Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Sign Painter Book Review

On our way down to Nashville, Kelsey and I read The Sign Painter. 
If you want to read a book about a mom and a daughter who can survive anything, this book is a must!

Amy Dowell is a great mother to her daughter, Kimmie. She has been willing to do anything and everything to provide for her, despite circumstances that have led them to a life living on the road. Amy's husband passed away of cancer, so she is faced with taking care of Kimmie. She arrived in Florida in time for a job to make graphics for a window at a car dealership. One evening late at night, Amy sees a car salesman leave a large stack of cash. She decides she must do something to protect her job and the future life for her daughter. 

This decision leads to cops, a mystery, federal agents getting involved and a whole lot more than Amy bargained for. If you're looking for a page turner, mystery and heartwarming novel with twists and turns, look no more! You'll love this one!!!

Thank you Howard Press for providing me this book, it was great for our road trip. It provided plenty of mystery, laughs and a heart warming tale. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Mammoth Caves

My good friend, college roommate and I decided to take a road trip to see our other friend in Tenessee. Of course no roadtrip is ever fun without some tours and trips along the way. We could not pass up the Mammoth Caves.

So we headed to this amazing National Park to see if we could head on a quick tour, so we could get back on the road. 

However, there was no quick tour, but ONLY a 2 hour tour available, so we decided that was the tour.  I'm so glad we did it. 
                     ( Our tour guide)

On the bus ready to head to the beautiful caves! I couldn't wait!!

It was amazing to be inside the caves. They were just beautiful! The rock formations were gorgeous! It's crazy that they are just under ground 250 feet below.

However, the most breath taking was when we got to this beautiful part of the cave.

This is a huge bucketlist item crossed off for me! I was so excited to be able to do this in Kentucky on our road trip to Nashville. 

I must warn you, if you're afraid of small spaces, are super tall, have knee or hip problems, this is probably a place you might want to stay away from as a lot of walking is involved, you have to climb many stairs and some parts are very narrow. As small as I am, it was tricky at times! 

Have you visited the Mammoth Caves?


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer is flying by and I'm not okay with that!! Slow down, pleease... 

Weekly weigh in. 

Last night, Drew and I were talking about my running "bucket list" and we're looking at making one of those coming true in the next year.. I'll keep ya posted.. 

This morning I went for a mile run. Gulp, only 1 mile. Sick. Running in minamilist shoes decreases knee pain like no other and helps pace for me. It's the craziest thing. It also helps my PF. So, now I'm back to increasing the mileage again. I was at 3. Crapper, I'll get there!! 

I was also testing out this Run Disney no slip grip head band from Sweaty Bands. In the middle of my run, I could feel it slipping a bit.. GRrrrrrr..

By the end of mile, it was way back and I thought it was going to fall off, but it stayed on. I'm gonna give it a try with my hair down and see what magic this beautiful thing does! 

It's so great to be slowly back in the running groove, even if it's a mile here and there. My mileage will build up, I will keep stretching, rolling, ect and I will come back with faster times. I'm determined to do this running different.

Q: What has been the best running tip someone else has told you?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When I Fall in Love- Book Review

When I Fall in Love

A Christiansen Family Novel |When I Fall in Love

Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled—or maybe yanked—away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.

Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.

Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.

My Review:

Susan has done it again! I couldn't put this book down . It was a quick read with a lot going on. The plot and passion that develops between Macx and Grace even though Grace doesn't want to be in Hawaii. Then Max pulls away. This book keeps you guessing as to what will happen next between these two characters. Faith is also very evident and important in this book and I love that Susan intertwines that in this book. Grace had to give up her fears and put her faith and trust in God I loved that element in this book. This book is definately a quick summer read because you want to know what happens. I couldn't put it down. A great beach read. 

Thank you Litfuse Publicity for allowing me the opportunity to read and review this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Top 8 Bucket lists of races

I have been dreaming about my bucketlist of races for quite sometime now, some our a little out there, MAYBE one race in particular, that's why it's on my bucketlist. These are my top 8!. A girl can dream right? 

Goofy challenge at Disney World. This is a must on my bucketlist! I want to conquer this bad boy and having lost 25pounds, I feel as though I can do that now more efficiently. 

When I was training for my first marathon, one of the guys I worked with said you gotta travel and go somewhere cool for your first marathon. He sure was right. His first was the Honolulu marathon  and I think it would be amazing! He LOVED it.

Another one of my friends did the Nike Full Marathon to earn her Tiffany Bling. She said it was a hilly course, beautiful, but hilly. I hate hills, but I love beautiful, I wouldn't mind seeing the Golden Gate Bridge and some bling wouldn't be bad..

Why not run the Cincinnati Flying Pig? The medals are faboulous! It's pig heaven, sounds like fun to me. I think I would run the half on this one. The idea of flying pigs and the first weekend in May, which is typically my birthday weekend, well, this could be a lot of fun and that makes me giggle.

I would love to run this half marathon in Nashville. I heard it's a great course, the money benefits St. Jude's an organization my husband and I firmly believe in supporting and what an awesome place to run. Who doesn't love music? 

Do you run for chocolate? I think the Hershey Half in PA would be pretty sweet! Chocolate, need I say more?

Tinker belle! Who wouldn't want a pair of those wings? Or the chance to run through the parks of California again? Having already earned my C2C, I would love to earn these wings!

Most people dream of Boston and don't get me wrong, I dream of it, but I dream of BadWater and my head thinks it's CRAZY. Ultra running, then running 135 miles in the desert to be left for possible death essentially is nuts to dream about. Somewhere in my head I think a screw is loose, but I dream of ultra running someday and BadWater is my ultimate bucketlist. Crazy? Yep! I'm fully aware of how insane that is.

Q: What races are on your bucketlist?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Vacation Weight Loss Tips

Happy Monday! 

Last week I forgot to post my weigh in on Wednesday, so I thought I would post on keeping your weight loss goals intact while on vacation.

Most people gain a lot of weight on vacation and I was determined to enjoy myself, eat healthy and splurge! I was happy to see I only gained 1 pound while on vacation! I really thought the scale was broken.. I honestly thought maybe 3 pounds, but I ate different on vacation, I enjoyed myself, still had some sweets and used these tips .

I have several tips that I think will help you out, that have kept my weight down, while on vacation.

How to keep your weight loss goals on track:

1) Water is free. Hydration is key to keeping weight loss, otherwise the body will store water, so Drew and I would get water from time to time throughout the parks when we were thirsty.

2) Avoid the trap of salt. Disney guests eat 9 million pounds of French fries a year. Skip the fries and go for a salad or fruit. If I wanted French fries, I would have two or three of my husbands and that was enough for me. When on vaca, if you're trying to keep the pounds away, watch the salt!
French fries

3) Don't Drink your Calories
Are you a fan of dessert? I have a huge sweet tooth, so I'm willing to trade soda, and an alcoholic drink for a great dessert.  So often, we drink our calories and have desserts. Just swap them on vacation!

4 ) Bring Food with you
Even though we flew to Disney, I brought a bag of apples and fresh bananas in my carry on, so I knew I always had a fresh fruit options. If you're going somewhere where you're not sure about your food options, bring your own. 

5) Avoid the temptation to snack and eat after 8 pm.
Even on vacation if you're trying to keep the weight off, you still have to keep this time limit in mind, so your body can digest all the food. If your vacation is super active, you may require more calories, but I tried to avoid eating late.

6) Watch the carbs
Honestly, you don't know how many calories are in the pasta, sandwiches, ect you're eating. I really was careful about my carb intake because at home, I eat carbs, but more whole grains or gluten free options. Slowly, Disney, other theme parks, waterpark hotels are jumping on the bandwagon of gluten free bread/carb options. Lots of hidden calories in these carbs.

7) Schedule activity into your vacation
Where ever you travel, schedule some activity into your vacation and get your heart pumping, it will help you feel better about all the extra calories you might be consuming, plus keep the weight down.

8) Make sure you relax! Put down the electronics! Spend time with your loved ones. Being on vacation helps reduce stress, that's why you're there!

Q: What are your tips for keeping your health and weight loss goals on track during and after vacation?

Captured by Love: Book Review

My Review: 
This is my first read my Jody Hedlund, but it definitely won't be my last! What a great book! I love that it has such rich history about the Mackinaw Island, being a northern myself, I really appreciate the research involved behind this book.

Beyond the research, get ready for a detailed, fast action, romance between Angelique and Pierre filled with everything that makes it not so picture perfect. Between battles internally, with other characters and the war, you'll find yourself turning the page to see what happens next.

Angelique and Pierre have always been best friends since they were children, Pierre has always had a crush, yet Angelique has promised herself to another man. Pierre won't settle for no and the passion between him and Angelique is like none other. Be prepared as he is witty, unrelenting and in love for her, but will he be the one in the end?

If the gushy romance isn't enough, the story brings tension of the reality of war, fur traders, Indian alliances and what happened at the Michilimackinac Island in the 1800's. This book is a MUST read for those who love historical fiction! It will leaving you turning each page wanting to know more!
Thank you to the publishers for allowing me to review this book, I was not compensated for a positive review, but the opinions expressed here are my own.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Paleo Manifesto Book Review

Book Description:
In The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health, John Durant argues for an evolutionary – and revolutionary – approach to health. All animals, human or otherwise, thrive when they mimic key elements of life in their natural habitat. From diet to movement to sleep, this evolutionary perspective sheds light on some of our most pressing health concerns. What is causing the rise of chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and depression? Is eating red meat going to kill you? Is avoiding the sun actually the best way to avoid skin cancer?

Durant takes readers on a thrilling ride to the Paleolithic and beyond, unlocking the health secrets of our ancient ancestors. What do obese gorillas teach us about weight loss? How can Paleolithic skulls contain beautiful sets of teeth? Why is the Bible so obsessed with hygiene? What do NASA astronauts teach us about getting a good night’s sleep? And how are Silicon Valley techies hacking the human body?

Blending science and culture, anthropology and philosophy, John Durant distills the lessons from his adventures and shows how to apply them to day-to-day life, teaching people how to construct their own personal “habitat” that will enable them to thrive. The book doesn’t just address what we eat, but why we eat it; not just how to exercise, but the purpose of functional movement; not just being healthy, but leading a purposeful life.

Combining the best of ancient wisdom with cutting edge science, Durant crafts a vision of health that is both fresh and futuristic.

My Review:
As someone who is looking at diet and exercise not as a way of weight loss anymore, but as a way of health, I found this book to give a great deal of information on the Paleo movement. This book isn't just about eating, but why we eat, how eating is important and how we've lost the real reason for it's intended purpose. This book will give you a lot to think about, it will offer you insights into the Paleo diet and will allow you to discover if it's an avenue you want to take. It was well written, lots of research and I learned a wealth of information. I was pleased with this book. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Magic Bands and Fast Pass+

One more day and it's Friday!! Can you believe it?? 
So if you haven't been to Disney recently, you now get this nifty things called Magic Bands. These bands replace your "Key to the World" card for those of you who have been to Disney. 

- They are your park tickets
-Room Key
-Used for your Disney Dining Plan Credits
- You can use this as a credit card and charge anything straight to your credit card on file with a 4 digit pin code.
- It's also used for Magical Express 
- It's also used for Photo Pass and they will put the photos straight to your band.

More importantly, it's used for Fast Passes, the best way to meet Characters, find perfect viewing of fireworks / parades, go on rides and skip lines!

Each family member gets to pick their own unique color, don't worry if you forget yours at home, the resort will give you grey ones. 

So let's talk about Fast Pass+
People in the parks assumed you have to pay money for this, NOT TRUE! This is a free service included with your Magic Bands!

- 90 Days Before your trip you can start booking dining reservations, character meet and greets or attractions. 
- You are allowed 3 FP+ a day and can book additional a after they have been used.

For Rides: 
-When you arrive during your scheduled FastPass+ arrival time, all you need to do is proceed to the FASTPASS queue entrance and touch your MagicBand Mickey to the Mickey head, it will light green and you are good to go and get in line. Go Ahead, skip the line!

+ I recommend making 2 FP+ for Seven Dwarf Mines Train. The ride is so fun. We did it once at night, which in my opinion is better and once during the day. 

+ I recommend making a FP+ if you want to meet Anna and Elsa, which we did. It's a four hour wait, we waited less then 10 mins. 

+ If you don't wait trying to get that perfect spot for the parade, fireworks, book a FP+. Trust me , you'll enjoy more time on rides, less time fussing with people!

+ You can make 3 selections a day, when they are used up, you can return to a kiosk in the park and make another selection for a Fast Pass+.

Super Important: 
If you don't read anything else, read this!!!  At the 60 day mark before your vacation, you can make your FP+ selection, we did this at MIDNIGHT to ensure we would get Elsa and Anna & The Seven Dwarf Mine Train. It sounds crazy, but people are booking 60 days in advance just like you for the same month, especially for all my RUNDISNEY friends!!  

*** You need to stay on Disney property for one of these Magic Bands, at least at this time.***

We loved the Magic Bands and new FP+ system. It was a more hands free, hassle free vacation!

What do you love about vacations? Have you used the FP+ system? Magic Bands? Any tips??

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Back to Reality

Wow, can you believe we are in the middle of July already? I'm not ready for summer to be over! I'm not ready for vacation to come to an end and deal with the reality of life. As I said yesterday, before our vacation, we got some startling and interesting news, which again has left me with the question "why me?"  Although I'm not ready to discuss it publicly on my blog, I appreciate your prayers and thoughts as we transition into a different journey. 

 I will share in the coming days. For now, I'd like to share about our Disney vacation and give you a review about the Mickeys Ice Cream Kitchen Sink!!!

You may have heard or seen on the park blogs all about this cute little sink filled with ice cream and your toppings of choice!
You may even wonder can this even be done? Can you eat all this ice cream deliciousness? You totally can!

Here's the deal for $17.99  You get this cute sink and loads of Ice cream!!

You get to pick two of your favorite flavors of icecream and drizzle your favorite toppings, whip cream and some cherries on top! 

You can find it at the Magic Kingdoms Plaza Ice Cream Parlour by Edys on Main Street USA. 

Would you eat this much ice cream??

Monday, July 14, 2014

Travel Day

Happy Monday!!! 

Today is a travel day home, so this is not much of a real post. I'm not much of a fan of long travel days..

They are long, boring and then my mind makes the never ending to do list.. Plus, before our trip we were faced with some difficult news, so I'm not really ready to deal with that reality either..

We had a great anniversary trip and I can't believe we've been married four years!! 

I'll be posting more soon!! Give me some time!

Happy Monday!! How were your workouts? Weekends?? 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Celebrating 4years of marital bliss!

Happy Friday!!

Sorry, for no real post the past two days, but yesterday Drew  and I spent the day the day enjoying our 4year Anniversary!! Where has the time gone by??

We spent half of our day at Animal Kingdom, where we saw lots of animals, ride some rides and met a few characters. We headed back to our resort for some R&R before getting some fun photo ops! 

Are you a cars fan? If so, you would love Art of Animation!! You would love Radiator Springs at DisneyLands California Adventure even BETTER!!! It's the real deal.

We headed to Epcot for our Anniversary dinner at one of our favorite dining locations- Garden Grill in the Land of the Living! You can eat your meal on a floor that slowly spins and characters greet you as you eat. Personally, I love the salad, rolls and dessert. I could skip the rest of the food and go for those three things.. Yummy!!!!
We had fun with Dale! We kept telling him he was our favorite!!
Something is wrong with this picture.. Either Drew has gotten taller or Mickey has shrunk!!! 

Love me this mouse!! He's so handsome!

All in all we had a great time celebrating our four year anniversary and I could imagine celebrating with anyone else!

Q: What traditions do you have in celebrating special occasions like anniversaries? Any favorite memories?