Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day

I cringe when I hear people say they don’t eat breakfast.  For me, breakfast sets the stage for how I’m going to feel the rest of the day.  If I eat poorly, I’m going to feel bad all day.  You know the tired, dragging feeling I’m talking about.  If I eat correctly, I will usually have plenty of energy to sustain me.  Also, I am more likely to make proper food choices for the remainder of the day if I start the day off right.  But what exactly is eating correctly?

After almost an entire lifetime of dieting and trying different “food formulas” the one thing I’ve taken away from all that is what a good breakfast is for me.  It’s a balance of protein and carbs and consists of three things.  I’ll have a protein item like fat free yogurt, a hard boiled egg or a piece of cheese (about 1 ounce).  I’ll also have a fruit, usually an apple or a banana or sometimes berries to go in my yogurt.  Finally, I’ll add an entree like a granola bar, granola if I’m having yogurt, or oatmeal.  I also read lables and try to make sure my entree has a decent amount of protein as well.  Since I run and walk quite a bit, I like to sneak in as much protein as possible so my muscles have something to build with as I’m working out. 

This has been a great formula for many years for me but recently I realized I wasn’t getting enough fiber.  I’ll spare you the story of how I realized this.  You’re welcome.  In doing my research I found out that most women don’t get enough fiber.  As if they could read my mind, Bzz Agent contacted me about participating in their Fiber One Meal Bars campaign.  They sent me two boxes of Fiber One Meal Bars to try, chocolate peanut butter and strawberry greek yogurt. 

Fiber One Meal Bars

Fiber One Meal Bars

Yum!  I immediately knew these meal bars would become my breakfast entree.  When I got the boxes, I was drawn to the 10 grams of protein just as much as the 9 grams of fiber.  I was pretty much sold on them when I tasted them.  They are both delicous but the strawberry greek yogurt is my absolute favorite!  I love the convenience of them, too.  I usually pop one in my handbag to either eat on the way to work or at my desk when I get to work. 

Fiber One Meal Bars are great for on the go.

Fiber One Meal Bars are great for on the go.

In case you are wondering, I have found the added fiber to be helpful as well.  I only have one bar left of the free ones they sent me, and I will definitely be buying more this weekend!

Disclosure:  I received free products and coupons because I’m a Bzz Agent.  All opinions are my own, as always.

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Disney Cruise Line Room Service

Hundreds, maybe thousands of families are just like mine these days, anxiously awaiting the release of the Disney Cruise Line itineraries for the remainder of 2015.  My family and I are getting ready to book our third Disney Cruise as soon as bookings open, and the suspense is killing me!

The famous Disney Cruise Line horn on the Dream

The famous Disney Cruise Line horn on the Dream

Where are the ships going?  What will the itineraries be?  Most importantly, what is it going to cost?  While we wait, I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite things about a Disney cruise, included room service!

Yep, most items on the room service menu (packaged snacks, canned sodas, bottled water, and alcohol excluded) are available 24 hours a day and are included in your cruise fare (don’t forget to tip the delivery person).  Just like the rest of the food on a Disney cruise, it’s delicious, too!  My family loves room service primarily for the unlimited Mickey ice cream bars (not on the menu but they’ll bring them) and my very favorite thing they call All Hands On Deck.

All Hands on Deck cheese plate and Mickey ice cream bar from room service

All Hands on Deck cheese plate and Mickey ice cream bar from room service

It’s a fruit, cheese and cracker plate, which hits the spot as an afternoon snack with a glass of wine while getting ready for the evening.  I’ve spent several early evenings noshing on this very thing while sitting on my veranda watching the sky dim.

My favorite afternoon snack aboard a Disney ship

My favorite afternoon snack aboard a Disney ship

It’s definitely one of my happy places.

We also love room service for breakfast when we either don’t feel like getting dressed right away for breakfast or we are in a hurry to get off the ship to begin our day in whatever the port of call is that day.  In addition to the regular menu (which again is available 24 hours a day) there is a card you can hang on your door the night before with your selections and desired delivery time.  It’s a continental-type breakfast and you can get things like cereal, yogurt, fruit and pastries.  We love the fruit and pastries!

Fruit and pastries for breakfast

Fruit and pastries for breakfast

Hot food is also available any time.  We’ve gotten things like sandwiches with fries and chicken wings.  Other things are available, too, like salmon and pizza.  We’ve also ordered the chocolate chip cookies, and they are colossal!

Huge chocolate chip cookies

Huge chocolate chip cookies

We’ve even been the lucky recipients of surprises from room service like a fruit basket and a miniature dessert plate.

Surprise fruit basket from room service

Surprise fruit basket from room service

Surprise dessert plate from room service, I ate a lemon pie bite before snapping a pic.  Oops!

Surprise dessert plate from room service, I ate a lemon pie bite before snapping a pic. Oops!

As soon as Disney Cruise Line releases the itineraries for our targeted travel time, I’ll be counting down the days when I can once again enjoy this luxury!

What’s your favorite part of a Disney cruise?

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To Do Rock and Roll Nashville or Not

To do Rock and Roll Nashville or not, that is the question.  If you recall back in December when the Memphis St. Jude Marathon Weekend was cancelled (I was registered for the half) we were given an option of registering for one of three upcoming Rock and Roll events in lieu of a refund.  I chose to register for Nashville.  Fast forward 2 months and now I’m having second thoughts.  Let’s go through the pros and cons and hopefully I can make a decision once and for all.

Rock and Roll Nashville

Rock and Roll Nashville

Pros

  1. It’s a race that’s always been on my radar and it’s unlikely I’ll ever get another opportunity to participate without paying a registration fee again.
  2. I’ve heard so many great things about this race.  Local spectator support is supposed to be second to none.
  3. There are country music bands at each mile marker.
  4. It’s a destination race within driving distance.
  5. My sister and her family live there. (Whether or not they would come out to support me is unknown at this point but it’s nice to know I have family nearby.)
  6. It’s a goal to work toward that would get me back on a training plan, which is always good for my personal fitness.
  7. Training weather should be great.
  8. Race weather should be great as well.
  9. runDisney usually is there, and they give out pretty sweet sling bags if you register for one of their races.  I’m planning on going back for Wine and Dine weekend this year.  While I’ll already be registered for the half by then, I plan to do the 5k and can register for that then.
  10. I’ve never done a Rock and Roll event, and it would be an opportunity to try one out.

Cons

  1. I would have to board my dog for yet another weekend trip.
  2. Hotel rooms are pretty outrageous in downtown Nashville for that weekend.  (I already have one booked, and I’m still suffering from sticker shock.)
  3. Hills!  Oh the hills!  I don’t have access to hills here in Memphis to train on that would even come close to the hills on that race course.
  4. For some reason even though it’s a random weekend in April, three people in my office want that Friday off.  Only one of us can have it and since I’m the manager I get to decide.  I feel guilty taking it away from someone else.
  5. I would have to get on the training pretty immediately since I haven’t run since the Minnie 10k.
  6. I’m not sure my heart is in it.  This is probably the biggest con.  If I’m going to spend that much for a race weekend, I feel like I need to be excited about it.  For some reason, I’m not.

So, what do you think?  Should I do it or not?  I probably need to decide this week.  I’m open to any and all thoughts.

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Into and Over It Part Two, Over It

In case you missed Part One, in which I covered what I’m into lately, you can find it here.  Go ahead.  Take a moment.  Catch yourself up.  All caught up?  Here are some of the things I’m totally and completely over.

Over it

Winter–To be fair, we haven’t had any real winter weather to speak of here.  The ice that caused my St. Jude Half Marathon to be cancelled and just one little dusting of snow is about it.  Yet, I’m totally and completely over winter!  My skin is itchy and dry.  Some days I just can’t get warm.  I don’t like being cold, and I don’t like having to bundle up to avoid it.  Bring on flip flop weather!  Please!

This is all the snow we've had but I'm still over winter.

This is all the snow we’ve had but I’m still over winter.

Rachel from Biggest Loser–I admit it.  I was just as shocked as the next person at her frail, skin-and-bones physique.  At the same time, I’ve heard enough about it.  I’m over it!

Traveling–This is a shocker for all who know me.  I love traveling and am always up for a trip.  With three pretty big trips in just a few months, two of them within two weeks of each other, I want to stay put for a while, as does my dog and my bank account.  That being said, I’m sure I’ll be getting over being over traveling pretty soon as I’m already starting to feel a tiny twinge of wanderlust.

I want to stay on the ground for a bit.

I want to stay on the ground for a bit.

5ks–Another shocker!  I still love running and races, just not really 5ks anymore, especially local ones.  Don’t get me wrong!  There are some great charities doing 5ks as fund-raisers.  I want them to have successful events.  It’s just not a distance that I enjoy, and, well, I’m over them.  I’m not saying I’ll never do another one.  I’m relatively certain I’ll do one before the year is over.  At the moment, I’m a bit disinterested.

My Old Glasses–If you saw part one, you know that I broke my glasses a few weeks ago.  I don’t want to have to depend on my contacts for every single waking hour, so I used duct tape to hold them together.  For obvious reasons, I’m really over them.

I kind of can't believe I'm sharing this pic but you can see why I'm over them.

I kind of can’t believe I’m sharing this pic but you can see why I’m over them.

Paying Someone to Do My Yard–I’ve always had a problem with paying someone to do something I’m capable of doing myself.  It’s not really about the money.  It’s more about being thankful that I can and using my abilities.  Last year, however, I got completely behind and overwhelmed with the yard work for the first time ever.  So, I hired it done.  I’m hoping to stay on top of it this year.

Sure, it looks nice when it's professionally done, but I'd really like to go back to doing it myself.

Sure, it looks nice when it’s professionally done, but I’d really like to go back to doing it myself.

Yogurt Shops–They are popping up on every street corner lately, and they are all just alike.  You self-serve your yogurt, which I find a bit icky to start with.  Dispensers are sticky, and, well, I have no idea whose hands have touched the dispenser.  Call me a germophobe, but I don’t like it.  Then, you add in whatever toppings you want, again self-serve.  Again, there’s the potential for yucky germs having touched the toppings.  Plus, if I want a treat, I want real ice cream!  To me, frozen yogurt is just a way to trick yourself into thinking you had something healthy.  Chances are, by the time you fill the container up and top it with all kinds of junk, you would have been better off just having ice cream anyway.  Ok, getting off my yogurt soap box now!

Valentine’s Day–I’m aware it’s today.  Painfully aware!  Call me cynical, and maybe I’m just bitter because I won’t be getting flowers and candy.  I have gotten flowers and candy in the past, though, and even then I was over it.  There is just so much pressure to the day.  And for what?  Show your loved ones you care all year-long not just one day.  Of course, I might change my tune if someone wanted to offer up a bottle of Pinot Noir from Oregon or Washington (you get this if you read part one).

So over Valentine's Day!

So over Valentine’s Day!

What are you over?

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Into and Over It Part One, Into

There’s this new show on the Food Network called The Kitchen.  It’s sort of a talk show meets cooking show hybrid hosted by several Food Network personalities.  At the end of the show the stars each share one thing they are “into” and “over”, which may or may not be food related.  I always find their “intos” and “overs” interesting, and this has inspired my post for today.

Things I’m Into Lately

My Dog–I love my little 7.5 pound maltipoo Jasmine!  She keeps me company, loves me unconditionally and is wildly entertaining.  She has a part of my soul, and I truly cannot imagine life without her.

I love my baby girl, Jasmine!  Yes, I named her after the Disney princess.

I love my baby girl, Jasmine! Yes, I named her after the Disney princess.

Pinots from Oregon and Washington–I’m talking about Pinot Noir here.  I took a wine class a little over a year ago featuring wines from Oregon and Washington, and fell in love with the Pinots.  I’ve been buying them ever since, and I’m still very much into them.

I'm also into drinking my Pinot Noir from Oregon out of my Disney Princess Half Marathon 2013 glass.

I’m also into drinking my Pinot Noir from Oregon out of my Disney Princess Half Marathon 2013 glass.

The Olympics–I love the Olympics!  I’ve been watching every night and on the weekends.  I’ve even been Googling for spoilers because I can’t stand the suspense.  So far I’ve determined that the snowboarders are having the most fun and would be the ones I’d most like to hang out with.  I’ve also noticed there are at least 3 USA athletes with the last name Gold.  Go Team USA!!!!

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Grinding Coffee Beans–I never used to be a coffee drinker at all.  I got a Keurig machine about two years ago and started drinking it.  I got tired of buying the K-cups all the time so I got a coffee grinder and some beans.   Now, every morning I grind my own coffee beans.  I use the reusable filter that came with the machine, and the quality of my morning coffee has improved exponentially.

Coffee Beans ready to grind for my morning coffee

Coffee Beans ready to grind for my morning coffee

S’mores–Without fail, every fall I start to crave these little nuggets of chocolatey, marshmallowey yumminess!  They couldn’t be easier to make in the oven.  Usually, I make them once or twice and I’m done with my craving for the year.  This time, however, I’m still into them.  It’s no secret I have a major sweet tooth, and just one graham cracker, a quarter of a Hershey candy bar, and two marshmallows more than satisfies it lately.  It’s much lower in calories than a whole candy bar or a cup cake, so I can feel relatively ok about it, too!

Ready to make some S'mores!

Ready to make some S’mores!

Organizing My House–I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions, but in spite of this I’m very much into home organization this year.  I didn’t really make a conscious decision to do anything differently.  I took two long weekend trips in January, and to stay ahead of unpacking, packing, laundry, etc. from those, I started doing things every day.  The trend is continuing, and I really like it!

My New Contact Lenses–What I’m about to tell you may shock some of you.  I have been wearing the same contact lenses for ten years!  They are not disposables, rather daily wear, which means they are supposed to have a one year lifespan.  I extended that by more than a few years.  It’s terrible!  I know!  See, I hate going to the eye doctor!  I’ve had problems my whole life (reason enough to actually go more often) and my prescription is difficult.  No doctor I have ever seen since my childhood doctor has been able to get my prescription and fit right.  It took my last doctor 5 months of tries to get it acceptable.  He never did get it exactly right.  I’ve just been dreading and putting this off.  Well, I broke my glasses the day before I left for my most recent trip.  I only wear them around the house, but that still ended up being the catalyst to make me schedule an appointment.  I loved him!  He got it right!  One try!  And they are comfy!  Yes!

Making My Own Salad Dressings–I intensely dislike store-bought salad dressing.  I can taste the preservatives in it, and can’t stand it!  Homemade salad dressings are so easy!  A little oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and a few more additions depending on what I’m making and in very little time,  I can have fresh, homemade dressing that is better for me anyway.  It costs less, too!

This is the beginning of homemade salad dressing.

This is the beginning of homemade salad dressing.

Check back tomorrow to see what I’m totally over!

What are some things that you are into lately?

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Volunteering at runDisney’s Marathon Weekend

About a month ago, I headed down to my favorite place, the Walt Disney World Resort, to volunteer at runDisney’s Marathon Weekend.  As you may know, I’ve participated as a runner in several runDisney events but never as a volunteer.  Without the volunteers, the races simply would not be possible so I was excited to experience that side of it.

Volunteer registration for runDisney events is just about as popular as runner registration.  Many events fill up within hours of registration so it takes some planning if you want to participate.  Several of my friends and I wanted to volunteer together so when registration opened up, we were in communication with each other almost immediately so we could coordinate our requests.  During the registration process, you actually choose what assignment you want and what location on the course.  The assignments include bag check, screaming fan, water stops, food stops, and even volunteers helping to check volunteers in.  My group chose the food stop for the half marathon, which was Clif gel and the water stop at mile 13.1 for the full marathon.

For this event, volunteer registration opened up about 3 months prior.  Assignments are not guaranteed so even if you register, your request is not guaranteed.  In my group, we all got our requests, though.  About a month before the event, I got a letter in the mail confirming my assignment and giving final instructions.  We were also required to pick up our volunteer credentials prior to the event.  For locals, runDisney had several options prior to the expo.  Credential pick-up was also available at the expo for those from out-of-town.  Since most of us were also running the 10k, we had to go to the expo anyway so expo pick-up was very convenient.  My flight was delayed so my friend Heather ended up picking up my credentials for me.

Both of our shifts were from 4 am to 11 am so we had to get up super early, 2:30 am.  Transportation is not provided to the volunteer staging area so Heather drove us there.  We left the resort around 3:30 for a 4 am arrival because we knew there would be road closures due to the race.  The staging area was at the Blizzard Beach parking lot.  When we got there, a huge tent was set up for volunteer check-in.  We walked in, they scanned our credentials, directed us to jacket pick-up and then to snack pick-up.  For snacks, we were each given a big Ziploc bag and were told to pick out 5 snacks.  I got fruit snacks, Chex mix, an Uncrustables, a granola bar and some trail mix.  Within minutes we were through the check-in area and headed to find our numbered bus, which matched the number on our credentials.  In true Disney fashion it was all super organized and effortless.

Half Marathon Volunteer Jacket and Credential

Marathon Volunteer Jacket and Credential

Marathon Volunteer Jacket and Credential

Around 4:30 am our bus took off for our assignment location.  For the half marathon, we were stationed at the Clif gel stop, and there was quite a bit of setup to be done once we got there.

Mocha Clif Gel with Caffiene

Mocha Clif Gel with Caffeine

Tables had to be set up, and we opened the boxes of gel.  Everything had to be sanitized, too, and we were required to wear rubber gloves when handling the product.

Our Group ready to hand out lots of Clif Mocha gel

Our Group ready to hand out lots of Clif Mocha gel

Once we got everything set up, there was a little time before the first runners were expected so a few of us walked to the Hess station right up the road.  I was thankful for real restrooms nearby.  Once the runners started getting to our area, everything moved very quickly.  There was a little bit of a learning curve to holding the gel so the runner can grab it on the way by.  It really only took a few hours for all of the runners to come through and then it was time to break everything down.  Breakdown was a breeze and pretty soon it was time to get back on the bus to Blizzard Beach.  Once we got back to the staging area, we had to be checked out just as we were checked in.  Once again, our credentials were scanned, and we handed in our one day park ticket vouchers in exchange for the ticket.

The next morning, we did it all over again.  For the full marathon, we were stationed at the 13.1 mile water stop right outside of Animal Kingdom.

Water ready to hand out

Water ready to hand out

In fact, we were right behind the Dinosaur ride building, and once the park opened, I could hear the sounds from the ride.  Again, we had to set everything up including the tables and this time, pour the cups of water.

Our group ready to hand water out

Our group ready to hand water out

Everything once again moved quickly once it started.  Again, there was a learning curve to balancing the cups on your hand so the runners could grab them.  This part was tougher than I thought.  Holding your arm out, balancing a cup of water on it for 3 hours straight was not easy.

One of my favorite parts of volunteering was being able to see the race from start to finish.  Runner interaction was great for both races.  I also got to see all of my friends who were running, some of whom even stopped for pictures with us.

Our friend Aimee took time out of her race to stop for a pic with us.

Our friend Aimee took time out of her race to stop for a pic with us.

Day 2 Erica and Aimee stopped for a pic with us, looking great at the halfway point!

Day 2 Erica and Aimee stopped for a pic with us, looking great at the halfway point!

I saw one of my sorority sisters from college whom I’ve not seen in 18 years!  I also was able to spend quality time with some of my favorite running friends volunteering with me.  I loved getting to know them better!

As an incentive, volunteers always get snacks and a piece of apparel to wear for the shift, which you get to keep.  In this case, we got jackets both days, and we were thrilled when we found out they were different for the different events.  When volunteering for a half or the full marathon, volunteers also get a one day park ticket, so we each got two.  What I was given doesn’t expire until March of next year so hopefully I can plan a trip between the time my annual pass expires and the time these passes expire to put them to use.

I learned some things from volunteering.  You’ll get dirty, much dirtier than I anticipated.  The water stops are WET!  Yes, that should go without saying, but I didn’t think to wear old shoes.  About halfway through the second day I started calling out names on the bibs to give as many people as I could a little lift.  The response from that was overwhelming!  I wish I had done that from the very beginning.  I had no idea what hard work volunteering was.  Many runners thanked us, and yes, it felt great when they did.  I was actually almost as tired and sore after volunteering as I am after running.  Almost.  Would I do it again?  Absolutely!

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The Olympics Are Coming!

Well, actually, they are already here.  Today is the official start of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games!  I love the Olympics!  I have for as long as I can remember.  What’s not to love?  Ordinary people being extraordinary athletes, inspiring viewers world-wide once every four years (well, two really since the Winter and Summer Games alternate every 2 years) is about as exciting as it gets.  It’s been a life-long dream of mine to get to participate as a spectator or a volunteer (not as an athlete because I know I’m not that awesome).

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games

I find so much inspiration in Olympic athletes.  Apolo Anton Ohno is partly responsible for my starting to run.  Four years ago, I was preparing to do my first 5k.  I remember Ohno saying in an interview how much he enjoys training for the Olympics because every day it gives him the opportunity to be his best.  I carried those thoughts with me in the days leading up to my 5k, and those thoughts helped me finish.

Without fail, great stories always come out of the Olympics.  I’m pretty sure Mary Lou Retton was my first hero when she became the first American gymnast to win all-around gold in 1984 with her perfect 10 on the vault.  Who can ever forget the 1980 US men’s hockey team’s victory over the Soviet Union to win gold?  I’ve sat on the edge of my seat more than once or twice every four years as I’ve cheered for winter athletes and held my breath, almost willing them to win.  Brian Boitano, Kristi Yamaguchi, Apolo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Vonn have all been athletes whose victories I’ve shed a tear or two for.  Then there are the ones who have fallen short but are no less inspiring.  We all were behind Nancy Kerrigan as she came back from injuries sustained from an attack.  Her silver medal was nothing short of amazing considering the circumstances.  I followed Michelle Kwan throughout her entire competitive skating career as she became the most decorated woman in US skating history but never could land Olympic gold.  I also can’t forget Bode Miller’s first Olympic attempt.  He was to be THE athlete of the games.  The question wasn’t will he win gold, but how many?  The answer turned out to be zero as he was a complete flop.  I recall an interview with him toward the end of the games in which he said he did what he came to do, which was have fun and “mingle on an Olympic level.”  He redeemed himself four years later, though.

I love the stories of the games.  The dedication of these athletes and their families is inspiring and amazing.  I can’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like to spend every ounce of your existence working toward something and finally see it come to fruition.  At the same time, for every athlete whose story we learn, there are dozens of athletes who were just as dedicated, whose families sacrificed just as much, yet who didn’t make it.  I think about them, too.  I think about what it must feel like to sit at home, watching people you know and have competed against live out your dream.  How do you ever move forward from that?  I’d love to hear their stories, too.

In just a few days, the Sochi games will be well under way.  New athletes will become household names.  New stories will unfold.  The feelings they will invoke in me will be the same.  So, let the games begin!  I’ll be watching!

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on NBC

Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on NBC

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I’m a Disney Side @ Home Celebration Host

Show Your Disney Side

I’m so excited because a couple of weeks ago I was notified that I was chosen to host a Disney Side @ Home Celebration.  This means that through a partnership with Disney Parks and MomSelect, I would be receiving a free celebration kit with which to host a party.  Last week I got my party kit and was blown away by the generosity of the sponsors.

This sticker let me know something special was inside my box!

This sticker let me know something special was inside my box!

I knew the kit would contain lots of items to help me host a great party, and I knew it would contain a special hostess gift for me.  However, I had no idea just what was in store.

I was thrilled when I opened my box to find a carry-on sized piece of American Tourister luggage, the official luggage of Disneyland and the Walt Disney World Resort as my hostess gift.

American Tourister is the official luggage of Disneyland and the Walt Disney World Resort.

American Tourister is the official luggage of Disneyland and the Walt Disney World Resort.

Their official hash tag #PackMoreFun really came to life when I unzipped the bag to find it stuffed full of wonderful things to help me plan and host my party.  There were decorations, plates, napkins, cups, cupcake liners, balloons and games, all to use for my party.  There were also more hostess gifts for me like measuring cups from ABC’s The Chew and cookie cutters, which will both also come in handy for party preparations.  There were party favors for adults and kids such as runDisney ChEar cards, runDisney rubber bracelets, runDisney/ESPN bumper stickers, HP photo cards, stickers, temporary tattoos, Craisins and Mickey and Minnie Valentine’s Day posters.  So much party-planning inspiration was inside that luggage!

So much awesome was inside the box!

So much awesome was inside the box!

I’ve already started putting together several ideas for my party, including my menu.  My menu will feature items to represent each of the four theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom), Disney Cruise Line, and a couple of the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels.  I’m so excited to host this party, and I plan to make it a great one!

For ideas on hosting your own Disney Side Celebration, visit www.disneysidecelebrations.com

I received free products in order to host the Disney Side @ Home Celebration.  The opinions expressed here are my own.

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WDW Inaugural Minnie 10k

On Friday, January 10 I got to participate in the Inaugural Minnie 10k as part of Marathon Weekend at the Walt Disney World Resort.  For daytime races, this always means a very early wake up call.  2:30 came very early, especially since my body was on Central time which means it felt like 1:30 to me.  Buses started running at 3:30, which seems a bit insane for a 5:30 start.  However, it really does take that much time to get 10,000 runners in place for an on-time start.

Minnie 10k starting line

Minnie 10k starting line

The first 3 miles were a bit boring.  I knew this part was outside of the parks but I thought there would be lots of character stops and other entertainment to distract us from 3 miles of boring, straight road.  Unfortunately, there was only a DJ right after the start and one character stop that I saw before entering Epcot.

This DJ was right after the start of the Minnie 10k.

This DJ was right after the start of the Minnie 10k.

I did take time to stop at each and every mile marker to have my pic taken, which I’ve never done.  Lines were really long for the character stops but not too bad for the mile markers.

All the Mile Markers

All the Mile Markers

After the first 3 miles, we headed into Epcot by way of a backstage entrance close to Test Track.  There were several more character stops in Epcot, but lines were still longish.  We ran about halfway around World Showcase before heading out to the Boardwalk area.  A great part about this leg of the race is access to real restrooms.  I took the opportunity to stop in Germany.  Here, I ran into my friends Heather, Katie, Sarah, Jenn, and Penny, who were all running together.  They passed me shortly after I saw them.  We ran past Boardwalk, circled around by the Swan and Dolphin resorts, past Yacht and Beach Club resorts, then back to the International Gateway.

Football Goofy by the Boardwalk

Football Goofy by the Boardwalk

I ran into my friends again, who were in line for Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.  They motioned for me to join them in line so I did.  We only took one pic with all of us, so it’s not like my joining them held the line up.

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum at the Minnie 10k

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum at the Minnie 10k

I stuck with them for most of the rest of Epcot.  We spotted Chip and Dale, and since we were close to the end, we took time to jump in that line, too.  I love how this pic turned out.

Chip and Dale at the Minnie 10k

Chip and Dale at the Minnie 10k

I again kept up with them until we got to the 6 mile marker.  I wanted my pic with it so I got in that line and they kept going.

I had plenty of energy to sprint to the finish and just like that, the Inaugural Minnie 10k was over!

The finish line at the Minnie 10k

The finish line at the Minnie 10k

My thoughts about this race are mixed.  I loved the race shirt, bib and medal!

Love the shirt, bib and medal!

Love the shirt, bib and medal!

I also really loved that lots of people were dressed in costumes, and most everyone I saw was running for fun.  It makes for a very fun race when everyone around you is enjoying it.  I really thought they should have stepped up the entertainment for the boring first 3 miles.  There were also too few water stops, only 3 for the entire race.  It was a very warm and humid morning, and 3 stops for more than 6 miles is not enough.  There were also all water stops only, no electrolytes.  This needs to be corrected.  I did like the post-race food box.

Minnie 10k runDisney food box

Minnie 10k runDisney food box

These tend to still get mixed reviews but I think they are great.  They seem to be stepping it up on the contents, too.  Hello, Skittles!

Would I do it again?  I don’t know.  Maybe.  I like the distance for what it was to me, a way to participate without having a race be the center of my vacation.  The purpose of my trip was to volunteer (more on that later).  It was nice not to have pre-race jitters, not have to deal with the usual taper stress and not have to watch what I ate and drank the days before.  I was also ready to head straight to the parks after a quick shower, so it was nice to have that extra energy.  I still like the half distance for when the race is the main part of my vacation, though.  Minnie seemed impressed to finally have her own race, too.

Minnie loved that she was featured on the 10k medal!

Minnie loved that she was featured on the 10k medal!

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