled, and my shins hurt.  BUT!  Around 2.5 miles I found my rhythm and the shin pain subsided.  I felt good.  I ran faster.  When RunKeeper (the app I use to track my running) said I reached 6 miles, I fist bumped the air and found a surge of energy within me.  This wasn't so bad, really.  So I kept running for another half mile.

I ran 6.5 miles on Friday.  

Go Me!  I was/am so proud of myself.  It's good to set a goal for myself and attain it - no matter how much or how long it took.  On Friday, I exceeded my goal.

This running/training thing is doing me good.  I like this.

Friday, December 6, 2013


So a couple weeks ago my North Carolina BFF asked if I would be interested in running a half marathon with her.  I was hesitant but running a half marathon is on my life list.  After sleeping on it I agreed!  I figure now is as good a time as any.  I asked my friend in town, K also a runner, if she would be interested in doing it - she agreed!

Three of us are running a half marathon mid-March 2014.  Boom!

This is my second week of training.  K found a 16 week running plan online and it looked pretty good to me.  Running 4 times a week with one long run and slowly increasing the mileage.

Last week's long run was 4 miles and it was painful.  The day after Thanksgiving was not a great day to run...especially considering I had been driving for a couple hours so I was stiff and was fairly stuffed from the day before.  It was a slow and painful 4 miles but I did it.

This week's long run was 5 miles and it was great!  I needed a good run.  A run that was smooth with no shin pain.  I was able to do 5.32 miles in 54 min 47 seconds.  WAY better than the last 5 miles I ran which took an hour.

I feel encouraged.  I feel proud of myself.  I feel hungry!  :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

jury duty

Last Friday I fulfilled my civic duty and reported for jury duty.  Although I didn't want to miss work because I'm a workaholic, I was curious about the whole judicial process given the general climate of the news lately and because I have never been called in as a juror before.

Essentially my name was called as an alternate juror and then a bunch of questions were asked which weeded people out.  One of the questions to eliminate people was, 'do you feel comfortable passing judgement and assigning a punishment to another person?'  My immediate thought was, No, no I don't!!  But my logical side told me to stick in there because this is my patriotic obligation to my country.

Let me tell you, it's daunting and concerning to have someone's fate in your hands.  That is a LOT of responsibility.   A person's life and the next chapter in their life was in the hands of 12 people.  We were going to determine if someone could go home to their family or if they were going to face consequences.  When you stop to think about it, there is a lot of weight to that thought.

In any case I made it through the questioning round and became one of the jurors for the day's trial.

I think the toughest part of the day for me was sitting near the defendant.  I know in life we aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover but I couldn't help feeling sympathy towards this man.  He was middle aged, dressed nicely, and had kind, albeit worried, eyes.  For some reason my heart went out to him.

I was pretty excited when it was time for lunch.  Since we were near downtown I steered a small group of us to Smoked BBQ co.  I happen to know the guy (and his wife) who owns the cart/company and his food is just awesome.  Delicious everything, at a good price point, and it's quick.  I mean you can't go wrong.

After lunch we heard the rest of the case and soon it was deliberation time.  To be honest I thought my opinion wouldn't be liked, but surprisingly we were split 60%-40% (I was on the 60% side).  We discussed a little and were able to come to a consensus quickly.  All the jurors were pretty happy about that because it was past 6:30pm on a Friday.

Personally I was relieved with our decision.  To be honest had things gone the other direction I may have carried around some guilt for a while.

The big highlight of my day was when the judge read our consensus.  Right as the judge got to that one part, I looked over at the defendant as the last part of the consensus was read and the emotion that washed over him will be forever etched in my mind and my heart.

I don't know about anyone else, but I have no doubt that we made the right decision.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Husband and I realized that after a year of living in Charlottesville, we have made some great friends.  I prayed about it for a long time when we first moved.  It was something I worried about  since I work from home and I was unsure how I would meet people.  I knew it would take time and I just had to be patient, and it turns out I was right.

So last week was Husband's birthday and while considering where to have dinner, we realized there were 10 people we could invite.  10 people we consider friends.

We have friends!  And they are so nice!  And I feel like we fit in, like we're birds of a feather, like we're peas in a pod, like we're bacon in the same pan!

Yes I feel like a nerd saying that but making friends when you're older is tough.  Thankfully we ended up in an awesome neighborhood and that was all God's doing.  If we didn't live here I think our lives would be quite different and we would have missed out on knowing all these really awesome people.

I'm thankful and happy.  

It's a blurry picture but that is a-okay, the happiness shines through. 

Some of the sweet ladies I have met 

In the words of Phil Robertson
happy happy happy

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A print

So one of my favorite people from college emailed me the cutest Etsy print.  She knows about my love of photography and as soon as I opened the email, I knew I had to have it.

Fantastic right?  Did I mention it's only $12?  Yes please.

It's from Etsy seller PigeonEditions.
Etsy Link:

And I saved 10% by using the promocode SPRINGSALE.  So for $13 I'm getting this great 8" x 10" print and shipping.  So although I'm trying to cut my spending, I couldn't pass this up for $13.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fun and awkward

So my 10 yr high school reunion this weekend was fun and also awkward.  That's exactly what I was expecting.

Excited and nervous - can ya tell? 
Obligatory pose before heading to National Harbor...and before heels

The venue, Fosters at National Harbor, MD, was a good choice.  We were gathered at the end of the pier right on the water and away from the crowds which was nice.

Right on the water baby!  I kept a safe distance from the edge...

Pretty white tents and tables 

Gotta love iPhone apps - Photosynth

The music played was all from the 1999-2003 time period and brought back SO many memories.  I love that music can do that.

Food and drinks - adequate.  I wasn't really drinking so I don't know what drinks were offered or if they were good but apparently the food wasn't great.  That's a bummer because I was hoping for some yummy, fresh seafood.  Oh well.  Guess I'll just have to find some local seafood for my fix.  :)

And the peoples.  It was fun to see people I haven't seen in 10 years, but also awkward because I am not great at keeping in touch.  It was funny because I recognized some people right away but there were others that I did not.  I feel like I fit in the first category, I look exactly the same.  haha - not sure if that's good or bad.

I definitely felt like I was back in high school.  All the latina ladies gathered together, the Asians gathered together, the cheer girls, the Daventry kids, the cool kids.  The cliques are still alive.  Though no one excluded anyone, people definitely flock to the people they know and are comfortable around.  Makes sense, I was doing the same thing.

Being a halfie (half Chinese, half Caucasian) in high school I felt a little like an outsider at times.  I don't speak Chinese or Mandarin so I didn't feel totally comfortable with the Asians.  Which is a shame because they're so cool.  I think that is why I loved band because it was a random mix of people that loved music.  And I am happy that I got to see some band people and catch up on what they're up to.  I didn't get to talk to everyone I wanted but I did get to catch up with a number of people.

What's great is that I'm becoming friends with a girl who I wasn't close with in high school.  And to be honest, seeing her was really awesome.  I'm hoping that I can be better at keeping in touch with her.  :)

In the end I am glad that I went and don't have any regrets.  I do hope that when I do go back and visit Nova I can catch up with more people instead of waiting another 10 years.

Bless my husband's heart for hanging in with me when he didn't know anyone.  He's the best. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Everyone learns differently.  I have learned that I respond favorably to praise.  Some people don't and instead respond much better when they're scolded or punished or reprimanded.
For me, praise and recognition is a serious motivating factor for me to put forth the effort to do well.
Maybe it's the Chinese in me, maybe it's the Type-A Northern Viginian in me, but I just want to be better than average at most things (not sports because, because lets face it I'm not that coordinated).  When it comes to life and work things - I want to do well. 

I have been busting my hump at work and I feel like it is recognized and appreciated.  That drives me to keep on driving, keep on trying.

You have to find what works for you, right? 

Now you know my secret.  :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

10 years

My 10 year high school reunion is next weekend.

I cannot believe it's been 10 years since high school.  Everyone says this, but I mean it...where did the time go?!

Hard to believe that in the last 10 years...
...I went to and graduated from college;
...I rediscovered and married my first love;
...My friends got engaged and married!
...My friends started having children and buying homes!?
...I started working like a real adult;
...I moved away from my childhood home; and so much more...

So many things have happened even though that list seems pretty small on paper.

I was on the fence about going to the reunion.  The ticket price was a little steep in my opinion, it meant  driving home for 2-3 hours one way, I don't feel like I have accomplished enough for 10 years out of high school, and I am out of shape.  In general, I just wasn't sure if it was worth it.

In high school I was pretty quiet, academically focused, reserved, and absorbed in band (nerd alert).  I didn't want to bring too much attention to myself and just wanted to be friendly and get along with everyone.  High school was fun, I enjoyed it, I made friends, I think I got a good education, but high school is kind of awkward.  I was uncertain if I wanted to revisit those years.

What really tipped the scales for me was not wanting to regret not going.  So tickets were purchased!

I have low expectations for this reunion only because I don't want to be disappointed.  This is what I want out of this event:

-Dinner & drinks with my honey
-Catching up with old friends
-Perhaps make some new friends

That's it.  That seems reasonable to me.

Did anyone else go to their 10 year reunion?  I would love to hear how it was and if you have any tips or suggestions.  I'm all ears.

Love & Hugs.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Being an adult

Being an adult sucks sometimes.  Sometimes it means being practical and making decisions you don't want to make.

My best friend invited me to go on a trip to Savannah, GA with her and some of her best friends.  A Thursday - Sunday trip, renting a house with food and snacks, eating at Lady & Sons, etc.  Sounds pretty fun right?

Well the downside is it costs $550+.  At first I thought I could swing it, somehow.  But upon closer inspection of my finances and monthly bills, it just isn't likely.

It breaks my heart.

I want to be there for her.  I want to celebrate the weekend with her and her friends.  I want to be included!  But I don't want financial stress that I won't be able to pay the next round of car/renters/personal property insurance or be able to cover that unexpected life lemon (which inevitably would happen to me, trust me).

If I were young and stupid, I would say F-it I'm going.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) I am not so stupid and I am responsible and financially I just don't think I can make it happen.

I. am. SO. bummed.

Being an adult sucks sometimes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pork in the Park

After layering up because it was surprisingly chilly, we headed 15 minutes down the road to Pork in the Park.  This fair was essentially a carnival, with rides and game booths, along with delicious pork related food, refreshments, and musical entertainment.

We skipped the carnival side and headed straight for the food and drinks.  Before standing in line for food we walked around and picked out the best smelling vendor.  As usual, kettle corn sucked me in and was our first stop.  Yessss!  So.  Good.

Armed with kettle corn and a bottle of wine to keep us company, we waited in line for porky goodness.

The pork sandwich with cole slaw was delicious and of course I don't remember the vendor.  Trust me, it was moist and smokey with creamy/slightly tangy cole on top to cut through the richness.   Right as we ordered our sandwiches we ordered the delightful candied bacon.  You heard me, candied. bacon.  Amazing.  It was sweet and salty with crisp and chewy parts.  I will make this at home, somehow.

Then with another bottle in toe we headed to the concert area to listen to the Marshall Tucker Band.  I have to say, they were rockin' out for their age.  I swear if I were in a band, I would be the tambourine chick.  They have it the best - swing, sing, and jingle it. 

All in all it was a really fun time.  I mean, you can't go wrong with bacon + libations + music.

Love & Hugs.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Old McDonald's Farm

So the other weekend I went and visited my brother, affectionately called Bubba, in MD.  I'm not a big fan of MD but I decided to journey there in the name of brotherly love.

You see, my brother has been living in MD since he graduated in 2011.  Good grief I can't believe it's been that long.  Anyways, he's a farmer (is that even the right term nowadays?) on an organic, sustainable farm.  I was long overdue to visit and see his side of the world.

Bubba's Graduation 2011

I drove up Friday afternoon and was able to stay with Bubba's girlfriend, Marie.  I was greeted with wine and a chick flick, exactly what I wanted.  (P.S. watching P.S. I Love You while PMS-ing is a terrrrrible idea.)

Saturday morning we all threw on work clothes and headed to Marie's farm.  She's a farmer too and her and Bubba used to work on the same farm, Jay's farm.  It was cool to see a glimpse of their daily lives.  Where they spend their days and what they do.  I sit behind a computer all day so farming is way out of the norm for me.

Jay's Farm

For several hours we helped her with some of her work.  Bubba did some watering and I helped with transplanting baby plants.  What Marie and I were doing was pretty relaxing, therapeutic even.  It helped that the farm dogs LOVED me.  :)  I loved them back because it was the right thing to do.

This one sat on my lap for a GOOD part of the morning.  I wanted to steal snuggly Izzy. 

This is Willow.  look at those precious eyes.  


A few hours later we headed back to Bubba's farm, Ted's Farm, to catch a tour.  It is just amazing what famers do.  They are planners and thinkers, and everything they do has a purpose.

L to R: The yurt, where bubba lives, the farm house, the green houses

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Piggies everywhere

These two little ones really wanted to touch a pig
Bubba and Marie deep in conversation with the egg lady
We eventually made it back to the farm for lunch and layering up before heading out to Pork in the Park!

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Resolutions

In the past I have made pretty general resolutions.  "Get healthy."  "Run more." "Be a better friend and family member."  blah blah.  This year I am making more concrete resolutions.  Resolutions I can more easily follow and carry out for the year.  This is what I have for 2013.

  • Read a book a month
  • Go to church twice a month
  • Bring Husband to church once a month
  • Work out 4 times a week
  • Do yoga once a week (which counts as one of my four weekly work outs)
  • Once a week call someone, anyone
  • Limit pizza to once a pay period (every two weeks)
  • Don't be so hard on myself
It's the start of week 3 of the new year and so far, it's all going well.  :o) 

I hope the start of 2013 is going well for you.  

Love & Hugs. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013


I strongly believe in timing.  They say timing is everything, and I believe it.  You can't rush the punch line of a joke.  Cakes and cookies have a small window of wiggle room when it comes to baking.  Just like people come into our lives for a reason and things happen when they do for a reason.

I have to believe in "everything happens for a reason" because I feel like my life is proof.  There is a reason why my parents decided to switch where I was going to middle school.  Otherwise I wouldn't have met my husband in 8th grade.  There is a reason why I was awkward and incredibly uncomfortable at middle school because it allows me to sympathize with people and be a good listener. There's a reason why I was friends with toxic people, because it taught me (albeit the hard way) the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people.

People come into our lives for a reason, to teach us something or for us to teach them something.  My neighbors are a great example right now.  Living on our street we have an ER Doctor, the Mechanical Engineer, and the Political Science Ph D Candidate.  For us, being around these incredibly smart people drive us to do our best and to keep striving and keep learning.

Although we all have our rough patches handed to us, in hindsight we grow from those experiences.

This last week a close family friend passed away.  I didn't expect it to hit me as hard as it has but I think it's a valuable reminder that life is short.  We have to live the life we want.  We have to take care of and nurture the relationships in our lives.  Appreciate our blessings and learn from our obstacles.  It puts life into perspective, at least for me.  Stop stressing and start just enjoying the moment.

It's all about timing, and your perspective, and how you decide to react.