Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fall into Favorites: Why Disney is my Favorite Place


Once upon a time on this day, many, many years ago, in a land far, far away a princess was born! Okay, it wasn't that long ago or that far away. But a princess was indeed born 29 years ago in Ft. Stewart, GA. Today that princess is going to celebrate by jetting off to her favorite place with
 her tiny princess to visit her bestie! That's right, for my birthday I'm off to Disney with Chloe to spend a long weekend with my Julie!


Enough about me, let's talk about Disney. Since it's one of my favorite places, I thought I'd talk about why it's my favorite!

one. runDisney
Disney knows how to put on races! I won't go into too much detail because if you've been around here a while, you've heard all about my runDisney obsession. Check out my Races tab to see my Disney race experiences!


two. castle pictures
There isn't anything more magical than a picture in front of Cinderella's Castle! Unless you're taking a picture in front of Aurora's Castle in Disneyland!


three. fireworks
Disney does fireworks and light shows right. They're always beautiful and nothing short of amazing. Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios have my favorite firework shows. This time I'm looking forward to the show at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! I hear the Sanderson Sisters will be there!


four. this girl
Julie lives in Orlando which means that if I'm at Disney, I'm with her. Even when she didn't live in Orlando if I was at Disney, I was with her. I'm so lucky to have such an amazing friend!


five. Mickey shaped food
If your food is Mickey shaped, it just tastes better. It's a fact of life. If you haven't had Mickey shaped food, then you don't know what you're missing. Personally, Mickey waffles are my fave!


six. character pictures
Character pictures aren't just for kids. They're for everyone. You don't even need a kid to have the most amazing experience with the characters. Definitely wait to meet them when you have the chance. It's magical and one of my favorite parts of Disney!



seven. parties
I went to my first Disney party last year at Christmastime. It was so nice to see the park way less crowded and to meet rare characters! I'm super pumped about Not So Scary because I heard it's amazing and even better than Christmas!


eight. magic through the eyes of a child
Chloe was teeny tiny when we went last time. I can't wait to see her reaction now that she's a little older and more engaged with what's going on around her! I hope that she loves seeing the characters that she sees on Disney Junior and isn't afraid of them. All I know is that this trip will be wonderful with my little princess.


Why yes, that is tiny Snow White with a kiss from the real Snow White on her forehead. I'm obsessed.

There you have it. Reasons why Disney is my favorite place! Some may say that I'm juvenile, but honestly I think that I'm young at heart. I may be starting the last year of my 20's today, but at least I don't act it! I can't wait to celebrate!!!

Where is your favorite place?
Do you love or loathe Disney?

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Fall into Favorites: Races


 


It's the Monday of my birth week!!! We had such a fun weekend brunching, watching football, lounging and being with friends and family! We had a little pre-birthday brunch on Saturday with some friends and family since my birthday is midweek and I'm leaving on my birthday for Orlando to spend a long weekend with Julie. I'm so so so excited! 

I know I won't be running much while I'lm gone this weekend, but luckily I've been keeping up with my runs thus far...

Last Week
Sunday: 6.2 miles
Monday: Cycle + Tabata
Tuesday: 2 mile walk
Wednesday: 2 miles speed work
Thursday: 3 4 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles Rest


This Week Proposed
Sunday: 6 miles
Monday: Cycle + Tabata
Tuesday:
Wednesday: Kickboxing + 2 miles speed work
Thursday: Disney Rest Day!
Friday: Disney Rest Day!
Saturday: Run...not sure how many miles

Since Monday have been running talk days for me later, I thought it would be fun to flashback to some of my favorite races that I've run! 

First we'll rewind to September 28, 2013...that's right...my birthday 3 years ago we ran the Zooma Cape Cod half marathon. It was by far the most beautiful race that I've ever run.


Not only did it have the best scenery, but it was also the best weather. Cold, but not too cold. Not humid at all. Sun shining. Breeze blowing. It couldn't have been better. I even met a fellow Texan that I ran the second half of the race with.


I think I owe my PR to her! It was my fastest race to date in 1 hour 51 minutes 22 seconds. I wanted that PR medal so bad but didn't think I'd get it! Training for a September half in Houston is tough, but I think the Houston conditions helped me in the end.

Oh and going to Cape Cod for your birthday weekend with your best friends pretty much makes for the best race weekend ever!


 We all know that I'm absolutely obsessed with runDisney races. I'm not going to go through each and every one of them because all Disney races are my favorites. Instead I'm flashing back to February 2014. This is one of the most memorable Disney trips!


I ran as Cinderella! The weather wasn't the greatest. It was warm and incredibly humid, but I stopped and took tons of pictures with characters and just had a great time overall! I also got to share the experience with the greatest friends in the world. Friends that travel together, stick together?


I think this trip was so memorable because the entire weekend was just FUN! We had our first character lunch, went to all the parks, ran our race and had a blast.

The last race that stands out in my mind as an absolute favorite is the 2014 Chevron Houston Marathon! This was my second marathon. I loved it more than the first for a few different reasons. One, the weather was amazing! My first marathon was freezing and raining. This one was cool and sunny! By the end of the race it was getting quite warm, but I still loved it.


Two, I got to run with my awesome running buddies turned great friends Chandra and Melanie! The first marathon I ran with Melanie, but Chandra injured her hip midway through training season. It was so encouraging to be able to train every week with these girls and then run for several hours with them on race day! We stuck together until mile 18 and then we kind of settled into our own speeds.


Three, JP joined me on Allen Parkway and ran the last few miles with me! I was hurting pretty bad, but JP was in prime condition. Just what I needed, someone to boost me up and push me hard to the finish. I finished 2 minutes slower than my first marathon in 4:03:39, but I'm still super proud of that number!


Now I just need to figure out my official fall race! I have so many trips coming up that it's hard to figure out which one to run. All this running and reminiscing about races has me eager to sign up for one!

Any thoughts on fun races that I need to run? I'm open to all options for future race/vacation destinations!


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Friday, September 23, 2016

Five Friday Favorites!

Hello and happy fall! It's officially my favorite season though it doesn't feel a bit like fall around these parts. The heat index in Houston has been over 100 degrees for the past week. It looks like some rain may be coming in this weekend to cool things down a bit, but let's be real, it'll still be hot.

It's Friday and I've been MIA since Monday! Things have been a little crazy around here the last few weeks, so today I think that we just need to focus on some happy things!

one. my baby's baby obsession


This girl is absolutely obsessed with baby dolls. It started a few weeks ago, but last Sunday she fell in love with this one in particular. It's actually her swim instructor's, Sarah, doll that she has for the babies to play with during swim lessons. Chloe discovered it at swim and Sarah let her take it home last week. Well it hasn't left her side all week. Baby takes naps with Chloe, plays with Chloe, goes in the car with Chloe, walks, park, meals, stores, you name it. It's the first object that Chloe has shown attachment towards! I went and bought her the same doll, and she loves it too! Sarah told Chloe to keep the baby after swim yesterday, so at least now we have a back up.

two. our new favorite park


The other week, I remembered that Spotts Park had a playground for littles at the top of one of its many hills. We decided to hike up there on one of our walks and I'm so glad we did. Chloe absolutely loved it. Plus there were other kids there that were a little older to help her and show her the ropes. They have swings, slides, a seesaw and plenty of things to climb which is the perfect outlet for my climbing crazy kiddo. 

three. chocolate & pumpkin spice chip cookies


I made these cookies yesterday and they are so delicious!!! I received a free tub of Country Crock from Influenster in my Back 2 School Vox Box and I fully intend to share my creation next week! Get excited. Meanwhile, Chloe, JP and I will we eating cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

four. coffee, coffee bars and compostable cups


Another awesome item I received for free from my Influenster Back 2 School Vox Box are these Brew and Renew compostable coffee cups from Kauai Coffee, Hills Bros Coffee and Chock Full o'Nuts. The pods fit in all K-Cup style brewers and are better for the environment. Did you know that trash from K-cups last year alone would circle the earth roughly 11 times? Some cities like Hamburg, Germany have gone as far as banning K-cups and their coffee makers. Now I'm not saying that I am the most green person in the world, but I do recycle and try to limit my carbon footprint when I can, so I was excited to try these. I'm please to say they're delicious and you can find them at your local Kroger or order them online from Amazon!  

five. i'm going to see my bestie and play at disney world!


Last December I bought an annual pass to Disney World so I could visit Julie a few extra times this year. It was the BEST decision! I was able to go to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party and see Disney at Christmas time. I went again for runDisney marathon weekend and JP actually came along with us! This time we're going to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and I.Can't.Wait!!! I get to spend a long weekend with one of the best friends I could ever ask for and hang out at one of our favorite places. I just know it's going to be the best trip. I'm interested to see how Chloe does this time around. She's much more engaged and mobile these days, so I'm sure it'll be crazy, but a blast!

Just thinking about all these awesome things: freebies, baby love, cookies, best friends and Disney has me all sorts of happy now. Now onto the weekend! I'm looking forward to starting it off with a much needed double date with my sister and her husband. It's our first official double date since they got married in June.

Have a wonderful weekend y'all!

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Monday, September 19, 2016

When the boys are away...

...the girls find babysitters and go to the spa.

But seriously though, and it was an excellent life choice. The guys went on their annual away football game road trip this past weekend. This year they went to Auburn and I'm happy to say that the Aggies won!

In years past, the girls have either gone on another trip {hello Cape Cod!}, spent the weekend together or like last year, go to the same place {Nashville!} but did different stuff than them! This year, we opted for a well deserved day at the Houstonian Trellis Spa! Between the three of us we have a toddler, an infant and twins on the way. Like I said, a well deserved day at the spa!


Ali and I left our girls with their grandparents. It's crazy to think that in just two short months, there will be two more babies in our group! 

We loved every second at the spa. We did plenty of talking and catching up, resting in the relaxation room and floating in the pool. We also all indulged in the most amazing massages we've ever received. Pure bliss. We felt super fancy and spoiled. It's like we totally belonged there. If only the annual membership to the Houstonian wasn't more than the cost of two of my cars. If only...I mean I felt like I was with my people! Lounging in robes, sipping champagne, chatting with my girls without a care in the world. 

After several hours at the spa, we decided we were hungry and a late brunch was necessary. Cue The Tasting Room. I had a grapefruit mimosa, chicken and jalapeno corn cakes  


After brunch it was time to get back to our babies. I headed back to Sugar Land and hung out for a few hours before joining my friends from work for game night! We usually have one about every other month, but it had been a while. Chloe and I had fun, but little miss decided that we needed to leave a bit earlier than I would have liked. She said she was done and needed to sleep. I decided to just head back to Sugar Land and spend the night at my parents' because I could and it was nice to have some extra helping hands with my crazy toddler.


My dad was up waiting for us when we got home and snapped this perfect picture!

Sunday morning was the exact opposite of Saturday morning. Instead of relaxing and lounging, I ran 6.2 miles! Of course, it was the run that I was supposed to do Saturday morning, but I put it off. It was an excellent decision. Aunt Dianne took Chloe on a walk while I ran! It was nice being able to get another long run in without the jogging stroller. I will say, running with the stroller makes runs without it so much easier! So here are my last week actual workouts and my plans for training this week!

Last Week
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Cycle + Tabata
Tuesday: 3 miles 3.75 miles
Wednesday: 2 miles speed work + Kickboxing
Thursday: Walk
Friday: Rest 3 miles
Saturday: 6 miles Rest

This Week Proposed
Sunday: 6.2 miles
Monday: Cycle + Tabata
Tuesday: Walk
Wednesday: 2 miles speed work
Thursday: 3 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 7 miles

I didn't really get many pictures or do anything too exciting this weekend besides the spa day. Instead of babbling on about nothing, I'll leave you with this picture of my perfectly crazy baby girl.


Happy Monday y'all!

Ladies, what do y'all like to do when your husbands/significant others are away?
Guys, what types of things to you do when your ladies are gone? I really am curious on this one!

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thursday Thoughts...



Hey Hey Happy Thursday! I've been in a bit of a blogging stump. Every so often, I find myself a little lost and not sure where I belong in this blogging world. I have several started and unfinished posts sitting around that I just need to find my voice to finish. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I don't know how else to explain it. I found these prompts somewhere on the interwebz quite some time ago. They've been hanging out in my draft folder, and I finally decided to take a stab at really answering them. So here you have my Thursday thoughts...

I was...a cheerleader, gymnast, engineer, student, tumbling coach and "SharePoint guru" (as my former colleagues called me).

I am...a mommy, daughter, wife, friend, personal trainer, running coach, marathoner, dog mom, singer in the car/shower, baker in my kitchen, blogger, and so much more.

I think...we need more love in the world.

I wonder...what the world will be like in 100 + years. Maybe I read too many dystopian books, but I am very curious as to what will happen and how things will change. I hope it's for the better, but who really knows.

I wish...that I could apparate. Yes, like in Harry Potter. Do you know how much easier it would be to see my friends and travel the world if I could just decide where I wanted to go and then be there? I'm just saying, that would be awesome.

I save...pictures. Too many pictures if that's even a thing. They say that pictures are worth 1,000 words. I've always taken a lot of pictures. I was the girl in college that didn't leave home without my digital camera. You know, before iPhones replaced them. I'm far from a professional and I wish I could get better at using my DSLR. My computer is currently packed with pictures dating back to 2005 that I just need to put on an external hard drive!

I always...think about what I'm going to eat for my next meal. It's true. What can I say? I love food. It makes me happy. I'm just one of those lucky few who actually enjoys healthy food too! Don't get me wrong, I love my pastas, ice creams and cookies like everyone else.  I guess I'm blessed with the ability to moderate. :)

I can't imagine...life without my family. Family is everything. I am so grateful to have a close knit family! I'm also blessed to have married into a wonderful family that has considered me one of them since day one.

I believe...life is too short for regrets and letting things get to us. Over the years, I've learned to grow from my mistakes and not let small moments or words get to me as much. I used to get so anxious about little things. I guess that with age I've learned to live and let go.

I promise...to be true to myself. I like who I am. I've learned that not everyone will always like me, but I must always be true to me regardless of what others think.

I love...these two more than anything in the world. How lucky am I?


**In case you're looking for some adorable free blog stock photos, head over to Bre Writes, a fellow Houston blogger and momma, and download some of hers!**

Feel free to use these prompts if you're ever feeling stuck or just want to write. Blog or no blog. Sometimes it's good for the soul! Happy Thursday y'all!

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Marathon to Mom: How to dress for runDisney!

Alright y'all. It's official. I'm in training mode. I still haven't settled on a fall half marathon, but I have two in mind in either mid November or early December. After that I'll have a little over two months to get ready for the Glass Slipper Challenge! Since that is a 5K, 10K and half marathon on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I'll need to work on running 3 days in a row. I think training for a fall half will really help me ease back into running before I jump into GSC training!


Since last Monday was a holiday, I didn't blog. I was pretty lazy...but I did get my run in! So here are my workouts the last two weeks. I'm proud to say that I got all of my runs in and even went further than planed on one!

Past Two Weeks
(8/28-9/3)
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Cycle + Tabata
Tuesday: 3.75 miles
Wednesday: Kickboxing + 2 miles
Thursday: 2 mile walk
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: Rest

(9/4-9/10)
Sunday: Rest
Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: 1.5 mile walk
Wednesday: 2 miles speed work + strength
Thursday: Cycle
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles

This Week Proposed
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Cycle + Tabata
Tuesday: 3 miles
Wednesday: 2 miles speed work
Thursday: Walk
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 6 miles

Now anyone that has been following A Balancing Act for a while knows that I live for runDisney. I ran my first Disney Princess race in 2011 and was completely hooked. I thought I'd share some of my better runDisney costumes.

If you're planning on doing a runDisney race, the first thing you're probably thinking is what am I going to wear?! Costumes and runDisney go hand in hand. As runDisney has become bigger and bigger, costumes have become crazier and more elaborate! I like to think that over the years mine have gotten a bit better too. My first few years I rocked a tutu and a tiara, but I wasn't a specific character. By 2013, I started to up my game.


2013: Queen of Hearts
Red leggings {Walmart}
Tiny Tiara


2014: Cinderella
Blue Nike Tank
Blue tutu 
{I added ribbon & sparkle tulle to create the effect of the sides of Cinderella's ballgown}
Black ribbon chocker
Black Sparkle Sweaty Band
Black run crops


2015: Olaf
White Nike Cold Gear
Black leggings
Olaf Hat


2016: Snow White
Blue Champion Running Tank
Black biker shorts

Grumpy
Santa hat {cut off ball}
Santa beard {cut off mustache}
Red Champion Running Shirt
{Used my Cricut to iron GRUMPY letters on}
Black running shorts

For cuteness factor, here's mini Snow White with us!

So there you have it! My runDisney costumes past. Now I have to think about what I want to be for Princess Weekend this year. I need 3 costume ideas.

Any thoughts or recommendations as to what I should be? 
I'll be running with two of my girlfriends, so any group costume thoughts?

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Easy Dump & Bake Meatball Casserole

Hey hey hey! My days are all out of whack this week with Monday being a holiday! It's already Thursday and usually I don't work, but today I'm heading up to the gym to sub a cycle class. See this week is all sorts of weird. The days are flying by in the blink of an eye and there aren't enough hours to get everything done. Especially with this tiny hurricane!


Her current favorite thing to do is to give me as many toys as she thinks can fit in my lap then sit on me and play with said toys. It's kind of adorable and I'll take snuggles any way I can get them! She's always on the move, so it's impossible to get a good picture of her these days. 

Since she's always going, going, going, it's getting harder to get things done around the house. Cooking dinner has become interesting. Luckily JP is home in time to help entertain her while I throw something together! I've found the easier the recipe, the more likely I am to make it! I found this recipe while perusing Pinterest and knew I had to try it! {I'm no food blogger, so check out the original to see just how yummy it looks!}


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 (16 oz) package of Rotini pasta
  • 1 (24-25 oz) jar of pasta sauce of your choice
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 (14 oz) package of fully cooked meatballs
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 425*F
  2. Select a large baking dish, stir together pasta {uncooked}, water, sauce, meatballs and 1 cup of cheese. {It helps to add the ingredients in that order and stir after adding each!}
  3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Uncover and stir.
  5. Spread remaining mozzarella over top and bake for 10 more minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and enjoy!
It took less than 10 minutes to throw together and the oven did the rest of the work. This way my hands {and lap} were free for playing with Chlo! I also roasted some brussels sprouts to go along with it. Since I already had a nice hot oven, I was able to throw them in the oven while the pasta was baking too!

For the record, this dinner was a hit with Chloe! She especially loved the pasta, but ate up her meatballs too. We opted for no clothes at dinner, so it was a quick and easy transition from dinner to the sink to wash off!



I'm all for simplifying things in the kitchen to have more time with Chloe and JP!

What are some of your favorite easy recipes? Send me some links to try!!!

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