Monthly Archives: February 2013

Run – Princess Race Recap

Dumbo Outside

found in Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom

Here I am, sitting back at my desk in North Dakota, hardly able to believe that my trip to Disney World has come and gone already. It was SO MUCH FUN. Seriously.

Running Down Main Street


The race was awesome. If you like a good, fun run, run Disney. The general vibe is not super competitive. There is so much to see along the course. All your favorite characters are there. Everyone is friendly. People go over the top with costumes. I love it. I would love to attend another Run Disney event this year, but I’m not sure if it’s in the cards.

Post Race Rapunzel

I worried and worried and worried some more about the weather predictions for the morning of the race. For a while, they were saying it would be really hot that day. As the weekend approached, the temperature dropped and rain was added to the forecast. In reality, it ended up being in the high 60’s and super humid. It felt a little bit like running in a crowd. I finished in 2:26:12 – more than 10 minutes faster than my first half marathon in Dallas last year. I’ll do even better next time. And maybe the next time I run Disney, I’ll have a buddy running with me. Anyone?

Minnie Ears Epcot

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Run – The Dream Race


I first heard of the Disney Princess Half Marathon several years ago, when an old friend posted her race day photos on Facebook. At the time, I ran very infrequently, but I remember having this thought: “If I were to run a half marathon, it would be that one.”


In the spring of 2010, about a year and a half after having my second child, I began to run. My excuses for carrying around 20 extra pounds of “baby weight” were beginning to sound flimsy, even to my own ears. I ran nearly every day of that spring and summer, even when the Louisiana heat neared the 100’s. I was desperate to escape my own body, and running helped me do it.


Once running was no longer a means to an end, I began to enjoy it, and I kept doing it. It felt good to gradually be able to run for longer amounts of time and greater distances without having to stop, walk, and gasp my way down the sidewalk. I caught the bug, and now, I’m hooked.


Last January, I decided to attempt my first half marathon. I saw more and more friends running races all around the country, and the more I saw, the more my competitive side began to rear its ugly head. I kept thinking – and not because I think I’m better than you, I know I’m not – “If she can do that, I can.”


Still, I didn’t want to attempt the Princess Half Marathon right out of the gate. I wanted to have at least one race under my belt – to see if I could do it, if I liked it, if it was a totally insane goal, etc.


In March of 2012, I ran the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in Dallas. It was awesome. I felt like a rock star for having accomplished it.


When it came time to register for this year’s Disney Princess Half Marathon, I knew it was time. This is the race that, as a major Disney-loving nerd and pretty princess at heart, I really wanted to run. I cannot express to you how excited I am that it is nearly time for me to leave North Dakota and head to Florida for the race weekend. I have probably had more fun than a grown woman should planning for the trip and preparing my costume, but there you have it.


This is the race I dreamed about running even before I was a runner, and I am thrilled to finally be taking part in it, even if it is going to be incredibly hot. I keep repeating a Dr. Seuss line in my head. “Here are some who like to run. They run for fun in the hot, hot sun.”

Anyone who wants to see a constant stream of Disney photos, come along with me on Twitter or Instagram. I’ll see you out there, Princesses!


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Eat – Avocado Egg Cups


I got this idea for this breakfast through the family grapevine. My cousin made them for my aunt. My aunt told my parents. My mother told me about them, and since I had an avocado sitting in the kitchen, begging to be used for something, I decided to try it myself.

Cut an avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out enough of the insides to make room for the egg. (Save the extra for guacamole or to spread on a turkey sandwich or something. I do not believe in wasting avocado!) Balance each avocado half inside a ramekin or other small baking dish. Crack eggs into the halves, and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

I am trying to stick to my 24-Day Challenge diet as much as possible, but if I weren’t, I probably would have topped these with some cheese or bacon…or BOTH! They were delicious plain, but if you have no reason not to, get creative! Top these babies off! 🙂

Be sure to choose a large-ish avocado when you’re grocery shopping for these. The one I had on hand was a bit small, and a good bit of my egg whites spilled over. I’ve got a big ‘un waiting in the kitchen to try out for breakfast tomorrow. Happy eating!

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Snap – Lomography

This last Christmas I asked for, and received, one of these babies.

cmyk_front_adrian_ps_1A Diana F+ lo-fi, analog camera. It uses 120 film and takes those fun, dreamy square photos that so many of us try to duplicate with our Instagram apps. Myself included. I still love my iPhone photos, but I wanted to step back in time for a moment and start taking analog photos again.

In his article for Smashing Magazine, titled “The Disturbing Beauty of Oversaturated Pictures and Lomography ,” Vailancio Rodriguez says this of lomography, “The characteristics of Lomo photographs are oversaturated colors, extreme optical distortions, rainbow-colored subjects, off-kilter exposure, blurring and alternative film processing, all things usually considered bad in photography. In short, Lomography is the act of taking photographs without thinking, and ignoring the established rules of “good” photography.” Sounds like fun, right?

I used two rolls of film over the holidays, and I finally got to pick them up from being developed the other day. Well, I got to pick up one roll. Wal-Mart has misplaced the second. I will continue to harass them until they find it.

When I opened the envelope, I was instantly amused. Inside, I found this note:

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What a nice way for the film lab to tell me they think my photos are really, really bad. They only charged me $1.50 for them!

There are only 12 or 16 on a roll of 120 film, depending on what size you format the camera to take. For the first roll, I chose 12. Of the 12, only 3 are worth sharing. Even they aren’t that great.




I’ve got a whole lot of blurry going on. I took most of these indoors, in low light, and it’s obvious. I can’t wait until the sun starts coming out, and it’s warm enough for me to play with this camera outdoors. I do like my New Year’s self portrait, though. It has a lot of that bleeding light that the Diana is famous for.

Here’s to trying new things! And hoping that I get better at it!

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24-Day Challenge Results


The results are in! Since beginning the 24-Day Challenge on January 24th, I have lost 4 pounds and a combined total of 5.75 inches all over (mostly in the belly). I had already begun eating more intentionally two weeks’ prior to starting my challenge and was 4 pounds lighter than at the beginning of the year.

I started out 2013 weighing 136 pounds, and now, I’m down to 128 pounds. While an 8 pound total doesn’t sound like much to some, it’s almost a 6% weight loss for me. The challenge helped me get closer to my goal, and I’m excited about it, not to mention how great a feel! I would still like to lose a few more pounds, and I’m confident that if I keep up the good work and eat well, I can do it.

Is anyone else up for the Challenge???

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Pep Talk (from a kid president)

I adore this video. In case you find yourself in need of a pep talk…

“Let’s get the whole world to dance!”

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Health – Taking My 24-Day Challenge On the Road

Let me start by saying this: if you are going to start the Advocare 24-Day Challenge, do not plan to do it while traveling. It ain’t easy. It wasn’t in my plan to do so, but life happened.

I packed five days’ worth of supplements in my suitcase. That was my first mistake. My flight from Minot to Minneapolis left an hour late. I had a short connection time anyway, so before we even landed in Minneapolis, I’d already missed the last flight to Nashville. I was put in a hotel for the night, told it would take hours to try and retrieve my bag, given a pathetic overnight kit, and sent on my way.

By the time I got to the hotel and was able to sit down to eat anywhere, it was 8:30pm, way off schedule. I did at least have the forethought to put a couple of Spark packets in my carry-on, so when I arrived back at the airport at 5:30am, I at least had that. I wasn’t able to take any of my Max Phase packets that day. I was able to keep to the suggested foods/meals for breakfast and lunch, but my evening meal was screwy again. Visitation was that night. There were food trays at the funeral home. I tried my hardest only to snack on fruit and vegetables, but I must confess to sneaking a few pieces of cheese. I miss cheese.

We didn’t make it to a restaurant for dinner until 8:30pm again, and it was Chuy’s. I was a really good girl and resisted the chips and dip. Mostly. I may have eaten 3 or 4, but who’s counting? I ordered chicken fajitas. I did eat two flour tortillas, but I filled them up with chicken, veggies, and guacamole. I also ate some beans. Okay, I ate all my beans.

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Saturday was completely crazy, but I knew I would be running 14 miles that night. I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted, keeping an eye on portion size. I didn’t want to attempt a long run completely carb-free. It would have been a disaster. I pulled off the run and felt better than I have on a long run in quite a while. I don’t know if that can be attributed to eating better, running lighter, or the way the Challenge is changing my body, but I was glad for it. I ran 14 miles in 2:27:51. This was the first time I’ve been able to run outside since November. I feel really ready for the Disney Princess Half Marathon now, though. It’s only 11 days away!

I’d like to be able to say I went straight back to my regimen on Sunday, but I didn’t. Again, I watched portions, but that’s about all. I was better on Monday. We went to a Japanese steakhouse for my cousin’s birthday, and I ordered extra veggies instead of rice. What??? I know. That takes willpower, doesn’t it?

I got back home yesterday, and I’ve been on the ball ever since. It’s so much easier at home. I don’t buy groceries I’m not allowed to eat, so they don’t tempt me. I’m on a schedule, so it’s easier to know when to take my supplements. And since I usually eat at home, they’re always there. I don’t forget to pack them on my way out the door, because I don’t need to.

I was really afraid to get on the scale this morning. I knew all that cheating had probably messed up my progress, and I didn’t really want to know how much. Thankfully, I only gained 1/2 a pound back. That should be easy to get back. I’m glad to be back in my routine. I want to finish out my 24-Day Challenge well!

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Run – Disney Princess Half Marathon Costume

Race day is now two weeks away. That means in even less than that, I will be in the happiest place on earth! Eek! It couldn’t come at a better time. I need a little happy right about now.

I know I have shared this before, but when I registered for the Disney Princess Half Marathon and was choosing my bib, I asked my four-year-old daughter which princess she would like me to represent. Without hesitation, she chose Rapunzel.

Rapunzel 2

It’s cute, right? 😉

Right after I registered, I happened to find two purple Under Armour tanks on the clearance rack at my local sporting goods store. I snapped them up. I wore one while I was training, to be sure I liked the fit and feel of it. I saved the other for the actual costume. I added soft pink elastic to make the front look like the bodice of Rapunzel’s dress, and I added ribbon sleeves using a tutorial I found here.

Rapunzel 1

My favorite part of the costume? The fun Team Sparkle skirt and visor! I cannot wait to rock those on race day. If you need a racing costume, go check them out. They have skirts in every color of the rainbow, and loads of other fun stuff, like sleeves, wings, race legs, t-shirts… I love it!

I found Pascal in an Etsy shop called 2 Moms Designs. He is the perfect size to pin on my shoulder…or somewhere. He’s the only part of the costume I haven’t totally figured out.

I finished my last long run before the race last night – 14 miles in 2:27, with an average pace of 10:30-ish. This detour from North Dakota may have been a blessing in disguise. At home, I have only been able to run indoors. Since I’m in Tennessee, I got to do this last one outside, with hills and temperatures in the 50’s. For my last long run, I ran 13.1 in 2:14. I checked the ol’ GPS watch at 13.1 yesterday, and my time was 2:19. I was pretty pleased, considering I haven’t been able to run on pavement since November. Now, the only thing left to do is pray that it isn’t super hot in Orlando in two weeks.

Don’t worry, I’ll share pics of myself in the costume once I finally get to wear it.

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Remembering my Grandad


My grandparents with Joe & Maggie at their wedding rehearsal dinner

My Grandad passed away on Tuesday morning. It still feels a little strange to say it. We lived near my grandparents growing up, so my grandfather was an important part of my life. We sat in the same pew on church every Sunday (until I became a self-important teenager and preferred to sit with my friends). When my parents needed a babysitter, we went to my grandparents’ house. Grandad’s and my birthday are within a week of each other, so we shared a birthday party, complete with matching cakes, every year until I moved away. My Grandad had the loudest sneeze and the best laugh, and he could fall asleep almost anywhere. It’s funny the memories that surface when it suddenly seems necessary to grab hold of every single detail you can remember about a person.

Grandad would let us have popcorn for a bedtime snack when we had cousin slumber parties. He had the best collection of pop-up books ever. He served Rotel dip in a bowl shaped like a head of lettuce, always with Fritos. He was never without a stash of ice cream sandwiches. He humored me the day I decided I was a stamp collector, giving me some from his desk. He used to tell stories about cramming all six of his kids (and himself!) in a Volkswagen Beetle. He didn’t own a pair of real shoes until he went to college at LSU. His favorite movie was “Six Days, Seven Nights.” He kept a Dolly Parton album in his den that I secretly loved. He had a singing yodeler on his tool bench in the garage. He claimed that the way to get the best Arby’s/Horsey sauce ratio on your roast beef sandwich is to take a bite, then squirt a bit of each from the packet into your mouth. He liked to stop at Stuckey’s on road trips. He wore a “This is my costume” t-shirt every year for Halloween. These are the kinds of little thoughts that keep sneaking into my head.

My favorite story about my grandfather in recent years is from my daughter’s birthday. The day she was born, Grandad was also in the hospital. My Dad printed a picture of her and took it to him there. Grandad showed that picture to everyone who came to his room, and he kissed Neely’s picture goodnight each night. When he finally got to meet her the following Christmas, he could not stop telling me that story. He loved kids. I’m glad that both of mine got to meet him.

Yesterday afternoon while grocery shopping, I picked up four apples. For some reason, this led Neely to assume that it is time for my parents to come visit for Aidan’s birthday (which isn’t until next month). I told her she might get to see them soon, though. I still wasn’t sure how many of us (or which of us) would be traveling for the funeral. I reminded her who my Granny and Grandad are, and how we visited them over Christmas break. I then told her that Grandad had died, so we would be going to his funeral service. She asked, “Why? Because he was old?” I told her, “Yes.” Next, she asked, “Is Grandad in heaven?” I said, “Yes, he gets to hang out with Jesus now.” Then, Neely says, “Good, then we’ll see him again.” The things this kid says never cease to amaze me.

It’s hard for me to focus on anything but being sad and missing my grandfather and trying to remember every last detail, because there will be no new details. My four-year-old, she’s smart enough to look ahead. I will get to see my Grandad again one day. But for now, I’m clinging to what I’ve got. I’m glad we were in Tennessee for Christmas, and that the last time I saw him, he was wearing the reindeer sweatshirt I made for him, and when it was time to say good-bye, I gave him a hug and a kiss and told him that I loved him. I’ll miss you, Grandad.

Eat – Kale & Eggs

DSC_0019When I started my 24-Day Challenge, I had to adjust the way I think about meals. My diet consisted of a heck of a lot of starch and refined sugar, which isn’t completely bad. Those carbs are great when I need to fuel before a long run, but not so great on days when I’m not as active. Add that to the amount of fruits and vegetables I am supposed to be consuming, and I’ve had to start trying new things.

Today’s feature? Kale. Until a couple weeks ago, I had never bought, cooked, or eaten the stuff. On the hunt for new recipes, I ran across a recipe for pan-friend kale in The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier. I decided to give kale a chance. If PW likes something, I usually like it, too. 😉

The recipe is extremely simple. Wash the kale and tear the leaves into pieces, discarding the stems. In a skillet, heat a little bit of extra virgin olive oil, and saute some chopped garlic for a minute or two. Add the kale, season with salt and pepper, and saute for a few minutes. It should be nice and bright green, not too wilted. Voila! Pan-fried kale.

I like to eat mine for lunch alongside a couple of hard-boiled eggs. I think it’s delicious. It’s just too bad no one else in my house will touch it with a 10-foot pole.

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