Friday, January 31, 2014

Down In New Orleans

In the South Land there's a city
Way down on the river
Where the women are very pretty
And all the men deliver

They got music
It's always playin'
Start in the day time, go all through the night

When you hear that music playin'
Hear what I'm saying, it make you feel alright

Grab somebody, come on down
Bring your paintbrush, we're paintin' the town
There's some sweetness goin' 'round
Catch it down in New Orleans
--"Down in New Orleans" from the movie Princess and the Frog, lyrics by Dr. John

Gosh I only hope my New Orleans story has a fairytale ending like Tiana's!

Well, not EXACTLY like Tiana's...more like this:

And I hope I don't have to kiss a frog to get it either!

I have been working since October towards a half marathon PR and this weekend is my chance to pull it off.  I just hope New Orleans is good to me because I'm not gonna lie - I want this so bad I can taste it.  Needless to say, I'm a little nervous leading into the weekend but I know I have done all I can do and now it's just time to run this thing.  Right now the weather is not looking ideal (scattered thunderstorms with a 60% chance of precipitation at the time I'm writing this, high temps in the low 70s with 89% humidity), but I think the temps will be low enough in the morning when we run that it won't be incredibly uncomfortable.  As long as it's not storming or pouring down rain, I will be happy.  I have packed my hat and a throw away t-shirt :)

It's going to be a short trip but we are still going to pack as much fun into the weekend as possible!  Make sure to check back next week for my recaps.  Until then - wish me luck!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Heroes Don't Just Run the St. Jude Marathon

Want to be a St. Jude Hero but think you can't because you can't make it to the St. Jude Memphis Marathon?

Or, looking at it another way:

Want to run a race but registration is already sold out?

The answer to both I questions is the same:  St. Jude Heroes run everywhere!!

The St. Jude Heroes program sponsors runners all over the country and it's easy to sign up - click here to get started!

Have a particular race in mind, say, Disney's Princess Half Marathon?

Simply search for the event name and you will find a link for that event taking you to that event's page.  From there you can contact the event's St. Jude representative about registration and see a list of fundraising options and benefits for that particular event.  The benefits levels can vary from race to race so you will want to be sure you look at the levels for the race you want!

Here is an example of the fundraising options; these are from this year's Princess Half:

As you can see, the more you raise, the more benefits you get!  As I said, the levels will differ from race to race but all the benefits go to the kids at St. Jude!  What could be more rewarding than that?? :)

You can also hit the "Show All" button to see all the races with Heroes spots available and pick one you'd like to run!  The choice is yours!

My buddy and fellow DisBroad Suzanne ran as a St. Jude Hero at the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November.  I can give you so many reasons why I think running for St. Jude is important but Suzanne summed it up pretty nicely here - thanks for being a Hero Suzanne!!!

So whatcha waiting for??  Why not join me as a St. Jude Hero??!!  Check it out today!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Preparing To Be a Princess

Final preparations are underway for the upcoming Princess Half Marathon Weekend!

The Smiths will be invading the Boardwalk in just 25 days - our dining reservations are made, Magical Express is reserved, and our Magic bands have arrived!

What's left?

Oh yeah, there's a few races that weekend, isn't there...

Me and all my fellow Princesses are waiting patiently for runDisney to release waivers and corral information, and even more importantly, the course maps!  I'm assuming that not much change will be made in the half marathon route from years prior, and thanks to my DisBroad pal Patty I was able to take a sneak peak at the course!  13.1 miles from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom and back - I can't wait!  Check out last year's course map here.  

Since I am running the Glass Slipper Challenge, I will also be participating in the Enchanged 10K on Saturday morning.  Again, no course map yet but the buzz amongst Facebook groups is that the course will be the same as or similar to the inaugural Minnie 10K course from Marathon Weekend.  6.2 miles around Epcot and the Boardwalk area - say, did I mention we are staying at the Boardwalk??!!  I think Mr. Smith Summary will have no excuse not to come out and bring the girls to cheer for me during that one!  

And last but certainly not the least in importance - MY princess is running that weekend also!  Samantha is participating in her first 200m dash Kids Races and according to runDisney's website these races are taking place at Epcot this year!  Previously they have been at the ESPN Wide World of Sports so I'm curious if that's a typo or if it's for real - and yay for us if it is since we will be super close!  Samantha is even getting her own costume - I'll have spoilers on all our costumes soon!

Even though I am no longer a runDisney newbie, I am still a newbie to Princess Weekend so thankfully my other DisBroad Pal Julie has a BUNCH of helpful information on her blog for other first time Princesses like myself!  Click here to get all the deets on stuff from character stops to potties!

I am feeling prepared and ready for what is guaranteed to be an awesome weekend!  If you have been to Princess Half Weekend before, please leave some tips and suggestions for us first time Princesses!

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Color Run Kaleidoscope Tour Giveaway

I have received two The Color Run entries to giveaway in exchange for my promotion of the event; all opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

Didn't win my #RunCMM giveaway?  

Never fear - I have another race entry to giveaway!!!

I ran The Color Run for the first time back in 2012 - they call it the happiest 5K on the planet and it couldn't be more true!  I had a blast that morning and I was sneezing blue for days afterwards - LOL.  I was sad to miss the Memphis race this last year due to a scheduling conflict but I am anxiously awaiting the release of the 2014 date for their Kaleidoscope Tour!

I am honestly not that in to "gimmick" runs as I call them but this one really was fun and even though Sam did not run with me two years ago, I saw many younger kids running with their parents so I think this year I will get her to join me for some messy, healthy fun!

The Kaleidoscope Tour is headed your way soon!  This year promises to be even bigger and better before with new all new participant swag - t-shirts, headbands, wristbands, and sling bags!

Would you like a free entry for you and a friend?? :)

I am giving away two free The Color Run entries to the city of your choice!  Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.  All winning entries will be verified.  Only open to cities not currently sold out or those that take place prior to giveaway end.  Good luck!

Oh, and if you aren't one of my lucky winners, you can still save $5 on your registration by using the code COLOR5OFF - click here to sign up!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

#RunCMM Giveaway Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway!!!  

The winners are...

One free registration to either the St. Jude Country Music Marathon or Half Marathon:

Country Music Marathon Mason Jar-shaped Tumblers:

Congratulations to all my winners and thank you so much for entering!!!  I will be in touch with the winners regarding their prizes.

And, just in case you forgot, you can still use my code to get $10 off registration for this event!

Monday, January 20, 2014

What's For Dinner?

I have received a free subscription to eMeals in exchange for my honest review; all thoughts, as always, are 100% my own.

I'm sure that I am not the only person that struggled to answer this question on a daily basis.  I have tried my hand at meal planning in order to prepare (hopefully in advance) healthy, delicious meals for my family while saving money at the grocery store.  And for the most part I have never really been successful at it because - let's face it - meal planning takes time and I just don't have that kind of time most weeks.  We'd end up picking some fast fix meals at the store because, well, they were fast to fix and didn't require me to plan in advance.  I am certainly not very proud of the fact that I have fed my family "junk" as a way to save time.  So, as part of my Succeed in 2014 goals, I wanted to do better with meal planning and preparing in advance so I could be more proud of what I was putting on the table.

That being said, I am still a working mom and with my recent promotion I have been doing the job of two people while my old position was being filled so I knew that when it came to meal planning, I was going to need some help.  And that's where eMeals comes in.

eMeals offers 3, 6, or 12 month meal planning subscriptions that are delivered right to your email inbox and/or smart phone each week.  Each week's plan provides you with 7 meals to choose from along with a grocery store shopping list.  If there is a meal you don't think your family will like, you can skip it and the ingredients for that meal will be removed from your list - it's extremely easy to use!  They also have a wide variety of meal plans to chose from, from traditional to low cal, even paleo and a clean eating plan, which is the one I chose.

We set off for the store with our first week's plan in hand and did not spend a significant amount more than we usually would, and we had more fresh fruits and vegetables in our cart so I was getting more quality foods for my buck.  I spent about 30 minutes prepping the week's meals to save us time on busy week nights.  The first dish I made was a vegetarian dish actually called Rustic Bean, Orzo, and Kale soup and it was a pretty big hit at the Smith house!

I was shocked to watch Samantha eat kale - and actually like it!  And Mr. Smith Summary ate two helpings!  If that wasn't enough, I doubled the recipe and froze some to save for another busy night, rather than resorting to take out.  I know my wallet will be thanking me for that one!

The meals are easily adaptable to your tastes also.  When I made the Easy Greek Chicken Nachos I left off the olives because no one in our house will eat them.

We ate on the "fine" china that night.  No shame here.

And they were still delish!

I can't even begin to tell you how much better I feel about the meals I am putting on the table and how much less stressful dinner time has become, all thanks to eMeals!  I can't wait to share more about their meal plans with you!  Feel free to check out their website by clicking on the eMeals picture on the right!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Weekend Splurger

I received Vega One shakes to try through the Sweat Pink Ambassador program; all opinions are, as always, 100% my own.

I have a confession to make.

I am a weekend splurger.

Yup, it's true.  I tend to really watch what I eat during the week but when the weekend hits, everything is fair game.  For example, I had a really rough week at work last week and Mr. Smith Summary thought I deserved a sweet treat and brought home cupcakes on Friday.  8 of them.  Do you want to know how many are left??

Well, I'm not telling because I am too embarrassed to admit to eating that many cupcakes in three days.  Needless to say, I was feeling like a fat kid Monday and needed to reset things.

Enter Vega One and their #OneChange initiative.

Why #OneChange?  Vega One realizes that there are no quick fixes when it comes to managing your weight but using a Vega One shake is a quick and easy way to ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs - it's #OneChange you can make towards making better nutrition decisions.  Vega One shakes are a clean, plant-based whole food protein with Omega-3s, probiotics, greens, antioxidants, and more.  It is dairy, gluten, and soy free and contains no added sugars, artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors and is available in French Vanilla, Berry, Chocolate, Vanilla Chai, and Natural flavor.  The directions state to mix with water, juice, or other non-dairy beverage of your choice.  

I received the French Vanilla flavor to try.  In the interest of keeping it real I will tell you that I did not enjoy my first experience with Vega One - I mixed it with the amount of water specified but it was too sweet and I found it lacking the "shake" or "smoothie" consistency I was expecting.  The directions though also said you could mix the powder into your favorite smoothie recipe so I decided to give this a try next and I have to say it was MUCH better this way.

I enjoy a quick smoothie made with frozen berries and protein powder so this time instead of my usual vanilla flavored powder I substituted the Vega One.  I made this smoothie quickly before heading to volunteer at Samantha's school and it held me over until lunch time!  Plus I got the satisfaction from knowing that I had made #OneChange towards undoing my weekend cupcake binging, despite my busy schedule.

If you are interested in trying Vega One, check out their website here!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#RunCMM Giveaway!

Disclaimer:  As a Rock 'n' Blog Ambassador I will receive free race registration in exchange for my promotion of the event.  As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

It's giveaway time!!!

If you have been on the fence about signing up for the St. Jude Country Music Marathon and 1/2 presented by Nissan, well, now you have no excuse not to because I am giving one lucky reader a FREE race entry!!!

That's right!  Join me in the capital of my beautiful state on April 26th as we race to support the kids of St. Jude!  Simply follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.  One grand prize winner will receive a free entry to either the half or full marathon (their choice)!  And since I want to spread the #RunCMM love, 4 other lucky readers will receive this adorbs CMM mason jar-shaped tumbler!

And don't forget - you can still use my code to receive $10 off your registration fee!

Good luck everyone!

US residents only.  Winner of free registration will receive discount code at the end of the giveaway; tumblers will be mailed to winners.  All winning entries will be verified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 13, 2014

We Can Be Heroes

"We can be heroes, just for one day" -David Bowie

So I made a big commitment this weekend - I re-enlisted as a St. Jude Hero for the St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon in April!

I am rallying the troops again for #TeamAnnabelle and this time, I have my sights set on a bigger purse.    With the help of my family and friends (that includes all of you, of course!) I was able to not only meet my $500 goal for the St. Jude Memphis Marathon but exceed it by $250!  So this time I'm ready to push the envelope - I have set my goal at $1000.  I only have a little over 100 days until race day so this doesn't give me much time but I know with your help I can make it!  Click here to visit my fundraising page :)

You may remember that I am participating in the St. Jude Country Music Marathon and 1/2 presented by Nissan as a race ambassador but that doesn't mean I can't still don my Hero suit and raise money for the kids at St. Jude!  This time I am participating in the Heroes program as a Classic level Hero - meaning I am not committing to a specific amount, just raising as much as I can.  This level does not provide some of the perks of the bronze, silver, or gold registration but it is just as rewarding!  Here is a breakdown of the incentives for each fundraising level:

The Heroes program is still offering spots in all 4 fundraising levels for the Country Music Marathon and 1/2 so it's not too late to get in on the action!  If you are interested in participating click here to get to the Heroes main page and select the Country Music Marathon and 1/2 in the events list.  If you would like more information on what it means to run as a St. Jude Hero, click here.  I hope you'll consider donning your Hero suit and joining me in Nashville in April!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

In With The New Year January Virtual Races

I was provided free entry into the Jost Running Virtual Race Series for December in exchange for my blog review of the race process and medals.   All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.

Looking to add more bling to your collection in the new year?

Jost Running has a brand new set of virtual races this month to start 2014 off on the right foot!  Take a look at the medals for their January races:

The 5K and 10K medal

The half and full marathon medal

Just like last month I was amazed at the quality of both of these!  I cannot wait to earn them!  As a matter of fact, my 5K is coming up this Friday!  

Don't forget, just because this is a virtual race, you still get a bib!  Here is mine:

Pretty huh??  I love it!

Here are the dates for the races this month but remember, with Jost Running these are not set in stone - and all the miles do not have to be completed all at once!  That's the beauty of virtual races!

5K:  January 4-11
Half marathon:  January 12-18
10K:  January 19-25
Full marathon:  January 26-February 1

There's still time to sign up!  Head on over to their website and use the code COUNTDOWN to receive 10% off your registration!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Succeed in 2014

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are settling back into your usual routines.  Or perhaps creating a new routine for the new year?  Did you make a resolution to do that?

Speaking of resolutions, for the first time in many years I actually don't have any.  Rather, I decided to pick a single word to define how my year was going to go - so I decided today to share that with all of you.


I have several goals and plans for this year - some are home related, some work, others running and even a few pertaining to this here blog - and I certainly hope to succeed in all of of them.  

I don't want to bombard you with all these plans and goals today but rest assured I will be bringing you guys along on the journey!  Are you hoping to succeed in 2014??  We can motivate and support each other!

QOTD:  If you had to pick one word to describe your year, what would it be?