Monthly Archives: July 2014

Visit to South Dakota – Part 3

Remember how we took that trip to Rapid City, like, a month ago? Well, I just realized that I forgot to share pics from the last of our adventures!

On our last day, I took the kids to visit the Cosmos Mystery Area. It’s on the way to Mount Rushmore. I don’t know how this place works. It’s pretty mind-boggling. I had killer motion sickness the instant I walked into this crazy cabin. I could hardly wait to get out.


Our second adventure of the day was a trip to Bear Country USA. It was pretty wild driving through a park with bears surrounding the car. I’ve never seen anything quite like it…unless you count the drive-through zoo in San Antonio where an ostrich tried to get in the car with me. Thank the Lord that wasn’t a bear.

Also, aren’t baby bears the CUTEST? It’s a good thing we didn’t go into the gift shop. I probably would have bought everything after watching those adorable cubs for a while.


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It’s a busy week for this travel agent.

Wow, what a week! I know it’s not over yet, but I feel like I should write something now that I have a short moment to come up for air. After a relatively slow summer, Disney is kicking me in the behind this week with two new promotions – military salute 2014-2015 and a late fall room discount – released practically on top of each other.

I may or may not have been wandering the neighborhood in my pajamas at 2:00pm yesterday, retrieving my children from the playground, because I got on the phone to get discounts for my clients as soon as I rolled out of bed and hadn’t seen the light of day yet. Sorry, neighbors. It probably won’t be the last time, so I’ll go ahead and apologize for future pajama sightings, too.

Also, I’m pretty sure I’m starting to get crazy eyes…

Marty Feldman and Abby Normal


You know, from staring at the computer screen and listening to too much Disney hold music. I’m taking a short breather today to try and fix that. 2015 rates are out next week, so it ain’t over yet!

If you need anything, you know where to find me…

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Disney Princess Locket Winners

First of all, a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway. There were 195 entries! That’s almost quadruple the number of entries in my last giveaway!

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Congratulations to Maryann Drapkin! You are the winner of the large Frozen locket.

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Shannon Faith, you are the winner of the medium Little Mermaid locket!

I hope you both enjoy your beautiful prizes. You have e-mail waiting from me to collect your shipping details. Thanks again to all of you for participating. I am just thrilled with turnout. I will be on the lookout for more fun giveaways to share with you in the future.

Have a wonderful weekend!


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Wine & Dine Training – Week 2

I know this probably gets boring for many of you, me blabbering on about the week’s runs. Here’s the thing, though – it helps me stay on track. If I’m writing about it here at the end of each week, I feel held accountable. If I screw up or get lazy, you’re going to know about it. Let’s be honest, with 16 weeks to go, that’s going to happen at some point. I’m only human.

I started out on Monday running 4 miles on the treadmill. Something in my hip was twinging as I ran, but I pushed through it anyway.

I cross-trained in the yard with my neighbors on Tuesday morning and realized that pushing through the pain on Monday was probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. I spent the rest of the day trying to stretch out my hip.

On Wednesday, I did more stretching and got on the treadmill with another 4-mile goal. After running/walking/limping through 2 miles, I quit. It was terrible. I just could not do it.

Thursday, I rested and stretched. I knew I had 6 miles penciled in on the calendar for Friday, and I really didn’t know whether I should attempt it or not. I mean, I’ve had hip pain before, but it was identifiable. My IT band gets sore when it’s time to replace my running shoes, and so far, that’s been the only time. This pain was weird, difficult to pin-point, and really hard to work out.

My internal debate went something like this…


This brings us to today. My plan was to head to the gym, stretch, warm up on an elliptical machine, and then see how much running I could manage. I am happy to say that this plan worked! Nothing hurt, and I made it the full 6 miles. Hooray! I was really going to be bummed if I’d completely blown the plan by week two.

Now, to celebrate. 😉

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Origami Owl – Disney Princess Locket Giveaway

Alright, Princesses! It’s time for that giveaway.

This has been in the works for a couple of months now, so I’m really excited that it’s finally time to share these with you. I have TWO gorgeous Origami Owl lockets for two lucky winners, because you need something sparkly to compliment that Princess Half Marathon medal you’ll be sporting come February.

For those who aren’t familiar with Origami Owl…their living lockets are fully customizable. When you’re tired of what’s inside, you can easily open it up and change out the charms. Most charms are $5 each, so this giveaway is basically giving you a pretty awesome starter locket.

Not a running Princess? That’s OK. Princesses of all kinds (as well as husbands, boyfriends, brothers, etc. of Princesses) are welcome to enter.


First prize is inspired by Frozen.

This is a large silver living locket with crystals on a 24-26″ silver rolo chain. Inside, there is a crystal crown charm, an ice skate charm, a silver “sister” heart charm, a snowflake charm, June and April birthstones, and an aqua accent stone. The retail value of this locket is $75. Isn’t it GORGEOUS?


Second prize is inspired by my all-time favorite Disney princess movie – The Little Mermaid.

This is a medium silver living locket with crystals on a 16-18″ silver ball station chain. Inside, you’ll find a crystal crown charm, a seahorse charm, a seashell charm (retired), and the May, November, and January birthstones. The retail value of this locket is $63.

I have to give major props to my friend Laura Jolley for designing these for me. If you don’t have an Origami Owl designer, check her out. She’s the best. 🙂 I told her I wanted princess lockets, and she did all the hard work!

This giveaway ends at midnight on Friday, July 18th. I will announce winners here on Saturday morning. Please share with your friends! Just click on where it says “a Rafflecopter giveaway” below, and you’ll be taken to my entry page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wine & Dine Race Training – Week 1

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It’s that time again. Time for me to lose the excuses and run, run, run!

I used Jeff Galloway’s training program found on the runDisney website to train for the Princess Half last year, and it worked out pretty well. I decided to stick with his plan, but I’m attempting the time improvement version this time around. I reserve the right to switch to the “finish in the upright position” plan later, though. I’m still working out exactly what I’m meant to do for some of these runs.

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 4.48.12 PMWeek 1 began on Tuesday. Although, I don’t do Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. I like to do my runs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I’m rebellious like that. Oh, and I also don’t run-walk-run. I just run. And when I can’t, I walk. I don’t stick to the interval thing, though.

I ran my first 4 miles on Monday in the family room at the gym. I’ve been running a few times a week over the last month to rebuild my endurance, so this wasn’t too terrible. I only wish the treadmills in our family room faced the kids’ area. I feel very fortunate that I didn’t fall off while breaking up one of the many cat fights my children engaged in on Monday morning. I’m using the term “morning” loosely. It was 11:15 before we dragged ourselves down there. At least we made it.

On Wednesday, I tried something different. There’s a middle school nearby with a fenced track. I loaded up the kids, some water bottles, and a few toys, and we headed there. I managed another 4 miles, and no one started begging to go home until I was on my last mile.

In the interim, I’ve been adding cross-training. I did part of a PiYo workout on Tuesday, until the YouTube channel on my Apple TV wouldn’t load any more of it. Of course, the whole thing worked later the same night. Yesterday, I joined my neighbor out in the front yard for a workout. (Thanks, Jenn!)

Today, I ran my 4.5 miles in the family room again. Everyone got along, but MAN, it was hot. (Our gym isn’t air conditioned.) It wasn’t until I finished that I realized the giant fan was turned off. I will be double-checking that next time. It was a rough 4.5 miles. About 2 miles in, I was sure I wouldn’t be able to finish. I’m happy to say that I did, and Week 1 is complete.

I plan to spend the weekend resting, so I can begin again on Monday!



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Sneak Peek!


Last week, I announced that I was going to have a fun giveaway soon! Here’s a little preview. Come back on July 15th to see which lockets I’ve chosen to tie in with Disney’s Princess Half Marathon registration day.

If you’re considering registering and are on the fence, read this post over at My No-Guilt Life. I have run the race once, all by my lonesome, and had a pretty positive experience. But I also saw and got frustrated by a few of the things that Patty mentions. She has a few tips in her post for making registration day run smoothly if you do want to register.

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Pick a number, any number.


After dinner this evening, we spent some time outside drawing with sidewalk chalk, having barefoot races to the neighbors’ driveway, practicing cartwheels, spinning in circles on the lawn…you know, normal stuff. When it was time to pick up the aftermath and come inside, we had the following conversation.

John: Kids! Pick a number between one and 10.

Aidan: Five.

Neely: 21.


Me: Neely, it has to be a number that comes between one and 10.

Aidan: Five, no, six! Seven! Eight!

(We went with his first choice.)

Neely: 10!

John: Aidan was closest. Aidan, pick up the sidewalk chalk. Neely, go take a shower.

Neely: What?! Five.

I die. These kids crack me up. Daily.


Visit to South Dakota – Part 2


On to the next part of our South Dakota adventure! I can’t even remember what Plan A was on the day I took the kids to visit the Badlands, but I’m glad we went with Plan B instead. The Badlands National Park entrance is about an hour drive from where we stayed. I loaded the car with kids, games, and snacks, and we headed out early(ish). I didn’t even tell them where we were going.

Coming in to the Badlands from the west, you drive through a lot of grasslands. Even by the time you reach the entrance, you still really don’t see any of the rock formations that come to mind when you think of the Badlands. We pulled off the road, took a picture with the sign (thank you, brave mama touring the midwest alone with your kids), and as we entered the park, I confiscated the video games….to much groaning and protesting.

For a little bit, we continued to see grasslands out the window. I got an earful about how boring this was going to be. Then, we turned a corner and….voila!



I am no longer a liar and complete failure as a mother. My rock-obsessed boy thought this was the coolest place he’d ever seen. Neely didn’t hate it, either.


We spent nearly 4 hours driving around and exploring Badlands National Park. These guys wanted to stop at almost every lookout. I even let them have their gadgets back, because they wanted to take their own pictures!






Can you blame them? It really is a beautiful part of the country.

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At one point, toward the end of our trek, we ran across a “fossil trail.” It’s basically a walkway, where they’ve set up some fossils that have been found in the area with plaques and info for you to read. There are also some good spots for little climbers to enjoy.






I am so proud of my little adventurers. We went to the Badlands because it was something I really wanted to see for myself. I wasn’t sure what the kids were going to think, but they surprised me. We had a great time!

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Tech Talk Tuesday – Rock My Run App


This is my first time linking up for Tuesdays on the Run, hosted Run the Great Wide Somewhere, No-Guilt Life, and MCM Mama Runs. This week’s topic? Technology.

When I started my running journey four years ago, I had an iPod nano, an incredibly uncomfortable pair of ear buds, and some really terrible tennis shoes. I trained for my first half marathon doing the old run-and-drive-the-route routine to figure out how far I’d gone. I didn’t want to invest in a GPS watch until I knew if this running thing was a phase or if it would stick.

I think it’s stuck. 🙂 I have all kinds of gadgetry now. My favorites are my Forerunner 10, my iPod shuffle, and my YurBuds.

The latest thing I’m trying out is an app on the iPhone called “Rock My Run.” This is a slight break from the norm for me, because I prefer to run with my shuffle and not my big, bulky, Otter-Boxed phone. The app is free, though, so I decided to give it a shot. The idea of a ready-to-go playlist that I don’t have to sit at the computer and painstakingly compile appeals to me. A lot.

There are several ways you can search for a playlist in Rock My Run – by genre, beats per minute, length, etc.




Many of the shorter playlists are free. I downloaded a few 30-minute mixes to my phone to try. I did notice that when you start looking at 60-minute and longer playlists, you need a premium subscription to have access. The subscription cost is $4.99 for 1 month, or $35.99 for 12 months. So far, I’m only using the free version.


I jumped on the treadmill last night and ran with this baby for the first time. I know. It’s shameful. It’s summertime, and I’m running on a treadmill. I just couldn’t face running in 25mph winds. I’m not a big fan of having my own breath blown back into my face for half an hour.

What is on the Summer Throwback list? I’m glad you asked. It’s pretty great.




Well, it was pretty great, until I realized that “throwback” now means high school and college for me. Geez. Make me feel old, why don’t ya? I blame the infants working at Rock My Run. Or the infant DJ who created this list. Somewhere, an infant is responsible.

I’ve only used this app once so far. I hope I still like it when I actually take it to the street. Thank goodness I’ve got a FlipBelt I can put the phone in. I’m not crazy about those armband phone holder majiggers. I do love not having to try and fast forward past those too-slow songs that I added to my running playlist in a moment of insanity. Everything (in the Summer Throwback list anyway) had a good, upbeat tempo that kept me motivated even though it was crazy-hot in the gym. I also liked that each song seamlessly flowed into the next without that dead air where I wonder what’s coming next, whether I need to slow down to find the fast forward button, whether or not I brushed my teeth last night, etc.

Has anyone else tried this app? Or something else to aid in running? I’d love to hear about it!

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