Wednesday, March 25, 2015

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2014

I like to call the 2014 runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon the "splash and dash" half marathon.  The day of the race, the weather was perfect.  All day, I keep reading Facebook posts about how a huge rain storm was coming straight for Orlando.  It's ETA--10 PM, the exact time the race was set to begin.  Oh no, here we go!

I started the day by running the runDisney Jingle Jungle 5k with my son Nathan.  My family spent some time in the parks for the day.  I ate a quick dinner, then it was time to get dressed up for the race!  My running friend, Heather, and I dresses as Anna and Else for the race.

As we hoped off the bus at the race start, it started to drizzle.  My thoughts were immediately--oh no, here we go!  I can handle a lot of crappy situations, but I hate to be wet!  I tried to make the best of it though.  Heather and I walked to our corrals at the start line.  As the race got closer, the rain came harder.  By the time the race started, I was already soaked!  My shoes, my Raw Threads top--already dripping wet.

 We started the race in good spirits.  By the time we hit the first mile marker, I was already miserable! Heather and I love to stop for character pictures at runDisney events.  The only picture we stopped for the entire race was with the Country Bears.

Mile four rolled around as we entered Animal Kingdom.  By this time, I was totally and completely done with this race!  Running through Animal Kingdom was the highlight of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon for me--I really love that park.  As we exited the park, there were several buses parked.  Many of them were loaded with people who decided to call it a day and quit the race.  At the time, I so longed to be one of those people, warm on the bus.  It was raining so hard that my shoes were heavy as bricks. The rain on the road was several inches deep.  My feet were so blistered, they were bleeding.  My arms were chaffing and raw from my shirt being soaked and rubbing.  I was so cold that I could not feel my fingers.

Thankfully, I had Heather to talk me out of quitting.  She was earning her Coast to Coast medal!  She would not have earned the medal if we did not cross the finish line--so we had to finish.  Up next for us was three miles of highway, on to Hollywood Studios.  I was looking forward to running through the Osborne Lights.  We took the race mile by mile.  It was tough, but we kept going.  After Hollywood Studios, we hit the home stretch.  We ran through the Disney Boardwalk (one of my favorite places in Walt Disney World) and entered the back gate at Epcot.  All I could think about by this time was finished and getting into warm, dry clothes.

After thirteen cold, soaking wet miles--we made it!  We crossed the finish line! We got our medals, an adult beverage and headed straight to bag check.  I was never so happy to see my old sneakers and red hoodie.  Putting on warm, dry socks felt better than crossing the finish line.

The best part of the Wine and Dine Half Marathon is the after party.  Epcot is open till four AM for runners to celebrate their accomplishment.  All of the food stands for the Food and Wine Fest are open.  After all that running, I was hungry!  I got lobster mac and cheese at American and some amazing desserts at France.  And a Coke!  The only time drink real Coke is after a half marathon.

After fresh clothes and some yummy food, I was rejuvenated and ready to party.  Heather and I closed down the party at four AM.  We stumbled onto the bus to the resort and rolled into bed around five AM.  What a night!  It was by far my toughest race ever, but I am glad I finished.  I can't wait to do it again.

A dream is a wish...


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Have Courage and Be Kind--My Review of the New Cinderella Movie

This past weekend, I took my daughter to see the brand new, live action Disney movie "Cinderella". I don't know who was more excited--me or Andrea. We have been waiting a long time for this movie to come out!  As you know, we are a house of Disney freaks.  I have heard great reviews about the movie, so I could not wait to see it.

We meet my sisters at the theater, along with my daughters BFF and her mom.  My husband and son had a scout event so it was a girls day out for us!  I made sure I wore my Cinderella New Balance sneakers, my runDisney glass slipper challenge shirt and my Disney Pandora bracelet for fun.

My daughter was double excited for this movie--she could not wait to see Cinderella, but she really was excited to see the short that came before Cinderella.  The short was "Frozen Fever."  It brought us back into the world of Arendelle again for a few minutes.  In this little glimpse into the life of our favorite royal sisters, we catch up with them on Anna's birthday.  Elsa plans a huge party, but she is sick.  We learn that her powers and illness do not mix well!  All of the main characters are back for an update--we even get to see what becomes of Hans.  "Frozen Fever" gets a thumbs up from us!

Up next was the main feature!  I was not sure what to expect with the live action "Cinderella" movie.  Cinderella is my favorite princess (and my blog's inspiration!)  I had high hopes for this movie, but I have not been a fan of some of the animated turned live actions movies lately, like "Alice in Wonderland".  I was hoping they did not try to modernize it too much.  I also hoped they kept most of the original Walt Disney story line.

At the beginning of the movie we meet Ella, her mom and her dad.  They are a beautiful, happy family. We all know what happens to them from the animated classic. In the new live action movie, we get a much better back story about the family.  Ella's relationship with her mom in explored in depth.  Since I am a mom with a daughter, I could really relate to it.  Right before she loses her mom, Ella is given some fantastic advice about how to live her life.  "Have courage and be kind..." I love that this was the theme of the movie. No mater how poorly Ella was treated by her step family, she always keep that advice from her mom close to her heart.  It's because of her goodness that her fairy godmother gives her a night of magic.

Visually, the movie was amazing!  The costumes, scenery--all perfect.  I have a feeling a lot of little girls will be begging for the new Cinderella dress very soon.  The golden coach was elegant and beautiful. We got to see it when we visited Disney World in February. Ella's hair, her dress and of course the glass slippers were spot on.

I highly recommend this movie to everyone. My daughter is already asking when we can see it again!

A dream is a wish...


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Our Disney Side Party!

A few weekends ago, we had our #DisneySide party!  The party was sponsored by Disney and BSM Media.  The kids and I were so excited when our giant package arrived!  We could not wait to see
what was in it.

Disney sent us a big box of party supplies. We got cups, plates, napkins, and lots of decorations. We also got things to make the party extra fun--we got princess nail polish, a few Palace Pets to play with, and some fun party games.  After all that fun, we would get hungry, so Disney also sent us a Mickey head shaped cake pan and some Duke's tie die cake mix.  Yummy!

We decided to have a Valentines Day party with our #DisneySide box.  We invited lots of friends and family to celebrate with us.  The little girls dresses up as their favorite Disney Princess.  The grown ups dressed up in looks inspired by their favorite Disney couples.  A great time was had by all.  It was the perfect way to celebrate Valentines Day!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Goals for 2015

Will these be mine? 
Last year brought lots of changes.  We bought a new house, I started my own travel agency and I started a part time job in the accounting field.  Now that those changes have settled in, its time for some new ones.

My big goal for 2015 is to train for a full marathon!  I don't feel sure enough as of yet to say I will complete a full marathon, but my goal is to start training and explore the possibility.  Over the past three years, I have completed 17 half marathons.  When I made the goal three years ago to complete a
half marathon, I never really had any doubt that I could do it.  I knew that I would have to work hard, but I knew I could do it. With all of this running under my belt, I know taking on a full marathon is a completely different animal.  After finishing a half marathon, I typically feel fairly well--but there is no way I could turn around and run another 13.1 miles.  This is what has me terrified to say that I will do a full marathon.

To take on this huge goal, I need to lose weight!  I have a brand new workout plan to start tomorrow.  I will be doing PiYo by Chalene Johnson.  PiYo is a combo of Pilates and yoga. Along with some running mixed in, this will be a great start to my training.  I plan to work hard for the next three with PiYo, clean eating and running--with the goal of losing 25 pounds.  I will reassess in April (when Disney Marathon registration opens up) taking into account how my training is going and where I am mentally.  Wish me luck!  This is something I really want to do.

I need a big goal, something big to work toward. This just may be it. Nothing gets me going like the chance at another Disney experience!

A dream is a wish...


Saturday, January 3, 2015

2014--a Year of New Beginnings!

2014 was a year of changes for me!  
We bought a new house!  I loved our old house, but it was just too small for our growing family.  We had our eye on this house for five years--yes five years!  It was built and first for sale right after Andrea was born.  That was not a good time for use to move.  In November of 2013, it went for sale again.  After a few months of consideration, we took a leap and put in an offer.  On June 30, 2014 (the day before my birthday!) she became ours! This is my dream house. We look forward to painting, decorating and growing old in our new home. 

I started my own travel agency!  I call it Main Street Magic, LLC after the iconic Main Streets at the Disney Parks.  This too was a big leap for me.  I had a few years of travel agent experience under my belt.  After our big move, I now have my very own office.  What better time than now to put myself out there and make a go of it. So far, its going great!  I have hired three agents and I plan to hire more very soon.  It feels amazing to actually love what you do. 

I started a part time job, back in the accounting field.  This job sort of fell into my lap.  A friend from our scout pack was looking for a Treasurer for his church.  Knowing about my background and education in accounting, he asked if I was interested.  I figured--why not!  I am doing bookkeeping and accounting for the church and the church owned day care.  I work a few hours a week at the church office and a few hours a week at home.  It's nice to be back in the working world a few hours a week, and its nice to be using my degree again.  

The past six months has brought me any exciting changes.  These changes have kept me from blogging as often as I would like.  Now that my family is getting used to our new life, our new routine--I will be writing much more often! I have run a few more races and visited Disney twice since I last wrote.  Stay tuned--I have lots of fun stuff to tell you about.  Thank you for coming back. 

A dream is a wish...


Monday, June 23, 2014

Baltimore Women's Classic 2014

The Baltimore Women's Classic was my first ever race in 2012, so it has a special place in my heart. It has remained my favorite local race since then. It's a women's only race that benefits Cancerve, a women's cancer charity.  The race takes place in the beautiful Inner Harbor of Baltimore. This year, two of my sisters did the race with me.

The BWC has the best "race village" of any race I have ever been to.  There are lots of vendors to check out and lots of free stuff--before and after the race. This year I won a t-shirt from City Sports, a cool water bottle with infuser, and a beach towel from our local SUP rental company.  We tested tea, sports drinks, energy gum and lots of offer fun stuff.  We shopped, and shopped.  So much fun!

Our little group of family and friends got to the start line and took lots of pictures.  Once the race started, we separated so everyone could run their own best race.  Since this was my fourth time doing this race, I know the course well.  I was prepared for the massive hill at around the .5 mile mark. The race runs through south Baltimore, around the Federal Hill area.  The last .5 mile of the race is so beautiful--right along the harbor.  Crowd support at this race is great.  So many families sit on their front steps and cheer the runners on.

My sister and her friend finished the race before me.  They stayed at the finish to cheer me on.  After I got my water, cold towel, medal, finisher rose and some snacks I joined them while we
waited for the rest of the group.  It's always fun to hang out at the finish line and cheer on the other runners.  My other sister finished with a 7 minute PR!  We cheered my cousin on as she crossed her first finish line.

After one more loop around race village, it was time to head home.  The race volunteers were packing up and they had a bunch of roses left over.  They told us to take a bouquet home!  My rose bouquet looks so pretty on my kitchen table. My sisters and I got some pictures along the water before we left. I can't wait to do the BWC again next year.

A dream is a wish...


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

Yesterday I had the privileged of attending the Disney Social Moms "on the road" conference. When I got the invite in May, I was equally excited and shocked!  I could not believe I was chosen to attend.  Going to an event like this would be a dream come true for a Disney nerd like me.

I woke up nice and early for the conference, but I barely sleep at all the night before--I was to excited.  I made the two and a half hour drive into Philly and arrived about twenty minutes before the start.  I quickly ran into the other ladies I know who were also invited to the event--two runDisney friends. We chatted and met  some other bloggers while in line for check in.  Finally, it was time!  The doors opened and the event started.

The room was already filled with Disney magic. The "Zippitty Do Da" song was playing. Above the stage was draped a big banner that read "Rock Your Disney Side", the 2014 Disney marketing slogan. I quickly found a seat and then just stood there for a minute--soaking it all in.  There were balloons, banners, and a few backdrops for pictures.  One of the backdrops was of the castle.  The other was a "Disney side" photo area with every Disney character hat and accessory you could think of to dress up with.

Jaime and Gary from Disney PR got the event started.  They used a unique to Disney icebreaker--pin trading!  The assistants walked around with a huge bag of Disney pins and dumped a handful on each table.  We had two minutes to meet some new people and trade pins.  I end up with one of the most beautiful Disney pins I have ever seen--its a diamond wedding ring with Lady and the Tramp in the center.

The first speaker was Gary Buchanan, the Disney Social Media Managing Editor.  He told us about all the cool new stuff coming to the Disney Parks.  After Cary, we heard from Jenn Fickly-Baker, the Disney Social Media Manager.  Jenn gave a great talk about creating good content. Up next, we heard from HP direct print services.  They had a big surprise for us--they printed our "Disney Side" pictures and gave us each a very nice pack of HP photo paper with envelopes.  Thanks HP!

After a quick break, it was time to get back to the speaker series. At our seats, Disney surprised us with a Vinylmation--my first one.  Up next we heard from Victoria Lim of Disney PR.  She talked to us about creating great visual content. After that was a panel of mom entrapanuers discussing a work/family balance, followed by the Mojo Coach talking about how to stay healthy is every way. I learned so much from each and every one of the speakers.  I plan to do a series of posts about all the amazing things I learned from each speaker--its way to much to put in one post.

After some closing remarks, a very special guest appeared--Mickey Mouse!!!  Everyone in the room jumped to their feet and started clapping. It was so magical!  In the last few minutes of the event, we networked some more, exchanged business cards, hung out with Mickey, took more pictures and said our good byes.  I was so sad that the event was over, but so happy to have been a part of it.  Thank you so much Disney for putting on such an amazing event!

A dream is a wish...