31 December 2015

A NYE Game Day

Y'all, y'all, y'all.
I can't even contain my excitement.
Not only is it New Year's Eve BUT it's also game day for Clemson! They're in Miami and will be taking on the Oklahoma Sooners at 4pm today. I can barely handle it. Win this game & they'll be 14-0 and heading into the Championship Game undefeated.
Lose, and well, that's the end of the road for the 2015 season.
So LET'S GO TIGERS! Beat the Sooners!
& on top of that excitement?
Patrick & I are headed down to Charleston to spend NYE in style with a couple of our friends. I can guess that there's probably going to be a rooftop bar and definitely a late night pizza in our future tonight.
Hope everyone has a great & safe New Year's Eve! Happy 2016!

30 December 2015

The Best of 2015

So, 2015 was a big year around here & the best part about blogging is that I have a handy dandy journal of all of my adventures over the last year. It makes remembering everything oh so much easier.
Although, if you ask my fiancé, I never forget anything and I'll have very little trouble remembering the fun & exciting events of 2015.
Here's the best of 2015 on A Southern Twenty-Five!
New 5K PRs #1, #2, & #3

Exploring Louisville #1, #2, #3, & #4

2015 was awesome, but I'm rather partial to the second half of it. I'm excited to see what 2016 has in store for me...
a wedding {mine!}
a new last name
a relaxing weeklong trip somewhere fabulous {honeymoon suggestions??}
a new house
trips down to Kiawah
more football games
road trips
& so much more
But if we're really going to start off 2016 right, it's going to start off with a Clemson victory on New Year's Eve in the College Football Playoff game and then a win in the National Championship game ;)
Happy New Year, y'all!

24 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my soon-to-be-official family to yours!
& while we're not doing a Christmas card this year {saving that for our first married Christmas}, I'll leave another engagement picture here for y'all instead:
I'm ready for all of my favorite Christmas Eve activities like baking sugar cookies, wrapping presents, and going to our church's Christmas Eve service. You know, a day full of all things Christmas :)
I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas with family and friends! 

21 December 2015

A Christmas Weekend in Asheville

Last Call.

You know, at the end of the night when the bartenders are ready to close up shop and they let you know that you've got time for one more drink and that's it... that last call.

I can probably count on my hand the number of times that I have been out late enough to make it to last call at a bar. I'm usually down for the count well before midnight and at home and in the bed. But not this weekend! I made it to last call on Friday night AND Saturday night.

& guess what?

I am totally paying the price for it.

Y'all, I do not do last call because last call & I do not get along. I am flat out exhausted. But it was totally worth it for a weekend of Christmas fun in Asheville with Patrick & his family!

Here's a quick snapshot of what we did:

Ate dinner on Friday at Barley's Taproom {amazing pizza!}

Drank delicious beers at Wicked Weed {Lunatic Blonde and Freak of Nature were our favorites}

Had breakfast on Saturday morning at Mayfels

Wandered around downtown & the shops

Had a late lunch & a few beers at The LAB {1st Gear was fantastic}

Snuck into Grove Park Inn to see the gorgeous sunset, have a few drinks, and check out the Gingerbread Houses

Returned to Wicked Weed for dinner & drinks {Caesar salad with bacon on top? Yes.}
Caught a show at The Orange Peel
Met up with a bridesmaid & her husband at Old World Brewing and Jack of the Woods.
Woke up & went to Tupelo Honey for brunch
Made a quick stop by the Tervis store on our way out of town... where I bought NOTHING! {you're welcome, mom & dad!}

It was a fantastic weekend with a really awesome family. I'm pretty excited about future family vacations with this group... you know, as long as bedtimes are much earlier than they were on this trip!
Liking up with Biana and Meghan for some Weekending fun.

16 December 2015

The Best Sugar Cookies Ever {two years later!}

We're going back in the archives today for my favorite Christmas cookie recipe. Although, to be fair, these cookies are good any time of the year... this past fall they were made for multiple Clemson football tailgates and for Halloween, too. Still delicious.

Either way, if you're looking for a sugar cookie recipe for Christmas this year, look no further. This is hands down the best one.

{enjoy this post & these pictures from two years ago!}

Best Sugar Cookies Ever
+ a ton of pictures {photo credits to my mom}
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup Crisco
1 cup sugar
1 slightly beaten egg
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 1/2 cup flour
1 scan teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
1/2 teaspoon baking soda*
*I accidentally put in a whole teaspoon of baking soda. It came out just fine.
Cream butter, Crisco, and sugar. Add egg, vinegar, flour, salt, baking soda, and vanilla. Mix well. Roll into small balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dip bottom of a small glass in sugar and press down on cookie dough balls. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes or until light brown on edges*
*We ended up cooking ours almost 12 minutes.
This recipe comes from an old school PLC cookbook
How old is the cookbook? At least 20 years old... back to when I didn't know how to properly spell "flour" or how to look on the page to find the correct spelling...

& enjoy my mom playing photographer!

{Yes, that is a Griswold Family Christmas shirt. I mean when else are you supposed to wear it, if not on Christmas Eve?}


This dough is also perfect for rolling out & cutting out shapes with a cookie cutter. You'll just need to have lots of extra flour on hand to keep the dough from sticking to the counter, rolling pin, and/or cookie cutters.

15 December 2015

The Kiawah Half I'd Rather Forget

At the end of the Kiawah Half last year, there were high fives. There were exclamations of joy. There was pride, sheer exhaustion, a sense of accomplishment, exhilaration, and {happy} tears.

This year?

Frustration. Disappointment. Annoyance. A lot of sweat, a little bit of blood. A need for redemption.


Leading up to the race, I was pumped. I had put in all of the miles and hills and sprints and long runs necessary to complete a half marathon. I ran when I didn't want to. I ran when it was unbearably, miserably hot outside. I ran when the thunder rumbled in the distance and I ran when it was 20 something degrees outside. I improved on my speed & broke my 5K PR three separate times, most recently a week prior to the half.

I was ready.

Until I saw the weather forecast: mid 60s during race time.

& if there is anything that I know about myself when it comes to running, it's that I run the very best when it's cold out. Like 30 degrees cold. Not 60 - 70 degrees.


Mile 1
I knew I was in trouble when I was already drenched in sweat before we rounded Night Heron Park and reached mile marker 1.

Mile 2
Spent most of this mile trying to get back ahead of the 10:18/mile pace group. That pace group was on track to finish in 2:15... and I wanted to beat my time from last year {2:14:53}, so I needed to get ahead of those runners.

Mile 3
Got ahead of the pace group!

Mile 4
Thought process this whole mile? Run on the yellow line in the middle of the road and focus on that and nothing else. Kind of worked and it distracted me from the sunny/hot part of the course.

Mile 5
Absolutely kicking some booty at this point! The focusing on the yellow line on the road was working wonders.

Mile 6
Uh oh, back in the sunshine. Slowing it down in the heat.

Mile 7
... and y'all, this is where things broke down. I don't ever drink water when I run. Mostly because it's impossible to drink without stopping to walk but also because the feeling of water sloshing around while running is fairly nauseating.

But... I drank some water. Chugged it, actually. Then proceeded to run. Any guesses at what immediately came back up and out?

{still trying to figure out how this was my fastest mile?}

Mile 8
Commence the walking.

New goal: run to the next water station at mile 8, get some water, and walk a minute. Lies. The water station was somewhat closer to mile 8.5 and I bailed at mile 8 to do a little walking to try and cool down.

Mile 9

More water, more walking. I wasn't making the chug water & run mistake again.

Mile 10

Things really broke down at mile 10. There's something about those last three miles that gets me every single time. They're always longer than I think they are. I was entirely too hot at this point. But, on the bright side, the Kiawah Marathon people prepared well for the hotter than anticipated weather and had set up lots of precautions. One of them was the course volunteer on the golf cart who kept suggesting that I call it a day & hop on her cart for a ride back to the start line.

Not going to lie, I was a little bit tempted to take her up on her offer.

Mile 11

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Walk. Run. Walk. Run. Ugh.

Mile 12

Pit stop! Enjoy the "I'm super miserable, give me water" photos somewhere between mile 11 & 12.


Mile 13.1

Can't even make it out of the finish line chute to get my medal and water. Leaned up against the barrier and couldn't move.


Official Results
Chip Time - 2:19:20
Pace - 10:33/mile
Overall Finish - 1,606/2,742
Age Group - 151/259

Last year I was so excited and thrilled and elated at the finish line. This year? Complete opposite.

But now it's time to learn how to let go of a bad race & time to remember why I run in the first place. Those are two super hard things to do when you were 100% expecting to set a PR and failed miserably at doing so.

Step One: find that friend that got you involved in running in the first place. Try not to tell her how much you hate running in that moment.

Step Two: put on favorite "Run for You" shirt and your hard-earned, well-deserved finisher's medal. Smile and give thumbs up because even though it sucked, you survived.

Step Three: get into the freezing cold Atlantic ocean.

Step Four: ... sign up for the 2016 Kiawah Half Marathon...and a 5K, a 10K, and a 15K this winter while it's still {hopefully} super cold out. Completely scratch the idea of doing a half in Columbia in May and consider signing up to volunteer instead.

11 December 2015

A Southern Twenty-Five on Friday!

TWO weeks until Christmas? Where did December go?
After this weekend, I'll have oh so much time to devote to some of my favorite Christmas activities: Lights at the Zoo, sugar cookies, shopping, present wrapping, etc. But there are 13.1 miles that stand between me and my Christmas fun.

Linking up for another Five on Friday with April.

It is Marathon Weekend down on Kiawah! & while I'm not running the full marathon, I am doing the half marathon for the second year in a row. I was pretty pumped about this race last weekend after running an awesome 5K {& setting a PR!} but not so much anymore. You see, I much prefer to run in freezing cold weather. 25 - 40 degrees is my ideal running temperature.
This weekend's forecast: lows in the 60s, highs in the 70s. Ideal for biking all over the island... not ideal for running all over the island.
Either way, Half Marathon, here I come!

{Read about last year's adventure here, here, here, and here}
My Christmas tree is up!

My cute little apartment tree from Target has found a new home in my parent's house this year. It looks kind of ridiculous in the corner of the kitchen because it's like 4 feet tall and the kitchen has some majorly vaulted ceilings. Thankfully there will be a bigger {real!} tree joining this little guy next week.
Another sneak peek!

|Jessica Roberts Photography|

Can you tell that I'm about to bust out laughing in the above picture? Because I promise you, I was about .2 seconds from laughing when our photographer snapped that one.
We're making a Christmas trip to Asheville next weekend... any suggestions for what we should do while we're there? The #1 thing on our list was the Sierra Nevada brewery tour but that thing sold out like a month ago for the days that we'll be in town. Any good breakfast places we should hit up?

Saturday night: celebration night! Can't wait to take in a sunset & a drink {or two} here:

Happy Friday! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

09 December 2015

The Sneak Peek

Me + my fiancé + Sycamore Brewing + our {amazing!} wedding photographer = ?

Pure awesomeness.

Or just lots, and lots, and LOTS of laughter. Because yes, I did laugh for the entire engagement session minus like three pictures.


All photography credit to our awesome photographer, Jessica of Jessica Roberts Photography. And a HUGE shout out to Sycamore Brewing for allowing us to come in before they were open and giving us free reign {& free beers!} while we were there.
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