Push Away the Screen: Haunted Asheville Vampire and Occult Tour

On an overcast Friday evening in July, my family had the opportunity to experience a little known side of Downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Their website described the tour as THE tour for intellectuals. During the 2 hour tour we were going to learn about the local vampire scene, tribal rites in Pritchard Park, dark spirits on Church Street, Native American mysticism, and much more. This tour includes late-night access to the Asheville Mystery Museum where you'll see artifacts Joshua P. Warren brought back from Transylvania, including a sacred crucifix and a piece of Vlad the Impaler's Castle.

Our group of 9, plus our guide Tadd set out just after 8pm. It was a small group since my family was 6 of the 9! The walking ghost tour was MUCH busier.

So off we went. We walked up and down the downtown street, learning stories about the weird things that have happened in Asheville. Tadd was very knowledgeable, friendly, engaging, informative and funny. He was able to keep our group engaged. The tour had creepy stories, but nothing that was too scary for the children. Maybe he toned it down since we had the kids? I don't know, but we enjoyed it.


One of my favorite stories was a story about the creation of the FIRST vampire. He stopped our group and began the story in front of the Central United Methodist Church. He explained some of the legends behind why vampires can't see their reflections, why they dislike garlic, etc...

And then began the story of the first vampire. Why the church? Because his story involves the biblical sons of Adam and Eve: Cain and Abel. I don't want to spoil the story of the vampire, but needless to say if you know the book of Genesis, you know that Cain killed Abel and I will leave it at that. It was quite an interesting theory.

We also visited the "Witches Tree."

There is a TON of history behind this tree, and it was nearly cut down about 10 years ago, but was saved thanks to the local Wiccan community who uses the tree as part of their traditional ceremonies.

There were a few other interesting stories involving the occult and a demon (maybe...no one knows what it was, Ronin thinks that it was a Tasmanian Devil) that terrorized a few inmates in the 1800's.

And then we went back to the Museum.

There was a lot of really cool artifacts to look at!

Overall we really enjoyed this tour. It gave us the opportunity to see a different side of Asheville.

You can find out more information about the tour HERE. Adults are $20, and kids 8 and under are FREE!


Have you ever been on a ghost tour? In what city??

Girl Scout Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot 2015

For the 3rd consecutive year, the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida have invited me and the #TampaTrio to participate in the annual Girl Scout Thin Mint Sprint (5K) and Tagalong Trot (1 mile). You can read about our previous experiences here, and here

We love this race, and last year Ronin won big by placing in the Top 50, and earned himself a box of cookies!! It was this race that really set him on his goal to run longer, run faster, run smarter.


So how do you do that? How do you run longer, faster, smarter? Especially when you are only 8 years old and you already run faster and longer than anyone you know? 

Well, I don't know the answer to that question, but what I can tell you is how I trained my 8 year old son to be a smarter runner.

See, I've posted before about Ronin starting off like a cheetah and getting tired out too easily. We worked on that and he was able to easily achieve a sub-30 5K. E.A.S.I.L.Y.

But what do you do if you've never run before, or if you want to run longer distances.

This is what I did....

I used a Gymboss Interval Timer. I clipped it to the top of my bicycle. And I rode my bike while Ronin ran. 

We did 5 minute intervals. 4 minutes of an easy run, 1 minute of walking. And we did it 4 times per week.

Our plan was working great!! Ronin had gotten up to 6 miles of running. He was training for the Gasparilla 15K, and he was DETERMINED that he would win for his age group (10 and under). But then his world came shattering down around him when he broke his leg just 3 weeks shy of his first 15K.


7 months later and Ronin is now out of his cast, but he still wears his boot on occasion, and he walks with a limp.

That broken leg really took the wind out of his sails.

He's been running, though not for time. He's just been running for fun. 

And what better way for him to get back to the racing circuit than a race designed for fun??

With 3 options to choose from (5K, 1 mile, Virtual) there is an option for EVERYONE!!

We'll have to see how Ronin (and me, I have injuries right now too!!) continues to feel throughout the rest of the summer, but I'm thinking we will all (me, Ronin and both girls) go for the 5K for the third consecutive year. 




Have you suffered a serious injury and been able to come back as "good" as you were before?? Tell me how you did it, please! 

You can find out more information about the race HERE, and you can register HERE.



2013-A Year in Review

These were my goals for 2013. How did I do??

1) Learn how to braid my hair  Didn't happen. But I did learn how to braid my daughter's hair. Nothing fancy, just normal braids. In fact, I ended up cutting all my hair off towards the end of the summer.


2) Spend more time with my husband. Have at least one date night per month. Didn't happen. Sigh. We tried. Really we tried. But we just couldn't find a reliable babysitter. We did manage to get out a few times in 2013, but not nearly enough.


3) Spend more 1:1 time with each of my kids. Have at least one date with each of them per month. YES!! This one happened! It might not have been a "date" but I did get out with each them alone at least once per month.


4) Run 13 in 13. YES!! This one happened too! I actually ran 16 races in 2013!


5) Pay it forward. YES!! I have been paying it forward in so many ways. Proud of this one!


6) Get my own cycle class on the schedule. Didn't happen. In fact, my indoor cycling pretty much went to the wayside in March. Oh well. It is what it is.


7) Get certified in a Les Mills program. Didn't happen. I ended up discovering CrossFit En Fuego and canceled my membership at the Wellness Center which is where I was taking Les Mills classes.


8) Lose 12 pounds by May. Didn't happen.


9) Get a sponsor.  I didn't get ONE sponsor, I got a bunch of sponsors.  Though I haven't found one that will pay me to attend conferences on their behalf, etc...but in 2013 I only paid for ONE race (Gasparilla.) Pretty happy with that.


10) Attend FitBloggin  Didn't happen. Too expensive and I was hoping for a sponsor. Fingers crossed for 2014. I applied to speak at FltBloggin!!


11) Continue with WTSP News Channel 10 morning segment. YES!! Until the segment got canceled. But I did get the amazing opportunity to film a bunch of news promo's for the channel, so that was super cool!


12) Eat lunch with my kids every Friday afternoon. YES!!! I did this throughout the 2012-2013 school year. I have only been able to do it once this school year because they eat at such different times and the one time I did do it, I was at the school for 3 hours. I don't have time like that, so I need to figure out a day/time for each of the kids and eat lunch with them on a monthly basis.


There were some pretty amazing things that happened to me in 2013, too!!

I participated in my first CrossFit competition.

I spoke at my first conference.

I got an amazing dog.

I became an ambassador for Polar, Fit Fluential, Sweat Pink, Feetures, Bondi Bands, and more.

I got to drive an Audi Q7 for 3 days.

The kids and I were on TV multiple times for a variety of different things! You can read about some of those experiences here and here and here.

I went to my first social media conference and connected with some amazing people and learned all about  Return on Relationships!

I was honored to be chosen as the Athleta Power to the She winner for the Iron Girl Race Series!!

The kids and I got to experience Stand Up Paddle boarding and it was so much fun!!

Our family took a vacation to North Carolina and got to stay at the beautiful Biltmore Inn!! We also got to spend some quality time with my aunts and uncle and mom. We had a great time!

I was featured on the front page of AOL, Yahoo, Huff Post and Marlo Thomas.com. That was pretty nifty!

I was chosen as Working Woman of the Week by Working Women of Florida.

I did a 240# deadlift.

I was nominated as best health blog of 2013.

I did my FIRST Tough Mudder!!

The kids and I did our first family mud run!!

And while we did SO MUCH MORE in 2013, I picked these things as highlights.


I'm hoping that 2014 will be as good, or better than 2013 and will share with you some of my goals in the next few days. Some will be a repeat of 2013, but that's okay. Better late than never!


How was your 2013? Big plans for 2014??