my glass sneaker

A banker, baker, blogger, runner, and dog mom who loves to travel, especially to Disney destinations

Getting Ready to runDisney

My next runDisney race, Tower of Terror 10 Miler, is coming up in, oh, about 2 months.  Yikes!  There is so, so, so, so much left to do!  It can be overwhelming without a plan. 

The thing is, runDisney races aren’t like your normal race in your home town where all you really have to do to prepare is train.  No, runDisney races involve so much more!

  • Training, of course!  I do not want the other details to overshadow what still is the most important part of getting ready for any race, training!  You must have a plan.  You must follow the plan.  It just has to be done.  But what if you find yourself, say, 2 months from the start line, way behind in training?  I’m not talking about myself.  Noooooooo!  Well, maybe I’m talking about myself.  Whatever you do, DON’T start where the training plan says you should be by now.  For example, this past weekend’s long run was supposed to be 6 miles.  If you are like me and are way behind, don’t do the 6 miles.  It’s better to get to the start line healthy than not get to the start line at all or get to the start line injured.  So, I’m adjusting the plan, and instead of getting up to a long run of 11 miles, like my original plan called for, I’ll back my longest run down to 8.  What does this mean?  It means the race won’t be quite as easy for me as it would have been if I were completely trained, and recovery may be a bit more uncomfortable, but it does not mean I should just throw in the towel and quit.

    Training is important! More importantly, #LetMeTakeASelfie

    Training is important! More importantly, #LetMeTakeASelfie

  • Costumes!  One of the things that makes runDisney events unique is that so many people have fun with dressing up in costume.  It’s not as easy as heading to your local party store and picking out something like you would for a costume party.  It still needs to be running-friendly, meaning made of breathable tech fabrics.  Lots of people like to wear normal running clothes and throw a tutu on over it and call it a day.  I say people because, yes, men do it, too.  Don’t judge!  Some people who are super-crafty go all-out and either have their costumes made or make it themselves.  You’ll see a lot of group costumes, too.  These can be anything from a group that has each person depict a character from a certain movie or even a group that all dresses alike.  To be honest, I’ve never loved a costume I’ve done yet. 
    Does this even count as a costume?

    Does this even count as a costume?

    This time is going to be different!  To start with, I have an EPIC Disney Villain idea. 

    The start of something EPIC!  Any guesses?

    The start of something EPIC! Any guesses?

    I already had all the elements purchased for it when some of my BRFs (best running friends) decided we should do a group thing.  So, now I have 2 costumes and 1 race.  What to do?  Well, at least I have options.  Time will tell which one I’ll be wearing.

  • Reservations!  For most, runDisney races are more than races.  They are racecations.  That means making hotel reservations and sometimes even booking flights.  If you stay at a host resort, runDisney makes transportation to all race events really easy.  Plus, to me you just can’t beat staying on property. 
    Wilderness Lodge: my favorite!

    Wilderness Lodge: my favorite!

    Even if you are on a budget, you can find a competitively priced resort.  The key, though, is to book early for the best selection!  I cannot stress this enough.  Race weekends bring in lots of people, and hotels book very quickly.  The good news, though, is even if you didn’t plan ahead, there are a number of travel agents who have room blocks to sell.  The downside to this is you may not get your first choice and you may not have a ton of flexibility when it comes to arrival or departure dates.  The room blocks are often for the weekend only so if you are planning a long family trip before or after the race, this may not be an option.  I go back to this:  book early!

  • Dining!   For Walt Disney World, dining reservations are accepted 6 months in advance (up to 180 days +10, to be exact, but I’ll have to save that explanation for another day).  Believe it or not, for the most popular restaurants, you really do have to be on the phone or on a computer the second reservations open to even stand a chance of getting in.  Of course, you might get lucky later on if there’s a cancellation but if there’s a place you really want to visit, you better be sitting on ready when the time comes.  Since runners are often concerned with digestive issues leading up to a race, this will be something else to think about 6 months in advance. 
    You probably don't want to eat this Mom's Meatloaf Dinner from Prime Time Cafe the day of or the night before a race.

    You probably don’t want to eat this Mom’s Meatloaf Dinner from Prime Time Cafe the day of or the night before a race.  Just Sayin’.

    I hear you, though.  Many of you have no idea where or what you’ll want to eat in 2 days, much less 6 months.  If this degree of pre-planning isn’t for you, fine!  There are a number of counter service places available, many of which rival some of the sit down restaurants.  There will also be tables available somewhere.  It might not be what you want or convenient to where you are at any given time, but you’ll have options.  

  • Park Planning!  This one kind of gives me a headache as of late.  It used to be so easy.  Back in the good ol’ days (up to about a year ago) your hardest decision was how many days your park hopper needed to be.  Unless you had a dining reservation, you didn’t even have to decide what park you were going to until the day of.  Those days are gone, unless you really don’t care what you see or do once you get to the park.  Now they have these things called Magic Bands and Fast Pass+. 
    Magic Bands CAN be pretty magical, but the planning is anything but.

    Magic Bands CAN be pretty magical, but the planning is anything but.

    Your Magic Band contains your room key, tickets, charging ability, and your attraction fast passes.  So 60 days before the first day of your trip, you’ll log on to My Disney Experience (explanation for another day), and schedule 3 fast passes per day of your trip.  This means, if you don’t have a package, you will already need to have purchased your tickets and loaded them into your My Disney Experience.  The kicker is that you can only schedule them in one park per day. 

    Fast Pass+ in My Disney Experience

    Fast Pass+ in My Disney Experience

    Gasp!  Hold on!  They do allow additional passes to be scheduled in another park but you have to wait until your last pre-scheduled pass expires and you have to use a kiosk in the park where your additional one will be.  Want the Cliff Notes version?  Sorry, there really isn’t one.  It kind of is as complicated as it sounds.  I’ve had 3 trips since this new-fangled way of park planning was launched, and the rules weren’t exactly the same for any of them.  My best tip for this is read, do your research, stay on top of it, and try not to lose your mind.

  • Packing!  This is important. 
    American Tourister

    American Tourister

    First and foremost, it’s a race so do not forget your race essentials!  Shoes, clothes, socks, underthings, and gadgets are all things you don’t want to have to figure out how to replace once you get there so double, triple, quadruple check that they are packed.  Also, pack them in your carryon if you are flying.  Unfortunately, lost baggage happens so don’t tempt fate by leaving these things in the care of the airline.  It’s a vacation, too, so pack all the things you would normally pack for a regular Disney trip, also.

    #PackMoreFun

    #PackMoreFun

Whew!  See what I mean?  Lots to get done and not really a lot of time to do it in.  Training is my top priority at the moment, and then the park planning will begin next week.  I’ve already told my family to expect a lot of crankiness once that process begins.  Once it’s done, though, I’ll be ready to relax and have a great race and a great vacation.

What’s your next runDisney event?

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Throwback Thursday: Walking Down Disney Memory Lane

I don’t always participate in Throwback Thursday but this week I thought it was appropriate.  I’ve been looking at a lot of old photos lately triggering multiple walks down memory lane. 

Currently, there are several fun Disney contests going on with trips up for grabs.  One is Relive the Magic.  Disney is looking for pics from trips to Walt Disney World taken in the 70s and 80s.  From this little exercise, I’ve learned that my parents didn’t take a lot of vacation pictures when we were growing up.  However, I did find a couple of pics that put me right back in the year of our first trip, 1987.

My sister and I at Epcot Center in 1987

My sister and I at Epcot Center in 1987

My sister and I at the France pavilion at Epcot Center (it was still called that then) in 1987

My sister and I at the France pavilion at Epcot Center (it was still called that then) in 1987

Another contest is Disneyland Through the Decades, in preparation for Disneyland’s 60th Birthday celebration next year.  They are looking for Disneyland photos from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s.  Sadly, I’ve never been to Disneyland.  My dad, however, went in 1966 after completing his service in the Air Force. 

My dad in front of Pirates of the Caribbean in 1966

My dad in front of Pirates of the Caribbean in 1966

He had been stationed at Nellis Air Base in Las Vegas, and once he was discharged, before heading home to start the rest of his life, he and one of his Air Force buddies headed to Disneyland.  I can almost hear the conversation now.  “Guys, now that you’ve finished your duty in the Air Force what are you going to do next?”  “I’m going to Disneyland!”  Ok, it probably didn’t go exactly like that.  Still, I’ve loved looking at the photos from that trip.

Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle, 1966

Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle, 1966

 

One thing that has made me really happy is the memorabilia my dad kept from his trip, like this stir stick from the Tiki Gardens and his guide book from the park. 

Disneyland memorabilia from 1966

Disneyland memorabilia from 1966

Walt was alive and well at that time and knowing he had more of a hand in these items than anything I’ve ever experienced at Walt Disney World makes them even more special.  So I think this photo is fitting for the 3rd contest they have going on right now, the Disneyland Get Happier contest.  They are looking for Disneyland photos that make you happy. 

I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than walking down memory lane with the people I love starring in those memories.

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Disney’s Hoop Dee Doo Revue Review

Back in January when I was at Walt Disney World for Marathon Weekend, some of my friends and I shared an evening of fun, food, and laughter at Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue. 

Program

Program

Hoop Dee Doo is the nation’s longest running dinner show and is held up to 3 times nightly at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground.  

This was the second time I’ve gotten to experience this show.  The first time was when I was somewhere around the age of 16 so I was so excited to see it again. 

Getting there takes a little bit of planning.  We spent the day in the Magic Kingdom so when it was time for dinner, we took the boat from the Magic Kingdom to Fort Wilderness. 

Fort Wilderness

Fort Wilderness

Once we arrived at Fort Wilderness, the show, held in Pioneer Hall, was a short walk from the boat dock.  If we had not been at the Magic Kingdom already, we likely still would have taken transportation to the Magic Kingdom first anyway.  The other alternative is to take transportation from any other park to Fort Wilderness then take an internal bus to Pioneer Hall. 

Once we arrived, we checked in with the hostess, and pretty soon they called our party to be seated.  One tip about seating, you are assigned your table according to when you make your reservation, not when you check in with the hostess.  There are 3 seating categories, and the earlier you book, the better your table will be within the category you booked.  We booked Category 1, and I highly recommend it, if you can swing the few extra bucks for it.  There’s only about a $5 per person difference between the categories, so, really, it doesn’t add much to the cost.

The menu

The menu

A big silver bucket of salad was already waiting for us at our table once we sat down.  Pretty soon a warm loaf of sweet cornbread with butter made its way to us.  Our server took our drink orders (soda, coffee, tea, wine, beer, and sangria are included in the price of the event) and explained that the meal would be served family style, meaning platters and buckets of food would be brought out for our table to share.  In addition to the salad and cornbread, dinner was barbecue ribs, fried chicken, baked beans, corn, and mashed potatoes. 

Plate of food minus the fried chicken

Plate of food minus the fried chicken

We saw some tables being served mac and cheese so we asked our server about it.  He said that was for the tables with kids but he happily brought us some.  Everything was all-you-care-to-eat so if we wanted more of something, even adult beverages, our server would have brought it.

Beverages were served in mason jars.  How cute!

Beverages were served in mason jars. How cute!

 

By the time we had all our food and began chowing down, it was time for the show to start. 

Hoop Dee Doo

Hoop Dee Doo

The show was seriously hilarious!  They started by picking a few people out of the audience and singing a cute little song about where they were from. 

Great audience interaction!

Great audience interaction!

They also did a little diddy for people celebrating birthdays and anniversaries.  Since earlier that day we ran the 10k and still had our medals on, they acknowledged us, too. 

They performed right at our table!

They performed right at our table!

Fun, fun!  I won’t give away any more of the show but we could.  Not.  Stop.  Laughing.  The unlimited sangria had nothing to do with this, either.  I promise.  Towards the end of the show, it was dessert time.  Each table was presented with its own whole strawberry shortcake.  Yum!  I was so full by then that I could barely hold any of it but I did manage a few bites.  I would have been thrilled to take the rest back to our room for breakfast the next day.  Sadly, as with any all-you-care-to-eat meal, that was not an option.

After the show, they directed us to a row of buses waiting to take us back to our resorts, which was so nice since getting there is not super easy.

I highly recommend this experience and would love to do it every trip if it weren’t for the pricy tag.  Tax and all came to just under $75 each, making this a special splurge.

Have you been?  What were your thoughts?  Tell me in the comments.

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Weekly Recap

I missed last week’s recap so today you get a two-for.  It’s been a very busy 2 weeks for me, and not necessarily in a good way.  BUT I have a new mantra!  I read it yesterday, and it really resonated with me.

My new mantra

My new mantra

It makes me feel so much more ready to tackle the world!

Here’s what’s been happening on the blog for the last couple of weeks.

I hope you all have a FABULOUS week!

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That One Time I Went to New York City on a Whim

Do you have a really cool friend?  I think we all do.  You know, the one who lives a pretty awesome life and seems to always be doing really cool things.  I actually have several like that but one in particular goes to NYC every six weeks to get her hair done.  If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is!  She would say it’s really no big deal, cheap direct flights, good hotel deals, fly in one day, out the next, etc.  Still, I say it’s pretty cool!

Back in December, I was ogling her pics on Facebook, ooooing and ahhhhing over them.  She told me she was going back in January (about 4 weeks later) and asked if I wanted to tag along.  She was planning on seeing Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, too, and even had an extra ticket.  Of course she did!  Because that’s how she rolls!  So I checked my airline miles balance and with little hesitation, a short while later my flight was booked.  I had never been to New York before.  It was on my top 10 places I wanted to visit so to say I was excited was an understatement.

The time passed quickly, and before I knew it, I was on the plane headed for the bright lights of the Big Apple.  New York in January is cold, people!  It was even snowing when I landed and snowed off and on for the next 2 days.  Did I mind?  Not one bit!  Being in NYC after wanting to go for so long was surreal!  

Arriving at the hotel was so exciting!  We stayed at the Hilton Midtown. 

Hilton Midtown NYC

Hilton Midtown NYC

She had already checked us in and snagged us a great corner room with 2 windows!  We could even see Radio City Music Hall from one of them! 

Room with a view

Room with a view

As soon as I dropped my bags off at the hotel, we headed straight for Rockefeller Center, then to Times Square. 

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

Times Square

Times Square

Doesn’t everyone?  Pretty soon it was time to get ready for dinner and a night out.  We ate at Capital Grille.  I’m still craving the lobster mac and cheese!  Then we had tickets to see Pippin, which was fabulous! 

Pippin

Pippin

We capped the evening off with, what else?  Cheesecake!  We were going to go for Junior’s but it was totally packed, so we opted for Lindy’s instead. 

Strawberry cheesecake from Lindy's

Strawberry cheesecake from Lindy’s

It was so creamy and delicious!  It was also much lighter than I was expecting but the slices were HUGE!

The next day began by meeting some of my Princess Posse friends who live in the area for breakfast at Maison.  

Breakfast with Princess Posse friends at Maison

Breakfast with Princess Posse friends at Maison

I loved being able to introduce some of my BRFs (best running friends) to one of my oldest childhood friends (old as in number of years we’ve known each other, not old in age, obviously).  Then, it was off to the Top of the Rock.  The city was so pretty from way up there! 

View from the Top of the Rock

View from the Top of the Rock

The elevator ride was pretty cool, too. 

The Top of the Rock elevator had a glass top so you could see it going up.

The Top of the Rock elevator had a glass top so you could see it going up.

After that, a shopping trip to Macy’s was in order, followed by a trip to the 9/11 Memorial.

Macy's

Macy’s

 

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

It was so cold that one of the fountains was frozen so it was turned off.  The other fountain looked like it was just before freezing, too.  Being there was a very somber experience.  We then headed to Little Italy for dinner at La Mela. 

Little Italy

Little Italy

I had the largest piece of Chicken Parm I’ve ever seen in my life! 

Chicken Parm from La Mela in Little Italy

Chicken Parm from La Mela in Little Italy

It was one of the best, too!  After that, we really wanted Junior’s Cheesecake still, so we got some to go and headed back to the hotel for an early turn-in.

Junior's Red Velvet cheesecake

Junior’s Red Velvet cheesecake

We had a really early wake up the next day because we were heading to the Today show. 

Us at the Today Show

Us at the Today Show

It was still pretty cold so there weren’t that many people on the Plaza.  We were part of the opening shot of the show and one of her friends was able to get a pic of her TV with us on it! 

Us on TV

Us on TV

How fun is that?  Two other highlights were Matt Lauer waving to me and Al Roker posing for a pic just for me. 

Al Roker!  I know him!

Al Roker! I know him!

After a few hours of standing in the Plaza, we found a tiny diner for breakfast.  Then it was time for her hair appointment so we said our goodbyes for a few hours.  I headed back to Times Square to do some shopping at, where else?  The Disney Store! 

Times Square Disney Store

Times Square Disney Store

My people!  Then I set out to find the famous Serendipity 3 Frozen Hot Chocolate. 

Serendipity 3 Frozen Hot Chocolate

Serendipity 3 Frozen Hot Chocolate

On the way, I got a little lost and walked by Bryant Park, which I totally didn’t mind at all. 

Bryant Park, getting ready for Fashion Week

Bryant Park, getting ready for Fashion Week

I also stopped in Dylan’s Candy Bar and tried to find Bloomingdale’s. 

Dylan's Candy Bar

Dylan’s Candy Bar

I know I was in the area but I never saw it.  Strange!  I also meandered through Central Park for quite a while.  

I heart Central Park

I heart Central Park

Ahhhh, I heart Central Park!  There was still snow covering the ground and it was so gorgeous!  I headed toward 5th Avenue and saw the famous Plaza Hotel. 

Plaza Hotel

Plaza Hotel

Afternoon tea there or maybe even just a cocktail is definitely in order next time!  Then I found Trump Tower and walked around there a bit. 

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

It was then time to meet up with my friend again.  I must say she looked fabulous!  We were both starving, so she suggested we go get burgers.  I kid you not, this girl knows all the cool places!  She led us to Le Parker Meridien Hotel where there’s this red curtain in the lobby.  It looks pretty non-descript, and you would never know unless you know, which she did, that there’s a burger joint behind the red curtain.  Who knew?!  After that, we went back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner and Billy Joel.  Dinner was at Max Brenner, a restaurant famous for all the chocolate.  All.  The.  Chocolate. 

Max Brenner

Max Brenner

Dinner turned into more like a shared appetizer and desserts.  Yes, plural.  I had a chocolate martini, hot chocolate, and a plate full of chocolate desserts. 

All the Chocolate

All the chocolate

Then it was off to Madison Square Garden. 

Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden

Her excited face

Her excited face

Billy Joel was fabulous!  The man’s voice is amazing, and he sang for about 3 hours straight. 

The next morning we headed out to Battery Park.  Since we weren’t doing a harbor tour to the Statue of Liberty, this was the only way I was going to get close enough to her to see her at all.  

Lady Liberty from Battery Park

Lady Liberty from Battery Park

There was so much ice in the harbor, I really don’t think they were doing tours out there anyway.  Then we went to the Empire State Building. 

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

It was intensely cold that far up!  I actually liked the Empire State Building better than the Top of the Rock.  I liked being higher than anything else around me. 

View from the top of the Empire State Building

View from the top of the Empire State Building

It wasn’t too terribly crowded, either.  After that, we headed back to Rockefeller Center for lunch at Rock Center Cafe.  There was one, lone, ice skater out on the rink. 

Ice skater, Tara Lapinski, maybe?

Ice skater, Tara Lapinski, maybe?

It was obvious that she was someone who knew what she was doing.  She was being photographed, too.  Another one of my friends later identified her as former Olympic Gold Medalist, Tara Lapinsky.  He said she was rehearsing for her Jimmy Kimmel appearance being filmed later that day.  He showed me video evidence that she was, in fact, on Jimmy Kimmel, so we’ll go with that.  We had just a little bit of time for some shopping in Rockefeller Center before I had to collect my belongings from the hotel and head back to the airport to come home.

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree marker

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree marker

Sadly, all good things must come to an end.  It was a trip I will never forget!

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Homeownership–When Things Go Wrong

Have you heard the saying that bad things come in threes?  I think I’m on about 23 right now.  That’s an exaggeration but nonetheless Murphy’s Law seems to be holding high court at my house these days.  Here’s my list of things that have been broken recently:

  • Garbage Disposal
  • Garage Door
  • Washing Machine
  • Air Conditioning
  • Plumbing

The washing machine, air conditioning, and plumbing all happened the same week.  Lucky for me, my dad was fairly confident he could fix my washing machine and garage door.  However, when he was at my house working on them, all of my plumbing completely failed without warning.  I was washing my hands and all of a sudden I heard the dreaded glop, glop, glop of the toilet.  I didn’t even own a plunger so that was the first order of business.  After purchasing one, I plunged every single thing in my house I could possibly plunge, to no avail.  All it seemed to be doing was moving water from the toilets to the bath tubs and shower and back to the toilets.  Of course this was on a Saturday.  Luckily I was able to get a plumber to come by and thought a couple hundred dollars later I’d be back in business.  Yeah, not!  Instead, they found mud in my lines.  Mud!  Apparently this is indicative of a line break so guess what!?  My yard and part of my driveway had to be dug up to get to the break and fix it, and my visions of it only costing a couple hundred dollars flew out the window.

Here's part of the culprit--a huge hole in a pipe.  Yes, I said part of the culprit.  There were other breaks.

Here’s part of the culprit–a huge hole in a pipe. Yes, I said part of the culprit. There were other breaks.

The day the plumbers came to dig the hole and fix it, my air still wasn’t working so I called the HVAC company in to take a look at that, too.  Thankfully, that was a fairly simple fix (fingers crossed it sticks).  After about 8 hours of some serious hard digging, sawing, and fixing, my plumbing was working again, too. 

A big hole in my yard and driveway.  Sadness!

A big hole in my yard and driveway.  This was actually just the beginning.  The final hole was about quadruple this.  Sadness!

Oh, and one of the plumbers took about 15 seconds to show me something on my garbage disposal called a reset button.  I kind of wish I had a reset button for myself, too.

Do you ever feel like everything is falling apart?  Tell me about it in the comments.

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Safety First

There’s something that’s really been weighing on my mind lately: safety.  I’ve been hesitant to write this because you can do a search for safety using any search engine available to you and get hundreds of articles written by a lot of people who are a lot more qualified to write on this subject than I am.  So why am I writing it now?  Recent events have made me realize that, just like the 999 happy haunts in Disney’s Haunted Mansion, there is always room for one more.

Just this weekend a runner close to where I live was hit by a train.  A train, people!  Tragically, the runner was killed.  Care to guess what the news media chose to highlight about this story?  The runner was listening to music using headphones.  Also yesterday a cyclist was hit by a big tractor trailer truck and killed.  I read stories all the time in my running groups where friends had close calls.  So, yeah.  There’s always room for one more story on safety.

Be safe out there!

Be safe out there!

I’d be lying if I said I follow safety guidelines all the time.  We all get complacent.  We get in a routine where things feel comfortable.  At the same time, every time we are out there, anything can happen.  There is no substitute for good judgement.

In no way is this list intended to be all-inclusive.  These are just the best guidelines I can think of that I try to incorporate in my running life.

  • Make sure someone knows where you are and how long you will be there.  If I go missing, I’d like for someone to report it at the earliest possible time.  I always have my phone on me.  My family knows where I am, what my route is, and how long my planned run will take.  Often, friends and family stay in touch with me during the run, too.  This is not just in case I get kidnapped (highly unlikely).  It’s also in case I collapse or fall and break something.
  • Carry ID on you at all times.  I always carry my driver’s license in my pocket.  If I do have some sort of accident, I want someone to know who I am.  There is also a company called Road ID that makes custom ID bracelets with your info.  A lot of people I know have those, too.
  • Run AGAINST the traffic.  I do not like running on actual roads with cars unless it’s part of an organized race, and I don’t have to share my side of the road with anything motorized.  Some of you do, and I get that.  I am fortunate to have access to a network of paved trails long enough to cover any length I would want to run.  Not everyone has that.  Also, sometimes you just need a change of scenery.  So, if you are going to be sharing the road with cars, please, please, please run against the traffic.  You can see the cars coming at you in time to get off the road if need be, and they can see you better, too.  That being said, always assume they do not see you.  The roads are full of distracted drivers.  Truth!
  • Be visible.  Wear reflective clothing.  Wear bright clothing.  If you are running at night, wear those annoying flashing lights along with your reflective, glow-in-the-dark clothing.  Whatever you have to do, however you have to do it, be seen!
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Yes, this means audibly just as much as visibly.  You might want to think twice about listening to music.  Truthfully, I rarely run without my headphones.  However, I have the sound low enough that I can still hear what’s going on around me, and sometimes I just wear one headphone.  No, I don’t run where there are cars very often, but I do share paved trails with cyclists.  Some of those riders are flying!  I want to hear them coming up behind me.  Plus, I frequently get passed on the trails by other, faster runners.  I want to be able to get over so they can get by me, too.
  • Hydrate.  This is more of an internal safety issue as opposed to your external surroundings, but it’s every bit as important.  It’s hot out there, y’all, and this is the time of year when over heating is a real concern.  I don’t go out without hydration at all, even for a few miles, when it’s hot outside.  Sure, you can hydrate all day long every day but it’s just as important to hydrate during your activity, too.

    Hydrate

    Hydrate

  • Have an exit plan.  Always have a strategy for how you are going to get yourself out of a situation where you feel unsafe.  Pop up thunderstorms can happen in the blink of an eye this time of year.  Also, sometimes you just get an uneasy feeling about your surroundings.  Is there a friend nearby who can pick you up?  Is there an alternate route you can take?  Is there a store or restaurant where you can take refuge for a bit?  Sometimes my plan is to simply run loops close to my car so I can get back to it in a hurry if I need to.
  • There is safety in numbers.  I personally don’t like to socialize while I’m running.  I wish I was one of those people who could chat away for 12 miles, wondering where the time went.  I can’t.  The only way for me to ever get into “the zone” is if I don’t talk to anyone.  That being said, I will sometimes run in a group.  I just don’t talk to anyone very much while I’m running.  A lot of people find groups intimidating but they can be a real comfort.  Usually everyone still runs at their own pace.  Some are chatty.  Some, like me, are not.  At any rate, I like knowing there is a group of people who know I’m out there and can help me if I get into any sort of trouble.

Be safe out there, everyone.  I don’t like to hear about these runner accidents.  We are out there doing something good for ourselves, and I don’t want any of our stories to end in tragedy.

Is there anything you would add?  Tell me in the comments.

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Weekly Recap

It’s Sunday, which means it’s weekly recap time!  It’s a HOT one here in Memphis today!  I need to get some yard work done so I don’t get a nastygram from my homeowner’s association but I think only my front yard will get done in this heat.  That’s all they can see anyway.  I’m looking forward to cooler temps.  We’ve got highs in the 70s forecast this week.  70s!  In July!  In the south!

In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week:

  • I shared the contents of my Spring Fling Vox Box from Influenster in, appropriately named, Influenster Spring Fling Vox Box.

    Influenster Spring Fling Vox Box

    Influenster Spring Fling Vox Box

  • Better late than never, I finally recapped my experience with the Feel the Force Premium Package, which was part of Star Wars Weekends.

    Feel the Force Premium Package

    Feel the Force Premium Package

  • Finally, I told you about a few things that have gotten my attention lately in Things That Got My Attention.

    Source: Clark and Kensington OPI making house paint?  Mind blown!

    Source: Clark and Kensington
    OPI making house paint? Mind blown!

  • For those of you who are fans of my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you got the first glimpse of a new product I’m testing called GO Tape, a new kinesiology tape.  I’ll be reviewing it and giving a lucky reader a roll of it in the next few weeks so be watching for that.

    GO Tape--be watching for a review and giveaway in the coming weeks.

    GO Tape–be watching for a review and giveaway in the coming weeks.

Now let’s talk about my July goals.  Last week I told you I’d update you weekly.  As I’m typing this, I realized how redundant that could get to be in a hurry so I’ll update you at the end of the month.  If anyone has any specific questions about how I’m doing, I’ll answer them.

I hope everyone has a great week!  What fun things do you have planned for the week?  Let me know in the comments.

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Things That Got My Attention

Let’s face it.  We are all busy people.  We lead busy lives.  Everywhere we turn, something or someone is trying to get our attention.  For the most part, it’s past the point of sensory overload for me.  Now more than ever, between all the many ways for brands to get my attention and people to get in touch with me, I feel like I’m constantly being pulled in so many different directions.  It’s almost like I’m becoming numb to it, which makes it even harder to really GET my attention and almost impossible to KEEP my attention.  That being said, every now and then, something grabs me and makes me stop and take note.  Here are a few things lately that have done that.

  • New Diet Coke Cans–Diet Coke is a major guilty pleasure of mine.  Yes, I know soda of any kind is bad for you and artificial sweeteners are poison.  Yet, I still drink a Diet Coke daily.  I honestly couldn’t care less about what it comes in, but the new cans!  They have me completely entertained.  I was very much “meh” over the new personalized bottles when I saw they didn’t make my name.  No big deal!  I’m used to it.  However, the day I opened my new 12 pack and saw the generic phrases on the cans, a friend of mine was having surgery.  The first can I pulled out had “Friend” on it, and of course I thought of her.
    New Diet Coke cans

    New Diet Coke cans

    Now every can I pull out makes me think of someone special in my life and it’s a moment of happy to go along with my Diet Coke.  Well done, Diet Coke!

  • OPI Makes House Paint–This one blew my mind!  Remember how I said I’m becoming numb to all the many things going on around me?  That includes what’s on TV most of the time.  Then I saw ACE Hardware and OPI in the same 30 second snippet of time and did a double take!  Well, I had no idea what the actual message was but I saw enough to realize OPI, a company famous for not just its professional quality nail polish in more than a rainbow of fun colors, but also its super fun and creative names for the colors, has tossed its hat into the home decorating ring with a brand new line of paint colors through its partnership with Clark and Kensington.
    Source: clarkandkinsington.com

    Source: clarkandkinsington.com

    Now, you, too, can paint your dining room in Chick Flick Cherry.  I admit I have never set foot in an ACE Hardware store, but now I want to!  Well played, ACE and OPI, well played!

  • Big Brother–Those who know me well know I’m a huge Big Brother fan.
    Source: CBS

    Source: CBS

    I’m talking about the CBS reality show here.  Yet lately, even my favorites aren’t grabbing me like they used to.  Big Brother is the exception.  It is so well cast this season!  Between Frankie, the pink-haired Broadway dancer with the pop star sister, and Donny, the bearded country bumpkin who toasted to pretty colors and high-definition on day 1, I cannot stop watching!  Even better, the house guests are all wearing Fit Bits this year so we can track their physical activities!  Fit Bits!  Nice job, CBS.

  • PiYo–This is the new, latest and greatest exercise DVD set from Beachbody.  No fewer than a dozen of my Facebook friends are Beachbody coaches.  You’ve heard of Beachbody, I’m sure.  It’s the pyramid up line style company that markets several hot workout programs that promise to turn even the starchiest couch potato into a swimsuit model, especially when paired with the REAL product they want to sell, their Shakeology meal replacement shakes.  Well, they recently had their coach’s summit in Las Vegas, and debuted PiYo, a cross between Pilates and Yoga, neither of which I’ve ever done.
    Source: Beachbody

    Source: Beachbody

    I still am not sold on Shakeology but PiYo totally caught my attention.  I haven’t bought it yet, and really have no immediate plans to, but it’s definitely on my radar.  I’ve been dabbling in T25, another of Beachbody’s plans, so maybe I’ll give PiYo a try later in the year.

  • Lightning–Yes, I’m talking about the electric bolts generated by thunderstorms.  I’ve lived in the south my entire life, and I’m no stranger to a thunderstorm.  This makes it easy to overlook them, even when the weather people send out warnings of doom and gloom.  Lately I’ve been hearing stories that make me see lightning in a new, well, light.  Just this week, two homes in my suburb caught on fire from being struck by lightning.  Someone else I know of had her car struck by lightning in a parking lot.  Her car!  I didn’t think that was supposed to happen.  Still another story of a kid being killed by a lightning strike just walking across the yard gives me a new respect for this thing that gave us electricity.  So, yeah, I’ll pay more attention to it from now on, for a little while anyway.

With everything going on around me, it’s a wonder that anything catches my attention these days, but these things certainly have.  What’s something that has your attention lately?  Tell me in the comments.

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Feel the Force Premium Package

You all know that Walt Disney World is one of my favorite places on the planet.  One of the things they are famous for is coming up with a really unique thing (or TEN) that is season-specific, making me want to come back almost on a monthly basis.  Where’s my money tree?  I did go to the Rock Your Disney Side 24 Hour event in May as well as Star Wars Weekends.  

Star Wars Weekends

Star Wars Weekends

Yet there are also several other things they’ve come up with since then for the summer that I’d really love to go see including Harambe Nights held on Saturday nights in Animal Kingdom, the Hollywood Studios villains party coming up on August 23, and now Frozen summer fun also at Hollywood Studios, just to name a few.

The Frozen summer events particularly caught my attention because it seems as though they’ve created these using the same model they used for Star Wars Weekends.  They have a Frozen opening show, a Frozen parade followed by a show on the stage in front of the Sorcerer Mickey hat, Frozen sing-along shows throughout the day, a Frozen ending show at night capped off with Frozen fireworks, and there’s even a merchandise area in the same soundstage as the Star Wars merchandise for Star Wars Weekends.  Not only that, but there’s ICE SKATING in there, too!  For $10, you can ice skate for 30 minutes.  That is, if you can get in!  Really, the set up of all of these events is identical to Star Wars Weekends.  They have even brought back the Premium Package, which includes reserved viewing for the parade, guaranteed seating for one of the sing-alongs, and reserved viewing and dessert party for the fireworks.

Since I took advantage of the Feel the Force Premium Package during Star Wars Weekends, I thought now would be a good time to tell you about it since they are doing something similar right now.  Advance reservations were required, and I booked it the day it was announced.  It sold out very quickly.  Instructions told us to check in near Bill and Min’s Dockside Diner at 10:30 for the first part of the package, which was reserved parade viewing. 

Feel the Force check in

Feel the Force check in

I had read the previous weekend’s reviews and knew to arrive much earlier.  As I was walking towards the check in around 10 am I saw, just as I knew I would, people already camped out waiting for the parade but there were still several decent spots left.  The reason I knew to get there so early is because, even though there was plenty of reserved viewing, the area was very deep, meaning there was plenty of room to stack people but not very much room right at the ropes.  They also had a reserved area just for kids.  They let the people who had an even more inclusive VIP package in first, so by the time the rest of us were let in, there was no front row space left. 

Feel the Force Wristband

Feel the Force Wristband

Being short, I took up residence behind the kids.  I figured I had a better chance of seeing over the littles than I did the bigs. 

Highlights from the parade

Highlights from the parade

It was ok.  Mickey ice cream bars and strawberry bars were available as part of the package as were bottles of soda and water. 

Snacks for the parade viewing were included with the package.

Snacks for the parade viewing were included with the package.

Honestly, I would have had a much better view of the parade had I staked out my spot on the street at the same time I arrived at the package check in. 

The second part of the package was the Symphony in the Sky fireworks and dessert party. 

No seats were available for the dessert party, just tables for standing.

No seats were available for the dessert party, just tables for standing.

I was really excited for this because, hello!  Darth Vader cupcakes!  Seriously, though, the Magic Kingdom has done a Wishes dessert party for years, and I’ve always wanted to go.  Unfortunately my family does not share my enthusiasm for copious amounts of expensive desserts prior to watching fireworks obstructed by the roof of the building in which the party is held.  My family wasn’t with me this time so it was all mine!  I arrived a little after 8 to check in, and we were allowed in right around 8:30.  They had LOTS of desserts!  LOTS!  And plenty of each. 

This is just a sampling of what they had.  I somehow missed getting a pic of the Darth Vader cupcake tray.

This is just a sampling of what they had. I somehow missed getting a pic of the Darth Vader cupcake tray.

It was quite hot and humid so the icing melted off the cupcakes a wee bit, but they were all headed for my belly anyway so I was ok with that. 

The Darth Vader cupcake at the bottom is on its side because the icing fell off.

The Darth Vader cupcake at the bottom is on its side because the icing fell off.

It just meant my pictures weren’t going to be as good.  Also available were 2 different adult beverage options.  Now, one might think you could get your money’s worth on the alcohol alone, and I’m sure some did.  However, I learned really quickly that fruity adult bevs and lots of super sweet desserts don’t really mix very well.  So, I just had a few sips of each one. 

2 different adult beverage options

2 different adult beverage options

Shocker!  I stuck to water and Diet Coke instead.  Not long after I decided I was done with the goodies, it was time for the closing show to start.  The reserved viewing area had great views of the stage and show. 

We had great views of the stage!

We had great views of the stage!

The fireworks set to Star Wars music were what I was there to see and were the real reason I had paid the premium price for the Premium Package.  As soon as the fireworks started, I realized right away that the fireworks view was not good, not good at all!  Remember that stage that we had such a great view of?  Yeah, it pretty much blocked a lot of the fireworks. 

Not so great view of the fireworks

Not so great view of the fireworks

So for me, this killed the Premium Package.

In short, if I had one day for the individual elements, I would go the free (with admission) route and stake out my parade and fireworks viewing spots.  You are likely going to get better viewing with about the same amount of time waiting and standing so why not?  Just buy your ice cream, sodas and cupcakes, and you’ll come out way ahead, even if you throw in an adult beverage (or 3).  If I had multiple days, I might spring for the premium package just for the experience, but not for the views. 

The Frozen version of this has gone up $5 per adult but there’s the added element of the sing-along show.  From what I understand, Frozen Premium Package holders get seating in the first 4 rows, which is a really nice added feature.  Also, since there isn’t the even more inclusive VIP package for this event, it stands to reason that prime viewing along the ropes would be easier to get for package holders than it was for Star Wars Weekends.  The viewing for the Frozen fireworks is still going to stink, though. 

Have you experienced either Premium Package?  What were your thoughts?

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