#TwEATup #3: Marshall’s BBQ, Carrollton, TX

Since the summer began, a few friends and I have been on a hunt for DFW’s best, non franchise barbecue. We began our journey at Lockhart Smokehouse in Dallas’s Bishop Arts District, and four our second tweatup (which I didn’t write about…my bad…) we ventured to Hard 8 BBQ in Coppell. For Tweatup Number three, we decided to try Marshall’s BBQ in Carrolton.

Marshall's BBQ - Carrollton TX

To be honest, it was very meh. It will suffice…if you happen to be driving in Carrollton, TX, along Rosemeade Parkway, and happen to see it. It was definitely decent; The meat was decent, and they had a few different sauces to try out. Their meat was certainly better than their sides though. The fries were good. The mac and cheese was not. I wanted some peach cobbler, but it looked like it had been sitting out a little too long, and seeing how it was under a heat lamp, wasn’t staged in the most pleasing environment.

It also didn’t seem like their decor had changed since the 80s. Many restaurants are featuring Flat-screen TVs now in their dining area; they’re still rocking a big screen. It was totes retro.

I guess when our tweatups started out with a few of the best barbeque joints in the metroplex, we may have been spoiled a little. There was no where to go but down.


Hopefully in the next few months, our next BBQ Tweatups will be restored to their former glory.

Does anyone know any awesome barbecue restaurants in Dallas we should try out?

Marathon Training: I Made it!

12.16 miles. That is the farthest I have ever run in one sitting (for lack of a better term; even thinking about it in retrospect can make you delirious) in my life.

Seeing as I was running late (as usual; getting up at 5:15 AM on a Saturday morning is hard enough as it is), I didn’t get to stretch as much as I should have. Which didn’t really affect me until around mile 8. Around mile 6, I felt like I could finish out a half marathon (13.1 miles), but during mile 8, I could feel my legs begin to tighten up.

Sidenote: As I’m writing this, I’m realizing I really DO need to get better about stretching before and after a run. It has been the cause (and solution) to all of my injuries this season. Interesting how writing something can put it into perspective for you.

Even though my legs were beginning to feel like tree stumps, I was determined to finish this week’s marathon training. And I did. I actually had a better pace than last week’s marathon training, my first in a few weeks.

The other thing I learned was to ALWAYS wear socks. If you know anything about me, I absolutely despise socks, and you have to wrestle me to the ground and put them on me to get me to wear them. I had had a pair of Feetures! socks, but the left one decided to walk off somewhere, so I haven’t been wearing them (and by them, I mean it – my right sock) lately. And this week, I paid for it with a blister under my right toe. You had better believe that on my lunch break today, I made a quick trip to Run On! to pick up a replacement pair.

If you’d like to learn more about Team In Training, see my fundraising progress and / or donate to my marathon campaign, check out My Marathon Page.

Marathon Fundraising: I worked Two Triathalons

Over Labor Day weekend, since I had a little extra time on my hands due to a three-day weekend, I decided to work some Team-In-Training fundraisers for my marathon.

Basically, for each hour that you work, Team In Training lets you put $10 towards your marathon fundraising, at a maximum of $150.

I was also interested in seeing how triathlons worked, so I thought that working the Old College Tri in Denton, TX, on Sunday, and the Blackland Triathlon in Plano, TX on Labor Day would be the perfect opportunities.

What I found was that working these races was a lot like working many other races. In the Old College Tri, me and another guy were along the running portion, directing runners in a portion of the path that COULD have been confusing. In the Blackland Triathlon, they put the volunteers along the finish line, handing out info about Team In Training, and trying to get people to sign up.

So, in essence, I didn’t get to see how triathlons – mainly the transitions – worked.

One thing I DID learn, though, was that when you’re getting your numbers before the race starts, they put your age on your left calf muscle, and your race number on your right. Therefore, looking at everyone’s age over and over became an obsession. What I learned were that there weren’t very many people my age competing in Triathlons. At the Old College Tri, there were a few students from the UNT Triathlon team competing, and a few teenagers at both (I think the youngest participant was 11? Can you imagine competing in a triathlon at age 11), but I think the median age of these triathletes had to be about 40.

Which settled it for me: I WILL run a triathalon one day. At least by the time I’m 50.

Aside from the actual Triathlon race itself, The Blackland Tri proved to be the more eventful of the two days. As previously stated, we were manning the Team In Training tent, to pass out brochures. Except that…the tent broke…and went flying about 10 feet in the air. Once we set up the tent, we realized that the wind was blowing at about 15-20 mph, and we didn’t have any stakes to hold the tent in the ground. So we improvised and used two pens (yes…writing pens) that we found in our Swag bag, to hold the tent in the ground. They worked for a while, until the wind started picking up, and as previously stated, picked up the tent and threw it about 10 feet south of us, on top of the bathrooms. The people one tent over from us, from REI Plano let us borrow their extra stakes after we picked the tent up off the ground. That worked too, until a surprise gust of wind took and flipped the tent…while the stakes were still in the ground.

Needless to say that that tent is no more.

The Blackland Tri was also more eventful because it also served as a mini-tweetup. I started following @NaturalRunStore on Twitter after I had the opportunity to hear Patton speak on running at Ignite Dallas:

And after hearing that he was going to be at the Blackland Tri, I took it upon myself to introduce…myself (I PROM that I don’t work for the department of redundancy department). So we had a little talk and tweetup, he gave me a mini running lesson, and let me try on some slick running shoes. My friend @ScottVann bought the shoes right there on the spot. I would have bought them then and there if I didn’t have to eat for the next week (BUT If I had had a choice…those shoes would have won). But when I get some money…

It was also so great seeing so many people with a lot of passion for what they’re doing; these athletes with their passion for sport, keeping in shape, making themselves better, and some for a special cause: Patton with the IMMENSE amount of passion, for not only running, but for social media, helping people, and, dare I say it: happiness.

I need to find out what kind of fiber he’s on, because it’s working.


Marathon Training: I went finally!

I hadn’t been in weeks. First, the rain kept me from marathon training, and then out of my own apathy and body exhaustion, I missed two weeks of training long runs on Saturday mornings. But, because I missed those runs, and because my conscience was kicking in and starting to nag me, I was determined to actually get up and get my ass to training Saturday morning.

And I did.

Not only for the aforementioned reasons, but my IT band which I had hurt weeks prior was actually starting to feel a little better. I had been running mornings at home and picking my mileage back up. So I was determined to get a good long run in.

The half-marathoners (which I THINK I’m training for now) were supposed to go 12 miles. I decided, since I hadn’t run that far in a while, that I would just do a tour of the lake, which is almost exactly 9 miles. It would be my first tour since my injury happened, and the farthest I had ran in a while.

On my run, I wasn’t really concerned with speed as I was finishing, and keeping a good pace.

Though I was running, I was keeping about the same pace as the run / walk group. Which was good, but can also hurt your ego a little, knowing someone is doing a walk /run hybrid the same pace as your run. But I kept a nice steady pace, and my legs didn’t start hurting until about mile 6. It wasn’t an extremely hard run either. Saturday during the run was right before the cold front blew in, so we got air that was cooler than “normal” (which, for us at the time, was still nearly 100 degrees at 6AM).

I was just mainly happy that I finished.

If you’d like to learn more about Team In Training, see my fundraising progress and / or donate to my marathon campaign, check out My Marathon Page.

Marathon Training: I Overslept. AGAIN.

It was about that time. That time somewhere in between when the rooster crows “Cock-a-doodle-doo” and the sun coming out to bake everything it came into contact with.

Yes. It was THAT. Time.

It was EXACTLY 6AM on Saturday morning. Exactly the time that this week’s marathon training was supposed to begin. Not the time I was supposed to leave for it; the time we were supposed to begin hitting the pavement and begin on another journey around Dallas’s White Rock Lake.

And here I am, pouring myself out of bed when I SHOULD be huffing, puffing, and sweating. My alarm clock went off at its normal time, circa 5:15 am, but I slept right through it. And by slept right through it, I mean my roommate turned it off after 15 minutes of the same 5 second clip being played at loud volume over and over. But failed to wake me up. This oversleeping came after taking a nap after leaving work Friday afternoon, AND after going to bed earlier than normal that night. I suppose I am just too hardcore during the week. But it’s like a quote I once heard in a famous play, Life on Campus:

I’ll sleep when I’m dead.

Needless to say, I missed yet another Saturday marathon training. I was disappointed in myself, because I was finally running again during the week, and was getting back to my old self. I wanted to get back to doing the long runs again, to begin to make up for the progress I had lost from my IT Band injury. But that progress – and that long run – sadly, would have to wait another week.

If you’d like to learn more about Team In Training, check out my fundraising progress and / or donate to my marathon campaign, check out My Marathon Page.

Marathon Training: I Overslept

That awkward moment when you are exhausted from going pretty hard during the week, so you take a nap Friday night after work, and the next thing you know, it’s 6 o’clock on Saturday morning when you wake up to your alarm on your phone screaming at you to throw yourself out of bed.

The only thing is that you have to be AT White Rock Lake at 6am; that is when marathon training starts.

And that, is where I should have been, but it was where I wasn’t. I didn’t think it would be the best idea to drive there, as we’d be half an hour late, and running by yourself isn’t very fun. I also figured that I needed the sleep. Like I said, I was busy during the week with work, content creation and blog writing, as well as going to networking events; I think my body was just exhausted and was trying to tell me to slow down. And slow down I did: I slept for an additional four hours after that. In addition, my IT band still hurts a little bit. I think it still needs more time to heal.

Excuses, I know. We’ve all got them. And they’re like booty holes. And today, while I don’t like them, was my day to have many of them. I will try to be better in the future, but today, I’m just gonna go back to sleep.


Make it up for me! I’ll be out there next week.

If you didn’t know, I’m training to run a marathon, and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphona Society to fight blood cancer! You can learn more about my marathon (or make a tax-deductable donation to my efforts) at my marathon fundraising page.

Marathon Training: It Didn’t Happen

This week, we were supposed to have marathon training, as we usually do. Bright and early, at 6am.

On. A. Saturday. Morning.

I was actually dreading it this week. We had been starting training earlier because of the extreme heat (we almost set a record in Dallas for number of consecutive days over 100 degrees). In addition to the extreme heat, Dallas has been experiencing extreme drought too. So these were definitely NOT the ideal conditions for 8 miles of hills marathon training, as your body operates at about 20 degrees warmer than the temperature outside.

But there was a 30% chance of rain in the forecast for Saturday, August 6th. We asked our coach, Coach Claire, if we still did marathon training in the rain. She said we certainly do, and just to put on a hat and suck it up.

And suck it up I was about to do. It was 5am, and I was jilted awake by my Blackberry’s alarm. I poured out of bed, grudgingly, I might add, and put my shorts, running shoes, and Team In Training shirt on. I was tired from a long and busy week of work, writing marathon training and search engine optimization blogs like this one, meetings and networking events and I just wanted to sleep. Plus, I could hear the rain. I didn’t want to run / walk 7 miles and be cold. I checked my facebook, and the group said that we were still having training.

I get in my car and drive about 2 miles. My friend checks his email. There was thunder (and we DON’T train in thunder) so marathon training was cancelled.

So I quite ungrudgingly poured myself BACK into bed for another few hours, and thanked God that all those years of African Rain Dances I had done had finally accumulated into a sum large enough to cash out.

I’ll be back at it next week though.

If you’d like to donate to my cause, check out my marathon page!

Marathon Training: My IT Band Hurts

So last saturday, July 30th, as usual, we had our marathon training at White Rock Lake. This week, we were doing hill training in the neighborhoods around the park.

For the last 2 months, I’ve been suffering from IT band issues. The IT band is a group of muscles around the outside of the knee. Running, while it hasn’t been impossible, is more difficult, and is more like limping at this point. They say the only thing that really helps the pain go away is adequate stretching, and a foam roller.

With that being said, I had been talking to the marathon coach, claire about whether I should try to go to training or continue to stay off of it. We agreed that training with the walkers this week may be a better option; I didn’t want to hurt myself any more, but didn’t want to lose any progress.

On saturday, in order to further avoid the heat, we started training 30 minutes earlier, at 6am. I overslept slightly, so I didn’t get to do as much stretching as I had hoped before training began.

But I still walked.
I walked mostly with Tina, who I think is the walking group coach. During the walk, we talked about fundraising, and she gave me some ideas. We also talked about other races, such as training for an Ironman (something that may be interesting to do, one day, but that whole swimming thing). AND WE TALKED ABOUT PUPPIES. WHO DOESN’T LIKE PUPPIES.

We had walked maybe a mile. At this point we were somewhat into a neighborhood with some beautiful homes. The coach Claire was filming a video for a friend who was currently suffering from leukemia. At which point she pulled me over because I was limping.

I wasn’t mad at her or anyone else – more frustrated at the situation. I’ll finish this marathon any way it goes, and thought I was fine and really wanted to walk. I’m trying to do more stretching & work with this injury, but progress isn’t being made as fast as I like. Plus, that is compounded by having a desk job & sitting / not doing much walking all day.

But I guess I can’t do anything but keep stretching & keep going, right?


If you’d like to learn more about Team In Training, check out my fundraising page and / or donate to my marathon campaign, check out My Marathon Page.

#TwEATup #1: Lockhart Smokehouse

I don’t know how we got on the subject, but one day, me and some of my friends on Twitter – Scott Vann, Kirk Coleman, and Matt Smith – got on the subject of barbeque. We all decided one day that we were going to eat barbeque at one restaurant mutually decided on, and tweet / facebook / take pictures of it. It would be similar to a Bizzy tweetup, or a Foodspotting Meetup, but it wasn’t tied to a particular company. It was more like a group of friends who loved social media enjoying a meal together. Plus, it was spelled different, obviously.

After a few weeks of going back & forth between schedules, and deciding where we even wanted to go – Hard8 in Coppell and Off The Bone in the Cedars were both on the list – we decided on the Lockhart Smokehouse in the Bishop Arts District. We really admired the way that they were using their social media tools to enhance their business & drive new customers through the door – look how it worked with my friends & me.

The day before we went, they tweeted us & said that for the 5 of us, we’d be better off getting “The Shiner Platter”. I didn’t necessarily know how I felt about that. I’m kind of mean and don’t like to share my food. Plus, what if it was too big that we couldn’t finish it?

So we get there, and we actually decided that the platter WOULD be the best option. We were concerned, but not overly worried, that we’d be able to finish it.

And then…they brought out the Shiner platter.

2 kinds of sausage.
Mac and cheese.
Deviled eggs.
Cole slaw.
5 guys with the biggest grins on their faces.

None of us understood the regalness of the Shiner platter. We all felt like royalty, as we ate a meal made for 5 kings like ourselves. I know I couldn’t stop smiling for about the first 5 minutes.

So after we finished, and the foodgasm was beginning to wear off, they bring out the last (and best) part of the meal: the peach cobbler. It was Moist, and had just the right amount of crumble that made it way too delicious.

By the end of the meal, the only thing left on the platter were the remains of a feast that once was. Oh, and coleslaw. None of us were big coleslaw fans.

My only hangups were that whole “no sauce” thing. Not necessarily the fact that their barbeque was dry and needed sauce. It’s more so the fact that in Texas, we’re brought up on BBQ sauce. It’s a part of the experience. Some choices on BBQ joints in Texas are made solely on what the BBQ sauce tastes like. We finally did find the one bottle of sauce in the whole restaurant, towards the end of the meal. But it IS something that makes them unique.

I’d also say that while nearly each part of the meal was on-point, a few of the items were dry. Most noticeably the ribs. But the good points certainly outweighed the bad.

Overall, I’d say from First experiences, Lockhart Smokehouse may just be one of the best BBQ restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth. But it does have a few other competitors, that we’ll be exploring in the future. Currently, we plan to do one BBQ #twEATup each month.

Wanna come? Just tweet us: @BBQTwEATup.

The Decline of Tradition

Constantly throughout our childhood years, we were told to keep our grades up, be active in the community, and participate in clubs and activities outside of the school setting. We were told if we did these things, we would be able to take out massive amounts of student loans to finance our way through a college education. A college degree wasn’t something that just set you apart – it was a necessity. A college degree ensured you’d get a well-paying job, and people with college degrees make nearly $1 million more over their lifetime than those without a college degree.


But being in the middle of the biggest recession since the great depression, many are seeing a decline in tradition. As bachelor’s degrees become less distinguishing & more commonplace, Getting a one isn’t necessarily a sure-fire way to get a job. Many people are opting to stay in school longer, pursuing bachelor’s & master’s degrees. Many are opting to take different career paths, such as joining the army, and still some are choosing to go into business by themselves, starting boutique agencies in their respective fields.

The Great Recession has even caused a change in the way businesses operate. There is a decline in the traditional, 40-hour workweek; higher employees are being asked to work more, while lower employees, especially those at jobs with irregular hours, are being asked to work less.

Many firms have gone farther than just changing the work week; Some have even changed what the typical work day looks like. If you’re feeling drowsy whilst working a day at The Richards Group, you can take a nap in the nap room. Feeling stressed & like you were yelled at one too many times whilst working at the collections agency? Don’t worry. The massage therapist comes in on the first friday of the month, and offers deep discounts on 15-minute massages. Remember “casual Friday”, where you could wear a nice polo, jeans, and maybe some oxfords? New age corporations are one-upping that, and letting employees wear those clothes everyday; even more are letting employees wear shorts and flip flops! In fact, I’ve never had a job where there were strict limitations on what I had to wear.

With the major paradigm shifts happening in education & workplace culture currently, who knows what is to come? What will the american job scene look like in 10 years? What about higher education?

Even more importantly, are we only seeing the beginning?

My New Job At Standing Dog

As write my first post on my new personal blog, I feel like I’m in a place where things are beginning to look up.

I’ve just finished my first week of work in the SEO department at Standing Dog, an SEO and Digital Marketing firm in Dallas.

Standing dog interactive
I feel that companies, corporations large and small, and individuals are only beginning to realize the power that marketing in the digital space can have on a company’s bottom line. In observing and realizing this, I decided that my goal would be to work for an SEO, Digital Marketing, and Social Media firm.

In realizing this goal, I did some necessary things to get myself closer and closer to it; I took an internship at a Dallas SEO firm, and another at a Dallas Digital Marketing Agency. I began to go to various networking events in the DFW Metroplex, like the Social Media Club of Dallas and the Dallas Fort-Worth Search Engine Marketing Association, to meet people in the industry, and to create some top-of-mind awareness for myself. As of late, I’ve been learning how to take control of my reputation and my name online, as well as how to properly become an authority (or as least listened to) in the fields of social media and search marketing in Dallas.

With the culmination of this new opportunity, I feel that all my efforts are beginning to pay off.

I love that Standing Dog is consistently growing, and that all of the employees have an enthusiasm for their field, and for the company. Everyone’s always typing away at their desks, getting work done, but not overwhelmed to the point where they don’t have fun whilst doing it.

Standing Dog is also located at Mockingbird Station. As I live not far from Plano’s train station, I can commute by rail line, saving time, money, gas, and many frustrations.

While having a great company culture, a growing portfolio and being conveniently located are nice perks, one of the things that I like the best is that the company was willing to take a chance on me. I know many things about digital marketing and search engine optimization, and though I WANT to know everything, I don’t. But Standing Dog saw my eagerness to learn more and become better, and hopefully I’ll bring my skillz and won’t disappoint.

Needless to say, I’m excited about the opportunity and what the coming months, weeks, and days entail.