Friday, December 19, 2014

New Italian Restaurant opens at Disney

 

 
 
Great news for those who love Italian food but don't want to pay park admission to get into Epcot to go to the Italian Pavilion. Trattoria al Forno, is a new casual Italian restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and it is now open for business!

 Here is the official word as given to me from Disney:

 From tempting regional specialties to crowd-pleasing classics, this new Walt Disney World® Resort restaurant offers diners an authentic taste of Italy.  
Showcasing traditional techniques, Trattoria al Forno celebrates the diversity of Italian cuisine with authentic ingredients and recipes hailing from all over “The Boot,” from Milan to Rome.  Menu items include house-made daily mozzarella atop Neapolitan-style pizzas, hand-rolled pastas, velvety risottos and seasonal seafood.

For a sweet end to the meal, you can enjoy signature-blend Italian coffee accompanied by Italian dessert classics, such as tiramisù, lemon panna cotta, gelato and more. 
The restaurant’s extensive wine list, which is 100 percent Italian, takes you on a journey through Italy’s 20 wine regions.

And, for breakfast, Trattoria al Forno offers up American favorites with classic Italian tastes, including scrambled eggs with tomato, basil and fresh mozzarella, or cured Italian meats with tomatoes, hard-boiled egg, and cheese with fonduta (a warm cheesy sauce for dipping bread).
Trattoria al Forno is open 7:30 a.m.- 11 a.m. for breakfast, 5-10 p.m. for dinner and accepts the Disney Dining Plan.

I'm thinking this might be a great place to stop during marathon weekend next month!

How to Host a Murder Mystery Party

Today's Friday Five is all about Holiday Traditions and one of the things we do every year around the holidays is host a Murder Mystery party ( this is something separate from the Murder Mystery weekends that we attend).  Lots of people do the typical Christmas party, so this kind of mixes things up a bit and we love a good themed party!


1.To make things simple, we purchase one of those boxed party kits. We have used several brands but our favorite is by BePuzzled Games.


2. This kits will give you everything you need to host a successful party. It will give you invitations to send out, a menu for meal planning, a script booklet for each suspect, an overall party guide, and an optional CD.

3. Our favorite part of the murder mystery is the dressing up!  On each invitation there is a list of characters. Each guest is assigned to portray a certain character and they are given background info on that character and costume suggestions. This is so fun and our guests really take the dressing up seriously. Over the years we've had a skier ( bringing real skis with him), a doctor, a show girl, a surfer, a redneck bride and an Elvis, just to name a few.

4. It's always fun to make the food for the party too. Each party has it's own theme and the menu that is suggested in the party planning kit reflects that theme. I don't remember for certain all of the themes we have done, but here are a few:  A ski lodge, A Vineyard, A Wedding, Mardi Gras, a Hawaiian Luau and an Italian Theme.

5. The party planning guide will also guide you on how to decorate and what props you should have. Even though we host this party during Christmas, the only real Christmassy theme we ever had was the one set at the ski lodge. That was fun because I could use all my snowmen and Christmas tree decorations I already had. One of the most fun themes we had was probably the Hawaiian Luau. It was so fun to decorate my house and wear fun sun dresses even though there was snow on the ground!

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of our past Murder Mystery parties. I believe they all got lost when Best Buy wiped out my computer!

Do you host an annual party of some sort?

                                         We are linking up with the gals from the Friday 5.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

How Running Shoes are like Puppies



Remember earlier this week I told you that I did my very first 22 mile run? Well, while on that run I had a lot of time to think. One of the things I thought about was how yucky my running shoes were becoming as I slushed around in the snow and sometimes mud. I felt bad about how awful I had been treating my favorite shoes but then I remembered this: Running shoes are meant to be worn. They won’t do me any good if I keep them sitting in their box and am afraid to wear them in in- climate weather. I need to show them some love, I need to let them do their job, I need to show them the world (or at least my little part of it)!
 
This got me thinking that running shoes are a lot like puppies. It takes a certain amount of dedication to properly care for both.  Okay, you are probably thinking I am crazy right about now, but hear me out.

1.       Before you even select a pair of running shoes, you should have done some research and got a proper shoe fitting to help you find out what a good shoe would be for you. Same is true for picking out a puppy. You need to do research and find one that you are capable of properly taking care of and one that fits your life style.

2.       When you purchase your running shoes you are making a commitment to your running, your health, your training plan, etc. When you pick out a puppy you are hopefully making a commitment to properly care for the puppy.
 
3.       You have these perfect running shoes but they won’t do you any good looking pretty in the box. Take them out, go for a run, and get them dirty!  Same goes for your puppy. Those little balls of joy can be quite mischievous but you can’t keep them locked up in their crate or cage all day. They need to get out and play!
 
4.       You need to give them (both your running shoes and your puppy) a good life. Let them do the jobs they were meant to do.  I’ve used my running shoes hard this year, but I know they are happy for it (or they would be if they actually had feelings). Just this year my Altras have taken me on runs through Disney World, on the beach (literally) and on the boardwalk, through the Las Vegas Strip, and on the Appalachian Trail. My dog on the other hand has gone to the playground, runs on the trails, goes to the beach, plays with her other lab friends, and swims in our pool. I think she is just as happy!

5.       Just as you need to properly care for your puppy with Vet visits and as needed maintenance, the same is true for your running shoes. Check them often. Make sure everything is where it is supposed to be. Check your tread. Is it wearing low? Could it be time for a new pair?

 
Yes, I had a lot of time on my 22 mile run to think of this. Although it may be a little bit silly, you have to admit it is true.   -M
What do you compare your running shoes to? 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The OTHER Charcter meal at Disney


When you start making dining reservations for your Disney trip do you include any "Character dining experiences" on your itinerary? If so, where are your favorites? Do they include the Crystal Palace in MK? Cinderella's Castle? Have you been lucky enough to get in at Be Our Guest? We actually prefer character dining that is outside of the park. For resort dining, you probably are thinking of the big three along the monorail line: Chef Mickey's, O'hana, and 1900 Park Fare, and then over at the Beach Club you have Cape May.

One Character Dining experience that often gets overlooked is Garden Grove Café at the Swan Resort. The Swan and Dolphin resort is just a short walk from the Boardwalk and is definitely worth a visit to try out one of the many restaurants.


We went to the Garden Grove for a post race brunch during our last visit. Here are some highlights and things you should know:

* The Garden Grove is very easy to access from the boardwalk ( or Yacht or Beach Club). If
 you are coming from any of these resorts, you will enter the double doors in the back and Garden Grove will be to your right.

*No Reservations are needed for Garden Grove.

*The theme of Garden Grove is "Central Park". It is so cute with it's big trees and park lights.  It is covered in a big dome that allows for lots of natural light ( which you can tell from my picture). I believe I even saw a bird flying around up top.

*Character dining for breakfast is only available on Saturday and Sunday. We went on Saturday and surprisingly it wasn't packed.

* Two characters visited during our time there. They were Goofy and Pluto.

*Character dining is also available for week night dinners.


*GREAT selection of hot and cold foods.  Really, this was a fabulous buffet. I loved the smoothie selection and had one of each kind.


*This Character buffet was only $24 which is kind of a bargain when it comes to character meals. I will admit that you do only get to see two characters, but for the amount of food and the fun atmosphere, it was totally worth it.

Have you ever been to Garden Grove Café?  Have you been to any restaurants at the Swan or Dolphin?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Stride Box vs Runner Box and other subscriptions

If you have been a frequent follower on our blog you may have remembered us talking about the Stridebox which is a monthly subscription box that is all products for runners. At the time when I was receiving Stridebox, I had not heard of any other subscription like that. Since then, I have learned that there are many boxes out there that are similar.  One of them is the Runnerbox. In addition to Runnerbox, they also offer a Cyclebox and TriBox

Many of you may have heard about this box but since I had been getting the Stridebox I was anxious to compare the different between the two boxes. Unlike many subscription boxes, Runnerbox was offering a one time limited edition holiday gift box at a discounted rate with free shipping. I really liked that you could do a one time purchase and not have a monthly subscription that you had to remember to cancel. 

Though you received a few more items in the Runnerbox, their products were very similar to the Stridebox such as GU and a Honey Stinger. A few were different like sportswear detergent and Primal mud. 

I liked that the Stridebox came with a description of all the products in the box, and most came with a discount code to use if you wanted to buy more of a product that you may have liked. 

In the Runnerbox there were only two description cards. One was for the high performance laundry detergent with a 10% discount code and the other explained how Primal Sport Mud works(no discount code). Use Primal Sport Mud before or after training to help ease any soreness.  Put on affected area and cover with a towel and place heating pad on it for 15 minutes. Ever hear of it? I haven't tried it yet, but have heard it does work.
Contents of my last Runnerbox

So my final thoughts.
Pros-
- Runnerbox and Stridebox both have similar products.
- Runerbox gives you more products to try in their box, therefore more variety.
-You do not have to do a monthly subscription if you want to purchase one as a gift.

Cons-
-Not as many discount codes as Stridebox offers.
-More expensive monthly.
-Though some products are self explanatory, I like that Stridebox gave you a list and description of each product in the box and where to find it at if you want to order more. Runnerbox did not.
-Even with the discount I received, it was still more expensive than the Stridebox.

My opinions are based on several months of getting Stridebox and only one month of receiving Runnerbox.  -L

Have you ever tried Runnerbox? What are your thoughts? Do you subscribe to any other subscription box?


                                                             We are linking up with TOTR.
 

Monday, December 15, 2014

For all my friends who have to train in the winter


I knew I wanted to get a long run in sometime last week but I kind of kept coming up with excuses. My knees had started pinching again, it was cold outside, it had snowed, I needed to clean house, etc.  Well Friday I had planned to either go shopping or run. I was actually considering both but figured I should get a long run in since that would probably take me longer.

Yes, it was still cold out, but I bundled up in my fleece leggings, my long sleeve tech shirt from RnR Las Vegas and my Under Armour windbreaker over top, just in case it started to precipitate in anyway. I didn’t want to get caught being soaked like I did last Tuesday. Oh, and I should mention that I put that Marathon cream that my sister got at the Las Vegas expo on my knees before I went outside. Boy oh boy, that stuff certainly throws some heat on your legs. That was a good thing to put on before going out in the cold.

Okay, let’s get to the running part. The trail I run on is a mix of paved and unpaved roads.  It had snowed 2 days before and I wondered if any of the trail would be cleared or plowed. I started out on a paved part and it was not plowed but looked as if there was a path created for runners and bikers.  After I went a little ways I noticed that the cleared path was not a constant.   I did pass a runner coming in the opposite direction and that gave me hope that there were more cleared spots ahead.
This is what the majority of the trail looked like on my run on Friday.
 I found out that was not the case. I ran when I could and when the snow was too deep I took some walk breaks. By mile 6 the back of my knees started pinching. Apparently the marathon cream had worn off.

At about mile 8 I finally got to try my Salted Carmel GU that I have been carrying around with me on all my long runs but never used. It was amazing and tasted like real caramels. It didn’t taste like a GU at all. I never take a full GU at one time (I usually save some for later), but this time I squeezed till I got every last drop!  I then immediately felt as if I had to go to the bathroom. I knew there was a public park about 2 miles ahead and planned to make a pit stop there.  By the time I got to the restrooms, I decided I could wait a bit more and stop on the way back. Well by the time I ran back past the restroom, I didn’t feel the need to stop at all which was good. What was not good is that a mile after I already passed the restrooms, I felt the need to go. I knew there was a Sheetz a mile ahead so that was my only. Get to Sheetz!  I literally ran into Sheetz with my earbuds still in and my Under Armour face hood on (So glad it was not a black one or I probably would have scared some people).  I got to the restroom and I seriously had to wait in line. NO!

Okay, so I was feeling better after leaving Sheetz and ready to tackle the last 10 or so miles. At mile 15 I decided to eat my Ginger Snap Honey Stinger Waffle.  I was so disappointed when I pulled it out and it was frozen. It was seriously like eating peanut brittle. At this point I was tired of dodging the snow so I would just run through some of it. I actually noticed that running on the snow made the pinching pain in my knees feel a little better. At round mile 16 I noticed that I lost one of my new touch screen gloves (see I told you that would happen). It must have fallen out of my pocket when I pulled my waffle out. I turned around to see if I could see the bright pink glove lying in the snow anywhere but didn’t see it so I just kept running. I didn’t bother going back to look for it. For $3, I could buy another pair!
 
 At mile 17 this little guy ran with me for about 3 tenths of a mile. He had fast little legs and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried that he was going to bite me in the ankles. His brother, a Yellow Labrador, was a good dog and stayed in the yard!  

I started getting the “Low battery” message on my Garmin and worried that it was going to shut off before I completed my run so at this point I kept taking pictures of my Garmin at every mile, just in case.  When I hit the 20 mile mark, I decided to “Save” my run on the Garmin so I would at least have data for that far. I just ran 20 miles! I couldn’t believe it. My longest run up till now had only been 15. I felt like I had made a break through in my running!  After I saved my 20 mile run, I started the Garmin back up to see if it had enough battery to record the rest of my run. I got about one tenth of a mile in and the Garmin shut off just as I had predicted. I am so glad that I saved it at 20 miles because it was SO close to shutting off on me.  I was planning on doing 22 miles, but at this point it was getting dark so I decided to turn around and start walking back to my car. I figured I did 20 miles, I’m good.  I started walking for a few seconds and thought “What am I doing?” I came to do 22 miles. I’m gonna finish it!  I turned around and did the last mile up and then the other mile back to my car. 22 miles done!  Under normal circumstances I may not have done those last two miles but at this point I knew Scott was in the parking lot waiting for me so I felt comfortable knowing that he was near. He had stopped to meet me on his way home from work and I am so grateful for that. 

After my run I immediately called my sister to tell her how many miles I did! It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I think maybe it was because I wasn’t running at a race pace. I was a little achy later that night but I soaked in a Epsom salt bath and surprisingly I felt okay the next day. I tried to follow the Galloway Goofy training plan as closely as I could but I admit I fell behind somewhere in November.  I’m gonna say that this will be my longest run before marathon day and I’m okay with that.   -M
How is your training doing? Do you remember the first time you ran your longest training run? What was it like?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Peek in Our Week, Running of the Elves, new products, coupons and discounts

Welcome to another Peek in our Week!

I would say that this week was full of successful workouts for me. I either ran or rode bike and I remembered to get in some stretching too. Monday I rode 14 miles on the bike, Tuesday I ran 6 miles and then rode another 13 on the bike, Wednesday I rode 15 miles on the bike, Thursday I actually did housework ( and I did stretching), and Friday I did a VERY long run! -M

The weekend was very busy as well. Saturday I went to a "Grinch" event for work. Yes, the big green Grinch was there! I then got to cheer on some runners at our town's Running of the Elves 5K.

I was kind of disappointed that more runners did not dress festive for the race. I tried to get pictures of the ones who did.

I was debating on whether or not I wanted to run this race. I didn't sign up because last year the runners ran in a snow storm and I am a wimp and didn't want to run in the cold. It turns out that it wasn't even that cold out this time. I kind of wish I would have ran but after Friday's long run, it's probably better that I didn't.-M


Last week I bought these South Beach snack smoothies because they were on sale and they seemed like a good idea at the time. I bought a 4 pack of Strawberry Banana and a 4 pack of Chocolate Truffle.  You know we are always honest with our reviews, so I'm gonna tell it like it is. The Strawberry Banana tasted like something you would drink because you had a belly ache.  I could barely get it down and to be honest I didn't even drink the full  bottle.  The chocolate one was a tiny bit better, it had a better flavor because it actually tasted like chocolate but I didn't drink a full one of those either.  I would have to give these smoothies 2 thumbs down! -M



A few highlights for me this week included getting all my Christmas shopping done, a lot of runs on the treadmill,  one run outside to see if I could find some items for the #RunChat scavenger hunt, and a game night with some girlfriends from college! -L

I was sent this free coffee creamer from Nescafe from Smiley 360 to review. I will say that it was okay and good in a pinch but I prefer liquid creamer and I like the flavored ones. This one was plain.  We also have a coupon  for Nescafe to share with our reader. If you drink coffee and want a coupon, click HERE.   -L


Lastly, our giveaway for A Rose So Sweet adjustable headbands will be ending tonight. However, Liz ( the owner) has given us a discount of 20% off to pass along for our readers.  Use code "SAVE20" at check out.  This offer expires Monday at midnight!  If you order by Monday night, you will still be able to get your headband by Christmas!

 We hope everyone had a great weekend! Tell us what you did this weekend.  If you drink coffee, what is your favorite creamer?

Friday, December 12, 2014

5 Winter Activites Runners in Training Should Avoid

Hey Gang, Happy Friday!

Thank you all for the great support on yesterdays post. Its good to see that I am not the only one who loses things only 5 minutes after I put them down. Good news, my mom saved the day. Apparently she found my car key under the cushion of the dining room chair! I have no idea how it got there.


Anyway, lets get to the Friday 5. This week's theme is Winter Activities.  I don't know about you, but with 5 races coming up this winter, we are playing it safe. We are not really engaging in any "Winter" activities which is sad because we generally go ice skating with our family this time of year. I actually remember writing a post similar to this last year. I had wanted to go ice skating and thought it would be good cross training on a non run day, but was too worried that I would get hurt. Here I am a year later and I still haven't gone ice skating because I am training for yet another big race.

So if you are a runner and you have a race planned for this winter or early spring, please be cautious  doing these winter activities or just stay away from them until training is over!

1. Ice Skating: We are both pretty good ice skaters, but anything can happen.

2. Skiing: When I would ski, I would worry more about people running into me and knocking me over.

3. Snowboarding: I'm not sure I would be coordinated to do this anyway.

4. Shoveling Snow: Yes Shoveling can be dangerous. I know many people who have pulled a muscle or have suffered an injury from shoveling. If you are training for a race, don't risk it. Get your spouse, your child, or a neighbor kid to shovel for you.

5.  And #5 is to just be careful on the ice in general. Make sure you are putting salt in areas that need salted and use hand rails when you can. So many accidents happen when people slip on the ice.


Will you be engaging in any winter activities this season?

                      Don't forget about A Rose So Sweet Non Slip Headband GIVEAWAY


We are linking up with the gals from the Friday 5

Thursday, December 11, 2014

This Runner is Losing Her Mind

Welcome to another edition of Thursday Thoughts. Today it's the ramblings of a runner.

Since I had been having some knee pain since coming home from RnR Las Vegas, I decided that the whole month of December I would really concentrate on strength training and stretching.  Every day this week I have gone to my parent's house to ride their exercise bike (since I don't have one).

On Tuesday I ran 6 miles, in the rain I might add. Yea, that made me feel like one of those dedicated hard core runners. You know the ones that when people drive by they say "She must be crazy", haha. Anyway, while I was running I had my car key in the inside pocket of my jacket. I would say that pocket is pretty secure. And I have to mention that my car key is just a fob, not really a key. In facet I don't have to have the key out to unlock the car door or eve start the car. Oh how modern technology works.

Anyhow, after my 6 mile run, I ran back to the parking lot and left my soaking wet self in my car. My car key was still in my jacket pocket, all I had to do was just touch the door and it opened.  I sat in my car for a moment, checked my text messages, and then pushed the ignition button on my car ( key still in jacket pocket).  My car started and I drove all the way to my parents house.

I remember getting out of my car with my key in one hand and my phone in the other and actually using the key fob to lock  my car.  I walked in the front door of my parents house, took my wet coat off and started chatting with my dad. Before I even left the downstairs area, I noticed that I forgot my water bottle in my car.  As I looked for my key, so I could go back out to my car to get it, I couldn't find it.  I searched the house up and down and still no key.  I noticed that one of my gloves was also missing from my jacket pocket. When I walked out to my locked car, I saw my other glove sitting on the console. I assumed that my key must be in there too.  I was pretty sure I had the key in my hand when I left my car and I don't know how I would have locked it without my key.  But in any case, I got a ride back to my house to get the spare key.   Once I got back to my parent's house, I unlocked my car, and yet there was no key inside.  My dad is convinced that I lost the key while on my run. I keep telling him that  would be impossible because there would have been no way I would have been able to drive my car to his house if I didn't have the key inside my car somewhere.  I looked around his house again the next day and still couldn't find my key.   I am convinced that the key has got to be in my parent's house somewhere in plain sight, but where?  I hadn't even been in the house more then 10 minutes and I lose the key. Things just are not making sense and I am seriously thinking I am losing my mind!  

Please tell me I am not the only one who has ever lost something so quickly? 
This is just so bizaar!  -M
       

P.S We are starting our 12 days of Christmas today so be sure to check out our Facebook page for more Gift Ideas for Runners!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Stocking Stuffer Must haves and a GIVEAWAY

 
 
When I think of "stocking stuffers" I think of fun items that are small ( because of course you want them to fit inside the stocking).  I could think of a ton of little items to give a runner:Nutrition bars, running fuel, KT Tape, Body Glide, etc. I could go on and on but this post will consists of items to wear! I've come across a few new  "wearable" products this year and some of them I thought would be great for stocking stuffers.


1. The Keysocks are probably the most unique stocking stuffer on my list. I was so excited to write about these because I love them so much. Let me tell you a bit about them.  Since marathon training, the only dress shoes I have been wearing lately are ballet flats. Since the weather has been chilly, ballet flats ( without socks) is not very practical or warm.  Keysocks is a full length sock but the top of it is cut out ( kind of like a keyhole). This way it gives the appearance of no sock while your foot and calf stay warm. Genius!   The photo shows me wearing the magenta striped Keysocks ( and I thought it was fun how some of the Magenta peeked out around my shoe). In the pic below that I am wearing the nude color Keysocks and you can't even tell that I have them on. pic The owner of Keysocks is Shelby McKee, so the name Keysocks is fitting!


2. I've discovered A Rose So Sweet adjustable headbands this year too. I love no slip headbands and have been loyal to a certain brand over the years. Since I have discovered A Rose So Sweet, I will be adding these headbands to my collection. Liz, the owner of A Rose So Sweet puts an adjustable slide on her headbands, something that you can't find on other non-slip bands. I am loving the holiday patterns she currently has available and her prices can't be beat.  All the bands pictured above range from $7.50-8.50.  Don't you think the first one pictured above would be perfect for a Hot Chocolate race? If you think you would enjoy an adjustable headband from A Rose So Sweet, Be sure to enter the giveaway HERE.



3. The holidays are a perfect way to relax ( and recover). Why not give someone the perfect recovery gift of Pro-Compression. There is nothing like putting on a pair of calf sleeves ( for your poor, tired, over worked legs), sitting on your sofa watching your favorite show ( for us it would be Sex and the City), while sipping on your favorite beverage!   Pro-Compression is having a little fun for the holidays and wants us to show how we can make our sleeves festive!  What do you think of my design? I am now ready for a Jingle Jog if I should feel the need to run one this month!

If you would like to give the gift of recovery this season, please use the code PINK2 for 40% off your entire purchase at ProCompression.com


My infinity scarf from Scarves.net. I'm loving winter white these days.


4.  Whether or not you want to bundle up while on a run or you want to look fabulous on your rest days, the infinity scarf from Scarves.net  is the perfect piece to have.  I've discovered this site just this year and OMG! Styles galore and very reasonably priced! Infinity scarves seem to be all the rage lately and I can see why. Not only are they soft, warm, and stylish, they are super easy to wear because you don't have to worry about how to tie your scarf or loop it the right way. I loving my cozy scarf from Scarves.net  Use the Code HOLIDAY20 to get 20% off your next purchase at scarves.net


5. I finally found a pair of those gloves that have the touch screen finger tips.  They are just the cheapy knit gloves that I got at Wal-mart for around $3 but ya know what, they work perfect! They are warm, the touch screen tips work fabulously, and if I lose one or both ( because I know I probably will), they were only $3 and I can easily replace them. I certainly wouldn't mind having another pair of these in my stocking this season.

What will you be giving as a stocking stuffer? M

*I received the Keysocks, the Pro-Compression Sleeves, the infinity scarf, and the non-slip headband free of charge but any opinion I have expressed is my own.
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