the big race

Earlier this year I registered for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh – my first ever full marathon. This week I officially began my training. I thought this topic a good one for reinvigorating the blog…

As a kid, I never did anything active that would be considered a sport. That’s not to say I sat on my butt all day and played video games or the like – I partook in and enjoyed bike riding, swimming, rope jumping, and other non-competitive, casual examples of exertion. But other than a brief stint in dance class pre-puberty and height spurt, my participation in any sort of organized athletics was null. As a teenager, though obsessively motivated to achieve straight A’s, I was fairly apathetic about any such school or other involvement required of something like playing soccer or running track. I much preferred to do what was necessary to keep the report card gleaming, and fill the rest of my time with debaucherous things that I’ll refrain from recapping. As far as exercise goes, I can quite vividly picture the first time I decided that I was going to try running (I was 17-ish) and the near death feeling I experienced after a 1/4 mile. I also recall a time toward the end of high school when my BFF and I decided that in an effort to prepare for college and the possible weight gain, we should work to maintain our size 0 bodies by eating lettuce for lunch and walking 4-5 miles at night. Fitness just wasn’t my jam.

Then came college. I’m not sure what the primary instigator was – free fitness center at my complex, ever present fear of packing on pounds, general boredom – but I suddenly took an interest in working out. Sure it was low level stuff – 30 minutes at the gym a few days a week – but it was certainly more regular exercise than I had ever gotten in my life, and I kind of liked it. Then came friends. As in I made new ones. And they also had taken an interest in using their free apartment complex gym. I began spending nearly all my free time over at their place, and that time consisted mostly of calculus homework, gym visits, and pre-gaming while we whorified ourselves for a trip to the club. Looking back, I’d strongly argue that that time in my life was when I became conscious of the fact that I’m perhaps more competitive than the average Jane. Not because of the calculus homework – I was already used to being better at school. And nobody (hopefully) wants to win the drunk college hooker competition. No, it was the working out that brought to the surface this shining quality of mine where I feel perversely good about crushing others. I could run faster and longer than my friends. And I loved every minute of it.

A year or so later I met Pete, who also had an interest in running, and over the next few years of college we kept at it together, going perhaps as far as five miles at a time – nothing serious, but enough to feel sufficiently worked out. After college, as we started our “adult” lives, moves, job changes and other things that happen when you’re trying to establish yourself as a proper grown up, sometimes trumped running and it moved up and down the priority list. But it never totally left. I can remember the first time I ran six miles – it was while we were living in Carrboro, with a local running group called the Runnegades. It was tough and painful and awesome, and I was absurdly sore the next couple days. My first seven miler was sort of an accident in that I only intended to run 3.5 to a place where I expected some friends to be that could drive me home. They weren’t there. Back I ran. After that I was pretty much all in and with a number of 5K’s, 10K’s and half marathons under my belt, there’s only one logical next step (or steps! 26.2 miles of them!).

I’ve thought about and talked about running a full marathon for a long time, and I’m excited as hell and totally freaked out that it’s finally going to happen. Sunday, April 13th, 2014 is a going to be a pretty damn big day for me and I just hope with all my powers of positive energy that everything goes okay. Of course okay is relative and I’m tempering my expectations for this because I haven’t the slightest clue what it feels like to run for so long. So the goal is this: finish. Okay, okay, I maybe secretly have a more specific goal in mind, but I don’t like to talk about those things because my competitiveness is married to a general distaste for failure, and if I publicly announce a time and don’t beat it, I’ll feel quite awful.

Week one in the books! 21 weeks and a giant pile of running to go.

norah says…

Ever since she began speaking in complete sentences, one of Norah’s most oft uttered phrases has been “get my boogies out.” The girl has some serious OCD issues with mucus. At times it makes sense i.e. when she’s sick and legitimately has a fountain of snot pouring from her nose. On other occasions I swear the skies are clear for a mile and she still obsesses over having her sniffer swiped. The sporadic request for boogie excavation is not too bothersome, but the instances like the past couple days where the demand is uttered nearly once a minute and typically in an ear damaging whine are maddening to the point of me wanting to scream expletives into the ether and punch walls. After a threat to get the snot sucker if she doesn’t blow her nose, this situation usually ends in tears (sometimes mine) and never actually accomplishes any sort of satisfactory snot removal. And on top of all this, she has upped the ante on her neurotic nose needs by requiring a moist baby wipe for the procedure – no dry tissue will suffice.

While using the potty in the bathroom where I was getting ready recently, Norah made her favorite request…

N: I’ve got boogies, please get my boogies out.

M: I can’t right now, I’m busy and I’ve got things to do.

N: I’ve got things to do!!

M: Like what?

N: Like getting my boogies out!

And then tonight, after I recovered a stack of 7-8 dry wipes that had clearly served their purpose prior to being strewn about the floor, bed and chair in her room…

M: Norah, why do you waste so many wipes?

N: Because sometimes I just need a lot of wipes. Because I’m a wipe waster.

That’s my girl!



On Tuesday evening I left work at my normal time and headed out on my normal route and the drive itself was unfolding quite normally, but then a ways down Mebane Oaks Road I came upon some cars that appeared to be stopped for no reason. Until of course I saw the reason…a small white goat was parading down the middle of the road baaaa-ing at cars. A lady coming from the other direction in a truck rolled down her window to talk to me and we both sort of shrugged expressing uncertainty over how we were to handle this situation. It wasn’t exactly a turtle to be expedited across the pavement. I suppose I could have just kept on down the road, but something in me – we’ll call it crazy – lead me to turn the car around, park in the grass on the side of the road, and get out.

The truck lady also stopped and we both approached the happy little fella. He walked right up to us, not a bit of fear or hesitation, and just baaa-ed. I cautiously reached out to him, petted him, and ushered him off the road, while me and the truck lady chatted about whether or not we knew of anywhere around that had goats. Coming to no conclusions I said “well, I guess I’ll put him in my car.” Seriously? Seriously. This seemed like the logical next step. Truck lady kept him from the road while I pulled the Fit closer and opened the back. I gingerly lifted him and set him down, closed it up, and bid farewell my temporary helper. Then I sat down in the driver’s seat, started the car, cracked some windows and called Pete. “Hey honey. So um, I have a goat in my car. Yeah. A goat. Yeah he was in the road and I couldn’t just leave him there. Yes, I know I’m crazy. Well I don’t really know what I’m going to do with him, maybe you can look up some farms on Mebane Oaks Road. No, I’m not going to bring him home. He’s just laying down in the back of the car, it’s cool. I’ll call you back.” Or something like that.

I drove up and down the road for a bit and tried a couple side roads, hoping to see what? I don’t know, some magically obvious goat farm that I just never happened to notice any of the other thousand times I’d driven down this road. I found nothing. Maybe one of my friends wants a goat? I thought. And so I called one who surely would have adopted the little guy. But she didn’t answer. Finally, I pulled over and used my phone to Google a farm that I knew was a few miles away, and proceeded to call them to seek advice. The nice lady, after listening to me describe how I came to have a goat in my car, told me I was a good samaritan (read: bat shit crazy) and found the phone number to what appeared to be a goat farm not too far away. While I was on the phone with her my call waiting and messages were blowing up, and once off I saw that my mom and Pete were trying to reach me to let me know they’d found out who he belonged to!

My mom had called her neighbor (she lives down the road from where the goat was found) and he said the goat belongs to a hispanic family that leave him tied up in the yard and he gets out all the time. He described the house and I went looking for it, but I had no luck in finding it. Being that at that point I had now spent a good hour trying to save this goat and I certainly couldn’t bring him home, I decided it was time to let him go. I drove a bit down a gravel path next to a grassy field, opened the trunk, and again gingerly lifted him. Once on the ground he started to walk off, stopped to turn and baa at me, and then continued on his way.

I’ve decided that my new little goat friend will be called Herbert. I do hope he is safe somewhere. And if I ever see him again in the middle of that busy road, Graycie and Jake best prepare for a new backyard buddy.


first birthday!

Yesterday our sweet, little (and by little I mean giant) baby boy turned one. Yes, the time indeed does fly, even more so with the second baby, and it’s truly hard to believe that an entire year has lapsed since that crazy night when I sat in Norah’s room with she and Pete, texting my dear friend Molly that either my water had just broken or I’d peed my pants. A few hours after that text I was suffering through an insanely hard and fast labor and delivery sans any sort of drugs, and here we are today with a 27.5 lb, 32″ tall happy as can be and growing like a weed toddler. Measurements courtesy of today’s doctor appointment and yes he’s in the 90 something percentile for both!

Our adorable giant beast of a child is developing smashingly. He took his first steps at around 10.5 months and was a full on walking machine just a week or so past 11 months. Now he not only walks but climbs on anything and everything, and of course as a result also falls quite frequently – there’s no shortage of scrapes and bruises and fat lips here in Elderland. He also says words! Thus far we’ve heard some version of ball, baby, bye, book, buckle, bubble, cake, Crosby, up, backpack and dog. I’m sure there are others that we just haven’t deciphered yet, but holy vocab batman! He’ll be quoting the ridiculous things his sister says in no time and then we’re in real trouble (as if having two completely mobile children who require fairly constant supervision isn’t crazy enough). He sleeps fairly well, though there have been some napping setbacks either due to teething or the phasing out of his bottles or both (or maybe neither because who really knows with babies). He drinks whole milk and water, and eats pretty much anything (and clearly lots of it) but is also developing more of a particular palette as he gets older. Yogurt, fruit, cheese, turkey, sausage, raisins, applesauce, black beans and chicken vindaloo are some of his favorites. He loves playing with any sort of ball, “swimming” in the pool, throwing things (all the things), walking around with a baby doll or other stuffed toy, going for walks in the stroller and rides in the bike seat, and is pretty much super happy all the time. Unless he’s hungry or tired or bleeding he’s smiling and laughing. Yep, he’s a good one. We’re two for two! And you know what they say, quit while you’re ahead.

To celebrate his birthday we kept things simple per our normal motif. Pete baked (from scratch!) the most delicious birthday cake using the same recipe from Smitten Kitchen that we used for Norah’s first birthday cake, but this time it was even more decadent (not on purpose, Norah, we swear). Once the cake masterpiece was complete, we stripped him topless anticipating a chocolate explosion and plopped a big ‘ol piece of sugary goodness in front of him. Surprisingly enough, perhaps based solely on the gusto with which Norah attacked her first slice of cake (cake cake CAKE CAKE CAAAAAKE!), he didn’t really go for it. And only when we finally broke off some small pieces that he could easily feed himself did he really eat any, but even then it wasn’t a lot. So alas the photos of the post indulgence, while still crazy cute, are not quite the hot mess you might expect. Nonetheless, snappies!










We’ll do a bit more celebrating later this week when Papa comes to visit, hooray!


Every day Norah impresses us with how well she can speak. We can carry on an entirely coherent adult style conversation with her about pretty much anything and her ability to understand a concept and reiterate it later or apply it elsewhere is sometimes mind blowing. It’s also ridiculously funny (at least to us) when a three year old (okay, three in 11 days) says certain things that exhibit how she is interpreting something you said and storing it in her little brain box of world knowledge. Such as today when I was about to leave her room after tucking her in for a nap:

N: Mommy, let me tell you something.
Me: Okay?
N: Can you lay down for a second so I can tell you? (nap time stall tactic).
Me: I’ll sit for just a second. (sucker)
N: Okay, um…sometimes…people buy pants, because…maybe they don’t have a lot of pants.
Me, giggling: That’s right honey, have a nice nap.

Context: earlier when discussing going to Target she asked if she could get some new pants and I said no because she has plenty of pants.


Notes before reading this post! A) These are all iPhone photos which still blows my mind because less than 10 years ago my shitty digital camera couldn’t take these pictures (we haven’t had a chance to look at the snappies we took on the big camera yet, but just imagine a lot more of the below with better resolution). B) There are happy little links throughout (some in the photo captions!) that will take you to even MORE photos on the Elderworld Tumblr.

So grab a glass of wine, kick back, and enjoy the next couple hours of enviously hating me…

I’m 31 years old and I’ve visited many places across the United States, but the extent of my travel outside of the country consisted of a cruise I took with Pete a couple weeks after I graduated from the University of Florida. The cruise was loads of fun and hugely memorable (drunken british accents, Belizean river tubing, getting engaged, stuff like that), but being that passports weren’t required and your exposure to any place was limited to maybe 5-6 hours, I never considered it to be proper world travel. After dreaming of exploring new places but never taking any real action, we finally decided last year to take our first big leap across the ocean together and commenced planning a trip to Scotland which is fully arranged for this September (thanks to Pete and his mad travel agent skills). Part of that planning included getting my very first passport which we made sure to do well in advance of the trip and it arrived just in time, because mid-May I received quite the surprise…

On a normal weekday workday, my boss asked me and a couple colleagues to head outside for a quick chat to talk about a new trade show idea. We go outside because we’ve got 16 people and a crap ton of stuff crammed into 1,800 square feet of office space and the walls don’t go to the ceilings, so any time you want to talk about anything you either accept that everyone will hear you or you “take a walk down the tracks.” So walk we did and he proceeded to explain to us that we had an opportunity to attend a trade show in Monaco but we had to make a decision in the next couple days. We fired off our normal slew of questions that follow any crazy idea proposition from the bossman, and were mostly satisfied with the answers, but then came the kicker. The show was happening less than one month from that day and bossman’s in-laws would be in town from London, so he who usually attends all shows would not be able to go. We now had to decide if we wanted to attend this show we’d never done before in another country with less than 30 days to plan and minus one of our key people. Brain racing, I quickly opined – send me! Part of the show was an investigation into doing business overseas and part of my job is to develop new business opportunities, so of course this makes sense! And guess what? I already have a passport! Ding ding ding, let’s do it! I thought they’d never go for it but quite the contrary – bossman’s eyes lit up and he was totally into it. A week later tickets were booked and I and my buddy slash colleague Shelly were prepping for a trip to Nice and Monaco. It’s over now and I still can’t believe it!

Clearly I couldn’t go to Europe for the first time and spend my whole trip inside a hotel doing conferency things, so we went two days early to get in some solid Nice exploration. I was a bit nervous about the whole affair – first time in a non-English speaking country, first time flying overseas, first time attending a conference of this sort – but much of that was quelled by the fact that Shelly had experience in all of the above. Thank goodness for her French skills for even though most folks we encountered also spoke English, it helped tremendously with their willingness to do so when we first approached them in their own language. The whole adventure was amazing, I’m officially in love with Europe (even maybe drunkenly tried to convince Pete that we should move there), and I am more excited than ever about our September trip to Scotland. So, despite the fact that I already blew up Instagram and Facebook with a million snappies, I’ll throw down a few (lot) more photos here and blurb it up with some highlights (let’s be serious, this post is going to be epically long)…

Our original flight pattern was RDU to BOS to Paris to Nice, but when we arrived at the airport to check in we quickly realized that some silly tropical storm was threatening to cancel all sorts of flights and proceeded to spend a very sad and stressed out 90 minutes with a Delta attendant trying to figure out what we were going to do. At the end of said 90 minutes, on the phone with her Delta customer service counterpart, her face lit up and she said OH! That is great news! To which Shelly and I responded with a happy little jig in front of all the other angry people in line and #francedance was born. Our new flight pattern became RDU to JFK to Nice and we arrived at the same exact time as our previous plan, with one less annoying stop. Huzzah! One easy bus ride and less than a mile of walking brought us to the Rue de Chateau, a cozy sloped alley in the hear of Vieux Nice.

The entry gate to the building that housed our third floor studio apartment rented through Airbnb.

The entry gate to the building that housed our third floor studio apartment rented through Airbnb.

Our apartment, maybe 40 square meters, super cute and stylish and close to EVERYTHING.

Our apartment, maybe 40 square meters, super cute and stylish and close to EVERYTHING. (Stole this photo from the Airbnb site, everything else here we took!)

After checking in we took a walk to the nearest Monoprix to stock up on cheap amazing wine, delicious cheeses and butter I’d eat by the spoonful. On the way back we stumbled upon some cathedrals.

We walked into three different cathedrals and they each was just as grand and opulent as the next.

We walked into three different cathedrals and each was just as grandiose as the next.

Then came lunch, our first legit meal in France, and after striking out several times in a row since it was that weird time of day when most places are closed between lunch and dinner, we found a place that would feed us and we sat outside devouring caprese salad, pizza and bread. Everything tasted like perfection which I’m sure was at least in part due the surroundings. Fueled up and running on holy-shit-I’m-in-France adrenaline, we set out to walk and shop and explore.


Place Masséna and Jaume Plensa’s Conversation å Nice. These seven statues represent the seven continents and apparently light up at night in different colors but sadly we didn’t catch that.


Street after street of pretty colored buildings and magnificent mountains in the distance.

We went into all sorts of shops on this main strip of clothing stores, but ironically made the most purchases at H&M. We basically closed the place down and in fact the angry fitting room attended was the only rude person we encountered on our whole trip. She was quite displeased with the my non French speaking American ass still trying on clothes at five minutes to closing, but I honestly didn’t know the store hours. Her haircut was stupid anyway. We also bought stuff at another Monoprix (it’s like French Target i.e. the happiest place on Earth), then dropped our goodies off at the apartment and headed out for dinner.


More awesome structures. Pretty much nonstop cool shit to take pictures of.


Our intended restaurant was unfortunately undergoing renovations so we found a lovely place with outdoor seating (i.e. every place in Nice) and had another fabulous meal. We also took pictures of each other taking pictures of our meals. Nerds.

After dinner we walked over to Fenocchio and got nutella crepes and I died of happiness.

After dinner we walked over to Fenocchio and got nutella crepes and I died of happiness. Also note bags under eyes. Three or so hours sleep on the flight over and a day full of adventure were not friendly to the ol’ face.


We walked back to the apartment, eventually went to sleep, and stayed in bed until noon the next day. Vacation rocks.

Post first day in France bathroom happy selfie wearing Shelly's pajama shirt because I packed a million things but no pajamas. Nerd.

Post first day in France bathroom happy selfie wearing Shelly’s pajama shirt because I packed a million things but no pajamas. Nerd.

Once we finally dragged our jet lagged behinds out of bed we went for a run on the Promenade des Anglais, the road that runs along the coast. The warm temps and low humidity made for outstanding running weather and clearly the scenery was top notch. Post shower, our next adventure was a “hike” up beautiful, old, tree shaded steps and pathways, past a waterfall to the Parc du Château. Nearly 1,000 years ago a castle was erected at this spot, but in 1706 it was razed by the ranks of Louis XIV. Today it’s a popular tourist spot with stunning panoramic views of Vieux Nice and the Baie des Anges, and a few benches perfect for a picnic. And we did just that – with our scrumptious cheeses and wine, we snacked and chatted the afternoon away in one of the most beautiful settings I’ve ever experienced.


The view! Gross.


The top of Tour Bellanda.


Pard du Château selfie.

After the parc picnic we walked and walked and walked some more, stuck our feet in the Mediterranean, took pictures of doors and windows and alleys, ate decadent pastries, did a little more shopping and eventually headed back to the apartment for some more eating before dinner and more eating.

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On the street just before our apartment we heard from a window above a very French man singing a Maroon 5 song very loudly. Shelly sang along.

On the street just before our apartment we heard from a window above a very French man singing a Maroon 5 song very loudly. Shelly sang along.

Dinner our second night was at a restaurant called La Rossettisserie and was just as lovely as every other meal. Especially lovely was the moment a random man walked in wearing a French Maid costume and proceeded to not only go around the restaurant kissing people on the cheek but also lift up his skirt to expose tighty whiteys and dangling fake balls. When in Nice? After dinner we went to Fenocchio again, this time for ice cream and I swooned over the most vanillatastic scoop of dessert I’ve ever consumed.

Oh look! More pictures of us taking pictures of food.

Oh look! More pictures of us taking pictures of food.


Post ice-cream selfie.

Post ice-cream selfie.

The final day was all about the market. Oh the market! How I wished to spend hours buying every piece of produce and every bottle of olive oil and every loaf of bread and every stem of flower. It was like our local farmers’ market on steroids. We bought things and tasted things and walked around a bit more before we checked out of our apartment and boarded the bus for our big tradeshow adventure in Monaco.

Ginormous figs putting my little Mebane figgy tree homegrown figs to shame.

Ginormous figs putting my little Mebane figgy tree homegrown figs to shame.

All the rad and wonderfully awesome flavors of salt - yes salt! - you could think of.

All the rad and wonderfully awesome flavors of salt – yes salt! – you could think of.

Sunny buildings around the market.

Sunny buildings around the market.



I bought this bouncy giraffe for Norah at an adorable French toy shop.

I bought this bouncy giraffe for Norah at an adorable French toy shop.

Bye-bye beach selfie.

Bye-bye beach selfie.

And the final ride down in the apartment building elevator with all our crap. Shelly kindly sporting Pete's hat I bartered for so it didn't get squished.

And the final ride down in the apartment building elevator with all our crap. Shelly kindly sporting Pete’s hat I bartered for so it didn’t get squished.

I won’t go into too much detail about Monaco other than to say that the tradeshow went smashingly well and we had almost as much fun as we did in Nice (minus the excellent food). Here’s a little panoramic snappy from the 7th floor pooldeck of our worky hotel:


Scotland is only a few months away and I can’t. freakin’. wait.


secret weekend

A week or so ago I was out for a drink with friends at a bar near the office and a couple walked in with their two children – a boy about 4 and a girl about 2. Now to be clear, we were at a bar, not at the bar at a restaurant, an actual bar with pool tables and such. And despite the fact that I’ve now been a parent for nearly three years, but perhaps more so because of it, I found it a little odd for this couple to have their two youngins’ in tow. That said, it quickly became apparent that they desperately needed a drink and that any thoughts about the appropriateness of bringing their children to such an establishment were rendered irrelevant by that need. The kids were loud and climbing on things and the parents were stressed and exasperated and then this happened…the mom was walking past our table with one of the two children at her side and she looked over at us forlornly and said “I wish I was out with the girls. I love my kids, but I just need a break.”

Never in my life have I had a complete stranger be so open about the fact that she just needed to get the fuck away from her children for a bit. It was kind of amazing and definitely surprising. I quickly empathized by saying something like “I totally understand and am going home to my two in a bit!” which made her half smile. Later that night I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post by my dear coworker (and fellow mom) showing a photo of her and her hubs smiling gleefully with the caption “One week before Beau was born. Looking very innocent and so well rested.” It seriously simulated a scene you’d see in a comedic movie or tv show right before it broke to two weeks later with both parents looking disgusting and haggard, a baby screaming in their arms, and them arguing with each other about something stupid like who got less sleep the night before. It was the kind of post where your initial reaction is to laugh out loud and then as your brain begins to process it you start to think about how exhausted you are from all things parenting and your audible laughter is silenced by your realization that life is officially crazy.

I wonder how many times a week the average parent begins a sentence with “I love my kids, but…” I’d put money on a lot. Because we do love our kids, but we also do need breaks to maintain some semblance of sanity. And it’s so super duper important that those breaks sometimes occur with each other, as in both parents breaking at the same time together, because we all know that one of the greatest challenges of being a parent of young kids is making sure your marriage or relationship isn’t relegated to roommate status for lack of quality togetherness. Which brings me to my whole point for writing this post! SECRET WEEKEND!

For Mother’s Day weekend this year, Pete planned an overnight trip for he and I ONLY and it was all a complete surprise for me. I knew we were going somewhere, I just didn’t know where or how or to do what. I love surprises and getting away and hanging out with Pete, so I was psyched.

He told me we needed to be on the road by 7 AM sharp because we had a couple stops to make on the way and there was a schedule to stick to. I was so intrigued. Off we went down the highway a handful of exits, and then got off! We’re going to Burlington? I thought to myself, losing some of my excitement (sorry Burlington). We pulled up at the Company Shops Station, a large brick building that I was unfamiliar with, and Pete told me something was going on there that morning. What on earth is he dragging me to at 7:15 AM in Burlington? Some kind of flea market? I guess that’s cool? We park the car and he takes out this top secret purple folder with papers in it and we head to the door. Once inside, I very quickly realize that we’re at a train station which is aided by the fact that it’s National Train Day (total coincidence) and there are model trains and train info and all kinds of trainy type things all around. We were headed to Charlotte by Amtrak!

The train ride was super cool and something we’d never done together before. Once in Charlotte, we went to an art museum, had a delicious alfresco lunch, saw a badass show at the theater, went to a couple bars in NoDa, slept fairly well, had a lovely brunch and then took the train back home. Apparently this is what people with no kids, lots of discretionary income and abundant free time do. I like it! But I love my kids! Pete did such an awesome job planning the trip – it was perfect and I love him dearly for being an amazing, thoughtful husband.

That’s it for solo trips for us until the big one in September…SCOTLAND! FUCKYEAH!

Some instas from the secret weekend can be found over at Elderworld (scroll a bit). Buh-bi.