Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Will Run for Chocolate


On Sunday, I did a thing...I ran my first race of the year! If you've know me or have been following me for any amount of time, you know that running holds a very dear spot in my life. I started running in college and ran my first half marathon in November 2009 during my last semester of college. If you're interested to see the races I've run or read some other recaps, check out my Races tab!

My 2018 inaugural race was the Houston Hot Chocolate 15K! Let me tell y'all this, the race is true to their name! There is chocolate and hot chocolate everywhere. Inflatable chocolate characters, chocolate on the course, the most delicious chocolate snack bowl at the finish and even a chocolate bar shaped race medal. This race was on point with their swag and worth every penny of registration fee. You also get a race half zip pull over that is great quality and I already wore it to work Monday!

Now let's get to the race! (Photos courtesy of my awesome husband and biggest supporter. He ran around the race course to see us 5 different times!)


I ran this race with my awesome running buddy Rachael! The race started and finished near Sam Houston park on the edge of downtown Houston. We ran the first half mile or so through downtown and out onto Allen Parkway. If you're a running in Houston, you know that pretty much every race involves Allen Parkway or Memorial Drive. Race directors just love that long stretch of straight road with all the man made hills thanks to all of the underpasses!

The weather for the race was definitely warmer than expected for January. For this January at least! It's been so cold and we've had wonderful, cool, low humidity mornings, so I thought his would be great race day weather. Wrong! It was 60 degrees and 100% humidity. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the worst race weather by any means, but it could have been better!



We started off the race with a nice, comfortable pace. We weren't actually racing this race for time, just for fun. So I'm not going to post mile times or anything! We were running this as an even more fun training run for our Princess half marathon next month. Plus Rachael had just gotten back from two weeks in Europe and I hadn't run much after being sick the first 3 weeks of the year!

We maintained a really solid and steady pace for the first 5 miles of the race, but we both agreed that those 5 miles seemed to go on FOREVER! Some races pass by quickly and some are so slow. This one felt slower, and I think our lack of running the past couple of weeks had something to do with it!


The first water stop was around mile 1.5, and we saw JP and Chloe at mile 2 and 2.25 after the weird little out and back. We saw JP and Chloe again at 3.5 miles since he jogged down the bayou so he could surprise us in a spot where we weren't expecting him! Bravo sir. The next water stop wasn't until after mile 4 and this is my biggest complaint about the race. Running in 100% humidity is rough and sweaty. Not having water for almost 3 miles on a distance race course is too far in my opinion. I was very thirsty and had to take a Nuun and a water to properly hydrate. The rest of the water stations were spread out well at mile 5.5 and mile 7. Mile 7 is where our race kind of took a turn for the worse. We got to see JP and Chloe again, but Rachael's old foot injury started bugging her and my hamstrings were cramping up like crazy. {Going to gymnastics for the first time in 5 weeks on Friday probably was a big contributing factor to this!} Instead of pushing too hard, we kind of pulled back for the last couple of miles. Neither of us wanted to injure ourselves before Princess weekend. We managed to finish the 9.3 miles feeling pretty good with smiles on our faces!


We got our medals at the end along with water and Nuun tablets! Then made our way to get our real post race goodies.


Hot Chocolate 15K PROS:
  • Race SWAG! Some of the best race swag around. Worth the race registration!
  • Nuun hydration at water stops! Nuun is awesome and way better than Poweraid or Gatorade.
  • Chocolate and sweets on the race course. It was a nice treat to pick up blood sugar mid race.
  • I love that they offer a longer distance. Most races are a 5K and 10K or just a half marathon. The 15K distance is a fun challenge!
  • Awesome finishers medal.
  • Great start and finish location!
  • Post race goodies were amazing. Check out everything we received post race below!
Hot Chocolate 15K CONS:
  • Water stations too far apart! Hydration is so important during a race and it's hard with one stop almost 3 miles away.
  • Not my favorite course. It would be nice to see Houston races change up their race courses a bit! Allen and Memorial are getting old.
  • The expo and packet pick up didn't start until 3pm on Friday. Kind of hard for those of us that don't work in the city to get there without dealing with insane Houston traffic. Shout out to Rachael for picking mine up for me!




When I said the post race swag was on point, I wasn't kidding! We got these awesome "mugs" that hold snacks, a drink and even a place for dipping sauce...or chocolate! We had a banana, pretzels, cookies, marshmallows and a rice crispy treat for our chocolate dipping pleasure. 

We were definitely hungry and dove straight into these goodies after taking some super basic pictures. I mean it was too perfect to pass up!


After we got all of our goodies, JP and Chloe were just around the corner waiting to pick us up in the car and take us to brunch. Princess status y'all!

But obviously we went to brunch because what's the point of running long distances on weekends if you can't have brunch afterwards? We went to Weights and Measures in Midtown and it was amazing with tons of options. I highly recommend it to anyone in the Houston area!


I decided to keep the chocolate trend going and ordered a s'mores latte! I needed a pick me up after my 5:40am wake up call and running 9.3 miles! Yes, it was as delicious as it looks.

For food, I ordered avocado toast! It was brioche bread topped with avocado, bacon and eggs with a delicious sauce. I took off half of the eggs and all of the bacon for little Chloe to much on. Also, those potatoes on the side are life and I want more now.


There you have it. My first race of the year! With more races to come. That's right, next month is my annual girls Disney trip and I'll be doing a 5K, 10K and half marathon Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Bring it on Glass Slipper Challenge! We're ready and coming for ya.

What is your favorite race distance?
Do you know of an awesome race that I need to run? I'm willing to travel!

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday Favorites 2018 v1


Happy Friday lovelies! Welcome to the very first edition of ABA {A Balancing Act...I'm trying to be cool and act like I'm popular enough to need a cute acronym for my blog name!} Friday Favorites! I love sharing my weekly favorites with y'all. It'll be different every week. Sometimes I'll have totally random things {like today!}, sometimes I'll share favorite products, clothing, workouts, blog, really whatever I'm feeling is my favorite that week!

This week I just have my favorites from this week across the board. I recipe, a run and as always, my best girl!


one. This Chocolate Zucchini Bread from Chocolate Covered Katie
I've been following Chocolate Covered Katie for quite some time, and I love giving some of her healthier dessert recipes a go! I saw this chocolate zucchini bread on her instagram and had to have it. The best part is that I had a zucchini in my fridge and everything else I needed was in stock in my pantry. It's so delicious and works as a breakfast or snack. Plus you don't feel so bad because you're eating vegetables. Vegetables are healthy and chocolate is good for your heart. Practically health food! I'm not going to reinvent the wheel or copy her recipe, so head on over to her blog to see just how to make this treat!

Note: I did make mine in a bundt cake pan because I couldn't find my loaf pan. I cooked it for 30 minutes instead of 35 and still left it in the oven for 5 minutes after turning it off. It came out perfect!


two. This Snuggle Bear
My little snuggle bear has recently decided that she's obsessed with blankets. I'm a blanket person. I'm always cold, so naturally I love blankets. Especially with all this cold weather we've had lately. Now Chloe wants to snuggle mommy and a blanket. It's kind of adorable and I love finding her all bundled up!


three. This running view.
Any running view actually. Taking 3 weeks off for sickness was super hard! It's not hard to take a break during the summer because it's so hot and miserable outside around here. It's dangerous to run some days. But to miss beautiful running days while training for several races is hard on my runner heart! On the plus side, I'm back at it and I logged a 2.5 and 4 mile run this week. I'm running my first race of the year this Sunday and can't wait to have a race recap on the blog soon! It's been too long!


four. This totally awesome and super hard dinosaur puzzle.
1000 pieces. It took us over a month to finish! Of course while I was sick, I didn't want to have anything to do with the puzzle. I don't want to brag, but I'm good at puzzles. So is JP, but I {not so} secretly believe that I'm a little bit better. Granted we probably ended up 50/50 on this puzzle in the end. We split the beginning, he did most of the middle and I dominated the finish of this guy! I bought this puzzle at the Jurassic Quest dinosaur exhibit that I went to in December, and it was much harder than we anticipated. A lot of the dinosaurs colors look exactly the same when they're all mixed together! Plus the amount of pure white space was a challenge. We finished it on Tuesday and felt like champions! It hurt a little to destroy it, but it was taking up a lot of counter space on my island that I wanted back!


five. This little cowgirl had a blast at Giggles and Fun!
We met up with some friends at this super sweet indoor playland this week, and all of the girls had so much fun. They were able to dress up, go "shopping", ride ponies, play on playgrounds and so much more. The mommas were able to sit with the little babies in their special area and chat while the girls did their thing. We could see everything from where we were sitting, so it worked out great. Chloe had so much fun that we'll definitely have to check this place out again when we get into the miserable Houston summer months. If you're in the Houston area with little ones, check out Giggles and Fun! {They didn't pay me to say this or promote them. We just really had fun so I wanted to share!}

That's all folks! I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend. We're off to the zoo this morning!

What are your favorite moments from this week?
Do you have any favorite "healthy" dessert recipes that I should check out?


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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Getting Back to the Swing of Things + A Workout

It feels so good to be getting back into the swing of things after over a month away. I made my comeback a little bit later than expected because this year didn't exactly start the way that I anticipated. Honestly one thing led to another that led to another!

First, over Christmas Chloe had the flu. She was diagnosed the Friday before Christmas, and my poor baby was SO sick. She just wanted to love and snuggle her momma for a whole week. She wouldn't take the Tamiflu the doctor prescribed, so we just had to ride it out with lots of fluids, Tylenol and love. Once she started feeling better, I was down for the count. That's right starting New Years Day, I got sick. Not exactly the way you expect the year to start. Thank goodness JP was able to work from home and take care of me and Chloe. Once I started feeling better, JP went to Singapore and The Philippines for two weeks! You read that right, my husband was in Asia, literally half a world away. We were able to FaceTime twice a day since we had a 14 hour time difference. While JP was gone, I was told by my doctor not to workout for 2 weeks to allow my body to recover. So I didn't even have fitness to help me keep my sanity! I was able to go on easy walks, but that was it. The good news is that I survived!

I survived by...

  • spending as much time as possible at my parents' house. Having extra hands and a grown up to talk to makes a world of difference!
  • baking and arts and crafts at home since it was too cold to be outside.
  • finding new movies for Chloe to enjoy!
  • potty training! A little crazy, I know. But it helped pass the time and we had something to work towards.
  • venturing out to see friends! Our friends were so helpful and supportive while JP was away!



I'm sure I'm missing a lot of my survival tactics, but whatever I did worked. I missed JP and had a little breakdown over the Houston icepocalypse, but we did it and he's back!

Now back to the part earlier when I said I couldn't workout for two weeks. Two weeks was hard y'all! At first it was no problem because I still didn't feel well. Then it was so cold outside that I didn't want to run or do much of anything. By the end, I was itching to do something physical. As soon as I was cleared, I had to get back at it. I knew better than to do to much, so I took it easy. And that is what I want to share with y'all today!

I have a different type of workout for y'all. I'm usually all about the high intensity get your heart rate up and get your workout done quick. But guess what? Not every workout can be done this way. Sometimes, your body needs a break. Sometimes, your trying to recover. Sometimes, you just need to take it slower!


I'll be posting a video on Instagram later today demonstrating these moves in case you have any questions! As always, you can always reach out to me via e-mail, Instagram or Facebook if you have questions or need modifications. I'd love to help!

Happy hump day y'all! I know today was a lot of words and few pictures. Like the title says, I'm getting back into the swing of things and soon I should be back to normal!

How do you handle fitness breaks (voluntary or mandatory)? Do you enjoy it or miss it?
What are some of your favorite low intensity moves?

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Guess who's back?

Back again. Amy's back! Tell a friend.


HA! A little Slim Shady for you. But seriously, I'm back. HAPPY 2018! I've missed this space of mine, but I really did need a good, solid break. I originally planned on coming back at the start of the new year, but I wasn't ready. I needed a little more time and space. I needed to not worry about what to post and how to come back for a little bit longer. In the end, I didn't worry about how to come back. I just picked up my computer and gave it a go. And whatever comes to my head today is pretty much what y'all are going to get!

Here are my plans for this year and this space of mine. I want to blog 2-3 times a week. I'd love to be able to schedule my posts ahead of time, but to be honest, I'm not good at that! I can get a couple scheduled, but I have yet to be able to maintain that style of blogging. I truly blog in the moment about what's on my mind and what's going on in my life! That being said, I'm still going to be blogging about the goings on in my life. There will be plenty about my family, especially little miss Chloe, my travel experiences, my health and fitness journey and my day to day life. I hope to include more how tos, recipes and workouts. I strayed from those towards the end of last year as I tried to catch up with all my travel posts! Speaking of travel posts, I have a few more of those to come. I have yet to blog about Denmark or my brother's wedding in Colorado. They won't be forgotten.

So there you have it! You can expect...

  • More amazing travel posts! Not only catch up, but I have a couple trips already planned for this year!
  • More Disney! That's right, my annual Disney Princess girls weekend is coming up in just one month.
  • More running and races! I took some time off running, but I've got several races coming up the next couple of months.
  • More Chloe! Because let's be real, I'm obsessed with her.
  • More workouts! I have a few already put together. I'm hoping to get some quick videos made to provide an example instead of an explanation.
  • More recipes. Honestly, I have barely cooked at all this year. I've been off to a slow start, but I'm hoping to get in gear and share my tasty creations with y'all.
  • New exciting things! No spoilers, but I promise you'll be excited...I am!

Happy Monday y'all! I'm so glad to be back in my happy place. I miss writing and typing out my thoughts and emotions. I have a good feeling that 2018 is going to do great things for this blog! 


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