about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

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    Looking forward to chatting with you!


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    A Look Back.

The Long Trip Home.

Hooooooooome sweet home!  But it took a long time to get here.  Our original plan was to leave Tuesday (today), and get up super early so that our entire drive would be in daylight.  But Monday morning we got up and Casey took a look at his work schedule, discovering meetings lined up for Tuesday afternoon – whoops.  We considered going Wednesday instead, but that made me really sad.  I haven’t been home since May, and that was for the marathon – I was reaaaally looking forward to a good, long visit.

So at 8am Monday morning, with nothing packed or ready to go, we started scrambling around the house to suddenly throw everything together for an 8 day trip.  At 10:30am, we rolled out of Alexandria with two very nervous dogs and a car packed with stuff.

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Casey was a total champ and drove for the first SEVEN hours of our nine hour drive.

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While I provided food, music, and entertainment.  :)

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We started out in the Virginia countryside, which eventually took us to Maryland.

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The weather was great for driving, and the scenery was absolutely beautiful.

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We’ve done a lot of long road trips in our day, but this was our first time driving from Virginia to Ohio so we weren’t exactly sure what to expect.

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After whining and pacing for about 30 minutes, the dogs settled down and got comfortable.

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Usually when we go on road trips, I’ll head to the store before we leave and pick up some good healthy snack options, so that we don’t have to stop a lot for food on the road.  But since we unexpectedly left a day early, I was forced to scramble and find what little food was left in our house.  A pack of delicious hamburger rolls from the Gourmet deli down the street…

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And a bunch of granola and snack bars to get us through.

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Lots of COFFEE to help us stay awake and stay alert.

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This will definitely always be remembered as the road trip where we snacked on giant hamburger rolls all day long. 

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Indy was very jealous of them.

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I had no idea that our drive would take us so high up into the mountains.  As we got into West Virginia and Pennsylvania, we climbed up, up, UP!

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And the higher we climbed, the lower the outside temperature dropped.  It also got very SNOWY!

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The highest elevation sign I saw was 3,000 feet, and I was very ready to come down when we finally got through them.  The mountains were super snowy and scary, and I felt like my head was going to explode from all the pressure changes.

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We stopped a few times to let the pups stretch their legs and drink some water.  They are actually surprisingly VERY good on road trips – gives me hope that maybe we can do this more often. 

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They usually pace around for about 10 minutes, and then curl up and go to sleep on their dog beds the rest of the way.

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The mountains made me really nervous and sick feeling, so I distracted myself by eating a terrifying amount of hamburger rolls.

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And then just in time for a pretty sunset, we made it to OHIO!

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Unfortunately, we still had three hours to go, but it still felt great to be back in my home state.

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Just before 8pm, we rolled up to our destination after more than nine loooong hours in the car.   Home sweet home!  Well, not really home, but definitely sweet.  Casey and I are staying in my best friend’s apartment while she is Christmasing in Mexico (so jealous).  It’s so nice for us to have our own space that we can take the dogs (my mom’s house has too many cats).  A million thanks to Lindsey for letting us take over her home for the week – it feels so weird to be here without her!

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The dogs have been to her front door many many times before, but they had never actually been inside until last night (because she used to have a cat).  They were pretty pumped.

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The best greeting of all was finding my mom and little sister waiting inside with a giant bag of Thai food – YUM!  I told Sarah to just order something that she knew I would like, and she hit a home run – steamed veggies with crispy tofu and peanut sauce.  Yuuuuuum.

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Shared with family – the best Christmas gift of all.

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The pups aren’t quite sure what to think about being back in Cincinnati.  Even though we are at Lindsey’s place which is new to them, we actually used to live just two doors down from here!  I think they can definitely sense that something is very familiar.

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It feels good to be home.  :)

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I have a long day of last-minute Christmas errands planned, along with trips to the post office, and other things.  Going to go steal my little sister and drag her around town with me.  Wheeeeee!

Who else is road tripping this year?  How long is your drive?

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78 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Anna     at 11:12 am

I feel your road trip pain- It takes me about 9 hours to drive home to MA from DC and I drive it alone… it’s a LONG time to spend behind the wheel, for sure. I’m glad your dogs were okay too!


Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul     at 11:12 am

I makes me sad to look at your pictures! We’re not able to get to Cincinnati for Christmas =( Have a wonderful time and eat lots of yummy staples!


Emily Malone Reply:

Oh booo. I’m sorry! Hopefully you guys can make it back here soon!


Victoria (District Chocoholic)     at 11:16 am

Was the high elevation section on I-68? It can be really scary and I don’t blame you for the hamburger roll munching – I drove through it in fog once. Yuck.


Emily Malone Reply:

Yep, totally. I just wasn’t expecting it, and the snow and wind didn’t hep!


Victoria (District Chocoholic) Reply:

Unfortunately, there’s no way around it when you are going to OH/MI/IN from DC – I-70 is really no better. I mean you can go up to I-90 if you want to drive like six extra hours…luckily, I-68 is usually well-treated and not too crowded. Fingers crossed for warmer temps on your drive home.


Lindsey @ Enjoying Healthy Foods     at 11:17 am

First off… your dogs are beautiful! Some of the pictures are really beautiful!!!!
Second off… I feel your road trip pain! We would drive GA to IN which a baby and 2 dogs…
Third… Your sister did good! That meal looks WONDERFUL!

Merry Christmas!


Meghan     at 11:18 am

Jealous! Cincinnati is such a wonderful place!! Miss it soooo much. Have fun and your hamburger bun snacking=hilarious!


Cate     at 11:27 am

I didn’t drive for Christmas, but for Thanksgiving we drove from San Francisco to Portland, which ended up taking about 11 hours.


Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner)     at 11:28 am

Haha love the hamburger roll snacking! :P
I’m having family come to ME this year, which is nice, although I do enjoy a good road trip! :D


Emily Malone Reply:

That sounds nice to me! :)


Madeleine @ Stepping to the Bright Side     at 11:29 am

So glad you made it home safely… Enjoy your time there! Gotta love those road trip adventures ;)


Lee     at 11:31 am

Those hamburger rolls look good to me! Enjoy your time with your family.


Michelle     at 11:31 am

So nice that your doggies do well in the car :) I know this is probably obvious to most.. but I am curious what breed your dogs are.. are they each a mix? Or is Indy a yellow lab and Huey a GSP? Take care!


Emily Malone Reply:

I actually get that question a LOT, and you are probably the closest to ever guess. :) Huey is a pure-bred GSP, and Indy is a GSP/Yellow Lab mix. They are very high energy, and pretty much run our household, but I can’t imagine life without them.


Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef     at 11:38 am

i’ve driven that same VA/OH drive before so that looks very familiar… glad you had a snow-less drive. enjoy your time in ohio! :)


Christin@purplebirdblog     at 11:45 am

We will be driving about 15 minutes north of where we are on Christmas Day to a friend’s house. :)


Maryann     at 11:48 am

Emily and Casey,
Wow what a treck. You went through my state but I’m in eastern PA. Love the mountains. We go to the poconos to see my relatives it’s all beautiful.
Have a joyous Christmas and enjoy you precious family time!!


stephanie     at 11:53 am

We are driving to visit my family in New York. On a good day, it’s about a 5.5 hour drive, but I expect with holiday traffic it will take longer. Any recommendations on healthy car ride snacks?

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!


allison     at 11:53 am

Reading this made me even more excited to go home!!!! This afternoon i am going to drive 3 hours to my boyfriends house to get him, then sleep while he drives the 3 hours back here and I would love to head right home but since i open at the gym i work at, we wont be doing the 15 hour drive back to jersey until i get off work at 9 am on Thursday!!!

I always stock up at the food store too cause otherwise we would be stopping at every rest stop for food lol i always get the munchies when im stuck in the car for hours!


Krista (kristastes)     at 12:10 pm

I am also road tripping with 2 dogs and my parents…11 hours from PA to Hilton Head, SC. Fun fun fun (sarcasm) haha. At least I get to go to the beach on Christmas Day!


Evan Thomas     at 12:15 pm

I’m no longer complaining about having to go 80 minutes to New Hampshire


Gina     at 12:17 pm

I am flying to Cincinnati from Seattle on Dec. 30 for my cousin’s wedding:) I used to visit them every summer and haven’t been back since 8th grade (been about 13 years, yikes!) I haven’t been with my family for the holidays in 4 years, so it will be fun being there to celebrate a wedding and the new year! Merry Christmas and I hope you enjoy your time with your family!


Emily     at 12:19 pm

I didn’t know the elevation was so high in that region. I live in Denver, so we’re used to the mountains but I had no idea it got up to 3000 feet back east. :) We’ll be flying from Denver to Detroit on Friday to see my family in NW Ohio (we live about 1 hour east of Toledo). It’s been so warm here it’s going to be weird to see snow in OH! Enjoy your time with your family!


Amber K     at 12:19 pm

The farthest road trip we’ve done is three hours. And it’s torture! I hate riding in the car for long.

Luckily all of my family lives within thirty minutes of me. The three-hour trip was to visit my husband’s distant relatives.


Stacy @ Every Little Thing     at 12:22 pm

Would you ever crate your dogs while traveling? It makes me nervous to see them not strapped in! We don’t crate for short drives but for long ones I crate Roxie just in case there’s an accident. Plus I think it calms her nervousness and her stomach (I also give her a bit of ginger).


Jaclyn     at 12:23 pm

LOL, those hamburger rolls actually look REALLY good to me right now! I’ll be tackling a 7(ish – depending on the traffic in Jersey) hour road trip up to my family in upstate NY on Wednesday. Might need to get some rolls for the trip!

Have a great Christmas with your family!


suki @ [Super Duper Fantastic]     at 12:27 pm

Thankfully, my family is here, and I don’t have to go on a long roadtrip through snow to get to them. I tend not to travel during this time because of the hectic frenzy at airports and such.


Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine     at 12:28 pm

No road trips here…I’m just cooking for 30 people, which will probably take just as long :) My old dog was named Indy too! We got him on Independence Day (my brother’s birthday), so it’s short for “Independence” haha. I miss him!


JL goes Vegan     at 12:29 pm

Nothing like going “home” for the holidays! I’m also from the Midwest but we decided to stay in NY this year. Feeling a little sad about that decision after reading your post!


Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga)     at 12:33 pm

what a long drive, snacking on hamburger buns…too cute :)

this”: steamed veggies with crispy tofu and peanut sauce. Yuuuuuum.”

Glad you two made it, safe and sound!


Tracey     at 12:42 pm

I will be road tripping for about 8 hours. However, it will probably be longer because we are expecting bad weather on the day we leave. Total bummer!


Kris     at 12:50 pm

Former Alexandria resident enjoying your blog (by way of KERF)! I drove once w/ my two dogs from Williamsburg to MN. I’m so scared of heights, and I was just about catatonic when I picked up my brother in Ohio to help me drive the rest of the way. PA just about did me in. I was so happy to hit the flatter terrain of Ohio. Hope you have a great visit!


Victoria     at 12:57 pm

My husband and I are moving from Indiana to Seattle, and we’re driving! We leave the day after Christmas, and we’re expecting a 3-4 day trip. We’ll have our two big dogs with us, and I hope they’re as calm in the car as yours were!


Hope     at 12:58 pm

So glad that you got home safely! I love how you were snacking on hamburger rolls. If my dog saw those rolls, he would be all over them! Haha!


Namaste Gurl     at 1:03 pm

Awwwh, glad you made it “home” safely. You family looks super cute :-)


Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen)     at 1:18 pm

I am so glad you made it and you get a little extra time there! Enjoy every second with your mom!


Dee     at 1:27 pm

West Virginia sure has some steep climbs! My parents own a retirement home there and I still remember when we first visited! It was the 90′s and we were rockin the station wagon! I think the highest speed we did going up was about 10mph. No joke. Ha! The memories! You must be so excited to be back home! Have fun!


Anne     at 1:43 pm

Glad you guys made it safe and sound! We play the ‘kid card’ every year and make the fam come to us :D


Sarah     at 1:45 pm

Our road trip this year is from Michigan (Ann Arbor) to my fiance’s Dad’s house in southern New Hampshire… will be about 15 hours. We’ll be taking our dog with us too!


Jaclyn     at 1:50 pm

Glad you made it okay!!

Snacking on hamburger buns – too funnY! Well I guess when it’s what you have, it’s what you eat!! I have defintiely been there with weird, random *but good!* car snacks like that! lOL!


Megan     at 2:14 pm

We are going to Colorado the day after Christmas to go skiing! Just a short 17 hour ride from Wisconsin, but luckily we are splitting it into 2 days instead of the usual one day trip!


Lori Lynn     at 2:24 pm

Looks like a nice time and gorgeous scenery! I’m going to making a 7 1/2 hr trip for a wedding, but it’s with my boyfriend, so I’ll at least have someone to keep me company!


Jillian @ Reshape Your Life     at 2:27 pm

I didn’t drive, I flew, but I went from Texas to Connecticut.

But when I did drive to Texas from CT in 2008 I believe I was on some of the same stretch of road (Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia) so I know what you are talking about! And Pennsylvania takes FOREVER. At least it is a really pretty drive!


Ann     at 2:28 pm

Hi Emily!
I just started reading your blog a few months ago and have found it so inspiring, honest, and heart warming! I’ve never commented before, but I wanted to this time since I live in Cincinnati! I drove that exact 9 hr loooong route to D.C just last month to see some friends, so I definitely recognized the scenery. (I can’t believe you did it with TWO dogs though!) I’m actually thinking of moving to D.C very soon, but my reservations are having my entire family living in CIncinnati and not being able to see them often. Maybe after so many 9 hour road trips the distance will seem shorter??? haha Anyway, shoutout to a fellow Cincinnatian, have a wonderful time with your family and thanks for creating such an awesome blog :)


Kimberly @ Healthy Strides     at 2:34 pm

I hope you have a fantastic holiday! We’re not traveling this year since we went to visit my family (in Cincinnati :)) at Thanksgiving. Thankfully, for us, we can make it in 3.5 hours.


Carrie     at 2:53 pm

We actually just got home from a 2600 mile road trip from Maine to Alabama. We have three little girls (4, 2 and 2) and they were AMAZING little travelers – almost no drama!!!!

I love your blog – Merry Christmas!


Grace     at 3:13 pm

My fiance, beagle & I are heading up to NH from Alexandria early tomorrow. Also an estimated 9 hour trip for us. Thankfully, no high elevations or mountains on this route (they make my stomach turn too), but not looking forward to the snow & traffic. Yuck.

Glad you had a safe trip! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!


Shannon @ A Better Me     at 3:18 pm

All-in-all looks like it was a great trip there. You got some really beautiful pictures.


Lisa     at 4:20 pm

Glad to hear that you made it safely!! hehe and LOVe the hamburger buns!


Katy (The Singing Runner)     at 4:31 pm

Glad you made it safely! Have fun in Ohio! :)


Clare @ Fitting It All In     at 5:01 pm

I’m leaving after work for Cincinnati to visit my boyfriend! His family lives in Evendale and I’ll be there until Friday. It’s a 6 hour drive from STL


Katie     at 5:55 pm

When I moved from D.C. I made that drive (or close to it) by myself, in snow! It was horrifying! I stopped in Pittsburgh for the night though, which was a much-needed rest!
Glad you made it home safe…sad we can’t be together for Christmas!


Bess @ Bess Be Fit     at 6:42 pm

I’m spending Christmas here (in north carolina) with my family but then I will be driving from NC to New Jersey on the 27th….its about 8 hours! And I’m going alone! wahhh :( I’m going to get veryyy bored.


Kim     at 7:43 pm

I’m driving 3 hours from home, live in Victoria Australia to spend Christmas with my husbands parents and brother… But it is summer here so no snow for us! Just a beautiful 27degree day :)
Id love to have a white Christmas one day….


jen     at 8:23 pm

hey emily-

i know you have posted a bunch of brussel sprouts recipes lately… did one of them have cranberries and walnuts? or did i make that up? i went back through your posts and can’t find it?



Meagan     at 8:29 pm

I love the little red house photo.
I love the first doggie photo.
I am glad your trip was smooth!!


Jen C     at 8:50 pm

Yay for Cincinnati! Hope you enjoy the holiday at home and eat plenty of Yagoot and Green Dog :)


Runeatrepeat     at 8:53 pm

Glad you made it safe :)
Normally I want something on my bread, but those look amazing as is!


Rosemary (Pediure girl,Texas)     at 8:56 pm

Well I’m glad you all arrived safe and sound,I was a little worried something had happened when I didn’t see post for a couple of days..I guess I need to follow you on twitter. Congrats to 2 winners of your banana bread giveaway..I just knew it would be me but alas not this time,I generally never win anything haha but thats ok. Speaking of winning, what did you think of winner in blog contest..you prob can’t say but after I couldnt vote for you anymore I was rooting for Oh She Glows..reminds me of you,healthy and wholesome.


Emily Malone Reply:

Sorry to worry you!! We’ve just been driving across the eastern part of the country. :)


Em     at 8:57 pm

I drove 4.5 hours from Chicago to St. Louis (my hometown) for a quick visit with my family. Then I left less than 48 hours later to drive 14 hours to Colorado with my boyfriend’s family to spend the week snowed in and on the slopes!


Ashley     at 9:00 pm

I know that route – it looks like 68 to me! As a Baltimore resident who grew up in Pittsburgh, we often take that road too as opposed to 70. It definitely gets a little scary in the winter months because of the snow. And, it does help to do that part of the trip when it’s light out too.


Karis (Karis' Kitchen)     at 9:02 pm

We leave Thursday for a 10-hour drive from Wisconsin to South Dakota. We do it every year, and snow is always a problem, but it’s worth it for my husband to spend Christmas with his parents and sisters. I’m sad to leave our two cats home this year :(


Gabrielle     at 9:08 pm

I love the photos of your dogs – they’re so sweet, with big sad eyes. The Thai tofu looks fabulous! Glad you had a safe trip – I hope you have a great Christmas holiday!


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey     at 9:12 pm

Yay for being home for Christmas!


Joanna @ drizzle of sunshine     at 11:16 pm

Hi Emily! Glad your roadtrip went well and you got there safely. Luckily my trip back home isn’t too bad…only an hour tops. If there’s traffic, two hours. My task this year will be splitting Christmas time with my new hubby’s family.


Kristen @ Kristen, Sweetly     at 11:18 pm

Mmm, bread!!! Sounds like a winning car trip all around. And until the second picture, I was really, really hoping your sis was wearing a Santa hat. :-p Happy holidays, Emily!


Mimi     at 12:31 am

I lived in Ohio for six years (the Columbus area), so it still holds a special place in my heart! Enjoy your time at home with family!


Jen     at 6:54 am

Have a great time being home for Christmas :)



Cathy     at 10:07 am

Glad you made it home safely. We’re just staying in the Chicagoland area for Christmas, but have had our fair share of driving from Chicago to Cleveland and St. Louis to Cleveland.


Tori @ FIToriBLOG.com     at 12:56 pm

I’m jealous! Looks like a fun time!!! We are staying at home this year – hubby’s wish come true! So jealous of the snow too!!! My kind of holiday!!


Nona Mills     at 5:09 pm

We leave Thursday for a 10-hour drive from Wisconsin to South Dakota. We do it every year, and snow is always a problem, but it’s worth it for my husband to spend Christmas with his parents and sisters. I’m sad to leave our two cats home this year :(


Sara @ Baking and Wine     at 6:29 pm

We actually just did a road trip to Virginia to visit my husband’s family! 8 hours each way, and we got back today. We have a day and a half of recuperation and then we head to Texas to visit my family on Friday. 16 hours. Whew, that’s the tough one.


Brandy     at 9:55 am

Yeah, we have four hours ahead of us on Friday (after breakfast with my family) to get to the husband’s family. This time it’s with the pup in tow. She gets to meet three cats and two dogs for the first time ever. Should be interesting. Thank goodness, she’s excellent at car trips.


Adrienne Randall     at 5:37 am

Glad you made it home safely. We’re just staying in the Chicagoland area for Christmas, but have had our fair share of driving from Chicago to Cleveland and St. Louis to Cleveland.


Leah     at 1:30 pm

Several road trips during the holidays. The first was easy (90 minutes to Western MA), the second was a disaster (blizzard made us turn back just outside Boston and wait until the next day, the third was easy (around 3 hours to get up into Maine). :)


Someone     at 6:32 pm

I can totally tell that you didn’t grow up in the mountains…just saying. 3,000 feet over the east coast “mountians” isn’t much.

Hope you had a fun time!

(Just to clarify…that part above wasn’t an insult, but it does kind of sound like one, sorry if you were offended.)


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