Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Zoo Review: Audubon Zoo, New Orleans

Our family recently road tripped to New Orleans to go visit the Audubon Zoo. We LOVE going to the zoo, mostly because animals are always fun to watch and you can guarantee that you will always have a unique experience at the zoo.

Animals are just fun!

After hubby and I took turns running through the city and breakfast at Starbucks, we set out for an adventure at the zoo!

(His Run & My Run Recaps!)

We arrived at the zoo right when it opened, and just enjoyed the beautiful fountain. Elephants are my favorite animal, so I didn't mind spending time at the fountain.

The zoo was a little on the small side, so It didn't take the whole day to get through the exhibits. Honestly, when you have two young children and it's almost 100 degrees outside, you tend to appreciate smaller zoos.


A couple of the exhibits were not open (such as the elephants, sea lions and frogs) but of the exhibits that were open, our favorites were:
  • Primates
  • Giraffes
  • Louisiana Swamp
  • Reptile House
  • The white alligator

Other non-exhibit things we enjoyed were:
  • The Elephant Fountain
  • Ice Cream Shop
  • The play ground
  • The beautiful trees

Disappointments

I was pretty disappointed that everything seemed to have an extra charge. The zoo itself was almost 20.00 per adult to get in, and then if you wanted to go to the water section, dinosaurs and train there was an additional fee. I understand the train and merry-go-rounds, but I was disappointed that we weren't able to see the water section without paying an additional fee. 

It seemed to be pretty cool based on what we saw on YouTube, but we didn't experience the water section during this trip. Perhaps when the girls are older we will go again. 

Question of the day: Would you prefer to have an all inclusive ticket or pay separately for sections of a zoo? 


You might also like...
The Jacksonville Zoo 
Santa Fe Zoo 
Central Florida Zoo
Zoo Run Recap - 2013

Monday, September 28, 2015

Hooray for Monday: 6 Weeks until Race Day!

Here we are, 6 weeks until my first half marathon since having my girls. True, I ran a couple half marathons during pregnancy, but the truth is I haven't run a half marathon (not pregnant) since April of 2013.  YIKES!

I'm a little intimidated, because since I was usually growing a baby, i'd keep my pace slow. Now, I don't have an excuse, I've got to get out there and CHASE some goals!

So, with 6 weeks until Race day, I thought I should follow a plan and start making some of these dreams a reality! You can't run a half marathon, and run it well when you've been running here and there whenever you feel like it, you have to follow a plan!

So, off to google I went.


I found this plan over on Life and Leggings, so i'm going to give it a go!

Source: http://lifeinleggings.com/training/6-week-half-marathon-training-plan/
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Saturday, September 26, 2015

Etsy LOVE Volume 2 - lilmisscdesigns

Welcome back!

If you missed it, here is Volume 1 of my series on the shops I love in ETSY! For the second shop, I thought I'd share a recent find. This is one for the plannerds, planner addicts, planner enthusiasts, those who LOVE to have pretty planners.

I just recently had my second baby, and I LOST all motivation to run. Yes, all motivation. Even though I'm registered for a couple of races, I just... am NOT motivated to run.  So, I turned to Etsy.

I figured if I invested in some pretty stickers to look at in my planner, I would go run and here's when I found lilmisscdesigns. Stay at home mom of 4, she has been selling on Etsy since January of this year!

I ordered the Runner Girl stickers and the motivation stickers, I mentioned my blog to her and she threw in extra page of running stickers. Although she gifted me some stickers, my opinion does not change.

About the stickers.
They are printed on matte paper and cut, I believe using a cricket cutter is what I read. I like that they are matte because it makes it easier to write on (without smudging).

The sticker size is perfect for my planner. I have the Take Me With You planner from Orange Circle Studio, and these stickers are small enough so they don't take up the whole page, but are big enough that I can see them on the page!

Images of stickers I own. 


Would I purchase again? 

I probably would. I really like these stickers, and I think the motivation stickers are adorable! Heads up to all my beach body coach friends, I saw she has some Cize stickers in her Fitness Section!!

Social Media Links.
Lilmisscdesigns - instagram, check it out for coupon codes and flash sales!


Question of the day: Do you use a planner, and do you decorate it?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fitness Friday - 10 minute Solutions, Yoga!

For today's Fitness Friday Post, I thought i'd share a YouTuber that was introduced to me by my husband (Blog about books; Blog about Holy Things)

Yoga with Adriene 

I enjoy doing her Yoga workouts because 1. I feel like she explains things very well (for someone like me who is a little yoga challenged) and 2. It's all about building strength and increasing flexibility.

I even did one of her yoga sequences before my Marathon last January!



Not all of her videos are ten minutes (actually, most of them are not), BUT some of them are between 10-15 minutes, and I really enjoy them!

Question of the Day: Do you Yoga everyday?


You might also enjoy...
Fitness Friday - Victoria Secret Workout!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Packing Tips: Two under Two

Our family recently went on a weekend trip to New Orleans. We loaded into the car at 2:00 a.m. and drove to New Orleans. We had a great trip, but a lot of planning went into the packing for that trip. There is a fine balance between being prepared and taking too much!

One way I stay organized now that we are a family of 4 is with packing cubes. I first learned about packing cubes on Jen's Youtube channel (Pretty Neat Living).  On her blog she has a whole section about travel and packing, you should check it out - I always get lots of inspiration from her! Upon first glance, packing cubes can be quite expensive. However, I use a site called ebates and buy from the ebags website.  if you use the referral link included you can get a 10.00 gift card and start earning money just for shopping online! The ebags website typically gives back 8-12% cash back for purchases!

Go now, Free Money!!

Anyway, back to how I pack for trips with two under two!

Yes, you will be investing in the cubes, but i've found them to be so helpful. Especially because my oldest daughter loves to pick out her own outfits. With the packing cubes, I don't have to worry about her picking a shirt she's already worn, she only has the options still in the packing cubes!

How do you pack.

I put each persons items in a cube, all their socks and clothing must fit in a cube.
Towels, burp cloths, blankets and *extras* go in a different cube.

What happens when you get to your destination? 
All clean clothing and items stay in the cube. Dirty items go in a pile (sometimes they make it into an empty bag) until it's time to go home.

Do you put dirty clothes in them to come home?
I don't. I feel like it adds extra work when I get home, so I typically ONLY put clean items into the cubes, so they are ready for our next trip when we get home.

All the dirty clothes get stuffed into 1 bag, and the cubes, clean clothing, extra diapers and items go into the second bag.

Don't believe me? Here's a list of items packed for the girls ALL in 1 bag! 

Items for my four month old.

  • 2 pajamas
  • 5 pairs of socks
  • 2 dresses
  • 3 diaper covers
  • 2 shorts 
  • 1 pair of jeans 
  • 2 shirts
  • 1 hat
  • 1 swim shirt
  • 3 onesies
Items for my 19 month old.
  • 1 pajama
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 bathing suit
  • 1 hat
  • 2 dresses
  • 2 onesies
  • 3 shorts
  • 3 shirts
  • 3 swim diapers
Extra's packed
  • q-tips
  • powder
  • saline sprays
  • diaper rash cream
  • 2 bibs
  • 6 burp cloths
  • 1 sheet
  • 1 changing page
  • 100 wipes 
  • 38 Size 2 diapers
  • 32 Size 4 diapers
All items above were packed into 1 large duffle bag, and by using the packing cube system, I felt very organized upon our arrival in New Orleans! 

My husband and I also used packing cubes for our clothing and found it to be helpful when looking for our clothes. 

An added benefit to using the packing cube system is that it forces you to really think about what you will need, and NOT over pack. 

For fun I created a short video of me packing the girls items for our trip, I hope you'll enjoy! Be sure to subscribe for more fun videos! 



Question of the day: Have you ever used packing cubes or a similar system for travel?


You might also enjoy...

Scene on MY run - New Orleans Running
Scene on HIS run - New Orleans Running
All the (mugs) I mean Souvenirs we purchased in New Orleans



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Influenster Review: New Pampers Cruisers

Disclaimer: Influenster sent me a sample of the new Pampers Cruisers to try, all expressed opinions are my very own.


If you saw my unboxing video on YouTube last week, you saw that we were selected to try some of the New Pampers Cruisers. These diapers claim to turn your sag into swag. A pretty strong claim, i'd say.

My daughter is quite active, and loves to dance and play and does NOT like to be slowed down long enough for silly things such as diaper changes... (potty training time?!) I used the three diapers during nap time or bed time, because those were the two times she would go the longest between diaper changes.

I have to say, I was quite impressed. The newly designed pampers really do limit the sag - Good job, Pampers!

Here's the closest I could get to a picture of her in the diaper... (go phins)!


Thanks again Influenster and Pampers for the opportunity to try your new product :)




Monday, September 21, 2015

Tips from Jeff Galloway - Do I Need a Training Plan?

Since I am part of the Jeff Galloway blogger program, I get tips and motivation from Jeff himself to share with all of you! This information came at a great time for me as I am about to start seriously training for an upcoming Half Marathon! 

Enjoy!

THE TRAINING PLAN
 
WHY SHOULD I HAVE A TRAINING PLAN?  When using a proven strategy, a runner gains control over fatigue while improving motivation.  Those who follow the right training plan, for the individual,  tend to improve more, with less injury risk.

WOULD BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM A PLAN  Unfortunately, most beginners “run as they feel” or follow conflicting advice.  This leads to confusion and more aches and pains.   The right schedule will systematically increase the type of running needed for a goal, with strategic rest for rebuilding.
 

KEY TRAINING ELEMENTS:

1)       A longer run builds endurance, 2) a hilly run builds strength, 3) Scenic or social runs insert fun and keep you coming back for more.

WHAT IS ADDED TO A PLAN IF THE GOAL IS TO RUN FASTER?  The right training plan will gradually increase the speed repetitions needed for the individual goal.  Easier days and rest days must be inserted before and after speed workouts.  To avoid injury, the pace and the increase must be realistic for the individual.   

EVERY OTHER DAY!  Most runners—especially beginners—run best when they run every other day.  This allows for the “weak links” to heal.  The very slow long run is usually on the weekend, when there is more time available.  Hills and fun days can be run on the short runs during the week (for example, Tuesday and Thursday)

SHOULD I EXERCISE ON NON-RUNNING DAYS? While you don't have to exert yourself on non running days to improve your running, exercise will energize your mind, and improve your attitude and vitality—while burning some fat.  So I recommend any exercise that does not fatigue the calf muscle, such as recreational walking. 

DOES VARIETY HELP?  Changing things a bit can improve motivation.   You don't have to change the “mission” on specific days, but alternating some of the courses or running with different groups can make each day more interesting.

WHAT ARE VARIOUS MISSIONS, FOR VARIOUS DAYS? Each type of run bestows a different benefit.  Hill runs build strength.  Drills that work on cadence, gentle acceleration and gliding will improve your running form.  Long runs produce stamina and endurance. 

WHAT SHOULD I DO THE DAY BEFORE AND THE DAY AFTER LONG OR FASTER RUNS?  Take it easy on these days.  Do little or no exercise, don't over-eat, drink 8 glasses of water/sports drinks, and focus on how you will enjoy the next run.

SHOULD I SKIP THE REST DAYS—TO IMPROVE MORE QUICKLY.  Not Recommended!  It is during the days off from running that the running body rebuilds and improves.  While some runners can get away with running short and slow runs on rest days for a while, these “junk miles” can compromise recovery and lead to injuries. 
 
IF I DON’T LIKE A WORKOUT CAN I SUBSTITUTE? Following a consistent plan is more likely to lead to success and improve motivation.  Those who pick various elements from different schedules experience  more burnout and injury.  
_ _ _
NEW Jeff Galloway's Customized Training Plan!

Let Jeff customize a plan that allows you to "have a life" while achieving your goals!  Your 6 month plan includes:
  • customized training schedule
  • daily email reminders for your workouts
  • drills to improve your running form and efficiency
For for runners of all levels, from beginning to ultra, with busy schedules or without a local Galloway training program.

Learn more now!
Jeff’s proven method has helped hundreds of thousands to achieve their goals, injury-free. Whether you’re a beginner or a Boston Qualifier, let us customize a plan that allows you to “have a life” while achieving your goals.Your 6-month Custom Training Plan includes –
  • A customized training schedule to your target race over the next season
  • Daily email reminders of upcoming workouts
  • Based upon your current conditioning
  • Drills to improve running form, efficiency, and speed
  • For runners at every fitness level, from beginning runners to ultra-runners
  • Perfect for those without a local Galloway Program or with busy schedules 
Register now for the Jeff Galloway 13.1 Half Marathon weekend from December 11-13th
  • Jeff Galloway 13.1 - Sunday, Dec. 13th
  • Barb's 5K Presented by BeeCause - Saturday, Dec. 12th
  • NEW Fit Kids Run/Walk - Saturday, Dec. 12th
Register now!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Etsy LOVE Volume 1 - NovelArtsandIdeas

I've recently fallen (back) in love with Etsy. I've bought several items in the past, and some shops I've LOVED and others ... not so much. So, I thought i'd take an opportunity to share with you the stores that I've LOVED!

For the first Etsy LOVE post, I'm going to share my friends shop. She is the mom of two absolutely adorable boys, and still finds time to create beautiful hand-made items inspired by books!

Her Shop:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/NovelArtsIdeas

Products I own from her shop.

1. Key Chain

This was a gift for my husband when he started a new job as a librarian. Where the Wild things is his absolute favorite childhood book, so I was excited to order this for him.

He has carried it on his keys for several months now, and the quality is still perfect!

2.  Card (displayed in our room as art work)

I ordered this card for him on his first day of work at the new job. We have it displayed in our room and it's just absolutely beautiful!

3. Custom Nursery Artwork

When I was pregnant with my first, she designed and hand drew this art for our nursery. I love how she incorporated our colors and a verse into the art! She does great custom work if anyone is interested.

She is very active on Instagram posting pictures of her family, new items for her shop and an occasional discount code!! If you are looking for a book themed gift for the bookworm in your life, please check out her store!

Be sure to let her know that StorybookErin sent you!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fitness Friday - 10 minute solutions.

Hey Friends!

My girl Mindy over at roadrunnergirl.com does a weekly Friday post called "Fitness Friday" where she talks about the ways she exercised throughout the week. It's a really inspiring post, you should head on over and check it out.

Anyway, her Fitness Friday posts inspired me to share my own Fitness post on Fridays. I'm a mom of two, both girls are under two. I don't have a LOT of time, in fact,... I'm pretty guarded with my time. I do get 1 hour a week all to myself (you know, at the grocery store) but it's not much. I'm about to start training again for some upcoming runs, but... I'll be training with a double jogger so, still not alone.  Anyway, if you are in this current season of life, or maybe you are going to school full time and working full time or whatever the case may be you don't have a lot of time either!

I'm so thankful for Youtube! There are SO many great resources for quick at home workouts that are FREE! (My kind of price range!) So, today, and for the next couple of weeks, I'm going to share some of my personal favorite 10 to 15 minute videos that I've found on YouTube!

This first one, I've shared before  and a year later I'm still using this workout every so often and I still love it!

So, thank you FitSugar for this gem!


Question of the day: Do you ever use YouTube as a resource for fitness routines?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Travel Souvenirs: New Orleans Edition

Lately I've been really into watching "haul videos" on Youtube. I'm not sure why I'm so fascinated by them, but I am. I like to see what's available and what people buy. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that our family tends to purchase the same types of things when we travel and I was curious if anyone else shares similar interest.

So, here's a list of the souvenirs we purchased on our recent trip to New Orleans.

1. Hard Rock Cafe Pins.

My husband and his best friend both collect pins from the Hard Rock. My husband displays them on his guitar strap, and it serves as kind of a reminder of the places we've been.

2. Nike New Orleans Shirt.

My husband and I both LOVE Nike Shirts, we like to lounge around in them and to be honest, 90% of my husbands shirts are nike shirts (the other 10% is star wars or mickey).  We happened to mention that it would be fun to go get a nike shirt, and when we looked up the nike store, we were actually only a few miles away! So, we went!

3. Starbucks: You are Here Mug

I'm going to be honest with you, I don't like to drink coffee out of this mug. I use my Mickey Mug every day and I LOVE it, so why change? However, we do love to collect these mugs as little memories of the places we have been, and they are wonderful for eating Soup (or ice cream) out of!

4. Books.

Since our girls are growing SO fast, I feel like clothing is a total waste of money. So, we purchase a book about the area. This trip we purchased Hello, New Orleans and What Sleepy Animals Do.  both of them were purchased at the Audubon Zoo. I get a little nervous about over spending because, as you can see EVERYTHING can be found on Amazon, but the prices were the same with the exception of the Hello New Orleans book. We paid 1.00 more at the zoo than if we'd bought it online.  Since we purchased the zoo book AT the zoo, we scored a signed copy, so that was pretty exciting for the girls.

Our girls really enjoyed both books, and Hello, New Orleans has become part of our bedtime routine.

5. Coffee and Mug.

If you go to New Orleans, GO TO CAFE DU MONDE! It opened in 1862, and you can get coffee and beignets 24 hours a day! The first time we went, it was almost sunset and the lines for both the take out window and the dine-in were ridiculously long. We actually waited in the take out line for almost an hour. Let me tell you, it was WORTH every second of the wait!

We went back on our way out of town and I purchased a can of coffee to bring home and surprised my husband with a mug and a can of the coffee they serve. New Orleans is a city he has ALWAYS wanted to visit, and I wanted to surprise him with something he wouldn't expect.

Question of the day: Do you purchase souvenirs when you travel and what do you usually pick up?


Monday, September 14, 2015

Unboxing: Pampers Cruisers

I was so excited when I got the email that I had been chosen to sample the new Pampers Cruisers! Here's a quick video of me unboxing the box from Influenster.




Disclaimer: I received this box complimentary from Influenster, the opinions expressed are my very own.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Guest Post: Scene on HIS Run: New Orleans

Hi Friends!

Since my love and I took turns running in New Orleans last weekend, I thought it'd be fun to show you some of the pictures he took while he was out running solo in the City! (Here's my run in case you missed it).

My hubby's Social Media.
Twitter Feed
Instagood pics
Facebook Page
Blog - Holy Things
Blog - All about Books 

There were a few things on my "must do list" for Labor Day Weekend in New Orleans. Beignets and cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde, see the mighty Mississippi river that Mark Twain raved about so very much, visit the Audubon Zoo as is our family tradition, eat an authentic New Orleans po' boy sandwich and add a run to my map on Nike Plus.

OK, maybe that's a bit more than just a few things. But if I was going to make the long trek out to NOLA, I wanted to be certain that there was enough to occupy my time. Oh, the trek? We left at 2 AM (Eastern) and arrived at 2:30 PM (Central). That's a lot of time in the car. After being cooped up, I wasn't sure that I actually felt like running. On several occasions, I considered scratching the fitness element off my list.

After arriving and checking into the hotel, we set out on our first adventure: beignets. Oh yeah, we were on vacation and we were going to treat ourselves immediately. Cafe du Monde, here we come! It was about 0.7 miles from our hotel, so we strapped up the baby and grabbed the toddler by the hand and made a beeline for sugary-fried-goodness.

Get in my belly Coffee & Beignets!

It felt like a hundred degrees outside and we got fresh, hot beignets, so we couldn't get back to the hotel's AC fast enough. There would be no running that afternoon for me. I would need to cool off and rest. Remember all that driving?

Taking Pictures @ Jackson Square

The next day, I got up early with my alarm. I got up at first light. Early enough when you're on vacation. I had my clothes laid out so I could throw them on without disturbing the girls too much. I said bye to the wife and hit the road.

First (or second) light on Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church

It was a cool high 70s outside (South Florida Runner, that's cool) and the city was quiet compared to the bustle of the previous evening. I made my way down Canal street towards Harrah's Casino. It was about as peaceful as one would imagine a major city could be. I crossed the tracks by the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and there it was: The Mighty Mississippi.

Reader: perhaps you are from a part of this country that borders the Mississippi River. Perhaps you could read Huckleberry Finn on the very banks that the protagonist of that book explores. Until this weekend I had never visited it. I am a fan of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, so seeing the river brought me joy. Isn't that why we go on vacation? For the joy of it? Isn't that a good reason to go for a run? To bring a little joy into your life?

The Mississippi & Monument to the Immigrant

Next came a few selfies. I know, it's very narcissistic but I did it anyways. As I cut through Riverwalk Park, I paused to take a pic of the Monument to the Immigrant because who cares about pace when you're on vacation? Once I got to the Steamboat Natchez I decided I should head back. I promised the wife I'd only put in a mile and I was about to hit up cafe du monde again. For you close readers, you'll note that I broke my promise.

Running through the French Quarter

I headed back to Canal street via Decatur and paused for a selfie in the French Quarter. The architecture was just beautiful. I had to document the moment. There were no incidents coming back up Canal street. Just friendly faces and more than a few fellow runners. I imagine they too were on vacation, adding a little run to their map as a memento of their trip to NOLA while relishing in a morning burst of endorphins.

As I entered my hotel, I realized that the model of New Orleans they had in the lobby was a perfect replica of the area I had just run through. I quickly snapped a picture for Instagram. I just ran NOLA.

Map of 1.90 mi. run through NOLA

 I entered the hotel room and realized right away that I'd be babysitting for a little while. Erin was up even though the babies were asleep still (we REALLY need to buy blackout curtains) and her running clothes were laid out on the bed. "Should I go out for a run? Is it safe?" I smiled. Going out for a run was probably the best decision I made that weekend. She should definitely go out for a quick run.

"Go." I told her. And so she went for a quick mile run.

Just in case anyone is mad at me for going further than I said I would, take a look at this map. Yes, she went out further than I did, so there! You can read about the Scene on Her Run right now.


Scene on Her Run: my perspective

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Scene on my Run: New Orleans

Our family road tripped to New Orleans over Labor Day weekend. While the babies slept my husband and I took turns running around the city. It was strange for me to be running solo in a new city while my family was relaxing in the hotel, especially because my husband and I typically do EVERYTHING together, but it was a nice experience!

I set out to "only run a quick mile" but...

I ran 2. 

Here are some of the pictures I snapped while I was out. 
Aren't the clouds beautiful!
The Mississippi River!
Cute little park by the river. 
Outside the aquarium.
Crossing the tracks and heading back to the hotel!
Stopped at Starbucks for a surprise treat for our daughter! She got to try Chocolate MiLk for the first time during our trip! 
Question of the day: what's your favorite part about traveling? 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

5 minute lunch for the picky toddler!

My comfort food is and has always been Macaroni and Cheese. I love it SO much I even recently ordered it at a restaurant. It's just so comforting! 

My heart was a little broken when I realized my daughter does NOT have the same love for good ol' fashion Kraft Mac & Cheese. I guess I should be glad since it isn't the healthiest option available, but still I was a little saddened. 

She does however enjoy a good bowl of noodles with cheese. So, little lady's special Mac & cheese was invented. It takes less than 5 minutes and is always a hit with my toddler. 

Recipe:
Cook peas (as desired)
Cook egg noodles 
Mix together with shredded cheese

Serve! 


My daughter loves this meal and I love that I can fix it in minutes. 

Lately she's been helping me cook it, which is a bonus learning activity! 

Question: what's your favorite quick lunch?

MARATHON MONDAY, WDW Marathon Training Week 8

"Giving up is for rookies." Hercules  Welcome to week 8 of Marathon Training! Much like week seven , there wasn't a whole ...