Running Toward Happiness

This blog is a running blog. Passion Hits Pavement is about how I found—and am still finding—myself through my running. Though I talk about all sorts of topics on here, I wanted to get back to my roots and talk about what this blog is all about—the art of putting one foot in front of the other and finding happiness, peace and health in the process.

Just a few months back, at the very beginning of the year, I had hit a winter slump. With the holidays ending and nothing fun or exciting in sight, I found myself sitting on the couch more, bored and unmotivated. When we got Opie, though he made me so happy, I was beyond tired from the sleepless nights, which lead to an even greater lack of motivation. And crabbiness, on top of that.

So one morning, when it seemed like my zillionth 4:45 a.m. wakeup call with my fur baby, I decided to take him for a power walk (once it hit a more tolerable hour) to expel some of his energy and frankly, just do something. At 6:15, Opie and I set out to explore the neighborhood in the pitch black (did I mention it was February and about 10 degrees?).

The following morning, we did the same thing. And the same the day after that. Soon, we were walking almost every morning, no matter the weather. We slushed through the snow, shivered through the rain and walked happily on the clear mornings. I watched nearly every Northeast Ohio sunrise from February through April.


And then we practiced running together. After tripping several times and almost knocking my front teeth out once, we got the hang of it. In fact, I think Opie actually enjoys running more than he does walking (he’s definitely his momma’s boy). We’ve been running multiple times a week ever since.

Giving me sass

Having someone’s happiness depend on you is a very great responsibility, and it’s also incredibly rewarding. Though I never stopped running, having a little creature rely on me and get so excited to go out for a run makes every one more special and worth while.

Part of what I love about running is that it’s always there for you. You can step away from it for a while and come back to it whenever you’d like. Pick up those running shoes, dust them off and take them for a spin.

I’ve been grateful for falling in love with running for more than six years now. But the sunrises, sunsets and special moments I now get to share with my little fur child make me love it that much more.



An R+F Skin Update: 4 Weeks In

Hi everyone! I’m officially ready to show and talk about my Rodan + Fields product experience so far. Like it always goes with a personal change, I felt and saw a difference in my skin before everyone else started noticing. But after a solid four weeks using my R+F products, people are starting to comment, AND I see a difference in my weekly pictures I’m taking. It’s such a great feeling!

To give you some history, I’ve always struggled with my skin, mostly acne and texture issues. You can see my full skin story here. I went through a period of time in my 20s when my skin was doing pretty well, but it recently blew up again. So, when I decided to jump in head first with R+F, I started with the Unblemish line and recently added the Reverse regimen. I use Unblemish in the morning and Reverse in the evening—but at this rate, I probably won’t need the Unblemish in just a few short months.

Day 1

Eek. This picture is embarrassing–I don’t think I have ever put something on social media without me wearing makeup. This is me when I first started my regimen. Though I don’t have awful acne, you can see the bumps/texture on my skin, especially on my right cheek. I’ve always had more issues on my right side than my left. Why?? Does anyone else have this? Maybe it’s because I sleep on that side more?

This is me a couple weeks in. The product brought a few more breakouts to the surface.

Week 2

And this (below) is me four weeks into my regimens. Please excuse the messy hair and makeup under my eyes. Though I still have some redness and a few marks, the marks have faded and I have ZERO texture right now—yay!

4 weeks

They say give it 6-8 weeks to really see a difference, but I already see one! It may not look like a huge difference in these pictures, but I definitely feel and notice a difference. I knew it was really working when a coworker of mine commented on how nice my skin looks and wanted to give the products a try. These are no joke, and I seriously can’t remember the last time someone said I have nice skin. That made my day!

Stay tuned for an 8 week check-in! And if you ever have any questions about these products, message me!

The Joys and Pains of Homeownership – One Year In

We just recently celebrated one year in our house. Already, it has been home to so many memories. We’ve laughed here, we’ve cried here and we most recently brought our littlest fur baby home here. We’ve made this place ours since the day we moved in, but seeing Opie love this space and feel so comfortable here makes me never want to leave.

FullSizeRender (1)

It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, but reflecting on this past year, we’ve had many happy times:

  • March 2015: We close on our house, get the keys and move in. We are thrilled and terrified all at once.
  • April 2015: I have my bridal shower and Nick and I haul all our wonderful, thoughtful gifts back home to truly make our house a home.
  • May/June 2015: We celebrate our last few days as an engaged couple, get married and come home from our honeymoon.
  • July 2015: We host our families for July 4 (our first holiday hosting experience; cops are only called once—wish I was kidding).
  • September-December 2015: I celebrate turning 29 happy and healthy, and we enjoy our first holidays in our home, hosting our family and friends for a great holiday party!
New landscaping and fall decorations
Home for the holidays
  • January 2016: Opie joins our family! Time freezes for the next couple months as we dedicate ourselves to training him, trying to get sleep and keep our lives somewhat normal.
  • April 2016: We get our backyard fence and all is right with the world again, as Opie has somewhere to run around and play (on his own!!!).
  • May 2016: My sister graduates and moves back home from Chicago. We now have her near us. We celebrate Nick’s birthday and our 1 year anniversary this month as well!

And though we LOVE our house and have no sites on leaving ANYTIME soon, there of course have been some rough patches that evened out the highlights above:

  • Our water heater breaks right after I run 4 miles outside in the freezing cold. Ever rinsed off with freezing cold water after a cold yet sweaty workout? It’s thrilling in a not so good way.
  • Our toilet breaks. After trying to fix it at least 10 times, Nick gives up and we go buy a toilet. Those things aren’t cheap.
  • Our backyard is temporarily a MUD PIT because of some trees we had to uproot, and Opie treated himself to a mud bath. At 6 a.m. Nick was conveniently out of town. J
  • We host a Christmas party (high point) and had red wine splashed ALL OVER our beautiful ikat fabric ottoman (low point). I managed to get it out with dish soap, laundry detergent and tears.
  • Countless Opie accidents all over my beloved rug; thank goodness for textured patterns and multicolored flecks, they are very forgiving.
Chaos in the family room. But just look at that little face.

Phew! Lots to be thankful for and for the things that went wrong, they are just that—things. I love this house, not because of the furniture and pretty things inside it, but the love and memories we share within it. If you own a house, you understand. If you don’t, I highly recommend buying one at least once in your lifetime. It will be the best and worst thing you’ve ever done.

My Skin Story … And Why I’m an R+F Consultant

I think a lot of people in my life were surprised when I told them I decided to become a Rodan + Fields consultant. “Why?” they asked. Let me tell you.

I’ve struggled with my skin for more than half my life. It was like puberty hit, and the zit fairy came to town for good. In sixth grade, a kid called me pizza face. That sh*t stays with you.

Accutane at 16 followed by several rounds of microdermabrasions helped kick it in the butt, but I still struggle with maintaining a clear complexion to this day. Let’s just say looking in the mirror and being embarrassed with what you see is an awful feeling.

I always said that if I had any medical inclinations (I don’t) I would be a dermatologist, so I could help others who had similar struggles. But that dream was simply a “what if” thought. Instead, I just gained a strong interest in investing in my skin, learning about different skincare products and most importantly, learning makeup tricks to hide my problematic skin.

A girl I used to work with has been a consultant for two years, and her posts always intrigued me. The before and after pictures she shared of people’s personal results with acne, wrinkles, etc., were incredible. What if those products were what I had been searching for and I was too stubborn to ask about them?

So one day, I got the nerve to message her on Facebook. And I’m so glad I did. After a few conversations and MANY questions, I decided to take the plunge. I began using the acne Unblemish regimen, liked what I saw within the week, bought a business kit and decided to never look back. It was a 60-day empty bottle money back guarantee. What did I have to lose?!

Opie is very proud of his mommy

Before I go any further, let me put this out there. I absolutely love my career. I’m a full-time Account Manager—just got promoted, woohoo!—at a communications firm and love what I do. It’s fulfilling, keeps me busy and makes me feel valued every day.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t like to be challenged in different ways. To learn a new skillset. Meet new people. Be embraced by a new group of women who are entrepreneurs all with very different backgrounds.

So far, I’m having a blast. If ever that should change, I’ll reevaluate it. But all I know now is my skin is glowing, people are noticing and I’m a part of a brand that has become the No. 1 premium anti-aging and acne skincare brand. It’s broken international boundaries and is on its way to No. 1 overall—who wouldn’t be a part of a successful business like that?!

If you don’t care about me becoming a consultant or don’t want to learn more, that’s fine. It doesn’t bother me. If you think I’m crazy, you’re probably right—but for different reasons I won’t go into here. 🙂 If you want to learn more, shoot me a Facebook message. Or visit my page:

I’ll be sharing my own results soon. Until then, thanks for your support.

Opie’s Story

It was a few weeks after the holiday rush had ended, the family get togethers died down and the long stretch of winter was ahead of us when Nick and I had a moment when we realized … we were bored. We had nothing overly exciting to look forward to, and we were ready to shake things up a bit.

Fast forward to a random Sunday when my mom and I were out shopping. I had to pop into Pet Co. for some food and litter for our precious Timmy. A rescue was set up with a number of dogs and I fell in love with a little lab mix named Daisy. I knew I couldn’t go through with adopting her though, because we had not talked about getting a dog (correction: we hadn’t talked about getting a dog as soon as that day), and my husband wasn’t there to make the decision with me. It just didn’t feel right.

But I left that store with my cat food, litter, a toy and an OVERWHELMING sense of panic. It hit me like a brick wall. I needed a dog.

Nick had begged me since we moved in together two years ago for a dog. But something held me back. We didn’t have a yard in our apartment. Timmy would be upset. We didn’t have time to train a puppy. You know how it goes. When you’re not ready for something, you’ll come up with 50 excuses as to why it’s not a good idea.

So when I told Nick I wanted a dog, he didn’t allow time to pass for me to rethink my decision. We spent the next few days looking up rescues for puppies and young dogs. Through my search, I ran across this face:


And it was over.

Nick and I picked up Oliver (now Opie—inspired from our favorite Sons of Anarchy character) on a cold, snowy Tuesday night in January. We drove down to New Philly with a collar, treats and a stuffed toy, and the second I laid eyes on that dog, I knew he was ours.

Opie turned our lives upside down for a while. Being only 8 weeks old, we had many a sleepless night, learned to spot clean our carpet in under 2 minutes and listened to him howl in his crate until I was brought to tears (I think Nick was on the verge once or twice too). But raising him has also been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I can only imagine the sense of contentment children will bring if I’m this happy with a puppy.

Now, three months from when we picked him up, I’m drinking coffee while he peacefully sleeps next to me. Our family room is scattered with toys, our floors have pawprint patterns on them (despite cleaning three times more often) and the circles under my eyes are a little darker. But the love and compassion he’s brought to our household is more than worth the mess that comes with it.

Opie came to us just when we needed him. And I often find myself thinking … who saved who?


We love you Opie.

An Update

To say a lot has changed in a year is an understatement. Besides the obvious (we moved into our first home, got married and went on an amazing honeymoon), life is very different today than it was a year ago … in a good way!

Best. Day. Ever.

Because we’re coming up on our one year anniversary, I asked Nick the other day to describe year one of marriage in one word. He said “crazy,” and then he said “learning.” That’s technically two words, but I think “crazy learning” sums it up best. I never thought marriage would be much different than being in a serious relationship or being engaged—but it is. There’s a certain seriousness that comes with committing to one another forever before family and friends (and God) that is both scary and deeply rewarding. For us it was life changing!

Our first year has thrown a lot our way. I had an unexpected surgery. My family went through a hard time. Nick lost his last living grandparent. To sum it up, it hasn’t been all roses. And I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have a few rough patches through it all. But we’re closer now than ever before and have an unshakable understanding of one another and what we want out of our lives together. And in just two months, we can take that tightly Saran-wrapped cake out of the freezer and dig in!

OK, enough deep talk. Let’s end on a light/fun note! I saw this blog survey a while back on one of my favorite blogs and thought it would be a fun one to take. If you’d like, share your answers in the comments below!

Household chore I actually enjoy: Laundry. It’s oddly enjoyable to me. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s so methodical, but there’s something rewarding and meditative about washing, drying, folding and putting everything away.

Biggest house disaster: Eek. I don’t even want to say for fear something else will happen! It’s just been a year in our house (though it is more than 30 years old), but we did have our water heater konk out on us after one of the sweatiest workouts I’ve ever done. It wasn’t pretty.

Before company arrives, I hide: Stacks of paper. I can’t stand clutter on countertops.

Most recent music download: I haven’t downloaded music in years, but lately I’m obsessed with Beyonce Radio on Pandora.

The last thing I bought online: Our wedding album from Shutterfly (yes, it took me 10 months to design).

I hate to shop for: Jeans. It’s so hard finding just the right pair. Anything else but jeans.

Favorite family ritual: Making and eating dinner together.

I sleep in: A T-shirt and pajama pants.

I have a style crush on: Kate Middleton. Duh.

I’m currently reading: The Power of Now.

What’s up with the ___ trend? Long pointed nails? Ew.

How did I ever live without: Makeup primer? Life changing (like marriage).

More updates are coming, including an introduction of our new family member. Stay tuned! Hint? He has four legs and is really cute…

Meet Opie. Full story coming in my next blog post.

Until then, enjoy the holiday weekend!


Let’s Just Start Looking…

Happy Saturday! How is it mid-March?! We’re now exactly 11 weeks away from our big day and boy, have we been keeping busy! Well, for starters, I’ve run 50 miles toward my 200-miles-in-four-months goal. I may not be right on track to meet that goal (it’s kind of a crazy one, I know), but I’m still proud of myself, considering how much we have going on.  We’ve also finalized our registry, had our first meeting with the minister, printed our invites, sent out shower invites, purchased our bridal party gifts … the list goes on. Oh, and we’ve done one other thing…

We found a house, put in an offer and they accepted! We’re in the process of closing on our first home, and we move in two weeks.

To back up a bit, about a month ago, Nick and I started talking about how we should begin the process of buying a home—meet with a lender, discuss our options, build our “must-have” list, etc.—if we wanted to be able to find something before our lease was up at the end of July. Well, we did a little more than start the process—we found a realtor we love, walked into the third house she wanted to show us and just knew it. We had found our home.

Everything is happening very quickly, but at this rate, we’re going to be in and settled well before the wedding festivities begin, and we couldn’t be happier!

So there’s much more to come on that, but I’m going to wait until we close, move in and can truly call it ours before I gush too much. But let’s just say, it’s perfect—to us—and we talk every day about how excited we are that it’s going to be ours to build a life in. Fair warning: There may be some home improvement posts in this blog’s future.

But before that happens, we have lots to do, both for the house and the wedding. All I can say is that to-do lists, Post-It notes and my planner are what’s allowing me to know which end is up, where I need to be and what I need to do next. I’m walking a fine line between doing everything well and becoming a hot mess. Here’s hoping we can keep all the balls in the air.

I’d be telling a bold-face lie if I said these huge life happenings squished into a three-month period weren’t paired with some major stress and maybe a few tears. But I seriously have to pinch myself, learn to let go a little bit of control and remind myself how blessed we are to have all these great things happening at once. So until we’re all moved in, this is my mantra:


Next post will be about how I’ve managed running the majority of my 50 miles on a treadmill because of this crazy winter. ’Til then, you can find me under a pile of bubble wrap, packing tape … and champagne.