Journey to 13.1

I haven’t been blogging as much as would like, but I’m hoping that changes in the coming weeks.  Summer is such a fun time of year, but somehow, all the fun makes things very busy, and blogging has fallen through the cracks.

Another factor that has made my schedule a little fuller than usual is I’ve officially started training for my first half marathon!  


I’m excited, anxious, and apprehensive all at once.  However, it’s a challenge I’ve thought of doing for almost 10 years, and ever since I completed a 10k in 2014, the desire has been even stronger.

I guess I should rewind a bit…back to January of 2014.  I felt like I was in a rut.  Life was great, but I felt like I was stationary.  I wanted a goal; I wanted a challenge; I wanted something to invest myself in.  So I signed up for a Saint Patrick’s Day 5k race.

I never dreamed the 8 weeks leading up to that 5k would change my life.  (No, I’m serious.)  I had been an athlete as a kid and right on up through high school.  Then I remained active – went to the gym, did kickboxing DVDs, jogged occasionally on a beautiful day.  But in those 8 weeks during the winter of 2014, I became a runner.

I learned as a runner, it’s only me and the road ahead.  When I needed a challenge, I was up against myself.  Could I run faster than last week?  Could I top my pace from my last run?  Could I run further than I have before?  The reward was finding I could do something I never thought I could.

After that first 5k on a windy, but sunny morning in March of 2014, I ran several more 5ks during the spring and summer, and trained to run a 10k that October.  Prior to signing up for the 10k (6.2 miles), I had never ran more than 3.5 miles at one time.  And to be honest, I didn’t think I had it in me to run more.  The training was hard, but the joy and triumph I felt as I crossed the finish line after running 6.2 miles was unlike anything I’ve ever felt.   I challenged myself to do something I had never done, and I succeeded.

I know most of you found my blog because of my writing, but I hope you’ll enjoy following along my personal running journey as well.  I hope it inspires you to challenge yourself (even if it’s not running or physical activity of any kind)!  The reward of accomplishing something you thought you couldn’t is amazing and it ripples through to all aspects of your life.

Yesterday, I finished the first two weeks of training, and I’ll be honest – I didn’t get off to the start I would have liked.  However, while I haven’t been able to stick to my training plan every day, I’m happy that my weekly miles are increasing and I’ve completed each week’s long run.  When I get discouraged, I keep my eyes on the road ahead because every day is a part of my journey to 13.1 miles.

Happy Olympic Day!

I love the Olympics! There’s just something special about watching athletes from around the world represent their countries with pride. The grit and determination is inspiring. 

We may not all be Olympians, but we can honor the Olympic spirit. We can all push ourselves to our own limits. We can push ourselves to be the best we can be with each step we take. 

So on Olympic Day, we got up before the sun and ran a 5k to start the day. 


So get out there today. Honor the Olympic spirit. Whether it’s a long run, a pick-up game of basketball, or even a walk to the corner, get out there and give it all you have. 

Life’s a balancing act!

Time for a reality check.  Recently, I’ve felt like I’ve been struggling to keep my head above water.  Without fail, the end of April and beginning of May are always busy…sometimes relentlessly so.  Work, family parties, just everyday day-to-day stuff.  For some reason, it just seems to balloon when the weather gets nice.  There are nights I sit lounge on my couch after giving Baby D a bath while my husband puts him to bed and I feel as though I’m a hamster in its wheel.  I’m working so hard but achieving nothing.  Is Baby D growing and thriving?  Yes.  Are we incredibly happy as a family of three?  Most definitely.  And they are the most important things.  But as I lay there, all I think about are the things I could or should be doing.  It’s still daylight; I should go for a quick run.  (That half marathon will be here before I know it.)  It’s only 7:30; I should write.  (That second book isn’t going to write itself.)

On a long run this past Saturday, I had a realization.  Life is a balancing act.  Yes, I did know that before now, but I realized that while I have goals for this year, and I have this grand plan about how I should go about achieving them, sometimes, life gets busy.  That’s just a fact of life – especially with a little one.  So if I don’t have a chance to go for that run or if I don’t open my laptop up for a couple nights in a row, it’s okay.  Part of balancing is compensating and readjusting; it’s not just being able to tackle everything all at once.

When Baby D gives me his big smile, I know I must be doing something right!

I know life will continue to get busier as the onset of summer is quickly arriving.  (Who else is excited for Memorial Day Weekend?!)  I hope to work on my outlook and share my journey about life – work – writing balance with you along the way!

Also, if you haven’t signed up for my weekly book review newsletter, click here to sign-up!  The first installment goes out Thursday!

Finding that peace of mind

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you probably know that along with writing I love to run.  It’s a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  Most days, I have a goal in mind – a certain distance, a particular pace.  But some days, it’s not about the miles or the time on my watch; it’s about the road in front of me and the peace of mind I get in return.

So it goes without saying that one of my favorite passages to write in The Other Side of Later was the running scene in Chapter 3. Julia runs through Sea Grass on a familiar route.  As she tries to ease the tension of her workday, she relishes in the memories she finds along the path. Like Julia, each time I lace up my sneakers and go for a run up and down the same streets I have since high school, I feel comfort. There’s a normalcy that keeps me grounded.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 3 of The Other Side of Later.

My sneakers ran on automatic pilot down a familiar path on Oak Street towards Veterans Park. After college, Aaron and I settled in my small hometown, whose Jersey Shore charm is undeniable while its name — Sea Grass— is unoriginal at best. Years ago, before the town became a suburb of Atlantic City, a majority of the area along the bay was covered with sea grass. As the story goes, fishermen, who used the area for crabbing, would refer to the track of land as Sea Grass. Through the years, as more people settled in the vicinity, the name stuck. While the name may have seemed generic and like any other small shore town, there were memories down every street and around every corner. Oak, the main street through town, appropriately name for the tall oaks that lined both sides, hosted the annual Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades. Each summer the bay front properties line with shops and restaurants were invaded by tourists or shoebies as us permanent Jersey Shore residents called them. This was home to me.

The late August humidity was oppressive. The air felt heavy. It was like a snowsuit clung to my legs with every stride. As I reached the bike path surrounding the park, the sun disappeared behind clouds rolling in from the west. The shade was a welcome change and helped take my mind off of the heat so I could enjoy the peacefulness of the park.

I felt the built up tension from work gradually disappear as I hit my stride. I was about halfway around the loop when I felt a large drop of rain hit my forehead. I closed my eyes for a moment and hoped that I imagined it. As three more large drops hit my face and arms, I knew it wasn’t my imagination so I quickened my pace in an effort to beat the worst of the storm. I was over a mile away from my house so as the rumble of thunder got louder, I realized it would be a losing battle. Within seconds, I was in the middle of a complete downpour. Multiple lightning strikes illuminated the darkened sky so I sprinted towards the gazebo in the center of the park.

Please check out The Other Side of Later on Amazon!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season.  I can’t believe how fast it flew by!  If the past four months taught me anything, it’s how fast time passes when you have a little one.  Every day has been a new adventure, and I’ve loved every second, but I realized how easy it is for time to slip by.  Because of that, I decided to think of a few things I want to accomplish in 2017 and focus on them throughout the year.

  1. Learn how to balance work and family time – On the eve of my first day back to work, this one seems a little daunting, but I’m hoping my organizational skills come in handy especially in the early morning hours!
  2. Finish the draft of book #2 – I really wanted to finish book #2 by the end of 2016, but time with Baby D was way more important.  I’m hoping in 2017 we’ll get more of a routine and I’ll find a few minutes here and there to write while Baby D sleeps.
  3. Run a half marathon – I’m all signed up for the Atlantic City half marathon in October.  It’s something I’ve thought about doing for several years, and a couple months ago, I decided to take the plunge and sign up!

I hope I’m able to fulfill all three by December 31st!  Do you have any goals for 2017? What are you doing meet your goals?

30 Day Gratitude Challenge – Part 1

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’m participating in the 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge on Instagram.  It’s such a great way to think about many of the things I’m thankful for leading up to Thanksgiving.  I thought I’d expand on a few of my favorites so far!

Day 1 – Home

30daygratitude_day1

My entire life I’ve called the small southeastern corner of the Jersey Shore home, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else!  There’s a bike path that runs through my town and several others.  No matter the day of the week or the time of day, you’ll always pass a friendly face – children riding their bikes to school, parents pushing their little ones in a stroller, and retirees enjoying a nice stroll.  The bike path promotes such a wonderful sense of community.  I’m so thankful for a welcoming place to run and walk with Baby D.

Day 8 – Family & Friends

When I think of my family and friends, my heart just bursts with love and joy.  As much as I like to think I have a way with words, I’m always at a lost when I try to articulate what they mean to me.  The walls of my house are filled with pictures of all our loved ones, and I smile and count my blessings every time I walk past them.

30daygratitude_day8

Day 15 – Music

Oh, how I love Christmas music!  While I typically try to hold off until the week of Thanksgiving to start listening, this year has been a little different.  Since I’ve been home on maternity leave with Baby D, I’ve gotten the festive holiday bug to start listening a bit earlier than usual!  As a kid, my parents would play songs by Dean Martin and Perry Como so my playlist has some of their classics along with my new favorites by Straight No Chaser, Carrie Underwood, and Kelly Clarkson.  With every song, I reminisce about how lucky I was to have wonderful Christmases as a kid and look forward to watching Baby D make memories each year that includes some of my favorite songs!

30daygratitude_day15

Are you participating in the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge?  What are you thankful for?

The Meet Cute of Julia & Drew

It’s that time of year when I inevitably don’t want to wish the summer away but the heat and humidity have me dreaming about cooler fall temperatures. It’s also the time of year that birthed the idea for The Other Side of Later. I guess it’s not too hard to fathom considering this is my favorite time of year – late summer beach days and the anticipation of fall and all it has to bring – cooler mornings, crisp air, and colorful leaves.

If I rewind 6 years, there was a hot and humid, August evening when I decided to squeeze in a quick run before thunderstorms swept through. I knew I’d be cutting it close with the dark storm clouds off to the West, but I was certain I had at least 25 minutes for a quick run. Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on my side that day. I was about a mile away from my house when the sky opened up and I had to make a very quick dash to find cover.

I’ll be honest. That night I didn’t think too fondly of the run. My sneakers were completely water logged, and I had had to peel off my soaking wet clothes as soon as I came in the front door as my husband tossed me a towel from upstairs. However, the next day, as I thought about how convenient it would have been to have a structure of any kind along the bike path, the premise of Julia and Drew’s meet cute came to me. What if two runners – more specifically, two former classmates – found the same place to take cover during a storm?

From there, the idea for The Other Side of Later took off in my head. I felt like I caught lightning in a bottle. My mind was in overdrive. I couldn’t type fast enough. Idea after idea flowed onto the screen. That being said, there were rewrites on top of rewrites. Some ideas from the early drafts never panned out. But the timing of the book’s opening setting? That never changed. I knew mid-August at the Jersey Shore when heat and humidity is at its worst was the perfect time of year to start the story of Julia and Drew.

So if you’re like me and like to read books that are season appropriate, I think you’ll enjoy The Other Side of Later right now! But don’t worry. It’s not entirely a summer book. There is plenty of fall and holiday fun in the later chapters!

Check out The Other Side of Later on Amazon!

A run down memory lane…

One of my favorite passages to write in The Other Side of Later was the running scene in Chapter 3. Julia runs through Sea Grass on a familiar route, and as she tries to ease the tension of her workday, she relishes in the memories she finds along the path. Like Julia, each time I lace up my sneakers and go for a run up and down the same streets I have since high school, I feel comfort. There’s a normalcy that keeps me grounded.

Change is a part of life. And in this crazy world, where change is constant, it’s nice to know some things stay the same.

I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 3 of The Other Side of Later.

My sneakers ran on automatic pilot down a familiar path on Oak Street towards Veterans Park. After college, Aaron and I settled in my small hometown, whose Jersey Shore charm is undeniable while its name — Sea Grass— is unoriginal at best. Years ago, before the town became a suburb of Atlantic City, a majority of the area along the bay was covered with sea grass. As the story goes, fishermen, who used the area for crabbing, would refer to the track of land as Sea Grass. Through the years, as more people settled in the vicinity, the name stuck. While the name may have seemed generic and like any other small shore town, there were memories down every street and around every corner. Oak, the main street through town, appropriately name for the tall oaks that lined both sides, hosted the annual Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades. Each summer the bay front properties line with shops and restaurants were invaded by tourists or shoebies as us permanent Jersey Shore residents called them. This was home to me.

The late August humidity was oppressive. The air felt heavy. It was like a snowsuit clung to my legs with every stride. As I reached the bike path surrounding the park, the sun disappeared behind clouds rolling in from the west. The shade was a welcome change and helped take my mind off of the heat so I could enjoy the peacefulness of the park.

I felt the built up tension from work gradually disappear as I hit my stride. I was about halfway around the loop when I felt a large drop of rain hit my forehead. I closed my eyes for a moment and hoped that I imagined it. As three more large drops hit my face and arms, I knew it wasn’t my imagination so I quickened my pace in an effort to beat the worst of the storm. I was over a mile away from my house so as the rumble of thunder got louder, I realized it would be a losing battle. Within seconds, I was in the middle of a complete downpour. Multiple lightning strikes illuminated the darkened sky so I sprinted towards the gazebo in the center of the park.

Please check out The Other Side of Later on Amazon!