September and October in Review

So much for having more time to blog after finishing school!

Seriously though: a weight truly has been lifted. There have been some nights and weekends since August where I’ve felt like I should be doing something, only to realize that that something was going to class or doing homework. Freedom!

So I neglected the blog and spent my time catching up with friends–both real life and television characters–instead. And doing some other stuff, like…

Take Flight – A fundraiser for SHIFT NC (Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens). Our friend is on the board and we had a great time bidding for things we didn’t win in the name of sexual health.

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PRIDE – Always a great time, even if it POURED during the parade.
Bismarck – Work took me to North Dakota’s capitol and I loved it! Downtown Bismarck is going through a revitalization and I was able to walk around, shop, and eat delicious things. I also went for a long run at a beautiful park along the Missouri River. The zoo’s there too, so I got to see some camels! Can’t say that about very many runs!
Fresno – Richie and I made it to Fresno for a quick trip. My mom threw a birthday (hers and Richie’s)/graduation (mine) party and it was a blast. We also went to a play–the famous murder mystery, The Mousetrap–at the Golden Chain Theater in Oakhurst with my dad and Kay!
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some of us at dinner


on the way to Oakhurst

Denver – After Fresno, we were off to Denver. I had a conference there, and Richie joined to sightsee. I had an afternoon off to explore and had a great time walking around. Denver is beautiful! And yes, we made it to Casa Bonita.

Wrightsville – Almost immediately after returning from Denver, we were off to Wrightsville beach for a wedding. It poured there too, but it was a lovely wedding and we had a great time.

Pop-Up Chorus – Getting into the Halloween spirit, I went to Pop-Up Chorus and jammed out to Thriller. My zombie moves need work.
Mural Dedication – The Durham Civil Rights History mural is done! There was a beautiful dedication and celebration one weekend, and the mural was on the cover of Durham Magazine’s design issue (I couldn’t make the photo shoot, though). “We must remember and continue to tell.”
Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.22.14 AMRace Fest – We did it again! Richie ran the half and I ran the 5. I finished a few seconds slower than last year–that says something about consistency, right? I ran with some friends–fellow Beer Runners!–and had a great time.
Bull City Beer Runners!

Bull City Beer Runners!

Atul Gawande – As big fans of his work, Richie and I were excited to hear him as one the Guilford College Bryan Series speakers in Greensboro.

Carved pumpkins – Hello…is it me you’re looking for? (And Richie’s bat is adorable.)
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Scary movies/TV – This year, we watched Rosemary’s Baby, The Devil’s Rejects, and Saw. Plus, we caught up on shows like The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and American Horror Story – Hotel.
Halloween – Probably the most epic Halloween day yet. We started off with a gravestone painting/yard decorating party at a friend’s house. Then, we were treated to a tour of the Duke Anatomy Lab (as visiting scientists) where we examined a cadaver and different organs. Yes, you read that right. It was FASCINATING. Also very cold. Then, we went to a party where we dressed as Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake from the SNL digital short Dick in a Box. Nailed it.


November is going to be similarly packed, with trips to Philly and Atlanta planned, plus hosting Thanksgiving again! Come at me, November–I’m ready.

August in Review

You guys!!! August was a big month!!! Let’s review:

The month kicked off with a work trip to Phoenix. I helped out with an AZ-related project partly because they needed help, but also so that I’d a get a trip to Phoenix to see my brother and his fiancee! The training went well, and it was awesome to catch up with Matthew and Melinda. And Phoenix is really cool! I can see why they like it there. (And no, it wasn’t that hot when I went.)

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Me and Matthew in front of the gourmet pizza place. We unfortunately did not ride those Vespas there.

Also in August: the homestretch of my program kicked into high gear. I had either class, a team conference call, or hours of work to put into my Capstone project seemingly every night.

…that is until the 22nd and 23rd, when I had my final Basecamp! (Basecamp is when we go to campus for 2-6 days and finish one semester and start the next. This time, it was only 2 days because it was our last one!) That’s right folks, I’m done with grad school!!! I now have a Master’s of Public Health in Policy and Management. If you’re curious about what classes one has to take to earn that kind of degree, check out the post, What I learned in each class I took in my MPH program, on my professional(ish) blog.

In all seriousness, though: it was a really tough program, especially while working full time (and changing jobs in the middle of it!). And it was also incredibly rewarding.  My cohort was amazing; I made so many great new friends and connections that have taught me so much over the last two years. I’m excited to see what great things come out of my cohort in the years to come!

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My Capstone team, AKA The Sisterhood of the Hot Mess, at the end of Basecamp

To celebrate my badassery, Richie and I went to Jamaica the day after I finished my program! We stayed at a resort on the cliffs of Negril and indulged in relaxation, jerk chicken, and rum.

Along with the trip, my graduation gift was a Nikon D3300, and Jamaica was a gorgeous setting to learn how to use it! Here’s a slideshow of some select shots. Enjoy!

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July in Review

July was very…social. Looking back at our calendar for highlights made me realize that we don’t have any big things to report, but we definitely filled our weekends with the stuff of summer: pools, BBQs, hikes, and happy hours. (Among work and homework, of course!)

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At Falls Lake, with little evidence of pool time on my skin

Other than enjoying summer, Lucy had ACL surgery (again, on her other rear leg) and is enjoying a smooth recovery…after a rocky start.

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naked haunch!

Finally, the countdown is ON: I finish school on August 23rd and we have a lot of other stuff to look forward to. More on that later, hopefully in more frequent Blogikahn posts!

June in Review + a May addition

June was mighty fun. And hot.
I had the pleasure of taking two weekend trips in June. The first was 24 hours in Charleston with some lady friends of mine. Thanks to Lori for being such an amazing tour guide!
We started with drinks at a rooftop bar.
Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 4.13.55 PMThen, we wandered around downtown. I took a ton of pictures in the cemetery at St. Philip’s Church, but this one stands out:

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It’s haunted!!!! (Seriously–I did NOT do this!)

We did some more wandering and had some more drinks (some courtesy of a guilt-ridden Charlestonian who stole the best seat in the house from us), and had dinner on the water, complete with dolphins.

Finally, we made it to the beach just before returning to Durham.
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We unfortunately did not spot Bill Murray.
The other weekend trip was for a wedding on Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks. This was our first trip to OBX, and it won’t be our last! But, it’s quite a hike for just a weekend–over 6 hours and you don’t even leave the state? Where are we, California?
Anyway, despite the fact that we didn’t take very many pictures, the island and wedding were lovely. We stayed in a sweet little cabana that had a lovely pool and was really nice inside, and the beach was beautiful–so many crabs!
And big congrats to our friends (and neighbors) Sarah and Ian!
Also in June: a trip to Sennett’s Hole along the Eno River:
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Modelo’s newest spokesmodel

…All this time in the water, I should invest in another bathing suit.

I also got to work on the Durham Civil Rights History Mural a little, too!
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Plus, something I forgot to mention in my May recap:

We saw Frank Turner!!! In Winston-Salem! On a school night, no less. We’re such rebels.

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Don’t we look like we’re in love?

At his show, we got swabbed for the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry. It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do, but just never got around to. For more information, visit

May in Review

My lag time for these month in review posts is not great. I want you to know that I’m working on it, but also that I don’t care that much, so don’t expect too much of an improvement next month.

So, May. Here we go:

It kicked off with Basecamp. That’s when I spend about a week on campus to wrap up the previous semester (giving presentations, working through simulations, etc.) and start the next semester (usually with lectures from my new instructors). It was my second-to-last Basecamp and boy, could I feel it! I’ll be done in August and just want this program to end. This semester, I’m taking Health Law, Leadership Journaling (which I have every semester and call Book Club), and my Capstone course which involves writing a business plan that I can’t talk about because it’s a real thing with real competition.

On a related note, we booked a vacation to celebrate finishing my masters and our fifth anniversary! It will be our first real vacation (more than a long weekend or a family function) since our honeymoon and I. cannot. wait. I’ll blog about it after, but booking it was obviously an event in itself.

Richie went to up to PA to visit his family (and see some friends). It also included a jaunt to his parents’ (newly renovated!) condo on the beach in Ventnor, NJ. I was bummed to miss it (for Basecamp, which is very mandatory).

I went to a bodybuilding competition. Yep, you read that right. My incredibly fit and inspiring friend Christina competed in the Figure category (competitors are judged from all angles and the goal is to have an athletic appearance – wide shoulders with slim hips and thighs) and I went to support her. After my initial discomfort and awkward giggles at the beefy men in sparkly Speedos, I got really into it and enjoyed myself! And Christina came in third!

Some things we did around Durham/the Triangle:

We caught up with some friends at the Bull City Ciderworks tour. We had been there before, but didn’t go on the (very small, very short, but) very interesting tour. They have lots of ciders to try, but my favorite is Steep South (infused with black tea and honey).


from their website

We went to the quarry for the first time this season. It was so refreshing!

Dustin, one of the OG Beer Runners who unfortunately moved to Brooklyn last summer, came to visit! It gave us an excuse to have a great night on the town complete with drinks at the Counting House at 21C, dinner at Dashi‘s izakaya, and ice cream at The Parlour.

Running of the Bulls 8k happened! I ran slower than last year, but still finished in under an hour, which was my goal. It was hot.


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finish line

Our friend Lauren hosted her annual birthday float on the Haw River in Saxapahaw. It’s always a great time.floatJune has already been pretty awesome–you should really look forward to the report in July.

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!

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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.