Posted on Leave a comment

Supporting Black-Owned Businesses in Charlotte

I won’t pretend to be an expert on all things anti-racist, but I know when it comes to creating change, the way you use your dollars counts. Buying black helps put a dent in the systemic racism that has oppressed BIPOC for years. Here in Charlotte, my husband and I have made it a focus to step out of our usual habits and seek out black-owned businesses with this in mind. For a comprehensive list of Charlotte black-owned businesses, check out this article from the Charlotte Agenda. I’ll focus on businesses we’ve tried lately to give you a little background on why we love them!

Two Scoops Creamery

To be fair, we loved and supported Two Scoops for 2 full years before learning anything about their ownership. They have the best ice cream in town and we used to live a very short walk from the Plaza Midwood location. It’s on my list to take any out-of-town visitors to.

My go-to order is 2 scoops on a waffle cone: batter up (cake batter) and cookie monster (blue vanilla ice cream with oreos, chocolate chip cookies and vanilla wafers). I also recently tried Stew Brew (coffee ice cream with caramel and oreos) and Tom Foolery (chocolate cake batter ice cream with brownies and chocolate cake piece). Both were SO GOOD!

Worthy + Badass

I looove this shop for minimalist designs with a great message: you are worthy + badass. It’s hard not to buy everything Justine makes, but I really love my worthy + badass necklace. I get an instant confident boost when I put it on!

Popbar CLT

Popbar is a national chain of shops that offer gelato on a stick, and our Charlotte location is black-owned. The first location is in NoDa but there’s a shop going into Camp Northend as well. The NoDa location is in a purple brick building, perfect to snap cute pics for the ‘gram. I got hazelnut gelato half-dipped in white chocolate with rainbow sprinkles and was not disappointed!

Coordinates Coffee

I learned about this coffee truck in the Charlotte Agenda. The truck travels around CLT, so be sure to check their Instagram for this week’s schedule and location. I pre-ordered on the cloosiv app and found it so easy to use. I chose a Lavender Vanilla Latte with Almond Milk and it was delicious (bonus: if you order in the social justice pouch, it’s a double!)

I have a lot more on my list to try (like Stats, which is right down the road from my house!) but we’ve admittedly been a bit limited thanks to our rising COVID cases here in Charlotte. What else needs to go on my must-try list?

Posted on 1 Comment

The Best Charlotte Trails for Walking/Running/Biking/Rollerblading

The Best Charlotte Trails

Charlotte is known for its urban tree canopy. When viewed from above, tree canopy covers 47% of the city (as of 2020)–one of the highest canopy cities in the U.S. It’s one of my favorite things about living here. Everywhere you turn it’s green and beautiful!

This also makes for great parks throughout the city. During the COVID-19 pandemic (and my third trimester of pregnancy) my husband and I started getting out to explore more of these local parks. We live on the North side of Charlotte, so our explorations also lead us into Huntersville. Here are some of our favorites!

Jetton Park

This park is in Huntersville on the edge of Lake Norman. It’s my favorite park because it’s on the water, but also wooded. Everywhere you go there’s a beautiful view. You could make a day of going if you pack swimsuits for the beach area and bring food to enjoy at one of the pavilions or picnic tables. We usually head there for a 3 mile walk or run, which requires going around the entire park twice, and we always stop to take in the lake views.

Reedy Creek Nature Center

This wooded area is not too far from Uptown and has over 10 miles of wooded trails to explore. It’s amazing to me that this park is within the city of Charlotte, because it feels like you’ve stepped into a forest that you wouldn’t see in a populated, developed area. We’ve only explored 3 miles of trails here, but plan to go back and explore more. I particularly loved the pond trail!

Freedom Park

Another park that’s close to Uptown, Freedom Park is a popular destination. Colin and I actually went here when we visited Charlotte before moving down. This has a much less wooded feel, but has multiple playgrounds, fields and open areas to hang out in. Freedom park is a great spot for a walk, run or to meet up with friends. There’s a good amount of parking available, too.

Little Sugar Creek Greenway

This greenway was pretty close to where I used to live in Plaza Midwood, so I would run/bike/walk along it often. It has a very urban feel since it weaves through a populated area of the city, but the creek, statues and greenery are all still a nice touch. I particularly loved biking along this trail because I didn’t have to pack up my bike to take it somewhere, but I was still able to get off the main sidewalk and main roads of Charlotte where cars and pedestrians could interfere. If you take this far enough, you’ll also end up in Freedom Park, which is nice! One con might be that there’s not a lot of parking options unless you park at Freedom Park to pick up the trail. It was convenient for me since I lived close by, but I have rarely been back since moving.

Toby Creek Greenway

This has a similar feel to Little Sugar Creek Greenway, but a little less urban. To get to this walking trail, we park at UNC Charlotte. The trail is about 2 miles long and is meant to connect Mallard Creek Greenway to the campus and nearby shopping areas. We love that the trail is wooded, not super busy, and nicely paved. We’ve only ever walked it, but it looks like a great spot to bike or rollerblade.

Toby Creek Greenway

The Rail Trail

Even more popular than Freedom Park, the rail trail is almost guaranteed to be busy on a nice day. This trail runs alongside the light rail in South End and extends into Uptown. There are bars and apartments and shops all along it. Since South End is a popular place to live, this means it’s almost always occupied. Again, this has a very urban feel, but it’s nice to get outside and walk/run/bike along a designated pedestrian area. You’re also likely to see cool street art and run into someone you know! One thing to note: this is not someplace you can easily park and walk along (unless there is a parking area I’m not thinking of). You may need to street park and pick up the trail at a random location.

The Rail Trail

Still on our list to try..

Whitewater Center trails – I’ve been to the whitewater center many times now, but never ventured through the numerous trails in the daylight. I did once run a nighttime trail race there, which was fun, but means I can’t speak much to the views!

We’ve been to (and loved) local-ish hikes like Crowders Mountain, Stone Mountain and South Mountain State Park, but wanted to keep this list a little more local to Charlotte.

What are your favorite Charlotte trails and parks? What else should be on our list to try?

Posted on Leave a comment

28 Things I Learned By Age 28

This month, I turned the big 2-8. Every year I take some time to reflect on how my life has changed, how I’ve grown, and what I’ve learned. This year, I decided to document it! So, without further ado, 28 things I learned by age 28.

  1. Stop waiting until you’re “ready”. You’re never “ready”, and you won’t ever truly know what to do until you DO THE THING! You can read all the books you want and spend endless hours researching with little to no impact. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, do what you want to do before you’re ready.
  2. You already know enough to impact someone else. Picture it like this: you’re only at step 2 of a 10-step journey, so you think what you’ve got to say isn’t worth sharing. But for someone at step 1, you have exactly the message they need to hear. What someone is saying at step 10 is too far ahead to resonate with that person–so by holding yourself back, you’re also doing someone else a disservice. Stop waiting–GO FOR IT!
  3. Take care of your skin. When I was in college, my skincare routine included going out then falling asleep with my makeup on, and never wearing sunscreen. You’re not invincible, wash your face, invest in a good daytime moisturizer and a night cream, and wear sunscreen!
  4. Do things with intention. If you don’t, you’ll find your life flying by you and have no idea where the time went. Think about what you want to do, and pursue it.
  5. Drink water. LOTS of water. It keeps away the brain fog, helps with gym performance, and I don’t suffer from debilitating hangovers.
  6. Find a routine that works for you. Get on a schedule of going to the gym and preparing/packing your food in advance. Your health will thank you. So will your wallet when you don’t have to order all of your food out.
  7. But also, break that routine to try new things. Don’t set foot in one gym and never leave it. Expand your community by trying new workouts. Sleep in sometimes when you need the rest.
  8. Manifestation is real. What you think about, you bring about. Remember that next time you start stressing and feel negatively about your life.
  9. Life is one big energy exchange. To make things happen in your life, you have to direct energy into them. Want to get fit? You have to put energy into working out and planning/preparing your meals. Want to get a new job? You have to put energy into applying places, or networking, or learning what you need to know. You can dream about it all you want: but you have to put time and energy into it to make it happen.
  10. Expressing gratitude can change your life. It can pull you out of a negative headspace, improve your interactions with those around you, and bring good energy your way. I spend less than 5 minutes a day gratitude journaling, but it adds so much power and value to my morning!
  11. More is not always better. We often think that if some is good, more is better. I fell into this trap with exercise. There is a point of diminishing returns, where you become susceptible to injury, or suffer hormonal damage, or your metabolism slows down. Don’t let the good things in your life try to pull you out of balance.
  12. Set boundaries. I’m big on workplace boundaries: you get me for 40 hours every week, don’t reach out to me on nights and weekends and expect me to answer. That is not your time. Without those boundaries, everything else in my life suffers. If I let work creep into my evenings on a regular basis, I don’t get to work on any of my own personal growth or spend time enjoying myself or connecting with my husband and friends.
  13. Get back to your roots and spend time doing things you enjoyed as a child. The quote “we don’t stop playing because we grow up, we grow up because we stop playing” really hit me. Think back to how you spent your time as a child. If you loved playing sports, join an adult league. If you loved to read, make time for it. Because of this quote, I now play more board games, ride my bike, and read simply for pleasure on a regular basis, and I’m happier for it!
  14. Your brain requires working out just like your body does. Meditation, reading, and brain games are all ways to work out your mind and keep it sharp!
  15. Do things that scare you. I used to hate doing things I wasn’t good at because I was scared of failing, and scared that I’d be embarrassed. Then I realized I was missing out on so many opportunities for growth and shutting myself out of things that I could fall in love with.
  16. Being defensive and taking everything personally gets you nowhere. To be fair, this is a lesson I’m still constantly learning–I struggle hard with this, but over time, I’ve recognized that I’m not actually helping my case by immediately becoming defensive.
  17. In order to be heard, you have to meet people where they’re at. Pushing your agenda on someone is not an effective communication strategy in the long term: you have to put yourself in their shoes and level with them. If you can master this, you’ll accomplish so much more than you ever could by trying to go it alone.
  18. Get to know yourself. Take personality tests, hang out by yourself, be introspective. Learn exactly who you are and what you want, or you’ll spend your life getting sucked into someone else’s current.
  19. Imposter Syndrome is real, and some days it’s hard to put it to rest. I am years into my career and I still find myself thinking: when is everyone going to figure out that I shouldn’t be here and I don’t know as much as they think I do? Even when there is no evidence to show that I am not doing as well as I should be, my mind interrupts me with thoughts like this. I’ve also learned that this happens to SO MANY PEOPLE. You’re not alone, the voice is lying, and you have to push through.
  20. When you are leading a meeting or a fitness class or anything, really, be confident in what you say. Don’t be deferential: take charge. When you’re in a position of leadership, people want you to take charge. So stop being scared and just do it.
  21. Social media is not reality. I’ve met some people in real life who have huge instagram followings and loads of beautiful pictures and they’re not at all what they portray on the internet. Stop comparing yourself to someone’s posed, filtered, and completely curated life. Enjoy and appreciate the messiness you bring to the table.
  22. Travel as much as you can. A few years ago, I made an agreement with myself that if I can get the time off of work and the trip is less than $1000, I’m going. Because of this, I’ve been on amazing trips that I would’ve talked myself out of otherwise to “save money” or some other lame excuse. I’m a better, more whole version of myself because of the places I’ve been and things I’ve seen and I wouldn’t take any of it back if you could offer me a refund of my time and money.
  23. Get outside in the sun as much as possible. It’ll energize you and bring you joy. You can afford a 10-minute break from your work to go for a walk and you’ll actually perform better when you come back from it.
  24. Certain habits make every day better. Eating vegetables, getting enough movement in, and taking time to meditate, read or journal are non-negotiables. Even on vacation, I find I enjoy myself more when I stick to these simple habits.
  25. Shake up your identity from time to time. For the past few years, I’ve considered “coffee drinker” and “crossfitter” parts of my identity (there’s even a sign on my desk that says crossfit and coffee). I thought I could not live without either of those things–that I wouldn’t be myself. Then I took a break from Crossfit and seriously reduced my caffeine consumption, and I learned a LOT about myself in that time. I’m now back to about 2 cups of cold brew per day and crossfitting 4x per week, but I wouldn’t take back the time I spent questioning myself and my beliefs and all that I learned in that process.
  26. You can’t impact everything, but you can impact something. There are so many causes out there it can feel overwhelming to give back. But you don’t have to pursue every cause: pick one or two that resonate with you and do what you can. I love to run charity races and do charity workouts to give back, but I’ve also found that anything environmental strongly resonates with me, so I’m now on a mission to get others involved keeping our planet thriving.
  27. The faster you consume content, the easier it is to retain. That sounds counterintuitive, but when you read fast or speed up your audiobooks/podcasts, it forces you to focus and you actually retain more. Added bonus: it also gives you more time to consume even more content. If you don’t believe me, listen to Jim Kwik.
  28. Love is everything. Love yourself, love your partner, love your friends, even show love to strangers. And most of all, live a life you love.

There you have it! What life lessons would you add to this list?

Posted on Leave a comment

3 Reasons I Love To Work For My Beer

One of my favorite things about this city is the overwhelmingly popular beer fitness scene and all of the balanced living enthusiasts that come with it. That’s why when I heard about Work For Your Beer – Charlotte’s hub for all things beer fitness – I knew I had to get involved.  There are few (if any) things that I love more than a nice adult beverage after a workout! So what exactly is Work For Your Beer?

Work For Your Beer is the place to go if you’re looking for beer fitness classes. This site serves as a guide for pub run clubs, brewery yoga classes, bootcamps that end with beer, and more (there are even dance classes — Twerk For Your Beer, anyone?). Outside of the super-helpful calendar that provides details for more than 100 beer fitness events/week, they also post interesting content. The blog shares beer releases and reviews, Charlotte-specific events, and topics that balanced living enthusiasts would relate to (read one of my personal favorites here). PS – if this sounds like your thing, sign up for the weekly brewsletter–you won’t be disappointed!

Like this shirt? Enter code: christine15 at checkout on the Work For Your Beer site for a discount!

So, why am I so obsessed with being a Work For Your Beer brand ambassador? Find my top 3 reasons below:

  1. The workout variety. So many workouts, so little time (and money!). I love that the beer fitness scene allows you to vary your workouts, commitment-free, for a small price tag. Many of the pub runs are free (you just buy your own beer afterward), and classes are around $5 (which sometimes includes a beer!). So, you get to experience lots of different trainers and exercise styles for much cheaper than a membership or drop-in fee at most boutique studios! The variety of options is great for someone who likes all different kinds of fitness.
  2. The craft beers. Beer fitness is a great excuse to try different craft beers! In Charlotte, there’s no shortage of brewery options. Within walking distance of my apartment, I can go to Legion Brewing, Resident Culture, Catawba, Pilot, and more. It would be easy to fall into a rut of going to the breweries closest to me – but the fitness events offered at other breweries get me out there, trying new things! I’ve since figured out that my fave Charlotte beers are Birdsong Jalapeno Pale Ale and Wooden Robot Good Morning Vietnam.
  3. The community of people. Beer fitness events provide a great way to get out and be social on weeknights. I love being able to connect with people who I already know share two of my biggest loves! And meeting new people is so important to me, being new in town. To all my fellow beer-and-fitness-loving Queen City residents: message me to meet up at a class together!

I’d love to hear your favorite beers, breweries, and beer fitness events (Charlotte or not) in the comments!



Posted on 1 Comment

Why I Moved to Charlotte, NC (and Why I’m Loving It!)

I was born in Syracuse, NY in 1991. I grew up in a suburb of the city, attended Syracuse University, then moved to a suburb on the other side of the city. For the first 27 years of my life, it was all I knew.

There’s so much about Syracuse that I love. I have 27 years of family ties and amazing friendships there. In Syracuse, I experienced so many firsts in life, so much growth, and a ton of fun. But there was also a lot I was missing.


For one: I’m happiest when the sun is shining. It’s something I don’t even realize in the dead of winter, but once the sun comes out, I feel like a completely new person, full of energy and excited to do things. I am truly my best self when I have that kind of energy. When the sun isn’t shining: I find myself wanting to stay home. I noticed last year that I was having a hard time finding the motivation to do things that I loved, like coaching HIIT, because it meant leaving my house after 5 PM when it was dark out and I had no energy. After weeks of endless grey, I’ll find myself completely thrown off. Syracuse averages 63 sunny days per year. Charlotte almost doubles that at 109. As I learned this about myself, having more sunshine moved up high on my list of priorities in life!

I was also ready to be somewhere that’s experiencing growth and has a lot of opportunities. Syracuse isn’t exactly a booming economy, and the job market for millenials is less than ideal. I particularly knew I wanted to work at a marketing agency. All of my experience pointed me in that direction. I love working with other young marketing professionals and I love all the cliche millenial perks, like kegs in the office and work happy hours. Syracuse just didn’t have a lot of options in this realm. It’s also not a hotbed for young people, and I prefer a work environment where I have a lot of peers close to my age. Charlotte, on the other hand, IS a hotbed for young people, and has SO many marketing agencies to choose from. I had a hard time deciding where I should apply with all the options available! I ended up interviewing a ton of places before landing at a place where I already feel so at home, Pinckney Marketing. The office is aesthetic and fun, my coworkers are great, and there’s a huge emphasis on growth, with the processes and goals in place to back it up. Work takes up a significant chunk of time, it was really important to me to land someplace that I’m happy, and I knew I would have better odds in Charlotte!


The other big thing on my mind was the opportunity to experience new things. Charlotte has so much going on! There are so many bars and restaurants I’ve never been to, tons of breweries, and a huge beer fitness scene. The city is alive with young people. After watching Syracuse be a place that most people my age moved away from, I wanted to see what it’s like to live somewhere that 60 people a day are moving to. I’m an active, experience-loving person and I was drawn to a city that would have a lot to offer.

Moving is something I’ve always thought about doing but never pulled the trigger on. I was so comfortable in Syracuse. For 4 years, I had the same routine of going to the same gym every morning and heading to work in Armory Square. I went to the same bars and restaurants because I knew what I liked. And while there’s nothing wrong with that: I also wasn’t growing. I was so. comfortable. Everything in Syracuse was comfortable to me. I’m a firm believer that outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens. I needed to take a leap and do something scary and figure out who I am in a new place without all of my comforts to fall back on. That included moving to a new city without a job (and proving to myself that it could be done, and in fact, work out better than I ever expected!).

So now that I’m a month in: how do I feel about it? I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS CITY! I love the weather. I love the skyline. I love my apartment. I love my neighborhood and all the ice cream shops, breweries, and restaurants within walking distance. I love my job and my coworkers. I love walking around Uptown on my lunch. I love being a Work For Your Beer ambassador and attending beer fitness events. I love how active the city is. I love the CrossFit workouts I’m doing. I love that I can bike to work. I love having nitro cold brew on tap almost everywhere I go. I love interacting with people who are so different than central New Yorkers. I love relearning things as simple as where to grocery shop and how to get there and how to navigate the store efficiently. And most of all: I love the space and freedom my husband and I have had to be with each other, and all of our adventures exploring the city we now call home.

A month into this move I can say that I’m so happy I made it. Do I miss my friends and family? Of course. But I am resoundingly ecstatic with this decision and look forward to all that’s to come!