goody two shoes

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32

Today, I’m 32. Or, as I like to say, I’m celebrating the seventh anniversary of my 25th birthday.

But, here’s the thing — I don’t mind being another year older. I mean, yeah, I’d be okay if certain parts of me, like my boobs and metabolism, were still 22, but overall, I like where I am. I’ve lived through enough sadness* to truly appreciate the happiness, I spent enough time working for peanuts that I still get giddy over being able to purchase something nice without saving for a year (not that I can do it often, but it happens). I’ve got enough life under my belt to feel worthy of respect, but young enough to know that I have a lot more to do and see and learn. Yeah, I’m okay with it.

To kick off 32, I’m having dinner with Jared and some friends tonight, and, on Sunday, I’m running a half marathon. Oh, did you forget about that? Because, believe you me, I haven’t. I’ve been working my ass off to get ready for it, but — get this — I’ve kind of loved it. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve made good use of my vast store of running buddies, or because I’ve taken the pressure off in terms of pace (I’m taking a cue from Susan and mostly aiming not to die, but other than that, I just want to beat the time of the only other one I’ve ever done, which was just under 2:30). I actually have a decent amount of confidence that I can do that. Either way, it’s definitely been an enjoyable training journey.

And if I can’t meet my goal, there will still be beer at the end, so, you know, there’s that.

 

*Thank you all for your comments (here and on Facebook and Twitter and via text and email) about Meeko. Your support has been an enormous help.

Just in case getting to meet Janet Evanovich wasn’t enough for one lifetime, I had another brush with celebrity. No, it wasn’t Sean Connery on the phone (again), but it got my heart all aflutter nonetheless.

It was this:

Wait, you don’t know Aldis Hodge? He’s on Leverage and totally one of my celebrity crushes — definitely above the Clooneys and Pitts of the world, but not quite as high on The List as Zachary Levi. Then again, you know, ol’ Chuck there has never Tweeted me back. And The List isn’t carved in stone.

And, yes, I’m aware that I have a type. Tall, handsome, athletic-looking, computer geeky. Those of you who know my husband will not find this surprising in the least.

(There’s one exception to the type: Alex O’Loughlin. What can I say? I would be at least as tall as he

Anyway, all that is pretty much just to say, damn, I love Twitter. (BTW, are you following me? Drop me a line at @kgseymour! Tell m who’s on your List and I’ll bestow some of these “smooth” points on you!)

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Janet Evanovich and yours truly. That's as small as my smile could get. Seriously, you should see the other pictures.

What’s that? You didn’t know I was writing a book? That’s because haven’t started it. Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’ve started it at least 300 times. But, whether I’m putting a pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, or just thinking things out in this slightly beleaguered brain of mine, I’m always, always writing a book.

I’m also often reading them, and as often as not, they’re by Janet Evanovich. I adore her, I think because she writes the way I do (only, you know, a wee bit more successfully). It’s the characters that draw you into her books — the plot is always fun to follow, but every time I turn the final page of one of her books, I wonder what the characters do after that last scene. I find myself truly caring. I love it. And I love that she’s committed to keeping the violence off stage, the pets alive and well, and the language appropriately vulgar. Fuckin’ A, man.

Basically, I want to be her. And this weekend, I took a step toward that. I met her. And it was glorious.

I think my mom had just as much fun as I did.

My mom and I went down to Orlando for a book signing — the only book signing Janet is doing for Explosive Eighteen, btw) — and despite getting there at 9 a.m. when we thought the store was opening, we ended up in the third group. Which, you know, wasn’t so bad when we realized that, although we were Group C, there were people in Group H.

Knowing her most famous character, Stephanie Plum, had a keen affinity for Cheetos and Tastykake treats, I swung by Publix to pick her up a gift bag of goodies — I figured it would be a long day for her, and we all need sustenance, right? Although, I’ve got to say, she was sucking down Diet Cokes like a champ. And if that’s any indication of how to be a super successful author, well, I’ve got at least part of it down.

We waited quite a while in line, although between the Barnes and Noble staff and Janet’s people (including her daughter and husband, who I may or may not be BFFs with now), it went by in a flash. I guess she collects the kind of fans who just like to be happy, because as the hours went by, nobody near us complained. I think we were all just really excited to meet her.

I tried not to build it up too much in my mind. I knew she had to sign a million books and I didn’t want to expect too much more thanĀ  passing hello, but oh. YOU GUYS. She couldn’t have been more wonderful. I brought my copy How I Write(her book about, uhh, how she writes), and mentioned that I’m a writer, and she turned right to me and asked what I was writing.

I loved these ladies. They'd driven up from Miami and made a whole girls' weekend of it, and they were a hoot. And also smart -- ALWAYS bring water to a book signing. Always.

 

I’ll spare you the full dialog, but she was smart and funny and encouraging and amazingly chipper considering she’d been signing books for almost four hours and probably had more than that left to go. When I mentioned something about “if I write a book” she cut me off immediately and corrected me.”When you write a book. Always when.” And then, she said maybe the coolest thing ever: “Once it’s published, I expect to be getting your signature.”

Well, clearly I’m going to hold her to it. But I guess that means I need to get my ass in gear and start, like, writing. But I will, and when it publishes and I go on an amazing book tour and I have tens of people (hey, in this fantasy I’ve already written and published a book and somebody has asked me to sign it — that’s enough for me, for now) waiting in line, Janet will have a personal invite to one of the first spots in line.

(After Jared and my folks, of course, because, let’s get real. Janet has provided incredible inspiration and I’m super grateful, but who do you think is going to be keeping me in Coke Zero and Mexican food while I scribble down page after page?)

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I took no pictures on Thanksgiving. Zero. None. Which is a bummer, because the food was beautiful (and delicious), the company was fantastic, and it was a great day all around. So, since there are no pictures, I figured I’d give you a thousand words. (Or, you know, however many. You get the drift.)

I’m thankful for my relationships. I’ve said it before, but I really lucked out with Jared. How many other people can say their husband took care of the turkey (we fried it), made mashed potatoes from scratch, jumped in to help clean up, and still told them, “Honey, you did such a great job.” Oh, just me? I’ll take it.

I also love that I have such a close and fun relationship with my folks as well as Jared’s mom and sister. We eat, we drink, we laugh — we have MUCH more fun than a lot of families, I know.

I’m thankful to have so many good friends. My “in person” friends, both near and far, are fantastic, and I’m continually blown away at how much my “online-only” friendships mean to me. You guys are awesome.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how happy I am to have jobs that I love, that allow me to work with people I adore, and I make a living that allows me to buys shoes and pay for obedience lessons. I mean, I wouldn’t say no to winning the Lotto or anything, but man, if you’d told me 10 years ago that I’d be working as a writer/editor/online and social media specialist, well, first I wouldn’t have even know what most of that meant, and then, once I knew what it meant, I never would have believed you.

And, not to rub it in for those of you with some gray, cold weather, but good grief, we couldn’t have asked for more beautiful weather for Thanksgiving. It was cool enough in the morning that I had a really enjoyable 5 mile run, but warm enough for us to eat on the back porch. Which we pretty much always do, because Thanksgiving is somehow magically lovely around here.

Also? Glitter nail polish. I love it SO MUCH.

Thanks for reading and commenting and just being around, y’all. Hope you’ve had a great Thanksgiving and have big fun plans for the weekend!

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Just a heads up — this is a sponsored post from Shutterfly. In exchange for writing about my Shutterfly card experience, I’m getting 50 free cards. But I’m also giving some away! So you should totally keep reading!

It’s no shock to anyone who knows me well that I love the holiday season — Christmas in particular. I’ve grown to appreciate Thanksgiving, especially now that I have more say in what foods are on the table (not that my family didn’t do an amazing job cooking while I was growing up — they did! But I don’t eat turkey and I don’t like gravy, so I’ve added a few new classics to the table that I love and other people enjoy, too).

Even when I was a kid, I loved the tradition of sending out Christmas cards. I loved helping my mom pick them out, I loved going through our old address book and copying down the addresses, I loved signing each one a little differently to reflect the different relationships.

I still love cards — in fact, this past year, I’ve tried to get more in the habit of sending “just because” greeting cards on occasion, although I haven’t done that as frequently as I’d like. But, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t start at least thinking about holiday cards back in July. (Yes, I was also thinking about how to arrange my pretty sparkly Christmas tree collection on my mantle. SHUT UP.)

You might recall that I did something along these lines last year, and I had major problems deciding which card to use and what pictures to include. Well, this year, I have a different problem — I found a card I love, but we haven’t taken as many pictures (at least, not as many good picture of us or the pets), so I’m having a harder time deciding what to include. I mean, the pictures I currently have in here are from last year, and I think that’s cheating. Right?

So, obviously, we’ll be working on updating our photo in the very near future. But not too near — I have a hair appointment next week and I think it would be wise to wait until after that. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you guys on your holiday card traditions and beliefs. Do you always send a photo card, or do you prefer ones with art or wildlife photography or something? How big is your list? Do you send a letter? Do you include your pets? Do you think that’s cheesy?

As promised, there is a giveaway component to this! I’m giving away codes for 25 free cards to three lucky readers. I’ll leave the giveaway open for a week, so you have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday, November 21, to leave a comment. (Any comment will do, but I’d sure appreciate something fun and related to the questions above.) I’ll use Random.org to select three winners, and then I’ll email the winners their codes. Easy peasy, right?

And, there are no extra entries for promoting on Facebook or Twitter because I don’t have the patience to track any of that, but, if you have friends or followers who might like to enter, please, feel free to share!

One of the perks of living in Gainesville is that, as the home of the University of Florida, it draws some pretty decent talent. This weekend is homecoming (hence my beautiful blue glitter ombre nails — be true to your school and all that!), and, the Friday night before is always Gator Growl, which is basically a big ol’ pep rally with varying degrees celebrity entertainment. One year, we saw Bill Cosby, and I think maybe … Dane Cook? Back before he was overdone and annoying?

So, tonight, we’re going. The musical guest is the Goo Goo Dolls (does the title make sense now?) and the comedian is Joel McHale. I’m super excited, partly because I think he’s really funny, but also, umm, he’s kinda cute. And tall. And if you haven’t noticed, I’m a little partial to the tall funny guys.

So, here’s my plan to make Joel McHale decide he would like to come have drinks with me after the show.

1. Tweet him mercilessly. Hi, @joelmchale!

2. Wear a LOT of mascara.

3. Put on a low-cut shirt.

4. Wear a push-up bra under the low-cut shirt.

5. Tweet about the above to @joelmchale.

 

Somehow, I think Jared is going to come out the big winner in all this, don’t you?
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Also, it’s looking more like I’m going to be doing something like NaBloPoMo/2, and probably weekdays only. Yes, I know. I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me.

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I reviewed a sweet little summer read over at BlogHer — Karen White’s The Beach Trees. Below is a snippet, but you can head over to the full post for the real scoop on the book!

Culture shock doesn’t always require a passport, proven in Karen White’s latest book, The Beach Trees. There’s no other way to describe Julie Holt’s initial reaction to everything she experiences on her first trip to the Gulf Coast, visiting the hurricane-ravaged landscape and heartbroken family her best friend, Monica left behind but described in detail, both with words and paintings, until her untimely death.

Julie, a lifelong New Englander living in New York, attempts to put tragedy — her sister’s childhood disappearance 17 years ago and her best friend’s recent death — in her rearview mirror as she drives south to River Song, the beach house Monica left her in Biloxi, armed only with the keys to the home, which was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, and Monica’s 5-year-old boy, Beau. For the first time in her life, she has no plan, but, she soon learns that Biloxi, New Orleans, and Monica’s estranged family have plans for her.

(Seriously, go over and read the full review. Go on, now!)

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I accomplished my goals — I placed within my division, I finished with a time I was (mostly) happy with, and I was not eaten or even nibbled by an alligator. Overall, I’m calling it a success.

Kristen and Patrick at Moss Park tri

With Patrick, sweaty, dirty and smiling big.

One of the biggest challenges of this race, for me, was the fact that it was a 7:15 start in a location more than two hours away, and I had to drive down the morning of the race. Honestly, I never would have done that myself — that 3:30 wake up was pretty unkind, and, while a single (albeit very large) cup of coffee was just fine, I know that drinking too much coffee does Very Bad Things to my tummy, and when you pair that with nerves and then biking and running and no bathrooms nearby, it’s, uhhh, problematic. So a single cup of coffee it is!

Fortunately, I didn’t have to do it alone. In fact, the main reason I signed up for the race is because my good friend (and coach, and inspiration, really), Patrick, had signed up for it and was moving to New York a few days later, so although we’ve done plenty of workouts together and talked extensively about races, we’d never actually done one together.

Of course, by “together” I mean he did it in half the time. He did win the damn thing last year, after all, and despite doing basically no tri training at all in recent months, he still placed 3rd in his age group and 12th overall. See? Inspiration.

As for me, I honestly did just fine. We ran a little late, so I had to rush through setting up my transition area in order to have time to hit the bathroom before the pre-race meeting. (Tangent — who else believes that a pre-race bathroom break is a non-negotiable? I mean, I would actually start the race a minute or two late rather than stop during the race.)

Unlike other tris I’ve done, this swim took place in a lake (hence my alligatorly concerns), and although the water was, like, black, and I couldn’t sight the buoys for the life of me (which turned out to be a common problem) it was a nice swim. Pretty smooth, and I love that half-mile distance. I was 12th out of the water in the women’s wave, which was a bit of a disappointment, but, hey, that’s what you get for not training, I suppose.

The bike took a challenging but interesting route, through neighborhoods and with lots of twists and turns. My bike computer broke during St. Anthony’s, so I had no idea how far I’d gone, which, honestly, was kind of fun. I just pushed hard without totally blowing my legs for the run and finished the bike right around the middle of the pack.

And the run. Oh, the run. I was actually really excited because it’s just a 2.8 mile run, but I hadn’t taken into account the fact that some of it was on trail, and all of it was on packed dirt, which is great for the knees (it’s softer), but tough on weak ankles. I might’ve aroused a bird or two with my near-constant shrieks of, “Oooh! Woooo!” as I nearly fell over from stepping on a rock or in a shallow hole. I kept something around a 11 minute mile pace — far from great, but nothing I’m going to be embarrassed about.

About 10 minutes after I finished, as Patrick and I were loading up the bikes, I got the best surprise. Jared (who was working in Orlando that day) called, which he said he would do around 9. Here’s the conversation:

J: “Hey, where are you?”

Me: “Still at the race, packing up.”

J: “No, where are you?”

Me: “Ummm, Moss Park? You know, at the race?”

J: “NO. Where in the park are you?”

Me: “Shut up. Shut up shut up! Are you here? No way, you’re not here. Wait, are you here?”

Spoiler alert — he was there. It had been a few days since I’d seen him anyway since he’d been traveling, and then, having him surprise me by showing up at the end of the race was just … well, if you ever hear me complain about him, just remind me of this, okay? It was really freaking cool.

Also, just a note about the race itself — definitely a good one to do. Swimming in a lake is a bit of a novelty when you’re used to swimming in the ocean, and the park itself is lovely, if a bit buggy, so pack bug spray with your sunscreen. It’s not a huge race, but there were multiple events (aqua bike, etc.) which really lent to a bigger feel. And it’s a great one for first timers — they even have a My First Triathlon division with shorter distances (or a shorter swim, anyway, not sure about the rest). I definitely see myself coming back to do this one next year!

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A big part of the reason we chose the house we currently live in is because it’s an excellent space for entertaining, and, if you know me, you know it doesn’t take much for me to decide to throw a party. Like, say, my dog not dying — as far as I’m concerned, no better reason, right?

Fortunately, I have a lot of incredibly awesome friends who feel the same way, and who had zero reservations about heading over to our house on a Monday night to celebrate my sweet, healthy pup. And drink wine. You know.

Rudi couldn't wait for her guests to arrive. Such a good little hostess.

And, get this — not only did we have a bunch of the regular crew show up, but two of her doctors from her stay in the ICU came! (One didn’t make it, but he explained that it was because he was stuck in the ER until 11:30. Apparently he didn’t realize that it would’ve been totally acceptable to show up at that point.)

As far as Rudi goes, things continue to look good. Her numbers are within the normal range, and though we’d still be happy to see the creatnine come down just a smidge, we can certainly work with where it is if need be. As Dr. Bandt told me yesterday, it’s back to normal life now. I’ve never been happier.

(Okay, fine, I’d be happier if more of the shrimp salad I’d made for the party had been left over. What’s that? You want the recipe? Fine. It was basically shrimp, which I chopped up into large chunks, mayo, celery, green onion, shredded carrots, dill and salt and pepper to taste — I’d send you to the recipe, but I printed it out and promptly forgot where it came from. It was delicious, but I really wanted to make Mango-Curry Shrimp Salad in Wontons, but somebody thought it sounded like too much work. For me. Not him. Why did I listen again?)

So, it’s not just me, right? It’s fun to come up with a reason to throw a random weeknight party. Now, squirt gun to your head — if you had to throw a party, like, tomorrow night, what kind of fun reason could you come up with for doing so?

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The rumors you’ve heard are true. (Which probably isn’t a surprise, since I’m the one who started them.) I wear glasses now. It’s like being full-time fancy, I guess, except that I’m just wearing glasses all the time* instead of, I don’t know, whatever it is you might do if you’re full-time fancy. Eat bon bons? Drink wine you didn’t get on sale for $6.99? You tell me.

You like them, right? (And by them, I mean me, naturally.)

Anyway, this is kind of a big deal for me, and I’m talking about how it happened, what I think about it (and also which other glasses I think are super cute) over at BlogHer Style. You should probably read it. And then tell me you like my glasses, unless you want your glasses shoved in a very uncomfortable place. And I don’t mean the back of a Volkswagen.

(*Obviously, when I say “all the time,” I mean a good portion of the time, when it’s convenient and I remember and I haven’t misplaced them somewhere in the house. If I ever get to a point where I need to wear them for running or something, I’ll be looking into contacts, thankyouverymuch. I’m not a running in glasses kind of girl. Unless they’re sunglasses and, you know, it’s sunny out.)

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