Monday, September 30, 2013

Tad: The Lost Explorer Giveaway Winner

I know you guys are here looking for my Women's Half recap - sorry to disappoint!!  I am not very happy with my performance so when I'm done pouting I'll recap; check back with me tomorrow :(

In the meantime, my giveaway for "Tad:  The Lost Explorer" has ended!  And the winner is....

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations Bonnie!!  I will be in touch to get your deets :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Time to #RunWRSNashville!!

Remember these???

Today I'm heading to Nashville to earn those boots!  I'm really excited to be running in my second Women's Running Half Marathon.  Last year, this race was my first half marathon EVER (recap here).  Now that I have a few under my belt, this one I am running with a goal in mind - a coveted PR.

My half PR time stands right now at 2:28 from the Germantown Half Marathon back in March.  I am hoping to better that time by at least 5 minutes tomorrow morning.  I'd like a sparkly new PR time to present with hopes of better corral placement for the Wine and Dine Half in November and the Glass Slipper Challenge in February.  My run last weekend was 10 miles at a great pace - if I can just repeat that tomorrow, I'll be a happy girl!  

Wish me luck and I'll be back on Monday with a full report!!!

QOTD:  What was your first half marathon??

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Treat Your Feet!

Disclosure:  These socks were provided to me to review by Kindrunner; and while I am a Kindrunner Ambassador and think they are a great company, I was not otherwise compensated for the review and all opinions, as always, are 100% my own!

Being a runner, I know the importance of having the proper gear for my runs.  I do appreciate a good deal, but sometimes it's better to go with the more expensive product if it is of a better quality.  Good thing for us thrifty folk, quality running gear does not always come with a hefty price tag!!!

Thanks to my friends at Kindrunner, I recently had the opportunity to try Feetures Elite socks with light cushion and a no show tab.  They sent me the pretty electric green ones with silver trim!

Feetures socks are different from any other pair of socks I have tried because they have an anatomical design for each foot - see how they are labeled in my pic?  This ensures you have the best fit possible to reduce your risk of blisters.  The Power Arch (patent pending) is designed to provide you with support where you need it the most.  They are made if iWick fibers to keep your feet dry and odor-free and a high-density cushioning to provide extra support for high impact areas.  Seriously, these things are SOOOO comfy, it's almost like you are not even wearing socks.  There is no irritating toe seam either.  There are front and back tabs and also one under the ankle to protect your feet from chaffing and to keep the sock from sliding around in your shoes but you can't see them!

I took these babies out for a 5 mile run when I got them and I am a HUGE fan.  I could definitely feel the cushioning and loved the extra comfort that provided!  I am also a big fan because Feetures is a family-owned and operated USA company - MADE in the USA folks!  And the best part - these awesome socks won't break the bank either!  You can pick up a pair on Kindrunner's website for only $11, or $10.45 if you go with their Confident Runner Pricing.  Don't forget - shipping is always FREE :)  Click on my Ambassador link to the right to get started!

I can't wait to add more of these socks to my collection!  Maybe I'll go with Camellia with violet trim next time ;)

QOTD:  What are your favorite pair of running socks?  Ever tried Feetures??

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Recap - Part 4

Are you pic overloaded yet??  I sure hope not because I have MORE to share!!!!!

Sunday morning began with another early wake-up call to get ready for the Disneyland Half Marathon!!!  I once again met my PbRC friends at the crosswalk and we walked over together, much like the morning before.

I met up with Ashley again and we hung out before heading over to the corrals.  She snapped this pic for me:

I'm an Original Mouseketeer!!!

Unlike the previous morning they began ushering us into corrals WELL before the race start time; like, an hour before.  I appreciate their attention to this since we were very rushed the day before - but we stood around for awhile and then people just kept coming and there was no room for them.  Luckily, Ashley and I managed to find our way to the front of Corral D and there I joined up with the PbRC pace group I was planning to run with that day.

My peeps!

Also unlike the previous morning we had a fireworks start to the race!!! 

You like my pic??  Pic Collage, where have you been all my life!!!

Once Corral D hit the starting line our group was off running!  Race goal = PR in fun and try to finish before 3 hours ;)  Like the previous day's 10K, we entered California Adventure at the 2 mile mark, coming in behind the Tower of Terror.  This time though, the route took us through Paradise Pier and then over to Cars Land so we got to come up the main strip looking at Radiator Springs Racers.

Cars Land at sunrise

The run through California Adventure was otherwise very similar to the day before and at mile 3 we found ourselves entering Disneyland - this time through the front entrance!  Our  group stopped for several pics in here - TOO much fun!

Sadly our time in the parks was short and at mile 4 we entered the streets of Anaheim.  I had been told from folks that had run this race previously that this part of the course is pretty boring and I'll admit - it wasn't as fun as being in the parks, but it honestly wasn't that bad.  Maybe because I was running with a great group of people??  I didn't really get bored.  We were talking and cutting up and having a good time.  Before we knew it we came upon the class cars, reminiscent of the ones I saw at the Disney World Marathon in January.  

Even though the street of Anaheim did not have the magic of the Disney parks, there was plenty of on course entertainment, including every high school cheerleading squad and band within a 50 mile radius ;)  Seriously, all joking aside, there were LOTS of them!  Plus there were some other dancing groups as well.  I didn't really get any pics of them but I promise you, there were folks out there cheering for us!  At mile 8 we came upon the Honda Center, home of NHL's Anaheim Ducks.

I'd be lying if I told you I didn't crack a "flying V" joke right here

It was after the Honda Center that we hit my least favorite part of the course - a gravel side road.  There was also a sharp drop down into a deep ditch with no side rails on part of the road to protect you from falling.  I think runDisney should really consider putting up their own barriers there or rerouting around that road because it's an accident waiting to happen!!  At least it was short lived.

And then a mile later we hit Anaheim Stadium, home of MLB's Anaheim Angels!

You could see that "A" getting bigger and bigger!

I wasn't sure what to expect when running around Angels Stadium since I honestly wasn't impressed with Champion Stadium during the marathon in January but this time was much different - the stands were PACKED with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and all kinds of spectators with signs!  It was definitely the boost we needed to head towards the finish!

At mile 12 we re-entered California Adventure behind the Tower of Terror - and look who was there???!!!

Peggy Sue!!!!  Thanks Peggy Sue for cheering for us always!!

Home stretch!!!  We came down the back side of California Adventure and exited the park near Paradise Pier hotel, making our way to the finish line next to the Disneyland Hotel.  I never set out to PR this race as I have said before and I was very pleased that even with all the stops we made, we finished in 2:48!! 

And then there was the bling.... :)  I brought my marathon medal along for the photo op!!!  

Unlike Saturday my chEAR squad joined up with me at the finish line.  My left knee had been a little painful during the race (I think I stepped funny) so I hit the medical tent for some ice and was lucky enough to snag one of the final bags they had!!  I sat down for a few minutes with the ice on my knee and drank the chocolate milk that Owen brought.  My chEAR squad wanted to go to the Rainforest Cafe for breakfast so I got up and we headed that way and my knee actually felt pretty good so the ice had definitely helped!

I typically don't eat for awhile after a race like that but for some reason, we got to the Rainforest Cafe and I was famished.  I had a yummy caramel coffee frozen drink and this deliciousness:

Yes, I ate every last bite

I was worried that I was going to be one of the only runners stinking up the place right after the race but there were lots of us there enjoying the good food! 

After breakfast Owen and I headed back to the hotel while my sis and BIL hit the parks again.  I stuck my feet in an ice bath before I had my shower and then I immediately laid down for a nap - I wanted to really enjoy our last night so I thought some rest would help me feel more refreshed and I was right.  I woke up relaxed, not achy, and ready to go!  We headed to Disneyland first and hit a few attractions before we had to go back to the hotel to freshen up for our celebration dinner.

One last shot of the castle!  This is one of my favorites!

The Petrified Tree 

The story behind the petrified tree:  it comes from the Pike Petrified Forest in Colorado and was given to Lillian Disney by her husband Walt as a gag gift for their 31st wedding anniversary.  She told him she wanted a bigger "rock" - and this is what she got!  I'm glad to see Walt had a sense of humor ;)

I liked the land version much better than the world!

Dinner - I wanted something GOOD to celebrate.  I did my research and decided upon Napa Rose at the Grand Californian Hotel.  We had reservations at 6pm and walked right in to our table.  The restaurant was  SO beautiful, the service was fabulous and the food was delicious.

YUM - filet with roasted country corn and grilled new potatoes - the filet usually comes with a cheesy risotto and they were happy to make a substitution for me!

After dinner, to close out our AWESOME weekend, we had Fast Passes for World of Color back at California Adventure, so we headed on over to take our seats!

These pictures do not do this show justice y'all - hands down one of my favorite things all weekend!  And I'll admit, I cried during it because it was that awesome but it also meant my awesome weekend was ending :(

Well, you know what they say - all good things must come to an end.  Early Monday morning our car arrived to pick us back up and take us to the airport and after a full day of travel I was back home with my girls Monday night.  I missed them SO much but we truly had an AWESOME (how many times can I say that??) trip.  The land is definitely different from the world but in great ways; I hope I can talk Mr. Smith into letting us go back again next year... ;)

QOTD:  If you've ever seen World of Color, tell me your favorite part!  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Movie Night with the Girls

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Samantha asks me all the time if we can have movie night on Saturday nights.  This is always a fun activity to do as a family; we'll pop some popcorn, maybe bake some cookies and sit down and all watch a movie together - Samantha likes to pick so it's usually a girlie cartoon movie of some sort ;)  Morgan is getting to the age where she likes to watch movies too; she might not sit through the whole thing but she wants to do whatever Samantha is doing so she'll sit through most of it at least!

I was given the opportunity to review a new movie called "Tad:  The Lost Explorer" from Gaiam Vivendi so knowing my girls' love for movie night I jumped at the chance!  The movie features the voice talents of Ariel Winter (from "Sophia the First") and Cheech Marin and music from One Direction, so I thought it would be a movie the whole family could relate to :)  We sat down Saturday night for family movie night and popped in the movie!

I don't want to give away too much of the plot so a brief synopsis:

Tad's one true mission in life is to be an archaeologist like his father.   Instead, he's getting by in his life as a construction worker until one day he is mistaken for a famous archaeologist friend of his and he gets whisked off to Peru with half of a sacred tablet "key."  Tad meets up with Sarah (Winter), the daughter of another professor and archaeologist who has the other half of the tablet.  The tablet is the key to the Lost City of Paititi, where people are immortal and rich.  In true Indiana Jones-like fashion, there is a group of evil treasure hunters who want to get to it first, so they kidnap Sarah's dad to make him help them find the city.  Tad and Sarah go after them and are tasked with beating the bad guys to the lost city and saving Sarah's father.  

I have to say we were overall very pleased with the movie!  It is a little over an hour long and really held our attention throughout the entire movie.  I think having familiar voices and the music from One Direction really helped but the story line is really cute, although it sounds just like an Indiana Jones movie (Tad even wears a hat like him, see above).  I was worried about this movie interesting the kids but Samantha has already asked to watch it two more times - apparently, it's a winner with her :)

"Tad:  The Lost Explorer" will be available on Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack (as well as regular Blu-Ray and DVD) and digitally on October 8th exclusively at Walmart and Sam's Club.  But you guys are in luck because I have the pleasure of giving away a copy before it's available to the public!!!  Think Christmas stocking stuffer if you will; if you have kids (and even if you don't!), you're sure to enjoy this movie.  For your chance to win follow directions in the Rafflecopter below.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Yup, That Really Happened

What is that you ask??


I am headed to Wine and Dine folks!!  I am so excited - I am going this one alone and am looking forward to a girls' weekend with the DisBroads!!  And it just so happens that I needed to run 14 miles that day anyways for St. Jude training so it's a win-win!

What makes this even better is that I have the honor of running this race for a cause - the Christopher DeRemer Memorial Fund.  The fund was started in memory of Christopher, an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran and a member of the Army National Guard who lost his life to cancer.  The charity aids military members and their families who are impacted by catastrophic illness and/or injury not necessarily as a result of their service.  I feel a personal connection to this cause because I have several family members who have served in the military; knowing that if something happened to them that there are resources to support them AND us as well makes me love this cause all that much more.

If you would like to make a donation to this great charity, please click the button below!

Or you can simply fill out this form :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Healthy Convenience Foods - They DO Exist!

Disclosure:  Wendy's has sponsored this post but all opinions, as always, are 100% my own!

So it's no big secret that I like to try to eat healthy - we've talked about that a lot, haven't we??

It's also no big secret that I am a busy working mom and sometimes I don't have time to sit down and make a meal for my family.  And while you can't beat the convenience that fast food chains offer, I have always felt that most of them were lacking somewhat in the nutrition department.  Not everyone wants to eat burgers and fries folks!!

I was really excited earlier this year when Wendy's offered their grilled chicken flatbread sandwiches.  The Smoky Honey Mustard was my favorite - and with only 370 calories - it was a great hamburger alternative for people like me that need the convenience but try to keep it as healthy as possible!  I was really sad to see them disappear from the menu but guess what folks - they're BAAAAACCCKKKK!!!

For a limited time only the Grilled Chicken Flatbreads are back on the menu!!!  The Asiago Ranch Flatbread comes in at 530 calories and 30g of fat (8g saturated) - it is topped with natural asiago cheese, applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes, a spring mix, and ranch sauce.  My favorite, the Smoky Honey Mustard, comes in at only 370 calories 15g fat (2g saturated) - it is topped with the spring mix, tomatoes, and their smokey honey mustard sauce.  They are customizable too - if there's something you don't like, ask 'em to leave it off!  Wendy's is cool like that.

You know how else Wendy's is cool like that???  They are celebrating the return of the flatbreads with their #6SecondsFlat Flatbread sweepstakes!  Tell Wendy’s what you think about their flatbreads in a Vine or Instagram video then send it to @Wendys (through Twitter, Instagram or Vine) with the #6SecondsFlat tag and then my custom hashtag #thesmithsummary6 (very important that you use my hashtag, ok??!!) Each week of September, one lucky winner will be randomly selected to receive a $6000 prize.  I can think of a LOT I could do with that prize - UHM, hello Christmas!  Wendy's is also hand-picking the best video entries to be featured on their contest website.  You could be famous!!!  

For more information about the contest and for the official rules, click here.

And to give you some inspiration, here is MY video!!
She's such a goober ;)

 Good luck and happy eating!!!

QOTD:  Link up your video in the comments when you enter - I'd love to see it!!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tales of the Room Mom - Boosterthon Fun Run

Last Friday Samantha's school participated in the Boosterthon Fun Run to raise money for their school.  I was off that day and so happy that I got to attend the event.  Watching all the kids run was TOO cute!

They called each class out one by one - they all ran and cheered, they were so excited!

Getting ready to run!

You could pledge either a set amount or per lap that the child ran with a max of 35 laps.  The weather was cooler that morning and I only wish I could've joined them!

There she goes!

More action shots - she was all smiles the whole time!

So proud of my little runner!!!

Me and my girl after the run

As the kids completed each lap, they ran by their "coach" (teacher), who marked off each lap on the back of their shirt.

All 35 laps - that's my girl!!!

I think this was a really great event; not only was it an easy way to raise funds for the school, but the kids really got to be involved and do something good for them!  I can't wait for them to do it again next year!

And of course, with all that running, someone worked up a hearty appetite:

My lunch date!

QOTD:  What is the coolest fundraiser your child has ever done for their school?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Recap - Party 3

I warned you guys this would be a multi-parter; we're just getting to the good stuff now!!

Saturday morning my alarm went off bright and early so I could get ready for the Inaugural Disneyland 10K. I met some PbRC friends at the crosswalk to the main Disneyland entrance so we could hike to the pre-race area together.  It was about a 20 minute walk to the starting line from the Harbor Avenue hotels but we all talked on the way there; it was neat chatting with folks in person that I have only talked to online!

Once we arrived in the pre-race area we all huddled for the mandatory group picture and waited for the 5K to start so we could enter the corrals.

The stage in the pre-race area

Peggy Sue!  I told ya you'd see her again.  I just LOVE her signs!

Ready to go!!!

Unfortunately I don't think runDisney thought the whole back-to-back races through very well because it took AWHILE for the corral area to clear out so that the 10K runners could enter.  The race was scheduled to start at 6:15am and we were not in corrals until less than 10 minutes prior.  Not always a bad thing because no one wants to stand around in corral just waiting but still - there was not a lot of standing around, an outstanding trumpeter played the national anthem and then - we were off!!!  And I mean that quite literally - we thought they were going one corral at a time but they weren't so it wasn't long before we crossed the starting line.

The first mile of the race took us outside the Disneyland parks in Anaheim, by the Anaheim Convention Center.  The convention center had just played host to the D23 expo a few weeks prior and they still had some signs up!  

Beautiful California sunrise over the convention center!

We entered Disney's California Adventure Park first, coming in behind the Tower of Terror.  I was most excited about this part because we had not made it to California Adventure the day before so it was my first time inside this park!  We entered the park behind the Tower of Terror and came down through Cars Land - and I have to give it to Disney - Cars Land looks JUST LIKE THE MOVIE.  True story.

After running through Cars Land we headed over to Paradise Pier - just a stunning sight!!!

Afterwards, we entered Buena Vista street and ran by Carthay Circle restaurant before heading down into Hollywood Land and running by the front of the Tower of Terror before heading into Disneyland.

Entering Main Street USA and running towards the castle gives you such an adrenaline rush, no matter which park you are in!!!  

Seeing this was humbling - this is where it all began!!!

Hello again castle!

The Matterhorn!

It's A Small World

We ran through the backstage area of Disneyland where they had some of the decorations and floats out from Mickey's Halloween Party, as well as the barns where the horses are kept.  Yup, they have horses at Disneyland too folks!

Then we headed back into Disneyland through Toon Town.  Toon Town is no more at the world and after running through it at the land, I kinda miss it!

Then it was the time every runner waits for - running through the castle!!!

Back side of the castle

We then ran by the Rivers of America, right by the spot where I had watched Fantasmic the night before:

That's a big boat!

We then exited Disneyland and ran through Downtown Disney towards the finish line next to the Disneyland Hotel.  This may sound crazy but running through Downtown Disney was one of my favorite parts!  Spectators were rather limited in the parks but here in Downtown anyone could come cheer, and trust me, there were LOTS of people there!

See?  There's Peggy Sue again!!!  She was right next to the Mile 6 marker

Running towards the hat!  We turned right next to it towards the finish line.

Finish line in sight!!!

A respectable 1:20 finish.  I never set out to hit any PRs out there, except maybe a PR in fun, which I am pleased to say I accomplished!  And check out who else was running the Dumbo Double Dare that weekend:

Yup, it's Ali Vincent, the first female winner of the Biggest Loser!  Just love her!

And finally, the bling:

So pretty!!!  I love how the medal has Inaugural at the top - definitely one of my favorites!

Oh, and one last stop to make before heading back to the hotel to shower:

Then there were two!  

They made sure to inform runners before the weekend that you would have to get the Dumbo Double Dare wristband after the 10K or you would NOT get your Dumbo medal after finishing the half marathon on Sunday.  I'm pretty sure they did this to ensure that you earned said medal, and I think this was a good idea.

I told my chEAR squad that they didn't have to come to the 10K because I knew it wouldn't be very long so I called Owen as I was heading back towards the hotel but he was headed to meet up with me!   AND he brought me a lovely iced coffee (told ya I had a problem).  We walked back to the hotel and I got a shower before we headed out for more fun at the parks.  Since Owen hadn't been to California Adventure, that is where we spent our time.

That bottom left picture was my lunch - a turkey leg!!!  And it was DELISH!!!

It was BLOODY hot in California - everyone kept saying how the weather was unusually warm, so after we ate lunch I decided it would be best if I had a nap so Owen and I headed back to the hotel while my sister and BIL took off for more park hopping.  We met up with them for dinner in Downtown at Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen.  Our original plan had been to eat at the Italian restaurant (ya know, so I could carb load) but when we got there a little after 5pm they had a TWO HOUR WAIT.  UHM, no thanks.  Owen and I had grabbed Fast Passes for Radiator Springs Racers and we had to be back to ride that at 8:45pm so I knew that would be pushing it so we opted to walk across the way to Ralph Brennan's and it was one of the best choices we made all weekend!    

The views from our balcony table, and then views from the ground looking up at the restaurant

I scanned the menu before we walked in and saw they had a chicken pasta on the menu - sounded perfect for carb loading!  I had that and they also brought me some birthday beignets!  They even melted a candle to the plate and lit it and sang to me - and those things were SOOOOO yummy too.  Definitely glad we ended up eating there!

Before Owen and I headed back to California Adventure I had to stop at the Grand Californian Hotel to meet DisBroad Patty!!!  

She's super awesome - SO glad I got to meet her in person!!!

And the Grand Californian Hotel - WOW.  Just WOW is all I can say.

We headed back over to California Adventure and killed time in Paradise Pier while waiting to use our Fastpasses.  We rode Toy Story Midway Mania and Owen smoked me (yeah, I'll admit to that, but look, my accuracy was WAY better than his!!).  Then we headed over to Radiator Springs to ride the Racers and if I have to say anything about California, it's that you MUST.RIDE.THIS.RIDE.  Yes, just plan ahead and do it, ok?

We also rode Luigi's Tires which was neat but by that time it was getting late and I had an even earlier wake-up call the next morning so it was back to the hotel for bed!  But first, time to lay out flat Kristen:

Can you guess this costume??? :)

Next up - we'll recap the half marathon and out last day at Disneyland!!!