5 Major Life Updates! Spoilers: Admitted to grad school & the hospital

Hi, Friends!

You may have noticed a few cosmetic changes on the blog (or not)- I’m working on creating a cohesive brand, and I’m an all-over-the-place kind of person, so please bear with me!

A few major things have happened since we last chatted. I’m going to start sharing blog posts more consistently now that I feel that I’m in the right headspace/ schedule to do so, and I’m pumped about it. For now, I’m going to catch you up on my life stuff.

  1. Grad school acceptance. Ya girl is finally done with all the biochemistry and organic chemistry and gonna be a registered dietitian nutritionist…soon! This has been many years of behind-the-scenes work while holding full-time jobs, and I couldn’t be more thankful to be here! Classes start in August.

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2. Another trip around the sun

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And I am so grateful! My sister came to town for celebrations, and she brought my dog niece Sophie (pictured above)!

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We went to brunch at Kitchen No. 324 here in Oklahoma City, and it didn’t disappoint.

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I had the avocado toast, and it was so good that I felt it deserved a spotlight in this life update.
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In 8 years of dating and 1.5 years of marriage, this is the FIRST summer that Zack and I are TOGETHER in the same house. WOW.

3. Hospitalization
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3 days of nonstop vomiting after an infusion resulted in a few days worth of electrolytes in the hospital. Not pictured: emergency colonoscopy (glamorous), which resulted in a Crohn’s? diagnosis, as opposed to ulcerative colitis. Not entirely sure though. Good news: Scope showed that I am CLOSE to remission again; there’s hope! On another positive note, this hospital stay was the most consecutive time that Zack and I had spent together probably since our honeymoon, which was nice despite the circumstances. Life is crazy.

4. Consistent movement: Since my hospitalization, I laced up and ran a 5K just because it felt good. Not pictured: yoga and barre a few times weekly, which keep me grounded during the crazy work weeks in the trauma O.R.

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I looked back at a ton of my old posts this weekend, thankful for the progress that I have made in a couple of years. I harped, “Doing is better than dreaming” and “Actions speak louder than words” and “You may not feel like moving, but keep moving forward” and A LOT of times, these words were written for myself as I sat paralyzed by anxiety from my couch. Since January, I haven’t stopped running/yoga/barre/moving, including walking the dog a few times weekly- even when I haven’t felt like it, just because I’d rather be out in the world uncomfortable (and often anxious) than sitting at home wishing I was out moving and shaking. I’m getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable, and I’m living a full life that resembles the life I actually picture having for myself. If you’re battling anxiety, know that you WILL learn to tame that dragon; just give it time. I’m no therapist, but doing new things, and doing things that make me uncomfortable have empowered me.

5. Crohn’s and Colitis Advocacy. 
Still fighting! I’m meeting soon with a state rep about the allocation of federal funding in an attempt to offer a patient’s perspective of “Hi, this sucks and we need to do better because we can.” With the help of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, I’ll also be leading a much-needed adult IBD support group here in OKC. We are still working through the logistics, but we are looking for things to kick off in September.

Thanks for hanging in there with me, friends!
I’m so stoked to have the support that I have!!! I am creating useful, good things to leave you feeling less hangry and more amazeballs, and I can’t wait to share it all…very soon.

Keep moving forward. 
Really, no really. 🙂

Stacey

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Weekend Recap + Mint Chocolate Smoothie

Happy Monday, Friends!

Hope you had a great weekend!

I drove to my hometown near Houston, TX for an impromptu visit this weekend. My dad was in the hospital fighting an unknown bacterial infection in his pinky bone. A couple surgeries and a lot of antibiotics later, the pinky is saved! Hopefully he will be released sometime this week, but infectious disease is keeping a close eye to ensure the infection is contained without spreading throughout his body.

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He was in good spirits, especially after his Astros beat the Yankees to win the pennant! He cried real, happy tears. If you’ve been an Astros fan for your entire life, I’m sure you understand- so many feels.

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View from Dad’s window- Houston has been through too much this year thanks to Hurricane Harvey. So proud to come from this strong, diverse, vibrant community.

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I love the Texas Medical Center- I’ve been a patient here, I’ve worked here, and I’ve volunteered here. There’s no place like it. Truly.

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We stopped by Pronto’s on Holcomb Blvd for chopped salad with salmon, one of my all time favorites by the med center. I also got a piece of tiramisu, and I highly recommend.

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Then we popped over to a hometown football game to watch my cousin’s homecoming halftime show performance (how cute is she though?!). LOVE small-town football!

The next morning my sister and I went through old boxes of keepsakes in the garage that my parents stored from our childhood. My mom wanted us to go through everything and decide what to keep…still not sure why…but it was entertaining. I learned that I am not particularly a sentimental hoarder about most things, but I did fall victim to Barbie nostalgia. Not pictured: Scuba Barbie, Shaving Ken, and Dentist Barbie.

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Then we found this quaint little spot right behind my old high school for lunch. WHY did places like this not exist ten years ago?! 421 Coffeehouse was fantastic.

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If you ever find yourself in West Columbia, TX, stop by this place! Their chicken salad was divine.

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I stopped by my older sister’s salon to wish her a happy birthday and updated her pricing board for her:

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And then we drove back to Houston to hang out with Dad some more. Sunday morning we began the long drive back to Oklahoma City. Oh- CHECK OUT MY COPILOT:

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Her name is Sophie. She’s 11 weeks old, loves to play fetch and cuddle, and I want to hold her every day. She’s my sister’s dog, and she did fantastic on her first long road trip!

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This morning I caught up on some (much needed) sleep and managed to whip up a mint-chocolate chip smoothie. I actually used some vanilla pea protein from Trader Joe’s for this recipe that was VERY affordable (but not my very favorite taste). Honestly, you’ll appreciate this recipe much more if you use some sort of chocolate-flavored protein. Because of all the nutritious ingredients like frozen cauliflower and frozen avocado (fear not- these are tasteless additions, I promise!), I was quite full after this smoothie.

Mint Chocolate-Chip Smoothie

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Print

A creamy, nutritious chocolate chip smoothie full of healthy fats, veggies, and tasty goodness.

Ingredients

  • high speed blender
  • 1 C almond milk
  • 1 C frozen cauliflower
  • 1 small handful of fresh mint leaves, trust me…
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ C frozen avocado (you won’t taste this ingredient, and it adds rich, creamy texture with healthy fats, keeping you fuller longer!)
  • ½ C ice cubes
  • ¼ C deep dark chocolate chips OR raw cacao nibs
  • one-two hefty, violent shakes of the ground cinnamon bottle
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein. (!!!This would taste better with chocolate protein though!!!)

Directions

  1. Pour milk, protein and remaining ingredients into blender
  2. Blend on “high” until thick and rich texture is visible
  3. Pour and serve. I like to top with melted deep dark chocolate or cacao nibs. Enjoy!

Let me know what cha think if you give this smoothie a shot!

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Cheers to a productive and great Monday! On the books for today: Organic chemistry, laundry, slow-cooker taco soup, banana bread, a 5k jog, and more organic chemistry.

-Stacey


Sister Trip 2017 Recap

Hope you had a lovely weekend 🙂

In an attempt to not completely procrastinate, this blog post is a Sister Trip recap from last weekend: Northern Virginia Wine Country and Washington, D.C.

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Every year since 2015 we take a “Sister Trip”, just the two of us (woo-hoo three trips and counting!). In 2015 we went to Napa Valley, California while I ran the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half. Then last year we went to Charleston, South Carolina- our favorite trip to date, Lindsay’s choice. And last week we took this year’s trip, also situated around another Destination Race: Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon (my choice again-see a theme?). It’s a fun excuse to get together in a fun place since we don’t live near each other any more, and it’s always a good time.

We began our United Flight, Basic Economy level with ONE single personal item (not even a carry-on) due to our limited space of conveniently being assigned the last seats on the plan, so we fit EVERYTHING into a backpack each. We miraculously made it back home with our souvenirs, too.  I honestly have never packed so light in my life…and I’m a little embarrassed by that.

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We picked up our car in the passenger pick-up line that we rented from Turo- it’s an app that allows you to rent cars owned by locals at their own discretion. Such a fun, easy experience! And it was slightly cheaper than renting a car. Then we drove to downtown D.C. and ate crab cakes and fruit at Old Ebbitt Grill at the bar- so good!

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With satisfied appetites and happy hearts we walked to the White House and, to our surprise, we were able to get right up close to the lawn without security barricades. The crowds weren’t bad either!

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Next was the beautiful Jefferson Memorial. I excitedly called Zack to tell him how thrilled I was to see one of my favorite historical quotes engraved in one of the giant walls, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal…” He was quick to remind me about Jefferson’s owning slaves/having an affair with slave Sally Hemings, which basically served as a grave reminder not to romanticize people…which is hard not to do when you’re standing inside a giant monument erected in their honor. But I digress.

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Next was patriotic popsicles, because we are children. Then we drove off to the race expo in Leesburg to pick up my bib number and race shirt.

Finally, we made it to our AirBnB which was more enchanted than I could’ve dreamed up. Meet our greeters, Brandy and Whiskey:

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And our cozy cabin

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Complete with entertainment

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As an IBD patient, I appreciated this ^.

We ended the night early after carbo-loading at a local Italian restaurant. The next morning was an early one for race day, but I wasn’t tired after sleeping nine hours.

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^Morning view near the starting line at Doukenie Winery. Lindsay dropped me off near here. I loved the views!

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The race was overcast and in the upper-seventies, perfect weather!

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Girl YAS- LOOK at that ponytail action

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Best part of the day.

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^Best part of the day 2.0

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Followed by dinner at Finn Thai and [another] early bedtime.

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The next day we went into D.C. for some quality American tourism…

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…and paid our respects to Texas veterans at the WWII memorial…

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…and visited Honest Abe (worth the walk and climbing the steps and the heat).

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We chewed on lemon Italian Ice as we sat in the grass of the National Lawn listening to peaceful protesters, then headed to find lunch.

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^ Hamilton’s! I LOVED this place. My turkey burger was amazing, and so were Lindsay’s California rolls and shrimp tempura.

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Next we went to the Holocaust Museum, a place I’ve wanted to visit since reading “Night” by Elie Wiesel in junior high school. This place shook me to my core, and I was struck by how subtle, gradual-changing political agendas gave rise to hatred. The world allowed this hatred to perpetuate by its lack of opposition and ever-increasing fear of peoples’ differences in the place of tolerance and compassion. It was so gradual and so real. I will never be the same after this museum. Never stop speaking up for people around you who are persecuted. Support others, because they need you.

We ended the day on a light-hearted note at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, which was really TOO COOL. HOW can they fit so many planes INDOORS?

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That night at our AirBnB we drank local wines and ate snacks on our hosts’ patio of their house until the wee hours of the morning- I felt like we were old friends, and I loved their company.

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And that about wraps up our journey. We had a turbulent flight back to Texas where we promptly stuffed our faces with Mexican food and guac upon our arrival.

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Then Jaxon and I headed back to Oklahoma for another work week- he’s a great little traveler. Honestly, such a FUN weekend, and we can’t wait to return to Norther Virginia- we couldn’t get over how GREEN all the scenery was this time of year. We are so thankful to have experienced Virginia’s Wine Country AND D.C. What a cool little time.

Hope your Monday is better than most!

-Stacey


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Wedding Recap: Georgetown, TX

This post obviously has nothing to do with running or food. But it’s a pretty cool part of life that I’d like to remember, and I thought, “HEY! Maybe someone else is planning a wedding and would like to creep on mine???”

So… in honor of receiving the wedding photos (from our amazing photographer), here’s one of the most fun days of my life:

7:00 am: Wake up Call

We stayed the night at the cozy cabins located onsite at the venue. I was SO NERVOUS/excited, and I’m not sure if I actually went to sleep. We woke up to a frigid seventeen degrees, a record low this year for Austin, Texas. I still had high hopes completely naive wishes of having the ceremony outdoors.
We headed over to Flair Austin for our 8:00 AM hair appointments, champagne and Round Rock Donuts in hand. Disclaimer: No one felt like drinking champagne, so we just towed it around with us.

12:00 pm: Make-up

As soon as the hair fun had ended, we raced over to the venue for makeup, courtesy of Veronica Smiley, ESPN, celebrity, and freelance makeup artist (AKA miracle-worker). I felt like Samantha Ponder.
Shoutout to my face for having zits after weeks of being clean and clear.

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Zack’s dad was kind enough to deliver sandwiches for everyone, so all stayed happy and full. I snacked on EPIC brand turkey jerky, wine (may or may not have been from a straw), and lots of water. I finally had to make a game time decision of where to have the ceremony due to the ridiculous cold. My bridesmaids were amazing, “It’s YOUR day. Where do YOU want to have the ceremony?” What did I do do deserve these people? We all thankfully decided on our Plan B: indoors. No way I could make people sit in 22 degrees while we said our vows!

2:30 pm: Dress

This deserves a shout-out to the photographer, Rebecca Taylor Photography. Everything was SUCH a blur and I wasn’t thinking straight most of the day, but it was her idea to pull me into the courtyard to get my mom and sisters get me into the dress. Such a sweet moment. Thank you, Becca!!!

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Earrings, a gift from Zack’s mom:

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And Zack was getting ready with his guys at the cabins at the same time:

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He look good.

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And those tuxes were fiyah.

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Zack said this was their “album cover”
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3:00 pm: “First Look”

A special moment, just for my #1 since day 1, my sweet dad:
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Love my dad ❤

3:30 pm: Bridal Party Pics

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Oh. My dress wasn’t ready in time for bridal portraits, but Becca miraculously made time to squeeze in a few while my gals finished getting ready. THANK YOU ❤

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Girl had her work cut out for her, because I am hella awkward.

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4:00 pm: Note Exchange
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4:45 pm: LET’S GET MARRIED!

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My late granddad’s wedding band was a gift to Zack from my Memaw. Zack had my ring custom made and hand-picked the diamond, and we designed my sapphire band together.

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I feel like I should maybe write a post about how we saved SO much money on our wedding, but I literally downloaded these invitations from Etsy for $12, and they were perfect.

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And I made all the signs myself #BrideOnABudget
*flips hair*

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Okay. Wedding time.

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Our ushers were the best.

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YAY!

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5:30 pm: Fajitas & Party Time

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[Really good] Speeches

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When the MOH spills a drink all over the groom… :p

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Father-Daughter Fun ❤
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Really surprised that our cake was amazing…our baker forgot it was our wedding day, and had to make an emergency delivery after I sent a panicked text. But it turned out GREAT!
Lemon cake with real raspberry filling. mmm.

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Devin, 3x garter toss reigning champ

Dancing with the bouquet toss winner, Lorraine Ralaine
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Invite Germans to your wedding. Let them lead the party.
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The most fun night!
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Thank you to EVERYONE who came to make us feel celebrated! You all are the reason why we had so much fun, and we hope you did too!

If I could offer any advice to anyone planning a wedding, just remember that at the end of the day, you’re going to walk away married to the person you love, and that’s the ultimate goal! It doesn’t matter if your baker forgets to bring the cake, or your wedding spontaneously gets moved inside because of record breaking weather (ha)…but all those memories certainly make the day all the more fun, I promise.

🙂

Stacey

Shoutout to:
-Rebecca Taylor Photography, a true God-send
-Flair Austin (hair)
-Stefanie Cutler (hair)
-Veronica Smiley Makeup
-Norma, Anthony, and Angel Springs Event Center
-Mario, our amazing caterer, who even took the time to pack us to-go meals and had them ready in our car that picked us up form the reception. HOMEMADE EVERYTHING.
-Rocks With Sass (bridesmaid jewels)
-My hard-working dad
-Jesus. None of this would’ve happened without Jesus. 
-Lindsay (MOH & BFF) for dealing with me, and Sydney, Becca, Shelby, Christy, Hailey, Susanne, and Haley for being the greatest friends


It’s the BUSIEST time of the year! AHH

I can honestly say, with complete confidence, that this is the busiest I’ve ever been in my life. Make it stop.

In the past month I have moved all my things to Oklahoma from Houston, finished my nonprofit job in Houston (today-  bittersweet), had a FUN bachelorette party, managed to find time to Christmas shop, juggled doctors (currently), got more lab work, got a marriage license…and I feel like there’s more. I can’t think.

OH. had a trial for hair/makeup. CHECK OUT MY FACE!

Shoutout to my talented makeup artist, Veronica, from Austin. She even let me play with her German Shepherd puppy during the session, which was worth the drive in itself. I asked her who her favorite celebrity clients were and she said, “Shakira! She complemented ME the whole time Oh. Drake was pretty nice, too.”
In case you didn’t know, I hang with Drake’s people. *hairflip*
It’s cool- we can still be friends.

Here’s a recap of my bachelorette party in the Big D:

All I wanted to do was go ice skating. I have an obsession with the sport of figure skating, so my college roomies (below) took me on Sunday after the festivities had died down:
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We had a snapchat filter THAT I DIDN’T SAVE. But we looked good, you get the point.
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I sang and danced on dueling pianos and was serenaded by a dozen bald men. It was sensational! Go to Louie Louie’s if you’re ever in Deep Ellum!!! Or make a trip especially for the experience. CRAZY FUN.

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My IV Crohn’s medication has been slowly losing its efficacy, but I can still get down. Hi, I’m embarrassing. But I can’t stop laughing at myself, so I probably won’t calm down anytime soon. Anyway, REALLY excited to meet with a Crohn’s specialist in OKC next week after Christmas.

Fun fact: Zack bought me the Nike Airs as “Honeymoon Shoes”. Not sexy shoes, like stilettos. Purple Nike’s. I’m honestly completely thrilled about them! Best honeymoon gift EVAH. We’re a little weird, and I’m happy to embrace it, Nike Airs and all.

I have been wanting to go on one final run in Houston, but with being “homeless” for over a week now and couch surfing…it has been tough to find the time. Last night I went to the Houston Zoo Lights to do Christmas festivities with friends, and I got my wish. I had to park in the Texas Medical Center garage, about a mile and a half away from the Zoo entrance. If you’ve ever lived in Houston, you know that the area surrounding the Zoo isn’t known for being pristine or safe, and the pedestrians are actual inhabitants of the area. So I ran from my car, in my santa shirt, in the dark, with my friend on speakerphone, through the medical center, across the open field adjacent to Ben Taub Hospital, across Cambridge (thanks to the Police Officer directing traffic), dodged strollers in Hermann Park, safely to the zoo entrance. It was exhilarating and entirely too hot of a run for a December night. My hair stuck to the back of my neck from sweat and humidity, and my jeans were tough to pull up around my waist from my sweaty legs pulling them down. I felt like it was a goodbye solute to Houston, and I liked that. I was happy. Bye, Houston! I won’t miss your awful traffic, but I’ll miss the diversity and melting pot of cultures. I’ll miss Memorial Park and Buffalo Bayou running trails, and I’ll miss the people I love there, most of all.

Hope you’re enjoying the holidays! SLOW DOWN and chill. Much love!

Keep moving forward 🙂

Stacey

P.S. December 23rd. 82 Degrees in Houston. That is all.