playing catch up!

it's been such a crazy week, in anticipation of what promises to be an even crazier weekend. my sister and i are waking up at 4:00AM tomorrow morning and heading to the airport to get on a plane and spend the next 48 hours in LAS VEGAS. neither of us have ever been and it's her 30th birthday weekend, so we decided to celebrate in a BIG way. we have plans to walk all up and down the strip, eat lots of good food, go out dancing (tomorrow night), head out to the hoover dam (saturday morning) and see the beatles love cirque du soleil show (saturday night) before flying back home on sunday morning. it's going to be quite a whirlwind, but i'm excited!

and in honor of the fact that IT'S VEGAS and well, where else can you wear stuff like this (besides gay bars in philly), my 30th birthday booty shakin' dress is already packed and ready to come along on the trip (though i'll be pairing it with a tall pair of black boots this time around)!

laurel and i celebrating my 30th birthday last year

so, aside from being crazy excited about this trip, it's been an interesting couple of weeks. last week...well, i don't really know what was up with me, but i just had a really OFF week. i felt all sorts of moody and emotional and found myself dealing with random bouts of somewhat intense sadness. maybe it's the shift of the seasons or maybe it was just a bad few days. i don't know, but it sucked and i used it as an excuse to eat like crap and not exercise all week.

( EIGHT episodes of that wretched honney boo boo show. i can't even...i just...i don't even have words.)

thankfully, it passed and i've been totally ON this week. i ran 5 miles on sunday, 4.6 on tuesday and 4 earlier tonight. i also did a killer plank workout last night. i've also been eating clean all week - i think it's safe to say that the half marathon training excitement has set in for real now!

the past two weekends have also been awesome, in totally different ways.

two weekends ago, laurel and i headed to philly on friday night (october 12th) for a guinness believer media event being held at world cafe live. i had been to one of these years ago (at 30th street station) and remember having a great time, so when i got the email invite to attend another one, i jumped on it.

they had food set out and were pouring perfect pints of guinness for everyone there. there were some presentations and pint-pouring competitions and they also brought out samples of a few of their other brews, which we accepted happily!

i love guinness.

after we had our fill of guinness (aka, after they kicked us out), we headed over to city tap house to get something more substantial to eat and enjoy some full-size glasses of beer.

well, laurel had a full pint...i was too distracted by the amazing amount of seasonal beers they had ON TAP to commit to just one of them and ended up enjoying a flight of four different pumpkin beers.

we also shared an order of their house-made frites and the grilled halloumi cheese.

the next morning, we headed back into the city to meet up with the rest of the awesome members of team stellar to run the second annual "your next step is the cure" 5k, to benefit the bonnie j. addario lung cancer foundation. this is the same race i ran last year, as my first 5k ever, and it's just a REALLY special one for me. this year, we beat our goal of raising $1,500 and everyone on our team ran really great races (lots of new PRs!) and it was just an amazing morning. (i will definitely be writing a full recap of this one!)

go team stellar!

after the race, laurel and i headed down to baltimore for the rest of the weekend. we love to go every october and my cousin's (jeff, who lives outside of baltimore) wife (stacey) wanted me to take their family christmas card photos this year and offered to let us stay at their place, so it worked out perfectly!

laurel and i had dinner at a mexican place near jeff and stacey's place and then headed into fell's point to visit our very favorite bar, max's tap house, where they proudly serve roughly ONE HUNDRED beers on tap. we each enjoyed two rounds and then got some gelato before heading back to the beds that our younger cousins so graciously gave us for the night. the next morning, we got breakfast and then did our photo shoot on the grounds of the hampton national historic site, which just happens to be in jeff & stacey's backyard. i'm really excited about some of the shots i got - can't wait to share them!

laurel snuck this shot of us in action.

and then last weekend...well, it was awesome as well! laurel came up to my place and we headed over to pam & jeremy's for an autumn-themed potluck/beer-tasting/scary movie night! i made pumpkin barbecue pulled chicken sliders, laurel made homemade applesauce and pumpkin cornbread (which we ate warm, with honey) and pam and jeremy contributed a gorgeous spinach salad (with cheese, pecans and craisins) and some delicious mashed butternut squash and potatoes.

everything was SO delicious. and we washed it all down with some of my beer run goods, which we all shared in small tasting glasses, to spread the (delicious, beer-y) love!

i spent the rest of the weekend doing some much-needed relaxing, doing some shopping and running five miles (and eating cider donuts). i'm glad i got to enjoy one weekend this month in which i didn't do any traveling at all, especially since i'll be in vegas this weekend (and indianapolis next weekend)!

hey, speaking of vegas - i have to wake up in 4.5 hours. and with that, off to bed i go!

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