Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Night for Me

I declared last night MY night.

From the time the kids went down at 8 until the time I went to bed I decided to focus on myself and ignore the things I so often spend my evenings doing. No dishes, no cleaning, no planning out the rest of the week in meticulous and detailed to do lists, just me time.

I started with some exercise courtesy of these girls. They have an amazing assortment of workout videos on You Tube, absolutely free, extremely difficult, and very effective. Sometimes I forgo exercise in favor of spending time with Matt or working on the house, but I've realized it's my best stress relief and everyone benefits from that. Trust me.

After I was sufficiently tired and shaky I took a long hot shower where I proceeded to deep condition my hair, shave my legs, exfoliate my entire body, pumice my feet, and just generally relax under the hot water. I swear I was probably in there for 15 minutes.

I got out, lotioned up, put my hair up in a wet bun, slipped on my softest pajamas, and settled into bed with a hot pad on my neck and shoulders...a new nightly ritual after a massage last week indicated I need "deep neuromuscular therapy" to take care of the knots in my back.

And you know what I did then? I spent one full hour watching the Real Housewives of Orange County finale.

And I didn't judge myself once.

Aahh Espana

I am really lucky. My job has taken me so many places I may have never ever seen on my own, and definitely not in my 20s and 30s. My on-the-job interview was in Athens, Greece and since then I've been to Paris, France (several times), Frankfurt, Germany, and now Madrid, Spain.

Let's not even mention that I get to fly business class and this is what my seat looks like- tons of room and champagne upon entrance. The flight over was the most relaxing 9 hours I've had all year. That being said, the following 4 days were the most tiring I've had all year, and lets not forget I just had a baby.

I worked like crazy but I got to do it in a beautiful place with people I truly enjoy. The meeting concluded on Wednesday afternoon and I spent the rest of the day walking around the city and taking a bus tour where I proceeded to relish my tourist-status and madly snap pictures on my iPhone.

My thoughts? Madrid is gorgeous. It's old and beautiful and the buildings are just spectacular. There are lush gardens everywhere and the wine is cheap and delicious. Oh, and it's clean. My personal favorite attribute.

Behold, Madrid. Through the eyes of someone who barely scratched the surface on all this amazing city has to offer.

This was the view from my hotel room's balcony. Not too shabby.

Grabbed a quick lunch at a restaurant where I could sit at an open window. Ate a quesadilla because it's the only thing I recognized on the menu. It was amazing.
Cool sign I spotted moments before getting lost and having to use my phone's GPS to guide me back to the hotel.
Starbucks. First stop every morning even though our coordinator at the hotel often begrudgingly referred to "the Americans with their Starbucks."

Our hotel- the Westin Palace

Plaza Mayor- where the locals report for dinner and sangria at 11 p.m. each night. I am so not meant to be European with my regular 6 p.m. dinner schedule.

Entrance to dinner on Monday night at Casino de Madrid

Dinner was just a little fancy.

Bus tour 

Entrance to the gardens

The architecture was a-m-a-zing

I think this was the military headquarters

Spain from above

Old church

Another church. This one was behind The Prado museum and at night it was absolutely breathtaking.

And lastly- this was  La Rotunda in our hotel where they served all of the meals. Breakfast here was a nice way to start the day- even though it was only 12 midnight EST when I was beginning the day and felt like I'd been hit by a mallet from jet lag.

Things that I missed while I was gone in order of importance:

1. My husband and babies. I could not wait to get home and let Madelyn and Davis crawl all over me.
2. Chick-fil-a sweet tea.

The end :) 

Monday, June 25, 2012


I am craving some serious normalcy around here. These last few weeks have seriously thrown me for a loop.

We spent Memorial Day weekend in Charlotte visiting our dear friends. It was our first roadtrip with two kids and while we had an amazing time, it was exhausting.

The next weekend we took off to the Ritz Carlton at Lake Oconee (where Carrie Underwood got married!) for my work's family weekend. We were spoiled by the views, the food, and all of the amazing memories we got to make as a family. But it was our first time with two kids in a hotel room and it was exhausting.

Then this past week I spent 5 days in Madrid, Spain for a large and very stressful meeting for work. I loved Spain, the meeting went extremely well, but Lord have mercy am I exhausted. I worked very long days, on little sleep, in a country six hours ahead of my own. I never caught up on sleep or jetlag and I was useless when I got home.

Now, I want to do NOTHING for the next few weeks.

I owe you all a lot of pictures of our adventures and I'm hoping to get some up later tonight. But I wanted to post a quick update while I sit and watch last week's Bachelorette and stare at my sleeping babies in their monitors.

There is no place like home. There is no place like home.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I went for a run

I went for a run last night and it had absolutely nothing to do with physical fitness and everything to do with my mental health. And I realized when I returned and completely collapsed on the floor just how much stress and adrenaline can affect our bodies.
I am absolutely swamped at work right now as we prepare for our largest event of the year taking place next week in Madrid, Spain. I've had more curve balls and last minute changes thrown at me than ever before. I work all day long without any breaks and then at night when the kids go to bed. It's always like this once a year and it's just part of the job- the part that I happen to love, the event planning. But it is really stressing me out.
And when I stress, I run. It's the only thing that can clear my head.
Now, ironically, I'm not much of a runner. I try to do a nice walk/jog once a week and I do strength exercises every day (crunches, squats, lunges, etc) along with yoga once a week, but I've never been a good runner.

Yesterday I ran, literally RAN, for two miles. This was no walk/jog. This was an all out, running off every stress of the day, sprinting up hills, Britney cranked up as loud as I could handle, run. And it felt good.

When I got home my legs were shaking so badly I had to sit for 10 minutes to recover. But I felt great. I realized though, that for someone who is admittedly not in the best cardiovascular shape, the only thing that got me through that run was my mind. The stress. The adrenaline I'd been running off of all day.
As sore as I am today, I am grateful for that run. I swear it is the only thing that saved me yesterday. And tonight, I'm taking a gentler approach to stress relief…WINE.
Who's with me?
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