Friday, January 29, 2016

Oh Hey Friday!



one. This little lady is celebrating her 6 month birthday today. Half a year y'all! Didn't I just give birth? Apparently not, that was 6 months ago. Today we have her 6 month appointment and I'm excited to hear her stats. She's definitely a healthy little girl! I'm proud to say that in 6 months we exclusively breastfed (breastmilk in a bottle when I work) and she never got sick. I'll share her full 6 month update on Monday!


two. This puppy loves her baby and this baby loves her puppy. Maggie isn't always that gentle around people, so we were nervous about how she would handle Chloe. It is so sweet how gentle and kind she is! She licks her face a little more often then I'd like, but she's just being momma pup and getting the drool off her face. Now that Chloe is reaching and grabbing, Maggie doesn't even flinch when Chlo gets a fist full of her fur. It's just the best. I can't wait to watch these two as she grows.
{Don't worry, Moose is still around, he's just less interested in Chloe these days! Plus he's hard to take pictures of unless he's outside.}


three. I can't stop laughing. Thank you Snapchat for giving me this filter to take way too many ridiculous pictures of my daughter. Enough said.





four. We survived Daddy's first trip away from us! That's right, JP has been gone since Monday afternoon and didn't get back until LATE last night. We were already asleep in bed. I had been dreading this trip for weeks because I like having him here and I wasn't sure how I'd do without him. We managed, but not without lots of help from Auntie Annie, Leah, my mom, Matt and Emily! I appreciate y'all more than you know! 


Yesterday, Emily, Chlo and I had a relaxing girls day. Since it was so beautiful, we took Chloe to Pecan Park near my parents' house. She had a few firsts on her last day as a 5 month old...she went in the swing and down the slide for the first time! You go girl. It's safe to say she loved it.



five. Recipe time! This time, I chose a breakfast recipe. A twist on a classic that didn't disappoint at all! Last week, I made breakfast for dinner. I've made a few Trader Joe's runs lately and decided to pull something together with a lot of the ingredients I bought there.

Cinnamon Raisin French Toast

Ingredients
4 slices of Cinnamon Raisin bread {The bread at TJ's is thick and amazing}
1/2 cup of Egg Beaters {Sub: 2 large eggs}
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
Splash of Almond Milk
Coconut Oil Spray {Sub: Preferred cooking spray}
Butter
Powdered Sugar
Maple Syrup



Directions
Heat a skillet with cooking spray on medium heat.
Mix together the egg, vanilla, cinnamon and milk with a whisk until combined.
Dip the bread into the mixture. Let it sit for a moment to let it soak in. Flip and coat other side.
Place dipped bread in skillet and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Flip and cook other side.
Serve with your choice of toppings. I love a little butter and powdered sugar!

Making French toast with a different type of bread is delicious and I HIGHLY recommend it. It's even better when you eat it for dinner!

Have a great weekend y'all!
Linking up:



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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2016 Aramco Houston Half Marathon Recap

Another day, another half marathon recap post! I figured since I ran back to back weekends, it was only appropriate to share recap back to back weeks.



EXPO
The race expo was as always at George R. Brown Convention Center. It's nice that it's there because that's also where you're supposed to go race day morning. It gives you the opportunity to figure out where to park on race day and where you need to be if you haven't run the race before. Luckily for us, this is my 6th year and JP's 3rd to run in Houston. We decided to tackle the expo Friday late afternoon around 3:30pm.


I was very impressed by this year's expo. The Houston Marathon expo usually doesn't disappoint. There are always lots of vendors, tons of freebies and quite a few samples, but this year's just seemed to be even better. The vendors weren't necessarily different, and samples were about the same; a few hydration samples, Cliff bar and some fruit can always be expected. But the freebies and interactive activities were on point. Aramco handed out nice drawstring bags, ABB handed out gloves for race day that you can throw away, Chevron handed out posters and bam bam sticks for supporters in the crowds and Dick's Sporting Goods had all sorts of stuff! There were giant 13.1 or 26.2 numbers that you could take pictures with. They even included signs to make for your pictures! Dick's also had a giant dice game that you rolled to see what activity you got like push ups, balancing, hopping, sit ups, etc. Once you completed the activity based on what your age group should be capable of completing, you rolled another dice to see what prize you won! I thought it was a fun addition to the whole expo experience.


The expo itself was organized and set up beautifully. We didn't have any trouble with packet pick up or getting our t-shirts. As always, the expo flow was smooth and they really had it all together. Since we went Friday, it was much less crowded which I'm sure made the experience even better for us.



RACE DAY
Race day morning, our alarm went off at 5:00am. Kind of early, but nothing out of the ordinary for me. Not to mention, this was 2 hours later than our Disney wake up call. We got up, moving an quickly got ready. Chloe spent the night at my parents' house (her first night away from momma!), so I had to pump before we took off. Oh the joys of being a breastfeeding momma. But trust me, it's beyond worth it! We had laid our gear out the night before, so getting ready was a breeze and we were out the door by 5:45am.

We live just outside of downtown, so it was an easy 10 minute drive in to find parking. Beware! Parking can be super expensive around the convention center.. There were lots for up to $30. If you don't mind walking a little further post race, then you can go down some side streets and find parking for closer to $15. Still expensive, but half as much. Since we were running the half, it didn't bother me to walk a bit farther. Had I been running the full, I would have requested a better parking spot for sure! Once we parked, we briskly walked in the 40 degree air to George R Brown. Signs were out leading the way, so we had no trouble corralling our way in. Once inside, it was organized chaos. It was chaotic be causes there were so many runners. The lines for the port-o-potties were pretty long, but we had time so we waited. By the time we were done, we decided to just head out and get to our corral!


It was 6:40am at this point and Corral A just closed its gates. We were in Corral B and they didn't have nearly enough people checking bibs because it took us 5 minutes just to get in! It was definitely a mess, but we made it in just in time for the National Anthem to start. This at least minimized the
amount of standing around in the cold. We got a quick stretch in and were ready to go!


 The race run went off at 7:00am and we crossed the start line at 7:12! Our plan was to run a 10:00 pace per mile, similar to what we did at Disney the week before. We knew it was slower than our usual pace, but manageable given our lack of training. The weather was in our favor! It was cold, but the sun was out and there was low humidity. This is so rare for Houston but a welcome treat. I think this and the adrenaline of race day that had us running a bit faster than planned. Nothing crazy, 9:45 for the first mile. We felt fine, so I just held us at that pace for a bit. Just after the first mile, my shoe came untied! That was weird since I had literally double knotted them in the convention center! We had to pull over so I could quickly re-tie and tuck in my shoe laces. It worked because I didn't have any problems after that!

Mile 2 was a bit slower thanks to our random pit stop, but other than that, we maintained roughly a 9:50 pace. It was fun running through the streets that we drive down almost every day! This was my 6th Houston marathon weekend race. I ran the half in 2011 & 2012, the full in 2013 & 2014 and back to the half in 2015 & 2016. Every year I love the course and it never gets old. The crowds in Houston are AMAZING! There are people throughout a majority of the course supporting all the runners. It's pretty awesome and it's part of the reason I keep coming. Back year after year.

At mile 8 near Rice University and the medical center, the marathoners veer right and the half marathoners keep going straight! It is such a wonderful sight as a half marathoner. It's nice to know that I didn't sign up to run 26.2 miles this year. I wouldn't have been prepared at all. Once the half marathoners are on our own, we head down Montrose Boulevard. These are mine and JPs stomping grounds! We run several miles down Montrose and even pass our street before hitting Mile 11 and turning onto Allen Parkway for the home stretch. At Mile 11, I was feeling fantastic! We had kept our steady pace for a while, but here I picked up a bit. I didn't realize it, but JP did! He told me that if I was feeling good to just keep going. So I did. 

I saw some friends from college as we turned onto Allen and I was in the zone. I picked up to a 9:20-9:30 pace. Still slower than I used to run, but faster then I had been! I was able to maintain it all the way into downtown. When the finish line was in sight, I picked it up and sped into the finish! I don't know where the extra energy came from, but it felt amazing. I had such a rush as I crossed the finish line. My official race time was 2:06:53 and JP came in only 45 seconds after me! We shaved 6 minutes off of our Disney watch time in just one week!

 
We were definitely sore and achy after our finish, so we hobbled into the convention center to get all our gear! Finisher shirts, bananas, ice cream, hot breakfast, chocolate milk, and so much more! The hHouston marathon doesn't disappoint when it comes to post race goodies. After we stretched, ate breakfast and took a necessary finisher selfie, we headed to the car so we could get home to our baby girl!


I was so proud of us yet again for another strong race! It's wonderful to be able to do things like this with my husband. We haven't let having a baby rule our lives. We still do the things we love, hang out with friends and enjoy life...it's just a little different. And we may need a little extra help. Life is so much better with her in it and she makes me better! I've officially ran 2 half marathons post baby and I'm ready to keep going and keep improving. 

As always, I'm ready to sign up for Houston again next year! They put on too good of a race not to keep coming back for more!



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Monday, January 25, 2016

5 years ago...

...I woke up and decided to start a blog! It's crazy to think that (a) I've been doing this for that long, (b) I didn't quit, and (c) that there are people still around reading my random musings!

Five years is a long time. I mean, people have "5 year plans." In five years, I could have...

  • attended college and graduated. (Good thing I already had that one under my belt.)
  • had a few babies. (I did have one!)
  • moved across the country. (Oh wait, I did that.)
  • changed careers. (Yeah, I did that too.)
  • achieved world domination. (I didn't get started seriously until about 3 years ago, so I've got some time.)

I know that the past few years, I haven't been posting as often and lately my content can be kind of Chloe focused, but hey, that's life right? And this is a blog all about finding a balance in life. I thought it would be fun to take a look back at how I got into this space and how it's changed over the past 5 years!



2011
It's all started with this little post. JP and I moved to Pittsburgh and I realized right away that telling the same story over and over again was kind of a hassle. I literally started this blog as a way to keep my family and friends updated on our lives from across the country. That's how A Glimpse of the Gouglers was born. I shared my posts on Facebook for people to read, but that was about it until that fall when I actually found and connected with "the blogging world." Pinterest was new and all the rage. I began crafting and cooking more in my free time and found my blogs view and number expanding beyond family and friends!



2012
We moved back to Texas with our pup Maggie. I was very invested in the blog at this point and loved interacting with the blogging community. I started going to blogger meet ups and making new "blog friends" around Houston. Blog talk and just girl talk with other bloggers helped to boost my creativity and find new blogs to follow. It's funny how much more invested you are when you know the people that are reading your blog and you know the face behind the site when you're reading. 



2013
Midway through the year, I decided to rename my blog A Balancing Act. It was no longer simply about my family, but more of a healthy living, lifestyle blog. A place to find the balance of a healthy, happy life! I became even more invested in healthy living when I took a risk, quit my job in sales operations, took the NASM CPT and became a full time fitness specialist. This career change solidified the focus of my blog around family, friends, food, fitness and fun. Who knew there were so many awesome and appropriate F words right?


A Balancing Act


2014
This was sort of a weird year for me. I was settling into my new career and my new EARLY morning wake up calls. I didn't have a computer always at my disposal which made blogging kind of difficult. Being a fitness professional requires different than "normal" hours, you're constantly physically active and you're mentally and emotionally drained since we sort of work as therapists as well. It makes for an exhausting day, so this blog was getting pushed aside for rest and other home/dog chores when I made it home for the day. I still loved it, but I was loosing steam. I didn't get guest bloggers when I was traveling. I didn't have any posts scheduled ahead of time. I just needed a "break" in order to find out my new blogging normal.




2015
I became pregnant and continued my fitness career and blogging about workouts, recipes, life experiences and healthy living, but added a whole new component, bumpdates! While growing Chloe Grace, I wanted to document every feeling, each week and all my emotions. My blog served as the perfect place to do this and it was definitely a hit with my readers! It's turns out that people love to read about pregnancy. I know that I always read when my favorite bloggers became pregnant and posted updates! As my pregnancy went on, my posting became more sparse. I was pretty exhausted from early mornings at work and my creative juices were limited. But Chloe eventually came and then the blog was A LOT about her. That and getting back to my new normal post pregnancy. 




2016
My goal for this year is to continue blogging, but to be more regular on my posting! I hope to blog at least 3 times a week and to get my posts scheduled ahead of time. I know we're only a month in, but so far so good. I plan to keep blogging about life in general. Balancing posts on Chloe, recipes, workouts, funny stories, race recaps and just life updates! I want this to be a place that I continue to enjoy writing and sharing my journey. I hope you all continue to stick around and enjoy this ride of life with me. Juggling everything can be pretty crazy, but after all, isn't life A Balancing Act?

Thanks for joining me on this awesome ride. I can't wait to see what else this blog has in store for me! Stay tuned for something extra special this week. You'll be glad you did!

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Foodie Friday #2: Garlic Chicken, Zucchini and Corn

Hey hey! Happy Friday y'all! I'm back again with another recipe to share with y'all for my 2016 Cooking Challenge. After a few weeks, I'm still going strong. We've been cooking a lot more than usual which is exactly what I intended for this challenge. As always, I have my little helper around to keep me in check.


There she is eying me from her big girl Exersauser...which by the way, she actually moves around in and interacts with these days! My little ChloWorm is growing up so fast!

This week I wanted to try one of the recipes that I found on Pinterest once I decided to create this challenge for myself. The colors of the dish were so vibrant and it's a clean recipe, so I had to give it a try. Plus it really only takes 20 minutes. Yes please, count me in! Here's the original recipe. I made a few changes to ours and personally, I think it was for the best! (I'm still working on my food photography skills so don't judge me :))




Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 medium zucchini squash
  • 2 cups corn (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 tsp olive or coconut oil
  • 2 large cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled feta (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
Chicken
  1. Cut boneless skinless chicken breast into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Preheat skillet on medium heat, add 1 tsp oil, swirl to coat.
  3. Add 1 clove of crushed garlic and cook for 10 seconds. Add chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered while stirring occasionally.
  5. Move chicken to a bowl and set aside.
Zucchini and Corn
  1. Cut zucchini into half moon shapes.
  2. Cook the same way as the chicken (steps 2-4) but for 6 minutes only.
Put it Together
  1. Add chicken back into skillet and stir.
  2. Add crumbled feta. Sprinkle half over skillet and stir.
  3. Remove from heat. 
  4. Plate your dish and sprinkle the remaining feta on the dish!
Storage Instructions: Refrigerate in a glass airtight container for up to 5 days. The flavors have time to settle in the fridge; it's delicious as leftovers hot or cold! 

This recipe came out at 4 servings for us!



This is a great dish for any time of the year! The best part is just how simple it is to put together and make. The ingredients are limited and most you probably have in your home. I'm also picky about what foods I eat leftover and I really enjoyed this dish!

There you have it Week 2 of my Cooking Challenge complete. Take a look at all my recipes from this year below:
2016 Cooking Challenge
Lemon Pepper Crusted Chicken

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Race Recap

We are LONG overdue for a race recap around here! After my ankle injury last February and the fact that I was pregnant, running was taken from my "able to do" list for the remainder of my pregnancy. The last race I ran was in February at the 2015 Disney princess race and let's be real, I didn't run at all. I walked thanks to spraining my ankle a week prior.

Thankfully, I've had a full recovery and I'm back in the game. Training was VERY hard for me. Getting back into running is not an easy task. Especially coming off of an injury and childbirth. Once my ankle healed, I had some serious hip issues that luckily have resolved themselves, but could potentially rear their ugly head if I'm not careful. But somehow, someway, I was able to get into running condition with little time to spare. I ran 6 miles the weekend before the race and had to count of my experience with running and pacing to get me through my first 13.1 post baby!


Our morning started dark and early at 3:00am! Yikes. We quietly got ready while Chloe and Julie slept in our room. We laid out all of our Snow White and Grumpy gear the night before to make things as easy as possible. At 3:30 we were outside our room where we met up with Ali. She took a few pictures for us before going into our room to help Julie with Chloe while we were out running!

We were on a bus by 3:40am to go to the runner drop off area. runDisney has amazing transportation from the resorts to the runner area and back again. This year we seemed to get there a little early. We were there by 4:00am, so we took a few pictures and took everything in before we took the 15 minute walk over to the starting corals.


That's right, before every runDisney race be prepared for a walking warm up! It's really not a bad walk and it gives you time to mentally prepare and get excited about the race!


The corrals are labeled A-P and are assigned based on the finish time you provided when you signed up. If you don't provide a previous race finish time, then you'll be in one of the later corrals. JP and I started in E which was perfect. Since we were one of the earlier corrals, we didn't have to worry about too many crowds or crazy long lines for characters.


RunDisney is always very diligent about their start times, so at 5:30am sharp, corral A was off and at 'em! There are roughly 2 minutes between the start of each corral, so a mere 10 minutes later we were off!


It was dark and incredibly foggy on race day. Luckily the temps dropped to upper 50's and didn't get higher than 62 while we were running. That fog and humidity was dense though. It's a good thing we train in Houston and are used to the misery of running in those conditions. It makes it less miserable really. 

Just after mile 2 we we passing through the Magic Kingdom sign to run through its vast and winding parking lot. We had to stop to get a quick selfie!


Around mile 5 you run into Magic Kingdom down Main Street, USA! We stopped and asked one of the volunteers to snap a quick picture for us with the castle! Then we were on our way running through Tomorrowland and into Fantasyland. That's where we stopped to snap a picture with Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum and the Queen of Hearts!


It was a nice quick break while we were in line to shake out our legs and stretch a bit before we were on our way again. It wasn't long before we were running through the castle and of course I had to stop for a picture! This was a super quick stop and onward ho. 


We made our way through Liberty Square to Frontierland where we took a pit stop in the bathrooms there. It's nice to have a flushable toilet and there's practically no one in there! Just a helpful tip to anyone doing a runDisney race, wait to potty in the park :) Right around the corner from our potty break was Woody with another super short line, so we jumped in for a picture opp. Stick 'em up!


After Woody, we were a little over 6 miles in, and we pretty much made our way out of the park and back onto Disney roads. We passed by a few resorts and saw some other characters, but the lines were really long or we had met the characters at our character brunch the day before. Soon we came across the golf course and Donald was there! Donald is the mascot for the half marathon, so I was excited to get a picture with him. Plus his line wasn't too long at all. We were between miles 7 and 8, so I'm sure some people just wanted to keep going. Once JP and I got up there, we told Donald we were going golfing! I love how we all set up at different phases of our swings!


By mile 8, we were still feeling pretty good. Our legs were kind of achy, but our lungs were holding up. Snow White was the mile 8 marker, so we stopped for a quick picture because duh, we were Snow White and Grumpy! There was a volunteer there taking pictures for people which I thought was a great idea. In the past, people just took selfies or asked someone to take a picture for them. I loved that there was a volunteer to help out. 

Speaking of runDisney volunteers, they're amazing! They're all so helpful, supportive, encouraging and just great. Big thank you shout out to everyone out there who has ever volunteered for a race. You rock and we appreciate you!


We kept trekking along and started to get more sore. That's because training was rough for us this time around. At mile 10, we had to make our way around a banked turn that went to an over pass. The uneven hill hurt my feet and hips quite a bit to say the least. There are about 3 of these banked turns on the course. 1 at the beginning and 2 back to back around mile 10/11. We did make it though!

Around mile 12 we finally made our way into Epcot! It's always nice to be running in the parks because it takes your mind off of the running since there is more to look at. Plus you're at Disney! It gives you the extra boost you need to finish strong.

Just when we thought we were going to power through to the finish line, we saw Geenie! We had to stop and get a picture with him. 


We only had 1/2 a mile to go, so after our quick pic, we went on full steam ahead! We were pretty sore, but maintained a 10:00/mile pace the entire race! We finished in 2:13 according to my watch which I stopped during our picture breaks to keep tally on our actual pace. Our official time was 2:25:50!


The post race was set up perfectly. There were wet towels to drape over our necks since it was so hot, lots of snacks and fluids to hydrate. The buses back to the resort were quick and painless. Disney has really figured out this racing thing if you ask me!


We got back to our rooms and had to get a few pictures with our little Snow White! Ali and Julie had dressed her up for a photo opp! After a shower and some breakfast, we were off to Epcot to eat our way around the world!


Have you ever done a runDisney race? What's your favorite part about them if you have?
Ever dressed up for a race? What is your favorite costume?

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Monday, January 18, 2016

How to eat your way around the world in one day.

Here's the deal. I'm going to teach you how to eat around the world in one day in 10 easy steps. If I can do it, you can do it too! Now read and learn...

Step 1: Wake up at 3:00am and run a half marathon around Disney world. This step is optional, but it does help you to be very hungry which aids in your attempts to eat around the world.


Step 2: Go to Epcot and take cute pictures with your besties.


Step 3: Go to San Fransokyo and visit with Baymax!




Step 4: Walk over to Germany for Bratwurst and sauerkraut. If you're feeling crazy, get the apple strudel as well! I didn't, but Ali and Philip did. I still wish I would have gotten it! If brats aren't your thing, grab a pretzel. Yummmmm

Source (I forgot to take a picture of mine!)

Step 5: Stroll over to France for macaroons, cream brûlée and other pastries. Then take pictures with the Eiffel Tower in the background!


Step 6: Take a pit stop to meet Belle since you're in France after all!




Step 7: When the rain comes in, dash over to Mexico. The Mayan ruins will provide coverage from the rain. While you're there, have a drink in the Tequila Cave! You can also go on an adventure to find Donald and meet the #1 Duck while you're at it.




Step 8: When the rain clears up, go to Morocco for dinner! The Spice Road Table is AMAZING and rarely crowded. I think the idea of Moroccan food scares people, but it doesn't disappoint. We got one of each of the small plates and shared it among 4 adults!



Step 9: Because you always have room for dessert, grab a cronut in Canada. You won't regret the cinnamon sugar deliciousness.

Source

Step 10: Make you're way back to the Epcot ball and bask in the awesomeness of Disney World because you just ate your way around the world!


There you have it! In one day, you ate at Epcot, Germany, France, Mexico, Morocco and Canada. While you were there, you walked through San Fransokyo, Norway, Africa, Italy and the UK. It's a pretty busy and wild adventure, but you too, can eat your way around the world!

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