Friday, December 14, 2018

Best Christmas Gifts for Men

As Healthy Living Bloggers,  We've both read and have written many post on great gifts for runners.  However, when you are the only runner on the holiday list, those posts aren't much help, amiright?

I feel I'm pretty good with buying for the ladies on my list, but the men can sometimes be a struggle.  Over the years I feel I've done a little better with trying to find useful gifts that men ACTUALLY WANT. No ties or socks here!  Weather it be a husband, brother, boyfriend, dad or Grandad, perhaps they too will appreciate some of these items!

1. Tickets to an Event - One year I got Scott concert tickets and one year I got him tickets to see Impractical Jokers. Both were a huge hit that he still talks about!  Perhaps your guy would like season tickets to a local sporting event?

2. License or Registration -  No, No, not for a car! If the guy on your list has a hobby or something that he needs to get a license for (Like Fishing), renew it for him. You can get these at Sporting Goods stores and depending on where you go you may need your guys driver's license number or other personal identification (like birthday or SS#). Also, if you have a boat, kayak, or small water craft, those need registered every year too.

3. Subscription Boxes - Believe it or not guys like these too. You can find boxes that specify in different hobbies.

 I of course have done some fishing ones in the past. Since I would have no clue what type of fishing stuff to pick out I bought boxes from both Mystery Tackle and Lucky Tackle Box.  You can buy a subscription or just buy individual boxes. Look for promo and discount codes too!

4. Tech Gadgets - Every guy loves electronics and techy stuff.  No one can ever have enough USB adapters and charging cables. We live in a three story home and it's a pain when one of us needs a charger for our phone or ipad and we have to go up or down 2 flights of steps to get it. Be smart and buy one for each floor ( or room).

Also,  someone on your list NEEDS this charging adapter. This plugs into a normal outlet and it gives you space to plug in 3 items and charge 4 items with a USB port. Also it has a slide out on each side where you can set your phones while they charge!

5.  Gift Cards to their favorite Pizza Parlor or Sub Shop.  Who wouldn't want a free lunch or two?

                                    Tell me a great gift you got for a guy in your life! -M

Friday, December 7, 2018

Buyer Beware.....Bed, Bath, and Beyond

Let me preface this post by saying I KNOW that the holidays are about Faith and Family and NOT shopping! However, it is fun when you find just the perfect gift for someone on your list. That is just what what happened to me but of course this is a little story involved.

Like I mentioned before, I don't go out shopping on Black Friday, but I do shop online from the comfort of my own home.  I found the perfect item for someone on my list. I actually found it on several websites for comparable prices but I decided to purchase it from Bed, Bath, and Beyond because there are two stores in my local area in case it needed to be returned.

So since the purchase, I've received every other gift I purchased on Black Friday and Cyber Monday except for this purchase.  Gosh, It should be coming any day now, I thought.  Where is it?   I just happened to check my credit card statement (for other reasons), and I saw that I recently got charged for this item.  I assumed that since I JUST got charged, that it was being mailed out.  BUT NOPE,  The next day I got an email stating that the purchase had been CANCELLED.  WHAT???

I called Beth, Bath, and Beyond and asked what was going on. At this point I am a very unhappy customer.  I had an opportunity to buy this item at other retailers while it was on sale but I chose Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and now customer service is telling me that  they don't have any more in stock!  What?  I asked why they didn't tell me that when I ordered it  ( and just so you know, I ordered it over the phone with an actual person).  I was told that Yes, there was enough of the items when I ordered, however, when it was time to fulfill the order in the warehouse, there was not enough.  Is that the most ridiculous explanation you've ever heard? Who does the inventory at this place???????

The reason I am so upset is because this wasn't just a couple dollar item, it was hundreds of dollars and now of course all the websites are selling this item at full price which is more then double what I was paying at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  The only service I got from  BBB was Well, your credit card will be refunded. They didn't offer a replacement item, or even a stinkin coupon!

Tis the season I guess!  -M

What do you think of this situation?

P.S If you signed up for the holiday card swap you should have got a name this week.  I emailed everyone on the list.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Weekly Wrap...Christmas in NYC

The highlight of the week was most definitely our time in NYC.  I'll call this the NYC half marathon part 2 because we did over 14 miles in Manhattan. All we needed was a race bib!

Our 14 + miles included  Walking through Midtown and the Financial District.  I wanted to show my sister Battery park since she had never been there

It was a beautiful day to walk the park along the water. The sun was shining and it was nice seeing all the NYC dogs out! We saw our share of retrievers. We have this stereotype that all Retriever owners are happy and friendly but we found out that is not the case. Some looked very angry and almost made us feel sorry for the happy retrievers they were walking! 

                     We enjoyed watching the ferries and practicing our photography skills!

Unfortunately the Statue of Liberty was still a bit too far away to get a good picture of.  My sister had never seen the Statue of Liberty so it was exciting to see her see it for the first time (even though I told her we saw it from our cruise ship a few years ago, apparently she was getting into other things on the cruise when we passed by it).   I am told you can get a really good view from the Staten Island Ferry and that's a free ride too.  Maybe next time we'll do that.

We took a ride on the Sea Glass Carousel. We saw this on the TV Series Younger and thought we would check it out since we had never done it before. To see more about the Sea Glass Carousel, check out my IG story. I bet this would be cool to do at night but we wanted to make sure we were in midtown when it got dark so we could see all the lights up there.

We visit Canal Street, China Town, Little Italy, and Union Square.  While in Little Italy we had a great meal at an Italian Restaurant called the Grotto.  I'm really picky where I eat and won't go into any place that looks like a dive restaurant. This place was pretty nice looking and so that's why we were pretty surprise when they had a very inexpensive lunch menu.

We had two spaghetti with bolognese sauce, a salad, chicken marsala, and Chicken milanese for only $14.94 each! What a bargain for NYC!

                          We had fun checking out all the holiday lights and activities.

No visit to NYC is complete without a visit to the Macy's flagship store. Did you know it was 9 stories?

We did not wait in line this year to walk through Santa's village, however we found some new fun at Macy's

                                                                   More ornaments in midtown.

It was a very full day and this post is getting pretty long so I'll stop here.  I have more Christmasy pictures to share so maybe I'll post more over on IG cus who doesn't enjoy looking at Christmas decorations!   -M

Don't forget about the Holiday Card Swap that we've been doing for the last few years. The deadline is tomorrow so send us an email now if you want to participate!  (www.fairytalesandfitness at gmail dot com).

                       We are linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Easy Peasy Creamy Potato Soup

One of my favorite home-made soups to make is Potato soup!  For some reason, Scott does not like potato soup, so I usually make a batch of it for myself and my sister.  Recently I made a batch of it so I could take it to work with me for lunch.

When it comes to potato soup, I like mine creamy. If you do to, I know you're going to love this recipe.  Of course if  you like potato soup but don't like it so thick, you can modify it.

You will need
1. Butter
2. Celery
3. Onions
4. Potatoes
5. 2 cups Chicken broth
6. 2 cups  Milk

1. Start by sauteing a pat of butter, celery, and onion. The amount you put in is to your liking. I only use one small onion and about 2 or 3 stalks of celery.  You may have to add an additional pat of butter if your onions start to burn or stick.  After sauteing for about 5 minutes, add  a cup of  chicken broth.  Let simmer while you peel and cut potatoes.

2. I use red potatoes but I suppose you can use any kind. I use about 10 small/medium sized potatoes because I like to make a lot. 

3. Toss cut potatoes in the pot, add a dash of salt and pepper, pour in the other cup of chicken broth, and cook on medium heat. I usually cover my pot with a lid.

4. Cook until potatoes become tender and then whisk in half the milk. 

5. Keep cooking until potatoes are soft and whisk in the rest of milk while semi mashing some of the potatoes.  You may find that you want to add either more milk or more broth depending on the consistency that you want. I've added anywhere between 2 and 4 cups of each.

A perfect easy meal for a cool fall or winter day!   What is the easiest home made soup that you make?   -M

P.S  Don't forget about the Holiday Card Swap. We will extend the deadline to sign up until Monday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Run For The Diamonds!

Every year there is a race on Thanksgiving called Run For The Diamonds.  It's a 9 mile race and according to the website has been put on every year since 1908  (it was cancelled in 1918 and 1919  due to World War 1. How about that for some history!).

Anyway, Runners who place receive diamond rings and pendants for awards.  I don't know if they are real diamonds or not. 

I have wanted to do this race for several years but it just hasn't worked with my schedule.There are several Turkey Trots in our area as well, but I always say the way I eat on Thanksgiving I need to run more than 3 miles. 

So this year I knew I had off on Thanksgiving so I signed up way in advance. Days leading up to the race the weather forecast was looking unseasonably cold. It was predicted to only be in the teens and very windy by the time the race started. Go figure, the year I sign up! Last year it was sunny and runners were in shorts!  Well I have never DNS, plus I paid and didn't want to lose out on that money so I was going to run it regardless what the weather was like. I'd just be bundled up!

We arrived in plenty of time to pick up my race packet and stay warm inside the car before the start. It was soon time to make my way to the start and freeze my butt off until it began. Once we started I can't say I really warmed up much. My feet were so cold. My face was also very cold with the wind right on it. That was the only part of my body that was not covered. I think that is half the reason why I was running fast, I just wanted to get done quickly!

I have heard this race has several hills on the course. I never look at the course map. I guess I just like to be surprised and not know what to expect until I come upon it. The first hill wan't too bad. I overheard this guy saying to his running partner you may need to carry me up this next one. I thought is this next hill that bad? Oh yes it was. It was about a mile of an incline straight up. My pace slowed drastically. There were even a few people off to the side throwing up. Not a great way to start your Thanksgiving.  I continued to keeping moving along and was praying for the downhill to come soon. It eventually came but not for long. As soon as we made it down there was another hill within view. I was so ready for this race to be over! 

I finally made it at the halfway mark around 36 minutes. The last half was just as bad as the first half. The only thing that made it better was running away from the wind and I was finally warming up but not enough to shed any layers just enough to tolerate it. 

There was a lady a bit ahead of me the last few miles. My goal was to keep up with her. I finally ended up passing her the last mile along with a few other people. I was so happy to see the finish line

Unless you were one of the overall winners or placed in your age group you did not receive any awards nor finisher's medal. 

After looking up my time and realizing I didn't place, I grabbed a slice a pizza and I was out of there. I was rather happy not to have to stick around for the awards ceremony. I was freezing and we were already going to be late for our Thanksgiving dinner (since the race started a half hour late and we live about 40 minutes away).

Got this great long sleeve race shirt!

Not sure if I will ever run that race again. There were too many hills, not too much it was freezing. I also think that any distance over a 5k everyone should get a finisher's medal! The only thing that was great about running that race was being able to eat an extra slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving:)

Did you run a Turkey Trot or any other race on Thanksgiving? -L

                                            We will be linking up with the gals from TOTR.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Holiday Swap

It’s that time of year again and the Holidays are in full swing!  We hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Although a bit earlier than usual (thanks to Thanksgiving being a week early this year), I’ve already put up my indoor Christmas decorations! All three trees are up, Baylee’s stocking is hung, and there are Santas and snowmen galore! T’is the season!  I did a Holiday Home tour last year showing my Christmas d├ęcor and not much has changed this year, so I don’t feel the need to show it again.  If you want to check it out though, it can be found HERE.
Another thing that hasn’t changed is our annual blogger Holiday Card Swap!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Rock n Roll Las Vegas Race Recap

Sunday was race day! After brunching and resting earlier, we were ready for 13.1 miles down the Las Vegas Strip!

We were staying in Old Vegas off Freemont street so we had to Uber to where the start was but of course all the roads were blocked off so we got dropped off as close as he could go.  We still had to walk close to a mile to the start.

I had run this race a few years ago in the full distance(which I did not care for) so I was excited to do the half this year since it's up and back down the strip. 

Getting to our corrals was ridiculous! Usually at races each corral is gated off and you show someone your bib to verify your corral and then enter. Well not this one. 

Everyone had to enter from the last corral and maneuver their way up to their corral. When you have over 20,000 people between the half and the full this is not an easy task. I believe there were 16 corrals and I was in corral 4! I eventually made my way up to my corral before the race started.

There was a 4:30 PM start for my corral.  It quickly became dark around this time. 

Other than the lights from the streets and buildings there was barely any additional lighting. Not only was it hard to see but more of a safety issue. The streets were not paved the best and you always had to watch your footing because there were a bunch of reflectors in the road. I guess that's what they were, however they weren't giving off any light. 

So as I was running I kept thinking boy this strip is longer than I thought. Shouldn't we be turning around soon? I looked on the other side of the road and saw people walking. I thought if I was in corral 4 how did all these people get in front of me and are walking now? 

Well little did I forget that there was also a 10k race going on as well, but they started at a different location but ended at the same one. Now it makes sense!

                                                     Crossing the finish line.

Overall it was a good race. Especially since it was over my birthday weekend! It was much better than the full I ran a few years ago.

 I think it is a race you could definitely put on your bucket list, especially with all the distance options. 

In addition to the 5k the night before, there is the 10k, half, and full. However there are so many other great races out there I have yet to run so for me I won't be repeating this race any time soon.  -L

                                        We will be linking up with  the gals from TOTR.