Tuesday, May 19, 2015

#FreeToBe Adventurous and Allergy Free!


I read an article just last week that had Memphis listed as one of THE worst cities in the U.S to live in if you are an allergy sufferer.  Have I mentioned that we have some of THE worst allergies of any household I have ever seen?!?!  I can thank my father for that - and I am sharing the love with my kids.  We all take allergy medicine year round to keep our allergies at bay - but summertime is coming and everything is in bloom (hello cottonwood), and the Smiths have been a-sneezing.

Surprisingly enough even the smallest allergens can set us off, like perfumes and colors used in laundry detergent.  Since my kids were little we have used all free clear detergent to get rid of outside allergens that stick to our clothes but also not set off our allergies just trying to get our clothes clean!  


The reason I went with all free clear is simple - it is the #1 brand recommended by allergists, dermatologists, and pediatricians for people with sensitive skin and allergies.  I also like it because it is safe to use in my HE washing machine.  Like any busy household, our laundry room stays full of, well, dirty clothes.  I love using the concentrated laundry detergent because the bottle is small and takes up less room.  I was also pleased to learn that all free clear only contains 9 ingredients, and has received the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association.  Yet this detergent packs a powerful punch!  With Samantha's soccer practice and games twice a week and both kids playing outside daily at school, my washing machine stays busy and I don't have to worry about allergens lingering in our clothes - period.

Check out the all free clear Facebook page for tips and resources for managing sensitive skin and removing seasonal allergens !

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lately...

So yeah - I have been a little MIA for the past month and a half.  I really am sorry things here have been so quiet - please know that we are all doing well, it's just been really busy and if I didn't have something to share, well, I just didn't.  Or if I had something to share but ran out of time to write a post, then it didn't happen then either.  So today I wanted to fill you in on all we have been up to lately.

April was a pretty big month for us.  Mr. SS and I started off the month attending a wedding in Destin, FL.  I had not been to the beach in a hot minute and things in real life were starting to eat at me so the short getaway was really nice.  We rented a condo for a few days and tried to enjoy all the sun and fresh seafood we could fit in to a 3 night stay.

Isn't this gorgeous?

From our table at The Back Porch, home of the best blackened amberjack sandwich evah

We clean up well don't we?!?!  Mr. SS despises selfies...

The following week things got incredibly busy at work, and I also had to go to Birmingham to get my Alabama license.  For those of you counting, this was #7.  I am taking my exam for #8, Oklahoma, on Tuesday.  Have I mentioned we have been really busy and I have had little to no study time?!?!  Yeah...

Our schedule at home has been shaken up as well with Mr. SS's new job.  Don't get me wrong - it was a true blessing in more ways than one, it has just taken some getting used to on our part.  We no longer have as much time on the weekends since he works, but we have time during the week and for now, the trade off is working nicely.

At the end of April I met DisBroad Amy in Nashville for the St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon.  It was a whirlwind trip but we had THE best time.  My recap is coming but in the meantime, check out what Amy had to say about our 24 hour adventure!

Me and Amy at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel

I just wrapped up the Biggest Loser challenge at my local exercise studio - I haven't written much about my weight loss (heck, I haven't written much of anything - LOL), but I am pleased to share that I have lost 13lb since returning home from the Princess Half - 8 of which I lost during the challenge.  I also have lost a total of 7 inches!  I am so very pleased with my progress but I still have a ways to go to get to my goal, which I hope to be at when I start training for Dopey later this summer.

Oh yeah, that also happened...


Me and DisBroad Suzanne are going not just Goofy, but Dopey for #WDWMarathon weekend next year and I canNOT wait!!!  I am partnering with Coach Krissy again for this training schedule and I'm looking forward to an awesome and *hopefully* injury free training season!

On another related note - I am back in for the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon in December, once again running for Annabelle as a St. Jude Hero!  I am so VERY happy to already be at 62% of my fundraising goal in just 2 weeks - I would love to hit that goal by the 1 month mark so then we can work towards doubling it!!!  If you'd like to donate to the kids at St, Jude as part of my fundraising efforts click here - and thanks in advance for your support!!

The girls are doing well!  Morgan is FINALLY completely potty trained, with the exception of overnights still.  And Samantha is finishing her last week of first grade this week - holy crap, y'all - my kid is about to go into 2nd grade!!!  I.can't.deal.

My helpers at the grocery store

Morgan and I at Muffins with Mom at her daycare

Samantha and I at her field day

Lastly - me and Mr. SS are traveling to Florida next week for some different stuff, and we are taking advantage of our Disney Vacation Club membership and staying on property at Disney's Old Key West Resort, which I have never been to, so I am super excited!  We will not be parking it up every day, but we do have plans to eat at some of our favorite places on property, as well as a few new places, and we will get to spend a day at Epcot and a day at the Magic Kingdom before we head home.  I am very excited to be headed "home" in just a few days!!

So sorry I've been off the grid - catch me up on what you have been up to!!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Preventing Injuries

I have received neither product nor compensation for my participation in the Jeff Galloway Blogger Program.  I chose to participate because I am a believer in his methods and want to share them with you!  All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

This week Jeff Galloway is sharing tips with us on preventing injury!

Injuries can occur from a number of different things, such as not enough rest, or doing too much too soon.  Being fresh off an injury, this list takes on an extremely important meaning to me.  An "intense stress reaction" is no fun y'all, and I plan to do everything I can to prevent it from happening again, which is why I felt these tips had to be shared!


I hope these will come in handy for you!  I sure wish I had had these tips back in October ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Let's ZOOMA

Ever since I first started running I had heard about the ZOOMA Women's Race Series and what an awesome event it was.  I mean, come on - a Fitness Expo, Mocktail Party, and an After Party with wine, massages, and shopping - what's not to love?!?!  I was always sad though because none of their events was ever close enough to home that I could participate.

Until now!

I'm excited to announce that ZOOMA is coming to Nashvegas baby, and I'm proud to announce that I am officially an ambassador for this awesome event!


This year's event will take place on Sunday, November 8th and will include a 5K and a half marathon.  You can register NOW by clicking on the pic above - use the code KRISTEN15 to save 10% on either distance!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2015 Princess Half Marathon Recap

I have sat down no less than a half dozen times and tried to write this recap but I for some reason I could never seem to get it finished.  Work has been crazy and I have another license now - yay!  But enough excuses - without further adieu, my Princess Half recap!

This race should be known as "the one where I pressed my luck".  

Three weeks after completing the Goofy Challenge I found myself back at the doctor for a recheck on my leg.  This visit went a little better - he told me I could actually begin walking and when I got up to two miles, I could "jog a little bit."  Which was great news considering the Princess Half was coming and I had every intention of finishing.

I hadn't originally planned to run this race, but the DisBroads really know how to pile on the peer pressure, and the next thing I knew, I was signed up.  Since I was just at my happy place for marathon weekend the month before, I knew this would have to be a shorter trip.  My flight left the 901 VERY early Saturday morning - by 10am I was in Orlando, making my way to the expo.


I met Suzanne there - my #GoofyChallenge partner in crime and roomie for the weekend.  We grabbed our bibs and a new headband from Sparkly Soul before we called it a day and headed to Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa to check in.  I had never stayed at this resort before but it's absolutely beautiful!!  Too bad we weren't there enough for me to enjoy more of it.

Phillipe and Maximus pillows on the pull-out couch at SSR

We didn't stay long as we had FastPasses for lunch at Be Our Guest, so we took off to the Magic Kingdom.


The fam and I ate here last year for the Princess Half at dinner and it was yummy, and lunch did not disappoint.  I had a yummy turkey sandwich with pomme frites :)  We got to sit in the music room, which was gorgeous!

On my bucket list for this whirlwind weekend was seeing the Festival of Fantasy parade, which is Disney's newest parade and even though I had been twice since it started I had not seen it - so third time was the charm for me.  Needless to say, it was well worth the wait - I absolutely LOVED it and I can't wait to see it with my girls!!



I also cannot go to the Magic Kingdom without having a coffee.  Come on now, you know me better than that.


We scurried back to the hotel to check in to our room (it wasn't ready earlier) and then made our way over to the Boardwalk for dinner at Trattoria al Forno.  We had eaten here marathon weekend and it's a great place to get your carb load on the night before a race!

I LOVE the Boardwalk at night!

April joined us for the night so we picked her up and headed back to SSR to get some shut eye - we all had race retreat so our alarms were going off at 2am!!!

Thanks April for the pic!!

The DisBroads were representing as #TeamNemo for the Princess Half this year - we all met up outside of race retreat for pre-race hugs and, of course, an epic picture.


Suzanne and I dropped back to corral G with Wendy, who we had planned to stick with for the race.  Wendy, as you recall from my marathon recap, is fresh off a broken ankle, and her plan was to run in between water stops.  I was hoping to be able to keep up with her but I was really struggling (I had not run at all since the marathon), so when we made a potty stop around mile 3, Wendy went on her speedy way and Suzanne hung with me for the rest of the race.

We were a tad disappointed because the character stops were the EXACT same as they had been for the half marathon in January, and since Suzanne and I had #beentheredonethat, we decided to not stop for any pics and just get the race done.  In hind site, I wish we had stopped at the castle, but we still had a great time.  I could tell though that I had not run and I was feeling rather winded the whole race.  Around the 10 mile mark it occurred to me that I had the potential of scoring a Disney PR - my fastest half marathon at Disney.  My current record was the 2013 Disneyland Half at 2:48. I told Suzanne this and we she thought she might be in for one also, so at that point we got our butts in gear and took it on home.

We crossed the finish line at 2:47 - and I landed my new Disney PR.  I think it gives me a new goal moving forward - to take pics and still beat that time.

We took a load off in race retreat after we saw Wendy and gave her hugs - she had landed a PR as well!  After we got some food in us it was time to meet the rest of #TeamNemo outside of the Finding Nemo ride for yet another epic pic.  Before we headed back to SSR for showers we had to make a pit stop.

Yup, you guessed it.

After getting cleaned up it was time to celebrate - we met up with Patty and Julie for drinks and snacks at La Cava de Tequila before we headed in to the Magic Kingdom to round out the night.  I had a date with the Frozen sisters to show off my bling!!  This was their race, after all!

Striking a pose with Anna

Elsa didn't seem as impressed - I guess when you have powers like hers it takes more than a medal ;)

The next morning after breakfast it was time to head home.  I was gone a little over 48 hours and I have decided that is just WAY too short for a Disney trip!!  







Monday, February 16, 2015

Score Cool Mom Points with British Soccer Camp

Disclosure:  I am receiving a complimentary camp registration in exchange for my promotion of this event.  All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

Two weeks ago we signed Samantha up for the spring session of rec league soccer.  She's been playing soccer now for over 7 seasons and not only does she really enjoy it - she's pretty good at it!  I took dance as a kid so, naturally, I enrolled her in dance classes but she just thrives in soccer; it makes my mom heart happy to see her do so well and have fun at the same time.

Mr. SS and I have been toying with the idea of signing her up for the competitive league so this past summer we enrolled her in a week-long Challenger summer soccer camp to help her learn some higher-level skills.  She really enjoyed it and we were pleased to see her applying some of the skills she learned on the field this past fall.  We decided that we would sign her up for another week of camp this summer, and I was pleased to see on the website that there will be a session of British Soccer Camp near us in June!


Challenger British Soccer Camp is one of the most popular in North America with over 150,000 campers!  Samantha attended the evening session last summer but they also offer a daytime session in our area as well, so there are options for working parents besides the standard summer camp times.  The camp is geared towards ages 3-18 and works with players on improving their soccer skills, speed, and confidence.  Challenger provides a rare opportunity for these kids by providing coaching from a team of international experts right on our own backyard!  


Last summer Samantha received a t-shirt and a soccer ball with her registration.  This summer Challenger is offering a special early registration gift - a FREE British soccer jersey!  PLUS, if you enter the code FMG15 they will throw in a bonus water bottle!!

Check out this video:


Interested?!?!  You can find a session near you and register by visiting their website.  Don't forget to use the code FMG15 for a free water bottle!  We're very excited to see the new things Samantha will learn at British Soccer Camp this summer!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Goofy Challenge Part 2 - WDW Marathon Recap

#GoofyChallenge Day 2 - the WDW Marathon.  Warning - this is a long post.


If you missed it, here's part 1.

This was it.

Don't get me wrong - I had my concerns going into the half marathon the day before given my leg injury but I had run 9 half marathons before and I was pretty sure I would at least finish.  It might not be pretty, but I would finish.  The full marathon, on the other hand, was a whole different animal.

I had only run 1 marathon prior to this one - the 2013 WDW Marathon.  I went into that race, in my opinion, undertrained and I was not too pleased with my performance.  Well, this time I was just as undertrained, if not more so.  So that coupled with my injury - well, I was saying a lot of prayers in the corrals, let me just tell ya.

I actually got a really good sleep the night before so when my alarm went off at 2am, I got up and got myself ready and then Bonnie and I headed to catch the first bus so we could have a chance to enjoy race retreat.

Suzanne, Bonnie, and I in race retreat

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in my last post - but I LOVED race retreat!  And if I did say that, well, it bears repeating.  Not having to worry about bringing my pre-race fuel, having a warm spot to relax and eat, with private gear check and private port-a-potties and no lines?!?!  Sign me up.  I did not take any pictures that second morning because the same Toy Story characters were there and I honestly just wanted the time to sit and get myself mentally together.  Suzanne met us again and once we were ready, we met Amy and Wendy (Shannon had already gone to her corral) outside and headed to corrals.

That morning we made it over with enough time for me to take a load off before the race started.  Again, I was really nervous about the leg and it was getting into my head, so I sat on the ground and prayed for strength and tried to shake off the nerves.  I felt really bad, because I was the only one that had run a marathon before - I was supposed to be showing the others there was nothing to worry about - I'm hoping they didn't notice??  #friendfail  Next thing we knew, it was our turn, and we were off.  Bonnie was going to do her own thing but the rest of us decided to try to stick together as long as we could.

The first 6 miles or so was the same as the half marathon the day before, so I took some deep breaths and settled into our 2:1 ratio.  I was feeling surprisingly good.  We made a few potty stops and one pit stop inside the Magic Kingdom for Amy to get a picture with the Red Queen (she was dressed as Alice), and then we headed past the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian again but this time turned into the Walt Disney World Speedway.

With the dreaded "steep walkway ahead."  

I absolutely can't stand running in the speedway.  Two years ago, it was hot and sunny and I just felt like I was trudging through sludge running on that hot concrete.  This year it was considerably cooler and not as bad, but it's still one of my least favorite sections of the course.  Thankfully, once we got off the speedway we were headed for the Animal Kingdom and the halfway mark!  I was especially excited because I knew our friend Lisa was going to be there to cheer us on.

After passing by the most wonderfully smelling water treatment plant (note sarcasm there), we hit a med tent and a banana station and I did something I have never done before - I stopped at both.  My knees were starting to feel the 13.1 miles from the day prior so I slathered them with my new favorite, Bio Freeze.  I was also getting hungry and I knew that my race fuel wasn't going to cut it so I had a banana.  I had always worried about eating "real" food during a race and how it would sit on my stomach but it tasted really good going down and never revisited.  Not to jump ahead, but I ended up eating a banana at the second stop AND having a piece of chocolate at mile 23 and I felt SOOOOOOOOOO much better after this marathon than my first - so there's something to that and I will have to remember that for next time. 

Wait, what?  Next time?!?!  

Whoa, I'm REALLY jumping ahead now.

We hit Animal Kingdom and Amy and Wendy wanted to ride Everest (the park had just opened), so Suzanne and I waited and stretched while they rode and then we were on our way back out of the park, where Lisa was waiting for us with all sorts of goodies!

Pic courtesy of Moms Magical Miles
I gladly took some more Bio Freeze and reapplied some sunscreen.  Thanks Lisa!!!!!

Heading out of the Animal Kingdom parking lot onto Osceola Parkway we passed the mile 14 sign and I started to get excited - we were half way there!  This was my longest run in AWHILE and I was still feeling really good - perhaps I was actually going to pull this off!!!

I told the girls going into Osceola Parkway that this part of the course was by far one of the most boring runs I had ever been on.  Thankfully, we had each other to talk to and some rain to cool us off.  Plus, we knew from Lisa that Bonnie was about a half hour ahead of us so looking for her on the other side of the road was a delightful distraction!  Next thing we knew, we were turning into ESPN Wide World of Sports, and that's when we saw her!  It was a much needed boost to exchange some squeals and cheers!  

ESPN WWOS is probably my least favorite part of the course.  They had wet sponges waiting on us but honestly, it was so cool I really didn't want one, so I passed by.  I think having the girls to chat with was distracting me from the twists and turns inside ESPN.  We also had another banana station, which I took very willingly.  The volunteers were all very cheerful and encouraging, which helped as well.  It just seemed to pass by so quickly and I remember telling the girls on our way out that we had two stops left - Hollywood Studios and then home to Epcot!

We knew that once we hit Hollywood Studios we were safe from being swept, which was good because Wendy's ankle was starting to bother her so it was reassuring to know that we were not going to get pulled from the course.  Running down the entrance to Hollywood Studios, I recalled that the first time I ran the marathon two years ago, it was this point where I realized I WAS going to finish and I began crying.  This year was really no different - and my friends did the same.  I was so proud of us!  But we still had to fight through the crowds on the narrow walkway to the Boardwalk area - and by the time we fought that mess and passed by the Yacht and Beach Clubs, we were more than ready to be done.

Soon after we entered the World Showcase Wendy had to stop running - the pain had just become too much for her.  We were going to stop and all finish together but she insisted we go ahead and Amy stayed back with her, so Suzanne and I found ourselves alone as we headed to the finish.  I remembered from 2013 that this was the worst part - I was tired, my legs were hurting, my lungs were hurting, and I was ready to be done.  Surprisingly this year was MUCH different.  I WAS tired, but not near as much.  My legs did hurt a tad, but I was still able to run our 2:1 ratios and I believe we even picked up pace a bit.  And my lungs weren't screaming at me either.  I'm not sure what was different this go round but it was definitely a good different.  We were almost to the Mexico pavillion when we got a pleasant surprise - Mer and Brookr from Scootadoot had spotted us!!!  It was SO nice to get a hug and some cheers (along with a sip or two of a margarita) right towards the end - it was just the push we needed to take us home.

Pic courtesy of Scootadoot
6 hours and 38 minutes after starting, Suzanne and I crossed the finish line.  We had finished the Goofy Challenge.

Still shot of the live feed on the Disney Parks Blog 
Cue the ugly cry.  Cuz OH MAN was it ugly.

You can see it starting in this pic.  Side note - I did purchase this pic (all of them actually!) but I haven't downloaded it yet - whomp whomp

I wasn't supposed to do this, and yet, I did.  And I wasn't really in any more pain than I would expect after running 39.2 miles.  My doctor told me at my first visit that there was probably no way I would be physically capable of finishing both races.  But nothing motivates me better than a challenge ;)  I defied the odds - and I did it with my BRFs by my side.  I couldn't have asked for a better ending!!!


PS - I absolutely do not condone not following doctor's advice; they are the professionals for a reason!  Like I said, I defied the odds but my outcome could have been a lot different, in a BAD way.  Please always consult with a doctor when you have an injury and follow their instructions so you can come back even stronger!!