April in Review

I just realized I never did a post on April! You really missed it, right? Okay, let’s see…

I started the month by taking a week off work. March was crazy, so I needed a little R&R. I actually kept myself pretty busy–there was lots to do around the house and for school, it was nice to get a jump on my final month of the semester. I even wrote a blog post about my week off on my professional-ish blog here.

Richie went to DC for World Vaccine Congress, “where the global vaccine industry comes together to discuss science and strategy.” Sounds fancy, no? He says there’s nothing else to report on that front, so maybe no.

Oh, and something else: our house. I cryptically mentioned it in my 2014 in review post, and I’m able to talk about it a little more freely now.

Last summer, after moving into our house, we started a landscaping project that included drainage and some general beautification. The drainage part required a lot of digging, but the landscaper hit lots of trash pretty much immediately. And when I say “lots,” I mean decades worth of illegal dumping. So, we paused the project and brought out an geotechnical engineer who tested the ground under our house to see if there was trash down there, too. Sure enough, there is. This means that the ground under the house will settle in unpredictable ways. And we learned that it would cost nearly as much as the house itself cost to fix it, so that’s why we initially asked the builder to buy it back.

Well, that didn’t happen (though it still could), so we’ve filed a lawsuit against the builder (and a couple other entities). All parties have been served, and we’re waiting for their response.

It’s weird to even be in this situation, since suing someone was never anything I could see myself doing. It’s also really sad, especially because this is our first home and we’re trying not to get too attached to it. We saved really aggressively to put down a decent down payment, which was something I’m really proud of; but, now we have less in savings to pay all of the legal fees associated with this. So much for doing the responsible thing!

In other April news, we enjoyed about a week of spring in April. I’m pretty sure it’s summer now.

March in Review: I need a nap

giphyMarch came in like a lion and went out like a…bigger lion.

Some things that happened:

3/7, 3/10, 3/12: Trainings, trainings, trainings! I did one for a group of high school students in Orange County, NC; another one for grown-ups from all over NC; and another one for folks in VA. (They went well, thanks.)

3/14: Richie and I hosted the Third Annual Balitkahn Barleywine Festival and it was a huge success!

3/21: My friend Kate and I served as judges in a Destination Imagination (offshoot of Odyssey of the Mind) tournament in Western Carolina. It was a ton of fun to witness the various a-ha moments and train wrecks typical of a state competition. And two highlights: some llamas were staying on the lawn in front of our hotel; and I went to Waffle House for the first time ever and it was amazing (I got a waffle with city ham–not country ham).

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 4.50.37 PM3/21: Richie ran another Beer Mile with impressive speed!

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 4.52.45 PM

3/22-24: I went back to South Dakota to host a session at their Spring Tobacco Control Institute. I got to see some familiar faces from November and was able to put some faces to voices I’ve been talking to every couple weeks over the phone. I even had enough time for a stroll along the Missouri River:

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 4.49.30 PM3/27-29: Back to Western Carolina! This time to Asheville, where we attended Sierra Nevada’s Burly Beers and Barleywines Festival. We were supposed to run a race that morning (half marathon for Richie, 5k for me), but it was about 20 degrees, so we skipped it. In addition to fancy beers, we had some delicious meals—something I always look forward to when we visit Asheville.

Now, it’s nap time.

I want my TV

I’ve had a busy month. My boss (though she doesn’t like being called that) asked me what I do for self care. I started listing all the TV shows I watch (after mentioning exercise, since I didn’t want to come across as a total slob), and she requested that I make a list and post it on the blog. So, here it is. Judge me all you want.

Richie and I watch these together:

And I watch these by myself:

Just a note that this is everything I can think of over the course of a year. They’re not all on at once (thank goodness!).

February in Review

We’re really busy but we miss you!

So, some stuff that happened in February 2015:  watersI saw John Waters! Hairspray, Cry-Baby, and Serial Mom are some of my favorite movies of all time, so it was kind of a big deal when he came to the Carolina Theatre to do stand-up and tell stories. The funniest part of the night, though, was when I pulled some strings to get into the donor lounge with my friends and we acted all fancy to try and fit in (you kind of had to be there).

relayI ran a marathon relay! I was in a team of four, and the way it worked was: everyone had to run a lap, one at a time, in the same order until you were done. So, that’s 16 laps, four per person. It was hard, but also a ton of fun. I also ran 3/4 of my laps faster than I’ve ever run before. I wrote about the experience from a teamwork/accountability perspective on my semi-professional blog here.


he was famous, but again he goes unnoticed

Richie and I went to Cat’s Cradle to see Lucero and Ryan Bingham. The show was great–especially Ryan Bingham–and the big surprise was that Twin Forks opened the show. I had never heard of the band, but as it turns out, their front-man is Chris Carrabba (aka Dashboard Confessional). And I admit that I got a little weak in the knees when I met him after his set (lol).

While I hunker down with this last semester and a half in my program (!!!!), it’s looking like monthly recaps will be the best format for the Blogikahn. For March, you can look forward to reports on some trips (business and pleasure), another race, and who knows what else?!

January in pictures (mostly)

We kicked off the year with a Beer Mile with some of the Bull City Beer Runners! It was great fun and the times were very impressive! (Richie won because he’s ridiculous.)

Shortly thereafter, we took a trip to San Francisco! Richie had to go for work and I had relatively light work and school loads that week, so I tagged along. We did some touristy things, like walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, down the San Francisco Bay Trail, and up the Lyon St. steps, but we also made sure to check out some dive bars in the Tenderloin and the Mission. We also got lunch with my dad and dinner with J Slink!

Then, I turned 30! A couple weeks before the big day, we had some friends over for an enchilada cook-off and tequila tasting. Wool E. Bull also came. It was so much fun!

On my actual birthday, I went to work and had initially planned on going to class but decided at the last minute to let Richie take me to dinner instead. He also outdid himself with my gift–this glorious print from local artist (and founder/owner of Runaway) Gabriel Eng-Goetz:

2014 in review

In my last post (on August 22nd–yikes!) I said that the fall would be even busier than the summer, and I was SO RIGHT. School nearly wrecked me. And on top of that, we’ve had a lot of other stuff going on. So, I thought I’d post a little 2014 recap that will fill you in on the last third of the year, too.

Richie started a new job in April and loves it. He is the Director of Research and Development for a vaccine clinical trials network based out of Austin, TX. He works from home and travels a bit. This year, work took him to San Diego, New Orleans, and DC.

I started a new job in October and love it. I’m now a Project Director for a public health consultancy firm that works in tobacco, alcohol, food, and marijuana point-of-sale work in multiple states. I split my time between the office and home, and also travel a little. In fact, my first day on the job was in Denver, and a couple weeks later I ventured out to South Dakota.

I’m 2/3 done with my MPH! I have two semesters to go, and my course load this spring is much, much lighter than it has been. I’m digging into things that really interest me, but I’m also really excited to be done (in August!).

Hey girl hey ~ ryan gosling

Perhaps the biggest news: we built a house! We closed on June 10th and moved in the very next day. Our house was the first in a little cul-de-sac development of five homes. Now, four homes are built and occupied, and one more is in the process of the being built. Sadly, for reasons beyond our control, we have asked the builder to buy the house back from us. No news on that front at this point, but we’ll keep you posted.


Richie’s bubby, Lilly, passed away in late July. We were able to say goodbye and help out as best we could. She is missed dearly.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 2.46.09 PMWe hosted the Cusick Open AKA 14/14/14 this year in Durham. We enjoyed a few days of exploring, hitting some golf balls, and enjoying time with Nina’s mom’s side of the family!

PhotoLucy tore her ACL and meniscus and had surgery in early December. She has been a trooper, though, and is recovering beautifully!


Percy continues to be an adorable menace.


Because of all the house stuff, we didn’t do much traveling for fun this year. We did make it to Edisto Island, SC in April and a ranch just outside of Asheville in August for some peace and quiet.

Since we didn’t travel for any holidays, Richie’s family came to us for Thanksgiving! Jellen and Rachel came down from PA and Boston, respectively, and we had a great time together. I made entirely too much food and loved every minute of it.

Let’s do this thing, 2015.


Checking in

Well, hello there! I just wanted to post real quick because even though summer was Busy (with a capital B), fall is going to be even busier. And I want you to know that I love you and haven’t forgotten about you.

So, on that note, I thought I’d post some fun pictures that have been taken throughout the summer:


We went to a wedding and looked fly.

me and katie

My BFF Katie came to visit!


I became a master at mixing jalapeno cilantro margaritas


I met a parrot named Claude.


I got prescription sunglasses but had to order a child size because my pupillary distance is so short.


We grew tomatoes! And mint, and basil, and thyme!


We walked to Duke Gardens from our house! (And continue to do so.)

School starts tomorrow (not that I got a break–whine, whine), so I’ll see ya later.